Just a heads-up for regular readers: We’ll be at CES next week, where Intel and AMD are likely to each be sharing news of their new processor architectures. As always, we’ll be covering any events or information stemming from CES, including possible architectural deep-dives and any on-site demonstrations. They’re not the only companies at the show, of course.
We’ve got plans to revise our SSD testing methodology (again) through meetings with major controller and SSD manufacturers, hopefully paving the way for more automated testing under the GN banner in 2017. Meetings include the usual suspects: Samsung, Kingston/HyperX, Plextor, and possibly a few others.
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) has set sights on building a new $15.7 billion facility geared towards the 5 and 3 nanometer chip processes, eyes set for future process nodes. TSMC is the world’s biggest chip maker by revenue, accounting for 55% of the market share. TSMC’s deep-pocketed clients include Qualcomm, nVidia, and Apple, whose iPhone 7 launch was especially pivotal in the record quarter to quarter profits TSMC has been reporting, as TSMC produces the A10 processor for the iPhone 7.
Taiwan Semiconductor houses its base of operations in Northern Taiwan, where several of their fabs are located. This is in addition to leading-edge fabs in Southern Taiwan and Central Taiwan, not to mention manufacturing bases in China.
SSDs are ostensibly a victim of their own success. Competitive pricing has made SSDs more accessible at the consumer level in addition to a proliferated demand in other market segments, such as the obvious smartphones and laptops. Both of these segments have seen the implementation of NAND flash-based storage for increasing capacity while minimizing the form and footprint of devices, not to mention power savings and noise reductions.
Most times, a level-headed approach offers the best insight as to how a particular piece of hardware or software functions at a low-level. Talking to people who make that product, independently monitoring its performance, and then merging the two perspectives will create the clearest picture of both sides.
Today, we're looking into nVidia's telemetry and data collection through the GeForce Experience utility, and will be doing so with assistance from Wireshark for packet monitoring. We've also spoken to nVidia about the topic and have a statement from the company, printed further down. First, a recap of the internet's latest outrage, a look at what's actually happening in the GFE software, and then a discussion on nVidia's latest GFE changes.
AMD sent us an email today that indicated a price reduction for the new-ish RX 460 2GB card and RX 470 4GB card, which we've reviewed here (RX 460) and here (RX 470). The company's price reduction comes in the face of the GTX 1050 and GTX 1050 Ti release, scheduled for October 25 for the 1050 Ti, and 2-3 weeks later for the GTX 1050. Our reviews will be live next week.
Retail powerhouse Newegg is allegedly now majority-owned by Hangzhao Liaison Interactive Information Technology Co., Ltd, heretofore known as Over-compensator, Inc. UDN reports that the company with the big name now holds nearly 56% of Newegg through a $2.63B USD investment. This would allow China-based Liaison Interactive to claim hardware/software retail domination of US and Chinese markets. Granted, Google Translate does say that Newegg is the second-largest “US egg supplier in China,” so we can't interpret much beyond the alleged major investment made by Liaison.
System integrator iBUYPOWER, peripheral maker Logitech, motherboard maker ASUS, and Riot games joined forces to aid UCI in opening its new eSports arena. The venue makes UCI the first top 200 public school with an eSports program, and opens the door for its participation in collegiate eSports tournaments. To our knowledge, there are presently nine other US universities with eSports programs that may allow for future 10-way contests at a collegiate level.
The university's arena hosted CLG Red & Blue teams, Immortals, and Selfless this weekend, alongside manufacturers nVidia, NZXT, ADATA, and iBUYPOWER. The venue contains sixty systems – a split between mITX Revolt 2 boxes and ATX NZXT N450 boxes – with Intel i7-6700K CPUs and GTX 1080 FE GPUs. Logitech has equipped each box with a G410 TKL keyboard, G303 mouse, and G430 headset, ASUS provided the Z170 motherboards, and iBUYPOWER did the system assembly (and provision of the Revolt 2).
As we reported on August 4, the Class Action lawsuit against nVidia has been settled in courts. The final payout amount is pending approval (full resolution by December, in theory), but owners of the GTX 970 may now submit claims to retrieve a $30 payment per GTX 970 purchased, should those owners feel entitled to the funds.
Claims can be filed on the GTX 970 Settlement website. The claim filing deadline is November 30, 2016, with the final approval hearing scheduled for December 7, 2016. Claims must be filed before the deadline and will not be paid out until after the final approval hearing goes through.
The recently popular German-based Denuvo Anti-Tampering software has provided some safety for game developers, though we've found it cumbersome at times. Denuvo has been used for several of the biggest recent game releases, including Doom, Mirror's Edge, and Just Cause 3. A Bulgarian hacker known only as "Voksi" discovered a workaround method through Steam that allowed for a full game, such as Doom, to be spoofed as a different game's free demo, also available through Steam. Steam quickly closed the loophole, but it is unclear if the Denuvo software itself has been cracked or simply reworked through the loophole, as only one fully cracked Denuvo game was released out of the loophole. Until now, Denuvo has remained the most impenetrable DRM gaming software in recent history. While this is an incredible feat, Denuvo can also affect legitimate users in a negative way (as all DRM seems to do).
Prominent GPU and CPU company AMD has recently released its financial results for the second quarter of 2016. In the past, AMD has struggled to stay out of the red financially, and the results today aren’t very different, but AMD has improved its posture over 1Q16.
As seen in the table below, AMD’s revenue has grown from $823 million to $1.027 billion, rivaling revenue of 1Q15. The net loss is a net loss of $40 million, up from a net loss of $109 million in 1Q16, and $180 million in 1Q15. Similarly, the operating loss for 2Q16 is $8 million, compared to Q1’s $68 million and 1Q15’s $137 million. This change is primarily due to lower operating expenses and layoffs.
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