IDF 2014 Storage Roundup - RAM and NVMe and IOPS! Oh my!

Subject: Storage, Shows and Expos | September 16, 2014 - 09:49 AM |
Tagged: ram, NVMe, IOPS, idf 2014, idf, ddr4, DDR

The Intel Developer Forum was last week, and there were many things to be seen for sure. Mixed in with all of the wearable and miniature technology news, there was a sprinkling of storage goodness. Kicking off the show, we saw new cold storage announcements from both HGST and Western Digital, but that was about it for HDD news, as the growing trend these days is with solid state storage technologies. I'll start with RAM:

First up was ADATA, who were showing off 64GB DDR3 (!) DIMMs:

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Next up were various manufacturers pushing DDR4 technology quite far. First was SK Hynix's TSV 128GB DIMMs (covered in much greater depth last week):

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Next up is Kingston, who were showing a server chassis equipped with 256GB of DDR4:

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If you look closer at the stats, you'll note there is more RAM in this system than flash:

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Next up is IDT, who were showing off their LRDIMM technology:

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This technology adds special data buffers to the DIMM modules, enabling significantly higher amounts of installed RAM into a single system, with a 1-2 step de-rating of clock speeds as you take capacities to the far extremes. The above server has 768GB of DDR4 installed and running!:

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Moving onto flash memory type stuff, Scott covered Intel's new 40 Gbit Ethernet technology last week. At IDF, Intel had a demo showing off some of the potential of these new faster links:

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This demo used a custom network stack that allowed a P3700 in a local system to be matched in IOPS by an identical P3700 *being accessed over the network*. Both local and networked storage turned in the same 450k IOPS, with the remote link adding only 8ms of latency. Here's a close-up of one of the SFF-8639 (2.5" PCIe 3.0 x4) SSDs and the 40 Gbit network card above it (low speed fans were installed in these demo systems to keep some air flowing across the cards):

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Stepping up the IOPS a bit further, Microsoft was showing off the capabilities of their 'Inbox AHCI driver', shown here driving a pair of P3700's at a total of 1.5 million IOPS:

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...for those who want to get their hands on this 'Inbox driver', guess what? You already have it! "Inbox" is Microsoft's way of saying the driver is 'in the box', meaning it comes with Windows 8. Bear in bind you may get better performance with manufacturer specific drivers, but it's still a decent showing for a default driver.

Now for even more IOPS:

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Yes, you are reading that correctly. That screen is showing a system running over 11 million IOPS. Think it's RAM? Wrong. This is flash memory pulling those numbers. Remember the 2.5" P3700 from a few pics back? How about 24 of them:

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The above photo shows three 2U systems (bottom), which are all connected to a single 2U flash memory chassis (top). The top chassis supports three submodules, each with eight SFF-8639 SSDs. The system, assembled by Newisys, demonstrates just how much high speed flash you can fit within an 8U space. The main reason for connecting three systems to one flash chassis is because it takes those three systems to process the full IOPS capability of 24 low latency NVMe SSDs (that's 96 total lanes of PCIe 3.0!)!

So there you have it, IDF storage tech in a nutshell. More to come as we follow these emerging technologies to their maturity.

Huzzah! RAM reviews are much more interesting now

Subject: Memory | September 15, 2014 - 02:17 PM |
Tagged: kingston, hyperx predator, DDR4-3000, ddr4

Ah DDR3, it has been a long and fruitful partnership and it is good to know you won't be going anywhere soon but you now have a younger sibling that is attracting a lot of attention.  DDR4 has arrived, with a base clock of 2133MHz and many kits with higher frequencies also appearing for sale.  The ~$350, 16GB Kingston HyperX Predator kit which Legit Reviews just reviewed comes with two XPM profiles, one @ 3000MHz with timings of 15-16-16-39 and one @ 2666MHz at 14-14-14-36 and they also tested the kit @ 2133MHz with the previous timings.  As you read through the review you will notice that the synthetic benchmarks show much more drastic differences than do the gameplay tests, similar to what was seen with DDR3.  As with the previous generation it looks as though tighter timings trump frequency in the majority of cases.

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"Now that the Intel X99 chipset has been released along with the Intel Haswell-E processor series we have entered the era of DDR4 memory. There are many DDR4 memory kits on the market and right now you can find 16GB to 64GB kits of DDR4 memory ranging in speeds of 2133MHz to 3333MHz. The sheer number of kits on the market for the platform launch is rather impressive and luckily there are a good number of Intel X99 based motherboards that are ready to support DDR4 memory frequencies well beyond the JEDEC standard clock frequency of 2133MHz."

