AMD unveils new architectural details on its latest CPU core

AMD unveiled a great deal of information at Hot Chips about its upcoming “Zen” CPU core and architecture. The new chip has been the subject of an enormous amount of speculation for more than a year, but things have heated up over the past few weeks asleaked benchmarks surfaced and AMD conducted its own public test.

Today’s information dump is the most detail AMD has shared to date — in fact, it’s significantly more information than I expected the company to share until Zen actually launched. Let’s get started.

Zen’s design goals

Zen is best understood as a response to the problems that plagued Bulldozer. AMD’soriginal goal with that architecture was to intelligently share resources between CPU cores, while simultaneously hitting higher frequencies and higher execution efficiencies than AMD’s previous CPU core, K10. Bulldozer’s failure to deliver left AMD in an ugly position: Should it try to repair its old core or return to the drawing board and build something completely new?

Sources we’ve spoken to at AMD suggest that the difficulty of repairing Bulldozer was significant enough that AMD opted to build a new core from scratch with none of Bulldozer’s baggage. That doesn’t mean there’s no Bulldozer DNA in Zen — in fact, AMD has stated that the expertise it gained from improving Steamroller and Excavator’s energy efficiency was put to good use for its newest architecture. Say instead that what design elements AMD does borrow from its previous architectures will be the components of the chip that actually worked well rather than the problematic ones that dominated its performance.

Cache architecture

Much of what went wrong with Bulldozer was linked to its cache subsystem and overall architecture, so that’s a good place to start diving into Zen.

CPU-Complex

Where Bulldozer used the concept of a CPU module (defined as a pair of cores that shared resources), Zen uses complexes. One CPU complex (CCX) contains four cores, 2MB of L2 cache (512KB per core), and 8MB of L3 cache. That means AMD’s highest-end consumer Zen contains eight cores and 16MB of L3 cache in total, split into 2x8MB chunks. AMD has stated that the two CCXs on an eight-core chip can communicate with each other via the on-chip fabric, though there’s likely a performance penalty for doing so.

Zen’s L3 cache operates as a victim cache for the L1 and L2, meaning data evicted from those caches is stored in the L3 instead. It’s also 16-way associative, which is a significant change from Bulldozer’s 64-way associative L3. A cache with a higher set associativity has a greater likelihood of containing the information the CPU is looking for, but takes longer to search — and one of the issues that crippled Bulldozer was its cache latency at nearly every stage.

We don’t know anything about clock speeds on either the L3 cache or the integrated memory controller. Historically, AMD’s Bulldozer-derived CPUs and APUs have used a clock between 1.8 – 2.2GHz for the L3 cache and IMC.

ZenCache

AMD has stated that L1 and L2 bandwidth is nearly 2x Excavator while L3 bandwidth is supposedly 5x higher. These changes should keep the core fed and support higher performance. The L1 cache is write-back instead of write-through — that’s a significant change that should improve performance and reduce cache contention (Bulldozer’s write-through cache meant that L1 performance could be constrained by L2 cache write speed in some cases).

The CPU core

We’ve already tackled caches, so let’s check out the CPU core itself.

Zenuarch

Here’s Zen’s high-level core diagram. There are several significant differences compared with AMD’s older Bulldozer core, including the addition of an op cache, a micro-op queue, and a larger number of integer pipelines per core.

Zen-Queue

Here’s an expanded view of how the core gets fed. This was another major problem area with Bulldozer — Bulldozer and Piledriver’s shared logic meant that the dispatch unit could only send work to one core or the other every clock cycle. Steamroller later fixed this issue by doubling up dispatch units, but this only resulted in a modest performance improvement.

AMD has taken a page from Intel’s book and implemented an op cache with Zen, even if we don’t know much about the specifics of the feature. This allows the CPU to cache decoded operations that it may need to dispatch repeatedly rather than requiring it to repeatedly decode and dispatch the same instructions. Each Zen core can decode four instructions per clock cycle, but the micro-op queue can dispatch six instructions per cycle. Clearly AMD anticipates that its cache will relieve pressure on the decode units and help keep the core fed while reducing power consumption. Steamroller had a macro-op queue that could hold up to 40 macro-ops but its usefulness was limited to tiny loops.

