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Hier — 20 juillet 2019AnandTech

AMD Joins CXL Consortium: Playing in All The Interconnects

Par Anton Shilov

AMD's CTO, Mark Papermaster, has published a blog post this week said that AMD has joined the Compute Express Link (CXL) Consortium. The industry group is led by a set of nine industry giants such as Intel, Alibaba, Google, and Microsoft. The CXL 1.0 technology uses the PCIe 5.0 physical infrastructure to enable a coherent low-latency interconnect protocol that allows to share CPU and non-CPU resources efficiently and without using complex memory management. The announcement indicates that AMD now supports all of the current and upcoming high-speed interconnect protocols, including CCIX, Gen-Z, and OpenCAPI.

À partir d’avant-hierAnandTech

Western Digital Unveils IntelliFlash N5100: An Entry-Level All-Flash Storage System

Par Anton Shilov

Western Digital has introduced its most affordable NVMe all-flash storage array, the new IntelliFlash N5100. The device offers up to 92 TB of raw NAND flash using SN200 NVMe SSDs, and can be further expanded when needed using additional 2U IntelliFlash SAS modules featuring 24 SAS drive bays, offering hundreds of terabytes of raw NAND flash. The IntelliFlash N5100 is aimed at customers who need to accelerate business applications, but who do not need extreme levels of performance at high prices.

Western Digital’s IntelliFlash N-series NVMe all-flash arrays sit above the company’s IntelliFlash HD-series all-flash and T-series hybrid-flash offering the lowest latency of around 200 µsec and the highest data transfer rates. The N-series family contains three types of arrays: the highest-end N5800, the mainstream N5200, and now the entry-level N5100. The top-of-the-range N5800 offers up to 1.7M sustained IOPS and up to 23 GB/s data throughput, the midrange N5200 provides up to 800K IOPS, whereas the entry-level N5100 features up to 400K sustained IOPS.

Western Digital's IntelliFlash N-series
  N5100 N5200 N5800
Random Read/Write Performance 400K IOPS 800K IOPS 1.7M IOPS
Sustained Data Transfer Rate ? ? 23 GB/s
Latency 200 µsec 200 µsec 200 µsec
Maximum RAW Capacity 400 TB 1.4 PB 2.5 PB

All the Western Digital IntelliFlash N-series all-flash arrays are based on Intel’s Xeon processors, and use WD's dual-active controller architecture in a 2U form-factor. The N5100-series AFAs can be expanded using 2U SAS-based HD-series AFAs that carry SSDs with up to 15.36 TB capacity (Ultrastar DC SS530) and providing up to 368 TB of raw NAND flash (in case of the HD2160 version) as well as 1 ms latency. Meanwhile, the IntelliFlash N5800 can support multiple IntelliFlash HD or 2U or 3U machines for a total raw NAND capacity of up to 2.5 PB.

From software standpoint, all the latest IntelliFlash machines run Western Digital’s IntelliFlash OE 3.10 operating system that supports block (FC, iSCSI) as well as file (NFS, CIFS, SMBv3) protocols and therefore are compatible with a variety of software from multiple vendors. Furthermore, the OS fully supports virtualization, data protection, data reduction, inline deduplication, and compression to improve performance, reliability, and increase effective capacity.

Interestingly, the IntelliFlash OE 3.10 adds support for Storage Class Memory as well as NVDIMMs to further boost their performance, but Western Digital does not disclose what kind of SCE and NVDIMMs are currently supported or which future configurations will be supported.

Western Digital’s IntelliFlash N5100 AFAs will be available in the near future. Actual pricing will depend on exact configurations.

Related Reading:

Source: Western Digital

Corsair Unveils 32 GB Vengeance LPX DDR4 DIMMs, 64 GB & 128 GB Dual-Channel Kits

Par Anton Shilov

Corsair has introduced its first 32 GB unbuffered DRAM modules along with 64 GB and 128 GB dual-channel memory kits for mainstream PC platforms based on AMD’s 400/500-series as well as Intel’s 300-series chipsets (and their successors). Besides, the company also unveiled its 256GB eight-channel kit for high-end desktop as well as extreme workstation processors.

Corsair’s Vengeance LPX DDR4 unbuffered memory modules are based on 16 Gb memory chips (from an unconfirmed vendor, though Corsair historically relies on devices from Samsung) as well as the company’s custom 10-layer PCB designed to ensure quality signaling when operating at higher clocks. Traditionally for this product family, Corsair’s 32 GB Vengeance LPX UDIMMs are equipped with black anodized aluminum heat spreaders.

Set to be available in kits containing one, two, four, or eight 32 GB unbuffered DIMMs, Corsair’s Vengeance LPX modules are rated for DDR4-2400 CL16 16-16-39 at 1.2 V, DDR4-2666 CL16 18-18-35 at 1.2 V, and DDR4-3000 CL16 20-20-38 at 1.35 V modes. It is noteworthy that the modules come with SPD programmed for DDR4-2133 CL15 mode, but since they feature XMP 2.0 profiles, setting correct speeds should be easy.

Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4 Kits Featuring 32 GB UDIMMs
Data rate Latency Kit Capacity Modules Voltage Heat Spreader Launch Price
2400 MT/s CL16
16-16-39
32 GB 1 × 32 GB 1.2 V Black $149.99
64 GB 2 × 32 GB $299.99
128 GB 4 × 32 GB $599.99
256 GB 8 × 32 GB $1,199.99
2666 MT/s CL16 18-18-35 32 GB 1 × 32 GB 1.2 V $154.99
64 GB 2 × 32 GB $304.99
128 GB 4 × 32 GB $609.99
256 GB 8 × 32 GB ?
3000 MT/s CL16 20-20-38 32 GB 1 × 32 GB 1.35 V ?
64 GB 2 × 32 GB ?

Corsair’s 32 GB Vengeance LPX DDR4 unbuffered memory modules as well as kits on their base are available today directly from Corsair and will shortly be available from the company’s partners. One 32 GB DDR4-2400/DDR4-2666 module is priced at $149.99/$154.99; but dual, quad, and eight-channel kits are naturally more expensive.

Related Reading:

Source: Corsair

Patriot Launches P200 SSDs with Maxio and Silicon Motion Controllers: From $31.99

Par Anton Shilov

Patriot has introduced its new family of entry-level SATA SSDs offering capacities from 256 GB to 2 TB. The P200-series drives use controllers from Maxio Technology and Silicon Motion, the first time in years that Patriot uses controllers not from Phison.

Available in a 2.5-inch/7 mm form-factor, the Patriot P200 drives feature 256 GB, 512 GB, and 1 TB configurations and are based on Silicon Motion’s SM2258XT controllers, whereas the top-of-the-line 2 TB model is powered by Maxio Technology’s MAS0902A controller. The drives are powered by 3D NAND memory, but the manufacturer does not disclose exact model of chips or their manufacturer (we do know that SMI and Maxio controllers can work with memory from various vendors though).

As far as performance is concerned, Patriot says that its P200-series SSDs can offer up to 530 MB/s sequential read speeds, up to 460 MB/s sequential write speeds, up to 90K random read IOPS, as well as up to 80K random write speeds. Performance wise, the new drives from Patriot offer similar speed levels as other SATA 6 Gbps SSDs.

When it comes to endurance levels, Patriot’s P200 SSDs can offer 0.45 – 0.58 drive writes per day (DWPD), which is actually higher when compared to 0.3 DWPD offered by cheap 3D QLC NAND-based drives these days.

All Patriot’s P200 SSDs are covered by a three-year warranty and are available now for $31.99 - $189.99, depending on capacity.

Patriot's P200 Specifications
Capacity 256 GB 512 GB 1 TB 2 TB
Model Number P200S256G25 P200S512G25 P200S1TB25 P200S2TB25
Controller Silicon Motion SM2258XT Maxio MAS0902A
NAND Flash 3D NAND
Form-Factor, Interface 2.5-inch/7-mm, SATA 6 Gbps
Sequential Read up to 530 MB/s
Sequential Write up to 460 MB/s
Random Read IOPS up to 90K
Random Write IOPS up to 80K
Pseudo-SLC Caching Supported
DRAM Buffer No
AES Encryption unknown
Power Management Automatic sleep and wake-up mechanism power saving
Warranty 3 years
MTBF 2,000,000 hours
TBW 160 TB 320 TB 640 TB 1000 TB
DWPD 0.57 0.57 0.58 0.45
Price at Launch $31.99 $49.99 $87.99 $189.99

Related Reading:

Source: Patriot

Intel’s Xeon Platinum 8284 CPU: When 300 MHz Cost $5,500

Par Anton Shilov

Besides Xeon processors that are officially mentioned on its website and price list, Intel has tens of ‘off roadmap’ server CPUs only available to select customers that have special requests. Recently journalists from ComputerBase discovered that Intel has Xeon Platinum 8284, the company’s fastest 28-core chip for multi-socket servers. The CPU runs 300 MHz faster than the ‘official’ Xeon Platinum 8280, but costs considerably more.

The MSI MEG X570 Ace Motherboard Review: Ace in the Hole at $369

Par Gavin Bonshor

In our first X570 motherboard review we have the MSI MEG X570 Ace. This motherboard represents MSI's high-end range and sits in the top 3 of its product stack. The MEG X570 Ace has a black and gold theme which fits in with AMD's 50 year anniversary, and also includes an 'Infinity Mirror' on the rear panel cover. It's a beefy looking product, and the Ace has a trump card of a price tag of $369 as it offers enthusiast-level features such as a 2.5G Ethernet, a true 12+2-phase power delivery, and three PCIe 4.0 x4 M.2 slots, all at a fairly reasonable price.

Samsung Starts Production of LPDDR5-5500 Devices: 12 GB of DRAM in a Smartphone

Par Anton Shilov

Samsung has kicked off volume production of its LPDDR5 memory devices and intends to start mass assembly of memory packages based on the new DRAMs. The company’s LPDDR5 memory will be used for upcoming flagship smartphones with up to 12 GB of memory in the coming months.

Samsung’s 12 Gb LPDDR5 memory devices feature a 5500 MT/s data transfer rate, which is about 30% higher when compared to currently used LPDDR4X-4266 DRAM. One of the first products to use the new 12 Gb LPDDR5 devices will be Samsung’s 12 GB LPDDR5 package featuring a 44 GB/s bandwidth.

The manufacturer produces its 12 Gb LPDDR5 chips using its 2nd Generation 10 nm-class process technology that enables it to make the new chips smaller (i.e., cheaper) and more power efficient, yet Samsung does not disclose exact voltages of these new DRAMs. What we do know is that the ICs feature a variable voltage that is up to 1.1 V. The producer claims that its LPDDR5 devices are 30% more power efficient than existing mobile memory chips because of a new circuit design with enhanced clocking, a new deep sleep mode, as well as low-power feature that guarantees stable operation at high clocks.

Assembly of 12 GB LPDDR5-5500 packages will commence later in July, which indicates that the company expects demand for these products in the coming months. Quite naturally, Samsung does not disclose customers interested in 12 GB of LPDDR5 memory, but there are a number of new flagship smartphone launches scheduled for the coming months, so we are going to find out soon. We do expect that Samsung is starting to build inventory for new 1Q2020 device launches which will have next-generation LP5 compatible SoCs in them as well.

Next year Samsung plans to release 16 Gb LPDDR5 devices and eventually increase data transfer rates of its LPDDR5 DRAMs all the way to 6400 MT/s. Meanwhile, as demand for LPDDR5 increases, Samsung may transfer production of this memory to its massive campus near Pyeongtaek, South Korea.

Related Reading:

Source: Samsung

European Commission Fines Qualcomm €242m For Anti-trust Violations

Par Andrei Frumusanu

Today the European Commission has concluded a 4 year long antitrust investigation into anti-competitive business behaviour of Qualcomm against other players in the market, and has fined the company €242 million for abusing its market dominance in 3G baseband chipsets during the period of 2009 to 2011.

The investigation was formally opened on July 16th 2015 and particularly looked at Qualcomm’s behaviour in the late 3G/UMTS and early 4G era where it held a commanding lead over other vendors in supplying modem chipsets.

The Commission concluded that Qualcomm had engaged in predatory pricing of three chipsets with evidence that the company had aimed to strategically push out and eliminate new contenders in the market, with a specific mention of Icera.

