Hardware

AMD hosted its financial & analyst day today, revealing information on Vega, Threadripper, notebook deployments of its CPUs & GPUs, and data center products. Some timelines were loosely laid-out with initial benchmark previews, provided an outline for what to expect from AMD in the remainder of 2017.

Most of our time today will be spent detailing Vega, as it’s been the topic of most interest lately, with some preliminary information on the CPU products.

This episode of Ask GN, now that we’re back on a bit of a roll (see: Episode 49), features a shorter list of questions with more detailed answers. We don’t plan to always run them like this, but some of the questions – like the one about Hybrid liquid cooler pump whine – have been common enough to deserve detail.

It’s more of an FAQ this week, in that way. We’re starting off with a discussion on how to fix pump whine on EVGA Hybrid GPU coolers, then talking Pascal voltage & power limitations, then laptops for deployment in extreme environments. We later talk liquid vs. air cooling on GPUs.

Episode here:

NVidia’s Volta GV100 GPU and Tesla V100 Accelerator were revealed yesterday, delivering on a 2015 promise of Volta arrival by 2018. The initial DGX servers will ship by 3Q17, containing multiple V100 Accelerator cards at a cost of $150,000, with individual units priced at $18,000. These devices are obviously for enterprise, machine learning, and compute applications, but will inevitably work their way into gaming through subsequent V102 (or equivalent) chips. This is similar to the GP100 launch, where we get the Accelerator server-class card prior to consumer availability, which ultimately helps consumers by recuperating some of the initial R&D cost through major B2B sales.

Ask GN returns after a hiatus due to nonstop video card and CPU reviews, re-opening coverage with a discussion on temperature impact on components, noise optimization for GPUs, CLC mounting methods, and a bit more.

Oh, and we got more pucks from NZXT – but at least this one’s blue.

For timestamps, continue on. The video is embedded below:

Razer is pulling the curtains on a pair of high-end gaming mice: the wireless Razer Lancehead and the wired Razer Lancehead Tournament Edition. Razer touts the new mice as being “tournament-grade” in terms of accuracy, performance, and reliability. The two variants of the Razer Lancehead share many features: the sensor and Razer’s proprietary “Adaptive Frequency Technology” are the chief modifiers.

Razer Lancehead

The wireless Razer Lancehead—much like the refreshed Diamondback and high-end Mamba series—uses a 5G laser sensor with up to 50g acceleration and 16,000 DPI/210 inches per second tracking. The refreshed Diamondback and Mamba/Mamba TE all used a Philips Twin Eye sensor. It is unclear if that is the case with the Razer Lancehead, but given the specs, it’s plausible.

AMD Radeon Pro Duo 2.0: Same Name, New GPUs

By Published April 24, 2017 at 4:56 pm

AMD’s taken a page out of nVidia’s book, apparently, and nVidia probably took that page from Apple – or any number of other companies that elect to re-use product names. The new Radeon Pro Duo uses the same name as last year’s launch, but has updated the internals.

We’ve been one of the most active in modding newly-launched GPUs with “hybrid” cooling solutions, and even recently began running thermal tests on VRM components alongside said mods. Before we ever did hybrid mods, NZXT launched its G10 bracket – back in 2013 – to tremendous success and adoption. That adoption died off over time, mostly due to new GPU launches that weren’t clear on compatibility, and NZXT eventually was met by competition from Corsair’s HG10.

This week’s episode of Ask GN (#48!) talks CUDA core vs. Stream Processor differences at a top level, cooling suppliers, right to repair laws, and more.

The cooling supplier question is an interesting one: A user wondered what differences a manufacturer – someone like Corsair, NZXT, or others – might actually make when purchasing a semi-custom solution from a supplier. While it is possible to buy an off-the-shelf solution from the likes of Asetek, CoolIT, Apaltek, and others, the more common option is to customize the solution to some extent. This can be as low-level as instituting an entirely new PCB (see: Kraken series) or can be higher level, like tube length and pump flowrate.

Learn more in the video:

While we crank away at finalizing the review for the GTX 1080 Ti Gaming X, the Ryzen R5 CPUs, and some other products, we decided to run a PCB & VRM quality analysis of MSI’s card. The new GTX 1080 Ti Gaming X is another in a line of overbuilt VRMs, but interesting for a number of reasons (especially given the quality of this round’s reference VRM).

In our analysis of the PCB, we go over VRM design, overclocking potential, and power mods. The power mod section (toward the end of the video) discusses shunt shorting and how to trick the GPU into permitting a higher power throughput than natively allowed.

View Buildzoid’s analysis below:

AMD today made available a power plan update which should change how the Balanced plan impacts Ryzen performance.

Problems with Windows preset power modes have been one of the biggest annoyances with Ryzen, and AMD has officially recommended the High Performance preset in the past in order to avoid subpar performance in benchmarks. This wasn’t a big deal from a testing point of view since High Performance mode effectively avoids all of these issues, but for everyday use, it was: High Performance mode doesn’t allow CPU frequency to drop when idle, and the additional power consumption can really hurt the long-term value of the system (it’s also just wasteful). Balanced mode does drop frequency, but it’s also been overly aggressive with core parking on Ryzen chips specifically, making it sub-optimal for use. We discussed what this looks like from a user’s point of view in our “Just Research” article, where frequency plots offer visualization for the impact of Performance vs. Balanced mode. The same article contains some FPS benchmarks between the two power modes.

AMD has made two major changes in this update. Quoting their statement:

  1. Maintain residency in CPU p0 or p1 to give Zen full control over clocks and volts.

  2. Disable core parking.

They specifically noted that Intel also fully disables core parking in the Balanced power plan. Our tests have always used High Performance mode for Ryzen platforms (except power tests), and our results will not be affected by this update.

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