HW News - PSUs vs. RTX 40 GPUs, Intel Z790 Uses DDR4, Intel Serpent Canyon

By Jeremy Clayton & Steve Burke Published June 28, 2022 at 3:23 am

Hardware news this week mostly talks about upcoming product releases. Those include ASRock's new X670E motherboard, the Taichi, with its 2x PCIe Gen5 slots, the Intel Z790 boards supporting DDR4, MSI's new PSUs that are built to fight transient spikes on GPUs, and more.

01:31 - GN Updates

We'll leave this to the video!

03:01 - ASRock X670E Taichi Photographed & Detailed

ASRock finally posted some additional information and photos of its X670E Taichi motherboard for Zen 4 CPUs. This will be one of its flagship boards, likely alongside an Aqua board, that it will inevitably blacklist unbiased reviewers from ever receiving. Ask us how we know.

In the photos on its website, ASRock shows a blacked-out design with bronze accents, making such bold statements as “philosophy of infinite potential” -- we’re assuming they’re referring to the infinite potential of being blacklisted for a critical review of one product. (OK, we’ll stop now).

The board has 2x 8-pin EPS12V connectors, but remains on ATX12V rather than moving to 12VO. That’s expected for now, at least. For fans, we’re counting at least 8 4-pin headers, what looks to be 8x SATA connectors, and the standard assortment of I/O.

Accessories include a power and reset button, a visible seven segment display, 2x PCIe slots, and a partially accessible CMOS battery. Unfortunately, you’re going to have to take off the bottom aesthetics-only “armor plate” (it doesn’t cover an M.2 SSD) to pull the CMOS battery.

As for the socket, it’s massive. We’ll be curious to see how this tests in our pressure benchmarks.

ASRock states that its PCIe slots will be 1 of PCIe Gen 5 x16 and 1 of PCIe Gen 5 x8. The company claims a 26-phase “SPS Dr. MOS” power design, talks about its BlazeIt™ M.2 slots (which are, naturally, faster than its Hyper M.2 slots), and lists “Lightning Gaming Ports.”

All of this marketing aside, what that actually means is that it has a PCIe Gen5 x4 M.2 port (“Blazing”), 2x PCIe Gen4 x4 ports (“Hyper”), and USB ports that you can plug a mouse and keyboard into.

Source: https://www.asrock.com/mb/AMD/X670E%20Taichi/index.asp

06:30 - New MSI PSU Targeted at GPU Transient Problem

The next news item relates directly to our GPU power spikes piece we ran on transient loads recently. You should definitely check out that piece if you haven’t, as it was one of our most in-depth productions and research pieces in a while. It talks about GPU transients spiking upwards of 2-2.5x, which can knock PSUs offlines as a result. This becomes more of an issue in the RTX 40 series. One of the solutions would be to use expensive MCUs on every power supply, but cost management becomes a problem. The other solution would be in the power delivery network design on the video cards and GPUs, but it’s unlikely that AIBs and NVIDIA will fix that if they can put it off on PSU makers instead.

Leaker g0ld3nm4ng0 on Twitter posted slides of MSI’s “Ultimate Future Proof PSU,” as the company dubs it.

Most of its marketing is unremarkable; however, the most noteworthy aspect is the claim from MSI that GPU power “excursions,” or transient spikes, can be juggled up to 3x. We don’t know what baseline that’s measured against, seeing as “3x” means different things for different GPUs. Additionally, it’s a dangerous game to play if they’re just raising the OPP limits, but more likely this is just a more advanced and expensive design. Or hopefully, anyway.

MSI states that the Ai1300P and Ai1000P PSUs have a PCIe Gen5 12-pin header port, another mark in the ‘future proof’ direction.

Because this is MSI, they can’t go 2 marketing slides without saying something about games and leveling up. The company highlights its 12VHPWR header and notes the 600W capacity, which is just the PCIe Gen5 spec, so that’s not special.

MSI says its power supply is “intelligent,” which is unfortunate, because that means it’s going to connect with MSI’s bloatware. Although this can be useful, hopefully the settings write to firmware and don’t just clear on loss of AC -- like Corsair’s AX1600i, where it’s in multi-rail mode by default. The USB cable is mostly used for logging power consumption.

Source: https://twitter.com/g01d3nm4ng0/status/1540279592115933184

GPU Prices Plummet: RTX 3080 At or Below MSRP

You’ve likely all seen the GPU price news by now, but just in case it hasn’t been drilled-in, we did some quick research of our own. We’re excited about the GPU price drops, as it means PC building becomes much more accessible to people who were locked-out on price for going on a few years now.

