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Samsung Announces Exynos 9810 Octa-core Processor Optimized for AI and Multimedia Applications

January 4th, 2018 3 comments

Samsung Electronics has just announced the launch of Exynos 9 Series 9810 (Exynos 9810) manufactured with Samsung’s 10-nm FinFET process, featuring an eight core processor clocked up to 2.9 GHz, a gigabit (1.2 Gbps) LTE modem and deep learning-enhanced image processing.

Single core performance is aud to be improved by two-fold, while multi-core performance gets a 40% improvement compared to the previous generation chip, which should be Exynos 8895. ARM Mali-G72 GPU is said to bring more realistic graphics along with 20% more performance.

Samsung Exynos 9810 specifications with extra cache and memory info from Anandtech:

  • CPU
    • Quad core custom Exynos M3 @ up to 2.9GHz optimized for performance; 512KB L2 cache per core
    • Quad-core Arm Cortex-A55 @ up to 1.9GHz optimized for efficiency; 128KB L2 cache per core
  • GPU – Arm Mali-G72MP18
  • Memory – LPDDR4x (4x 16-bit @ 1794 MHz)
  • Storage – UFS 2.1, SD 3.0
  • Display –  Up to WQUXGA (3840×2400), 4K UHD (4096×2160)
  • LTE Modem – LTE Cat.18 6CA 1.2Gbps (DL) / Cat.18 2CA 200Mbps (UL)
  • GNSS – GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou
  • Camera – Rear 24MP, Front 24MP, Dual Camera 16+16MP
  • Video – 4K UHD 120fps recording and playback with 10-bit HEVC (H.265), H.264, VP9 Codec
  • Process – 2nd gen. Samsung 10nm FinFET Process

The company did not provide much details about deep-learning acceleration, except it will leverage hardware and software…:

Exynos 9810 introduces sophisticated features to enhance user experiences with neural network-based deep learning and stronger security on the most advanced mobile devices. This cutting-edge technology allows the processor to accurately recognize people or items in photos for fast image searching or categorization, or through depth sensing, scan a user’s face in 3D for hybrid face detection. By utilizing both hardware and software, hybrid face detection enables realistic face-tracking filters as well as stronger security when unlocking a device with one’s face. For added security, the processor has a separate security processing unit to safeguard vital personal data such as facial, iris and fingerprint information.

The Exynos 9 Series 9810 is currently in mass production, and should be found in smartphones, personal computing devices, and automotive products later this year. More details can be found on the product page.

Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 Octa Core Kryo 385 SoC to Power Premium Smartphones, XR Headsets, Windows Laptops

December 7th, 2017 9 comments

Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor was expected since May 2017 with four custom Cortex A75 cores, four Cortex A53 cores, Adreno 630 GPU, and X20 LTE modem. with the launch planned for Q1 2018. At least, that what the leaks said.

Qualcomm has now formally launched Snapdragon 845 Mobile Platform and rumors were mostly right, as the the octa-core processor comes with four Kryo 385 Gold cores (custom Cortex A75), four Kryo 385 Silver cores (custom Cortex A55) leveraging DynamIQ technology, an Adreno 630 “Visual Processing System”, and Snapdragon X20 modem supporting LTE Cat18/13.

The processor is said to use more advanced artificial intelligence (AI) allowing what the company calls “extended reality (XR)” applications, and will soon be found in flagship smartphones, XR headsets, mobile PCs, and more.

Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (SDM845) specifications:

  • Processor
    • 4x Kryo 385 Gold performance cores @ up to 2.80 GHz (custom ARM Cortex A75 cores)
    • 4x Kryo 385 Silver efficiency cores @ up to 1.80 GHz (custom ARM Cortex A55 cores)
    • DynamIQ technology
  • GPU (Visual Processing Subsystem) – Adreno 630 supporting OpenGL ES 3.2, OpenCL 2.0,Vulkan 1.x, DxNext
  • DSP
    • Hexagon 685 with 3rd Gen Vector Extensions, Qualcomm All-Ways Aware Sensor Hub.
    • Supports Snapdragon Neural Processing Engine (NPE) SDK, Caffe, Caffe2, and Tensorflow
  • Memory I/F – LPDDR4x, 4×16 bit up to 1866MHz, 8GB RAM
  • Storage I/F – TBD (Likely UFS 2.1, but maybe UFS 3.0?)
  • Display
    • Up to 4K Ultra HD, 60 FPS, or dual 2400×2400 @ 120 FPS (VR); 10-bit color depth
    • DisplayPort and USB Type-C support
  • Audio
    • Qualcomm Aqstic audio codec and speaker amplifier
    • Qualcomm aptX audio playback with support for aptX Classic and HD
    • Native DSD support, PCM up to 384kHz/32bit
  • Camera
    • Spectra 280 ISP with dual 14-bit ISPs
    • Up to 16 MP dual camera, up to 32 MP single camera
    • Support for 16MP image sensor operating up to 60 frames per second
    • Hybrid Autofocus, Zero Shutter Lag, Multi-frame Noise Reduction (MFNR)
    • Video Capture – Up to 4K @ 60fps HDR (H.265), up to 720p @ 480fps (slow motion)
  • Connectivity
    • Cellular Modem – Snapdragon X20 with peak download speed: 1.2 Gbps (LTE Cat 18), peak upload speed: 150 Mbps (LTE Cat 13)
    • Qualcomm Wi-Fi 802.11ad Multi-gigabit, integrated 802.11ac 2×2 with MU-MIMO, 2.4 GHz, 5 GHz and 60 GHz
    • Qualcomm TrueWireless Bluetooth 5
  • Location – Support for 6 satellite systems: GPS, GLONASS, Beidou, Galileo, QZSS, SBAS; low power geofencing and tracking, sensor-assisted navigation
  • Security – Qualcomm Secure Processing Unit (SPU), Qualcomm Processor Security, Qualcomm Mobile Security, Qualcomm Content Protection
  • Charging – Qualcomm Quick Charge 4/4+ technology
  • Process – 10nm LPP

The company will provide support for Android and Windows operating systems. eXtended Reality (XR) is enabled with features such as room-scale 6DoF with simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM), advanced visual inertial odometry (VIO), and Adreno Foveation. Maybe I don’t follow the phone market closely enough, but I can’t remember seeing odometry implemented in any other phones, and Adreon Foveation is not quite self-explaining, so the company explains it combines graphics rendering with eye tracking, and directs the highest graphics resources to where you’re physically looking, while using less resources for rendering other areas. This improves the experience, performance, and lower power consumption.

 

Click to Enlarge

Compared to Snapdragon 835, the new processor is said to be around 25 to 30% faster, the Spectra camera and Adreno graphics architectures are claimed to boost power efficiency by up to 30 percent, and the LTE modem is a bit faster (1.2 Gbps/150Mbps vs 1.0 Gbps/150Mbps). Quick Charge 4+ technology should deliver up  to 50 percent charge in 15 minutes. Earlier this year when SD835 was officially launched, there was virtually no mention of artificial intelligence support in mobile APs, but now NNA (Neural Network Accelerator) or NPE (Neural Processing Engine) are part of most high-end mobile processors, which in SD845 appears to be done though the Hexagon 685 DSP. High Dynamic Range (HDR) for video playback and capture is also a novelty in the new Snapdragon processor.

One of the first device powered by Snapdragon 845 will be Xiaomi Mi 7 smartphone, and according to leaks it will come with a 6.1″ display, up to 8GB RAM, dual camera, 3D facial recognition, and more. Further details about the phone are expected for Mobile World Congress 2018. Considering the first Windows 10 laptop based on Snapdragon 835 processor are expected in H1 2018, we may have to wait until the second part of the year for the launch of Snapdragon 845 mobile PCs.

More details may be found on Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 mobile platform product page.

Arm Announces Mali-D71 for 4K/120 Hz Displays, Assertive Display 5 with HDR

November 1st, 2017 5 comments

Arm has just announced Mali-D71 display processor optimized for 4K120 displays used for virtual reality, Assertive Display 5 display management core which adds support for high dynamic range (HDR10 / HLG), as well as CoreLink MMU-600 system memory management unit to handle data feed to Mali-D71, with the integration leading to a 55% area saving for the combined solution and a 50% latency improvement.

Mali-D71 Display Processor

The main advantages of D71 display processor include:

  • 30% system power savings by fully offloading GPU workloads before output such as composition, rotation, high-quality scaling, and other imaging processing in fixed function hardware.
  • 2x area efficiency compared to Mali-DP650. When driving a single display, it can re-use the resources of a secondary display, doubling the performance.
  • 4x latency tolerance – Mali-D71 can sustain up to 4x the delay on the system bus for the same throughput, helping maintaining high refresh rates up to 120 fps.
  • 2x pixel throughput

Mali D71 will also improve multi-window display support with up to 8 Android composition layers in single display mode.

