Subject: General Tech | February 1, 2018 - 12:44 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: simply nuc, nuc, Dawson Canyon, 8th generation core, Intel, fanless, SFF
Intel partner Simply NUC has announced its new commercial NUC lineup powered by Kaby Lake R vPro processors. The lineup includes the NUC7i7DNKE thin chassis, NUC7i7DNHE with tall chassis and 2.5" drive support, the board-only NUC7i7DNBE, and NUC7i7DNFE which features a fanless design.
The company's new Dawson Canyon NUCs are all based on the same 4" x 4" motherboard platform and the Intel Core i7 8650U vPro processor. Save for the taller model, the small form factor PCs share the same external I/O including four USB 3.0 ports, two HDMI 2.0 (4k@60Hz) video outputs, and an Intel-powered Gigabit Ethernet port. Specifically, networking is handled by an Intel i219-LM Ethernet controller and Intel 8265 802.11ac wireless (2x2 at up to 867 Mbps) + Bluetooth 4.2. The wireless module comes pre-installed in all except the board only SKU where it is optional. At a minimum the Simply NUC PCs (except board only) come with a 4GB SODIMM for RAM and a 128GB M.2 SATA solid state drive. Before OS or any other upgrades, the NUC with active cooling chassis systems start at 709.95. Pricing for the board only NUC7i7DNBE and fanless NUC7i7DNFE has not yet been released but I would expect the board only SKU to go for around $550 and the fanless model to come in around $750.
Users can add their own hardware or configure them from Simply NUC with up to 32 GB of RAM, 2TB of NVMe PCI-E storage (for a more than pretty penny!), and an additional 2TB of 2.5" SATA hard drive storage on the NUC7i7DNHE model.
The Core i7 8650U used in these Dawson Canyon NUCs is a quad core Kaby Lake R processor with a 15W TDP that runs at a base clockspeed of 1.9 GHz and can boost to up to 4.2 GHz. It supports Intel's vPro and AMT management technologies, has 8MB of cache, and features Intel UHD Graphics 620 running at up to 1.15 GHz.
The Dawson Canyon NUCs are available for pre-order now and are expected to ship as soon as March 2018 (though the Simply NUC website lists April 6th at time of publication). I am interested to see the fan-less model, but these machines seem very much targeted at the business and industrial markets rather than home PCs so expect to pay a premium for the small form factor if you are interested in them.
Subject: Mobile | January 8, 2018 - 03:24 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: kaby lake, convertible, CES 2018, CES, asus, 8th generation core, 2-in-1
While the ROG products made the biggest splash at the ASUS booth, ASUS also launched a small 2-in-1 laptop dubbed the ZenBook Flip 14 (UX461). The convertible tablet measures 327.4 x 226.5 x 13.9mm and comes wrapped in an Icicle Gold or Slate Gray colored aluminum unibody with spun metal finish. The ZenBook Flip 14 manages to pack quite a bit of hardware into its 1.5 kg (3.3 pounds) package including a quad core Kaby Lake processor, NVMe storage, and discrete NVIDIA graphics.
Asus’ new 2-in-1 features a 14” 1920 x 1080 resolution multitouch display that dominates the top half of the notebook with an 80% screen-to-body ration thanks to its “NanoEdge” bezels that measure 7.15mm. The display is rated at 100% sRGB and offers 178° viewing angles along with support for the ASUS Pen active stylus. The ZenBook Flip 14 uses a 360° hinge to enable tablet, tent, and laptop modes with the display able to flip all the way around to touch the bottom of the keyboard housing. External I/O includes two USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A, one USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C, one HDMI 2.0, one Micro SD, one combo audio jack, and one DC power input port. There is also an HD webcam and stereo Harman Kardon certified speakers with a two-channel amplifier.
