Feed anandtech AnandTech

AnandTech

Link http://www.anandtech.com/
Feed http://anandtech.com/rss/
Copyright Copyright 2020 AnandTech
Updated 2020-08-15 07:20
Intel Brand Tie-ins: New Avengers Packaging Gives You a New Box To Play With
When buying a new processor, what’s the first thing to look for? Price? Performance? Frames per Second? The Box? Intel’s new brand tie-in with Marvel’s Avengers now seems official, according to the @IntelGraphics twitter handle. With the new special edition processors, users can look forward to a brightly painted box. Yes, that’s pretty much it. Oooh, shiny shiny.Leaks have suggested that these new boxed processors will carry new versions of Intel’s overclockable Comet Lake processors, such as the Core i9-10900K which will become new Core i9-10900KA models in Intel's database, however we are waiting on confirmation from Intel.If this ends up being a success for Intel, no doubt it will set a precedent for future processor tie-ins. It is unclear if this arrangement involves Intel licensing the Marvel brand, or Marvel is paying Intel for co-branding ahead of Marvel's new videogame, the Marvel Avengers, set to launch on September 4th for Xbox, Playstation, and PC. There have also been suggestions that these processors may also carry codes to download extras for the game, perhaps skins or such, but again this has not been confirmed, nor is it clear that the game has any special Intel-specific acceleration for better gameplay. Imagine if the game detects the CPU string as '10900KA' and offers different abilites or modes - that would certainly interesting as to the mods that would appear to get around that restriction.Pricing and availability are currently unknown, although we're expecting more details come September 4th.Source: Intel Gaming on TwitterGallery: Intel Brand Tie-ins: New Avengers Packaging Gives You a New Box To Play With
Intel Next-Gen 10-micron Stacking: Going 3D Beyond Foveros
One of the issues facing next-generation 3D stacking of chips is how to increase the density of the die-to-die interface. More connections means better data throughput, reducing latency and increasing bandwidth between two active areas of silicon that might be manufactured at different process nodes. There’s also a consideration for power and thermal hotspots as well. Intel has been developing its own physical interconnect topologies, most of which we’ve covered in detail before, such as the Embedded Multi-Die Interconnect Bridge (EMIB) that allows 2D expansion and Foveros die-to-die 3D staking that enables vertical expansion. As part of Intel’s Architecture Day 2020, we have a glimpse into Intel’s future with hybrid bonding.There are several holistic metrics to measure how ‘good’ an interconnect can be; the two that are easiest to understand are density of connections (bump density) and energy (how much energy it takes to transfer a bit).
Intel Alder Lake: Confirmed x86 Hybrid with Golden Cove and Gracemont for 2021
Following leaks is often a game of cat and mouse – what is actually legitimate and what might not be. Traditionally AnandTech shies away from leaks for that very reason, and we prefer to have multiple sources that are saying the same thing, rather than addressing every potential rumor on the blogosphere. Nonetheless, hints towards a new product from Intel, Alder Lake, have been cropping up over the past few months, including getting a small mention in Intel’s Q2 2020 earnings. The leaks have suggested that it would offer a mixed Hybrid x86 environment similar to Intel’s current Lakefield product that uses high-performance cores paired with high-efficiency cores. As part of Intel’s Architecture Day 2020, the company officially announced Alder Lake as a hybrid x86 product on its roadmaps.In the roadmap and as part of the discussions, Intel’s Raja Koduri confirms that Alder Lake will be a combination of the Golden Cove high performance computing core and the Gracemont high efficiency core, and the goal of this chip is to offer a ‘Performance Hybrid’ option into the portfolio. Raja explained to the audience that the company has learned a lot due to building Lakefield, its current hybrid x86 chip for thin and light notebooks, and while Lakefield was focused on battery life, Alder Lake will focus instead on performance.Alder Lake will involve Intel’s next generation hardware scheduler, which we are told will be able to leverage all cores for performance and make it seamless to any software package. Intel claims that Alder Lake will be Intel’s best (ever? 2021?) performance-per-watt processor.If leaks are to be believed, then Alder Lake looks set to offer an 8+8 design, although that has not been confirmed. Intel did not go into detail if Alder Lake will involve any next generation packaging, such as Foveros (which Lakefield does) – but in the Q2 2020 financial disclosures, it was said to be positioned for mobile and desktops. We expect Intel to discuss Golden Cove and Gracemont at some point next year, and then Alder Lake as an extension to those – we have already seen Intel documents regarding new instructions for each of these cores. My prediction is to come back this time next year, where we should have more to talk about.Related Reading
Micron Spills on GDDR6X: PAM4 Signaling For Higher Rates, Coming to NVIDIA’s RTX 3090
It would seem that Micron this morning has accidentally spilled the beans on the future of graphics card memory technologies – and outed one of NVIDIA’s next-generation RTX video cards in the process. In a technical brief that was posted to their website, dubbed “The Demand for Ultra-Bandwidth Solutions”, Micron detailed their portfolio of high-bandwidth memory technologies and the market needs for them. Included in this brief was information on the previously-unannounced GDDR6X memory technology, as well as some information on what seems to be the first card to use it, NVIDIA’s GeForce RTX 3090.The key innovation for GDDR6X appears to be that Micron is moving from using POD135 coding on the memory bus – a binary (two state) coding format – to four state coding in the form of Pulse-Amplitude Modulation 4 (PAM4). In short, Micron would be doubling the number of signal states in the GDDR6X memory bus, allowing it to transmit twice as much data per clock.
MMD and Phillips Launch the 279C9 27" Montior: FreeSync 4K IPS & USB Type-C
This week MMD and Phillips have unveiled its latest display in their ever-growing product range, the Phillips 279C9. A 27-inch monitor aimed squarely at content creators and professionals, the 279C9 is based around a 3840 x 2160 60 Hz IPS display and includes features such as a five-port USB hub (including a USB Type-C port), as well as DisplayHDR 400 certification.Digging into the monitor's specifications, as is typical with most content-focused monitors in this range, Phillips' 279C9 has clearly been tuned for its target market. The 3840x2160, 16:9 aspect ratio panel is a very straightforward choice, with MMD tapping an IPS panel for viewing angles and color stability. As this isn't a gaming-focused display, the monitor tops out at a 60Hz refresh rate, though there is official support for VESA Adaptive Sync to offer variable refresh support and the monitor carries AMD's FreeSync branding.Otherwise the 279C9 has a typical static contrast ratio of 1300:1, with "Mega Infinity DCR" smart contrast technology. Meanwhile the monitor is DisplayHDR 400 certified, meaning it can offer 400 nits maximum brightness in HDR mode, and Phillips lists 400 nits as the average brightness as well. The display is framed by a fairly skinny bezel with a 596.74 x 335.66 mm (H x V) viewing area, and the screen itself is coated with an anti-glare 3H coating.Meanwhile there is an interesting array of input and output options, including a USB Type-C input, which along with DP alt mode input allows for fast data transfer and official charging support for devices such as laptops. This is joined by dual HDMI 2.0 inputs, as well as a single DisplayPort 1.4 output. As for downstream connectivity, it also includes four USB 3.2 Type-A ports, and while Phillips doesn't distinguish between the use of USB 3.2 G2 or G1 connectivity, it is likely the latter. Two of the Type-A ports also feature USB fast charging support. Finally, the monitor includes is a pair of 2 W speakers.Phillips 279C9 27" Monitor SpecificationsPanel27" IPSNative Resolution3840 x 2160 (16:9)Maximum Refresh Rate60 HzResponse Time5 ms (grey to grey)Contrast1300:1 (Mega Infinity DCR)Backlight TypeW-LEDViewing Angles178°/178° Horizontal/VerticalAspect Ratio16:9Color GamutNTSC 90.7%
Samsung Announces "X-Cube" 3D TSV SRAM-Logic Die Stacking Technology