Looking at new-in-box retail units on Amazon, we spotted RTX 3080s consistently available at the original 2020 MSRP of $800. Higher-end units ran up to $1000, but that was still knocked-down several hundred dollars. The $800 cards are worth considering at that price, as they were in 2020, but keep in mind that the RTX 40 series is around the corner.

Manufacturers are in the same spot they were in for the RTX 20 and GTX 10 launch: When RTX 20 came out, we and many other reviewers promoted that the GTX 1080 Ti or other 10-series cards were a far better deal than the lacklust RTX 20 series. Part of that was because of the massive oversupply of GTX 10 series second-hand cards during crypto winter in 2017-2018. With another crypto winter upon us, history is repeating itself: The manufacturers have brand new stock that they’re beginning to panic about, seeing as they’re now placing orders for the RTX 40 series (due out closer to September/October), but they’re also competing with a flood of miners trying to reclaim costs before it’s too late. It’s likely that there’ll be a run on RTX 40 supply as well, but value should only improve with the 30 series for now. You run the usual risk of buying right before a new generation -- it just depends on how much you want to roll the dice on waiting and sniping stock.

As for eBay, we saw Buy It Now used listings as low as $620, though those fluctuate, so there’s no knowing where that’ll be when we edit this. It’s tempting at $600 to save the money and get a 3080 rather than, say, a 3070. There’s no guarantee that the cards were kept in good condition during use, but generally speaking, the higher-end cards (particularly water-cooled ones that had good cooling on the memory) are more likely to have minimal wear. It tends to be capacitors and MOSFETs that show problems in used cards.

10:11 - PhynixPC Rises from Artesian

  • Former Artesian Builds employees have formed a new SI.
  • Three configurations available initially.
  • Orders are open now. Builds will be live-streamed.

Rising from the ashes of Artesian Builds comes a new system integrator, PhynixPC. You may remember our previous coverage of the Artesian Builds debacle, collapse, and our subsequent attempts to help the displaced employees find new jobs. Some of those employees decided to form a new company building gaming computers and live-streaming the build process.

PhynixPC has three configurations available, dubbed the Harpy, Syren, and Griffyn. Most critically, all of them come with the letter “Y.” These are preset configurations with only the operating system, main storage, and RGB fans as customization options. This is being done in order to limit complications in their build process, testing, and the number of SKUs they have to maintain supply of.

One interesting thing about PhynixPC is that, at least for the time being, every PC is built on stream. Buyers are notified when theirs is going to be built so they can watch and chat while it's happening.

PhynixPC has a short announcement video on YouTube showing off the ability to grow PC parts out of the ground, as well as a basic summary of what the company does.

It has taken a few months for this to come together but PhynixPC is currently accepting orders. You will be able to catch them live on Twitch at twitch.tv/phynixpc.

Source: https://phynixpcs.com/

Source 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qCPGfPcpAZ4

13:40 AMD FSR 2.0 Source Code Released

It’s been one year since the launch of AMD’s spatial upscaler, FidelityFX Super Resolution 1.0, and AMD has released the source code for its temporal upscaler, FSR 2.0. There are currently 24 games announced to have FSR 2.0, and this will enable more game developers to add support for the feature. In fact, modder PotatoOfDoom1337 has already unofficially incorporated FSR 2.0 into Cyberpunk 2077, replacing Nvidia’s earlier DLSS.

FSR 1.0 and 2.0 can both be exposed at the same time as the technologies are different. DEATHLOOP has both available, for example, but that is the directly AMD-partnered title for FSR 2.0.

The source code and documentation are available via GPUOpen under the MIT license on a dedicated page. FSR 2.0 supports DX12, Vulkan, the Xbox Development Kit, and plugins are available for Unreal Engine 4.26, 4.27, and 5.

Source: https://gpuopen.com/fsr2-source-available/

Source: https://gpuopen.com/fidelityfx-superresolution-2/

15:12 Cherry MX Tactile Ultra Low Profile Switch

  • Cherry has a new addition to ultra low profile line introduced last year.
  • 3.5mm thick with 1.8mm of travel and 0.8mm actuation point.
  • RBG and SMD.

Cherry AG, one of the most well-known key switch manufacturers, has just announced the Ultra Low Profile Tactile switch. This is a new addition in the Ultra Low Profile line introduced in March of last year, joining the Click (an audible click type switch).