The Zebook Flip looks nice on the outside, but it is the internal hardware that makes it interesting. Specifically, the half inch thick notebook is powered by an 8th Generation Core (KBL-R) Core i7-8550U quad core (4 core / 8 thread) processor clocked at 1.8 GHz base and up to 3.7 GHz Turbo with Intel UHD 620 graphics (1.1 GHz), up to 16 GB LPDDR3 (2133 MHz) RAM, and up to 512 GB of PCI-E x4-based NVMe solid state storage. The system can further be configured with a standalone GPU up to an NVIDIA MX150 (Pascal-based) though doing so adds slightly more weight (1.5kg bs 1.4kg with only Intel UHD 620 graphics). The laptop has dual band 802.11ac and Bluetooth 4.2. ASUS claims “all day” battery life with the 57 Whr Li-Po battery delivering up to 13 hours of usage.
In a nice surprise we do have pricing and availability on this announcement with ASUS announcing that the 14” ZenBook Flip 14 UX461 available in March 2018 starting at $899. Of course, the discrete graphics and fully loading memory and storage will cost you extra, but creative types may want to take a look at this one if the reviews hold out on build quality as it seems to pack quite a bit of power into a small frame while staying portable and stylus-friendly!
Subject: Systems | January 7, 2018 - 08:14 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: Vega M, NUC 8 Enthusiast, nuc, mini PC, kaby lake-g, Intel, core i7, CES 2018, CES, amd, 8th generation core
Intel has announced a new imagining of their high-end NUC mini-PC called the NUC 8 Enthusiast. The most significant difference between this and the previous high-end NUCs from Intel is that this one doesn't rely on Intel's integrated graphics as AMD Vega M graphics are onboard, and along with them the promise of some legitimate gaming muscle.
What exactly is under the hood? There are two variants, with the NUC8i7HVK (which offers 100W AMD RX Vega M graphics) and NUC8i7HNK (with 65W AMD Vega M graphics). Here first are the specs for the NUC8i7HVK:
- GPU and GFX: 8th Generation Intel® Core™ i7-8809G 3.1 GHz to 4.2 GHz Turbo, Quad Core, 8 MB cache, 100W Radeon™ RX Vega M GH graphics, 1063 MHz – 1190 MHz Unlocked and VR-capable
- RAM: Dual channel DDR4-2400+ SODIMMs, 1.2V, 32GB maximum
- Storage: 2x M.2 22x42/80 (key M) slots for SATA3 or PCIe x4 Gen3 NVMe or AHCI SSD, RAID-0 and RAID-1 capable
- SDXC slot
- Connectivity: 2x rear Thunderbolt™ 3 (40 Gbps) and USB 3.1 Gen2 (10 Gbps) and DisplayPort 1.2 via USB-C™ connector Front USB 3.1 Gen2 via USB-C™ and front USB type-A connector Front charging USB 3.0, 4x rear USB 3.0, 2x internal USB 3.0 and 2x USB 2.0 via headers Front Consumer Infrared port
- Video Outputs: Front and rear HDMI 2.0a (4K 60Hz, HDR) connectors DisplayPort 1.3 via 2x rear Mini DisplayPort ports, and 2x rear Thunderbolt™ USB-C™ ports All ports support HDCP 2.2
- Networking: 2x Intel® 10/100/1000 Mbps (i219-LM and i210-AT) Ethernet ports Intel® Wireless-AC 8265 M.2 22x30 card, IEEE 802.11ac 2x2 + Bluetooth v4.2, internal antennas
- Audio: Up to 7.1 multichannel digital audio via HDMI or DisplayPort signals 3.5mm front headset jack, 3.5mm rear speaker / TOSLINK combo jack
- Enclosure: Metal and plastic with replaceable lid, Kensington lock with base security
- Dimensions: 221 x 142 x 39 mm (1.2 L)
- Internal Headers: Common I/O header with Front Panel, CEC, 2x USB 3.0, 2x USB2.0 signals
- Power Adapter: 19V DC 230W power supply with replaceable AC cords
- Other Features:
- Replaceable lid with customizable RGB LED illumination and front panel status RGB LEDs
- Quad beam-forming mic array
- VESA mounting plate included
- Three-Year Warranty
That Core i7 8809G processor listed above is also unlocked, allowing for whatever overclocking might be possibile in this small form-factor. The differences with the NUC8i7HNK are strictly in the CPU/GPU area:
- 8th Generation Intel® Core™ i7-8705G 3.1 GHz to 4.1 GHz Turbo, Quad Core, 8 MB cache, 65W Radeon™ RX Vega M GL graphics, 931 MHz – 1011 MHz
Besides the new Kaby Lake-G chips there is a lot more I/O in this NUC than we saw with the "Skull Canyon" enthusiast model (NUC6i7KYK), and here the taller design (39 mm vs. 28 mm) doesn't hurt.
