Nvidia GeForce Now Could Undercut Stadia With $5 Subscription

Nvidia has been trying to make its GeForce Now streaming service a viable product for years, but it has yet to get all the kinks worked out. Google leapfrogged Nvidia when it launched Stadia late last year, offering cloud gaming on a limited basis to those who bought the spendy Founder’s Edition bundle. Nvidia may be close to wrapping up its latest GeForce Now beta, and rumors claim it’s targeting a subscription price that’s just half of Stadia’s

GeForce Now launched in 2013 as Nvidia Grid, and it remained in beta for a few years on Nvidia Shield devices. Nvidia launched a few years later with a $7.99 monthly fee. That gave you access to a library of older games, but new titles were purchased separately. This wasn’t a success, and Nvidia went back to the drawing board to develop the new GeForce Now. During this beta period, Nvidia has added integrations with Steam and Uplay and made the service compatible with more devices. 

A report from VideoCardz.com (which is reliable for gaming information despite the name) claims that Nvidia is planning on a $4.99 monthly fee for the premium GeForce Now service tier. Free users will have their gaming sessions capped at 1 hour, and they’ll have to wait longer to get a slot on Nvidia’s servers. Paying customers get priority access, longer sessions, and RTXSEEAMAZON_ET_135 See Amazon ET commerce ray-tracing support. However, the $4.99 fee might be a limited time offer for just the first year. 


GeForce Now supports a few hundred games via Steam and Uplay — it used to allow testers to install “unsupported” games from Steam on the GeForce Now servers, but that ability vanished a few months back. Still, hundreds of games dwarfs Google’s Stadia lineup. Google is probably hoping that its custom features will attract developers who will make exclusive games for Stadia, but it’s too early to know if that will happen. 

Google will charge $10 per month for Stadia Pro, which includes 4K streaming and game discounts. Unlike GeForce Now, Stadia requires customers to buy games from the Stadia store. The ability to play many of the Steam games people already own, along with the lower monthly fee, could encourage gamers to use GeForce Now instead. At least, that’s probably what Nvidia hopes. Google’s free Stadia tier could be almost as good as the paid one when it launches, and that could throw Nvidia’s plans into disarray.

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from ExtremeTechExtremeTech https://www.extremetech.com/gaming/305622-nvidia-geforce-now-could-undercut-stadia-with-5-subscription

from Blogger http://componentplanet.blogspot.com/2020/01/nvidia-geforce-now-could-undercut.html

Matt Smith: Charlton Athletic bring in Manchester City’s Wales midfielder on loan

Charlton sign Manchester City’s Wales midfielder Matt Smith on a loan until the end of the season.

from BBC News – London https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/51334066

from Blogger http://componentplanet.blogspot.com/2020/01/matt-smith-charlton-athletic-bring-in.html

TriEye’s Infrared Camera Helps Autonomous Cars See Through Haze

The Israeli startup TriEye believes it can move cars closer to self-driving with a short-wave infrared, or SWIR, camera as part of the car’s arsenal of sensors. A SWIR camera can see better than traditional optical cameras when there’s rain, fog, dust, or smoke.

TriEye’s breakthrough isn’t the invention of SWIR technology cameras – they exist today – but in reducing the potential cost by “1,000x,” according to the company. TriEye says lower-resolution SWIR cameras can cost $20,000, so that means TriEye believes a camera, or at least its sensor, can be sold for $20. (Our estimate.) That’s in line with the sub-$100 cost of radar and fixed (not rotating) lidar modules. TriEye says it will have working cameras, called Raven, ready to sample this year.

TriEye exploded parts diagram. TriEye uses a CMOS sensor rather than InGaAs.

The company was formed in 2017 by researchers at Hebrew University. Short-wave infrared technologies already have some traction in high-value, often defense-related applications using InGaAs, or indium gallium arsenide. That’s an alloy made from indium arsenide (InAs), gallium arsenide (GaAs), indium phosphide (InP), and gallium phosphide (GaP). But it’s expensive. It’s hard to make a mass-market self-driving or assisted car if the tiny camera in your windshield costs as much as a Corolla.

