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Updated 2024-03-05 02:30
Sabrent Ships 8TB SSD for PlayStation 5: High Capacity for a High Price
Although Sony's PlayStation 5 game console fully supports off-the-shelf PCIe 4.0 solid-state drives, Sony initially limited the maximum capacity to 4 TB. Recently the company removed that cap as part of the PS5 8.00 firmware update, and now the system can support drives with up to 8 TB. Sabrent, in turn, is among the first SSD makers to offer an 8 TB drive specifically marketed for the PS5."PC and PS5 enthusiasts have long anticipated the expansion of internal storage capacity, and now, this dream has become a reality with the introduction of the Sabrent 8TB Rocket 4 Plus SSD," astatement by Sabrent reads.Sabrent's Rocket 4 Plus 8 TB is based on a Phison platform and is actually a bit faster than the rest of the drives in the series. The manufacturer says that the SSD offers an up to 7,100 MB/s sequential read and up to 6,000 MB/s sequential write speeds. In order to keep the drive properly cooled under high loads, the drive comes equipped with a PS5-compatible aluminum heatsink that also doubles as a replacement for the drive bay's metal cover plate.Sabrent's 8 TB Rocket 4 Plus drive (SB-RKT4P-PSHS-8TB) can now be purchased from Amazon for$1,009.99, which is twice the price of Sony's PlayStation 5 console, and a $10 premium over a bare 8TB Rocket 4 Plus.This is of course a huge investment, but PS5's 825 GB of capacity available to end users is a fraction of what modern SSDs can provide 3 years later- and whose small capacity is quickly being consumed by modern, high-end games. For example, Call Of Duty: Black Ops Cold War takes up over 300 GB and Gran Turismo 7 nears 200 GB.Now that Sony's PlayStation 5 supports 8 TB SSDs, the console gets a yet another advantage over Microsoft's Xbox Series X|S consoles, which only support proprietary drives with an up to 2 TB capacity. Since these drives are essentially M.2-2230 SSDs encapsulated into a plastic case, it remains to be seen when an 8 TB drive will come to the latest generation of Xbox consoles.
ECS LIVA Q3D and ACEMAGIC T8 Plus micro-PCs Review: Jasper Lake and Alder Lake-N in a Smaller-than-UCFF Package
Compact computing systems have gained significant market share over the last decade. Improvements in the performance per watt metric of processors have enabled the replacement of bulky desktop PCs by ultra-compact form-factor (UCFF) machines with a 4 in. x 4 in. footprint. Motivated by IoT applications at the edge, some companies started creating x86 systems in sub-4x4 form-factors using Intel's Apollo Lake processors. ECS was one of the first mainstream vendors to pay attention to this segment with their LIVA Q Series using Intel's Atom series and AMD's first-generation Ryzen Embedded SoCs. With the introduction of more power-efficient platforms, Asian manufacturers such as ACEMAGIC, GMKtec, and MinisForum have also entered this micro-PC market with a wider range of processor choices.Intel introduced the Alder Lake-N (ADL-N) product family to take over Jasper Lake's role in the cost-conscious low-power PC market. As ADL-N ramps up and Jasper Lake winds down, we are seeing products based on both families being actively sold in the market. We took advantage of this opportunity to source two micro-PCs - the LIVA Q3D from ECS, and the T8 Plus from ACEMAGIC - and put them through our evaluation routine to study the benefits of ADL-N's Gracemont microarchitecture over Jasper Lake's Tremont. Read on for a detailed look at the results along with a discussion of the tradeoffs involved in pursuing a smaller-than-UCFF footprint.
Asus Launches ROG Matrix GeForce RTX 4090: All a 4090 Can Be, For $3200
When Asus teased its ROG Matrix GeForce RTX 4090 graphics card back at Computex, it was clear that the company's ambitions were to develop no less than the world's fastest graphics card. The company meticulously described the card's advanced printed circuit board design, voltage regulating module, and cooling system, but it never revealed two important details: actual clocks and price. This week it disclosed both: the board will clock the GPU at 2.70 GHz out-of-box and will cost $3,199, twice the price of a reference GeForce RTX 4090.An Overclocker's Dream Comes TrueAsus proudly states that the ROG Matrix GeForce RTX 4090 is ideal for overclocking enthusiasts. The board used the AD102 GPU equipped with 16,384 CUDA cores that has a peak frequency of 2700 MHz, surpassing NVIDIA's reference boost clock of 2520 MHz. In a physically unmodified (but LN cooled) state, an extreme overclocked ROG Matrix GeForce RTX 4090 surpassed the 4 GHz GPU clock threshold earlier this year, an achievement that underscores its potential for overclocking.Since its debut at Computex, the card has secured three World Records and five top spots, totaling seven overclocking achievements in various benchmarks, Asus says.NVIDIA has dozens of add-in-board (AIB) partners producing factory overclocked graphics cards. But with EVGA and its Kingpin-edition graphics cards gone, there are not so many brands left which cater to demands of extreme enthusiasts. Asus is certainly one of them and with its range-topping ROG Matrix RTX 4090, the company went above and beyond with enhancements beyond reference designs.Through Hardware and SoftwareThe card employs a custom circuit board featuring a 24-phase VRM and a 12VHPWR connector, ensuring up to 600W of power for the GPU. This board is equipped with multiple sensors to oversee temperatures of various components (and even create a temperature map) and even measure currents on the card's 12VHPWR connector (more on this later).The ROG Matrix GeForce RTX 4090 comes with a comprehensive closed-loop hybrid liquid cooling solution with a 360-mm radiator, magnetically connected fans, and RGB illumination. In a bid to improve efficiency of the cooler, Asus used a liquid metal thermal compound, which it uses for its gaming laptops and which is particularly hard to use for desktop PC components (marking a first in the GPU industry for Asus) since they tend to be located under a different angle.The ROG Matrix RTX 4090's strengths are not solely in its hardware though. Asus has enhanced its GPU Tweak III software, adding more monitoring and overclocking capabilities that leverage the card's advanced features and sensors. Users can customize various settings, including power targets, GPU voltage, and fan speed. The software also offers real-time temperature insights and tracks the card's performance at varying power settings.Another notable aspect is the card's Power Detector+ feature. This function examines the 12VHPWR connector, monitoring currents across all power rails to identify any irregularities, then recommends customers to reconnect the notorious plug if needed.A Niche ProductMeanwhile, performance of the ROG Matrix RTX 4090 comes at a cost as the product's price doubles that of a standard GeForce RTX 4090. This greatly devalues the product in the eyes of average people. But the Asus ROG Matrix RTX 4090 is a niche product. It targets hardcore overclocking enthusiasts eager to maximize their hardware's performance. This card is for those who relish fine-tuning their systems for minor benchmarking improvements, making it a trophy piece for tech enthusiasts.
Intel High-NA Lithography Update: Dev Work On Intel 18A, Production On Future Node
As part of Intel's suite of hardware announcements at this year's Intel Innovation 2023 conference, the company offered a brief update on their plans for High-NA EUV machines, which will become a cornerstone of future Intel process nodes. Following some changes in Intel's process roadmap - in particular Intel 18A being pulled in because it was ahead of schedule - Intel's plans for the next-generation EUV machines. Intel will now only be using the machines with their 18A node as part of their development and validation work of the new machines; production use of High-NA machines will now come on Intel's post-18A node.High Numerical Aperture (High-NA) machines are the next generation of EUV photolithography machines. The massive scanners incorporate 0.55 numerical aperture optics, significantly larger than the 0.33 NA optics used in first-generation production EUV machines, which will ultimately allow for higher/finer quality lines to be etched. Ultimately, High-NA machines are going to be a critical component to enabling nodes below 2nm/20 angstroms.At the time that Intel laid out their 5 nodes in 4 years" roadmap in 2021, the company announced that they were going to be the lead customer for ASML's High-NA machines, and would be receiving the first production machine. High-NA, in turn, was slated to be a major part of Intel's 18A node.
Intel Announces Panther Lake Client Platform, Built on Intel 18A For 2025
While the primary focus hasbeen on Intel's impending Meteor Lake SoC due by the end of the year, Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger unveiled more about their current client processor roadmap. Aside from a demo showing off a 'Lunar Lake' test box, Pat Gelsinger also announced Panther Lake, a new Intel client platform that is on track for a release sometime in 2025.Intel's updated roadmap has given the industry a glimpse into what lies ahead. Following the much-anticipated Lunar Lake processors set for a 2024-2025 timeframe, Panther Lake is set to bring allthetechnological advancements of Intel's 18A node to the party.As mentioned, Intel demoed Lunar Lake's AI capabilities with a live demo at Intel Innovation 2023. This included a pair of demos, one running an AI plugincalled Riffusion within the Audacity software, which can generate music. The second was ademo running Stable Diffusion using a text-to-image generation model; it was a giraffe in a cowboy hat for reference. This was all done using a working Lunar Lake test box, which seamlessly looked to run the two demos with ease.Intel Client Processor RoadmapNameP-Core uArchE-Core uArchProcess Node
Asus Quietly Begins to Sell Cheap ROG Ally Console with Non-Extreme CPU
With a plethora of news coming from Intel early this week, it went almost unnoticed that Asus has begun to sell an inexpensive version of itsROG Ally portable game console. Unlike the original one, this unit carries AMD's Ryzen Z1 non-extreme accelerated processing unit that offers tangibly lower performance, which makes the gaming systems considerably less capable.The original Asus ROG Ally portable game console for $699 is based on theAMD Ryzen Z1 Extremesystem-on-chip featuring eight Zen 4 general-purpose cores and a Radeon GPU featuring 12 RDNA 3 compute units (768 stream processors). By contrast, the cheaper Asus ROG Ally is powered by the vanilla AMD Ryzen Z1 that has six Zen 4 cores and a Radeon GPU with four RDNA 3 compute units (256 stream processors), which translates into a 25% lower general-purpose performance and a whopping 67% lower graphics performance.While a 20% lower CPU performance will inevitably affect game performance, it will not be a substantial performance drop; a 66% lower GPU performance will however dramatically drop framerates. Those gamers accustomed to the original ROG Ally performance based on the Ryzen Z1 Extreme SoC will probably find framerates on the cheaper model in demanding games unplayable.The cheaper version of the ROG Ally (RC71L-ALLY.Z1_512) is priced at $599 and can be ordered directly fromAsusandBest Buy. By contrast, the higher-end version of the ROG Ally is officially priced at $699, and the unit is listed by virtually all retailers, includingAmazonandNewegg. Whether $100 justifies up to 66% graphics performance degradation or not is something for everyone to decide, but it should be noted that getting an ROG Ally with Ryzen Z1 Extreme at its MSRP is pretty hard.Asus says that the only difference between $699 and $599 ROG Ally is the SoC, so the cheaper model still has a 7-inch display with a resolution of 1920x1080 and a 120 Hz refresh rate, 16 GB of LPDDR-6400 memory, a 512 GB SSD, and similar controls. Unfortunately, it is impossible to upgrade the handheld game console, and the only way to improve its performance if it is not enough is to attach an external GPU using the company's proprietaryROG XG Mobile connector, which will cost well over $1000.
Intel Demos Lunar Lake Client Processor In Action, Silicon Pulled In To Intel 20A?
As part of Intel's Innovation 2023 conference, the company is not only showing off their current and soon-to-be-current products like Meteor Lake, but the forward-looking keynote by CEO Pat Gelsinger was also used to showcase future generations of Intel products. Perhaps the biggest surprise this year being Intel's Lunar Lake platform, which is already up and running to the point where Intel can do demos on it.Lunar Lake is Intel's 2025 client platform, which is scheduled to arrive after Meteor Lake (very late 2023) and Arrow Lake (2024). At last disclosure from Intel, it is going to be a brand-new platform, replacing the shared Meteor/Arrow platform. At this point, confirmed details are few and far between, other than that it will be bigger and better than Meteor Lake.Intel Client Processor RoadmapNameP-Core uArchE-Core uArchProcess Node
Intel Unveils Meteor Lake Architecture: Intel 4 Heralds the Disaggregated Future of Mobile CPUs
During the opening keynote at Intel's Innovation event in San Jose, Chief Executive Officer Pat Gelsinger unveiled a score of details about the upcoming Meteor Lake client platform. Intel's Meteor Lake marks the beginning of a new era for the chipmaker, as they move away from the chaotic Intel 7 node and go into a rollout of their Foveros 3D packaging with EUV lithography for their upcoming client mobile platform. Meteor Lake uses a tiled, disaggregated chiplet architecture for its client-centric processors for the first time, changing the very nature of Intel's consumer chips going forward. And, according to Intel, all of these changes have allowed them to bring some significant advancements to the mobile market.Intel's first chiplet-based consumer CPU breaks up the common functions of a modern CPU into four individual tiles: compute, graphics, SoC, and an I/O tile. Within the makeup of the compute tile is a new pair of cores, a P-core named Redwood Cove and a new E-core called Crestmont. Both these cores promise IPC gains over their previous counterparts, but perhaps the most interesting inclusion is a new type of E-core embedded directly into the SoC tile, which Intel calls 'Low Power Island.' These new LP E-cores are designed with the idea that light workloads and processes can be taken off the more power-hungry compute tile and offloaded onto a more efficient and lower-powered tile altogether. Other major additions include a first-for-Intel Neural Processing Unit (NPU), which sits within the SoC tile and is designed to bring on-chip AI capabilities for workloads and inferencing, paving the way for the future.With Meteor Lake, Intel is aiming to put themselves in a more competitive position within the mobile market, with notable improvements to compute core hierarchy, Intel's Xe LPG Arc-based graphics tile looking to bolster integrated graphics capabilities, and an NPU that adds various AI advantages. Meteor Lake also sets the scene for Intel and modular disaggregation, with Foveros 3D packaging set to become a mainstay of Intel's processor roadmap for the future, with the Intel 4 process making its debut and acting as a stepping stone to what will become Intel's next mainstay node throughout its fabs, Intel 3.
