PCPer Mailbag #59 - Nearly 1 Hour of Storage Discussion With Mr. Malventano

Subject: Editorial | October 19, 2018 - 09:00 AM |
Tagged: video, pcper mailbag, Allyn Malventano

It's time for the PCPer Mailbag, our weekly show where Ryan and the team answer your questions about the tech industry, the latest and greatest GPUs, the process of running a tech review website, and more!

Allyn takes the hot seat this week to answer your storage questions:

00:23 - Would you worry about NVMe cooling? If you’re running video editing workloads, should you spend time trimming thermal pads on motherboard heatsinks to avoid overcooling the flash? Also, NVMe or Optane for an editing rig?

10:39 - I recently cloned my Samsung 850 EVO to a new ADATA SX8200. All was well at first, but when I formatted the EVO, Windows refused to boot and gave a BSoD. It would only boot once I removed every other drive from the system except the NVMe. Any ideas why?

13:51 - If I have a 3-year-old SM941 and it works fine, what kind of upgrade path do I have? MLC/NVMe are still good...better than TLC/QLC. So, Optane?

19:49 - What are the developments needed to give us even faster speeds than today’s NVMe? Where is the bottleneck that limits current speeds?

28:01 - Will NVMe SSD pricing ever catch up with SATA SSD drives?

30:33 - Will QLC replace TLC on lower-end SSDs?

32:42 - Can you overclock SSDs? If so, what kind of positive and negative impacts would it have?

37:20 - Does regularly TRIMing an SSD extend its life? If so, how often should I run a TRIM command on my drives?

43:57 - Is there any negative impact on an SSD from leaving it connected to power at all times even when idle compared to only powering it up when I need to use it? I use an SSD for my wireless Samba server in my semi-truck to stream videos in my off time but most of the day it sits there doing nothing.

46:55 - Allyn, have you and Steve Gibson ever done a podcast or talk together?

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Source: YouTube

PCPer Mailbag #58 - 'Better Late Than Never' Edition

Subject: Editorial | October 11, 2018 - 09:00 AM |
Tagged: video, pcper mailbag, Josh Walrath

It's time for the PCPer Mailbag, our weekly show where Ryan and the team answer your questions about the tech industry, the latest and greatest GPUs, the process of running a tech review website, and more!

So, yeah, we missed a few weeks. We're going to blame it on Jim and his lack of pneumonia-proof lungs. What a loser. But, hey, they say whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Turns out that's not true at all.

Without further ado, the role of Ryan Shrout in today's performance will be played by plucky young up-and-comer Josh Walrath:

00:56 - Do you think we'll see AMD GPUs with ray tracing capabilities in the next few months to compete with NVIDIA?

06:06 - Has NVIDIA changed the yardstick for measuring GPU performance? The metrics until now have been higher frame rates at higher resolutions, but it seems we’re about to start prioritizing ray tracing performance instead. Would a gamer playing today at 4K or 144Hz consider it a downgrade to switch to 1080p with ray tracing? Will consumers who invested in 4K and high refresh rate displays feel cheated by the shift to ray tracing, even though there are only a handful of supported titles scheduled for the near future?

11:46 - Would you rather see companies push to truly achieve mainstream 4K HDR 60fps performance with better textures and polygon counts instead of this new shift to ray tracing?

14:11 - I recently added a Samsung 970 EVO to my system, but I wasn’t able to install Windows on it unless I disconnected all of my other drives first. What could have caused this?

17:01 - Is anyone else unable to map a network drive in Windows 10 after upgrading to version 1803? Did Microsoft kill off HomeGroup without sufficient testing? Help!

18:48 - Why do different types of RAM work better on Intel or AMD platforms?

20:57 - Do you expect the new Intel HEDT refresh parts to hold the higher frequencies at the same power level as before? And if so will that be down to the soldered IHS or more of the actual improvement in the cores/chip? Will the “optimization” provide an IPC increase?

23:16 - Do you think Zen 2 / Ryzen 3 will bring memory controller performance into parity with their Intel counterparts?

Want to have your question answered on a future Mailbag? Leave a comment on this post or in the YouTube comments for the latest video. Check out new Mailbag videos (usually) each week!

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Source: YouTube

PCPer Mailbag #57 - How Many Rays Would a Ray Tracer Trace If a Ray Tracer Could Trace Rays?

Subject: Editorial | September 7, 2018 - 10:03 PM |
Tagged: video, Ryan Shrout, pcper mailbag

It's time for the PCPer Mailbag, our weekly show where Ryan and the team answer your questions about the tech industry, the latest and greatest GPUs, the process of running a tech review website, and more!

On today's show:

00:51 - NVIDIA 7nm GPU plans?
03:57 - NVIDIA vs. AMD for older CPUs?
06:33 - Threadripper workstation boards?
08:43 - Jensen Huang?
10:19 - Ray tracing performance drop?
12:50 - Ray tracing quality vs. performance slider?
15:10 - Updates for RTX AI breaking games?
17:13 - PCPer interviews with game developers?

Want to have your question answered on a future Mailbag? Leave a comment on this post or in the YouTube comments for the latest video. Check out new Mailbag videos each Friday!

Be sure to subscribe to our YouTube Channel to make sure you never miss our weekly reviews and podcasts, and please consider supporting PC Perspective via Patreon to help us keep videos like our weekly mailbag coming!

Source: YouTube

Intel Gamer Days! Win a $6,000 Falcon NW Tiki!

Subject: Editorial | September 1, 2018 - 12:00 AM |
Tagged: tiki, intel gamer days, giveaway, falcon northwest, contest

Guys and gals, we have quite the event for you this September. PC Perspective is partnering with Falcon Northwest and Intel to support the Intel Gamer Days promotion, and with that, you get the chance to win a Tiki PC worth about $6,000.

Yes, $6K.

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Falcon Northwest Tiki  (configuration as reviewed)
Processor Intel Core i7-8086K (Coffee Lake)
Motherboard ROG STRIX Z370-I GAMING
Cooler Asetek 550LC 120mm AIO Water Cooler
Graphics NVIDIA TITAN Xp 12GB
Memory 32GB (2x16B) G.SKILL RIPJAWS V DDR4-3000
Storage

Intel SSD Optane 905P 1.5TB U.2

Power Supply Silverstone SFX-650W 
Dimensions 4" Wide x 13.5" Deep x 13.25" Tall. (715 cubic inches)
OS Windows 10 Pro
Price $6,242 (as configured) - Falcon NW

This is the exact same Tiki machine that we reviewed here at PC Perspective in July, and now it can find a home in YOUR home.

Entry information is below. A HUGE thank you goes to Falcon Northwest and Intel for supporting our readers and fans with this opportunity. Get in there and enter!

Intel Gamer Days with Falcon Northwest and PC Perspective!

PCPer Mailbag #56 - Ray tracing, Raytracing, Ray-tracing!

Subject: Editorial | August 31, 2018 - 09:00 AM |
Tagged: video, Ryan Shrout, pcper mailbag

It's time for the PCPer Mailbag, our (mostly) weekly show where Ryan and the team answer your questions about the tech industry, the latest and greatest GPUs, the process of running a tech review website, and more!

On today's show:

00:40 - AMD ray tracing vs. NVIDIA?
03:00 - RTX tensor and RT cores?
04:55 - DirectX Raytracing vs. NVIDIA RTX?
08:18 - Ray tracing vs. Raytracing vs. Ray-tracing?
09:22 - HDMI 2.1 missing from RTX?
10:52 - Isolating drives in a dual-boot PC?
12:47 - Underclocking Ryzen for lower TDP?
14:37 - Cooling M.2 NVMe and Optane?
16:01 - Tariffs and PC hardware prices?
17:18 - RIP optical media?

Want to have your question answered on a future Mailbag? Leave a comment on this post or in the YouTube comments for the latest video. Check out new Mailbag videos each Friday!

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Source: YouTube

PCPer Mailbag #55 - Under Negative Pressure

Subject: Editorial | August 17, 2018 - 09:00 AM |
Tagged: video, Ryan Shrout, pcper mailbag

It's time for the PCPer Mailbag, our weekly show where Ryan and the team answer your questions about the tech industry, the latest and greatest GPUs, the process of running a tech review website, and more!

Yeah, OK, we missed a few weeks. It's all Jim's fault. Anyway, Ryan's back to tackle these questions:

00:22 - SATA cable failures?
01:54 - Tiered storage for consumers? Windows Storage Spaces vs. StoreMI?
04:29 - Low-end PC gaming vs. future consoles?
07:11 - Ryzen cores on future consoles?
10:34 - GPU for 1440p HDR ultrawide?
12:25 - TR4 socket issue?
13:26 - Why doesn't Intel make RAM?
14:40 - Negative pressure PC case?
16:05 - Normalizing RAM prices?

Want to have your question answered on a future Mailbag? Leave a comment on this post or in the YouTube comments for the latest video. Check out new Mailbag videos each Friday!

Be sure to subscribe to our YouTube Channel to make sure you never miss our weekly reviews and podcasts, and please consider supporting PC Perspective via Patreon to help us keep videos like our weekly mailbag coming!

Source: YouTube
Author:
Subject: Editorial
Manufacturer: ARM

Aggressively Pursuing New Markets

ARM has had a pretty fascinating history, but for most of its time on this Earth it has not been a very public facing company. After the release of the iPhone and ARM’s dominance in the mobile market, they decided to push their PR efforts up a few notches. Now we finally were able to see some of the inner workings of a company that was once a little known low power CPU designer that licensed cores out to third parties.

arm_road_01.JPG

The company was not always as aggressive as what we are seeing now. The mobile space for a long time was dominated by multiple architectures that all have eventually faded away. ARM held steady with design improvements and good customer relations that ensured that they would continue into the future. After the release of the original iPhone, the world changed. Happily for us, ARM changed as well. In previous years ARM would announce products, but they would be at least three years away and few people took notice of what they were up to. I originally started paying attention to ARM as I thought that their cores might have the ability to power mobile gaming and perhaps be integrated into future consoles so that there would be a unified architecture that these providers could lean upon. This was back when the 3DS and PSP were still selling millions of units.

This of course never came to pass as I had expected it to, but at least ARM did make it into the Nintendo Switch. ARM worked hard to quickly put faster, more efficient parts out the door. They also went on a buying spree and acquired several graphics startups that would eventually contribute to the now quite formidable Mali GPU family of products. Today we have an extensive lineup of parts that can be bundled into a tremendous amount of configurations. ARM has a virtual monopoly in the cellphone market because they have been willing to work with anyone who wants to license their designs, technologies, and architectures. This is actually a relatively healthy “monopoly” because the partners do the work to mix and match features to provide unique products to the marketplace. Architectural licensees like Apple, Qualcomm, and Samsung all differentiate their products as well and provide direct competition to the ARM designed cores that are licensed to other players.

arm_road_02.JPG

Today we are seeing a new direction from ARM that has never been officially explored. We have been given a roadmap of the next two generations of products from the company that are intended to compete in not only the cellphone market, but also in the laptop market. ARM has thrown down the gauntlet and their sights are set on Intel and AMD. Not only is ARM showing us the codenames for these products, but also the relative performance.

Click here to read the entire ARM Roadmap Editorial!

Intel Releases Q2 2018 Results

Subject: Editorial | July 29, 2018 - 07:49 PM |
Tagged: TSMC, Skylake, ryzen, Results, Q2, Intel, amd, 7nm, 2018, 10nm

The day after AMD announced their quarterly results, Intel followed up with a very impressive quarter of their own. Intel has reported another record quarter with $17B in revenue and $5B net. The business is extremely healthy and they continue to provide a lot of value and returns to shareholders. Typically Q2 is the second slowest quarter of the year, but Intel was able to improve their revenues by $900M over Q1. In certain quarters a 5% increase may not be all that large, but it is a significant jump from Q1 to Q2.

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Intel reported that nearly all areas of the company have grown. Client Computing Group showed a 6% increase year over year, which is good news for the industry in general as many have (often) predicted that the PC market is in decline. This is also in the face of renewed competition from AMD and their Zen architecture based products. AMD also has grown steadily over the past year in terms of shipping products, so that further reinforces the impression that the PC market continues to grow steadily.

The data-centric business is steadily closing the gap between it and the PC centric group. CCG posted $8.7B in revenues while the data groups combined came in at around $8.1B. The Data Center Group was $5.5B of that result. It is up a very impressive 27% yoy. Intel has what seems to be a juggernaut in the data center with their Xeon products, and that growth is quite likely to continue growing as the need for data processing in our information rich world seemingly knows no bounds.

Intel raised their outlook for the year by nearly $2B to an impressive $69B in revenues. This is easily 10x that of their primary competitor. 2018 has certainly been a very profitable year for Intel and it looks to continue that trend throughout the last two quarters. Intel continues to improve upon their 14nm processes and it has allowed them to achieve a 61.4% margin. Compare this to AMD’s 37% margin and we can understand why 2018 is looking so good. Intel has lost a little bit on margin as compared to last year, but the amount of products being shipped is simply stunning as compared to its rival.

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There were some expecting AMD to be taking up more of Intel’s marketshare, but that has not been the case. If anything, while AMD’s bottom line has improved, Intel appears to have actually taken more share in an expanding market. Unlike 2003 when AMD had the superior product with the Athlon 64 over Intel’s Pentium 4, the current Ryzen CPUs are “merely” competitive. While the performance and efficiency jump for AMD’s architecture is impressive considering the previous “Bulldozer” based generation, they now offer comparable performance with a price/core count advantage over Intel. This has not been enough to convince people and organizations to change en masse to AMD’s offerings. In 2003 a 2 GHz Athlon 64 was outperforming a 3.2 GHz Pentium 4. AMD was able to continue outperforming Intel even though they were at a serious process disadvantage.

While Q3 and Q4 look to continue Intel’s string of record quarters, things do not look as rosy when we get into 2019. Intel has had an endless stream of problems getting their advanced 10nm process up and running. It was originally expected to replace Intel’s 14nm process around two years after that particular process had been introduced. Then it turned into three years. Now we are five years into Intel using a 14nm variant for their latest generation of products. Intel used to have a 18 to 24 month lead over the competition when it comes to process technology, but now that advantage has all but evaporated. In theory Intel’s 10nm process is superior to what TSMC is offering with its 7nm in terms of die size, power, and transistor performance. However, those advantages do not amount to anything if it is unworkable. Intel has been very tight lipped with analysts and shareholders about the exact issues it is facing with the direction they set on with 10nm. It seems the combination of materials, tolerances, and self-aligned quad patterning is problematic enough that Intel cannot get consistent results with yields and bins.

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In the conference call Intel said that 10nm parts will be available on shelves by the holiday season of 2019. This means that Intel expects to hit high volume manufacturing near the end of 1H 2019. Intel further stated that data center parts will be shipping shortly after desktop and mobile, so most expect the first products to hit in Q1 2020. The problem that Intel will is that TSMC will be starting volume manufacturing of their 7nm parts shortly, if not already. AMD has 7nm EPYC sampling to partners and has spoken of a 1H introduction of those parts in volume. AMD will be introducing the Zen 2 architecture in that time on both server and desktop, and they are hinting at a significant IPC uplift with these parts.

If Intel is able to hit its 10nm goal in late 2019, AMD will have around a nine month window where they theoretically could have a superior product than Intel. AMD will surely come ahead from a density standpoint. If we combine this with the potential IPC improvement and a small uplift in transistor performance, then Zen 2 products should be able to outclass anything Intel comes out with. If AMD is really on the ball, then their EPYC processors could have a year to themselves without a comparable product from Intel.

This type of competition does not mean that Intel will simply shrivel up and die, but it is causing investors to rethink holding onto the stock after the pretty impressive run up over the past several years. Intel still has more fab space available to it than AMD could dream of at this point. There will be a lot of competition for 7nm wafer starts that will be shared by AMD, NVIDIA, Qualcomm, and Apple (not to mention dozens of other fab-less semi firms). AMD could very well sell as many chips as it can make, but it simply cannot address the needs of all of the markets that it is competing in. If GLOBALFOUNDRIES 7nm process is similar to TSMC’s, then we will see AMD be able to supply far greater amounts of product to the market, but GF is at least six months behind TSMC when it comes to ramping up their next generation process line. I would not expect GF based CPUs to hit anytime before Q2 2019, if not towards the end of that quarter.

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Does this mean that Intel expects nothing except doom and gloom throughout 2019 and possibly into 2020? I do not think so. Intel will retain its market dominance, but it looks to be experiencing a situation that is a combination of a competitor hitting its stride as well as some bad luck/poor planning with manufacturing. This should open the door for AMD to make significant advances in marketshare and allow the company to make some serious money by improving their ASPs as well as shipping more parts.

2018 will undoubtedly be a record year for Intel. It is 2019 that is giving pause to investors and shareholders. If Intel can clean up its 10nm process in a timely manner they will close the door on any advances from AMD. If the company continues to experience issues with 10nm and never in fact gets it out the door, then it will be a long couple of years til Intel gets out their 7nm process. The rumor is that engineers have been pulled off of 7nm to fix 10nm. If this is the case, then I hesitate to even think when we will be seeing that upcoming node coming to fruition.

Source: Intel

PCPer Mailbag #54 - Let's All Pretend to Comprehend Allyn

Subject: Editorial | July 27, 2018 - 09:00 AM |
Tagged: video, pcper mailbag, Allyn Malventano

It's time for the PCPer Mailbag, our weekly show where Ryan and the team answer your questions about the tech industry, the latest and greatest GPUs, the process of running a tech review website, and more!

On today's show, Allyn makes a triumphant return after conquering Europe:

00:42 - Reliability of larger hard drives?
04:47 - 970 EVO vs. 950 Pro?
07:15 - Windows drive letter limit?
09:12 - How does a second parity drive work?
15:24 - Benefits of disabling hyper-threading?
17:18 - The fate of Optane?
18:58 - Consoles with SSDs?
22:06 - Factors that will lower SSD prices?
25:46 - Seagate drive reliability?

Want to have your question answered on a future Mailbag? Leave a comment on this post or in the YouTube comments for the latest video. Check out new Mailbag videos each Friday!

Be sure to subscribe to our YouTube Channel to make sure you never miss our weekly reviews and podcasts, and please consider supporting PC Perspective via Patreon to help us keep videos like our weekly mailbag coming!

Source: YouTube

AMD Announces Q2 2018 Results

Subject: Editorial | July 25, 2018 - 09:47 PM |
Tagged: Vega, ryzen, Q2 2018, Polaris, Intel, EPYC, amd, 7nm, 12nm

Today AMD has released their Q2 results for 2018 and they have fallen in line with previous estimates. The company reported revenue of $1.76B, up $110M from last quarter’s $1.65B. Their net income is $116M which is again up significantly from last quarter’s $81M. These results dwarf Q2 2017’s $1.15B in revenue and a loss of $42M. AMD has shown steady and solid growth since the release of the Ryzen processors and their continuing evolution of the RX series of graphics cards.

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The computing group which includes CPUs and GPUs showed a small drop in revenue due to multiple factors. CPU ASPs are steadily dropping for AMD since the original introduction of the Ryzen processors. The top end R7 1800X was introduced at $499 and has slowly dropped in price as the year wore on. This year AMD released the successor to the 1800X in the R7 2700X, but it was released at a $329 price point. We can see that the pricing mix of these CPUs is not as rich as they were on Ryzen’s initial release. The play here seems to be AMD improving efficiency of production as well as a willingness to sacrifice ASPs to gain any kind of marketshare.

GPUs have suffered as well due to the drop off in mining based purchases due to cryptocurrency dropping in value as well as the continued introduction of specialized ASICs performing better in those particular workloads. AMD claims a fairly palatable drop of only around 4% in sales due to the decrease in mining demand. It is likely that partners are feeling more of a pinch in this instance as the selling prices of these cards are finally reaching introductory MSRP levels as well as seeing reasonable availability. We do not know the specifics of AMD’s GPU sales to partners, but it seems like that price has been stable since introduction with the partners and resellers profiting to a greater degree than AMD.

The bright spot for this quarter was that of Enterprise and Semi-Custom. AMD switched around accounting on how it handles Semi-Custom so that accounted for some of the positive gains this quarter saw. AMD also started its collaboration with the Chinese for their own version of a Zen CPU. AMD continues to provide console makers with SoCs in two of the three major product lines out there. AMD is also likely currently contracted by both Sony and Microsoft for the next generation of consoles which will be released in the next two years, though none of the parties involved in such speculation has verified that information. I have a hard time considering that both Sony and Microsoft would abandon what has been a very beneficial partnership to create cutting edge products for their marketplace.

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The Enterprise group has also seen sales increase on the EPYC processors. EPYC was released last year, but it was not until this year that actual sales occured. While AMD did not provide specific numbers or guidance here, reading between the lines it looks as if EPYC is starting to gain traction and is shipping in more significant numbers. AMD was very careful in talking about this, as EPYC still has a long ways to go before it can claim to have gained significant marketshare. Lisa Su mentioned earlier that the real ramp for EPYC should occur in 2H 2018. This makes quite a bit of sense as the hardware and software environment for enterprise level products is tremendously different from when AMD was last competitive there. Validation of parts and platforms takes more time, and there are more complex software components involved that have to be updated to work effectively and efficiently on the new Zen architecture and EPYC chips. In the year since EPYC was launched a lot of work has been going on in the background by AMD, their hardware partners, and the software vendors to make sure that when EPYC hits volume production that most of the kinks will be worked out and it is truly enterprise production ready. This isn’t wishful thinking or excuse making. This is simply how a modern enterprise platform evolves and why product cycles are elongated as compared to what we see on the desktop and mobile spaces.

Guidance for next quarter will be disappointing for some investors and readers. AMD claims it will be flat between Q2 and Q3. This is not entirely surprising. Gaining desktop CPU marketshare has not been a slam dunk for AMD with Ryzen. The product stack has made it competitive with Intel and its offerings, and has in fact provided excellent value in terms of IPC and core count. Ryzen is not an Athlon 64. Ryzen was merely competitive with what Intel currently offers as compared to Athlon 64, which was head and shoulders more advanced than what Intel offered at the time with the Pentium 4. AMD is finding advances in marketshare in both desktop and mobile to be slow, but steady. Each quarter since Ryzen was released and the mobile parts being introduced earlier this year, the results have been trending in a positive direction even though ASPs on desktop parts have dropped (though mobile ASPs have increased).

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AMD obviously does not expect big gains this next quarter, and are in fact a little behind the ball when it comes to graphics. NVIDIA is poised to release a new generation of products within the next few months addressing the upper midrange and high end offerings that will erode AMD’s effectiveness with their Vega parts. So while EPYC products will increase in sales, AMD looks like it will be shipping fewer GPUs, at least in the high end. We probably will see Polaris based products have price drops applied to them to keep the meat of the market satisfied with AMD product, but do not expect next generation desktop graphics from AMD until 2019.

This was a productive and solid quarter for AMD. It is hard to argue against that. Their financial house is in far greater order and a solid revenue stream heading towards the company. They are keeping costs under control while aggressively pursuing the markets they have a strong history in. They have continued to leverage their IP with the Semi-Custom group and that provides a steady income from both historical partners and new ones. AMD is not seeing a breakaway quarter or year, but they are building a much more solid foundation and executing on their primary markets while competing effectively with Intel. This is certainly not 2003/2004, but it is a new chapter for AMD as they continue to provide new and interesting products to a market that continues to expand.

 

Source: AMD