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AMD Zen 4 Genoa to packing 96 cores and 192 threads

6 minutes ago
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Generally, we don't talk about server hardware on DVHARDWARE but every once in a while there's news worth covering as what happens on the server front has implications for future consumer hardware, or offers clues about future desktop models.

AMD Zen 4 packs 96 cores and 192 threads

Today there's a fresh leak about Genoa, the upcoming 5nm Zen 4-based EPYC server series from AMD. As expected, AMD's upcoming generation will offer a big increase in core count. The current 7nm Zen 2-based "Rome" and the soon-to-be-out 7nm Zen 3-based "Milan" lines max out at 64 cores and have 128 threads. The full configuration of the Genoa generation on the other hand will offer 50 percent more cores -- resulting in a massive 96 cores and 192 threads.

Besides more cores, there will be a big update in terms of memory and I/O. Genoa is expected to feature a 12-channel memory controller with support for DDR5-200. For comparison, Rome and Milan support eight-channel DDR4-3200. The future generation will also support 128 PCI Express 5.0 lanes.

Genoa will use the new SP5 socket and is expected to be quite a bit larger than Rome and Milan. Maximum power consumption will increase too, the TDP is expected to be 320W, 40W more than Rome and Milan, with a configurable TDP of maximum 400W.

The source of this leak is ExecutableFix, a Twitter user known for reliable CPU news leaks. The EPYC "Genoa" processors are expected sometime in 2022. They will compete with Intel's Xeon "Sapphire Rapids".

More chiplets -- and not more cores per chiplet

Interestingly, ExecutableFix claims Genoa features a central I/O chiplet and up to 12 chiplets, each with 8 cores. This means AMD isn't increasing the number of cores per chiplet, but the number of chiplets. With a package size of 720 x 754mm, Genoa is a pretty massive chip.

AMD Genoa mockup

What it means for Zen 4-based desktop CPUs

The implications for Zen 4-based desktop processors are hard to estimate, at the moment there are no leaks about possible core counts. AMD is unlikely to stick to a maximum of two chiplets for Zen 4-based consumer processors so things will depend on whether AMD decides to go for three or four chiplets. This would result in 5nm desktop CPUs with 24 or possibly up to 32 cores.

Zen 4 getting AVX-512?

Next, there's a rumor that Zen 4 will support the AVX3-512 as well as the and BFLOAT16 instruction sets. Both are used frequently in deep learning workflows. At the moment, AVX-512 support is one of the advantages Intel has over AMD.

Lenovo shows familiar custom LEGION Radeon RX 6800/6900 XT cards

1 hour ago
A long time ago I wrote about custom LEGION motherboards from Lenovo and now the Chinese PC builder is rolling out custom AMD-based video cards. Photos popped up of custom Radeon RX 6800 XT and Radeon RX 6900 XT LEGION video cards. LEGION is the gaming brand of Lenovo.

If the design of these cards looks familiar, it's because it's heavily inspired by the Radeon VII. The latter was launched two years ago, and was AMD's flagship VEGA 20 video card. The Lenovo Radeon RX 6800 XT LEGION uses the same triple-fan cooler , but with a different side profile and a custom backplate.

Lenovo Legion RX 6900 XT and 6800 XT

Can you get one?

The answer is probably no. Lenovo exclusively makes hardware for its own gaming PCs. The custom Radeon RX 6800 XT, which is pictured below, will end up in a new 7000P LEGION gaming PC. These cards are not sold separately.

Via: VideoCardz

Custom-design ASUS Radeon RX 6700 XTs appear

1 hour ago
Are you ready for some custom-design Radeon RX 6700 video cards? With AMD's launch event just two days removed from us, the first leaks from AMD's partner cards are coming in. VideoCardz has exclusive news about two custom models from ASUS. The site says ASUS is working on a total of three custom Radeon RX 6700 XT cards.

ASUS Radeon RX 6700 XT Dual 12GB has dual-fan cooler

First up is the RX 6700 XT Dual. As the name suggests, this model packs a dual-fan cooling solution. It has a custom cooler but the card sticks to the reference clockspeeds provided by AMD. The reference clockspeeds are still a bit of a mystery, there are no leaks about these frequencies. The ASUS RX 6700 XT has a 2.7-slot card design and is 297mm long. It uses the same PCIe power connector configuration as the reference card, which means one 6-pin and one 8-pin connector.

