Intel Plans Ghost Canyon X NUC With Discrete Graphics Support In 2020

Subject: General Tech, Systems, Mobile | December 13, 2018 - 01:02 AM |
Tagged: Intel

Slated for an early 2020 release, Intel is planning a new larger (but still) small form factor NUC system dubbed Ghost Canyon X according to a report by FanlessTech. Ghost Canyon X will feature a larger 5 liter form factor that will be able to accomodate a discrete graphics card along with both M.2 and SATA 3 storage.

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The Ghost Canyon X NUC will be powered by 9th Generation Coffee Lake HR processors that will come in i5 and i7 flavors. The chips have a 45W TDP and will come in quad core i5-9XXXH, six core i7, or eight core i7-9XXXH configurations (with HyperThreading) and will be paired with two DDR4 DIMMs (up to 64GB DDR4 2400 MHz or 32GB DDR4 2666 MHz). Ghost Canyon X NUCs will have three HDMI 2.0 video outputs, two Thunderbolt 3 ports, and a SD card slot for external I/O (likely along with USB 3.1 and audio outputs though those are not pictured). Internal storage includes up to 3 M.2 drives (two M.2 2242 80/110 and one 80mm) using PCI-E 3.0 x4 links and SATA 3 for standard hard drives and SATA SSDs. The biggest change with the NUC platform is the inclusion of a single PCI-E x16 slot which can be used to add a discrete graphics card to the system. While 5 liters is quite a jump up from the 0.7L standard NUCs and the 1.2L of the Kaby Lake-G powered Hades Canyon gaming NUC, it is still a fairly small system so not all graphics cards are going to fit but enthusiasts should be able to use GPUs that have shorter Mini ITX designs easily enough.

FanlessTech notes that the reference Ghost Canyon X NUC will most likely be actively cooled, but third party fanless cases from makers like Akassa, Streacom, Tranquil PC and others should be achievable with a 45W TDP CPU (and even GPU if you go with a lower end model).

Further details are still unknown and the pictured case design is still subject to change as the system gets further along in the design process and closer to launch. Curiously, that expected early 2020 Ghost Canyon X launch would coincide with Intel’s plans for launching its own discrete graphics solution so an Intel NUC with an Intel graphics card would be an interesting system to see!

Stay tuned for updated NUC information as we get closer to Computex 2019 and CES 2020!

Source: FanlessTech

Intel's Optane DC Persistent Memory DIMMs Push Latency Closer to DRAM

Subject: Storage | December 12, 2018 - 09:17 AM |
Tagged: ssd, Optane, Intel, DIMM, 3D XPoint

Intel's architecture day press release contains the following storage goodness mixed within all of the talk about 3D chip packaging:

Memory and Storage: Intel discussed updates on Intel® Optane™ technology and the products based upon that technology. Intel® Optane™ DC persistent memory is a new product that converges memory-like performance with the data persistence and large capacity of storage. The revolutionary technology brings more data closer to the CPU for faster processing of bigger data sets like those used in AI and large databases. Its large capacity and data persistence reduces the need to make time-consuming trips to storage, which can improve workload performance. Intel Optane DC persistent memory delivers cache line (64B) reads to the CPU. On average, the average idle read latency with Optane persistent memory is expected to be about 350 nanoseconds when applications direct the read operation to Optane persistent memory, or when the requested data is not cached in DRAM. For scale, an Optane DC SSD has an average idle read latency of about 10,000 nanoseconds (10 microseconds), a remarkable improvement.2  In cases where requested data is in DRAM, either cached by the CPU’s memory controller or directed by the application, memory sub-system responsiveness is expected to be identical to DRAM (<100 nanoseconds).
 
The company also showed how SSDs based on Intel’s 1 Terabit QLC NAND die move more bulk data from HDDs to SSDs, allowing faster access to that data.

Did you catch that? 3D XPoint memory in DIMM form factor is expected to have an access latency of 350 nanoseconds! That's down from 10 microseconds of the PCIe-based Optane products like Optane Memory and the P4800X. I realize those are just numbers, and showing a nearly 30x latency improvement may be easier visually, so here:

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Above is an edit to my Bridging the Gap chart from the P4800X review, showing where this new tech would fall in purple. That's all we have to go on for now, but these are certainly exciting times. Consider that non-volatile storage latencies have improved by nearly 100,000x over the last decade, and are now within striking distance (less than 10x) of DRAM! Before you get too excited, realize that Optane DIMMs will be showing up in enterprise servers first, as they require specialized configurations to treat DIMM slots as persistent storage instead of DRAM. That said, I'm sure the tech will eventually trickle down to desktops in some form or fashion. If you're hungry for more details on what makes 3D XPoint tick, check out how 3D XPoint works in my prior article.

