Podcast #509 - Threadripper 2950X/2990WX, Multiple QLC SSDs, and more!

Subject: General Tech | August 16, 2018 - 03:16 PM |
Tagged: xeon, video, Turning, Threadripper, ssd, Samsung, QLC, podcast, PA32UC, nvidia, nand, L1TF, Intel, DOOM Eternal, asus, amd, 660p, 2990wx, 2950x

PC Perspective Podcast #509 - 08/16/18

Join us this week for discussion on Modded Thinkpads, EVGA SuperNOVA PSUs, and more!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, Allyn Malventano

Peanut Gallery: Ken Addison, Alex Lustenberg

Program length: 1:35:10

Podcast topics of discussion:
  1. There is no 3
  2. Week in Review:
  3. News items of interest:
  4. Other stuff
  5. Picks of the Week:
  6. Closing/outro
 
 
Source:
Author:
Subject: Editorial
Manufacturer: ARM

Aggressively Pursuing New Markets

ARM has had a pretty fascinating history, but for most of its time on this Earth it has not been a very public facing company. After the release of the iPhone and ARM’s dominance in the mobile market, they decided to push their PR efforts up a few notches. Now we finally were able to see some of the inner workings of a company that was once a little known low power CPU designer that licensed cores out to third parties.

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The company was not always as aggressive as what we are seeing now. The mobile space for a long time was dominated by multiple architectures that all have eventually faded away. ARM held steady with design improvements and good customer relations that ensured that they would continue into the future. After the release of the original iPhone, the world changed. Happily for us, ARM changed as well. In previous years ARM would announce products, but they would be at least three years away and few people took notice of what they were up to. I originally started paying attention to ARM as I thought that their cores might have the ability to power mobile gaming and perhaps be integrated into future consoles so that there would be a unified architecture that these providers could lean upon. This was back when the 3DS and PSP were still selling millions of units.

This of course never came to pass as I had expected it to, but at least ARM did make it into the Nintendo Switch. ARM worked hard to quickly put faster, more efficient parts out the door. They also went on a buying spree and acquired several graphics startups that would eventually contribute to the now quite formidable Mali GPU family of products. Today we have an extensive lineup of parts that can be bundled into a tremendous amount of configurations. ARM has a virtual monopoly in the cellphone market because they have been willing to work with anyone who wants to license their designs, technologies, and architectures. This is actually a relatively healthy “monopoly” because the partners do the work to mix and match features to provide unique products to the marketplace. Architectural licensees like Apple, Qualcomm, and Samsung all differentiate their products as well and provide direct competition to the ARM designed cores that are licensed to other players.

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Today we are seeing a new direction from ARM that has never been officially explored. We have been given a roadmap of the next two generations of products from the company that are intended to compete in not only the cellphone market, but also in the laptop market. ARM has thrown down the gauntlet and their sights are set on Intel and AMD. Not only is ARM showing us the codenames for these products, but also the relative performance.

Click here to read the entire ARM Roadmap Editorial!

ThreadRipper 2: Die Four Real

Subject: Processors | August 13, 2018 - 02:18 PM |
Tagged: Zen+, Threadripper, second generation threadripper, ryzen, Intel, Core i9, 7980xe, 7960x, 7900x, 2990wx, 2950x

The 2950X and 2990WX are both ThreadRipper 2 chips but are very different beasts under the hood.  The 2950X has two active die similar to the original chips while the 2990WX has four active die, two of which utilize an Infinity Fabric link to the other two to communicate to the memory subsystem.  The W in the naming convention indicates the 2990WX is designed for workstation tasks and benchmarks support that designation.  You will have seen our results here, but there are many other sources to read through.  [H]ard|OCP offers up a different set of benchmarks in their review, with a similar result; with ThreadRipper AMD has a winner.  The 2990WX is especially important as it opens up the lucrative lower cost workstations market for AMD.

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"AMD teased us a bit last week by showing off its new 2nd Generation Threadripper 2990WX and 2950X packaging and specifications. This week AMD lets us share all our Threadripper data we have been collecting. The 2990WX is likely a lot different part than many people were expecting, and it turns out that it might usher AMD into a newly created market."

Here are some more Processor articles from around the web:

Processors

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Coffee Lake S will be released along with the pumpkin spice

Subject: General Tech | August 13, 2018 - 01:49 PM |
Tagged: Intel, rumour, release, coffee lake s, i9-9900K, i5-9600K, i7-9700K

According to the various sources The Inquirer has, the Coffee Lake refresh will be launched on the first of October, in time to ensure systems builders have models ready for the holidays.  This new processor does not offer a compelling upgrade for those with a modern system, as it is very similar to it's predecessor.  If you have something a little older however, the three new processors offer increased frequencies and core counts, the 9900K sports a default Boost Clock of 5GHz, which is nothing to sneeze at.

