You shouldn't salt your Iris ... Interesting benchmarks, Plus Graphics 940

Subject: General Tech | February 25, 2019 - 12:48 PM |
Tagged: vega 10, Sunny Cove, rumour, Iris Plus Graphics 940, Intel, ice lake

If you liked Jim's example of a bad chart on the podcast, you are going to love these leaked Intel Ice Lake graphics benchmarks.  At the root, the as yet to be released Iris Plus Graphics 940 portion of the APU is faster than AMD's Vega 10, which was released in 2017.  This should not shock anyone.

The numbers at The Inquirer show just how much salt you should take this with, the frequently posted 77.41% better performance is when you compare a coming generation of GPU against a previous one and drops to about 44% when a specific test which favours Intel is dropped.  Remember that AMD and Intel both have tests which favour their architecture, and keep that in mind when you are reading PR from either company. 

When you compare Intel's scores to AMD's current Vega 11 the advantage drops to a hair under 2% better and falls behind when you don't order a Manhattan.

icy lake.PNG

"The incoming part, also referred to as the Iris Plus Graphics 940, is, on average, 77.41 per cent faster than Gen9 in the GFXBench 5.0 benchmark and around 62.97 per cent faster than AMD's Vega 10 graphics."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Inquirer

Every NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti on Amazon (So Far)

Subject: Graphics Cards | February 23, 2019 - 03:58 PM |
Tagged: zotac, video card, turing, nvidia, msi, gtx 1660 ti, graphics, gpu, gigabyte, geforce, gaming, evga, asus, amazon

NVIDIA partners launched their new GeForce GTX 1660 Ti graphics cards yesterday, and we checked out a pair of these in our review and found these new TU116-based cards to offer excellent performance (and overclocking headroom) for the price. Looking over Amazon listings today here is everything available so far, separated by board partner. We've added the Boost Clock speeds for your reference to show how these cards are clocked compared to the reference (1770 MHz), and purchases made through any of these Amazon affiliate links help us out with a small commission.

1660_Ti_Cards_Stack.jpg

In any case, this list at least demonstrates the current retail picture of NVIDIA's new mainstream Turing GPU on Amazon, so without further preamble here are all currently available cards in alphabetical order by brand:

ASUS

ASUS Phoenix GeForce GTX 1660 Ti OC

ASUS Dual GeForce GTX 1660 Ti OC

ASUS Strix Gaming GTX 1660 Ti OC

EVGA

EVGA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti XC Black Gaming

EVGA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti XC Gaming

GIGABYTE

GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 1660 Ti OC 6G

GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Windforce OC 6G

MSI

MSI GTX 1660 Ti VENTUS XS 6G OC

MSI GTX 1660 Ti ARMOR 6G OC

MSI GTX 1660 Ti GAMING X 6G

ZOTAC

ZOTAC Gaming GeForce GTX 1660 Ti

Already we are seeing many cards offering factory overclocks, ranging from a small 30 MHz bump at $279.99 from GIGABYTE (GTX 1660 Ti OC 6G, 1800 MHz Boost Clock) to 100 MHz+ from the MSI GTX 1660 Ti GAMING X 6G (1875 MHz Boost Clock) we reviewed at $309.99.

We will update the list as additional cards become available on Amazon.

Source: Amazon.com

TSMC Will Begin Mass Production of Enhanced 7nm Node Using EUV In March, 5nm to Follow

Subject: General Tech | February 23, 2019 - 03:08 PM |
Tagged: TSMC, lithography, euv, asml, 7nm, 5nm

According to Hexus, chip manufacturing giant TSMC will begin mass production of its enhanced 7nm process node as soon as next month. The new "CLN7FF+, N7+" mode incorporates limited use of EUV (extreme ultraviolet lithography) on four non-critical layers using specialized equipment from ASML to offer 20% higher transistor density and between six to twelve percent lower power consumption at the same complexity/frequency. Those numbers are versus TSMC's current 7nm process node (CLN7FF, N7) which uses DUV (deep ultraviolet lithography) with ArF (Argon Fluoride) excimer lasers.

ASML Twinscan NXE Step and Scan.jpg

TSMC is reportedly buying up slightly more than half of ASML's production of EUV equipment for 2019 with the chip maker reserving 18 of the 30 EUV units that will ship this year. It will use the ASML Twinscan NXE step and scan machines to produce its enhanced 7nm node and allow TSMC to familiarize themselves with the technology and dial it in for use with its upcoming 5nm node (and beyond) which will more heavily incorporate EUV with it being used on up to 14 layers of the 5nm process node manufacturing. AnandTech reports that the 5nm EUV node will bring 1.8-times the transistor density (45% area reduction) of the non-EUV 7nm node along with either 20% less power usage or 15% more performance at the same chip complexity and frequency.

Interestingly, while 7nm production accounted for roughly 9% of TSMC's output in 2018, it will reportedly be up to a quarter of all TSMC's chip shipments in 2019.