Yesterday, Samsung Electronics had announced a new 3D IC packaging technology called eXtended-Cube, or “X-Cube”, allowing chip-stacking of SRAM dies on top of a base logic die through TSVs.Current TSV deployments in the industry mostly come in the form of stacking memory dies on top of a memory controller die in high-bandwidth-memory (HBM) modules that are then integrated with more complex packaging technologies, such as silicon interposers, which we see in today’s high-end GPUs and FPGAs, or through other complex packaging such as Intel’s EMIB.Samsung’s X-Cube is quite different to these existing technologies in that it does away with intermediary interposers or silicon bridges, and directly connects a stacked chip on top of the primary logic die of a design.Samsung has built a 7nm EUV test chip using this methodology by integrating an SRAM die on top of a logic die. The logic die is designed with TSV pillars which then connect to µ-bumps with only 30µm pitch, allowing the SRAM-die to be directly connected to the main die without intermediary mediums. The company this is the industry’s first design such design with an advanced process node technology.It’s not the first time that the company has demonstrated TSVs in the base logic die to connect to a stacked die on top of it. Back in 2013, the company had showed custom Exynos chips using Widcon technology, stacking Wide I/O DRAM memory on top of the base logic chip with help of TSVs, offering a higher-performance and lower power solution compared to traditional PoP memory. Unfortunately, this technology never saw the light of day in consumer devices as it likely never was cost-effective enough justify for mass-production.Stacking more valuable SRAM instead of DRAM on top of the logic chip would likely represent a higher value proposition and return-on-investment to chip designers, as this would allow smaller die footprints for the base logic dies, with larger SRAM cache structures being able to reside on the stacked die. Such a large SRAM die would naturally also allow for significantly more SRAM that would allow for higher performance and lower power usage for a chip.Samsung’s marketing materials showcase more than a single die of SRAM, which would indicate that X-Cube can be variable in terms of its stack-height. It’s currently unclear if X-Cube will be limited to SRAM dies, or whether it will also extend to future logic-over-logic stacking.Samsung is providing silicon proven design methodology and flow for its advanced 7nm and 5nm nodes, and states that X-Cube will be utilised for advanced applications such as mobile, AR/VR, wearable and HPC designs. The company is also planning a presentation on X-Cube at Hot Chips this Sunday where it will revealing more details on the technology.Related Reading:
Intel Xe-HPC GPU Status Update: 4 Process Nodes Make 1 Accelerator
Continuing today’s GPU news from Intel’s Architecture Day presentation, on top of the Xe-LP architecture briefing and Xe-HPG reveal, the company has also offered a brief roadmap update for their flagship sever-level part, Xe-HPC.Better known by its codename of Ponte Vecchio, much to do has been made about Xe-HPC. The most complex of the Xe parts planned, it is also the cornerstone of the Intel-powered Aurora supercomputer. Xe-HPC is pulling out all of the stops for performance, and to get there Intel is employing every trick in the book, including their new-generation advanced packaging technologies.The big revelation here is that we finally have some more concrete insight into what manufacturing processes the various tiles will use. The base tile of the GPU will be on Intel’s new 10nm SuperFin process, and the Rambo Cache will be a generation newer still, using Intel’s future 10nm Enhanced SuperFin process. Meanwhile it’s now confirmed that the Xe Link I/O tile, which will be used as part of Intel’s fabric to link together multiple Xe-HPC GPUs, will be built by an external fab.That leaves the matter of the compute tile, the most performance-critical of the GPU’s parts. With Intel’s 7nm process delayed by at least six months, the company has previously disclosed that they were going to take a “pragmatic” approach and potentially use third-party fabs. And as of their Architecture Day update, they still seem to be undecided about – or at least unwilling to disclose – just what they plan on doing. Instead, the compute die is labeled as “Intel Next Gen & External”.It's an unusual disclosure, to say the least, as we'd otherwise expect the compute die to be made on a single process. But with no further commentary from Intel offered, make of that what you will. Perhaps they’re being straightforward, and they will actually use two very different process nodes for the compute die?
Intel’s Xe-HPG GPU Unveiled: Built for Enthusiast Gamers, Built at a Third-Party Fab
Among the many announcements in today’s Intel Architecture Day, Intel is also offering a major update to their GPU roadmap over the next 24 months. The Xe family, already jam-packed with Xe-LP, Xe-HP, and Xe-HPC parts, is now getting a fourth planned variant: Xe-HPG. Aimed directly at the enthusiast gamer market, this latest Xe variant will be Intel’s most gaming-focused part yet, and the biggest step yet in Intel’s plans to be more diversified in its foundry sources.So what is Xe-HPG? At a high level, it’s meant to be the missing piece of the puzzle in Intel’s product stack, offering a high-performance gaming and graphics-focused chip. This is as opposed to Xe-HP, which is specializing in datacenter features like FP64 and multi-tile scalability, and Xe-HPC which is even more esoteric. In that respect, Xe-HPG can be thought of as everything in the Xe family, distilled down into a single design to push FLOPs, rays, pixels, and everything else a powerful video card might need.Like with the rest of Intel’s forward-looking Xe announcements, the company isn’t offering performance projections, features, or the like. But we do have some small details on what to expect.First and foremost, beyond going after the enthusiast performance space, Intel has confirmed that this part will support ray tracing. A marquee feature of high-end video cards, ray tracing will take on even greater important over the coming years as the soon-to-launch next-generation consoles head out the door with the feature as well, eventually transforming it into a baseline feature across all gaming platforms. Similarly, ray tracing is a critical component of Microsoft’s DirectX 12 Ultimate standard, which given the timing of this GPU and Intel’s intentions, I would be shocked if Intel didn’t support in full.The chip will be built on the foundation that is Xe-LP. However it will also pull in technologies that Intel is pioneering for Xe-HP, and Xe-HPC. Not the least of which is raw scalability, which is being able to take the Xe-LP foundation and scale it up to hundreds (if not thousands) of GPU execution units. But Intel is also pulling what they are calling “compute frequency enhancements” from Xe-HPC, which presumably will allow them to maximize the chip’s overall clockspeeds. All told, I won’t be too surprised if it looks a lot like Xe-HP in general, except with server-driven features like fast FP64 support and multi-tiling stripped out.But Xe-HPG will also bring something new to the table for the entire Xe family: GDDR6 support. Intel is confirming that the chip – or rather, the microarchitecture the chip will be based on – will be designed to work with GDRR6. This is as opposed to Xe-HP(C), which as high-end server parts use HBM, and Xe-LP, which is designed for use with more conventional memory types. GDDR6 compatibility is a unique need that reflects this is a gaming focused part: GDDR6 provides the memory bandwidth needed for high-performance graphics, but without the stratospheric costs of HBM memory (a problem that has impacted some other high-end GPUs over the years). In a further twist, Intel apparently licensed the GDDR controller IP from outside the company, rather than developing it in-house; so Xe-HPG will have a very notable bit of external IP in it.But perhaps most interesting of all for graphics insiders and Intel investors alike is where Xe-HPG will be built: not at Intel. As part of their Architecture Day roadmap, Intel has confirmed that the part will be made at an external fab. In fact it’s the only Xe part where the GPU (or at least the compute element) is being made entirely at a third-party fab. Intel of course will not reveal which fab this is – if it’s TSMC or Samsung – but it means we’re going to see a complete Intel GPU built at another fab. If nothing else, this is going to make comparing Xe-HPG to its AMD and NVIDIA rivals a lot easier, since Intel will be using the same fab resources.Looking at the same roadmap, it’s worth pointing out that Intel won’t be using any of their advanced packaging technologies for the part. Since they’re not using HBM and they’re not doing multi-tiling, there’s no need for things like EMIB, never mind Foveros. There’s still a lot of unknowns with the cost aspects of Intel’s advanced packaging technologies, so keeping it out of Xe-HPG will presumably help keep costs in check in a very competitive marketplace.And that is the scoop on Xe-HPG. The latest and most gaming-focused member of Intel’s Xe GPU product stack is set to launch in 2021 – and as Intel looks to break into the wider GPU market, I don’t doubt for a second that this won’t be the last we’ll hear of it between then and now.