The Ultra Low Profile (ULP) line features stainless steel and plastic construction with optional RGB lighting. The ULP is Cherry’s shallowest switch family with an overall height of 3.5mm with 1.8mm of travel and an actuation point of 0.8mm. This new Tactile version has no click, just a tactile “bump” felt in the switch travel. It’s clear Cherry is trying to emulate the Brown standard switch, but in an extremely compact package.

These ULP switches are surface mount devices intended to be soldered directly to a PCB. They are targeted to be used in laptop keyboards and low profile desktop keyboards to enable true mechanical operation in the form factor a laptop demands. Cherry also has non-ultra low profile switches, but only in linear Red and Speed designations.

Source: https://www.cherrymx.de/en/blog/cherry-mx-ultra-low-profile-tactile.html

Source 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VHKA6v_ztAc

17:08 Leaked Z790 & H770 Boards Show DDR4 + DDR5 Compatibility

In a leak obtained by Videocardz, ASRock lists nine Z790 and three H770 motherboards for Intel’s upcoming 13th gen “Raptor Lake” desktop CPUs. Even though this list could have easily been slapped together in Notepad by anyone, the list is consistent with what we would expect.

Included are models in the existing Taichi, Pro, Phantom Gaming, and Steel Legend lines. Not mentioned are the Extreme or Aqua models. Maybe the ASRock leaker wants to just ignore those.

If this leak is true, it confirms that DDR4 support is maintained on Raptor Lake, as long as the motherboard is built for it. We continue to appreciate this move with DDR5 still being expensive and coming into maturity. There’s plenty of really good DDR4 out there available for reasonable prices that won’t hinder gaming performance versus DDR5. One of our team members is also excited to see continued production of the oft-ignored MATX form factor, but he hopes the boards are actually worth considering.

Source: https://www.tomshardware.com/news/asrock-z790-h770-supports-both-ddr4-and-ddr5

Source: https://videocardz.com/newz/asrocks-next-gen-z790-h770-motherboard-lineup-includes-ddr4-variants

18:17 - Massive PC Case with Attached Monitor

Japanese designer Nagao Seisakusho has enabled users to create a massive DIY all-in-one PC.  This is done by way of a new monitor mounting accessory that attaches to one of Seisakusho’s large open-air PC frames.

The accessory is called the N-FRAME-OP01 and features 75mm or 100mm VESA mounting holes. It attaches to one of the company’s existing N-FRAME cases available for motherboards of all major form factors, from EATX down to ITX. However, it is not compatible with the SFX PSU version of the ITX frame.

Various other accessories like radiator mounts and vertical graphics card mounts are available to expand the feature set. Downsides of using the new monitor mount include not being able to see your components, the power button being on the wrong side, and fans being very close to the user with no panels to stop any noise. Regardless, we like seeing products like this to increase the creative options we have in our builds.

Source: https://www.tomshardware.com/news/open-frame-pc-case-launches-with-monitor-mounting

Source 2: http://www.nagao-ss.co.jp/n-frame-op01.html 

19:50 Intel Serpent Canyon NUC

  • User on Baidu showed off new Serpent Canyon NUC.
  • 12700H processor and new Arc A770M Alchemist GPU.
  • Larger chassis with more vent holes.

The next Intel Enthusiast NUC is coming. A user on the Chinese Baidu forum posted what look like promotional images for the new product and outlined some product details.

The user reports the Serpent Canyon NUC to come with an i7-12700H (which has 6x P-cores and 8x E-cores), as well as the upcoming Intel Arc A770M Alchemist GPU. These hardware choices should, in theory, bump the overall performance of this NUC over the previous Phantom Canyon. Phantom Canyon featured the i7-1165G7 quad-core CPU and Nvidia RTX 2060. That likely higher performance brings with it a physically larger chassis with seemingly more ventilation. Intel makes note of grills and vents scattered around the case for Serpent Canyon.

For connectivity, the photos show Thunderbolt 4, 2.5Gb LAN, an SDXC card reader, and various USB and display outputs.

We have previously worked with a couple of the Intel NUCs and usually think they make very interesting products, albeit at a relatively high cost versus a standard PC.

