AMD vs. GamersNexus XOC Stream
Just a quick news item: AMD’s extreme overclocking team will be visiting GN HQ on Thursday, 10/6, when we’ll be overclocking the 7950X live with liquid nitrogen. We don’t have a time yet, but keep an eye on twitter for a heads-up.
Newegg, which previously sold motherboards it knew had bent pins as functional inventory, is now selling incompatible combos.
The company is so passionate about selling hardware that won’t work together that it even has an entire page dedicated to incompatible combos, mostly featuring X670 motherboards and DDR4 RAM.
For instance, there’s a great deal on an ASRock X670E Lightning motherboard coupled with 16GB of DDR4-4000 memory. The speed is high enough that you might misread it as DDR5 -- but that’s a Ripjaws kit, and that line has been around for ages now. The discount, at a whopping $15, ensures you get a kit of memory that literally won’t even physically fit in the motherboard.
They also have deals on Gigabyte boards featuring the same Ripjaws kit, which Newegg is apparently struggling so hard to offload that it’d rather misleadingly sell RAM to users who won’t think to double-check.
Although Newegg could say “but we told you that you were buying incompatible hardware,” the expectation is that the majority of the service provided by a company like Newegg over, say, Amazon, is related to its ability to help you pick parts that work together.
This isn’t the first time Newegg has used its combo system to dump unwanted product with questionable ethics behind it. For example, last time we talked about it, they were purging exploding Gigabyte PSUs with highly desirable video cards.
Corsair PSUs Compatible With 4090
Corsair has announced that all of its PSUs of sufficient wattage are capable of powering the upcoming Nvidia RTX 40 series graphics cards. This alone isn’t unique to Corsair PSUs, as Nvidia will be shipping an adapter cable with its Founders Edition cards that allows use of existing 8-pin PCIe power cables.
What is unique to Corsair’s approach is the launch of its own adapter cable that converts between the 12+4 pin 12VHPWR connector used on the 40 series to just two 8-pins on the PSU side, as long as it’s a PSU using Corsair’s Type-4 pinouts.
Corsair says this cable can support the full 600W the connector is rated for, with some caveats. 600W support requires a 1200W PSU or higher, 450W requires a 1000W PSU, and 300W requires a 750W PSU. Corsair offers a page to check compatibility as well.
The new cable is available on Corsair’s website for $20, but is out of stock at the time of writing.
Some reason, over the past few weeks, people have gotten into their heads that they need PCIe 5.0 and ATX 3.0 power supplies for RTX 40 cards. That’s not true -- those will allow a direct connection, but adapters still work. Those 12-pin cables, by the way, are different than the 30-series ones.
Source: https://www.corsair.com/newsroom/press-release/ready-to-go-beyond-fast-corsair-announces-compatibility-for-nvidia-40-series-graphics-cards and https://www.corsair.com/us/en/Categories/Products/Accessories-%7C-Parts/PC-Components/Power-Supplies/600W-PCIe-5-0-12VHPWR-Type-4-PSU-Power-Cable/p/CP-8920284
Fractal Cooler ‘Recall’ - Lumen Gunk Build-up
Fractal is effectively recalling its Lumen series liquid coolers -- though it stopped short of using that word. Fractal reached-out to GamersNexus to talk about the specifics of this issue and noted that this is related to a chemical reaction causing gunk build-up in the cooler, leading to high thermals and a loss of any cooling ability.
Arctic recently went through this, and actually, so did MSI. They’re joining Enermax before them.
It’s been a rough patch for high profile AIO coolers. Although these problems have been rare up until now, 3 in one year is going to start giving them a bad reputation at a time when CPUs really need them. Choosing a proven liquid cooler -- or at least one from a company that’ll cover defects -- has become more important.
Here’s the most compressed version of the story:
The Fractal Lumen all-in-one liquid coolers have a defect where the solder used in the aluminum radiator in combination with impurities during manufacturing are leading causing the propylene glycol to turn to sediment that clogs the fins of the CPU block.
We asked Fractal if users would be able to repair this on their own. Fractal told GamersNexus the following:
“Unfortunately, due to the design of the Lumen, they are not user serviceable. The current proposals are for the old units to be discarded and replaced. The process for how this will happen is still being determined.”