Mass production of the 7nm EUV node will begin as soon as March with risk production of 5nm chips slated to being in April with the first chip designs being taped out within the first half of the year. Volume production of 5nm chips is not expected until the first half of 2020, however, though that would put it just in time for AMD's Zen 2+ architecture. Of course, AMD, Apple, HiSilicon, and Xilinx are TSMC's big customers for the current 7nm node (especially AMD who is using TSMC for its 7nm CPU and GPU orders), and Huawei / HiSilicon may well be TSMC's first customer for the EUV incorporating CLN7FF+, N7+ node. 

With GlobalFoundries backing off of leading-edge process techs and shelving 7nm, Intel and Samsung are TSMC's competition in this extremely complicated and expensive space. 2020 and beyond are going to be very interesting as EUV production ramps up and is pushed as far as it can go to bring process technologies as close to the theoretical limits that the market will bear. I think we still have a good while left for process shrinks, with some of these lower node numbers being attributed to marketing (with some elements being that small but depending on what and how they measure these nodes) but it is definitely going to get expensive and I am curious who will continue on and carry the ball to the traditional manufacturing process finish line or if we will need some other exotic materials or way of computing paradigm shift to happen before we even attempt to get there simply due to unrealistic R&D and other costs not making it worth it enough for even the big players to pursue.

In talking with Josh Walrath, he clarified that EUV does not, by itself, offer performance enhancements, but it does cut down on exposures/patterning and reduces the steps where things can go wrong which can lead to improved yields when implemented correctly. Using extreme ultraviolet lithography isn't a magic bullet though, as the fabrication equipment is expensive and uses a lot of power driving up manufacturing costs. TSMC is using EUV on its N7+ node to get "tighter metal pitch" and more density along with lower power consumption. Performance improvements are still unknown  at this point (to the public, anyway), but as Mr. Walrath said performance isn't going to increase simply from moving to EUV. When moving to 5nm, TSMC does claim performance improvements, but most of those gains are likely attributed to the much higher density of the resulting chips.  Using EUV to get yields up at that small of a node is likely the biggest reason for utilizing EUV to get enough useable wafer and dies per wafer. TSMC must believe that the costs [of EUV] versus trying to do it [5nm] without working in EUV into the processis worth it. Stay tuned to this week's PC Perspective podcast if you are interested in additional thoughts from JoshTekk and the team (or check out our Discord server).

What are your thoughts?

Source: Hexus

The Return of the IntelliMouse, now playing at a theatre far far away

Subject: General Tech | February 22, 2019 - 04:32 PM |
Tagged: Pro IntelliMouse, PAW3389PRO-MS, microsoft, input

Logitech's MX518 isn't the only classic mouse which was beloved by many users, Microsoft's IntelliMouse was a standard for a long time and just like the MX518 it is coming back on the market.  The new mouse uses a custom PixArt sensor called the PAW3389PRO-MS which TechPowerUp found to be identical in performance to the more common PMW3389.  It also has shiny RGB buttocks for those that are into that sort of thing. 

There is one small problem however, it will only be released overseas so if you want one you might want to contact Microsoft!

pim_ur_fl.jpg

"Behold! The one true heir to the Microsoft IntelliMouse Explorer 3.0 has arrived: the Pro IntelliMouse. It has the exact same shape as its predecessor, which is great news for many people who loved the original. It features a top optical sensor, Omron switches rated for 20 million clicks, and an RGB tail light."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: TechPowerUp

Forget the GTX 1660 Ti, let's start speculating about the other GTX 1660

Subject: Graphics Cards | February 22, 2019 - 01:54 PM |
Tagged: video card, Turin, tu116, rtx, ray tracing, nvidia, msi, gtx 1660 ti, gtx, graphics, gpu, geforce, gaming, asus, DLSS, palit

Today is the day that the GTX 1660 Ti moves from rumour to fact as the NDA is finally over and we can share our results! Sebastian's testing compared the overclocked and slightly above base price MSI GTX 1660 Ti GAMING X against the interestingly shaped EVGA GTX 1660 Ti XC Black.  Performance-wise, the rumours were fairly accurate, the card offers comparable performance to the 1070 Ti, and at at ~$280 price point it is certainly less expensive but still shows evidence of the upwards trend in price for GPUs.

If you are interested in other models, take a peek at The Guru of 3D who reviewed not one or two, but four different 1660 Ti's.  From the tiny little Palit StormX model pictured below through MSI's dual fan VENTUS XS and Gaming X to the full sized ASUS ROG STRIX with three fans you have a fair number of charts to go through!

img_7747.jpg

"We have four new reviews to present today. NVIDIA is launching the 279 USD GeForce GTX 1660 Ti. We've talked about it a lot, it is the more affordable offering, Turing GPU based, yet stripped from RT and tensor functionality."

Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:

Graphics Cards

Source: Guru of 3D

Sorry about that, you are going to have to post your smartphone usage stats to Facebook manually now

Subject: General Tech | February 22, 2019 - 01:01 PM |
Tagged: facebook, Onavo Protect, vpn, apple, Android, dirty pool

You may remember news back in the summer of 2018 about Facebook's Onavo Protect VPN, when it was pulled from the Apple store due to the fact it collected an impressive array of information and sent it home to Ryan's clone.  It had been available since 2013 and it took five years of this behaviour before Apple finally pulled it.  If you were still desperate to overshare your phone habits with Facebook then Google was happy to help you out, until today that is.  While the VPN is still available on the Play Store, Ars Technica has been assured it no longer collects usage data to send back to Facebook; though one should probably go cold turkey just in case.

There are a number of Facebook employees that suggest these moves from Facebook are not indicative of a change of heart from the company, merely a move to try to save ...

mmmm.jpg

"Facebook "will immediately cease pulling in data from [Onavo] users for market research though it will continue operating as a Virtual Private Network in the short term to allow users to find a replacement," TechCrunch reported yesterday."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: Ars Technica

PC Perspective Podcast #533 - Synology DS1019, Logitech MX518, and NVIDIA Q4 Results

Subject: General Tech | February 21, 2019 - 09:12 PM |
Tagged: podcast

PC Perspective Podcast #533 - 2/20/2019

This week we review a new Synology NAS, a capable-but-pricey CPU water block, discuss launch date rumors for Ryzen 3000 and Navi, take a look at NVIDIA's Q4 financial results, and more!

Subscribe to the PC Perspective Podcast

Check out previous podcast episodes: http://pcper.com/podcast

Show Topics
00:01:43 - Review: Synology DS1019+ NAS
00:12:05 - Review: Aquacomputer Cuplex Kryos Water Block
00:23:46 - News: Rumored Launch Dates for Ryzen 3000 & Navi
00:33:59 - News: Intel Pentium Gold G5620
00:39:20 - News: RTX BIOS Flashing
00:42:45 - News: Return of the Logitech MX518 Gaming Mouse
00:48:56 - News: NVIDIA Q4 Financial Results
01:11:41 - News: Samsung Galaxy Fold
01:13:22 - News: Undisclosed Microphones in Nest Secure
01:19:12 - Picks of the Week
01:30:55 - Outro

Join us on Discord!

Picks of the Week
Jim: HDTV & Home Theater Podcast
Jeremy: Gamdias Poseidon M1 Gaming Combo
Josh: Dell U3417W
Sebastian: CHOETECH Wireless Charger
Morry: MyDigitalSSD M2X

Today's Podcast Hosts
Sebastian Peak
Josh Walrath
Jeremy Hellstrom
Jim Tanous
Morry Teitelman

Keep your eyes peeled for AMD’s Radeon RX Vega 56 for $279

Subject: Graphics Cards | February 21, 2019 - 07:36 PM |
Tagged: msi, RX Vega 56 Air Boost 8G OC, RX Vega 56, amd

The news is a bit late as NewEgg is currently out of stock, but it is worth keeping your eyes peeled for the Vega 56; a mid-range card at a mid-range price is somewhat rare at the moment.

mianv.jpg

MSI are selling their Vega 56 Air Boost 8G OC card for $279 USD, though keep away from the Canadian site as the price drop has yet to spread northwards.  While not availble at the time of this posting you should pay attention as not only is the card likely to come back in the not too distant future but this may prompt a drop in price for other cards. 

This particular model sports a Core Clock of 1181 MHz which can hit 1520 MHz on Boost and the 8GB of HBM2 runs at 1600 MHz on a 2048-bit interface giving it an impressive amount of bandwidth.  It is admittedly not a new card, you can see how it was received when it initially launched right here.

 

Source: AMD

NVIDIA Launches GeForce MX230 and MX250 Laptop GPUs

Subject: Graphics Cards, Systems | February 21, 2019 - 03:04 PM |
Tagged: pascal, nvidia, mx250, mx230, mx, gp108, geforce mx

Two new laptop GPUs launched in NVIDIA’s low-end MX line. This classification of products is designed to slide above the GPUs found on typical laptop CPUs by a wide enough margin to justify an extra chip, but not enough to be endorsed as part of their gaming line.

nvidia-2019-mx250.png

As such, pretty much the only performance number that NVIDIA provides is an “up-to” factor relative to Intel’s HD620 iGPU as seen on the Core i5-8265U. For reference, the iGPU on this specific CPU has 192 shader units running at up to 1.1 GHz. Technically there exists some variants that have boost clocks up to 1.15 GHz but that extra 4.5% shouldn’t matter too much for this comparison.

Versus this part, the MX250 is rated as up to 3.5x faster; the MX230 is rated at up to 2.6x faster.

One thing that I should note is that the last generation’s MX150 is listed as up to 4x the Intel UHD 620, although they don’t state which specific CPU’s UHD 620.

This leads to a few possibilities:

  1. The MX250 has a minor performance regression versus the MX150 in the “up to” test(s)
  2. The UHD 620 had significant driver optimizations in at least the “up to” test(s)
  3. The UHD 620 that they tested back then is significantly slower than the i5-8265U
  4. They rounded differently then vs now
  5. They couldn’t include the previous “up to” test for some reason

Unfortunately, because NVIDIA is not releasing any specifics, we can only list possibilities and maybe speculate if one seems exceedingly likely. (To me, none of the first four stands out head-and-shoulders above the other three.)