The Commission goes into more detail in regards to Qualcomm’s pricing behaviour in the mid-2009 to mid-2011 period where it concluded that it sold UMTS chipsets below cost to Huawei and ZTE, two important customers, with the goal of eliminating Icera.

Icera was an up-and-coming UMTS and LTE vendor which had started to see success in the market, and ended up being acquired by Nvidia with plans of integrating the technology into the Tegra line-up of SoCs, one product of this venture ending up being the Tegra 4i. The Tegra 4i unfortunately saw very little success among vendors in the market even though the chipset was technically equivalent to the Snapdragon 800/801 SoCs at the time. Nvidia ended up shuttering the division in 2015 due to a lack of success.

Qualcomm has communicated that the company is planning to appeal the finding.

The fine comes shortly after a recent scathing ruling in the US where the FTC had accused the company of similar anti-competitive behaviour breaching antitrust laws, and several years of scrutiny and fines by several regulatory agencies of various countries around the world.

Related Reading:

Toshiba Memory To Rebrand As Kioxia

Par Billy Tallis

In 2017, Toshiba was forced to sell off its flash memory business to stave off bankruptcy. The memory business was spun off as Toshiba Memory Corporation and sold for $18 billion to a consortium led by Bain Capital after a high-stakes bidding war. Toshiba Memory has continued to thrive as the number two manufacturer of NAND flash memory and a major player in the SSD market. Toshiba Memory has been laying the groundwork for an IPO that could happen as early as November of this year. Part of that preparation includes establishing a more independent identity form the Toshiba conglomerate that only retained about 40% ownership of the memory business.

To that end, Toshiba Memory will be rebranding as Kioxia at the beginning of October. Toshiba says the new name is a combination of kioku (Japanese for "memory") and axia (Greek for "value"). The announcement of the new name doesn't include any strategy shifts, only generic corporate platitudes. On the technology side, it's still business as usual save for recovering from the effects of a recent power outage at their fabs in Yokkaichi, Japan. On the financial side, details of their plans for an IPO are still largely unofficial and the timing may still be influenced by changing market conditions. When the Bain-led consortium acquired Toshiba Memory in 2017, the original plan was for an IPO to occur within three years, and it looks like they are on track to meet that deadline.

Related Reading:

Club 3D’s CSV-1562 USB Type-C Dock Has Three 4K Display Outputs

Par Anton Shilov

Club 3D has announced its new 15-in-1 USB Type-C docking station which has a total of five display outputs that can drive up to three 4K Ultra-HD monitors. The new CSV-1562 uses display output chips from DisplayLink to enable multiple display connectors, which can add unique capabilities to mainstream notebooks without discrete GPUs.

Aimed at mobile professionals who need multiple ports and many displays, the Club 3D CSV-1562 USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C docking station integrates a GbE adapter, five USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A ports, one USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C connector (that can charge mobile phones), five display outputs (three HDMI 2.0 and two DisplayPort 1.2 connectors), a 3.5-mm audio output, and a 3.5-mm microphone input. In addition, the USB-C dock has a built-in PSU and can deliver up to 60 W of power to its host laptop.

The key feature of the Club 3D CSV-1562 is of course its graphics output capabilities enabled by a USB-based DisplayLink controller. Two out of five outputs can drive two 4K60 monitors, another one can drive a 4K30 display. Alternatively, two DisplayPorts can be used to connect a 5K60 monitor. Because we are talking about a DisplayLink-based solution, the CSV-1562 needs appropriate Virtual Graphics Card (VGC) software/drivers that takes the virtual framebuffer, compresses it and sends the data over USB to the company's proprietary Hardware Rendering Engine (HRE) that converts it to display signals. DisplayLink's software thus naturally consumes some computer resources and has certain requirements.

Being a unique USB-C docking solution, the Club 3D CSV-1562 is not cheap at all, but if you have a USB-C laptop yet need to run two or three 4K monitors, you do not really have much of a choice. The unit is currently available in Japan for ¥29,800 (so think about MSRP of around $250 in the USA).

Related Reading:

Source: Club 3D (via PC Watch)

ID Cooling IS-50X Low-Profile SFF Cooler, Rated for 130 W TDP

Par Anton Shilov

ID Cooling has introduced its new cooling system designed for small form-factor (SFF) PCs, for CPUs with a TDP rating of up to 130W. The IS-50X has a 120-mm fan and is just 57 mm tall, and is designed for desktops builds featuring higher-end processors from AMD or Intel with six or eight cores that can dissipate a lot of thermal energy.

Traditionally, CPU coolers for smaller systems are designed for mainstream chips have a TDP between 35W to 65W. Since demand for high-performance SFF PCs is on the rise, manufacturers are developing coolers that can handle processors with TDP levels that exceed 95W. Such devices usually feature multiple heat pipes along with more sophisticated fans. For example, the IS-50X comes with five 6-mm heat pipes as well as a 120-mm PWM fan with 13 curved blades that rotates at a speed of 600 – 1600 RPM. The fan can produce airflow of up to 53.6 CFM and has a maximum load noise level of only 30.2 dB(A).

When it comes to compatibility, the ID Cooling IS-50X cooler is compatible with all contemporary platforms from AMD and Intel, including the latest AM4 and LGA1155 sockets.

The ID Cooling IS-50X Specifications
  IS-50X
CPU TDP 130 W
Material Copper heatpipes aluminum fins
Dimension with Fan 120 mm (W) × 57 mm (H) × 122 mm (D)
Heat Pipes 5 × 6 mm heat pipes
Air Pressure ~ 1.36 mm H2O
Air Flow (CFM)  53.6 CFM
Speed  600 ~ 1600 RPM
Noise 13 ~ 30.2 dBA
Type of Bearing Hydraulic bearing
Life Expectancy ?
Weight 310 grams
Compatibility AMD AM4/FM2+/FM2/FM1/AM3+/AM3/AM2+/AM2
Intel LGA1151/1150/1155/1156

ID Cooling is one a few companies which offers high-performance CPU coolers for SFF PCs. Earlier this year the firm introduced its 30-mm high IS-30 cooler for processors with TDP levels of up to 100 W. The new IS-50X is naturally considerably larger, but it can better handle processors that are either overclocked, or run at higher Turbo clocks when possible.

ID Cooling did not disclose pricing of the IS-50X cooler this week, but its IS-50 unit was available for $33.39 (down from $52.99) from Newegg at press time.

Related Reading:

Source: ID Cooling (via Tom’s Hardware)

Nintendo Announces New Version of Switch with Longer Battery Life

Par Anton Shilov

Nintendo has announced a new version of its Switch game console that features a considerably longer battery life than the first-generation model. The new console likely uses new components that feature a lower power consumption and therefore the gaming device can work for longer durations on one charge.

The new Nintendo Switch console has the same features as the original one (handheld mode, tabletop mode, TV mode, Joy-Con controllers, etc.) and looks exactly the same too. The company does not disclose precise specifications of the unit, but only says it can work for 4.5 – 9 hours on one charge, up from 2.5 – 6.5 hours in case of the previous-gen model.

Since it is hard to increase capacity of a battery by 80% in a short period of time without increasing its physical dimensions, it is more than likely that the product is actually based on a version of NVIDIA’s Tegra X1 SoC made using a more advanced (12 nm or 16 nm) process technology and featuring the same lower power consumption that we reported about a week ago on the new Switch Lite.

Since the new model with better battery life looks the same, it remains to be seen how Nintendo plans to differentiate between the two versions of its Switch consoles from the older ones in terms of hardware packaging. The original version carries the HAC-001 model number (with serial numbers starting from XAW), whereas the new SKUs will feature the HAC-001(01) model number (with serial numbers beginning from XKW).

The new Nintendo Switch game console will carry the same $299.99 MSRP as the original device and will be available in the near future.

Related Reading:

Source: Nintendo, Nintendo Twitter (via Gizmodo)

HP Launches Z6 G4 Workstation with Intel Xeon Scalable & Quadro RTX 6000

Par Anton Shilov

HP has started sales of its fourth-generation Z6 workstation, which pack one or two of Intel’s Xeon Scalable processor, NVIDIA’s Quadro RTX graphics cards, as well as up to 384 GB of memory. The new HP Z6 G4 machine is designed for graphics and compute intensive workloads and is aimed at VFX specialists, engineers and other creative professionals.

HP’s Z6 G4 workstation is based on one Intel Xeon W CPU or two Intel Xeon Scalable processors, with up to 48 cores in total. The machine can integrate up to 384 GB of DDR4 memory with ECC as well as six PCIe add-in-boards. Since the workstation has two PCIe 3.0 x16 slots, it can also feature two NVIDIA Quadro RTX 6000 graphics cards. In addition, the system can pack multiple SSDs and HDDs that offer tens of terabytes of storage space.

The key feature of HP’s Z6 G4 is its expandability and upgradeability. It may be configured with one Xeon W processor, but may be eventually upgraded to two Xeon Scalable CPUs using a special module. The machine comes with a 1000 W power supply, enough to feed the most power-hungry components.

HP’s Z6 workstations cost starting from $1,829 and sit between the company’s top-of-the-range dual-processor Z8 machine with up to four Quadro RTX 8000 graphics cards (which costs $2,489 and higher) as well as a more compact and affordable Z4 with two graphics cards that starts at $1359.

Like all HP Z workstations, the Z6 G4 comes with the company’s Sure Start self-healing BIOS capability, HP Sure Run security feature, HP Sure Recover  as well as a three-year warranty.

Related Reading:

Source: HP

Giveaway: Seagate Ironwolf 110 SSD (480GB)

Par Ryan Smith

We haven’t yet given away any hardware this summer, so let’s change that. Earlier this year Seagate announced that they’d be expanding their Ironwolf family of NAS-focused drives to include SATA SSDs, and to that end the company has sent over a 480GB drive for us to give away.

As noted by Ganesh earlier this year when the drives launched, the Ironwolf 110 family the recent drop in NAND pricing has opened the door to SSDs becoming increasingly viable for NASes, especially as cache drives. SMBs and SMEs have already been using enterprise SSDs for this purpose, and Seagate believes that there is a market for SSDs specifically targeting the NAS market, as long as it is at the right price point.

With capacities ranging from 240GB to 3.84TB, Seagate is offering a fairly expansive family with the Ironwolf 110. The drives, based on 3D TLC NAND with sustained performance numbers of 560 / 535 MBps sequential reads / writes, support a relatively hearty 1 DWPD endurance, despite the usual read-heavy scenarios that NASes drive.  Fittingly, since SSDs offer higher reliability due to a lack of moving parts, the rated nonrecoverable read errors rate is 1 per 10E17, 2 orders of magnitude better than the typical Ironwolf HDD.

Seagate Ironwolf 110 Series Specifications
Capacity 240 GB 480 GB 960 GB 1920 GB 3840 GB
Form Factor 2.5" 7mm SATA
NAND Flash 3D TLC
Sequential Read 560 MB/s
Sequential
Write
345 MB/s 535 MB/s
Random Read 55k IOPS 75k IOPS 90k IOPS 90k IOPS 85k IOPS
Random
Write
30k IOPS 50k IOPS 55k IOPS 50k IOPS 45k IOPS
Idle Power 1.2 W
Active Power 2.3 W 2.7 W 3.2 W 3.4 W 3.5 W
Warranty 5 years
Write
Endurance
435 TB
1 DWPD
875 TB
1 DWPD
1750 TB
1 DWPD
3500 TB
1 DWPD
7000 TB
1 DWPD

Ultimately, Seagate is hoping to sell the IronWolf SSDs to prosumers, creative pros, SMB, and SME NAS users. Prosumers and creative professionals with 10G-capable NAS units stand to benefit from the bandwidth benefits of flash-equipped bays. While enterprise SSDs are the way to go for all-flash arrays with write-heavy workloads, other SSD-in-NAS use-cases in the SMB and SME space can benefit from SSDs such as the IronWolf 110.

This giveaway is running through July 26th and is open to all US residents. To enter, please visit our Gleam.io contest entry page.

The Kinesis Freestyle Edge RGB Gaming Mechanical Keyboard Review: An Ergonomic Masterpiece

Par E. Fylladitakis

Today we are taking a look at the Freestyle Edge RGB, the successor to the the first ergonomic mechanical keyboard that we ever reviewed, the Freestyle Edge. Although its name suggests that the company just added RGB lighting to the initial version of the keyboard, as we'll see in this review, Kinesis has made several and significant changes to the overall Freestyle Edge design.

