Keeping your Threadripper properly watered

Subject: Cases and Cooling | November 9, 2017 - 04:28 PM |
Tagged: amd, Threadripper, watercooler, phanteks, Glacier C399A, X399

[H]ard|OCP have been working their way through every Threadripper compatible waterblock, the latest model to be tested is Phanteks' Glacier C399A.  The top of the waterblock is clear acrylic, perfect if you plan on adding a little colour to your coolant especially if you make use of the Frag-Harder Disco Lights.  Mounting is reasonably easy, no dedicated in or out connector to confuse and tightening can be accomplished with a small pair of pliers, which you may find necessary.  The cooling performance was in line with the other coolers they've tested, though the C399A does lose some marks because of the need to tighten the mounting mechanism on occasion.  Check out the full review for details.

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"The Phanteks Glacier C399A is a custom-designed water cooling block built specifically for AMD's new Threadripper processors. It has great looks, Frag-Harder Disco Lights, is built like a tank, and seems to be just what the doctor ordered when it comes to cooling overclocked Threadripper CPUs."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

GIGABYTE's X399 DESIGNARE EX

Subject: Motherboards | October 30, 2017 - 01:56 PM |
Tagged: X399, Threadripper, gigabyte, designare EX, amd

Gigabyte have updated their lineup of X399 Threadripper boards with the new Designare EX.  It sports a long list of features including dual Intel GbE LAN, Dual Band 802.11ac WiFi, Bluetooth 4.2, three M.2 slots, ALC1220 audio with 120dB SNR and a USB 3.1 Type-C port on the back as well as support for a second front port once cases start including them.

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Two of the M.2 slots lie between PCIe slots, with the third under the lit heatshield on the lower right of the board so do make sure to install them before the GPU.  The board is great for miners and gamers alike, the four top PCIe 3.0 slots can provide x16/x16/x8/x8 simultaneously thanks to Threadrippers huge count of PCIe lanes; the bottom most slot offers x4 speeds for an SSD. 

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You can read more about their Smart Fan 5 cooling, M.2 heatsinks, advanced power features and RGBs in the full press release.

Source: Gigabyte

The GIGABYTE Aorus Gaming 7; function over form

Subject: Motherboards | October 26, 2017 - 04:08 PM |
Tagged: amd, Threadripper, gigabyte, X399, aorus gaming 7

[H]ard|OCP took exception to some of the design choices on the Gaming 7, specifically the placement of an M.2 slot directly underneath the first PCIe slot and some of the data and power connectors are inconveniently placed.  On the other hand the performance of the board is top notch, the 1950X ran perfectly stable at 4GHz and as there are two headers for watercooling on separate sides of the motherboard you should be able to hit that yourself.  They have learned some interesting facts about the X399 chipset so even if you are not picking up this board it is worth reading through the whole article.

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"We review GIGABYTE’s X399 Aorus Gaming 7 and see how it stacks up in the world of HEDT motherboards. This motherboard is not priced all that high considering the amount of features it touts and certainly it is not priced high for the stability we were afforded while overclocking the Threadripper to 4GHz."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

Making HEDT great again

Subject: General Tech | October 11, 2017 - 12:37 PM |
Tagged: X399, x299, Threadripper, skylake-x, ryzen, Intel, amd

Over at [H]ard|OCP is a look at the current market and the resurgence of competition which we are currently enjoying.  As opposed to several pages of detailed benchmarks, the article focuses on the various feature sets that AMD and Intel currently offer and the effect it has on your current system choices.  They consider a wide variety of aspects, from the quality and quantity of PCIe lanes offered on X399 and X299 platforms through to the very different choices the companies have made when it comes to PCIe storage and RAID.  It has been quite a while since we have seen the competition between AMD and Intel heat up to these levels and it is wonderful to see. 

