Hardware

We’ve been one of the most active in modding newly-launched GPUs with “hybrid” cooling solutions, and even recently began running thermal tests on VRM components alongside said mods. Before we ever did hybrid mods, NZXT launched its G10 bracket – back in 2013 – to tremendous success and adoption. That adoption died off over time, mostly due to new GPU launches that weren’t clear on compatibility, and NZXT eventually was met by competition from Corsair’s HG10.

This week’s episode of Ask GN (#48!) talks CUDA core vs. Stream Processor differences at a top level, cooling suppliers, right to repair laws, and more.

The cooling supplier question is an interesting one: A user wondered what differences a manufacturer – someone like Corsair, NZXT, or others – might actually make when purchasing a semi-custom solution from a supplier. While it is possible to buy an off-the-shelf solution from the likes of Asetek, CoolIT, Apaltek, and others, the more common option is to customize the solution to some extent. This can be as low-level as instituting an entirely new PCB (see: Kraken series) or can be higher level, like tube length and pump flowrate.

Learn more in the video:

While we crank away at finalizing the review for the GTX 1080 Ti Gaming X, the Ryzen R5 CPUs, and some other products, we decided to run a PCB & VRM quality analysis of MSI’s card. The new GTX 1080 Ti Gaming X is another in a line of overbuilt VRMs, but interesting for a number of reasons (especially given the quality of this round’s reference VRM).

In our analysis of the PCB, we go over VRM design, overclocking potential, and power mods. The power mod section (toward the end of the video) discusses shunt shorting and how to trick the GPU into permitting a higher power throughput than natively allowed.

View Buildzoid’s analysis below:

AMD today made available a power plan update which should change how the Balanced plan impacts Ryzen performance.

Problems with Windows preset power modes have been one of the biggest annoyances with Ryzen, and AMD has officially recommended the High Performance preset in the past in order to avoid subpar performance in benchmarks. This wasn’t a big deal from a testing point of view since High Performance mode effectively avoids all of these issues, but for everyday use, it was: High Performance mode doesn’t allow CPU frequency to drop when idle, and the additional power consumption can really hurt the long-term value of the system (it’s also just wasteful). Balanced mode does drop frequency, but it’s also been overly aggressive with core parking on Ryzen chips specifically, making it sub-optimal for use. We discussed what this looks like from a user’s point of view in our “Just Research” article, where frequency plots offer visualization for the impact of Performance vs. Balanced mode. The same article contains some FPS benchmarks between the two power modes.

AMD has made two major changes in this update. Quoting their statement:

  1. Maintain residency in CPU p0 or p1 to give Zen full control over clocks and volts.

  2. Disable core parking.

They specifically noted that Intel also fully disables core parking in the Balanced power plan. Our tests have always used High Performance mode for Ryzen platforms (except power tests), and our results will not be affected by this update.

On the heels of the media world referring to the Titan X (Pascal) as Titan XP – mostly to reduce confusion versus the previous Titan X – nVidia today announced its actual Titan Xp (lowercase ‘p,’ very important) successor to the Titan XP. Lest Titan X, Titan X, and Titan X be too confusing, we’ll be referring to these as Titan XM [Maxwell], Titan X (Pascal), and Titan Xp. We really should apologize to Nintendo for making fun of their naming scheme, as nVidia seems to now be in competition; next, we’ll have the New Titan Xp (early 2017).

Someone at nVidia is giddy over taking the world’s Titan XP name and changing it, we’re sure.

Radeon Software Crimson Edition version 17.4.1 is now live. Along with some bug fixes, the bulk of this release is additional VR support.

AMD is making good on their promise to support asynchronous reprojection for both Oculus Rift and SteamVR. Oculus’ “Asynchronous Spacewarp” is now usable on R9 Fury, 290 and 390 series cards, while SteamVR’s “Asynchronous Reprojection” is usable on RX 480 and 470s with Windows 10.

Ask GN 47: Multitasking vs Gaming Perf, X300 ITX

By Published March 31, 2017 at 5:36 pm

This 47th episode of Ask GN features questions pertaining to test execution and planning for multitasking benchmarks, GPU binning, Ryzen CPU binning, X300 mITX board availability, and more. We provide some insights as to plans for near-future content, like our impending i7-2600K revisit, and quote a few industry sources who answered questions in this week's episode.

Of note, we worked with VSG of Thermal Bench to talk heatpipe size vs. heatpipe count, then spoke with EVGA and ASUS about their GPU allocation and pretesting processes (popularly, "binning," though not quite the same). Find the new episode below, with timestamps to follow the embed:

Intel Optane Memory: A New Drive Caching Solution

By Published March 27, 2017 at 12:00 pm

We recently covered Intel’s DC P4800X data center drive, with takes on the technology from two editors in video and article form. Those content pieces served as a technology overview for 3D Xpoint and Intel Optane (and should be referenced as primer material), but both indicated a distinct lack of any consumer-focused launch for the new half-memory, half-storage amalgam.

Today, we’re back to discuss Intel’s Optane Memory modules, which will ship April 24 in the form of M.2 sticks.

As Intel’s platform for 3D Xpoint (Micron also has one: QuantX), Optane will be deployed on standardized interfaces like PCI-e AICs, M.2, and eventually DIMM form factors. This means no special “Optane port,” so to speak, and should make adoption at least somewhat more likely. There’s still a challenging road ahead for Intel, of course, as Optane has big goals to somewhat unify memory and storage by creating a device with storage-like capacities and memory-like latencies. For more of a technology overview, check out Patrick Stone’s article on the DC P4800X.

It’s been since February 23 that we’ve run an Ask GN episode; it seems that our definition of “week” is “4x.” With travel once a week for that past month, almost always aligning on the days we normally film Ask GN, we hope that you’ll forgive us. This episode contains some great discussion topics as submitted by our YouTube viewers and Patreon supporters (via Discord), including Ryzen topics (naturally), VRAM consumption vs. visual quality, differences in motherboards, and more.

That last question is a bit of an interesting one: It does sometimes feel like all motherboards are the same when just scrolling through spec sheets on a retailer, but we assure you that there are still relevant points of differentiation between motherboard vendors. We’ll talk about a few of those in this episode.

Thermaltake’s Core P1 is a Mini-ITX, semi-open air chassis with a 5mm thick tempered glass side panel and wall mount support. The Core P1 was featured in our Best Gaming PC Cases of 2017 CES Round-Up article and video, though had no release date (or firm price) at the time of those content pieces. Thermaltake just recently announced that their Core P1 has become available for sale in the United States, Germany, United Kingdom, and Australia and announced a retail price of $100 USD.

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