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Vendor News

Intel Presents 7th Generation Kaby Lake CPUs

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Intel Presents 7th Generation Kaby Lake CPUs

Intel announces the first CPUs in what it describes as the "7th generation Core" family-- Kaby Lake, a mid-generation 14nm Skylake refresh bridging the gap until the 10nm Cannonlake CPUs finally hit the market.

As Chipzilla tends to, Kaby Lake will arrive in waves, the first being a selection of six Y- and U-series chips designed for laptops and other compact form factor machines. As such, the draw of such CPUs is less raw power (in that respect little has changed since Skylake) and more the addition of new capabilities to laptops.

Videos is of particular interest, since all Kaby Lake integrated GPUs support hardware-accelerated decoding and encoding of 10-bit HEVC/H.265 video streams and the decoding of 8-bit VP9 streams  complete with Dolby Vision and HDR10 HDR standard support. HDMI 2.0 and HDCP 2.2 support are also included, enabling the output of 4K video at 60Hz over an HDMI cable.

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Cisco Slashes Workforce in Refocus Effort

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Cisco Slashes Workforce in Refocus Effort

Cisco confirms reports it is slashing its workforce by some 5500 staff (or around 7% of its global employees), part of a restructuring effort the company says will cost around $700 million in redundancy payments.

The layoffs should hit smaller and more mature Cisco businesses described as lacking in long-term growth prospects.

"We expect to reinvest substantially all of the cost savings from these actions back into these businesses and will continue to aggressively invest to focus on our areas of future growth," a Cisco statement reads.

As a result, the company plans to invest further in the industry's current hotness, namely the Internet of Things, sceurity, collaboration, next-generation datacentres and the cloud. The announcement came with the Cisco fiscal Q4 earnings report, one showing revenues falling by -2% Y-o-Y to $12.6 billion, even as income is up by 21% Y-o-Y to $2.8bn.

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AMD's Touch of Zen

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AMD's Touch of Zen

AMD hosts a special "Path to Zen" event in San Francisco to provide further details on the upcoming Zen processor lineup-- one the company says should launch in desktop form early next year.

The result of 4 years of work, Zen processors are designed to provide high performance in systems as varied as fanless 2-in-1s, embedded systems, high-performance computing and datacentres. CEO Dr. Lisa Su says "the performance and efficiency of our Zen core showcases AMD at its best," and the CPUs are able to deliver "a 40% generational improvement in instructions per clock."

The chips are built using a 14nm FinFET process and feature Simultaneous Multithreading (SMT), the AMD take on Intel's HyperThreading allowing Zen cores to run multiple threads simultaneously. Further improvements come in an instruction scheduler featuring an 8MB L3 cache together with a larger L2 cache to push 5x the bandwidth to the core than the previous Excavator design.

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Intel Buys More AI With Nervana

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Intel Buys More AI With Nervana

Intel looks to bolster its artificial intelligence chops as it acquires deep learning startup Nervana Systems for an undisclosed sum, one Recode claims reaches around $408 million.

According to Chipzilla AI is the next frontier in computing, and machine learning is a must in a world where billions of devices are busy connecting and sharing data with each other. Thus the need for companies like Nervana, whose technology promises to bring machine learning down to Intel's bread and butter, the silicon.

Google already takes such an approach to AI-- last May it revealed the Tensor Processing Unit (TPU), a chip specifically designed to handle the TensorFlow open source deep learning framework behind the company's deep learning services, including the AlphaGo human-beating Go playing computer.

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HPE Buys SGI

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HPE Buys SGI

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) acquires SGI (aka Silicon Graphics), the formerly influential enterprise hardware pioneer turned niche high performance computing player, for $275 million in cash and debt.

"At HPE, we are focused on empowering data-driven organizations," HPE says. "SGI's innovative technologies and services, including its best-in-class big data analytics and high-performance computing solutions, complement HPE's proven datacentre solutions designed to create business insight and accelerate time to value for customers."

Founded in 1981 by Netscape co-founder Jim Clark as a maker of desktop workstations, SGI has been going through a long decline as it failed to beat the likes of Nvidia and Intel. It filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2009 before being bought by Rackable Systems on the same year. SGI used to be own the site that now houses the Googleplex in Mountain View, California, before moving to Milpitas, California.

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