It’s been another interesting week in the realm of hardware and technology. The week started off slowly, but ended with a deluge of interesting stories, mostly as it relates to US semiconductor manufacturing. In addition to Intel and Samsung in talks with the Department of Defense, it looks as if TSMC will be adding a second fab to its US roster.
We also have news on AMD’s open-source GPUOpen, and its apparently not so open-source Radeon Rays solution. Sometimes. There’s also news on the recently unveiled Unreal Engine 5 and how Epic CEO Tim Sweeney feels about the SSD storage solutions in the PlayStation 5.
Elsewhere at GN, we recently covered Nvidia’s GTC 2020 keynote where Ampere was formally announced -- check out both the article and video. We’ve also been extensively overclocking the Ryzen 3 3100, as well as the AMD Ryzen 3 3100 Infinity Fabric clock (FCLK).
Computex 2019 is next week -- a few days from now, technically -- and hardware news has been alight with PCIe 5.0 and DDR5 discussion for Intel platforms, Huawei's ban from the US, DDR4 overclocking close to 6GHz, and more. Intel's biggest news is certainly the PCIe 5 and DDR 5 discussion, which will be our leading story for today's news.
Written show notes are below the video embed.
We visited EVGA’s suite for a look at the new OC Robot and built-in BIOS stress testing update for the X299 Dark motherboards. For the new X299 Micro 2 motherboard, we also learned the following of the VRM spec:
- VCCIN : IR35201(Controller1 - 5PH double to 10PH) + IR3556 x10
- VSA+VCCIO : IR35204(Controller2 - 1+1PH) + IR3556 (1+1)
- VSM+VPP_C01 : IR35204(Controller3 - 1+1PH) + TDA88240 (1+1)
- VSM+VPP_C23 : IR35204(Controller4 - 1+1PH) + TDA88240 (1+1)
We’re calling this content the “Most Room for Improvement at Computex 2018” content piece. A lot of products this year are still prototypes, and so still have lots of time to improve and change. Many of the manufacturers have asked for feedback from media and will be making changes prior to launch, hopefully, but we wanted to share some of our hopes for improvement with all of you.
Separately, Linus of LinusTechTips joined us for the intro of this video, if that is of interest.
Computex 2018 saw the unveil of pro overclocker Der8auer’s phase-change cooling solution, called the Phase-Shift Cooler, using a similar solution to 3M Novec. Novec coolant has been demonstrated before (and was again at Computex) for its low boiling point and ability to cool a system using “only” a condenser and coolant, but is on the restricted substances list in the EU for containing PFCs. This eliminates 3M Novec from the list of products available for consumer retail, and forced Der8auer and Caseking to find another solution. The pair did find another liquid with a low boiling point, but did not share with GamersNexus the specs of the liquid. Regardless, it’s the same idea.
For Der8auer’s Phase-Shift Cooler, about 40ml of liquid sits in a CPU block, attached via (presently) a large hose to a condenser and tank. Atop a 7920X with Prime95 running, roughly creating about a 140W heat load, the coolant evaporates and drafts up the pipe as a gas. As the gas hits the tank, it encounters the condensers and gets cooled by a pair of copper heatsinks and 90mm fans. Once condensation forms, it slowly drips back down the tube and returns to the block.
At EVGA’s headquarters in New Taipei City, Taiwan, GamersNexus received a hands-on overview of the company’s new semi-closed loop liquid nitrogen cooling setup. The setup was created by K|NGP|N and TiN, both of whom work in the Taiwan office, to increase overclocking efficiency and reduce LN2 usage to only necessary quantities. Typically, extreme overclocking involves manual pouring of liquid nitrogen (LN2) from a thermos, which the overclocker can either manually refill from the LN2 tanks or can refill from the exhaust. With this new system, K|NGP|N is able to circulate LN2 based upon software input of desired temperatures, with used LN2 getting pushed through a series of flexible steel tubing and out of an exit manifold. The result yields somewhat reusable LN2 and eliminates the hands-on thermos pouring element of XOCing, allowing overclockers to focus on the result and tuning. Theoretically, you could run off of large LN2 tanks (~180L) at conservative temperatures for weeks on end, then swap tanks and use the collected “runoff.”
Prior to the Computex rush, we stopped by Lian Li’s case manufacturing facility in Taiwan, about 30 minutes outside of Taipei. A near-future content piece will show our tour of the case factory (and detail how cases are made), but for today, we’re talking about the products for Computex. Other than pushing RGB to the next level – namely by attaching it to cables – Lian Li also provided us an opportunity to look at an updated O11 Air and Lancool One.
We first saw the Lian Li O11 Air at CES 2018, then reviewed the O11 Dynamic after that, and we’re now approaching launch for the Air variant. The Lian Li O11 Air has gone through spec finalization, with a target of $130 for a 3-fan model, or $150 for a 6-fan model (which is highly competitive, we think). The O11 Dynamic was more focused on water cooling, but the O11 Air goes for large, plastic paneling with grills cut throughout, with otherwise identical tooling to the O11 Dynamic. We think this enclosure is one of the most interesting for the latter half of this year. It’s presently due for “before August, probably,” with a possibility of a July launch.
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.
This year’s Computex featured the usual mix of concept and prototype cases, some of which will never make it to market (or some which will be several thousand dollars, like the WinBot). We particularly liked the “Wheel of Star” mod at Cooler Master, the “Floating” from In Win, Level 20 from Thermaltake, and Concept Slate from Corsair – but none of those are really meant to be bought in large quantities. This round-up looks at the best cases of Computex that are in the category of being purchasable, keeping cost below $400. We’ll be looking primarily at ATX form factor cases, with one Micro-STX co-star, with a few “needs work” members in the mix.
This case round-up won’t include everything we saw at the show and will exclude the more exotic cases, like the Concept Slate and the In Win WinBot, but still has plenty to get through. Before getting started, here’s a list of the relevant coverage of individual products and booths that are discussed herein:
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