Banning Talos worship might be worth it, POWER9 still lags behind

Subject: Processors | July 6, 2018 - 03:16 PM |
Tagged: IBM, power9, talos 2, EPYC, xeon

Phoronix were recently given access to three servers running three different POWER9 Talos II configurations and compared them to EPYC and Xeon.  On paper these systems look amazing, thanks to the architecture supporting four threads per core; they tested  a dual 4-core Talos II system, a Talos II Lite with a single 22-core CPU and a Talos II with dual 18-core processors with thread counts of 32, 88, and 144 respectively. 

There were certainly usage scenarios where the dual 18 core system could outpace even the EPYC 7601 but could not surpass the dual Xeon Gold 6138 system.  The review covers a fair amount of benchmarks and configurations but doesn't begin to scratch the surface of wide variety of server configurations you need to consider before abandoning POWER9 altogether but the key metric, performance per dollar, shows these architecture solidly in the middle of the pack.

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"Back in April we were able to run some IBM POWER9 benchmarks with remote access to the open-source friendly Talos II systems by Raptor Computer Systems. We were recently allowed remote access again to a few different configurations of this libre hardware with three different POWER9 processor combinations. Here are those latest benchmarks compared to Intel Xeon and AMD EPYC server processors."

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Source: Phoronix

Should you wait for the i9-8088K anniversary instead?

Subject: Processors | June 11, 2018 - 03:50 PM |
Tagged: Intel, i7-8086k, coffee lake-s, 8086

Now, before you decided to comment on Ken's i7-8086K article, consider he is not the only one who has encountered issues with Intel's Anniversary silicon.  The Tech Report offers succinct advice in their review as well "the i7-8086K isn't worth the $75 upcharge over the i7-8700K at stock speeds."  They manually overclocked the chip and found the same 5.1GHz limit, as the processors are thermally identical regardless of the handpicked artisan silicon inside the i7-8086K.  The 5GHz stock speed advertised does not seem to be available right out of the box but instead requires a bit of work.

On the other hand, if you like the idea of an Anniversary model CPU and would enjoy manually overclocking, the extra $75 might mean very little to you.

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"Intel's Core i7-8086K is the company's first CPU with a 5-GHz Turbo speed out of the box. We dig deep to see whether this chip has the cachet to live up to its limited-edition billing."

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Subject: Processors
Manufacturer: Intel

A Weekend of Misadventure

Last Friday marked the release of the Intel Core i7-8086K to consumers through retail channels like Amazon, Newegg, and Microcenter. Announced just earlier that week at Computex, the i7-8086K is essentially an i7-8770K, running slightly higher clock speeds, and is meant as a limited edition item to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Intel’s 8086 processor, which marked the beginning of the x86 microarchitecture.

Eager to test this new CPU, I picked one up from our local Microcenter on Friday evening, and plugged it into our Coffee Lake CPU testbed, powered by a Gigabyte Z370 Aorus Gaming 7 motherboard (updated to the latest BIOS), let my first pass of automated CPU benchmarks run, and went off with the rest of my evening.

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Saturday, when I came back to look at the results, they seemed mediocre at best, with the i7-8086K trading blows with the i7-8700K. While the extra 300MHz of clock speed seemed like it would provide more of a benefit than I was seeing, it wasn’t entirely unexpected that performance might not be spectacularly higher than the i7-8700K so I continued to run through the rest of our standard CPU benchmarking suite, as well as our CPU gaming benchmarks.

Finally looking at all of the data together, it appeared there was no change from the i7-8700K to the i7-8086K leading me to do some more digging.

Equipped with Intel’s Extreme Tuning Utility, I began to measure the clock speeds during several benchmarks.

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Much to my surprise, even on purely single-threaded workload, such as Cinebench R15 in Single mode, the processor wasn’t getting close to its 5.0GHz Single Core Turbo Boost frequency, in fact, I never saw it get above 4.5GHz. We corroborated these issues with another piece of CPU monitoring software, HWInfo64.

As you can see in the screenshot from XTU, the processor was sitting at a cool 48C while this was going on, and no other alerts such as the motherboard power delivery or current limit throttling were an issue during our testing.

