Sony ‘PlayStation 4K’ Probably Won’t Game at 4K

Right now, it has more or less been confirmed that Sony is working on an update to the PlayStation 4. Referred to as the PlayStation 4K by multiple sources, the console won’t be running any games at 4K anytime soon. Contrary to the expectations from its name, the new console probably won’t be able to game at 4K, with the update more of a performance bump rather than a giant leap.

From the various leaks, it looks like the update will be based on the new 14nm process AMD is using for Polaris. With the new process, Sony has a chance to use cheaper and more power efficient dies to either cut cost or grow performance for more or less free. Right now the PS4 has hardware similar to the 7870 based on GCN 1.1. With an update, Sony has a chance to jump to Polaris with GCN 1.3/4.0 along with a significant power efficiency increase, allowing the console to stuff a 7970 class GPU in the console. While not enough for 4K, this should allow many more titles to run at 1080p and at a higher level of quality. From what Sony has hinted at, the PS4K will simply be the same PS4 but with improved graphics and higher FPS. This should allow for a similar gameplay experience for users and ensuring games still work fine with the stock PS4. The update to a new architecture will also bring HDMI 2.0 support, which will allow for 4K at 60fps, a first for a console. This pairs up nicely with the Ultra HD Blu-Ray support we are expecting which will allow for 4K content at 60fps.

Jaguar to Join Formula E in 2016

Formula E is very much the up-and-coming motorsport. It may never be able to steal the spotlight from its petrol-powered big brother, Formula 1, but it’s certainly drawing attention in recent times. Firstly  with its announcement two weeks back that it was planning a driver-less “Roborace” championship for self-driving cars, but now famous luxury car manufacturer, Jaguar, are getting in on the action with a plan to join the championship next season.

Many key automotive manufacturers already have some involvement in the motorsport, entering partnerships with existing Formula E teams to provide them with electric power units and other components. Jaguar’s entry into the sport has been made possible due to the exit of the Trulli Formula E team following disappointing results in their first two seasons.

In order to make their entry into the sport, Jaguar is partnering with Williams Advanced Engineering (who are related to the Williams F1 team). The two companies have shown greatness together before, collaborating on Jaguar’s C-X75 supercar and with Williams’ experience in the sport, as the battery provider for all the cars on the field, the result could be spectacular.

This could be a kick-off event for Jaguar to develop electric road cars too, with Jaguar Land Rover’s engineering director, Nick Rogers going on record stating that “Jaguar Land Rover’s made no secret about the fact that we will make electric vehicles.” “Formula E will give us a unique opportunity to further our development of electrification technologies,” said Rogers.

It is definitely a very exciting time for both motorsport and car enthusiasts. Many purists may believe that the petrol engine is the only way, but only time will tell what exciting racing Jaguar could bring to Formula E, and how they will pair their great sport and luxury cars with the modern electric engine for the road.

Image credit to Jaguar Land Rover

Recent PlayStation 4 SDK Update Unlocks 7th CPU Core For Gaming Purposes

The PlayStation 4 is evidently winning the current console market and outselling Microsoft’s Xbox One at around a two to one ratio. Part of its appeal is the better performance in multi-platform releases and enhanced power to reach 1080p. Technically, both consoles utilize a custom 28nm Jaguar 8-core APU from AMD. Although, up to this point, the PlayStation 4 offset two cores to make the operating system run smooth and create a pleasant user-experience. Not so long ago, Microsoft overclocked the Xbox One’s GPU core clock from 800MHz to 853MHz. to try to improve graphical performance.

According to a changelog from audio software, FMOD, Sony has now unlocked the 7th core to improve performance in games. The change log reads:

Code:

“Firelight Technologies FMOD Studio API

Detailed Revision History
17/11/15 1.07.03 – Studio API patch release (build 69975)

Features:

LowLevel API – When using System::recordStart the provided FMOD::Sound can now be any channel count, up/down mixing will be performed as necessary.
LowLevel API – Improved performance of convolution reverb effect when wet is 0 or input goes idle.
LowLevel API – PS4 – Added FMOD_THREAD_CORE6 to allow access to the newly unlocked 7th core.”

Theoretically, this could be used to power the PlayStation 4’s upcoming PS2 backwards compatibility or simply enhance performance on PlayStation 4 titles. Sony have managed to optimize the operating system and reduce overheads. This means there’s no longer a 2-core requirement to power the OS. Despite this, it’s unclear how the extra core will be used and if it will make a tangible difference.

Jaguar Working on Self-Learning Smart Car Personal Assistant

There have been a lot of talks about smart cars and their ability to make driving a lot safer suing self-driving technologies in order to eliminate human distractions and error from roads. There will even be a time where drivers can even send text messages, video call and browse the internet, but that time is still far away. Until then, Jaguar seems to have designed a piece of tech of its own for the Land Rover to make driving a lot safer, namely the Smart Assistant.