Like the MX150 that came before it, both the MX230 and MX250 will use GDDR5 memory. The MX130 could be paired with either GDDR5 or DDR3.

Anandtech speculates that it is based on the GP108, which is a safe assumption. NVIDIA confirmed that the new parts are using the Pascal architecture, and the GP108 is the Pascal chip in that performance range. Anandtech also claims that the MX230 and MX250 are fabricated under Samsung 14nm, while the “typical” MX150 is TSMC 16nm. The Wikipedia list of NVIDIA graphics, however, claims that the MX150 is fabricated at 14nm. While both could be right, a die shrink would make a bit of sense to squeeze out a few more chips from a wafer (if yields are relatively equal). If that’s the case, and they changed manufacturers, then there might be a slight revision change to the GP108; these changes happen frequently, and their effects should be invisible to the end user… but sometimes they make a difference.

It’ll be interesting to see benchmarks when they hit the market.

Source: NVIDIA

Arctic Teases Massive Freezer 50 TR Semi-Passive Air Cooler

Subject: Cases and Cooling | February 21, 2019 - 11:36 AM |
Tagged: tr4, tower cooler, Threadripper, passive cooling, arctic cooling, arctic, amd, air cooling

Arctic (ARCTIC) is reportedly working on a new air cooler for the AMD Threadripper / TR4 platform according to AnandTech who spotted a prototype on display during a gaming convention in Germany. The currently named "Freezer 50 TR" is a massive dual tower air cooler wrapped in a black shroud (with integrated addressable RGB lighting) and outfitted with two 140mm fans.

Arctic Freezer 50 TR Threadripper Air Cooler.jpg

AnandTech spotted Arctic's prototype 0dB Freezer 50 TR air cooler.

Arctic claims that the Freezer 50 TR is a semi-passive cooler that hits 0dB under light loads as the dual fans stop spinning when the PWM signal gets below 5%. The company has not released the maximum noise levels or fan speeds though. Further, the company is not yet talking TDPs as the cooler is still a prototype, but with the massive air cooler having two large aluminum fin stacks and eight direct contact nickel-plated heat-pipes it should handle Threadripper without issue (though what noise levels will have to be is still a concern).

Looking on Arctic's website, the new Freezer 50 TR looks to fill in a large gap in their TR4 cooler lineup between the $48 Freezer 33 TR single tower cooler (up to 200W) and the $75 Liquid Freezer 120 all-in-one liquid cooler with 120mm radiator (250W). From there, Arctic offers a $85 240mm and a $120 360mm cooler. For enthusiasts wanting air cooling with more stable temperatures under load and maybe a bit of overclocking room, the Freezer 50 TR may be the option they are looking for. I would guess that the Freezer 50 TR will likely be priced somewhere around or just above the 120mm liquid cooler.

I agree with Mr. Shilov (AnandTech) that a Computex launch is likely for the new cooler which would place it just in time for AMD's new Zen 2-based chips which may include an announcement of or at least information on new Threadripper 3 parts (though actual shipping chips may not be until the fall) if the rumors hold true. Threadripper and Threadripper 2 should be supported, but whether it will be enough to cool Threadripper 3 processors which may well ratchet up the core count again (if 64-core 7nm EPYC parts are any indication) is still unknown.

In any event, more air cooler options for Threadripper is a great thing as there are not nearly as many options for TR4 as there are for Ryzen and other consumer-level AMD (AM4) and Intel (115x) sockets! Water cooling may well be your best bet with Threadripper and other HEDT parts, especially when overclocking, but I am interested to see how well the Freezer 50 TR does in reviews!

Related reading:

Source: AnandTech

NVIDIA Announces Quarterly and Fiscal Year 2019 Earnings

Subject: General Tech | February 20, 2019 - 09:07 PM |
Tagged: quarterly earnings, nvidia, financial results

On Valentine's Day NVIDIA released its yearly and quarterly financial results for fiscal year 2019. While yearly revenue was up 21% from last year at 11.72 billion, its quarterly revenue of 2.2 billion fell 31% versus the previous quarter and 24% versus the same quarter last year. On the yearly revenue front, Nvidia credits gaming, data center, professional visualization, and automotive products/divisions for its record revenue in FY2019.

RTX2060_Thumbnail.jpg

Nvidia launched its RTX 2060 graphics card in Q4.

Q4 of FY2019 ended Jan 27th and saw operating expenses increase 6% versus last quarter and 25% YoY. while operating income fell 72% QoQ and 73% YoY. Net Income of $567 million fell 54% versus the third quarter and 49% versus Q4'FY18. Earnings per diluted share also fell to 92 cents. In Q4 Nvidia completed $700 million in share repurchases.

