Posted on Monday, January 22 2018 @ 11:20:38 CET by Thomas De Maesschalck
When Linus Torvald sees something he doesn't like, he's not afraid to speak his mind. In the past, he hasn't hesitated to call out developers for pulling crap into Linux 4.8, nor was he afraid to tell NVIDIA to go fuck itself. Over the weekend, the Linux founder took a look at some new Linux patches that are related to the Intel CPU bugs and called them "pure garbage".
Slashdot has the meat over here, this is what Linus has to say about the new microcode that addresses Indirect Branch Restricted Speculation "where a future CPU will advertise 'I am able to be not broken' and then you have to set the IBRS bit once at boot time to *ask* it not to be broken:"
Linus calls it "very much part of the whole 'this is complete garbage' issue. The whole IBRS_ALL feature to me very clearly says 'Intel is not serious about this, we'll have a ugly hack that will be so expensive that we don't want to enable it by default, because that would look bad in benchmarks'. So instead they try to push the garbage down to us. And they are doing it entirely wrong, even from a technical standpoint. I'm sure there is some lawyer there who says 'we'll have to go through motions to protect against a lawsuit'. But legal reasons do not make for good technology, or good patches that I should apply."
Later Linus says forcefully that these "complete and utter garbage" patches are being pushed by someone "for unclear reasons" -- and adds another criticism.
The whole point of having cpuid and flags from the microarchitecture is that we can use those to make decisions. But since we already know that the IBRS overhead is huge on existing hardware, all those hardware capability bits are just complete and utter garbage. Nobody sane will use them, since the cost is too damn high. So you end up having to look at "which CPU stepping is this" anyway. I think we need something better than this garbage.
Posted on Monday, January 22 2018 @ 11:09:42 CET by Thomas De Maesschalck
A new report by Navigant Research claims Tesla and Apple rank dead last in the self-driving car race. While Tesla is seen by many as one of the leaders in autonomous driving, Navigant is highly critical of Tesla's technology and points out the company's technology is regressing.
The first Autopilot from Tesla used Mobileye technology, but that solution got dumped in favor of NVIDIA chips. The result is that one year after the launch of Autopilot V2, the system still lacks some features of the original. In the meantime, Tesla is working on its own self-driving car chips, which reportedly include some IP licensed from AMD.
The Navigant report claims GM and Waymo currently have the best self-driving car tech:
Navigant ranked the 19 major companies developing AV technology based on 10 criteria, including vision, market strategy, partnerships, production strategy, technology, product quality and staying power. According to the report, General Motors Co. (GM) and Waymo, the auto unit of Alphabet (GOOG, GOOGL), are the top two AV investment opportunities in the market today.
Posted on Saturday, January 20 2018 @ 10:42:59 CET by Thomas De Maesschalck
With cryptocurrency mining profitability remaining at all-time highs, video cards from AMD and NVIDIA are selling out like hot cakes as miners buy up all the inventory. The result is that gamers once again have a lot of trouble to get a video card, and have to cough up prices that can be over double as high as the recommended retail price.
Some retailers are now offering GeForce cards with certain limits, like a maximum of two cards per customer. German tech site ComputerBase reports this measure was implemented at the request of NVIDIA. The site received a statement from NVIDIA spokesperson Boris Böhles, which clarifies that NVIDIA wants gamers to come first:
" For NVIDIA, gamers come first. All activities related to our GeForce product line are targeted at our main audience. To ensure that GeForce gamers continue to have good GeForce graphics card availability in the current situation, we recommend that our trading partners make the appropriate arrangements to meet gamers' needs as usual. "
NVIDIA stresses that this is just a recommendation, the company can't and will not intervene in the freedom and independence of trade.
Whether NVIDIA's request has a major impact is unknown. It may help to prevent orders in the three-digit order of magnitude from miners, but the problem doesn't reside exclusively at the retail level. The larger miners (and their suppliers) buy cards straight from the factory, and screw on custom coolers.
Posted on Friday, January 19 2018 @ 15:47:41 CET by Thomas De Maesschalck
Word hit the web that the next batch of new Coffee Lake-S desktop processors will hit retail shelves around February 14. Acccording to an Australian e-tailer, we'll see the launch of various Celeron, Pentium, Core i3 and Core i5 CPUs on Valentine's Day. Pricing of these chips ranges from 64 to 329 AUD, which corresponds to about $51 to $264.