ASUS Radeon RX 6700 XT Dual 12GB

ASUS Radeon RX 6700 XT TUF Gaming OC 12GB packs three fans

The TUF Gaming OC variant of the ASUS Radeon RX 6700 XT is a longer model. This triple-fan cooled card is 322mm long and features two 8-pin PCIe power connectors. It's a cooler with a triple-slot design -- overall it looks pretty similar to the ASUS Radeon RX 6800 XT TUF.

ASUS Radeon RX 6700 XT TUF Gaming OC 12GB

The Radeon RX 6700 XT features a Navi 22 XT GPU with 2560 streaming processors, 192-bit memory bus, and 12GB GDDR6 clocked at 16Gbps. The card offers 384GB/s memory bandwidth and is expected to come in two configurations. One variant will be used for the reference design, the other will be a binned model for overclocked cards. Cards like the Dual are believed to feature the standard chip while TUF Gaming OC should feature the better, more expensive version, which has a higher TGP.

Intel 10th Gen and 11th Gen Core CPUs to get Hitman 3 bundle

1 hour ago
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Twitter leaker momomo_us reports Intel is preparing a new video game bundle. According to the leak, the chip giant will bundle Hitman 3 with a ton of processors from the 10th Gen Core and 11th Gen Core families. The offer will apply to both laptop and desktop processors.

The first 11th Gen Core "Rocket Lake-S" desktop processors are expected to be introduced on March 15, 2021. While Rocket Lake-S is still made on a refined version of Intel's 14nm process, the chips will pack some major changes.

The new Cypress Cove cores promise a big, and much needed, increase in IPC and the integration of Xe-based graphics should result in a pleasant boost in integrated graphics performance. Compared with Willow Cove, which is used for the Tiger Lake laptop processors, Cypress Cove promises 20 percent higher IPC.

Rocket Lake-S will be the final 14nm desktop CPU from Intel -- and it will also be the last part to use the LGA1200 socket. Towards the end of this year, the blue team is expected to roll out Alder Lake-S. This processor series will be made on a 10nm node, it will feature a hybrid core architecture with small energy-efficient cores and big high-performance cores. Main new features include PCI Express 5.0 and DDR5 support. Based on the latest rumors, I wouldn't expect availability before December.

Is Hitman 3 any good

IO Interactive published Hitman 3 on January 20, 2021. The game is available for a variety of platforms and generally received positive reviews. Reviewers applaud the stealth third-person game for its impressive level design, the high degree of creativity, and a fun world with a great element of exploration.

NVIDIA CMP 90Hx is Ampere based and blower-style RTX 3090 cards are discontinued

2 hours ago
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Together with the redesign of DVHARDWARE, we're also making some changes to the way news is posted. Going forward, we will likely publish less news than before. But less is more as the focus will be on delivering longer posts.

Crypto market remains strong

Today we continue with an update about cryptocurrency mining. GPU supply was already tight last year and the crypto boom of the last couple of months put further pressure on the supply channel as miners are now once again competing with gamers to get their hands on the limited supply of GPUs. At press time, Ethereum is trading close to $1,500. It's a steep drop from the all-time high of over $2,000 that was posted a little more than a week ago -- but still double as much as at the start of the year.

Without a very steep drop, miners will likely continue to gobble up anything they can buy. This is bad news for gamers as miners put a higher value on video cards -- which results in some video card makers and distributors selling large amounts of cards directly to miners. Sometimes even before the cards are officially out -- as happened with the GeForce RTX 3060. The shortage of discrete video cards even results in absurd situations, where crypto miners buy up hundreds of laptops equipped with GeForce RTX 30 series cards. It's a total waste of resources -- but that's just how things are right now.

Actions taken by NVIDIA to limit mining

One sliver of good news is that NVIDIA is moving ahead with some measures to get more cards in the hand of gamers. Together with the launch of the GeForce RTX 3060, two big changes were made. First up, the GeForce RTX 3060 is the first video card from NVIDIA to limit mining performance. NVIDIA cooked up an algorithm capable of detecting Ethereum mining -- it basically lowers the hash rate by almost 50 percent. This makes cards less attractive to mining. NVIDIA has hinted that future GeForce cards will get a similar limiter. No changes will be made to existing cards -- that wouldn't make sense of course.