The company will instead be replacing all units for users who purchased one. We asked if all units are affected, and Fractal noted that it isn’t sure -- but that all serial numbers are eligible for a replacement. It told us that its repaired products will have clear distinctions on the product box and a new part number to make it clear which units are fixed. We asked Fractal what steps it’s taking to get bad products out of the channel, and it noted:
“The current approach is to get the word out via social media, our website, and media partners like Gamers Nexus to explain the issue so customers are aware of how/when to contact us. The primary avenue for information and ticketing will be our website, because we can keep information flowing there so that it is always up-to-date and accurate with what we know. This also helps avoid retailers getting bombarded with return requests that they will need to refer back to us anyway.”
We were concerned about potential leakage with this failure, but Fractal noted that there have been no reports of leakage at this time. Fractal also noted that users in North America, the EU, and the UK will receive shipments directly from Fractal’s hubs, which will reduce wait times.
Similar to Arctic, the failures aren’t a safety hazard, they just stop cooling the computer. The result is throttling of the system and, of course, maybe an issue for component health -- but it’s not a fire hazard or anything like that.
Ryzen 7000 Launch Recap
We’ll start with a brief recap of the Ryzen 7000 launch, in case you’ve missed it, before getting to the smaller stories. AMD has now launched its new Ryzen 7000 CPUs. Here’s a chart with the basic specs and prices.
If you haven’t heard anything about it yet, it’s important to know that the CPUs are on a new architecture called Zen 4, and that AMD moved to a totally new socket called AM5 that is not at all compatible with previous Ryzen motherboards. That means along with the new CPU you have to buy a new motherboard with a new chipset, and right now that looks to be starting out at $260 for the absolute cheapest X670(E), at least until the hopefully cheaper B650 boards come out next month in October.
Our reviews are up for all four of the new CPUs, and you should definitely check out the 7950X review as we cover important platform details and changes in behavior, like running at 95 degrees celsius under load being normal out of the box. After that you can pick the review for the CPU you’re most interested in to get specific results, or go to the 7700X review since the charts have data for all the new CPUs and you can pause the video to pick over them yourself.
EVGA Z790 DARK and CLASSIFIED
EVGA has announced two new Z790 motherboards to go along with the Intel 13th Gen. Raptor Lake launch on October 20th. Those two boards are the Z790 DARK K|NGP|N and Z790 CLASSIFIED.
The DARK K|NGP|N board features 90 degree rotated socket and memory layout, which lands the two DDR5 slots at the top edge of the board. Having only one slot per memory channel helps with achieving maximum frequency when you’re at the edge of a stable OC.
The power connectors are all together on the right edge of the board and are angled 90 degrees so they end up facing towards the edge rather than up away from the board. This helps cable routing when on a test bench for extreme overclocking and can lead to a cleaner look when installed in a case.
The DARK K|NGP|N has two PCIe Gen. 5 slots, which will automatically switch which one is assigned with all 16 lanes depending on where you have the card installed. That way you can run a graphics card in either position during overclocking sessions for maximum compatibility. If cards are installed in both slots, they run at x8 each.
EVGA DARK boards like this have typically been the very peak of performance and features for overclocking in the past and this Z790 looks no different with features like a 14-layer PCB, power and reset buttons, LED readouts, and voltage monitoring points.
Additionally, EVGA announced the Z790 CLASSIFIED motherboard, which is a step down from the DARK. Lots of the same features are carried over here, with key differences being 4 memory slots instead of 2, a slightly smaller VRM at 19 phases, and a different PCIe slot layout.
EVGA is also bringing support for its ELEET X1 software to both of these motherboards, which you can use to monitor and alter your voltages, frequencies, and other settings on the fly from within the OS.
We don’t have pricing yet for either of these motherboards, but we will be trying to get some for testing Raptor Lake overclocks. We recently did a livestream doing LN2 overclocking on the Ryzen 7950X, which was a ton of fun so we intend to keep that going.
Ryzen 7000 Delid and Direct Die
Extreme overclocker der8auer is already hard at work bringing a delidding tool and direct die frame for Ryzen 7000 to market. Der8auer recently posted a video on his YouTube channel explaining the process of prototyping and testing these products.
The delidding tool works by clamping the CPU between two specially shaped blocks of metal that are allowed to slide back and forth by just a few millimeters. This process causes metal fatigue in the relatively soft solder TIM between the IHS and die, eventually breaking the bond completely.
Once the IHS is removed, the remaining solder and silicone adhesive must be removed as well. The purpose of delidding a soldered CPU is not to replace it with liquid metal, but to enable running the CPU without an IHS at all.
