HW News - Rockstar Fixes Launcher on AMD, NVIDIA Driver Security Update, & 50TB HDDs

By Published November 10, 2019 at 1:05 am

After a slight lapse in news coverage due to a crowded content schedule, we’re back this week with highlights from the last couple of weeks. The news beat has been somewhat sluggish as we settle into the fourth quarter and move ever closer to the unrepentant shopping season. The crowning news item is the arrival of AMD’s remaining 2019 CPUs, including the highly-anticipated 16C/32T Ryzen 9 3950X.

There’s also fresh news on AMD’s continued encroachment on Intel’s x86 market share, Seagate keeping HDD development alive, and Samsung ending its custom CPU designs. Elsewhere within GN, we’ve recently — and exhaustively — detailed CPU and GPU recommendations for Red Dead Redemption 2, as well as pursuing a 6GHz overclock on our i9-9900KS.


GN at 43,728 Trees Planted with Eden Reforestation

We started a cooperation with Eden Reforestation Projects last week to plant a minimum of 10 trees per item sold on the GN Store during November (and also match donations to the Reforestation Projects from our viewers). Between GN item sales, direct donations, our match, and a generous viewer match, we’re at 43,728 trees planted in just 1 week. We’re keeping this campaign going through end of November, and for each item in an order on the GN store, we’ll be planting a minimum of 10 trees with Eden Reforestation Projects!

Seagate Aiming For 50TB HDDs By 2026

Despite the continued pervasion of much faster storage, Seagate is going all chips in with HDD development. In an earnings call, Seagate revealed its plans to keep spinning storage alive for the foreseeable future.

 "Today, Seagate is the only company mass producing 16-terabyte drives, which are the capacity benchmark for the industry. We are preparing to ship 18-terabyte drives in the first half of calendar year 2020 to maintain our industry capacity leadership," said Seagate CEO Dr. Dave Mosley.

Indeed, Seagate did launch a 16TB HDD for both enterprise and consumer segments over the summer, and its upcoming 18TB model will purportedly be based on the same 9-platter, CMR (conventional magnetic recording) design. However, Seagate’s recent roadmap shows that Seagate plans to pivot to SMR (shingled magnetic recording) for its 20TB designs due sometime in 2020. Even further out is Seagate’s 50TB drives using Seagate’s HAMR (heat assisted magnetic recording) technology, slated for 2026. 

Seagate’s upcoming drives will also see an increased adoption in its MACH.2 dual-actuator solution, which is expected to be critical for performance as HDDs increase in capacity and areal density. 

Source: https://www.pcgamer.com/seagate-is-skipping-the-hard-drives-funeral-plans-to-have-50tb-hdds-


NVIDIA Driver Update Patches Security Vulnerabilities

We’ve become very familiar with NVIDIA’s 444.12 driver revision for its necessary use with Red Dead Redemption 2 on PC, but the driver update also patches security vulnerabilities that NVIDIA says, quote, “may lead to denial of service, escalation of privileges, or information disclosure.”

The vulnerabilities include CVE-2019-5690, which includes a kernel mode layer handler vulnerability in nvlddmkm.sys. NVIDIA says this vulnerability where the “size of an input buffer is not validated, [and] may lead to denial of service of escalation of privileges.” This issue had the highest threat score in NVIDIA’s rankings.

Another denial of service attack vector was found where nvlddmkm.sys could use an uninitialized pointer. The NVIDIA Control Panel also had a vulnerability, quoting NVIDIA: “NVIDIA Windows GPU Display Driver contains a vulnerability in NVIDIA Control Panel in which it incorrectly loads Windows system DLLs without validating the path or signature (also known as a binary planting or DLL preloading attack), which may lead to denial of service or information disclosure through code execution. The attacker requires local system access.” This one is less severe, since it does require local access, but is more important for enterprise and business use.

And as one more example, CVE-2019-5697 reads: “NVIDIA Virtual GPU Manager contains a vulnerability in which it may grant a guest access to memory that it does not own, which may lead to information disclosure or denial of service.”

Source: https://nvidia.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/4907/~/security-bulletin%3A-nvidia-gpu-display-driver---november-2019


AMD Continues to Reclaim Market Share From Intel

Mercury Research, who routinely handles AMD’s market analyses, has published its most recent report for the x86 market. The report shows AMD gaining market share across all markets, largely thanks to windfall sales of AMD’s 7nm portfolio — that is, Ryzen 3000. 

AMD has been playing the long game since Ryzen’s inception in 2017, steadily chipping away at Intel’s incumbent position. Since 2Q17, AMD has incrementally gained market share in the client space, and as of now, AMD stands at an impressive 18% share. That’s a 5% YoY increase. The report of course doesn’t account for the newly minted R9 3950X, and AMD’s upcoming Threadripper 3000, both arriving this month. We expect that will only further spur desktop adoption for AMD. Additionally, as AMD’s supply improves in retail channels, this should only help secure more market share. 

AMD has made similar gains in the server market, capturing 4.3% of the addressable server market (Mercury Research captures all x86 class processors, not just 1P and 2P configurations, etc.), which equates to a 2.7% increase YoY. Before anyone scoffs at less than 5% market share, consider that AMD was effectively shut out of this market pre-Ryzen — AMD’s progress here cannot be overstated. It’s been anticipated that AMD’s Epyc Rome chips could force Intel’s server share to dip below 90%, which would be no small feat. Additionally, in AMD’s last earnings call, Dr. Lisa Su stated that she expects AMD’s server share to reach double digits by mid-2020.

