HW News - Gargantuan RTX 4090 Coolers, GPUs Are Back in Stock, Intel Arc Shipments & Delays

By Eric Hamilton & Steve Burke Published May 19, 2022 at 12:04 pm

This week in hardware news, it seems Intel has delayed its Arc Alchemist GPUs once again, postponing the launch until later this summer. In other news, AMD has a new preview driver for its Radeon RX 6000 and 6x50 series of GPUs that could offer a significant performance boost, and the company is also rumored to be working on a new Smart Access Storage technology.

Elsewhere, we have Nvidia finally taking some of its GPU driver code open-source, Gigabyte addressing the well-documented issues with one of its Z690 motherboards, Asus commenting on GPU demand normalizing, and more. 

As usual, find the news article and video embed below.

01:16 | GN Charity Donation

Our latest charity drive just concluded! We donated $18,900 (100% of the profits) from our latest Hardware Heart shirt split between World Central Kitchen, which works worldwide to provide food to people struggling with food supply, and International Fund for Animal Welfare, which supports both people and animals worldwide. As far as animals, that includes endangered and critical animals to important ecosystems. That’s $9,450 USD for each charity, so a HUGE thanks again to the audience for showing everyone what’s possible when we stop bickering about AMD, Intel, and pre-builts for a minute. Now the bickering may resume on the normal schedule!

02:30 | Rumor: NVIDIA RTX 4090 Speeds

We have a challenge for all our viewers! Post a comment below right now, without any further information, and guess how much you think the RTX 4090 will cost. We don’t have a leaked or rumored MSRP right now, but we’ll reference back to this when it eventually launches and see if NVIDIA was on the mark or not.

First off: Speaking with our own sources, we can confirm that an RTX 4090 is in the works right now and is aiming for an early launch in the next cycle.

The latest leak from @kopite7kimi on twitter indicates that the RTX 4090, running on AD102-300, will have 16128 CUDA cores with floating point 32 (single-precision) capabilities, running 24GB of GDDR6X at a boosted 21Gbps speed. The current TDP expectation is 450W, which is higher than anything shipping now. As a reminder, board partners build their own VBIOS and will likely exceed this power budget.

The leak suggests “2x3090,” but as for what kind of performance that’s referencing, we’ll have to find out in real-world tests. It could be 2x in FP32, 2x in RT, or 2x in memory-bound functions. It seems unlikely we would see a true 100% increase in, for example AVG FPS generationally, but we’ll reserve further judgment for launch.

Source: https://twitter.com/kopite7kimi/status/1526135149246976001

04:58 | Rumor: RTX 4090 Cooler

Chinese forum Chiphell recently saw another leak, since removed, of a rumored RTX 4090 cooler. 

The rumored Founders Edition cooler has a vapor chamber for GPU contact, with thermal pads directly connecting from the memory modules to the vapor chamber. The VRM has more standard protruding aluminum that’ll contact thermal pads. This remains an axial fan design with a large finstack -- it looks like about 2.5 to 3 slots -- that will primarily exhaust out the sides.

Source: https://www.chiphell.com/thread-2414390-1-1.html

05:55 | Intel's Arc GPUs Delayed Again, Now Set for Summer 2022

As with all things lately, Intel has announced that its Arc GPUs are facing another delay – now pushed back to late Summer 2022. Intel outlined several hurdles Intel has been facing with getting its Arc-branded GPUs out the door, affecting everything from mobile GPUs all the way up to discrete desktop GPUs. 

Once upon a time, these cards were set to debut in 2021, before being pushed back to a Q2 2022 release timeline. Now, Intel is targeting a Summer 2022 launch date. Intel technically has soft-launched its Arc 3 with Samsung, using the GPU for its Galaxy Book2 Pro laptop. Still, availability is limited to South Korea, and it’s now that Intel is just currently working on expanding that availability globally. Additionally, Intel is facing some software-related issues combined with lockdowns still affecting its supply chains. 

“We have been working closely with OEM partners to get Intel Arc graphics mobile designs fully launched. First was Samsung which started with availability in Korea and is expanding globally. We planned to have broader OEM availability at this point; however, we have had some software readiness delays and, together with COVID lockdowns impacting global supply chains, OEM designs are only this month becoming more widely available,” says Intel.

Intel is currently working with its OEM partners like Asus and HP to accelerate the arrival of laptops with Intel’s Arc 3 globally,  while Arc 5 and Arc 7 are set to be available this summer. 

As for Intel’s desktop cards, Intel is looking to release its entry-level A-series in China first, through OEM and system builders, while retail components will follow shortly after. Intel states that the initial launch in China is due to strong demand and close proximity to board components. Naturally, Intel’s next step will be to scale the launch globally. 

Again, Intel’s Arc A-series (A3, A5, A7) will be targeting a summer release, initially through OEMs and system builders, and then through worldwide retail channels.    