GAAP results. $ values in millions USD. (###) indicates a negative value.
  Q4 FY19 Q3 FY19 Q4 FY18 Q/Q Y/Y
Revenue $2.205 $3.181 $2.911 (31%) (24%)
Gross Margin 54.7% 60.4% 61.9% (570 bps) (720 bps)
Operating Expenses $913 $863 $728 + 6% + 25%
Operating Income $294 $1.058 $1.073 (72%) (73%)
Net Income $567 $1.230 $1.118 (54%) (49%)
Diluted Earnings Per Share $0.92 $1.97 $1.78 (53%) (48%)

In FY2019 Nvidia reportedly returned $1.95 billion to shareholders through $371 million in cash dividend payments and $1.58B in share repurchases. Looking at FY2020 the graphics giant plans to return $2.3 billion to shareholders through a combination of dividends and share buybacks.

Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang was quoted in the press release in stating

“This was a turbulent close to what had been a great year. The combination of post-crypto excess channel inventory and recent deteriorating end-market conditions drove a disappointing quarter.

“Despite this setback, NVIDIA’s fundamental position and the markets we serve are strong. The accelerated computing platform we pioneered is central to some of world’s most important and fastest growing industries – from artificial intelligence to autonomous vehicles to robotics. We fully expect to return to sustained growth,”

Looking into next year, Nvidia expects Q1 FY2020 revenue to hit $2.2 billion (+/- 2%) and for yearly revenue to stay flat or decrease slightly. First quarter gross margins and operating expenses are expected to increase to 58.8% and $930 million respectively (those are GAAP numbers).

Nvidia has had a rough last quarter and both graphics chip makers AMD and Nvidia have experienced yet another cryptocurrency mining craze and crash in 2018 except this time around the companies had jumped more into it than before with mining specific graphics card lines and all. Nvidia's stock price (currently at $158.55) has fallen quite a bit since October but is still above where it was just a few years ago. Nvidia has a wide range of products and diversified interests where I am not worried about their future, but I don't know enough to say with confidence which way things will go in FY2020 and if their outlook predictions will hold true. The company launched its RTX 2060 last quarter and is expected to bring budget and mid-range cards sans ray tracing support (e.g. the rumored GTX 1660 Ti) this quarter along with the professional market products ramping up with data center and professional workstation graphics cards and projects like NVIDIA DRIVE and the Mercedes Benz partnership – and that's only a couple slices of what the company is involved in – so it will be interesting to see how FY2020 shakes out for them in general as well as for enthusiasts.

You can expect more discussion about Nvidia's financial results on tonight's PC Perspective Podcast so if you are interested be sure to tune in (you can even watch live)!

You can dig into the nitty-gritty numbers over at investor.nvidia.com if you are curious.

Source: NVIDIA

When watercooling a RTX card it is all about Z height, meet Alphacool's GPX Eisblock

Subject: Cases and Cooling | February 20, 2019 - 03:57 PM |
Tagged: Alphacool, GPX Eisblock, rtx, nvidia, watercooling

When testing the new watercooler from Alphacool, designed for RTX cards, [H]ard|OCP made an interesting discovery, VRAM height is somewhat variable.  As part of their review process they always check how well the waterblock mates with what it is cooling, and as you can see below there is something a bit off with their test sample.

As it turns out, VRAM height can vary by up to 0.3mm, which may not sound like a lot but is enough to cause mating problems unless you spread thermal paste on like peanut butter ... which is not that good an idea.  The good news is that you can purchase thermal pads in varying thicknesses which you can make use of to ensure a proper mate.  You can check out their initial look now, or wait until said pads arrive and the full review is published.

1550590514aj9gohit8r_1_3_l.jpg

"Alphacool has always made a great showing when it comes to water cooling our hot video cards. The company has recently updated its Eisblock series of GPU water blocks to include models made for NVIDIA's RTX series of cards featuring the Turing GPUs. We show you these new blocks and tell you about our first experiences with those."

Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:

CASES & COOLING

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Welcome the new benchmark in beating on GPUs, Metro Exodus

Subject: General Tech | February 20, 2019 - 02:09 PM |
Tagged: Metro Exodus, games

If you have yet to venture into the new post apocalyptic Russian wasteland, you might want to hold off until you can get your GPU some reinforcements.  An RTX 2060 will let you crank up the settings at 1080p and average around 50fps, while a Vega 64 will almost hit 60fps though without the fancy ray tracing.  If 1440p is your target you are going to want an RTX 2080 if you are going to turn on all the features and still hit 60fps, AMD's offerings can handle this resolution though you many need to turn down some features.   If 4K is your preference, even the mighty RTX 2080 Ti can only manage about 40fps with ray tracing enabled.

Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN is still shopping for a few more cards to add to their suite and an updated machine but they break out their recommendations by GPU which is handy if you have that card.

metro-exodus-review-13-1212x682.jpg

"Once upon a time, there was an old saying in PC gaming spheres: ‘But will it run Crysis?’ Then the apocalypse happened, and civilisation retreated to the dark tunnels of its underground tube system, the phrase becoming lost and morphed in the intervening years. Now we say in hushed, hallowed tones, ‘But will it run Metro?’"