Close-up of prototype TriEye Raven camera. Note inscription on the coin

SWIR cameras work in the wavelength spectrum of 1.0-1.9um (micrometers) where traditional optical cameras operate at 0.4-0.75um. TriEye says its big advance, the one making short-wave infrared commercially viable, is the adaptation of the SWIR technology to use CMOS – complementary metal-oxide semiconductor – technology that is far cheaper.

The TriEye Raven camera would initially be offered with 1280 x 960 resolution, have a field of view of 17 x 12 degrees or 46 x 34 degrees in a 4:3 aspect ratio, and a frame rate of 30fps. Including the lens, the camera measures 3 x 3 x 2.5 cm, or 1.2 x 1.2 x 1.0 inches.

TriEye will target both autonomous cars and today’s cars with advanced driver-assistance systems, or ADAS, technology: adaptive cruise control, lane centering assist, and blind-spot detection. On cars coming out in the next few years, a TriEye camera would be better able to make out pavement markers to keep the car centered in its lane – a requirement of Level 2 and higher autonomy – as well as make out people and animals in or near the roadway. TriEye says its sensor also improves low-light image sensing.

TriEye says radar and lidar, even working together, have issues detecting and identifying objects on the road in murky visibility conditions, while the TriEye SWIR CMOS can see objects in bad visibility situations. How much and how well will await real-world testing.

TriEye is not alone in seeking new tools for autonomous driving. For establishing a car’s exact location on the roadway, the MIT-spinoff WaveSense proposes using ground-penetrating radar to create an exacting map. The soil and rock types, cavities, and utility pipes create a unique image that can locate the car to within a few inches. WaveSense would require initial mapping (and update mapping); cars would carry the map data and have their own downward-facing radars. WaveSense tech would need to work with other technologies to identify other cars, blocked lanes, and pedestrians and animals.

TriEye has raised more than $22 million in funding, not much by Amazon-Apple-Microsoft standards, but enough to develop prototypes to show automakers and suppliers this year. The big win was a large investment in August 2019 by Porsche Investment, both for the money and for the name of the world’s best-known sports car company. Intel Capital provided initial funding; Grove Ventures and Israeli businessman Marius Nacht also were early investors. Porsche’s investment doesn’t mean the camera would be restricted to Porsches.

Now read:

from ExtremeTechExtremeTech https://www.extremetech.com/extreme/305200-trieyes-infrared-camera-helps-autonomous-cars-see-through-haze

from Blogger http://componentplanet.blogspot.com/2020/01/trieyes-infrared-camera-helps.html

8-Core x86 CPU From China Goes Up for Sale

In 2013, VIA Technologies created a joint venture with the Shanghai Municipal Government and created Zhaoxin, a fabless semiconductor company. Zhaoxin (meaning “million-core,” according to Wikipedia) launched a series of chips based on the old VIA Isaiah core. Over the years, the company has evolved the original Isaiah architecture into a higher-performing CPU core, with more cores, higher clocks, and a lower process node. The current CPU family’s code name is Lujiazui and it’s used in the KX-6000 series of products.

Image by WikiChip

To be clear, Zhaoxin is entirely distinct from Thatic, the joint venture that AMD formed a few years ago. The pedigree for Zhaoxin flows back through VIA through the acquisition of companies like Cyrix and Centaur Technology, as well as through VIA’s own legal settlements with Intel. While I’m cutting through a lot of x86 history here, Centaur’s general design philosophy from the VIA acquisition through the present day has been an emphasis on low-power, efficient computing. There was a brief time, around the turn of the millennium, when VIA was building low-power fanless products for passive, silent SFFs (Small Form Factor systems).

THG has more details on the first Zhaoxin parts to turn up for retail sale in China. The KX-U6780A is an 8C/8T CPU clocked at 2.7GHz, with an 8MB L2 cache and a 70W TDP. There is no L3. The CPU appears to have an integrated GPU with DX11.1 support, along with support for standards like AVX and SSE4.2, PCIe 3.0, M.2 slots, and USB 3.1. While the CPU is only offered in BGA format, there’s going to be a supported mITX motherboard, the C1888.


