Subject: General Tech | April 19, 2018 - 10:08 AM | Ken Addison
Tagged: x470, wd black nvme, Samsung, s9 plus, ryzen, podcast, Pinnacle Ridge, Intel, coffee lake, amd, 2700x, 2600x
PC Perspective Podcast #496 - 04/19/18
Join us this week for discussion of the Ryzen 7 2700X and Ryzen 5 2600X, WD's new NVMe SSDs, performance benchmarks of the Galaxy S9 Plus and more!
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Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Allyn Malventano, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath
Peanut Gallery: Ken Addison, Alex Lustenberg
Program length: 1:59:30
Podcast topics of discussion:
Week in Review:
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News items of interest:
Picks of the Week:
NVMe RAID and StoreMI
With Ken testing all of the new AMD X470 goodness that we had floating around the office here at PCPer, I snuck in some quick storage testing to get a look at just how the new platform handled a typical power user NVMe RAID configuration. We will be testing a few different platform configurations:
- ASUS Z270 w/ 7700K
- 1x SSD behind chipset (PCH)
- 2x SSD (RAID-0) behind chipset (PCH)
- 1x SSD directly connected to CPU
- AMD X470 w/ 2600X
- 1x SSD via RAIDXpert bottom driver
- 2x SSD (RAID-0) via RAIDXpert
- 1x SSD via MS InBox NVMe driver
For the AMD system we tested, all M.2 ports were direct connected to the CPU. This should be the case for most systems since the AMD chipset has only a PCIe 2.0 x4 link which would cut most NVMe SSD bandwidth in half if passed through it. The difference on AMD is that installing the RAIDXpert software also installs a 'bottom driver' which replaces the Windows NVMe driver, while Intel's RST platform handles this process more in the chipset hardware (but is limited to PCIe 3.0 x4 DMI bandwidth). Now onto the results:
Random Read IOPS
For random IO, we see expected scaling from AMD, but do note that IOPS comes in ~40% lower than the same configuration on Intel's platform. This is critical as much of the IO seen in general use is random reads at lower queue depths. We'd like to see AMD doing better here, especially in the case where a single SSD was operating without the interference of the RAIDXpert driver, which was better, but still not able to match Intel.
Random Read Latency
This latency chart should better explain the IOPS performance seen above. Note that the across the board latency increases by ~10us on the X470 platform, followed by another ~20us when switching to the RAIDXpert driver. That combined ~30us is 50% of the 60us QD1 latency seen the Z270 platform (regardless of configuration).
Ok, now we see the AMD platform stretch its legs a bit. Since Intel NVMe RAID is bottlenecked by its DMI link while AMD has all NVMe SSDs directly connected to the CPU, AMD is able to trounce Intel on sequentials, but there is a catch. Note the solid red line, which means no RAIDXpert software. That line tracks as it should, leveling off horizontally at a maximum for that SSD. Now look at the two dashed red lines and note how they fall off at ~QD8/16. It appears the RAIDXpert driver is interfering and limiting the ultimate throughput possible. This was even the case for a single SSD passing through the RAIDXpert bottom driver (configured as a JBOD volume).
AMD has also launched their answer to Intel RST caching. StoreMI is actually a more flexible solution that offers some unique advantages over Intel. Instead of copying a section of HDD data to the SSD cache, StoreMI combines the total available storage space of both the HDD and SSD, and is able to seamlessly shuffle the more active data blocks to the SSD. StoreMI also offers more cache capacity than Intel - up to 512GB SSD caches are possible (60GB limit on Intel). Lastly, the user can opt to donate 2GB of RAM as an additional caching layer.
AMD claims the typical speedups that one would expect with an SSD caching a much slower HDD. We have done some testing with StoreMI and can confirm the above slide's claims. Actively used applications and games end up running at close to SSD speeds (after the first execution, which comes from the HDD). StoreMI is not yet in a final state, but that is expected within the next week or two. We will revisit that topic with hard data once we have the final shipping product on-hand.