With the bottom half of the rear panel reserved for cooling there is still room for 2x Thunderbolt 3, 2x mini DisplayPort, a full size HDMI, dual LAN, 4x USB 3.0 ports, and 3.5 mm audio (with optical). Up front there is a USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-C port, two more USB 3.0 ports (one charging), another full-size HDMI, SDXC card slot, and a second 3.5 mm audio.
Just how effectively this small device can cope with the demands of a 65W or 100W GPU - and potentially overclocked quad-core CPU - remains to be seen, but the thicker chassis compared to that previous "Skull Canyon" NUC suggests this has been accounted for.
So how much will this enthusiast-class NUC cost you? MSRP for the 65W GPU version is $799, and the 100W GPU version is $999. Availability is set for March 2018.
Subject: Mobile | January 4, 2018 - 12:01 AM | Jim Tanous
Tagged: XPS 13, laptop, dell xps 13, dell, CES 2017, CES, 8th generation core
Dell today announced a big update to its popular XPS 13 laptop. The new model features several design improvements, a bump to 8th Generation Intel processors, and longer battery life.
The XPS 13, which Dell is calling “the world’s smallest 13-inch laptop,” sheds some size compared to its predecessor. The new model weighs in at 2.67 pounds with a tapered thickness ranging from 7.8 to 11.6mm, a 24 percent reduction in overall volume compared to last year’s model. Its 13-inch display is available in 1080p and 4K options and features automatic calibration for improved video playback, something Dell is calling “CinemaColor.”
In addition to its slightly slimmer profile, the new XPS 13 moves the webcam to from the bottom-left of the display to the bottom-center. While still not the ideal angle for webcam chats, this move at least eliminates the awkward off-angle view provided by the previous webcam placement. The webcam is also compatible with Windows Hello, allowing for more convenient log-ins.
The new XPS 13 also sees some aesthetic changes. The familiar silver and black model is still available, but Dell has also introduced a new color combination featuring a “rose gold” exterior with “alpine white” interior and a woven glass fiber palm rest that is supposedly resistant to palm-related stains. Dell says that the new palm rest material “looks and feels like silk” while denoting a “sense of elegance.” Fancy.
Inside, buyers will have the choice of either the Intel Core i5-8250U or the Core i7-8550U. Both are 4-core/8-thread parts with max turbo frequencies of 3.4GHz and 4.0GHz, respectively. The XPS 13 can be configured with up to 16GB of DDR4 2133MHz memory while graphics are provided by the Intel UHD 620. Storage options include PCIe and SATA SSDs up to 1TB.
In terms of connectivity, the XPS 13 is packing two Thunderbolt 3 ports for charging, data, and video output, one USB-C 3.1 port, a microSD card slot, and a 3.5mm headphone port.
Dell is also highlighting the XPS 13’s battery life, claiming that it beats all other 13-inch competitors. Dell claims that the i7 model with 4K display can reach 11 hours and 12 minutes on a single charge, while the i5 1080p version lasts an impressive 19 hours 46 minutes.
For Linux fans, Dell is once again offering a “Developer Edition” of the XPS 13, which comes pre-loaded with Ubuntu 16.04 LTS and all compatible drivers.
The new Dell XPS 13 starts at $999.99 and is available to order today — January 4th — direct from Dell’s US and EU websites. The Developer Edition is also available today starting at $949.99.
Subject: General Tech | November 24, 2017 - 01:22 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Intel, 7th generation core, 6th generation core, 8th generation core, apollo lake, xeon, security
The issue with Intel's processors is widespread and a fix will not be available for some time yet. The flaws in their security features are present in 6-8th gen Core chips, as well as a variety of Xeons, Celerons and Apollo Lake CPUs which accounts for a wide variety of systems, from gaming machines to NAS devices. All suffer from the vulnerability which allows compromised code to run a system invisibly, as it will be executed below the OS on the actual chip. From what The Register gleaned from various manufacturers, only Dell will release a patch before 2018 and even that will only offer a solution for a very limited number of machines. The end of 2017 is going to be a little too interesting for many sysadmins.
