Hardware

This is our first Ask GN in a few weeks, with the gap between being filled with travel and other projects (as has been indicated by recent uploads, many of those include case reviews). For this week’s Ask GN, we’re addressing questions of how important CLC pump speed is, auto-overclocking and its annoyances, pump whine elimination, personal case preferences, and open loop cooler limitations.

As always, the timestamps have been dropped below the video.

This week's hardware news recap covers an Intel document leaked to GN, detailing H370, B360, & other launches, alongside coverage of the Zen+ & Zen 2 launches, AIB partner Vega cards, and memory kit releases. The last bit of coverage shows the new 4500 & 4600MHz memory kits that have primarily emerged from Corsair, though other vendors are following suit with new memory kit launches. GSkill, for instance, is pushing more "Ryzen-ready" memory kits in the RGB line, focusing mostly on the 3200MHz speeds that were largely shipped to reviewers. GeIL is working on RGB memory kits that synchronize with ASUS Aura RGB lighting effects for motherboards and video cards.

As for video card news, we confirmed with MSI that the company presently has limited or no plans for Vega partner model cards. Gigabyte plans to make cards, but the launch date is tenuous -- as is ASUS' launch date, at this point, as both vendors are working out final issues in manufacturing. We'd wager that it's primarily to do with supply availability, though VBIOS + driver challenges also exist.

No surprise in that headline, really.

Some of this information is rehashed, but has been bulked-up by alleged AMD slides leaked to Informatica Cero. The slides, which are functionally in “rumor” status, indicate AMD’s code-named Matisse processors as launching in 2019. The Matisse CPUs will carry AMD’s Zen 2 architecture, but aim to continue supporting AM4 platforms. Before that launch, AMD’s Zen Plus iteration is targeted for 2018, allegedly, and will exist primarily as an optimization on the existing Ryzen CPUs. This can be thought of as an analog to the retired Intel tick-tock cadence, with Zen Plus likely targeting frequency tuning.

Intel moved-up its news embargo lift for the new Coffee Lake CPU products (“8th Gen Core” processors) following publication of the entire news announcements on leak websites. The news for today pertains to the product stack specifications – at least, as it’s relevant to our audience – and finalizes official listings and prices for the i7-8700K, i7-8700, i5-8600K, i5-8400, i3-8350K, and i3-8100.

First up, the 1K unit pricing of the Intel i7-8700K, the successor to the i7-7700K, will land at $360. This isn’t too distant from previous Intel 1K unit prices for i7 CPUs, though does creep the price about $10-$20 more than the final street price of the 7700K (near launch, anyway). The pricing here, assuming it does land at around $360 USD in North America, could prove reasonable for the CL CPUs. We’ll find out in testing, and will reach a verdict for the review. In the meantime, though, it seems that the rumored $400+ pricing may not come to fruition.

MSI GTX 1080 Ti Gaming X Trio Shown

By Published September 23, 2017 at 11:41 pm

MSI is still building GTX 1080 Ti models, it seems. The Pascal 1080 Ti series has to be one of the most prolific AIB partner cards in a long time: EVGA has an insurmountable catalogue, at this point, ASUS and Gigabyte branched-out 1080 Ti units, and MSI is now adding a triple-fan cooler that seems to be taking some of Zotac's style

The new MSI GTX 1080 Ti Gaming X Trio will join the company's existing line of cards, including the Gaming X, Gaming Z, Lightning X, Lightning Z, Seahawk, et al. The Gaming X Trio switches from "Twin Frozr" to a triple-fan cooler, using two fans of larger size (they look to be 90mm, maybe 100mm) and one of smaller size, located centrally. Unlike some of the competition, all three fans spin in the same direction and use the same blade design, just different sizes.

Appearance on WAN Show Tonight

By Published September 23, 2017 at 2:38 am

Traveling once again, so just a quick update for everyone: Linus of Linus Tech Tips revealed on his WAN show tonight that we’d be making a guest appearance in an upcoming Tech Showdown series refresh, alongside other panelists iJustine and “Keys” from NCIXTechTips. Limited further information was given on the series at this time, but we’ll make another post once there’s more to know.

In the meantime, we joined Linus briefly on the WAN show to discuss topics of Coffee Lake and Ice Lake, alongside some general industry discussion:

This episode of Ask GN is the last of our GamersNexus content from the combined PAX West & Whistler trip (with other videos still uploading to the GNSteve side-channel). Episode 58 is something of a special episode, having been shot in the “Peak 2 Peak” Gondola, and provided a unique time trials element to answering the questions.

We tackle topics of memory bandwidth (“what is memory bandwidth?”), Vega voltage validation and undervoltage issues, and daisy chained PCIe cable topics.

Episode below:

While traveling, the major story that unfolded – and then folded – pertained to the alleged unlocking of Vega 56 shaders, permitting the cards to turn into a “Vega 58” or “Vega 57,” depending. This ultimately was due to a GPU-Z reporting bug, and users claiming increases in performance hadn’t normalized for the clock change or higher power budget. Still, the BIOS flash will modify the DPM tables to adjust for higher clocks and permit greater HBM2 voltage to the memory. Of these changes, the latter is the only real, relevant change – clocks can be manually increased on V56, and the core voltage remains the same after a flash. Powerplay tables can be used to bypass BIOS power limits on V56, though a flash to V64 BIOS permits higher power budget.

Even with all this, it’s still impossible (presently) to flash a modified, custom BIOS onto Vega. We tried this upon review of Vega 56, finding that the card was locked-down to prevent modding. This uses an on-die security coprocessor, relegating our efforts to powerplay tables. Those powerplay tables did ultimately prove successful, as we recently published.

HW News: X399 & X299 Sales, Coffee Lake, CCXs of 1900X

By Published September 07, 2017 at 6:23 pm

We're on our way home from PAX West & a follow-up trip to Whistler, which means that this post will be exceptionally brief. We'll be back at home base shortly, and will begin normal testing and full-feature production at that point.

In the meantime, our latest news item (shot in the hotel while here) is viewable below. Sorry for the brevity on this one, folks, but we'll be home and producing full-length content ASAP.

Leaked ASRock Z370 Motherboard Shots for Coffee Lake

By Published September 06, 2017 at 11:29 pm

Product photos and renders for ASRock’s alleged Coffee Lake Z370 motherboards have leaked through Videocardz, detailing the ASRock lineup from top-to-bottom. The reported offering from ASRock includes a Z370 “Killer” motherboard (bearing similar branding to Fatal1ty boards), the Z370 Taichi high-end board, Z370M Pro4 Micro-ATX board, Z370M-ITX AC wireless board, and lower-end Z370 Extreme4 and Pro4 motherboards (both ATX).

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