HW News - Next-Gen Gaming GPUs, GPP (Cont'd), Meltdown Performance

By Published April 01, 2018 at 10:11 pm

This week's hardware news recap follows GTC 2018, where we had a host of nVidia and GPU-adjacent news to discuss. That's all recapped heavily in the video portion, as most of it was off-the-top reporting just after the show ended. For the rest, we talk 4K 144Hz displays, 3DMark's raytracing demo, AMD's Radeon Rays, the RX Vega 56 Red Devil card, and CTS Labs updates.

As for this week, we're back to lots of CPU testing, as we've been doing for the past few weeks now. We're also working on some secret projects that we'll more fully reveal soon. For the immediate future, we'll be at PAX East on Friday, April 6, and will be on a discussion panel with Bitwit Kyle and Corsair representatives. We're planning to record the panel for online viewing.

NVIDIA events

Check the video for these discussion topics:

  • AI for locomotion and animation
  • Biggest meltdown and spectre impacts on database and disk workloads, Red Hat measured between 7% and 20%, depending. Retpoline does much better than IBRS, which ranges 12% to 20%.
  • NVIDIA keynote had nothing for our core audience, but you might be interested -- purely technologically -- in the DGX-2. It’s a $400,000 box with 16 GPUs and 1.5TB of memory, plus 512GB of HBM2. We joked that half the cost is memory, but it’s probably not too far from reality.
  • Suspect September or October for a major consumer GPU launch. Either way, seems like at least 3 months out -- then you have to mount them to the boards. July has Unreal Engine 4.20 to support RTX, which will align with future launches as only future architectures will properly support RTX
  • GPP, MSI, Gigabyte

4K 144Hz Displays in April

Nvidia is expecting the arrival of 4K 144Hz G-Sync HDR displays by the end of Q1 for their fiscal year (Nvidia’s Q1 ends on April 29th, 2018), so we can infer that Nvidia believes the new displays will ship in April. At CES last year, Acer and ASUS both had prototypes based on a reference design by Nvidia. However, the promised 2017 release window was delayed, for unknown reasons.

The Acer Predator X27 and ASUS ROG Swift PG27UQ are both based on Nvidia’s reference design, and were to be based on an AU Optronics M270QAN02.2 AHVA panel.   


3DMark DirectX Raytracing Demo

Futuremark launched a new DirectX raytracing demonstration that includes non-screenspace reflections. DXR Microsoft tech demo runs in real-time on modern GPUs, not just Volta. Implemented into the Dx12 game enigne for 3DMark. New 3DMark benchmark for raytracing by end of year.


AMD Radeon Rays & GPU Profiler 1.2

Dubbed Radeon Rays, AMD has announced their Vulcan based ray tracing engine. Radeon Rays will use asynchronous compute in conjunction with AMD silicon--GPUs, CPUs, APUs--to create real time ray tracing capabilities. The engine is open source, and conforms to the OpenCL 1.2 standard, so it can be deployed with non-AMD hardware across multiple OS environments.

Also announced was a new version of RGP (Radeon GPU Profiler). RGP 1.2 will offer compatibility with RenderDoc, improved frame and graphics debugging, detailed barrier codes, and improved frame overview.  


Corsair H60 Refresh

Corsair refreshed the H60 for 2018, giving the AIO a new mounting bracket design, an upgraded fan, and a redesigned pump-block and radiator. The new look is identical to the recent H150i and H150i Pro coolers, but nixes the RGB lighting in favor of a static white backlight. The new fan is an SP series 120mm PWM fan, spinning from 600-1700 RPMs. The new H60 offers socket compatibility with AM4, LG1151, and LGA2066. The new cooler comes with a 5-year warranty and should retail for $70.

Source: http://www.tomshardware.com/news/corsair-h60-2018-cpu-cooler,36725.html

PowerColor Red Dragon RX Vega 56

PowerColor announced their Red Dragon RX Vega 56, which comes in under the Red Devil RX Vega 56 in PowerColor’s product stack. The card itself isn’t overly exciting--3584 Vega stream processors clocked at 1478Mhz, a slight uplift from the reference design. For memory, the Red Dragon runs 8GB of HBM2 on a 2,048-bit interface. PowerColor didn’t disclose pricing, but amidst the market of inflated GPU MSRPs, it won’t be had cheap--if at all.

Newegg’s Ebay store lists the card for $790.

Newegg/Ebay: https://www.ebay.com/i/292482479334?chn=ps&dispItem=1

Source: https://techreport.com/news/33409/powercolor-summons-the-red-dragon-rx-vega-56

CTS Labs Update

AMD has publicly addressed the findings of CTS Labs, and announced plans to mitigate the vulnerabilities. Last week, CTS Labs disclosed an alleged 13 security vulnerabilities related to Ryzen, EPYC, and AMD chipsets. Alongside CTS Labs’ findings, Viceroy Research published a report brazenly declaring the expiry of AMD’s stock price in the wake of the purported security flaws. The veracity of Viceroy’s reports has been called into question before, and the “report” seems little more than a vitriolic diatribe, meant as a hit piece on AMD’s stock. It is worth mentioning that it is not the security flaws anyone questions; rather, it is the lack of professional conduct and methods of disclosure by the firms involved. It all reeks of a less than altruistic motive.

At any rate, AMD has acknowledged the security flaws, perhaps lending a modicum of credibility to CTS Labs. You can read AMD’s response here, but AMD kept it to the point. In summation:

  • Exploitation requires administrative access, of which, once acquired, many more attacks not listed by CTS could be perpetrated.
  • The security threats are not related to the AMD “Zen” Architecture, but the firmware and chipsets associated with some AM4 and TR4 sockets.
  • AMD’s planned mitigation is in the form of firmware and BIOS updates from OEMs.
  • No performance impact is expected

For more information and the original story, visit our recent article and video.  

Reporting: Eric Hamilton & Steve Burke
Video: Andrew Coleman

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