Zen-Fetch

Like the Bulldozer family, Zen can theoretically fetch 32 bytes of data at a time, though CPU analyst Agner Fog found that the Bulldozer family of cores was practically limited to 21 bytes of data when both cores were in use or 16 bytes if one core was used. He theorized that this limit may have been why doubling up on Steamroller’s dispatch units yielded relatively limited results. Resolving this in Zen could be part of why AMD has significantly improved its IPC.

Zen-Integer

The integer cores have been rebalanced from the Bulldozer family. Prior to Bulldozer, AMD’s K10 paired three ALUs with three AGUs (address generation units). Bulldozer trimmed this to two ALUs and two AGUs per core. This, combined with the limited dispatch ability in the BD/PD cores, was thought to be a major performance bottleneck until Steamroller added additional dispatch capabilities and slashed the penalty Kaveri took when scaling across multiple cores. (Piledriver and Bulldozer achieved roughly 1.8x of the scaling you’d expect from a “true” dual-core, while Steamroller hit approximately 1.9x.) Four ALUs and two AGUs could boost overall performance compared with Bulldozer’s narrow design, but we’ll have to see how the chip performs in benchmarks.

FloatingPoint-Zen

AMD’s floating point unit will still use 128-bit registers for AVX and AVX2, but latency on some FP operations has been decreased and there are now four pipes instead of three to feed the FPU. The CPU isn’t capable of executing 256-bit AVX instructions in a single cycle. Whether this will prove a detriment in real-world code is an open question, but AVX/AVX2 haven’t boosted general application performance the way SSE2 once did.

Putting it all together:

If you want a single high-level slide that captures what AMD has disclosed about Zen to date, this is it:

DesignGoals

There are still some areas of the chip I haven’t touched on, like SMT, because I want to research how AMD’s SMT implementation differs from Intel’s but haven’t had time to examine the topic in-depth. AMD hasn’t stated that Zen will use features like Carrizo’s AVFS, but given that they’ve extended that approach across both Polaris and their APU lines it’s a safe bet they will.

Still, there’s a lot here to suggest that Zen will deliver substantially better performance than any Bulldozer core ever did. The devil, as always, will be in the details. How much performance does AMD gain with SMT? What clock speeds can it hit? How will it price the core against Intel’s current products? Will it deliver “enough” of a performance improvement and how will its chipset features compare with what Intel brings to market?

These are important questions that will ultimately determine whether Zen can reignite competition in the CPU market. Speaking strictly for myself, I’m cautiously optimistic about Zen. Bulldozer, in retrospect, was almost perfectly ill-positioned for the realities of the CPU and foundry business from 2011 to 2016. It was a CPU designed for high frequencies at a time when CPU frequency had slammed face-first into fundamental scaling limits. AMD improved the core’s performance and power efficiency but couldn’t fix the problems that broke it in the first place. It’s not ridiculous to think that the company could spin a chip with 40% improved IPC given where they started from.

Zen doesn’t need to match Intel clock-for-clock or core-for-core to be a huge improvement over where AMD is today. It needs to offer improved efficiency, power efficiency, and much more competitive performance at a relevant price point. Based on what AMD has disclosed to-date, I think they’ve got a real chance of pulling it off. And while we thought much the same thing about Bulldozer five years ago, Zen isn’t trying to create a new type of shared-resource CPU. That should count for something in the final analysis.

Zen is expected to debut in Q1 2017 in wide volume. The current smart money is on a CES debut and launch, though that’s just a guess based on previous schedules and product cycles.

Lenovo ThinkPad P40 Yoga, ThinkPad P50s, and ThinkStation P310 Launched

Lenovo on Tuesday launched two new laptops under its ThinkPad P series namely ThinkPad P50s and ThinkPad P40 Yoga alongside a desktop ThinkStation P310. All three will be made available in Q1 next year. While the ThinkPad P40 Yoga starts at $1399 (roughly Rs. 93,200), the ThinkPad P50s and ThinkStation P310 start at $1,299 (roughly Rs. 86,500) and $729 (roughly Rs. 48,500) respectively.

As per Lenovo, the ThinkPad P40 Yoga (seen above) is the company’s first-ever multi-mode mobile workstation that comes with a 360-degree rotating QHD (2560×1440 pixels) resolution touchscreen display. With the rotating display, the laptop can be used in four modes – laptop, stand, tent, and tablet. The device is said to provide sketching precision through a Super Capacitor Pen and touchscreen powered by Wacom Active ES technology. The pen can deliver up to 8 hours of use in 30 seconds of charge.

