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商业 - 科技

CES四雄争霸,打响2018芯片大战

AARON PRESSMAN 2018年01月10日

在经历了2017年的恶意收购企图、诉讼案件和芯片重大安全问题之后,半导体行业已做好准备,继续前行。

新年伊始,领先的芯片制造商齐齐亮相拉斯维加斯CES年度科技盛会,寄希望于利用新产品的发布来一扫之前的负面新闻。在这些新发布的芯片中,有的能够提供更顺畅的视频游戏体验,有的能够让笔记本变得更加轻薄,还有的将加速自动驾驶汽车的到来。

英伟达、英特尔、AMD和高通均率先在CES展示了其新产品。在发布新品之时,高通仍在与其最大的客户苹果公司对簿公堂,并试图避开博通不请自来的收购行动。

英特尔和AMD则希望客户们能够忘却近来出现的诸如Spectre和Meltdown这样的安全漏洞。但由于这一问题着实严重,这两家公司可谓是忙得不可开交。

英伟达在CES上的发布内容

虽然英伟达为其传统的客户群——视频游戏迷们带来了诸多新消息,但公司却把主要精力放在了未来的自动驾驶汽车市场。

游戏迷们获得了一个名为GeForce Now的新流媒体服务。即便是笔记本并未配置强大的图形芯片,这一服务也能够让游戏粉丝们以最精美的画质来角逐各类游戏赛事。英伟达将利用云端服务器上的显卡来处理所需的海量运算,然后通过互联网将显示内容传输至玩家端笔记本屏幕。借助这一技术,即便是显卡配置较差的笔记本也能运行复杂的游戏。

该公司还推出了新型PC游戏监视器标准,名为Big Format Gaming Display(BFGD)。这一标准能够让游戏以4K分辨率在65英寸的显示屏上运行,并提供更广泛的色域,也就是人们所熟知的高动态范围。最终,人们将在大屏幕上看到更大、更清晰、更赏心悦目的游戏画面。  

然而,游戏迷们还是会不由自主地发现,这个云系统仍处于测试阶段,而且其价格也尚未公布。符合BFGD标准的显示器预计将于今年夏季与世人见面,但其价格仍是个未知数。

同时,英伟达并未发布带有其最新Volta芯片的消费级显卡产品。这类产品到目前为止仍仅用于企业级的机器学习和人工智能产品。数月以来,游戏迷们一直在翘首期盼,希望知道自己何时才能用上带有Volta芯片的主流产品。

英伟达在CES上的重点内容是无人驾驶汽车技术及其Xavier芯片。该芯片于去年发布,如今随时可供制造商进行测试。这个小装置的微处理器在芯片上封装了90亿个晶体管,能够为汽车所有的自动驾驶功能提供支持。

英伟达首席执行官黄仁勋在介绍时指出,Xavier的开发动用了2000个工程师,耗费了20亿美元。大众表示将在自家自动驾驶汽车上采用英伟达的芯片,同时优步也透露,其沃尔沃自动驾驶车队已在使用英伟达的产品。

AMD在CES上的发布内容

在主流芯片制造商中,AMD今年针对普通消费者和企业客户的芯片升级发布在数量上可谓是独占鳌头。

采用去年突破性Ryzen构架的新CPU同样整合了显卡芯片,其笔记本型号和台式机型号将分别于本月和下月面世。速度更快的第二代Ryzen处理器组将于4月与世人见面,而以处理视频、照片编辑等复杂任务见长的AMD超速Threadripper处理器预计将于今年下半年上市。

AMD还表示,公司将在年底把Vega图形芯片的制程升级至7纳米,而现在所使用的为12和14纳米。制程的升级将允许制造商在相同的芯片空间内封装更多的晶体管,从而提升显卡性能,并有可能降低能耗。

英特尔在CES上的发布内容

英特尔试图通过与AMD合作,抢夺英伟达的些许人气。在于11月份首次发布与AMD合作这一令人震惊的消息之后,英特尔表示将推出5款融合自家CPU与AMD Vega图形芯片的笔记本芯片。

高通在CES上的发布内容

这家移动芯片巨头在周一CES上所宣布的内容涉及多个领域。它针对有意在新设备上整合智能数字语音助手的硬件制造商,打造了一款工具包。高通表示,这一技术兼容市场上三大主流语音助手:Amazon Alexa、Microsoft Cortana和Google Assistant。

公司还宣布,为谷歌、HTC、LG、三星和索尼即将发布的新智能手机提供芯片和天线,从而让这些手机享受千兆位传输速度和更快的通讯服务。然而,人们明显注意到,声明中并未提到全球最赚钱的智能手机制造商苹果公司,后者正日渐依靠英特尔为其iPhone提供手机组件。

在汽车方面,高通宣布了多项交易,并藉此为本田和路虎的多种车型提供更多的技术。2018年本田雅阁将配备由高通芯片支持的互联网连接、导航和娱乐系统,而路虎将在其部分车型上使用高通芯片来提供移动互联网连接。(财富中文网)

译者:冯丰

审稿:夏林

To kick off the new year, the leading chipmakers all appeared at the annual CES technology show in Las Vegas, hoping to take the spotlight on(off)the bad news by introducing new products. Their new chips make video games play faster, allow for even thinner notebook computers, and speed the way for self-driving cars.

