Steve Burke

Steve Burke

Steve started GamersNexus back when it was just a cool name, and now it's grown into an expansive website with an overwhelming amount of features. He recalls his first difficult decision with GN's direction: "I didn't know whether or not I wanted 'Gamers' to have a possessive apostrophe -- I mean, grammatically it should, but I didn't like it in the name. It was ugly. I also had people who were typing apostrophes into the address bar - sigh. It made sense to just leave it as 'Gamers.'"

First world problems, Steve. First world problems.

There’s been a lot of talk of an “Intel bug” lately, to which we paid close attention upon the explosion of our Twitter, email, and YouTube accounts. The “bug” that has been discussed most commonly refers to a new attack vector that can break the bounding boxes of virtual environments, including virtual machines and virtual memory, that has been named “Meltdown.” This attack is known primarily to affect Intel at this time, with indeterminate effect on AMD and ARM. Another attack, “Spectre,” attacks through side channels in speculative execution and branch prediction, and is capable of fetching sensitive user information that is stored in physical memory. Both attacks are severe, and between the two of them, nearly every CPU on the market is affected in at least some capacity. The severity of the impact remains to be seen, and will be largely unveiled upon embargo lift, January 9th, at which time the companies will all be discussing solutions and shortcomings.

For this content piece, we’re focusing on coverage from a strict journalism and reporting perspective, as security and low-level processor exploits are far outside of our area of expertise. That said, a lot of you wanted to know our opinions or thoughts on the matter, so we decided to compile a report of research from around the web. Note that we are not providing opinion here, just facts, as we are not knowledgeable enough in the subject matter to hold strong opinions (well, outside of “this is bad”).

Consider this something of an informal post. We'll be at CES shortly and, as always, will be covering the event in full-force and over a time period of about a week. Although most of our schedule is already filled with meetings between GN and hardware vendors, we keep spots open for break-out products or interesting items that we may have overlooked. For today, we are asking that you tweet @GamersNexus with the following things: (1) Requests for specific products or companies that you'd like to see features, (2) notes of major announcements made during the show that you would like more information on.

We've already done a lot of the homework, have meetings on the books, and have a content plan. That said, CES is impossibly large, and many companies bring so many products that we simply can't see them all. Even with an hour for a suite, we'll get caught-up in 2 or 3 products, then have to move on. GN will have two teams on-site this year, which means we have more capacity to respond to items that interest the community. Twitter is the best way to get that information to us during the show, and we've already had a large number of coverage requests for high-refresh monitors, OLEDs for gaming, and some product-specific opportunities.

This episode of Ask GN is very likely part 1 of a two-parter. We had so many good questions from the previous round that we had to cut a few out for this one, but given the proximity of CES, we may film another prior to the show. For this one, we take several questions that relate to heat generation within a computer, particularly those focused on component failure and early death of components. GPU mining is, of course, a popular topic to do with component longevity, and so makes a lengthy appearance in this episode. We also relate the information to 3D rendering and animation/production work, as it's all really the same idea: Load a component at 100% for most (all?) of its life, then see how long it lasts.

Just a quick update for everyone: We've got a major feature -- an end-of-year special that includes a short film (something we've never done before) -- going up tomorrow at around 9AM EST. That'll be sort of an end-of-year recap of a few key components, primarily those that disappointed us.

In the meantime, while we were playing one-day roles of directors and cinematographers, we've set to work on delidding another 7980XE. This will be our third delid of the 18C CPU, with another ~4~5 delids of lower-end CPUs from the past few months. Our previous delid was for Kyle of "Bitwit," which later led to our Intel X299 VRM thermal investigation of the ASUS Rampage VI Extreme motherboard's VRM temperatures. It was an excellent opportunity for us to explore potential sideshoot content pieces in more depth, and gave us multiple samples to build a larger sample size.

We're now up to 3x 18C CPUs delidded, and are collecting data on the latest for Ed from Tech Source. The delid just completed, and we're now in the resealing stage.

China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) is looking into the possibility of DRAM price-fixing between the major memory and Flash suppliers, with specific interest from the Pricing Supervision Department of said commission. An official from the regulatory body, Xu Xinyu of NDRC, stated the following: “We have noticed the price surge and will pay more attention to future problems that may be caused by ‘price fixing’ in the sector.”

This comes following recent reports that Samsung initiated plans to increase supply by 20%, which still failed to meet rising demand. The NDRC told the China Daily, a state-run media outlet, that the NDRC has paid attention to DRAM pricing and demand over the past 18 months, and that memory suppliers are now under the eye of the NDRC. There are only four major suppliers in the industry, and those include SK Hynix, Micron, Toshiba, and Samsung.

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