Arm Flexible Access: Design the SoC Before Spending Money

Par Dr. Ian Cutress

One of the critical ways in which the Arm licensing model works relates to how its customers acquires Arm’s IP, the architecture licenses, or access, along with royalty payments. Every customer, especially the big ones on the leading edge, is different, and we’ve gone through how the Arm business model works in detail in a series of articles back in 2013. Today, Arm is taking a different step in how vendors can approach most of its popular IP for the simple task of design - without having to open the wallet to buy a license.

AMD’s Eight-Core Ryzen 7 2700X Now Available for $200

Par Anton Shilov

As a part of Prime Day deals at Amazon, AMD’s eight-core Ryzen 7 2700X processor is now available for $199.99, which is $129 off its original MSRP. This is the lowest price for this eight-core processor with an unlocked multiplier ever.

AMD’s Ryzen 7 2700X is the company’s former flagship CPU that has eight cores with SMT, features a 16 MB L3 cache and runs at 3.7 GHz default clocks. The chip also has two DDR4-2933 memory channels and is compatible with modern AM4 motherboards that are available widely and at different price points. Since we are talking about AMD’s X-series processor, it also has the company’s Extended Frequency Range (XFR) feature for an added performance boost.

Originally priced at $329, AMD’s Ryzen now costs $199.99 at Amazon because of its Prime Day deals, which is also the current price of the ‘slower’ AMD Ryzen 7 2700 that lacks the XFR capability.

AMD Ryzen 2000-Series CPUss
  Ryzen 7 2700X Ryzen 7 2700 Ryzen 5 2600X Ryzen 5 2600
CPU Cores/Threads 8 / 16 8 / 16 6 / 12 6 / 12
Base CPU Frequency 3.7 GHz 3.2 GHz 3.6 GHz 3.4 GHz
Turbo CPU Frequency 4.3 GHz 4.1 GHz 4.2 GHz 3.9 GHz
TDP @ Base Frequency 105 W 65 W 95 W 65 W
L1 Cache I: 64K. D: 32K I: 64K. D: 32K I: 64K. D: 32K I: 64K. D: 32K
L2 Cache 512 KB/core 512 KB/core 512 KB/core 512 KB/core
L3 Cache 16 MB 16 MB 16 MB 16 MB
DRAM Support DDR4-2933
Dual Channel
DDR4-2933
Dual Channel
DDR4-2933
Dual Channel
DDR4-2933
Dual Channel
PCIe Lanes (CPU) 16 Free + 4 NVMe 16 Free + 4 NVMe 16 Free + 4 NVMe 16 Free + 4 NVMe
Original MSRP $329 $299 $229 $199
Price at Press Time $199 $199 $159 $139
Bundled Cooler AMD Prism RGB AMD Spire RGB AMD Spire AMD Stealth

To make the deal even more attractive, the Ryzen 7 2700X comes with AMD’s Prism RGB cooling system, which is rated for a 105 W TDP.

Keep in mind that since this is a part of Amazon’s Prime Day campaign, the day is eligible for around ~35 hours after press time, so make it quick if you want the Ryzen 7 2700X for $199.99.

Related Reading:

Source: Amazon

Next Generation Intel Atom Tremont: Potential L3 Cache

Par Dr. Ian Cutress

Intel has already disclosed that it will have a next generation Atom core, code named Tremont, which is to appear in products such as the Foveros-based hybrid Lakefield, as well as Snow Ridge designed for 5G deployments. In advance of the launch of the core and the product, it is customary for some documentation and tools to be updated to prepare for it; in this case, one of those updates has disclosed that the Tremont core would contain an L3 cache – a first for one of Intel’s Atom designs.

Qualcomm Announces Snapdragon 855 Plus: A Higher Bin SKU

Par Andrei Frumusanu

Today Qualcomm is announcing a new small refresh of the Snapdragon 855 SoC: the new Snapdragon 855+. In the past Qualcomm had the habit of sometimes refreshing their flagship SoCs in the middle of their product life and give them a small performance boost, probably the most known chip fitting this pattern was the Snapdragon 821 from a few years ago. The S835 never got an upgrade, however the S845 last year did get a higher bin variant which ended up in a few vendor’s products, including the renamed Snapdragon 850 product that featured the same specifications.

Qualcomm Snapdragon Flagship SoCs 2019
SoC Snapdragon 855

Snapdragon 855+

CPU 1x Kryo 485 Gold (A76 derivative)
@ 2.84GHz 1x512KB pL2

3x Kryo 485 Gold (A76 derivative)
@ 2.42GHz 3x256KB pL2

4x Kryo 485 Silver (A55 derivative)
@ 1.80GHz 4x128KB pL2

2MB sL3
1x Kryo 485 Gold (A76 derivative)
@ 2.96GHz 1x512KB pL2

3x Kryo 485 Gold (A76 derivative)
@ 2.42GHz 3x256KB pL2

4x Kryo 485 Silver (A55 derivative)
@ 1.80GHz 4x128KB pL2

2MB sL3
GPU Adreno 640 @ 585MHz Adreno 640 @ ~672MHz
Memory 4x 16-bit CH @ 2133MHz
LPDDR4x
34.1GB/s

3MB system level cache
ISP/Camera Dual 14-bit Spectra 380 ISP
1x 48MP or 2x 22MP
Encode/
Decode
2160p60 10-bit H.265
HDR10, HDR10+, HLG
720p480
Integrated Modem Snapdragon X24 LTE
(Category 20)

DL = 2000Mbps
7x20MHz CA, 256-QAM, 4x4

UL = 316Mbps
3x20MHz CA, 256-QAM
Mfc. Process 7nm (N7)

The new Snapdragon 855+ today closely follows this pattern: It’s overall the same SoC as the Snapdragon 855, however Qualcomm is raising the clocks of the Prime CPU core from 2.84GHz to up to 2.96GHz, giving a 4.2% boost for single-threaded workloads.

Along the CPU boost, we also find that the GPU is receiving a larger 15% performance boost. As the Adreno 640 in the 855 was clocked in at 585MHz, the clock on the 855+ has to be around the 672MHz mark, which is an oddly familiar frequency of Adreno GPUs.

Qualcomm states that we should expect hearing about vendor devices using the new Snapdragon 855+ in the next few weeks. Last year, ASUS was the first vendor to announce the ROG Phone using a higher binned S845 around the same summer time-period, and now the company has confirmed that the ROG Phone II will be also the first to use the new S855+.

I’m also guessing that it’s possible that Samsung’s upcoming Note10 to be powered by the S855+ as I’m expecting the phone to come with a new Exynos chipset this time around, and the Snapdragon counterpart getting a small boost as well would also make sense.

Related Reading:

No, AMD Still Isn’t Enabling PCIe 4 On 300/400 Series Boards

Par Ryan Smith

Following this week’s launch of AMD’s new Ryzen 3000 series of processors, reports have once again begun circulating that PCIe 4 will be available on some existing 300 & 400 series boards. This comes despite AMD’s official statement last month that they would not be allowing the feature on older boards, as PCIe 4’s tighter signal integrity standards would have led to, at best, a highly fragmented market where some boards work, some boards don’t, and some boards may be outright marginal. At the time the company stated that the feature would be stripped from the AGESA that goes into the final Ryzen 3000 launch BIOSes for older boards.

So, to get right to the heart of matters, I reached out to AMD PR this evening to find out what’s going on with PCIe 4 support. The short version then is that no, AMD’s plans have not changed: PCIe 4 support will be disabled in the shipping AGESA for these boards.

Our plan is unchanged. For the reliability and consistency reasons cited at Computex, we still intend to disable PCIe Gen 4 for pre-X570 motherboards. That AGESA is being released to motherboard manufacturers soon.

As things stand, any boards that currently support the feature would be using pre-release AGESAs, and as we’ve seen with our own BIOS issues, the Ryzen 3000 BIOS situation is still evolving fast. So with AMD intending to permanently disable the feature – and prevent any workarounds – AMD’s goals haven’t wavered. At best, the few boards that have beta BIOSes with the feature will lose them in the future, unless users opted to stick with an unsupported (and almost certainly buggy) BIOS.

Going forward, proper PCIe 4 support will continue to require an AMD 500-series board specifically designed to meet the signal integrity requirements for the higher speed standard. Right now, this includes boards based on AMD’s X570 chipset; and while the company hasn’t announced other 500-series chipsets, we’re expecting to see more in due time.

Dynabook’s USB-C Dock Has 10 Ports & an SD Reader

Par Anton Shilov

Dynabook Americas (former Toshiba) has introduced its new multi-port USB-C docking station. The USB-C Dock is designed to bring 10 ports and an SD card reader to ultra-portable laptops that have limited number of wired connectivity options. 10 ports do not come cheap though.

The Dynabook USB-C Dock carries a GbE adapter, four USB 3.1 Type-A connectors (one supports charging), one USB 3.1 Type-C port, an SD Card reader, and a 3.5-mm audio jack for headsets. The docking stations can support up to three Full-HD displays using its DisplayPort, HDMI, and D-Sub outputs, or one 4K monitor using the DP 1.4 output.

The USB-C Dock comes with a power connector supporting 20V chargers, so it is likely that its USB-C port can also deliver a sufficient amount of power to charge modern notebooks, but Dynabook does not disclose its Power Delivery rating.

Dynabook’s USB-C Dock will be available in the near future for $199.99, which is comparable to similar Thunderbolt 3 docking stations and is considerably more expensive when compared to USB-C docks without Power Delivery from less well-known manufacturers.

There may be two reasons why the USB-C dock is more expensive though; cheap USB-C docks often come with DisplayPort and HDMI connectors that only support 4K30 output, which is not good enough for comfortable use over long periods of time. Given the high price of the Dynabook USB-C dock, we can hope that this device will actually support at least one 4K60 output. Furthermore, the Dynabook USB-C Dock should be able to deliver power to laptops, which also adds to the cost and MSRP.

Related Reading:

Source: Dynabook Americas

The Return of the Portégé: Dynabook Launches 2019 Portégé X30

Par Anton Shilov

Because of the corporate turmoil in 2016 – 2018 and uncertain future of its PC business, Toshiba has not updated its popular Portégé family of notebooks in the US for more than two years. After Foxconn/Sharp gained control of the said business unit and renamed it to Dynabook, they started to launch new laptops. Among the first new mobile PCs to be released in the USA are the 2019 Portégé X30 notebooks with Intel’s Whiskey Lake CPUs.

Traditionally, Portégé X30 machines have been aimed at demanding business, enterprise, and government users seeking both portability as well as rich feature sets. The new Portégé X30 is not an exception: the system comes in a familiar Onyx Blue magnesium allow chassis that enables it to bring together high performance, connectivity, security, and a weight that is among the lowest in the 13.3-inch class. Just like its direct predecessor from 2017, Dynabook’s new Portégé X30 weighs 1.05 kilograms (2.31 lbs) and is 15.9 mm thick.

When it comes to internals, the new Portégé X30 packs Intel’s 8th Gen Core i3/i5/i7 processor with built-in UHD Graphics 620 that is accompanied by 8, 16 GB or 32 GB of DDR4 memory as well as up to 1 TB SSD (SATA or PCIe). The CPU is now cooled down using a new quieter S-Type fan and a new cooling system that enables better airflow.

As far as connectivity is concerned, the new laptops are equipped with a Wi-Fi 5 + Bluetooth 5 wireless module, an optional 4G/LTE (select models only) modem, two Thunderbolt 3 ports that can work in DisplayPort and USB 3.1 Gen 2 modes, one USB Type-A connector, one HDMI output, a microSD card reader, and a 3.5-mm audio jack. Traditionally for Toshiba X-series notebooks, the Portégé X30 comes with a backlit, spill-resistant keyboard with a trackpoint nub that complements the touchpad. As for multimedia capabilities, the PC has a stereo sub-system comprising speakers co-designed with Harman Kardon that also carry a DTS badge.

Being aimed at customers who value security and reliability, the Portégé X30 comes equipped with SecurePad with Synaptics Natural ID fingerprint sensor, a webcam with IR sensors (for Windows Hello facial recognition) as well as a Trusted Platform Module (TPM 2.0).

