Focusing on the middle of the EPYC

Subject: Processors | November 16, 2017 - 04:38 PM |
Tagged: amd, EPYC, 7401P

AMD's new EPYC server chips range in price from around $4000 for the top end 32 core 7601 to around $500 for the 8 core 7251 with the $1000, 24 core EPYC 7401P sitting towards the middle of this family.  Phoronix have tested quite a few of these processors, today focusing on the aforementioned 7401P, testing it against several other EPYC processors as well as several Xeon E3 and E5 models as well as a Gold and a Silver.  To say that AMD showed up Intel in multithreaded performance is somewhat of an understatement as you can see in their benchmarks. Indeed in many cases you need around $5000 worth of Intel CPU to compete with the 7401P and even then Intel lags behind in many tests.  The only shortcoming of the 7401P is that it can only be run in single socket configurations, not that you necessarily need two of these chips!

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"We've been looking at the interesting AMD EPYC server processors recently from the high-end EPYC 7601 to the cheapest EPYC 7251 at under $500 as well as the EPYC 7351P that offers 16 cores / 32 threads for only about $750. The latest EPYC processor for testing at Phoronix has been the EPYC 7401P, a 24 core / 48 thread part that is slated to retail for around $1075 USD."

Here are some more Processor articles from around the web:

Processors

Source: Phoronix

Rumor: Hades Canyon NUC with AMD Graphics Spotted

Subject: General Tech, Processors | November 9, 2017 - 02:30 PM |
Tagged: Skull Canyon, nuc, kaby lake-g, Intel, Hades Canyon VR, Hades Canyon, EMIL, amd

Hot on the heels of Intel's announcement of new mobile-focused CPUs integrating AMD Radeon graphics, we have our first glimpse at a real-world design using this new chip.

HadesCanyon.jpg

Posted on the infamous Chinese tech forum, Chiphell earlier today, this photo appears to be a small form factor PC design integrating the new Kaby Lake-G CPU and GPU solution.

Looking at the standard size components on the board like the Samsung M.2 SSD and the DDR4 SODIMM memory modules, we can start to get a better idea of the actual size of the Kaby Lake-G module.

Additionally, we get our first look at the type of power delivery infrastructure that devices with Kaby Lake-G are going to require. It's impressive how small the motherboard is taking into account all of the power phases needed to feed the CPU, GPU, and HBM 2 memory. 

NUC_roadmap.png

Looking back at the leaked NUC roadmap from September, the picture starts to become more clear. While the "Hades Canyon" NUCs on this roadmap threw us for a loop when we first saw it months ago, it's now clear that they are referencing the new Kaby Lake-G line of products. The plethora of IO options from the roadmap, including dual Gigabit Ethernet and 2 Thunderbolt 3 ports also seem to match closely with the leaked NUC photo above.

Using this information we also now have a better idea of the thermal and power requirements for Kaby Lake-G. The base "Hades Canyon" NUC is listed with a 65W processor, while the "Hades Canyon VR" is listed with as a 100W part. This means that devices retain the same levels of CPU performance from the existing Kaby Lake-H Quad Core mobile CPUs which clock in at 35W, plus roughly 30 or 65W of graphics performance.

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These leaked 3DMark scores might give us an idea of the performance of the Hades Canyon VR NUC.

One thing is clear; Hades Canyon will be the highest power NUC Intel has ever produced, surpassing the 45W Skull Canyon. Considering the already unusual for a NUC footprint of Skull Canyon, I'm interested to see the final form of Hades Canyon as well as the performance it brings! 

With what looks to be a first half  2018 release date on the roadmap, it seems likely that we could see this NUC or other similar devices being shown off at CES in January. Stay tuned for more continuing coverage of Intel's Kaby Lake-G and upcoming devices featuring it!

Source: Chiphell

Qualcomm Centriq 2400 Arm-based Server Processor Begins Commercial Shipment

Subject: Processors | November 8, 2017 - 02:03 PM |
Tagged: qualcomm, centriq 2400, centriq, arm

At an event in San Jose on Wednesday, Qualcomm and partners officially announced that its Centriq 2400 server processor based on the Arm-architecture was shipping to commercial clients. This launch is of note as it becomes the highest-profile and most partner-lauded Arm-based server CPU and platform to be released after years of buildup and excitement around several similar products. The Centriq is built specifically for enterprise cloud workloads with an emphasis on high core count and high throughput and will compete against Intel’s Xeon Scalable and AMD’s new EPYC platforms.

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Paul Jacobs shows Qualcomm Centriq to press and analysts

Built on the same 10nm process technology from Samsung that gave rise to the Snapdragon 835, the Centriq 2400 becomes the first server processor in that particular node. While Qualcomm and Samsung tout that as a significant selling point, on its own it doesn’t hold much value. Where it does come into play and impact the product position with the resulting power efficiency it brings to the table. Qualcomm claims that the Centriq 2400 will “offer exceptional performance-per-watt and performance-per dollar” compared to the competition server options.

The raw specifications and capabilities of the Centriq 2400 are impressive.