Source: https://tieba.baidu.com/p/7882429381

Source 2: https://liliputing.com/2022/06/intel-serpent-canyon-nuc-is-a-compact-pc-with-intel-alder-lake-intel-arc-graphics.html

20:47 Rumor: Nvidia 40 Series Specs

  • Rumor/leak by kopite7kimi on RTX 40 series specs.
  • CUDA core counts are up as well as VRAM on 4080 and 4070.
  • TBPs in excess of 400W for 4080 and 4090.

Serial leaker kopite7kimi is back again with more alleged details on the upcoming Nvidia 40 series on Twitter. This time kimi reveals specs for the RTX 4090, 4080, and 4070.

The post suggests the RTX 4090’s die to be AD102-300, with 16384 CUDA cores and 24GB of 21Gbps GDDR6X on a 384 bit memory bus.

The RTX 4080’s die is allegedly AD103-300, with 10240 CUDA cores and 16GB of GDDR6 (though kopite isn’t sure about the 4080’s memory) on a 256-bit memory bus.

Last outlined is the RTX 4070 with AD104-275 for the die, 7168 CUDA cores and 10GB of GDDR6 on a 160-bit memory bus.

If true, these core counts are higher than their 30 series equivalents, but that’s not really something that can be properly compared across generations. Recently, GPU prices are starting to come down, but kopite says not to expect a lower MSRP as compared to the 30 series.

Kimi also notes total board power, claiming TBPs of 450W for the 4090, 420W for the 4080 (again kopite is unsure on the 4080 detail), and 300W for the 4070. With TBPs over 400W, transient load spikes of 2 or 3x could theoretically push up to 1350W. As we recently covered, large transient load spikes are something that power supply manufacturers are being faced with mitigating, even though GPUs like these are what’s causing the load spike. If you want to know more about that, check out our recent video on the topic. A ton of research and work went into that video so be sure to check it out if you haven’t yet. This kind of thing will matter if future cards have nominal power draws of over 400W or higher.

Source: https://twitter.com/kopite7kimi/status/1539853156275761152

23:54 PCIe 7.0 Announced

  • PCI-SIG announced work on PCIe 7.0.
  • Targeting 512 GB/s bi-directional over x16 slot.
  • Release of spec in 2025.

While PCIe 5.0 devices are just starting to show up, PCI-SIG hasn’t slowed its continual progress. At the PCI-SIG Developers Conference the organization celebrated its 30-year history with the announcement of PCI Express version 7.0.

The new version of PCIe is planned to deliver 128 GT/s raw bit rate or 512 GB/s bi-directionally over a x16 slot. That means 32 GB/s per individual lane. This is a doubling over PCIe 6.0 and a quadrupling over PCIe 5.0. One technique PCI-SIG cites as important for PCIe 7.0 is signaling via Pulse Amplitude Modulation with 4 levels (PAM4). PAM4 is also used in PCIe 6.0 with special error correction techniques called “forward error correction” and “cyclic redundancy check.” Other features and focuses include improvements to power efficiency, high-reliability, and maintaining backwards compatibility with all previous generations of PCIe.

The group cites one potential application being in 800 Gigabit Ethernet, which is somewhat difficult to even conceptualize. There is plenty of time to consider the implications however, as PCI-SIG is planning to release the specification in 2025. Using PCIe 5.0 as an example, it took over four years for consumer products to emerge after the initial announcement of the preliminary specifications.

Source: https://pcisig.com/blog/announcing-pcie%C2%AE-70-specification-doubling-data-rate-128-gts-next-generation-computing

Source 2: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PCI_Express

25:30 New Commodore 64 Case and Prebuilts

Our last story this week is a real throwback. Sean Donohue of My Retro Computer has completed a successful Kickstarter campaign to bring back the Commodore 64 as a DIY PC case with two prebuilt models available.

The updated case is constructed of ABS plastic and features Cherry MX switches and SA doubleshot keycaps for the keyboard. Cutouts for a very small fan, a standard I/O shield, and a slim optical drive are present. Internal mounting supports either a standard ITX motherboard or a Raspberry Pi.

The Ultimate version comes with a GTX 1650, Intel 9th gen i5 CPU, 8GB of SO-DIMM memory, and a 512GB NVMe M.2 drive. That said, cooling looks to be extremely limited in the case so if you are interested in this, keep your expectations in check. This is expected to sell for $170 retail when fully available.

Source: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/myretrocomputer/the-commodore-64-its-back-and-better-than-ever/description 

Source 2: https://myretrocomputer.com/

Writing: Jeremy Clayton, Steve Burke
Host, Video Editing: Steve Burke

Last modified on June 28, 2022 at 3:23 am

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