It is said that the Smart Assistant is able to identify the driver of the car based on a smartphone and learns his or her driving style and in-vehicle habits. The information is then ran through an algorithm which keeps track of background information, such as your calendar, traffic conditions and current weather, in order to predict and handle a variety of non-essential tasks. The Smart Assistant even starts before the driver enters the car, adjusting the seat, mirrors and steering wheel based on the individual’s likings.

Once the Smart Assistant learns the driver’s behavior behind the wheel, it can then handle tasks and perform small vehicle adjustments. For example, if a person calls his or her boss each morning, the Smart Assistant is said to ask you if it can initiate a call with your boss. The same goes when running late for work, having the Personal Assistant prompting if you would like to send a text message and notify about you being late.

There are a variety of activities which Jaguar’s Personal Assistant could help you behind the wheel, though the company states that the technology is currently in the works with no known release date planned. An interesting and unique feature present in the Personal Assistant’s design plans is the fact that Jaguar intends to make the tech cloud-based, meaning that if you want to rent a Jaguar when abroad on a business trip, it will still have your personal preferences available and in effect as soon as the car is available to drive.

Thank you Gizmag for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Gizmag

AMD “Kabini” AM1 Athlon 5350 APU (FS1b) Review – Winning at sub-$60?

Introduction


Today we are looking at AMD’s new AM1 platform and given that I am writing with the realms of a traditional “tech enthusiast” website you’ll either think this is a great platform with potential, or just too slow to add anything new to the market. However, I am in the former, not the latter, camp – I can see the massive potential of AMD’s socketed Kabini APU. I have always been keen on budget and small form factor computing solutions; the Raspberry Pi is a great example of something that caught my eye. Of course at just $35 the Raspberry Pi is hardly comparable to AMD’s new Kabini socketed APUs that will cost a similar amount for just the APU. However, you can build a Kabini quad core system with a motherboard for just $64 – less than twice the cost of Raspberry Pi but no doubt with way more than twice the performance. The ethos with AMD’s AM1 platform is to bring the Athlon and Sempron product lines (that are orientated towards value for money and “upgradeability”) back with a bang.

While the AM1 system may seem like it is catering to a small market – it isn’t! The majority of PCs are bought in those entry level and mainstream price points – below $200-300 shall we say. Yet if we look at emerging markets in Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and so on, then we find that the sub $200 price point is even more popular. As a result the majority of Windows-orientated desktop systems that will be delivered in the future are likely to be in the entry level and mainstream categories. That logic is AMD’s justification for the AM1 platform – it will deliver Windows capable PCs for a fraction of the cost of traditional desktop systems.

AMD is also looking to innovate to correct some of the deficiencies in the PC landscape. A lack of upgradeability, limitations to 32 bit operating systems and poor integrated graphics are common place in small form PCs. Latest generation Intel “Bay Trail” Atom SoCs are not upgradeable, are mainly limited to 32 bit operating systems and with regards to graphics performance most are still largely incapable of anything but video playback and browser-based gaming. Of course AMD’s Kabini Athlon APUs aren’t going to be creating high-end “Gaming PCs” any time soon but they do offer more graphics performance than Intel’s equivalent Atom parts.

AMD is keen to point out the advantages it has over Intel’s Bay Trail equivalents because that is what AMD sees as its main rival in this price point.

AMD’s “AM1” moniker is effectively the “chipset” denotation – although there is no chipset as such. All the “chipset” components are placed on-die with the APU. The socket of the AM1 platform is the FS1b and it is currently upgradeable to a choice of four Kabini APUs.

The FS1b APUs will be available with up to four CPU cores, 128 GCN cores and up to 1600 MHz memory. On-die there are two USB 3.0 ports, eight USB 2.0 ports and two SATA III 6 Gbps ports so storage connectivity is modest but for such a low cost platform you would expect that.

We have covered the basics of what the AM1 platform is, why it has been created and what it is designed to compete with so now let’s move on to cover the technical aspects of it in a little more detail.

Secondary Processor And 2Gb RAM Discovered In PlayStation 4

The Playstation 4 console’s internals have been disassembled and inside it has been revealed that several hidden components including a secondary low power processor and 2Gb of DDR3 SDRAM are present. The 2Gb (Gigabit) of memory means that the PS4 has 256MB of DDR3 SDRAM ram. The secondary processor is named “SCEI CXD90025G”, but the exact uses aren’t known right now.

The SCEI CXD90025G is a lower power ARM solution, that is likely used in a variety of tasks including background downloading and also downloading / standby type of tasks. It’s also possible that it will be handling DRM (Digital Rights Management) by using the Microsoft Playready DRM solution. There is also some speculation that the extra resources of the PS4′s secondary processor can be used for other things. including the 15 minute gameplay loop, which is possibly 720P and with H.264 compression.

Another possibility is that it will be used to reduce access time on the hard disk. Because the Playstation 4 was designed to minimize time for game updates and the resuming of gameplay, the secondary processor and memory are likely there to help with saving and resuming state, using them to capture an image of the console before shutting down and resuming from where it was left off when powered back on. Another likely use is that it will help be the systems south bridge.