Nvidia, Intel, Advanced Micro Devices and Qualcomm were among the first to show off new products at CES. The announcements came even as Qualcomm remains enmeshed in litigation with one of its biggest customers, Apple, and is trying to fend off an unwanted takeover bid from Broadcom.

And Intel and AMD would love customers to forget about the recently revealed security flaws known as Spectre and Meltdown. But considering the seriousness of the problem, the companies have their work cut out for them.

Nvidia’s CES announcements

Nvidia had a couple of announcements for its traditional customer base of avid video gamers, but most of the emphasis was on the future self-driving car market.

Gamers got a new streaming service called GeForce Now that will let them play titles with the most complex imagery even on laptops without powerful graphics chips. Nvidia will do the massive calculating needed on graphics cards running on cloud servers and then send the result that determine what the laptop should display on the screen back to the game player over the Internet. That should allow even a laptop with a relatively wimpy built-in graphics card to run complex games.

The company also introduced a new PC gaming monitor standard dubbed the Big Format Gaming Display, or BFGD, which allows games to run on 65-inch screens at 4K resolution with support for a broader range of colors known as high dynamic range. The end result should be larger, sharper and better looking gaming images on a big screen.

But gamers couldn’t help but notice that the cloud system is still in beta and that the price consumers will have to pay wasn’t announced. Nor was pricing available for BFGD monitors, which are expected to hit the market this summer.

And Nvidia (NVDA, +2.97%) did not release a consumer-oriented version of its line of graphics cards featuring its newest Volta chip, which has thus far been reserved for corporate-oriented machine learning and artificial intelligence products. Gamers have been waiting for months to hear about when they’ll get access to Volta in mainstream products.

The main focus at CES was on Nvidia’s autonomous car effort and its Xavier chipset, announced last year and now ready for manufacturers to test. The microprocessor packs 9 billion transistors onto a chip in a small package that can power all of a car’s self-driving features.

Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang bragged that it took 2,000 engineers and cost $2 billion to develop Xavier. Volkswagen said it would use Nvidia chips for its self-driving vehicles and Uber disclosed it has been using Nvidia in its fleet of autonomous Volvos.

Advanced Micro Devices’ CES announcements

Among the major chipmakers, AMD had the most announcements of updated chips for this year for ordinary consumers and corporate customers.

New central processors based on last year’s groundbreaking Ryzen design that also integrate built in graphics chips are coming this month for laptops and next month for desktop computers. A second generation of Ryzen chips that will be even faster arrives in April, while an update to AMD’s super-speedy Threadripper processor, best for handling complex tasks like video and photo editing, are expected for the second half of the year.

AMD (AMD, +3.37%) also said that by the end of the year it would be able to reduce the scale of its Vega graphics chips to just 7 nanometers, down from 12 and 14 nanometer designs now in use. The smaller scale allows more transistors to be packed into the same space, speeding up performance and likely saving energy.

Intel’s CES News

Intel tried to steal some of Nvidia’s spotlight by teaming up with AMD. Following up on a surprise deal first disclosed in November, Intel said it would sell five versions of a chip aimed at laptops that combine its own central processor with AMD’s Vega graphics chip.

Qualcomm’s CES announcements

The mobile chip giant had news on several fronts at CES on Monday. Qualcomm created a kit for hardware makers that want to incorporate smart digital voice assistants into new devices. And Qualcomm said its effort would be compatible with all three major assistants on the market: Amazon Alexa, Microsoft Cortana and Google Assistant.

The company also announced deals to supply chips and antennas to bring gigabit speed and faster cellular service to upcoming smartphones made by Google, HTC, LG, Samsung, and Sony. Noticeably missing from the announcement, however, was the world’s most profitable smartphone maker, Apple, which has been increasingly relying on Intel for the cellular components in iPhones.

On the automotive front, Qualcomm (QCOM, -0.33%) unveiled deals to add more technology to cars from Honda and Land Rover. The 2018 Honda Accord will feature Internet connectivity, navigation and entertainment systems powered by Qualcomm chips. And Land Rover will use Qualcomm chips to offer cellular Internet connectivity in some of its models, too.

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