12:10PM EDT - This week it's the Hot Chips conference in Cupertino. We're sat nice and early, with the first talk today from Microsoft. John Sell, a Microsoft hardware veteran, is set to talk about the Scorpio Engine, found in the Xbox One X. It's practically the only talk this week where the slides were not given out early, so I wonder what will be discussed, especially given the large amount of interest in what the Scorpio Engine is. So never mind the eclipse, let's talk consoles.

12:12PM EDT - Despite the big hall booked, there's a few hundred people here

12:13PM EDT - Hot Chips is a specialised conference, after all. Most people here are from tech companies, not press

12:13PM EDT - A number of familiar faces in the crowd, however. Talks later today from AMD, NVIDIA and Intel. Talks tomorrow on Server hardware too

12:13PM EDT - Just me on text and images today, it might get a bit fast paced

12:19PM EDT - Now starting with an intro to the conference

12:19PM EDT - 10% more attendees this year, 20% more paper submissions

12:23PM EDT - Had to restart my laptop, keeps freezing with intermittent wifi which is odd

12:24PM EDT - Eclipse viewing in 35 minutes - the conference were going to provide glasses, but they got stuck at customs

12:29PM EDT - Moving to mobile data

12:30PM EDT - Scorpio engine, 7b transistors, 359mm2 die, 50mm module

12:30PM EDT - Yellow areas on die shot is GPU

12:30PM EDT - 4 shader arrays, contain 11 CUs

12:30PM EDT - 10 active, 1 spare

12:31PM EDT - Spares are for reliability and yield

12:31PM EDT - dark green are clusters of CPU

12:31PM EDT - Green around the outside are the 12 GDDR5 controllers

12:32PM EDT - photos don't seem to be uploading

12:32PM EDT - 326GB/s mem bandwidth

12:33PM EDT - 6.8 GHz memory data rate

12:33PM EDT - 12 GB of main memory, dev systems have 24GB

12:33PM EDT - GPU core at 1.172 GHz

12:34PM EDT - 285 GB/s peak in the lab for mem bandiwdth

12:35PM EDT - Pairs of channels can be cache coherent

12:35PM EDT - Coherent traffic is vertical to the crossbar

12:36PM EDT - 8x 256KB render caches

12:36PM EDT - 64 outbound and 40 inbound 256-bit data paths for drawing

12:37PM EDT - raw performance is a hair over 6 TF

12:37PM EDT - 4.688G primitives/second

12:37PM EDT - 128 FLOPS * 40 CUs * 1.172 GHz

12:37PM EDT - 187.5 G bilinear texels/second

12:37PM EDT - 2MB L2 cache with bypass and index buffer access

12:38PM EDT - out of order rasterization, 1MB parameter cache, delta color compression, depth compression, compressed texture access

12:39PM EDT - Xbox One S and 360 compatibility

12:39PM EDT - 8 CPU cores, 2.3 GHz

12:40PM EDT - 32 KB L1-I, 32 KB L1-D per core

12:40PM EDT - 4 MB shared L2 (2MB per quad cluster), lower main memory average latency (up to 20%)

12:40PM EDT - 12 channels and 192 banks of main memory (3x and 6x)

12:41PM EDT - 2048 entry L2I TLB and L2D TLB for 4KB pages

12:41PM EDT - 32 entry L1I TLB for 4KB pages, 8 entry L1I TLB for 2MB pages

12:41PM EDT - Hypervisor based system

12:41PM EDT - 40 entry L1D TLB for 4KB pages, 8 entry L1D TLB for 2MB pages, 256 entry L2D TLB for 2MB pages

12:42PM EDT - Page Descriptor Cache of nested translations (up to 4.3% perf over last gen)

12:43PM EDT - 4K p60 HEVC, VP9, AVC

12:43PM EDT - 10-bit HDR for HEVC and VP9

12:44PM EDT - 4k60 HEVC video encoding for DVR and streaming

12:44PM EDT - Support for 4K display, 3-surface resize/blending, pre-multiplied FP alpha

12:44PM EDT - DP 1.2a, HDMI 2.0b, HDCP 2.2, two stream MST

12:45PM EDT - Audio with new firmware features, such as spatial surround (will come avail for Xbox One S)

12:46PM EDT - 1TB HDD, 4K UHD Bluray player

12:46PM EDT - Coming November 7 2017

12:46PM EDT - Video showing now, rendered on the system

12:48PM EDT - Looks like Forza

12:48PM EDT - 'in-game 4K footage'

12:48PM EDT - Will upload pictures when we can, something just isn't working properly here with either my devices or the data

12:49PM EDT - So only a 20 minute talk, some Q&A

12:49PM EDT - No 32 MB SRAM

12:50PM EDT - Same CPU caches as before

12:50PM EDT - 'Any problems with backwards compatibility?'