Intel Previews 4-Layer 3D XPoint Memory For Second-Generation Optane SSDs
As part of Intel's Architecture Day 2020 presentations, Raja Koduri spent a bit of time talking about the status of their Optane products. Most of it was a recapitulation of details Intel has previously shared. The two important Optane product updates planned for this year are the Barlow Pass second-generation Optane DC Persistent Memory Modules (DCPMM) and the Alder Stream second-generation Optane NVMe SSDs.Intel has been teasing their Alder Stream second-generation Optane SSDs since last fall, with promises of off-the-charts performance increases. They've confirmed that Alder Stream will be using second-generation 3D XPoint memory, which moves from two to four layers ("decks" in Intel's slides), making this the first test of the vertical scaling potential of 3D XPoint technology. This combined with with a new SSD controller supporting PCIe 4.0 will enable "multiple millions" of IOPS, more than doubling the throughput of current Optane SSDs. Raja also mentioned that they've made optimizations to single-sector reads, so 4kB QD1 random read latency should be improved a bit as well—but this latency is already substantially limited by the latency of PCIe and NVMe command processing.Intel recently stated that they have not yet decided where to spun up their own volume manufacturing of 3D XPoint memory, so the second-gen 3D XPoint used in Alder Stream will still be manufactured by former partner Micron and purchased by Intel.DRAM, 3D XPoint and 3D NAND memories, approximately to scaleBarlow Pass has already launched alongside Cooper Lake Xeons and will be the Optane DCPMM product for Ice Lake Xeons as well. Intel claims an average of 25% higher bandwidth for Barlow Pass than the initial Apache Pass modules for Cascade Lake Xeons.The fine print in Intel's slides indicates that the 4-deck 3D XPoint memory used in Alder Stream Optane SSDs is not yet in mass production. That and the omission of any mention of the second-generation, 4-deck 3D XPoint memory in the context of Optane DCPMM products all but confirms that Barlow Pass is still using first-gen 3D XPoint memory. This is consistent with the more modest 25% bandwidth increase as compared to the drastic improvements due to arrive with the Alder Stream SSDs. It appears that Ice Lake servers will be getting more advanced Optane SSDs than Optane DCPMM modules, as the next generation of Optane DCPMM isn't due until the launch of Sapphire Rapids processors and the switch to DDR5.Related Reading
Intel’s 11th Gen Core Tiger Lake SoC Detailed: SuperFin, Willow Cove and Xe-LP
At the start of the year, Intel ‘foolishly’ handed me a wafer of its next generation Tiger Lake processors, as the moment it came into my hands I attempted to make a very quick exit. In my time with the wafer, we learned that this new 10nm laptop-focused processor had four cores, used Intel’s next generation X graphics architecture, and would set the stage at the end of the year as the cornerstone of Intel’s mobile processor offerings. As part of Intel’s Architecture Day 2020 a couple of days ago, the company went into detail about what makes Tiger Lake the true vehicle for 10nm, and why customers will want a Tiger Lake device.
The Intel Xe-LP GPU Architecture Deep Dive: Building Up The Next Generation
As part of today’s Intel Architecture Day, Intel is devoting a good bit of its time to talking about the company’s GPU architecture plans. Though not a shy spot for Intel, per-se, the company is still best known for its CPU cores, and the amount of marketing attention they’ve put into the graphics side of their business has always been a bit weaker as a result. But, like so many other things at Intel, times are changing – not only is Intel devoting ever more die real estate to GPUs, but over the next two years they are transitioning into a true third player in the PC GPU space, launching their first new discrete GPU in several generations.
Microsoft Opens Pre-Orders for Surface Duo - US Only
Late last year in October, Microsoft had announced the Surface Duo, the company’s first ever Android device and first-party smartphone (if you can call it that) release in years. What makes the Surface Duo special is its symmetric dual-screen nature and 360° hinge mechanism that allows the device to fold itself shut like a book – to fully opening itself up with two opposing displays. Today Microsoft is finally making the Surface Duo available for pre-order – although availability will be limited to the US.Microsoft Surface DuoSurface DuoSoCQualcomm Snapdragon 855
Best CPUs for Workstations: August 2020
Sometimes choosing a CPU is hard. So we've got you covered. In our CPU Guides, we give you our pick of some of the best processors available, supplying data from our reviews. Our Best CPUs for Workstations guide mostly covers workstation processors available to consumers, although some server products cover both segments.As we have moved through 2020, there comes a time when the high-end desktop market slows down a bit and everyone can sit on some new hardware for a while, knowing that they have the best for their money. We’re now past the release of AMD’s Third Generation Threadripper processors and Intel’s Cascade Lake-X hardware, with no update cycle for either platform on the 6 month horizon at a minimum: we are now in that quiet period and we can give some recommendations.It is worth noting that for some high-end desktop users, particularly professionals that can amortize the cost of the hardware over time due to their increased throughput, price and longevity might not be an issue. Also, businesses or even academic institutions may have preferred vendors for their pre-built systems, and as a result will experience a different cost structure than just simply buying a processor – they end up with a system that might have an extended parts and support warranty, or even with progressive automatic upgrades, and it will be up to the vendor to supply that. Hopefully this list can be useful to those vendors as well when it comes to building systems for their customers.
Samsung Display Announces First VRR Mobile Display - Inside Note20 Ultra
By now we’ve become quite familiar with high refresh-rate displays in the mobile space, as the first pioneering 90Hz devices last year have now evolved into even faster refreshing 120Hz smartphones becoming the standard. Although all these devices provide augmented user experiences by providing extra smooth scrolling and gaming experiences, they all come with notable compromises when it comes to power efficiency and battery life.Today, Samsung Display is announcing that they are for the first time revealing new generation display panels that allow for variable refresh rate technology, alleviating one of the biggest draw-backs of current generation high-refresh-rate smartphones. The new technology is makings its debut in the new Galaxy Note20 Ultra, which should be available to the public in just two short weeks.Currently, the biggest issue for devices using a high refresh rate display is the fact that all current implementation still functions at a certain fixed refresh rate no matter what the screen content is, meaning they always stick to either 60, 90 or 120Hz depending on the smartphone.This year’s smartphones with 120Hz display in particular have seen the effect of drastically increased power draw when operating under this higher refresh-rate. Although these phones offer the ability to switch between different refresh rates, one cannot call these mechanisms variable refresh rate (VRR) displays as they cannot seamlessly and quickly switch between these modes. As such, even when you’re displaying a fixed static screen, the display continues to refresh at 120Hz and incurs a large power draw penalty, which is less than ideal.Samsung’s new display panel employed in the new Note20 Ultra is actually described as a VRR panel, with Samsung promising new refresh rate modes such as the ability to operate at 120, 60, 30 and 10Hz modes. The latter super-low refresh rates have been to date never been used in smartphones. Samsung describes that the display will now be able to lower itself down to this new 10Hz mode when viewing static content.
US Appeals Court Reverses Antitrust Ruling in FTC vs Qualcomm
It’s been over three years since the United States FTC had charged Qualcomm with antitrust violations over cellular modem patents and business practices. That suit ultimately received a ruling in May of 2019 against Qualcomm, resulting in an injunction for Qualcomm to renegotiate its licensing agreements with its customers. Qualcomm had subsequently appealed the ruling, putting the order on hold, and today, a bit over a year later, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has finally issued an opinion, reversing and vacating the injunction, resulting in a win for Qualcomm at this moment in time.The appeals court’s opinion centres around the FTC’s use of anti-trust law to hold Qualcomm accountable for some of its controversial business practices in how it handles licensing of its patent portfolio and its “no license, no chip” mode of operation. The opinion attacks the original judgment in that the arguments presented do not fall under the umbrella of anti-trust law violations, and instead it being a matter of contract and patent law.The original charge revolved around Qualcomm’s supposed refusal to license cellular patents to competitor chip vendors, with the company countering this accusation that its patents only apply to OEM products, not the chips of components themselves:
Update: NVIDIA Teases GeForce Presentation For September 1st - Ampere Inbound?