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"If you were expecting anything bigger then allow us to disappoint you as, really the ninth-gen chips are mild upgrades on their predecessors, unless Intel has been keeping something very well hidden up its corporate sleeves."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Inquirer
Author:
Subject: Processors
Manufacturer: AMD

Widening the Offerings

Today, we are talking about something that would have seen impossible just a few shorts years ago— a 32-core processor for consumers. While I realize that talking about the history of computer hardware can be considered superfluous in a processor review, I think it's important to understand the context here of why this is just a momentous shift for the industry.

May 2016 marked the launch of what was then the highest core count consumer processor ever seen, the Intel Core i7-6950X. At 10 cores and 20 threads, the 6950X was easily the highest performing consumer CPU in multi-threaded tasks but came at a staggering $1700 price tag. In what we will likely be able to look back on as the peak of Intel's sole dominance of the x86 CPU space, it was an impossible product to recommend to almost any consumer.

Just over a year later saw the launch of Skylake-X with the Intel Core i9-7900X. Retaining the same core count as the 6950X, the 7900X would have been relatively unremarkable on its own. However, a $700 price drop and the future of upcoming 12, 14, 16, and 18-core processors on this new X299 platform showed an aggressive new course for Intel's high-end desktop (HEDT) platform.

This aggressiveness was brought on by the success of AMD's Ryzen platform, and the then upcoming Threadripper platform. Promising up to 16 cores/32 threads, and 64 lanes of PCI Express connectivity, it was clear that Intel would for the first time have a competitor on their hands in the HEDT space that they created back with the Core i7-920.

Fast forward another year, and we have the release of the 2nd Generation Threadripper. Promising to bring the same advancements we saw with the Ryzen 7 2700X, AMD is pushing Threadripper to even more competitive states with higher performance and lower cost. 

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Will Threadripper finally topple Intel from their high-end desktop throne?

Click here to continue reading our review of the Ryzen Threadripper 2950X and 2990WX.

Intel would rather you talk about their new QLC SSDs

Subject: General Tech | August 10, 2018 - 12:37 PM |
Tagged: Intel, QLC NAND, 600p, D5-P4320, PCIe SSD, M.2

Not to be out done by Samsung, Intel have also announced new QLC based SSDs, the 600p series and the D5-P4320.  The two series of drives rely on SLC caches to provide extra lifetime to the QLC flash which is not as robust as other varieties, the 600p is rated at 0.1 drive writes per day and the D5-P4320 is rated for 0.9 sequential writes per day, 0.2 for random writes.  The two drives also share a five year warranty in common.  The D5-P4320 sports a capacity of 7.68TB whereas the 600p comes in more affordable 520GB, 1TB and 2TB capacities.  Drop by The Inquirer for more information on the two new series of NVMe SSDs from Intel.

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"The SSD 660p is a single-sided M.2 format consumer drive following on from the 600p with 52GB, 1TB and 2TB capacities. The 600p topped out at 1TB."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Inquirer

Intel Shows Latest Xeon Roadmap at Data Centric Innovation Summit

Subject: Processors | August 8, 2018 - 07:39 PM |
Tagged: xeon, intel DL boost, Intel, ice lake, dcg, data centric, cooper lake, cascade lake

Today at Intel's Data Center Group's Data-Centric Innovation Summit, they provided a peek into the future of Xeon processors.

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Coming later this year are the oft-rumored Cascade Lake Xeons. In addition to supporting Optane DC Persistent memory, Cascade Lake will offer hardware-based mitigations for Spectre/Meltdown vulnerabilities.  

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Intel Deep Learning Boost will also make its first appearance in the Cascade Lake products. In its first iteration, DL Boost will provide a vector neural network instruction set (VNNI) based on AVX-512 for faster inference acceleration. Intel is working to add VNNI to industry standard deep learning frameworks like TensorFlow and Caffe.

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Next, in late 2019, we have the Cooper Lake architecture. Still based on 14nm technology, Cooper Lake will expand upon Intel DL Boost and add support for the BFloat16 data type, which provides the same level of precision as double precision (32-bit) floating points, but in a smaller (16-bit) data size. 

In 2020, after Cooper Lake, comes Ice Lake – the first 10nm-based Xeon. While details are sparse about what improvements Ice Lake will bring architecturally, Intel has said that it will be compatible with Cooper Lake platforms, giving users an upgrade path.

Source: Intel

EPYC wins in the server room for AMD

Subject: General Tech | August 7, 2018 - 02:18 PM |
Tagged: amd, EPYC, Intel, market share, server

AMD is continuing to see success in the server room, grabbing a bit more market share from Intel this quarter.  The estimated revenue was $57.66m in the Q2 2018 whereas Q1 was $36m, as far as actual market share, AMD has increased their slice of the pie by 1.3% versus an increase of 0.5% this time last year.  AMD is hopeful they can reach 5% by the end of the year; The Register notes that 2.1% or so would be more in line with the current trend.  Regardless this is great news for AMD and indicates the attractiveness of EPYC for those companies looking for server upgrades.

