A little Optane for your HDD
Intel's Optane Memory caching solution, launched in April of 2017, was a straightforward feature. On supported hardware platforms, consisting of 7th and 8th generation Core processor-based computers, users could add a 16 or 32gb Optane M.2 module to their PC and enable acceleration for their slower boot device (generally a hard drive). Beyond that, there weren't any additional options; you could only enable and disable the caching solution.
However, users who were looking for more flexibility were out of luck. If you already had a fast boot device, such as an NVMe SSD, you had no use for these Optane Memory modules, even if you a slow hard drive in their system for mass storage uses that you wanted to speed up.
At GDC this year, Intel alongside the announcement of 64GB Optane Memory modules, announced that they are bringing support for secondary drive acceleration to the Optane Memory application.
Now that we've gotten our hands on this new 64GB module and the appropriate software, it's time to put it through its paces and see if it was worth the wait.
The full test setup is as follows:
|Test System Setup|
Intel Core i7-8700K
|Motherboard||Gigabyte H370 Aorus Gaming 3|
16GB Crucial DDR4-2666 (running at DDR4-2666)
Intel SSD Optane 800P
Intel Optane Memory 64GB and 1TB Western Digital Black
|Graphics Card||NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080Ti 11GB|
|Graphics Drivers||NVIDIA 397.93|
|Power Supply||Corsair RM1000x|
|Operating System||Windows 10 Pro x64 RS4|
In coming up with test scenarios to properly evaluate drive caching on a secondary, mass storage device, we had a few criteria. First, we were looking for scenarios that require lots of storage, meaning that they wouldn't fit on a smaller SSD. In addition to requiring a lot of storage, the applications must also rely on fast storage.
Subject: Motherboards | May 14, 2018 - 05:56 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Intel, Z390, coffee lake
Intel published a paper giving an overview of the features to expect on motherboards using Z390 chipset. Most of the features will be familiar so why not start with the fancy layout diagram?
One of the features you might not consider, but perhaps should, is the combination of the quality of the onboard graphics chip on Coffee Lake with the outputs of a Z390 motherboard. The motherboard can support up to three HDMI or DP outputs, which can provide 10bit colour, High Dynamic Range and Rec. 2020 at up to 4k resolutions.
Storage options are as you would expect, with Intel Rapid Storage Technology supported for both SATA and PCIe, with support for Optane if you so choose to use it. Intel have updated their HD Audio in this generation and their Smart Sound Technology branding indicates the presence of a DAC on your motherboard.
Networking is also worth a mention, with gigabit transfers available on the integrated NIC as well as through the Wireless-AC 9560 NIC, with integrated Bluetooth 5 support as well.
Yes, it will support overclocking unlocked processors. The PR is below.
CREATE YOUR NEXT GREAT PERFORMANCE WITH THE 8TH GENERATION INTEL CORE PROCESSOR
The Intel Z390 chipset and 8th Generation Intel Core processors give you the edge you need to successfully defeat your rivals. Quickly upload and access your favorite streams and get the gaming boost you need with Intel Turbo Boost Technology 2.0 and Intel Hyper-Threading Technology. With the Intel Z390 chipset and 8th Generation Intel Core processors, you can conquer your quests with confidence.
GREAT PERFORMANCE - UNLEASHED
Release your inner gaming beast with the Intel Z390 chipset and unlocked 8th Generation Intel Core processors. Unlock your core, graphics, and memory frequencies to new levels as you defeat your gaming foes. Gaming and productivity is redefined with the Intel Z390 chipset paired with new unlocked 8th Generation Intel Core processors. Crush your competition with 8th Generation Intel Core desktop processors and the Intel Z390 chipset.
FAST PC RESPONSIVENESS AT YOUR COMMAND
The Intel Z390 chipset and 8th Generation Intel Core processors enable support for Intel Optane memory which speeds up access to your favorite programs and files. With the fast application response times enabled by Intel Optane memory, you can quickly access your digital life. Experience immersive sound quality via Intel High Definition Audio and enable your PC to respond to your voice commands with Intel Smart Sound Technology.
UNLEASH YOUR NETWORK PERFORMANCE
Achieve Gigabit wireless connections with 1st generation integrated Intel Wireless-AC support. The Intel Z390 chipset integrates an Intel wireless 802.11ac and Bluetooth 5 solution allowing you to connect up to Gigabit Wi-Fi speeds with Intel Wireless-AC 9560. With no Ethernet cable required, your desktop will be ready for all current and future wireless use cases and has the flexibility to be located in more places within your home or office.