"As Intel admitted on Monday, multiple flaws in its Management Engine, Server Platform Services, and Trusted Execution Engine make it possible to run code that operating systems – and therefore sysadmins and users – just can't see."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Samba needs two patches, unless you're happy for SMB servers to dance for evildoers @ The Register
- Mobile DRAM prices soar @ Electronics Weekly
- Galaxy S9 price, release date and specs: Leaked render confirms vertical dual cameras, rear fingerprint sensor @ The Inquirer
- The Best CPU & GPU Purchases of 2017 @ Techspot
- A Third of Americans Still Buy and Rent Videos @ Slashdot
- Black Friday: The Google Updates guide to free apps and sale prices @ The Inquirer
- Dealmaster: All the Black Friday tech deals we can find @ Ars Technica
Subject: Processors | November 6, 2017 - 02:00 PM | Josh Walrath
Tagged: radeon, Polaris, mobile, kaby lake, interposer, Intel, HBM2, gaming, EMIB, apple, amd, 8th generation core
In what is probably considered one of the worst kept secrets in the industry, Intel has announced a new CPU line for the mobile market that integrates AMD’s Radeon graphics. For the past year or so rumors of such a partnership were freely flowing, but now we finally get confirmation as to how this will be implemented and marketed.
Intel’s record on designing GPUs has been rather pedestrian. While they have kept up with the competition, a slew of small issues and incompatibilities have plagued each generation. Performance is also an issue when trying to compete with AMD’s APUs as well as discrete mobile graphics offerings from both AMD and NVIDIA. Software and driver support is another area where Intel has been unable to compete due largely to economics and the competitions’ decades of experience in this area.
There are many significant issues that have been solved in one fell swoop. Intel has partnered with AMD’s Semi-Custom Group to develop a modern and competent GPU that can be closely connected to the Intel CPU all the while utilizing HBM2 memory to improve overall performance. The packaging of this product utilizes Intel’s EMIB (Embedded Multi-die Interconnect Bridge) tech.
EMIB is an interposer-like technology that integrates silicon bridges into the PCB instead of relying upon a large interposer. This allows a bit more flexibility in layout of the chips as well as lowers the Z height of the package as there is not a large interposer sitting between the chips and the PCB. Just as interposer technology allows the use of chips from different process technologies to work seamlessly together, EMIB provides that same flexibility.
The GPU looks to be based on the Polaris architecture which is a slight step back from AMD’s cutting edge Vega architecture. Polaris does not implement the Infinity Fabric component that Vega does. It is more conventional in terms of data communication. It is a step beyond what AMD has provided for Sony and Microsoft, who each utilize a semi-custom design for the latest console chips. AMD is able to integrate the HBM2 controller that is featured in Vega. Using HBM2 provides a tremendous amount of bandwidth along with power savings as compared to traditional GDDR-5 memory modules. It also saves dramatically on PCB space allowing for smaller form factors.
EMIB provides nearly all of the advantages of the interposer while keeping the optimal z-height of the standard PCB substrate.
Intel did have to do quite a bit of extra work on the power side of the equation. AMD utilizes their latest Infinity Fabric for fine grained power control in their upcoming Raven Ridge based Ryzen APUs. Intel had to modify their current hardware to be able to do much the same work with 3rd party silicon. This is no easy task as the CPU needs to monitor and continually adjust for GPU usage in a variety of scenarios. This type of work takes time and a lot of testing to fine tune as well as the inevitable hardware revisions to get thing to work correctly. This then needs to be balanced by the GPU driver stack which also tends to take control of power usage in mobile scenarios.
This combination of EMIB, Intel Kaby Lake CPU, HBM2, and a current AMD GPU make this a very interesting combination for the mobile and small form factor markets. The EMIB form factor provides very fast interconnect speeds and a smaller footprint due to the integration of HBM2 memory. The mature AMD Radeon software stack for both Windows and macOS environments provides Intel with another feature in which to sell their parts in areas where previously they were not considered. The 8th Gen Kaby Lake CPU provides the very latest CPU design on the new 14nm++ process for greater performance and better power efficiency.