Source: https://community.intel.com/t5/Blogs/Products-and-Solutions/Gaming/Engineering-Arc-5-9-2022/post/1383055

09:39 | AMD’s Preview Driver for May 2022 Could Offer Significant Performance Boost

Coinciding with the release of its Radeon RX 6x50 series of graphics cards (RX 6950, 6750, and 6650), AMD has also released its AMD Software Preview Driver May 2022 that should be available for all eligible Radeon product owners. And while AMD is citing double-digit performance uplifts in some of its own internal testing, it’s worth mentioning that this is a preview build. AMD also didn’t give a timeline for a finalized version of the new driver. 

AMD has made several improvements that it is shipping with the latest driver package, including tweaks to Radeon Super Resolution and DirectX 11 optimizations across several games, which seem to be where most of AMD’s claimed performance gains stem from. AMD notes that through its own testing and development, the preview driver can deliver an average of 10% increase in performance in DX 11-based games, while other titles can benefit by as much as a 30% increase. 

The titles AMD tested included Assassin’s Creed Odyssey (28% increase), World of Warcraft: Shadowlands (30% increase), and Grand Theft Auto V (11% increase). The full suite of games tested showed performance improvements anywhere between 3% and 17%.  

Source: https://community.amd.com/t5/gaming/new-updates-to-rsr-and-dx11-performance-optimizations/ba-p/523632


11:09 | AMD Resurrects Its “Raise The Game” Campaign

Amidst plummeting GPU prices, AMD has quietly resurrected its “Raise The Game” bundle, whereby AMD bundles various games with a Radeon graphics card purchase. AMD has a page up on its website indicating the return of the bundle, AMD has yet to confirm what games are on tap, or even properly promote the bundle. 

What we do know is that AMD is looking to run the new bundle from May 10th through August 13th, 2022 – or until supplies and coupons are exhausted, whichever comes first. Unsurprisingly, the entire fleet of RX 6000 and RX 6x50 cards are eligible for the promotion, with the only problem being that AMD hasn’t sorted out what games it's giving away yet.

According to AnandTech, there are at least two titles so far: the upcoming Saints Row and Sniper Elite 5.

The launch of this campaign alongside falling GPU prices and increasing availability is likely a two-step strategy: First, in instances where some AMD cards may not compete well with direct NVIDIA price competition, AMD is trying to bolster its desirability or value; second, AMD may be trying to stave-off its own price hikes by including effectively a cost-less promo from game developers.

Source: https://www.amdrewards.com/comingsoon


13:46 | Nvidia Moves To Open-Source GPU Kernel

After years of rumors and speculation, Nvidia is finally taking its GPU drivers open-source, or at least part of its drivers. The move is equal parts a huge step and a boon for Linux users and developers, and also brings Nvidia to a certain degree of parity with Intel and AMD, both of which have been maintaining open-source driver code for some time now. 

Nvidia detailed some of its open-source initiative in a company blog post: 

“This release is a significant step toward improving the experience of using NVIDIA GPUs in Linux, for tighter integration with the OS, and for developers to debug, integrate, and contribute back. For Linux distribution providers, the open-source modules increase ease of use. They also improve the out-of-the-box user experience to sign and distribute the NVIDIA GPU driver. Canonical and SUSE can immediately package the open kernel modules with Ubuntu and SUSE Linux Enterprise Distributions,” says Nvidia.

As both Nvidia and Phoronix report, the company is releasing an open-source kernel driver/module under a dual MIT/GPL license. Additionally, only Nvidia’s kernel code is going open-source; user-space and OpenGL, OpenCL, Vulkan, and Cuda libraries are all remaining closed-source.

The open-source driver code will only be available for Turing and newer GPUs, and the new driver code won’t be mainlined just yet, as Phoronix reports that certain parts of the API/ABI aren’t yet finalized. The new Linux GPU kernel code begins with the R515 driver release, and Linux users can find the code over on GitHub.    

Source: https://developer.nvidia.com/blog/nvidia-releases-open-source-gpu-kernel-modules/


15:56 | Rumor: AMD Working On Smart Access Storage (SAS) To Bolster SSD Performance

According to a rumor stemming from VideoCardz (take with a healthy amount of sodium), AMD is working on a new branded technology for its Ryzen platform to take advantage of: Smart Access Storage (SAS).

A purported AMD Smart Access Storage would accelerate attached storage devices in Ryzen-based systems, in a similar fashion to how Smart Access Memory (SAM) works. And while this particular rumor is unconfirmed, it isn’t exactly far-fetched; the idea isn’t a novel one at this point: Microsoft is already doing something similar with its DirectStorage technology being used in its Xbox X|S consoles, and just recently made its way to Windows 10 and 11 for PCs.  

