Intel delivers first discrete Arc desktop GPUs – in China • The Register

2022-06-15 23:13:54 By : Ms. Snowen Zhang

Updated Intel has said its first discrete Arc desktop GPUs will, as planned, go on sale this month. But only in China.

The x86 giant's foray into discrete graphics processors has been difficult. Intel has baked 2D and 3D acceleration into its chipsets for years but watched as AMD and Nvidia swept the market with more powerful discrete GPU cards.

Intel announced it would offer discrete GPUs of its own in 2018 and promised shipments would start in 2020. But it was not until 2021 that Intel launched the Arc brand for its GPU efforts and promised discrete graphics silicon for desktops and laptops would appear in Q1 2022.

A certain viral pandemic and its impact on Chinese manufacturing capabilities and distribution meant that promise could not be fulfilled, leading to a belated admission that the devices were running late and would first appear in China some time during Q2 2022.

Presumably that's because the Arc cards are being assembled in China. And what with all the logistics chaos in the Middle Kingdom right now, it was decided to kick off shipping in that nation before Intel blew through another deadline.

Which brings us to today, which Intel has chosen to announced that one discrete Xe-architecture Arc model – the A380 – will indeed be available inside PCs sold in China by the end of Q2. Acer, ASUS, Gigabyte, Gunnir, HP, and MSI will all sell machines packing the GPU. Specs have not been revealed by Intel but the company has priced the GPU at ¥1,030 ($153), a figure well below the cost of high-end GPUs. Laptop versions of the product remain elusive.

Essentially, the cards are shipping in PCs and will be available as components in China, followed by system builds and components shipping in the rest of the world.

The A380 is pitched at gamers and content creators, and is part of the low-end Arc 3 series that will be topped by Arc 5 and Arc 7 models, all due later this year.

Intel says the A380 has 6GB of DDR6 RAM, and can run games in 1080p at 60 frames per second, drive four 4K displays at 120Hz refresh rates, and crunch 8K media without undue strain.

The Register suggests not trying to get into China to acquire an Arc-powered PC, because visas are very hard to come by at present and visitors must quarantine for at least 14 days on arrival. Even if you get in ASAP, Intel has said Arc hardware will "shortly" start to become available outside China. The first Arc 5 and 7 kit is promised in the next couple of months. Some Arc 7 units for laptops are already on sale but have proven hard to find. ®

Congrats to Intel's marketing team for choosing the name A380 as the GPU shares that moniker with Airbus's biggest jet – a product that was expected to revolutionize commercial aviation but instead proved to have fewer viable markets than one might expect and was discontinued after 16 years of production.

Now that the word is out about the A380 shipping, Best Buy in the US, at least, is emailing folks offering laptops with Arc A370M GPUs. ASUS, Lenovo, Samsung and HP are all offering devices with the graphics chip family, apparently shipping this month.

Japan is reportedly hoping to join the ranks of countries producing leading-edge 2nm chips as soon as 2025, and it's working with the US to make such ambitions a reality.

Nikkei reported Wednesday that businesses from both countries will jointly research the design and manufacturing of such components for devices ranging from smartphones to servers as part of a "bilateral chip technology partnership" between America and Japan.

The report arrives less than a month after US and Japanese leaders said they would collaborate on next-generation semiconductors as part of broader agreement that also calls for "protecting and promoting critical technologies, including through the use of export controls."

Elon Musk still hopes to quash a 2018 settlement agreement with the SEC requiring Tesla-related tweets to be approved by a lawyer before he can post them: on Wednesday, he took his case to the US Court of Appeals after a lower court denied this request.

The Tesla CEO landed himself in hot water with the watchdog when he tweeted he was thinking of taking the company private at $420 a share, and claimed to have already secured the necessary funding (sound familiar?) In reality, however, Musk did not have the funding or approval to do so. Investors, however, took him seriously and they started buying more shares, bumping up the stock price over 10 per cent.

The SEC accused Musk of fraud, saying his tweets were false and misled the public and caused disruption in the market. Musk was sued by the US regulator; he later settled the lawsuit by agreeing to pay $40 million in penalties, step down as chairman of the automaker's board, and accepted that any tweets discussing Tesla would have to be screened from now on.

Samsung has once again been accused of cheating in benchmark tests to inflate the apparent abilities of its hardware.

The South Korean titan was said to have unfairly goosed Galaxy Note 3 phone benchmarks in 2013, and faced with similar allegations about the Galaxy S4 in 2018 settled that matter for $13.4 million.

This time Samsung has allegedly fudged the results for its televisions, specifically the S95B QD-OLED and QN95B Neo OLED LCD TVs. 

American lawmakers held a hearing on Tuesday to discuss a proposed federal information privacy bill that many want yet few believe will be approved in its current form.