Subject: Motherboards | April 16, 2018 - 04:40 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: gigabyte, aorus, x470, AM4, amd, aorus gaming 7 wifi, aorus ultra gaming
Gigabyte is gearing up for AMD’s second-generation Ryzen processors with three new Aorus motherboards based on the X470 chipset. The new boards include the Gigabyte X470 Aorus Ultra Gaming, X470 Aorus Gaming 5 WIFI, and the X470 Aorus Gaming 7 WIFI. These motherboards represent a refreshed and improved design over their X370 predecessors particularly when it comes to VRM cooling as the heatsinks have been vastly improved. Gigabyte has also refreshed the audio with an updated Realtek ALC1220-VB audio codec and ESS SABRE DAC. Other features Gigabyte notes are upgraded 802.11ac Wave 2 Wi-Fi, dual PCI-E x4 M.2 slots with heat spreaders, USB Type-C support, four RGB LED headers including support for digital LEDs, and Smart Fan 5 technology for managing system cooling and fans attached to the board. The new motherboards feature a up to a 10+2 power phase design using digital VRMs from IR and a 8+4-pin power connector. The power phases are cooled by two heatsinks that use a “stacked fins array” and direct touch heatpipes.
The new X470 motherboards all have four DDR4 DIMM slots, six SATA 6 Gbps ports, three PCI-E x16 slots, two PCI-E x1 slots, two PCI-E x4 M.2 slots, and Realtek-based audio with high end capacitors and op amps. Around back the boards offer USB 2.0, 3.1 Gen 1, and 3.1 Gen 2 ports including a USB Type-C port, Gigabit Ethernet, six audio jacks, and two WI-Fi antenna connectors on the Wi-Fi boards.
In most respects the three motherboards are the same, but as you move up Gigabyte adds a bit more power delivery hardware, more built-in RGB, a bit more slot armor, and a bit more shielded audio. The Ultra Gaming board is the lowest end offering with RGB only on the chipset and audio path, and there is no second M.2 shield or PCI-E and RAM slot armor. This board also has the least amount of shielding and extra caps on the integrated audio and the smallest VRM heatsinks. Moving up the Gaming 5 Wi-Fi gets you RAM slot armor, a shielded audio path, and RGB around the PCI-E slots and above the rear I/O. Of course, it also give you built-in Wi-Fi. Further, moving to the X470 Gaming 7 Wi-Fi cranks up the RGB to include the third PCI-E slot, the customizable RGB plate on the right edge, RGB around the RAM slots, and more RGB over the VRM heatsinks. The motherboard also adds an integrated baseplate behind the motherboard, additional Nichicon capacitors for the audio, and the rear I/O panel includes additional USB ports as well as built-in power and reset buttons. The rear I/O backplate is also built-into the motherboard.
As for power delivery, the Ultra Gaming and Gaming 5 WIFI have a single 8 pin CPU power connector feeding an 8+3 "Hybrid Digital PWM" design with Intersil Digital PWM and Lower RDS(on) MOSFETs which Gigabyte claims run cooler than standard MOSFETs. The Gaming 7 WIFI board steps things up to 8-pin plus 4-pin CPU power connectors and a 10+2 all digital power phase from IR including digital PWM and Power Stage controllers. The phases are broken up into ten for the vCore and two for the SoC.
As far as pricing goes, all three of the AMD motherboards are currently available to pre-order and will ship on April 18th (according to Newegg). The X470 Aorus Ultra Gaming is listed at $139.99, the X470 Aorus Gaming 5 WIFI is listed at $179.99, and the X470 Aorus Gaming 7 WIFI is listed for $239.99. I am interested to see how these motherboards perform especially when it comes to overclocking!
Subject: Processors | April 13, 2018 - 07:13 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: ryzen 2, preview, amd, Pinnacle Ridge, x470, Ryzen 5 2600X, Ryzen 7 2700X
Better late than never to get previews of the second coming of Ryzen up, from two additional sources above and beyond the post below. Pinnacle Ridge is poised to release next Thursday but there are a few details which have surfaced for our enjoyment about the chips themselves as well as the new Wraith coolers. The Tech Report offers the few tidbits they are currently able to disclose, such as the infection of RGBs in the Wraith Prism cooler, while TechARP have posted a few leaked benchmarks which may or may not reflect reality as well as a look at the reviewers kit. We know the Ryzen 5 2600X has six cores and the Ryzen 7 2700X sports eight but so far the only other thing we know for sure is what they both look like physically.
"AMD is taking the wraps off its first second-generation Ryzen CPUs this morning. Join us as we take a first look at the specs and pricing of the first Zen+ products ahead of their official launch."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- HTC Vive Pro virtually stripped. OK, we mean actually stripped. (It’s a VR headset, geddit?) @ The Register
Subject: Motherboards | April 12, 2018 - 01:34 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: asus, ASUS ROG, ROG Strix, AM4, mini ITX, amd, x470
Asus appears to be planning a Republic of Gamers branded updated motherboard for AMD’s Ryzen 2000 series processors. The ROG STRIX X470-I is a mini ITX form factor board that is loaded with RGB, higher end power phases and onboard sound, and built-in Wi-Fi.