At the same time, NVIDIA introduced its first Cryptocurrency Mining Processors (CMPs). This is a line of GPUs designed specifically for miners. According to NVIDIA, this will result in more GeForce chips for the gaming market. Last week we learned that the first two CMPs, the CMP 30HX, and CMP 40HX, are based on the Turing architecture. These chips are made on a 12nm process, so they don't compete for foundry capacity with the newer 8nm Ampere GPUs. However, they may still compete for other critical components, like GDDR6 and certain substrates, which are said to be in short supply. At least for now, CMPs are not expected to be a major sales driver for NVIDIA. The company's CFO estimated sales of about $15 million in NVIDIA's fiscal first quarter.

NVIDIA CMP 90HX to be Ampere-based

Next quarter, NVIDIA will launch two more CMPs. VideoCardz reports one of these chips will be Ampere-based. The CMP 90HX is expected to feature an 8nm GA102-100 GPU, and will reportedly use the same PG132 board as the GeForce RTX 3080. The CMP 50HX, which also launches in Q2 2021, will be based on a 12nm Turing chip, just like the 30HX and 40HX. A derivative of the RTX 2080 Ti (TU102) will be used for the CMP 50HX.

VideoCardz claims NVIDIA is recycling chips that are unfit for the GeForce market. A separate CMP line allows the firm to bin parts that have certain defects, like broken Tensor, RT, TMU, or ROP components. Miners only care about mining performance -- so as long as the GPU can mine coin it's good enough for this market. Of course, these cards all ship without display connectors too.

Blower-style GeForce RTX 3090 cards getting discontinued?

Another related story concerns NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090 video card with blower-style coolers. VideoCardz reports that recently, NVIDIA's add-in board partners have quietly removed RTX 3090 cards with blower coolers from their websites. It was already strange to see these designs -- as such a cheap cooling design doesn't really belong on expensive, custom-design GeForce RTX 3090 cards.

So why are AIBs suddenly removing these SKUs? The exact reason is unknown, but VideoCardz speculates it's related to the launch of NVIDIA's CMPs. The idea here is that board partners are reserving the cheapest coolers they can find, which are the blower-style coolers, for the CMP cards. A lot of miners prefer blower-style cards too -- so it's a good fit for this market.

Ampere availability getting worse

A piece of bad news is that the availability of Ampere-based video cards seems to be getting worse. Reports are coming in that supply of GeForce RTX 3080 cards is getting lower. As was reported last month, expectations are that the shortage of GPUs will get worse before things get better again. As things stand right now, it doesn't seem the situation will go back to normal over the next couple of months.

AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT reference card to cost $499?

3 hours ago
AMD logo
Two days from now, AMD will officially reveal its Radeon RX 6700 XT video card. This is the first Navi 22-based video card from the firm. Chip shortages have plagued the computer industry for months now and this resulted in the delay of various hardware, including the new generation of mid-range video cards. NVIDIA rolled out its GeForce RTX 3060 last week, officially the MSRP is $329 but availability at anywhere near that price is almost non-existent.

Radeon RX 6700 XT more expensive than expected

YouTuber Moore's Law is Dead published some fresh rumors about AMD's upcoming Navi22. As always, we recommend taking this with a grain of salt. First up, the bad news is that the official MSRP of the Radeon RX 6700 XT will be a lot higher than most expected. Basically, the MSPR will more accurately reflect the true retail price.

So how high will the price go? According to Moore's Law is Dead, AMD is still conflicted about the price point. The firm is reportedly weighing its options between a $479 and $499 price tag. This will be the figure charged for the AMD-made reference card sold via the company's website.

Two SKUs of the Radeon RX 6700 XT

Next, there's a rumor that AMD has two variants of the Radeon RX 6700 XT. One SKU will be used for reference-based cards and the other one is a binned version intended for factory overclocked models. Obviously, the latter will be even more expensive than the basic version. What it all boils down to is that the bare minimum price of a custom-design Radeon RX 6700 XT card will be somewhere in the $500 range.