The Pentium G5000 series are quad-core and quad-thread CPUs with base clock varying from 3.7 GHz to 3.9 GHz and 4MB of cache.
The cheapest Coffeelake processors will be Celeron G4920 and G4900, which are dual-core and dual-thread CPUs listed with 2MB cache.
Additionally, Intel will launch Intel i5-8600 non-K for the slightly lower price than the overclockable variant. This SKU will be joined by i5-8500 and i3-8300.
Posted on Friday, January 19 2018 @ 15:33:36 CET by Thomas De Maesschalck
Microsoft researchers published a paper about a new AI agent they call the drawing bot. The algorithm draws images pixel by pixel, based on nothing more than the text input of a user. Basically, you tell this thing to draw a bird, specify the color and some other aspects and the drawing bot will generate an image from scratch. It is the most advanced text-to-image system currently in existence.
The new artificial intelligence technology under development in Microsoft’s research labs is programmed to pay close attention to individual words when generating images from caption-like text descriptions. This deliberate focus produced a nearly three-fold boost in image quality compared to the previous state-of-the-art technique for text-to-image generation, according to results on an industry standard test reported in a research paper posted on arXiv.org.
The technology, which the researchers simply call the drawing bot, can generate images of everything from ordinary pastoral scenes, such as grazing livestock, to the absurd, such as a floating double-decker bus. Each image contains details that are absent from the text descriptions, indicating that this artificial intelligence contains an artificial imagination.
Posted on Friday, January 19 2018 @ 13:57:09 CET by Thomas De Maesschalck
Word is spreading about "Skyfall" and "Solace". Besides being the name of two James Bond movies, it's now claimed these are the codenames of two speculative attacks based on the work highlighted by the Meltdown and Spectre CPU bugs.
The Register investigated the matter and concludes its 99% a hoax. In particular, the site notes that none of the chip designers nor operating system developers they talked too have heard about these attacks:
Posted on Friday, January 19 2018 @ 13:46:33 CET by Thomas De Maesschalck
Caseking and famed overclocker der8auer introduce the Skylake-X Direct Die Frame, a new product that lets you install a LGA2066 cooler on a delidded Skylake-X processor. This product is exclusively for extreme overclockers, it's made from black anodized aluminium and completely replaces the Intel ILM (Integrated Loading Mechanism) as well as the CPU cooler mounting holes.
The patent pending Skylake-X Direct Die Frame from overclocking champion der8auer is a masterpiece of German engineering. The CPU mounting frame completely replaces Intel's ILM (Integrated Loading Mechanism) as well as the CPU cooler mounting holes. This inconspicuous component unlocks a world of possibilities when it comes to CPU performance enhancement, leading to record breaking overclocks when paired with either standard- or liquid cooling.
The main benefit here are lower temperatures of course. Delidding a Skylake-X processor and replacing the inferior thermal paste with liquid metal typically gives a 10-20°C reduction in load temperature. By using the Skylake-X Direct Die Frame to run the processor without a heatspreader, overclockers can expect a further 5-10°C temperature drop.
The Skylake-X Direct Die Frame is sold for 69.90EUR. Let's hope it doesn't make your CPU "die".
One final note about compatibility, this product requires a cooler with flexible mounting height, it can't be used with products that have a fixed mounting height:
Note on Compatibility: The removal of the integrated heat spreader results in a small reduction in the mounting height of the CPU cooler. Consequently those coolers with fixed mounting heights are not able to be mounted. For this reason please confirm prior to installation whether the cooler you plan to use is capable of being set to a lower mounting height. Compatibility with watercoolers from EKWB, Aquacomputer as well as AiO watercoolers from Corsair and NZXT are guaranteed to fit. The Skylake-X Direct Die Frame is not compatible with motherboard monoblocks.
Posted on Friday, January 19 2018 @ 13:36:05 CET by Thomas De Maesschalck
Taiwanese foundry TSMC revealed some interesting tidbits at the firm's investors conference, which was held January 18. First up, TSMC no longer sees sales of smartphone chips as a major growth driver. In fact, revenue of chips for upmarket phones like the iPhone is expected to decline in 2018.
Instead, TSMC now sees high-performance computing (HPC) and cryptocurrency mining chips as growth drivers. A look at the numbers reveals just how incredible the cryptocurrency boom is. Bitmain recently became a major TSMC customer and accounted for 3 to 5 percent of the foundry's third-quarter revenue. That's on-par with NVIDIA!
