Samsung has scratched the 7nm itch

Subject: General Tech | October 18, 2018 - 01:11 PM |
Tagged: Samsung, 7nm

A few short years ago 7nm was a holy grail, something to be sought for but unlikely to be successful.  The richest knight in the kingdom is still seeking their goal, while the squires have already got one.  AMD is doing well with their process but it is Sir Samsung whom has met with the most success.  Their trusty EUV proved up to the task and they are no longer seeking a 7nm process and have moved onto sharing the benefits of their quest with the world.  The new chips will be Low Power Plus, and find their way into smartphones, and cell providers, IoT devices and many other applications in the small endian market.  The Inquirer posted a look at how they got there, as well as some definitions if this is all Gallic to you. 

Samsung-EUV-Line_main.jpg

"Normally argon fluoride immersion tech is used for chip lithography. But Samsung is touting the advantages of EUV in cutting down the number of masks needed to allow for the stencilling of transistors on silicon in a certain pattern, and thus cuts down on the time and costs of producing chips."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: The Inquirer

ARM Unveils "Neoverse" Infrastructure

Subject: General Tech | October 16, 2018 - 01:44 PM |
Tagged: UMC, TSMC, Samsung, Neoverse, cosmos, cortex, arm, Ares, A76, 7nm, 7+nm, 5nm

This morning ARM is announcing their new design and technology push called "ARM Neoverse". Neoverse is aimed at providing scalable solutions utilizing ARM technology from the edge to the core datacenter. ARM obviously is well known for the end user solutions that we see in phones, tablets, and now laptops. What most do not realize is that ARM has a significant reach in much of the infrastructure that powers the entire user experience. ARM currently holds around a 30% marketshare for powering high end routers and switches used at the enterprise level. The type of equipment we are talking about here are not the home routers or generic switches, but rather the heavy lifting units that literally power the internet after the requests get out of users houses or from their mobile devices.
 
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The Neoverse roadmap consists of four platforms stretching from now til 2021. Each platform is expected to receive around a 30% increase in overall performance due to a combination of architectural changes as well as process technology improvements. The current architecture is codenamed "Cosmos" and it is based on current 16nm parts. This is followed by the "Ares" platform which will utilize the latest Cortex A76 designs and 7nm process. In 2020 this will transition to the "Zeus" platform which will leverage the latest improvements in 7nm+ process technologies. Finally they expect to release the "Poseidon" platform in 2021 which will be based on a cutting edge 5nm process.
 
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ARM has been slowly building up their technology base through the past several decades to include more and more functionality and features across their entire portfolio. Of great interest is how seriously ARM considers security. The latest designs include some of the most robust security measures integrated on chips. From TrustZone to CryptoIsland, ARM has a very well thought out and implemented security suite that is absolutely necessary for the next generation of connected devices. This again extends from handheld devices to the depths of the data center. We are surrounded by stories of compromised devices and software, so having the extensive security measures designed from the ground up available to partners helps to cement ARM's place in trusted computing.
 
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The amount of IP available to partners is impressive. ARM not only offers the core technologies of CPUs and GPUs, but also the latest machine learning units and encryption accelerators. The fabric that holds it all together is also flexible and scalable from mobile solutions to 100G+ ethernet. This also includes memory controllers that can scale up to 8 units delivering TBs/sec of bandwidth.
 
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It really is impressive to see how far ARM has come in the past decade since the launch of the first iPhone. What was once considered a small, but still important CPU design firm is now the power behind billions of shipping products that power the mobile experience and beyond. ARM has taken the momentum from its first big successes and is now a major force for change that stretches far beyond those initial mobile and low power products. The Neoverse only adds to this. ARM has already found success in powering much of the infrastructure of our modern day networks, but this is looking to take things to another level. Partners will have access to cutting edge IP and solutions to quickly bring specialized and high performing products to market in very short periods of time.
 
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Going forward we will start hearing more about these Neoverse implementations starting with current Cosmos products and spreading quickly throughout the next year with Ares. ARM has so far continued to execute on their roadmaps and provide new and compelling products to their partners on a yearly basis. This does not look to change anytime soon.
Source: ARM

Samsung Unveils Plans for Data Center SSDs You Can Actually Buy!