In terms of performance, it's rumored that the reference model will perform about the same as the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Ti. The overclocked models should be positioned somewhere between the RTX 3060 Ti and the RTX 3070.

Exceptional yields == delay of Radeon RX 6700?

One sliver of good news is that yields of Navi 22 are said to be very good. Moore's Law is Dead claims the production is going "exceptionally well" and heard from his sources that AMD will be shipping a lot of these chips over the coming months. The YouTuber claims the delay of the Radeon RX 6700 (non-XT) is a side effect of the good yields. With most chips reportedly having very little defects, AMD doesn't want to waste good chips on lower-end SKUs.

When can I get one?

Late last week, French tech site Cowcotland reported that launch volume of the Radeon RX 6700 XT would be better than previous launches -- but still pretty bad. Availability of the Radeon RX 6700 XT is expected in the second half of March.

With the Radeon RX 6700 XT, you get a Navi 22 GPU with 2560 cores, a 192-bit memory bus and 12GB GDDR6 memory.

Intel DG2 to ship in 768 to 4096 core configurations

3 days ago
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The arrival of Intel's Xe-HPG will be one of the biggest PC hardware launches of the year. This marks the third time Intel is dabbling in 3D graphics, the first two times were a complete failure so we're very excited to discover if the third time's the charm. Intel started working on its own GPU architecture a couple of years ago to fulfill several unfilled needs in the firm's product portfolio.

NVIDIA's success in the datacenter market is one of the biggest drivers behind the Xe architecture. Datacenters are adopting GPUs at a very fast rate. Last quarter, NVIDIA sold $1.9 billion worth of GPUs to this market segment, double as much as a year ago. Intel wants a piece of this fast-growing pie -- and the firm designed its Xe architecture to be versatile enough to also serve the integrated graphics and discrete graphics markets.

The latter is what most gamers are looking forward to. For over two decades now, the GPU market has been a duopoly held by NVIDIA and AMD. Will Intel be able to shake up this market? Or will the Xe fall flat on its face? We should learn more later this year.

Leaked DG2 specifications

In the meantime, VideoCardz came across an interesting Xe-HPG related leak. Based on the latest rumors, Intel is working on at least three variants of the DG2 GPU. While the DG1 was a single (and rather unimpressive) product, the DG2 may feature higher-end products. Intel is allegedly working on DG2 GPUs; one with 128 execution units (EUs), a second one with 384 EUs, and the third one with 512 EUs.

The leaked specifications list indicates we can expect SKUs with 768 to 4096 shading units. All versions are expected to get GDDR6 memory, possibly as much as 16GB for the top model. The full configuration of the Xe-HPG 512 EU allows a maximum of 4096 shading units, it has a 256-bit memory bus and 8GB or 16GB GDDR6 memory. This model may compete with high-end GPUs from AMD and NVIDIA -- if Intel can deliver on its promises.
According to the leaked DG2 specs list, we should expect high-end GPUs with up to 4096 shading units and up to 16GB of GDDR6 memory. It is unclear which model will the flagship DG2 model compete with, but judging from the memory capacity, it could even be Radeon RX 6800XT or GeForce RTX 3080.
VideoCardz writes the 384 EU variant of the DG2 is a small GPU with a die size of around 190mm². This model might compete with the AMD Navi22 or NVIDIA GA106. This is all still very speculative of course, there have been no performance leaks yet and a lot will also depend on how well Intel's drivers are. It doesn't matter how fast GPU is if the drivers are total shit.

The Intel Xe-HPG will not be manufactured by Intel but by an external foundry. The only options here are TSMC or Samsung. Based on the rumor mill, TSMC's 6nm node is the most likely option.

NVIDIA Resizable BAR BIOS update expected by late March

3 days ago
NVIDIA logo
NVIDIA officially announces support for Resizable BAR. With the launch of the Big Navi GPU architecture, AMD hyped up this feature during its press conference and now the rest of the industry is following. Resizable BAR is basically an optional part of the PCI Express interface, it optimizes data transfer between the CPU and GPU -- which can result in a small performance boost.

The GeForce RTX 3060, which got launched yesterday, is the first NVIDIA card with Resizable BAR support. NVIDIA will need more time to roll out support for other models. The green team says a BIOS update for all Founders Edition GeForce RTX 30 series GPUs will follow by the end of March. NVIDIA's add-in board partners will release BIOS updates for custom-design cards, too.