HPC, which under TSMC’s definition includes applications for AI, GPUs and cryptocurrency mining, is picking up just as smartphone demand is losing momentum, the company said. While AI ASICs such as those used for cryptocurrency mining may to a degree be eroding sales of GPUs, demand for both types of chips is quite “solid”, according to TSMC.
EE Times has some more TSMC new over here. TSMC aims to kick off 7nm production in June 2018 and believes the new node will account for 10 percent of it 2018 sales. A total of 50 7nm tapeouts are expected during 2018.
The first 5nm customer test chips are currently running in TSMC labs, the company aims to offer 5nm risk production in Q1 2019. Some info about EUV was shared too, TSMC currently believes EUV will be ready for the introduction of its N7+ process in 2019 and N5 in 2020. TSMC chairman Morris Chang also mentioned that the path to 3nm with EUV now looks feasible.
TSMC expects its revenue to grow 10 to 15 percent in 2018.
Posted on Friday, January 19 2018 @ 13:14:49 CET by Thomas De Maesschalck
Yesterday we heard about the mass production of Samsung's 16Gb (2GB) 18Gbps GDDR6 memory chips. Now we learn that SK Hynix is listing its 8Gb GDDR6 memory chips as available in its latest product catalog update.
TechPowerUp noticed the firm is offering 8Gb (1GB) GDDR6 memory chips in four different versions.
The fastest ones achieve 14Gbps at 1.35V, followed up by a 12Gbps version that needs 1.25V. Then there are also less efficient models, including a 12Gbps chip that requires 1.35V and a 10Gbps one that needs 1.25V.
For comparison, the new Samsung 16Gb (2GB) GDDR6 chips do 18Gbps at 1.35V. The first GDDR6 video cards are expected later this year.
Posted on Friday, January 19 2018 @ 12:47:03 CET by Thomas De Maesschalck
One of the surprises from CES 2018 was the news about NZXT entering the high-end motherboard market. The case maker showed off the N7 Z370, a series of motherboards with an unusually clean and streamlined layout. Now the company follows up with an announcement that the initial batch of motherboards have already been shipped, and that a $50 price cut will go into effect immediately.
The new price of the N7 Z370 motherboard is $249.99, this is primarily achieved by dropping the bundled LED light strips and extension cables. At the same time, NZXT extends the warranty from three to four years. The company also officially confirms that these boards are manufactured by ECS.
Based on the overwhelmingly positive feedback from customers since the launch of the new N7 Z370 motherboard, today NZXT is announcing a change to the product and a price reduction from $299.99 to $249.99, both effective immediately.
"We were surprised-and humbled-by the PC gaming community's reaction to our new N7 motherboard. Our focus on simplifying the assembly process for users building their own gaming PC and our unconventional, minimalist approach to design that makes the motherboard disappear into the case has really resonated with people," says Johnny Hou, NZXT's founder, and CEO. "The feedback we received was, that while the thoughtful layout and beautiful all-metal cover are appealing, the price is a bit too high. We've taken steps to address that today with changes to the configuration and price."
Unlike competitive Z370 motherboard offerings, NZXT originally planned to bundle LED light strips and extension cables in the box. To be able to offer a lower price, these have been removed from the product. NZXT will also sell its N7 motherboard through a more limited channel, lowering the overall cost of operation and allowing the MSRP to be further reduced.
In a strong vote of confidence in the quality of its newest product, NZXT is also increasing the warranty period it offers to the consumer.
"We also heard from the PC gaming community that they are concerned with our ability to produce a high-quality motherboard. We are working with ECS, a company that produces motherboards for some of the world's largest OEMs," continues Johnny, "We are very confident in our quality. And to help allay the fears of the community, we are increasing our warranty from 3 to 4 years."
The NZXT N7 Z370 ATX motherboard is expected to be available from select retailers in the North America and Europe by the end of January*. Customers who have pre-ordered the motherboard will automatically receive the discount prior to shipping.
The NZXT N7 Z370 Motherboard includes the following exclusive features:
Powered by CAM, NZXT's control, and monitoring software
2 RGB lighting channels using HUE+ technology
9 digital PWM fan channels based on GRID+ technology
All-metal motherboard cover finished using the same paints and processes as their cases
Optional heatsink covers finished matching NZXT's case colorways (matte white and black, as well as glossy red, blue, and purple)
Since the first production runs of the motherboards have already been shipped, initial buyers may find LEDs strips in the package. All future manufacturing runs will remove the LEDs strips and extension cables from the box.