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Western Digital not planning PLC-based SSDs until at least 2025

8 hours ago
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Lately, we're seeing more QLC-based solid state disks but it appears we should not expect speedy adoption of NAND flash memory with even more bits-per-cell, at least not from Western Digital. While Intel and Toshiba are keener to introduce disks with five-bits-per-cell, Western Digital recently told analysts that it doesn't believe PLC will be feasible before 2025.

According to WD, the transition to PLC-based SSDs will be slower because the disks will need more advanced SSD controllers than what's currently available. The production of PLC NAND flash memory doesn't seem the bottleneck, the availability of affordable advanced SSD controllers is the issue.

In particular, PLC-based SSDs will require even more complex error code correction. These SSD controllers will need more processing power, and there will also be a greater need for additional redundancy.
"I expect that transition [from QLC to PLC] will be slower," said Siva Sivaram, Western Digital's technology and strategy chief, at Bank of America Merrill Lynch 2021 Global Technology Conference (via SeekingAlpha). "So maybe in the second half of this decade we are going to see some segments starting to get 5 bits per cell."
WD does expect rapid adoption of QLC NAND flash memory over the next two years plus.

Via: Tom's Hardware

Intel-based laptop shortages expected in Q2 2021

18 hours ago
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DigiTimes backs up earlier rumors about shortages of Intel processors. The site says unstable shipments of Intel's new Tiger Lake-U Refresh processors, as well as ongoing shortages of certain electronics components, will likely result in shortages of laptops in Q3 2021.
Intel new CPUs in tight supply: Unstable shipments of Intel's recently introduced Tiger Lake-U Refresh processors, coupled with the ongoing shortages of certain ICs, will put pressure on the supply chain in releasing notebooks with the new processors in the third quarter of 2021, according to industry sources.
While Intel has been less affected than other players, partly due to having its own manufacturing capacity, the firm is not immune as some parts need to be sourced from third parties. Last week, it was rumored that poor availability of USB power chips could tamper with the availability of Tiger Lake laptops.

Aqua Computer LEAKSHIELD prevents coolant from escaping in case of a leak

19 hours ago
Aqua Computer came up with LEAKSHIELD, a new innovative solution that promises to prevent coolant from escaping in the event of a leak in your watercooling loop. Basically, the product works by dynamically applying negative pressure in case a leakage is detect. This will ensure air is sucked into the cooling system, so coolant can't leak. LEAKSHIELD can detect even the smallest leaks, it has a sensitivity of 0.0001 bar. Pricing starts at 119.90EUR via the Aqua Computer webshop.
The German company Aqua Computer introduces a breakthrough system to prevent leakage in water cooling systems. The system, called LEAKSHIELD, actively creates an optimally calculated negative pressure in the cooling system that prevents coolant from escaping in the event of a leak. If a leak occurs, only air is sucked into the cooling system.

This works very reliably even in the case of larger leaks, such as broken acrylic glass components. An integrated vacuum pump is activated in a fraction of a second and maintains the negative pressure.

In addition, the protection system uses a pressure sensor with a resolution of less than 0.0001 bar to detect and indicate even the smallest leaks. This allows countermeasures to be taken at a very early stage – ideally even before the system is filled with coolant.

Although LEAKSHIELD was developed by Aqua Computer for the ULTITUBE reservoir series, it can also be used with reservoirs from other brands using an adapter kit.

The minimal size of the sophisticated device is impressive: all components have been integrated into the small cover of the reservoir. Power supply and control are provided via USB. The device has an OLED display and a push-button control. This allows the most important functions to be controlled directly on the device.

An output can be connected to the mainboard's power button and switch off the PC in case of a leak. In case of a leak, the device also has an acoustic and visual alarm.

Aqua Computer has implemented advanced functions in LEAKSHIELD: The device can precisely determine the level in the reservoir and also suck coolant into the system for the filling process. The often difficult deaeration during initial setup is also simplified by special vacuum cycles.

As usual, LEAKSHIELD is controlled by Aqua Computer's comprehensive aquasuite software. Extensive visualizations, charts and alarms by e-mail etc. are available.