Dynabook's Portege X30
  General Specifications
Display 13.3" 1920×1080
13.3" 1920×1080 with 10-point multitouch
CPU Core i3-8145U
Core i5-8265U
Core i5-8365U
Core i7-8565U
Core i7-8665U
Graphics HD Graphics 620 (24 EUs)
RAM 8/16/32 GB DDR4
Storage Up to 1 TB SSD (SATA or PCIe)
Wi-Fi Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac)
Bluetooth Bluetooth 5
USB 3.0 × Type-A
TB3 2 × Type-C TB3/USB 3.1 ports (also used for charging, external display, etc.)
Card Reader MicroSD
Fingerprint Sensor Yes
Other I/O Webcam with RGB + IR sensors, microphone, stereo speakers, audio jack
Battery 48 Wh (?)
Thickness 15.9 mm (0.62 inches)
Weight Starting at 1.05 kg (2.31 lbs)
Price ?

Dynabook’s Portégé X30 come with an international three-year warranty, which will certainly please frequent travelers. Dynabook Americas will start sales of the new laptops in August (in time for BTS season) at prices that will depend on exact configurations.

Related Reading:

Source: Dynabook Americas

SanDisk’s Extreme Pro NVMe 3D SSD Gains Capacity: Up to 2 TB

Par Anton Shilov

Western Digital has quietly expanded its SanDisk Extreme Pro M.2 NVMe 3D SSD range with a 2 TB model. The drive offers performance on par with other models in the family as well as the company’s WD Black SN750. The launch indicates that the SanDisk brand is still very popular among end users and 2 TB capacity is gaining popularity.

Earlier this year Western Digital introduced its WD Black SN750 and SanDisk Extreme Pro M.2 NVMe 3D SSDs based on its in-house developed controller as well as 64-layer 3D TLC NAND memory. Both families feature the same components, the same levels of performance, and even come with similar dashboard software. Meanwhile, the WD Black SN750 family included 250 GB, 500 GB, 1 TB, and 2 TB models, whereas the SanDisk Extreme Pro M.2 NVMe range is comprised of only 500 GB and 1 TB SKUs.

One of the reasons why Western Digital could decide not to include a 2 TB model into the SanDisk Extreme Pro range was the positioning of the brand. While the WD Black is aimed at gamers and performance enthusiasts, the SanDisk brand is mostly targeted at retail users (which doesn't exclude SanDisk products from being online), and therefore the manufacturer needed to limit itself to the most popular capacities because of the shelf space.

As it turns out, the company has changed its mind and quietly launched its SanDisk Extreme Pro M.2 NVMe 2TB SSD in Austria, Germany, and Japan. Pricing of the drive in the Land of the Rising Sun is unclear, whereas in Austria and Germany the device costs from €466 to €570.

Performance wise, the SanDisk Extreme Pro M.2 NVMe 2 TB offers up to 3400 MB/s sequential read speed, up to 2900 MB/s sequential write speed, up to 480K random read IOPS as well as up to 550K random write IOPS. While the drive offers the same speeds as the WD Black SN750, it does not come with an optional heatsink and therefore real-world performance of the SSDs may vary under high loads.

SanDisk Extreme Pro M.2 NVMe SSD Specifications
Capacity 250 GB 500 GB 1 TB 2 TB
Form Factor M.2 2280 single-sided
optional heatsink (except 250GB)
Interface PCIe 3 x4 NVMe 1.3
Controller Western Digital in-house
NAND Flash SanDisk 64-layer 3D TLC
Sequential Read 3100 MB/s 3470 MB/s 3470 MB/s 3400 MB/s
Sequential Write 1600 MB/s 2600 MB/s 3000 MB/s 2900 MB/s
Random Read 220k IOPS 420k IOPS 515k IOPS 480k IOPS
Random Write 180k IOPS 380k IOPS 560k IOPS 550k IOPS
Power Peak 9.24 W 9.24 W 9.24 W 9.24 W
PS3 Idle 70 mW 70 mW 100 mW 100 mW
PS4 Idle 2.5 mW 2.5 mW 2.5 mW 2.5 mW
Warranty 5 years
Write Endurance 200 TB
0.4 DWPD
300 TB
0.3 DWPD
600 TB
0.3 DWPD
1200 TB
0.3 DWPD

Related Reading:

Sources: SanDisk Japan (via Hermitage Akihabara), Geizhals.at

VAIO’s 2-Pound 12.5-Inch Laptop Weds Miniature Dimensions & Vast Connectivity

Par Anton Shilov

VAIO has introduced its new SX12 notebook that brings together miniature dimensions, low weight, decent specs, full-pitch keyboard, a long battery life, and vast connectivity options that include a variety of physical ports and an optional 4G/LTE modem. Unlike most 12-inch laptops, the VAIO SX12 does not use a low-power processor, but packs a fully-fledged quad-core Core i7 CPU with VAIO’s True Performance technology.

The VAIO SX12 comes in a chassis made of carbon fiber and plastic in a bid to make its weight no heavier than 897 grams as well as dimensions not significantly bigger than those of 11-inch notebooks. The mobile PC is slightly smaller than an A4 piece of paper and is around 15.7 ~ 18 mm thick. The laptop is equipped with a 12.5-inch Full-HD display with very thin bezels as well as a backlit keyboard featuring a 19-mm pitch and fluorine-containing UV curing coating.

VAIO’s SX12 laptop is based on Intel’s 8th Gen quad-core Core U-series processor with UHD Graphics 620 code-named Whiskey Lake (up to Core i7-8565U) which uses the company’s TruePerformance technology that combines an advanced cooling system as well as increased CPU power limits in order to enable the CPU to work at higher frequencies for a longer time. The processor can be accompanied by 16 GB of LPDDR3 DRAM as well as a PCIe SSD. For precise specs, check the table below.

Connectivity is one of the key selling features of the VAIO SX12 because unlike some other 12-inch class laptops, this one comes with all the necessary physical ports possible, including GbE, a USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C (can be used for data, display, and charging) port, one USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A connector, two USB 3.0 Type-A ports, an SD card reader, two display outputs (HDMI, D-Sub), a 3.5-mm audio jack, and a proprietary power port. On the wireless side of things, the laptop is equipped with a 802.11ac Wi-Fi + Bluetooth 4.1 controller as well as an optional 4G/LTE modem. In addition, it has a webcam, a fingerprint reader, stereo speakers, and a microphone.

VAIO does not disclose capacity of the battery it uses for the SX12, but says that it can last for 13 ~ 14.5 hours depending on usage, a claim that has yet to be tested in real life. Meanwhile, the laptop comes with a proprietary 200-gram charger that uses the aforementioned proprietary connector, and also has a USB port to charge the laptop and a mobile phone at the same time.

The VAIO SX12 laptops will be available in five colors, including black, silver, brown, pink, and ‘all black’ for custom special edition models.

VAIO will start selling its SX12 notebooks in Japan this week starting at $1,100. For corporate customers VAIO will offer a very similar Pro PJ laptop with appropriate functionality. It is unclear whether the new mobile PCs will be available in other countries, but VAIO sells its products in the U.S. and chances are that the SX12 will be sold outside of Japan are fairly high.

VAIO SX12 (VJS1211) General Specifications
  Black Silver Brown Pink
Display 12.5" anti-glare panel with 1920×1080 resolution
SoC Core i7-8565U
4C/8T
1.8 - 4.6 GHz
TruePerformance
UHD 620
Core i5-8265U
4C/8T
1.6 - 3.9 GHz
TruePerformance
UHD 620
Core i3-8145U
2C/4T
2.1 - 3.9 GHz
-
UHD 620
Celeron 4205U
2C/2T
1.8 GHz
-
UHD 610
RAM 8/16 GB LPDDR3 8/16 GB LPDDR3 4/8 GB LPDDR3 4/8 GB LPDDR3
Storage 256 GB, 512 GB or 1 TB NVMe 256 GB SATA
256 GB PCIe
128 GB SATA
Wireless  802.11ac Wi-Fi
Bluetooth 4.1
Optional 4G/LTE modem
I/O ports GbE
1 × USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C
1 × USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A
2 × USB 3.0 Type-A
HDMI
D-Sub
SD Card reader (UHS-I)
GbE
1×USB 3.0 Type-C
3×USB 3.0 Type-A
HDMI
D-Sub
SD Card reader (UHS-I)
Camera 720p webcam
Audio Integrated speakers
1 × TRRS 3.5-mm jack for headset
Dimensions 287.8 × 203.3 × 15.7 ~ 18 mm
Weight 888 ~ 897 grams
Battery 13 ~ 14.5 Hours
OS Windows 10 Pro Windows 10 Home
Fingerprint Yes No
Finish Black Silver Brown Pink
Availability July 2019

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Source: VAIO (via Liliputing)

The MSI GE75 Raider Laptop Review: Core i9 and RTX 2080 Performance

Par Brett Howse

MSI went heavily into developing gaming products several years ago, and although the company’s laptop lineup isn’t exclusively gaming, that is by far the biggest portion of their portfolio, and as such we’ve seen some impressive laptops from MSI that offer both performance and quality ahead of their competition. Today we are looking at the latest in their “enthusiast” level of laptops with the MSI GE75 Raider. The GE range isn’t quite at the top end of MSI’s lineup – a spot that is occupied by the GT series – but it still offers prodigious portable performance without being as tied to the desk as a typical GT laptop would be.

LG to Start Production of OLEDs in China Next Month, Set to Double OLED Output

Par Anton Shilov

LG Display this week said that its plant in Guangzhou, China, would start full swing operations next month. The factory, which cost LG around $4.2 billion, will produce large OLED panels for Ultra-HD televisions. The new manufacturing capacity will nearly double LG’s output of OLED substrates and will enable the company to cut its costs.

LGD’s new 8.5G (2200×2500) OLED factory in Guangzhou will produce 60,000 substrates for large TVs per month, which will almost double output of the company’s OLED substrates to 130,000 per month. Eventually, the plant will be expanded with the second line and will increase its capacity to 90,000 substrates per month.

One of the world’s largest makers of OLED panels first announced plans to build a plant in China in mid-2017. It took LG Display a year to obtain necessary permissions from the Chinese and South Korean governments and then a year to build the factory. This month the company starts trial production and next month mass production is set to commence

LG Display invested about $4.2 billion in its Guangzhou facility, but it hopes the expenses will pay off. Firstly, there are lower wages in China when compared to South Korea. Secondly, subsidies from the Chinese government will enable LG to cut its depreciation costs by 65%. Thirdly, the new fab could allow LG to offset possible disruption of OLED production in South Korea because of the ongoing diplomatic conflict between Japan and South Korea. Fourthly, it will make LG Display more competitive against companies like BOE in the Chinese market.

Increased output and lower production costs will allow LG to make its OLED panels and therefore OLED TVs cheaper. Still, the exact effect is something that remains to be seen.

Related Reading:

Sources: The Investor, OLED Info

AMD Ryzen 3000 Post-Review BIOS Update Recap: Larger ST Gains, Some Gains, Some Losses

Par Andrei Frumusanu

It’s been a long two weeks following our AMD-review-athon weekend, culminating 7/7 with our extensive coverage of the new Ryzen 3000 series CPUs, the new Radeon RX 5700 series Navi GPUs, as well as our complete overview of X570 chipset based motherboards.

Among the things that didn’t go quite as planned for in the hectic period leading up to Sunday was the matter of launch BIOSes. Always a thorny issue with new platform launches – BIOSes are often under intensive development right up until a new platform ships – we ended up in a situation where some boards had multiple BIOS versions floating around, with performance differences among them. And, while Moore's Law may be dead, Murphy's Law is alive and well, so of course the BIOS we ended up doing our initial Ryzen 3000 testing on was not the best BIOS for the platform.

So, we want to clarify the timeline of events for how we initially tested, what we’ve re-tested, and if and how the new BIOS behavior might change our original conclusion of the Ryzen 3000 series.

The Noctua NH-U12A CPU Cooler Review: Big Performance in a Small Space

Par E. Fylladitakis

Today we are taking a look at Noctua's latest tower CPU cooler, the NH-U12A. It is a CPU cooler intended to fit top-tier cooling performance into a more compact 120 mm cooler, and was developed specifically for users building compact and transportable gaming systems.