Subject: Storage | September 5, 2018 - 10:54 PM |
Tagged: Z-NAND, V-NAND, ssd, sata, Samsung, NVMe, 983 ZET, 983 DCT, 883 DCT, 860 DCT

Samsung was strangely absent from FMS this year, but they had us out to NYC yesterday for a briefing we've been waiting a looong time for:

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Above is a spec layout for Data Center SSDs that are to be in the retail channel, meaning they will be available for purchase on the open market, not locked behind exclusivity contracts with a select few corporations, as was the case previously. Here's the abbreviated rundown:

  • 860 DCT
    • SATA
    • Low write workloads
    • 960GB, 2TB, 4TB
    • Low cost (~0.25/GB)
  • 883 DCT
    • SATA
    • Mixed workloads
    • Power Loss Protection
    • 240/480/960GB, 2TB, 4TB
    • $0.30/GB
  • 983 DCT
    • NVMe (M.2 / U.2)
    • Mixed workloads / higher performance
    • Power Loss Protection
    • 960GB, 2TB
    • $0.34/GB

The prices above are MAP (Minimum Advertised Price) as MSRP doesn't carry over to enterprise products quite the same. Performance details are above and below in the full press release, but the gist of them is that they are comparable to current Samsung SATA and NVMe products with the exception of random writes being rated at steady state sustained values (client SSDs are typically rated for reduced span random writes of shorter durations).

There was another thing to check out as well:

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That's Samsung's elusive Z-SSD, now with the model name 983 ZET. It contains slightly modified V-NAND operating in straight SLC mode and with some additional tweaks to help reduce latencies - referred to by Samsung as Z-NAND. Here are the specs:

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We did note that some of what drives those super-fast latencies is the use of a DRAM cache. We won't know how this impacts larger span random performance until we can test this product first-hand. Samsung also showed where they expect these new products to fall relative to other competing offerings:

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I'm thrilled to see Samsung finally opening up their Data Center parts to the rest of the masses. We'll be testing and reviewing these as samples arrive. I personally can't wait, because Samsung's data center parts are known for having amazing QoS performance, and I can't wait to throw our enterprise test suite at them!

Read on for Samsung's full press release, with specs!

Source: Samsung

Podcast #511 - IFA 2018, StoreMI, and more!

Subject: General Tech | August 30, 2018 - 12:58 PM |
Tagged: podcast, xps13, StoreMI, Samsung, radeon pro, nvidia, Intel, ifa 2018, freesync, Azulle, amd, acer

PC Perspective Podcast #511 - 08/30/18

Join us this week for discussion on IFA 2018, StoreMI, 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: Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, Allyn Malventano

Peanut Gallery: Alex Lustenberg

Program length: 1:24:43

Podcast topics of discussion:
  1. Week in Review:
  2. News items of interest:
    1. IFA 2018
  3. Picks of the Week:
    1. 1:27:09 Jeremy: NordVPN deal
    2. 1:29:00 Josh: 3 free games!
    3. 1:33:25 Alex: http://paletton.com/
  4. Closing/outro
 
 
Source:
Subject: Storage
Manufacturer: Samsung

Introduction, Specifications, and Packaging

Samsung has been in the portable SSD business for a good while now. They released their T1 back in 2015, with the T3 and T5 coming in at a yearly cadence. Keeping with tradition, today we see the release of a new model on a new interface - Samsung's new Portable SSD X5:

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(970 EVO included for scale)

While the 'T' branded predecessors were USB 3.0 and 3.1 (Gen1 - limited to 5Gbps), Samsung has now jumped onto the Thunderbolt 3 bandwagon, taking a firmware-tweaked (for encryption) 970 EVO and placing it behind an Intel Alpine Ridge DSL6340 Thunderbolt 3 controller.

Specifications

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Specs of note are the nearly 3GB/s sequential read speed. 2.3GB/s writes are nothing to sneeze at, either. No random performance noted here, but we will fix that with our test suite later on in the article.

Packaging

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Nice packaging and presentation.

Read on for our review of the Samsung Portable SSD X5!

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!

