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2018-07-19T22:40:08.561Z
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Intel has started production of their first datacenter PCIe SSD using QLC 3D NAND flash memory, which stores four bits per memory cell. This isn't a full product announcement and we don't even have a proper name for the new SSD, just a mention that it is part of a new D5 product family for datacenters—which may signal a reorganization of Intel's naming scheme for SSDs. Intel will be sharing more information in a few weeks at Flash Memory Summit August 7-9, where Intel VP Rob Crooke is scheduled to give a keynote speech on August 8. Earlier this year, Intel confirmed that they would be producing QLC SSDs in the second half of 2018, and that they were putting up to 20TB in a 2.5" U.2 drive, but it is not yet clear whether that configuration is one that's going into mass production at this time.

Intel is expecting this to be the first QLC SSD available for this market segment. Micron has already launched an enterprise SATA SSD using QLC NAND. No consumer SSDs with QLC NAND have been announced yet. Samsung, Toshiba and Western Digital have been talking about their QLC NAND for at least a year, but of them only Toshiba has confirmed plans to mass produce QLC on the current 64L 3D NAND process. Samsung has put off QLC until their 96L generation, which has just entered mass production but only of small TLC dies so...

Western Digital this week announced plans to shut down its HDD assembly facility (near Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia) by the end of 2019, and then sell the property. The factory has been used for several decades, but Western Digital says that the total available market for client hard drives has been shrinking in the recent years and will continue to do so in the coming years, which is why it does not need the extra manufacturing capacities that it will not be able to use.

Western Digital is a vertically integrated maker of hard drives. The company produces all the components of HDDs in-house, everything from media substrates to platters and from head substrates to HGAs (head gimbal assembly) and HSAs (head stack assembly). Obviously, it performs final assembly and testing too. At present Western Digital has three factories that produce hard drives: the largest one is located in Bang Pa-In (Thailand), the second largest one is situated near Kuala Lumpur in Petaling Jaya (Malaysia), and the smallest one is sited in Prachinburi (Thailand). Meanwhile only the largest one is more or less vertically integrated and makes not only HDDs, but also many of their components (see the table below for details).

The total available market of hard drives dropped to around 400 million units in 2017, down from around 550 million units in 2014. As a result, both Seagate and Western Digital have been reducing their HDD manufacturing...

Xilinx this week announced that it had taken over DeepPhi Technology, a machine learning startup from China. Deep Phi has been using Xilinx FPGA for its ML projects since its inception in 2016 and is therefore seen as a good fit for Xilinx to expand further into machine learning.

DeepPhi’s key product is Xilinx FPGA-based Aristotle architecture that is used to compute convolutional neural networks (CNN). The product is now used for video and image recognition tasks on surveillance cameras and NVR/DVR solutions, but the architecture itself is flexible and scalable for everything from smartphones to servers. For example, right now DeepPhi’s NVR/DVR solution can analyze up to nine channels of 1080p videos in real time and can model for over 30 human faces in a single frame. Obviously, the platform may support other applications too and this might be a reason why Xilinx decided to acquire the company.

Meanwhile, the key features of the DeepPhi Aristotle are the DECENT (DEep ComprEssioN Tool) neural network compression tool used to compress model sizes from 5x to 50x without loss of accuracy as well as DNNC Neural Network Compiler optimized for DeepPhi's instructions.

Since DeepPhi is a privately owned company, terms and conditions of the deal are not disclosed beyond the fact that the company will continue to work with its clients going forward.

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Corsair has released a new addition to its Hydro Series PRO closed loop coolers with the H100i PRO. The newest member of the family brings with it a 240mm radiator as well as using the ML series magnetic levitation fans said to deliver high airflow and static pressure at low noise levels. The PRO series also includes a Zero RPM mode to eliminate fan noise at low temperatures. This addition brings the PRO series to three SKUs with the H115i (280mm radiator) and their flagship H150i PRO (360mm radiator) already available on the market.

Buy Corsair H115i PRO RGB on Amazon.com

The Corsair Hydro Series Pro was brought to market with the intent to be better looking and quieter than any of their coolers have been. The PRO series has compatibility for the latest Intel and AMD Ryzen based CPUs (more details in the specifications below). The pump has an updated aluminum bezel with a bead blasted finish improving on the look over the other lines. The bezel includes RGB lighting around the edge and top as well as the Corsair badge in the middle which gives the device a nice glow when mounted on the CPU. The RGB lighting can be controlled through the iCue software. In addition, Corsair has also redesigned the radiator and uses an aluminum inlay for the logo...

AOC has introduced its new large gaming display aimed at gamers on a budget. The AOC Q3279VWFD8 is a 31.5-inch monitor and features AMD’s FreeSync technology, but its price will be around €250 in Europe.

