Hardware

Our hardware news round-up for the past week is live, detailing some behind-the-scenes / early information on our thermal and power testing for the i9-7900X, the Xbox One X hardware specs, Threadripper's release date, and plenty of other news. Additional coverage includes final word on Acer's 21X Predator, Samsung's 64-layer NAND finalization, Global Foundries' 7nm FinFET for 2018, and some extras.

We anticipate a slower news week for non-Intel/non-AMD entities this week, as Intel launched X299/SKY-X and AMD is making waves with Epyc. Given the command both these companies have over consumer news, it's likely that other vendors will hold further press releases until next week.

Find the show notes below, written by Eric Hamilton, along with the embedded video.

EVGA GTX 1080 Ti Kingpin PCB & VRM Analysis

By Published June 17, 2017 at 6:16 pm

When interviewing EVGA Extreme OC Engineer “Kingpin,” the term “dailies” came up – as in daily users, or “just gamers,” or generally people who don’t use LN2 to overclock their GPU. The GTX 1080 Ti Kingpin card is not a device built for “dailies,” but rather for extreme overclockers – people who are trying to break world records.

Cards like this – the Lightning would be included – do have a reason to exist. Criticism online sometimes calls such devices “pointless” for delivering the same overall out-of-box experience as nearly any other 1080 Ti, but those criticizing aren’t looking at it from the right perspective. A Kingpin, Lightning, or other XOC card is purchased to eliminate the need to perform hard mods to get a card up to speed. It’s usable out of the box as an XOC tool.

This episode of Ask GN is our first since returning from Taiwan, where we spent nearly two weeks covering Computex and other on-sight events. In the time since, the internet erupted in questions pertaining to PCIe lanes, specifically as they relate to Intel CPUs and chipsets. We address some of those questions in this Ask GN, explain differences in CPU and PCH HSIO lanes, and then get into some other questions.

Those other questions, for the interested, are all timestamped below. One asked about whether AIB partner cards are "worth it" for their power design vs. an FE card, about repasting CPU TIM, and about coolers for new large-size CPU sockets.

Video below:

Logitech today announced its new wireless charging products for an upcoming pair of mice, the G903 and G703, which use familiar high-performance wireless hardware to the G900. The two mice (and, theoretically, subsequent mice) will use magnetic resonance rather than inductive or closed-couple charging, permitting a small form factor “under-mat” for mousepads.

The lower mat is dubbed “PowerPlay,” and emits an electromagnetic field in a radial pattern outward from the center. Used within reason – read: the mouse is probably not on the fringes of the pad for too long – the PowerPlay mat is advertised as being capable of wirelessly charging mice with an efficiency great enough to sustain ongoing use, plus some recharge. Magnetic resonance is not as efficient as induction, though neither is as efficient as just plugging the device in (which is still possible). Logitech worked to improve charge efficiency to a point that the mouse never has to be actively charged by the user, or by requiring user thought and effort, while also completely ridding of the cable. This is part of Logitech’s on-going evangelism promoting wireless mice as minimally equivalent in performance, if not objectively superior, to wired mice with regard to latency and response times. Now, though, the company has instituted a $100 mat to further entice users away from the wire.

Thermaltake was one of our many stops upon our Computex 2017 journey, where the company was showing off a very expensive prototype case, as well as a more modest pair of ATX mid-towers. On the channel, we have a video showcasing these enclosures, so be sure to check that out if video format is preferable.

Samsung is releasing a trinity of gaming displays sporting High Dynamic Range (HDR), quantum-dot composition (QLED), 144 Hz refresh rates, and curved screens.

Samsung has seemingly reserved their Quantum-Dot Technology for their high-end TVs, and we are slowly seeing more HDR enabled gaming panels suffusing across the market, with the likes of both Acer and ASUS having flagship displays with the technology. Samsung’s flagship C49HG90, along with the C27HG70 and C32HG70, denote an ambitious incursion into the high-fidelity gaming display market for Samsung.

Professional overclocker Toppc recently set another world record for DDR4 SDRAM frequency. Using a set of G.SKILL DDR4 sticks (an unidentified kit from the Trident Z RGB line) bestriding an MSI X299 Gaming Pro Carbon AC motherboard, Toppc was able to achieve a 5.5 GHz DDR4 frequency—approximately a 500 MHz improvement over his record from last year.

Toppc’s new record is verified by HWBot, accompanied by a screenshot of CPU-Z and Toppc’s extreme cooling setup, which involved LN2. Although an exact temperature was not provided, and details on the aforementioned G.SKILL kit are scant, we do know that the modules used Samsung 8GB ICs. Based on the limited information, we can infer or postulate that this is probably a new product from G.SKILL, as they announced new memory kits at Computex.

Gigabyte recently sponsored an extreme overclocking event throughout Computex, where their resident overclockers HiCookie and Sofos teamed with TeamAU’s Dinos22, Youngpro, and SniperOZ. The teams worked to overclock the Intel i7-7740X KBL-X CPU on the new X299 platform.

Gigabyte’s team was able to hit the 7.5GHz mark with the i7-7740X, with the help of LHe (Liquid Helium) – allegedly $20,000 worth. To give some perspective, when we spoke off-camera with Der8auer at the GSkill booth, we learned that LHe costs him about $4.4 per second in his region. With the use of LHe, the team of overclockers were able to drop temperatures to -250° Celsius. Opposed to LN2, LHe has a boiling point of around -269° Celsius, meaning it can take temperatures far lower than LN2.

With the employed LHe, Gigabyte was able to set 4 launch day records in 3DMark03, 3DMark06, and Aquamark. All scores were achieved using the Intel i7-7740X and the Gigabyte X299-SOC Champion motherboard. Memory and GPUs diverge a bit for different benchmarks, as can be seen below.

MSI representatives were excited to show us the company’s new AIC M.2 adapter & cooler combo, noting that it should address our previous concerns (that the company had validated, with some SSDs) regarding the M.2 heat “shields.” The AIC is a PCIe x8 device that can run 2x M.2 SSDs (at full throughput) in RAID, or can mount a 2.5” drive to the back-side of the card. Each M.2 SSD is mounted under an MSI heat sink, which they still erroneously call heat “shields,” which is made of a yet-unknown material. If it is the same as the first generation of heat “shields,” it is a stainless steel. If it is the new generation, MSI has gone to aluminum, following our earlier complaints of poor thermal transfer and dissipation. The AIC also carries with it a small blower fan, which pushes air through the chamber and out the back. An acrylic cover and LED offer some more interesting visuals.

Deepcool was at Computex this year with what seemed like an emphasis on cases and RGB lighting, although they did have a new CPU cooler to show off. Many of these cases seem to be updated models of previously announced cases at CES 2017, which are still pending release in the North America market.

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