Computex 2017: Intel 8th Gen Core Processors 30% Faster than 7th Gen

Subject: Processors | May 30, 2017 - 03:00 AM |
Tagged: Intel, computex 2017, computex, coffee lake, 8th generation core

During it's keynote at Computex today, Intel announced the high performane Skylake-X and Kaby Lake-X platforms with CPU core counts as high as 18 (!!) but also gave a brief mention of its upcoming Coffee Lake product, the 8th Generation Core product family.

To quote directly from the Intel press information:

"As we move toward the next generation of computing, Intel also shared its commitment to deliver 8th generational Intel® Core™ processor-based devices by the holiday season, boasting more than 30 percent improvement in performance versus the 7th Gen Intel® Core™ processor."

That is quite the claim, but let's dive into the details.

Based on SYSmark* 2014 v1.5 (Windows Desktop Application Performance). Comparing 7th Gen i7-7500U, PL1=15W TDP, 2C4T, Turbo up to 3.5GHz, Memory: 2x4GB DDR4-2133, vs. Estimates for 8th Gen Core i7: PL1=15W TDP, 4C8T, Turbo up to 4 GHz, Memory: 2x4GB DDR4-2400, Storage: Intel® SSD, Windows* 10 RS2. Power policy assumptions: AC mode. Note: Kaby Lake U42 performance estimates are Pre-Silicon and are subject to change. Pre-Si projections have +/- 7% margin of error.

In a more readable format:

  8th Gen
Core i7
7th Gen
Core i7-7500U
Code name Coffee Lake Kaby Lake
Process Tech 14nm Double Plus Good 14nm+
Cores/Threads 4/8 2/4
Base Clock ? 2.7 GHz
Turbo Clock 4.0 GHz 3.5 GHz
TDP 15 watt 15 watt
Memory 8GB 8GB
Memory Clock 2400 MHz 2133 MHz

The 30% performance claim comes from both a doubling of core and thread count (2- to 4-cores) but also a 500 MHz higher peak Turbo Clock, going from Kaby Lake to Coffee Lake. The testing was done using SYSmark 2014 v1.5, a benchmark that is very burst-centric and is comparable to common productivity tasks. Even with a 15% increase in peak clock speed and a 2x core/thread count, Intel is still able to maintain a 15 watt TDP with this CPU.

intelcoffeelake.jpg

While we might at first expect much larger performance gains with those clock and core count differences, keep in mind that SYSmark as a test has never scaled in such a way. We don't yet know what other considerations might be in place for the 8th Generation Core processor platforms, and how they might affect performance for single of multi-threaded applications.

Intel has given us very little information today on the Coffee Lake designs, but it seems we'll know all about this platform before the end of the year.

Source: Intel

Computex 2017: ZOTAC Introduces the MEK Mini-ITX Gaming PC

Subject: Systems | May 30, 2017 - 02:18 AM |
Tagged: zotac, PC, mini-itx, MEK, kaby lake, Intel Core i7, GTX 1080 Mini, GTX 1080, gaming, computex 2017, computex, computer

ZOTAC has introduces a new gaming brand at Computex, and along with it their first gaming PC. Have no fear, however, this gaming machine is quite compact from the mini-PC maker, as it is built around a mini-ITX motherboard and compact GPU.

MEK-GamingPC_image01.jpg

"ZOTAC Gaming’s first gaming product, MEK Gaming PC, debuts at Computex Taipei. Built for gaming enthusiasts, it is powered by a ZOTAC GeForce® GTX 1080 Mini, 7th Gen Intel® Core™ i7 processor and a low-profile CPU Cooler to deliver overwhelming performance for high-end gaming and premium entertainment. With a futuristic design, MEK marks the beginning of gaming products for a new brand, ZOTAC Gaming, focused on gaming products fit for all who Live to Game."

The GPU might be based on a smaller than the average PCB, but you are getting a full NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 courtesy of ZOTAC's own GTX 1080 Mini graphics card, which is just 8.3 inches long (and "the world's smallest GeForce GTX 1080," according to ZOTAC).

zt-p10800h-10p_image2.jpg

Other than the above quoted 7th-gen Intel Core i7 processor we don't have much information on the specifications for the upcoming MEK Gaming PC, but the images of the enclosure paint a promising picture for small form-factor gaming enthusiasts as it appears to be quite compact.

