HW News - DDR5 Arrives at 4400MHz, AMD Z490 & Intel Z390

By Eric Hamilton & Steve Burke Published May 08, 2018 at 1:51 pm

DDR5 may achieve mass switch-over adoption by 2022, based on new estimates out of memory makers. A new Micron demonstration had DDR5 memory functional, operating on a Cadence IMC and custom chip, with 4400MHz and CL42 timings. It's a start. Micron hopes to tighten timings over time, and aims to increase frequency toward 6400MHz as DDR5 matures. It's more of a capacity solution, too, with targeted densities at 16Gb and 32Gb for the future.

In addition to the week's DDR5 news, detailed in more depth below, we also have roadmap leaks from AMD and Intel that indicate Z490 and Z390 chipsets shipping this year. We're not yet sure what Z490's purpose is, but we know that it's an AMD product -- and the first of the new chipsets to take a Z prefix, just like Intel's performance series.

Our show notes below cover all the stories, or just check the video:


DRR5-4400 Memory Demonstrated

Micron worked with Cadence to demonstrate new DDR5 memory, using a Cadence test chip and IMC that will be jointly targeted at SOC manufacturers for DDR5 preparation. The DDR5 demonstration started with 4400MHz CL42 -- yes, you read that right -- 8Gb memory, operating at 100mv lower than DDR4’s low-end. Micron is targeting an eventual 6400MHz frequency, but the immediate future is in the 4000s for frequency.

Micron and Cadence note that DDR5 is more of a solution for increased capacity, not performance, indicating that 16Gb and 32Gb dies with internal ECC will be supported, and that yields should be improved overall.

DDR5 is meant to stick to the 288-pin standard that DDR4 rests on, adding other new features like built-in voltage regulators and power management circuits. We don’t know much more than the JEDEC spec and what Micron and Cadence have said at present, but Anandtech has a great article detailing the initial showing. Cadence predicts that DDR5 will overtake DDR4 adoption by 2022.

Source: https://www.anandtech.com/show/12710/cadence-micron-demo-ddr5-subsystem

AMD & Intel Naming Lunacy

We already know that Intel is working on a Z390 platform, but it looks like AMD is working on its own Z490 platform for launch in June or July. We’re not positive what Z490 will bring to the table, but we have independently confirmed its existence. The leak from Bluechip, a distribution partner, looks legitimate.

Intel’s first 8-core engineering samples are due for June, according to the leak, and Intel’s Z390 platform is targeted for 3Q18. The engineering samples obviously predate the retail samples, so we’re looking at third quarter for the 8-core CPUs to ship on Z390. AMD’s B450 lower-end platform will be shipping in July to August of this year, and will likely have a few units shown behind closed doors at Computex. Threadripper 2 is already known for August, and that’s still on-track.

Primary source: https://www.anandtech.com/show/12711/german-it-distributor-publishes-amd-intel-roadmaps-z490-z390-8core-cfl-in-q4


Kaby Lake-X EOL Status Announced

Intel has announced End Of Life status for their Kaby Lake-X parts. Kaby Lake-X consisted of the i5-7640X and the i7-7740X, both 4-core parts that made up the lowest end of Intels X299 compatible HEDT line. The Kaby Lake-X CPUs launched to much controversy and criticism from consumers and media alike. They were a relatively low value, given X299 requires a much more premium processor to unlock the chipset’s full potential. The value that Threadripper offered instead made them look even worse.    

Source: https://www.tomshardware.com/news/intel-discontinues-kaby-lake-x-processors,36985.html

New Factory for Coffee Lake Assembly & Testing

Also in Intel news, the company announced they will be using facilities in China to test and assemble the Core i5/i7 Coffee Lake CPUs. Intel says this will allow them to further increase supply of the six core Coffee Lake variants. Starting in May, consumers can expect to see Coffe Lake CPUs--that is, i7-8700K, i7-8700, i5-8600K, i5-8500, and i5-8400--on the market that have been tested and assembled in Chengdu, China. Intel assures that all procedures and production methods  are the same across all their global production facilities.

