GN Almost Burned Down – No, Really
Our first news item discusses our plans for the next week or two. If you’d like an update on GN’s goings-on, check the video above for that. Otherwise, the rest of the news continues below.
We also have a news item of a new AMD CPU in China (covered only in the video). That source is here.
Taiwan Tech Secrets Stolen by China
The Wall Street Journal published an excellent story about technology industry trade secrets being stolen. We wanted to bring more attention to this story, and will link it in the show notes below.
The gist is this: in 2016, a state-owned Chinese semiconductor manufacturer, Shanghai Huali Microelectronics Corp., infiltrated Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. to illegally access -quote- “reams of trade secrets.” The employee implicated in this corporate espionage was sentenced to a suspended 18-month prison term for IP theft.
We can also see moves involving Micron lately, where Chinese courts have suddenly expressed interest in IP and copyright lawsuits that benefit Chinese competition – particularly state-owned competition. The country is also looking to launch its own memory manufacturer, consequently, and plans to compete with SK Hynix, Micron, and Samsung.
Recently, a Micron engineer was recruited by UMC, the company that just had a preliminary injunction imposed on Micron in China, and that engineer has been indicted on charges of trade secret theft as he moved from Micron to UMC. Although UMC is a Taiwan-based competitor, the illegally taken documents were used to design chips for Fujian Jinhua Integrated Circuit Co., a Chinese semiconductor company.
Nanya is one of the smaller NAND makers in the industry, responsible for most of the SSD DRAM caching modules that you’ll find on M.2 and 2.5” solid-state drives. Nanya recently sued one of its engineers for supplying manufacturing photographs to Tsinghua Unigroup Ltd., which the Wall Street Journal reports is China’s largest state-owned chip maker.
According to the Wall Street Journal, technology theft has doubled in the last few years. It’s really a fascinating read about our industry’s intellectual property protections and theft, and we’d encourage you to check out the story. Check our show notes below for a source link.
DIY Soldered CPU
Overclocking engineer Der8auer recently attempted to solder a CPU himself, using a retired AMD Trinity part (which was not soldered) as a test subject. This was in effort to address the constant question of whether liquid metal would be outmatched by a hand-soldered solution, something that we’ve typically remarked as too difficult to attempt. Der8auer looked into Intel’s (public) patent documentation to better understand the soldering process, then set forth to replicate it as best he could with the tools available.
Find out about his results in the video.
Scientific Advancements in Cooling Materials
Science journal recently published a research paper detailing efforts to create a highly thermally conductive semiconductor that can work electrically similar to silicon, but with higher thermal conductivity.
The researchers stated that thermal conductivity of their non-toxic boron arsenide solution is now reaching 1000W/mK. For comparison, copper would be at around 405W/mK at 25 degrees Celsius, with aluminum at around 200W/mK. Silicon’s thermal conductivity tends to be around 150W/mK, ranking the boron arsenide material as about 7x more thermally conductive than traditional silicon. This would allow heat to exit the silicon faster and spread across the surface area, then into attached cooling devices.
We are unclear on if boron arsenide semiconductors can be used to replace all types of silicon semiconductors, but in highly thermally sensitive scenarios, like use in a space ship or an Intel i9 CPU, it might be a future engineering avenue.
Vega for Laptops Incoming
GamersNexus received information from close to AMD that Vega for mobile devices is on the way, with one of the first components targeting 1792 stream processors, at least 4GB of HBM2, and using 14nm process. Clocks will likely be in a range of 1100-1350MHz, depending on thermal scenario and final engineering choices, and overclocks may be doable. Our sources have informed us that this is essentially a cut-down Vega desktop GPU, running on the same architecture. There is some debate of potentially going with a higher memory capacity than 4GB, but we are presently unclear on what the final choice was.
Workstation Performance on GPUs
Our friends over at Techgage just published a detailed benchmark of workstation performance. This is something we don’t get too far into on our side of testing, but we wanted to highlight Rob Williams’ great work on benchmarking high-end GPUs for non-gaming workloads.
The testing included 3DS Max 2019 rendering, where the Titan Xps managed to outperform the 1080 Ti and Quadros, and also Blender, where the AMD RX Vega 64 card exceled to a point of only being outperformed by dual Titan Xp cards. Techgage also tested Vegas and other software. Find the rest of their tests at the link in our show notes, or go to Techgage.com and look for the workstation GPU test.
AM4 Passive CPU Coolers Launch from Arctic
We previously reported on Arctic cooling’s plans to bring completely passive coolers to market. The company has finally launched its coolers, named the “Alpine 12” series, and aims to offer them at around $15. The coolers have pre-applied MX-2 compound, no fans included, and use a simple aluminum finstack atop the socket. These aren’t rated for much – they can take about 47W TDP and will work with both AM4 and low-end Intel 115X components.
Cooler Master’s original H500P is on sale for $110, then includes a $30 rebate on Newegg, for a final price of about $80, if you count the rebate. It has the acrylic front, but we showed that it only takes about half an hour of work to convert it to a mesh front. Besides, you can sometimes find CM official mesh front modular options for sale.
Corsair’s Vengeance LPX memory is available in 16GB 2x8 capacities at 3000MHz for around $176 right now, likely marked-down in part due to the green PCB.
EVGA’s new 750PQ SuperNOVA power supplies, the platinum-certified ones, are presently available for 14% off via Newegg.
Editorial, Host: Steve Burke
Video: Keegan Gallick