The Chinese community enthusiasts who benchmarked the board were able to compare it against the previous Zhaoxin product, the KX-C4580. The KX-C4580 is a 4C/4T CPU at 1.83Hz — but it’s clear that there’ve been some substantial additional architectural improvements. If we start from the 228 baseline and assume perfect scaling, we’d expect the U6780A to provide 2x performance based on core count and a 1.47x improvement based on clock. That only takes the R20 score up to ~670, implying the new CPU’s IPC is roughly 1.26x higher in Cinebench on top of the core count and clock gains.

According to CPU-Z’s single-thread rankings, a score of 171 puts this chip in the same ballpark as the Core 2 Duo E7400 (178) or the Core i5-5200U (168). A CB20 score of 845 puts the KX-U6780A in the same range as the Intel Pentium G4600 at 838 (2C/4T, 3.6GHz), or the AMD FX-6300 at 854 (6C/12T, 3.5GHz – 4.1GHz). While it’s obvious that the per-core performance from the Zhaoxin CPU is much lower than the Intel equivalent, the Pentium G4600 does have a 1.33x clock speed advantage.

Anyone looking for a reason to dismiss the KX-U6780A will find reason to do so. Best-case, you’d be buying performance similar to what you could get from Intel or AMD 6-8 years ago. Focusing on that issue, however, misses the rapid rise of China’s manufacturing and semiconductor industry. Zhaoxin has evolved its product line rapidly, moving from Isaiah-derived parts directly based on the old VIA architecture to newer chips that have significantly improved the performance of the underlying CPU. While the new chip may not pack much performance compared with a top-end part from AMD or Intel, the KX-U6780A is still much faster relative to AMD or Intel than previous CPUs the company or country has fielded.

China has set aggressive targets for itself in terms of semiconductor self-sufficiency, and ramping up the performance and production of its home-grown products is part of that. While the company’s current manufacturing capabilities can’t build 7nm hardware, mainland China’s largest foundry, SMIC (Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation) announced volume production of 14nm wafers as of last November. We don’t know anything about yields, so we can’t speculate there, but China is catching up to the United States, Korea, and Taiwan in terms of advanced semiconductor manufacturing capabilities.

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from ExtremeTechExtremeTech https://www.extremetech.com/computing/305594-8-core-x86-cpu-from-china-goes-up-for-sale

from Blogger http://componentplanet.blogspot.com/2020/01/8-core-x86-cpu-from-china-goes-up-for.html

Phone Call Recording May Come to Pixel Phones Soon

Google’s Pixel line of smartphones never have the best hardware of any Android phone, but Google makes up for it with software. Previous Pixels have debuted features like Call Screen and Google Assistant. Now, the long-rumored call recording feature may be on the verge of release. Over at XDA, they’ve managed to coax the Google dialer app to activate the unreleased call recording feature, giving us a glimpse at how it’ll work. 

XDA used a beta build of the Google Phone app, and the feature appears to be almost completely done. To start a recording, you’ll just have to tap the new “record” button on the call screen. It captures audio from both sides of the conversation and saves it for later review. 

This all varies greatly from the myriad “call recording” apps you’ll find in the Play Store. Those almost invariably just record from the phone’s microphone, which produces poor results. The apps were even more hamstrung by privacy changes implemented in Android 9. So, it’s up to phone makers to add call recording as a feature, and most don’t. 

An example of the call recording feature as it currently exists, via XDA.

There are legal restrictions on call recording that vary from state to state and country to country. To cover all (or at least most) of its bases, the Google feature will announce to both parties that recording as started. Google will also leverage its voice transcription capabilities to make the recordings into text that can be searched. For privacy reasons, this will probably take place on the device like Google’s Live Transcription feature. 

We don’t know when this feature will roll out. It’s possible Google will save it for the Google I/O conference in a few weeks. We can, however, safely assume that it will be exclusive to Pixel phones for a while at least. Other Pixel exclusives like Call Screen eventually expanded to a handful of non-Google devices from Motorola and Nokia. Call recording will likely be the same. Xiaomi might also have a role here — the call recording code popped up in the Phone app just after the Chinese company announced that it would start pre-installing Google’s Phone app instead of its own custom app.

Now read:

from ExtremeTechExtremeTech https://www.extremetech.com/mobile/305589-phone-call-recording-may-come-to-pixel-phones-soon

from Blogger http://componentplanet.blogspot.com/2020/01/phone-call-recording-may-come-to-pixel.html