  Centriq 2460 Centriq 2452 Centriq 2434
Architecture ARMv8 (64-bit)
Core: Falkor
ARMv8 (64-bit)
Core: Falkor
ARMv8 (64-bit)
Core: Falkor
Process Tech 10nm (Samsung) 10nm (Samsung) 10nm (Samsung)
Socket ? ? ?
Cores/Threads 48/48 46/46 40/40
Base Clock 2.2 GHz 2.2 GHz 2.3 GHz
Max Clock 2.6 GHz 2.6 GHz 2.5 GHz
Memory Tech DDR4 DDR4 DDR4
Memory Speeds 2667 MHz
128 GB/s
2667 MHz
128 GB/s
2667 MHz
128 GB/s
Cache 24MB L2, split
60MB L3
23MB L2, split
57.5MB L3
20MB L2, split
50MB L3
PCIe 32 lanes PCIe 3.0 32 lanes PCIe 3.0 32 lanes PCIe 3.0
Graphics N/A N/A N/A
TDP 120W 120W 120W
MSRP $1995 $1383 $888

Built on 18 billion transistors a die area of just 398mm2, the SoC holds 48 high-performance 64-bit cores running at frequencies as high as 2.6 GHz. (Interestingly, this appears to be about the same peak clock rate of all the Snapdragon processor cores we have seen on consumer products.) The cores are interconnected by a bi-directional ring bus that is reminiscent of the integration Intel used on its Core processor family up until Skylake-SP was brought to market. The bus supports 250 GB/s of aggregate bandwidth and Qualcomm claims that this will alleviate any concern over congestion bottlenecks, even with the CPU cores under full load.

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The caching system provides 512KB of L2 cache for every pair of CPU cores, essentially organizing them into dual-core blocks. 60MB of L3 cache provides core-to-core communications and the cache is physically divided around the die for on-average faster access. A 6-channel DDR4 memory systems, with unknown peak frequency, supports a total of 768GB of capacity.

Connectivity is supplied with 32 lanes of PCIe 3.0 and up to 6 PCIe devices.

As you should expect, the Centriq 2400 supports the ARM TrustZone secure operating environment and hypervisors for virtualized environments. With this many cores on a single chip, it seems likely one of the key use cases for the server CPU.

Maybe most impressive is the power requirements of the Centriq 2400. It can offer this level of performance and connectivity with just 120 watts of power.

With a price of $1995 for the Centriq 2460, Qualcomm claims that it can offer “4X better performance per dollar and up to 45% better performance per watt versus Intel’s highest performance Skylake processor, the Intel Xeon Platinum 8180.” That’s no small claim. The 8180 is a 28-core/56-thread CPU with a peak frequency of 3.8 GHz and a TDP of 205 watts and a cost of $10,000 (not a typo).

Qualcomm had performance metrics from industry standard SPECint measurements, in both raw single thread configurations as well as performance per dollar and per watt. I will have more on the performance story of Centriq later this week.

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More important than simply showing hardware, Qualcomm and several partners on hand at the press event as well as many statements from important vendors like Alibaba, HPE, Google, Microsoft, and Samsung. Present to showcase applications running on the Arm-based server platforms was an impressive list of the key cloud services providers: Alibaba, LinkedIn, Cloudflare, American Megatrends Inc., Arm, Cadence Design Systems, Canonical, Chelsio Communications, Excelero, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Illumina, MariaDB, Mellanox, Microsoft Azure, MongoDB, Netronome, Packet, Red Hat, ScyllaDB, 6WIND, Samsung, Solarflare, Smartcore, SUSE, Uber, and Xilinx.

The Centriq 2400 series of SoC isn’t perfect for all general-purpose workloads and that is something we have understood from the outset of this venture by Arm and its partners to bring this architecture to the enterprise markets. Qualcomm states that its parts are designed for “highly threaded cloud native applications that are developed as micro-services and deployed for scale-out.” The result is a set of workloads that covers a lot of ground:

  • Web front end with HipHop Virtual Machine
  • NoSQL databases including MongoDB, Varnish, Scylladb
  • Cloud orchestration and automation including Kubernetes, Docker, metal-as-a-service
  • Data analytics including Apache Spark
  • Deep learning inference
  • Network function virtualization
  • Video and image processing acceleration
  • Multi-core electronic design automation
  • High throughput compute bioinformatics
  • Neural class networks
  • OpenStack Platform
  • Scaleout Server SAN with NVMe
  • Server-based network offload

I will be diving more into the architecture, system designs, and partner announcements later this week as I think the Qualcomm Centriq 2400 family will have a significant impact on the future of the enterprise server markets.

Source: Qualcomm

Intel Announces New CPUs Integrating AMD Radeon Graphics

Subject: Processors | November 6, 2017 - 02:00 PM |
Tagged: radeon, Polaris, mobile, kaby lake, interposer, Intel, HBM2, gaming, EMIB, apple, amd, 8th generation core

In what is probably considered one of the worst kept secrets in the industry, Intel has announced a new CPU line for the mobile market that integrates AMD’s Radeon graphics.  For the past year or so rumors of such a partnership were freely flowing, but now we finally get confirmation as to how this will be implemented and marketed.

Intel’s record on designing GPUs has been rather pedestrian.  While they have kept up with the competition, a slew of small issues and incompatibilities have plagued each generation.  Performance is also an issue when trying to compete with AMD’s APUs as well as discrete mobile graphics offerings from both AMD and NVIDIA.  Software and driver support is another area where Intel has been unable to compete due largely to economics and the competitions’ decades of experience in this area.

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There are many significant issues that have been solved in one fell swoop.  Intel has partnered with AMD’s Semi-Custom Group to develop a modern and competent GPU that can be closely connected to the Intel CPU all the while utilizing HBM2 memory to improve overall performance.  The packaging of this product utilizes Intel’s EMIB (Embedded Multi-die Interconnect Bridge) tech.

EMIB is an interposer-like technology that integrates silicon bridges into the PCB instead of relying upon a large interposer.  This allows a bit more flexibility in layout of the chips as well as lowers the Z height of the package as there is not a large interposer sitting between the chips and the PCB.  Just as interposer technology allows the use of chips from different process technologies to work seamlessly together, EMIB provides that same flexibility.