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"I’ve spent quite a bit of time with AMD’s Threadripper and X399 chipset and I thought I’d give our readers my impression of it and talk about the platform as well as giving interested consumers a general overview of the platform and what it has to offer. We compare it to Intel’s HEDT platform and give our take on this match up."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

MSI Announces X399 SLI PLUS Motherboard for AMD Threadripper

Subject: Motherboards | October 9, 2017 - 03:20 PM |
Tagged: msi, amd, Threadripper, X399, X399 SLI Plus, motherboard, workstation

MSI has announced a new X399 workstation motherboard for AMD Threadripper processors with the X399 SLI PLUS, a performance-oriented option with a full compliment of the company's premium motherboard features.

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"Perfect for content creators who are looking for a great performer with plenty of connectivity options, MSI’s new X399 SLI PLUS is an optimized workstation motherboard, built for designers. Featuring heavy plated heatsinks, Military Class V components and numerous unique and patented performance enhancing features, this motherboard is the best choice for professionals looking for speed and stability."

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MSI's feature list includes:

  • Supports AMD RYZEN THREADRIPPER Series Processors
  • Support 8 DIMMs, Quad Channel DDR4 3600+ (OC)
  • DDR4 Boost: Advanced technology provided by MSI OC lab to ensure maximum compatibility for overclocking performance.
  • AUDIO BOOST 4: Reward your ears with studio grade sound quality for the most immersive audio experience
  • Mystic Light and Mystic Light Sync: Personalize your PC with 16.8 million colors / 17 effects controlled in one click with the Mystic Light APP or a mobile device.
  • Professional IO cover & heatsink: Stunning looks, protecting the I/O ports
  • EZ Debug LED: Easiest way to troubleshoot
  • Lightning Fast Game experience: 3 x Turbo M.2 , 1 x M.2 Shield, and Lightning USB 3.1 Gen2
  • Lightning USB: Double bandwidth, supports USB 3.1 Gen2 Type A + Type C
  • PCI-E Steel Armor: Protecting VGA cards against bending and EMI
  • X-Boost: Great tool to boost your USB & Storage performance
  • Double ESD Protection: Double layer grounding motherboard mounting holes
  • Military Class 6, Guard-Pro: Latest evolution in high quality components for best protection and efficiency
  • Click BIOS 5: Award-winning BIOS with high resolution scalable font, favorites and search function
  • VR Ready: Best virtual reality game experience without latency, reduces motion sickness

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The cost and actual release date were not provided by MSI, but it should be listed for sale soon at the usual places.

Source: MSI

Gigabyte Designs New X399 Designare EX Motherboard

Subject: Motherboards | October 5, 2017 - 12:35 AM |
Tagged: X399, tr4, Threadripper, gigabyte, designare EX

Gigabyte has introduced the X399 Designare EX, a decked out ATX motherboard with silver colored armor (including a large backplate) and a blue LED overlay over the PCH. The X399 motherboard is based on the same platform as the already launched Aorus X399 Gaming 7, but with a silver-metallic aesthetic and toned-down LEDs (though you can add RGB LED strips via headers.

The X399 Designare EX surrounds the Threadripper TR4 socket with eight DIMM slots and an eight phase VRM setup with server grade chokes that pulls power from a set of 8-pin and 4-pin 12V EPS connectors. The power phases are covered by heatsinks connected by a heatpipe with the heatsink sitting behind the rear I/O including a small fan for active cooling (which should help ensure some airflow for the VRMs if you are watercooling). Interestingly the IO plate for the rear IO is part of the motherboard rather than being a separate piece that comes in the box. A large backplate ensures the board will not warp over time even with large and heavy CPU coolers and graphics cards installed.

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The motherboard has five PCI-E x16 slots (x16/x8/x16/x8 for 4-way GPU configurations) and three M.2 slots with heatspreaders (two in between the PCI-E slots and one below the PCH heatsink). Storage also includes 8 SATA 6 Gbps ports (four from CPU, and four from chipset). USB includes two USB 3.1 Gen 2, 10 USB 3.1 Gen 1, and USB 2.0 ports via headers. On board chipsets include Intel-based 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.2, and two Gigabyte Ethernet (Intel i211AT) NICs. As for audio, the X399 Designare EX uses the Realtek ALC 1220 (120 dBA SNR) chipset paired with high end WIMA and Nichicon caps, Op Amps, and ground layer isolation. There are 9 temperature sensor headers and 8 fan headers for air or water gear.