Required hardware to enable Resizable BAR

On its webpage, NVIDIA stipulates which hardware you need to activate Resizable BAR. NVIDIA GeForce RTX 30 series GPUs will support it in combination with AMD Zen 3-based processors and Intel 10th Gen and 11th Gen Core processors. Support is further narrowed down to motherboards with newer chipsets. The table below provides an overview of compatible processors and motherboard chipsets.

NVIDIA Resizeable Bar motherboard and CPU requirements

NVIDIA says it's working with ASUS, ASRock, Colorful, EVGA, Gigabyte, and MSI to ensure motherboard compatibility. Resizable BAR requires a compatible driver and a BIOS update for both your video card and motherboard.

How much extra performance can you expect from Resizable BAR?

Performance gains seen from Resizable BAR vary widely. NVIDIA's internal testing shows some video games see gains of a couple of percentages, in the most extreme case it was up to 10 percent. Unfortunately, there are also cases where Resizable BAR has a negative impact on performance. NVIDIA's solution is to enable Resizable BAR on a per-game basis. The GPU maker will pre-test video games and use game profiles in the GeForce driver to enable Resizable BAR only in video games where it boosts performance.

The latest GeForce Game Ready driver, which was launched for the GeForce RTX 3060 on February 25, has Resizable BAR profiles for these games:
  • Assassin's Creed Valhalla
  • Battlefield V
  • Borderlands 3
  • Forza Horizon 4
  • Gears 5
  • Metro Exodus
  • Red Dead Redemption 2
  • Watch Dogs: Legion

How to check if Resizable BAR is working

Once you've updated your motherboard BIOS, your video card BIOS, and installed the latest GeForce driver, you can check if everything is working by opening the NVIDIA Control Panel.
On the bottom left of the NVIDIA Control Panel, simply click “System Information”, and in the new window look for “Resizable BAR” on the right. If it says “Yes”, you’re set.
NVIDIA howto check if resizable bar works

PowerColor teases Hellhound video card brand

3 days ago
AMD add-in board partner PowerColor uploaded a teaser to promote an upcoming "Hellhound" video card series. Given that AMD's Radeon RX 6700 XT launches next week, it's not hard to figure out that the first Hellhound card will most likely be the Radeon RX 6700 XT Hellhound.
Hellhound is born, sharp of fang and razor-like claws, covered with fur that is tough like armour. Its eyes burn in the darkness, allowing it to precisely track and stalk its prey. It used to be a battle hound kept by a warrior brave, Yet, its bravery not unnoticed by the Red Devil, saw a chance to make this hound the keeper of his gates of hell... This Hellhound is silent, not a sound it makes as it guards the gates ready to strike in the darkness with a killer grace... Once prey is found, Hellhound will take it down, it strikes with stealth at one stroke! - PowerColor
In terms of product-positioning, Hellhound seems to be one step below the PowerColor Red Dragon series. We don't know yet if Hellhound will exclusively be used for RX 6700 series (and lower), or whether PowerColor also plans Hellhound versions of the RX 6800 lineup. Given all the GPU shortages, we don't think the hell hound will roam freely in large packs, at least not yet.

PowerColor Hellbound

Windows 10 Sun Valley will let you hide 3D Objects in File Explorer

3 days ago
MSFT logo
Microsoft's goal for Windows 10 is to release two feature updates per year. For the past couple of years, there's been a big update in Spring and a smaller update in Fall. This year, the roles are reserved as the upcoming Windows 10 build 21H1 will be a minor update.

Later this year, the software giant will release a much more substantive feature update for Windows 10. Among other things, the 21H2 update will pack something Microsoft has codenamed "Sun Valley" -- a reinvigoration of the Windows 10 user interface. The goal is to make the Windows 10 user interface more streamlined, to give it a more modern look, and to make it more uniform.

Windows Latest reports Sun Valley will also make it possible to hide the 3D Objects folder in Windows 10's File Explorer.