The GPU looks to be based on the Polaris architecture which is a slight step back from AMD’s cutting edge Vega architecture.  Polaris does not implement the Infinity Fabric component that Vega does.  It is more conventional in terms of data communication.  It is a step beyond what AMD has provided for Sony and Microsoft, who each utilize a semi-custom design for the latest console chips.  AMD is able to integrate the HBM2 controller that is featured in Vega.  Using HBM2 provides a tremendous amount of bandwidth along with power savings as compared to traditional GDDR-5 memory modules.  It also saves dramatically on PCB space allowing for smaller form factors.

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EMIB provides nearly all of the advantages of the interposer while keeping the optimal z-height of the standard PCB substrate.

Intel did have to do quite a bit of extra work on the power side of the equation.  AMD utilizes their latest Infinity Fabric for fine grained power control in their upcoming Raven Ridge based Ryzen APUs.  Intel had to modify their current hardware to be able to do much the same work with 3rd party silicon.  This is no easy task as the CPU needs to monitor and continually adjust for GPU usage in a variety of scenarios.  This type of work takes time and a lot of testing to fine tune as well as the inevitable hardware revisions to get thing to work correctly.  This then needs to be balanced by the GPU driver stack which also tends to take control of power usage in mobile scenarios.

This combination of EMIB, Intel Kaby Lake CPU, HBM2, and a current AMD GPU make this a very interesting combination for the mobile and small form factor markets.  The EMIB form factor provides very fast interconnect speeds and a smaller footprint due to the integration of HBM2 memory.  The mature AMD Radeon software stack for both Windows and macOS environments provides Intel with another feature in which to sell their parts in areas where previously they were not considered.  The 8th Gen Kaby Lake CPU provides the very latest CPU design on the new 14nm++ process for greater performance and better power efficiency.

This is one of those rare instances where such cooperation between intense rivals actually improves the situation for both.  AMD gets a financial shot in the arm by signing a large and important customer for their Semi-Custom division.  The royalty income from this partnership should be more consistent as compared to the console manufacturers due to the seasonality of the console product.  This will have a very material effect on AMD’s bottom line for years to come.  Intel gets a solid silicon solution with higher performance than they can offer, as well as aforementioned mature software stack for multiple OS.  Finally throw in the HBM2 memory support for better power efficiency and a smaller form factor, and it is a clear win for all parties involved.

intel-8th-gen-cpu-discrete-graphics.jpg

The PCB savings plus faster interconnects will allow these chips to power smaller form factors with better performance and battery life.

One of the unknowns here is what process node the GPU portion will be manufactured on.  We do not know which foundry Intel will use, or if they will stay in-house.  Currently TSMC manufactures the latest console SoCs while GLOBALFOUNDRIES handles the latest GPUS from AMD.  Initially one would expect Intel to build the GPU in house, but the current rumor is that AMD will work to produce the chips with one of their traditional foundry partners.  Once the chip is manufactured then it is sent to Intel to be integrated into their product.

Apple is one of the obvious candidates for this particular form factor and combination of parts.  Apple has a long history with Intel on the CPU side and AMD on the GPU side.  This product provides all of the solutions Apple needs to manufacture high performance products in smaller form factors.  Gaming laptops also get a boost from such a combination that will offer relatively high performance with minimal power increases as well as the smaller form factor.

core-radeon-leak.png

The potential (leaked) performance of the 8th Gen Intel CPU with Radeon Graphics.

The data above could very well be wrong about the potential performance of this combination.  What we see is pretty compelling though.  The Intel/AMD product performs like a higher end CPU with discrete GPU combo.  It is faster than a NVIDIA GTX 1050 Ti and trails the GTX 1060.  It also is significantly faster than a desktop AMD RX 560 part.  We can also see that it is going to be much faster than the flagship 15 watt TDP AMD Ryzen 7 2700U.  We do not yet know how it compares to the rumored 65 watt TDP Raven Ridge based APUs from AMD that will likely be released next year.  What will be fascinating here is how much power the new Intel combination will draw as compared to the discrete solutions utilizing NVIDIA graphics.

To reiterate, this is Intel as a customer for AMD’s Semi-Custom group rather than a licensing agreement between the two companies.  They are working hand in hand in developing this solution and then both profiting from it.  AMD getting royalties from every Intel package sold that features this technology will have a very positive effect on earnings.  Intel gets a cutting edge and competent graphics solution along with the improved software and driver support such a package includes.

Update: We have been informed that AMD is producing the chips and selling them directly to Intel for integration into these new SKUs. There are no royalties or licensing, but the Semi-Custom division should still receive the revenue for these specialized products made only for Intel.

Source: Intel

ARM Introduces PSA (Platform Security Architecture)

Subject: Processors | October 24, 2017 - 02:12 AM |
Tagged: arm, cortex, mali, PSA, security, TrustZone, Platform Security Architecture, amd, cortex-m, Armv8-m

It is no wonder that device security dominates news.  Every aspect of our lives is approaching always connected status.  Whether it is a major company forgetting to change a default password or an inexpensive connected webcam that is easily exploitable, security is now more important than ever.

arm_secure_01.PNG

ARM has a pretty good track record in providing solutions to their partners to enable a more secure computing experience in this online world.  Their first entry to address this was SecurCore which was introduced in 2000.  Later they released their TrustZone in 2003.  Eventually that technology made it into multiple products as well as being adopted by 3rd party chip manufacturers.