12:51PM EDT - 'No, the additional bandwidth will help and the previous will be emulated'

12:52PM EDT - 'While there is added latency, there's no compatibility issue. The GPU used to consider the SRAM just as another part of the main memory'

12:53PM EDT - 'Q: Page descriptor cache was giving +4.5% perf in SPEC. Was that running in a VM?' 'Yes, the benefit we get negates the VM loss'

12:54PM EDT - 'Does designing the SoC give better options for power management?'

12:56PM EDT - 'Yes, to a significant degree with Scorpio but since the original Xbox One - we want every system to give the same perf, and we don't want to give people an unfair advantage in MP games (like in PCs), so we strive we don't have variation which makes power management more challenging, and we don't want to through chips way. Every chip is married to its circuit board, variations in the power supply, and trying to tune out all the margin possible'

12:57PM EDT - 'Shader power gating?' 'We have clock gating throughout the design, but for power gating, we do not do any power gating within the shader array. We change to operate at lower frequencies in certain modes, e.g. BluRay discs can go through fixed function hardware we clock gate the shaders'

12:57PM EDT - That's all for the talk, let me upload the pictures if I can

01:07PM EDT - Now that everyone in the hall has left to watch the eclipse, some photos are going through. Of course, photos that were sent straight to upload aren't saved on my devices. I'm waiting for the slide deck and we'll do a proper analysis on this.

01:07PM EDT - That's all for the live blog. There's a Knights Mill talk later today that we'll try and get a better experience for :)

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  • drothgery - Monday, August 21, 2017 - link

    Which is true, but there's a pretty sharp lower bound on HDD cost, and 1 TB drives are probably at it for 2.5" drives. They won't get any cheaper (though you may be able to get a bigger drive for the same cost). Whereas in 4 years, a 1 TB SSD will almost certainly be much cheaper than it is now. Reply
  • mukiex - Monday, August 21, 2017 - link

    Right, but it's not "in 4 years" right now. It's right now. SSDs are still ~5x more expensive than HDDs, even at the size. Reply
  • tipoo - Tuesday, August 22, 2017 - link

    In four years we're probably in for new hardware. Reply
  • name99 - Tuesday, August 22, 2017 - link

    Not even close. The lower bound for HD cost is around $50 maybe in retail (ie it's not worth it for Best Buy to stock cheaper ones) but maybe, I don't know, $15 if you buying in massive volumes.
    Whereas a 1TB SSD is going to be maybe $200 if you buy a low-end version.

    Now if it were me, I'd ALSO offer an SSD model costing say $750 for people who just don't want to put up with the pain of slow drives. (I expect that would just make
    Reply
  • name99 - Tuesday, August 22, 2017 - link

    whoops hit button too soon
    (I expect that would not make playback any more competitive, which seems to be something they care about a lot, it would just make the overall experience nicer for people who are willing to pay for that.)
    Reply
  • romrunning - Monday, August 21, 2017 - link

    Plus with the current shortage in flash memory, natural or through collusion, they may not have been able to secure enough to guarantee even the pre-orders, much less for large amount they want to sell at or after launch. Reply
  • pyrrh0 - Monday, August 21, 2017 - link

    I'd think that SSDs' tendency to eat themselves when severely low on free space (a condition most console users permanently exist in) would be a factor, but I'd mostly guess they know how many people upgrade the HDDs on their own and the % is too low to bother catering to. It's still cheaper (and more reliable) to use a platter-based mechanism. Reply
  • Ubercake - Tuesday, August 22, 2017 - link

    This. An external USB 3.0 drive plugged into the original Xbox One offered better performance than the internal disk. Reply
  • name99 - Tuesday, August 22, 2017 - link

    Can you boot off such an external drive? Or do you still have to suffer slow boots and any time the OS has to load something, even though you can put assets on the fast drive? Reply
  • MTEK - Monday, August 21, 2017 - link

    Earlier rumors hinted at HDMI 2.1 support, but it looks like it's not going to happen. Reply

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