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"Aaron Rakers, senior analyst at Wells Fargo, has seen the second 2018 quarter numbers. He told The Register: "Intel's server CPU share is estimated to have dec lined to 98.7 per cent vs 99 per cent in the prior period and 99.5 per cent a year ago."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: The Inquirer
Subject: Storage
Manufacturer: Intel
Tagged: ssd, SMI, QLC, Intel, 660p, 512GB, 3d nand, 2TB, 1TB

Introduction, Specifications, and Packaging

Introduction:

Flash Memory Summit 2018 is on, and it's rapidly looking like the theme of the year is 'QLC'. QLC stands for Quad Level Cell, which is a bit of a misnomer since there are actually 16 voltage levels of a QLC cell - the 'quad' actually relating to the four bits of data that can be stored at any specific location.

Micron QLC.jpg

Doubling the number of voltage states allows you to store 33% more data in a given number of flash cells, but comes at a cost. The tighter voltage tolerances required and higher sensitivity to cell leakage mean that endurance ratings cannot be as high as TLC or MLC, and programming (writing) requires greater voltage precision, meaning slower writes. Reads may also see a slight penalty since it is more difficult to discriminate more finely grained voltage thresholds. SSD makers have been trying to overcome these hurdles for years, and it seems that Intel is now the first to crack the code, launching their first mainstream QLC SSD:

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Specifications:

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Specifications are not earth shattering but respectable for a budget-minded NVMe SSD. 1.8GB/s sequentials and 250,000 IOPS fall well within NVMe territory. The write figures may be higher than expected given this article intro, but Intel has a few tricks up their sleeves here that help them pull this off:

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While not specifically called out in the specs, Intel has implemented a large dynamic write cache to help overcome slower QLC media write speeds. The idea here is that in the vast majority of typical usage scenarios, the user should never see QLC speeds and will only ever be writing to SLC. The dynamic cache is created by simply operating sections of the QLC media in SLC mode (1TB of QLC = 256GB of SLC). Intel could have gone higher here, but doing so would more negatively impact endurance since erasing blocks of cells wears the flash similarly regardless of the mode it is currently operating in.

Packaging:

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Simple packaging. Nothing to write home about.

Read on for our full review of the Intel SSD 660p 1TB QLC SSD!

AMD Announces 2nd Generation Threadripper with up to 32 Cores

Subject: Processors | August 6, 2018 - 09:00 AM |
Tagged: Zen+, XFR 2.0, Threadripper, StoreMI, ryzen, r7 2700x, Pinnacle Ridge, Intel, Core i9-780xe, amd, 2nd generation threadripper, 12nm

First teased at Computex earlier this summer, AMD has now released details and availability information for their 2nd Generation Threadripper CPUs.

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Based upon the same 12nm Zen+ architecture we saw with the Pinnacle Ridge CPUs like the R7 2700X, Threadripper will now be split into two product families, the X, and the WX series.

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The X-series is mostly a refresh of the Threaripper SKUs that we saw last year, with 12 and 16-core variants. The Threadripper 2920X and 2950X will retain the same two die, 4 CCX arrangement that we saw with the previous generation, with the ability to run in either unified or non-unified memory modes. 

Notably, the 8-core variant found in the original Threadripper lineup seems to be absent in the 2nd generation.

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This new generation of Threadripper comes in less expensive than the last, with a $50 price drop on the 12-core CPU, and a $100 price drop on the 16-core variant.

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The newest aspect of the 2nd Generation Threadripper Lineup is the addition of the "WX" series processors. These higher core count processors are being marketed by AMD more towards "Creators and Innovators" rather than gamers.

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Available in both 24 and 32-core variants, the Threadripper WX series represents the highest core count consumer CPUs ever launched. Since we know that Zen+ dies contain a maximum of 8 cores, we can assume that these processors are using a 4 die configuration, similar to the EPYC server parts, but likely with the same 64 lanes of PCIe and 4 channel memory controllers

This pricing is extremely aggressive compared to the highest core count competitor from Intel, the $2000 18-core i9-7980XE.

All 2nd Generation Threadripper CPUs will include the 2nd Generation Zen features that we saw in the R7 2600 and 2700 series, including XFR 2.0, StoreMI, and improved memory support and latency. 

Additionally, these new Threadripper CPUs will use the existing X399 chipset, with UEFI updates being made available for existing X399 boards, as well as some new variants such as the MSI MEG X399 Creation launching alongside the new CPUs.

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Availability of these processors is staggered, with the 32-core WX CPU shipping first on August 13th (and available now for preorder on Newegg and Amazon), followed shortly by the 16-core 2950X. However, we won't see the 12 and 24 variants until October.

Stay tuned for our review of these parts as they reach retail availability! 

Source: AMD