The AOC Q3279VWFD8 is based on an 8-bit + FRC 31.5-inch IPS panel featuring a 2560×1440 resolution, 250 nits brightness, a 1200:1 static contrast ratio, a 5 ms GtG response time, a 75 Hz refresh rate, and so on. The monitor covers 98% of the sRGB and 84% of the Adobe RGB color gamuts. In addition, the display supports AMD's FreeSync dynamic refresh rate technology. The manufacturer does not publish the exact FreeSync’s range, specifically the lower bound, but typically the range is around 30-75 Hz on inexpensive models.

When it comes to inputs, the AOC Q3279VWFD8 has one DisplayPort 1.2 input, one HDMI 1.4 port, one DVI-D port, and one D-Sub input. In addition, the LCD has one 3.5-mm audio output for headphones, but does not include integrated speakers. As for the stand, it supports tilt adjustment, but not height or swivel adjustments.

AOC will start selling its Q3279VWFD8 later this month for the price of £219 in the U.K. and approximately €250 in mainland Europe. Being very affordable for a 31.5-inch model, the AOC Q3279VWFD8 naturally does not support premium features, such as high brightness, DCI-P3, a high refresh rate and so on. Obviously, price and dimension are the main...

Phison's latest NVMe SSD controller will soon power a new generation of high-end consumer SSDs that may bring great performance and power efficiency to a cheaper price bracket than the current flagship SSDs from several top SSD manufacturers.

Today the European Commission has announced that it has found Google in breach of EU antitrust and has fined the company €4.34 billion.

The original proceedings against Google formally opened in April 2015 and investigate Google’s business practices related to Android licensing between 2011 and 2014 and has found the company of breaching EU rules prohibiting anti-competitive agreements and abuse of dominant market positions.

As detailed in the thorough press-release, the particular three illegal practices which Google has been found in conducting are as follows:

  • has required manufacturers to pre-install the Google Search app and browser app (Chrome), as a condition for licensing Google's app store (the Play Store);
     
  • made payments to certain large manufacturers and mobile network operators on condition that they exclusively pre-installed the Google Search app on their devices; and
     
  • has prevented manufacturers wishing to pre-install Google apps from selling even a single smart mobile device running on alternative versions of Android that were not approved by Google (so-called "Android forks").

Furthermore in the press release, the Commission correctly details Google’s business model for Android as it describes that the operating system was created in order for Google to be a part of the crucial shift from desktop PCs towards mobile devices, and to ensure that its flagship product, Google Search, would feature predominantly in the mobile space. The Commission determined that starting 2011 Google became dominant in the market for app stores for Android, and thus its practise from there on to force manufacturers...

In a change of pace from the usual, we have some news about ourselves this morning.

Future plc, a competing UK publisher, has announced that they will be buying the bulk of Purch, AnandTech’s publisher. The deal will see Future acquire Purch’s publisher services division (ad sales) along with the Business-to-Consumer (B2C) group. The vast majority of Purch’s publications – and essentially anything that you might read – are organized under the B2C banner, including AnandTech, Tom’s Hardware, and Space.

The deal is valued at $132.5 million USD, and is expected to close on August 31st. As Purch is a privately held company, the deal has already been approved by Purch. Meanwhile Future will be seeking shareholder approval to issue new shares to pay for the acquisition.

Once it closes, the acquisition will see all of Purch’s B2C brands joining Future’s existing brands across the globe. In the technology space this includes TechRadar, GamesRadar, and PC Gamer. Ultimately Future is looking to strengthen their own technology publishing services, and this deal is expected to make them the top tech publisher in terms of comScore rankings.

Speaking off the cuff here, at this point I have not been informed of any acquisition-changes planned for AnandTech. We remain a strong site in traffic and the depth of our editorial content, and I do not see that changing. In the meantime as the deal moves towards closing, I'll be sharing any new and relevant details with you, our loyal readers.

At any...

GIGABYTE has announced a new line of power supplies under the Aorus premium branding unveiling the new P850W and P750W to the market. The two power supplies carry an 80 Plus Gold designation, a single +12V rail, fully modular cables, as well as a 135mm temperature-controlled 'smart' fan to keep the internals cool and noise to a minimum. GIGABYTE says the PSUs are geared towards gaming and overclocking, particularly those using multiple-GPUs.