IMMERSIVE VISUALS WITH INTEL UHD GRAPHICS
Intel UHD Graphics on 8th Generation Intel Core processors provide eye-popping 4K UHD resolutions. Experience more immersive gaming with High Dynamic Range (HDR) and Rec. 2020 (Wide Color Gamut) support. Playback your favorite videos with color precision via native true 10-bit graphics output. Watch the latest 4K UHD premium content on your PC from leading online providers. With up to three independent, DisplayPort* and/or HDMI* displays supported with the Intel Z390 chipset, you can immerse yourself into your gaming experience.
MASSIVE STORAGE CAPABILITIES
Expand your storage capabilities with the Intel Z390 chipset and 8th Generation Intel Core processors. Boost your media transfer speeds with the integrated USB 3.1 Gen 2 support of the Intel Z390 chipset. Create fast storage volumes and back-up your media and critical information via RAID support with Intel processor and chipset-connected PCI Express* SSDs. Expand your storage with up to 6 SATA 6 Gb/s ports. Enable blazingly fast data transfers to your favorite devices with PCI Express* 3.0.
Subject: Processors | April 24, 2018 - 08:56 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Intel, coffee lake s, coffee lake, 8086
I kind-of hope that this is true… for the pun alone.
What do you get when the following three things happen: the 40th anniversary of your introductory part, a product line that can contain your original products model number, and, of course, strong competition from your primary competitor? Maybe the Intel Core i7-8086K. Maybe an elaborate internet hoax.
Image Credit: DDAA117 via WCCFTech
The rumor claims that it will be a slightly up-clocked Core i7-8700K. It will retain the 6 cores, 12 threads, 12MB of L3 cache, and 95W TDP, but the core will be clocked at 4.0 GHz (up from 3.7) and it can boost on a single core up to maybe 5.1 GHz. Basically, if true, it sounds like Intel cherry-picked a few high-performing dies out of Coffee Lake-S and set them aside for a promotion around the Computex or E3 time frame.
From a consumer standpoint? The last anniversary processor was a great deal, so pricing will become the deciding factor. If you were interested in the Core i7-8700K, then you might want to wait and see whether this slight notch above is true.
Subject: General Tech | April 19, 2018 - 10:08 AM | Ken Addison
Tagged: x470, wd black nvme, Samsung, s9 plus, ryzen, podcast, Pinnacle Ridge, Intel, coffee lake, amd, 2700x, 2600x
PC Perspective Podcast #496 - 04/19/18
Join us this week for discussion of the Ryzen 7 2700X and Ryzen 5 2600X, WD's new NVMe SSDs, performance benchmarks of the Galaxy S9 Plus and more!
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Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Allyn Malventano, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath
Peanut Gallery: Ken Addison, Alex Lustenberg
Program length: 1:59:30
Podcast topics of discussion:
Week in Review:
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A Year Later
Despite what might be considered an overall slump in enthusiast PC building due to record low GPU availability and sky-high memory prices, 2017 was one of the most exciting and competitive years in recent history when it comes to CPU innovation. On the desktop side alone, we saw the launch of AMD's new Zen CPU architecture with the Ryzen 1000 series of parts starting last March; we also saw new HEDT platforms from both Intel and AMD, and Intel's first 6-core mainstream CPUs.
Although the timeline doesn't quite work out for Ryzen to have affected the engineering-side of Intel's decision to release a 6-core desktop processor, it's evident AMD's pressure changed Intel's pricing and release schedule.
With little desktop competition, it's likely that the i7-8700K would have been a more expensive part, and released later. It's likely that Coffee Lake would have seen a full stack product launch in early 2018, as opposed to the staggered launch we experienced where only one compatible chipset and a subset of CPUs were available for months.
AMD and Ryzen have put significant pressure on Intel to remain competitive, which is good for the industry as a whole.
We're now at just over a year since AMD's first Ryzen processor releases, and looking at the first appearance of the codename Pinnacle Ridge CPUs. Launching today are the Ryzen 7 2700X and 2700, and the Ryzen 5 2600x and 2600 processors. Can AMD keep moving the needle forward in the CPU space? Let's take a look.