Today ARM is expanding the program with this PSA announcement.  Platform Security Architecture is a suite of technologies that encompasses software, firmware, and hardware.  ARM technology has been included in over 100 billion chips shipped since 1991.  ARM expects that another 100 billion will be shipped in the next four years.  To get a jump on the situation ARM is introducing this comprehensive security architecture to enable robust security features for products from the very low end IoT to the highest performing server chips featuring ARM designs.

arm_secure_02.PNG

PSA is not being rolled out in any single product today.  It is a multi-year journey for ARM and its partners and it can be considered a framework to provide enhanced security across a wide variety of products.  The first products to be introduced using this technology will be the Armv8-M class of processors.  Cortex-M processors with Trusted Firmware running on the Mbed OS will be the start of the program.  Eventually it will branch out into other areas, but ARM is focusing much of its energy on the IoT market and ensuring that there is a robust security component to what could eventually scale out to be a trillion connected products.

There are two new hardware components attached to PSA.  The first is the CryptoIsland 300 on-die security enclave.  It is essentially a second layer of hardware security beyond that of the original TrustZone.  The second is the SDC-600.  This is a secure debug port that can be enabled and disabled using certificates.  This cuts off a major avenue for security issues.  These technologies are integrated into the CPUs themselves and are not offered as a 3rd party chip.

arm_secure_hardware.PNG

If we truly are looking at 1 trillion connected devices over the next 10 years, security is no longer optional.  ARM is hoping to get ahead of this issue by being more proactive in developing these technologies and working with their partners to get them implemented.  This technology will evolve over time to include more and more products in the ARM portfolio and hopefully will be adopted by their many licensees.

 

Source: ARM

Flipping the lid on the i5-8600K

Subject: Processors | October 23, 2017 - 05:22 PM |
Tagged: i5-8600K, Intel, delidding, coffee lake

[H]ard|OCP have once again voided a warranty in the goal of better overclocking.  The past several generations of Intel chips have sparked debate on the effectiveness of their thermal solutions, prompting numerous users to delid their processor to replace the thermal compound inside to improve cooling performance.  With the results of the tests it is clear that the TIM in Coffee Lake is limiting the processor, temperatures decreased by 10C or more at stock and [H] could reach higher stable overclocks once they replaced the TIM that Intel used.  Delidding is not for the faint of heart however, many a CPU has met its death during the process so do be aware of that.  Let us hope this trend does not continue for much longer.

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"We've gotten to spend some quality time with our Intel Core i5-8600K Coffee Lake CPU, and of course we have spent our time finding out just how far we could push the processor's clock under both Air Cooling and Water Cooling. We relid and delid as well. The results look to be very promising for the overclocking enthusiast and gamer."

Here are some more Processor articles from around the web:

Processors

 

Source: [H]ard|OCP

AMD Raven Ridge Performance Leaks - APU with GeForce MX150 Performance

Subject: Graphics Cards, Processors | October 16, 2017 - 05:07 PM |
Tagged: amd, raven ridge, APU, ryzen 7 2700u, Ryzen 5 2500U, ryzen 7 pro 2700u

Hot on the heels of the HP leak that showed the first AMD Raven Ridge based notebook that may be hitting store shelves later this year, another leak of potential Raven Ridge APU performance is cycling through. The AMD Ryzen 7 2700U with integrated Vega-based graphics architecture, and also rumored to have a ~35-watt TDP, is showing 3DMark11 graphics scores near that of the discrete NVIDIA GeForce MX150.

ravenridge3dm11.jpg

With a graphics score of 4072, the integrated graphics on the upcoming AMD APU is slightly behind the score of 4570 from the MX150, a difference of 11.5%. Interestingly, the Physics score on the Raven Ridge APU of 6419 is solid as well, and puts an interesting light on the 8th gen KBL-R processors. As you can see in the graph below, from two systems we already have in-house with quad-core parts, CPU performance is going to vary dramatically from one machine to the next depending on the thermal headroom of the physical implementation.

3dmark11.png

The HP Spectre x360 with the Core i7-8550U and the MX150 GPU is able to generate a Physics score of 8278, well above the leaked result of the Raven Ridge APU. However, when we ran the 3DMark11 on the ASUS Zenbook 3 UX490UA with the same Core i7-8550U, the Physics score was 6627, a 19% drop! Clearly there are configurability shifts that will adjust the performance of the 8th gen Intel parts. We are diving more into this effect in a couple of upcoming reviews.

Though the true power consumption of these Ryzen 7 2700U systems is still up in the air, AMD has claimed for some time that it would have the ability to compete with Intel for the first time in several generations. If these solutions turn out to be in the 35-watt range, which would be at or lower than the typical 15-watt Intel CPU and 25-watt NVIDIA discrete GPU combined, AMD may have a winning combination for mobile performance users to entertain.

How hot is your Coffee?

Subject: Processors | October 10, 2017 - 06:35 PM |
Tagged: Intel, coffee lake, i7 8700k

The Tech Report addresses two questions about Intel's i7-8700K in their latest review, how to keep it running cool and how the multi-core enhancement feature changes that answer.  Multi-core enhancement is a BIOS level overclocking feature which allows all cores on Coffee Lake processors to hit the full boost clock instead of only a single core.  In this example, a single core could hit 4.7 GHz while the other cores are being limited to 4.3GHz, however with multi-core enhancement enabled that limit is removed and all cores can hit 4.7GHz simultaneously.  As with any type of overclock this produces significantly more heat and requires more cooling.

