PC Perspective Podcast #530 - New NVMe SSDs, RTX 2060 Overclocking, and AMD Q4 Earnings

Subject: General Tech | February 1, 2019 - 08:50 AM |
Tagged: wd black, W-3175X, TSMC, ssd, SFX, seasonic, samsung 970 evo, Samsung, RTX 2060, radeon vii, quarterly earnings, overclocking, NVMe, gtx 1660 ti, cooler master, benchmarks, podcast

PC Perspective Podcast #530 - 1/30/2019

This week on the show, we have reviews of two power supplies, two new NVMe SSDs from Samsung and Western Digital, a look at a new low-profile keyboard from Cooler Master, more RTX 2060 benchmarks and overclocking, Radeon VII rumors and leaked benchmarks, AMD's Q4 earnings, and more!

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Check out previous podcast episodes: http://pcper.com/podcast

Show Topics
00:02:30 - Review: Seasonic SGX-650 PSU
00:04:13 - Review: Cooler Master MWE Gold 750W PSU
00:05:21 - Review: WD Black SN750 NVMe SSD
00:10:33 - Review: Samsung 970 EVO Plus NVMe SSD
00:18:18 - Review: Cooler Master SK630 Low Profile Keyboard
00:21:42 - Review: RTX 2060 1440p & Overclocking Benchmarks
00:27:57 - News: Trouble at TSMC?
00:31:00 - News: AMD Gonzalo APU & Next-Gen Console Specs
00:39:47 - News: Radeon VII Rumors & Benchmarks
00:44:15 - News: GTX 1660 Ti Rumors
00:46:50 - News: Samsung OLED Displays for Notebooks
00:50:14 - News: Backblaze HDD Longevity Report
00:52:44 - News: Intel 28-Core Xeon W-3175X
00:58:41 - News: Samsung 1TB eUFS Chip for Smartphones
01:01:56 - News: AMD Q4 Earnings
01:13:48 - Picks of the Week
01:20:59 - Outro

Picks of the Week
Jim: 36 Bottles of NyQuil
Jeremy: Legend of Zelda Total Conversion for Doom
Josh: Kindle Paperwhite
Sebastian: ShutUp10

Today's Podcast Hosts
Sebastian Peak
Josh Walrath
Jeremy Hellstrom
Jim Tanous

Samsung's new 970 EVO is almost double Plus good

Subject: Storage | January 22, 2019 - 03:27 PM |
Tagged: storage, ssd, Samsung, NVMe, M.2 2280, M.2, IOPS, EVO, 970 EVO, 3d nand

Jim was not the only one who completed benchmarking Samsung's new 970 EVO Plus, The Tech Report also chewed on the new gum stick for a while.  Whereas we had the 1TB model, it was the 500GB model which they reviewed and while many of the specifications are the same there are some slight differences worth investigating.  Their custom RoboBench tests real performance and shows just how impressive this drives performance is.  Not only is this drive faster than the previous generations, the price is also much more attractive as we are supposed to see this 500GB drive sell for $130 and the 1TB for $250; let's hope that is the case!

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"Samsung's 900-series EVO drives have been mainstays since NVMe went mainstream. The company has released a newly refreshed version of the 970 EVO that's so good they gave it a "Plus" suffix. We take it apart to see if it's as good as it sounds."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

Author:
Subject: Storage
Manufacturer: Samsung

Samsung today is launching a new member of its consumer-targeted family of NVMe SSDs, the Samsung 970 EVO Plus. Thanks to the upgrade from 64-layer to 96-layer V-NAND, this new drive promises significantly better write performance, a slight bump to overall responsiveness, and improved efficiency all in the same single-sided package at capacities up to 2TB.

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This new drive, a mid-cycle refresh that keeps the well-regarded 970-series on the market, looks impressive on paper. But do those soaring advertised IOPS and insane write speeds hold up in reality? Check out our initial review of the Samsung 970 EVO Plus.

Author:
Subject: Storage
Manufacturer: Western Digital

WD Black SN750 NVMe SSD Review

Western Digital today is launching the latest version of its Black-series NVMe SSDs. Like its predecessor, the WD Black SN750 is targeted at gamers, introducing a new "Gaming Mode" that tunes the drive to favor performance over power efficiency.

