What's new and what's not
While spending time learning about upcoming products and technologies at the Intel Developer Forum earlier this month, I sat down with the company to learn about the release of Kaby Lake, now known as the 7th Generation Core processor family. We have been seeing and reporting on the details of Kaby Lake for quite some time here on PC Perspective – it became a more important topic when we realized that this would be the product that officially killed off the ‘tick-tock’ design philosophy that Intel had implemented years ago and that was responsible for much of the innovation in the CPU space over the last decade.
Today Intel released new information about the 7th Gen CPU family and Kaby Lake. Let’s dive into this topic with a simple and straight forward mindset in how it compares to Skylake.
What is the same
Actually, quite a lot. At its core, the microarchitecture of Kaby Lake is identical to that of Skylake. Instructions per clock (IPC) remain the same with the exception of dedicated hardware changes in the media engine, so you should not expect any performance differences with Kaby Lake except with improved clock speeds we’ll discuss in a bit.
Because of this lack of change many people will look down on the Kaby Lake release as Intel’s attempt to repackage an existing product to make sure it meets a financial market required annual product cadence. It is a valid but arguable criticism, but Intel is making changes in other areas that should make KBL an improvement in the thin and light ecosystem.
Also worth noting is that Intel is still building Kaby Lake on 14nm process technology, the same used on Skylake. The term “same” will be debated as well as Intel claims that improvements made in the process technology over the last 24 months have allowed them to expand clock speeds and improve on efficiency
What is changed
Dubbing this new revision of the process as “14nm+”, Intel tells me that they have improved the fin profile for the 3D transistors as well as channel strain while more tightly integrating the design process with manufacturing. The result is a 12% increase in process performance; that is a sizeable gain in a fairly tight time frame even for Intel.
That process improvement directly results in higher clock speeds for Kaby Lake when compared to Skylake when running at the same target TDPs. In general, we are looking at 300-400 MHz higher peak clock speeds in Turbo Boost situations when compared to similar TDP products in the 6th generation. Sustained clocks will very likely remain voltage / thermally limited but the ability spike up to higher clocks for even short bursts can improve performance and responsiveness of Kaby Lake when compared to Skylake.
In these two examples, Intel compares the 15 watt Core i7-6500U (a common part in currently shipping notebooks) and the upcoming 15 watt Core i7-7500U, both with dual-core HyperThreaded configurations. In SYSmark 2014 a 12% score improvement is measured while WebXPRT shows a 19% advantage. Double digit performance increases are pretty astounding for a new generational jump that does not include a new microarchitecture or a new process technology (more or less) though we should temper expectations for other applications and workload profiles like content creation.
Subject: General Tech | August 29, 2016 - 01:44 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: Intel, contest, giveaway, video, extreme rig challenge
Happy Monday everyone! How about a little contest to start off your work week right?
The contest will run for one week, open to anyone in the world!
Sometimes these short and sweet posts are pretty, huh?
Subject: Storage | August 25, 2016 - 06:26 PM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: ssd, Pro 6000p, Intel, imft, E 6000p, E 5420s, DC S3520, DC P3520, 600p, 3d nand
Intel announced the production of 3D NAND a little over a year ago, and we've now seen production ramp up to the point where they are infusing it into nearly every nook and cranny of their SSD product lines.
The most relevant part for our readers will be a long overdue M.2 2280 SSD. These will kick off with the 600p:
An overseas forum member over at chiphell got their hands on a 600p and ran some quick tests. From their photo (above), we can confirm the controller is not from Intel, but rather from Silicon Motion. The NAND is naturally from Intel, as is likely their controller firmware implementation, as these parts go through the same lengthy validation process as their other products.
Intel is going for the budget consumer play here. The flash will be running in TLC mode, likely with an SLC cache. Specs are respectable - 1.8GB/s reads, 560MB/s writes, random read 155k, random write 128k (4KB QD=32). By respectable specs I mean in light of the pricing:
Wow! These prices are ranging from $0.55/GB at 128GB all the way down to $0.35/GB for the 1TB part.
