MojoKid writes: Yet another AMD Ryzen leak is making the rounds, one that details an extensive lineup of 17 processors. It's a continuation of a previous leak supposedly outing AMD's top-to-bottom retail launch lineup, only now with individual part numbers and TDP ratings for every SKU. The leaked chart lists all 17 Ryzen SKUs, a dozen of which sport 65 TDP ratings with the remaining five listed having a 95W TDP. Eight of the Ryzen chips are quad-core parts, four are six-core CPUs, and five are eight-core processors. AMD will allegedly bundle an updated Wraith cooler codenamed HS81 with its Black Edition Ryzen processors that have a 95W TDP. They include the Ryzen 7 1800X, Ryzen 7 1700X, and Ryzen 5 1600X. Also, new information on one of AMD's top-end chips, the Ryzen 7 1700X, has surfaced as well, claiming a $389 price tag and performance on par with Intel's Core i7-6900K Broadwell-E 8-core chip that retails for over $1K.
MojoKid writes: Western Digital has announced its latest innovation in the solid state storage market with the pilot production of the world's first 512 Gigabit, three-bits-per-cell, 64-layer 3D NAND (BiCS 3D) chip — that sure is a mouthful. This pilot run is being ushered in with its technology partner, Toshiba, at the pair's massive Yokkaichi, Japan fabrication facility. By using vertical stacking of 64 layers, Western Digital is able to achieve a much larger storage density for its NAND in a smaller footprint. Stacking also reduces production costs and is more reliable than planar NAND solutions. According to Western Digital, it will begin mass production of its new 512Gb NAND during the second half of 2017. It was also reported late last month that Western Digital is very interested in purchasing a 20 percent stake in Toshiba's NAND flash business.
MojoKid writes: Elon Musk is boring, like literally. Late last night Musk posted a picture of a large boring machine with the cutting head unattached with the caption "Minecraft." Last week workers were spotted excavating a test trench 30 feet wide, 50 feet long, and 15 feet deep in front of SpaceX's Los Angeles headquarters. The excavation's current location corresponds with Musk's wish of developing a seven mile tunnel between the 105 freeway and the entrance of SpaceX's headquarters. The passionate Tesla CEO initially pitched the idea this past December on Twitter after lamenting the state of LA's infamous traffic. He believes that tunnels will greatly help the city's congestion. Musk noted that a 2D road network obviously doesn't work anymore, "so you have to go 3D either up or down. And I think probably down."
MojoKid writes: Tufts University professor and founder of Ionic Materials, Mike Zimmerman, hopes that his resilient ionic battery technology will finally replace Lithium Ion. The reason scientists and researchers pay so much attention to battery design is because today's lithium-ion technologies have several downsides, as we saw recently with Samsung's Galaxy Note 7 recall. If you were to take apart a lithium-ion battery, you'd find a positive electrode called the anode and a negatively charged electrode called the cathode. There's a thin separator that sits between the anode and cathode. Everything else is filled up with liquid, or electrolyte. Charging the battery causes positively charged ions to flow through the liquid from the negative side to the positive side. As you use the battery, the ions flow in the opposite direction. However, the electrolyte is extremely flammable and they can explode when pierced or overheated. Zimmerman's ionic battery trades the flammable liquid for a piece of plastic film to serve as the electrolyte. It isn't prone to overheating and catching fire. The same goes for piercing, cutting or otherwise destroying the battery. Also, unlike lithium-ion batteries, Zimmerman's ionic batteries use actual lithium-metal, which can store twice as much power. Lithium-ion batteries don't contain lithium-metal because they're even more prone to overheating and exploding than lithium-ion, but that risk is removed by Zimmerman swapping out the liquid electrolyte for a solid.