The Windows 10-powered laptop features an 6th Generation Intel Core i7 CPU, with up to 16GB of DDR3L RAM and Nvidia Quadro M500M GPU with 2GB of video RAM. It also sports a 512GB SSD. It measures 338×236.3×19.9mm and weighs 1.8kg. Besides regular connectivity options, the laptop is backed by a 65-Watt battery. The laptop also includes Lift ‘n’ Lock” keyboard design “with a frame that automatically rises around the keys when the Yoga device switches into tablet mode, giving users the ability to work in a more comfortable and efficient manner.”

lenovo_thinkpad_p50s.jpgThe Lenovo ThinkPad P50s (seen above) features a 15.6-inch 3K (1620×3880 pixels) resolution IPS display and is powered by the 6th Generation Intel Core i7 CPU and can support up to 32GB of RAM. It also houses an Nvidia Quadro M500M GPU under-the-hood. The laptop sports Lenovo Power Bridge technology, which allows for up to 17 hours of battery life.

lenovo_thinkstation_p310.jpgAs for the Lenovo ThinkStation P310 (seen above), the device features a typical tower-like design and can be configured either with an Intel Core processor or the Xeon E3-1200 v5, clubbed with up to 64GB RAM. The smaller device can be loaded with up to two Nvidia K1200 GPUs, while the larger one can support up to dual Nvidia M4000 GPUs. It comes with different storage options including two 3.5-inch SATA slots, a 2.5-inch SATA slot for a SSD, and an M.2 SSD. In the front, it houses two USB 3.0 slots, an SD card reader, and a 1394 IEEE Firewire port. At the back it includes four USB 3.0 ports, two USB 2.0 ports two DisplayPorts, and and Ethernet port. The ThinkStation P310 can support up to 2880×1620 pixels resolution.

Raspberry Pi Mini Computers Vulnerable to Attacks, Company Acknowledges

Users of Raspberry Pi mini computers could be exposed to security issues due to a vulnerability in the operating system. The so-called vulnerability, as a developer has pointed out, leads the device to generate predictable secure shell (SSH) keys. Raspberry Pi Ltd confirmed the aforementioned limitation in Raspbian to us, and said that it is likely to fix that in a future release.

The flaw has been flagged by a developer who goes by the alias “oittaa” on the official Raspberry Pi forum. As per the claims, Raspbian, a Linux-based operating system that powers the miniature computer, doesn’t utilise a hardware random generator. This in turn, results in the generation of predictable SSH host keys on the first boot.

From a security standpoint, a generator should be able to churn out unpredictable numbers into an entropy pool, the randomness collected by an operating system or application. Because the engine isn’t using a hardware random generator, it significantly limits the amount of entropy that can be generated. To put things into perspective, Windows operating system uses a variety of sources such as the number of free bytes in memory and combines it with a random seed to create sophisticated random numbers.

Generation of weak SSH host keys makes the device vulnerable to man-in-the-middle attack. SSH, for those unfamiliar, is an open protocol for security network communications to safeguard communications and prevent unauthorised file transfers.

As per oittaa, as soon as a system starts up “systemd-random-seed tries to seed /dev/urandom, but /var/lib/systemd/random-seed is missing, because it hasn’t been created yet. /etc/rc2.d/S01regeneratesshhost_keys is executed, but /dev/urandom pool doesn’t have that much entropy at this point and predictable SSH host keys will be created.” He further noted that all existing Raspbian software releases including the November 2015 release are exposed to the aforementioned vulnerability.

“It’s certainly a real issue,” Sam Bowne, Computer Networking and Ethical Hacking faculty at City College, San Francisco told Gadgets 360, pointing us to a Black Ops talk by security researcher Dan Kaminsky. You can check out the presentation (page 25 onwards describes how Linux handles SSH keys generation and the limitations we face today).

“Hardware random number generators might be better, but it’s difficult to be sure that they are as random as they claim to be. One possible threat is that the NSA could have weakened them to make them more predictable,” Bowne added. “These concerns were taken so seriously that FreeBSD decided to avoid using Intel’s hardware RNG.