Gigabyte has not yet released pricing or availability but I would expect it to be at least $430. Personally, I am a fan of the design of this board and it should at least look good in builds! As for stock performance, overclocking support, and CMOS battery placement we will have to wait for the reviews!

Source: Gigabyte

AMD Releases NVMe RAID Support for X399 Threadripper Platform

Subject: General Tech | October 2, 2017 - 04:12 PM |
Tagged: X399, Threadripper, nvme raid, NVMe, amd, 960 PRO

A recent support page and community update posting suggest that NVMe RAID support is coming to Threadripper and the X399 platform imminently (as soon as motherboard manufacturers release an updated BIOS/UEFI). AMD will support up to six NVMe drives without adapters in a RAID 0, 1, or 10 array with all the drives wired directly to the PCI-E controller in the CPU rather than being routed through the chipset (meaning no DMI bottlenecking). There are no limits on the brand of drives and the NVMe RAID update is free with no hardware or software keys needed to unlock it.

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NVMe SSDs are very fast on their own, but when combined in a RAID array directly wired to the CPU things really get interesting. AMD claims that it saw read speeds of 21.2 GB/s when reading from six Samsung 960 Pro 512 GB drives in a RAID 0 array! The company also saw near perfect scaling with their test array (when adding up to six drives over a single drive) with reads scaling 6x on reads and 5.38x on writes. Intel's VROC seems to have the theoretical performance advantage here with the ability to RAID more total drives (four per VMD and three VMDs per CPU) but only after purchasing a hardware key and when using more than one VMD it can't be a bootable OS array. When it comes to bootable arrays, AMD would appear to have the upper hand with free support for up to six drives that can be used to run your bootable OS array! Windows has never booted faster! (heh)

Along with its partners releasing BIOS updates, AMD is releasing updates to its NVMe RAID Driver (version 17.50) and RAIDXpert2 Windows management ultility. Currently, Windows 10 x64 build 1703 is officially supported and fresh installs of Windows are recommended (and if you are currently running your Windows OS off of a RAID array a fresh install is required).

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Once BIOS updates are available (and they are coming shortly), users will have to jump through a few hoops to get a NVMe RAID up and running, but those hoops may just be worth it for enthusiasts wanting the best storage performance! For one, if you have a RAID array (bootable or not) you will not be able to do an in-place upgrade. If you have a SATA RAID you must back up your data and break down the array before updating the UEFI/BIOS and installing the Windows driver. Further, if your existing array is bootable with your operating system installed on it you will need to back up your data, upgrade the BIOS, and perform a fresh install of Windows with the AMD supplied F6 driver. After upgrading the BIOS, there will be a new menu item (the exact name will vary by manufacturer but SATA Mode and SATA Configuration are likely suspects) where users will need to change the mode from SATA or AHCI to RAID.

Oh, and did I mention to back up your data before diving into this? NVMe RAID support for Threadripper is a long-awaited feature and has a lot of promise with Threadripper offering up 64 PCI-E lanes and, according to AMD, many boards offering 7 slots (6 with a graphics card) which is where AMD is getting the six drive support number. It is appears that using adapters like the Asus Hyper M.2 cards or DIMM.2 slots would allow users to go past that six drive limit though. 

NVMe RAID support on X399 / Threadripper is a feature we are in the process of testing now (see comments) and I am very interested in what the results are! Stay tuned for more information as it develops!