This enhancement means there are two answers to the question about cooling your Coffee.  With the enhancement feature disabled you should be just fine with a CM Hyper 212 Evo or equivalent heatsink, however with MCE enabled even a Corsair H115i shows a 90° C package temperature with core temps between 84-90C.  Keep this in mind when shopping for parts; it is nice to have all cores running at their full Boost Clock but you will need to be able to cool them or else see throttling as the chip sense Tjunction temps in excess of 100C.

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"Intel's Core i7-8700K proved an exceptionally well-rounded chip in our testing, but the company's choice of thermal interface material has left many wondering whether the Coffee Lake flagship will prove a challenge to keep cool. We establish a handy baseline for what might make a chip "difficult" to cool and see whether the Core i7-8700K falls on the wrong side of the line."

Here are some more Processor articles from around the web:

Processors

 

Extreme Overclockers Fill Coffee Lake With Liquid Nitrogen

Subject: Processors | October 6, 2017 - 11:44 PM |
Tagged: Extreme Overclocking Competition, overclocking, liquid nitrogen, coffee lake, i7 8700k

A new CPU means new overclocking challenges and with it comes a new batch of refreshed Z370 motherboards. At the high end, the current frequency record for the Core i7 8700K is 7,405.1 MHz obtained by Hovan Yang using a MSI Z370 Godlike Gaming motherboard.

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He’s not the only one testing the limits of Intel’s new six core processors though. Asus held an overclocking event a few weeks ago where renowned overclockers Alex@ro, elmor, der8auer, Rsannino, and shamino battled it out. Der8auer got a pre-release crack at the i7 8700K at the event and after de-lidding and replacing the TIM with liberal amounts of Kryonaut thermal paste managed to achieve 6.8 GHz using 1.8 volts and a 68x multiplier (and bumping the cache speed up to 6.3 GHz). With these settings on the monster Maximus X Apex motherboard, he scored 299 in single threaded and 2253 in multithreaded in Cinebench R15. Der8auer compared this benchmark result to Skylake X at 5.5 GHz scoring 237 in the single threaded test. Following the benchmark run, he went for the highest CPU-z validated clockspeed he could hit and managed to push the chip to 7300 MHz (100MHzx73). From there overclocker Alex from Romania was able to overclock his i7 8700K to 6844 MHz and scored 2306 in Cinebench R15.

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The overclockers broke 10 new records in the six core CPU category and also managed to break a DDR4 clockspeed record by pushing a single 8GB G.Skill DIMM to 5529.2 MHz at 24-31-31-63-3 timings!

Also of note is that Coffee Lake does not depend of FIVR so overclockers are able to use a full pot of liquid nitrogen (or liquid helium) to cool the processor down to much lower temperatures so that they can crank up the voltage and achieve much higher clockspeeds than Skylake-X which cannot boot if temperatures are too low.

While the ASUS team does not hold the clockspeed record anymore (though they might regain it with some Liquid Helium), der8auer has an interesting video and Asus has a blog post with photos talking about the process, setup, and everything that goes into these extreme overclocking sessions including pre-binning the chips, preparing the IHS and motherboard for the super cold (-185°C to -190°C) temperatures, and keeping the processors and motherboards running. For example, and Josh will be interested in this, part of the process of preparing the motherboard involves slathering it in Vaseline!

If you are interested in this extreme overclocking stuff it gives a bit of insight into all the fun to be had!

Source: Asus

Grab a cuppa, you may be looking at the Lake for a while

Subject: Processors | October 5, 2017 - 12:47 PM |
Tagged: Intel, core i5, coffee lake, 8600K, i5-7600K, ryzen 7

[H]ard|OCP had an opportunity to try a different Coffee Lake CPU than Ryan, who provided our initial results on the i7-8700K and Core i5-8400.  In this review, they took a Core i5-8600K and immediately overclocked the chip to 5GHz so they could directly compare Coffee Lake to a Kaby Lake i5-7600K clock for clock, if not for core.  The tests show both CPUs at 5GHz locked clocks, 3600MHz RAM clocks with the exact same timings of 18-19-19-39@2T; they do not show a major improvement in performance between the two chips although it is there.  What it does illustrate is that the performance increased you see on Coffee Lake are from higher clock speeds, which are a good thing.  There will be many who feel the lack of IPC improvement speaks poorly of the new chipset and incompatible socket and they do have a point.   There is fun for AMD fans in this review as well, the Ryzen 7 takes top spot even when running at a mere 4GHz, so start with this one and then take a gander through the rest.

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"If you were waiting for huge IPC gains out of the new Coffee Lake CPU from Intel, you might be waiting for a very long time. We take the Intel Coffee Lake Core i5-8600K CPU and match it up GHz to GHz with the Intel Core i5-7600K Kaby Lake processor. And we throw in a Ryzen 7 at 4GHz just for fun."

Here are some more Processor articles from around the web:

Processors

 

Source: [H]ard|OCP

The price competition is Ryzen even before the Coffee is poured

Subject: General Tech, Processors | October 4, 2017 - 01:05 PM |
Tagged: amd, ryzen, price cuts

AMD is slashing prices on their Ryzen line of CPUs, and not just in the UK.   A Ryzen 7 1800X in the US will cost you only $400 if you skip out on the Wraith cooler, or $500 if you are in Canada.  If that is a little too rich a 1700X is $295 or $415 in Canada, though the 1700 with Wraith cooler at $370 might be a better deal.  The price cuts come just before the launch of Intel's Coffee Lake processors so you might want to wait a day or so for reviews to appear.  The price cuts could also signal AMD's desire to move stock before the launch of Pinnacle in a few months.

