Category Archives: Amd

Intel unveils a new architecture for 2019: Sunny Cove

OK, it's not all that sunny, but it's a nice picture of a cove.

OK, it’s not all that sunny, but it’s a nice picture of a cove. (credit: Neil Williamson)

In 2019, Intel will release Core and Xeon chips built around a new architecture: the chips will add a bunch of new instructions to accelerate certain popular workloads such as cryptography and compression, with the company demonstrating 75-percent improvement in compression performance relative to prior-generation parts.

Since 2015, Intel’s mainstream processors under the Core and Xeon brands have been based around the Skylake architecture. Intel’s original intent was to release Skylake on its 14nm manufacturing process and then follow that up with Cannon Lake on its 10nm process. Cannon Lake would add a handful of new features (it includes more AVX instructions, for example) but otherwise be broadly the same as Skylake.

However, delays in getting its 10nm manufacturing process running effectively forced Intel to stick with 14nm for longer than anticipated. Accordingly, the company followed Skylake (with its maximum of four cores in consumer systems) with Kaby Lake (with higher clock speeds and much greater hardware acceleration of modern video codecs), Coffee Lake (as many as eight cores), and Whiskey Lake (improved integrated chipset). The core Skylake architecture was unchanged across these variations, meaning that while their clock speeds differ, the number of instructions per cycle (IPC) is essentially identical.

Read 8 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Spectre, Meltdown researchers unveil 7 more speculative execution attacks

Spectre, Meltdown researchers unveil 7 more speculative execution attacks

Enlarge (credit: Aurich Lawson / Getty Images)

Back at the start of the year, a set of attacks that leveraged the speculative execution capabilities of modern high-performance processors was revealed. The attacks were named Meltdown and Spectre. Since then, numerous variants of these attacks have been devised. In tandem, a range of mitigation techniques has been created to enable at-risk software, operating systems, and hypervisor platforms to protect against these attacks.

A research team—including many of the original researchers behind Meltdown, Spectre, and the related Foreshadow and BranchScope attacks—has published a new paper disclosing yet more attacks in the Spectre and Meltdown families. The result? Seven new possible attacks. Some are mitigated by known mitigation techniques, but others are not. That means further work is required to safeguard vulnerable systems.

The previous investigations into these attacks have been a little ad hoc in nature: examining particular features of interest to provide, for example, a Spectre attack that can be performed remotely over a network or Meltdown-esque attack to break into SGX enclaves. The new research is more systematic, looking at the underlying mechanisms behind both Meltdown and Spectre and running through all the different ways the speculative execution can be misdirected.

Read 14 remaining paragraphs | Comments

AMD launches the first 7nm GPUs, but they’re not for you

AMD is following through on its promise of releasing 7-nanometer GPUs — not that you can use one yet. The company has formally launched Radeon Instinct MI50 and MI60 cards that use the denser, more efficient chip technology to accelerate specialize…

AMD outlines its future: 7nm GPUs with PCIe 4, Zen 2, Zen 3, Zen 4

AMD Radeon Instinct MI60.

Enlarge / AMD Radeon Instinct MI60. (credit: AMD)

AMD today charted out its plans for the next few years of product development, with an array of new CPUs and GPUs in the development pipeline.

On the GPU front are two new datacenter-oriented GPUs: the Radeon Instinct MI60 and MI50. Based on the Vega architecture and built on TSMC’s 7nm process, the cards are aimed not primarily at graphics (despite what one might think given that they’re called GPUs) but rather at machine learning, high-performance computing, and rendering applications.

MI60 will come with 32GB of ECC HBM2 (second-generation High-Bandwidth Memory) while the MI50 gets 16GB, and both have a memory bandwidth up to 1TB/s. ECC is also used to protect all internal memory within the GPUs themselves. The cards will also support PCIe 4.0 (which doubles the transfer rate of PCIe 3.0) and direct GPU-to-GPU links using AMD’s Infinity Fabric. This will offer up to 200GB/s of bandwidth (three times more than PCIe 4) between up to 4 GPUs.