The drive will be available in two variants — one including a heatsink and one without — in capacities up to 2TB. Western Digital worked with cooling experts EK to design the heatsink.

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We had a brief time to review the 1TB non-heatsink model and have some initial performance results to share.

Read on for our review of the WD Black SN750 NVMe SSD.

Phison Previews PCIe Gen4 x4 NVMe with PS5016-E16 Controller

Subject: Storage | January 11, 2019 - 09:36 AM |
Tagged: ssd controller, ssd, solid state drive, PS5016-E16, phison, PCIe Gen4, PCI Express 4.0, NVMe

One of the areas that can see an immediate impact from PCI Express Gen 4 which will first arrive with AMD’s upcoming Ryzen desktop processors is storage, and to that end Phison is not waiting around to show just what we can expect from the first generation of PCIe Gen4 SSDs.

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Phison PS5016-E16 performance slide (image credit: ComputerBase)

The company’s PS5016-E16 controller was on display at CES in a prototype device, and is powered by a quad-core solution combining two ARM cores with a pair of proprietary CO-X processor cores from Phison. Basic specs from Phison include:

  • PCIe Gen4 x4 NVMe
  • 8 Channels with 32 CEs
  • NAND interface: 800 MT/s support
  • DDR4 interface: 1600 Mb/s support
  • 3D TLC and QLC support
  • Designed with Phison’s 4th Gen LDPC Engine

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Phison PS5016-E16 prototype device (image credit: Legit Reviews)

As to performance, Phison lists sequentials of 4000 MB/s reads and 4100 MB/s writes, while providing a graphic showing CrystalDiskMark results slightly exceeding these numbers. How can Phison exceed the potential of PCIe Gen3 x4 with this early demo? As reported by Legit Reviews Phison is using a Gen4HOST add-in card from PLDA, which “uses a PCIe 3.0 x16 (upstream) to PCIe 4.0 x8 (downstream) integration backplane for development and validation of PCIe 4.0 endpoints”.

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Phison PS5016-E16 demo system in action (image credit: Legit Reviews)

The Phison PCIe Gen4 x4 NVMe controller is expected to hit the consumer market by Q3 2019.

Source: ComputerBase
Subject: Storage
Manufacturer: Crucial

Introduction

Once we saw Intel launch QLC flash installed in their recent 660p M.2 part, I had a feeling that Micron would not be far behind, and that feeling has been confirmed with the launch of the Crucial P1 M.2 SSDs:

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Both the 500GB and 1TB models are single sided. The 2TB (not yet released) will likely have packages installed at the rear.

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No surprises with the packaging. Does the job just fine.

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Specs are also reasonably standard for an NVMe SSD at this point, though we do see a bit more of a falloff at the lower capacities here. This is partially due to the use of QLC flash, even though these specs are likely assuming full use of the available SLC cache. Since QLC allows for higher capacity per die, that translates to fewer dies for a given SSD total capacity, which lowers overall performance even at SLC speeds. This is a common trait/tradeoff for the use of higher capacity dies.

Read on for our review of the Crucial P1!

Subject: Storage
Manufacturer: Samsung

Introduction

For years we have been repeatedly teased by Samsung. Launch after successful launch in the consumer SSD space, topping performance charts nearly every time, but what about enterprise? Oh sure, there were plenty of launches on that side, with the company showing off higher and higher capacity 2.5" enterprise SSDs year after year, but nobody could ever get their hands on one, and even the higher tier reviewers could not confirm Samsung's performance claims. While other SSD makers would privately show me performance comparison data showing some Samsung enterprise part walking all over their own enterprise parts, there was not much concern in their voices since only a small group of companies had the luxury of being on Samsung's short list of clients that could purchase these products. Announcements of potentially groundbreaking products like the Z-SSD were soured by press folk growing jaded by unobtanium products that would likely never be seen by the public.

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Samsung has recently taken some rather significant steps to change that tune. They held a small press event in September, where we were assured that enterprise SSD models were coming to 'the channel' (marketing speak for being available on the retail market). I was thrilled, as were some of the Samsung execs who had apparently been pushing for such a move for some time.