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Ah, boss? I just overheard someone say they spotted the microphone!

Subject: General Tech | February 20, 2019 - 12:34 PM |
Tagged: nest, google, alphabet, iot

You may recall a news story last summer, about USB fans which were handed out to journalists that showed how oblivious many people are when it comes to security.  The recent news about the microphone in Google's Nest Secure shows that the lesson still has not been learned, though there is certainly an extra level to this particular story.  Google recently announced that they would be activating the microphone embedded in the Nest Secure, something which they completely neglected to document that their home security system contained.

The Nest Secure consists of several sensors to detect a window or door opening, as well as a base with a speaker to sound alerts and a keypad to verify the user.  You would not reasonably expect such a thing to contain a microphone, let alone an undocumented one.   Google insists that they simply forgot to include it in the parts list and that this is all just an innocent misunderstanding.  They are also asking you to believe that the microphone has never been enabled and that there is no possible way that it might have been secretly recording conversations. 

As a point in Google's favour Ars Technica does point out that every other product Google sells has a microphone in it, and so it would be reasonable to suspect one was present in the Nest.   In a world where your TV spies on you, an update can brick your shoes and you can buy smart locks that will ensure you will never be able to go home again, just to mention a few, having your security system spying on you does not seem too far fetched.

eavesdropping.PNG

“The on-device microphone was never intended to be a secret and should have been listed in the tech specs. That was an error on our part.” According to the company, "the microphone has never been on and is only activated when users specifically enable the option.”

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: Ars Technica

Report: Intel Pentium Gold G5620 on the Way: First 4 Ghz Pentium

Subject: Processors | February 20, 2019 - 09:59 AM |
Tagged: rumor, report, processor, pentium, Intel, G5620, G5600T, G5420T, G5420, G4950, G4930T, G4930, cpu, celeron

The Pentium processor has been around since the end of the 486 era, introduced in 1993 at a startling cost of $878 for the 60 MHz version, and $964 for 66 MHz (when purchased in quantities of 1000, that is). Now Intel is taking Pentium into uncharted waters for 2019, with the Pentium Gold G5620 reaching 4.0 GHz for the first time for a processor bearing the iconic brand.

Pentium_Gold.jpg

Image via Tom's Hardware

According to reports from Tom's Hardware and AnandTech the Pentium G5620, listed early by retailers in Europe, is a 2-core / 4-thread part that will apparently be at the top of the new budget desktop CPU lineup. Alongside the Pentium G5620 there will refreshed Pentium and Celeron CPUs, as listed by Tom's Hardware:

"...the other processors listed include the G5420 (3.8 GHz, 2/4), G5600T (3.3 GHz, 2/4), G5420T (3.2 GHz, 2/4), the Celeron G4950 (3.3 GHz, 2/2), the Celeron G4930 (3.2 GHz, 2/2), and the Celeron G4930T (3.0 GHz, 2/2)."

We do not have an Intel announcement yet of course, so no details about architecture, process tech, or official pricing. March or April is the expected timeframe based on the listings, and with no official release dates we can only speculate on actual availability here in the U.S.

I am the BIOS that flashes in the RTX ... Let's get dangerous!

Subject: Graphics Cards | February 19, 2019 - 06:21 PM |
Tagged: danger, rtx, bios, flash, nvidia, risky business

So you like living dangerously and are willing to bet $1000 or more on something that might make your new NVIDIA GPU a bit faster, or transform it into a brick?  Then does Overclockers Club have a scoop for you!  There exists a tool called NVFlash, with or without added ID Mismatch Modified, which will allow you to change the BIOS of your card to another manufacturers design which can increase your cards power envelope and offer better performance ...

or kill it dead ...

or introduce artifacting, random crashes or all sort of other mischief.

On the other hand, if all goes well you can turn your plain old RTX card into an overclocked model of the same type and see higher performance overall.  Take a look at OCC's article and read it fully before deciding if this is a risk you might be willing to take.

6_thumb.jpg

"WARNING! Flash the BIOS at your own risk. Flashing a video card BIOS to a different model and/or series WILL void your warranty. This process can also cause other permanent issues like video artifacts and premature hardware failure!"

Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:

Graphics Cards

I see rumours of red and rumours of green ...

Subject: General Tech | February 19, 2019 - 03:31 PM |
Tagged: tu116, ryzen 3, rumours, nvidia, navi, msi, GTX 1660 TI Gaming X, gtx 1660 ti, amd

If you blinked you would have missed a certain unboxing video, as it was posted before the NDA on the GTX 1660 Ti expired.  However, a few sites managed to get some screengrabs before the video was taken down, so we now know a bit more about the card once thought to be mythical. 

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Image from PC World Bulgaria via [H]ard|OCP

Specifically, it was an MSI GeForce GTX 1660 TI Gaming X that was revealed to the world and while there were no benchmarks, there now seems to be physical proof that this card exists.  It sports a single 8pin PCIe power connector, three DisplayPort 1.4 and a single HDMI 2.0b outputs and not a bit of RTX branding.  Instead it contains 1,536 Turing Shaders and a 12 nm process "TU116" chip hidden under the Twin Frozr 7 cooler.  The outputs tell us this particular card is not compatible with VirtualLink. 

