Subject: Storage | November 20, 2017 - 10:56 PM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: Z-NAND, SZ985, slc, Samsung, P4800X, nand, Intel, flash
We haven't heard much about Samsung's 'XPoint Killer' Z-NAND since Flash Memory Summit 2017, but now we have a bit more to go on:
Yes, actual specs. In print. Not bad either, considering the Samsung SZ985 appears to offer a bus-saturating 3.2GB/s for reads and writes. The 30 DWPD figure matches Intel's P4800X, which is impressive given Samsung's part operates on flash derived from their V-NAND line (but operating in a different mode). The most important figures here are latency, so let's focus there for a bit:
While the SZ985 runs at ~1/3rd the latency of Samsung's own NAND SSDs, it has roughly double the latency of the P4800X. For the moment that is actually not as bad as it seems as it takes a fair amount of platform optimization to see the full performance benefits of optane, and operating slightly higher on the latency spectrum helps negate the negative impacts of incorrectly optimized platforms:
Source: Shrout Research
As you can see above, operating at slightly higher latencies, while netting lower overall performance, does lessen the sting of platform induced IRQ latency penalties.
Now to discuss costs. While we don't have any hard figures, we do have the above slide from FMS 2017, where Samsung stressed that they are trying to get the costs of Z-NAND down while keeping latencies as low as possible.
Image Source: ExtremeTech
Samsung backed up their performance claims with a Technology Brief (available here), which showed decent performance gains and cited use cases paralleling those we've seen used by Intel. The takeaway here is that Samsung *may* be able to compete with the Intel P4800X in a similar performance bracket - not matching the performance but perhaps beating it on cost. The big gotcha is that we have yet to see a single Samsung NVMe Enterprise SSD come through our labs for testing, or anywhere on the market for that matter, so take these sorts of announcements with a grain of salt until we see these products gain broader adoption/distribution.
Subject: General Tech | October 3, 2017 - 10:00 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: VR, Samsung, pc gaming, microsoft
The upcoming Fall Creators Update will be Microsoft’s launch into XR with headsets from a variety of vendors. You can now add Samsung to that list with their Odyssey VR headset and motion controllers, which is important for two reasons. First, Samsung has a lot experience in VR technology as they lead the charge (with their partner, Oculus) in the mobile space.
Second, and speaking of Oculus, the Samsung Odyssey actually has a higher resolution than both it and the HTC Vive (2880x1600 total for Samsung vs 2160 x 1200 total for the other two). This doesn’t seem like a lot, but it’s actually 77% more pixels, which might be significant for text and other fine details. The refresh rate is still 90 Hz, and the field of view is around 110 degrees, which is the same as the HTC Vive. Of course the screen technology, itself, is AMOLED, being that it’s from Samsung and deeper blacks are more important in an enclosed cavity than brightness. In fact, you probably want to reduce brightness in a VR headset so you don’t strain the eyes.
According to Peter Bright of Ars Technica, Microsoft is supporting SteamVR titles, which gives the platform a nice catalog to launch with. The Samsung Odyssey VR headset launched November 6th for $499 USD.
We've been hearing about Intel's VROC (NVMe RAID) technology for a few months now. ASUS started slipping clues in with their X299 motherboard releases starting back in May. The idea was very exciting, as prior NVMe RAID implementations on Z170 and Z270 platforms were bottlenecked by the chipset's PCIe 3.0 x4 DMI link to the CPU, and they also had to trade away SATA ports for M.2 PCIe lanes in order to accomplish the feat. X99 motherboards supported SATA RAID and even sported four additional ports, but they were left out of NVMe bootable RAID altogether. It would be foolish of Intel to launch a successor to their higher end workstation-class platform without a feature available in two (soon to be three) generations of their consumer platform.
To get a grip on what VROC is all about, lets set up some context with a few slides:
First, we have a slide laying out what the acronyms mean:
- VROC = Virtual RAID on CPU
- VMD = Volume Management Device
What's a VMD you say?
...so the VMD is extra logic present on Intel Skylake-SP CPUs, which enables the processor to group up to 16 lanes of storage (4x4) into a single PCIe storage domain. There are three VMD controllers per CPU.
VROC is the next logical step, and takes things a bit further. While boot support is restricted to within a single VMD, PCIe switches can be added downstream to create a bootable RAID possibly exceeding 4 SSDs. So long as the array need not be bootable, VROC enables spanning across multiple VMDs and even across CPUs!
Assembling the Missing Pieces
Unlike prior Intel storage technology launches, the VROC launch has been piecemeal at best and contradictory at worst. We initially heard that VROC would only support Intel SSDs, but Intel later published a FAQ that stated 'selected third-party SSDs' would also be supported. One thing they have remained steadfast on is the requirement for a hardware key to unlock RAID-1 and RAID-5 modes - a seemingly silly requirement given their consumer chipset supports bootable RAID-0,1,5 without any key requirement (and VROC only supports one additional SSD over Z170/Z270/Z370, which can boot from 3-drive arrays).