The hearing, dubbed "Protecting America's Consumers: Bipartisan Legislation to Strengthen Data Privacy and Security," was overseen by the House Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Commerce of the Committee on Energy and Commerce.

Therein, legislators and various concerned parties opined on the American Data Privacy and Protection Act (ADPPA) [PDF], proposed by Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS) and Representatives Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA).

There's no such thing as free beer for Father's Day — at least not from Heineken. The brewing giant confirmed that a contest circulating on WhatsApp, which promises a chance to win one of 5,000 coolers full of green-bottled lager, is a frothy fraud.

"This is a scam and is not sanctioned by Heineken," the beermaker said in a tweet, adding it has alerted the UK's national fraud and cybercrime reporting agency. The tweet also referred netizens to the company's official statement on scams tied to the brewer's name.

"We strongly recommend that you do not open any documents attached to those communications, and that you do not respond in any way to such communications received, hence do not give any personal information or bank details," it said. 

Aerospike, the value-key NoSQL database, has launched a collaboration with data connection vendor StarBurst to offer SQL access to its datastores.

Dubbed Aerospike SQL Powered by Starburst, the system hopes to offer data analysts and data scientists a single point of access to federated data in Aerospike using existing SQL analytic tools such as Tableau, Qlik, and Power BI. It is the first time Aerospike has offered an off-the-shelf tool to analyze its database using SQL, the ubiquitous database language.

Aerospike was purpose-built with a highly parallelized architecture to support real-time, data-driven applications that cost-effectively scale up and out. It claims to offer predictable sub-millisecond performance up to petabyte-scale with five-nines uptime with globally distributed, strongly consistent data.

A letter has been filed with America's communications watchdog confirming that SpaceX and OneWeb, which are building mega-constellations of broadband satellites, are content to play nicely.

The letter sweeps all the unpleasantness between the two neatly under the rug "after extensive good-faith coordination discussions." Despite what could charitably be described as snarky remarks about each other to the FCC over the years, the duo have agreed that their first-generation broadband satellite services can, after all, co-exist.

"Their respective second-round systems can also efficiently coexist with each other while protecting their respective first-round systems," the memo, dated June 13 and shared by Reuters' journo Joey Roulette today, reads.

Big Tech in America has had enough of Congress' inability to pass pending legislation that includes tens of billions of dollars in subsidies to boost semiconductor manufacturing and R&D in the country.

In a letter [PDF] sent to Senate and House leaders Wednesday, the CEOs of Alphabet, Amazon, Dell, IBM, Microsoft, Salesforce, VMware, and dozens of other tech and tech-adjacent companies urged the two chambers of Congress to reach consensus on a long-stalled bill they believe will make the US more competitive against China and other countries.

"The rest of the world is not waiting for the US to act. Our global competitors are investing in their industry, their workers, and their economies, and it is imperative that Congress act to enhance US competitiveness," said the letter.

DataStax, the database company based on the open-source Cassandra system, has secured $115 million in funding for a $1.6 billion valuation.

Led by the Growth Equity business within Goldman Sachs and backed by RCM Private Markets and EDB Investments, the latest round follows a strong first quarter based on the popularity of DataStax's Cassandra DBaaS Astra DB. Existing investors include Crosslink Capital, Meritech Capital Partners, OnePrime Capital, and others.

Cassandra is a distributed, wide-column store database suited to real-time use cases such as e-commerce and inventory management, personalization and recommendations, Internet of Things-related applications, and fraud detection. It is freely available on the Apache Version 2 license, although DataStax offers managed service Astra on a subscription model.

First-of-its-kind research on advanced driver assist systems (ADAS) involved in accidents found that one company dominated with nearly 70 percent of reported incidents: Tesla.

The data was presented by the US National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA), the conclusion of the first round of data it began gathering last year of vehicle crashes involving level 2 ADAS technology such as Tesla Autopilot. Of the 394 accidents analyzed, 270 involved Teslas with Autopilot engaged. 

"New vehicle technologies have the potential to help prevent crashes, reduce crash severity and save lives, and the Department is interested in fostering technologies that are proven to do so," said NHTSA administrator Dr Steven Cliff.

Microsoft has opened its wallet once more to pick up New York-based cyber-threat analyst Miburo.

Founded by Clint Watts in 2011, Miburo is all about the detection of and response to foreign (in the context of the US) information operations. The team is to be folded into Microsoft's Customer Security and Trust organization and the work of its analysts is to be fed into the Windows giants' threat detection and analysis capabilities.

"Miburo," said Microsoft, "has become a leading expert in identification of foreign information operations." Its research teams have hunted out some nasty influence campaigns over 16 languages.

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