Moving to another motherboard, the ASUS Strix Z370-H Gaming, again on the latest UEFI release, we saw the same behavior.

So far, we have been unable to get this processor to operate at the advertised 5.0GHz Turbo Boost frequency, on a multitude of different hardware and software setups.

However, if we manually overclock the processor, we can get an all-core frequency of 5.1GHz, although with a temperature around 85C.

At this point, we are left puzzled and disappointed by the launch of the i7-8086K. This is the same hardware and software setup we used for all of our CPU benchmarking for the recent Ryzen 7 2700X review, with no issues. We even tried a fresh, fully updated Windows install on a separate SSD, to help eliminate any potential for weird software issues.

Jeff at The Tech Report used the same Gigabyte Z370 Aorus Gaming 7 motherboard as us, and while he didn’t see great performance overall, you can see explicit scaling in pure single-threaded workloads like Cinebench in his review.

As far as the ASUS motherboard we also tried is concerned, the i7-8086K is listed on ASUS’ CPU compatibility list for UEFI 1301 (which we are running), so it seems there should be no issue.

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This morning, the i7-8086K we ordered on Amazon showed up, and did the exact same thing, in both test setups. 

To be fair, based on the reviews that we have seen pop up thus far, including The Tech Report, the resulting performance if things were configured correctly doesn’t appear to be worth the extra cost.

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What was meant to be a celebration of Intel’s 40 years of the X86 architecture seems more like a rushed release than a fully baked product. Remember, we bought this processor directly from a retail outlet with no intervention from Intel. Without the proper BIOS-level support, and potentially a more widespread issue affecting normal consumers building machines with i7-8086K.

What's the horsepower equivalent of -185C? The i7-8086K passes 7GHz

Subject: General Tech, Processors | June 8, 2018 - 01:39 PM |
Tagged: overclocking, Intel, i7-8086k, der8auer

Der8auer is at it again, this time pushing Intel's Anniversary Edition i7-8086K quickly passing 7GHz in initial overclocking, showing just how well picked these Core i7-8700K's are.  He pushed the core voltage up past 1.85V and used an impressive amount of LN to accomplish this feat but he feels there is more to this processor.  Having had more time to work on overclocking 8700K's he has successfully pushed them to 7.3GHz, so in theory the 8086K should be able to beat that.  Take a look at the video posted on the Inquirer to see this happen.

You can also try to get your hands on one for free here.

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"The processor, announced this week at Computex, commemorates 40 years of x86 computing and out of the box can hit 5GHz on a single core without overclocking via the chip's boost frequency."

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Source: The Inquirer

Zen 2 "Rome" EPYC CPU on 7nm on track for 2018 sampling, 2019 release

Subject: Processors | June 5, 2018 - 11:22 PM |
Tagged: Zen 2, Zen, rome, amd

The first whiffs of Zen 2 are finally reaching us. During the AMD press conference at Computex today CEO Dr. Lisa Su stood on stage and held up the first public showing of Rome, the codename for AMD’s next-generation EPYC enterprise processor family.

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Rome is exciting because it will be the first 7nm high-performance processor in the market, and it makes the 10nm production problems that Intel is having all the more troublesome for the blue-chip giant. And because Rome will be socket compatible with the currently shipping EPYC systems, there is a huge potential for market penetration through 2019.

AMD stated that it would be sampling Rome-based Zen 2 processors to partners in the second half of 2018, with launch in 2019. AMD does have silicon back in the labs, up and running. No more timing detail was given than that.

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The competitive statement of AMD putting timeframes on its 7nm server processors, rumored to be going up to 64-cores PER SOCKET, while Intel struggles with its move to 10nm, is significant. AMD still targets a 5% market share for server processors by the end of the year, but it might be 2019 that proves to be a more significant year for the company’s drive back into the server space.

Source: AMD

Computex 2018: AMD previews 32-core Threadripper CPUs for Q3

Subject: Processors | June 5, 2018 - 11:03 PM |
Tagged: Threadripper, ryzen, amd, 32-core, 12nm

During the keynote address at Computex in Taipei, AMD SVP Jim Anderson was on stage to showcase a preview of the upcoming 2000-series of Threadripper processors for high-end consumer PCs. The Threadripper brand already made waves last year by bringing 16-core and 32-thread designs to the market for the very first time, improving performance for extreme productivity tasks, rendering, development, video, and more.