The Intel Innovation 2023 Keynote Live Blog (8:30am PT, 15:30 UTC)
Kicking off this morning is Intel's annual technology conference, Innovation. The second year of the revived show once again has Intel's CEO Pat Gelsinger leading things off, with what's scheduled to be a 90 minute keynote.Intel has four major themes for this year's show:
Netgear Unveils Orbi 970 Wi-Fi 7 Quad-Band Mesh System
Wi-Fi has seen rapid advancements over the last decade, starting with the introduction of 802.11ac (Wi-Fi 5). 802.11ax (Wi-Fi 6) came with significant improvements in total throughput. The Wi-Fi 6E standard brought 6 GHz operation (where allowed) to consumers. A few years back, Wi-Fi 7 silicon was announced with multi-gigabit throughput and significant latency improvements. On the device side, consumers grappling with range issues typically used to augment their networks with extenders, while prosumers opted for multiple access points backed by a single router. In recent years, we have seen the rise of a new category of products - Wi-Fi systems / mesh networking kits. These bundles consisting of a router with one or more satellites attempted to make the setting up of a network extender-based configuration more user friendly and provide them with a seamless and unified product experience.The category has seen significant investment from traditional vendors like Netgear, TP-Link, etc., big vendors like Google (Google Wi-Fi and Nest Wi-Fi), as well as startups like eero (now, part of Amazon) and Plume. Netgear had jumped on the mesh-networking bandwagon quite early, and has enjoyed significant market success with their Orbi series of products. Unlike some of the other mesh networking vendors, Netgear uses a dedicated backhaul and also provides optional support for wired backhauls. While this provided tangible benefits over shared wireless backhauls, the costs associated with the additional radio has usually put the Orbi kits in the premium category.The company last updated its Orbi lineup in October 2021 with the launch of the RBKE960 Wi-Fi 6E mesh system based on Qualcomm's Networking Pro Series 1610 (integrating the IPQ8074 WiSoC and QCN9074 radios).Today, the company is introducing the Orbi 970 series with Wi-Fi 7 support. Building upon their experience with the RBKE960, Netgear has further optimized the antenna design and placement, and also enhanced the backhaul connection in a newly designed slim chassis with a smaller footprint.The quad-band design involves two 4x4 5 GHz, one 4x4 6 GHz, and one 4x4 2.4 GHz channels. The enhanced backhaul scheme in the Orbi 970 involves use of multi-link operation (MLO). The router and the satellite communicate using the dedicated 5 GHz backhaul channel along with the 6 GHz band. Multi-link operation is a new Wi-Fi 7 feature, and Netgear is taking advantage of that by using it in conjunction with their traditional dedicated backhaul channel. It must be noted that the 6 GHz channel is used for both fronthaul and backhaul.Netgear also demonstrated practical backhaul bandwidth of around 10 Gbps with this enhanced backhaul scheme. MLO is also available for fronthaul communication, assuming the client device supports it.The company has been making incremental improvements to the antenna placement for optimizing coverage, and the trend continues with the new industrial design. Each router / satellite includes 12 high-performance internal antennas complemented by high-power amplifiers.The availability of 320 MHz channels and the 16-stream support enable Netgear to advertise the Orbi 970 series as a BE27000 system, with theoretical total bandwidth of 27 Gbps.The router comes with 4x 2.5G + 1x 10G LAN ports and a 10G WAN port, while the satellite is equipped with 2x 2.5G + 1x 10G LAN ports. The 10G LAN ports on the router and satellite can be used to create a wired backhaul.As is usual for Orbi kits, the setup is done via a smartphone app. Netgear also provides a couple of value additions - 1 year of Netgear ARMOR powered by Bitdefender - a security / VPN solution, and a free month of a subscription-based Smart Parental Controls application.
Intel Shows Off Work on Next-Gen Glass Core Substrates, Plans Deployment Later in Decade
Although Intel's annual Innovation event doesn't kick off until tomorrow, the company is already publishing some announcements ahead of the show - and it's not the trivial stuff, either. This morning the company is showing off their initial work on developing a glass core substrate and associated packaging process for their chips. As a result of their progress with research and development on the glass cores, Intel is now planning on introducing glass core substrates to its products in the second half of this decade, allowing them to package chips in more complex, and ultimately higher-performing configurations.There's a lot to unpack from Intel's relatively short announcement, but at a high level, glass core substrates have been under research for over a decade as a replacement for organic substrates, which are widely used in current-generation processors. Essentially the medium that typical silicon dies sit on, substrates play an important part in chip packaging. First and foremost, they provide the structural stability for a chip (silicon dies are quite fragile and flimsy), and they are also the means through which signals from silicon dies are carried, either to other on-package dies (i.e. chiplets), or to the large number of relatively sizable pins/pads on the back side of a chip. And, as chip sizes have increased over the years - and the number of pins/signals required by high-end chips has, as well - so has the need for newer and better materials to use as a substrate, which is what's been driving Intel's latest accomplishment.Ultimately, what Intel is aiming to do with glass core substrates is to improve upon what can be done with existing organic substrates, allowing for larger chips with more signals to be routed through the substrate more cleanly. And while this will potentially have benefits for all chips over a long enough time, the immediate focus is on high-end, multi-chiplet processors, where glass core substrates will offer better mechanical stability, better signal integrity, and the ability to more easily route a larger number of signals through a non-silicon medium. In short, Intel considers it one of the keys to making high-performance processors in the next decade.
AMD Releases EPYC 8004 "Siena" CPUs: Zen 4c For Edge-Optimized Server Chips
AMD this morning is releasing the fourth and final member of its 4 generation EPYC processor family, the EPYC 8004 series. Previously disclosed under the codename Siena, the EPYC 8004 series is AMD's low-cost sub-set of EPYC CPUs, aimed at the telco, edge, and other price and efficiency-sensitive marketing segments. Based on the same Zen4c cores as Bergamo, Siena is basically Bergamo-light, using the same hardware to offer server processors with between 8 and 64 CPU cores.First unveiled by AMD last summer at Financial Analyst Day 2022, Siena is AMD's first dedicated entry into the telco, networking, and edge market. Compared to AMD's general-purpose Genoa chips (EPYC 9004), Siena offers fewer CPU cores and lower performance overall, instead optimizing the chips and platform for lower costs and better energy efficiency for use in non-datacenter environments. More broadly speaking, this is the low-end segment of the 4 generation EPYC stack.
Intel Broadens FPGA Range with New Products Across All Six FPGA Platforms
Intel'sProgrammable Solutions Group (PSG) is broadening itsFPGAproduct range with the introduction ofsixnewprogrammableplatforms aimed at different types of customers and workloads.In addition to a new sub-family of Agilex 5-series offerings, Intel is launching its all-new Agilex 3 series offerings along with new Agilex.Thehighlightof today's announcementis the Intel Agilex 3 FPGAseriesof power and cost-optimized FPGAs in compact form factors. The familyincludes theAgilex 3B-series FPGAsthatboast a higher I/O density in compact form factors(compared to Intel Max 10 FPGAs)and are optimized for board and system management, including server platform management applications.On the other side of the Agilex 3 spectrum istheC-series FPGAsthat areengineered to provide supplementary capabilities, making them apt for a broad spectrum of complex programmable logic devices (CPLD) and FPGA applications across various industries.Intel says that its Agilex 3-series FPGAs will be available soon without disclosing when exactly.Another noteworthy introduction is the Intel Agilex5 FPGA E-seriesbased on the 2Generation Hyperflex FPGA architecture andtailored for embedded edge applicationsand therefore featuring high performance efficiency.Intel produces these FPGAs in house using its Intel 7 manufacturing technology (formerly known as 10 nm Enhanced SuperFin), which is why it says that these parts deliver 1.6 times higher performance per watt compared to competing FPGAs made on a 16 nm-class process technology (possibly referring to Xilinx's FPGAs built in this process node).Additionally, thisFPGAseries integratesanAI tensor block, a feature previously exclusive to Intel's premiumprogrammable parts, positioning it as a solution for edge AI tasks.Intel will start sampling Agilex 5 E-series parts with design software in Q1 2024. A system simulator for these FPGAs will be available in the cloud in late 2024.Intel also said that it had begun shipments of its Intel Agilex 7 FPGAs with the R-Tile chiplet. These FPGAs offer a PCIe 5.0 interface with the CXL protocol on top that allow to quickly deploy programmable accelerators for specific tasks that can benefit from higher bandwidth and lower latencies.In addition to revealing new FPGAs, Intel also said that the first commercial product based on its F2000X infrastructure processing unit platform is now shipping. The part is the Napatech F2070X IPUthat has two 100 GbE ports and is powered by theAgilexAGFC023 FPGA and an Intel Xeon D SoC.Rounding off the new introductionsisthe Nios V/c compact microcontroller, which is a soft-core IP, based on the RISC-V architecture, which can be programmed using the company's Quartus Prime Pro software.
ASRock's Low-Profile Arc A310 Fits Every PC and Every Budget
ASRock this week has introduced an Intel Arc-based A310 Low Profile 4 GB graphics card. Aimed at the lower power/size/cost portion of the video card market, the entry-level A310 card carries a cut-down ACM-G11 GPU with 768 stream processors operating at 2.0 GHz and a 64-bit memory interface that connects 4 GB of GDDR6. And while its performance isn't anything to write home about, it fills out ASRock's lineup with a budget video card that can also easily be placed into low profile systems.Performance vise, ASRock's Arc A310 Low Profile graphics card should be comparable to higher-end integrated graphics solutions - which is to say that it's more for general desktop work than demanding games. Notably, as a current-generation Arc card, it incorporates Intel's feature-packed media playback engine, with hardware encoding and decoding for the majority of popular formats, such as AV1, H.264, H.265, and VP9, which makes it a good solution for home theater PCs (HTPCs) as well as office PCs.The low-profile card offers two display outputs, a DisplayPort (2.0) and an HDMI port (2.0b). In terms of power consumption, this is a sub-75W card (ASRock doesn't give a more precise figure than that), so you won't find any external power connectors as it's entirely bus-powered. Meanwhile, it looks like ASRock has opted to recycle the same dual-slot dual-fan cooling system they use for their other low-profile Arc card, the low-profile ASRock Arc A380.Wrapping things up, ASRock has not listed a price for the card. Though judging from the cost of other Arc A310 cards on the market, it's likely to end up hitting shelves in the low $100 range.
Khadas Mind Premium Review: Raptor Lake-P in a Modular Portable Workstation
Khadas is a well-known vendor in the ARM-based single-board computer (SBC) circles. Recently, the company made its first foray into the small form-factor x86 PC space with a rather unique product - the Khadas Mind. Unlike regular mini-PCs, the Mind is actually an ecosystem of products created with the aim of bringing a portable modular workstation to the market. Rather than relying on Thunderbolt to achieve this vision, the company has created a proprietary Mind Link connector and interface with an intent to produce a more close-knit set of products.The main processing unit in the ecosystem is the Khadas Mind, which comes with either an Intel Core i7-1360P (Mind Premium) or an Intel Core i5-1340P (Mind Standard). Equipped with the Mind Link Connector, it can interface to a variety of peripherals such as the Mind Dock and Mind Graphics. While the former provides additional I/Os, the latter is a full-featured eGPU enclosure with a variety of ports.Khadas sent across the Mind Premium along with the Mind Dock to provide us with an introduction to the Mind ecosystem. Read on for a detailed investigation into the performance and product experience delivered by Raptor Lake-P in an unusual package.