On the 'piecemeal' topic, we need three things for VROC to work:
- BIOS support for enabling VMD Domains for select groups of PCIe lanes.
- Hardware for connecting a group of NVMe SSDs to that group of PCIe lanes.
- A driver for OS mounting and managing of the array.
Let's run down this list and see what is currently available:
Check. Hardware for connecting multiple drives to the configured set of lanes?
Check (960 PRO pic here). Note that the ASUS Hyper M.2 X16 Card will only work on motherboards supporting PCIe bifurcation, which allows the CPU to split PCIe lanes into subgroups without the need of a PLX chip. You can see two bifurcated modes in the above screenshot - one intended for VMD/VROC, while the other (data) selection enables bifurcation without enabling the VMD controller. This option presents the four SSDs to the OS without the need of any special driver.
With the above installed, and the slot configured for VROC in the BIOS, we are greeted by the expected disappointing result:
Now for that pesky driver. After a bit of digging around the dark corners of the internet:
Check! (well, that's what it looked like after I rapidly clicked my way through the array creation)
Don't even pretend like you won't read the rest of this review! (click here now!)
Subject: General Tech | September 22, 2017 - 02:05 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: DRAM, Samsung, SK Hynix, micron
The change process technology continues to have a negative effect on DRAM supplies and according to the story posted on Electronics Weekly there is no good news in sight. The three major vendors, Samsung, SK Hynix and Micron are all slowing production as a result of new fabs being built and existing production lines upgraded for new process technology such as EUV. This will ensure that prices continue to slowly creep up over the remainder of this year and likely into 2018. Drop by for more information on the challenges each are facing.
"While overall DRAM demand will remain high in 2018, new fabs being planned will not be ready for mass production until 2019 at the earliest."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- What Happened To ReRAM? @ Semiconductor Engineering
- esla Discontinues Its Most Affordable Model S @ Slashdot
- Ah, good ol' Windows update cycles... Wait, before anything else, check your hardware @ The Register
- Asustek to launch next-generation ZenFone 5 in March 2018 @ DigiTimes
- Parrot mimics owner to make purchases using Amazon Echo @ The Inquirer
- BlackBerry's QNX to run autonomous car software @ The Register
- iOS11 turns Bluetooth and Wifi back on if its 5am, or you walk about a bit @ The Inquirer
Subject: General Tech | September 19, 2017 - 11:33 PM | Josh Walrath
Tagged: Intel, China, cannon lake, coffee lake, 10nm, 14nm+, 14nm++, 22FFL, GLOBALFOUNDRIES, Samsung, 22FDX
Subject: General Tech | September 14, 2017 - 12:01 PM | Alex Lustenberg
Tagged: whispermode, video, shadow rock 2, Seasonic FOCUS, Samsung, podcast, nvidia, nuc, MX Ergo, macchina, logitech, iphone x, iphone 8, Intel, hyperx, GTX 1070Ti, Dawson Canyon, Cites: Skylines, BeQuiet, ASUS ZenFone 4 Max, apple, 7nm, 11nm
PC Perspective Podcast #467 - 09/13/17
Join us for discussion on NVIDIA WhisperMode, HyperX Mechanical Keyboards, iPhone 8/X and more!
The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!
- iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the iTunes Store (audio only)
- Google Play - Subscribe to our audio podcast directly through Google Play!
- RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader (audio only)
- MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file
Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, Allyn Malventano
Peanut Gallery: Ken Addison, Alex Lustenberg
Program length: 1:27:20
Week in Review:
News items of interest:
Hardware/Software Picks of the Week
Subject: General Tech | September 11, 2017 - 05:27 PM | Josh Walrath
Tagged: Vega, TSMC, Samsung, ryzen, Intel, euv, 8nm, 7nm, 14nm, 11nm, 10nm
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | August 28, 2017 - 12:31 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Samsung, SK Hynix
Just when you thought it was safe to start GPU shopping, with demand from miners dropping off somewhat, the NAND shortage is set to crank up prices again. First time miners have realize they are not about to become overnight billionaires and the dedicated miners have already picked up their GPUs; unless they just picked up this board, so there was some hope GPU prices might descend closer to their original MRSP. Unfortunately the suppliers of VRAM have shifted their production capacity more heavily in favour of server memory and RAM for smartphones which has lead to a dearth of VRAM. DigiTimes reports you can expect the price of NVIDIA cards to jump from 3-10% at the end of the month.
AMD's new offerings will not be effected by this; few and far between are the servers or phones which use HBM2. It would be interesting to discover that part of their original pricing took this into account; not that it matters overly as their original pricing statement has been tossed.