Assertive Display 5

As mentioned in the introduction, Assertive Display 5 adds support for HDR content (HDR10 or HLG), and it can do so to any characteristic of display (any dynamic range and gamut), also delivering an HDR experience on an SDR display.

Assertive Display 5 utilizes iridix8 HDR local tone-mapping engine to handle HDR, combines with other blocks as shown in the diagram above. Since not all displays are capable of the 100,000:1 contrast ratio enabled by HDR, tone mapping maps one set of colors to another, approximating the appearance of high dynamic range images on devices with a more limited dynamic range.

HDR also has a wider color gamut with Rec.2020, or WCG (wide color gamut), but again HDR displays are not yet capable of showing the full gamut of Rec.2020, and instead achieve P3 gamut, right between Rec.709 (normally associated with SDR) and Rec.2020. So this also needs to be mapped as best as possible, and AD-5 relies on an hardware implementation of 3D LUT (Three-dimensional look-up tables) to perform gamut and color mapping.

AD-5 and Mali-D71 also support the handling of both HDR and SDR windows within the same composition scene.

Beside the aforelinked blog post, you’ll also find more details on Arm’s Mali-D71 and Assertive Display 5 developer pages.

Categories: Hardware, Processors Tags: 4k, arm, hdr, HDR10, virtual reality

Oculus Rift Virtual Reality Development Kit 2 Becomes Open Source Hardware

October 11th, 2017 2 comments

Oculus Rift DK2 virtual reality headset and development kit started to ship in summer 2014. The DK2 is kind of VR headset that is connected to a more powerful computer via USB and HDMI, includes hardware for positional tracking, a 5″ display ,and two lenses for each eye.

Since then the company has been purchased by Facebook, and they’ve now decided to make the headset fully open source hardware.

 

Exploded view of Oculus Rift DK2 – Click to Enlarge

The release includes schematics, board layout, mechanical CAD, artwork, and specifications under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license, as well as firmware under “BSD+PATENT” licenses which you’ll all find on Github.

The release is divided into four main folders:

  • Documentation with high-level specifications for the DK2 headset, sensor, and firmware.
  • Cable with schematics and high level specifications for the cables. Custom assembly that would be hard to recreate from source. Allegedly the most complex part of the design
  • Sensor with electrical and mechanical CAD for the positional tracking sensor. Sadly the MCU firmware for this part has not been released, as it is not redistributable.
  • Headset with mainboard firmware, electrical and mechanical CAD for the headset, as well as artwork for the packaging.

Click to Enlarge

A Galaxy Note 3 AMOLED display was used for the headset, and an STMicro STM32 microcontroller handles inertial sensor data, and manages microsecond-precision timestamping for all part of the system.

Normally, such OSHW release would enable a willing individual to reproduce the kit him-/herself, but the company explains that some of the components of the kit are very hard to impossible to source today.

Via Twitter, and tip from Harley.

8K VR Headsets Are Coming, Starting with Pimax 8K

August 31st, 2017 1 comment

The user experience with current virtual reality headsets is far from ideal, because of a lack of content, the “screen-door effect“, and the screen resolution is not quite high enough since it’s so close from our eyes. 8K virtual reality headsets, with 4K per eye, should make the experience both more realistic, and minimize the screen-door effect. One of the first such products will be Pimax 8K VR headset.

It’s still a prototype that the company will showcase at IFA Berlin 2017, but we already know that beside a twin 3840 x 2160 pixel display, it will also have a 200 degree field of view, and 18 ms MTP (Motion-to-Photon) latency. The headset will ship with two motion controllers to track your movements. With the kind of processing power required to handle 8K, it’s not a standalone headset, and instead will rely on (Windows) computers with NVIDIA GeForce GTX980 or 1070 or higher graphics capabilities, be compatible with SteamVR, and also offer games and videos from PiPlay 2.0. The headset is also designed to work with motion controllers and other sensors to track you as you move through space.

It will likely take a few more years before we see standalone 8K VR headsets, since SoCs with 8K video decoder or dual 4K video decoder, and a capable 8K GPU that can do the task at relatively low power would be required. Improvements in battery density would help too. It’s quite possible we’ll first get 8K Android headset to watch 8K video or “true” 4K 3D videos since it’s a bit less challenging to implement.

