Between our process of moving into a new office with actual space for testing stuff, we've been working on hardware news videos and other content alongside office setup. This week's hardware news has heavy AMD focus, split between Threadripper 2 SKUs and specs, a new AMD console SOC, and motherboard add-ons for ASUS X399 boards. The add-ons include SOC and Vcore cooling modules, meant to help cope with overclocked TR2 VRM thermals and power delivery requirements.
Also in major news this week, New York state banned Charter communications (Spectrum, formerly TimeWarner Cable) from its state, and has given the company 60 days to leave. This is a major event in a world with duopolistic and monopolistic ISP establishments.
Sorry it’s been quiet on the website for the past week. We’ve been pushing office move updates to our YouTube channel, where we’ve stayed constant in updating everyone what’s going on. The website has mostly been on hold while we finalize an office move. This is big news for GN, as it will allow us to significantly expand our testing operations and push higher quality, more frequent content that is testing-focused.
We are moving from 2.5 bedrooms in a house (after ten years of being located here) into a large office space, including dedicated rooms for testing, production, filming, and storage. All of this means that we can finally set up permanent test benches for coolers, GPUs, CPUs, fan tests, PSU tests, case tests, and more. Dedicated systems will speed-up our production in ways that we can’t articulate – for the past ten years, we’ve had to set-up and tear-down systems for each test, which takes multiple extra hours of work per test sequence.
Our goal is to finalize the move very soon. This will immediately increase our output of technical content. We have been fortunate enough to have significant support via Patreon and our store (including Modmat sales, shirt sales, posters, etc.), which has allowed us to make this expansion without increasing our reliance on advertisers. We are able to maintain editorial independence while expanding in large ways, which is rare and difficult to achieve.
Intel's 10nm CPUs may have had their last delay -- and it's through the 'holidays' of 2019. Intel's latest earnings call indicates a finalized release target of EOY/holiday of 2019, continuing the saga of 10nm delays since 2015-2016. Note, however, that although TSMC and GF 7nm comparisons are prevalent, it's not as simple as comparing the numbers "7" and "10" -- density matters, as does architecture, and this is something we discussed with David Kanter in an upcoming video interview from GamersNexus.
Other hardware news revolves around a mixture of rumors and actual news, the latter represented by AMD's best quarterly earnings report in 7 years, and the former represented by Intel 9000-series specs and Samsung GPU development.
As always, the show notes are below the video.
The “correct” method for applying thermal paste is still the subject of arguments, despite plenty of articles with testing and hard numbers to back them up. As we mentioned in our Threadripper paste application comparison, the general consensus for smaller desktop CPUs is that, as long as enough paste is applied to cover the IHS, every method is basically the same. The “blob” method works just fine. We have formally tested this for Threadripper (which cares about IHS coverage greatly) and X99 CPUs, but not for smaller desktop SKUs. Today debuts our formal thermal paste quantity testing -- not just method of application, but amount -- and looks specifically at the more common desktop CPUs. We are finally addressing the YouTube-wide comment of “too much” or “too little” paste, likely so prevalent as a result of everyone’s personal exposure to this one specific aspect of PC building.
Again, this isn’t really about whether an “X” or “dot” or thin spread is better (and none is superior, assuming all cover the IHS equally -- it’s just about how easily they achieve that goal). This is about how much quantity matters. See below example:
Hardware news this week has been largely overrun with major movers: Micron and Intel are set to end their partnership on 3D XPoint, PC sales have grown for the first time in 6 years, Z370 BIOS updates indicate an 8-core CPU on the horizon, AMD Ryzen CPUs could be targeting more than 8C in 2019, Western Digital is shutting down a major hard drive plant, and more.
As always, our show notes for the episode are below, with sources and links to all stories. We've also got a video for those who prefer the visual medium:
Corsair’s H100i Pro is the third Corsair product to use Asetek’s 6th Generation pump solution. Asetek didn’t push performance in significant ways with 6th Gen, but instead focused on endurance improvement and reducing hotspots that encourage permeation of the tubes. This time, just to keep things sort of interesting, we’ll talk about how pump speed impacts the performance of this particular cooler – a topic we’ve explored with Gen5 coolers in the past.
We originally detailed Gen6 in this H150i Pro review, if you’re a bit behind. On the whole, Asetek’s sixth generation pump isn’t all that different from its Gen5 pumps. Performance is marginally worse, if anything, as almost all changes were focused on slimming down the CPU block and improving endurance. Asetek looked at key hotspots in its Gen5 pumps and rerouted flow to reduce strain and failure potential. Liquid should still remain below 60C at all times, but Gen6 will now better enable this than Gen5. Don’t expect better performance, though. Despite improving the impeller quality significantly, overall performance remains unchanged at best, if not slightly worse.
For today, we’re talking about volt-frequency scalability on our 8086K one more time. This time, coverage includes manual binning of our core, as we already illustrated limitations of the IMC in the overclocking stream. We’ve also already tested the CPU for thermal and acoustic performance when considering liquid metal applications.
The Intel i7-8086K is a binned i7-8700K, so we thought we’d see what bin we got. This testing exhibits simple volt-frequency curves as plotted against Blender and Firestrike stability testing. Note that our stability tests were limited to 30 minutes in an intensive Blender workload. Realistically, this is the most achievable for publication purposes, and 99% of CPUs that pass this test will remain stable. If we were selling these CPUs, maybe like Silicon Lottery, it’d obviously be preferable to test for many hours.
We’ve been following the In Win’s A1 since CES 2017, where we saw it in a trio of cases with wood accents. The final version was at CES this year, now with some slightly different specs and no wood (although it’s still a possibility in the future).
In Win describes the A1’s design as “modern Scandinavian style,” which might be an attempt to say “Ikea-ish” without attracting litigious attention. It looks unique even without the wood veneer: the base and legs are made of clear acrylic, ringed on the inside with RGB LEDs. It doesn’t really create the illusion of “floating in A1r” as In Win says, but it does make the case stand out.
Our review of the In Win A1 mini-ITX case looks at overall build quality, ease-of-installation features, and temperature results in various tests. The case is presently ~$170 via Amazon, and includes a 600W 80 Plus Bronze PSU.
We just arrived in Canada for LTX and should be working on some content featuring YouTubers in the space. In the meantime, another hardware news episode is due – and this one is heavily filled with industry goings-on, rather than product news. Our first topic is Intel’s debunking of brand death rumors, followed-up by a German court banning pre-orders with indefinite delivery dates, aiming to crack-down on some Kickstarter and Indiegogo failures. Further, AMD’s Threadripper 2 TDP has been re-confirmed by a slide for the Gigabyte X399 Extreme motherboard, which now has a finalized VRM design and layout. Memory suppliers are also back in the news this week, for the third consecutive week, this time with their own concerns about IP and patent theft.
Show notes below, following the embedded video.
In case you missed it, we spent four hours live overclocking an Intel i7-8086K just a couple days ago. The OC effort was watched by about 2300 people concurrently, spanning all four hours, and was one of our most successful streams to-date. The viewership was beaten only, and unsurprisingly, by our #RIPLTT stream’s 5000 concurrent viewers.
As for the testing, it was all 8086K overclocking in Firestrike Physics, with some additional memory overclocking in the final two hours. Components used were varied, depending on what was happening at any given time, and the final frequency was high. We closed at 5.35GHz, running a 101 BCLK with 53x all-core multiplier. Some additional testing was done in effort to push individual cores to 54x, but we couldn’t get it stable. Despite our ultimate core limitations at just under 5.4GHz, the CPU itself – barring the IMC – is the best-binned 8700K we’ve had hands-on with yet. Our 8086K (which is a binned 8700K) managed to hold 5.1GHz at roughly 1.3V with relative stability in Firestrike, only running into exponential increases in voltage requirement upon pushing 53x multipliers. We even attempted 1.5V for a 5.4GHz overclock, but just couldn’t stabilize. Our plan is to return in the future with a bigger or more exotic cooling solution atop the die. Our X62 did admirably, and the delid with liquid metal (Thermal Grizzly Conductonaut) kept thermals in check, but lower is still better.
We moderate comments on a ~24~48 hour cycle. There will be some delay after submitting a comment.