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Monthly Archives: October 2013

The 802.11ac Wi-Fi standard was unveiled at CES and first out the gate with hardware solutions was Broadcom. Now Qualcomm Atheros is getting ready to join the 802.11ac standard with no less than six new products targeting four different market segments.

First up is the WCN3680 which is targeting mobile applications and its of course compatible with Qualcomms own Snapdragon SoCs, specifically the new S4 models. The WCN3680 is a 1×1 802.11ac combo chip which should be backwards compatible with older Wi-Fi standards and it also sports Bluetooth and FM radios. Being a 1×1 802.11ac device it tops out at speeds of 433Mbps, the same as Broadcoms BCM43516 which targets the same market space.

The next two products are the QCA9860 and QCA9862, where the QCA9860 delivers three streams and the QCA9862 two streams for speeds of up to 1.3Gbps. Both models are backwards compatible with older Wi-Fi standards and also offer supports for Bluetooth 4.0. Qualcomm is targeting these two models towards consumer electronics and various computing environments, such as notebooks and tablets. Additional features for the WCN3680 and the QCA9860 and QCA9682 includes support for Wi-Fi Direct and Wi-Fi Display.

Qualcomm also has two solutions for home networking, although in this case were talking about devices such as routers and access points. The two models here are the QCA9880 and QCA9882 and just as with the previous two models were looking at 3×3 and 2×2 MIMO configurations. The good news here is that both models supports dual-concurrent dual-band operation, i.e. both 802.11ac at 5GHz and 802.11n at 2.4GHz will be operational simultaneously.

The last two models are for the enterprise market and here Qualcomm has added “enhanced in-building location and spectral sensing capabilities”. Beyond that were looking at fairly similar products to the previous two, but the model names have changed to QCA9890 and QCA9892.

Qualcomm is set to demo its products at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona next week and the company will start to sample its partners next quarter. The only bad news is that this means that were unlikely to see a lot of 802.11ac products this year.

Source: Qualcomm Atheros


In some ways Qualcomm appears to be behind some of its competitors, especially with the delay of its first quad core processors, but its new MSM8960 SoC has proven that more cores arent always the way forward, despite the market hype. Now the company has announced a "pro" version of the MSM8960, simply called the MSM8960 Pro.

In fact, VR-Zone reported about this model way back in September of last year, but then we didnt have a lot of detail to go on, except that there would be to SKUs of the MSM8960, one with Adreno 225 graphics which is the model available now and one with Adreno 320 graphics which is the pro version that Qualcomm has announced now. The MSM8960 Pro will also be clocked higher at 1.7GHz versus 1.5GHz for the non pro version.

According to the press release from Qualcomm, the MSM8960 Pro will be optimized for "the most advanced operating systems, including the highly anticipated Windows 8 system" suggesting that the company is likely to target the MSM8960 Pro towards ARM based tablets and the ultra-thin and light notebook segment rather than for phones.

Qualcomm also claims to have over 120 OEM design wins in development for its Snapdragon S4 class SoCs, although to be clear, this includes some 14 different SKUs of which some hasnt launched as yet and of which a couple are even based on the ARM Cortex-A5 core rather than Qualcomms Krait architecture. Even so its easy to see why Qualcomm is currently ahead of the competition when it comes to market share in the mobile SoC market space, but the company cant rest on its laurels, as there are plenty of competitors that want a slice of Qualcomms market share and it looks like 2012 is going to be a very competitive year among the ARM licensees.

Source: Qualcomm

One of the biggest conferences gamers look forward to every year is QuakeCon, the annual conference put on by id Software. A bring-your-own-computer LAN party held in Dallas, Texas, QuakeCon is the largest North American LAN party and the largest free LAN party in the world. It was first held in 1996 among members of the #quake channel of the EFnet IRC network and has since grown to its current size. More than just a multiplayer frag fest, QuakeCon is id Software’s premiere venue for showcasing new games, along with hardware and peripherals developed by companies with ties to id Software.

This year’s event will open with a keynote address from John Carmack, co-founder of id Software. Various panels will take place throughout the event, including topics like “The Game of Making Games”, “Designing Multiplayer Games That Last”, and “Idle Thumbs Podcast Live: Arena”. Members of the panels will include many big industry names, such as Marty Stratton of id Software and CEO of Insomniac Games Ted Price.

Along with the games played for competition and fun, many new and upcoming games will have playable demos, including Dishonored and DOOM 3 BFG Edition. QuakeCon will be taking place at the Hilton Anatole Hotel in Dallas, Texas, beginning on Thursday, August 2nd and ending on Sunday, August 5th.

For more information, visit the QuakeCon website here.

AMD has confirmed the model name and clock speed of the upcoming quad-corePhenom processors and plans to launch them as scheduled in Nov/Dec while PhenomFX will launched in Q1 next year. AMD plans to add higher clocked Phenom FX andPhenom quad-core processors in Q2 next year.

Phenom FX-82 will be clocked at 2.6GHz or higher while the faster FX-8x model could hit 3GHz. FX-82 DVT sampleswill be available in Q4 while production will kick off in Q1 2008 while FX-8xDVT sample and production is slated for Q2 2008.

Phenom 9600 and 9500 clocked at 2.4GHz and 2.2GHz respectively will be thefirst quad-core Phenom processors to hit the market in Nov. Phenom 9700 clockedat 2.6GHz will come along slightly later in Dec. A faster iteration of thequad-core Phenom will come along in Q2 2008 while DVT samples will be availablein Q1. Most likely, it will be called Phenom 9800 and clocked at 2.8GHz.

It seems like something is brewing over at ATi to fight againstthe Quad SLI technology from NVIDIA. Right now, ASUS strong R&D team has managedto come out with a EAX1600-DUAL card featuring two X1600 GPUs on a single PCBwith Crossfire enabled. Like ASUS, Gigabyte is also researching on this areawith X1600, X1800 and even the upcoming X1900 series. It will definitely beinteresting to see a pair of EAX1600-DUAL cards running in Quad Crossfire modeand even more so for the X1900 series. It looks like this card will be paired upwith RD580 board to fight against the Quad SLI solution.

Our friends over atHKEPC posted some interesting information on the NVIDIA Quad SLI technologythrough an interview with NVIDIA desktop chipset manager, George Myers.Apparently, the SLI technology on the Gigabyte 3D1 and ASUS Extreme DUAL cardsis different from the Quad SLI technology. Each of the Dual 7800GTX 512 card isspecially made and has an additional chip onboard to control the data transferto both the GPUs for calculation. Quad SLI can be used on nForce 4 SLI x16 AMDas well as Intel Edition. The reason why Quad SLI uses 1-3 2-4 MIO connectionmethod is to reduce the Northbridge and Southbridge HTT bandwidth usage as thecalculated data can be transferred from the Dual 7800GTX 512MB card on theNorthbridge through the MIO to the Dual 7800GTX 512MB card on the Southbridge.

Systems with quad SLI allow to turn on 32x antialiasing, the maximum level possible today, or to play the latest games in 2560×1600 resolution with all the quality improvement features activated. According to benchmark results obtained by MVKTech, four GeForce 7900 graphics processors may not only provide only slight performance advantages over two of such chips, but may even degrade performance, unless eye-candy settings are activated. I would think that this is most probably due to the increased CPU overhead when running “4” cards.