MWC: SanDisk Announces 1TB UHS-I MicroSDXC Card With Western Digital Flash

Subject: Storage | February 27, 2019 - 11:02 AM |
Tagged: UHS-I, uhs-1, sneakernet, smartphone, sandisk, microSD

SanDisk recently announced new microSDXC cards in 512GB and 1TB capacities that it claims are the fastest cards [soon to be] on the market. The SanDisk Extreme UHS-I micro SD cards conform to the C10/V30/U3/A2 speed classes (only USB-IF is more confusing heh) and are able to hit up to 160 MB/s reads and 90 MB/s write speeds reportedly thanks to Western Digital’s (who owns SanDisk) proprietary flash (though the PR and product page do not go into details on which version it is using it is likely some version of 96-layer BiCS flash).

SanDisk Extreme UHS-I MicroSDXC 1TB Memory Card.png

In addition to transfer speeds, the micro SDXC UHS-1 cards offer A2 class enhanced application performance with up to 4,000 read IOPS and 2,000 write IOPS. As a result, the cards allegedly support faster load times and random access of applications run from the microSD card (e.g. Android applications installed to the expansion card rather than internal storage).

According to the product page, the cards are rated for temperatures ranging from -13F to 185F (cold is much worse for flash memory than heat) when in use and down to -40F when not in use.

It is impressive to see 1TB and even 512GB of storage available in such a small physical format when just a few years ago 64GB was considered large! Many smartphone do not even (officially) support higher than 256GB or less for their expandable storage though so long as the cards are formatted correctly these new cards should still work.

Brian Pridgeon, Director of Marketing for SanDisk at Western Digital was quoted in the press release in stating:

“People trust SanDisk-brand cards to capture and preserve their world. Our goal is to deliver the best possible experience so consumers can share the content that’s important to them,” said Brian Pridgeon, director of marketing for SanDisk-branded products, Western Digital.

4K UHD and soon enough 8K video recording on a smartphone or dedicated camera seems to be an obvious use case for these new higher capacity cards as well as the ability to sneakernet files and mail off data for offsite backups easily thanks to the tiny size and weight.

Note that a full card would take just over 2 hours to copy from card to computer and just over 3.5 hours to fill at maximum transfer speeds of 160 MB/s and 90 MB/s respectively. Western Digital's SanDisk Extreme UHS-I is slightly faster than Micron's 1TB microSD card in reads while the two are about even in writes with Micron's microSDXC card hitting up to 100 MB/s reads and 95 MB/s writes.

The increased storage space doesn’t come cheap though with MSRPs on the new micro SDXC cards being $199.99 for the 512GB UHS-I card and $499.99 for the 1TB model. SanDisk is offering the cards for pre-order on its website with wider retail availability expected April 2019.

Will you be picking up a 1TB microSD card? Personally, I’m still a ways away from filling up my 64GB mSD card though I do use Sync to copy my photos and videos off of my phone and regularly delete them from my phone. The wife might be able to make use of one of these high capacity cards since she’s constantly running out of space on her phone and needs to pay for cloud storage – if only she didn’t have an iPhone!

Source: SanDisk

GPU prices just too damn high? NVIDIA might have something for you

Subject: General Tech | February 26, 2019 - 02:04 PM |
Tagged: rumour, nvidia, gtx 1660, gtx 1650

You could successfully argue that neither AMD nor NVIDIA have offered a lower end GPU for casual gaming and content consumption in the last generation.  Rumours abound that NVIDIA will offer not one, but two cards priced around the $200 mark which would fill that niche, the GTX 1660 and GTX 1650.  We have little information about them, though you can safely assume that they will perform at a lower level than the GTX 1660 Ti

The launch dates for these cards, assuming they exist, is pegged for March 15th and April 30th, according to DigiTimes.  According to one of our favourite leakers, TUM_APISAK, the GTX 1650 will sport 4GB of RAM and have a core clock of 1,485MHz.  The GTX 1660 remains a mystery.

tdh.PNG

"The sources said that Nvidia is slated to launch GTX 1660 on March 15 and GTX1650 on April 30, which will bear minimum price tags of US$229 and US$179, respectively."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: DigiTimes

EWC 2019: Vulkan Safety Critical (SC) Working Group Created

Subject: Graphics Cards | February 26, 2019 - 12:41 AM |
Tagged: Khronos, Khronos Group, vulkan, vulkan sc, opengl, opengl sc

The Khronos Group, the industry body that maintains OpenGL, OpenCL, EGL, glTF, Vulkan, OpenXR, and several other standards, has announced the Vulkan Safety Critical (SC) Working Group at Embedded World Conference 2019. The goal is to create an API that leverages Vulkan’s graphics and compute capabilities in a way that implementations can be safe and secure enough for the strictest of industries, such as automotive, air, medical, and energy.

khronos-2017-vulkan-alt-logo.png

It's a safety hammer, I promise. (No I don't.)

The primary goal is graphics and compute, although the working group will also consider exposing other hardware capabilities, such as video encode and decode. These industries currently have access to graphics through OpenGL SC, although the latest release is still significantly behind what a GPU can do. To put it into perspective – the latest OpenGL SC 2.0 (which was released in 2016) has less functionality than the original release of WebGL back in 2011.

While OpenGL SC 2.0 allows programmable vertex and fragment (pixel) shaders, it falls short in many areas. Most importantly, OpenGL SC 2.0 does not allow compute shaders; Vulkan SC is aiming to promote the GPU into a coprocessor for each of these important industries.

There is not much else to report on at this point – the working group has been formed. A bunch of industry members have voiced their excitement about the new API’s potential, such as Codeplay, Arm, and NVIDIA. The obvious example application would be self-driving cars, although I’m personally interested in the medical industry. Is there any sort of instrument that could do significantly more if it had access to a parallel compute device?

If you are in a safety-critical enterprise, then look into joining the Khronos Group.

AMD's Radeon Software Adrenalin 2019 Edition 19.2.3 mobilizes

Subject: Graphics Cards, Processors | February 25, 2019 - 07:19 PM |
Tagged: Adrenalin Edition, adrenaline 19.2.3, amd, ryzen, Vega

AMD's regular driver updates have a new trick up their sleeves, they now include drivers for AMD Ryzen APUs with a Vega GPU inside.  Today's 19.2.3 launch is the first to be able to do so, and you can expect future releases to as well.  This is a handy integration for AMD users, even if you have a GPU installed you can be sure that your APU drivers are also up to date in case you need them.  For many users this may mean your Hybrid APU + GPU combination will offer better performance than you have seen recently, with no extra effort required from you.

Slide1.JPG

Along with the support for Ryzen APUs you will also see these changes.

Support For:

  • AMD Ryzen Mobile Processors with Radeon Vega Graphics Up to 10% average performance gains with AMD Radeon Software Adrenalin 2019 Edition 19.2.3 vs. 17.40 launch drivers for AMD Ryzen Mobile Processors with Radeon Vega Graphics.
  • Up to 17% average performance gains in eSports titles with AMD Radeon Software Adrenalin 2019 Edition 19.2.3 vs. 17.40 launch drivers for AMD Ryzen Mobile Processors with Radeon Vega Graphics.
  • Dirt Rally 2 - Up to 3% performance gains with AMD Radeon Software Adrenalin 2019 Edition 19.2.3, on a Radeon RX Vega 64 in Dirt Rally 2.

Fixed Issues:

  • Battlefield V players may experience character outlines stuck on screen after being revived.
  • Fan speeds may remain elevated for longer periods than expected when using Tuning Control Auto Overclock or manual fan curve in Radeon WattMan on AMD Radeon VII.
  • ReLive wireless VR may experience an application crash or hang during extended periods of play.
  • Zero RPM will correctly disable in Radeon WattMan on available system configurations when manual fan curve is enabled.
  • A loss of video may be intermittently experienced when launching a fullscreen player application with Radeon FreeSync enabled.

Known Issues:

  • Mouse lag or system slowdown is observed for extended periods of time with two or more displays connected and one display switched off.
  • Changes made in Radeon WattMan settings via Radeon Overlay may sometimes not save or take effect once Radeon Overlay is closed.
  • Some Mobile or Hybrid Graphics system configurations may intermittently experience green flicker when moving the mouse over YouTube videos in Chrome web browser.
    • A work around if this occurs is to disable hardware acceleration.
  • Radeon WattMan settings changes may intermittently not apply on AMD Radeon VII.
  • Performance metrics overlay and Radeon WattMan gauges may experience inaccurate fluctuating readings on AMD Radeon VII.

 

Source: AMD

Twin phase VRM's are ready for Prime time on ASUS's newly refreshed X299 board

Subject: Motherboards | February 25, 2019 - 05:09 PM |
Tagged: x299, asus, prime x299 deluxe II, Intel, LGA 2066

ASUS have regenerated their Prime X299 Deluxe motherboard to be able to support new Intel chips such as the i9-9980XE by completely redesigning the PWMs and adding a few new features.  This is the third board which [H]ard|OCP reviewed that uses the new "Twin phase" design as opposed to the previous phase doubling used on the vast majority of boards.  Their results so far suggest the new design is at least as stable as the old standard, as you can see yourself in their full review.

15499877228fljwnrv1k_1_11_l.jpg

"The ASUS Prime X299 Deluxe II is an ultra-feature rich solution for today’s discerning computing enthusiast. It does not wear ROG branding, and is clad in white shrouding, letting you know that this is a PRIME motherboard. Is it a bargain priced motherboard? Nope. This one comes in at $500. Let's see if it is worth it."

Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:

Motherboards

 

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Gigabyte's Aero 15, more thoughts on tracing rays while on the go

Subject: Mobile | February 25, 2019 - 03:45 PM |
Tagged: gigabyte, Aero 15 X9, RTX 2070 Max-Q, Core i7-8750H, Intel, nvidia, gaming laptop, 144hz

Gigabyte's Aero 15 X9 has been upgraded to an RTX 2070 Max-Q to power the 144Hz 1080p screen, though if you have the money there is a model with an RTX 2080 Max-Q and a 4k display.  Techspot reviewed the former and tested its performance against previous models as well as determining if the laptop has enough power to provide a decent experience with DLSS or DXR enabled.  They also discovered the laptop gets rather warm while testing and that thanks to the thin bezel the camera has been moved to the bottom, providing a handy way to trim your nose hairs.

gaming.PNG

"Today we are reviewing the Gigabyte Aero 15 X9, the first Nvidia RTX laptop we tested and used for our RTX 2070 Max-Q feature earlier this month. It's a cool gaming laptop, pretty similar to the Aero 15X v8 we looked at last year, but with a few upgrades that we'll walk you through here."

Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:

More Mobile Articles

 

Source: TechSpot

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.

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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.

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"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."

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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.

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"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?’"

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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.

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“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.”

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Source: Ars Technica