Read 10 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Intel’s 48-core Xeon will go head-to-head with AMD in 2019

Intel has unveiled its fastest server processors yet, the Xeon Cascade Lake series with up to 48 cores. Its current top-of-the-line server chips, the Xeon Scalable Processors, pack up to 28 cores and 56 threads, but all are contained on a single, mon…

Intel CPUs fall to new hyperthreading exploit that pilfers crypto keys

Intel CPUs fall to new hyperthreading exploit that pilfers crypto keys

Enlarge (credit: Intel)

Over the past 11 months, the processors running our computers, and in some cases phones, have succumbed to a host of attacks. Bearing names such as Meltdown and Spectre, BranchScope, TLBleed, and Foreshadow, the exploits threaten to siphon some of our most sensitive secrets—say passwords or cryptographic keys—out of the silicon microarchitecture in ways that can’t be detected or stopped by traditional security defenses. On Friday, researchers disclosed yet another leak that has already been shown to exist on a wide range of Intel chips and may also affect other makers, too.

PortSmash, as the new attack is being called, exploits a largely overlooked side-channel in Intel’s hyperthreading technology. A proprietary implementation of simultaneous multithreading, hyperthreading reduces the amount of time needed to carry out parallel computing tasks, in which large numbers of calculations or executions are carried out simultaneously. The performance boost is the result of two logical processor cores sharing the hardware of a single physical processor. The added logical cores make it easier to divide large tasks into smaller ones that can be completed more quickly.

Port contention as a side channel

In a paper scheduled for release soon, researchers document how they were able to exploit the newly discovered leak to recover an elliptic curve private key from a server running an OpenSSL-powered TLS server. The attack, which was carried out on servers running Intel Skylake and Kaby Lake chips and Ubuntu, worked by sending one logical core a steady stream of instructions and carefully measuring the time it took for them to get executed.

Read 17 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Intel i9-9900K explained: The road to 5GHz

Intel has released its new line of desktop processors, including the i9-9900K, an eight-core CPU which can boost up to 5GHz. These chips are certainly fast, but they also showcase some of the challenges Intel and entire chip industry has had in…

AMD’s 12- and 24-core Threadripper 2 CPUs arrive October 29th

You're in luck if you were enticed by AMD's second-generation Threadripper CPUs but felt that going all-out on the 32-core model was a little too over-the-top. The chip designer has announced that the 12-core Threadripper 2920X and 24-core 2970WX wi…

Nvidia RTX 2080 and 2080 Ti review: A tale of two very expensive graphics cards

Sam Machkovech

Specs at a glance: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Founders Edition
CUDA CORES 4352
TEXTURE UNITS 272
ROPS 88
CORE CLOCK 1,350MHz
BOOST CLOCK 1,635MHz
MEMORY BUS WIDTH 352 bits
MEMORY BANDWIDTH 616GB/s
MEMORY SIZE 11GB GDDR6
Outputs 3x DisplayPort 1.4, 1x HDMI 2.0b, 1x USB Type-C (VirtualLink VR)
Release date September 20, 2018
PRICE Founders Edition (as reviewed): $1,199. Partner cards priced at: $1,169.

Like any piece of expensive technology, a top-of-the-line graphics card comes with all manner of lingo and abbreviation. You’ll need a glossary to wade through the stuff inside (processors, CUDA cores, ROPs), the speeds measured (memory bandwidth, boost clocks, TeraFLOPS), and the results you want from a good card (anti-aliasing, frame rates, higher resolutions).

Thanks to Nvidia’s newest products, the RTX 2080 and RTX 2080 Ti, that required glossary is only getting bigger.

Read 61 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Blackmagic external GPU review: A very Apple graphics solution

Samuel Axon

Is the eGPU the future of Mac graphics? Apple wants you to think so, and, for the first time, it has worked with an outside firm (Blackmagic Design) to produce a sanctioned eGPU solution for the Mac. Simply titled the Blackmagic Design eGPU, it’s available for $699 exclusively through the Apple Store.

It includes a Radeon Pro 580 GPU with 8GB of GDDR5 memory, two Thunderbolt 3 ports, four USB-3 ports, and one HDMI 2.0 port—and it’s only compatible with Macs with Thunderbolt 3 ports. When Apple first mentioned this product, it claimed that it’s easier to set up, quieter, and smaller than most existing external GPU enclosures.

Read 30 remaining paragraphs | Comments