01:26 | GN X570 Metro Poster
We announced a new poster this week! It's an X570 chipset I/O diagram, except we took some liberties and mapped it based off of a metro/underground/subway system. Kind of a fun take on a technical diagram. If you'd like to grab one, they're on the store.
03:16 | AMD Confirms Zen 3 Still on Track for 2020
The hardware enthusiast space was lit aflame with furor after an article published by Digitimes, and loosely translated by Twitter user @chiakokhua (AKA RetiredEngineer), stated that AMD would be delaying its much anticipated Zen 3 CPUs.
Giving a bit of traction to the rumor was the announcement of AMD’s refreshed Ryzen 3000 “XT” SKUs. However, AMD wasted no time in squashing the rumor. “AMD confirms that the delay on ‘Zen 3’ is inaccurate,” AMD told GamersNexus. AMD also reaffirmed that Zen 3 is on track for a launch this year. Exactly when this year, we’re not sure. Computex 2020 would’ve been a safe bet, but now that the event has been officially called off, we’re likely looking at AMD hosting its own event sometime late this summer.
Source: AMD to GamersNexus
04:39 | Alphacool Big-Ass 1260mm Radiator
It’s not actually called the “big-ass radiator,” but it probably should be. In a move to target the same market as Watercool’s MO-RA3 radiator, which we currently have bolted onto the side of a Cyberpunk case mod, Alphacool has now announced new radiators ranging from a paltry 400mm to 1260mm. The $140 Euro 1260mm radiator is the one that we find amusing, measuring 400x400x45mm in size and is entirely made of copper for the tanks, channels, and fins. The radiator notes 12 fins per inch for density, which should mean it isn’t too dense to successfully accommodate four 200mm fans. Alternatively, it could fit nine 140mm fans, or could be run passively at lower heat loads. The company announced a 560mm radiator and a 200mm radiator as well, the latter of which would be interesting to cover alongside our previous review of the Cooler Master 200mm CLC prototype.
We’ve requested samples of these, so keep an eye out for reviews or overclocking streams.
06:45 | Rumor: RTX 3000-Series Production Could Begin in August
As we mentioned last week, the alleged coolers for RTX 3000 cards we’ve seen online are likely one of a few different prototypes being tested by Nvidia. Now, according to new sources, those coolers are rumored to be one of two types actively in NVIDIA’s evaluation stages. The other alleged cooler prototype, which we have yet to see, is supposedly manufactured by another OEM that Nvidia has previous experience with.
The supposed Founder’s Edition cooler that we discussed last week is rumored to cost Nvidia as much as $150. And while that’s an educated guess, it may not be too far off base; the cooling design has multiple fin stacks, at least four heatpipes, and a custom vapor chamber. As Igor (from Igor’s Lab) points out, this all points to Nvidia being in the DVT stage with consumer facing Ampere cards. We’ll note that, in our own discussions with manufacturers during factory tours previously, custom coolers often cost in the range of $50 for the higher-end solutions, or between $50 and $70 for some of the maxed-out consumer solutions. This isn’t counting cards like the Kingpin, but would be more along the lines of a Strix, Gaming X, or FTW series card, so $150 is comparatively high.
Igor suggests, based on past releases from both Nvidia and AMD, that the current time table for Ampere (assuming it is actually in the DVT phase) could mean volume production in August, with a hard launch by September.
While we always offer these rumors with a necessary amount of skepticism, Igor is, again, basing these estimations on past launches. Igor also maintains a reputable track record for accuracy with these sorts of things.
09:08 | Cyberpunk 2077 Delayed to November
Much to the chagrin of the gaming community, Cyberpunk 2077 has been delayed again. This second delay follows the first delay announced back in January, that moved the original release window from April to September 17th. Now, that date has been extended to November 19th.
As with the first delay, CD Projekt Red cites the need for additional time to polish the game as well as needing to “properly go through everything, balance game mechanics, and fix a lot of bugs.” CD Projekt Red also notes that the game is technically finished, both content wise and gameplay wise.
CD Projekt Red is also promising that we’ll soon hear the opinions of game industry reporters from an event scheduled for June 25th.
10:38 | AMD Announces Ryzen 3000XT, B550 Availability, A520
Confirming a rumor that has been swirling for the past few weeks, AMD has announced it is refreshing certains parts in the Ryzen 3000 lineup. The new SKUs -- the Ryzen 5 3600XT, Ryzen 7 3800XT, and Ryzen 9 3900XT -- will all carry the ‘XT’ branding and are essentially frequency-optimized variants of their vanilla counterparts.
