HW News - New AMD Multi-GPU Tech, EVGA iCX Mislabeling

By Eric Hamilton & Steve Burke Published September 12, 2018 at 1:42 am

We're ramping into GPU testing hard this week, with many tests and plans in the pipe for the impending and now-obvious RTX launch. As we ramp those tests, and continue publishing our various liquid metal tests (corrosion and aging tests), we're still working on following hardware news in the industry.

This week's round-up includes a video-only inclusion of the EVGA iCX2 mislabeling discussion that popped-up on reddit (links are still below), with written summaries of IP theft and breach of trust affecting the silicon manufacturing business, "GTX" 2060 theories, the RTX Hydro Copper and Hybrid cards, Intel's 14nm shortage, and more.


EVGA iCX2 Mislabeling

Check the video for this discussion piece. Sources and links are below.

Reddit thread: https://www.reddit.com/r/nvidia/comments/9dq97v/evga_rtx2080ti_icx2_misrepresentation/

ORIGINAL EVGA page: https://i.imgur.com/Rg5p8FZ.jpg

Overview EVGA page: https://www.evga.com/articles/01249/evga-geforce-rtx-20-series/

Ex-TSMC Employee Charged with Breach of Trust

A now former TSMC employee, simply referred to as “Chou”, as been indicted on breach of trust for stealing confidential documents pertaining to TSMC’s 16nm and 10nm process technologies. Chou was allegedly planning to begin work at Shanghai Huali Microelectronics (HLMC), where he planned to take the trade secrets with him.

IP theft and infringement accusations have been common, as China continues to try and bring their own domestic memory production online. Micron is currently locked into a legal battle with UMC, with both sides citing theft of IP and trade secrets, and IP infringement.

Source: https://www.digitimes.com/news/a20180903VL200.html

GTX 2060 Theories Gain Momentum

We’ve been speculating for a while now that the RTX branding might get dropped for the lower-end cards, with our initial theories being that the low-end cards won’t have the processing power required to deliver ray-tracing features while also managing other high graphics settings. Our version of this has been, speculatively, that the RTX cards will become GTX cards at the 2050 and 2060 range, and that those may be refreshed Pascal GPUs. We’re not entirely sure about this, of course, as it is speculation.

All of this stated, a recent NVIDIA interview with financial website Seeking Alpha led to new discussion over this theory. NVIDIA Executive Vice President Colette Kress said the following:

“And then just a couple of weeks ago now we've announced the overall cards for overall gaming. The cards will come out. We'll start with the ray-tracing cards. We have the 2080 Ti, the 2080 and the 2070 overall coming to market. This is a major leap in terms of something that people probably weren't expecting for another 10 years to 15 years. The games will look different. There will be a moment that you may pause whether or not that is a film or whether or not that is a game. So we're extremely excited to bring this overall technology first to the market and as widespread as we are. So these cards will be available shortly within the quarter, but we're very excited about the excitement both in the ecosystem, with the developers as well as what this brings to the overall gamers.”

The crux of this, as has been caught by media outlets in our space, is the phrasing that “we’ll start with the ray-tracing cards.” Given that theories were already whirling, the implication is that the cards outside of this group -- stopping at the 2070 -- won’t be, quote, “ray-tracing cards.” It could be grasping at straws, but we still think that the lower-end devices won’t carry the same marketing language revolving around ray-tracing.

Source: https://seekingalpha.com/article/4204779-nvidia-corporation-nvda-presents-citi-2018-global-technology-conference-transcript?part=single

JPR 2Q18 Video Card Sales Report

Jon Peddie Research published a new report on video card sales for quarter 2 of 2018. Quarter 2 typically sees a decrease in sales by about 10% when averaged over ten years, but for 2018, Q2 posted a decrease of 18% below the usual -10%. JPR calls this “very low when compared to the desktop PC market, which decreased 3.4% quarter-to-quarter.” The AIB sales decline is also skewed by high quarter 1 sales due to cryptocurrency demand, which JPR thinks impacted the sales numbers for quarter 2.

Year-over-year, JPR reports a drop in board partner shipments by 5.7%.

Primary source: https://www.jonpeddie.com/press-releases/jon-peddie-research-reports-the-q22018-gpu-shipments/+&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us">https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:bTHOYU4i18IJ:https://www.jonpeddie.com/press-releases/jon-peddie-research-reports-the-q22018-gpu-shipments/+&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

Secondary source: https://www.techpowerup.com/247425/jon-peddie-research-releases-its-q2-2018-graphics-card-report

EVGA RTX Hydro Copper, Hybrid, and Blower

Although they were shown at PAX West, we asked EVGA for high-resolution versions of the teaser images for their upcoming RTX cards.