Videocardz obtained several images of the new X470 chipset based Mini ITX motherboard.
Asus is using a unique design with this board where it has moved the rear IO down a bit to make room for a larger 8-pin CPU power connector to be tucked into the upper left corner. The AM4 socket is surrounded by the VRMs, two full size DDR4 DIMM slots, and a heat shield that hides the M.2 slot. For storage, there are four SATA 6 Gbps ports (two next to the M.2 slot and two along the right edge) and for graphics cards there is a single PCI-E x16 slot. The board further has a USB 3.0 header, USB 2.0 header, audio header, three fan 4-pin connectors (one AIO pump header), and two RGB headers.
Around back, ASUS has provided a single HDMI output for those wishing to use an APU, four USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports, two USB 3.1 Gen 2 (10 Gbps) ports, Gigabit Ethernet, two 802.11ac Wi-Fi antenna ports, and three LED-backlit audio jacks.
Because this motherboard is a refresh of the X370-I, I think it’s safe to say that it is very likely that Asus is using Intel for the Gigabit Ethernet and the same SupremeFX S1220A codec (with high end Japanese capacitors and dual TI op amps) on the shielded M.2 Audio combo card.
As for the RGB, the board supports Asus Aura Sync and has a 3-pin addressable LED header and a 4-pin RGB header as well as built-in RGB LEDs along the right edge and on the M.2 heatsink.
Not much else is known about this small form factor motherboard, but with the launch of Zen+ coming any week now (allegedly), we should know more soon! You can find more photos of the motherboard over at Videocardz.
With the previous generation X370-I going for $230+ online though, I would not expect the X470-I to be cheap, however. It is interesting that it will continue to carry the ROG and STRIX branding though in light of ASUS moving its Radeon graphics card offerings to a new AREZ brand to get around the whole GeForce Partner Program situation. I am glad to see the SFF boards getting updates this quickly from many manufacturers in time for the launch of the 400 series chipsets and Ryzen 2000 series processors.
In other Mini ITX X470 news:
Subject: Motherboards | April 5, 2018 - 08:27 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: x470, mini ITX, ddr4, biostar, amd, AM4
Biostar is planning to release an updated Mini ITX AMD motherboard according to leaked images sourced by Videocardz. According to the image, the new board will be called the Biostar Racing X470GTN and will feature the AMD X470 chipset which is a refreshed enthusiast chipset that is supposed to be more power efficient and contain tweaks and optimizations for AMD’s upcoming “Zen+” Ryzen 2000 series of desktop processors and APUs.
The Racing X470GTN looks very similar to the Racing X370GTN that Biostar released last year down to the same black PCB and board component layout though the VRM heatsink has been spruced up a bit and is now in red and white rather than black and white. Further, the X470 chipset heatsink lacks the carbon fiber aesthetic and the PCI-E slot is white instead of black. Lastly, the PCB audio isolation for the onboard audio may have been slightly tweaked. The LED-equipped Mini ITX motherboard is powered by a 24-pin ATX and a 4-pin EPS CPU power connector that feeds the seven phase (4+3) power phases. Unfortunately, the heatsink on the VRMs does not look any larger which may hamper any heavy overclocking attempts on the processor as Hardware Canucks saw rather high temperatures (though not magic smoke bad) at stock clocks on the X370GTN they reviewed. In any event, the AM4 socket sits up top and is surrounded by two DDR4 memory slots, four SATA 6 Gbps ports, and one PCI-E 3.0 x16 slot. There is also a PCI-E M.2 slot hidden behind the board for enthusiasts. The onboard audio codec is a Realtek ALC892 chip (per Videocardz) and while the leaked image does not confirm anything I am guessing the Gigabit Ethernet NIC is also of Realtek origin and is likely the same RTL8118AS used in the previous generation motherboard.
As far as rear I/O is concerned, there is not much to speak of but Biostar does include a decent amount of high speed USB ports with at least two being USB 3.1 Gen 2 and the remaining four being USB 3.0 or USB 3.1 Gen 1 (the X370GTN had USB 3.0 but the X470 update may have bumped these up to USB 3.1 Gen 1 not that it matters in practical terms of speed). In addition to USB, the Racing X470GTN’s rear panel hosts a combo PS/2 port, DVI and HDMI video outputs, Gigabit Ethernet, and six audio outputs (one optical, five analog).