Drop by [H]ard|OCP for links as well as possible pricing and ETA.

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For AMD fans, The Inquirer is reporting that 7nm Ryzen 3 desktop CPUs and Navi GPUs should be announced on 7 July at Computex.  We should also see the new X570 chipset, though the rumour is that the current generation of motherboards will support the new Ryzen series with a BIOS update.  Sadly, Navi is likely to only be announced as it is likely the release will be delayed until October, though like everything else in this post that is purely speculation based on a variety of sources and may not be accurate.

One thing we do know is that the new flagship Ryzen 9 3800X will have two eight core Zen 2 dies, offering a total of 16 cores and 32 threads. The base clock should be 3.9GHz with a top speed of 4.7GHZ, and a TDP of 125W.

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Rumor: AMD Launching 7nm Ryzen 3000, X500 Motherboards, and Navi GPUs on July 7th

Subject: Processors | February 19, 2019 - 02:57 PM |
Tagged: Zen 2, x570, X500, Ryzen 3000, navi, matisse, amd, 7nm

Spotted by HardOCP, Paul from Red Gaming Tech recently shared leaked information from a source with a reputation of being reliable (from past leaks about 7nm GPUs) who claims that AMD will be announcing a plethora of products at Computex in June to setup for the launch of Zen 2-based 7nm "Matisse" Ryzen 3000 desktop processors, X500 series chipset-based motherboards, and 7nm Navi-based consumer gaming graphics cards on July 7th (The 7th for 7nm I guess).

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Image via AnandTech

As a refresher, Zen 2 is the next major architectural jump for AMD while also pushing a new smaller process node. AMD has not yet revealed all the details about Zen 2 especially about consumer chips, but the new microarchitecture is said to feature tweaks to the front end that along with clockspeed bumps from the TSMC 7nm process will allow them to realize notable IPC and single threaded performance gains. When talking about EPYC 2 "Rome" server processors (Zen 2 based) AMD hinted at changes to branch prediction and pre-fetching as well as increased cache sizes and larger FPUs (256-bit), for example. The move to 7nm allegedly allows AMD to hit similar power envelopes to Zen+ (12nm) Ryzen 2000 series processors while hitting much higher clockspeeds at up to 5.1 GHz boost on their top-end chip. While mobile chips may strike a finer balance between power usage and performance with the move to 7nm, on the desktop AMD is spending nearly all the power savings on performance (which makes sense). Note that it is still not officially official that AMD is using a scaled down EPYC setup with more than one 7nm (TSMC) CPU die and a separate IO die (14nm Global Foundries), [they only teased a chip at CES with an IO die and a single CPU die] but I am of the opinion that that particular rumor makes more sense than otherwise so am inclined to believe this is the case.

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Ryzen 3000 series processors feature an IO chiplet along with what is rumored to be up to two CPU chiplets (image credit: Tom's Hardware).

From previous leaks, Ryzen 3000 is said to cover all the bases from six core Ryzen 3 3300 series chips to midrange eight core Ryzen 5 and on up to 12 and 16 core Ryzen 9 CPUs that move beyond a single CPU die to two 7nm CPU dies that feature eight cores each. In fact, the top end Ryzen 9 3850X is supposedly a 16 core (32 thread) monster of a desktop chip that has a base frequency of 4.3 GHz and can boost up to 5.1 GHz with a 135W TDP (which when overclocked will likely draw dramatically more like we've seen with both AMD and Intel's top end consumer chips) and price tag of around $520 (400 pounds). The Ryzen 7 3700 and 3700X are 12 core (24 thread) models with TDPs of 95W and 105W respectively with the non-x SKU clocked at 3.8 to 4.6 GHz and the 3700X clocked at 4.2 GHz base and 5 GHz boost. The Ryzen 5 3600 and 3600X are the top end single CPU die models (though a 2x single CCX per die chips might be a reality depending on yields) at eight cores and 16 threads. The Ryzen 3 3300 series parts represent the low end which is now interestingly six cores (oh how times have changed!). Perhaps most interesting of the leaked chips are the Ryzen 5 3600G (~$207) and the Ryzen 3 3300G (~$130) though which feature Navi 12 integrated graphics (presumably these processors combine one 7nm CPU die, one 7nm GPU die, and one 14nm IO die) with 15 and 20 CUs respectively.

As for motherboards, in general the new chips will use the AM4 socket and will be compatible with older 300 and 400 series motherboards with a BIOS update though the top end chips may well necessitate a new X570 or other X500 series motherboard with better power delivery especially for enthusiasts planning to attempt stable overclocks.