Update 8/11: A day later, NVIDIA has published a bit more information, clarifying their product teasing and announcement plans. It looks like NVIDIA's Twitter feed jumped the gun a bit, and the 21 day countdown is actually starting today, August 11th.Accordingly, NVIDIA has announced that they will be "usher[ing] in a new era" with a GeForce presentation on September 1st. Headed up (as always) by NVIDIA CEO Jensen Huang, this presentation will be the culmination of their ultimate countdown, and we can only deduce will be the announcement of their next-generation consumer video cards. In the meantime, NVIDIA will be posting their "favorite memories" over the next 21 days.NVIDIA's presentation kicks off at 9am on September 1st, so be sure to check back in at AnandTech to see what the green team is up to.NVIDIA this morning has posted a short teaser to its GeForce brand Twitter feed, announcing what they are calling the “ultimate countdown”. The pinned Tweet contains a short, abstract video, along with the ultimate countdown hashtag.
NUVIA Phoenix Targets +40-50% ST Performance Over Zen 2 for Only 33% the Power
In November 2019, the company NUVIA broke out of stealth mode. Founded by former senior Apple and Google processor architects, John Bruno, Manu Gulati and Gerard Williams III, the company came crashing out of the gate with quite considerable goals to revamp the server market with an SoC that would provide ‘A step-function increase in compute performance and power efficiency’. Today NUVIA is putting more data behind those goals.
The NZXT C650 650W PSU Review: Designed To Last
Today we are taking a look at NZXT’s latest PSU, the 650 Watt C-series C650. Aimed at advanced PC users and enthusiasts alike, its basic specs initially seem unimpressive; however digging down reveals a very solid and efficient 80 Plus Gold PSU design underneath. Coupled with 10-year warranty, and the C650 has all the makings of a PSU that's designed to last.
OPPO's Reno3 5G vs Reno3 Pro vs Reno3 Pro 5G: Why Don't We See More MediaTek Dimensity 1000 Phones?
Today, we’ll be taking a closer look at one of MediaTek’s Dimensity 1000 powered phones, the OPPO Reno3 5G. The Reno3 series has been quite the oddball device line-up this year, as the company has been selectively releasing quite different variants at a rapid pace in different markets – all with different SoCs and slightly differing device specs. We have three of these units at hand, and are going to be taking a closer look at the performance differences of the SoCs.
How to Save $6000 on a 28-core Flagship Intel Xeon: Platinum 8280 vs Gold 6258R
In February 2020, Intel launched eighteen new Xeon Scalable second generation processors. These mid-cycle additions to Intel’s product portfolio were designed to bolder up Intel’s server offerings on a very popular and very successful platform, adding in extra cores, extra frequency, or more cache than the previous offerings at roughly the same price. The goal of these ‘performance-oriented’ processors was to address customer requests in offering a more palatable performance-per-dollar offering. One of the new CPUs caught our eye: the Xeon Gold 6258R.
Intel Suffers Apparent Data Breach, 20GB of IP and Documents Leaked on to Internet
Intel today became the apparent victim of a massive internal data breach, as roughly 20 GB of various Intel documents and tools have begun showing up in a data cache uploaded to the wider internet. With materials seemingly spanning over a decade, the breach reportedly includes everything from Intel presentation templates to BIOS code and debugging tools, and would represent one of the biggest intellectual property leaks from a chipmaker in years.Released by Till Kottmann, a Swiss software engineer and open security advocate, Kottmann has stated that this is the first of several planned Intel IP releases, calling this first release the “Intel exconfidential Lake Platform Release”. According to tweets posted by Kottmann, he received the material from an anonymous source who breached Intel earlier this year. Meanwhile, ZDNet reports that Kottmann is a regular figure in IP leaks, and has published a number of other tech company leaks before.Responding to this leak, Intel this afternoon has issued a brief statement to the press acknowledging the leak, and stating that they believe it came form the Intel Resource and Design Center, a secure Intel repository for third party partners to access various confidential documents and schematics.
The Next Step in SSD Evolution: NVMe Zoned Namespaces Explained
In June we saw an update to the NVMe standard. The update defines a software interface to assist in actually reading and writing to the drives in a way to which SSDs and NAND flash actually works.
GIGABYTE Updates 4-GPU 2U G242 Server with Rome and PCIe4 for Ampere
As we wait for the big server juggernaut to support PCIe 4.0, a number of OEMs are busy creating AMD EPYC versions to fill that demand for high-speed connectivity. To date there have been two main drivers for PCIe 4.0: high-bandwidth flash storage servers, and high performance CPU-to-GPU acceleration, as seen with the DGX A100. As the new Ampere GPUs roll out in PCIe form, OEMs are set to update their portfolio with new PCIe 4.0-enabled GPU compute servers, including GIGABYTE, with the new G242-Z11.One of the key elements to a GPU server is enabling airflow through the chassis to provide sufficient cooling for as many 300W accelerators as can fit, not to mention the CPU side of the equation and any additional networking that is required. GIGABYTE has had some good success with its multi-GPU server offerings, and so naturally updating its PCIe 3.0 platform to Rome with PCIe 4.0 was the next step.The G242-Z11 is a 2U rackmount server that supports four PCIe 4.0 cards with a full x16 link to each. That includes the new A100 Ampere GPUs, as well as AMD MI50 GPUs and networking cards. The system supports any AMD Rome EPYC processor, even the 280W 7H12 built for high-performance tasks, and also has support for up to 2 TB of DDR4-3200 across eight channels with the MZ12-HD3 motherboard.With these sorts of builds, it is often the periphery that helps assist integration into current infrastructure, and on top of the four PCIe 4.0 accelerators, the G242-Z11 supports two low profile half-length cards and one OCP 3.0 mezzanine card for other features, such as networking. The G242-Z11 also has support for four 3.5-inch SATA pays at the front, and two NVMe/SATA SSD bays in the rear. Power comes from dual 1600W 80 PLUS Platinum power supplies. Remote management is controlled through the AMI MegaRAC SP-X solution, which includes GIGABYTE proprietary server remote management software platform.The new G242-Z11 will be available from September. Interested parties should contact their local GIGABYTE rep for pricing information.Source: GIGABYTERelated Reading
MediaTek Announces T700 5G Modem Powering Intel PCs Successfully Certified
Last year, Intel and MediaTek had announced a partnership with the goal of developing a 5G modem that would be used in future next-generation PC platforms. The move followed Intel's sale of their own cellular modem divison to Apple for $1B.Today, MediaTek and Intel are announcing the name of the modem, the MediaTek T700 modem, and that the product has passed important milestones in development, having finished the hardware design phase and having been sucessfully certified and tested in real-world 5G SA (Standalone) network calls.It's also been announced that Intel is advancing with platform system integration on their part, and readying co-engineering resources and support for OEM partners in order to develop end-products with the Intel and MediaTek platforms.
Intel Schedules Tiger Lake Architecture Presentation For August 13th, Launch on September 2nd
Over the next month or so Intel is scheduled to launch its next-generation Tiger Lake family of processors. Detailed in bits and pieces over the past several months, Tiger Lake will be Intel’s third 10nm-based CPU family and will incorporate the company’s Willow Cove CPU architecture as well as the first integrated GPU based on their new Xe GPU architecture. With that launch quickly approaching, Intel’s investor site has posted notice that the company will be holding two Tiger Lake-related events over the next month, with presentations scheduled for August 13 and September 2.First off, on August 13 Intel will be holding a presentation they’re dubbing “Updates From Our Chief Architect”. The event is set to be run by Raja Koduri, Intel’s chief architect, as well as the general manager of Architecture, Graphics, and Software groups. No other details are being offered about the event at this time – which is typical for investor event announcements – however given Koduri’s background in graphics we can easily make some educated guesses about what will be presented.Intel to date has offered very little in details about the Xe-LP GPU architecture that will be going into Tiger Lake (and the DG1). So with Koduri helming the event we’re expecting to finally get some major Xe-related graphics architecture disclosures. Whether we should expect to see similar updates for the CPU side of Tiger Lake (Willow Cove) is a bit more nebulous, however; Koduri is Intel’s chief architect for a reason, but it’s well-known that his primary duties at Intel are GPU-related. But regardless of whatever is disclosed, it’s clear that this is going to be an architecture-focused event, as Intel has scheduled a second, later event as the official Tiger Lake launch.On September 2, Intel will be holding their “Tiger Lake Virtual Launch Event”. Even fewer official details are available about this event, but in this case the name says it all. Normally Intel would be holding an in-person event of some kind for the launch of a new CPU platform, however with a coronavirus pandemic going on, everything in the near future is being done virtually. So we’re expecting this event to offer a similar level of detail as past launch events, covering whatever details don’t get included in Intel’s architectural presentation, as well as more direct product details such as SKUs and chip configurations.Overall, Intel has indicated that they’re planning for a fairly aggressive ramp-up on Tiger Lake – to the tune of 40% more chips than they previously intended – so we should see Tiger Lake products soon after that. However, it’s been a long while since retail products were available day one for an Intel mobile-first launch, so we’re not expecting to have hardware in-hand or in stores on the 2.As always, AnandTech will be covering these events. So please be sure to check in on August 13 and September 2 for the full scoop on Intel’s Tiger Lake processors and related technologies.Sources: Intel & Intel
Samsung Announces Galaxy Tab S7 & S7+: S865+ & 120Hz Tablets
Today alongside the Note20 series smartphones, Samsung is also releasing a pair of new high-end tablets in the form of the new Tab S7 and Tab S7+. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen some good Android tablets as the market is seemingly small and struggling versus the more common-place Appls iPads – but today’s S7 series is really raising the bar in terms of hardware capabilities, bringing some significant updates to the table for what probably are the best Android tablets on the market right now.What makes the new Galaxy Tab S7 tablets shine is their brand-new Snapdragon 865+ processors alongside high-resolution 120Hz screens, big batteries, quad-speaker setups and a new design that it’s incredibly thin.