Introduction and Technical Specifications
Courtesy of ECS
The ECS Z370 Lightsaber motherboard is the latest offering in ECS' L337 product line, offering support for the Intel Z370 chipset. Similar to previous iterations of the Lightsaber board, the Z370-Lightsaber builds on the those board by adding dual-m.2 slot support, enhanced power support, as well as support for the latest Intel Coffee Lake-based processors. With an MSRP of $199, ECS priced the Z370 Lightsaber to be price-competitive with other mid-tier Z370-based offerings.
Courtesy of ECS
ECS designed the Z370 Lightsaber with a 14-phase digital power delivery system, using high efficiency chokes and MOSFETs, as well as solid core capacitors for optimal board performance. The following features into the Z370 Lightsaber board: six SATA 3 ports; two PCIe X2 M.2 ports; a Rivet Networks Killer E2500 GigE NIC; three PCI-Express x16 slots; three PCI-Express x1 slots; a 3-digit diagnostic LED display; on-board power, reset, Quick overclock, BIOS set, BIOS update, BIOS backup, and Clear CMOS buttons; a dual BIOS switch; Realtek audio solution; integrated DVI and HDMI video port support; and USB 2.0, 3.0, and 3.1 Gen2 port support.
Courtesy of ECS
For the integrated audio solution, ECS used a Realtek chipset on a separate PCB to minimize audio crosstalk and interference. The also include a removable audio amplifier chipset and high-end Nichicon audio capacitors for a superior audio experience.
Subject: Processors | April 16, 2018 - 10:02 AM | Ken Addison
Tagged: coffee lake, coffee lake s, 8700k, Z370, Z390, 6+2, 8+2
One more piece of evidence was brought to our attention recently, as spotted by an eagle-eyed user on Reddit. Intel's Technical Documentation website now seems to contain documents referencing an unreleased "Coffee Lake S 8+2" product.
In Intel nomenclature, 8+2 would refer to 8 CPU cores, plus 2 integrated GPU cores. For example, the current 6-core i7-8700K processor is referred to as a 6+2 processor configuration. Hence, the 8+2 processor being referenced here would be a sibling to the 8700K, with two more CPU cores.
Unfortunately, the actual documents are hidden behind an Intel login page, so we are unable to view them in full, but rather only have titles and short descriptions of their contents.
Given their recent appetite for the "i9" brand as the highest-end configurations, as we saw on the recent Coffee Lake-H notebook processor launch, I would expect this to be the first mainstream Intel desktop processor to carry the "i9" branding.
Additionally, we see documents referring to design aspects of both the existing Coffee Lake-S 6+2 part (8700K) and this new 8+2 part. This brings us hope that Z370 motherboards will remain compatible with this new processor, and not require yet another chipset.
While it seems likely that these new processors will launch alongside a Z390 chipset, we would expect the same level of compatibility while adding connectivity features built into the chipset such as USB 3.1 Gen 2 and 802.11ac wireless, as we saw on the recent H370 and B360 chipsets.
With the launch of AMD's Ryzen 2000-series of processors looming later this week, it seems like Intel is playing the waiting game before launching this 8-core processor. Speculation is that we could see this part before Computex in June.
Subject: Memory | April 13, 2018 - 10:46 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: adata, xpg, ddr4, Samsung, overclocking, 5ghz, coffee lake, Z370
ADATA recently announced that it was able to overclock its upcoming XPG Spectrix D41 RGB DDR4 memory to 5 GHz on air cooling. The new Spectrix modules were first shown off at CES 2018 along with phase change cooled Spectrix D80 DIMMs.
Not content to let G.Skill have all the fun, ADATA took its 2132 MHz AX4U470038G19-DR41 memory and pushed it to 5 GHz in dual channel mode with fairly tight timings of 21-26-26-45-2T. They do not mention how much voltage was needed, but the XMP 2.0 profile of 4608 MHz at 19-19-19-39 and 1.45V suggests that likely at least 1.5V was needed. For comparison, G.Skill was able to hit 5007.4 MHz at CL21-26-26-46-2T while ADATA hit 4996.8 MHz at 21-26-26-45-2T (as reported by CPU-z). Both memory manufacturers used a MSI Z370I Gaming Pro Carbon AC motherboard and Intel Coffee Lake Core i7-8700K to achieve their overclocks. ADATA had the processor clocked at 4.3 GHz (100 BCLK x 43x multiplier).