With the XT line, AMD is offering an extra 100-200 MHz of boost frequency on a single core at iso-power, thanks to what it's calling “an optimized 7nm manufacturing process.” Exactly what’s been optimized on TSMC’s 7nm process isn’t clear, or if TSMC’s 7nm nodes have just matured to the point that AMD and TSMC can bin chips at a slightly better volt/frequency curve.
The XT models will retain virtually everything from their standard counterparts -- TDPs, cache configurations, core/thread counts, PCIe 4.0 lanes, etc. It seems AMD’s purpose here is to offer more aggressive single-threaded performance, perhaps in a counter to Intel’s Comet Lake-S chips. Regarding single-threaded performance, AMD is claiming an improvement of 4% over standard Ryzen 3000 models.
AMD’s Ryzen 3000XT models will land on July 7th, the 1-year anniversary of Ryzen 3000. The Ryzen 3000XT models will carry the same SEP (Suggested Etailer Price) as the vanilla Ryzen 3000 variants. That is, $499 for the Ryzen 9 3900XT, $399 for the Ryzen 7 3800XT, and $249 for the Ryzen 5 3600XT. As usual, actual retail prices will vary. We should point out that the original CPUs have since dropped in price, so that does mean the value will become critical for analysis in our reviews.
In addition to the new XT branding, AMD will also ship the Ryzen 7 3800XT and Ryzen 9 3900XT without a boxed cooler, following the trend Intel set a long time ago for enthusiast parts. AMD will, however, still ship a Wraith Spire cooler with the Ryzen 5 3600XT. For the two aforementioned SKUs shipping sans cooler, AMD recommends “the use of an AIO solution with a minimum 280mm radiator or equivalent air cooling.”
AMD also announced the general availability of B550, as well as announcing the A520 chipset. For A520, it seems AMD will position it as a replacement for A320 and slot it under B550. AMD didn’t mention much more about A520, other than it currently has over 40 designs in development with partners. A520 is tentatively expected for sometime in August.
Lastly, AMD announced its redesigned StoreMI software. If you remember, back in April AMD announced that the original StoreMI (that was a collaboration with Enmotus) would be wound-down to make room for a replacement due in the second quarter. Well, here it is. AMD highlights that StoreMI 2.0 features an overhauled UI and a new caching-based acceleration algorithm. We can probably expect more news on StoreMI 2.0 whenever AMD is ready to talk about Zen 3.
14:39 | Intel Announces Cooper Lake, Sapphire Rapids Power-On
Intel also had its own CPU announcement this past week. Intel finally pulled the curtain back what it’s calling the “3rd Gen” of its Xeon Scalable processors. While Intel’s “3rd Gen” (or any of its recent generations, for that matter) naming is a bit puzzling, we all know this line as Cooper Lake.
Whereas Ice Lake will be aimed at 1P and 2P deployments, Cooper Lake will serve the 4P and 8P markets. Intel’s Cooper Lake family will offer 11 SKUs initially, topping out at 28 cores and 56 threads. Mysteriously absent from Intel’s announcement was the 56-core, MCM-based chips that Intel announced would be part of the Cooper Lake family almost a year ago. Paul Alcorn (from Tom’s Hardware) noticed this as well, and has reached out to Intel for an update on those chips.
There are a few noteworthy things Intel is bringing to the table with Cooper Lake, perhaps the most notable being BF16 support. Intel is adding support for BF16 instructions to the AVX-512 instruction set, which will accelerate certain AI workloads. Cooper Lake will also see increased memory support, in the form of support for DDR4 data rates of 3200 MT/s, as well as support for Intel’s second generation of Optane Persistent Memory DIMMs. Cooper Lake is also getting 6 UPI Links, up from 3 on Cascade Lake.
For the CPUs themselves, they carry the familiar Xeon Platinum and Gold branding and will slot into the LGA4189 P5 socket, with TDPs ranging from 150W to 250W. Cooper Lake will be based on the Cedar Island platform and use the C620A chipset, which still supports PCI 3.0.
Intel’s recent statements also included information on Sapphire Rapids, noting that it should arrive 2021 and combined a market currently split by other Intel offerings.
Sapphire Rapids has been rumored to bring support for DDR5 and PCIe 5.0, and will be the CPU of choice for the ARNL Aurora supercomputer.
16:39 | Corsair Updates Vengeance and One Desktop Lines with AMD Options
For the first time since venturing into pre-builts, Corsair is offering AMD CPU options. Corsair has updated its line of One compact gaming PCs with Ryzen 3000 configurations, as well as announcing the new Vengeance line that offers a Ryzen 3000 option.