AMD has also made gains in the mobile segment, with a 14.7% share of the market. AMD is currently preparing its Ryzen 4000 series of mobile chips that should help it pry more market share away from Intel. However, with Intel shipping 10nm Ice Lake chips in volume, AMD will face steep competition.      

As a note on servers, AMD claims an increase of about 5% in dual-processor server deployments and  almost 3% in the server market in total. 

Source: https://www.extremetech.com/computing/291032-amd-gains-market-share-in-desktop-and-laptop-slips-in-servers



XFX Revises Cooling Design of THICC II, Replacements Available 

Our coverage of the XFX THICC II 5700 XT clearly illustrated that we were less than impressed with the card, a stance that XFX openly took issue with. The card suffered from poor acoustic performance, as well as runaway core and memory temperatures. The card was also overpriced, considering its performance relative to other options, and its plastic embellishments. 

However, it appears that someone at XFX heeded our criticism, as it was revealed in a reddit thread that the original THICC II cooling design has been revised to match that of the THICC III Ultra. The revised cooling design offers a triple fan-array instead of a dual-fan setup, and also extends the fin-stack of the heat stink. There’s also a copper base plate, and XFX appears to have done away with the foil between the heatsink and baseplate. 

XFX states that owners of the original THICC II can get a free replacement by contacting XFX. While we haven’t tested the new design, it’s at least an admirable step in the right direction. 

Source: https://www.reddit.com/r/hardware/comments/dprhht/techpowerup_xfx_radeon_rx_5700_xt_thicc_iii_ultra/

Intel Pounds Final Nail Into Cannon Lake’s Coffin

Intel is sending several of its NUC devices out to pasture, most notably, its Cannon Lake-based NUCs. Cannon Lake was at one time supposed to have heralded the arrival of Intel’s 10nm era, but constant manufacturing hurdles at 10nm have yielded Cannon Lake as mostly a bad memory for Intel, especially in the wake of Ice Lake.

Cannon Lake encompassed exactly one SKU — the i3-8121U — that made its way into the Crimson Canyon NUCs.Now,  Intel has officially discontinued the Crimson Canyon NUCs, with orders being taken until December 27. Final orders will ship February 28, 2020. Also being discontinued are the Rock Canyon and Pinnacle Canyon NUCs that made use of the extinct Broadwell and Braswell CPUs.  

Source: https://www.tomshardware.com/news/intel-fires-10nm-cannon-lake-nuc-into-oblivion

Samsung Is Killing Its Exynos CPU Development 

While Samsung’s custom CPU development of its Exynos processors was ambitious, Samsung’s silicon designs never quite escaped the large shadow cast by other ARM-based designs (e.g., Qualcomm’s Snapdragon), or Apple’s custom A-series of SoCs. It’s perhaps unsurprising, then, that Samsung has confirmed the rumors that it’s shutting down the development of custom CPU cores for Exynos chips.

According to both Anandtech and Android Authority, Samsung filed with the Texas Workforce Commision regarding the upcoming layoffs of employees based in Austin, TX, where its US-based CPU development facilities are located. Android Authority confirmed with Samsung that the move is based on both business needs, as well as competitiveness. 

“Based upon a thorough assessment of our System LSI [large scale integration – ed] business and the need to stay competitive in the global market, Samsung has decided to transition part of our U.S.-based R&D teams in Austin and San Jose,” said Samsung in a statement to Android Authority.

For future Exynos chips, Samsung will presumably license designs from ARM. We already know Samsung is working with AMD on mobile GPU solutions for its flagship SoCs, based on Radeon graphics and AMD’s RDNA architecture.   

Source: https://www.anandtech.com/show/15061/samsung-to-cease-custom-cpu-development


NZXT Moves Into Audio

NZXT has recently expanded its ecosystem to include high-end audio products, starting with the AER headset, the AER MXER, and NZXT STND. What all of these have in common — aside from NZXT’s affinity for branding that removes exactly one letter from otherwise common words — is that they represent NZXT’s foray into PC audio, and NZXT will naturally integrate them into CAM and BLD, NZXT’s monitoring and PC building services, respectively.

The AER headset will initially feature two models: a closed-back design, and an open-back design. Both headsets will feature a pair of 40mm drivers; NZXT doesn’t elaborate on the type of drivers being used, just that they are “Hi-Res Audio certified.”

The AER MXER is a stand alone mixer that makes use of a 24bit / 96kHz Wolfson DAC, which should give the cans an extra kick, provided you aren’t already in possession of an audio card. The NZXT STND is — you guessed it — a stand. To NZXT’s credit, it also features automatic source switching.

Prices are set at $130 for the AER headset, $100 for the AER MXER, and $50 for the NZXT STND. The AER line is currently available for pre-order; no word on a ship date.      

Source: https://www.nzxt.com/news/141

Editorial: Eric Hamilton
Host: Steve Burke
Video: Josh Svoboda

Last modified on November 10, 2019 at 1:05 am

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