Here are some more Memory articles from around the web:

Memory

Author:
Subject: Processors
Manufacturer: Intel

Server and Workstation Upgrades

Today, on the eve of the Intel Developer Forum, the company is taking the wraps off its new server and workstation class high performance processors, Xeon E5-2600 v3. Known previously by the code name Haswell-EP, the release marks the entry of the latest microarchitecture from Intel to multi-socket infrastructure. Though we don't have hardware today to offer you in-house benchmarks quite yet, the details Intel shared with me last month in Oregon are simply stunning.

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Starting with the E5-2600 v3 processor overview, there are more changes in this product transition than we saw in the move from Sandy Bridge-EP to Ivy Bridge-EP. First and foremost, the v3 Xeons will be available in core counts as high as 18, with HyperThreading allowing for 36 accessible threads in a single CPU socket. A new socket, LGA2011-v3 or R3, allows the Xeon platforms to run a quad-channel DDR4 memory system, very similar to the upgrade we saw with the Haswell-E Core i7-5960X processor we reviewed just last week.

The move to a Haswell-based microarchitecture also means that the Xeon line of processors is getting AVX 2.0, known also as Haswell New Instructions, allowing for 2x the FLOPS per clock per core. It also introduces some interesting changes to Turbo Mode and power delivery we'll discuss in a bit.

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Maybe the most interesting architectural change to the Haswell-EP design is per core P-states, allowing each of the up to 18 cores running on a single Xeon processor to run at independent voltages and clocks. This is something that the consumer variants of Haswell do not currently support - every cores is tied to the same P-state. It turns out that when you have up to 18 cores on a single die, this ability is crucial to supporting maximum performance on a wide array of compute workloads and to maintain power efficiency. This is also the first processor to allow independent uncore frequency scaling, giving Intel the ability to improve performance with available headroom even if the CPU cores aren't the bottleneck.

Continue reading our overview of the new Intel Xeon E5-2600 v3 Haswell-EP Processors!!

Intel Sent Us a Containment Chamber with Parts Inside

Subject: Motherboards, Processors, Chipsets, Memory, Storage | September 5, 2014 - 10:21 AM |
Tagged: X99-Deluxe, SSD 730, Intel, Haswell-E, ddr4, asus, 5960X

Okay, I'll be the first to admit that I didn't know what I was getting into. When a couple of packages showed up at our office from Intel with claims that they wanted to showcase the new Haswell-E platform...I was confused. The setup was simple: turn on cameras and watch what happens.

So out of the box comes...a containment chamber. A carefully crafted, wood+paint concoction that includes lights, beeps, motors and platforms. 

Want to see how Intel promotes the Core i7-5960X and X99 platform? Check out this video below.

Our reviews of products included in this video:

You've probably noticed Intel launched a new family of chips

Subject: Processors | September 4, 2014 - 12:31 PM |
Tagged: Intel, Haswell-E, haswell, ddr4, core i7, 5960X

[H]ard|OCP reviewed Intel's brand new Extreme processor, the Haswell-E i7-5960X as weill as posting a large amount of Intel's launch slides detailing the new features present in this series of CPU.  As you can see from the picture they used the same funky white ASUS motherboard which Ryan used in his review but chose a Koolance EX2-755 watercooler as opposed to the Corsair H100i which allowed them to hit 4.5GHz with 1.301v CPU core voltage, slightly lower than Ryan managed.  In the end, while extremely impressed by the CPU they saw little benefits to gaming and recommend this CPU to those who spend most of their time encoding video, manipulating huge images and of course those who just want the best CPU on the planet.

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"There are many members of the "1366 X58 Enthusiast Overclockers Club" that have been waiting with bated breath for Intel's launch of the new X99 Express Chipset and new family of Core i7 Haswell-E processors. All this new hardware comes bundled with brand new DDR4 RAM technology packing huge bandwidth as well."

Here are some more Processor articles from around the web:

Processors

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Interview with Intel's Matt Dunford about Haswell-E and X99

Subject: Processors, Chipsets | August 29, 2014 - 04:25 PM |
Tagged: video, Intel, X99, Haswell-E, core i7-5960x, 5960X, ddr4

Though my review of the Intel Core i7-5960X Haswell-E processor was posted earlier today, we hosted a live stream later in the afternoon where Allyn and I talked about the launch. We were also able to welcome Matt Dunford, Princpal Evangelist at Intel to talk about his role in the Haswell-E release, the future of the platform, how DDR4 memory fits into it all and much more.

