Qualcomm and Microsoft are partnering to develop a new, customized Snapdragon augmented reality chip that’ll power future AR glasses within Microsoft’s ecosystems. The new partnership was announced at Qualcomm’s CES 2022 keynote.
“We’re announcing that we’re developing a custom augmented reality Snapdragon chip for next-generation, power-efficient, very lightweight AR glasses for the Microsoft ecosystem,” said Qualcomm CEO Cristiano Amon. “And we’re integrating into that chip platform software from both companies: the Microsoft Mesh platform, and the recently announced Qualcomm Snapdragon Spaces XR development platform. Snapdragon Spaces will be fully integrated into Microsoft Mesh, and this platform will be available for next-generation lightweight glasses.”
The partnership isn’t too surprising: Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 850 chip already powers Microsoft’s HoloLens 2 headset from 2019. And Qualcomm has only increased its focus and its development of more specifically AR and VR focused chips in recent years, including the Snapdragon XR2 that powers the Oculus Quest 2. Microsoft and Qualcomm have also worked together on bespoke chips in the past, like the Surface Pro X’s customized SQ1 and SQ2 processors.
The inclusion of support for both Microsoft Mesh and Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Spaces XR platform is particularly notable, too. Both platforms offer interesting mixed reality use cases that span multiple devices. Mesh already has a cross-platform VR / AR system for connecting between virtual reality headsets, tablets, smartphones, and PCs, while Spaces aims to specifically integrate Qualcomm-powered smartphones as a “second screen” for mixed reality experiences. And given that Qualcomm specifically highlighted the upcoming chip collaboration as focusing on ultra-light augmented reality glasses, it seems clear that the two companies have big ambitions for integrating future projects into a broader, connected digital world.
AMD's Entry Level Radeon RX 6500 XT Launch is Not Going Well – ExtremeTech
(Image: AMD)Back at CES a few weeks ago, AMD invited people to “step up your game” with its upcoming Radeon RX 6500 XT graphics card. It was marketed as the first “entry level” RDNA2 GPU from the company, and that status was confirmed by its low-ish asking price of just $199. The prospect of a budget-friendly GPU with advanced features is certainly appetizing, and quite welcome right now given the current GPU shortage. However, it seems the launch isn’t going very well, for one simple reason: the company graced the GPU with a measly 4GB of VRAM. It’s a bit embarrassing for AMD, given that it has railed against such low RAM loadouts in the past.
Of course, there’s other reasons for the card receiving sideways glances in online reviews. It has a minuscule 64-bit memory bus while offering 16 ray tracing cores, which seems totally pointless. Ray tracing would absolutely crush a card with this amount of horsepower, so it’s more of a marketing gimmick than a feature gamers would actually use. AMD did endow the card with 16MB of Infinity Cache, which does help with memory bandwidth, but with such a narrow pipe it’s really an uphill battle. It’s also limited to just four PCIe 4.0 lanes, which means if the card is dropped into an older system that only has PCIe 3.0, available bandwidth is cut in half, going from 8GB/s to 4GB/s. PCGamer writes: “Effectively you’re getting RX 580 performance, sometimes lower because of having half the VRAM.”
However, the biggest issue AMD is dealing with is its alleged attempt to conceal a blog post written in June of 2020, which argued that 4GB of RAM was insufficient for the the latest titles (which we covered here at the time). Kitguru noticed the post had been scrubbed from AMD’s website, which seemingly prompted the company to repost it in all its glory, but Kitguru noted that the post was missing for approximately four hours or so.
In the original post AMD declares, “Competitive products at a similar entry level price-point are offering up to a maximum of 4GB of VRAM, which is evidently not enough for todays games. Go Beyond 4GB of Video Memory to Crank Up your settings.” Despite its earlier proclamations, in January PCWorld interviewed AMD CEO Lisa Su and Radeon vice president Laura Smith about the card, and one of them exclaimed, “We have really optimized this one to be gaming first… You can see that with the way we’ve configured the part. Even with the four gigs of frame buffer, that’s a really nice frame buffer size for the majority of triple-A games…” To be fair to AMD though, the post was written by a Radeon Product Marketing Specialist named Adit Bhutani, and the blog post features this disclaimer at the bottom: “His postings are his own opinions and may not represent AMD’s positions, strategies or opinions.” Rightttttt.
The other issue with the card is that like any GPU released in the past two years or so, nobody actually believes it will sell for its $199 MSRP due to the GPU shortage. This means gamers who are interested in the card will likely end up paying $300+ for a 1080p GPU that runs AAA titles at medium settings, which just seems wrong. Though AMD’s 4GB RAM allotment might dissuade miners from scooping up all the available cards, looking at Newegg this morning there’s not a single card in stock, and some of them such as the the Asus TUF model are being offered for an insane $359 sticker price, but most of them are actually listed at $199, with a few hovering in the $269 region.
Though text-based review verdicts are mostly mixed, summarizing the situation as “it’s not that bad if you can find it for MSRP, which you probably can’t,” YouTubers seem to have their knives out for the newest member of the Radeon family. Hardware Unboxed labels its review, “Worst GPU,” calling the card the “Corner Cutting Edition,” while Gamers Nexus describes it as “Worse than 2016’s GPUs.” Hardware Canucks summarized the situation succinctly by simply asking, “WTF AMD!?”
Pokémon Legends: Arceus For Switch Has Now Been Datamined – Nintendo Life
Not only is footage all over websites like Twitter, Reddit, and ResetEra, but it seems the game has now also been datamined.
There are a lot of images and videos already doing the rounds online – revealing Pokémon models, the Pokédex roster, the game’s full story, soundtrack and more, and it’s rather easy to find. Pokémon fans have once again taken to social media sites to warn each other about possible spoilers floating about. Here are a few examples:
@piplup31 – “I just wanted to let anyone who sees this who’s planning on playing Pokémon Legends Arceus know that the game has been datamined and a lot of info is getting leaked, including all of the new forms! If you want to avoid spoilers until the game comes out be careful!”
Dataminers have also uncovered other details about what’s going on behind the scenes of the new game and extra information such as the file size. Here’s some information, courtesy of dataminer OatmealDome:
If you are excited about the new Pokémon game and don’t want any spoilers, you might want to stay off social media sites. And if we hear any other developments, we’ll let you know.
Samsung's Galaxy S22 Could Get a Graphics Boost From a New AMD-Fueled Chip – Gizmodo
Samsung has unveiled the Exynos 2200, its first smartphone processor with AMD graphics. More specifically, the chip uses AMD’s RDNA 2 architecture which enables variable-rate shading and hardware-accelerated ray tracing, a technique used to make lighting effects in virtual environments appear more realistic.
While it hasn’t been confirmed, we assume the SoC will be featured in Samsung’s upcoming Galaxy S22 set to be revealed at the Unpacked event (which is rumored for Feb. 8). However, Samsung typically reserves its in-house Exynos chips for international markets and turns to Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chips for stateside models. Based on the latest rumors, US Galaxy S22 versions will likely run on the new Snapdragon 8 Gen 1.
The Exynos 2200 uses what AMD calls an “Xclipse” GPU and is based on Samsung’s 4-nanometer processing node. We’ve known since 2019 that the two chipmaking juggernauts would work together, and just last year, AMD confirmed that Samsung’s “next flagship mobile SoC” would use RDNA 2, the platform of AMD’s latest mobile and desktop GPUs.
The term “flagship” here is noteworthy in that it suggests the processor will indeed make its way to Samsung’s upcoming Galaxy S series phones when they presumably arrive next month. What neither company has been willing to share just yet are performance numbers, though Samsung will likely highlight those during the Galaxy reveal. So far, the company is only claiming that the chip will enable the “ultimate mobile phone gaming experience.”
“AMD RDNA 2 graphics architecture extends power-efficient, advanced graphics solutions to PCs, laptops, consoles, automobiles and now to mobile phones. Samsung’s Xclipse GPU is the first result of multiple planned generations of AMD RDNA graphics in Exynos SoCs,” said David Wang, the senior vice president of Radeon Technologies Group at AMD.
Shifting to the CPU, the Exynos 2200 will use Arm’s latest Armv9 CPU cores in a tri-cluster configuration consisting of a single Arm Cortex-X2 “flagship core,” three balanced Cortex-A710 big cores, and four power-efficient Cortex-A510 little cores.
According to Samsung, the chip has more advanced AI, an upgraded neural processing unit (NPU) with twice the performance as its predecessor, and an image signal processor with support for up to 200-megapixels, 4K HDR (or 8K video recording), and the ability to connect to seven individual image sensors and drive four concurrently.
We’re curious to see what benefits the new graphics bring and whether those performance gains and features will be supported by mobile games. Interestingly, Samsung says the Xclipse GPU is “positioned between the console and the mobile graphic processor” so it sounds like the company wants to blur the lines by delivering at-home gaming performance on mobile hardware.
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