AMD’s socket actuator mechanism (or SAM, but not smart access memory) is made to interface with the IHS to hold the CPU down in the socket, but with the IHS gone that no longer works, so der8auer has also been developing a direct die frame to hold the CPU in place. Thermal Grizzly has sold a few direct die frames in the past for LGA sockets, and one of our team members has been using the LGA2066 frame in his own PC since 2018.
Der8auer goes on to explain several nuances of the design process and the pros and cons of AMD’s choices when it comes to cooler compatibility. Once the installation is complete, der8auer ran a quick thermal test in Cinebench R20 revealing a reduction of over 20 degrees celsius. Note that this does not account for steady state performance, but shouldn’t be too different.
The fewer materials and layers of material that heat has to travel through, the better for cooling efficiency. We’ll be getting a few of these in once they reach production and will be doing some delid and bare die testing to see how far we can push Ryzen 7000.
AMD RDNA3 Details Ramping
Once again, AMD has announced an announcement on Twitter that November 3rd will be the launch date for the company’s RDNA 3 graphics architecture.
RDNA 3 will be the first consumer graphics cards to feature an MCM (multi chip module) design for the actual GPU core. There have been cards with multiple chips on the package before, but that was for HBM and the GPU core itself was monolithic.
This approach is similar to what AMD did with its Ryzen CPUs starting in the 3000 series, where I/O and logic are on separate pieces of silicon arranged on a single package. Making smaller chiplets like this gets better yields in manufacturing as compared to large monolithic chips, and theoretically in turn better pricing.
At this time that’s all the information we have, as the tweet seemed mostly like a way to grab a little bit of attention away from the Nvidia RTX 40 series announcement.
Additionally, AMD pointed out in a blog post that its RDNA 2 based RX 6000 series graphics cards are seeing significant retail price cuts versus MSRP. Standout among these is the 6900 XT at $700, as that’s a decent price compared to the current retail pricing of Nvidia’s close performers.
Both companies, however, are starting to face competition from used cards on the market primarily from cryptocurrency mining operations that are now shutting down in the wake of Ethereum’s move to proof of stake.
Source: https://twitter.com/sherkelman/status/1572208858252156928 and https://community.amd.com/t5/gaming/advancing-performance-per-watt-to-benefit-gamers/ba-p/545586
Support for EXPO on Intel Motherboards
Motherboard manufacturers have announced that they will support AMD’s EXPO memory profiles on Intel Z690, B660, and upcoming 700 series motherboards. As a reminder, EXPO is AMD’s version of storing specially tuned memory settings on DDR5 for compatibility with AM5 motherboards.
Manufacturers have been doing the reverse by supporting XMP on AMD motherboards for years now, so it’s just going in both directions now.
AMD EXPO does take up a little bit more space on the DIMM’s persistent memory than XMP does, but that is due to the fact that EXPO goes deeper into the subtimings than XMP typically does. This could pose a small challenge for memory manufacturers looking to support both types of profiles on one kit of memory.
Overall, this is a good move to support cross-compatibility as it makes it a little easier for people building PCs to not have to worry about which type of memory profile your chosen kit has. Make sure to check your motherboard website for BIOS updates for the new functionality.
EK LGA1700 Pump Block Combo
EKWB is launching a new water block with an integrated pump and mini-reservoir for Intel 12th and 13th Gen. CPUs on the LGA1700 socket. It’s called the “EK-Quantum Velocity² DDC 4.2 PWM D-RGB - 1700” (whew) and it’s available for pre-order in a nickel and plexiglass finish for $340.
While the final package ends up being large for a water block, it eliminates the need for separate pump and reservoir hardware in a custom loop, which is especially relevant to the small form factor crowd.
The block has intake, output, and fill ports in multiple places to cover both horizontal and vertical orientations. As another quality of life feature, mounting is handled entirely on the back side of the motherboard via EK’s “Exact Mount” system. While this seems easy to install, it’s also the reason for the limited socket compatibility.
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen a pump block combo, with the first one we’re aware of being the Swiftech Apogee Drive 2, or more recently the multiple versions from Barrow. It’s a niche product that allows for some really compact builds, so it’s good to have more options out there.
Source: https://www.ekwb.com/news/ek-launches-a-delicacy-for-sff-community-a-4-in-1-cpu-water-block-pump-reservoir-and-heatsink/ and https://www.ekwb.com/shop/ek-quantum-velocity2-ddc-4-2-pwm-d-rgb-1700-nickel-plexi
Writing: Jeremy Clayton
Host, Writing: Steve Burke
Video: Mike Gaglione, Andrew Coleman