Another busy week of hardware news is in the books, and there’s a lot to talk about. Perhaps most notably, AMD has performed its 180 in regards to Zen 3 support on B4xx chipsets, enabling a one-way upgrade path for those wanting to migrate to Ryzen 4000 later this year. We have an exhaustive (pt1) video (pt2) series (pt3) dedicated to the topic and the current state of BIOSes, so we won’t delve into it here.
As ever, there’s more broad industry news, such as Microsoft admitting it was on the wrong side of the open-source explosion at the turn of the century, and TSMC pulling all chip orders from Huawei thanks to ever tightening US export restrictions. We have yet to see how this will affect Huawei, but it is almost certainly going to be detrimental to its business.
Within GN specifically, we’ve completely sold out of our GN wireframe mouse mats -- thanks for the support! More mouse mats are currently on back-order for the next production run. We expect those back-orders will ship in August. Meanwhile, we’ve posted our i9-10900K review and i5-10600K review, both of which look at frequency performance, overclocking, die sanding tests, and more. It also seems AMD has dropped the price on its Ryzen 9 3900X in response to Comet Lake-S. Additionally, if you happen to live near a MicroCenter, there’s an in-store promotion that will get you the Ryzen 9 3900X for $380.
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We previously deep-dived on MCE (Multi-Core Enhancement) practices with the 8700K, revealing the performance variance that can occur when motherboard makers “cheat” results by boosting CPUs out of spec. MCE has become less of a problem with Z390 – namely because it is now disabled by default on all boards we’ve tested – but boosted BCLKs are the new issue.
If you think Cinebench is a reliable benchmark, we’ve got a histogram of all of our test results for the Intel i9-9900K at presumably stock settings:
(Yes, the scale starts at non-0 -- given a range of results of 1976 to 2300, we had to zoom-in on the axis for a better histogram view)
The scale is shrunken and non-0 as the results are so tightly clustered, but you can still see that we’re ranging from 1970 cb marks to 2300 cb marks, which is a massive range. That’s the difference between a heavily overclocked R7 2700 and an overclocked 7900X, except this is all on a single CPU. The only difference is that we used 5 different motherboards for these tests, along with a mix of auto, XMP, and MCE settings. The discussion today focuses on when it is considered “cheating” to modify CPU settings via BIOS without the user’s awareness of those changes. The most common change is to the base clock, where BIOS might report a value of 100.00, but actually produce a value of 100.8 or 100.9 on the CPU. This functionally pre-overclocks it, but does so in a way that is hard for most users to ever notice.
If, to you, the word "unpredictable" sounds like a positive attribute for a graphics card, ASRock has something you may want. ASRock used words like “unpredictable” and “mysterious” for its new Phantom Gaming official trailer, two adjectives used to describe an upcoming series of AMD Radeon-equipped graphics cards. This is ASRock’s first time entering the graphics card space, where the company’s PCB designers will be faced with new challenges for AMD RX Vega GPUs (and future architectures).
The branding is for “Phantom” graphics cards, and the first-teased card appears to be using a somewhat standard dual-axial fan design with a traditional aluminum finstack and ~6mm heatpipes. Single 8-pin header is shown in the rendered teaser card, but as a render, we’re not sure what the actual product will look like.
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).
ASRock routinely breaks rules with Intel – like with the SkyOC firmware hack that allows non-K CPU overclocking. In the latest breach, ASRock mentioned Intel's new Core i7-6950X Broadwell-E processor and listed some of its core specs. The CPU will be part of the line replacing Haswell-E (which was the first consumer architecture to host DDR4 memory) and the X99 platform.
Motherboard manufacturer ASRock says that the Intel Core i7-6950X will host 10 physical cores with hyperthreading (total of 20 threads). ASRock indicates that its existing X99 motherboards will be able to leverage a firmware patch to unlock support for Broadwell-E, meaning that HW-E owners may not have to upgrade motherboards if firmware hacks are available. ASRock's will be posted here.
The last week's worth of computer hardware news contained a few disappointments – the removal of non-K overclocking from some boards, for one – and a few upshots. One of those upshots is on the front of VR, headed-up by Epic Games in a publicly released video reel of unique implementations. Virtual reality's use cases also expanded this week, as developers Epic Games have learned new means to utilize the technology (something we think needs to happen).
Our weekly hardware news recap is below, though the script has been appended for the readers out there. Topics for this week's round-up include Intel's crack-down on non-K overclocking, editing games within VR, AMD's Wraith, a Sony SSD, and some new peripherals.
Welcome to another addition of our Weekly Hardware Sales round-up. This weekend, we found some sales on a trio of video cards (GTX 770, 750 Ti, and R9 270), a hard drive, and a motherboard.
With A fair amount of the new Z97 motherboards being shown already, fans of Intel's X99 enthusiast chipset may feel a bit cheated being left with nothing interesting to look at. As of Computex 2014, that's finally changed. ASrock recently showed their latest X99 board to press at Taipei's electronics and hardware tradeshow.
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