3D Objects is a folder that was introduced with the Windows 10 Creators Update (version 1703), this version of Windows introduced a new Paint 3D app with support for 3D models. It's one of the many features of Windows 10 that are rarely used -- yet it's impossible to delete or hide the folder without making manual edits to the Windows 10 register. The Windows 10 21H2 update will finally make it possible to hide the folder, but Microsoft is still ignoring user feedback and will not make it possible to delete it:
With the Sun Valley update, Microsoft is looking to reduce the clutter in File Explorer and they plan to hide the 3D Objects folder by default. After the update, this useless folder will no longer be shown under ‘This PC’ unless you right-click and select the “Show all folders” option on the navigation pane.
W10 3D Objects folder

No AMD Radeon RX 6700 launch - further delays

3 days ago
AMD logo
AMD is expected to introduce its Radeon RX 6700 XT via a gaming-oriented event that will be livestreamed on March 3, 2021. This is the company's first product with the Navi 22 GPU, it's expected to feature 2560 stream processors and 12GB of GDDR6 memory.

The rollout of mid-range Radeon RX 6000 series cards is taking longer than expected because AMD is constrained in terms of production. We've written a lot about chip shortages lately and this is one of the primary reasons why we're seeing fewer video card launches. Given that it's already impossible to meet current demand from consumers, it doesn't make a lot of sense to stretch limited resources over even more SKUs. There's nothing more frustrating for consumers than releasing an in-demand product that can't be found anywhere.

French tech site Cowcotland heard from its sources that the Radeon RX 6700 XT will hit the retail market on March 18th. The Radeon RX 6700 on the other hand has been delayed. AMD planned to introduce the Radeon RX 6700 on March 15th -- but this is no longer happening as the company can't produce enough cards.
We have some new information on AMD’s announcement on March 3. Only the RX 6700 XT will be announced. There was indeed an RX 6700 in the red program, for March 15th, but it has been delayed (for the moment) and we will therefore only have the RX 6700 XT which will be commercially available on March 18th.
The supply of the Radeon RX 6700 XT is expected to be better than the Radeon RX 6800 series launch volume -- but still very limited. Cowcotland claims the launch volume of Radeon RX 6700 XT reference cards in France will total only 100 cards. This will be supplemented by "hundreds" of custom-design cards from AMD's add-in board partners. AIBs have been stocking cards for a while, yet the numbers are still very low as consumer demand will be a lot higher. Getting your hands on a reasonably priced video card is extremely hard now. And unfortunately, we don't think it's going to get better soon.

Radeon RX 6700 specifications

So what's the difference between the soon-to-be-out Radeon RX 6700 XT and the future Radeon RX 6700? Both cards use the Navi 22 GPU and feature a 192-bit memory bus. The XT version is expected to feature 2560 streaming processors, the non-XT model is a cut-down version. At the moment, there are no good leaks about the number of cores of the regular RX 6700. We do know that the 6700 is expected to get 6GB GDDR6 memory -- which is half of what the RX 6700 XT will launch with next week.

Via: VideoCardz

LCD displays to get more expensive

3 days ago
Shortages are expected to drive up the price of LCD display panels. Industry sources told DigiTimes that manufacturers are hit by a lack of supply of upstream chips and materials. Display makers have trouble getting enough driver ICs and glass substrates, and this situation is getting worse.

At the same time, demand for LCD panels remains high thanks to strong sales of TVs, computers, and other devices supporting the stay-at-home economy in Europe and North America.

Prices of LCD displays increased this month and will continue rising in March. The report offers some TV panel price data from market research firm Sigmaintell:
China-based research firm Sigmaintell estimates average selling prices (ASP) for 32-inch LCD TV panels to rise by US$3 from February to US$75 in March, and that for 43-inch ones to advance US$5 reaching US$127. Prices for large-size TV panels ranging from 50 to 75 inches are expected to see an average hike of US$7.
And there are also predictions about laptop panels:
Sigmaintell estimates the ASP for 21.5-inch LCD modules for monitors may rise by US$3 on month to US$55 in March, compared to a corresponding gain of US$2.5 for 23.8-inch offerings and a hike of US$2 for 27-inch ones.

It estimates 14-inch HD TN panel modules for Chromebooks may advance by US$1.5-2, and mainstream 14-inch and 15.6-inch IPS panel modules for notebooks could rise by US$1-1.5 in March.
Overall, not really massive increases, but it all adds up as this isn't the only component that's getting more expensive.