Source: ZOTAC

FSP introduces the new Hydro PTM+ liquid cooled PSU

Subject: Cases and Cooling, Shows and Expos | May 23, 2017 - 03:28 PM |
Tagged: FSP Group, water cooling, modular psu, Hydro PTM+, 80 Plus Platinum PSU, kilowatt, computex

FSP will be showing off several new products at Computex but the most interesting, by far, is a watercooled PSU called the Hydro PTM+.  Under normal operations this is a 1200W modular PSU with an 80 PLUS Platinum rating, but include it in a cooling loop and it will provide up to 1400W of power.  It can also be run silently up to 50% load, so if you only need ~600W this might still be of use if you are attempting a silent build and yes, there are LEDs on the PSU.  Hopefully we can see some more revealing pictures from Computex with the internal layout exposed.

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They will also be showing off the world's smallest 850W PSU, the 80 Plus Platinum certified FLEX as well as a not so petite 1600W 80 Plus Platinum PSU for servers and the more extreme of us.  Along with those PSUs they are introducing the The ERK, or Easy Redundant Kit, which allows you to hook up two independent PSUs which don't normally support redundancy and rely on them just as if they were.  Check out the full PR below.

erk.jpg

May 23, Taipei, Taiwan – FSP, one of the leading manufacturers of power supplies in the world is pleased to unveil its focus on delivering continued performance at Computex 2017. FSP’s new power and gaming solutions were developed in cooperation with industry partners, and in the IoT world, the keywords Smart and Inter-operability are reflected in the IoT products on display allow customers to take control from anywhere in the world. Also, Computex gives a look at how FSP’s unique redundancy solutions can create products that can span various segments with customer focus in mind.

FSP introduces the new Hydro PTM+ liquid cooled PSU.
The Hydro PTM+ is a unique, and patented liquid cooled PSU created in cooperation with Bitspower, a renowned creator of liquid cooling solutions for PCs, to meet the highest security and safety standards. The Hydro PTM+ is the world's first mass produced liquid cooled PSU with 80 Plus Platinum certificated, with gorgeous LED lighting it combines great looks with amazing performance. The unique liquid cooling system, once enabled, increases the power rating from 1200W to 1400W. But, with an array of integrated sensors, the Hydro PTM+ also excels at efficiency, when running in silent mode (below 50% load) it still delivers 600W without the use of a fan for cooling, and thus it remains in complete silence.

FSP industrial solutions, powering the smart world.
With the industry focus rapidly shifting to IoT, FSP is on the forefront of working with advanced industry partners to provide power products that integrate easily into a wide range of smart IoT solutions. With Big Data a key for IoT energy management, FSP is ahead of the curve by providing power supplies with PoE, PMBus, and USB communication interfaces that help collect vital data such as fan speeds, wattage, voltage, current, alert and load status.

This data helps manage and size solutions and increase up-time and productivity, especially in iFactory, smart manufacturing solutions, intelligent logistics, and smart transportation.

World Smallest 80 Plus Platinum 850W FLEX PSU
Another great innovation by FSP is the world smallest 80 Plus Platinum certified 850W FLEX PSU. Also in the IoT solution area, you can find the 1600W 80 Plus Platinum certified Intel CRPS PSU, with Current Sharing and Cold Redundancy for amazing efficiency in the data center. Next to that, are the modular, but full voltage input DIN rail PSUs that can perfectly support a wide variety of IoT devices electrical demands.

Easy redundant kit, a unique approach to redundancy
The ERK, Easy Redundant Kit, is a versatile backup solution for entry-level systems that require 24/7 up-time from their power solution. Differing from traditional and expensive redundancy options, the ERK is a unique external DC-DC module which allows operators to create redundancy by combining two traditional non-redundant PSUs with the ERK. This brilliant product offers the best flexibility when choosing power design solutions.