Raspberry Pi Ltd confirmed to us that Raspbian doesn’t utilise a hardware random generator, but noted that the company is likely to implement this feature in future. “The researcher is concerned about how much entropy has accumulated in the pool at the point where keys are generated on first boot, though it’s not clear from the report how much entropy is present (and therefore how predictable the SSH keys actually are).” Eben Upton, CEO, Raspberry Pi Ltd told Gadgets 360 in an email statement Tuesday. “We’re likely to make some changes to future OS releases, in particular enabling the hardware random number generator, which is a good source of entropy.”

Users concerned about it could consider manually regenerating keys, Upton advises. “Users might want to consider manually regenerating keys if they are particularly concerned.”

Digital Rights Group Alleges Google Invades Student Privacy

Google is being accused of invading the privacy of students using laptop computers powered by the Internet company’s Chrome operating system.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital rights group, depicts Google as a two-faced opportunist in a complaint filed Tuesday with the Federal Trade Commission.

Google disputes the unflattering portrait and says it isn’t doing anything wrong.

The complaint alleges that Google rigged the “Chromebook” computers in a way that enables the company to collect information about students’ Internet search requests and online video habits. The foundation says Google is dissecting the activities of students in kindergarten through 12th grade so it can improve its digital services.

The complaint contends Google’s storage and analysis of the student profile violates a “Student Privacy Pledge” that the company signed last year. The pledge, which covers more than 200 companies, contains a provision guaranteeing that students’ personal information won’t be exploited for “non-educational” purposes.

The foundation is calling on the FTC to investigate Google, stop it from using information on students’ activities for its own purposes and order it to destroy any information it has collected that’s not related to education.

Google applauded the Electronic Frontier Foundation for caring about student privacy, but said it believes it is following the laws enforced by the FTC.

“Our services enable students everywhere to learn and keep their information private and secure,” Google said in a statement.

Chromebooks have become particularly popular in schools because some models sell for less than $300 (roughly Rs. 20,000) and can be easily maintained by Google over the Internet.

But the way Google has managed some of its other products have previously gotten the Mountain View, California, company into trouble for violating its users’ privacy.

In 2012, Google paid a $22.5 million (roughly Rs. 149 crores) fine after the FTC concluded the company had created atechnological loophole that enabled its digital advertising network to shadow the online activities of people using Apple’s Safari browser without their consent.

The agency determined Google’s Safari surveillance violated an earlier promise not to mislead consumers about privacy issues. That pledge came after Google set up a social networking service called Buzz in 2010 and exposed people’s email contacts. Google agreed to period privacy audits as part of that settlement with the FTC.

Apple MacBook Air Lineup Set for Boost, 15-Inch Model Expected

Apple may have plans to offer a big boost to the MacBook Air lineup, which hasn’t seen a major refresh since 2010. The company reportedly also plans to launch a larger variant of the MacBook Air with a 15-inch display. According to a media report, the company could announce these products at its developer conference next year – WWDC 2016 in June.

According to a report by Economic Daily News, Apple’s MacBook Air range is set for a major upgrade in 2016. The company is planning to include improved batteries, chassis, and cooling modules in the new MacBook Air lineup. The lineup is presumably also going to have improved display panels.

The report adds that Apple also plans to “redesign” its MacBook Air computers. These computers might cost users more, however. The average price of these computers is said to go up. For manufacturing and supplies, the company is said to continue to side with Quanta, a Taiwanese original design manufacturer.

The new MacBook Air lineup, the report adds, will have a 15-inch variant as well. As of now, 13-inch models are the largest offering in MacBook Air lineup. The company may, however, discontinue the 11-inch model – though the Apple is reportedly undecided on this front.

The MacBook Air currently doesn’t fit too well into Apple’s laptop lineup, with its only USP the portability. While the MacBook Pro continues to get major hardware boosts, embracing the latest CPU and graphics cards available in the market, the same can’t be said about the Air. In the meanwhile, at WWDC 2015, the company announced the 12-inch Retina MacBook, and it fits between between the Air and Pro lineup with a good mix of portability and power.

Raspberry Pi Zero Is a Tiny Computer That Costs Just $5

Raspberry Pi Foundation, the company that makes miniature computers, has just made an addition to its affordable computer lineup. The company has announced the launch of the Raspberry Pi Zero, its cheapest computer to date. Priced at just $5 (roughly Rs. 320), the Raspberry Pi Zero is also the smallest Pi computer, measuring just 65mm x 30mm x 5mm.