Intel also refreshed their DataCenter (DC) lineup. The SSD DC S3520 (SATA) and P3520 (PCIe/NVMe) were also introduced as a refresh, also using Intel's 3D NAND. We published our exclusive review of the Intel SSD DC P3520 earlier today, so check there for full details on that enterprise front. Before we move on, a brief moment of silence for the P3320 - soft-launched in April, but discontinued before it shipped. We hardly knew ye.
Lastly, Intel introduced a few additional products meant for the embedded / IoT sector. The SSD E 6000p is an M.2 PCIe part similar to the first pair of products mentioned in this article, while the SSD E 5420s comes in 2.5" and M.2 SATA flavors. The differentiator on these 'E' parts is enhanced AES 256 crypto.
Most of these products will be available 'next week', but the 600p 360GB (to be added) and 1TB capacities will ship in Q4.
Abbreviated press blast appears after the break.
Introduction, Specifications and Packaging
Intel launched their Datacenter 'P' Series parts a little over two years ago. Since then, the P3500, P3600, and P3700 lines have seen various expansions and spinoffs. The most recent to date was the P3608, which packed two full P3600's into a single HHHL form factor. With Intel 3D XPoint / Optane parts lurking just around the corner, I had assumed there would be no further branches of the P3xxx line, but Intel had other things in mind. IMFT 3D NAND offers greater die capacities at a reduced cost/GB, apparently even in MLC form, and Intel has infused this flash into their new P3520:
Remember the P3500 series was Intel's lowest end of the P line, and as far as performance goes, the P3520 actually takes a further step back. The play here is to get the proven quality control and reliability of Intel's datacenter parts into a lower cost product. While the P3500 launched at $1.50/GB, the P3520 pushes that cost down *well* below $1/GB for a 2TB HHHL or U.2 SSD.
Subject: General Tech | August 24, 2016 - 01:01 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: ultraportable, LPDDR4, Intel, apollo lake
A report from DigiTimes is bad news for those who like to upgrade their ultraportable laptops. To cut down on production costs companies like Acer, Lenovo, Asustek Computer, HP and Dell will use on-board memory as opposed to DIMMs on their Apollo Lake based machines. This should help keep the costs of flipbooks, 2 in 1's and other small machines stable or even lower them by a small amount but does mean that they cannot easily be upgraded. Many larger notebooks will also switch to this style of memory so be sure to do your research before purchasing a new mobile system.
"Notebook vendors have mostly adopted on-board memory designs in place of DIMMs to make their Intel Apollo Lake-based notebooks as slim as possible, according to sources from Taiwan's notebook supply chain"
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Microsoft, Lenovo cross-licensing love-in: Android mobes knocked up with... Office apps @ The Register
- Fifth of science papers on genes contain errors caused by Excel @ The Inquirer
- Roomba vs Poop: Teaching Robots to Detect Pet Mess @ Hack a Day
- Google broke its own cloud by doing two updates at once @ The Register
- A Design Defect Is Plaguing Many iPhone 6 and 6 Plus Units @ Slashdot
- AVM FRITZ!Powerline 1240E WLAN Set Review @ NikKTech
Why Two 4GB GPUs Isn't Necessarily 8GB
We're trying something new here at PC Perspective. Some topics are fairly difficult to explain cleanly without accompanying images. We also like to go fairly deep into specific topics, so we're hoping that we can provide educational cartoons that explain these issues.
This pilot episode is about load-balancing and memory management in multi-GPU configurations. There seems to be a lot of confusion around what was (and was not) possible with DirectX 11 and OpenGL, and even more confusion about what DirectX 12, Mantle, and Vulkan allow developers to do. It highlights three different load-balancing algorithms, and even briefly mentions what LucidLogix was attempting to accomplish almost ten years ago.
If you like it, and want to see more, please share and support us on Patreon. We're putting this out not knowing if it's popular enough to be sustainable. The best way to see more of this is to share!
Subject: General Tech | August 18, 2016 - 02:20 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Intel, joule, iot, IDF 2016, SoC, 570x, 550x, Intel RealSense
Intel has announced the follow up to Edison and Curie, their current SoC device, called Joule. They have moved away from the Quark processors they previously used to a current generation Atom. The device is designed to compete against NVIDIA's Jetson as it is far more powerful than a Raspberry Pi and will be destined for different usage. It will support Intel RealSense, perhaps appearing in the newly announced Project Alloy VR headset. Drop by Hack a Day for more details on the two soon to be released models, the Joule 570x and 550x.