ASUS Dominus Extreme BIOS has Cascade Lake Xeon W-3275 & W-3275M Support

Par Anton Shilov

ASUS has released a new BIOS version 0601 for its ROG Dominus Extreme motherboard that ‘improves PCIe compatibility’ when using Intel’s latest Xeon W processors based on the Cascade Lake architecture. The move confirms that existing extreme workstation motherboards originally developed for Xeon W-3175X (and other Skylake-SP products) will work with Intel’s latest Xeon W-3200 processors.

When ASUS launched its ROG Dominus Extreme platform several months ago, the list of supported CPUs was limited to the flagship 28-core Xeon W-3175X as well as several other Xeon Gold and Xeon Platinum processors based on the Skylake-SP design and designed to use the LGA3647 socket.

Recently the company released its new BIOS version 0509 that added support for a variety of Intel Xeon W CPUs featuring the Cascade Lake microarchitecture and a slightly different physical layout. This week the company launched another BIOS version 0601 that is designed to improve PCIe compatibility whe using Intel’s Xeon W-3275/W-3275M products unveiled in early June.

One of the key physical differences between Intel's Skylake Xeon W and Cascade Lake Xeon W processors is that the latter does not reserve 16 PCIe 3.0 lanes for on-package chips (e.g., OmniPath) but instead offers 64 PCIe 3.0 lanes to add-on cards instead. Since the LGA3647 package had all the pins necessary for 64 PCIe 3.0 lanes, but the previous-generation processors did not use them, a new BIOS release was necessary to ensure compatibility with the new Intel Xeon W-3275/W-3275M as well as other new CPUs. Whether these lanes are actually used or not is a different matter.

While it is positive to see that ASUS is taking care about compatibility with Intel Xeon W-3275/W-3275M and its motherboard for extreme workstations, what remains to be seen is whether Intel plans to offer an unlocked Xeon W-3200X for those who want overclocking.

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Source: ASUS (via momomo_us/Twitter)

Patriot Unveils Viper 4 Blackout: Compatible with Ryzen 3000, Up to DDR4-4000

Par Anton Shilov

Patriot has expanded its memory offerings for enthusiasts with a brand-new family of products, the Viper 4 Blackout. The new lineup supports data transfer rates of up to 4000 MT/s and is tested for compatibility with AMD’s latest Ryzen 3000/X570 desktop platform.

Equipped with matte black aluminum heat spreaders, Patriot’s Viper 4 Blackout memory will be available as 8GB and 16 GB dual-channel kits rated to operate in DDR4-3000 CL16, DDR4-3200 CL16, DDR4-3600 CL17, and DDR4-4000 CL19 modes at 1.35 Volts.

Patriot’s Viper 4 Blackout memory modules use a custom 10-layer black PCB to guarantee great signal integrity, but the company does not disclose which chips it uses for its new DIMMs. Meanwhile, by default the modules come with a standard DDR4-2133 JEDEC profile, but they feature XMP 2.0 profiles to automatically set the aforementioned tested speed-bins.

One thing to note about the Viper 4 Blackout products is that Patriot specifically decided to offer devices for those who want an all-black system. Therefore, the memory modules come without any RGB LEDs, something that opposes today’s 'RGB everywhere' trend.

Patriot’s Viper 4 Blackout DIMMs are backed by a lifetime warranty and will be available shortly at $51.99 - $184.99 price points depending on exact kit models.

Patriot's Viper 4 Blackout Dual-Channel Memory Kits
Speed Bin Capacity Timings Voltage Compatible AM4 Platforms PN MSRP
DDR4-3000 8 GB
(2×4 GB)
CL16-18-18-36 1.35 V X570
X470
X370
B450
B350
A320
PVB48G300C6K $51.99
DDR4-3000 16 GB
(2×8 GB)
PVB416G300C6K $91.99
DDR4-3200 PVB416G320C6K $93.99
DDR4-3600 CL17-19-19-39 X570 PVB416G360C7K $119.99
DDR4-4000 CL19-21-21-41 X570 PVB416G400C9K $184.99

Related Reading:

Source: Patriot

Update: Nintendo Reveals Handheld-Only Switch Lite, With a New NVIDIA SoC

Par Anton Shilov

Nintendo has announced a new version of its Switch game console that only works in handheld mode, yet it is considerably more compact, comes at a lower price point, and works for a longer time on one charge. One of the intrigues about the Switch Lite device is that it might be is powered by a new NVIDIA Tegra SoC, presumably made using a more advanced process technology.

The Nintendo Switch Lite comes with a 5.5-inch LCD featuring a 720p resolution and has built-in controllers that have the same layout as Nintendo’s Joy-Con controllers. The console will support local and online multiplayer modes and will allow up to eight people to play at once anywhere with Wi-Fi. When it comes to style, the gaming device will come in grey, yellow, and turquoise to attract gamers with different tastes. As far as availability is concerned, the Switch Lite will ship on September 20 and will cost $199.99 (down from $299.99 in case of the fully-fledged version).

Since the console is designed for games that support Handheld mode, it cannot connect to TV, work in tabletop mode (because it does not have a kickstand), is not compatible with the Switch dock, does not support HD Rumble as well as IR Motion Camera. The said limitations are fully justified for mobile gaming as the new Switch Lite console is considerably more compact, it weighs 122 grams (0.27 pounds) less, and it works for three to seven hours (up from 2.5 – 6.5 hours in case of the original Switch). The more notable battery life comparison is the 3 hour vs 4 hour gameplay estimate given for Zelda's Breath of the Wild, which is a 33% increase over the original Switch, pointing out to larger efficiency boosts of the hardware.

The longer battery life of the Switch Lite, despite its smaller dimensions (and a lower-capacity battery) may indicate that the SoC inside the Switch Lite – which NVIDIA has confirmed they're powering – is based on an updated Tegra design produced on a more advanced fabrication process. The original Tegra X1 chip was manufactured on TSMC's 20nm process node, which was not exactly the best node when it comes to power efficiency. Recently we've seen evidence of a revision of the X1 with notable changes in the operating voltages of the chip, which point out that this very well might be a die shrink. We believe that it's likely that the new chip is manufactured in a 16nm or 12nm process node.

Nintendo's Handheld Game Console Specification Comparison
  Nintendo Switch Nintendo Switch Lite
SoC NVIDIA Tegra X1
4x ARM Cortex-A57

NVIDIA Maxwell (256 CUDA Cores)
NVIDIA SoC
(12/16nm Tegra X1 Shrink?)
Display 6.2-inch 1280x720p LCD
(HDMI: 1080p60)
5.5-inch 1280x720p LCD
Size 102 x 239 x 13.9 mm, 297g (tablet only)
398g w/Joy-Cons
91.4 x 208 x 13.9 mm, 277 g
Battery 4310 mAh (~ 16Whr)
2.5 to 6.5 Hours

3 hours BotW gameplay
3570 mAh (~13.2Whr)
3 - 7 Hours

4 hours BotW gameplay
Storage 32 GB NAND + microSDXC 32 GB NAND + microSDXC
Wireless 802.11ac
Bluetooth 4.1
802.11ac
Bluetooth 4.1
I/O Console USB Type-C USB-C (power only)-
Dock 1x USB 3.0
2x USB 2.0
1x HDMI 1.x
1x USB-C (power only)
Launch Date 03/03/2017 09/20/2019
Launch Price $299 $199

Neither Nintendo nor NVIDIA have confirmed usage of a new Tegra X1 inside the Switch Lite console.

One interesting note is that while Nintendo hasn't detailed the specifications of the new handheld, they have allowed partner NVIDIA to confirm that they're powering it, leading a good deal of further credit to the theory that the console is being powered by a die shrunk descendant of the Tegra X1.

#WePowerIthttps://t.co/l3AKDR1pD4

— NVIDIA GeForce (@NVIDIAGeForce) July 11, 2019

NVIDIA, of course, was a close partner in developing the original Switch. Along with providing the Tegra X1 SoC inside of it, NVIDIA has supplied a good chunk of the graphics software stack, with Nintendo opting to leverage their experience there. Using another NVIDIA SoC was a foregone conclusion for the Switch Lite, given the compatibility needs, but with secretive Nintendo it's rare to get official confirmation so early on.

Meanwhile, as soon as the Japanese gaming giant launches the new product in September, we will find out for sure what is inside after the console gets teared down.

Related Reading:

Sources: Nintendo, Nintendo.de

G.Skill Launches Trident Neo Memory Modules for AMD Ryzen 3000 CPUs

Par Anton Shilov

After every major CPU launch leading suppliers of memory modules release DIMMs validated to work with the new platform. This time around G.Skill not only announced DRAM modules that have been tested to work with AMD’s latest Ryzen 3000-series processors (codenamed Matisse) on AMD X570-based motherboards, but actually released a brand new product family, the Trident Z Neo.

Rated to run in DDR4-2666 CL18, DDR4-3000 CL16, DDR4-3200 CL14/CL16, and DDR4-3600 CL14/CL16/CL18 modes, G.Skill’s Trident Z Neo will come in dual-channel kits featuring 16 GB, 32 GB and 64 GB capacities. Some of the kits will require 1.2 Volts, whereas other will need 1.35 Volts or even 1.40 Volts and therefore entail a higher-end motherboard. G.Skill itself validates the new DDR4-3600 modules using the ASUS ROG Crosshair VIII Formula or the MSI MEG X570 Godlike motherboards.

G.Skill’s latest Trident Z Neo DIMMs rely on the company’s custom 10-layer PCB and share design with Trident Z RGB DIMMs with RGB LEDs that can be controlled using software from leading motherboard makers, such as ASUS, ASRock, GIGABYTE, and MSI. Higher-end modules use Samsung’s memory chips, but the company says nothing about DRAMs used for entry-level sticks.

It is necessary to note that the Trident Z Neo are not rebadged Trident Z RGB DIMMs. The new modules feature different sub-timings and voltages that are guaranteed to work optimally with AMD’s Ryzen 3000/X570 platform.

G.Skill’s Trident Z Neo memory kits will be available later this month worldwide from the company’s resellers.

Related Reading:

Sources: G.Skill

Apple Stops Selling 12-Inch MacBook Laptops

Par Anton Shilov

Apple has stopped to list its thin-and-light 12-inch MacBook notebook on its website. Since the company has not updated its most compact laptop for two years, the removal of the product from the website may indicate that the MacBook is gone for good, or Apple is prepping a new generation of the machine that will be released at a later date.

Apple introduced MacBook in its current ultra-thin form-factor in 2015 and eventually replaced its 11-inch MacBook Air with the new ultra-portable laptop that offered a better display, thinner design, and lower weight, albeit at a higher price. To make this level of portability possible, all three generations of Apple’s MacBook relied on Intel’s Core Y-series processors with a very low TDP yet moderate levels of performance. One could say that Apple’s MacBook bridged the gap between 10-inch tablets and 13-inch laptops, yet its adoption by end users has never been high mostly because 12-inch mobile PCs target a very niche market.

Apple introduced its new breed of 13-inch MacBook Air notebooks in October 2018. These laptops employ Intel’s codenamed Amber Lake Y processor, feature a decent display, and a very long battery life. While these machines are bulkier and heavier when compared to MacBooks, they have a number of advantages and are cheaper.

Now that Apple has its new MacBook Air along with high-performance iPad Pro tablets, its MacBook may no longer serve its purpose in its current form, which is why Apple has removed it from its website. The laptop will still be available from resellers for a while, but it is evident that Apple believes that demand for this product will shift to other computers it offers.

It remains to be seen whether Apple decides to address the market segment that its MacBook used to serve with a new product any time soon, but for now MacBook is gone.

Related Reading:

Source: Apple (via MacRumours)

EK Water Blocks Unveils EK-Vector for AMD Navi Graphics Cards

Par Anton Shilov

EKWB this week introduced its first water blocks for AMD’s Radeon RX 5700-series graphics cards. The devices belong to the company’s EK-Vector series products and therefore brings together more or less classic looks, advanced modern cold plates as well as controllable RGB lighting.

The new EK-Vector Radeon RX 5700 +XT water blocks for AMD’s Radeon RX 5700 and Radeon RX 5700 XT graphics cards feature a cold-plate that covers the entire surface of the appropriate add-in-boards and therefore cool the GPU, 8 GB of GDDR6 memory, as well as multi-phase VRM. It is noteworthy that the water blocks channel liquids directly to the said areas in a bid to maximize cooling performance. Traditionally, EKWB’s contemporary water blocks feature Open Split-Flow micro-channels, but the maker does not disclose how many fins the units have.