Samsung Announces Galaxy Z Fold 2: Second-Generation Foldable
Alongside the new Note20 series smartphones, Samsung is today pre-announcing the brand-new Galaxy Z Fold 2, the successor to last year’s quite controversial Galaxy Fold smartphone, a device which had been marred by manufacturing defects and delays. Today’s coverage of the Z Fold 2 isn’t an actual launch, but rather a pre-announcement ahead of the device’s proper debut in September. Today’s coverage mainly divulges the new phone’s design, with Samsung talking about how they have improved the folding mechanism of the phone and solve some of last year’s issues.
AZZA Announces Pyramid Mini 806, Unique Pyramid Design Goes Mini-ITX
Back at Computex, we stumbled across a uniquely-styled polyhedron-shaped chassis by AZZA, the Pyramid 804. To cater to small form factor aficionados, AZZA has announced its intention to release a mini-ITX version of its Pyramid 804, the smaller Pyramid Mini 806.We've seen a lot of striking and unique case designs over the last couple of years, some conceptual at trade shows and some beyond that point and in the retail channels. During 2019, AZZA brought to life its Pyramid 804 chassis which is a very notable shape known throughout history. The Pyramids of Giza looks to be the primary inspiration behind the design and is one of the most iconic achievements of humankind.The AZZA Pyramid Mini 806 mini-ITX chassis builds upon the stylings of the larger sized 806, and is aimed at small form factor enthusiasts looking for a flashy flat for a mini-ITX system. Designed on the premise that the motherboard is mounted horizontally within the case, the frame of the Pyramid Mini 806 is constructed from 1.5 mm thick SPCC rolled steel with 2.0 mm thick aluminum.It includes support for CPU coolers with a maximum height of up to 85 mm, while video cards with a maximum length of 280 mm can be accommodated the pyramid-shaped chassis. There are two internal 2.5 mm drive bays, with two expansion slots for mini-ITX motherboards which conventionally include a full-length PCIe x16 slot. On the four different sides of the Pyramid Mini 806 are four tempered glass panels, with a single Hurricane II Digital RGB 120 mm cooling fan included in the top. It has limited water cooling support with official support for up to 120 mm radiators, which would suit a 120 mm AIO CPU closed-loop cooler.In an isolated chamber located at the bottom of the chassis, there's space specifically designated for an SFX power supply. Included in the accessories bundle is a 200 mm long PCIe extension cable designed for mounting and connecting a graphics card. There is also a single USB 3.0 header, a front panel audio connector and a power button. The official dimensions of the case are 435 x 368 x 368 mm, with a total weight of 6.3 KG.Although there is no official date of release, AZZA states that the Pyramid Mini 806 won't be available until November. AZZA also hasn't released any pricing information. Still, it is likely to be in the $250-350 price point given its unique design, use of aluminum in its construction, and the additional price premium small form factor chassis generally come with.Gallery: AZZA Announces Pyramid Mini 806, Unique Mini-ITX DesignRelated Reading
Samsung Announces Note 20 & Note 20 Ultra: Better S-Pen, New Finishes
Today Samsung is announcing the much-awaited new Galaxy Note20 and Galaxy Note20 Ultra via its Unpacked August 2020 live stream event. Much like in 2019, Samsung is continuing to offer two variants of the Note series flagship devices, only that this time around the bigger and more feature-rich variants adopts the “Ultra” denomination, with no “+” variant this year. Unlike the Note10 series, this also means that the new Note20 series are also more significantly differing in their specifications, as Samsung is adopting the same differing camera system approaches as on the S20 series, with the Note20 Ultra offering a higher-end camera system compared to the regular Note20.Naturally, the area where the Note series differentiates itself the most from the S-series is the fact that the phones come with the S-Pen stylus that allows you to write and control the phone with.
The Z490 Mini-ITX Showdown: GIGABYTE's Z490I Aorus Ultra and MSI's MEG Z490I Unify Reviewed
The mini-ITX form factor is as popular as ever, with a handful of options already available for Intel's new LGA1200 socket. Over the years motherboard vendors have been perfecting their small form factor models designed to offer all of the performance of the larger-sized models, but with a smaller desktop footprint. Of these, two of the most desirable models based on features and pricing from all the mini-ITX models on the Z490 chipset are the GIGABYTE Z490I Aorus Ultra and MSI MEG Z490I Unify. Offering dual PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2 slots, 2.5 GbE Ethernet ports, and integrated Wi-Fi 6 radios, both GIGABYTE and MSI's motherboards are designed to address the high end of the market. And with both boards going for the same price as well, it's easy to see why these Z490 boards have become such worthy adversaries.