"The high-end board in the lineup features a quad-core Intel Atom running at 2.4 GHz, 4GB of LPDDR4 RAM, 16GB of eMMC, 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.1, USB 3.1, CSI and DSI interfaces, and multiple GPIO, I2C, and UART interfaces."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Microsoft Windows UAC can be bypassed for untraceable hacks @ The Inquirer
- Microsoft PowerShell Goes Open Source and Lands On Linux and Mac @ Slashdot
- The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Enables NVIDIA Ansel Support For 3D Stereo Screenshots @ Techgage
- ech support scammers mess with hacker's mother, so he retaliated with ransomware @ The Register
- 90 per cent of people ignore security notices because their brains are too busy @ The Inquirer
- NikKTech With Kingston HyperX It's All About Speed Global Giveaway
Subject: Editorial | August 18, 2016 - 02:20 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: video, podcast, pascal, nvidia, msi, mobile, Intel, idf, GTX 1080, gtx 1070, gtx 1060, gigabyte, FMS, Flash Memory Summit, asus, arm, 10nm
PC Perspective Podcast #413 - 08/18/2016
Join us this week as we discuss the new mobile GeForce GTX 10-series gaming notebooks, ARM and Intel partnering on 10nm, Flash Memory Summit and more!
The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!
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Hosts: Allyn Malventano, Sebastian Peak, Josh Walrath and Jeremy Hellstrom
Week in Review:
This episode of PC Perspective is brought to you by Casper!! Use code “PCPER”
News items of interest:
0:42:05 Final news from FMS 2016
Hardware/Software Picks of the Week
Subject: Graphics Cards, Processors | August 17, 2016 - 01:38 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Xeon Phi, larrabee, Intel
Tom Forsyth, who is currently at Oculus, was once on the core Larrabee team at Intel. Just prior to Intel's IDF conference in San Francisco, which Ryan is at and covering as I type this, Tom wrote a blog post that outlined the project and its design goals, including why it didn't hit market as a graphics device. He even goes into the details of the graphics architecture, which was almost entirely in software apart from texture units and video out. For instance, Larrabee was running FreeBSD with a program, called DirectXGfx, that gave it the DirectX 11 feature set -- and it worked on hundreds of titles, too.
Also, if you found the discussion interesting, then there is plenty of content from back in the day to browse. A good example is an Intel Developer Zone post from Michael Abrash that discussed software rasterization, doing so with several really interesting stories.
Subject: General Tech | August 17, 2016 - 12:41 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: nvidia, Intel, HPC, Xeon Phi, maxwell, pascal, dirty pool
There is a spat going on between Intel and NVIDIA over the slide below, as you can read about over at Ars Technica. It seems that Intel have reached into the industries bag of dirty tricks and polished off an old standby, testing new hardware and software against older products from their competitors. In this case it was high performance computing products which were tested, Intel's new Xeon Phi against NVIDIA's Maxwell, tested on an older version of the Caffe AlexNet benchmark.
NVIDIA points out that not only would they have done better than Intel if an up to date version of the benchmarking software was used, but that the comparison should have been against their current architecture, Pascal. This is not quite as bad as putting undocumented flags into compilers to reduce the performance of competitors chips or predatory discount programs but it shows that the computer industry continues to have only a passing acquaintance with fair play and honest competition.
"At this juncture I should point out that juicing benchmarks is, rather sadly, par for the course. Whenever a chip maker provides its own performance figures, they are almost always tailored to the strength of a specific chip—or alternatively, structured in such a way as to exacerbate the weakness of a competitor's product."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- USB Implementers Forum introduces branding for safe USB-C charging @ The Inquirer
- Some Windows 10 Anniversary Update: SSD freeze @ The Register
- Intel Project Alloy: all-in-one VR headset takes aim at Google's Project Daydream @ The Inquirer
- Wanna build your own drone? Intel emits Linux-powered x86 brains for DIY flying gizmos @ The Register
- Intel's Optane XPoint DIMMs pushed back – source @ The Register