Western Digital Releases WD_Black SN770M: M.2-2230 SSD for Consoles
Western Digital has unveiled a compact version of its WD_Black SN770 SSD, tailored mainly for handheld gaming consoles such as the Asus ROG Ally and Valve Steam Deck. The WD_Black SN770M delivers the performance typical of a midrange PCIe 4.0 SSD, with support for features like Microsoft's DirectStorage.As implied by its name, the WD_Black SN770M is built on the same platform as its larger counterpart, the WD_Black SN770. It offers comparable performance metrics: sequential read speeds of up to 5150 MB/s, sequential write speeds of up to 4900 MB/s, and random read/write IOPS of up to 740K/800K. While the SN770M's figures might not rival the latest PCIe Gen5 drives, keep in mind that these are compact SSDs designed for portable, heat and power-constrained consoles.Western Digital WD_BLACK SN770M SSD SpecificationsCapacity500 GB1 TB2 TBModelWDS500G3X0G-00CHY0WDS100T3X0G-00CHY0WDS200T3X0G-00CHY0ControllerSanDiskNAND Flash?Form-Factor, InterfaceSingle-Sided M.2-2230, PCIe 4.0 x4, NVMe 1.4DRAMN/ASequential Read5000 MB/s5150 MB/sSequential Write4000 MB/s4900 MB/s4850 MB/sRandom Read IOPS460K740K650KRandom Write IOPS800KAvg. Power Consumption? W? W? WMax. Power Consumption? W (R)
TSMC Buys 10% Stake in IMS Nano from Intel
Intel and TSMC have announced an agreement in which TSMC will acquire a 10% stake in IMS Nanofabrication. IMS, controlled by Intel, produces multi e-beam photomask writing tools, whose significance is on the rise. TSMC has collaborated with IMS Nano since 2012, and this investment is expected to deepen their partnership.TSMC's acquisition of a 10% stake in IMS Nano is priced at $430 million, aligning with the company's valuation of approximately $4.3 billion. Earlier this year, Intel divested a 20% stake in IMS Nano to Bain Capital for $860 million, aiming to enhance its independence and valuing the company at the same $4.3 billion. After this transaction with TSMC, Intel will still hold about 70% of the multi-e-beam photomask tool company."TSMC has been working with IMS since 2012 on the development of multi-beam mask writers for advanced technology nodes," said Kevin Zhang, senior vice president of business development at TSMC. "This investment continues the long-term partnership between TSMC and IMS to accelerate innovation and enable deeper cross-industry collaboration."IMS Nanofabrication specializes in creating multi e-beam photomasks writing tools. The use of multiple e-beams accelerates the photomask creation process, a crucial advancement given that photomasks degrade faster with extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography. These multi e-beam tools enable chipmakers like Intel and TSMC to swiftly make minor adjustments to pellicles as part of yield improvements, variability lowering, and performance enhancement processes. Several years down the road these tools will be used for crafting photomasks for upcoming technology nodes that will use High-NA EUV lithography."We are delighted to bring in new investors to help us build on IMS's leadership in multi-beam mask writing, which is the backbone of innovation in leading-edge semiconductor technologies," said Elmar Platzgummer, chief executive of IMS. "This is a testament to IMS' expertise and leadership position in this integral technology. Together with our partners, we look forward to continuing to support innovation of next-generation technologies and deliver value across the semiconductor ecosystem."Intel believes that increased autonomy of IMS will positively impact the whole semiconductor production landscape by enabling the company to strategically tap into the expanding potential of multi-beam mask writing tools in the coming decade and further into the future.
The Apple 2023 Fall iPhone Event Live Blog (Starts at 10am PT/17:00 UTC)
It's that time of the year again - Apple's fall iPhone event, where the Cupertino company to unveil its newest generation family of iPhones. This year's theme is "Wonderlust," and will be the backdrop for the launch of iOS 17 as well as what should be the iPhone 15 series.This year is widely expected to see Apple switch from their proprietary Lightning connector to the newer USB-C connector, in large part to comply with EU phone charger regulations. Besides the compatibility benefits that entails, the Lightning connector itself is coming up on 11 years old- fulfilling Apple's promise for 10 years of support and then-some. And while Lightning is the progenitor to the modern reversible connector, its lower overall pin count is limiting its functionality in some ways that the denser USB-C should help with.Internally, it's all but assured that Apple will introduce a new generation processor in the form of the A17. Fab partner TSMC's production schedule has their first-generation 3nm node, N3B, well in to volume production at this point, so we're expecting to see our first shipping 3nm smartphone SoC. TSMC has never published generalized performance figures comparing N3B to N4 (used on the A16 SoC), so there's little basis for making specific performance estimates in advance. But as a full node improvement from the N5/N4 family, N3B should provide a perky punch, especially if Apple invests their gains in power consumption instead of performance.Interestingly, Apple may be the only game in town for a while due to other chipmakers opting for the forthcoming N3E node due to costs- but that's a story for another time. Regardless, Apple's SoC silicon has a strong history of delivering industry leading performance and some unexpected innovations, and we expect the new chip to once again push the envelope in performance and efficiency, as Apple is wont to do.The live blog will start along with the event at 10am PT / 17:00 UTC / 19:00 CEST.
Intel Unveils Barlow Ridge Thunderbolt 5 Controllers - TB5 Launching In 2024
The USB-IF and VESA released the specifications of USB4 v2 and DisplayPort 2.1 in Q4 2022. At that time, Intel also announced that their next-gen Thunderbolt specifications would build upon these standards. However, concrete details were not divulged. Today, the company is unveiling Thunderbolt 5 officially with discrete controllers in tow for both hosts and peripherals.Thunderbolt 5: Technical DetailsThe USB4 v2 specifications have been public for almost a year now. As a result, the capabilities of Thunderbolt 5 on the technical front are not much of a secret. In fact, Intel had detailed most of them last year.The technical aspects described above include:
Epos Winds Down Former Sennheiser Gaming Headphone Business
Epos has announced that it will be exiting the gaming headphone businessand will instead focus onenterprise communicationsproducts. The company's gaming products division, which was formerly part of the legendary Sennheiser, was responsible for shipping a number of notable gaming headsets over the past decade. However, the continuing weakness of the wired consumer audio market - and especially the gaming market - has taken its toll.Established in 2020 when Sennheiser and its partner Demant decided to part ways from their joint venture of nearly 20 years, Demant-owned Epos became the new home for what were Sennheiser's enterprise and gaming product divisions. While hopes were high for Epos as the gaming market has been growing in the recent years, Epos's gaming business performed weaker-than-expected in 2022 - 2023. And, facing a situation where additional investments would be required to keep the gaming division alive, Demant has decided to cut its losses and focus on enterprise communications.According to social media posts from Epos staff members, the company has already laid off all of its gaming division employees. Though the company has stated that it will continue to support customers and sell off inventory of existing products in the coming months. That self-off process is expected to take a decent bit of time, with Epos expecting it to stretch in to 2024."Since the demerger of our joint venture with the Sennheiser group, our Gaming business has faced a volatile market environment," said Soren Nielsen, President & CEO of Demant. "Following extraordinary demand sparked by the pandemic in 2020, the gaming market has slowed down significantly due to weak consumer sentiment, and we do not see a viable path to creating a profitable business without significant investments in products, brand and distribution. We of course regret the impact our decision will have on affected employees and would like to thank all employees who have worked very hard to build the Gaming business under difficult circumstances."Looking ahead, Demant's primary focus will be on fortifying its position in theenterprisesolutions market. The company aims to expand its product range for businesses and grow its distribution partnerships.Financially, Demant anticipates some minor one-time costs in 2023 due to this shift. However, the overall financial forecast for the year and beyond remains stable. The Gaming division accounted for approximately 15% of the Communications segment's revenue in the first half of 2023. By 2024, with the combination of this phase-out and previous cost-saving measures, Demant expects its operational expenses in Communications to drop to DKK 450-500 million($65 - $72 million)annually. This reduction is anticipated to lead to improved margins and a more favorable financial position in the near future.
Qualcomm Extends Deal To Supply 5G Modems for Apple Through 2026
Qualcomm just shot over a brief note this morning, announcing that the company has signed an extended agreement with Apple to supply 5G modem-RF chips for their smartphones and other products that will be released in 2024, 2025, and 2026. The unusual Apple-related announcement, notably coming from a vendor rather than the tech juggernaut itself, underscores the cold-but-necessary relationship between Apple and Qualcomm: Apple has made it no secret that the company wants to develop their own modems and end their reliance on Qualcomm. But with this latest deal, they are clearly not there yet. Which means that, at least for the next few years, Qualcomm's Snapdragon modems are going to remain a core part of Apple's mobile product lineup.The timing of this announcement comes a day before Apple's annual fall iPhone event - this year's titled Wonderlust" - where the iPhone 15 family of phones is widely expected to be introduced. Qualcomm and Apple's most recent agreement, prior to today's announcement, runs through the end of 2023, and the iPhone 15 generation of phones is widely expected to use some version of Qualcomm's 5G modem and RF front-end.Past that, Apple has been hard at work on development their own 5G modem, based in large part on the cellular modem technology they purchased from Intel back in 2019. With their own modem, Apple would no longer need to rely on Qualcomm for a critical component of their phones, a significant point of friction for the company given the costs and royalties involved.Today's announcement of a new deal with Qualcomm, however, throws some cold water on those expectations. As always, the devil is in the details - Qualcomm's agreement is not an exclusive agreement - but it means that Apple has, at a minimum, determined that they need to hedge their bets and have a deal in place with Qualcomm to purchase modems for the next few years should they are needed. As with the previous deal, Qualcomm's public expectation is that Apple will do a phased roll-out rather than a hard switch - leaving Qualcomm with possibly as little as a 20% share of Apple's phones in 2026 - but at 3 years out, plans can and do change, as we've since seen with the original Apple-Qualcomm deal.Ultimately, as Apple's modem development project is an internal project for a specific component, it's likely the notoriously tight-lipped company will have anything else to say on the matter until they're ready to ship a modem in volume. But by letting Qualcomm speak about their future together for the next three years, it makes it clear that Apple isn't going to be setting off on their own - at least, not quite yet.
Best CPUs for Gaming September 2023
As we move into the cooler fall season, the CPU market is constantly changing, much like the weather. The overall CPU market has plateaued slightly, as both Intel and AMD have relatively good stocks of their current 13th Gen Core and Ryzen 7000 CPUs at present. With new launches expected later this year, including Intel's 14th Gen Core series, we expect nothing further from AMD until next year at the earliest. As it stands, both Intel and AMD have a strong hand in the desktop market. AMD has their Zen 4-based Ryzen 7000 and Ryzen 7000X3D with 3D V-Cache, which cater to both enthusiasts and gamers alike. At the same time, Intel's 13th Gen Core series hybrid architecture brings both performance and competition to the market.Other than the Microcenter-exclusive AMD Ryzen 5 5600X3D (6C/12T) and the entry-level Ryzen 5 7500F launched in July, not much has changed in our last guide regarding available chips to choose from. The Ryzen 5 5600X3D with 3D V-Cache is a more affordable option on AM4 and Zen 3 with 3D V-Cache for gamers on a tighter budget, while the AMD Ryzen 5 7500F offers a more affordable option for the AM5 platform, but without the RDNA2 integrated graphics.Looking at a broader overview of the current CPU market, the top end is dominated by the Intel Core i9-13900K (8P+16E/32T) and AMD's Ryzen 9 7950X (16C/32T). The other flagship CPU primarily targeted at gamers is the Ryzen 9 7950X3D (16C/32T), which has 3D V-Cache packaging, giving the gamers 96 MB of L3 V-Cache on one CCD and 32 MB on the other. AMD and Intel also have mid-range offerings (Core i7/i5 and Ryzen 7/5) offering decent levels of compute performance and, when paired with a competent discrete graphics card, are more than adequate for gaming.
Minisforum Unveils Mini-ITX Motherboard with MXM Slot for… SSDs
Minisforum continues to diversify its business beyond compact PCs and this week it introduced a rather unusual Mini-ITX motherboard with an MXM slot. Typically used for graphics cards, Minisforum's Eyertec AD650i motherboard instead comes with an MXM adapter to house up to three M.2 SSDs. All together, the Mini-ITX board is able to drive 4 M.2 SSDs, as well as a couple of SATA SSDs for good measure.[making the platform suitable for an HTPC, NAS, or a small desktop that needs three M.2 drives.]The Minisforum AD650i Mini-ITX motherboard itself is based on Intel's laptop-grade Core i7-12650H processor (6P + 4E CPU cores, up to 4.70 GHz, 24 MB cache, UHD Graphics with 64 EUs, 45W PBP) that can be paired with up to 64 GB of DDR4 memory using two SO-DIMMs, an M.2 NVMe/PCIe SSD, and two SATA 3.0 drives. Meanwhile, the MXM carrier board can add three more M.2 SSDs (albeit with a PCIe interface) that can be set to work in RAID0, RAID1 and RAID5 modes.Since Minisforum supplies the MXM adapter for three M.2 drives with the Eyertec AD650i motherboard, it clearly positions the unit for NAS and similar devices that need to feature a lot of storage devices. Though as there are not a lot of high-capacity M.2-2280 SSDs around that can rival hard drives in terms of per-TB cost, the platform will likely land in something of a niche portion of the NAS segment.Those who would like to use the Eyertec AD650i for a PC, the MXM slot is not limited to SSDs and can technically be used to install a graphics card. But as MXM graphics cards have fallen out of favor (in place of soldered-down solutions), finding one worth installing is a whole other matter.Rounding out the rest of the I/O options for the AD650i, the board comes with a USB4-capable USB-C port, four USB 3.0 Type-A ports, a Wi-Fi 6E + Bluetooth adapter, a 2.5 GbE port, and two HDMI display outputs.Minisforum's Eyertec AD650i is now available from the company for2,599 ($313 without VAT), which is not a particularly low price. Though, given the fact that we are dealing with a unique product, this is not something unexpected, but a price that high underscores the fact that this is likely to be a niche product.