Corsair has now listed the Corsair One a100, which comes with options for AMD’s Ryzen 9 3900X (12C/24T) or Ryzen 9 3950X (16C/32T) CPUs. The Ryzen 3000 offerings can be paired with Nvidia’s RTX 2080, 2080 Super, or 2080 Ti. Being that the Corsair One line is for SFF PCs, there’s a mysterious, unnamed mini-ITX motherboard in there somewhere. Naturally, there’s also a slew of Corsair branded products for the memory, PSU, and storage. The Corsair One a100 also features liquid cooling for the CPU/GPU.
Corsair also announced its newest line of pre-builts, the Corsair Vengeance a4100 and i4200 series. With the Vengeance line, Corsair is offering both Intel and AMD options out of the gate. The Vengeance a4100 will offer AMD’s Ryzen 7 3700X CPU, while the Vengeance i4200 will come with Intel’s i7-10700KF. Remember, the ‘F’ isn’t to pay respects, it's to denote that the CPU doesn’t come with a functional iGPU; it requires discrete graphics. This obviously isn’t a problem if you’re shopping for a pre-built, but worth remembering all the same.
Again, the Vengeance line will come with a smattering of Corsair branded products such as Vengeance RGB Pro memory, RM750 PSUs, H60 AIOs for the CPU, and an option for the Elgato 4K60 capture card. As a reminder, Corsair recently acquired Elgato, as it’s been on something of an acquisition spree.
18:10 | WD Class Action Suit Gets Amended with New Details
We also have a brief update on the ongoing SMR Saga. We recently reported on how the entire HDD triumvirate (WD, Seagate, Toshiba) has been, to varying degrees, selling HDDs with SMR technology and not being wholly upfront about it. Western Digital has come out as the worst offender, primarily due to the fact that it seemingly tried to hide SMR within its NAS product stack.
For that reason alone, WD has found itself the target of a class action lawsuit, both in the US and Canada. The lawsuit here in the states is being headed up by the law firm Hattis & Lukacs and takes aim at Western Digital’s WD Red line for what is essentially false advertising. The original suit only named one plaintiff, but now has been amended to include five new plaintiffs, bringing the total to six.
Ars Technica points out the following, quote: “What makes Hattis & Lukacs' class-action suit against Western Digital interesting is that the firm isn't just looking for money—it's looking for a permanent injunction barring Western Digital from advertising SMR drives as appropriate for NAS devices or RAID in any way. In fact, this appears to be the major relief sought by the suit, as it also states that its plaintiffs are not currently seeking damages—merely reimbursement and attorneys' fees.”
This case obviously has huge implications for the storage industry and the future of SMR. No doubt Toshiba and Seagate are paying attention.
Nintendo Takes Legal Aim at Modchip Service
Another day, another Nintendo litigation. This time it seems Nintendo is taking aim at a modchip installation service.
Per Nintendo Life, Nintendo’s legal team has issued a cease and desist letter to Logistics Consulting LLC, who was previously installing the Nintendo Switch SX Core or SX Lite mod chips for $60. Do note, that Logistics Consulting was not selling the modships, but simply soldering them to the board inside the Switch itself. These services have since been halted.
Alas, that doesn’t seem to matter to Nintendo, who prefers the scattershot legal approach. ArsTechnica acquired a cease-and-desist letter that Alison Stein, a lawyer from Jenner & Block representing Nintendo, issued to Logistics Consulting.
“Through the mod service you are offering, you literally break open a customer's Nintendo Switch, and then solder the SX Core and SX Lite into the console. By offering to the public an installation service for the modchips, you are offering a service that is primarily designed to circumvent Nintendo's measures and thus violating the DMCA,” Stein wrote.
"You are aware that my client has brought a lawsuit against certain resellers of these modchips and aware that certain resellers have canceled orders for the modchips and refunded their customers, and yet you are continuing to provide a service to install those very same modchips in Nintendo Switch consoles. Nintendo will not tolerate such baldly unlawful conduct,” Stein continued.
The modchips in question are primarily aimed at allowing users to export their save data to an SD card, rather than using Nintendo’s cloud service. However, the modchips also seemingly have the potential to enable piracy. Logistics Consulting told Ars Technica that it is currently speaking with Nintendo’s lawyers and investigating the legality of the modchip service.
Editorial: Eric Hamilton
Host, Additional Reporting: Steve Burke
Video: Keegan Gallick