EKWB’s water blocks use regular G ¼ inch barbs for tubing (brass standoffs are pre-installed) and are compatible with a broad range of custom liquid cooling systems. To guarantee accurate sealing, EKWB’s EK-Vector Radeon RX 5700 +XT water blocks use EPDM O-Rings.

As usual, EKWB will offer several versions of its new water blocks. The base of the blocks is made of copper or nickel-plated copper, whereas their top is made of plexiglass or acetal. The plexi covered block features RGB LEDs on its surface, whereas the black acetal features RGB LEDs on one of its corners and on the terminal. RGB LEDs use a 4-pin 12 V connector and can be controlled by RGB command software from top motherboard makers, including ASUS, ASRock, GIGABYTE, and MSI.

The EK-Vector Radeon RX 5700 +XT water blocks are available for pre-order directly from the company and from its resellers for €124.9 or €129.9 (without VAT), depending on the version. Separately, the company will offer backplates for €26.9 and €33.9, depending on the model. All new devices will ship starting from July 26.

EKWB's EK-Vector Radeon RX 5700 +XT Water Blocks
Model Price
EK-Vector Radeon RX 5700 +XT RGB - Nickel + Plexi €129.90
EK-Vector Radeon RX 5700 +XT RGB - Nickel + Acetal €124.90
EK-Vector Radeon RX 5700 +XT Backplate - Black €26.90
EK-Vector Radeon RX 5700 +XT Backplate - Nickel €33.90

Related Reading:

Source: EKWB

Apple’s Entry-Level 13-Inch MacBook Pro Gets Quad-Core CPU & Touch Bar

Par Anton Shilov

Apple on Tuesday introduced a new version of its entry-level 13-inch MacBook Pro notebook, which has not seen an update since mid-2017. The new model continues to feature the renowned form-factor along with two Thunderbolt 3 ports, but it now comes with a quad-core CPU, a True Tone Retina display, a Touch Bar and Touch ID. The upgraded versions will replace existing cheap MBPs and therefore Apple will no longer offer its latest MacBook Pros without a Touch Bar.

The mid-2019 entry-level 13-inch MacBook Pro is based on Intel’s 8th Generation quad-core Core i5/i7 processor with Iris Plus Graphics 645 integrated GPU. It is accompanied by 8 or 16 GB of LPDDR3 memory as well as an SSD offering 128 GB – 2 TB capacity. These machines are placed between the more advanced MacBook Pros with four Thunderbolt 3 connectors and the new MacBook Airs (introduced earlier today). The more expensive 13-inch MBP models introduced earlier this year come with considerably faster quad-core processors equipped with Iris Plus Graphics 655, whereas the cheaper MacBook Air notebooks feature dual-core CPUs along with UHD Graphics 617.

Unlike the previous-generation 13-inch MacBook Pro laptops, these new models have the same features as the higher-end SKUs, as they are equipped with Touch Bar, Touch ID fingerprint reader, and the Apple T2 Security Chip. Essentially, all new MacBook Pro machines will now have a Touch Bar (and no function keys), an indicator that the device turned out to be popular with software developers. Of course it remains to be seen whether Apple’s customers will be satisfied with such a design choice as many still need F keys for various special-purpose software (e.g., specific Windows programs).

MacBook Pro 13-Inch 2019 (Base Models)
Model 2019 13-Inch
Higher-End
2018 13-Inch
Entry-Level
CPU 2.4 GHz/4.1 GHz
Core i5-8???U
4 CPU Cores
(Coffee Lake)
1.4 GHz/3.9 GHz
Core i5-8???U
4 CPU Cores
(Coffee Lake)
GPU Intel Iris Plus 655
(128MB eDRAM)
Intel Iris Plus 645
(? eDRAM)
Display 13" 2560 x 1600 IPS LCD
DCI-P3 Gamut
True Tone
Memory 8 GB LPDDR3-2133
SSD 256 GB PCIe SSD 128 GB PCIe SSD
Touch Bar Yes
I/O 4x Thunderbolt 3 (supports DP1.2 & USB 3.1 Gen 2 modes),
3.5mm Audio
2x Thunderbolt 3 (supports DP1.2 & USB 3.1 Gen 2 modes),
3.5mm Audio
Battery Capacity 58 Wh 58.2 Wh
Battery Life 10 Hours
Dimensions 1.49 cm x 30.41 cm x 21.24 cm
Weight 3.02 lbs (1.37 kg)
Price $1799 $1299

When it comes to I/O capabilities, the new reasonably-priced 13-inch MacBook Pro notebooks also have the same features as the fully-fledged models (with the exception of two TB3 ports vs. four TB3 ports), including 802.11ac Wi-Fi + Bluetooth 5.0, a 720p HD webcam, a 3.5-mm headset jack, stereo speakers, a large touchpad.

Since cheaper versions of Apple’s 13-inch MacBook Pro laptops use the same chassis as other notebooks in the series, they feature the same weight and thickness (i.e., 1.37 kilograms and 1.49 cm). The machines are outfitted with a 58.2 Wh battery that enables up to 10 hours of operation on one charge.

Apple’s new entry-level 13-inch MacBook Pro notebooks with two Thunderbolt 3 ports are available today directly from Apple for $1,299 and $1,499 depending on the configuration. College students in the US can get a new MacBook Pro starting at $1,199.

Related Reading:

Source: Apple

Apple’s MacBook Air Gets True Tone Display, Lower Price Tag

Par Anton Shilov

Apple on Tuesday introduced updated versions of its entry-level MacBook Air notebooks. Apple’s mid-2019 MacBook Air laptops feature the company’s True Tone displays and lower price tags when compared to their predecessors introduced last October. Separately, Apple discontinued its 2017 MacBook Air machines that featured previous-generation design.

Apple’s mid-2019 MacBook Air notebooks come in silver, space gray as well as gold colors and are based on Intel’s low-voltage 8th Gen dual-core Core i5 processor with UHD Graphics 617 (previously known as codenamed Amber Lake Y), the same chip used for late-2018 MBA models. Depending on exact configuration, the new MacBook Airs can be equipped with 8 GB or 16 GB of LPDDR3 memory as well as a 128 GB, 256 GB, 512 GB or 1 TB PCIe SSD.

The key difference between the 2018 and 2019 MacBook Air laptops is their display. The notebooks to use a 13.3-inch IPS panel featuring a 2560x1600 resolution and a 227 PPI pixel density. Meanwhile, the new machines support True Tone technology that automatically adjusts white balance depending on the surrounding environment and lighting.

Other notable features of Apple’s latest-generation MacBook Air notebooks include two Thunderbolt 3 ports, 802.11ac + Bluetooth 4.2 controller, a large trackpad, the Apple T2 chip, Touch ID fingerprint reader, and everything else that you come to expect from a modern mobile PC.

Traditionally, Apple’s MacBook air are among the thinnest and lightest notebooks around at 1.56 cm z-height as well as 1.25 kilograms. Because Apple’s MacBook Air uses Intel’s low-power CPU and comes with a 49.9 Wh battery, it can work on one charge for up to 12 hours, which is longer when compared to 13.3-inch MacBook Pro machines.

MacBook Air Specifications
Model 2019 (Base) 2018 (Base) 2017 (Base)
Dimensions 0.41 - 1.56 cm x 30.4 cm x 21.2 cm 0.30 - 1.7 cm x 32.5 cm x 22.7 cm
Weight 2.75 lbs (1.25 kg) 2.96 lbs (1.35 kg)
CPU 1.6 GHz (3.6 GHz Turbo)
Core i5
2 CPU Cores
1.8GHz (2.9GHz Turbo)
Core i5-5350U
2 CPU Cores
GPU Intel UHD Graphics 617 Intel HD Graphics 6000
Display 13.3-inch 2560x1600 IPS LCD
DCI-P3 with True Tone
13.3-inch 2560x1600 IPS LCD
DCI-P3
13.3-inch 1440x900 TN LCD
Memory 8GB LPDDR3-2133 8GB LPDDR3-1600
SSD 128GB PCIe SSD 128GB PCIe SSD
I/O 2x USB 3.1 Type-C
w/Thunderbolt 3
3.5mm Audio
Touch ID
2x USB 3.0 Type-A
1x Thunderbolt 2
SDXC Card Reader
3.5mm Audio
Battery Capacity 49.9 Wh 50.3 Wh 54 Wh
Battery Life 12 Hours 12 Hours
Price $1099 $1199 $999

In a bid to make its MacBook Air laptops more popular, Apple slashed price of the entry-level model by $100 and from now on it will be available for $1,099 (down from $1,199 previously). In addition, qualifying students in the USA can get the new MBA starting at $999.

Related Reading:

Source: Apple

GALAX Announces HOF Pro M.2 PCIe 4.0 x4 SSD: Up to 5 GB/s

Par Anton Shilov

GALAX has introduced its new flagship SSDs featuring a PCIe 4.0 x4 interface and sequential read performance of up to 5 GB/s. The new HOF Pro M.2 drives will demonstrate all of their advantages when installed inside systems based on AMD’s Ryzen 3000-series processors as well as AMD’s X570 based motherboards, as these are currently the only PCIe 4.0 compatible consumer hosts on the market.

Based on Phison’s PS5016-E16 controller (8 NAND channels with 32 CE targets with up to 800 MT/s speeds, 4th Gen LDPC ECC engine, 28nm, etc.) and Toshiba’s 3D TLC NAND memory, the GALAX Hall-of-Fame Pro SSDs are set to be available in 500 GB, 1 TB, and 2 TB capacities.

As far as sequential performance is concerned, the GALAX HOF Pro SSDs offer up to 5 GB/s read speeds as well as up to 4.4 GB/s write speeds, depending on the model and capacity. As for random performance, GALAX opted for firmware enabling up to 750K read IOPS as well as up to 700K write IOPS.

To ensure maximum performance, the GALAX HOF Pro SSDs are equipped with a large aluminum cooling system featuring a copper heat pipe. This cooling system naturally makes the drives incompatible with laptops, but since at present there are no notebooks based on AMD’s X570 platform, this is hardly a substantial drawback. Another important aspect about the new SSD is its white PCB, which will be appreciated by modders with white components.

To make the GALAX HOF Pro drives more appealing to enthusiasts, the manufacturer supplies it with Xtreme Tuner software for SSDs. The application monitors temperature, endurance, and other information about the drives to enable higher performance and reliability.

Specifications of the GALAX HOF Pro SSDs
Model 500 GB 1 TB 2 TB
Form Factor M.2 2280
Interface NVMe, PCIe 4.0 x4
Controller Phison PS5016-E16
NAND Flash Toshiba BiCS4 3D TLC
Capacities 500 GB 1 TB 2 TB
Sequential Read (max) 5000 MB/s 4900 MB/s 5000 MB/s
Sequential Write (max) 2500 MB/s 4400 MB/s
Random Read (max) up to 750K IOPS
Random Write (max) up to 700K IOPS
Warranty ? years
Write Endurance ? ? ?
TBW ? ? ?
Release Date July 2019

The GALAX HOF Pro SSDs will be available in the coming weeks. Pricing will depend on the country, yet since we are talking about top-of-the-range drives, the cost will be likely accordingly high.

Related Reading:

Source: GALAX

The AMD X570 Motherboard Overview: Over 35+ Motherboards Analyzed

Par Gavin Bonshor

During Computex 2019, AMD's CEO Dr Lisa Su introduced the company's newest AM4 chipset, the X570.  Designed to support the new AMD Ryzen 3000 series processors, X570 is just as big of an update as the new Zen 2 architecture is. On paper, it has a lot of talking points: the new PCIe 4.0 interface, the 11 W operating TDP, and more USB 3.1 G2 connectivity for vendors to work with. In this article, we've analyzed all of the available X570 motherboards we can find.

Samsung’s 5nm EUV Technology Gets Closer: Tools by Cadence & Synopsys Certified

Par Anton Shilov

Samsung Foundry has certified full flow tools from Cadence and Synopsys for its 5LPE (5 nm low-power early) process technology that uses extreme ultraviolet lithography (EUV). Full flow design tools are required by chip developers to create efficient and predictable chip designs for advanced nodes quickly.