We knew that the 2000-series was coming this year, based on the 12nm process from GlobalFoundries, just as the Ryzen 2000-series uses, but we have narrowed the availability time frame to Q3 of 2018.

But the big story at the show was that this generation would see a doubling of the maximum core count on Threadripper. Yes, you will be able to buy 32-core and 64-thread AMD Threadripper CPUs later this year!!

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Hot on the heels of the impressive, but dubiously cooled, Intel 28-core demo yesterday, AMD is clearly intent on continuing momentum that is has built throughout 2017. AMD didn’t show us any Cinebench numbers, but my understanding is that the demo provided was completely air cooled. Intel’s…not so much. While impressive to see 28-cores at 5 GHz yesterday, more impressive is a 32-core machine with a system design I would be willing to implement.

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No more details on pricing, performance, or platform were made available during the keynote, but we’ll be asking those questions as the week progresses.

Get ready for 32-cores!!

Source: AMD

Computex 2018: Intel demos 28-core processor at 5 GHz

Subject: Processors | June 5, 2018 - 11:40 AM |
Tagged: X399, X-Series, Intel, HEDT, 28 core

If you thought running at 5 GHz was neat with a 6-core part, Intel had another surprise for you last night. As part of its Computex keynote, the company demonstrated a 28-core processor running at 5 GHz on all cores, planned for the HEDT segment sometime before the end of 2018.

We don't have a lot of detail on this demo, including what socket this is using, whether this is a single monolithic die design or a multi-chip package using EMIB, or if this is will cost you more than your current domicile to purchase.

intel28core.jpg

Image courtesy The Verge

It showed a score of 7334 on Cinebench R15. Think about that - the 18-core Core i9-7980XE is our current stock leader in this test with a result of 3346. That means this 28-core processor demo was 2.19x faster than the current fastest part on the market!! 

intel28corecb.jpg

Image courtesy Tom's Hardware

All of the unknown factors make it slightly less exciting, to be honest. What power draw was it running at? Is this viable for a consumer platform, in reality? Is 5 GHz a possibility for us mere mortals? Clearly if you are in need of extreme multi-threading capability and performance for rendering, encoding, or mega-tasking, it appears Intel may have the best solution available come this holiday season.

UPDATE 6/6/18: It has now been confirmed by people on the ground in Taipei that the Intel 28-core demo was a complex feat. The motherboards were built by ASUS and Gigabyte, modifications of a server-class LGA3647 socket board that required a 32-phase power system, and a 1HP (horsepower) water chiller and refrigerant to drop the liquid to a cool 4 degrees Celsius. The processor is a single-die part, basically a Xeon Scalable Platinum 8180, that has a list price of $10,000.

Obviously this is not a configuration that any reasonable consumer, even the crazy ones really, would be willing to employ. It means motherboards with the X299 chipset will not be compatible with this part as it requires a new socket. It also means that clock speeds for real-world designs will be much lower, likely a Gigahertz or more. 

There are a lot of questions to poke around about before the end of the year if we are truly going to understand Intel's plans for the enthusiast platform at the end of 2018.

Source: Intel

Computex 2018: Intel announces Core i7-8086K officially, 6 cores at 5 GHz

Subject: Processors | June 5, 2018 - 11:20 AM |
Tagged: kaby lake, Intel, core i7, 8086K

It should come as no real surprise to those of you that read PC Perspective, but Intel officially unveiled the new Core i7-8086K processor during its keynote last night in Taipei at Computex. The specs are right in line with expectations, offering a 6-core / 12-thread chip with a peak Turbo clock speed of 5.0 GHz.

  Core i7-8700K Core i7-8086K
Architecture Coffee Lake Coffee Lake
Process Tech 14nm++ 14nm++
Cores/Threads 6/12 6/12
Base Clock 3.7 GHz 4.0 GHz
Turbo Clock 4.7 GHz 5.0 GHz
Cache 12MB 12MB
Memory Support DDR4-2666 DDR4-2666
PCIe Lanes 16 16
TDP 95 watts 95 watts (probably)
Socket LGA115x LGA115x
Price $349 $??