As for the specifications, the Raspberry Pi Zero comes with Broadcom’s BCM2835 application processor clocked at 1GHz ARM11 core. The company says that this chipset is 40 percent faster than its counterpart at Raspberry Pi 1. Other specifications include a 512MB of LPDDR2 SDRAM, and a microSD card slot for storage.

On the connectivity front, there’s a mini-HDMI socket that supports 1080p60 video output, a 40-pin GPIO header, and a composite video header. Do note that there isn’t a standard USB or Ethernet port, so you will have to purchase an additional hub to be able to connect your peripherals or devices to it.

On the software front, the device can run Raspbian, a Linux-based operating system. The processing power should be enough to be able to handle apps such as Minecraft. It is available for purchase in the United Kingdom from element14, The Pi Hut and Pimoroni, and in the United States from Adafruit. There’s no word on its Indian availability, though based on the previous launches, it should be available in the country via authorised resellers soon enough.

Interestingly, a Raspberry Pi-powered product called Poco Supercomputer, is currently up on crowdfunding platform Indiegogo , which promises to offer an open source, completely hackable device. It has three Micro-USB ports, microHDMI-out, microSD expansion, two joysticks inlets, and a range of sensors. The company says that Poco Supercomputer can be used as a portable media player, a fitness tracker and a range of other things, as users see fit.

New MSi ECO Series Socket 1151 Motherboards Unveiled For Power Saving Efficiency

MSi ECO Series Socket 1151

Motherboard and hardware manufacturer MSi Has this week announced the launch of a new range ofmotherboards in the form of its second-generation MSi ECO Series that are based on Intel’s 100-series ‘Skylake’ chipset.

The new second-generation ECO motherboards consist of three options in the form of the MSI H170M ECO,B150M ECO, and H110M ECO.

The new motherboards have been designed to provide users with energy saving features that do not hinder the performance or compatibility of the motherboard. The boards are equipped with Intel Gigabit LAN connections that have been optimised to deliver a stable and efficient network connection at low CPU usage, MSi explains.

The 2nd generation MSI ECO Series motherboards offer more features than ever, without impacting it’s power efficiency or performance. Reliable and efficient Intel Gigabit LAN with 15kv anti-surge LAN Protect offers a stable and secure networking solution. Through carefully selected and thoroughly tested components and materials, Guard-Pro and Military Class 4 provide industry leading stability. Even Audio Boost can now be found on MSI ECO Seriesmotherboards as a testament to technical ingenuity.

MSI ECO Series motherboards are focusing on power efficiency. ECO PCB is a groundbreaking hardware design for ECO Series to use less power. Included in the new PCB design is hardware based control to cut off all power to features on the motherboard. The hardware control of onboard features also allows control of standby power.

ECO Genie is a new solution in BIOS to set up and customize ECO profile easily. Besides the 3 pre-configured modes, it allows to set the details such as disabling hyper-threading, or choosing voltage modes.

For more information on the new MSi ECO motherboards jump over to the MSi website for details via the links below.

Raspberry Pi Zero Is a Tiny Computer That Costs Just $5

Raspberry Pi Foundation, the company that makes miniature computers, has just made an addition to its affordable computer lineup. The company has announced the launch of the Raspberry Pi Zero, its cheapest computer to date. Priced at just $5 (roughly Rs. 320), the Raspberry Pi Zero is also the smallest Pi computer, measuring just 65mm x 30mm x 5mm.

As for the specifications, the Raspberry Pi Zero comes with Broadcom’s BCM2835 application processor clocked at 1GHz ARM11 core. The company says that this chipset is 40 percent faster than its counterpart at Raspberry Pi 1. Other specifications include a 512MB of LPDDR2 SDRAM, and a microSD card slot for storage.

On the connectivity front, there’s a mini-HDMI socket that supports 1080p60 video output, a 40-pin GPIO header, and a composite video header. Do note that there isn’t a standard USB or Ethernet port, so you will have to purchase an additional hub to be able to connect your peripherals or devices to it.

On the software front, the device can run Raspbian, a Linux-based operating system. The processing power should be enough to be able to handle apps such as Minecraft. It is available for purchase in the United Kingdom from element14, The Pi Hut and Pimoroni, and in the United States from Adafruit. There’s no word on its Indian availability, though based on the previous launches, it should be available in the country via authorised resellers soon enough.

Interestingly, a Raspberry Pi-powered product called Poco Supercomputer, is currently up on crowdfunding platform Indiegogo , which promises to offer an open source, completely hackable device. It has three Micro-USB ports, microHDMI-out, microSD expansion, two joysticks inlets, and a range of sensors. The company says that Poco Supercomputer can be used as a portable media player, a fitness tracker and a range of other things, as users see fit.

Dell Reportedly Shipping Another Dangerous Root Certificate on Its PCs

Another root certificate vulnerability has been found on at least some Dell’s Windows-powered computers. Earlier this week, the US-based computer juggernaut was caught shipping some of its recent PCs with a self-signed eDellRoot digital certificate which put its customers’ privacy and security at risk.

It turns out, eDellRoot wasn’t the only self-signed digital certificate that could allow attackers to impersonate websites and steal a user’s information. Another root certificate called DSDTestProvider has been found by researchers on some Dell systems that could potentially be abused by attackers to perform the same man-in-the-middle attacks the eDellRoot certificate allowed, allowing attackers to snoop on user data and spoof encrypted pages.

“Dell System Detect installs the DSDTestProvider certificate into the Trusted Root Certificate Store onMicrosoft Windows systems. The certificate includes the private key,” wrote researchers at Carnegie Mellon University.

“This allows attackers to create trusted certificates and perform impersonation, man-in-the-middle (MiTM), and passive decryption attacks, resulting in the exposure of sensitive information.”

Dell System Detect (DSD) is designed to interact with the Dell Support website. The researchers note that Dell systems that have been re-imaged, a popular process in which users remove all the applications that come pre-installed on the system and re-install them, are not affected. Some Dell systems don’t come with the said certificate at all – those computers are not affected either. As of now, exactly which PCs ship with the DSDTestProvider certificate is not known.

The certificate is identical to the eDellRoot, which means that an attacker could generate certificates by the DSDTestProvider CA too, and impersonate websites and other services, emails, and decrypt network traffic among other things.

On Monday, Dell acknowledged that its eDellRoot certificate is riddled with an “unintended security vulnerability.” The company also published an 11-page document with instructions on how to get rid of the said certificate. Dell is yet to acknowledge any vulnerability in the DSDTestProvider certificate.

HP’s Last Earnings Report Shows Decline

Hewlett-Packard went out with a whimper Tuesday, as the venerable computer-maker issued its final quarterly earnings report as a unified tech conglomerate, showing another drop in sales for most of its business divisions.

HP, which split into two companies at the start of this month, reported Tuesday that sales of its personal computers, printers, commercial software and tech services declined in the quarter ending October 31. The results show many of the challenges both spinoffs are facing.

But in a lone bright spot for the new spin-off known as Hewlett-Packard Enterprise Co., the company reported an increase in sales of data-center hardware, including computer servers and networking gear.

Like many of its tech industry peers, the Palo Alto, California-based HP has struggled to keep up with recent industry trends toward mobile and cloud computing. CEO Meg Whitman and the HP board decided last year to split the pioneering Silicon Valley company, founded in 1939, into two new companies. One is focused on PCs and printers, while the other sells commercial tech products.

The latest results were not a good sign for the spinoff known as HP Inc., as the company reported sales of PCs and printers were both down 14 percent from the same period a year earlier. HP Inc. also forecast adjusted earnings for the current quarter will be within the range of 33 to 38 cents a share, which is lower than the 42 cents analysts surveyed by FactSet had predicted.

Shares in HP Inc., fell more than 5 percent in extended trading after the report came out, after closing earlier at $14.64.

The news was better for the new HP Enterprise. While sales of high-end servers, software and tech services were down, the company said sales of its “industry standard” servers grew 5 percent and networking gear rose 35 percent. HP Enterprise is forecasting adjusted earnings for the current quarter will be within the range of 37 to 41 cents a share, while analysts were expecting 43 cents a share.

Shares in HP Enterprise rose more than 2.7 percent in after-hours trading, after closing earlier at $13.69.

In its last quarter as a combined company, HP reported $1.32 billion in profit on sales of $25.71 billion. Profit was down less than 1 percent from a year earlier, while revenue fell 9.5 percent.