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.
Posted on Thursday, January 18 2018 @ 23:51:18 CET by Thomas De Maesschalck
AMD rolled out the Radeon Software Adrenalin Edition version 18.1.1, you can grab this release over here. This release includes the DirectX 9 fix from the previous alpha release and patches a wide variety of other issues:
A small number of DirectX®9 games may experience crashes or instability.
Radeon FreeSync enabled system configurations may experience stuttering when using the performance metrics feature in Radeon Overlay.
Protected video content may intermittently experience a freeze or hang during playback.
A blank screen may be experienced while playing back videos when using Movies & TV player.
Starcraft™2 may experience corruption in multi GPU enabled system configurations.
Bezel compensation controls when creating display groups may be misaligned or have no functionality.
Blank videos may be experienced when playing back videos in edge browser after the system resumes from sleep.
Color corruption may intermittently be observed in Radeon overlay with multiple gaming applications and performance metrics running.
The Radeon WattMan fan slider may intermittently fail to change after loading profiles.
Enhanced Sync may not enable for game profiles in Radeon Settings when using Vulkan™ API.
On multi GPU enabled system configurations Player Unknowns Battlegrounds™ may experience menu item flickering.
CLINFO may report incorrect values in multi GPU system configurations.
Radeon Chill may fail to enable on Vulkan™ API games.
Radeon Overlay hotkey may fail to bring up the overlay or may cause a Radeon Host Application crash intermittently on a limited number of gaming titles.
Radeon FreeSync may cause stutter with Radeon ReLive Instant Replay enabled on some fullscreen games.
Radeon Settings may experience a hang when enabling AMD CrossFire with three or more graphics products.
Trimming videos may fail to create a thumbnail if the video contains non-English characters.
Flickering may be observed on the performance metrics overlay when Enhanced Sync is enabled on some Radeon FreeSync connected displays.
Performance Metrics Overlay may hang if enabled when cycling display power off and on.
The "Reset" function in Radeon Settings for Display, ReLive, and Video may not work as intended when using Radeon Settings in certain regional languages.
Radeon WattMan may intermittently fail to load profiles for Radeon RX Vega on the global Radeon Wattman page.
A random system hang may be experienced after extended periods of use on system configurations using 12 GPU's for compute workloads.
The GPU Workload feature may cause a system hang when switching to Compute while AMD CrossFire is enabled. A workaround is to disable AMD CrossFire before switching the toggle to Compute workloads.
Posted on Thursday, January 18 2018 @ 21:07:48 CET by Thomas De Maesschalck
Susquehanna Financial Group analyst Christopher Rolland writes both NVIDIA and AMD benefited royally from the cryptocurrency boom in Q4 2017. Rolland estimates miners purchased more than $500 million worth of video cards in Q4 2017, and likely another $200+ million in the first few weeks of 2018.
As I wrote earlier this week, the price of many high-end video cards is once again hitting crazy prices as miners are buying everything they can get. Over at Newegg, it's not rare to see GeForce GTX 1070 cards for $999 or even more.
The high video card pricing is the result of mining profitability remaining among the highest in history. There's a lot of extra demand for AMD and NVIDIA video cards, and supply isn't able to keep up. Sadly, for gamers this means heavy mark-ups in the retail channels.
“We believe the confluence of these factors portends upside to both AMD’s and NVDA’s C4Q17 results (and perhaps 1Q18 guidance),” Rolland said. “However, we also note substantial longer-term risks for both companies as mining profitability may have induced ‘false purchases’ of more and higher-priced cards.”
Posted on Thursday, January 18 2018 @ 18:20:04 CET by Thomas De Maesschalck
While the first adoption of extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography for the 10nm and 7nm process nodes is expected later this year or in 2019, there is still a lot of work to be done on the 5nm node. EE Times reports that at present, the photoresist defects are still an order of magnitude too high for 5nm production.
Processors and other logic chips will be the first products to make the switch to EUV, with DRAM to follow later. Not much need is seen for today's 3D NAND flash chips. With current technology from Dutch semiconductor equipment leader ASML, the industry can expect to produce about 125 wafers per hour with a 250W light source. ASML aims to increase this to 155 in 2020, and even higher in the future as the company already has a 375W light source working in lab conditions.
Both TSMC and Globalfoundries aim to ramp a second-gen 7nm process that uses EUV in early 2019. Intel is expected to adopt EUV for a 10nm+ node in 2019. Semiconductor analysts believe that Intel's upcoming (and long-delayed) 10nm process, which uses traditional immersion lithography, will offer similar density to what the chip giant's rivals plan with their best 7nm nodes.