PCPer Mailbag #13 - 10/13/2017

Subject: Editorial | October 13, 2017 - 09:00 AM |
Tagged: video, Ryan Shrout, pcper mailbag, pcper

It's Friday, which means it's time for PC Perspective's weekly mailbag, our video show where Ryan and team answer your questions about the tech industry, the latest and greatest hardware, the process of running a tech review website, and more!

Here's what you'll find on today's show:

00:32 - Successor to ATX design standard?
02:42 - 64-bit vs. 32-bit Windows gaming performance?
04:03 - What comes after Windows 10?
05:33 - How to save SLI and CrossFire?
07:59 - How does a CPU/GPU go from wafer to shipped product?
10:00 - The maturity of Ryzen since launch?
13:54 - Windows 7 security updates with Kaby Lake?
16:11 - Comparing new CPUs to older generations?
18:14 - Did Intel see Ryzen's good performance coming?
22:09 - Node shrinks and power usage?
24:21 - Gone fishin'?

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

PCPer Mailbag #12 - 10/6/2017

Subject: Editorial | October 6, 2017 - 09:00 AM |
Tagged: video, Ryan Shrout, pcper mailbag, pcper

It's Friday, which means it's time for PC Perspective's weekly mailbag, our video show where Ryan and team answer your questions about the tech industry, the latest and greatest hardware, the process of running a tech review website, and more!

Here's what you'll find on today's show:

00:32 - Where are the Ryzen X370 mATX motherboards?
02:41 - Testing air coolers vs. AIO water coolers?
05:35 - Consumers' right to know GPU memory manufacturer?
07:46 - Resolution vs. refresh rate?
09:11 - Guest hosts on the PCPer podcast?
10:31 - Why is VEGA a power hog?
12:06 - High Performance Windows power plan for low-end CPUs?
13:59 - What is asynchronous compute and why is AMD better at it?
16:51 - Why do game devs use NVIDIA SKDs when consoles run AMD?
19:00 - CPUs: soldered vs. TIM
20:12 - Ryan's parenting time management?

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

PCPer Mailbag #11 - 9/29/2017

Subject: Editorial | September 29, 2017 - 09:00 AM |
Tagged: video, Ryan Shrout, pcper mailbag, pcper

It's Friday, which means it's time for PC Perspective's weekly mailbag, our video show where Ryan and team answer your questions about the tech industry, the latest and greatest hardware, the process of running a tech review website, and more!

Here's what you'll find on today's show:

00:26 - EPYC CPU with X399 motherboard?
02:06 - High NAND memory prices?
03:50 - DirectX 12 image quality vs. performance?
05:47 - Optane drives for cheap laptops?
07:51 - Cause of high temps on recent Intel CPUs?
10:21 - Windows processor thread limit?
13:20 - Will the decline of SLI result in more mATX motherboards and cases?
17:19 - Guide to building the most energy efficient PC?
19:30 - Do you need 8-core CPU for gaming?
20:29 - Low frame rate compensation in monitors?

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

PCPer Mailbag #10 - 9/22/2017

Subject: Editorial | September 22, 2017 - 09:00 AM |
Tagged: video, Ryan Shrout, pcper mailbag, pcper

It's Friday, which means it's time for PC Perspective's weekly mailbag, our video show where Ryan and team answer your questions about the tech industry, the latest and greatest hardware, the process of running a tech review website, and more!

Here's what you'll find on today's show:

00:22 - PCPer Mailbag audio podcast?
01:14 - Games with DirectX, OpenGL, and Vulkan?
02:44 - Where are the AMD-based laptops?
06:51 - Does faster RAM = higher IPC?
08:28 - Using an iGPU with a discrete GPU?
10:55 - Why are Vega GPUs still so expensive?
14:41 - Do you need to reinstall Windows after upgrading CPU?
16:48 - How to minimize screen tearing without G-SYNC?
18:58 - Dummy dies and 32-core/64-thread Threadripper parts?
22:14 - The Cincinnati Bengals offense?

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

PCPer Mailbag #9 - 9/15/2017

Subject: Editorial | September 15, 2017 - 09:00 AM |
Tagged: video, Ryan Shrout, pcper mailbag, pcper

It's Friday, which means it's time for PC Perspective's weekly mailbag, our video show where Ryan and team answer your questions about the tech industry, the latest and greatest hardware, the process of running a tech review website, and more!

On today's show, Ryan tackles the following topics:

00:37 - When will VR/AR become mainstream?
03:27 - Hardware improvements vs. software optimization?
05:52 - 2-in-1 laptop with longest battery life?
09:09 - HDMI vs. DisplayPort?
11:58 - Will AMD GPUs ever be available at retail price again?
14:12 - L3 cache and single threaded performance?
17:08 - Will NVIDIA ever support FreeSync?
18:51 - When will games take advantage of many-core CPUs?
21:15 - How long does it take to physically make and ship a GPU or CPU?

Be sure to subscribe to our YouTube Channel to make sure you never miss our weekly reviews and podcasts!

PCPer Mailbag #8 - 9/8/2017

Subject: Editorial | September 8, 2017 - 10:04 AM |
Tagged: pcper mailbag, video

PC Perspective's weekly Q&A series 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:

  • 00:33 - 1440p G-SYNC display issues?
  • 03:09 - G-SYNC necessary for high frame rates?
  • 06:10 - Does overclocking help non-CPU bound apps?
  • 08:44 - Smartphone CPUs vs. Desktop CPUs?
  • 12:53 - Real-world benefit of quad-channel memory?
  • 16:53 - How long does it take for AMD/NVIDIA to make a new GPU?
  • 19:24 - The state of Linux gaming?
  • 22:42 - Responsive design for pcper.com?

Please consider supporting PC Perspective through our Patreon: http://patreon.com/pcper

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PCPer Mailbag #7 - 9/1/2017

Subject: Editorial | September 1, 2017 - 10:24 AM |
Tagged: video, pcper mailbag

PC Perspective's weekly Q&A series 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:

  • 00:38 - The future of Vulkan?
  • 05:00 - The end of Moore's Law?
  • 07:57 - Is 4GB VRAM enough for future 1080p gaming?
  • 09:33 - RX Vega64 for triple-monitor gaming?
  • 11:28 - Why do we need 4K displays on 15-inch laptops?
  • 13:27 - Watching 4K UHD Blu-rays on a PC?
  • 15:04 - Why don't GPU makers build super expensive, power hungry mega GPUs
  • 18:45 - Monitor refresh rates: 60Hz vs. 144Hz vs. 165Hz vs. 240Hz?
  • 22:14 - How to allocate component costs when building a PC?

AMD Reports Q2 2017 Results

Subject: Editorial | July 25, 2017 - 10:48 PM |
Tagged: Vega, Threadripper, ryzen, RX, Results, quarterly earnings, Q2 2017, EPYC, amd

The big question that has been going through the minds of many is how much marketshare did AMD take back and how would that affect the bottom line?  We know the second half of that question, but it is still up in the air how much AMD has taken from Intel.  We know that they have, primarily due to the amount of money that AMD has made.  Now we just need to find out how much.

AMD-Logo.jpg

Q2 revenue surpassed the expectations of both the Street and what AMD had predicted.  It was not a mind-blowing quarter, but it was a solid one for what has been a slowly sinking AMD.  The Q2 quarter is of course very important for AMD as it is the first full quarter of revenue from Ryzen parts as well as the introduction of the refreshed RX 500 series of GPUs.

The Ryzen R7 and R5 parts have been well received by press and consumers alike.  While it is not a completely overwhelming product in every aspect as compared to Intel’s product stack, it does introduce an incredibly strong dollar/thread value proposition.  Consumers can purchase an 8 core/16 thread part with competitive clock speeds and performance for around $300 US.  That same price point from Intel will give a user better single threaded and gaming performance, but comes short at 4 cores/8 threads.

The latest RX series of GPUs are slightly faster refreshes of the previous RX 400 series of cards and exist in the same price range of those previous cards.  These have been popular with AMD enthusiasts as they deliver solid performance for the price.  They are also quite popular with the coin miners due to the outstanding hash rate that they offer at their respective price points as compared to NVIDIA GPUs.

AMD ended up reporting GAAP revenue of $1.22B with a net income of -$16M.  Non-GAAP net income came in at a positive $19M.  This is a significant boost from Q1 figures which included a revenue of $984M and a net income of -$73M.  The tail end of Q1 did include some Ryzen sales, but not nearly enough to offset the losses that they accumulated.  These beat out the Street numbers by quite a bit, hence the uptick in AMD’s share price after hours.

The server/semi-custom group did well, but is still down some 5% as compared to last year.  This is primarily due to seasonal weaknesses with the consoles.  Microsoft will be ramping up production of their Xbox One X and AMD will start to receive royalties from that production later this year.  AMD has seen its marketshare in the data and server market tumble from years past to where it is at 1% and below.  AMD expects to change this trend with EPYC and has recorded the initial revenue from EPYC datacenter processor shipments.

We cannot emphasize enough how much the CPU/GPU group has grown over the past year.  Revenue from that group has increased by 51% since last year.  We do need to temper that with the reality that at that time AMD had not released the new RX series of GPUs nor did they have Ryzen.  Instead, it was all R5/R7 3x0 and Fury products as well as the FX CPUs based on Piledriver and Excavator cores.  It would honestly be hard for things to get worse than that point of time  Still, a 51% improvement with Ryzen and the RX 5x0 series of chips is greater than anyone really expected.  We must also consider that Q2 is still one of the slowest quarters in a year.

AMD expects next quarter to grow well beyond expectations.  The company is estimating that revenue will grow by 23%, plus or minus 3%.  If this holds true, AMD will be looking at a $1.5B quarter.  Something that has not been seen for some time (especially post foundry split).  The product stack that they will continue to introduce is quite impressive.  AMD will continue with the Ryzen R7 and R5 parts, but will also introduce the first R3 parts for the budget market.  RX Vega will be introduced next week at Siggraph.  Threadripper will be released to the wild as well as the x399 chipset.  EPYC is already shipping and they expect that product to grow steadily.  Ryzen Pro and then the mobile APUs will follow up later in the 2nd half of the year.  Semi-custom will get a boost when Microsoft starts shipping Xbox One X consoles.

threadripper.jpg

What a change a year makes.  Lisa Su and the gang have seemingly turned the boat around with a lot of smart moves, a lot of smart people, and a lot of effort.  They are not exactly at Easy Street yet, but they are moving in the right direction.  Ryzen has been a success with press and consumers and sets them on a level plane with Intel in overall performance and power.  The RX series continues to be popular and selling well (especially with miners).  AMD still has not caught up with demand for those parts, but I get the impression that they are being fairly conservative there by not flooding the market with RX chips in case coin mining bottoms out again.  The demand there is at least making miners and retailers happy, though could be causing some hard feelings among AMD enthusiasts who just want a gaming card at a reasonable price.

AMD continues to move forward and has recorded an impressive quarter.  Next quarter, if it falls in line with expectations, should help return AMD to profitability with some real momentum moving forward in selling product to multiple markets where it has not been a power for quite some time.  The company has been able to tread water for the past few years, but has planned far enough ahead to actually release competitive products at good prices to regain marketshare and achieve profitability again.  2017 has been a good year for AMD, and it looks to continue to Q3 and Q4.

Source: AMD

Introduction, How PCM Works, Reading, Writing, and Tweaks

I’ve seen a bit of flawed logic floating around related to discussions about 3D XPoint technology. Some are directly comparing the cost per die to NAND flash (you can’t - 3D XPoint likely has fewer fab steps than NAND - especially when compared with 3D NAND). Others are repeating a bunch of terminology and element names without taking the time to actually explain how it works, and far too many folks out there can't even pronounce it correctly (it's spoken 'cross-point'). My plan is to address as much of the confusion as I can with this article, and I hope you walk away understanding how XPoint and its underlying technologies (most likely) work. While we do not have absolute confirmation of the precise material compositions, there is a significant amount of evidence pointing to one particular set of technologies. With Optane Memory now out in the wild and purchasable by folks wielding electron microscopes and mass spectrometers, I have seen enough additional information come across to assume XPoint is, in fact, PCM based.

XPoint.png

XPoint memory. Note the shape of the cell/selector structure. This will be significant later.

While we were initially told at the XPoint announcement event Q&A that the technology was not phase change based, there is overwhelming evidence to the contrary, and it is likely that Intel did not want to let the cat out of the bag too early. The funny thing about that is that both Intel and Micron were briefing on PCM-based memory developments five years earlier, and nearly everything about those briefings lines up perfectly with what appears to have ended up in the XPoint that we have today.

comparison.png

Some die-level performance characteristics of various memory types. source

The above figures were sourced from a 2011 paper and may be a bit dated, but they do a good job putting some actual numbers with the die-level performance of the various solid state memory technologies. We can also see where the ~1000x speed and ~1000x endurance comparisons with XPoint to NAND Flash came from. Now, of course, those performance characteristics do not directly translate to the performance of a complete SSD package containing those dies. Controller overhead and management must take their respective cuts, as is shown with the performance of the first generation XPoint SSD we saw come out of Intel:

gap.png

The ‘bridging the gap’ Latency Percentile graph from our Intel SSD DC P4800X review.
(The P4800X comes in at 10us above).

There have been a few very vocal folks out there chanting 'not good enough', without the basic understanding that the first publicly available iteration of a new technology never represents its ultimate performance capabilities. It took NAND flash decades to make it into usable SSDs, and another decade before climbing to the performance levels we enjoy today. Time will tell if this holds true for XPoint, but given Micron's demos and our own observed performance of Intel's P4800X and Optane Memory SSDs, I'd argue that it is most certainly off to a good start!

XPoint Die.jpg

A 3D XPoint die, submitted for your viewing pleasure (click for larger version).

You want to know how this stuff works, right? Read on to find out!

Podcast #450 - AMD Ryzen, AMD EPYC, AMD Threadripper, AMD Vega, and more non AMD news!

Subject: Editorial | May 18, 2017 - 11:46 AM |
Tagged: youtube tv, western digital, video, Vega, Threadripper, spir-v, ryzen, podcast, opencl, Google VR, EPYC, Core i9, battletech, amd

PC Perspective Podcast #450 - 05/18/17

Join us for AMD Announcments, Core i9 leaks, OpenCL updates, and more!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, Allyn Malventano

Peanut Gallery: Alex Lustenberg

Program length: 1:20:36

Podcast topics of discussion:

  1. Week in Review:
  2. News items of interest:
  3. Hardware/Software Picks of the Week
    1. Ryan: Gigabit LTE please hurry
    2. Allyn: TriboTEX (nanotech engine oil additive)
  4. Closing/outro

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