MojoKid writes: Until recently, Intel's lowest powered Kaby Lake variant, known as Kaby Lake-Y, hasn't made much of an appearance in market. Kaby Lake-Y is the the 4.5 — 7 Watt version of Intel's 7th gen processor family intended for thin and light, fanless 2-in-1 devices and tablets. Oddly enough, Intel has done away almost completely with the "Core m" moniker with Kaby Lake, choosing instead to denote the series in the root of the model number, like it does with the more common U series chips that are employed in full-featured ultrabooks. However, the company does list lower-end Core m3 variants of Kaby Lake as such, while i5 and i7 higher-end SKUs are only distinguishable by the Y in the root of the model number. Clear as mud right? There may be a reason for this, as early introductions of Intel's Core m were met with mixed performance reviews. However, with recently introduced Kaby Lake-Y systems, like Dell's XPS 13 2-in-1 hybrid, performance with higher end SKUs like the Core i7-7Y75, with aggressive TDP-up tuning, is more in line with lower-end Core i5 variants of Intel's previous gen Skylake U series that was so prevalent in last year's laptop designs. Dell employs a bit of extra mojo in their design, taking that 7 Watt TDP-up envelope to 9 Watts, providing a longer sustained boost within the confines of their 2.7 pound XPS 13 hybrid. Regardless, with boost clock speeds as high as 3.6GHz for some Kaby Lake-Y chips, this isn't the same level of Core m performance from previous generations Intel processors.
MojoKid writes: Microsoft may have discontinued its Lumia family of smartphones, but that doesn't mean that the company has given up on handsets altogether. A new patent filing reveals that Microsoft could still have a few more tricks up its sleeve; in this case, a folding smartphone. If such a design were to make it to production, it would likely adopt Surface branding, joining the likes of the flexible and convertible Surface Pro, Surface Book and Surface Studio. Entitled "Mobile Computing Device Having A Flexible Hinge Structure", the patent shows a smartphone with a side-mounted hinge that opens up to reveal an uninterrupted, large display surface more fitting for tablet duty. And just like patent filings leaked the Surface Studio months before its official unveil, this could be a precursor to a future Microsoft product. Of course, there are no guarantees when it comes to patent filings, as Microsoft has patented many design innovations without acting on them with a shipping product.
MojoKid writes: When Microsoft first launched Windows 10, it was generally well-received but also came saddled with a number of privacy concerns. It has taken quite a while for Microsoft to respond to these concerns in a meaningful way, but the company is finally proving that it's taking things seriously by detailing some enhanced privacy features coming to a future Windows 10 build. Microsoft is launching what it calls a (web-based) privacy dashboard, which lets you configure anything and everything about information that might be sent to back to the mother ship. You can turn all tracking off, or pick and choose, if certain criteria don't concern you too much, like location or health activity, for example. Also, for fresh installs, you'll be given more specific privacy options so that you can feel confident from the get-go about the information you're sending Redmond's way. If you do decide to send any information Microsoft's way, the company promises that it won't use your information for the sake of targeted advertising.
MojoKid writes: AMD has a lot riding on Ryzen, its new generation CPU architecture that is supposed to return the chip designer to a competitive position versus Intel in the high-end desktop X86 processor market. Late last week, at CES 2017, AMD has lined up over a dozen high-performance AM4 motherboards from five hardware partners, including ASRock, ASUS, Biostar, Gigabyte, and MSI. All AM4 motherboards are built around one of two desktop chipsts for Ryzen, the AMD X370 or X300. Motherboards based on the X370 chipset are intended for power users and gamers. These boards bring more robust overclocking controls and support for dual graphics cards, along with more I/O connectivity and dual-channel DDR4 memory support. The X300 is AMD's chipset for mini-ITX motherboards for small form factor (SFF) system platforms. The X300 also supports dual-channel DDR4 memory, PCIe 3.0, M.2 SATA devices, NVMe, and USB 3.1 Gen 1 and Gen 1. Finally, AMD representatives on hand at CES also reported that all Ryzen processors will be multiplier unlocked, hopefully for some rather flexible overclocking options. There will also be several processors in the family, with varying core counts depending on SKU, at launch.
MojoKid writes: Last month, AMD opened up with more architectural details of their RYZEN CPU architecture. Based on a 14nm FinFET process, RYZEN will be available in an 8-core/16-thread version (as well as other SKUs) with 3.4+ GHz clock speeds and 20MB of total cache. Earlier this week, AMD's upcoming Vega GPU architecture was unveiled a bit more. Manufactured also on a 14nm FinFET process, Vega uses HBM2 memory and has an all-new Geometry Pipeline that boosts throughput-per-clock over 2x compared to previous generation architecture. Yesterday at CES 2017, AMD showed one of the first prototype Vega graphics cards running Doom in a RYZEN-powered system.The game was configured to run at a punishing 4K resolution with Ultra image quality settings. The combination of AMD's latest high-end hardware was able to push over 70 FPS in some spots, and easily maintained frame rates within the 60 to 70 FPS range throughout the rest of the gaming session with no slowdowns or stuttering.