EVGA has a blower design coming up with the acrylic faceplate seen in the other RTX designs. Another design is the revamped FTW3, which we previously filmed at Gamescom. The Hydro Copper FTW3 was also sent to us, which is an open loop waterblock card with an acrylic face plate. There’s also a Hydro Copper XC for a lower-profile, shorter-PCB solution, and then the Hybrid series of cards for closed-loop liquid cooler solutions. That’d include the larger form factor Hybrid FTW3 with a taller PCB and the shorter Hybrid XC. The final solution is the XC and XC2 series, which we previously detailed at Gamescom.

Primary source: see images saved in folder

Intel 14nm CPU Shortage Looming

Reports and sources seem to indicate a shortage taking form for Intel’s 14nm CPUs, specifically as we approach the second half of 2018. We briefly mentioned this back in July, when Intel openly admitted potential supply issues with an increased demand for 14nm chips in an earnings call, and vowed to work with their customers to mitigate any supply constraint.

That supply crisis seems to be taking shape, and could set the stage for price hikes and non-availability for the holiday season, which is fast approaching. Intel’s supply woes stem from an unexpected demand increase, as well as unanticipated 14nm production being pushed onto the fabs--a byproduct of the long delayed 10nm node. Much of Intel’s fabs were expected to be in full production of 10nm by now, so having to retool them for unplanned 14nm silicon production is time intensive, to say the least. Further exacerbating the problem is Intel’s new Amber and Whiskey Lake processors, which are expected power a slew of new low power notebooks and tablets, like Acer’s new laptops showed at IFA 2018.

Whether or not Intel can keep retailers in stock with CPUs will be one of a couple variables that underpin the PC component market in the last half of the the year, with the other being the US-China trade war.     

Source: https://www.digitimes.com/news/a20180831PD206.html

AMD Debuts Athlon 200GE APU

AMD announced their new Athlon 200GE CPU with Vega graphics, coming to market September 8th, for $55. AMD is grooming the Athlon 200GE to be a Pentium killer, attacking the low end market where the Pentium G4560 and G5400 reign uncontested at the ~$65 price point.

The new Zen based Athlon 200GE is a 2C/4T part, with integrated Radeon Vega Graphics. The Vega graphics offers 3 CUs, while the chip itself offers a 3.2 GHz clock rate, with no boost. The Athlon 200GE is made for the A320 chipset, and uses a locked multiplier. The Athlon 200GE will also support the AVX instruction set, which is an acute benefit over the Pentium and Celeron competition.

Source: https://www.amd.com/en/press-releases/2018-09-06-amd-reimagines-everyday-computing-new-zen-based-athlon-desktop-processors    

Rumor: Nvidia TU106 Chip

In version update notes for popular monitoring software HWinfo, there is support listed for “NVIDIA TU106”. We know the RTX 2080 is based on the TU104 die, and that the the RTX 2080 Ti is presumably based on the TU102 chip (probably). So, we could infer that a TU106 die is a smaller, more midrange chip, destined for either the 2070 or 2060.

As always, take this with a grain of salt. These types of leaks have been inaccurate before.

Source: https://www.hwinfo.com/news.php

AMD Rolls-Out Multi-GPU Interconnect for Vega 20

New AMD GPU Linux patches reveal that AMD will have an answer to Nvidia’s NVLink, currently known as xGMI. Phoronix discovered the revelation in a few lines of code in recent Linux drivers, and outside of that, details are scarce. xGMI is built on AMD’s Infinity Fabric, and will serve as a high bandwidth interconnect for multiple GPUs. Additionally, there is speculation that xGMI’s bandwidth could exceed 100GB/s.

AMD’s 7nm Vega 20 GPUs are still on track to be delivered by the end of year, but they’ll come in the form of Radeon Pro and Radeon Instinct, which are aimed at machine learning, deep learning, and otherwise data centric applications. And while it makes sense for AMD to implement high bandwidth interconnectivity for professional grade cards, it doesn’t mean that it will come downmarket to the AMD Navi GPUs, which will be the next batch of gaming grade cards.

Source: https://phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=AMDGPU-XGMI-Vega20-Patches

HW Sales

Gigabyte Aorus RX 580 ($210): A pretty good deal on a popular RX 580, the post purchase rebate brings the card down pretty close to the $200 mark.

Corsair Vengeance RGB DRR4-3000: We continue to monitor RAM prices, and while they still are far from great, this isn’t a terrible deal on a 16GB kit that offers both quick frequency and reasonable timings.

Intel i7-8700: Amazon has marked down the i7-8700 non-K recently. Not a bad deal if you want a 6C/12T part and don’t care about overclocking.

Editorial: Eric Hamilton & Steve Burke
Host: Steve Burke
Video: Andrew Coleman + Josh Svoboda

Last modified on September 12, 2018 at 1:42 am

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