Via Liliputing

$249 Pico Goblin All-in-One VR Headset is Powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 Processor

June 15th, 2017 4 comments

VR headset prices range from just a few dollars for cardboard ones used with your smartphone to close to a thousand dollars for the most advanced models. The large price differences are because some models rely on your smartphone, while others leverage your computer’s processing processor, and the rest include all the electronics and display needed to work without external hardware. Companies started to launch Android All-in-One VR headset last year, but they were either rather expensive, or not quite good enough for anything except watching videos. Pico may have found the right balance between performance and price with their Goblin Virtual Reality Headset with a 5.5″ display with 2560 x 1440 resolution, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor couple with 3GB of RAM, and a $249 price tag.

Pico Goblin specifications:

  • SoC – Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 (or 821?) CPU
  • System Memory – 3GB LPDDR4-1866 RAM
  • Storage – 16GB eMMC 5.1 flash + micro SD card up to 128 GB
  • Display – 5.5″ TFT LCD display with 2560×1440 resolution @ 70 Hz; 92 degrees field of view (FoV)
  • Audio – 3.5mm audio jack for stereo headphones, mono speaker
  • Connectivity – 802.11 b/g/n WiFi (2.4 GHz only), and Bluetooth 4.2
  • USB – 1x micro USB 2.0 port
  • Battery – 3,500 mAh battery good for about 2 hours and half gaming
  • Dimensions & Weight –  TBD

A motion sensor with with 3 degrees of freedom motion tracking is also included with the headset. The specifications are not quite complete, as the company did not mention any information about the lenses, IPD adjustment or weight.

There’s not a single mention of “android” or “operating system” either on the company’s website, but it’s most certainly running some version of Android like Nibiru. It’s also unclear whether Google DayDream is supported.

Pico claims 50 games will be supported at launch, and you’ll get 5 premium games when you purchase the headset. As mentioned in the introduction the price is $249 for a limited time after which it will cost $269, and includes worldwide shipping. You may find a few more details, and the Buy link on Pico Goblin’s product page.

Via Liliputing

HiSilicon Hi3796M V200 UHD DVB + H.265 STB SoC Showcased at Broadcast Asia 2017

May 25th, 2017 6 comments

Broadcast Asia international digital multimedia & entertaiment technology exhibition & conference is taking place in Singapore on May 23 – 25, and I’ve been informed that Hisilicon showcased their latest Hi3796M V200 Set-top box SoC with support for 4K DVB, H.265, and high dynamic range technology such as HDR10, HLG and Dolby Vision.

Hiliscon Hi3796M V200 Board and DVB Tuner – Click to Enlarge

Key features and specifications of Hi3796M V200 processor:

  • CPU – Quad core ARM Cortex A53
  • GPU – ARM Mali-450MP
  • Memory – DDR3, DDR3L, DDR4
  • Video Output – 1x HDMI 2.0a Tx with HDCP 2.2
  • Video format – HEVC, H.264, MPEG2, MPEG4, VC1, VP9, AVS 2.0
  • HDR – HDR10, HLG, Dolby Vision, HDR and SDR conversion
  • HiVXE 2.0 VPU – Decoder – 4K60 10-bit; Encoder – HEVC/H.264 1080p30 or 2x 720p30
  • Ethernet – 1x Gigabit Ethernet, 1x Fast Ethernet
  • USB 2.0 – 2x USB 2.0 ports
  • SATA & PCIe & USB 3.0 – USB 3.0, SATA 3.0, PCIe 2.0 host interface (optional); cnxsoft’s note: all ports are likely multiplexed, so only one is usable.
  • Transport Stream I/F – 2x TS In + 2x TS In or Out + 1x Cable IF in
  • SDIO – 2x SDIO 3.0
  • Security – Advanced DRM, and CAS (NOCS3.X), and hardware video watermark. TrustZone

The company can provide Android 7.0 and Linux SDKs with middleware and RDK for the processor and development board. HiVXE 2.0 is also said to support PiP and video transcoding. Hardware video watermark ability allows the processor to meet MovieLabs UHD premium service delivery requirements.

Click to Enlarge

It appears the company will also offer a user-friendly way to watch VR videos / 360° videos on the TV by using a mobile app or remote control to navigate in all directions while the video is playing.