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Intel Unveils Next-Gen Sunny Cove CPU, Gen11 Graphics, and 3D Stacking Technology

Subject: Processors | December 12, 2018 - 09:00 AM |
Tagged: xeon, Sunny Cove, processor, intel core, Intel, integrated graphics, iGPU, Foveros, cpu, 3D stacking

Intel’s Architecture Day was held yesterday and brought announcements of three new technologies. Intel shared details of a new 3D stacking technology for logic chips, a brand new CPU architecture for desktop and server, and some surprising developments on the iGPU front. Oh, and they mentioned that whole discrete GPU thing…

3D Stacking for Logic Chips

First we have Foveros, a new 3D packaging technology that follows Intel’s previous EMIB (Embedded Multi-die Interconnect Bridge) 2D packaging technology and enables die-stacking of high-performance logic chips for the first time.

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“Foveros paves the way for devices and systems combining high-performance, high-density and low-power silicon process technologies. Foveros is expected to extend die stacking beyond traditional passive interposers and stacked memory to high-performance logic, such as CPU, graphics and AI processors for the first time.”

Foveros will allow for a new “chiplet” paradigm, as “I/O, SRAM, and power delivery circuits can be fabricated in a base die and high-performance logic chiplets are stacked on top”. This new approach would permit design elements to be “mixed and matched”, and allow new device form-factors to be realized as products can be broken up into these smaller chiplets.

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The first range of products using this technology are expected to launch in the second half of 2019, beginning with a product that Intel states “will combine a high-performance 10nm compute-stacked chiplet with a low-power 22FFL base die,” which Intel says “will enable the combination of world-class performance and power efficiency in a small form factor”.

Intel Sunny Cove Processors - Coming Late 2019

Next up is the announcement of a brand new CPU architecture with Sunny Cove, which will be the basis of Intel’s next generation Core and Xeon processors in 2019. No mention of 10nm was made, so it is unclear if Intel’s planned transition from 14nm is happening with this launch (the last Xeon roadmap showed a 10 nm transition with "Ice Lake" in 2020).

Intel_CPUs.jpg

Intel states that Sonny Cove is “designed to increase performance per clock and power efficiency for general purpose computing tasks” with new features included “to accelerate special purpose computing tasks like AI and cryptography”.

Intel provided this list of Sunny Cove’s features:

  • Enhanced microarchitecture to execute more operations in parallel.
  • New algorithms to reduce latency.
  • Increased size of key buffers and caches to optimize data-centric workloads.
  • Architectural extensions for specific use cases and algorithms. For example, new performance-boosting instructions for cryptography, such as vector AES and SHA-NI,  and other critical use cases like compression and decompression.

Integrated Graphics with 2x Performance

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Intel slide image via ComputerBase

Intel did reveal next-gen graphics, though it was a new generation of the company’s integrated graphics announced at the event. The update is nonetheless significant, with the upcoming Gen11 integrated GPU “expected to double the computing performance-per-clock compared to Intel Gen9 graphics” thanks to a huge increase in Execution Units, from 24 EUs with Gen9 to 64 EUs with Gen11. This will provide “>1 TFLOPS performance capability”, according to Intel, who states that the new Gen11 graphics are also expected to feature advanced media encode/decode, supporting “4K video streams and 8K content creation in constrained power envelopes”.

And finally, though hardly a footnote, the new Gen11 graphics will feature Intel Adaptive Sync technology, which was a rumored feature of upcoming discrete GPU products from Intel.

Discrete GPUs?

And now for that little part about discrete graphics: At the event Intel simply “reaffirmed its plan to introduce a discrete graphics processor by 2020”. Nothing new here, and this obviously means that we won’t be seeing a new discrete GPU from Intel in 2019 - though the beefed-up Gen11 graphics should provide a much needed boost to Intel’s graphics offering when Sonny Cove launches “late next year”.

Source: Intel

MSI's new Z390; Ace in the hole or jumping the shark?

Subject: Motherboards | December 11, 2018 - 06:19 PM |
Tagged: msi, Z390, Intel, MEG Z390 ACE

MSI's MEG was the cream of the crop for Threadripper, even though it carried a significant price.   Now we have a chance to see how this design works on Intel, as MSI have the MEG Z390 ACE for under $300, to pair with a processor such as the i7-9900K.   MEG sports an enhanced backplate, as you can see from the picture below, for those who like to insert a lot of extras into their motherboard. 

As for general performance, stability and overclocking?  Check out [H]ard|OCP's review to see why the board was sporting Gold once it was unstrapped from the bench.

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"The MSI Enthusiast Gaming lineup expands once again with two Z390 offerings for Intel’s latest 9000 series CPUs. The MEG boards offer a blend of quality, features, with power delivery, and overclocking in mind. MSI has certainly raised the bar for its products over the last few years. So our expectations for the ACE motherboard are high."

Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:

Motherboards

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Out on a branch, speculating about possible architectural flaws

Subject: General Tech | December 10, 2018 - 12:38 PM |
Tagged: spectre, splitspectre, speculator, security, arm, Intel, amd

The discovery of yet another variant of Spectre vulnerability is not good news for already exhausted security experts or reporters, but there is something new in this story which offers a glimmer of hope.  A collaborative team of researchers from Northeastern University and IBM found this newest design law using an automatic bug finding tool they designed, called Speculator.

They designed the tool to get around the largest hurdle security researchers face, the secrecy of AMD, Intel and ARM who are trying to keep the recipe for their special sauce secret, and rightly so.  Protecting their intellectual properly is paramount to their stockholders and there are arguments about the possible effectiveness of security thorough obscurity in protecting consumers from those with nefarious intent but it does come at a cost for those hunting bugs for good. 

Pop by The Register for details on how Speculator works.

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"SplitSpectre is a proof-of-concept built from Speculator, the team's automated CPU bug-discovery tool, which the group plans to release as open-source software."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register

"MESO have very exciting ferromagnetic personality", claims Intel

Subject: General Tech | December 5, 2018 - 01:20 PM |
Tagged: Intel, meso, CMOS

Intel might have pulled one over on us, after all, assuming the last five years of effort designing a replacement for CMOS design bear fruit.  Their new magneto-electric spin-orbit design not only uses significantly less power than traditional designs, but Intel also claims it offers five times better logic density.  If they are able to bring this technology to fruition, their 10nm woes may not be as much of a setback as it currently seems.  The Register has a link to the Nature article, if you would like to know more.

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"Chipzilla claimed its magneto-electric spin-orbit (MESO) technology's important characteristics are low voltage (as much as five times below today's CMOS-based chips) and consequently lower power (between 10 and 30 times lower than CMOS)."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register

Getting the most out of the i5-9600K

Subject: Processors | November 30, 2018 - 06:34 PM |
Tagged: Core i5-9600K, overclocking, Intel

For just under $300 and offering decent performance at it's stock clocks of 3.7GHz and 4.6GHz Turbo, the i5-9600K is an attractive chip for many looking to build a new system.  However, by overclocking it you can get even more bang for your buck, which is exactly what [H]ard|OCP has been looking into.  They attached a RX480 V3 Radiator, and D5 Photon Reservoir/Pump Combo V2 to cool the chip which let them hit 5.25GHz perfectly stable with some noticeable results.  See the settings they used as well as some tips in their full review.

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"The Intel Core i5-9600K Processor will likely hit the the sweet spot for a lot of desktop PC enthusiasts and gamers. We have a solid 6-Core count with a Turbo Boost clock of 4.6GHz coming in for right around $270. What kind of overclock will the new 9600K CPU support and remain 100% stable?"

Here are some more Processor articles from around the web:

Processors

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Mobile Coffee Lake Sssssss leak

Subject: General Tech | November 27, 2018 - 04:12 PM |
Tagged: Lenovo, coffee lake s, i7-9550U, i5-9250U, i3-9130U, Intel

Lenovo let a secret out today, the model numbers of mobile Coffee Lake S chips, of which we have only officially seen desktop parts so far.  The i7-9550U, i5-9250U and i3-9130U will be available in their new  IdeaPad family and while Lenovo may have labelled them 8th gen, they are very obviously 9th gen parts; this could imply they are also build on their 14nm++.  The Inquirer did not find much more information than the part names, we do not know frequencies or TDPs but as this is a refresh you can expect an iterative improvement in both.

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"While Intel has revealed desktop variants of its ninth-generation Core CPUs, which are effectively a refresh of its Coffee Lake S architecture found in eighth-gen processors, it has yet to reveal details of laptop variants."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Inquirer

H2O Captain, my Captain we are Ryzen from the Deepcool

Subject: Cases and Cooling | November 22, 2018 - 03:50 PM |
Tagged: Deepcool, AIO, watercooling, Captain 240 EX, amd, Intel

The DeepCool Captain 240 EX White is an AiO watercooler, with a 240mm radiator which is available in both RGB and non-RGB models.  It is designed to cool most modern chips, apart from ThreadRipper, and [H]ard|OCP tested it with a Ryzen 7 1700 overclocked to 3.9 GHz @ 1.475V.  The results were interesting, to say the least, so make sure to drop by before falling in love with this particular cooler.

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"Deepcool states its mission is to provide "the best and personalized thermal solutions." Its Captain EX series of AIO CPU coolers has what it calls a "Steam Punk" look with visible liquid flow, but what we are most concerned with is just how well it cools our overclocked and over-volted Ryzen 7 processor. And it has "anti-explosion" rubber material."

Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:

CASES & COOLING

Source: [H]ard|OCP