Wasn't that much more pleasant than finding out the IRS plans to crowd source their tax fraud investigations by awarding a $7m contract to Equifax who can count on everyone who grabbed your leaked personal information to do their work for them?

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"They also coincide with rumours that AMD plans to launch a new series of Ryzen parts in February, based on 12nm process technology. The AMD Ryzen ‘Pinnacle' parts will be part of a shift of both CPUs and GPUs to GlobalFoundries 12nm LP [leading performance] process during 2018."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Inquirer

Intel Core i9-7980XE Pushed to 6.1 GHz On All Cores Using Liquid Nitrogen

Subject: Processors | September 25, 2017 - 09:36 PM |
Tagged: skylake-x, overclocking, Intel Skylake-X, Intel, Cinebench, 7980xe, 3dmark, 14nm

Renowned overclocker der8auer got his hands on the new 18-core Intel Core i9-7980XE and managed to break a few records with more than a bit of LN2 and thermal paste. Following a delid, der8auer slathered the bare die and surrounding PCB with a polymer-based (Kryonaut) TIM and reattached the HIS to prepare for the extreme overclock. He even attempted to mill out the middle of the IHS to achieve a balance between direct die cooling and using the IHS to prevent bending the PCB and spread out the pressure from the LN2 cooler block, but ran into inconsistent results between runs and opted not to proceed with that method.

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Using an Asus Rampage VI Apex X299 motherboard and the Core i9-7980XE at an Asus ROG event in Taiwan der8auer used liquid nitrogen to push all eighteen cores (plus Hyper-Threading) to 6.1 GHz for a CPU-Z validation. To get those clockspeeds he needed to crank up the voltage to 1.55V (1.8V VCCIN) which is a lot for the 14nm Skylake X processor. Der8auer noted that overclocking was temperature limited beyond this point as at 6.1 GHz he was seeing positive temperatures on the CPU cores despite the surface of the LN2 block being as low as -100 °C! Perhaps even more incredible is the power draw of the processor as it runs at these clockspeeds with the system drawing as much as 1,000 watts (~83 amps) on the +12V rail with the CPU being responsible for almost all of that number! That is a lot of power running through the motherboard VRMs and the on-processor FIVR!

For comparison, at 5.5 GHz he measured 70 amps on the +12V rail (840W) with the chip using 1.45V vcore under load.

7980xe CPU-Z overclock 6GHz.png

For Cinebench R15, the extreme overclocker opted for a tamer 5.7 GHz where the i9-7980XE achieved a multithreaded score of 5,635 points. He compared that to his AMD Threadripper overclock of 5.4 GHz where he achieved a Cinebench score of 4,514 (granted the Intel part was using four more threads and clocked higher).

To push things (especially his power supply heh) further, the overclocker added a LN2 cooled NVIDIA Titan Xp to the mix and managed to overclock the graphics card to 2455 MHz at 1.4V. With the 3840 Pascal cores at 2.455 GHz he managed to break three single card world records by scoring 45,705 in 3DMark 11, 35,782 in 3DMark Fire Strike, and 120,425 in 3DMark Vantage!

Der8auer also made a couple interesting statements regarding overclocking at these levels including the issues of cold bugs not allowing the CPU and/or GPU to boot up if the cooler plate is too cold. On the other side of things, once the chip is running the power consumption can jump drastically with more voltage and higher clocks such that even LN2 can’t maintain sub-zero core temperatures! The massive temperature delta can also create condensation issues that need to be dealt with. He mentions that while for 24/7 overclocking liquid metal TIMs are popular choices, when extreme overclocking the alloy actually works against them because the sub-zero temperatures reduce the effectiveness and thermal conductivity of the interface material which is why polymer-based TIMs are used when cooling with liquid nitrogen, liquid helium, or TECs. Also, while most people apply a thin layer of thermal paste to the direct die or HIS, when extreme overclocking he “drowns” the processor die and PCB in the TIM to get as much contact as possible with the cooler as every bit of heat transfer helps even the small amount he can transfer through the PCB. Further, FIVR has advantages such as per-core voltage fine tuning, but it also can hold back further overclocking from cold bugs that will see the processor shut down past -100 to -110 °C temperature limiting overclocks whereas with an external VRM setup they could possibly push the processor further.

For the full scoop, check out his overclocking video. Interesting stuff!

Also read:

Source: der8auer

Double the price; not so much performance though ... Skylake-X versus ThreadRipper

Subject: Processors | September 25, 2017 - 03:19 PM |
Tagged: skylake-x, Skylake, Intel, Core i9, 7980xe, 7960x

You cannot really talk about the new Skylake-X parts from Intel without bringing up AMD's Threadripper as that is the i9-7980XE and i9-7960X's direct competition.   From a financial standpoint, AMD is the winner, with a price tag either $700 or $1000 less than Intel's new flagship processors.  As Ryan pointed out in his review, for those whom expense is not a consideration it makes sense to chose Intel's new parts as they are slightly faster and the Xtreme Edition does offer two more cores.  For those who look at performance per dollar the obvious processor of choice is ThreadRipper; for as Ars sums up in their review AMD offers more PCIe lanes, better heat management and performance that is extremely close to Intel's best.

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"Ultimately, the i9-7960X raises the same question as the i9-7900X: Are you willing to pay for the best performing silicon on the market? Or is Threadripper, which offers most of the performance at a fraction of the price, good enough?"