AMD Zen now at 6W TDP: Dual Core for Education
At the low-end of AMD’s portfolio, the company uses Athlon Gold and Silver naming for parts that offer fewer cores and lower power consumption. These parts are still based on Zen or Zen+ microarchitecture, paired with a small amount of Vega graphics, indicating that this market is best served with something that is at a low-cost to manufacture but still of sufficient performance for the markets intended. Sitting below those Athlons, two new APUs have popped up in some new Lenovo education-focused designs today.The two new processors dispense with the Athlon naming, as AMD gets right into it – the AMD 3015e and 3020e use the same lower case ‘e’ ending we last saw on a product line in 2011, indicating the super low power that these processors are rated for. These processors are given a TDP of 6W with two cores and Vega 3 graphics, traditionally what we see in low cost laptops but sufficient for education-style designs.The silicon these new processors are based on, we believe, is AMD’s Dali silicon. It is the smallest of all AMD’s Zen APU silicon offerings, already in the market as AMD Athlon Mobile. These new parts come in below those specifications.AMD Dali-based Zen APUsAnandTechCores
Microchip Announces Flashtec NVMe 3108 PCIe 4.0 Enterprise SSD Controller
Microchip is announcing their first PCIe 4.0-capable SSD controller for low-power and entry-level enterprise SSDs. The new Flashtec NVMe 3108 is the smaller 8-channel derivative of the 16-channel Flashtec 3016, first announced two years ago. The 3016 has since moved from sampling to mass production, and as a derivative based on the same architecture, the new 3108 is expected to make that same transition much more quickly: sampling now, and production sometime in the first half of next year.The Flashtec NVMe 3108 isn't quite literally a 3016 sliced in half, but that was more or less the starting point for developing the 3108. In discussing how the 3016 and 3108 differ, Microchip opened up a bit more about their controller architecture in general, and how their PCIe 4.0 generation 3xxx controllers are different from the earlier PCI 3.0 based Flashtec NVMe 2xxx controllers. First and least surprising, both the 3016 and 3108 are built on a 16nm FinFET process, which is what almost all PCIe 4.0 SSD controllers are adopting.The external IO interfaces of the Flashtec NVMe 3108 are mostly cut in half relative to the NVMe 3016: 4 rather than 8 lanes of PCIe, 8 rather than 16 channels for interfacing with the NAND flash. The DDR4 DRAM interface on the 3108 can operate as a 16-bit, 32-bit or 40-bit (32+8 bit ECC) bus, while the 3016 uses either a 40-bit (32+8) or 72-bit (64+8) bus width. All together, these changes lead to a drastically lowered pin count, allowing the 3108 controller to use a package small enough to fit on a M.2 SSD. There's also some significant die space and power savings.The 3108 runs its DDR4 interface a bit slower than its larger sibling (2400 MHz instead of 3200 MHz), but supports the same NAND interface speeds up to 1200 MT/s — a huge improvement over the 533 MT/s supported by the previous generation Flashtec controllers. This allows the 3108 to hit sequential read speeds of over 6 GB/s and random read speeds of 1M IOPS when paired with sufficiently fast flash memory. This isn't quite saturating what a PCIe 4 x4 link is capable of, but is competitive with other PCIe gen4 enterprise SSD solutions that have been announced such as the Samsung PM9A3 (6.5GB/s, 900k IOPS) or the 16-channel Kioxia CD6 (6.2GB/s, 1M IOPS).The Flashtec NVMe 3108 includes fewer processor cores than the 3016, but still more than necessary for implementing basic SSD functionality. Microchip has designed the 3108 and the 3016 with spare processing power to accommodate computational storage use cases. This generation switched from Tensilica CPU cores to Arm cores, making for a more familiar development environment for customers developing firmware for these SSD controllers. Microchip says some customers are even running Linux on a subset of the controller's Arm cores.Two major features of the Flashtec NVMe 3016 are outright missing on the 3108. The smaller controller doesn't include the compression accelerator hardware from the 3016, so it is not as well suited for computational storage duty along those lines. The 3108 also lacks the expansion port of the 3016. The larger chip's expansion port is intended to allow two SSD controllers to pair up and be used as a 32-channel controller, since Microchip is no longer producing a monolithic 32-channel version of their controllers. This expansion port is unneeded on the 3108 since they already have a 16-channel solution that is simpler and likely faster and more efficient than a dual-chip 8+8 channel setup would be. (Competitors in the enterprise SSD controller space have also used dual-controller designs, such as Marvell's dual-chip 16-channel solution. Silicon Motion has taken an in-between strategy, designing a single-chip 16-channel controller that is internally organized much like a combination of two 8-channel controllers.)Aside from those features, the 3108 checks all the same boxes as the 3016: support for cryptographically verified firmware, dual-port PCIe, virtualization. Customers building SSDs with the 3108 should be able to implement the full range of NVMe 1.4 features and probably anything coming in NVMe 2.0, though not everyone will be including all of those optional features in their firmware.Microchip's customers for Flashtec SSD controllers include numerous SSD vendors as well as some hyperscale cloud service providers who design their own SSDs. Each of these has their own firmware development and QA processes and few are particularly open about their long-term roadmaps, so it's hard to say when we'll start seeing final products using the new Flashtec NVMe 3108 controller. Most of our hands-on experience with Flashtec SSD controllers has come from Memblaze's PBlaze5 family, which was jointly developed with Micron and related to their 9xxx series SSDs. Memblaze just announced new models using the 2108 controller, so their 3108-based drives are probably over a year away.
Netgear Launches WAX610 AX1800 Wi-Fi 6 Access Point for SMBs
Wi-Fi 6 deployment in the consumer market has achieved critical mass, with almost all modern smartphones and notebooks equipped with support for 802.11ax technology. As expected, we are starting to see the small-business and enterprise access points (APs) moving to support this technology. While vendors such as Aruba Networks, Ruckus Wireless, and others already have Wi-Fi 6 SMB / SME-focused Wi-Fi 6 APs in the market, Netgear is launching their first set of Wi-Fi 6 products targeting this segment today - the AX1800 WAX610, and its outdoor counterpart, the WAX610Y.Unlike previous Wi-Fi technology upgrades, the move to Wi-Fi 6 brings in the need for some underlying infrastructure changes - support for NBASE-T and PoE+ (802.3at). Some high-performance Wi-Fi 6 APs even require PoE++ (802.3bt) support. Netgear's WAX610 and WAX610Y can be powered using 802.3at and use a 2.5Gbps RJ-45 port for wired backhaul / power delivery.The focus in SMB products is more on stability compared to peak performance. Consumers in this space also want the ability to support a large number of concurrent client devices - high-density deployments - much more than what is usually handled by consumer Wi-Fi routers. Some SMBs also have to make do with non-dedicated IT staff, and external management capabilities as well as ease of setup / installation also plays a role in some scenarios. Netgear claims that the WAX610/WAX610Y's feature set aims at tackling these aspects. The AX1800 (2x2 802.11ax with 1200 Mbps in the 5 GHz band and 600 Mbps in the 2.4 GHz band) APs utilize a Qualcomm chipset. Based on the performance specifications, we do not have 160 MHz support, and Negear also mentioned the absence of uplink OFDMA support. The former is not really important for SMB APs - at least, not without Wi-Fi 6E which brings extended spectrum and the possibility of availing multiple contiguous 160MHz chunks without interference / DFS.In terms of security, Netgear is offering WPA3 support (as mandated by the IEEE Wi-Fi 6 specifications), as well as support for up to 8 SSIDs with a separate VLAN for each SSID. A number of SMB Wi-Fi 6 APs currently in the market use a 1Gbps wired port, but, Netgear has equipped their two new models with a 2.5Gbps LAN port. While most deployments would use the wired port for backhaul, Netgear has also provided mesh support, enabling the WAX models to mesh over Wi-Fi with other Netgear APs such as the WAC610 / WAC610Y / WAC540 / WAC564. The maximum power consumption for the WAX610 over PoE is rated at 15.3W, while the WAX610Y consumers 16.1W - enabling 802.3at-capable switches to power them easily. The APs will also function with 802.3af (traditional PoE), but ends up getting limited to 60% of its peak performance capabilities.The APs are part of Netgear's Insight-capable portfolio - allowing optional cloud-based management access. This is a boon for part-time IT folks as well as resellers wanting to provide value-added services.I have quite not been sold on the Insight-type cloud-based management scheme for SMB equipment (irrespective of the vendor offering it). However, the value offered to folks who are not dedicated solely to IT maintenance in an organization is undeniable. Now, the increasing prominence of work-from-home culture will bring additional pain-points to solve, and Insight-type cloud-based management can definitely play a role. For example, enabling seamless VPN and/or the ability to securely extend a WLAN from an office location to an employee's home (for scenarios where mobile devices needs to be in the company network for certain applications) are some challenges that IT administrators might want to solve in a user-friendly way moving forward. Cloud-based management solutions can definitely be of help in those scenarios.The WAX610 and WAX610Y are Insight-capable (not Insight-only), and expose more functionality for local management compared to what is available over the app / using the cloud. Pricing ranges from $180 (base indoor model without a power adapter) to $250 (outdoor model). Compared to SMB offerings from vendors such as Engenius and ZyXEL (Engenius EWS357AP @ $184 and the ZyXEL NWA110AX @ $200, both AX1800 PoE+ APs without 2.5Gbps LAN), these are very competitive price points in terms of the features offered.Source: Netgear
Ampere Altra 1P Server Pictured: GIGABYTE’s 2U with 80 Arm N1 Cores, PCIe 4.0 and CCIX
With the news of Apple moving to Arm SoCs replacing Intel in a few key products, and the success of the new Graviton2 SoC in Amazon’s Web Services, the news-o-sphere is awash with excitement about a new era of Arm-based computing. One of the companies looking to deploy Arm into the cloud is Ampere, with its new Altra and Altra Max compute processors.
