We come bearing good news -- sort of. It looks like DRAM prices might drop 5% by end of year, which would sadly be a sharp change of course from previous targets. This coincides with plummeting SSD prices (250GB 860 EVOs now available for $55 on Amazon), though isn't nearly as severe. At this point, we'll take what we can get.
Separately, Intel's 14nm shortage has continued to a point of creating pipeline stalls for some of its motherboard and SI partners. We previously reported on Intel's push to reinvigorate its 22nm process for low-end chipsets. It is now becoming clear why that was a necessity. Other than this, our show notes below recap major industry news for the past two weeks, like tariffs, 8th Gen pricing increases, and more.
After our exhaustive in-person interview with Principled Technologies, published on our YouTube channel, we followed-up via email to clarify some questions that were left unanswered during the initial video. As we noted in the initial interview, we give credit to Principled Technologies for endeavoring to sit down with us for these discussions. We recognize that it is not an easy decision to make – one of ignoring the problem (us showing up unannounced, in this instance) or confronting it – and we appreciate PT’s willingness to partake in a rational discussion about test methodology.
For full details of the interview, check the embedded video below. This written accompaniment aims to address follow-up questions where PT technicians closer to the testing had to be consulted. We are not going to transcribe the 40-minute interview and encourage that you watch the content to gain full perspective on both primary sides of the debate. We have timestamped key points in the video (timestamps are rendered within the video).
You may have heard about the new tariffs impacting PC component prices by now, with increases upwards of 10% to 25% by January 1st of 2019. We’ve spoken with several companies and individuals in the industry to better understand how PC builders can expect prices to increase. On our list of those providing insight is EVGA CEO Andrew Han, NZXT, SilverStone, and Alphacool, among off-record insight from others. In the very least, North American buyers can anticipate price increases as a result of the current administration’s new tariffs – it’s just a question of how much of that is passed on to the consumer.
Here’s the “TLDR” of the tariffs: Nearly every computer component is affected in North America, and those prices can reach outward to other regions as companies try to stabilize for a downtrend in overall revenue. The tariffs were pushed into law by the US Federal Government, with the first 10% taking effect on October 1st of 2018. After this, an additional 15% tariff will be mandated by the US government on January 1st of 2019.
We’re finally nearing completion of our office move-in – as complete as a never-ending project can be, anyway. Our set table is now done, although not shown in today’s video, and the test room is getting filled. That’s the first news item. Work is finally getting produced in the office.
Aside from that, the week has been packed with hardware news. This is one of our densest episodes in recent months, and features a response to the Tom’s Hardware debacle (by Thomas Pabst himself), NVIDIA’s own performance expectations of the RTX 2080, AMD strategic shuffling, and more.
As always, show notes are after the video.
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 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.
There's been some online internet outrage about a leaked nVidia NDA, as published by Heise.de previously. Some of the online comments got a little out of hand and were severely misguided, so we decided to get on a call with a US-based, licensed lawyer, rather than continue to watch as armchair "experts" tried to extract any nefarious meaning they could from the document.
We'll leave this one to audio format. Our call with our legal correspondent goes through the document line-by-line and should answer any remaining questions. Overall, we think this was a mountain made of a molehill, and that little language in the document is abnormal or 'dangerous.' Note also that parties may terminate at any time (despite what some commenters will tell you), and that such an NDA doesn't somehow magically "prevent GPP2" from getting out because, remember, that wouldn't be covered under "Confidential Information." GPP was never disclosed to press by NV -- that was all third-party sources, and so that information is not covered under the agreement.
Audio/video below -- you can just tab away from this one, it's primarily audio:
The push to restore the net neutrality rules put in place under the Obama administration has gained more traction this week, with Democrats in the Senate filing a petition to force a vote on the repeal of the FCC’s new rules enacted by Ajit Pai, current FCC chairman.
The Congressional Review Act is the exact tool Congress and Ajit Pai’s FCC used to reverse Obama-era regulations—that is, the 2015 Open Internet Order that banned blocking content, throttling, paid prioritization by ISPs, and placed ISPs under Title II classification. Democratic Senators have used the CRA to force a vote and potentially remove the recent FCC rules voted for in December; however, the measure is something of a longshot, as it would have to pass both the House and be signed by the President.
We wrote a couple of scripts to scrape the data shown in this content, showing memory price trends for the year so far. We recently set forth on an information gathering mission to learn about how much it costs to actually buy different types of memory, allowing us to look at just how much the memory suppliers are making. They’re raking in record profits with record stock highs – just look at the below Hynix or Micron stock chart: Despite claimed cleanroom limitations, the companies are making record revenue. Today, we’re talking about why and how the memory industry is in the shape it’s in.
This is Part 2 of our RAM Report series. The first part aired previously, and dug deep into five years of memory price data and earnings results for memory suppliers. Be sure to read or watch that content if you haven’t already.
Last month, we published an article detailing the FTC addressing predatory warranty conditions, and in so doing, the FTC notified six companies of infractions violating the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act. At the time of that writing, the names of the notified companies were not disclosed; however, Motherboard obtained the names via a Freedom of Information Act request, and they are as follows:
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