The video is embeded in the processor review now as well but I have included it separately below for those of you that want to jump straight in.

My thanks goes out to Matt from Intel for joining us on the live stream and to all the viewers that came by to submit questions and participate!

Haswell-E shows its stuff

Subject: Processors | August 29, 2014 - 11:08 AM |
Tagged: Intel, Haswell-E, haswell, evga, ddr4, corsair, core i7, asus, 5960X

The Tech Report took the new i7-5960X, Asus X99 Deluxe, 16 GB of Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4, a Kingston HyperX SH103S3 240GB SSD and a XFX Radeon HD 7950 DD and set it loose on the test bench.  The results were impressive to say the least, especially when they moved on from games to test productivity software where the Haswell architecture really shines.  When they attempted to overclock the CPU they found a hard limit feeding the processor 1.3V and running 4.4GHz, any faster would cause some applications to BSoD.  On the other hand that applied to all 8 cores and the difference in performance was striking.

Also make sure to read Ryan's review to get even mroe information on this long awaited chip.

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"Haswell-E has arrived. With eight cores, 20MB of cache, and quad channels of DDR4 memory, it looks to be the fastest desktop CPU in history--and not by a little bit. We've tested the heck out of it and have a huge suite of comparisons going to back to the Pentium III 800. Just, you know, for context."

Here are some more Processor articles from around the web:

Processors

Corsair and ASUS Join Forces to Create World’s Fastest Production DDR4 Memory Kit

Subject: Motherboards, Memory | August 29, 2014 - 09:25 AM |
Tagged: X99, ddr4, corsair, asus, Dominator Platinum, X99-Deluxe, Rampage V Extreme

PAX Prime, Seattle —August 29, 2014 — Corsair, a worldwide leader in high-performance PC components and ASUS a worldwide leader in motherboards, today announced the availability of the Corsair Dominator Platinum DDR4 memory kits in 3300MHz, 3200MHz and 3000MHz speeds – the world’s fastest production memory kits. Corsair developed the new high-speed DDR4 memory in close collaboration with ASUS, tuning and validating the memory timings to take advantage of the optimized DRAM layout and UEFI firmware of ASUS’s new X99 motherboards. The new Dominator DDR4 memory kits, when paired with the ASUS X99 Deluxe and Rampage V Extreme motherboards, creates some of the fastest, most stable enthusiast PC platforms available for the new Intel Core i7 processors (codenamed Haswell-E).

“Our rigorous validation with ASUS has enabled us to make Dominator Platinum 3300MHz the fastest desktop DDR4 memory available at launch,” said Thi La, Chief Operating Officer at Corsair. “Our OC team and engineers are excited to see such performance headroom the new Intel platform and are looking forward to releasing even faster kits in the near future.”

“It is always exciting when two companies renowned for being at the forefront of innovation and pushing performance boundaries work together to create new products for end-users. The combination of ASUS X99 motherboards with Corsair Dominator Platinum ushers in a new era of memory performance and stability for enthusiasts,” Joe Hsieh, ASUS Corporate Vice President and General Manager of the Motherboard and Desktop System Business Unit.

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Corsair Dominator Platinum DDR Memory
Dominator Platinum memory kits have a striking industrial design for good looks, patented DHX technology for cooler operation, user-swappable colored “light pipes” for customizable downwash lighting, and Corsair Link compatibility for real-time temperature monitoring. Dominator Platinum memory is built with hand-screened ICs, undergoes rigorous performance testing, and incorporates state-of-the-art cooling for reliable performance in demanding environments.

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The ASUS X99-Deluxe and Rampage V Extreme
The ASUS X99-Deluxe and Rampage V Extreme feature an enhanced CPU socket and DRAM trace layout to improve signal integrity, providing increased overclocking headroom and stability over reference designs. This is coupled with a highly customized and refined UEFI firmware that allows easy setup and tweaking – perfect for getting the most from Corsair Dominator Platinum memory.

Availability and Warranty
The DDR4 memory kits are available in Corsair’s Vengeance LPX and Dominator Platinum lines. The memory kits are available immediately via Corsair’s worldwide network of authorized distributors and resellers and are backed by a lifetime warranty.

The ASUS X99-Deluxe and Rampage V Extreme motherboards are available now at ASUS authorized distributors and resellers worldwide. Both motherboards are covered by a three year warranty with advanced replacement in the first year.

Source: ASUS
Author:
Subject: Processors
Manufacturer: Intel

Revamped Enthusiast Platform

Join us at 12:30pm PT / 3:30pm ET as Intel's Matt Dunford joins us for a live stream event to discuss the release of Haswell-E and the X99 platform!! Find us at http://www.pcper.com/live!!

Sometimes writing these reviews can be pretty anti-climactic. With all of the official and leaked information released about Haswell-E over the last six to nine months, there isn't much more to divulge that can truly be called revolutionary. Yes, we are looking at the new king of the enthusiast market with an 8-core processor that not only brings a 33% increase in core count over the previous generation Ivy Bridge-E and Sandy Bridge-E platforms, but also includes the adoption of the DDR4 memory specification, which allows for high density and high speed memory subsystems.

And along with the new processor on a modified socket (though still LGA2011) comes a new chipset with some interesting new features. If you were left wanting for USB 3.0 or Thunderbolt on X79, then you are going to love what you see with X99. Did you think you needed some more SATA ports to really liven up your pool of hard drives? Retail boards are going to have you covered.

Again, just like last time, you will find a set of three processors that are coming into the market at the same time. These offerings range from the $999 price point and go down to the much more reasonable cost of $389. But this time there are more interesting decisions to be made based on specification differences in the family. Do the changes that Intel made in the sub-$1000 SKUs make it a better or worse buy for users looking to finally upgrade? 

Haswell-E: A New Enthusiast Lineup from Intel

Today's launch of the Intel Core i7-5960X processor continues on the company's path of enthusiast branded parts that are built off of a subset of the workstation and server market. It is no secret that some Xeon branded processors will work in X79 motherboards and the same is true of the upcoming Haswell-EP series (with its X99 platform) launching today. As an enthusiast though, I think we can agree that it doesn't really matter how a processor like this comes about, as long as it continues to occur well into the future.

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The Core i7-5960X processor is an 8-core, 16-thread design built on what is essentially the same architecture we saw released with the mainstream Haswell parts released in June of 2013. There are some important differences of course, including the lack of integrated graphics and the move from DDR3 to DDR4 for system memory. The underlying microarchitecture remains unchanged, though. Previously known as the Haswell-E platform, the Core i7-5960X continues Intel's trend of releasing enthusiast/workstation grade platforms that are based on an existing mainstream architecture.

Continue reading our review of the new Intel Core i7-5960X Haswell-E processor!!

EVGA Teases Classified X99 Micro mATX Motherboard

Subject: Motherboards | August 23, 2014 - 08:45 PM |
Tagged: X99, socket 2011-3, Intel, Haswell-E, evga, ddr4, classified

As Intel's next generation enthusiast desktop platfom gets closer to fruition, several leaks (such as Gigabyte's X99 manual) and motherboard teasers have surfaced on the Internet. A few days ago, EVGA posted a teaser photograph of an upcoming "next generation" Micro ATX motherboard on its Instagram page.

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The so-called EVGA X99 Micro is set to be the company's smallest Classified-branded X99 chipset offering supporting multiple graphics cards, DDR4 memory, and (of course) Intel's upcoming Haswell-E processors. The all-black motherboard features black heatsinks over the PCH and power delivery hardware. It is outfitted with a 10-phase VRM that feeds the CPU socket (socket 2011-3), two DDR4 memory sockets on each side of the processor socket, three PCI-E 3.0 x16 slots (just enough to max out a Core i7-5820K), one M.2 connector, and six SATA III 6Gbps ports. The board will support USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 ports, but beyond that it is difficult to say what the exact rear IO port configuration will be as a metal shield blocks off the ports in the teaser photo. There is an eight pin CPU power connector along with a 24-pin ATX connector for getting power to the board. Overclockers will be further pleased to see physical power and reset buttons.

According to Maximum PC, this pint sized Classified motherboard will be priced around $250 USD making it one of the most expensive mATX motherboards around. As part of EVGA's Classified series, it should be packing plenty of overclocking friendly features in the UEFI firmware and hardware build quality. This could make for one heck of a powerful small form factor system though, and I'm looking forward to seeing what people are able to get out of this board (especially when it comes to overclocking Haswell-E)!

Source: EVGA