Unfortunately, on Navi details are still a bit scarce but the new architecture should bring performance enhancements even beyond Radeon VII (Vega on 7nm). Allegedly due to issues with TSMC, Red Gaming Tech's source believes that Navi might be delayed or pushed back beyond the planned mid-summer release date, but we will have to wait and see. As TSMC ramps up its partial EUV enhanced 7nm node it may free up needed production line space of the current 7nm node for AMD (to fight with others over heh) to meet its intended deadline but we will just have to wait and see!

Take these rumors with a grain of salt as usual but it certainly sounds like it is hoing to be an exciting summer for PC hardware! Hopefully more details about Ryzen 3000 and Navi emerge before then though as that's quite a while yet to wait. Of course, Zen 2 APUs are not coming until at least next year and AMD is still not talking Zen 2 Threadripper which may not see release until the fall at the very earliest. I am very interested to see how AMDs chiplet based design fares and how well they are able to scale it across their product stack(s) as well as what Intel's response will be as it presses on with a fine tuned 14nm++ and a less ambitious 10nm node.

Related reading:

The incredible stretch ... circuit?

Subject: General Tech | February 19, 2019 - 02:26 PM |
Tagged: nifty, stretchable, nanotubes

There have been several foldable screens shown off at CES and other shows, though no prototypes have made it into our hands as of yet.  For the most part they seem to rely on rigid structures linked by stretchable or foldable materials, which is what makes the research PhysicsWorld is reporting so interesting.  Researchers from the University of Houston have developed a semiconductor which is able to retain its performance even when stretched up to 50% from it's original size.  The prototype, with integrated electronics and logic circuits, relies on a rubbery semiconductor composite doped with carbon nanotubes which carry the charge from component to component even when the material is deformed or stretched.  They also suggest that this manufacturing is relatively inexpensive, which is perhaps the largest hurdle when developing this type of product.

Jump over to their report and take a look.

 

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"Their low-cost semiconductor material retained its high charge carrier mobility, even when subjected to 50% stretching. The team’s work could lead to the development of practical new technologies including robotic skins and wearable electronics."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: PhysicsWorld

Logitech Is Bringing Back the Beloved MX518 Gaming Mouse

Subject: General Tech | February 19, 2019 - 11:05 AM |
Tagged: mx518, logitech g, logitech, gaming mouse

Logitech today announced the rebirth of one of its most popular and beloved products, the MX518 Gaming Mouse. First released nearly fourteen years ago, the MX518 received rave reviews from the tech press and users alike for its comfortable shape, well-positioned customizable buttons, and high-precision sensor with on-the-fly DPI toggling. The company has since released dozens of additional gaming mice models, but fans of the MX518 have long been relegated to paying inflated prices for used stock on eBay if they wanted to get their hands on a replacement.

Now, after a not-so-quiet launch in Asia late last year, Logitech is relaunching the MX518 in Western markets. The company cites the ongoing chorus of user requests to "bring back the MX518" as the reason for the device's revival, and Logitech says that this re-released version is crafted from the original designs with the same shape and feel.

"As one of the most-beloved gaming mice ever, MX518 has inspired legions of fans around the world to ask Logitech G to bring it out of retirement. And we heard you. We pulled the original tools from the Vault and meticulously restored them -- right down to the original glossy keyplate. It's the classic, comfortable shape you know and love, now with modern components that perform to today's advanced standards and a new, updated Nightfall color scheme."

But just because the MX518's exterior remains the same doesn't mean that the mouse's internals can't be updated to take advantage of almost fifteen years of technological advancements. Logitech is therefore packing the "very latest, next-generation technologies" into the new MX518, including a HERO 16K sensor and a 32-bit ARM processor that gives the new mouse a 1ms report rate. Like Logitech's other gaming products, users will be able to store button layouts and custom DPI settings to the mouse's onboard memory so it will always perform and operate the way you want even when connected to PCs not running Logitech's Gaming Software.

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Check out the full list of specifications below and head over to Logitech's Gaming site to pre-order the MX518 for $59.99. Shipping date has yet to be announced but considering that the product is already on the market in China, it shouldn't be too long a wait for longtime Logitech fans on this side of the globe to get their fix.

PHYSICAL SPECIFICATIONS

  • Height: 131 mm
  • Width: 73 mm
  • Depth: 43 mm
  • Weight: 101 g mouse only
  • Cable length: ~ 2.10 m

TRACKING

  • Sensor: HERO™ 16K
  • Resolution: 100 – 16,000 DPI
  • Zero smoothing/acceleration/filtering
  • Max. acceleration: > 40 G
  • Max. speed: > 400 IPS

RESPONSIVENESS

  • USB data format: 16 bits/axis
  • USB report rate: 1000 Hz (1ms)
  • Microprocessor: 32-bit ARM

DURABILITY

  • PTFE Feet: > 250 kilometers

OTHER FEATURES

  • Onboard memory: 5 profiles
  • Lightweight, flexible cable

REQUIREMENTS

  • Windows® 7 or later
  • macOS® 10.11 or later
  • USB port
  • Internet access for Logitech Gaming Software (optional)

PART NUMBER

  • 910-005542

WARRANTY INFORMATION

  • 2 - Year Warranty
Source: Logitech G