As a next step towards demonstrating that Samsung is dedicated to their plan, I was recently approached to test a round of their upcoming products. I accepted without hesitation, have been testing for the past week, and am happy to now bring you detailed results obtained from testing eight different SSDs across four enterprise SSD models. Testing initially began with three of the models, but then I was made aware that the Z-SSD was also available for testing, and given the potential significance of that product and its placement as a competitor to 3D XPoint products like Intel's Optane, I thought it important to include that testing as well, making this into one heck of a Samsung Enterprise SSD roundup!

One large note before we continue - this is an enterprise SSD review. Don't expect to see game launches, SYSmark runs, or boot times here. The density of the data produced by my enterprise suite precludes most easy side-by-side comparisons, so I will instead be presenting the standard full-span random and sequential results for fully conditioned drives, marking the rated specs on the charts as we go along. High-Resolution QoS will also be used throughout, as Quality of Service is one of the most important factors to consider when choosing SSDs for enterprise usage. In short, the SSDs will be tested against their own specifications, with the exception of some necessary comparisons between the Samsung Z-SSD and the Intel Optane SSD DC P4800X which I will squeeze in towards the end of this very lengthy and data-dense review.

Read on for our full review of Samsung's new enterprise products!

It's Crucial not to try two new things at once

Subject: Storage | December 7, 2018 - 03:24 PM |
Tagged: crucial, QLC, P1, 500gb, PCIe SSD, NVMe

The Crucial P1 SSD marks two firsts for the company, their first NVMe drive as well as their first SSD using QLC flash. The drive differs from Samsung's QVO in that it uses Micron's 64-layer 3D QLC flash and an SM2263 controller but still uses QLC flash, much to the dismay of The Tech Report, amongst others.  The 500GB drive currently sells for $110, which is attractive but when you look at the performance, it seems perhaps a bit expensive; which is not good.

Check it out here, or read some of our old TLC reviews if you can't stand the QLC.

drive-bare.jpg

"Powered by Micron's 3D quad-level-cell NAND, the Crucial P1 might be a herald of QLC-dominated days to come. We put Crucial's first NVMe drive through its paces to see how increasing the number of bits per cell affects performance."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage

Snapdragon 8cx is Qualcomm’s answer to higher-performance for Windows PCs

Subject: Mobile | December 6, 2018 - 08:38 PM |
Tagged: snapdragon x24, snapdragon, qualcomm, NVMe, kryo 495, adreno 680, 8cx

While yesterday was all about Snapdragon 855, and the enhancements it will bring to mobile devices, Qualcomm’s focus today at their Snapdragon Tech Summit was all about the “Always on, Always connected” (AOAC) PC.

Announced almost exactly a year ago, AOAC is the term that Qualcomm uses to brand Snapdragon devices featuring the Windows operating system.

8cx-1.png

In the past year, Qualcomm has shipped PCs based on both the Snapdragon 835 and well as the PC-only Snapdragon 850 SoCs.

Today, Qualcomm is taking the wraps off of their higher-performance Snapdragon option for PCs, Snapdragon 8cx.

Snapdragon 8cx Badge.jpg

From the start, Qualcomm assures us that Snapdragon 8cx won’t be completely replacing Snapdragon 850 in the marketplace, pointing to it being a more upmarket solution.

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Kryo 495

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Unlike the Prime Core design on the Snapdragon 855, the 8cx platform is sticking with a more traditional BIG.little design with four performance and four efficiency cores. However, we do see larger cache sizes than previous Snapdragons, with a total of 10MB system cache.

8cx-5.png

Qualcomm did make a few performance claims against Intel's notebook parts, but they are a bit confusing.

While they did compare the Snapdragon 8cx to Intel's mainstream 15W U-series quad-core mobile CPUs, the performance numbers Qualcomm showed were for both CPUs running at 7W. 

Qualcomm says this is because of the thermal constraints of a fanless design, of which all the Snapdragon PCs are, but looking at the thermal performance of real-world fanless PCs with Intel U-series processors like the Surface Pro 6 with a Core-i5, 7W seems to be a lower power level than that PC ever actually sees.