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Source: Ars Technica

Intel Announces 8th Gen Core Architecture, Coffee Lake

Subject: Processors, Chipsets | September 24, 2017 - 11:03 PM |
Tagged: Z370, Intel, coffee lake

The official press deck for Coffee Lake-S was leaked to the public, so Intel gave us the go-ahead to discuss the product line-up in detail (minus benchmarks). While the chips are still manufactured on the 14nm process that Kaby Lake, Skylake, and Broadwell were produced on, there’s more on them. The line-up is as follows: Core i3 gets quad-core without HyperThreading and no turbo boosting, Core i5 gets six-core without HyperThreading but with Turbo boosting, and Core i7 gets six-core with HyperThreading and Turbo boosting.

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While the slide deck claims that the CPU still has 16 PCIe 3.0 lanes, the whole platform supports up to 40. They specifically state “up to” over and over again, so I’m not sure whether that means “for Z370 boards” or if there will be some variation between individual boards. Keep in mind that only 16 lane of this are from the processor itself, the rest are simply a part of the chipset. This unchanged from Z270.

intel-2017-coffeelake-news-01.png

Moving on, Intel has been branding this as “Intel’s Best Gaming Desktop Processor” all throughout their presentation. The reasoning is probably two-fold. First, this is the category of processors that high-end, mainstream, but still enthusiast PC gamers target. Second, gaming, especially at super-high frame rates, is an area that AMD has been struggling with on their Ryzen platform.

intel-2017-coffeelake-news-02-dieshot.png

Speaking of performance, the clock rate choice is quite interesting compared to Kaby Lake. In all cases, the base clock had a little dip from the previous generation, but the Turbo clock, if one exists, has a little bump. For instance, going from the Core i7-7700k to the Core i7-8700k, your base clock drops from 4.2 GHz to just 3.7 GHz, but the turbo jumps up from 4.5 GHz to 4.7 GHz. You also have a little more TDP to work with (95W vs 91W) with the 8700k. I’m not sure what this increase variance between low and high clock rates will mean, but it’s interesting to see Intel making some sort of trade-off on the back end.

(Editor's note: the base clock is only going to be a concern when running all cores for a long period of time. I fully expect performance to be higher for CFL-S parts than KBL-S parts in all workloads.)

intel-2017-coffeelake-news-03.png

The last thing that I’ll mention is that, of the two i3s, the two i5s, and the two i7s, one is locked (and lower TDP) and one is unlocked. In other words, Intel has an unlocked solution in all three classifications, even the i3. Even though it doesn’t have a turbo clock setting, you can still overclock it by hand if you desire.

Prices range from $117 to $359 USD, as seen in the slide, above. They launch on October 5th.

Apparently Kaby Lake Is Incompatible with Z370 Chipsets

Subject: Processors, Chipsets | September 23, 2017 - 06:52 PM |
Tagged: Z370, z270, kaby lake, Intel, coffee lake

According to the Netherlands arm of Hardware.info, while Kaby Lake-based processors will physically fit into the LGA-1151 socket of Z370 motherboards, they will fail to boot. Since their post, Guru3D asked around to various motherboard manufacturers, and they claim that Intel is only going to support 8th Generation processors with that chipset via, again, allegedly, a firmware lock-out.

intel-2017-chocolatelake-theredlist.jpg

Thankfully, it's not Chocolate Lake.
Image credit: The Red List

If this is true, then it might be possible for Intel to allow board vendors to release a new BIOS that supports these older processors. Guru3D even goes one step further and suggests that, just maybe, motherboard vendors might have been able to support Coffee Lake on Z270 as well, if Intel would let them. I’m... skeptical about that last part in particular, but, regardless, it looks like you won’t have an upgrade path, even though the socket is identical.

It’s also interesting to think about the issue that Hardware.info experienced: the boot failed on the GPU step. The prevailing interpretation is that everything up to that point is close enough that the BIOS didn’t even think to fail.

My interpretation of the step that booting failed, however, is wondering whether there’s something odd about the new graphics setup that made Intel pull support for Z270. Also, Intel usually supports two CPU generations with each chipset, so we had no real reason to believe that Skylake and Kaby Lake would carry over except for the stalling of process tech keeping us on 14nm so long.

Still, if older CPUs are incompatible with Z370, and for purely artificial reasons, then that’s kind-of pathetic. Maybe I’m odd, but I tend to buy a new motherboard with new CPUs anyway, but I can’t envision the number of people who flash BIOSes with their old CPU before upgrading to a new one is all that high, so it seems a little petty to nickel and dime the few that do, especially at a time that AMD can legitimately call them out for it.

There has to be a reason, right?

Source: Guru3D

EPYC Linux performance from AMD

Subject: Processors | September 18, 2017 - 05:13 PM |
Tagged: linux, EPYC 7601, EPYC

Phoronix have been hard at work testing out AMD's new server chip, specifically the 2.2/2.7/3.2GHz EPYC 7601 with 32 physical cores.  The frequency numbers now have a third member which is the top frequency all 32 cores can hit simultaneously, for this processor that would be 2.7GHz.  Benchmarking server processors is somewhat different from testing consumer CPUs, gaming performance is not as important as dealing with specific productivity applications.   Phoronix started their testing of EPYC, in both NUMA and non-NUMA configurations, comparing against several Xeon models and the performance delta is quite impressive, sometimes leaving even a system with dual Xeon Gold 6138's in the dust.  They also followed up with a look at how EPYC compares to Opteron, AMD's last server offerings.  The evolution is something to behold.

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"By now you have likely seen our initial AMD EPYC 7601 Linux benchmarks. If you haven't, check them out, EPYC does really deliver on being competitive with current Intel hardware in the highly threaded space. If you have been curious to see some power numbers on EPYC, here they are from the Tyan Transport SX TN70A-B8026 2U server. Making things more interesting are some comparison benchmarks showing how the AMD EPYC performance compares to AMD Opteron processors from about ten years ago."