TSMC: Short Supply of HPC GPUs to Persist for 1.5 Years
The reports about an insufficient supply of compute GPUs used for artificial intelligence (AI) and high-performance computing (HPC) servers became common in recent months as demand for GPUs to power generative AI applications exploded. TSMC admits that the biggest compute GPU supply bottleneck is its chip-on-wafer-on-substrate (CoWoS) packaging capacity, as it is used by virtually everyone in the AI and HPC business. The company is expanding CoWoS capacity but believes that its shortage will persist for 1.5 years."Itis not the shortage of AI chips," said Mark Liu, the chairman of TSMC, in a conversation with Nikkei. "Itis the shortage of our CoWoS capacity. [...]Currently, we cannot fulfill 100% of our customers' needs, but we try to support about 80%. We think this is a temporary phenomenon. After our expansion of [advanced chip packaging capacity], it should be alleviated in one and a half years."TSMC currently produces the vast majority of processors that power popular AI services, including compute GPUs (such as AMD's Instinct MI250 and NVIDIA's A100 and H100), FPGAs, and specialized ASICs from companies like d-Matrix and Tenstorrent as well as proprietary processors from cloud service providers, such as AWS's Trainium and Inferentia as well as Google's TPU.It is noteworthy that compute GPUs, FPGAs, and accelerators from CSPs all use HBM memory to get the highest bandwidth possible and use TSMC's interposer-based chip-on-wafer-on-substrate packaging. While traditional outsourced semiconductor assembly and test(OSAT) companies like ASE and Amkor also offer similar packaging technologies, it looks like TSMC is getting the lion's share of the orders, which is why it can barely meet demand for its packaging services.Industry analysts believe that OSATs are less motivated to offer advanced packaging services because it requires them to invest hefty amounts of capital and poses more financial risks than traditional packaging. For example, if something goes wrong with a mainstream processor that sits on an organic substrate, an OSAT loses only one chip, whereas if something goes wrong with a package carrying four chiplets and eight HBM memory stacks, the company loses hundreds if not thousands of dollars. Since OSATs do not get substantial margins making those chiplets, such risks slow down the expansion of advanced packaging capacity at OSATs, even though advanced packaging costs significantly more money than traditional packaging.Just like its industry peers, TSMC is spending billions on upcoming advanced packaging facilities. For example, the company recently announced plans to spend nearly $2.9 billion on a packaging fabthat is rumored to come online in 2027."We are increasing our capacity as quickly as possible," said C.C. Wei, chief executive of TSMC, at the company's earnings call earlier this year. "We expect these tightness somewhat be released in next year, probably towards the end of next year. [...] I will not give you the exact number [in terms of processed wafers capacity], but CoWoS [capacity will be doubled in 2024 vs. 2023]."Source:Nikkei
The Be Quiet! Silent Loop 2 AIO Cooler Review: Quiet and Unassuming
A familiar presence here at AnandTech, Be Quiet! has settled in to distinct niche for itself in the PC peripherals market over the years by simply living up to the company's name. Tuning their device designs for minimal acoustics, the company successfully expanded into all-in-one (AIO) liquid coolers back in 2016. It's a product segment where, even though the design of closed-loop systems is quite restrictive, the company's engineers have always been trying to innovate and differ from the competition. A prime example of this approach could be the Pure Loop series that hit the market back in 2020, which had a decoupled liquid pump.Jumping forward to the present, today we are taking a look at the latest AIO cooler series from Be Quiet!, the Silent Loop 2. This is an advanced cooler series that is designed to fully maximize the performance-to-noise ratio for demanding users. The Silent Loop 2 series consists of four coolers that are, as is usually the case, practically identical with the exception of the radiator size, which ranges from 120 mm to 360 mm. For our review we received the most popular version of the series, the 280 mm Silent Loop 2 cooler.
ASML to Deliver First High-NA EUV Tool This Year
In a promising sign for the development of the next generation of EUV lithography machines, ASML has revealed that the company is set to deliver the industry's first High-NA extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography scanner by the end of the year. That machine, the 0.55 numerical aperture (NA) Twinscan EXE:5000 pilot scanner, is being developed for chipmakers so that they may learn how to efficiently use High-NA EUV technology. Following those R&D efforts, high volume manufacturing of chips using High-NA scanners expected to commence in 2025, when ASML begins shipping the commercial-grade Twinscan EXE:5200 scanner."A few suppliers had some difficulties in actually ramping up and also giving us the right level of technological quality, so that led to some delay," said ASML CEO Peter Wennink, in a brief interview with Reuters. "But in fact, the first shipment is still this year.Currently, the most sophisticated EUV scanners in various fabs are ASML's Twinscan NXE:3400C and NXE:3400D. These scanners are equipped with 0.33 numerical aperture (NA) optics, delivering a 13 nm resolution. Such a resolution is suitable to print chips on manufacturing technologies featuring metal pitches between 30 nm and 38 nm. However, when pitches drop below 30 nm (at nodes beyond 5 nm), 13 nm resolution will not be enough and chipmakers will have to use EUV double patterning and/or pattern shaping technologies. Given that double patterning EUV can be both costly and fraught with risks, the industry is working on High-NA EUV scanners, which have a 0.55 NA, to achieve an 8nm resolution for manufacturing technologies intended for the latter half of the decade.ASML's High-NA scanners will once again change configurations of semiconductor fabs as they will not only employ new optics, but will also need a new and bigger light source, which will require new fab structures leading to significant investments. Though ASML's High-NA scanners are expected to be significant investments themselves, with various reports pointing to $300 - $400 million per unit, up from over $200 million per 0.33 NA EUV scanner.Intel had originally planned to use ASML's High-NA tools for its 18A (1.8 nm) production node, which was set for high-volume manufacturing in 2025, coinciding with ASML's anticipated delivery of its Twinscan EXE:5200. However, Intel later pulled in the commencement of its 18A production to the latter half of 2024, apparently opting to use ASML's Twinscan NXE:3600D/3800E with two exposures, as well as Applied Material's Endura Sculpta pattern-shaping system to reduce usage of EUV double patterning.Intel is expected to be the alpha customer for ASML's pilot High-NA scanner, so when it receives the machine later this year, its developers and engineers will be able to adjust Intel's process technologies to the upcoming production tools. Given the timing of the tools versus Intel's own process node plans, for the moment it remains unknown just how and when they will integrate the tools into their processes. As 18A is expected to be a long-term node, Intel may still be intending to use High-NA EUV with it, even if that option isn't viable at the start.Meanwhile, Samsung Foundry and TSMC are slated to start production of chips on their 2 nm-class nodes (SF2, N2) in late 2025. Though just how High-NA machines factor into their plans remains equally up in the air.
Arm's Clients and Partners Signal Interest to Invest $735 Million Ahead of IPO
According to fresh SEC filings from Arm, the chip IP designer has secured a slew of industry investors ahead of the company's impending IPO. Aiming for a strong start to what Reuters reports is projected to be a $52 billion IPO valuation, Arm has been seeking out major industry customers as cornerstone investors, successfully lining up nearly a dozen companies from their efforts. Altogether, AMD, Apple, Cadence, Google, Intel, MediaTek, NVIDIA, Samsung, Synopsys, and TSMC have signaled an interest to purchase up to an aggregate of $735 million of Arm's American Depositary Shares (ADS), SoftBank, the owner of Arm, disclosed in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.While the exact number of shares to be purchased has not been disclosed - and may very well change ahead of the IPO as the current inquiries are non-binding - at the upper-end price of $51/share, a $735 million purchase would represent just over 15% of the 95.5 million Arm shares that SoftBank intends to offer as part of the IPO. Or, measured against the projected $52 billion valuation of the company, this would leave the cornerstone investors owning a collective 1.4% of Arm.The list of companies that plan to purchase Arm shares is pretty impressive as it contains not only Arm's partners and clients like Apple, Cadence, Google, Samsung, and TSMC, but also customer-rivals, such as AMD and Intel, who both use Arm IP in some of their chips while competing with Arm designs in other chips. Meanwhile, some of Arm's other big customers are notably absent from the cornerstone investor group, including Qualcomm and Amazon.Overall, the cornerstone investors represent a mix of fabless chip designers and tool vendors, as well as all three of the world's leading fabs themselves. For Intel's part, the company is establishing its Intel Foundry Services group to produce chips for fabless chip designers, and virtually all of them use Arm's cores. Therefore, close collaboration with Arm is something that IFS needs to have, and a good way of making friends with Arm is to own a piece of it."80% of TSMC wafers have an Arm processor in them," said Stuart Pann, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Intel Foundry Services, at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia & Technology Conference, reports Tom's Hardware. "The fact that our organization, the IFS organization, is embracing Arm at this level, investing in Arm, doing partnerships with Arm should give you a signpost that we are absolutely serious about playing this business. Because if you are not working with Arm, you cannot be a foundries provider."Interestingly, the head of Intel's foundry unit even said that IFS will have to focus more on Arm and RISC-V going forward as both instruction set architectures are going to drive chip volumes and volumes is what Intel wants at its fabs.Meanwhile Apple, one of the founders of Arm back in the 1990, extended its license agreement with Arm beyond 2040, which is a testament that the company is confident of the ISA and its development, at least for now. Keeping in mind that for now all of Apple's products use at least one Arm's CPU core, it is not reasonable that the companies are going to remain partners for the foreseeable future.
Intel Foundry Services to Make 65nm Chips for Tower Semiconductor
In quite an unexpected turn of events, Intel on Tuesday announced that its foundry division would produce chips for contract chip maker Tower Semiconductor. Tower was a previous acquisition target for Intel, with that deal unraveling just a few weeks ago due to a lack of regulatory approval from China. But, as it would seem, despite the failure of the acquisition, it seems that Intel and Tower will be working together after all - just with Intel doing fab work for Tower. Under the new deal, Intel will make chips for Tower's customers at its Fab 11X in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, which is one of Intel's leading-edge fabs.Based on the agreement's conditions, Intel Foundry Services will provide a 'new capacity corridor of over 600,000 photo layers per month' for Tower to meet the anticipated client needs for 300mm advanced analog processing, something that Intel has not done at its own fabs for a while. IFS will produce chips for Tower starting from 2024, when Tower's process flow is qualified at its fab. In return, Tower plans to invest up to $300 million in procuring of fab tools and other fixed assets for Intel's Fab 11X.While the two companies remain tight lipped about actual products that IFS will produce for Tower Semiconductor, they did imply on power management ICs using Tower's 65 nm power management BCD (bipolar-CMOS-DMOS) process. Meanwhile both firms have alluded to utilizing other production nodes at Intel's Fab 11X, including 65 nm radio frequency silicon-on-insulator (RF SOI), which would be the first time when Intel will use SOI of any kind."As we look to the future, our primary focus is to expand our customer partnerships through high-scale manufacturing of leading-edge technology solutions," said Russell Ellwanger, chief executive officer of Tower Semiconductor. "This collaboration with Intel allows us to fulfill our customers' demand roadmaps, with a particular focus on advanced power management and radio frequency silicon on insulator (RF SOI) solutions, with full process flow qualification planned in 2024. We see this as a first step towards multiple unique synergistic solutions with Intel."For Tower, the deal marks a progressive move towards greater expansion, catering to a growing clientele in 300 mm technologies. The augmented scale from this deal enables Tower to address broader opportunities using its current production nodes, but also to bolster relationships with large clients with massive needs, laying the groundwork for development of future production nodes.Intel, on the other hand, will be able to fully use its Fab 11X capacity in New Mexico without needing to invest in all of the tools that will eventually end up installed there."We launched Intel Foundry Services with a long-term view of delivering the world's first open system foundry that brings together a secure, sustainable, and resilient supply chain with the best of Intel and our ecosystem," said Stuart Pann, Intel senior vice president and general manager of Intel Foundry Services. "We are thrilled that Tower sees the unique value we provide and chose us to open their 300mm U.S. capacity corridor."
ASRock Reveals 4x4 Box 7040 Series: SFF PCs with AMD Phoenix and USB4
ASRock Industrial has introduced a new lineup of NUC-like systems based on AMD's Ryzen 7040-series 'Phoenix' processors for laptops and compact desktops. The new 4x4 Box 7040 series compact PCs can be used for a wide variety of workloads given their high performance, advanced built-in graphics, rich connectivity, and USB4 support.ASRock's 4x4 Box 7040 systems are built around AMD's latest generation, Zen 4-based Ryzen 7 7840U (8C/16T, 5.10 GHz, Radeon 780M with 768 stream processors, AI accelerator) or Ryzen 5 7640U (6C/12T, 4.90 GHz, Radeon 760M with 512 stream processors, AI accelerator) CPUs. The mini-PCs can be equipped with up to 64 GB of DDR5-5600 memory using two SO-DIMMs as well as two M.2 SSDs with a PCIe 4.0 x4 or SATA interface. The processor is cooled down using an active cooling system to ensure its consistent performance under high loads, though the manufacturer does not disclose its noise level.Traditionally for ASRock's 4x4 Box PCs, connectivity department of the company's new compact machine is quite advanced as it as a Wi-Fi 6E + Bluetooth 5.2 adapter, one 2.5 GbE port and one GbE port, two USB4 Type-C connectors with DP Alt Mode support on the front, three USB Type-A ports (USB 3.2 Gen2, two USB 2.0), four display outputs (two DP 1.4a using USB-C, two HDMI 1.4b), and a TRRS audio jack for headsets.The system measures 117.5*110.0*47.85mm (4.63*4.33*1.88 inches) and can be mounted on the backside of a display using VESA mounts to save some desk space.ASRock's 4x4 Box 7040 series systems are listed on the company's website, so expect them to become available shortly. In addition, the company also offers 4x4 7040 motherboards based on AMD's Ryzen 7 7840U or Ryzen 5 7640U SoCs for system integrators that have access to miniature chassis or would like to use these platforms for their own embedded designs.
GIGABYTE Z790 Aorus Xtreme Motherboard Review: Flagship Z790 With Impressive VRM Thermals
Over the years, motherboard manufacturers have consistently pushed the limits on top-end motherboards with striking designs and PCBs filled to the brim with the latest controllers and feature sets. Although these typically come with a high price premium, these 'flagships' represent the latest components, designed to operate the fastest processors to deliver leading-edge performance while offering the best controllers available at the time of manufacture.One such model is the GIGABYTE Z790 Aorus Xtreme, which is the direct successor to the Z690 Aorus Xtreme, and boasts a premium feature set, including support for DDR5-8000 memory, dual Thunderbolt 4 Type-C, as well as 10 GbE and Wi-Fi 6E connectivity. Sitting at the top of GIGABYTE's Z790 range of motherboards, the Z790 Aorus Xtreme is designed for Intel's 13th (and 12th) generation Core series processors, and as such, benefits from advancements such as PCIe 5.0, native USB 3.2 G2x2 connectivity through a front panel header, and 10 x USB 3.2 G2 Type-A ports directly located on the back panel.In a market with a massive choice of motherboards, the GIGABYTE Z790 Aorus Xtreme has plenty of bells and whistles and appeals to users looking for the best motherboard designs and technology. Despite not being cheap, GIGABYTE, over the last couple of generations on both AMD and Intel chipsets, has offered good levels of value while offering solid performance levels. Today we're taking a closer look at the Z790 Aorus Xtreme to see how it stacks up against other LGA1700 motherboards with our Intel Core i9-13900K and if there's any value to be had amid the solid and premium feature set offered by GIGABYTE.
ASUS Takes Over Intel NUC Brand, Begins the Next Era for the Next Unit of Computing
As of September 1, ASUS has officially taken over Intel's NUC brand and product range. Per the companies' previously announced agreement, ASUS has become the de facto heir to Intel's NUC business, taking on the support obligations along with a non-exclusive license to build further NUCs. ASUS's newly introduced NUC series, in turn, features a diverse array of NUC PCs and compute elements aiming for a broad spectrum of needs, from business to gaming and beyond, all powered by Intel processors."Starting September 1st, NUC becomes a proud member of the ASUS product lineup, setting off on an exhilarating journey ahead," an ASUS statement at Twitter reads. "Delve into NUC product specifics on the official ASUS website."ASUStek's compact NUC offerings are designed for a wide variety of usage scenarios, including typical productivity at home or in office, gaming, edge computing, commercial, and even professional applications. ASUS also plans to keep providing NUC compute elements for custom commercial applications.Although ASUS has rights to offer NUC PCs based on 10, 11, 12, and 13 Generation Core CPUs, all systems featured on the ASUS NUC website are powered by Intel's 13th Generation Core 'Raptor Lake' processors. As noted previously, ASUS's agreement does require them to continue supporting the older NUCs (including hardware replacements, as warranties dictate), but they are not required to sell the older NUCs.In any case, with Intel's 13 Generation Core CPUs having been out for a year now, the change in ownership is as good a time as any to tidy up the product line. Though like similar business handoffs in the past, this won't be an overnight change; none of the ASUS NUCs feature ASUS's logotype, and at least one machine still carries Intel's.ASUS acquired the NUC line after Intel decided to step away from this segment in mid-July. The two companies signed a non-exclusive agreement, allowing ASUS to manufacture existing NUC models and develop new ones, but leaves NUC doors open for other PC makers. Meanwhile, being a top PC maker ASUS is uniquely positioned to manage this line of products on a large scale.Acquisition of Intel's NUC product range makes a great sense for ASUS, which has been losing market share in the recent years as it tried to focus on profitability. By taking over Intel's NUC business, ASUS is in a good position to increase its market share, while giving the NUC concept a new lease on life from a manufacturer who is more directly connected to the pre-built PC market.
Samsung Unveils Industry's First 32Gbit DDR5 Memory Die: 1TB Modules Incoming
Samsung early on Friday revealed the world's first 32 Gb DDR5 DRAM die. The new memory die is made on the company's12 nm-class DRAM fabrication processand not only offers increased density, but also lowers power consumption. The chip will allow Samsung to build record 1 TB RDIMMs for servers as well as lower costs of high-capacity memory modules.With our 12nm-class 32 Gb DRAM, we have secured a solution that will enable DRAM modules of up to 1 TB, allowing us to be ideally positioned to serve the growing need for high-capacity DRAM in the era of AI (Artificial Intelligence) and big data," said SangJoon Hwang, executive vice president of DRAM product & technology at Samsung Electronics.32 Gb memory dies not only enable Samsung to build a regular, single-rank 32 GB module for client PCs using only eight single-die memory chips, but they also allow for higher capacity DIMMs that were not previously possible. We are talking about 1 TB memory modules using 40 8-Hi 3DS memory stacks based on eight 32 Gb memory devices. Such modules may sound overkill, but for artificial intelligence (AI), Big Data, and database servers, more DRAM capacity can easily be put to good use. Eventually, 1TB RDIMMs would allow for up to 12 TB of memory in a single socket server (e.g. AMD's EPYC 9004 platform), something that cannot be done now.With regards to power consumption, Samsung says that using the new dies they can build 128 GB DDR5 RDIMMs for servers that consume 10% less power than current-generation modules built around 16 Gb dies. This drop of power consumption can be attributed to both 12 nm-class DRAM production node as well as avoiding the use of 3D stacked (3DS) chips that pack two 16 Gb dies into a single package.Samsung is not disclosing the speed bins of its 32 Gb memory dies, but finished 16 Gb modules made on the same 12 nm-class technology offer a7200 MT/s data transfer rate.Samsung intends to start mass production of 32 Gb memory dies by the end of 2023, but for now the company isn't detailing when it plans to offer finished chips to customers. it's likely that the company will start with client PCs first, though whether that translasts into any cost savings remains to be seen.Otherwise, for servers it usually takes a while for server platform developers and vendors to validate and qualify new memory components. So while Samsung has 1 TB RDIMMs in its future, it will take some time before we see them in shipping servers.
The ASUS TUF Gaming 850W Gold PSU Review: Tough But Fair
Though ASUS as a company needs no introduction to regular AnandTech readers, even for us it's easy to overlook just how vast their range of product lines is these days. As the company has moved beyond PC motherboards and core components to kept diversifying over the years, they've established whole subsidiary brand names in the process, such as the Republic of Gamers" or ROG". Nowadays, the ASUS logo can be found on almost every PC component and peripheral there is, from mouse pads to gaming laptops.One of the many series of products ASUS is supplying under its brand name- and that, somehow, we've never reviewed up until now- is a rather extensive array of power supply units. The company splits its units into three main series, the ROG, the TUF Gaming, and the Prime, all of which are targeting higher segments of the market. In fact, ASUS is fairly rare in this respect; unlike most other manufacturers, ASUS largely stays out of the low-to-middle range of the market altogether, instead focusing on the more lucrative premium and gaming segments.Today's review directs its focus towards ASUS's TUF Gaming series, which is - in our opinion - the most versatile series that the company currently markets. The TUF Gaming units are designed with long-term reliability and high performance in focus and are being marketed accordingly. The new 850W Gold variant of this series aligns with Intel's ATX 3.0 design guidelines, with the 80Plus Gold certification and 10-year manufacturer's warranty as the major highlights, and retails for a reasonable price tag.
MSI Goes Compact with New GeForce RTX 40-Series Gaming Slim Cards
Modern graphics cards are notorious for their massive cooling systems and dimensions that are hard to fit into mainstream PC chassis and almost impossible to fit into compact PC cases that are rather popular among gamers. MSI this week attempted to address these concerns by announcing a family of GeForce RTX 40-series graphics cards calledGaming Slimthat are meant to be slimmer than a typical add-in-board. But are they?Judging by MSI'sGeForce RTX 4070 Ti Gaming X Slim(which measures307*125*51 mmand weights 1086 grams), it is indeed considerably more compact than MSI'sGeForce RTX 4070 Ti Gaming X Trio(337*140*62 mm @ 1594 grams). What is no less important is that the Gaming Slim is nearly as fast as its full-fat counterpart with its maximum 2745 MHz GPU clock vs. 2760 MHz.With that said, despite the "slim" designation, we're still looking at a graphics card that is 2.5 slots (51 mm) wide. So the most densely packed of systems that can't take a card over 2 slots will still need to look elsewhere. For everything else, it will certainly be easier to assemble a PC with MSI's Gaming Slim graphics card due to its squeezed dimensions.MSI says that its Gaming Slim-badged graphics cards will provide signature features of its Gaming-branded graphics cards, including factory overclocked GPU and enhanced cooling system, but will bethinner and lighter, enabling 'flexible system assembly.' MSI further noted that it would offer all of its Gaming GeForce RTX 40-series products in Gaming Slim flavor, including GeForce RTX 4090, RTX 4080, RTX 4070, and RTX 4060.MSI says that its Gaming Slim graphics cards will come in black and white versions, will use the company's latest cooling solutions (Tri Frozr triple-fan cooling system with Fan Torx Fan 5.0 fans and up to eight pipes), and addressable RGB LEDs.For now, the company has Gaming Slim versions of GeForce RTX 4070 Ti, GeForce RTX 4070, and GeForce RTX 4060 Ti, so the higher-end products will probably be available at a later date. Meanwhile, we can only wonder how compact will MSI manage to get NVIDIA's GeForce RTX 4090 and whether the company's GeForce RTX 4090 Gaming Slim will be more compact than NVIDIA's GeForce RTX 4090 Founders Edition.
Minisforum Teases AMD Ryzen-Based Tablet
Having received worldwide recognition for its compact desktop computers, Minisforum is looking beyond PCs to grow its business. Earlier this year the company introduced its first tablet and is prepping a tablet with AMD's Zen 4-based accelerated processing unit (APU) inside.The tablet that Minisforum plans to introduce will be a 2-in-1 device with a detachable keyboard and a stylus, according to the company'spresentation in China, which was caught byLiliputing. For now, Minisforum plans to use AMD's eight-coreRyzen 7 7840UAPU with Radeon RX 780M GPU as the foundation for the device, though by the time the product shows up the form might decide to go with something else.Specifications of the device have not been touched upon, which is not particularly surprising given that it is at its early stages of development. Meanwhile, the company stressed that it will take advantage of AMD's AI-co-processor built into Ryzen 7 7840U processor and will therefore use Windows AI capabilities.For now, it is hardly a good business to speculate what to expect from Minisforum's tablet, though the company is known for offering products with decent specifications at moderate price points.While we do not know much about Minisforum tablets, the very fact that the company is going this route is remarkable. Keeping in mind that Minisforum is known primarily for PCs, notebooks were arguably the most logical way to expand its business. Yet, the market of notebooks seems to be too crowded, so the company opted for Windows tablets, an untapped market largely because Microsoft's platform is not particularly popular among tablet users.The choice of AMD's Ryzen platform for a tablet is also noteworthy since we have not seen tablets based on AMD for quite a while. Perhaps, because the company makes so many systems based on AMD's APUs, it knows the platforms so well that it decided to use AMD's Ryzen 7840U for tablet, a form-factor that has not been tapped by this processor just yet.
Hot Chips 2023: Intel Details More on Granite Rapids and Sierra Forest Xeons
With the annual Hot Chips conference taking place this week, many of the industry's biggest chip design firms are at the show, talking about their latest and/or upcoming wares. For Intel, it's a case of the latter, as the company is at Hot Chips to talk about its next generation of Xeon processors, Granite Rapids and Sierra Forest, which are set to launch in 2024. Intel has previously revealed this processors on its data center roadmap - most recently updating it in March of this year - and for Hot Chips the company is offering a bit more in the way of technical details for the chips and their shared platform.While there's no such thing as an unimportant" generation for Intel's Xeon processors, Granite Rapids and Sierra Forest promise to be one of Intel's most important updated to the Xeon Scalable hardware ecosystem yet, thanks to the introduction of area-efficient E-cores. Already a mainstay on Intel's consumer processors since 12 generation Core (Alder Lake), with the upcoming next generation Xeon Scalable platform will finally bring E-cores over to Intel's server platform. Though unlike consumer parts where both core types are mixed in a single chip, Intel is going for a purely homogenous strategy, giving us the all P-core Granite Rapids, and the all E-core Sierra Forest.As Intel's first E-core Xeon Scalable chip for data center use, Sierra Forest is arguably the most important of the two chips. Fittingly, it's Intel's lead vehicle for their EUV-based Intel 3 process node, and it's the first Xeon to come out. According to the company, it remains on track for a H1'2024 release. Meanwhile Granite Rapids will be shortly" behind that, on the same Intel 3 process node.
GEEKOM Mini IT13 Packs Core i9 into 4x4 NUC Chassis: 14-Cores NUC
While Intel's classic 4x4 NUCs have been pretty powerful systems capable of handling demanding workloads, the company never cared to install its top-of-the-range CPUs into its compact PCs. GEEKOM apparently decided to fix this and this week introduced its Mini IT13: the industry's first 4x4 desktop with an Intel Core i9 processor, offering with 14 CPU cores inside.TheMini IT13 from GEEKOMmeasures 117 mm * 112 mm * 49.2 mm, making it as small as Intel's classic NUC systems. Despite its compact size, it can pack Intel's mobile-focused 14-coreCore i9-13900H(6P+8E cores, 20 threads, up to 5.40 GHz, 24 MB cache, 45W) that comes with integrated Xe graphics processing unit with enhanced performance (Xe-LP, 96 EUs or 768 stream processors at up to 1.50 GHz).To maintain consistent performance of the CPU and avoid overheating and performance drops of even under significant loads, the system employs a blower-style cooler, which produces up to 43.6 dBA of noise, so the machine is not exactly whisper quite to say the least.The compact PCsupportsup to 64 GB of DDR4memory through two SODIMMs, an M.2-2280with aPCIe 4.0x4interfaceand an M.2-2242SSD with aSATA interface, and an additional 2.5-inch HDD or SSD for more extensive storage.As far asconnectivityis concerned, theGEEKOM Mini IT13comes with aWi-Fi6E+ Bluetooth5.2module, a 2.5 GbE port,twoUSB4connectors, three USB 3.2 Gen2 ports,oneUSB 2.0 Type-Aconnector,twoHDMI 2.0 outputs(in addition to two DPs supported through USB4),an SD card reader,and a TRRS audio jack for headphones.AlthoughGEEKOM does notdirectly mention it, the USB4 portspotentially allowto connectan external graphics card in an eGFX enclosureand make the Mini IT13 a quite decent gaming machine. Meanwhile, even without an external graphics card, the unit can support up to four displays simultaneously.Interestingly, the GEEKOM IT13 machine does not cost an arm and a leg. The cheapest version with Core i5-13500H, 16 GB of RAM, and a 512 GB SSD can be purchased for $499, whereas the most expensive model with Core i9-13900H, 32 GB of memory, and 2 TB of solid-state storage costs $789.
AMD Teases FSR 3 and Hypr-RX: Updated Radeon Performance Technologies Available in September
Alongside this morning's announcement of the new Radeon RX 7800 XT and RX 7700 XT video cards, AMD is also using their Gamescom launch event to deliver an update on the state of their Radeon software stack. The company has been working on a couple of performance-improvement projects since the launch of the Radeon RX 7000 series in late 2022, including the highly anticipated FSR 3, and they're finally offering a brief update on those projects ahead of their September launches.FSR 3 Update: First Two Games Available in SeptemberFirst and foremost, AMD is offering a bit of a teaser update on Fidelity FX Super Resolution 3 (FSR 3), their frame interpolation (frame generation) technology that is the company's answer to NVIDIA's DLSS 3 frame generation feature. First announced back at the Radeon RX 7900 series launch in 2022, at the time AMD only offered the broadest of details on the technology, with the unspoken implication being that they had only recently started development.At a high level, FSR 3 was (or rather, will be) AMD's open source take on frame interpolation, similar to FSR 2 and the rest of the Fidelity FX suite of game effects. With FSR 3, AMD is putting together a portable frame interpolation technique that they're dubbing AMD Fluid Motion Frames" and, unlike DLSS, is not vendor proprietary and can work on a variety of cards from multiple vendors. Furthermore, the source code for FSR3 will be freely available as part of AMD's GPUOpen community.Since that initial announcement, AMD has not had anything else of substance to say on the state of FSR 3 development. But at last, the first shipping version of FSR 3 is in sight, with AMD expecting to bring it to the first two games next month.Ahead of that launch, they are offering a small taste of what's to come, with some benchmark numbers for the technology in action on Forspoken. Using a combination of Fluid Motion Frames, Anti-Lag+, and temporal image upscaling, AMD was able to boost 4K performance on Forspoken from 36fps to 122fps.Notably, AMD is using Performance" mode here, which for temporal upscaling means rendering at one-quarter the desired resolution of a game - in this case, rendering at 1080p for a 4K/2160p output. So a good deal of the heavy lifting is being done by temporal upscaling, but not all of it.AMD has also published a set of numbers without temporal upscaling, using their new native anti-aliasing mode, which renders at the desired output resolution and then uses temporal techniques for AA, and combines that with Fluid Motion Frames. In that case, performance at 1440p goes from 64fps to 106fps.For the time being, these are the only two sets of data points AMD is providing. Otherwise, the screenshots included in their press deck are not nearly high enough in quality to make any kind of meaningful image quality comparisons, and AMD hasn't published any videos of the technology in action. So convincing visual evidence of FSR 3 in action is, at least ahead of today's big reveal, lacking. But it is a start none the less.As for the technical underpinnings, AMD has answered a few questions relating to FSR3/Fluid Motion Frames, but the company is not doing a deep dive on the technology at this time. So there remains a litany of unanswered questions about its implementation.With regards to compatibility, according to AMD FSR3 will work on any RDNA (1) architecture GPU or newer, or equivalent hardware. RDNA (1) is a DirectX Feature Level 12_1 architecture, which means equivalent hardware spans a pretty wide gamut of hardware, potentially going back as far as NVIDIA's Maxwell 2 (GTX 900) architecture. That said, I suspect there's more to compatibility than just DirectX feature levels, but AMD isn't saying much more about system requirements. What they are saying, at least, is that while it will work on RDNA (1) architecture GPUs, they recommend RDNA 2/RDNA 3 products for the best performance.Along with targeting a wide range of PC video cards, AMD is also explicitly noting that they're targeting game consoles as well. So in the future, game developers will be able to integrate FSR3 and have it interpolate frames on the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S consoles, both of which are based on AMD RDNA 2 architecture GPUs.Underpinning FSR 3's operation, in our briefing AMD made it clear that it would require motion vectors, similar to FSR 2's temporal upscaling, as well as rival NVIDIA's DLSS 3 interpolation. The use of motion vectors is a big part of why FSR 3 requires per-game integration - and a big part of delivering high quality interpolated frames. Throughout our call optical flow" did not come up, but, frankly, it's hard to envision AMD not making use of optical flow fields as well as part of their implementation. In which case they may be relying on D3D12 motion estimation as a generic baseline implementation, since it wouldn't require accessing each vendor's proprietary integrated optical flow engine.What's not necessary, however, is AI/machine learning hardware. Since AMD is targeting the consoles, they wouldn't be able to rely on it anyhow.AMD also says that FSR 3 includes further latency reduction technologies (which are needed to hide the latency of interpolation). It's unclear if this is something equivalent to NVIDIA's Reflex marker system, or if it's something else entirely.The first two games to get FSR 3 support will be the aforementioned Forspoken, as well as the recently launched Immortals of Aveum. AMD expects FSR 3 to be patched in to both games here in September - presumably towards the later part of the month.Looking farther forward, AMD has lined up several other developers and games to support the technology, including RPG-turned-technology-showcase Cyperpunk 2077. Given that Forspoken and Immortals of Aveum are essentially going to be the prototypes for testing FSR 3, AMD isn't saying when support for the technology will come to these other games. Though with plans to make it available soon as an Unreal Engine plugin, the company certainly has its eyes on enabling wide-scale deployment of the technology over time.For now, this is only a brief teaser of details. I expect that AMD will have a lot more to say about FSR 3, and to disclose, once the FSR 3 patches for Forspoken and Immortals of Aveum are ready to be released.Hypr-RX: Launching September 6Second up, we have Hypr-RX. AMD's smorgasbord feature combines the company's Radeon Super Resolution (spatial upscaling), Radeon Anti-Lag+ (frame queue management), and Radeon Boost (dynamic resolution scaling). All three technologies are already available in AMD's drivers today, however they can't all currently be used together. Super Resolution and Boost both touch the rendering resolution of a game, and Anti-Lag steps on the toes of Boost's dynamic resolution adjustments.Hypr-RX, in turn, is designed to bring all three technologies together to make them compatible with one another, and to put the collective set of features behind a single toggle. In short, if you turn on Hypr-RX, AMD's drivers will use all of the tricks available to improve game performance.Hypr-RX was supposed to launch by the end of the first half of the year, a date that has since come and gone. But, although a few months late, AMD has finally finished pulling together the feature, just in time for the Radeon RX 7800 XT launch.To that end, AMD will be shipping Hypr-RX in their next Radeon driver update, which is due on September 6. This will be the launch driver set posted for the RX 7800 XT, bringing support for the new card and AMD's newest software features all at once. On that note, it bears mentioning that Hypr-RX requires an RDNA 3 GPU, meaning it's only available for Radeon RX 7000 video cards as well as the Ryzen Mobile 7040HS CPU family.Taking a quick look at performance, AMD has released some benchmark numbers showing both the latency and frame rates for several games on the RX 7800 XT. In all cases latency is down and framerates are up, varying on a game-by-game basis. As these individual technologies are already available today, there's not much new to say about them, but given the overlap in their abilities and the resulting technical hurdles, it's good to see that AMD finally has them playing nicely together.But with FSR 3 and its frame interpolation abilities soon to become available, AMD won't be stopping there for Hypr-RX. The next item on AMD's to-do list is to add Fluid Motion Frame support to Hypr-RX, allowing AMD's drivers to use frame interpolation (frame generation) to further improve game performance.This is a bigger and more interesting challenge than it may first appear, because AMD is essentially promising to (try to) bring frame interpolation to every game on a driver level. FSR 3 requires that the technology be built in to each individual game, in part because it relies on motion vector data. That motion vector data is not available to driver-level overrides, which is why Hypr-RX's Radeon Super Resolution ability is only a spatial upscaling technology.Put another way: AMD apparently thinks they can do frame interpolation without motion vectors, and still achieve a good enough degree of image quality. It's a rather audacious goal, and it will be interesting to see how it turns out in the future.Wrapping things up, AMD's current implementation of Hypr-RX will be available on September 6 as part of their new driver package. Meanwhile Hypr-RX with frame interpolation is a work in progress, and will be coming at a later date.
AMD Announces Radeon RX 7800 XT & Radeon RX 7700 XT: Enthusiast-Class RDNA3 For 1440p Gaming
With the Gamescom convention taking place in Germany this week, AMD is using Europe's largest video game trade show as the venue for their latest Radeon video card announcements. This morning the company is announcing their long-awaited middle members of the Radeon RX 7000 series, the Radeon RX 7800 XT and Radeon RX 7700 XT. Aimed at the 1440p gaming market and based on AMD's new Navi 32 GPU, the new cards are designed to slot in to the middle of AMD's product stack, offering a set of potent RDNA 3 architecture video cards for gamers who don't need the bleeding-edge performance (and wallet-bleeding costs) of the Radeon RX 7900 series cards.With today's announcement being just that - an announcement - the retail launch of these cards will follow in a couple of weeks, on Wednesday, September 6. That date also not-so-coincidentally happens to be the release date for Bethesda's ARPG Starfield, for which AMD is the game's exclusive PC hardware partner, and which AMD will be offering with the new Radeon cards as part of the company's latest game bundle. So for AMD, the stars are aligning to make September 6 a big day for the company's GPU division.But as for us, we're here to talk about hardware, so let's discuss the Radeon RX 7800 XT and 7700 XT, as well as the Navi 32 GPU that underpins them.
Samsung 990 Pro SSD Gets 4TB Model
When Samsung launched its 990 Pro family of SSDs for retail market last year, it only introduced 1 TB and 2 TB models, surprisingly omitting premium high-capacity 4 TB version. Now, the company is about to correct this wrong by launching 4 TB version this fall, the world's largest SSD supplier revealed in an X post.
Sony Unveils The PlayStation Portal: A Remote Play Handheld For PlayStation 5
For all of their ups and downs in the handheld game console space over the years, one of Sony's bigger successes has been their local game streaming support, better known as Remote Play. Allowing the PS3 and PS4/PS5 consoles to be remotely played on the Playstation Portable and PS Vita respectively, it's been a defining feature of Sony's consoles for the past decade and a half. And while Sony is no longer making dedicated gaming handhelds, the company is still eager to leverage their remote play capabilities to provide new experiences and sell new hardware. To that end, this week Sony unveiled their dedicated remote play companion device for the PS5.The PlayStation Portal is designed to enable portable gaming experiences for PlayStation 5 owners. It comes equipped with an eight-inch, 1080p LCD display, with remote play able to stream games at up to 60fps. While the PlayStation Portal is a device that has its own system-on-chip that runs its operating system and connects to the Internet using Wi-Fi, the Portal is not designed to run games on its own and can only enable remote play on a PlayStation 5 using Wi-Fi.Designed to extend the PS5 experience as much as reasonably possible, the PlayStation Portal comes with controllers that closely resemble the design and functionality PS5's DualSense controllers. These built-in controllers provide gamers with familiar haptic feedback and adaptive triggers, ensuring a consistent gaming experience. Additionally, the device has the PlayStation 5's home screen, offering a dedicated section for media playback.Avid readers will certainly ask about latency since the Portal is a remote gaming devices. A review from IGN has demonstrated the device's minimal latency during gameplay.Meanwhile, the PlayStation Portal will not be compatible with Sony's anticipated cloud streaming service for PS5 titles, according to The Verge. This means that the handheld is only able to stream games already installed on a user's PS5 console, and from no where else.Despite the overall simplicity of the device, Sony has also made a notably odd choice with regards to audio capabilities. In short, the handheld device lacks Bluetooth audio support. Instead, Sony is using the Portal to introduce its proprietary PlayStation Link wireless technology, which promises to deliver lossless, lag-free audio. As a result, the handheld is not compatible with existing wireless headsets from Apple, Beats, Samsung, and even Sony itself. in order to get wireless audio out of the Portal, gamers will have to use Sony's new wireless headphones and earbuds, which are being released alongside the handheld and will be the first audio devices with PlayStation Link support. Thankfully, for those who prefer wired audio, the device also includes a 3.5mm headphone jack.While many details about the PlayStation Portal have been shared, Sony still hasn't disclosed some specifications, such as the expected battery life. However, indications suggest that Sony is aiming for a battery duration comparable to its DualSense controller, which is around seven to nine hours, according to Cnet. At any rate, Sony has left itself plenty of time to work out these details; for the moment, the device lacks a public launch date, with Sony saying the Portal will be released "later this year."