Samsung Foundry certified the Synopsys Fusion Design Platform as well as the Cadence Full-Flow Digital Solution full-flow design tools for its 5LPE technology using the Arm Cortex-A53 and Arm Cortex-A57 cores. The certification means that these sets of tools meet Samsung Foundry’s requirements and that by using them chip designers can attain optimal power, performance and area (PPA) benefits that 5LPE technology promises to offer.

Samsung’s 5LPE technology relies on FinFET transistors with a new standard cell architecture and uses both DUV and EUV step-and-scan systems. The new fabrication process enables chip designers to reuse 7LPP IP on ICs designed for 5LPE while enjoying all benefits the latter provides. When compared to 7LPP, the new technology has an up to 25% higher ‘logic efficiency’, it also enables chip developers to reduce power consumption of their designs by 20% or improve their performance by 10%.

The set of tools from Candence and Synopsys that is certified by Samsung includes compilers, validators, power circuit optimizers as well as EUV-specific tools.

Since Samsung’s 5LPE uses more EUV layers than the company’s 7LPP process, expect it to be used on Samsung’s upcoming EUV fab in Hwaseong. The production line is set to cost 6 trillion Korean Won ($4.615 billion), it is expected to be completed in 2019, and start high volume manufacturing in 2020.

Related Reading:

Sources: Cadence, Synopsys

The AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT & RX 5700 Review: Navi Renews Competition in the Midrange Market

Par Ryan Smith

There have been teasers, press conferences, architectural announcements, and pricing games all around – and all before the first card has even shipped. The run-up to the launch of AMD’s new Radeon RX 5700 series of video cards has been a dynamic and memorable time, and a very fitting outcome for a family of cards named after AMD’s legendary Radeon HD 5700 series. However, at some point all the showmanship must come to an end and the cards will fall where they may: launch day is upon us for AMD’s Radeon RX 5700 series and RDNA GPU architecture. Does AMD have what it takes to claim the midrange market for themselves? Let's find out!

The AMD 3rd Gen Ryzen Deep Dive Review: 3700X and 3900X Raising The Bar

Par Andrei Frumusanu & Gavin Bonshor

It’s the review we’ve all been waiting for. Since December last year – and particularly since CES – AMD has been teasing us about the new Zen 2 microarchitecture and AMD’s newest Ryzen 3000 series of CPUs. Incorporating a significantly upgraded CPU architecture and built using TSMC's latest generation manufacturing process, AMD has continued to run at full speed at a time when rival Intel has struggled to move at all. The end result is that while the first and second generation of Ryzen CPUs were all about AMD returning to competition and eating into Intel's substantial performance lead, the Ryzen 3000 series is nothing less than AMD's first shot in nearly 13 years at meeting (or beating) Intel at their own game in the desktop CPU market. It's a big moment for AMD, and an exciting one in the CPU industry as a whole.

Today AMD launches its entire new CPU lineup and platform, alongside the new Navi-based Radeon RX 5700 series. In terms of CPU coverage, we’ll be taking a closer look at the new flagship, the $499 12-core Ryzen 3900X, as well as the $329 8-core Ryzen 7 3700X and its peculiar low TDP of 65W.

AMD Adjusts Launch Price of Radeon RX 5700 Series: XT Down To $399, Standard Down To $349

Par Andrei Frumusanu

The new Radeon RX 5700 hasn’t even yet officially launched as we’re still awaiting Sunday the 7th of July, yet AMD in a rare event has now officially announced that is it adjusting the launch prices of the new Navi cards to lower price points.

Originally, the Radeon 5700 XT Anniversary edition, the XT, and the standard variant were priced at $499, $449, and $379. AMD has now lowered the price points to $449, $399 and $349.

AMD Radeon RX Series Specification Comparison
  AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT AMD Radeon RX 5700 AMD Radeon RX 590 AMD Radeon RX 570
Stream Processors 2560
(40 CUs)
2304
(36 CUs)
2304
(36 CUs)
2048
(32 CUs)
Texture Units 160 144 144 128
ROPs 64 64 32 32
Base Clock 1605MHz 1465MHz 1469MHz 1168MHz
Game Clock 1755MHz 1625MHz N/A N/A
Boost Clock 1905MHz 1725MHz 1545MHz 1244MHz
Throughput (FP32) 9.75 TFLOPs 7.9 TFLOPs 7.1 TFLOPs 5.1 TFLOPs
Memory Clock 14 Gbps GDDR6 14 Gbps GDDR6 8 Gbps GDDR5 7 Gbps GDDR5
Memory Bus Width 256-bit 256-bit 256-bit 256-bit
VRAM 8GB 8GB 8GB 4GB
Transistor Count 10.3B 10.3B 5.7B 5.7B
Typical Board Power 225W 180W 225W 150W
Manufacturing Process TSMC 7nm TSMC 7nm GloFo/Samsung 12nm GloFo 14nm
Architecture RDNA (1) RDNA (1) GCN 4 GCN 4
GPU Navi 10 Navi 10 Polaris 30 Polaris 10
Launch Date 07/07/2019 07/07/2019 11/15/2018 08/04/2016
Launch Price $449

$399
$379

$349

$279

$179

The move isn’t unprecedented, but is something extremely rare. What is interesting is that AMD’s Scott Herkelman (CVP & GM AMD Radeon) yesterday posted an interesting but short tweet:

Jebaited

— Scott Herkelman (@sherkelman) July 4, 2019

Scott's snarky tweet is suggesting AMD had planned the move all along- playing a bait & switch in terms of the pricing of the RX 5700, most likely in preparation and in response to Nvidia’s newest Super card line-up.

We’re looking forward to covering the RX 5700 series cards when the time comes – hopefully soon!

Related Reading

ASRock’s 4X4 Box-R1000: A Ryzen-Based 0.87-Liter SFF PC

Par Anton Shilov

ASRock has introduced what could be the world’s smallest system based on AMD Ryzen processor. The 4X4 Box-R1000 ultra-compact form-factor (UCFF) PC can fit on the palm of a hand, yet it packs everything needed to run a variety of software required for digital signage, kiosks, thin clients and other applications.

Measuring 110×118.5×67.3 mm and weighing 0.7 kilograms, the ASRock 4X4 Box-R1000 is based on AMD’s dual-core Ryzen Embedded R1000-series SoC (the R1606G or the R1505G model) with integrated Radeon Vega graphics. The system can accommodate up to 32 GB of DDR4-2400 memory (using two SO-DIMMs), a 2.5-inch SATA storage device, as well as an M.2-2260 SSD featuring a SATA or PCIe 3.0 x4 interface.

When it comes to connectivity, the ASRock 4X4 Box-R1000 features two GbE connectors (controlled by the Realtek RTL8111G controllers), a Wi-Fi 5 controller (Intel Wireless-AC 3168), three USB 3.0 Type-A ports, two USB 2.0 Type-A connectors, one HDMI, two DisplayPorts, and a 3.5-mm audio connector for headsets.

While the small form-factor (SFF) 4X4 Box-R1000 can be used as a UCFF desktop PC, it is primarily aimed at embedded applications. As a result, it is equipped with a watchdog timer and is rated to run at temperatures of up to 40ºC.

ASRock's 4X4 Box-R1000 PCs
Model 4X4 Box-R1000V 4X4 Box-R1000M
CPU AMD Ryzen R1505G
2C/4T
2.4 - 3.3 GHz
12 - 25 W
AMD Ryzen R1606G
2C/4T
2.6 - 3.5 GHz
12 - 25 W
GPU AMD Radeon Vega 3 graphics with 192 stream processors
DRAM Two DDR4 SO-DIMM slots
Up to 32 GB of DDR4-2400 in dual-channel mode
Motherboard proprietary
Storage SSD M.2-2260 (PCIe x4 or SATA)
DFF 1 ×  2.5-inch/7.5-mm SATA 6 Gbps
  SD -
Wireless Intel Wireless-AC 3168
802.11ac Wi-Fi + Bluetooth module
Ethernet 2 × GbE port (Realtek RTL8111G)
USB Front 1 × USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A
2 × USB 2.0 Type-A
Back 2 × USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A
Display Outputs 2 × DisplayPort
1 × HDMI
Audio 1 × 3.5mm audio jack (Realtek)
PSU External
Warranty Typical, varies by country
Dimensions Length: 118.5 mm
Width: 110 mm
Height: 67.3 mm
MSRP ? ?

ASRock already lists its 4X4 Box-R1000 systems on its website, so their release is just around the corner. Meanwhile, it is unclear when exactly the UCFF PCs will be available and how much they are set to cost.

Related Reading:

Source: ASRock (via Liliputing)

Supply of DRAM, NAND & Displays Could Be Disrupted by Japan & South Korea Dispute

Par Anton Shilov

South Korean companies produce 70% of the world’s DRAM, about a half of 3D NAND, and a significant share of OLED and LCD displays on the planet. Meanwhile, Japanese suppliers make 70% - 90% of three materials crucially required for manufacturing these components. As the two countries have a multi-decade-long dispute over compensation for World War II, Japan recently implemented new export rules that could disrupt supply of the important materials to South Korea, which in turn could hurt supply of DRAM, NAND, and various types of displays.

Japan-based JSR, Showa Denko (SDK), and Shin-Etsu Chemical control 70% - 90% of the global supply of polyimides (used both for LCDs and OLEDs), photoresists, and high-purity hydrogen fluoride (used to make chips, such as LSI, DRAM and NAND devices). Starting July 4, Japanese producers must get approval for individual exports of these chemicals to South Korea. Export reviews may take up to three months, whereas South Korean companies typically only keep one to two months' worth of materials in stock.

If South Korean companies cannot procure enough chemicals from their Japanese partners or their competitors in other countries, they will have to curb production, which will have a drastic effect on global supply of DRAM, 3D NAND, chips by Samsung Foundry, LCDs, and OLEDs.

According to Nikkei and Reuters, SK Hynix only has enough materials to keep production going in the short-term future, or for the next couple of months. Samsung is reportedly trying to deal with the situation, but nothing is clear at this point. Both South Korean giants have manufacturing plants in China, which could partially offset a potential disruption of supplies by domestic fabs. Meanwhile, LG Display and Samsung Display only make their products in South Korea and have to source fluorinated polyamide from Japan (despite the fact that LG controls LG Chem, the largest chemical company in South Korea).

The heart of the conflict itself lies with World War II, where as part of the Japanese occupation of Korea, Japan used forced South Korean labor at many of its factories, with the survivors demanding compensation. Late last year South Korean court ordered Japan’s Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal as well as Mitsubishi Heavy Industries to pay compensations to South Korean plaintiffs, verdicts criticized by Japan as ‘unthinkable’ because the issue was settled in 1965.

In addition to new export controls, Japan reportedly plans to exclude South Korea from the whitelist of 27 friendly countries. If this happens, export of all items that can be potentially used for military applications will require appropriate government approvals, which will further slowdown business between the two countries.

Components made in South Korea are then used by various companies across the world, including Apple, Dell, HP, Lenovo, Panasonic, Sony, and so on. As a result, if supply is indeed disrupted, Japanese companies will be hurt too.

Related Reading:

Sources: Nikkei Asian Review, Reuters, OLED-Info

The Sennheiser GSP670 Wireless Gaming Headset Review: Cutting The Cord

Par Andrei Frumusanu

Here at AnandTech we usually don’t really review much audio hardware or audio accessories, however we’ve been given the opportunity to take a look at Sennheiser’s new GSP670 gaming headset. Sennheiser is well known in the higher end audiophile market and various HD series of headphones in particular have a good reputation when it comes to sound fidelity.

The recently released GSP670 is a successor and alternative to last year’s GSP600 gaming headset, with the big distinction that the new model is a fully wireless model, introducing Sennheiser’s new low-latency RF codec and USB adapter, as well as supporting Bluetooth connectivity.

Today we’ll be going over the headphone in detail, and specifically looking at the implementation of the wireless connectivity, detailing the pros and cons of having a non-wired alternative.