I could not find any information at all on the web about Hi3796M V200 processor, so thanks to Ovi for sending pictures directly from the Broadcast Asia exhibition, and allowing us to discover this new multimedia processor.

Samsung Galaxy S8 & S8+ Smartphones Launched with Infinity Screen, Samsung DeX Desktop Mode, Bixby Assistant

March 30th, 2017 2 comments

Samsung has finally launched their latest Galaxy S8 and S8+ smartphones powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 or Exynos 8895 processor, 5.8″ and 6.2″ screens , and some of the most interesting features include the “infinity screen” with ultra thin bezels, Samsung DeX allowing for a desktop experience on a large monitor when the phone is docked, as well as Bixby assistant.

Samsung Galaxy S8/S8+ specifications:

  • SoC (one or the other depending on markets)
    • Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 octa-core processor with four Kryo 280 cores @ 2.3 GHz, four Kryo 280 cores @ 1.7 Ghz;; Adreno 540 GPU; 10nm process
    • Samsung Exynos 8895 octa-core processor with four M2+ cores @ 2.35 GHz, four Cortex A53 cores @ 1.9 GHz, ARM Mali-G71 GPU; 10nm process
  • System Memory – 4GB LPDDR4
  • Storage – 64GB UFS 2.0 flash; micro SD up to 256 GB
  • Display
    • Galaxy S8 – 5.8” quad HD+ (2960×1440), (570ppi)
    • Galaxy S8+ – 6.2” quad HD+ (2960×1440), (529ppi)
  • Audio – 3.5mm audio jack, speakers
  • Cellular Connectivity – LTE Cat.16
  • Connectivity – Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4/5GHz), Bluetooth v 5.0 (LE up to 2Mbps), ANT+, NFC, GPS, Galileo, Glonass, BeiDou
  • Camera – Dual Pixel 12MP OIS (F1.7) rear camera; 8MP AF (F1 .7) front-facing camera
  • USB – USB Type-C
  • Sensors – Accelerometer, Barometer, Fingerprint Sensor, Gyro Sensor, Geomagnetic Sensor, Hall Sensor, HR Sensor, Proximity Sensor, RGB Light Sensor, Iris Sensor, Pressure Sensor
  • Battery – S8: 3,000 mAh; S8+: 3,500 mAh; fast charging; wireless charging compatible with WPC and PMA7
  • Dimensions & Weight
    • Galaxy S8 – 148.9 x 68.1 x 8.0 mm, 155g
    • Galaxy S8+ – 159.5 x 73.4 x 8.1 mm, 173g
  • IP Rating – IP68 water and dust resistance

Both phones will run Android 7.0, and support payment by NFC or MST. The main innovation from the hardware perspective is the Iris scanner that allows you login to the phone by just looking at it.

Let’s see what this “infinity screen” is all about:

Samsung calls is that way because the bezel on the left & right sides are barely visible, and very thin on the bottom and top of the phone, where they still managed to cram a camera and a few sensors.

The company has also decided to start working on convergence with Samsung DeX, a desktop mode triggered when you connect the phone to a dock – called DeX Station – itself connected to a big screen. You’ll get a start menu and multi-window support a bit like in Windows Continuum, and other Android phone desktop initiatives like Remix Singularity or Auxens OXI.

Samsung’s Bixby Assistant is described as “an intelligent interface that will help users get more out of their phone. With the new Bixby button, you will be able to conveniently access Bixby and navigate through services and apps with simple voice, touch and text commands. Contextual awareness capabilities enable Bixby to offer personalized help based on what it continues to learn about the user’s interests, situation and location. Users can easily shop, search for images and get details about nearby places with Bixby’s image recognition technology”. So it’s not only a voice assistant, but also learns about the user’s habit, and can leverage image recognition for example to translate signs written in a foreign language.

The phones can also be used for virtual reality using Gear VR with Controller powered by Oculus, or to capture 4K 360-degree videos, 15MP photos, or stream 2K live videos with Gear 360.

Samsung Galaxy S8 & S8+ pre-orders will begin on March 30, 2017, for respectively $750 & $850 (MSRP) with a free GearVR headset with controller. The phones will also be found in shop – in the US – starting on April 21, 2017, where you’ll also be able to buy Gear VR with Controller for $129.99,  or just the controller for $39.99. Visit Samsung S8/S8+ product page for further details.