 

Source: FSP

SilverStone Announces SX800-LTI 800W Titanium SFX-L Power Supply

Subject: Cases and Cooling | June 6, 2016 - 08:03 AM |
Tagged: SX800-LTI, small form-factor, Silverstone, SFX-L, SFX, SFF, PSU, power supply, computex 2016, computex, 80 Plus Titanium

SilverStone introduced a 700W SFX-L power supply at CES in January, and with that SX700-LPT PSU now officially released the company has raised the bar again as no less than 800W is coming to the SFX-L form-factor.

SX800LTI_0.jpg

Image credit: TechPowerUp

SilverStone's SX800-LTI not only offers a massive 800W, but does so with an 80 PLUS Titanium certification (!). The power supply pushes this massive wattage along a single +12V rail, and the SX800-LTI features a fully-modular design for a clean build. An added benefit to the SFX-L form-factor, other than the potential for these powerful designs, is the use of a 120 mm fan, which allows for much quieter operation under load compared to the smaller SFX variant.

SX800LTI_1.jpg

Image credit: TechPowerUp

We are now approaching full ATX power with these SFX-L PSUs, and indeed the 800-850W range should be all most users would need for even a dual-GPU system (especially as we enter the era of 14-16nm GPUs with their lower power requirements).

No word yet on price or availability.

Source: TechPowerUp

be quiet! Introduces Silent Loop Liquid CPU Coolers

Subject: Cases and Cooling | June 1, 2016 - 10:34 PM |
Tagged: water cooler, Silent Series, liquid cooler, cpu cooler, computex 2016, computex, be quiet!, AIO

More be quiet! news from Computex as the company has introduced their first all-in-one liquid CPU coolers with the Silent Loop series; “silence-optimized” liquid coolers ranging from 120mm - 280mm.

SIlent_Loop_1.jpg

Here are some of the features from be quiet!:

  • Newly designed reverse-flow pump for virtually inaudible operation
  • No vibrating noise
  • Very quiet Pure Wings 2 PWM fans
  • High performance full copper radiator
  • Compact and flat pump design
  • Refill port
  • 3-year warranty

SIlent_Loop_2.jpg

The Silent Loop coolers are available in three sizes; 120 mm, 240 mm, and 280 mm.

SIlent_Loop_6.jpg

Here’s the preliminary cost breakdown (prices are not yet final according to be quiet!):

120mm / MSRP: $109.99
240mm / MSRP: $129.90
280mm / MSRP: $149.90

The Silent Loop liquid coolers are slated for a September 2016 launch.

Source: be quiet!

be quiet! Announces Dark Base 900 and 900 PRO Modular Enclosures

Subject: Cases and Cooling | June 1, 2016 - 11:38 AM |
Tagged: enclosure, Dark Base 900 Pro, Dark Base 900, computex 2016, computex, case, be quiet!, atx case

A pair of enclosures from be quiet! have been announced, with the Dark Base 900 and Dark Base 900 PRO, and both models offer modular construction for greater build flexibility.

dark_base_cases.png

Here are some of the specs and features from be quiet!:

  • High flexibility through high modularity
  • Modular motherboard tray can invert and also slide vertically to make space for radiators, etc.
  • Motherboard tray is decoupled to avoid vibrations
  • Removable motherboard tray can be used as a test bench, or install system completely outside the case first
  • Separated HDD cages for maximum flexibility - each holds one 3.5” or two 2.5” drives
  • Removable ODD cage
  • Standard storage support: 2x ODD / 7x HDD / 15x SSD
  • Highest compatibility to water cooling
  • PWM fan control
  • 3x SilentWings 3 PWM 140mm fans pre-installed
  • Aluminum finish on top and front
  • PRO:
    • 4mm tempered glass side panel
    • LED strips with 5 colors
    • QI charger for mobile devices

system.png

The system looks spacious, and offers removable cages for storage drives:

HDD_Slots.jpg

The motherboard tray is removable, and it can also be inverted if desired for an alternate internal layout:

mb_tray_inverted.png

And what premium enclosure would be complete without LED lighting? The PRO version of the Dark Base offers LED strips with your choice of 5 colors:

LED.jpg

The Dark Base 900 has an MSRP of $199, and the Dark Base 900 PRO is $249, with availability set for June 28.

Source: be quiet!

Computex 2016: Here It Is! Your Moment of Zen!

Subject: Processors | May 31, 2016 - 11:57 PM |
Tagged: Zen, computex 2016, computex, amd

At the end of the AMD Computex 2016 keynote, Lisa Su, President and CEO of the company, announced a few details about their upcoming Zen architecture. This will mark the end of the Bulldozer line of architectures that attempted to save die area by designing cores in pairs, eliminating what AMD projected to be redundancies as the world moved toward multi-core and GPU compute. Zen “starts from scratch” and targets where they now see desktop, server, laptop, and embedded devices heading.

amd-2016-zen-markets.png

They didn't really show a whole lot at the keynote. They presented an animation that was created and rendered on the new architecture. I mean, okay, but that's kind-of like reviewing a keyboard by saying that you used it to type the review. It's cool that you have sample silicon available to use internally, but we understand that it physically works.

amd-2016-zen-die.png

That said, Lisa Su did say some hard numbers, which should be interesting for our readers. AMD claims that Zen has 40% higher IPC from their previous generation (which we assume is Excavator). It will be available for desktop with eight cores, two threads per core, on their new AM4 platform. It also taped out earlier this year, with wide sampling in Q3.

amd-2016-zen-video.png

I'm curious how it will end up. The high-end CPU market is a bit... ripe for the picking these days. If AMD gets close to Intel in performance, and offers competitive prices and features alongside it, then it would make sense for enthusiast builds. We'll need to wait for benchmarks, but there seems to be low-hanging fruit.

Author:
Manufacturer: AMD

AMD gets aggressive

At its Computex 2016 press conference in Taipei today, AMD has announced the branding and pricing, along with basic specifications, for one of its upcoming Polaris GPUs shipping later this June. The Radeon RX 480, based on Polaris 10, will cost just $199 and will offer more than 5 TFLOPS of compute capability. This is an incredibly aggressive move obviously aimed at continuing to gain market share at NVIDIA's expense. Details of the product are listed below.

  RX 480 GTX 1070 GTX 980 GTX 970 R9 Fury R9 Nano R9 390X R9 390
GPU Polaris 10 GP104 GM204 GM204 Fiji Pro Fiji XT Hawaii XT Grenada Pro
GPU Cores 2304 1920 2048 1664 3584 4096 2816 2560
Rated Clock ? 1506 MHz 1126 MHz 1050 MHz 1000 MHz up to 1000 MHz 1050 MHz 1000 MHz
Texture Units ? 120 128 104 224 256 176 160
ROP Units ? 64 64 56 64 64 64 64
Memory 4/8GB 8GB 4GB 4GB 4GB 4GB 8GB 8GB
Memory Clock 8000 MHz 8000 MHz 7000 MHz 7000 MHz 500 MHz 500 MHz 6000 MHz 6000 MHz
Memory Interface 256-bit 256-bit 256-bit 256-bit 4096-bit (HBM) 4096-bit (HBM) 512-bit 512-bit
Memory Bandwidth 256 GB/s 256 GB/s 224 GB/s 196 GB/s 512 GB/s 512 GB/s 384 GB/s 384 GB/s
TDP 150 watts 150 watts 165 watts 145 watts 275 watts 175 watts 275 watts 230 watts
Peak Compute > 5.0 TFLOPS 5.7 TFLOPS 4.61 TFLOPS 3.4 TFLOPS 7.20 TFLOPS 8.19 TFLOPS 5.63 TFLOPS 5.12 TFLOPS
Transistor Count ? 7.2B 5.2B 5.2B 8.9B 8.9B 6.2B 6.2B
Process Tech 14nm 16nm 28nm 28nm 28nm 28nm 28nm 28nm
MSRP (current) $199 $379 $499 $329 $549 $499 $389 $329

The RX 480 will ship with 36 CUs totaling 2304 stream processors based on the current GCN breakdown of 64 stream processors per CU. AMD didn't list clock speeds and instead is only telling us that the performance offered will exceed 5 TFLOPS of compute; how much is still a mystery and will likely change based on final clocks.

9310_ellesmere_cam1_02_0010_4K.jpg

The memory system is powered by a 256-bit GDDR5 memory controller running at 8 Gbps and hitting 256 GB/s of throughput. This is the same resulting memory bandwidth as NVIDIA's new GeForce GTX 1070 graphics card.

AMD also tells us that the TDP of the card is 150 watts, again matching the GTX 1070, though without more accurate performance data it's hard to assume anything about the new architectural efficiency of the Polaris GPUs built on the 14nm Global Foundries process.

Obviously the card will support FreeSync and all of AMD's VR features, in addition to being DP 1.3 and 1.4 ready. 

AMD stated that the RX 480 will launch on June 29th.

9310_ellesmere_cam4_02_0010_4K.jpg

I know that many of you will want us to start guessing at what performance level the new RX 480 will actually fall, and trust me, I've been trying to figure it out. Based on TFLOPS rating and memory bandwidth alone, it seems possible that the RX 480 could compete with the GTX 1070. But if that were the case, I don't think even AMD is crazy enough to set the price this far below where the GTX 1070 launched, $379. 

9310_ellesmere_cam3_02_0010_4K.jpg

I would expect the configuration of the GCN architecture to remain mostly unchanged on Polaris, compared to Hawaii, for the same reasons that we saw NVIDIA leave Pascal's basic compute architecture unchanged compared to Maxwell. Moving to the new process node was the primary goal and adding to that with drastic shifts in compute design might overly complicate product development.

9310_ellesmere_cam2_02_0010_4K.jpg

In the past, we have observed that AMD's GCN architecture tends to operate slightly less efficiently in terms of rated maximum compute capability versus realized gaming performance, at least compared to Maxwell and now Pascal. With that in mind, the >5 TFLOPS offered by the RX 480 likely lies somewhere between the Radeon R9 390 and R9 390X in realized gaming output. If that is the case, the Radeon RX 480 should have performance somewhere between the GeForce GTX 970 and the GeForce GTX 980. 

polaris-15 (1).jpg

AMD claims that the RX 480 at $199 is set to offer a "premium VR experience" that has previously be limited to $500 graphics cards (another reference to the original price of the GTX 980 perhaps...). AMD claims this should have a dramatic impact on increasing the TAM (total addressable market) for VR.

In a notable market survey, price was a leading barrier to adoption of VR. The $199 SEP for select Radeon™ RX Series GPUs is an integral part of AMD’s strategy to dramatically accelerate VR adoption and unleash the VR software ecosystem. AMD expects that its aggressive pricing will jumpstart the growth of the addressable market for PC VR and accelerate the rate at which VR headsets drop in price:

  • More affordable VR-ready desktops and notebooks
  • Making VR accessible to consumers in retail
  • Unleashing VR developers on a larger audience
  • Reducing the cost of entry to VR

AMD calls this strategy of starting with the mid-range product its "Water Drop" strategy with the goal "at releasing new graphics architectures in high volume segments first to support continued market share growth for Radeon GPUs."

So what do you guys think? Are you impressed with what Polaris looks like its going to be now?

ASUS Announces Zenfone 3 Smartphone Family

Subject: Mobile | May 30, 2016 - 02:14 PM |
Tagged: zenfone 3, snapdragon 820, Snapdragon 625, smartphone, ips, computex 2016, computex, asus, Android, AMOLED

The Zenfone 3 family has been officially announced, and ASUS has provided all of the details of these new Android smartphones from Computex 2016.

zenfone_3_family.png

The Zenfone 3 family is comprised of three phones; the Zenfone 3, Zenfone 3 Deluxe, and the massive Zenfone 3 Ultra. The first of these is the standard Zenfone 3, which replaces the Zenfone 2 not only in number, but architecture. While the previous version was powered by an Intel SoC, this new Zenfone contains a conventional ARM-based SoC; the Snapdragon 625.

Zenfone_3.jpg

A 5.5-inch device with a FHD (1920x1080) IPS display protected by Gorilla Glass 4, the 7.69 mm thick Zenfone 3 also boasts a 16MP “PixelMaster” camera with OIS and “ultra-fast 0.03s instant focus” for clear photos. Other features include a sizable 4GB of RAM, a “5-magnet” speaker design and 24-bit/192kHz high-resolution audio support, and a 3000 mAh battery. The phone uses USB Type-C connectivity, and arrives with Android 6.0 with ZenUI 3.0.