Naturally, being a leak, there is no word on official pricing or availability on this motherboard, but I would guess it will be priced around $120 following the launch of AMD’s Ryzen 2000 series CPUs and 400 series chipsets.
In other Mini ITX X470 news:
Subject: Motherboards | April 5, 2018 - 01:33 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: asrock, x470, AM4, mini ITX, 802.11ac, usb 3.1
Videocardz managed to snag several photos of an upcoming AMD X470-based motherboard from ASRock. Specifically, the ASRock X470 Fatal1ty Gaming ITX/ac is a Mini ITX board ready for AMD's Ryzen 2000 and other AM4 processors. Powered by a 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS power connectors, the Mini ITX board uses an eight phase (6+2) power phase cooled by a black heatsink that is a bit larger than the red affair on the previous generation X370 Fatal1ty motherboard.
The AM4 socket sits at the center of the board and is paired with two DDR4 DIMM slots, one PCI-E 3.0 x16 slot, and four SATA 6 Gbps ports. There is also a single PCI-E x4 M.2 slot on the back of the motherboard for your NVMe solid state drives. The motherboard further features built-in 802.11ac 2x2 Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1, and (likely Realtek) Gigabit Ethernet for networking and 8-channel Realtek codec audio enhanced with Nichicon capacitors.
Rear I/O is difficult to ascertain by the photos, but it appears that the X470 Fatal1ty Gaming ITX/ac includes a Fatal1ty mouse port, two USB 2.0 ports, four USB 3.1 ports (including one Type-C), one HDMI, one DisplayPort, one Gigabit Ethernet, six audio outputs (one optical, five analog), and two Wi-Fi antenna connectors.
AMD's "Zen+" Ryzen 2000 series CPUs are not quite out yet, but will be soon enough along with the new 400-series chipsets. No word on how much this Mini ITX motherboard will cost, but I am glad that SFF options are coming at launch with the updated chipsets that are said to be lower power and optimized for Zen+. We will have to wait a bit for reviews to see how well it overclocks and what the pricing works out to.
Subject: General Tech | March 21, 2018 - 02:48 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: H310, H370, B360, Q360, Q370, Intel, amd, ryzen 2000, x470, b450
With both AMD and Intel scheduled to release new chips in a few weeks it looks like it will be a busy April for reviewers. Motherboard manufacturers are hoping the retail market will also be a busy as they have all seen slower sales this quarter than they achieved a year ago. Indeed total global motherboard shipments slipped 15% in 2017, a noticeable slowdown. Intel will be refreshing Coffee Lake and adding several new chipsets while AMD will be introducing Ryzen 2000 as well as two new chipsets.
From the looks of the names, which are listed at DigiTimes, the naming conventions for the two competing companies will remain annoyingly similar.
"Asustek Computer, ASRock, Gigabyte Technology and Micro-Star International (MSI) have all begun making deployments, hoping their motherboard shipments in the second quarter can at least remain at levels similar to those a year ago, according market watchers."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- CUDA is Like Owning a Supercomputer @ Hack a Day
- Microsoft Says Windows 10 Spring Creators Update Will Install in 30 Minutes @ Slashdot
- Blackberry enlists those tired of life to promote its phones in exchange for swag @ The Inquirer
- CTS who? AMD brushes off chipset security bugs with firmware patches @ The Register
- How To Detect + Fix Sitemap Problems In Google Search Console @ TechARP
- NETGEAR Nighthawk XR500 Wireless Gaming Router @ Kitguru
- Nitro Concepts Series S300 Gaming Chair @ TechPowerUp
Subject: Motherboards | January 11, 2018 - 01:18 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: Zen+, x470, ryzen, gigabyte, CES 2018, CES, aorus gaming 7, aorus, amd, AM4
Gigabyte had several motherboards on display at CES including an AMD AM4 motherboard with an unreleased AMD 400-series Promontory chipset! The stealthily displayed AORUS branded motherboard was spotted by Steven Burke over at Gamer’s Nexus who then jumped at the opportunity and started taking it apart! The AORUS X470 Gaming 7 WiFi appears to check all the boxes for a high-end gaming focused motherboard and should allow enthusiasts eyeing a Ryzen or Zen+ (Ryzen 2000 series) processor to push it as far as possible.
We went hands-on with the AORUS X470 Gaming 7 WiFi
The X470-based motherboard features a six layer PCB and improved CPU power delivery in the form of a 10+2 power phase (doubled 5-phase for CPU plus 2 phases for memory) with VRMs that are cooled by a hefty copper heat-pipe and aluminum fin stack. Gamer’s Nexus reports that Gigabyte is using hardware from International Rectifier in the form of IR 3599 drivers, IR 3553 MOSFETs, and a IR 35201 PWM controller. For those interested in how motherboard VRMs and power phases works, Buildzoid has several great introductory videos on Youtube that are worth watching.