This is one of those rare instances where such cooperation between intense rivals actually improves the situation for both. AMD gets a financial shot in the arm by signing a large and important customer for their Semi-Custom division. The royalty income from this partnership should be more consistent as compared to the console manufacturers due to the seasonality of the console product. This will have a very material effect on AMD’s bottom line for years to come. Intel gets a solid silicon solution with higher performance than they can offer, as well as aforementioned mature software stack for multiple OS. Finally throw in the HBM2 memory support for better power efficiency and a smaller form factor, and it is a clear win for all parties involved.
The PCB savings plus faster interconnects will allow these chips to power smaller form factors with better performance and battery life.
One of the unknowns here is what process node the GPU portion will be manufactured on. We do not know which foundry Intel will use, or if they will stay in-house. Currently TSMC manufactures the latest console SoCs while GLOBALFOUNDRIES handles the latest GPUS from AMD. Initially one would expect Intel to build the GPU in house, but the current rumor is that AMD will work to produce the chips with one of their traditional foundry partners. Once the chip is manufactured then it is sent to Intel to be integrated into their product.
Apple is one of the obvious candidates for this particular form factor and combination of parts. Apple has a long history with Intel on the CPU side and AMD on the GPU side. This product provides all of the solutions Apple needs to manufacture high performance products in smaller form factors. Gaming laptops also get a boost from such a combination that will offer relatively high performance with minimal power increases as well as the smaller form factor.
The potential (leaked) performance of the 8th Gen Intel CPU with Radeon Graphics.
The data above could very well be wrong about the potential performance of this combination. What we see is pretty compelling though. The Intel/AMD product performs like a higher end CPU with discrete GPU combo. It is faster than a NVIDIA GTX 1050 Ti and trails the GTX 1060. It also is significantly faster than a desktop AMD RX 560 part. We can also see that it is going to be much faster than the flagship 15 watt TDP AMD Ryzen 7 2700U. We do not yet know how it compares to the rumored 65 watt TDP Raven Ridge based APUs from AMD that will likely be released next year. What will be fascinating here is how much power the new Intel combination will draw as compared to the discrete solutions utilizing NVIDIA graphics.
To reiterate, this is Intel as a customer for AMD’s Semi-Custom group rather than a licensing agreement between the two companies. They are working hand in hand in developing this solution and then both profiting from it. AMD getting royalties from every Intel package sold that features this technology will have a very positive effect on earnings. Intel gets a cutting edge and competent graphics solution along with the improved software and driver support such a package includes.
Update: We have been informed that AMD is producing the chips and selling them directly to Intel for integration into these new SKUs. There are no royalties or licensing, but the Semi-Custom division should still receive the revenue for these specialized products made only for Intel.
Subject: General Tech | November 2, 2017 - 12:11 PM | Alex Lustenberg
Tagged: Volta, video, podcast, PCI-e 4, nvidia, msi, Microsoft Andromeda, Memristors, Mali-D71, Intel Optane, gtx 1070 ti, cord cutting, arm, aegis 3, 8th generation core
PC Perspective Podcast #474 - 11/02/17
Join us for discussion on Optane 900P, Cord Cutting, 1070 Ti, and more!
The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!
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Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Josh Walrath, Jeremy Hellstrom, Allyn Malventano,
Peanut Gallery: Ken Addison, Alex Lustenberg
Program length: 1:32:19
0:03:45 PCPer Mailbag #15 - 10/26/2017
Week in Review:
News items of interest:
Hardware/Software Picks of the Week
Overview and CPU Performance
When Intel announced their quad-core mobile 8th Generation Core processors in August, I was immediately interested. As a user who gravitates towards "Ultrabook" form-factor notebooks, it seemed like a no-brainer—gaining two additional CPU cores with no power draw increase.