ZF3_deluxe.jpg

Moving to the Zenfone 3 Deluxe, this higher-end model offers a slightly larger 5.7” FHD AMOLED display (rather than IPS), and adds Quick Charge 3.0 for the 3000 mAh, and USB 3.0 speed to the Type-C connector. The SoC powering the Deluxe is the biggest upgrade over the standard Zenfone 3, with the powerful Snapdragon 820 replacing the base model’s Snapdragon 625.

If you enjoy a more tablet-like experience, the 6.8-inch (!) Zenfone 3 Ultra might be for you!

zenfone_ultra.png

While still FHD at this tablet-like size, the rear camera on the Ultra is a big upgrade, with a 23MP PixelMaster Camera (via the Sony IMX318 sensor). The battery is also a big upgrade over the smaller phones, as the larger chassis allows a 4600 mAh capacity. The big question (pun intended) becomes, will people want to use a 6.8-inch smartphone? To which the answer must be, no, we will hold out for the 7+ inch phones! (Or not.)

As to pricing, the Zenfone 3 is nearly as aggressive as the previous version, with an MSRP of $249. The Deluxe version is priced much more like premium handset at $499, and the Ultra is just behind it at $479. Availablity has not been announced.

Source: ASUS

ASUS Avalon concept PC merges desktops and DIY with cable-free mindset

Subject: Graphics Cards, Motherboards, Systems, Shows and Expos | May 30, 2016 - 08:04 AM |
Tagged: crazy people, concept, computex 2016, computex, avalon, asus

If you expected Computex to be bland and stale this year, ASUS has something that is going to change your mind. During the company's Republic of Gamers press conference, it revealed a concept PC design it has been working on dubbed Avalon. The goal of this project was to improve on the fundamental design of the PC; something that hasn't changed for decades. ASUS wanted to show that you could build a platform that would allow DIY machines to be "more modular, easier to build, and more tightly integrated."

system-closed.jpg

The result is a proof of concept design that looks more like a high end turntable than a PC. In reality, you are looking at a machine that has been totally redesigned, from the power supply to motherboard and case integration to cooling considerations and more. ASUS has posted a great story that goes into a lot of detail on Avalon, and it's clear this is a project the team has been working on for some time.

The brainchild of Jonathan Chu, the Avalon concept takes a notebook-like approach to desktop design. The motherboard is designed in conjunction with the chassis to enable more seamless cooperation between the two.

system-open.jpg

The first example of changes to Avalon is something as simple as the front panel connectors on a case. Connecting them to your motherboard is the same today, basically, as it has ever been. But if you are the manufacturer or designer of both the chassis and the motherboard itself, it is trivial to have the buttons, lights and even additional capabilities built into a specific location on the PCB that matches with access points on the case. 

io.jpg

Re-thinking the rear IO panel was another target: making it modular and connected to the system via PCI Express means you can swap connectivity options based on the user's needs. Multiple Gigabit NICs a requirement? Done. Maximum USB capability? Sure. Even better, by making the back panel IO a connected device, it can host storage and sound controllers on its own, allowing for improved audio solutions and flexible data configurations. 

psu.jpg

ASUS even worked in a prototype power supply that is based on the SFX form factor but that uses a server-style edge connector, removing wires from the equation. It then becomes the motherboard's responsibility to distribute power through the other components; which again is easy to work through if you are designing these things in tandem. Installing or swapping a power supply becomes as simple as pulling out a drive tray.

This is all made possible by an internal structure that looks like this:

guts1.jpg

Rethinking how a motherboard is built, how it connects to the outside world and to other components, means that ASUS was able to adjust and change just about everything. The only area that remains the same is for the discrete graphics card. These tend to draw too much power to use any kind of edge connector (though the ASUS story linked above says they are working on a solution) and thus you see short run cables from a break out on the motherboard to the standard ROG graphics card.

system-graphics.jpg

The ASUS EdgeUp story has some more images and details and I would encourage you to check it out if you find this topic compelling; I know I do. There are no prices, no release dates, no plans for sampling yet. ASUS has built a prototype that is "right on the edge of what’s possible" and they are looking for feedback from the community to see what direction they should go next.

Will the DIY PC in 2020 be a completely different thing than we build today? It seems ASUS is asking the same question.

Source: ASUS EdgeUp