The standard ATX size chassis of the units are both black with some of the Aorus branding on two sides in grey and the AORUS orange along with the full name of the device, the AP850GM (or AP750GM). Hiding the 135mm fan and letting air in the device is a large perforated vent with the Aorus logo in the middle hiding the fan hub. The rear of the power supply has a honeycomb pattern to it and will exhaust the warm air out the back. The back also contains the plug that goes to the wall as well as a simple on/off switch. The front of the chassis has all the ports to plug in the cables on the fully modular device. Each port is labeled in orange specifying what goes where. One thing we will not see is RGB lighting as these power supplies, surprisingly, do not include any. 

 

The modular cables included are flat which should allow for better cable routing capabilities...

NZXT has been expanding at a quite rapid pace in the recent years. Back in 2017 the company introduced its first motherboard and today it is launching its first PSUs. The NZXT E-series power supplies are made by Seasonic and support active monitoring of power consumption across the 12 V rail as well as temperature, which are their key features.

The NZXT E-series PSUs are based on Seasonic’s Focus+ Gold platform featuring the PMBus architecture. The lineup includes three modular power supplies compliant with the latest ATX specification and rated for 500, 650, and 850-Watt output. Just like many other advanced PSUs, the new NZXT power suppliers use Japanese capacitors that can handle temperatures of up to 105°C as well as support overcurrent protection for the 12 V rail. Furthermore, the new PSUs also carry the 80 Plus Gold badge.

One of the key selling points of the NZXT E-series PSUs is built-in wattage monitoring for the 12 V rail. The monitoring is handled by the company’s CAM software, which works only with Windows 10 operating system. In addition to monitoring power consumption, the CAM application can also manage rotating speed of fans and activate Silent, Performance, or Fixed preset modes.

NZXT E-Series PSUs Output Specifications   500 W 650 W 850W Rated

Today we are having a look at the most expensive motherboard for Ryzen Threadripper processors, the ASUS X399 ROG Zenith Extreme. The motherboard has a very impressive list of features that reach far beyond what a consumer expects to see on a regular product, such as hardware support for liquid nitrogen cooling. We will closely inspect the motherboard and its features in this review.

While PC VR headsets are fun, no one has especially enjoyed the number of cables required to hook one up. With separate video, power, and data cables, the end result has been that manufacturers have used somewhat unwieldy cables or breakout boxes. However as part of the generalized push towards the second generation of VR headsets, a new industry consortium is coming together today to reduce the requirements to a single cable. Backed by NVIDIA, AMD, Oculus, Valve, and Microsoft, the new VirtualLink standard is a USB Type-C alternate mode that will be able to supply all of the necessary power, video information, and data over a single Type-C cable and connector.

Today’s announcement from the group is essentially a call for participation, announcing the group’s existence and inviting others to get involved ahead of the VirtualLink 1.0 specification. So the consortium and its members are broadly talking about the standard itself, but are not saying anything about products that may implement it. And indeed as of Monday evening as I’m writing up this article, the VirtualLink consortium’s website still isn’t up.


HTC Vive Cable Set

In any case, the rationale for creating a standardized connector is pretty straightforward. A clunky multi-port cable is okay for first-generation early adopter products, but if the consortium members want to push VR adoption, then the setup process needs to be easier to reach the masses. This includes not only reducing the cable down...

Following the success of their Helio P and X series SoCs, MediaTek this morning is announcing a third SoC family to complement the existing pats: the Helio A series. Aimed at what MediaTek is calling the “mid-market”, the new “Advanced” series of SoCs is meant to address phones in the $100+ range, which would put it in competition with the likes of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 400 series. Kicking off the Helio A series family in turn is the A22, essentially MediaTek’s cheaper downmarket counterpart to the previously announced P22.

MediaTek is of course no stranger to the entry-level market, the “mid-market”, or whatever else it may be called. While flagship phones and their equally flagship SoCs get most of the attention, it’s the entry-level market where the volume play is. And this goes for both western markets where smartphones are already established, as well as emerging markets where smartphone penetration is still growing. So it’s a market that MediaTek is keen to continue addressing, and to continue to fend off other competitors.

Today the company is just announcing the first SoC for the A series family, though as the A22 is a relatively straightforward entry-level SoC, I wouldn’t be too surprised if this part is towards the low-end of the product stack going forward. Officially in their larger product stacks and promotional materials, MediaTek is lumping the A series more alongside parts such as the MT6750 – an octa-core Cortex-A53 based part – whereas the A22 is...

Samsung has been on a roll lately with memory & storage-related announcements, and that roll is continuing today with a new DRAM-related announcement out of the juggernaut. This afternoon the company is announcing that they have completed fabrication, functional testing, and validation of a prototype 8Gbit LPDDR5 module. The company is targeting date rates up to 6.4Gbps-per-pin with the new memory, and while Samsung isn’t ready to start mass production quite yet, the company’s press release notes that they’re already eyeing it.