GIGABYTE's New Z490 Aorus Master WaterForce Combo with Bundled 360mm AIO
Up until now, GIGABYTE has reserved the monoblock clad WaterForce series for its flagship Aorus Xtreme models. In an interesting move to further enhance the performance of the Intel Core i9-10900K processor and dominate the mid-range space, GIGABYTE has announced the new Z490 Aorus Master WaterForce bundle. GIGABYTE claims it to be the world's first motherboard to be bundled with a 360 mm AIO CPU cooler with monoblock which covers both the board's CPU socket and VRM area.The GIGABYTE Z490 Aorus Master WaterForce is essentially the same on paper as the initial Z490 Aorus Master model and follows a similar aesthetic. It encompasses an Aorus themed design with black PCIe slot armor and a brushed silver chipset heatsink, which includes an integrated RGB Aorus Falcon logo.
ASUS PN50 Mini-PC, with Ryzen Mobile 4000 APUs, Coming September
AMD launched its Ryzen Mobile 4000 ‘Renoir’ processors in January, and one of our questions was around the appetite for AMD to push mini-PC designs. Processors that have both high performance and low power are ideal for small form factors, and there has always been a dedicated community to this hardware segment. As we’ve seen in previous launches, sometimes these sorts of machines come before laptops, or very quickly after. At the time, AMD said that the focus was on the laptops, however there would be nothing to stop one of its partners going ahead with a mini-PC design. So we waited, and waited…
Google Teases Pixel 4a (5G) and Pixel 5 Later This Year
Alongside the launch of the Pixel 4a today, Google has made a mention that it’ll be launching the Pixel 4a (5G) later this year at a price point of $499.We don’t have any further details on this variant of the Pixel 4a, however if the only feature upgrade on the phone is a 5G compatible SoC and cellular connectivity, it would mean quite a steep price increase.To achieve 5G connectivity, Google has two options in the mid-range: The Snapdragon 690 and the Snapdragon 765. Both would be good upgrades over the Snapdragon 730G in the 4G Pixel 4a, however only the latter would have a modem which would be capable of mmWave connectivity. It would make sense for Google to go with the Snapdragon 690 in a mid-range device, however the steep price increase of the regular Pixel 4a could point out to a S765 with mmWave connectivity.Google also confirms that the Pixel 5 is coming, and it will too have 5G connectivity. We don’t know much about the Pixel 5 or how Google will be positioning the phone – either as a premium tier model with a Snapdragon 765 at a more competitive price, or again as a full flagship device with the Snapdragon 865.Related Reading:
Google Announces Pixel 4a - A $349 Value
Today Google is announcing its 2020 successor to its budget/mid-range line of phones in the form of the new Pixel 4a. Awaited since several months now, but seemingly delayed into August, the new Pixel 4a brings to the table a few key upgrades whilst offering a Google software experience at a $349 price point.Last year’s Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL were seemingly well received devices, with Google’s strategy being mostly focused on offering a “Google Experience” software stack that’s only found on Pixel devices. This year, Google is trying to continue this focus with the Pixel 4a, with the biggest obvious change being that we’re not seeing a 4a XL being released at this point in time.
Xeon Platinum 9200 at Scale: Penguin Computing’s new 7616 Cores-Per-Rack Solution
Some aspects of computing rely on density, and need to pack as many compute processing elements in the smallest space possible. Intel’s Xeon Platinum 9200 range was created to solve these problems, however uptake seems to be limited due to the high power consumption, suited only for those with deep pockets and the ability to deploy. Penguin Computing has introduced a new Xeon Platinum 9200 platform, called TundraAP, to enable better power efficiency and higher compute density.
Lian Li Unveils Its First AIO Coolers, The Galahad 360 and 240 with ARGB
Lian Li is highly regarded for its elegant and premium aluminium chassis, most recently its entry-level O11 Dynamic XL E-ATX case, which has become one of its most popular ranges. Its latest product marks the companies first foray into the liquid cooling market with the Galahad AIO series, with two different sizes available, including 240 and 360 mm.
AOC Announces New AGON Gaming Monitors, 24" 240Hz TN, 27" 165Hz NanoIPS
Today AOC is announcing two new gaming monitors to their AGON line-up, adding in a 24.5” 240Hz TN model in the form of the AG251FZ2E, and a new 27” 165Hz NanoIPS model with the AG273QXP.
Memblaze Releases New PBlaze5 520 Series Low-Power Enterprise SSDs
Yesterday we saw Memblaze introducing a new series of low-power server-class NVMe SSDs that focus on providing excellent performance whilst maintaining lower power consumption levels, aiming at enterprises improving their storage energy efficiency. The new PBlaze5 C520, D520, C526 and D526 SSDs come in either 2.5” U.2 or HHHL form-factors in two capacity classes for each model.Unlike its bigger brethren C900 series models which we had reviewed last year, the new 52X series units limit their performance characteristics by sticking to a PCIe 3.0 x4 interface, with all devices covered today peaking at a sequential read speed of 3.3GB/s.The 520 models come with in either 1.92TB or 3.84TB variants, while the 526 models feature in 1.6TB or 3.2TB configurations. Random read IOPS come in at a flat 520K for all the models, whilst random write IOPS for the 520 series range from 68K on the 1.92TB unit to 70K on the 3.84TB unit. The D526 and C526 both measure in at 135K random write IOPS.As opposed to the 900 series SKUs which either use 32- or 64-layer enterprise 3D TLC NAND, the new more energy efficient models use newer 96L chips.The reason why’d you want to choose these lower power models is of course for deployments which require higher energy conservation or lower heat generating hardware. Compared to the 900 series, idle power consumption is reduced from 7W to down to 4W, whilst operating power reduces from 25W to 9W, with an advertised 12W peak consumption.Memblaze PBlaze5 Series SpecificationsPBlaze5 D520PBlaze5 C520PBlaze5 D526PBlaze5 C526Form Factors2.5" U.2 DriveHHHL AIC2.5" U.2 DriveHHHL AICInterfacePCIe 3.0 x4PCIe 3.0 x4PCIe 3.0 x4PCIe 3.0 x4Capacities1.92TB
NVIDIA Launches Rainbow Six: Siege Game Bundle for GeForce RTX 20 Series Cards
Barely a couple of weeks off of their previous Death Stranding game bundle, NVIDIA is back with a new game bundle for GeForce RTX cards. Dubbed the Frames Win Games bundle, NVIDIA is now including copies of Rainbow Six Siege: Gold Edition.Rainbow Six Siege is a more unusual choice for a video card game bundle. The online-focused first person shooter was first launched back in 2015, and in the last several years has been well-received, leading to Ubisoft giving it ongoing support and expansions. The Gold Edition, in turn, includes the base game and much of this expansion content, including the most recent “Year 5” pass. DLC aside, I cannot recall a game that has been out this long ever being bundled with a high-end video card. This also leads into the name of the bundle, alluding to the fact that NVIDIA's RTX cards can easily hit 144fps in the game.NVIDIA Current Game Bundles
Best CPUs for Gaming: July 2020
Sometimes choosing a CPU is hard. So we've got you covered. In our CPU Guides, we give you our pick of some of the best processors available, supplying data from our reviews. Our Best CPUs for Gaming guide targets most of the common system-build price points that typically pair a beefy graphics card with a capable processor, with the best models being suitable for streaming and encoding on the fly.
Best Android Phones: July 2020
We’re now in the midst of the summer months and well into the product release cycles of almost every vendor of 2020. The spring release cycle is well past us and we’ve now transitioned to the second phase of device releases of the year, seeing vendors put out devices with the second take on this current silicon generation.2020 has been about 5G devices as well as high-refresh rate displays, combined with the adoption of many-camera modules as well as bigger sensors. Pretty much every vendor has followed this formula to date, with many vendors such as Samsung or OnePlus executing the best this year.In the mid-range, things have been quite shaken up by the release of reasonably priced phones with the new Snapdragon 765 SoC. OnePlus’ release of the Nord marks the company’s return into the sub-$500 market, while Xiaomi’s release of the Mi 10 Lite offers incredible value for its minuscule price.