Samsung Launches 57-Inch Odyssey Neo G9: An Ultimate Curved Gaming LCD
Samsung has begun taking pre-orders for its new curved 57-inch Odyssey Neo G9 gaming monitor, with the aim of raising the bar for ultrawide gaming displays. Dubbing the 57-incher the "world's first dual UHD gaming monitor," the 7,680 x 2,160 LCD display is designed to be as wide as two typical 32-inch 4K displays.First unveiled back at CES 2023, theSamsung Odyssey Neo G9 model G95NCis based upon a unique VA LCD panel featuring a 1000R curvature, a 7,680*2,160 pixels resolution, and a 32:9 aspect ratio. The panel supports a variable refresh rate of up to 240 Hz with AMD's FreeSync Premium Pro on top and a 1 ms GtG response time.To improve color reproduction and contrasts, the display features Samsung's Quantum Mini LED lighting, which uses Mini LED-based backlighting for better contrasts (though the company does not disclose the number of dimming zones it uses for the monitor). Meanwhile quantum dots are being used to widen the gamut of the backlight, reaching 95% of the DCI color space. Samsung claims the display offers DisplayHDR 1000 compliance - indicating a peak luminance of 1000 nits in HDR mode and support for at least HDR10 format.To ensure that the display runs at its full resolution of 7,680*2,160 with an up to 240 Hz refresh rate, Samsung's Odyssey Neo G9 must be connected to its host using either DisplayPort 2.1 with UHBR 13.5 (which is currently only available on AMD's Radeon RX 7900-series graphics cards) or HDMI 2.1 with in FRL 12 mode (with DSC). In addition to display inputs, the unit has a USB hub.The monitor supports capabilities like picture-in-picture and picture-by-picture, so it can be used with multiple PCs at once. An interesting feature the product supports is Auto Source Switch+, which allows to instantly connect to new devices without flipping through input sources.While the 57-inch ultrawide Samsung Odyssey Neo G9 is very impressive, there are people who might prefer something more classic. For them, Samsung has its new curved4K 55-inch Odyssey Ark(G97NC) with a 165 Hz maximum refresh rate and AMD's FreeSync Premium Pro badge.Samsung says that both Odyssey Neo G9 57-inch and Odyssey Ark 55-inch displays are now available for preorder worldwide. Thus far pre-orders have opened up in the UK and Australia, among other regions, however Samsung has yet to list the monitor on its US website.
Beelink GTR7 mini-PC Review: A Complete AMD Phoenix Package at 65W
The increasing popularity of small form-factor (SFF) PCs has allowed a number of second and third tier vendors to market their wares. While the trend was kickstarted by the Intel NUC in the early 2010s, recent years have seen various Asian companies such as Beelink, Chuwi, GEEKOM, MinisForum, etc. focus solely on these types of systems. Beelink has been slowly gaining popularity over the last five years or so with their wide range of products using the latest processors from Intel and AMD. The company became one of the first vendors to launch an AMD Phoenix (Zen 4 CPU + RDNA3 iGPU in a power envelop suitable for notebooks) mini-PC lineup when they announced the GTR7 product line. Read on for a detailed look at the performance profile and value proposition of Beelink's entry-level configuration - the GTR7 7840HS.
NVIDIA Reports Q2 FY2024 Earnings: $13B Revenue Blows Past Records On Absurd Data Center Demand
NVIDIA this afternoon has announced their results for the second quarter of their 2024 fiscal year, delivering what's arguably the most anticipated earnings report of the season. Riding high on unprecedented demand for their data center-class GPUs for use in AI systems, NVIDIA's revenues have been on a rapid rise - as well as their standing on Wall Street.For the second quarter of their 2024 fiscal year, NVIDIA booked $13.5 billion in revenue, which is a 101% increase over the year-ago quarter. The company has, at this point, shaken off the broader slump in technology spending on the back of an explosion in demand for their data center products, and to a lesser extent the latest generation of their consumer GeForce graphics products. As a result, this is a quarter for the record books, as NVIDIA has set new records for everything from revenue to net income.NVIDIA Q2 FY2024 Financial Results (GAAP)Q2 FY2024Q1 FY2024Q2 FY2023Q/QY/YRevenue$13.5B$7.2B$6.7B+88%+101%Gross Margin70.1%64.6%43.5%+5.5ppt+26.6pptOperating Income$6.8B$2.1B$499M+218%+1263%Net Income$6.1B$2.0B$656M+203%+843%EPS$2.48$0.82$0.26+202%+854%Driven by their highly profitable, high-margin data center products, NVIDIA achieved a GAAP gross margin of 70.1% for the quarter. Coupled with their record revenue, this has resulted in NVIDIA booking a blistering $6.1B in net income, an 843% improvement over Q2'22, and even more than trebling their net income versus just the previous quarter.And while high margins are not unheard of for fabless semiconductor companies like NVIDIA, it's all but unheard of for a company of this scale to hit those kinds of margins. In the span of just a year, NVIDIA has gone from earning $6 billion a quarter in revenue to keeping $6 billion in revenue as profits. Suffice it to say, it's very good to be NVIDIA right now - or at least, it's good to be working in NVIDIA's data center product teams right now.Things seem set to continue going NVIDIA's way, as well. The company, handily beating their already very bullish $11B revenue projection for Q2, is projecting a further 18%+ jump in revenue for Q3, to $16B in revenue. Which, if NVIDIA's projections pan out, would afford a 71.5% GAAP gross margin. This would set a new round of records for NVIDIA, who in just the last quarter became a trillion-dollar market capitalization company, and as of this moment is already knocking on $1.3 trillion in after-hours trading. But with lofty projections will also come lofty expectations to perform, and to maintain that kind of performance for more than a handful of quarters.NVIDIA Market Segment ResultsNVIDIA Market Platform Revenue, Q2 FY2024Q2 FY2024Q1 FY2024Q2 FY2023Q/QY/YData Center$10,323M$4,284M$3,806M+141%+171%Gaming$2,486M$2,240M$2,042M+11%+21%Professional Visualization$379M$295M$496M+28%-24%Automotive$253M$296M$220M-15%+15%OEM & IP$66M$77M$140M-14%-53%Diving into the performance of NVIDIA's individual market segments, the bellwether of NVIDIA's product portfolio remains their data center segment. That segment posted $10.3B in revenue for Q2, not just setting a new segment record, but smashing the old record in the process.NVIDIA's data center segment has grown by leaps and bounds over the past year in particular, on the back of developments with large language models (LLMs) in the AI space, and the subsequent spike in demand for high-performance processors that can train and run those models. According to the company, the bulk of this additional demand has come from a mix of cloud service providers and consumer internet companies, with data center compute product revenue growing by 195% year-over-year. At this point NVIDIA is full speed ahead with the production of Hopper architecture (GH100) based products, and if a report from the Financial Times is correct, the company is now looking to triple its GH100 production, in anticipation of shipping over 1.5M units in 2024.The jump in sales in their data center processors has also spurred on similar growth in NVIDIA's other data center product segments as well. Networking revenue for the company was up 94% year-over-year, as customers have been buying up increasing amounts of InfiniBand hardware to wire up their GPU installations. Unfortunately, NVIDIA doesn't provide a further breakdown here of how much of this increase is in the form of bundled sales - customers buying DGX SuperPods and other NVIDIA products that come with InfiniBand hardware installed - and how much of that is ad-hoc networking equipment sales. But either way the success of NVIDIA's data center GPUs is good news for their networking division.But NVIDIA's success in the data center compute market also means that the company's overall revenues have become increasingly imbalanced. In the last couple of years NVIDIA has gone from being primarily a gaming company to primarily a compute company to almost entirely a compute company. NVIDIA's compute and networking segment sales - one of NVIDIA's two canonical reporting segments - now make up 77% of their overall revenue, and the disparity is increasing. So while NVIDIA is doing well on the whole, the lopsided success driven by the generative AI market means that they are, at least for the moment, not very well diversified with regards to revenue.Speaking of things that aren't data center GPUs, NVIDIA's gaming market segment recorded $2.5B in revenue for Q2. This is up a mere" 22% versus the year-ago quarter, coming on the back of the launch of NVIDIA's GeForce RTX 40 series products. Now that the company has finished releasing the full product stacks for both mobile and desktop, the company is enjoying a surge in sales as gamers are picking up the new hardware, and retailers have largely finished selling off old GeForce RTX 30 stock.And while NVIDIA's gaming revenue pales in comparison to the data center, this is otherwise a good quarter for that market segment. While it does not end up being anything near a record due to the most recent cryptocurrency rush blowing up NVIDIA's gaming revenues a couple of years back, excluding those quarters, this would be one of NVIDIA's best quarters for the gaming segment on a revenue basis. Diving a bit into NVIDIA's historical data, gaming sales have grown by about $1.2B in the last 4 years, falling just short of doubling NVIDIA's revenues there. Though it goes without saying that gamers are less enthused about the current state of video card prices that are allowing NVIDIA to afford such revenue growth.Moving down the list, NVIDIA's professional visualization segment finds itself in a weaker spot. The ramp of Ada Lovelace architecture workstation products has helped, especially in quarterly revenue, but at $379M in revenue, year-over-year revenue is down 24%. The professional visualization market has seemingly reached its saturation point, and while revenue ebbs and flows from one quarter to the next, NVIDIA has not been able to grow it significantly over the past several years.The automotive segment, meanwhile, is NVIDIA's final market segment to show growth for the quarter. That segment booked $253M in revenue for Q2, up 15% from the year-ago quarter. According to NVIDIA, the bump in revenue was primarily driven by sales of self-driving platforms, tapered by lower overall car sales (particularly in China).Finally, NVIDIA's OEM & Other segment was another that saw significant declines, dropping 53% to $66M. The company hasn't offered any further details with this quarter's financial results release, but in the previous quarter the drop was attributed to declines in GeForce MX GPU sales.Looking Forward: To $16B Of Revenue In Q3Given the rapid tear NVIDIA has been on in growing its revenues and profitability over the past year, half of the anticipation with recent NVIDIA earnings releases has not just been how well they've performed, but how well they expect to perform in the future. And at least for the next quarter, NVIDIA is projecting another set of record results.For the third quarter of their 2024 fiscal year, NVIDIA is projecting $16 billion (plus or minus 2%) in revenue. That would be a 169% year-over-year jump in total revenue for the company, eclipsing the 101% growth of Q2. So long as NVIDIA's data center sales remain high, the company seems set to remain on a growth spurt through the rest of the year, as Q2 is the first quarter where NVIDIA has been shipping Hopper architecture products in large volumes - meaning that Q2 is essentially the start of the Hopper architecture era from and NVIDIA sales perspective. And should NVIDIA beat their own projections by more than a fraction, then the company will book more revenue in Q3'24 than they did in all of FY2021.The further expected growth in data center sales is also expected to push NVIDIA's gross margins higher as well. The company is projecting a GAAP gross margin of 71.5% for the third quarter, beating Q2's already impressive figures.As for what NVIDIA is doing with their newfound riches, where they aren't already investing more into data center GPU production to try to catch up with demand, NVIDIA is sinking their cash into stock buybacks. Already in the midst of a share repurchase program with $3.95 billion left, this week the company's board of directors has authorized NVIDIA to buy back an additional $25 billion in shares.Besides bringing NVIDIA slightly more private by removing outstanding shares, this is almost certain to further boost NVIDIA's stock price, which like the company itself, has been on a tear this year. At the time of their Q1 earnings report, NVIDIA's stock was hovering around $307 a share, for a market cap of around $755 billion. Now the price is at $471, and in after-hours trading it's jumped a further 7% to $505 on the back of NVIDIA beating the street on their earnings report. As a result, NVIDIA is closing in on a market capitalization of $1.3 trillion, almost 4x the valuation of rivals AMD and Intel combined.For the moment, at least, it would seem the sky's the limit for data center GPU sales. NVIDIA is already unable to keep up with demand for Hopper products, and that won't be changing in the near future. So, for as long as they can last for NVIDIA, let the good times roll.