Aqua Computer offers the variant for ULTITUBE reservoirs at a price of 119.90 EUR. The standalone variant for operation with other reservoirs is available for 139.90 EUR.

Aqua Computer assumes that systems without this technology will not meet the technical standard in the future.
Aquacomputer leakshield

Here is a video demonstration of how it works. The demonstration contains countless examples of how LEAKSHIELD offers protection in the case of various watercooling system failures and installation errors.

AMD patents task transition technology for big.LITTLE CPUs

1 day ago
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VideoCardz writes an AMD patent that describes a method to perform task transition between heterogeneous processors has been made public. The patent, which got filed in December 2019, basically provides further evidence that AMD is also working on processors that feature a combination of high-performance cores and energy-efficient cores.

Intel will bring this concept to the x86 world later this year, with the introduction of the Alder Lake architecture. It's rumored AMD's first "big.LITTLE" product will be "Strix Point", a laptop processor that will reportedly use 3nm Zen 5-based high-performance cores in combination with smaller cores codenamed Zen4D. This is believed to be the Ryzen 8000 series generation.
In short, AMD describes that the CPU will relocate tasks between the cores based on one or multiple metrics. These include execution time of the task, a requirement of using memory at maximal performance state, direct access to memory, or a metric of average idle state threshold. If any of such (and others listed in the patent) metrics meet the criteria, the task is then relocated from the first processor core to the second core. Clearly, this is not a very detailed description, but it should provide a brief idea of what is being discussed in the patent.

NVIDIA cutting RTX 20-series supply to make more Ampere GPUs

1 day ago
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Citing a report from Asian tech site ITHome, WCCF Tech spreads news that NVIDIA plans to increase the production capacity of its GeForce RTX 30 series by cutting the production of the RTX 20 series. According to the site, production of the GeForce RTX 2060 will be cut in half this month.
Now that the CMP series is officially here, NVIDIA has decided to refocus its gaming supply on Ampere GPUs. Sure the Turing architecture will still be produced for crypto mining users & on-order, cryptocurrency has fallen a lot over the past few weeks & doesn't seem to be recovering. This has given NVIDIA to once again cut off the production of its older GPUs and move to next-generation parts such as the Ampere-based GeForce RTX 30 series graphics cards.

Windows 10 support ending in 2025?

1 day ago
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There are various hints that Microsoft's Windows operating system will get a new version number later this year. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella will talk about the next-generation of Windows on June 24th and the software giant has been dropping several clues that this OS will no longer be "Windows 10" but "Windows 11".

Now word is going around that support for the current version of Windows will end on October 14, 2025. ExtremeTech reports Microsoft has updated its official documentation to reflect Windows 10's end-of-life (EOL) date.
If we assume Microsoft launches Windows 11 by November (an arbitrary date), it will mean Windows 10 lived a few hundred days longer than Windows XP did relative to Vista. It was always obvious that Microsoft would launch a new Windows, just like Google and Apple continue to release new versions of their products with updated code names and numbers. This is how software development has worked for literally decades, and Microsoft wasn’t going to buck that trend.
The first version of Windows 10 was released on July 29, 2015. At the time, Microsoft branded Windows 10 as the final version of Windows.

Intel-based Mac owners left out in the cold?

1 day ago
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In a new editorial, Engadget wraps up the implications of this week's WWDC 2021 for the owners of Intel-based Apple Mac computers. Despite the transition to in-house Arm-based processors still being in progress -- it's clear Apple is already leaving owners older Macs out in the cold.

Some of the new features in macOS Monterey for example are exclusively available for owners of Apple Silicon-based devices. This includes the ability to blur backgrounds in FaceTime Videos, copy live text from within images, and use the new, more detailed maps. Basically, it seems Apple is no longer willing to put in a lot of effort to bring these features to Intel-based Macs.