According to the rumor, AMD may be looking to debut the technology with Corsair’s equally rumored gaming laptop entry, the Corsair Voyager. Corsair’s Voyager laptop is supposedly set for a June 2022 release date, which also coincides with Computex 2022, which AMD will also be giving the keynote for, as well as having a general presence to detail upcoming products and plans. If Smart Access Storage exists, and it probably does, we’ll almost certainly know more by then.  

Source: https://videocardz.com/newz/amd-preparing-smart-access-storage-technology-coming-to-corsair-voyager-laptop

17:30 | Gigabyte Addresses Z690I AORUS ULTRA Motherboard Issues

For the last several months, there have been continued reports of users encountering problems with Gigabyte’s Z690i Aorus motherboard, including WHEA errors, system instability, and lag, just to name a few. The common thread between these issues seems to be the use of PCIe Gen 4, and the workaround was disabling PCIe 4.0 in the BIOS and reverting the board back to PCIe 3.0, which isn’t ideal, obviously. 

Gigabyte has responded, acknowledging both the issue and the PCIe 3.0 workaround, saying “While investigating reports of customers experiencing issues with their Z690I AORUS ULTRA, we discovered that there are certain cases of system instability and WHEA PCIe errors when paired with some PCIe Gen4 graphics cards. Setting the PCIe speed to Gen3 through the BIOS will eliminate these symptoms.”

Obviously, customers who paid for a PCIe 4.0 motherboard aren’t going to be happy using it as a PCIe 3.0 motherboard, so Gigabyte is also offering affected customers a new motherboard in the form of the Z690I Aorus Ultra Plus, or a full refund. The RMA or refund is available for customers having either the DDR4 or DDR5 version of the Z690i Aorus motherboard, as the issues seem to be present on both.  

Source: https://www.gigabyte.com/Press/News/1991


19:14 | NVIDIA Security Update

NVIDIA just published driver update version 473.47, which is the first driver in a while to revive updates for the Kepler GPUs (or the GTX 600 and GTX 700 cards). The reason for updating these cards again is security-driven. NVIDIA stated the following:

“NVIDIA has released a software security update display driver for desktop Kepler-series GeForce GPUs which are no longer supported by Game Ready Drivers. This update addresses issues that may lead to multiple security impacts. Critical security updates will be available on systems utilizing desktop Kepler-series GPUs through September 2024. A complete list of desktop Kepler-series GeForce GPUs can be found here.”

If you’re on GTX 600 or 700 cards, you may want to update for security reasons. 

Source: https://www.nvidia.com/download/driverResults.aspx/189364/en-us

20:22 | Intel Data Center GPUs Shown

Intel has officially shown its data center GPUs from the Arctic Sound family.

Patrick Kennedy from Serve the Home wrote a story about the new devices and we’d recommend checking out his reporting for the full story.

We’ll recap the accelerator card.

Intel is working on AV1 encode/decode support for its Arc GPUs, and that’ll be a benefit of the accelerator cards pictured in the reporting. Accelerators, especially for AV1, are useful as video compression becomes increasingly important. Right now, Intel has no real competition here -- but it does have to ship something before NVIDIA and AMD in order for that advantage to be leveraged.

Intel’s media “supercomputer” card, Arctic Sound-M, is shipping around the summer and is already in sampling stages. The card can support 8 simultaneous 4K streams, 30 1080p streams simultaneously, and more than 30 cloud gaming streams. Intel boasts that it is the industry’s first open-source media solution and AV1 encoder.

The cards shown include 75W and 150W solutions, with availability for PCIe Gen4 solutions starting in 3Q22.

Source: https://www.servethehome.com/intel-arctic-sound-m-from-intel-vision-2022/

22:58 | Asus Claims GPU Demand From Mining Is Waning, GPU Demand Stabilizing 

In another bit of positive news for the graphics card market, Asus recently held an investor conference for Q1’2022 earnings, where co-CEO SY Hsu stated that the company believes that the demand for GPUs among miners is waning. 

“Because the demand for cryptocurrency mining on GPU shipments has been slowly coming down, the demand for graphics cards across the market is normalizing,” Hsu said (via PCMag). This statement is mostly corroborated by the fact that GPUs have mostly been in stock lately, and prices have been coming down. The catalyst for the shrinking demand, as Hsu puts it, is due to Ethereum prices plummeting, combined with the future “Proof-of-Stake” model for the cryptocurrency, whereby GPUs won’t be needed as they are now with the current “Proof-of-Work” model.

However, Hsu stopped short of saying the overall market – or prices –  will normalize, as demand for gaming is still strong. “Because the demand from cryptocurrency is disappearing, it’s made us wonder if the pricing for GPUs will also normalize. In reality, the demand for gaming is still strong, so we still don’t think we can necessarily meet all of the demand.”  

Source: https://www.pcmag.com/news/asus-demand-for-gpus-among-cryptocurrency-miners-is-drying-up

Writer: Eric Hamilton
Additional Writing: Steve Burke
Video: Keegan Gallick

Last modified on May 19, 2022 at 12:04 pm

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