Other overclocking friendly features include an external clock generator, diagnostic LED readout, power and clear CMOS buttons on the rear IO panel, dual BIOSes, and various hybrid fan headers for air and water cooling. Gigabyte reportedly rates the motherboard at 4,000+ MHz memory overclocking which is good news for Ryzen and Ryzen 2 users since memory speeds have a big impact on performance.
The AORUS X470 Gaming 7 WiFi feeds the AM4 socket with both an 8-pin and 4-pin ATX power connectors. To the right of the processor socket sits four DDR4 DIMM slots and the accent LED along the right edge. Expansion is handled by three PCI-E x16 slots (two are wired to the CPU for graphics), two PCI-E x1 slots, and two M.2 slots that sit under black head spreaders. There are six SATA ports in the right corner. While the heatsink is covering the audio chipset, whichever solution they are using (likely Realtek as it does not appear this is a Killer-equipped board) has high end WIMA and Nichicon caps and also supports USB DAC-UP technology.
Rear I/O includes two antenna connectors for the built in Wi-Fi chipset, power and clear CMOS buttons, four USB 3.0 ports plus two more USB 3.0 ports that support USB DAC-UP, two USB 3.1 ports (one Type-C and one Type-A), a RJ45 connector (likely Gigabit Ethernet), and six audio outputs (one S/PDIF and five 3.5mm analog outputs).
It is interesting to finally see a 400-series motherboard and for Gigabyte to give AMD its Gaming 7 treatment. Also comforting is that while the new 400-series boards will offer slight connectivity benefits, users that bought into Summit Ridge and X370/B350/A320 boards aren’t missing out on too much and may actually get multiple CPUs out of one motherboard for a change. The 400-series chipsets allegedly enable a bit more bandwidth for devices hanging off of the chipset thanks to the upgrade from PCI-E 2.0 (5GT/s) to PCI-E 3.0. With this upgrade, a M.2 drive connected through the chipset would be able to hit its full speeds. While the chipset’s eight PCI-E 3.0 lanes could in theory support two nearly full speed M.2 NVMe drives, the PCI-E 3.0 x4 link between the chipset and processor would ultimately bottleneck things. At least a single drive can hit its full speeds though and bring Ryzen systems up to three total PCI-E M.2 drives running at full speed.
Oh, and did I mention there is RGB? Yep, Gigabyte has hooked the X470 Gaming 7 WIFI up with RGB LEDs around the PCI-E x16 slots, DIMM slots, over the chipset, and under the accent overlay in the top right corner. All things considered, the RGB is pretty tame in this model, which isn’t a bad thing in my opinion.
What are your thoughts on Gigabyte’s upcoming motherboard and on the 400-series motherboards in general? Are you ready for Pinnacle Ridge?
Subject: General Tech | September 28, 2017 - 12:23 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: 12nm, GLOBALFOUNDRIES, amd, ryzen, Pinnacle 7, Pinnacle 5, Pinnacle 3, Pinnacle, x470, b450
DigiTimes reports today that AMD has informed motherboard makers that their new series of chips, the Pinnacle family, will in launch early 2018. They will lead with the Pinnacle 7 series, with Pinnacle 5 and 3 series arriving in March. April will see the low powered models while Enterprise will have to wait for the Pro until May. The chips will be built on GLOFO's 12nm process and will hopefully build on AMD's current successes with Ryzen. You will also meet the new 400 series chipset, so far the X470 and B450 have been mentioned. While this is still officially a rumour, it is a fairly solid one.
"AMD has informed its partners that it plans to launch in February 2018 an upgrade version of its Ryzen series processors built using a 12nm low-power (12LP) process at Globalfoundries, according to sources at motherboard makers."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Power meltdown 'fries' SourceForge, knocks site's servers titsup @ The Register
- Intel's self-learning 'Loihi' AI chip wants machines to think like humans @ The Inquirer
- Bell Canada Wants Pirate Websites Blocked For Canadians @ Slashdot
- Have MAC, will hack: iThings have trivial-to-exploit Wi-Fi bug @ The Register
- Samsung tries to catch up Everspin on MRAM @ Electronics Weekly
- Internet Explorer flaw is exposing your search habits @ The Inquirer
- Helium's for balloons and squeaky voices, not this 10TB Toshiba beast @ The Register