“How frequently should I replace liquid metal?” is one of the most common questions we get. Liquid metal is applied between the CPU die and IHS to improve thermal conductivity from the silicon, but there hasn’t been much long-term testing on liquid metal endurance versus age. Cracking and drying are some of the most common concerns, leading users to wonder whether liquid metal performance will fall off a cliff at some point. One of our test benches has been running thermal endurance cycling tests for the last year now, since September of 2017, just to see if it’s aged at all.

This is a case study. We are testing with a sample size of one, so consider it an experiment and case study over an all-encompassing test. It is difficult to conduct long-term endurance tests with multiple samples, and would require dozens (or more) of identical systems to really build-out a large database. From that angle, again, please keep in mind that this is a case study of one test bench, with one brand of liquid metal.

Other than news that our move into an office is nearly complete -- and that is big news, at least, for us -- the industry has been largely focused on GPUs for the past few weeks. NVidia's remaining 10-series GPU inventory has been purged down-channel to board partners, who are now working to drop 10-series video card prices in fire sales that lead into the RTX 20-series launch. We've also heard of Spectre and Meltdown again (it's been a while), with Intel pushing more microcode updates to assist in mitigating attack vectors. Those updates came with a brief "no benchmarks" clause, but that seems to have been addressed in the time since.

Separately: We'll be at PAX West this weekend for one day (Friday), and will be joining Corsair and PC World on a PC gaming panel at 7:00PM in the Sandworm Theater. Learn more here.

The show notes and article are below the video embed, if you prefer reading.

Intel has provided GamersNexus with a statement that addresses concerns pertaining to a new “benchmarking clause.” This comes after Bruce Perens published a story entitled “Intel Publishes Microcode Security Patches, No Benchmarking Or Comparison Allowed!” As one might expect, the story has exploded online since this publication.

The crux of the issue comes down to Intel’s Spectre and Meltdown microcode updates, which aim to mitigate vulnerabilities and attack vectors that were exposed for nearly all CPUs (since the 90s) late last year. GamersNexus previously worked to interview some of the expert researchers who discovered Meltdown and Spectre, all published in this article. We’d recommend the read for anyone not up-to-date on the attack vectors.

We had an opportunity to disassemble multiple EVGA RTX video cards, including the EVGA RTX 2080 and RTX 2080 Ti, the latter featuring assistance from Der8auer of Caseking’s booth. Our coverage is still going live as we edit, render, and upload, but the immediate news item pertains to die size.

Update: Added a correction for SM / CUDA Core numbers, now that full details have been leaked.

NVIDIA announced its new Turing video cards for gaming today, including the RTX 2080 Ti, RTX 2080, and RTX 2070. The cards move forward with an upgraded-but-familiar Volta architecture, with some changes to the SMs and memory. The new RTX 2080 and 2080 Ti ship with reference cards first, and partner cards largely at the same time (with some more advanced models coming 1+ month later), depending on which partner it is. The board partners did not receive pricing or even card naming until around the same time as media, so expect delays in custom solutions. Note that we were originally hearing a 1-3 month latency on partner cards, but that looks to be only for advanced models that are just now entering production. Most tri-fan models should come available on the same date.

Another major point of consideration is NVIDIA's decision to use a dual-axial reference card, eliminating much of the value of partner cards at the low-end. Moving away from blower reference cards and toward dual-fan cards will most immediately impact board partners, something that could lead to a slow crawl of NVIDIA expanding its direct-to-consumer sales and bypassing partners. The RTX 2080 Ti will be priced at $1200 and will launch on September 20, with the 2080 at $800 (and September 20), and the 2070 at $600 (TBD release date).

Hardware news for the past week has been largely dominated by GPU rumblings -- a good thing, given the multi-year gap between lion's share holder NVIDIA's Pascal. The company announced its NVIDIA Turing architecture for Quadro cards, an upgrade on Volta, and has teased the GeForce "RTX 2080" gaming graphics card in one of its videos. Turing will be the subject of heavy discussion come Gamescom, based on what NVIDIA has indicated from its public event schedule. On NVIDIA's coattails, Intel has also indicated a desired to push graphics -- with teasers pointing toward potential consumer dGPUs -- by the year 2020.

We last saw the Level 20 VT a couple months ago at Computex, alongside the Level 20 GT and XT. The VT is an mATX case, the smallest of the three.

Inside and out, the VT is similar to the mini-ITX Thermaltake V1 we reviewed, and even more so to the micro ATX V21. The major difference is the use of tempered glass, which could be a sign of Silverstone Syndrome, or following up a well-ventilated case with a sealed box; however, as we pointed out at Computex, the Level 20 cases are being sold alongside the older mesh-fronted V1 and V21 rather than replacing them. In addition, Thermaltake has also earned the benefit of the doubt with cases like the View 71 and View 37 that appear sealed but still manage to keep temperatures reasonable.

Lian Li’s Lancool One is a case we’ve seen multiple revisions of, first at CES (under the name Fusion Elite) and then again during our pre-Computex factory tour. “LanCool” is/was a subsidiary that was treated like a distinct brand for selling cases which were less exotic and more affordable than Lian Li’s standard fare. This is the first use of the name in several years, and it’s now more of a prefix than a separate entity. The version we were sent for review was the Lancool One Digital, which has a few minor differences from the base model as seen below.

The Lancool One ships at $90 for the non-”Digital” version, with the Lancool One Digital offering addressable RGB LEDs for an extra $10. Our Lian Li Lancool One review works with the Digital version, but the cases are the same aside from lighting changes.

The hardware move didn't slow down for our move, it turns out. HW News for the past week includes a major focus on GV104 & GV102-branded GPUs listed in AIDA64's Device ID database, new R3 2000-series CPUs shown by Lenovo, Threadripper 2's specs, TSMC shutting down for a virus, and more. This is also our first video shot in the new space (though we're still doing sound treatment, so there's a bit of echo). 

AMD’s new Threadripper 2 CPUs are slated for launch in the immediate future. We have AMD Threadripper 2 specs, prices, and topological information for the 2990WX, 2970WX, 2950X, and 2920X, most of which have been detailed today. Additional details and reviews are pending publication from sampled outlets. We are not technically working with AMD on this launch, but are looking into review/test options. These will likely be pushed back past our move-in for the new office.

The new AMD Threadripper 2 2990WX will use cores enabled in dies 0, 1, 2, and 3 – so all 4 of the dies under the IHS – which more or less confirms Der8auer’s findings earlier this year. The 2950X and 2920X will be using dies 0 and 1, leaving the other two unutilized.

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