Engadget reports the limited support for Intel-based Macs is in stark contrast with the excellent support Apple provides for older smartphones. For example, the iPhone 6S, from September 2015, will be upgraded to iOS 15 later this year. But for Intel-based Macs, things are not looking great right now.
Comparing this to Apple’s last transition, the first Intel Macs arrived in January 2006, and Apple’s first Intel-only OS update arrived in the summer of 2009. Apple will likely continue to offer security and usability updates for older models, but the writing’s on the wall for any Intel running Mac currently on sale. If you’re looking to buy one of those machines today, you should be aware that you could be boxed out of using all those exciting new features announced at future WWDCs. Hey, you might even run out of new OSes to install in the not-too-distant future.

AMD explains how CPUs will implement 3D Vertical Cache

3 days ago
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Earlier this month, AMD teased an upcoming Ryzen 5000 series processor with 3D Vertical Cache technology. This is a new technique that promises to deliver up to 15 percent higher performance for some use cases, like video games. In a new YouTube video, AMD provides some details on how 3D Vertical Cache is implemented in the processor design.

If you don't like listening to a long video, TechPowerUp has a summary over here. Apparently, AMD made quite a number of changes to the CPU design. The new chips promise lower power consumption, lower temperatures, and lower latency:
The added information explains that there is no usage of microbumps - instead, there is a perfect alignment between the bottom layer (with the CCX) and the top layer (the L3 cache) which enables the bonding process to occur naturally via the TSVs (Through Silicon Vias) already present in the silicon, in a zero-gap manner, between both halves of the CPU-cache sandwich. To enable this, AMD flipped the CCX upside down (the core complex now faces the bottom of the chip, instead of the top), shaved 95% of the silicon on top of the upside-down core complexes, and then attaches the 3D V-Cache chips on top of this formation. This also has the added bonus of decreasing the distance between the L3 cache and the CCX (the distance between both in the Z axis is around 1,000 times smaller than if the L3 cache was deployed in the classical X axis), which decreases power consumption, temperatures, and latency, allowing for further increases to system performance.

Intel paying $2 billion for RISC-V developer SiFive?

3 days ago
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Word is going around that Intel made an offer of over $2 billion to acquire SiFive. The latter is a startup that designs chips based on the open-source RISC-V architecture. Bloomberg writes the talks are still early and SiFive could decide to remain independent.
The company has received takeover offers from multiple parties other than Intel, one of the people said. It has also fielded offers for an investment, which could be a preferable route, the person added.

Discussions are early, there’s no guarantee any deal will be reached, and SiFive may choose to remain independent.

SiFive was last valued at around $500 million when it raised funds in 2020, according to data provider PitchBook.
SiFive is seen as a potential rival to Arm, both companies license chip designs. Interest in SiFive spiked after NVIDIA announced its $40 billion deal to acquire Arm. The big lure of RISC-V is that it's cheaper and more accessible to customers than Arm.

IBM sues GlobalFoundries for $2.5 billion over broken promises

3 days ago
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IBM is taking GlobalFoundries to court because the latter abandoned the cutting-edge process node market in 2018. The root of the issue dates back to 2014, when IBM paid GlobalFoundries $1.5 billion to take its loss-making semiconductor factories off its hands. The $1.5 billion was not charity -- it came with a legal obligation that reportedly obligated GlobalFoundries to supply IBM with chipmaking services for next-generation chips.

Hexus reports IBM is now seeking $2.5 billion in damages because GlobalFoundries "abruptly and without any justification" walked away from IBM. Big Blue says it invested heavily in a long-term mutual relationship and claims GlobalFoundries "failed to act as a reliable partner and supplier."
The latest info about the dispute suggests that the very sizable payment to GF was given to not only take over the loss making IBM foundries but enter into a legal contract with various obligations. An IBM statement explains it as follows, "IBM contributed $1.5bn to GlobalFoundries to supply the next generation of chips, and Global Foundries utterly abandoned IBM as soon as the final payment was received and sold off assets from the deal for its own enrichment." This is the major reason that IBM is seeking $2.5bn in damages. GF abandoned its plans to pursue advanced chipmaking in 2018, and this must coincide with the ending of payments from IBM.
IBM now uses Samsung to get its processors manufactured. GlobalFoundries denies any wrongdoing and claims it dropped its pursuit of 7nm process technology because this venture threatened the firm's financial health.

GPU demand not sustainable -- heading for a big drop?