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Source: Phoronix

Core i7-6700K and Core i5-6600K finally see end of life by Intel

Subject: Processors | September 6, 2017 - 12:06 PM |
Tagged: Intel, 6700k, 6600k

Initially launched in August of 2015, the Skylake consumer desktop processors are finally ramping down at Intel production facilities. Based on this Intel Product Change Notification, the widely coveted Core i7-6700K and Core i5-6600K, along with several other parts, are being EOL'd (end of life).

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If you are an OEM or just really love building around these parts, you still have some time to get your orders in. You have until March 30, 2018 to place your final requests and the final shipment date will be a year from today. If you ever were curious how complex the ramp down on parts that ship to thousands of different customers in consumer, enterprise, and embedded markets, the table above should give you a glimpse.

eol1.png

(Probably that 3017 date is a typo...)

With the focus for Intel squarely on the Kaby Lake Core i7-7700K and Core i5-7600K, in addition to the upcoming Coffee Lake refresh 8000-series, enthusiasts might be wondering why it took Intel so long to shut things down on this set of Skylake parts. 

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I think it is safe to say that this marks the end of an interesting window of time for Intel, where it had clear and uncontested dominance of the consumer processor market. Re-reading my conclusion to the 6700K review reveals almost no mention of a relevant AMD competing part, making today's situation with Ryzen and Threadripper all the more impressive.

Source: Intel

Intel Skylake-X 18-core Die Pictured. It's Massive.

Subject: Processors | September 5, 2017 - 11:16 AM |
Tagged: skylake-x, Intel

We are just starting to ramp back up here after the long holiday weekend, so let's start with something that is both interesting and easy to absorb. High-profile overclocker Der8auer has gotten his hands on an 18-core Skylake-X processor and did exactly what you would expect - delidded it. 

The takeaway from this is two-fold. First, the die appears very clean, indicating that Intel has still not decided to solder these high-end processors and is going with a standard thermal interface between the die and the heat spreader. 

18c-die.jpg

Source: Der8auer

Also...it's friggin huge. Look at the 10-core die from the Core i9-7900X that was observed earlier this year and compare it to the image above. 

10c-die.jpg

Though the camera angles aren't ideal, comparing the layout of the die to the physical substrate, which IS the same size between all the Skylake-X processors, you can see how much larger this 18-core die truly is. Expect to see the 18, 16, 14, and even the 12-core processors to use the same physical die. 

Source: Der8auer

Intel Announces Xeon W and Xeon Scalable Workstation Processors

Subject: Processors | August 29, 2017 - 12:00 PM |
Tagged: Xeon W, xeon scalable, xeon, workstation, processor, Intel, cpu

Intel has officially announced their new workstation processor lineup, with Xeon Scalable and Xeon W versions aimed at both professional and mainstream workstation systems.

"Workstations powered by Intel Xeon processors meet the most stringent demands for professionals seeking to increase productivity and rapidly bring data to life. Intel today disclosed that the world-record performance of the Intel Xeon Scalable processors is now available for next-generation expert workstations to enable photorealistic design, modeling, artificial intelligence (AI) analytics, and virtual-reality (VR) content creation."

Slide 1.png

The first part of Intel’s product launch announcement are the new Xeon Scalable processors, first announced in July, and these are dual-socket solutions targeting professional workstations. Versions with up to 56 cores/112 threads are available, and frequencies of up to 4.20 GHz are possible via Turbo Boost. Intel is emphasising the large performance impact of upgrading to these new Xeon processors with a comparison to older equipment (a trend in the industry of late), which is relevant when considering the professional market where upgrades are far slower than the enthusiast desktop segment:

“Expert workstations will experience up to a 2.71x boost in performance compared to a 4-year-old system and up to 1.65x higher performance compared to the previous generation.”

Slide 2.png

The second part of announcement are new Xeon W processors, which will be part of Intel’s mainstream workstation offering. These are single-socket processors, with up to 18 cores/36 threads and Turbo Boost frequencies up to 4.50 GHz. The performance impact with these new Xeon W CPUs compared to previous generations is not as great as the Xeon Scalable processors above, as Intel offers the same comparison to older hardware with the Xeon W:

“Mainstream workstations will experience up to a 1.87x boost in performance compared to a 4-year-old system4 and up to 1.38x higher performance compared to the previous generation.”

Slide 3.png

Full PR is available from Intel's newsroom.

Source: Intel

XSPC's plus sized Raystorm leaves no Thread exposed; it's Ripper

Subject: Processors | August 24, 2017 - 12:43 PM |
Tagged: XSPC, amd, Threadripper, overclocking, Raystorm

For those convinced that the Threadripper is being held back by poorly endowed partners, [H]ard|OCP received the new XSPC RayStorm which has a cold plate as large as Threadrippers heatspreader.  As you can see from the picture, new habits will need to e learned when spreading the TIM on such a large area so keep an eye out for tips or carefully experiment on your own.  The heatsink let [H] reach a solid 4GHz on all 16 cores with a 3200MHz memory clock, at significantly lower voltages than Ryzen required to reach the same frequency.  Even better news is that this is not the limit, [H] intends to test again using a more powerful radiator and expects to see an even better overclock.

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"XSPC got us over one of its first waterblocks specifically designed to help handle Ryzen Threadripper CPU's heat while overclocking. We give you a quick unboxing, break down the block itself, and then we look at Threadripper long-term performance. We finally get it dialed in at 4GHz."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP