Apple’s GPU in A10 Fusion chip Not So Different from Its Predecessor, says Linley Group

Apple’s A10 Fusion chip in the iPhone 7 has received acclaim from both users and critics, but it appears that the chip’s graphics architecture may not be so new after all.

According to a breakdown of the Fusion A10 by the Linley Group, the GPU in the iPhone 7 is based on a custom version of the PowerVR GT7600 GPU. This is the same graphics architecture used in the A9 chip powering the last-gen iPhone 6 and 6s Plus.

If Apple is to be believed, the Fusion A10 chip is 2x faster than its predecessor, and the GPU about 50 per cent faster. However, the benchmarks as conducted by the analyst firm show mixed results for the chip’s performance. Some benchmarks are in line with Apple’s claims, and others simply fall way off.

According to Linley Gwennap, founder and principal analyst at Linley Group, the chip is unable to sustain its peak performance for long due to overheating concerns. Gwennap states in a research note that Apple has definitely increased clock speed by 50 per cent to achieve high performance gains, but the big issue is that the chip throttles back from its top GPU speed after a minute or less.

For those who don’t know, the A10 Fusion GPU sports six cores and operates at around 900MHz. To improve its performance, Apple has made tweaks in the PowerVR GT7600 GPU architecture which it licensed from Imagination Technologies, claims Linley Group. Imagination has released PowerVR Series8XE GPUs that are intended for low-cost devices but it has yet to release a high-end successor for the GT7600.

Linley Group placed Apple’s latest GPU behind the Adreno 530 GPU in Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 820 in overall size, power efficiency, and performance metrics. The size of the chip is an important metric because it “controls both cost and power, so Adreno’s efficiency edge should benefit both customers and end users,” Gwennap said.

AMD XP CPU Rumors Hint at Zen Pricing & Specs, But Are They Accurate?

With AMD’s “New Horizon” event just around the corner, lots of rumors regarding the next generation Zen architecture are circulating around the web. The latest of these include a slide and chart which are popping up on various websites including Reddit, and people are once again debating the validity of the leak.

More AMD Zen Pricing and Specs Rumors Surface

First things first, the Zen based chips are dubbed XP CPUs. As per the leak, the AMD XP CPU architecture will have up to eight cores and 16 threads, with some chips arriving with AMD’s own version of SMT known as ZScaling. In addition to this, the new processors will come with user-adjustable TDP limits with AMD Unlocked. The pricing starts at $189 and go up to $400 for the high-end parts.

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Well, I am going to say it right up front that both the slide and chart are fake. Why? There are a couple of reasons behind this. First, the background of both of these is readily accessible, in fact, it appears to be recycled from AMD’s HotChips 28 slide deck. So as long as you’ve got font which is roughly the same scale, it’s not particularly that tricky to put together this stuff.

Another thing which makes this leak look suspicious is that they have mentioned pricing in the slide. If AMD is supposed to use this slide at their New Horizon event, it’s highly unlikely that they will reveal pricing at this point. Generally speaking, pricing is something which you want to hold on to the last minute to create an air of mystery.

Long story short, I personally believe that the slides are fake, but it won’t take long before we know what the Team Red has in store to offer.

AMD New Horizon event to Preview Zen CPUs

AMD is planning a special media event called “New Horizon” on December 13 at 3pm CST. At the event, the chipmaker will not only be showing off their new Zen CPU, but it’ll be the first time the public will be able to try it themselves and see its capabilities. The Zen based chips will hit the shelves in Q1 2017.

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If a previous leak are to be believed, the Zen processors will launch in three distinct tiers – SR7, SR5 and SE3 – with flagship SR (possibly Summit Ridge) tier featuring eight cores and 16 threads. An engineering sample of the new processor was spotted running at 3.5GHz boost clock. The Zen flagship chip is rumored to retail for around $499 and give the $999 Intel Core i7-5960X a run for its money in terms of performance.

The Summit Ridge family of desktop CPUs is expected to debut at CES 2017 in January. The CPU launch will be accompanied by a plethora of brand-new AM4 motherboards featuring the high-end X370 series chipset.

AMD Files Five New Trademarks Related to Zen and AI

With AMD’s “New Horizon” event just around the corner, the company has just filed five interesting trademarks that are apparently related to the next-gen Zen architecture and artificial intelligence. These are: RyZen, ThreadRipper, Jitzu, Joro & Gork. But what these new trademarks could possibly mean? Let’s find out.

AMD’s new Zen Trademarks & Potential AI Codenames Spotted

Let’s start with the “RyZen” trademark. Filed by AMD on July 28, RyZen appears to be related to AMD’s upcoming Zen CPUs. The trademark’s description states :

Semiconductor devices; semiconductor chips; semiconductors; computer hardware; microprocessor modules; chip sets, integrated circuits; graphics processors; and accelerated processors.

The description is quite vague, and it’s quite difficult to tell what RyZen could possibly be. It could be a new CPU brand, a feature, or a specific product, we don’t really know at this point. So we can only wait and see until more details come our way.

Next in line is the “ThreadRipper” trademark which was filed on October 25. Like RyZen, it’s description is quite vague as well, stating:

Semiconductor devices; semiconductor chips; semiconductors; computer hardware; microprocessor modules; microprocessor subsystems; computer hardware subsystems; computer subsystems; graphics software; chipsets; integrated circuits; graphics processors; accelerated processors; graphics cards; video cards; video game software; computer software; video game consoles; virtual reality headsets; computer workstations; computer servers; solid state drives; volatile memory and dynamic random-access memory.

The only thing that could give some hint is the word “thread” in the name. Which suggests that it has to do something with Zen. To be more specific, I’m under the impression that it could be AMD’s own version of Intel’s HyperThreading. But that’s just speculation on my part, and I can be way off.

The other three trademarks – JORO, JITZU and GROK – were filed on the same day, July 25. This what their description reads:

Semiconductor devices; semiconductor chips; semiconductors; computer hardware; microprocessor modules; microprocessor subsystems; computer hardware subsystems; computer subsystems; graphics software; chipsets; integrated circuits; graphics processors; accelerated processors; graphics cards; video cards; video game software; computer software; video game consoles; virtual reality headsets; computer workstations; computer servers; solid state drives; volatile memory and dynamic random-access memory.

Again, the description is vague, but digging deeper into where the words are derived from, reveals that they are related to AI and machine-learning. This isn’t surprising considering AMD CEO Lisa Su repeatedly dropped hints about the company’s plans to expand to the AI & autonomous, driver-less, car markets like its rival, Nvidia.

AMD to Preview Zen CPUs at New Horizon

AMD recently had a press release about their “New Horizon” live stream that will be happening on December 13 at 3pm CST. At the event, the chipmaker will give a sneak preview of their new Zen CPU, and this will be the first time the public will be able to try it themselves and see its capabilities. The Zen based processors are set to be released in Q1 2017.

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Last week’s rumors have the Zen processors launching in three distinct tiers – SR7, SR5 and SE3 – with flagship SR (possibly Summit Ridge) tier featuring eight cores and 16 threads. An engineering sample of the new processor with 3.5Ghz boost clock was spotted recently. The chip is rumored to retail for around $499 while competing with the $999 Intel Core i7-5960X in terms of performance.

The Zen based Summit Ridge family of desktop CPUs is expected to debut at CES 2017 in January. The CPU launch will be accompanied by a plethora of brand-new AM4 motherboards featuring the high-end X370 series chipset.

The Camera-focused Kodak Ektra Launching on December 9

Kodak, the iconic camera company, is readying to launch its new smartphone in the market. Unveiled in October, the camera-focused Kodak Ektra is set to be released first in Germany on December 9.

The Kodak Ektra is manufactured by UK-based Bullitt Group by licensing Kodak’s IP. The smartphone has a unique design sporting a huge camera lens at the back with DSLR-like modes and features. The rear sensor protrudes out of the phone significantly, but a slight bulge at the bottom appears to balance things out at surface level. Moreover, a metal ring around the lens will safeguard it from potential damage.

In terms of the specs, the Kodak Ektra has a 21-megapixel fast-focus rear sensor with OIS, f/2.0 aperture, PDAF, and dual-LED flash. This is coupled with a 13-megapixel front shooter with f/2.2 aperture and PDAF for selfies and video chats.

In addition to usual DSLR modes, the smartphone also offers an Advanced Manual mode that allows users to adjust exposure, ISO, focal length (Manual/Auto), white balance, shutter speed, and aperture (fixed f2.0 main camera).

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Apart from camera, the Kodak Ektra has a 5-inch full-HD display with 441ppi pixel density. The phone is powered by a 2.3GHz Helio X20 deca-core processor paired with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of inbuilt storage with the option for a microSD card slot if you want to expand it.

As for the OS, the device runs on Android 6.0 Marshmallow out of the box. It also supports USB Type-C charging, and packs a 3,000mAh battery. The phone measures 147.8×73.35×9.69mm.

The Kodak Ektra is priced at EUR 499, and will be available for purchase on Amazon, Media Markt, Ringfoto, Saturn, kodakphones.com, and notebooksbilliger.de. The handset will also make it to other countries soon.

AMD Radeon RX 490 DX12 Benchmark Shows GTX 1080 Level Performance

The possible AMD Radeon RX 490 performance numbers have appeared in Ashes of the Singularity benchmark database. The card has also been listed over a retail site hinting at launch sometime this month.

AMD Radeon RX 490 Listed Online, Launch expected at ‘New Horizon’ event

The AMD Radeon RX 490 is expected to be the most powerful of the Radeon RX 400 series lineup. The enthusiast focused graphics card is designed to run AAA titles at up to 4K resolution and deliver seamless VR experience, too.

At this point, we don’t know if the Radeon RX 490 will be based on the current Polaris or the next-gen Vega GPU architecture. Also, we don’t know whether it will be a single or dual chip card, though the listing does mention that it will support Crossfire functionality.

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But, it won’t be long before we know these details, as AMD might unveil the new card at its upcoming “New Horizon” event. The event, which is centered around the company’s Zen based Summit Ridge processors, will be live streamed on December 13.

AMD Radeon RX 490 DX12 AoTS Benchmark Leaked

Recently, a new leak has hit the web showing an unreleased AMD GPU device identified as ‘687F:C1′ running Ashes of the Singularity. This is interesting in particular considering the naming scheme is very close to other cards in the AMD RX 400 series, for instance the RX 480 has a device ID of ‘67DF:C7′.

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So it could possibly be a Radeon RX 490, and from benchmarks, it seems that we’re looking a single-chip based card. There are four DirectX 12 API benchmarks that were conducted with Crazy, Standard and Low settings; however only the Standard 1080P test has actually been compared to other GPUs.

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The alleged Radeon RX 490 scores 8400 points in the test which put it on par with Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1080 in terms of performance. It’s worth noting that the drivers may not be ready yet which means the performance could go even higher at launch. The score was listed at 131st position, but it was deleted later, indicating that it was not meant to be shown to public.

The performance is indeed impressive and appears to be aimed at enthusiasts. There’s no mention of the AMD Radeon RX 490 pricing yet, but it’s safe to say it will be close to the price point of the GeForce GTX 1080.

Keep in mind that this is all based on speculation so you should treat it with a grain of salt. Are you excited for the Radeon RX 490 launch? Let us know in the comments below.

Tesla competitor WM Motors Unveils New SUV Photoshopped on top of Mitsubishi

Touted as a legitimate Tesla competitor, the billion-dollar Chinese electric vehicle startup WM Motors is being accused of ripping off Mitsubishi.

Recently, WM Motors sent out a press release to outlets in its home market, which focused on first three car models the company plans to launch sometime in 2018. The release also includes some promotional photos of future vehicles; however the photos aren’t exactly what they appear to be.

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As discovered by Electrek’s Fred Lambert, WM Motors’ SUV shockingly resembles a Mitsubishi Outlander. Well, car companies ripping off each other isn’t something new, but WM Motors has taken things to a whole other level.

The EV startup photoshopped its SUV directly on top of a press photo of the 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander. The wheels, mirrors, doorhandles and windows are directly lifted off the Mitsu; even the background remains unchanged except for photoshopping the little cloud out.

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On a serious note, however, this is kind of disappointing from a startup that reportedly already managed to raise over $1 billion in just over a year to bring these models to market.

WM Motors is founded by Freeman Shen, a former Geely executive who oversaw the takeover of Volvo. The firm’s Suzhou factory is planned to manufacture 50,000 cars per year starting in 2018. The hardware of cars is rumored to being produced in cooperation with the German companies Bosch and Siemens, while there is also talk of the vehicles integrating Huawei connectivity technology.

New Moto X 2017 Images Leak – 5.2″ display, Fingerprint Sensor & More

Rumors regarding the Moto X 2017 have been making rounds for a while, and now new images of the upcoming smartphone have leaked on the web. The leak shows two real life Moto X 2017 images that give us a good idea of how the fourth gen product from the company will look like.

The new Moto X4 images come via /LEAKS which show that the device is made out of metal and likely to sport a 5.2-inch display.

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Below the display sits a fingerprint scanner while the power / lock and volume rocker physical keys are located on the right-hand side of the phone. There is also the proximity sensor and front facing camera, with the Moto logo at top left corner.

On the back is the phone’s main camera which pretty much resembles the one on the Moto Z. Apart from the camera, you can also see the Moto logo and secondary mic for noise cancellation at nearly top left.

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The bezels are quite thick on the phone, with the large space left above and below the display making the things more odd, don’t they?