"With Samsung and SK Hynix cutting their memory supply for the graphics card segment, August quotes for RAMs used in graphics cards have risen to US$8.50, up by 30.8% from US$6.50 in July. Both memory suppliers have allocated more of their production capacities to making memories for servers and handsets, reducing output for the graphics cards segment and fueling the price rally."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Is it possible to control Amazon Alexa, Google Now using inaudible commands? Absolutely @ The Register
- A Functioning 3D Printer For 10€ @ Hack a Day
- Google Updates: Hardware, Firmware, The Firm @ The Inquirer
- World's first crowdsourced tablet, Eve V, is taking aim at the Surface Pro @ The Inquirer
- Gather round, kids, and let's try to understand the science of 3D NAND @ The Register
- A Game You Control With Your Mind @ Slashdot
- AVM FRITZ!Box 7560 AC1300 VDSL/ADSL Modem Router Review @ NikKTech
Subject: General Tech | August 25, 2017 - 12:16 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Samsung, smart tv
A number of owners of smart Samsung TVs in Europe have been having a bad August. A firmware update pushed out by the company has essentially bricked a variety of 50"Ultra HD and 49" 4K displays. After the update they received a single channel at a single volume and the ownership of the remote was no longer fought for. Samsung did not have a comment for The Register but a forum post suggests a fix is coming soon however it will require sending said TV into a repair shop. Be careful if you see a pending update and do your best to postpone it for now; if you can.
"Interestingly, Samsung's US support forum contains no mention of any similar problem, suggesting the bad firmware update may be limited to the UK or European region."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Half Life 2 Episode 3?
- So what's in the new Windows Insider build? Bug fixes, an AR goof-around, and a font @ The Register
- Toshiba, Western Digital talking again but they'd better agree lickety-split @ The Register
- VIA collaborates with Microsoft to accelerate IoT solutions @ DigiTimes
- 14th Generation PowerEdge Servers @ Dell EMC Forum 2017
Subject: Mobile | August 23, 2017 - 12:40 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: snapdragon 835, smartphone, Samsung, s pen, phablet, OIS, Note 8, Note, galaxy note, dual camera
The wait is over: Samsung has officially announced the Galaxy Note 8 (or Note8), which will be their first large-format (or phablet) smartphone since the Note 7, which obviously did not remain on the market for long. So what is Samsung doing with such a negative history behind them? Looking forward and not back, of course. That was the message of the event. But Samsung was on stage to do more than apologize for the failure of the late Note, and there were some subtle jabs at the Apple's large phone, with a particularly damning camera comparison with the iPhone 7 Plus making a big splash.
We are familiar with the processing power behind the Note 8 already: the Snapdragon 835 currently powers the U.S. version of both Galaxy S8 handsets. While there won't be added speed compared to rest of the Galaxy line, this was never the point of the Note series. Note phones have been about a larger format, with the overall device and screen size being the key difference compared to Samsung's other smartphones. But the Note 8 is just 0.1 inches larger than the Galaxy S8+. In fact, the design and screen of the new Note is essentially the same as that of the S8+, other than the bump from 6.2 to 6.3 inches from the 2960x1440 AMOLED displays.
- Display: 6.3-inch Quad HD+ Super AMOLED, 2960 x 1440 resolution (521ppi)
- AP (U.S. market): Qualcomm Snapdragon 835
- Memory: 6GB LPDDR4 RAM
- Storage: 64GB/128GB/256GB
- Dual Rear Cameras with Dual OIS
- Wide-angle: 12MP Dual Pixel AF, F1.7, OIS
- Telephoto: 12MP AF, F2.4, OIS, 2X optical zoom, up to 10X digital zoom
- Battery: 3,300mAh
- Dimensions: 162.5 x 74.8 x 8.6 mm, 195 g
- OS: Android 7.1.1
The advantages of the Note 8 over an S8+ are still obvious, even if the handsets themselves seem very close at first glance. First there is the new dual-camera system on the back of the device, which boasts an industry first by incorporating OIS (optical image stabilization) into both of the rear lenses. During the presentation direct comparisons to an iPhone 7 Plus were made with both still and video capture, and if these dual-OIS cameras provide the same results in the real world Apple is in trouble.
Sure, this Samsung dual camera is very similar to the iPhone 7 Plus, right down to the 2x optical zoom in the telephoto lens and including a portrait mode effect (though Samsung's is adjustable similar to what we saw with the Huawei solution on the Mate 9). But having both lenses suspended with optical stabilization allows for more clarity and better low-light performance, at least in theory. It will be facinating to test this new camera system.
The real star of the event: that stage! Full floor projection along with giant rear screens.
The other advantage of the Note 8 over the Galaxy S8+ is the S Pen, and such a pen has been at the heart of the Note experience since the beginning. For dedicated S Pen users this alone will tip the scales in the Note 8's favor (the ability to take up to 100 pages of notes with the screen off sounds very cool), though with this design the speculation that battery capacity was sacrificed to make room for the pen's internal storage seems to be spot on, as the 3300 mAh capacity is lower than even the S8+ at 3500 mAh. Even with that pen, however, the Note 8 still offers an IP68 rating for water and dust resistance, though drops are still going to be the primary worry (for me, anyhow) with a 6.3-inch device that is nearly all curved screen.
The various colors of the Note 8 - which vary by region.
The Note 8 is launching September 15, with pre-orders going up soon at prices ranging from $930 to $960, depending on your mobile operator.