3 days ago
Jon Peddie Research predicts the video card market is in for a big correction. The research outfit notes current GPU demand is unsustainable and that a return to normalcy could arrive as early as the end of this year. EE Times reports Jon Peddie is concerned that vendors are making the same mistakes as in the boom-bust cycle of 2018, which left NVIDIA with a lot of excess inventory.

Pandemic, cryptocurrency, speculation, and phantom demand

On one hand, Jon Peddie points out remote offices have all been equipped with new PCs, and there's little room for new growth there. Next, the firm argues that cryptocurrency mining is another key driver of the additional demand:
The other wild card is possible phantom demand for graphics AIBs. “The supply has gone to zero and the prices to the stratosphere.” Peddie blames crypto miners, who are rewarded with crypto coins for completing blocks of verified transactions added to a blockchain. The chances of solving a complex hashing puzzle and gaining coins is often proportional to “the total mining power of the network,” Peddie explained.
And finally, Jon Peddie believes some of the current GPU demand is artificial "phantom demand".
Overall, Peddie concludes current graphics demand is “artificial.” He cites anecdotal evidence of customers—sometimes entire families—lining up at Best Buy outlets to purchase individual graphics boards, then flipping them on eBay. Similar scams have plagued other sectors: The retailer Target recently suspended sales of another hot pandemic commodity, trading cards, after a violent incident at a Milwaukee-area store.
Meanwhile, a lot of gamers are still dying to get their hands on a new video card. For the best part of the last 12 months, video cards for normal prices have been pretty elusive.

Epic Games Store gives away Control

3 days ago
Until June 17th, Epic Games Store is giving away Control for free. You can download the game via this link, the only caveat is that you need an Epic Games Store account, of course. Control is a relatively recent game, it was launched in 2019 and received pretty rave reviews. Once you've claimed it, the game is yours to keep forever. A great way to start your weekend!
After a secretive agency in New York is invaded by an otherworldly threat, you become the new Director struggling to regain Control.

From developer Remedy Entertainment, this supernatural 3rd person action-adventure will challenge you to master the combination of supernatural abilities, modifiable loadouts and reactive environments while fighting through a deep and unpredictable world.

Control is Jesse Faden’s story and her personal search for answers as she grows into the role of the Director. The world of Control has its own story, as do the allies Jesse meets along the way. Jesse works with other Bureau agents and discovers strange experiments and secrets.

Next-gen Windows to be named Windows 11 after all?

3 days ago
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Six years ago, Microsoft hyped up Windows 10 as "the last version of Windows." At the time, Microsoft introduced the idea of Windows as a service and hinted that the idea of version numbers was dead.

Two hints from Microsoft about Windows 11

Recently, there are more and more rumors about the reveal of Windows 11 on June 24. We know the company will show off the next generation of Windows on that date and it's curious to see how Microsoft is now teasing the number "11" in several places.

First up, there's a new 4000% slowed-down Windows Startup Sounds mix on YouTube with a duration of exactly 11 minutes.



Next, the reveal event of the next-gen Windows takes place on June 24 at exactly 11:00 A.M. EST. This is an unusual hour for a major announcement. Basically, Microsoft is dropping several clues that we're going to see Windows 11.

SK Hynix teases HBM3 specifications

4 days ago
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SK Hynix has offered the first specifications of its future HBM3 memory chips. Tom's Hardware writes we're looking at bandwidth in excess of 665GB/s and I/O speed greater than 5.2Gbps. For comparison, the current HBM2E achieves maximum bandwidth of 460GB/s and I/O speed of 3.6Gbps.
Nowadays, bandwidth-hungry devices, like ultra-high-end compute GPUs or FPGAs use 4-6 HBM2E memory stacks. With SK Hynix's HBM2E, such applications can get 1.84-2.76 TBps of bandwidth (usually lower because GPU and FPGA developers are cautious). With HBM3, these devices could get at least 2.66-3.99 TBps of bandwidth, according to the company.
SK Hynix did not share an expected availability date. It's not expected soon as there is no HBM3 specification yet. JEDEC still needs to outline the industry standard.

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