Full Intel Ark Listing

The Core i7-8086K is a limited edition part with just 50,000 expected to be built, in celebration of the company's 50th anniversary and the 40th anniversary of the original Intel 8086 x86 processor. Pricing hasn't been released, but Intel is running a sweepstakes to give away 8,086 of the CPUs and it lists $425 as the value in the fine print, so that seems like a good guess.

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The 300 MHz increases in base and Turbo clock speeds is impressive while sitting inside the same 95 watt TDP. We are eager to get one in for testing ourselves and see how that works in practice, though the limited edition nature of the part makes it a bit less interesting in the long run. (We were considering moving our GPU testbed to this for example, but using a part that may not be available for replication of our data in the future seems like a bad idea.)

I am sure many were hoping this limited edition part would be, or would be in addition to, an 8-core processor launch at Computex, but it doesn't appear that is in the cards.

Source: Intel

Report: Intel i7-8086K Anniversary Edition CPU Listed by Retailers

Subject: Processors | May 30, 2018 - 11:18 AM |
Tagged: VideoCardz, rumor, report, processor, Intel, history, cpu, anniversary edition, 8086K, 8086

The 40th anniversary of the original Intel 8086 microprocessor launch is just days away (June 8), and ahead of this VideoCardz.com has posted screen captures of online listings for the rumored 8086 anniversary CPU - the Core i7-8086K.

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(Screen captures above sourced from VideoCardz.com)

From VideoCardz.com:

"Some retailers have already started listing the new SKU on their websites, indicating 70 USD/EUR premium over i7-8700K (~480/470 EUR). Not much is known at this point, but the CPU is rumored to be 5.0 GHz chip out of the box. It is, however, still expected to be a 6-core SKU."

Beyond the online retailer listings accidentally posted early, presumably, not much is known; though it seems fair to conclude that this may indeed be a higher-clocked version of the current i7-8700K and would therefore remain a 6-core/12-thread product. Intel is going to be at Computex beginning June 5 where they "will showcase how the company is powering the future of computing" so might we hear an announcement of a new product on the eve of the 8086 anniversary? The possibility is too logical to ignore.

Source: VideoCardz

Spectre 3a and Spectre 4 Unfortunately Announced...

Subject: Processors | May 22, 2018 - 07:51 PM |
Tagged: x86, arm, Intel, amd, spectre

Security researchers at Microsoft and Google have found two new vulnerabilities along the lines of the Spectre and Meltdown bugs from early January. These are being called Spectre 3a (Rogue System Register Read) and Spectre 4 (Speculative Store Bypass). Like last time, hardware and software vendors have addressed the issues, which will be coming down via OS updates.

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Naturally, James Bond will steal information when there's Intel Inside.

On the AMD side of things, they claim that the Spectre 4 vulnerability will be patched as far back as Bulldozer (2011). They also claim that no action will be necessary, at least to their knowledge, for Spectre 3a on their x86 parts. They have also released a short, five-page whitepaper discussing the issue.

On the Intel side of things… a security bulletin has been posted for CPUs as far back as Nehalem. They don’t exactly clarify which processors are susceptible to which vulnerabilities, but they acknowledge that both Spectre 3a and Spectre 4 touch something on their product stack to some extent. They have submitted a beta microcode update to OS vendors, which they expect to be production ready “in the coming weeks”.

ARM is also affected to some extent. They have published a table that lists which architectures are vulnerable to what exploit. Interestingly, there are some processors that are vulnerable to 3a, but not 4, and others that are vulnerable to 4, but not 3a (and, of course, some that are vulnerable to both and neither). Since these exploits are based on optimizations gone awry, you would think that it would have built up over time, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. The only pattern I could notice is that Variant 4 only affects newish 64-bit ARM processors. I don’t know if that’s a red herring, or a well-known corollary of the bug that I just don’t know enough about, but it’s about all that I can see.

Regardless, expect patches soon, which might, again, lower performance by some amount.