TSMC expects a third more 5nm production in 2H 2021

3 days ago
TSMC logo
There are chip shortages everywhere and one piece of the puzzle is a lack of foundry capacity. Production on TSMC's latest nodes is pretty much fully booked and that's constraining the ability of various chip makers to meet high consumer demand.

Ramping up production isn't easy, it requires a lot of capital and time. DigiTimes writes TSMC expects to boost its 5nm wafer output by one third in the second half of this year. The Taiwanese foundry's 5nm node pumped out 90,000 wafers a month in Q4 2020. This figure is expected to rise to 105,000 wafers a month in the first half of 2021 and will eventually hit 120,000 wafers monthly in the second half of 2021.

TSMC's 5nm node is used by a variety of large tech firms, including Apple, AMD, and MediaTek. Later this year, AMD is expected to introduce its first Zen 4-based processors, these chips will use TSMC's 5nm process.

New issues on the horizon

But while TSMC is ramping up capacity, the foundry is also facing new issues. Yesterday reports emerged that TSMC is now trucking in water to meet its production needs. Taiwan had an unusually dry rain season and companies are asked to restrict water consumption because water levels at reservoirs have dropped to dangerously low levels.

Chip shortages to get worse... and persist until 2022

On a related note, it appears the chip shortages will be with us a lot longer than most of us hoped. MarketWatch reports analysts predict shortages will remain common throughout 2021 -- if not longer.
We believe semi companies are shipping 10% to 30% BELOW current demand levels and it will take at least 3-4 quarters for supply to catch up with demand and then another 1-2 quarters for inventories at customers/distribution channels to be replenished back to normal levels.” - J.P. Morgan analyst Harlan Sur
At least in the short term, it doesn't seem like we should expect improvement. In fact, it looks like shortages will get worse as we head into the Spring season.

NVIDIA CMPs are 12nm Turing and not 8nm Ampere-based

3 days ago
NVIDIA logo
A week ago, NVIDIA introduced its first Cryptocurrency Mining Processors (CMPs). Amidst the current boom in cryptocurrency mining, the green team is making some efforts to ensure more GPUs and up in the hands of gamers.

NVIDIA claims the CMPs will not affect the supply of GeForce cards and now we know why. VideoCardz reports references in the newly released GeForce 461.72 driver confirm that the first CMPs are not based on the new Ampere GPU architecture.

The CMP 30HX and 40HX, the first NVIDIA mining processors to hit the market, are based on the previous-generation Turing architecture. The former is based on the TU116 and the latter is a derivative of the TU106. The chips are made on a 12nm process from TSMC, so at least in terms of foundry capacity, there's no impact on the production of the Ampere GPUs. The newest generation from NVIDIA uses Samsung's 8nm node.

Turing-based mining processors are not ideal as these chips are less profitable than Ampere -- they have a higher power consumption and the hash rate isn't impressive either. It seems like a tough sell as long as better alternatives are available.

Will it help?

Whether the CMP will become a success remains to be seen. NVIDIA expects CMPs will pull in only about $15 million in revenue this quarter, which is insignificant versus the current volume sold to miners. The only way the firm can push miners to these chips is by artificially limiting the mining performance of its GeForce GPUs.

The hash rate limiter of the GeForce RTX 3060 is a first step but its success will depend on how easily this protection can be hacked. According to NVIDIA, it's a very secure system, but we wouldn't be surprised if someone comes up with a software or hardware-based solution to circumvent the anti-mining algorithm.

Future NVIDIA GeForce cards are expected to feature similar anti-mining protections. At the moment, it's unknown whether the green team will take measures to make current Ampere-based GeForce cards less attractive to miners. NVIDIA will not limit the mining performance of existing cards -- that wouldn't make sense anyway as miners would simply refuse to install these drivers or firmware. But there are some rumors that NVIDIA could reintroduce the current GeForce lineup under new SKUs.

Making CMPs on the 12nm node may help a bit to get more GeForce cards in the hands of gamers, but we still think both lines are competing for the same resources. Foundry capacity is not the only constraint at the moment, there are also reports about shortages of GDDR6 memory, substrates, and various other components that are used by both products.

NVIDIA logo

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