Lots of news to cover this week, including an interesting -- and surprising -- use of Intel’s Atom CPUs. We also have some commentary to add regarding the AMD “Warhol” rumor that ran rampant this past week. There’s news on the DDR5 front, as the new memory is nearing mass production and market-ready status, and we have something of an update on the Chia cryptocurrency story from last week. There’s plenty more, with news from AMD, Google, and Microsoft.
At GN, we recently released a pair of videos diving into the AMD-based AYA NEO: one where we looked at performance and benchmarks, and another where we tore the unit down for analysis. Outside of hardware and gaming, GN has been involved in some environmental initiatives as well, such as this rain garden we recently helped fund.
News article and video below, per the usual.
This week, we have news regarding the emerging DDR5 memory, with Samsung and TeamGroup both announcing development milestones. Also in DRAM news, there’s the unsurprising revelation that DRAM prices will continue to rise as we move into the second quarter of 2021.
Elsewhere, we have news regarding the most recent Cyberpunk 2077 patch, as CD Projekt Red tries to rebound from its botched marketing and launch of the game. It’s also been discovered that Nvidia is quietly carving new names into its GPUs, a new Windows 10 “device usage” feature exists, TSMC is entering volume production early with N4, and plenty more.
At GN, we recently reviewed Intel’s i9-11900K, of which we found unexciting -- much like its lower-tier counterpart, the i7-11700K. We also looked at Intel’s i5-11600K, which we found more interesting. Oh, and we reviewed a case from outer space, too.
Article and video embed below, as usual.
This week’s news was highlighted by Hot Chips 32 (2020), which brought plenty of information that we’ll disaggregate below. Another point of interest is AMD launching its budget A520 chipset, but we already have a video and article dedicated to that topic, so we'd point you to that for more information (it’s linked below). Also of importance is Nvidia’s second quarter earnings, DRAM and NAND prices seemingly on the decline, and Internet Explorer being put out to pasture.
Recently at GN, we took a look at the CPU that almost killed AMD, reviewed one of the worst cases we’ve ever seen, and took a look at AMD’s A520 chipset. We also posted a fun and simple science expeirment demonstrating how not to install AIO liquid coolers. The news article and video embed are below, as usual.
Memory speed on Ryzen has always been a hot subject, with AMD’s 1000 and 2000 series CPUs responding favorably to fast memory while at the same time having difficulty getting past 3200MHz in Gen1. The new Ryzen 3000 chips officially support memory speeds up to 3200MHz and can reliably run kits up to 3600MHz, with extreme overclocks up to 5100MHz. For most people, this type of clock isn’t achievable, but frequencies in the range of 3200 to 4000MHz are done relatively easily, but then looser timings become a concern. Today, we’re benchmarking various memory kits at XMP settings, with Ryzen memory DRAM calculator, and with manual override overclocking. We’ll look at the trade-off of higher frequencies versus tighter timings to help establish the best memory solutions for Ryzen.
One of the biggest points to remember during all of this -- and any other memory testing published by other outlets -- is that motherboard matters almost more than the memory kit itself. Motherboards are responsible for most of the timings auto configured on memory kits, even when using XMP, as XMP can only store so much data per kit. The rest, including unsurfaced timings that the user never sees, are done during memory training by the motherboard. Motherboard manufacturers maintain a QVL (Qualified Vendor List) of kits tested and approved on each board, and we strongly encourage system builders to check these lists rather than just buying a random kit of memory. Motherboard makers will even tune timings for some kits, so there’s potentially a lot of performance lost by using mismatched boards and memory.
ASUS grew impatient waiting for Samsung to reach volume production on its 32GB DDR4 UDIMMs, and so the company instead designed a new double capacity DIMM standard. This isn’t a JEDEC standard, but is a standard that has gotten some attention from ZADAK and GSkill, both of whom have made some of the tallest memory modules the world has seen. These DIMMs are 32GB per stick, so two of them give us 64GB at 3200MHz and, after overclocking effort, some pretty good timings. Two of these sticks would cost you about $1000, with the 3600MHz options at $1300. Today, we’ll be looking into when they can be used and how well they overclock.
These are double-capacity DIMMs, achieved by making the PCB significantly taller than ordinary RAM. More memory fits on a single stick, making it theoretically possible to approach the max of the CPU’s memory controller. This is difficult to do, as signal integrity starts to become threatened as the PCB grows larger and more complex.
Our hardware news coverage has some more uplifting stories this week, primarily driven by the steepest price drop in DRAM since 2011. System builders who've looked on in horror as prices steadily climbed to 2x and 3x the 2016 rate may finally find some peace in 2019's price projections, most of which are becoming reality with each passing week. Other news is less positive, like that of Intel's record CPU shortages causing further trouble for the wider-reaching partnerships, or hackers exploiting WinRAR, but it can't all be good.
Find the show notes below the video embed, as always.
Hardware news is busy this week, as it always is, but we also have some news of our own. Part of GN's team will be in Taiwan and China over the next few weeks, with the rest at home base taking care of testing. For the Taiwan and China trip, we'll be visiting numerous factories for tour videos, walkthroughs, and showcases of how products are made at a lower-level. We have several excursions to tech landmarks also planned, so you'll want to check back regularly as we make this special trip. Check our YT channel daily for uploads. The trip to Asia will likely start its broadcast around 3/6 for us.
The best news of the week is undoubtedly the expected and continued decrease in memory prices, particularly DRAM prices, as 2019 trudges onward. DRAMeXchange, the leading source of memory prices in the industry, now points toward an overall downtrend in pricing even for desktop system memory. This follows significantly inflated memory prices of the past few years, which was predated by yet unprecedented low prices c. 2016. Aside from this (uplifting) news topic, we also talk about the GN #SomethingPositive charity drive, AMD's price clarifications on Vega, and WinRAR's elimination of a 14-year-old exploit that has existed in third party libraries in its software.
Show notes below the video embed, as always.
For this hardware news episode, we compiled more information ascertained at CES, whereupon we tried to validate or invalidate swirling rumors about Ryzen 3000, GTX 1660 parts, and Ice Lake. The show gave us a good opportunity, as always, to talk with people in the know and learn more about the goings-on in the industry. There was plenty of "normal" news, too, like DRAM price declines, surges in AMD notebook interest, and more.
The show notes are below the video. This time, we have a few stories in the notes below that didn't make the cut for the video.
Extreme Ultra-Violet Lithography is something of a unicorn in the space of silicon manufacturing, and has been discussed for generation upon generation. EUV only recently started seeing any form of use in mass produced products, with Samsung kicking off high-volume efforts recently. Intel has also made progress with EUV, deviating from its choice of DUV lithography for a struggling 10nm process and instead setting sights on a 7nm option. This is our leading news item in the recap today, with RAM price declines following closely behind.
As always, show notes are below the embedded video.
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