Best SSDs: July 2020
A solid state drive is often the most important component for making a PC feel fast and responsive; any PC still using a mechanical hard drive as its primary storage is long overdue for an upgrade. The SSD market is broader than ever, with a wide range prices, performance and form factors.Pre-COVID market forecasts pointed to a NAND flash memory shortage to develop throughout 2020. Both NAND supply and demand have been spared the worst impacts seen in other markets, with the end result that SSD prices are generally a bit higher than last year. So far, the NAND shortage isn't as severe as initially expected, nor is it as bad as the 2017 shortage that occurred as most of the industry struggled to follow Samsung into the 3D NAND era. There's still plenty of demand for flash memory for servers and PCs, but that's offset by reduced demand from the smartphone market. Projections for the future demand trends are quite varied.
AMD Reiterates 2020 Roadmap: Zen 3 Client & Server, RDNA 2, CDNA Late This Year
As part of AMD’s quarterly earnings presentation, the company has briefly reiterated its product plans for the second-half of the year. The company was previously slated to launch new CPUs and GPUs for the client and server markets late this year, and on today’s call the company has confirmed that those plans are on track.On the client side of matters, both AMD’s new CPUs and GPUs are currently set to launch late in 2020. The first GPUs based on the company’s RDNA 2 architecture – which is also underpinning the new Playstation 5 and Xbox Series X consoles – will be released later this year. And AMD is confirming that RDNA2 will eventually be a “full refresh” of the company’s GPU product stacks. Meanwhile the eagerly anticipated Zen 3 architecture is set to make its desktop debut late this year as well. As always, with these sorts of events it’s prudent to note that a commitment to launch a product by a certain date doesn't guarantee that AMD will be able to have it on retail shelves by that date – though it sounds like AMD is certainly going to give it their all to avoid disappointing their user base.Meanwhile on the server side of matters, the picture is much the same. AMD reports that they are on track to begin shipping the Zen 3-based “Milan” EPYC processors late in 2020. As well, AMD’s first CDNA architecture GPU for the data center market is set to launch late this year as well.
AMD Reports Q2 2020 Earnings: Notebook and Server Sales Drive a Record Quarter
Continuing our look at tech industry financial results, AMD this afternoon is celebrating setting some new records in its Q2’2020 financial results. Enjoying a continuing turn-around in its fortunes t hanks in big part to its Zen series of CPU architectures and resulting products, the company has just closed the books on the first year of sales of its Zen 2-based desktop processors, with EPYC following close behind. At this point AMD is now setting quarterly revenue records, and the company is expecting to grow its revenue further over the coming months.For the second quarter of 2020, AMD reported $1.93B in revenue, a 26% jump over the same quarter a year ago. As a result, Q2’2020 was AMD’s best quarter ever, built on the back of record notebook and server revenue. Overall, all of AMD’s metrics have improved in a year-over-year basis, with net income up $122M (349%) to $157M, while the company’s all-important gross margin improved by 3 points to 44%. In fact the only real knock that can be made on AMD’s quarter is that they didn’t pass their Q1’2020 net income or gross margin, which was due to increased semi-custom shipments, which aren’t as profitable for the company.AMD Q2 2020 Financial Results (GAAP)Q2'2020Q2'2019Q1'2020Revenue$1.93B$1.53B$1.79BGross Margin44%41%46%Operating Income$173M$59M$177MNet Income$157M$35M$162MEarnings Per Share$0.13$0.03$0.14Once again the flag bearer for AMD is their Computing and Graphics segment, which encompasses their desktop and notebook CPU sales, as well as their GPU sales. That division booked $1.37B in revenue for the quarter, $427M (45%) more than Q2 of 2019. The segment’s operating income as up significantly as well, jumping from just $22M a year ago to $200M this year.These numbers come as AMD closes the book on their first year of Zen 2 product sales – the first retail chips hit store shelves at the very start of Q3’2019. Since then AMD has grown their desktop chip sales significantly, and combined with laptop sales the company is reporting their best client processor revenue in more than 12 years. As previously mentioned, laptop sales saw record revenue – doubling last year’s numbers – thanks in part to AMD shipping a record number of notebook chips.AMD Q2 2020 Computing and GraphicsQ2'2020Q2'2019Q1'2020Revenue$1367M$940M$1438MOperating Income$200M$22M$262MAs for product average selling prices (ASPs), AMD is reporting that client processor prices are up on a year-over-year basis (thanks again to Zen 2). However they have dropped on a quarterly basis due to a greater mix of Ryzen Mobile sales.Meanwhile AMD’s GPU division looks to have once again been the laggard. While AMD doesn’t break out revenue numbers to specific divisions, on the subject of ASPs they note that GPU ASPs are down on both a year-over-year and quarterly basis, due to lower channel sales. On their earnings call, AMD has noted that while mobile GPU sales are up by double digits, this was more than offset by declines in desktop GPU sales. Overall, with AMD’s Q2’2019 being a somewhat soft quarter for GPU sales to begin with as consumers awaited their heavily-teased Navi architecture products, I’m surprised to see that AMD’s ASPs still slipped this year.AMD Q2 2020 Enterprise, Embedded and Semi-CustomQ2'2020Q2'2019Q1'2020Revenue$565M$591M$348MOperating Income$33M$89M-$26MFinally, AMD’s Enterprise, Embedded, and Semi-Custom segment saw a very solid Q2, as the group enjoyed an uptick in EPYC processor sales. In fact AMD has finally, albeit belatedly, finally captured a double-digit share of the server processor market, a major goal for the company. Fittingly, on a year-over-year basis, EPYC revenue has doubled.None the less, the odd grouping of server CPUs with semi-custom (console) chips means that revenue actually dropped on a year-over-year basis thanks to lower semi-custom sales. The upshot, at least, is that it’s a significant improvement over Q1, where the group ended up in the red. Meanwhile AMD has started production of the PS5 and Xbox Series X SoCs, so revenues here should significantly improve next quarter, but those are still lower margin products.Looking forward, like much of the rest of the tech industry AMD is looking towards a strong second-half of the year, as the company has been able to successfully weather the immediate challenges from the coronavirus pandemic. As a result, AMD is increasing its full-year projections, and the company is now calling for 32% revenue growth over 2019, and a gross margin of around 45%.Driving this growth for AMD will be a mix of the slow expansion of server products, as well as new products launched in the second-half of the year. AMD is expecting EPYC sales to continue to grow and for the company to gain market share there as more server vendors further ramp up their EPYC server production. Meanwhile AMD is reiterating that it’s expecting to begin shipping its Zen 3-based “Milan” EPYC processors late this year. AMD’s upcoming CDNA-based data center GPUs are also set to launch around at time.As for the consumer side of matters, AMD is expecting continued sales success with its consumer products, particularly Ryzen Mobile. None the less, all eyes are going to be on AMD’s future products, as AMD is reiterating their 2020 launch plans. The company reports that it’s on track to launch Zen 3 client CPUs in late 2020, and the company’s eagerly-anticipated RDNA2 products, which will eventually encompass a full stack refresh, will launch in late 2020 as well.
Supermicro SuperServer E302-9D Review: A Fanless 10G pfSense Powerhouse
Intel launched the Xeon D-2100 SoCs in early 2018, with a feature set making them a fit for several verticals including edge servers, networking, and storage. One of the key advancements made in the Xeon D-2100 compared to the first-generation Xeon D-1500 series was the inbuilt support for two additional 10G network interfaces. With TDPs starting at 60W, the Xeon D-2100 SoCs lends itself to some interesting and unique server and edge procesing products. Today's review deals with one such system - Supermicro's passively-cooled SuperServer E302-9D.
CES 2021: Physical Event Cancelled, Moves to All-Digital Format
As the world continues to battle on with SARS-CoV-2, large public events and especially trade shows were cancelled one after another for 2020. Large computing shows such as Computex, even after an attempted delay to September, eventually completely cancelled their plans for the year.Today, the Computer Technology Association has announced that next year’s CES 2021 event will also no longer take place in physical form, and instead move to an all-digital format experience. CES is usually the world’s biggest consumer electronics show with up to 180,000 attendees assembling in early January in Las Vegas to showcase the newest gadgets and electronics in the consumer market.The new all-digital format will be a big change for the show which likely will represent a herculean effort on the part of the organisers. CTA President and CEO Gary Shapiro quotes:
12345678910...