Samsung Begins Mass Production of QLC SATA SSDs for Consumers

Subject: General Tech | August 9, 2018 - 11:10 PM |
Tagged: V-NAND, sata ssd, Samsung, QLC, enterprise ssd

Earlier this week Samsung announced that it has begun mass production on its first consumer solid state drive based on QLC (4 bits per cell) V-NAND. According to the company, the initial drives will offer 4TB capacities and deliver equivalent performance to Samsung’s TLC offerings along with a three year warranty.

Samsung 4TB QLC SSD - photo1.jpg

Samsung claims that its fourth generation V-NAND flash in QLC mode (with 16 voltage states) with 64 layers is able to offer up to 1Tb per chip. The 4TB SATA SSD uses a 3-bit SSD controller, TurboWrite technology, and 32 1Tb QLC V-NAND chips and thanks to the write cache (running the V-NAND in SLC or MLC modes) Samsung is able to wring extra performance out of the drive though it’s obviously limited ultimately by the SATA interface. Specifically, Samsung is promising sequential reads of 540 MB/s and sequential writes of up to 520 MB/s with the new QLC SSD. For comparison, Samsung’s fourth generation V-NAND operating in TLC mode is able to offer up to 256Gb and 512Gb capacities depending on package. Moving to fifth generation V-NAND in TLC mode Samsung is offering 256Gb per chip capacities (using 96 layers). Scouring the internet, it appears that Samsung has yet to reveal what it expects to achieve from 5th generation V-NAND in QLC mode. It should be able to at least match the 1Tb of 4th generation QLC V-NAND with the improved performance and efficiencies of the newer generation (including the faster Toggle DDR 4.0 interface) though I would guess Samsung could get more, maybe topping out at as much as 1.5Tb (eventually and if they use 96 layers--I was finding conflicting info on this). In any event, for futher comparison, Intel and Micron have been able to get 1Tb QLC 3D NAND flash chips and Western Digital and Toshiba are working on 96 Layer BiCS4 which is expected to offer up to 1.33Tb capacities when run in 4-bits per cell mode (QLC).

It seems that Samsung is playing a bit of catch up when it comes to solid state storage using QLC though they do still have a bit of time to launch products this year along with the other players. Samsung claims that it will launch its 4TB 2.5” consumer SSD first with 1TB and 2TB models to follow later this year.

Interestingly (and more vaguely), Samsung mentioned in its press release that it plans to begin rolling out M.2 SSDs for the enterprise market and that it will begin mass producing fifth generation 4-bit V-NAND later this year.

I am looking forward to more details on Samsung’s plans for QLC and especially on the specifications of fifth generation 4-bit V-NAND and the drives that it will enable for both consumer systems and the data center markets.

What are your thoughts on Samsung’s QLC V-NAND?

Also read:

Source: Samsung

Your Android may suffer a Meltdown

Subject: General Tech | August 8, 2018 - 02:19 PM |
Tagged: Android, galaxy s7, Samsung, security, meltdown

Researchers in Austria have found a way to utilize Meltdown to hack Galaxy S7 smartphones, a bad sign for security.  It was previously discovered that ARM's Cortex A75 was susceptible to the vulnerability but this is the first time we have seen this exploit successfully used on a Snapdragon 820 or Exynos 8890 chipset.  Even better is that these researchers have discovered variants which can affect older chipsets, meaning that far more phones may be vulnerable than we ever imagined.  You can take a peek over at The Inquirer, if you are looking to ruin your day.

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"IF YOU LIVE IN THE PAST then best pick your ears up as researchers have found Samsung's Galaxy S7 is vulnerable to hacking due to a chip security flaw."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Inquirer

64 layers of EVOlutionary growth from Samsung

Subject: Storage | August 2, 2018 - 04:24 PM |
Tagged: 860 evo, Samsung, sata, ssd, 64-layer TLC

Samsung have updated their popular SATA SSD series with 64-layer TLC and The Tech Report takes a look at it here.   As you may remember from Al's review back in January, the drive did not show real improvements over the 850 EVO and was occasionally slower at certain tasks.  It has been a while, so has the performance changed over time?  Find out in the full review.

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"Samsung has replaced the longtime reigning champion of the mainstream SSD market. We test out the 860 EVO to see whether doubling V-NAND layers doubles the fun."

Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:

Storage