The secondary ARM processor and Ram will only be used to free up resources from the CPU and provide a low energy alternative to the AMD Jaguar SoC. The Jaguar has 8 cores running at 1.6GHz, the SoC also includes the systems GPU which is a heavily modified AMD Radeon GCN architecture processor, and along with the PS4′s 8GB of GDDR5 will take care of your games.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wDgicSBu-As[/youtube]

Thank you RedGamingTech for providing us with this information
Image and video courtesy of RedGamingTech

ASUS VivoBook X102BA Ultra-Thin AMD Notebook Detailed

ASUS have just unveiled their latest ultra thin and portable notebook based on an AMD processor according to information obtained by Sweclockers. The ASUS VivoBook X102BA runs an AMD Jaguar APU, the A4-1200 to be specific. This APU has a pair of 28nm CPU cores based on the Jaguar-Temash design running at 1GHz per core. This is paired up with 4MB total cache and a TDP of just 3.9 watts. Additioanlly this unit runs Radeon HD 8180 graphics, uses 2GB of DDR3 SODIMM RAM and has 320GB of HDD storage in a conventional 2.5 inch mechanical hard drive format.

This ASUS notebook, which is more or less a netbook, will come with Windows 8 (probably 32bit), Office Home and Student 2013. The ASUS VivoBook X102BA is expected to retail for about €330/£290 or about $350.

Image courtesy of Sweclockers

Lenovo ThinkPad Edge Gets AMD Kabini Refresh

According to TechEye Lenovo is preparing a refresh of its ThinkPad Edge series of notebooks. In itself that news isn’t at all that interesting but the fact it is being refreshed with AMD’s new Kabini APU platform is very interesting. These refreshed notebooks will be powered by AMD Kabini (Jaguar Architecture) APUs.

The listing revealed a Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E145 notebook, which is powered by an AMD 28nm 1.4GHz dual core E1-2500 APU. This is a 15W TDP part with a Radeon HD 8240 Integrated Graphics component that has 128 compute units clocked at 400MHz. This powers a rather modest 11.6 inch matte 1366 by 768 display, hardly putting AMD’s newly designed IGP through its paces. 4GB of DDR3-1333MHz RAM and 500GB of storage make up the rest of the core specifications.

Connectivity is provided by dual USB 3.0 ports, 802.11 b/g/n WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0. The expected retail price is between €460 an €500 – not exactly cheap but we are sure there will be many more cheaper options to come from other vendors using the AMD Kabini platform.

Image courtesy of TechEye

AMD Jaguar-Based “Beema” and “Mulllins” HSA-Enhanced APUs Due In 2014

AMD’s Jaguar APU architecture is going to power the next generation of games consoles, the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One. The Jaguar platform powers a wide variety of devices and in 2014 we can expect to see an updated set of Jaguar platform APUs according to WCCFTech. Beema is the first of those and this will arrive as a successor to the low power Kabini APU. It is designed from a 28nm transistor architecture and uses GCN version 2.0 graphics cores as well as featuring HSA enhancements such as cross sharing of pooled system memory. As expected there will also be improved performance and power efficiency over the current Kabini APUs.

Additionally we will also see a replacement for the other Jaguar APU “Temash”, which is the ultra low power design. This is replaced by Mullins and features the same HSA enhancements, 28nm architecture and GCN 2.0 cores. Mullins APUs will feature a System On Chip (SoC) design like their Temash predecessors.

We should expect more details on these two new APU platforms from mid August as indicated by AMD’s training program website.

Image courtesy of AMD

Microsoft Ordered To Adopt AMD Chip For Its Next-Gen Xbox Console

Microsoft adopted AMD’s ‘Jaguar’ processor for its next generation Xbox game console as the company wishes to keep the overall cost of the console as low as possible and get developers to make more titles. Game publishers did complain that the current generation consoles which used different architecture came with a very steep learning curve, therefore shooting up their development costs.

AMD is benefitting from this chip, who also has its presence on Sony’s PlayStation 4, therefore in total the company a very large share of global video game market worth $67 Billion. This will also help AMD to rely less on PC industry.AMD’s Chief Executive Officer Rory Read aims to have more than 20% revenue from areas other than PC by Q4 2013.

Since AMD is making these chips, there’s lesser burden on Game develops as it uses the common architecture, both companies as their overall costs are decreased and AMD as they’re getting a very large size of the processing market for consoles practically on a silver plate.

The total retail sales for Video Games in U.S. fell down to 21% which amounts to $8.9 Billion whereas games downloading to PCs and mobile devices increased to 16% of $5.9 Billion.

Currently, Microsoft made plans to unveil its next-gen console at the E3 Expo or maybe a separate event during May or June. According to The Verge, Microsoft is planning to unveil this console by May 21st. As of now, no specification has been released. Richard Doherty, President of Technology Consulting Firm ‘Envisioneering Group’ said,“We’ll probably see many more titles because the console makers are saying the publishers are back in the driver’s seat. Smoke, shading and reflections for each machine and can essentially create once and port once, and be done.”

Source: Bloomberg