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Source: AMD

Corsair Overclocks With a Vengeance, Launches DDR4 4600 MHz Memory Kit

Subject: Memory | September 21, 2017 - 11:46 AM |
Tagged: X399, ryzen, overclocking, Intel X299, ddr4-4600, ddr4, corsair

Corsair has launched a new Vengeance LPX DDR4 memory kit that is capable of hitting 4600 MHz at 1.5 volts. The new kit is a 16GB (2 x 8GB) kit that Corsair reportedly co-developed with AsRock for fine tune using their X299 OC Formula motherboard. The DDR4 kit is made using hand sorted Samsung B-dies and it supports Intel XMP 2.0 standards allowing it to clock at 4600 MHz with a single setting change in the UEFI.

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The Vengeance LPX DIMMs run with CAS timings of 19-26-26-46 and need only 1.5V to clock at 4600 MHz. This kit will be ideal for Intel’s X299 as well as AMD’s X399 platforms. While Ryzen and Threadripper platforms may need a bit more tweaking to get working, they would benefit the most from the higher clocked memory allowing the Infinity Fabric to clock higher.

Being one of the highest factory clocked DIMMs, they come at a cost. The new RAM kit (CMK16GX4M2F4600C19) is available now for $549.99 with a lifetime limited warranty.

For something a bit more tame, earlier this week Corsair launched a 2 x 8GB kit (CMK16GX4M2F4500C19) clocked at 4500 MHz with CL19-19-19-39 timings (at 1.45V) that is also available now for $479.99 MSRP. Enthusiasts might be better off buying the cheaper kit and overclocking them (though not guaranteed and might need a bit more than 1.5V) while workstation and enterprise customers with corporate expense accounts can opt for the more expensive but factory clocked 4600 MHz kit.

At time of writing the new kits were not up on Amazon yet, but they should be shortly. You can find the cheaper 4500 MHz kit on Corsair's web store but it is listed at $504.99 currently. If you wait a bit, that price should go down closer to MSRP as other retailers put up their listings.

Source: TechPowerUp

Threadripping on MSI's new GAMING PRO CARBON AC

Subject: Motherboards | September 13, 2017 - 03:53 PM |
Tagged: amd, msi, X399, Threadripper, GAMING PRO CARBON AC

MSI have added a GAMING PRO CARBON AC motherboard to their X399 offerings for AMD's ThreadRipper.  The exceptional socket makes the ATX board look a little disproportionate compared to previous members of this motherboard family but there is still a lot of space on the board.  There are four PCIe Express x16 Gen 3 slots along with two 1x slots, three M.2 ports and an impressive array of USB ports including two USB 3.1 Gen. 2 Type-C ports, a single USB 3.1 Gen. 3 Type-A and nine USB 3.1 Gen.1 Type-A ports.  The Guru of 3D provides benchmarks and overclocking results in their full review.

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"Let's check out another Ryzen Threadripper motherboard. We review the one from MSI as they have released their X399 Gaming Pro Carbon AC. The board is stylish, comes with very subtle LED effects and obviously offers everything you need from quadruple x16 PCI-Express slots, triple M2 SSD slots, quad-channel memory and some really supreme AC WIFI."

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Source: Guru of 3D

Threadripper 1900X makes it official today

Subject: General Tech | August 31, 2017 - 12:38 PM |
Tagged: amd, Threadripper, 1900x, X399

We knew about the Threadripper 1900X back in July, but it did not arrive at the same time that the other two models did; AMD waited until today.  The official specifications do not differ from the pre-launch specifications, though we have confirmation the TDP is 180W and the cache is 20MB.  [H]ard|OCP describes it as a Ryzen 7 with the benefits of the X399 platform, a good way to quickly understand what this processor is.  [H] posted the slideshow as well as positing some usage scenarios in their article, which you can see here.

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"Today AMD rolls out what is not a very well kept secret, the Ryzen Threadripper model 1900X CPU. There is no doubt that Threadripper has already been a success for AMD, but how exactly does does an 8-core Threadripper fit into High End Desktop (HEDT) world of processors and platforms? The user profile is fairly skinny."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP