The price competition is Ryzen even before the Coffee is poured

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

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

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

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

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Tech Talk

Source: The Inquirer
Subject: Processors, Mobile
Manufacturer: Apple

A New Standard

With a physical design that is largely unchanged other than the addition of a glass back for wireless charging support, and featuring incremental improvements to the camera system most notably with the Plus version, the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus are interesting largely due to the presence of a new Apple SoC. The upcoming iPhone X (pronounced "ten") stole the show at Apple's keynote annoucement earlier this month, but the new A11 Bionic chip powers all 2017 iPhone models, and for the first time Apple has a fully custom GPU after their highly publicized split with Imagination Technologies, makers of the PowerVR graphics found in previous Apple SoCs.

A11_Bionic_Keynote.jpg

The A11 Bionic powering the 2017 iPhones contains Apple’s first 6-core processor, which is comprised of two high performance cores (code-named ‘Monsoon’) and four high efficiency cores (code-named ‘Mistral’). Hugely important to its performance is the fact that all six cores are addressable with this new design, as Apple mentions in their description of the SoC:

"With six cores and 4.3 billion transistors, A11 Bionic has four efficiency cores that are up to 70 percent faster than the A10 Fusion chip, and two performance cores that are up to 25 percent faster. The CPU can even harness all six cores simultaneously when you need a turbo boost."

It was left to improvments to IPC and clock speed to boost the per-core performance of previous Apple SoCs, such as the previous A10 Fusion part, which contained a quad-core CPU split in an even arrangement of 2x performance + 2x efficiency cores. Apple's quad-core effort did not affect app performance beyond the two performance cores, with additional cores limited to background tasks in real-world use (though the A10 Fusion did not provide any improvement to battery life over previous efforts, as we saw).

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The A11 Bionic on the iPhone 8 system board (image credit: iFixit)

Just how big an impact this new six-core CPU design will have can be instantly observed with the CPU benchmarks to follow, and on the next page we will find out how Apple's in-house GPU solution compare to both the previous A10 Fusion PowerVR graphics, and market-leading Qualcomm Adreno 540 found in the Snapdragon 835. We will begin with the CPU benchmarks.

Continue reading our look at the performance of Apple's A11 SoC!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Also read:

Source: der8auer

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

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

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

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

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Processors

Source: Ars Technica
Author:
Subject: Processors
Manufacturer: Intel

Specifications and Architecture

It has been an interesting 2017 for Intel. Though still the dominant market share leader in consumer processors of all shapes and sizes, from DIY PCs to notebooks to servers, it has come under attack with pressure from AMD unlike any it has felt in nearly a decade. It started with the release of AMD Ryzen 7 and a family of processors aimed at the mainstream user and enthusiast markets. That followed by the EPYC processor release moving in on Intel’s turf of the enterprise markets. And most recently, Ryzen Threadripper took a swing (and hit) at the HEDT (high-end desktop) market that Intel had created and held its own since the days of the Nehalem-based Core i7-920 CPU.

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Between the time Threadripper was announced and when it shipped, Intel made an interesting move. It decided to launch and announce its updated family of HEDT processors dubbed Skylake-X. Only available in a 10-core model at first, the Core i9-7900X was the fastest tested processor in our labs, at the time. But it was rather quickly overtaken by the likes of the Threadripper 1950X that ran with 16-cores and 32-threads of processing. Intel had already revealed that its HEDT lineup would go to 18-core options, though availability and exact clock speeds remained in hiding until recently.

  i9-7980XE i9-7960X i9-7940X i9-7920X i9-7900X  i7-7820X i7-7800X TR 1950X TR 1920X TR 1900X
Architecture Skylake-X Skylake-X Skylake-X Skylake-X Skylake-X Skylake-X Skylake-X Zen Zen Zen
Process Tech 14nm+ 14nm+ 14nm+ 14nm+ 14nm+ 14nm+ 14nm+ 14nm 14nm 14nm
Cores/Threads 18/36 16/32 14/28 12/24 10/20 8/16 6/12 16/32 12/24 8/16
Base Clock 2.6 GHz 2.8 GHz 3.1 GHz 2.9 GHz 3.3 GHz 3.6 GHz 3.5 GHz 3.4 GHz 3.5 GHz 3.8 GHz
Turbo Boost 2.0 4.2 GHz 4.2 GHz 4.3 GHz 4.3 GHz 4.3 GHz 4.3 GHz 4.0 GHz 4.0 GHz 4.0 GHz 4.0 GHz
Turbo Boost Max 3.0 4.4 GHz 4.4 GHz 4.4 GHz 4.4 GHz 4.5 GHz 4.5 GHz N/A N/A N/A N/A
Cache 24.75MB 22MB 19.25MB 16.5MB 13.75MB 11MB 8.25MB 40MB 38MB ?
Memory Support DDR4-2666 Quad Channel DDR4-2666 Quad Channel DDR4-2666 Quad Channel DDR4-2666 Quad Channel DDR4-2666
Quad Channel
DDR4-2666
Quad Channel
DDR4-2666
Quad Channel
DDR4-2666
Quad Channel
DDR4-2666 Quad Channel DDR4-2666 Quad Channel
PCIe Lanes 44 44 44 44 44 28 28 64 64 64
TDP 165 watts 165 watts 165 watts 140 watts 140 watts 140 watts 140 watts 180 watts 180 watts 180 watts?
Socket 2066 2066 2066 2066 2066 2066 2066 TR4 TR4 TR4
Price $1999 $1699 $1399 $1199 $999 $599 $389 $999 $799 $549

Today we are now looking at both the Intel Core i9-7980XE and the Core i9-7960X, 18-core and 16-core processors, respectively. The goal from Intel is clear with the release: retake the crown as the highest performing consumer processor on the market. It will do that, but it does so at $700-1000 over the price of the Threadripper 1950X.

Continue reading our review of the Intel Core i9-7980XE and Core i9-7960X!

Intel Announces 8th Gen Core Architecture, Coffee Lake

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Apparently Kaby Lake Is Incompatible with Z370 Chipsets

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

There has to be a reason, right?

Source: Guru3D

EPYC Linux performance from AMD

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

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

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

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Source: Phoronix

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: Intel

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

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

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

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

18c-die.jpg

Source: Der8auer

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

10c-die.jpg

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

Source: Der8auer