Source: https://www.anandtech.com/show/12707/intel-taps-new-facility-to-assemble-boxed-coffee-lake-cpus

Spectre Intensifies

Heise magazine C’t released a report that suggests a new set of Spectre vulnerabilities are looming, presently known as “Spectre-NG.” Intel responded to the report via its blog, stating that the company is working closely with partners and other chipmakers to mitigate and understand vulnerabilities and attack vectors. The company recommended keeping systems up-to-date for safety.

The C’t publication got ahead of any official NDA lifts, highlighting 8 CVE (Common Vulnerability Enumerator) attacks that need standalone patches. C’t claims that Intel is already working on two rounds of patches, targeting release in May for the first patch. C’t lightly detailed an attack that could affect cloud server hosts, similar to Meltdown, which would be exploited via a VM-host attack vector. ARM and Intel are possibly affected, and AMD might be -- AMD is affected by some existing Spectre attacks, but there is nothing concrete either way in the current documentation for Spectre-NG.

Primary source: https://www.heise.de/ct/artikel/Exclusive-Spectre-NG-Multiple-new-Intel-CPU-flaws-revealed-several-serious-4040648.html

Secondary source: https://www.anandtech.com/show/12712/spectre-watch-more-spectreclass-vulnerabilities-to-be-announced-soon

Real-Time Thermal Monitoring for Liquid Cooling

Bykski introduced two new watercooling components this week, both of which are in-line thermal monitors for open loop liquid cooling. The components mount to the fittings and use an in-line thermistor at water inlet for monitoring. As of now, it doesn’t look like there’s a way to export this data to software, unfortunately, and it appears limited to on-device readings. Bykski also released a real-time thermal monitor for video cards, named the B-VGA-SC-AL, complementing the TME, and works the same way.

The materials are anodized aluminums, including marketing silliness about being “aircraft grade aluminum.” The units are priced at $40-$50.

Corsair’s New Spec-05

Corsair’s new SPEC-05 case was introduced this past week. Just like most the other cases in the world right now, it has a largely closed-off front intake with some odd design cues. We’d like to see the front slit widened similar to the Lian Li case shown at CES this year, as it’d allow enough ventilation to be acceptable. For now, it’s another limited airflow case with an acrylic window -- but it’s $50, at least.

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RxRl0ycpOx4


E-Waste Recycler Undercutting MSFT

Eric Lundgren, e-waste recycler and entrepreneur, has been sentenced to a 15-month prison term, and a $50,000 fine, for the infringement of Microsoft products and profits by attempting to resell restore disks.

Lundgren had made 28,000 of the disks, and intended on selling them to computer refurbishers for about 25 cents apiece. According to Microsoft, this is copyright infringement and counterfeit goods traffic; Microsoft asserts that while software licenses are transferable, commercial resellers must purchase a new license for $25.

Lundgren argued that his disks had no value to Microsoft or anyone else, and they were intended to only be used to restore systems with an existing OS license. Still, the court concluded that Lundgren’s  28,000 disks were worth $700,000, and that amount warrants a 15-month prison stay and $50,000 in fines. A layer for Microsoft alleges that the sales of “counterfeit operating systems displaces Microsoft’s potential sales of genuine operating systems.”

Lundgren and his attorney said the court has set a precedent for Microsoft and other software makers to pursue criminal cases against those seeking to tackle e-waste and extend the life span of computers.


HW Sales: R7 1700, EVGA 650 G1

R7 1700 - Decently discounted from MSRP these days. Well worth consideration if 2000-series R7s are too expensive. Pick one up on Amazon here.

EVGA SuperNOVA 650 G1 fully modular, PSU power-on self-tester, marked down decently at time of filming.

Editorial: Eric Hamilton & Steve Burke
Video: Andrew Coleman

Last modified on May 08, 2018 at 1:51 pm

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