 

Synopsys to Accelerate Samsung’s 7nm Ramp with Yield Explorer Platform

Par Anton Shilov

Synopsys has announced an acceleration of development on its yield learning platform designed to speed up ramp up of chips made using Samsung Foundry’s 7LPP (7 nm low power plus) process and newser technologies. The Yield Explorer is a complex yield learning platform that is designed to analyze product layouts, fab data, and product test data in order to find weak spots and enable engineers to improve yields of various chips. Eventually, the Yield Explorer will be enhanced for Samsung’s 5 nm, 4 nm, and 3 nm nodes.

Production of modern chips is an extremely complex process that takes several months to accomplish and involves thousands of steps. Actual yields of chips depend on quality of their designs as well as their power and performance requirements. Therefore, to improve yields of a particular silicon chip, multiple things have to be analyzed to identify systematic yield limiters, and this is exactly what Synopsys’ Yield Explorer does.

The Yield Explorer is a complex set of programs that analyzes data from three sources using advanced machine learning and data visualization techniques. First up, Yield Explorer analyzes product design, including layout and static timings. Secondly, the complex analyzes fab data, including inspection and metrology. Thirdly, the platform considers various product test data, such as binning, system level testing.

Synopsys' Yield Explorer at a Glance
Source Feature
Product design data Layout, netlist, test diagnosis, static timing analysis
Fab data Inspection, metrology, wafer acceptance test (WAT)
Product test data Bin, parametric, system-level test

Keeping in mind that silicon design is a property of the designer, whereas information about peculiarities of fab operations and characteristics is confidential, the platform that analyzes yields enables secure collaboration between the foundry and customer.

At present, Samsung Foundry and Synopsys offer Yield Explorer for designs produced using 10LPE, 10LPP, 8LPP, 8LPU, and 7LPP fabrication technologies (10 nm, 8 nm, and 7 nm nodes). Compatibility with 7LPP enables the two companies to leverage the platform to 5LPE, 4LPE (and possibly to 6LPP) processes. Furthermore, there is a plan to use Yield Explorer for chips made using 3GAE technology that uses gate all around MBCFET transistors based on silicon nanosheets.

"The secure collaboration model using Yield Explorer has greatly helped us to work efficiently with key customers to achieve target production yields quickly. We look forward to expanding this cooperation with Synopsys as we ramp up production on our 5-nanometer technology node."

- JY Choi, vice president of the Foundry Design Technology Team at Samsung Electronics

Related Reading:

Source: Synopsys

AMD Launches Xbox Game Pass for PC Bundle for Current Radeon & Ryzen Products

Par Ryan Smith

Last month back at the Radeon RX 5700 series reveal, AMD announced that they would be launching a new kind of game bundle with the new video cards. Rather than going with the traditional game bundle, the company would instead be bundling a 3 month subscription to Microsoft’s new all-you-can-eat game subscription service, Xbox Game Pass for PC. Meanwhile, as it turns out, AMD’s bundle offer is more comprehensive than they first let on: this week the company announced the bundle also covers most of AMD’s current-generation products as well, with that program kicking off right now.

Over the years AMD has offered a number of game bundles, especially on the video card side of matters. However, a game bundle covering such a wide swath of both their CPUs and GPUs is a bit more unique. In this case the company is looking to hit the ground running on their Ryzen 3000 and Radeon RX 5700 series launches, while also including their current-generation products to entice buyers there as well. All told, along with the new parts, the bundle covers the Radeon RX 560 and higher on the video card side, and the Ryzen 5 2400G and better on the CPU side of matters.

AMD Xbox Game Pass for PC Bundle
Hardware Bundle Campaign End Date
AMD Radeon RX 560 & Above
(Including Radeon RX 5700 series)
Xbox Game Pass for PC
3 Months Free

(Cannot be stacked)
March 10th, 2020
AMD Ryzen 5 2400G & Above
(Including Ryzen 5/7/9 3000 series)

Up until now, at least, bundling a game subscription service is unorthodox for this industry; vendors have typically bundled specific games with their products, often as part of large cross-promotional and bulk purchase deals. Resale shenanigans aside, the drawback for hardware vendors has been the need to select games well in advance, and hope they’ve selected good and popular games that will entice their customers. A game subscription service, on the other hand, sidesteps those issues by offering a large selection of games for customers across a number of genres, which in the case of Microsoft’s service includes Metro Exodus and Microsoft-published games like Forza Horizon 4 and Gears 5.

The flip side is that outside of a few headliner titles, these sorts of services tend to be comprised of older games, and Microsoft’s service is no exception to that rule. So while the library is relatively extensive, few of the games available are highly-popular AAA titles (as publishers would want to sell full-priced copies of those anyhow). The very nature of a subscription service also means that while hardware buyers come out of the deal with free service time, they don’t end up owning (and getting to keep) any games. In this respect a free subscription offer falls closer to a free trial, especially with AMD’s bundle since it’s only for 3 months and the vouchers can’t be stacked (so you can’t buy a Ryzen CPU + Radeon GPU and get 6 months, for example).

At any rate, AMD’s Xbox Game Pass bundle has kicked off this week for AMD’s current-generation products, and will go into effect on Sunday for their next-generation products when those launch. Most retailers are participating in the program, but you’ll want to check AMD’s website for a complete list, along with information on how to redeem the vouchers. The program is set to end on March 10th of 2020, or when AMD runs out of vouchers.

AOC’s Agon Monitors with 0.5ms Response Time & 240 Hz Refresh Now Available

Par Anton Shilov

AOC this week started sales of its Agon displays featuring a 0.5 ms response time as well as a 240 Hz refresh rate. Aimed at extreme gamers looking for maximum dynamics and comfort, the new AOC Agon AG271FZ2 and AG251FZ2 support AMD’s FreeSync dynamic refresh rate technology along with AOC’ proprietary enhancements for the audience.

AOC’s Agon AG251FZ2 and Agon AG271FZ2 displays are based on 24.5 and 27-inch TN panels featuring a 1920x1080 resolution, 400 nits brightness, a 0.5 ms MPRT response time, a dynamic refresh rate of up to 240 Hz with a 48 Hz – 240 Hz FreeSync range over DP and HDMI, featuring low framerate compensation (LFC). See exact specs in the table below.

While the key selling points of the Agon AG251FZ2 and AG271FZ2 monitors are their 0.5 ms response time and up to 240 Hz refresh rate, AOC decided to further enhance the displays with its Shadow Control (increases contrast of dark areas), Low Input Lag (omits processing of images by the display itself), and Lowblue Light Mode (protects eyes against harmful blue light wavelengths without affecting color composition) features.

When it comes to inputs, AOC’s Agon AG251FZ2 and Agon AG271FZ2 displays feature DisplayPort 1.2, HDMI 1.4/2.0, DVI-D, and D-Sub connectors. Besides, the monitors have a built-in quad-port USB 3.0 hub along with 3.5-mm audio input and output. Last but not least, the LCDs also feature two 3 W speakers.

As traditional for AOC’s Agon displays, the AG251FZ2 and AG271FZ2 feature a distinctive design with aggressive red inlays. Furtheremore, the LCDs are also equipped with stands that can be adjusted in height and tilt. For added comfort, the monitors have a QuickSwitch button setup to rapidly switch from one mode to another, as well as a holder for headsets.

AOC's Agon Gaming LCDs
with 0.5 ms Response Time, 240 Hz Refresh Rate
  AG251FZ2 AG271FZ2
Panel 24.5" TN 27" TN
Native Resolution 1920 × 1080
Maximum Refresh Rate 240 Hz
Dynamic Refresh Tech AMD FreeSync
Range - -
Brightness 400 cd/m²* 400 cd/m²
Contrast ?
Viewing Angles 170°/160° horizontal/vertical
Response Time 0.5 ms MPRT 0.5 ms MPRT
Pixel Pitch ~0.28 mm² ~0.31 mm²
Pixel Density ~90 PPI ~81 PPI
Color Gamut Support sRGB (?)
Inputs 1×DP 1.2
1×HDMI 1.4
1×HDMI 2.0
1×DVI-D
1×D-Sub
Audio 2×3W  speakers
audio input
audio output
VESA Mounts 100 × 100 mm
Warranty 3 years
Additional Information ? ?
Retail Price in the USA $329.99 $379.99.
Note *Not all specs of the AG251FZ2 have been confirmed

Both new monitors from AOC are available now from Amazon and will soon hit shelves of other retailers. The Agon AG251FZ2 retails for $329.99, whereas the Agon AG271FZ2 is sold for $379.99.

UPDATE 7/5: AOC has informed us that these displays will not be available in Europe.

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Source: AOC’s Press Release

AMD Unveils Radeon Pro WX 3200: A Professional Graphics Card for Sub-$200

Par Anton Shilov

AMD on Tuesday introduced one of the industry’s most affordable professional graphics cards with drivers certified by leading vendors of CAD/CAM software. The Radeon Pro WX 3200 comes in a low-profile single-slot form-factor and can address the most compact workstations available today.

The AMD Radeon Pro WX 3200 is based on the company's Polaris architecture GPU featuring 640 stream processors that offers up to 1.66 TFLOPS of single precision compute performance. The card carries 4 GB of GDDR5 memory and has four mini DisplayPort 1.4 outputs to drive four 4K displays, or two 5K monitors, or one 8K LCD.

The Radeon Pro WX 3200 card fully supports 10-bit color required by professional graphics applications. Since the board is designed for mainstream CAD/CAM projects it comes with certificates from such ISVs as Adobe, Autodesk, Dassault, Siemens, and others for Windows 10 and Linux operating systems.

Since the card is extremely small (it is just 6.6 inch/168 mm long), it is compatible with almost any desktop workstation that has a PCIe 3.0 x16 slot and can supply up to 50 W of power to the board.

AMD’s Radeon Pro WX 3200 replaces the company’s Radeon Pro WX 3100 board introduced two years ago and brings in enhanced performance along with refined software. Just like its predecessor, the new card will retail for $199

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Source: AMD

Fourth Chinese DRAM Company Established by Tsinghua Unigroup

Par Anton Shilov

After the U.S. Department of Commerce banned U.S. exports to Chinese Fujian Jinhua Integrated Circuit Company (also known as Fujian or JHICC), essentially destroying this maker of memory, it was a matter of time before the Chinese government established a new DRAM maker as a part of its ‘Made in China 2025’ project. On Sunday Tsinghua Unigroup announced its formation of DRAM business group that will develop and build computer memory.

Ziguang Group, the new entity of Tsinghua Unigroup, will be headed by chairman Diao Shijing, former director of the Electronic Information Department of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, as the group's chairman, as well as Charles Kao as CEO. The latter is a legend of the Taiwanese DRAM industry as the he used to be the chairman of Inotera Memories as well as the president of Nanya. Besides, Mr. Kao is the chairman of Yangtze Memory Technologies Co. (YMTC), a maker of 3D NAND from China.

Under the ‘Made in China 2025’ program, local governments are constructing 300-mm semiconductor fabs in various parts in China, so Tsinghua Unigroup’s DRAM business unit will have access to production capacities. This is why the company lacks DRAM process technologies and this is why it had to hire Charles Kao, which has plenty of connections in the computer memory world, which might help to lure talented engineers from around the world. Meanwhile, Taiwanese DRAM makers are primarily known for ‘technology for capacity’ deals with companies like Elpida, Infineon, or Micron, but not for their own fabrication processes.

Ziguang will be the fourth Chinese DRAM maker after Xi'an UniIC Semiconductors (which inherited its original DRAM IP from Infineon and Qimonda yet currently develops its own technologies and chips), Fujian Jinhua (aka JHICC, which is accused by the U.S. Government and Micron of stealing the latter’s IP), as well as Innotron Memory (which says it relies on in-house developed technologies).

Tsinghua Unigroup, a joint venture between Tsinghua Holdings and Beijing Jiankun Investment Group (which is controlled by Zhao Weiguo, the chairman of Tsinghua Unigroup), attempted to buy Micron for $23 billion in 2015, but the deal was never made. After that, Tsinghua Holdings acquired Xi’an UniIC Semiconductor from Inspur. Furthermore, Tsinghua Unigroup controls Unigroup Guoxin Microelectronics, a developer and distributor of chips.

To sum up, both Tsinghua Unigroup as well as Tsinghua Holdings are not newcomers in the DRAM market. Meanwhile, it remains to be seen when either of the companies come up with viable technologies to make computer memory as well as competitive DRAM chips.

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Sources: Tsinghua Unigroup, TrendForce

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