ADATA’s Spectrix D41 memory uses stylized heat spreaders along with RGB LEDs along the top edges. According to ADATA it is using carefully screened Samsung B-die ICs which so far appear to be the best chips out there for DDR4 when it comes to pushing clocks and AMD compatibility. While a retail kit clocked at 5 GHz (at least when XMP is turned on) out of the box is still far off, the increasing number of successful overclocks is promising for enthusiasts that are looking for kits to overclock on their own. I am still waiting for the memory kit makers to demonstrate the 5GHz on air feat with an AMD platform though as so far the attempts have all used an Intel platform. Perhaps once Ryzen 2000 CPUs and X470 motherboards are out we will see what 5 GHz does for Infinity Fabric.
Tom Chan, director at ADATA Technology, was quoted in the press release as stating:
“For us, the next critical step will be working to make this more than just a technological milestone, but something that will be accessible to gamers, overclockers and others, so that they can ultimately benefit from this amazing performance.”
ADATA / XPG have not yet announced pricing for its Spectrix D41 (or D80) kits but hopefully they will be available soon. The Spectrix D41 should be available in up to 16GB per DIMM capacities and up to 4600 MHz with XMP 2.0 profiles. I am curious whether the D80 with its phase change cooler could be overclocked any more than 5 GHz or if that is simply the limits of Samsung’s current generation ICs regardless of cooling method (outside of exotic cooling like lquid helium or liquid nitrogen and needing ludicrous amounts of voltage of course heh).
Subject: Processors | April 11, 2018 - 06:06 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: ryzen, Intel, i5-8400, coffee lake, B360, b350, AMD Ryzen 5 1600, amd
With the launch of Intel's B360 chipset, the price difference between a Coffee Lake and Ryzen system have been much reduced; in part because RAM and GPU will account for the vast majority of your expenses. TechSpot tested the Ryzen 5 1600 against an i5-8400 on a B360 motherboard, as well as a Z370 to show the difference between those two chipsets. Overall, the results came out in a tie, with AMD's chip better at tasks which benefit from multithreading while Intel's topped out when gaming.
Of course, we are quickly approaching the arrival of Ryzen 2, which may change things drastically.
"Before the incoming 2nd-gen Ryzen parts arrive this shootout will let us establish how AMD and Intel currently stack up with all the latest Windows updates, BIOS updates, driver updates and new motherboards we have on hand, giving us an up to date reference point for the new CPUs."
Here are some more Processor articles from around the web:
- POWER9 Benchmarks vs. Intel Xeon vs. AMD EPYC Performance On Debian Linux @ Phoronix
- Intel Core i5 8600 @ Guru of 3D
- Intel Core i7-8750H Review: Hexa-core Processor for Laptops @ Techspot
- Core i7 2600K Tested in 2018 - Time to upgrade @ Techspot
Subject: Motherboards | April 6, 2018 - 05:10 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Intel, H370, B360, H310, H370N Wifi, gigabyte, coffee lake
The Tech Report published an overview of Intel's new entry level boards and chips which were introduced to compete with AMD's Ryzen 3 2200G and Ryzen 5 2400G. Along with the look at the new silicon comes a review of a new Gigabyte board which is wee bit different from the one Morry reviewed. Even with the small stature of the H370N WiFi, Gigabyte still included a pair of M.2 ports, two HDMI ports of which one is HDMI 2.0, DP 1.2, four USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A and a single Type-C. If you are looking to build a fully functional and yet affordable SFF system you should check this out.
"Intel's H370, B360, and H310 chipsets promise to power the kinds of affordable boards that have been sorely missed alongside locked Coffee Lake CPUs. We explore what kinds of load-outs builders can expect from this new silicon and check out Gigabyte's H370N Wifi to see how motherboard makers might implement H370's fresh features."
Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:
- Intel B360 vs. Z370 Chipset: Finally an 8th-Gen Budget Platform @ TechSpot
- Gigabyte Aorus H370 Gaming 3 WIFI @ Guru3D
- Gigabyte Aorus B360 Gaming 3 WIFI @ Guru3D
- MSI B360 Gaming Pro Carbon @ Guru3D
- ASUS ROG STRIX H370-F Gaming @ Guru of 3D
- EVGA X299 Dark Motherboard Review @ Hardware Asylum
- Gigabyte MZ31-AR0: EPYC Motherboard With Dual 10Gb/s LAN, 16 SATA Ports, Seven PCI-E Slots @ Phoronix