As always, only time and independent performance analysis will tell the true competitive nature of these CPUs.

Adreno 680

Also all-new for Snapdragon 8cx is the Adreno 680 GPU, what Qualcomm is touting as their fastest GPU ever with a 2x performance improvement and 60% greater power efficiency over Snapdragon 850.

8cx-3.png

On the connectivity side, Adreno 680 will provide desktop-level outputs, including support for up to two simultaneous 4K HDR displays.

Despite the significant performance increases on the GPU side, Qualcomm is claiming that the Adreno 680 GPU in Snapdragon 8cx is 60% more efficient than the Adreno GPU in their current lead PC platform, Snapdragon 850.

Snapdragon X24

Snapdragon 8cx will sport the same X24 modem we saw announced alongside the Snapdragon 855 yesterday.

8cx-7.png

This new modem will enable both LTE connections up to 2Gbps as we saw with Snapdragon 855, but judging from the specification sheet that was provided, 8cx seems to lack the ability for Wifi-6 (802.11ax) and 802.11ay.

In addition, Qualcomm also teased that 5G-enabled 8cx devices (likely with the Snapdragon x50 modem) will also be coming in 2019.

Connectivity

One of the most significant downsides for the current generation of Snapdragon-powered PCs has been the carryover of UFS storage from the mobile phone side. While UFS can provide a sufficient experience on Android devices, it became a significant bottleneck on Windows-based devices.

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Thanks to an available four lanes of PCI Express 3.0 connectivity, the Snapdragon 8cx will provide support for NVMe SSDs. While Qualcomm still hasn’t implemented a native NVMe controller into their SSD like Apple, this will at least enable the option for faster storage coming from OEMs.

However, it remains to be seen how many OEMs adopt NVMe SSDs in their Snapdragon 8cx products, due to the added cost, and potential thermal issues with higher performance, PCIe SSD in a fan-less form factor.

Software

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Another pain point for Snapdragon PCs has been software support. While the initial Windows on Snapdragon releases were able to run native ARM 32bit applications as well as emulate 32bit x86 applications, software support has come a long way for this platform in the past year.

One of the biggest areas of concern has been native browser support. Currently, the only native ARM browser on Windows is Edge. With Microsoft's announced move of Edge to the Chromium rendering system, we will now gain an implementation of the open source engine that power Google Chrome, but not the Chrome browser itself yet.

8cx-9.png

Mozilla however, is set to ship a native ARM64 version of Firefox in the coming months, which will be the first high-performance answer to Edge for the Windows on Snapdragon platform.

Microsoft was also on stage today discussing how they are bringing Windows 10 Enterprise to Snapdragon devices, allowing for more wide deployments of these machines in large corporations.

Pricing and Availability

Despite bringing Lenovo on stage at the event to talk about their partnership with Qualcomm, no actual devices or even manufactures of 8cx devices were officially announced today.

Due to that, we have no real information on pricing or availability on Snapdragon 8cx-powered systems besides that they are coming in 2019, at some point.

That being said since Snapdragon 850 is still sticking around as an option in the marketplace, expect Snapdragon 8cx devices to be more expensive than the current crop of Snapdragon-enabled PCs.

Snapdragon 8cx Chip Comparison, US Coin.jpg

We expect more information to come on Snapdragon 8cx in the coming months at CES and MWC, so stay tuned for more information as it becomes available!

Source: Qualcomm
Subject: Storage
Manufacturer: MyDigitalDiscount

MyDigitalDiscount doesn't seem to have been satisfied with their performance BPX line or their value SBX line, and have now launched a BPX Pro, which looks to carry the budget pricing of the SBX while offering performance *higher* than the original BPX. How much faster is the BPX Pro than the BPX? That's what this review sets to find out, so let's get to it.

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Specs:

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Internals:

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With the label peeled back, we find the Phison E12, coupled to Toshiba BiCS3 TLC NAND. PCBs are single sided up to 480GB. 960GB (and 2TB - not in this review) employ a different PCB with additional DRAM and two more flash packages on the flip side.

Read on for the results and conclusion!