However, the hardware reviewer in me was skeptical. Could this "Kaby Lake Refresh" CPU provide the headroom to fit two more physical cores on a die while maintaining the same 15W TDP? Would this mean that the processor fans would have to run out of control? What about battery life?
Now that we have our hands on our first two notebooks with the i7-8550U in, it's time to take a more in-depth look at Intel's first mobile offerings of the 8th Generation Core family.
Subject: Mobile | August 30, 2017 - 12:19 PM | Ken Addison
Tagged: switch 7 black edition, Surface Pro, IFA 2017, ifa, acer, 8th generation core
Today at IFA 2017, Acer's keynote was full of new products arriving in the coming year. The most remarkable product of the bunch is their Switch 7 Black Edition 2-in-1.
While the Switch 7 Black Edition may not look different than other 2-in-1 devices like Microsoft's Surface Pro initially, there are some surprises underneath the hood.
First is Acer's innovative cooling solution which they are calling "LiquidLoop." Essentially this is a heatpipe system which circulates through the chassis to cool both the Quad-Core 8th Generation Core processor, as well as a dedicated GPU in the form of the NVIDIA Geforce MX150.
Omitting the use of any fans in the chassis, Acer claims they can properly cool both the 15W processor and the 25W GPU with this heatpipe system.
As for the GPU, the Geforce MX150 is the Pascal-based successor to the 940MX, which saw popularity in many of these thin and light form-factor devices. While it won't play the latest titles at native resolution, you should expect to be able to play less demanding titles and older games at modest image quality settings. Personally, the idea of a passively cooled computer that can play Rocket League on the go excites me.
Beyond the innovative thermal design, Acer has some more tricks up their sleeve with the Switch 7 Black Edition.
Acer AutoStand is a kickstand system designed to operate with one hand, like a traditional notebook hinge. This could be a huge benefit to Acer over the more cumbersome competitors like the Surface Pro where you have to hold the tablet in place as you deploy the kickstand.
The Switch 7 Black Edition supports Windows Hello through the use of a fingerprint sensor embedded underneath the glass of the screen bezel. This sensor also supports Power on Authentication (POA) so that a single press will turn on the device and log into Windows Instantly.
These features combined with the 12.5-in 2256x1504 IPS display make the Switch 7 Black Edition an attractive alternative to 2-in-1 devices like the Surface Pro.
All of these cool features come with a steep price tag though. The Acer Switch 7 Black Edition is expected to ship in December in North America for prices starting at $1,699.
Subject: Mobile, Shows and Expos | August 28, 2017 - 10:20 PM | Ken Addison
Tagged: ifa, IFA 2017, dell, XPS 13, 8th generation core, i7-8550U, i5-8250U
As expected, this year's IFA trade show in Berlin is proving busy for notebook manufacturers. Hot on the heels of Intel's announcement of 15W 8th Generation quad-core processors in the Kaby-Lake refresh family earlier in the month, we are starting to see some announcements of actual products utilizing these new processors.
Not to be left behind, Dell has officially announced the refreshed version of their well-received XPS 13 notebook.
It appears that there has been little physical change to the XPS 13 centered around these new processor options. Customers will still find 2 USB-A Ports upgraded to USB 3.1 Gen 2, a Thundebolt 3 Port, full-size SD card slot, a standard headphone jack, and a power connector (although charging over Thunderbolt 3 is supported). There's no indication yet as to the Thunderbolt 3 implementation, but we hope Dell has gone with the full PCIe x4 bandwidth instead of x2 as found on the current XPS 13.
Same as the current XPS 13, customers will be able to choose from a 1080p non-touch display or a 3200x1800 touchscreen, up to 16GB of RAM, and SSD options including SATA and NVMe.
Battery size remains at 60Wh, which Dell claims has a MobileMark battery life score of 22 hours on the 1080p display model and 12 hours with the 3200x1800 QHD+ Touchscreen option.
Expect a longer rollout than usual with these new 8th generation parts from Dell, with the highest end i7-8550U to be available starting September 12th, and the i5 parts coming later in October. We have no current indications of pricing, but I would expect it to fall along the current XPS 13 models, in which the i7 model starts at $1349 along with 8GB of RAM, a 256GB NVMe SSD, and the 1080p display.