MojoKid writes: Over the past couple of years, Dell has been driving a redesign effort of its consumer and commercial product lines and has been systematically been updating both design signatures and the technology platforms within them. Dell's premium consumer XPS product line, perhaps more so than any, has seen the most significant design reinvention with the likes of its XPS 13 and XPS 15 notebook line. AT CES 2017 announced the XPS 27 7760 all-in-one PC that has a radically new look that draws at least one design cue from its XPS notebook siblings, specifically with respect to display bezel, or the lack thereof. Though Dell isn't officially branding the touch-enabled version of XPS 27 with an "InfinityEdge" display, side and top bezel is cut to a minimum, accentuating a beautiful 4K IPS panel. However, the machine's display might not be the most standout feature of the 2017 Dell XPS 27. Under that display, Dell actually expanded things mechanically to make room not only for a Windows Hello capable camera but a 10 speaker sound system that was designed in conjunction with Grammy Award-winning music producer and audio engineer, JJ Puig, that takes the system's audio reproduction and output capabilities to a whole new level. Its sound system is very accurate with dual 50 watt amplifiers at less than 1% THD (Totaly Harmonic Distortion) and a 70Hz to 20KHz frequency response. Though the system is currently built on Intel's Skylake platform, Kaby Lake versions are imminent and with discrete AMD Radeon R9 M470X graphics, it has decent gaming and multimedia chops as well.
MojoKid writes: AMD lifted the veil on its next generation GPU architecture, code named Vega this morning. One of the underlying forces behind Vega's design is that conventional GPU architectures have not been scaling well for diverse data types. Gaming and graphics workloads have shown steady progress, but today GPUs are used for much more than just graphics. In addition, the compute capability of GPUs may have been increasing at a good pace, but memory capacity has not kept up. Vega aims to improve both compute performance and addressable memory capacity, however, through some new technologies not available on any previous-gen architecture. First, is that Vega has the most scalable GPU memory architecture built to date with 512TB of address space. It also has a new geometry pipeline tuned for more performance and better efficiency with over 2X peak throughput per clock, a new Compute Unit design, and a revamped pixel engine. The pixel engine features a new Draw Stream Binning Rasterizer, which reportedly improves performance and saves power. All told, Vega should offer significant improvements in terms of performance and efficiency when products based on the architecture begin shipping in a few months.
MojoKid writes: Intel has officially launched its Kaby Lake desktop processor platform today, with a new flagship quad-core chip called the Core i7-7700K and newly refreshed 200 series Z270 motherboard chipsets. Intel's Kaby Lake architecture will power a wide array of CPUs from 4.5 Watts to 91 Watts, covering Core i and Xeon branded processors. The 7700K a quad-core can process up to 8 threads simultaneously (4C/8T), with Intel HyperThreading technology. Other features include a DX12-capable HD 630 series graphics engine with updated multimedia engine that can now accelerate 4K HEVC 10-bit transcoding and VP9 decoding in hardware. The Core i7-7700K has a base clock of 4.2GHz with a max turbo frequency of 4.5GHz, though with SpeedStep the chip will drop down to only 800MHz when idle. It has a TDP of 91W and over 8MB of total cache on-board, 256K of L1, 1MB of L2 cache, and 8MB of L3, which is a similar cache hierarchy to Skylake. The new Core i7-7700K is the highest-performing, quad-core processor released by Intel to date. However, its performance improvements in the benchmarks over the previous-generations Skylake-based Core i7-6700K are relatively small. Kaby Lake's core CPU architecture is virtually identical to Skylake, so save for some tweaks the multi-media engine, the performance differences come by way of the 7700K's higher base and boost clocks. Power consumption with the chip and a Z270X based motherboard is in-line with Skylake, though overclocking is somewhat improved with the possibilty to hit 5GHz with more powerful water cooling. The top end Core i7-7700K will retail for $339 while lower end Core i5 and Core i3 variants will price as low as $192 and $117 respectively.
MojoKid writes: If you've had any doubts of Intel's upcoming Kaby Lake processor's capabilities with respect to overclocking, don't fret. It's looking like even the most dedicated overclockers are going to have a blast with this series. Someone recently got a hold of an Intel Core i7-7700K chip and decided to take it for an overclocking spin. Interestingly, the motherboard used is not one of the upcoming series designed for Kaby Lake, but the chip was instead overclocked on a Z170 motherboard from ASRock (Z170M OC Formula). That bodes well for those planning to snag a Kaby Lake CPU that would rather not have to upgrade their motherboard as well. With liquid nitrogen cooling the processor, this particular chip peaked at just over 7GHz, which helped deliver a SuperPi 32M time of 4m 20s, and a wPrime 1024M time of 1m 33s. It's encouraging to see the chip breaking this clock speed, even with extreme methods, since it's a potential relative indicator of how much headroom will be available for overclocking with more standard cooling solutions.
MojoKid writes: NVIDIA's Pascal architecture has been wildly successful in the consumer space. The various GPUs that power the GeForce GTX 10 series are all highly competitive at their respective price points, and the higher-end variants are currently unmatched by any single competing GPU. NVIDIA has since retooled Pascal for the professional workstation market as well, with products that make even the GeForce GTX 1080 and TITAN X look quaint in comparison. NVIDIA's beastly Quadro P6000 and Quadro P5000 are Pascal powered behemoths, packing up to 24GB of GDDR5X memory and GPUs that are more capable than their consumer-targeted counterparts. Though it is built around the same GP102 GPU, the Quadro P6000 is particularly interesting, because it is outfitted with a fully-functional Pascal GPU with all of its SMs enabled, which results in 3,840 active cores, versus 3,584 on the TITAN X. The P5000 has the same GP104 GPU as the GTX 1080, but packs in twice the amount of memory – 8GB vs 16GB. In the benchmarks, with cryptographic workloads and pro-workstation targeted graphics tests, the Quadro P6000 and Quadro P5000 are dominant across the board. The P6000 significantly outpaced the previous-generation Maxwell-based Quadro M6000 throughout testing, and the P5000 managed to outpace the M6000 on a few occasions as well. Of particular note is that the Quadro P6000 and P5000, while offering better performance than NVIDIA's previous-gen, high-end professional graphics cards, do it in much lower power envelopes, and they're quieter too. In a couple of quick gaming benchmarks, the P6000 may give us a hint at what NVIDIA has in store for the rumored GeForce GTX 1080 Ti, with all CUDA cores enabled in its GP102 GPU and performance over 10% faster than a Titan X.
MojoKid writes: AMD has just officially unveiled that desktop variants of its Zen processor family will now be branded RYZEN. Zen-based processors will eventually target desktops, servers, and mobiles device, but the first wave of products will be targeted at the performance desktop market, where gamers and VR continue to spur growth. AMD is positioning RYZEN as a high-performance option and though there will be other core configurations as well, AMD has disclosed that one of the high-end options in the initial RYZEN line-up will feature 8 cores (16 threads with SMT) and at minimum a 3.4 GHz base clock, with higher turbo frequencies. That processor will also be outfitted with 20MB of cache – 4MB of L2 and 16MB of L3 – and it will be infused with what AMD is calling SenseMI technology. SenseMI is essentially fancy branding for the updated branch predictor, prefetcher, and power and control logic in Zen. AMD's upcoming AM4 platform for RYZEN will be outfitted with all of the features expected of a modern PC enthusiast platform. AM4 motherboards will use DDR4 memory and feature PCIe Gen 3 connectivity, and support for USB 3.1 Gen 2, NVMe, and SATA Express. Performance demos of RYZEN shown to members of the press pit a stock Intel Core i7-6900K (3.2GHz base, 3.7GHz turbo) with Turbo Boost was enabled on the 6900K, versus RYZEN with boost disabled running at 3.4GHz flat. In the demo, the RYZEN system outpaced the Core i7-6900K by a few seconds.