Synopsys Surpasses $500M/Year in AI Chip Revenue, Expects Further Rapid Growth
Demand for generative artificial intelligence (AI) applications is so high that NVIDIA's high-performance compute GPUs like A100 and H100 are reportedly sold out for quarters to come. Dozens of companies are developing AI-oriented processors these days and, like the gold rushes of old, the tool suppliers are some of the biggest winners. As part of their Q3 earnings report, Synopsys, one of the leading suppliers of electronic design automation (EDA) tools and chip IP, disclosed that it's already booked over half of a billion of dollars in AI-related revenue in the last year."AI chips are a core value stream for Synopsys, already accounting on a trailing 12-month basis for well over $0.5 billion," said Aart J. de Geus, the outgoing chief executive of Synopsys, at the conference call with analysts and investors (viaSeekingAlpha). "We see this growth continuing throughout the decade."Rising demand for diverse generative AI applications is propelling the AI server market's growth, going from $30 billion in 2023 to an impressive$150 billion by 2027, according to the head of Foxconn. The market for AI processors is poised to expand at a similar pace, and Synopsys is projecting it to exceed $100 billion by 2030."Use cases for AI are proliferating rapidly, as are the number of companies designing AI chips," said de Geus. "Novel architectures are multiplying, stimulated by vertical markets, all wanting solutions optimized for their specific application. Third parties estimate that today's $20 billion to $30 billion market for AI chips will exceed $100 billion by 2030."AI processors are set to become a sizable part of the semiconductor market in general. In fact, sales of AI chips may account for 10% of the whole semiconductor market several years down the road. Furthermore, they will be a major driver for the semiconductor market growth as they will enable new types of applications, such as self-driving vehicles."In this new era of'smart everything,'these chips in turn drive growth in surrounding semiconductors for storage, connectivity, sensing, AtoD and DtoA converter, power management," said the head of Synopsys."Growth predictions for the entire semi market to pass $1trillionby 2030are thus quite credible."Perhaps the most amusing part about Synopsys earning over $500 million on AI chips in about a year is that a significant part of the company's revenue comes from AI-enabled EDA tools. Essentially, the company is selling EDA software that uses artificial intelligence to develop artificial intelligence chips.Sources: Synopsys, SeekingAlpha.
The ASUS ROG Strix Scar 17 (2023) Laptop Review: Mobile Ryzen 9 7945HX3D with 3D V-Cache Impresses
With all the success and esteem that AMD's 3D V-Cache on their desktop CPUs has garnered over the last year, it was only a matter of time before we saw a mobile-ready version hit the retail shelves. Last month AMD announced their first mobile processor using 3D V-Cache, the Zen 4 architecture Ryzen 9 7945HX3D, a 16 core chip with a combined 128 MB of L3 cache across both core complex dies (CCDs). Similar to other dual CCD Ryzen 7000 chips with the 3D V-Cache, such as the Ryzen 9 7950X3D, one of the CCDs comes with a large 96 MB of L3 cache, while the other CCD comes with the standard 32 MB.Looking to put their best foot forward for this important mobile launch, AMD has sampled us with ASUS ROG Strix Scar 17 (G733PYV), a premium and highly powerful desktop replacement-class (DTR) gaming notebook, and also the sole initial launch system for the new chip. Alongside the new Ryzen chip, the ROG Strix Scar 17 incorporates a 17-inch, 1440p@240Hz IPS display that's driven by NVIDIA's powerful RTX 4090 laptop graphics card, 1TB of PCIe 4.0 x4 M.2 storage, 32 GB of DDR5-4800 memory, andWi-Fi 6E connectivity. The ASUS ROG Strix Scar 17 is a premium example of a DTR gaming laptop, and an understandable launch platform to showcase AMD's Ryzen 9 7945HX3D processor to the market.Designed as a complete desktop replacement for gamers looking for a little more flexibility in where they can game, the ASUS ROG Strix Scar 17 is a premium example and an understandable launch platform to showcase AMD's Ryzen 9 7945HX3D processor to the market. We're taking a closer look at the AMD Ryzen 9 7945HX3D with all the benefits of the 96 MB of 3D V-Cache on one of the CCDs and how it performswithin ASUS's flagship ROG Scar 17 gaming notebook.
Arm to Be Public Once More, Files for IPO on Nasdaq
The ongoing saga of ownership of Arm appears to be finally nearing its end, as Arm has announced this afternoon that the company has made its long-awaited filing for an initial public offering (IPO) on the Nasdaq exchange. Share prices and listing dates have not been set as of this time, but Arm has secured the ARM ticker symbol for the new offering.The SoftBank-owned chip IP designer, whose designs are at the core of virtually every smartphone and countless other embedded computers, has been hanging in a state of limbo since early 2022, when NVIDIA's acquisition of the company was called off due to regulatory pressure. At the time, SoftBank announced that they would instead take Arm public - a much more challenging and less profitable endeavor - using the last 18 months to prepare for an IPO.SoftBank originally acquired Arm in 2016 as a growth vehicle for the investment firm, paying roughly $32 billion for the chip designer. The company then began shopping Arm around in 2020 after other SoftBank investments such as WeWork turned sour, and SoftBank looked to shore up its balance sheets. Ultimately, the group found a potential buyer in NVIDIA, who was offering $40 billion for Arm, only for that exchange to never come to pass as regulators deemed Arm too critical of a company to be held by NVIDIA - or presumably any other single tech company, for that matter.The failure of the NVIDIA acquisition has left Arm in a state of limbo for the past year and a half. While there's little doubt that SoftBank will be able to find investors on the open market, there's a good deal more doubt over whether SoftBank would be able to sell any stake in Arm at a profit, given their relatively high 2016 buy-in and the fact that NVIDIA's top offer was only 25% above that. SoftBank's plans seemed to have softened in the meantime - the IPO filing indicates that SoftBank will be retaining voting control over Arm, so they're not divesting themselves of Arm entirely - but the company is still looking to turn a profit on Arm, and IPO timing is an important factor in accomplishing that.At this point, Arm has not announced how many shares of the company will be sold or at what price, as those details will be determined later. Meanwhile, according to a report from Reuters on Friday, SoftBank re-acquired the outstanding 25% stake of Arm held by its Vision Fund unit in a deal valuing Arm at $64 billion. This is consistent with other reports that SoftBank is aiming for an IPO valuation between $60 billion and $70 billion, far better than NVIDIA's offer and a well over what the investment firm acquired Arm for in the first place. These reports also claim that SoftBank is courting NVIDIA, Intel, and other tech companies as initial investors, which would result in Arm being partially held by what amounts to a quasi-consortium of tech companies.A successful IPO should also provide some stability for the engineering side of Arm, though it won't alleviate investment pressures entirely. As a public company, investors will be pushing Arm to further grow the company and raise revenues - a familiar spot for the previously-public chip designer - but now Arm will be able to develop products without the looming prospect of being sold to another company, and the change in priorities that would come from that. Ultimately, Arm is going to have to find ways to drive growth without making customers flinch from royalty rates, a tricky task given the success of RISC-V MCUs and other alternative processor designs.
SK hynix Begins Sampling HBM3e, Volume Production Planned For H1 2024
SK hynix on Monday announced that it had completed initial development of its first HBM3E memory stacks, and has begun sampling the memory to a customer. The updated ("extended") version of the high bandwidth memory technology is scheduled to begin shipping in volume in the first half of next year, with hardware vendors such as NVIDIA already lining up to incorporate the memory into their HPC-grade compute products.First revealed by SK hynix back at the end of May, HBM3E is an updated version of HBM3 that is designed to clock higher than current HBM3, though specific clockspeed targets seem to vary by manufacturer. For SK hynix, as part of today's disclosure the company revealed that their HBM3E memory modules will be able to hit data transfer rates as high as 9 GT/sec, which translates to a peak bandwidth of 1.15 TB/sec for a single memory stack.Curiously, SK hynix has yet to reveal anything about the planned capacity for their next-gen memory. Previous research from TrendForce projected that SK hynix would mass produce 24 GB HBM3E modules in Q1 2024 (in time to address applications like NVIDIA's GH200 with 144GB of HBM3E memory), boosting capacity over today's 16GB HBM3 stacks. And while this still seems likely (especially with the NV announcement), for now it remains unconfirmed.
Zotac Taps Desktop and Laptop GeForce RTX 4070s For New SFF Zbox PCs
Zotac this week introduced two new compact desktops, both packing versions of NVIDIA's higher-end GeForce RTX 4070-series graphics processors. The Zbox Magnus One is an upgradable, desktop-style SFF machine with an 8.3-liter chassis and includes a desktop GeForce RTX 4070 card inside. Meanwhile the Zbox Magnus is a tiny machine that's close to a NUC in size and construction, and includes a soldered-down GeForce RTX 4070 Laptop GPU.Zbox Magnus One: Not So Small, But PowerfulZotac has been offering its Zbox Magnus One small form-factor desktops for some time (and we evenreviewed one of them), but the modelsERP74070CandERP74070Wpack Intel's latest Core i7-13700 processor paired with NVIDIA's GeForce RTX 4070 graphics card with 12 GB of GDDR6X memory (AD104, 5888 CUDA cores, 29 FP32 TFLOPS). The machine supports up to 64 GB of DDR5-5600 memory using two SO-DIMM modules, two M.2-2280 SSDs with a PCIe 4.0 x4 interface, and even one 2.5-inch drive with a SATA interface.In addition, the new Zbox Magnus One ERP74070 boasts with a rich connectivity department that includes a Wi-Fi 6 + Bluetooth 5.2 adapter, a 2.5 GbE Killer-enabled port, a regular GbE port, one Thunderbolt 4 on the back, seven USB 3.0/3.1 connectors (one USB Type-C on the front), an SD card slot with UHS-II support, five display outputs (three DP 1.4a and one HDMI 2.1 on the graphics card and one HDMI on the motherboard) and a TRRS audio connector for headsets.The unit measures265.5mm (10.45inches)*126mm (4.96inches)*249mm (9.8inches)and is not that small, truth to be told.But it has an indisputable advantage over other SFF desktops as it can be upgraded with a more powerful 65W CPU and a more powerful graphics card as long as its 500W 80+ Platinum-badged can handle it.Traditionally, Zotac will offer its Zbox Magnus One as barebones and as fully-configured machines with Windows pre-installed.Zbox Magnus: Tiny Yet MightyAs for theZbox Magnus EN3740C, it is based upon Intel's Core i7-13700HX CPU as well as NVIDIA's NVIDIA's GeForce RTX 4070 Laptop GPU (AD106, 4608 CUDA cores at up to 2175 MHz, 20 FP32 TFLOPS) with 8 GB of GDDR6. The use of a laptop-spec GPU means that it's not as powerful as its desktop counterpart, but it comes at a considerably lower thermal envelope. The machine can be equipped with 64 GB of DDR5-4800 memory using two modules and a couple of M.2-22110 SSDs with a PCIe 4.0 x4 interface.Connectivity-wise, the small PC is not far behind its bigger brother as it has a Wi-Fi 6 + Bluetooth 5.2 adapter, one 2.5 GbE Killer-enabled port, one GbE connector, one Thunderbolt 4 port, five USB 3.1 ports, three display outputs (two DisplayPorts, one HDMI), an SD card reader with UHS-II support, and a TRRS audio connector for headsets.Since the PC uses soldered-down mobile components, it cannot be upgraded (at least not by the end user), but on the bright side, it measures 210 mm*203 mm*62.2 mm (8.27 in*7.99 in*2.45 in) and it offers quite a lot already from such a compact package.Just like in case of all Zotac's PCs, Zbox Magnus EN3740C will be available as barebones as well as a complete system with memory, SSD, and Windows installed.
Intel Cuts Some R&D Positions in California to Reduce Costs
As Intel continues to refocus on its core competencies, the company has been no stranger to shedding business units and jobs in the process. And while the roughly 132,000 headcount company hasn't enacted any massive layoffs, there have been numerous cuts at all levels over the past couple of years, with these layoffs now extending to R&D.The Sacramento Innoreported this week thatIntel is set to lay off 140 employees, including89 from the Folsom, California campus, and 51 from San Jose. The Folsom cuts span across 37 job classifications, but most prominently impact roles titled 'engineer' and 'architect.' To provide further specifics, the layoffs include 10 GPU software development engineers, eight system software development engineers, six cloud software engineers, six product marketing engineers, and six system-on-chip design engineers.The reductions are intended to decrease Intel's operational costs and pave a path to renewed profitability. Though it remains surprising that Intel decided to cut workforce at one of its key sites. In the end, Intel's long-term success depends on its R&D prowess and software is as important as hardware in Intel's business.Intel's Folsom site has historically been pivotal for variousresearch and development endeavors, including SSDs, graphicsprocessors, software, and chipsets.Since Intel sold its 3D NAND and SSD business to SK Hynix in late 2021, engineers working on appropriate products either joined Solidigm, were relayed to other projects, left themselves, or were laid off.The recent layoffs of GPU specialists are somewhat unexpected, given that Intel's long-term plans still have the company developing GPUs for every step of the market, from datacenter accelerators to integrated GPUs.California is where Intel is headquartered. As of now, Intelemploys over 13,000 people in California, which is more than 12,000 in Arizona, but less than 20,000 in Oregon, two major manufacturing sites for the company.As of early 2022, the Folsomsiteemployed 5,300 individuals, but considering these reductions, a total of almost 500 positions have been eliminated from the Folsom R&D campus within thisyear, following previous layoffs in January, March, and May.Meanwhile, according to the Inno, in notifying state authorities, Intel has hinted at the possibility of internal relocations for some affected employees.