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Microsoft Details Its 24-Core 'Holographic Processor' Used In HoloLens (pcworld.com) 113

The processor powering Microsoft's HoloLens augmented reality headset has been a mystery -- until now. During the annual Hot Chips conference in Cupertino, California, Microsoft revealed some juicy details about the secretive chip. PCWorld reports: "The HoloLens' HPU is a custom 28nm coprocessor designed by TSMC, The Register reports. The chip packs 24 Tensilica digital signal processor (DSP) cores. As opposed to more general-purpose CPU cores, DSPs are a specialized technology designed for rapidly processing data flowing in from the world -- a no doubt invaluable asset while rendering augmented reality environments in real time. Microsoft's HPU also contains roughly 65 million logic gates, 8MB of SDRAM, and 1GB of traditional DDR3 RAM. It draws less than 10W of power, and features PCIe and standard serial interfaces. The HPU's dedicated hardware is up to 200 times faster than performing the same calculations via software on the less-specialized 14nm Intel Cherry Trail CPU. Microsoft added custom instructions to the DSP cores that allow the HPU to churn through HoloLens-specific tasks even faster, The Register reports. The HPU can perform roughly 1 trillion calculations per second, and the data it passes to the CPU requires little additional processing."
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Microsoft Details Its 24-Core 'Holographic Processor' Used In HoloLens

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    No more of my money. Go away now. Bye bye!

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Dragging around a great big ball and chain.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 23, 2016 @10:14PM (#52759947)

    How many of those 1 trillion calculations per second are for telemetry and serving ads?

  • Give up, Microsoft (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 23, 2016 @10:16PM (#52759955)
    I don't care what hardware you pimp, Microsoft. After your abusing everyone's privacy with your Windows 10 spyware [networkworld.com], nothing you do matters anymore. Now go fuck yourself.

    former Microsoft fanboy
    • If you use Gmail, them MS can't read your email. The bad news is, then Google can. Or you can not trust anybody and not communicate anything incriminating over email.
  • DSPs (Score:5, Informative)

    by Jfetjunky ( 4359471 ) on Tuesday August 23, 2016 @10:16PM (#52759957)
    DSPs are special processors that generally have many dedicated multiplier cores, as well as other math functions implemented directly in hardware. This allows them to do things like fixed point math operations very fast, sometimes in as little as a single digit clock cycles neglecting pipeline delays. In some cases certain math intensive functions such as video encoding/decoding are implemented directly in hardware too for the same benefits.
  • Was the line [amren.com] that made me opt to never buy anything Microsoft makes again. Fuck those racists.
  • I've looked over all the information and I tell you with great certainty that this "HPU" is really a GPU with a few custom bits.

    • Re:it's a GPU (Score:4, Informative)

      by thesupraman ( 179040 ) on Wednesday August 24, 2016 @01:27AM (#52760481)

      FFS, god damn kids.

      it is NOTHING like a GPU.
      it is an array of DSPs. boring old DSPs.. nothing new here at all.
      quite a few of them on the same chip, but still, just DSPs. in fact quite standard DSPs.
      Which is pretty much exactly what you would expect for this application.

      Now please stop trying to impress people with 'I've looked over all the information' and go back to your madz gamerzing.

  • Holograms - seen without the aid of special glasses or other intermediate optics.
    • by mark-t ( 151149 )
      That's not what makes something a hologram. There is nothing that precludes holograms from being put on glasses to effectively "overlay" on what you see. What makes a hologram distinctive is that your brain perceives it as a truly three-dimensional image. When you focus on a hologram, you are focusing at the distance of the object that is presented in the hologram, not on the surface of what the image is being made on.... like a mirror.
      • As far as I can see from available information, the HoloLens has a focal distance somewhere around 2 meters [pcworld.com] away from your face.

        Whereas in a "true" hologram, you capture the interference patterns of all light rays that pass through the volume of your photo sensitive film. Shining a laser through that film will recreate light rays with the same direction and intensity. As if you were looking through a window at the original scene.

        • Indeed, and that's what got me to the State Science Fair in 7th grade. Why anyone would let a 13 year-old take home an expensive laser, let them processes photographic plates in a light-sealed bathroom by themselves...lol
  • A teraflop in a pair of (ugly) glasses. Who woulda thunk it?

  • We have one at work and I've tried out some of the demos. It's a pretty impressive piece of kit.
  • Awful article (Score:5, Informative)

    by klingens ( 147173 ) on Tuesday August 23, 2016 @11:16PM (#52760127)

    This article is awful, both here on slashdot and pcworld. It shows that neither site is suitable for reporting on tech or IT journalism.

    TSM doesn't design chips, they build them. Others design the chips, hand over that design to TSMC to get actual hardware back. TheRegister correctly reports this "bult by TSMC"
    8MB SDRAM and 1GB DDR3 RAM. That is the same thing! DDR3 is a form of SDRAM and of course SDRAM makes no sense whatsoever here. Instead again, TheRegister correctly reports: 8GB SRAM, which is typically used for caching purposes: small size but fast, just like L1 to L3 caches in most/all CPUs which are also for caching.

    Neither slashdot nor pcworld senior editor can correctly transcribe a simple news tidbit from another site.

    • Instead again, TheRegister correctly reports: 8GB SRAM, which is typically used for caching purposes: small size but fast, just like L1 to L3 caches in most/all CPUs which are also for caching.

      Neither slashdot nor pcworld senior editor can correctly transcribe a simple news tidbit from another site.

      I think you mean 8MB SRAM, and you can't transcribe either ;)

  • I thought they were just a fab company :|

    • I think the journalist may be mistaken. Another story I read on this said the design came from Cadence, which makes a lot more sense. Cadence sells a core that customers can further customize (using Cadence's software of course). It then can be fabbed by a place like TSMC.

  • Not the future we expected - we have "hoverboards" and "holographic displays" but they are marketing hype instead of what the words used to mean.
  • So, what's a "Hologram", the word they derive the name from? Well, it's a picture that isn't really tangible, it's just a virtual picture, and in the correct light, it only appears to display something real. But that looks really convincing, despite nothing really being there.

    In one word: Vaporware.

  • Maybe I'm just being oversensitive, but it begins to annoy me, the way important terms get misused and watered down by IT companies. Not long ago there was something (I have happily forgotten the details) that misused the term 'tensor' for some sort of HW or SW - it had nothing to do with the hugely important and useful mathematical tool, of course, not even in the most stretched sense; it was just "We need some snazzy word for this crap, let's call it tensor". And now "holographic processor" - I find it ha

  • The stunning amount of ignorance being displayed by the commenters here just makes me a bit sad when I remember how you people used to be. Seriously, where are you people getting the ideas that DSPs aren't reprogrammable, or that they've somehow been made obsolete by FPGAs (wtf), or that FPGAs are in any way superior for low power (wtf??) or any number of other things I'm seeing people pull out of their asses here? Fuck's sake people, know the limits of your knowledge and quit speaking outside them. It's re

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