This round of HW News mostly features a broad focus on the industry at large and PC-centric adjacent areas, such as consoles. Perhaps unsurprisingly, we have news that both the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 will remain elusive, owing in least part to overwhelming demand; however, the emerging semiconductor shortages appear to be playing an increasingly bigger role.
Moving on, Mercury Research has its CPU market share report for Q4’2020 available, and highlights some interesting points. Along the same lines, Steam’s latest hardware survey for January 2021 has also arrived with at least one interesting find. Elsewhere, we have Corsair with a PSU recall, some new developments within Google’s Stadia, and more.
At GN, we’ve spent the majority of our time investigating NZXT’s H1 case. Our coverage started with our video demonstrating how the H1 could catch fire, and after further investigation, we determined that the PCIe riser posed long term risk that NZXT was not addressing. In the time since, NZXT has formally responded to GN’s H1 coverage and has plans for recalls and PCIe riser assembly replacements.
Another week in hardware news has come and gone, capped by a dense information dump at Intel’s Architecture Day 2020 towards the end of the week. The presentation yielded new information on the rumored Alder Lake-S, Intel’s Xe Graphics, Tiger Lake, and Intel’s news manufacturing technology, SuperFin.
We’re also covering some interesting news on Nvidia teasing Ampere gaming GPUs, further fueled by what appears to be another leak -- this time on behalf of Micron and its upcoming GDDR6X memory, which is apparently slated to be equipped on the unconfirmed RTX 3090.
For the latest at GN, check out our latest piece discussing Intel’s less than fortunate position, according to conversations we’ve had with motherboard makers. We also take on the misconception that Ryzen is smoother. HW News article and video embed follow below.
This week, our news is headlined with surprise supercomputer wins, from Fujitsu’s “Fugaku” dethroning Summit for the new No.1 spot, to Nvidia’s “Selene” that uses AMD CPUs, interestingly enough. Equally newsworthy is Apple confirming its transition from Intel to Arm, in the form of “Apple Silicon,” which leaves more questions than answers right now, but the move will have big implications for the CPU landscape. Speaking of Arm, the server space is set to heat up even more with Ampere’s new Altra Max product stack.
We also have news of a massive air cooler aimed at GPUs from Raijintek, which is a bit different.
On the GN YouTube channel, we took apart the EK AIO D-RGB CPU cooler and compared it to some nearby competition (Arctic Liquid Freezer II and NZXT Kraken series, for example). We also recently overclocked the AMD Ryzen 3 3300X on LN2 for a live stream to answer the all important question of whether it can run Crysis. Separately, you'll likely also find our graphite thermal pad vs. thermal paste content interesting. We also have a new poster over at the GN store -- grab one here.
We've decided, clearly, to cancel the China leg of our upcoming factory tour series as a result of the Coronavirus, which is a word that YouTube is currently demonetizing for being "controversial" (working around that one is fun). That said, it has enabled us to extend our Taiwan trip, and we've found new factories we didn't know even existed. More on that in the news video, if interested, but rest assured that we'll be safe in Taiwan as it has very few cases and, despite being a neighbor to China, seems to have things under control. We're greatly looking forward to visiting power supply factories, supply chain factories, raw metal factories, and more in Taiwan in March.
As we board another plane, just five days since landing home from Taipei, we're recapping news leading into next week's E3 event, positioned exhaustingly close to Computex. This recap talks AMD and Samsung partnerships on GPUs, Apple's $1000 monitor stand and accompanying cheese grater, and the Radeon Vega II dual-GPUs located therein. We also talk tariff impact on pricing in PC hardware and, as an exclusive story for the video version, we talk about the fake "X499" motherboard at Computex 2019.
Show notes below the video embed.
DDR5 has existed in a few different forms in the past year or two, but this past week brought news of the first JEDEC-compliant memory chip for future DDR5 implementations. As usual with new memory standards, frequency is expected to increase (and timings will likely loosen) significantly with the new generation, something we talk about in today's list of news items for the week. Also in that list, we talk ongoing CPU shortages for CPUs, Apple's T2 security co-processor and its impact on right to repair, and official mouse/keyboard support on the Xbox.
Show notes follow the video embed, as always.
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.
5MB of storage once required 50 spinning platters and a dedicated computer, demanding a 16 square-foot area for its residence. The first hard drive wasn't particularly fast at 1200RPM and with seek latencies through the roof (imagine a header seeking between 50 platters) – but it was the most advanced storage of the time.
That device was the IBM 305 RAMAC, its converted cost was a $30,000 monthly lease, and single instruction execution required between 30ms and 50ms (IRW phases). The IBM 305 RAMAC did roughly 100,000 bits per second, or 0.0125MB/s. Today, the average 128GB microSD card costs ~$50 – one time – and executes read/write instructions at 671,000,000 bits per second, or 80MB/s. And this is one of our slowest forms of Flash storage. The microSD card is roughly the size of a fingernail (32x24x2.1mm), and filling a 16 square-foot area with them would yield terabytes upon terabytes of storage.
The 305 RAMAC was a creation of 1956. Following last week's GTC conference, we had the opportunity to see the RAMAC and other early computing creations at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California. The museum encompasses most of computing history, including the abacus, early Texas Instruments advanced calculators (like the TI-99), and previously housed a mechanical Babbage Machine computer from the 1800s. In our recent tour of the Computer History Museum, we focused on the predecessors to modern computing – the first hard drive, first supercomputers, first transistorized computers, mercury and core memory, and vacuum tube computing.
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