The Moto X 2017 is likely to come with Android 7.0 Nougat out of the box, given the company already has a good build with it that was recently released for the Moto Z Droid. Details on the rest of specs are scarce, but if previous rumors are to be believed, the Moto X 2017 could feature 3GB / 4GB of RAM, and will be available in Silver and Gold variants.

Right now, we don’t know if the leak actually shows the new Moto X 2017, and we can only wait and see what happens. Stay tuned to DigiWorthy for more updates on the new Moto X phone!

Google Pixel XL users Report Random Reboot Issue, No Fix Yet

Users of Google Pixel XL are reporting random reboots which occur after the device freezes up. A handful of threads across Google Product Forums have already popped up regarding the issue, but it’s still unknown if it is related to third-party apps or the hardware/firmware itself.

“I continue to have issues with my Pixel XL, which is not even a month old. Everything works well, EXCEPT it reboots randomly after freezing up. This happened day one multiple times and now continues randomly at least once a day or so,” writes one of the affected device users.

Another Pixel XL user said the rebooting occurs spontaneously before the device gets stuck in a reboot loop.

People that have done some limited amount of investigation suggest that this could be caused by to a third-party app because the developer has not updated their app for the latest version of Android which Pixel XL is running.

It is recommended to run the device in safe mode as it prevents non-stock apps from running, and if the behavior does not occur, it is a good indication that a third-party app was causing the issue.

Since there is no way to determine which app is causing the issue, you’ll have to uninstall a single app at a time and continue using your device until you find the culprit. Though some users who have already run the phone in safe mode report that the problem persists, which indicates that there may be a bigger issue at play.

So far, Google has not made an official comment on the matter, or what could be its cause and a possible solution.

In related news, some Google Pixel and Pixel XL owners are also encountering an image bug that distorts screenshots whenever they are sent from an iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus. You can read more about this weird issue here.

Apple could use Drones and Indoor Mapping view to improve Maps Data

Apple is planning to fly drones, as well as use new indoor navigation features, to improve its Maps service, reports Bloomberg. The use of drones will help the Cupertino-based firm catch longtime leader Google, as it will now be able to capture and update map data faster than its existing fleet of mapping vehicles.

Apple has reportedly assembled a team of robotics and data-collection experts that will use drones to do things like examine signs, track changes to roads and monitor if areas are under-construction. This way the team could rapidly update the Maps app and provide fresh information to users.

The Federal Aviation Administration granted Apple an exemption to fly drones for commercial purposes on March 22, according to documents obtained by Bloomberg. The approval grants the iPhone maker permission to “operate an unmanned aircraft system to conduct data collection, photography, and videography.”

The FAA’s current rules however restrict commercial drones from flying over people and buildings, though Apple could fly the drones without restriction in countries with no commercial drone regulations.

In addition to this, Apple is developing an indoor mapping view using technology from its last year’s Indoor.io acquisition, one person familiar with the matter said. The indoor mapping view would allow iPhone users to navigate airports, and other high-traffic buildings like museums.

The reports further suggests that Apple is working on a feature that provides better guidance for changing lanes while driving. Both features are planned for release in 2017.

Nvidia Launching GTX 1050 for Laptops at CES 2017

Nvidia is ready to launch the GeForce GTX 1050 for laptops at CES 2017, according to sources from the upstream supply chain. The exact performance of the GTX 1050 mobile version is still unknown, but it is rumored to be roughly 10% slower than the desktop version.

The Consumer Electronics Show will be held January 5 to 8, 2017 in Las Vegas. A new report from DigiTimes suggests that Nvidia will introduce its entry-level GTX 1050 for laptops at the tradeshow. Currently, Nvidia GTX 1060 GPU-powered laptops are in great demand in China and Southeast Asia. The release of the GTX 1050 mobile is expected to further increase sales figures.

Asus, Gigabyte, MSI and Lenovo are all planning to unveil their latest gaming notebooks at CES 2017. The notebooks will use Nvidia’s new GPUs coupled with Intel’s Kaby Lake H-series processors. Since the powerful Iris graphics are only part of the high-performance Intel processors, the GTX 1050 GPU-equipped notebooks from partners are likely to use low-priced Intel chips, to allow even cheaper notebooks.

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In terms of specs, Nvidia is said to use a slightly modified version of the Pascal GP107 graphics processor inside the 1050 mobile, in order to achieve a slightly higher efficiency with similar performance.

The chipmaker has already said that the performance difference between Pascal desktop and mobile variants won’t be more than 10 per cent. The mobile version of the GeForce GTX 1050 Ti is reportedly as fast as a GTX 970M, while pricing is comparable to a GTX 960M.

Reports suggest that product vendors are planning to increase their offerings for the budget segment which is expected to trigger a new wave of price war in the gaming notebook market next year.