This is actually the first LPDDR5 announcement to cross AnandTech’s proverbial desk, so if you haven’t heard of the standard before, there’s a good reason for that. LPDDR5 is so cutting edge that the standard itself has yet to be completed; the JEDEC standards group has not yet finalized the specifications for DDR5 or LPDDR5. The JEDEC only first announced work on DDR5 last year, with the specification due at some point this year. As a result information on the memory technology has been limited, as while the major aspects of the technology would have been hammered out early, the committee and its members tend to favor holding back until the specification is at or is close to completion.

In any case, it appears that Samsung is the first to jump out of the gate on LPDDR5, becoming the first manufacturer to announce validation of their prototype. And as part of the process, they have revealed, at a high level, some important specifications...

A press release from Intel today has clarified the state of the 3D XPoint Joint Venture the company has with Micron. Currently Intel and Micron co-developed the new class of non-volatile memory, with manufacturing at the Intel-Micron Flash Technologies (IMFT) fab in Utah. Intel’s statement today states that for the second generation of memory, the development will also be a joint effort and is expected to complete in the first half of 2019. However the third generation will be developed independently, allowing each company to focus on the separate business needs.

3D XPoint technology, branded as Optane by Intel and QuantX by Micron, has been a mini-revolution when it comes to non-volatile memory. Intel’s Optane products, mostly storage but with recent announcements about DRAM, have seen a sizeable uptick in interest from specific enterprise markets that can benefit from persistant data or fast random access storage. Intel is expected to launch its DRAM products alongside its next generation server architecture at some point in the new future. Under the terms of the joint venture, each company gets 50% of the flash memory made at the IMFT fab in Utah. Micron’s QuantX has not been released, which raises the question as to who has been buying it.

Intel has long held that 3D XPoint has a long life ahead of it, offering speed, density, and a wide range of applications. The industry is still waiting...

ASRock Rack has announced one of the industry’s first Micro-ATX motherboards for Intel’s new Xeon E processors for entry-level servers and workstations. The C246M WS platform is aimed at compact workstations, it supports a variety of PCIe add-in-cards, rather rich storage capabilities, and a couple of GbE connectors.

As the name suggests, the ASRock C246M WS motherboard is based on Intel’s C246 chipset and therefore supports Intel’s Xeon E-2100 series processors. The platform features a multi-phase VRM that uses solid-state inductors and capacitors to sustain stable operation during prolonged workloads. The design of the motherboard contains an empty pad for the Aspeed AST2500 IPMI chip, so eventually ASRock plans to launch a management version of the product as well. That server SKU will support IPMI 2.0 and will gain an additional Realtek RTL8211E Ethernet controller, the company’s website suggests. Probably for cost reduction reasons, the manufacturer decided not to install a TPM module onto its C246M WS workstation platform, but there is a TPM header, so the actual PC makers can still add this feature if their clients want it.

Just like other motherboards with the LGA1151 v2 socket, the C246M WS comes with four DDR4 DIMM slots supporting up to 64 GB of DDR4-2667 memory with ECC technology when a Xeon E processor is installed. PCIe 3.0 slots include one x16, one x8, and one x4 slot. The first one automatically switches to x8 mode once the second...

You asked for it, and we were able to get 30 minutes with the big man himself. Jim Keller falls into the rockstar category of engineers: lots of ideas with vision and a very successful record. Jim has been able to turn a product market around by leading processor design teams, such as with Apple's A4 and A5 processors, or AMD's K8 and Zen microarchitectures. Recently he was hired by Intel as the Senior Vice President of the Silicon Engineering Group, with an emphasis on SoC design and integration, although not much more was said, leaving everyone to scratch their heads as to exactly what projects fall under his remit. With Intel's money and design at his fingertips, we asked Jim what exactly his role now entails, how he is integrating into Intel, and what the plans are for the future.

NVIDIA this month is unifying its GeForce NOW service across all platforms that it supports, extending the latest iteration of the service for PCs and Macs to include NVIDIA's SHIELD TV consoles. From now on, all 225 games supported by the game streaming service will also run on the Android TV STB.

NVIDIA has been dabbling in cloud-based game streaming services for several year snow, starting with the GRID service early in this decade, which was created to extend the gaming capabilities of NVIDIA's first portable SHIELD devices. In October of 2015 this morphed into the first-generation GeForce NOW service, which was an interesting $8/month hybrid-subscription service that allowed users to both play games included with their subscription, along with buying certain (usually newer) games outright.

The service supported dozens of games that could be played using a gamepad, but omitted PC titles that required a keyboard and a mouse. Back then this limitation was conditioned by several factors: the service was new and NVIDIA needed streaming quality much more than it needed quantity of games, and availability of keyboards and mice supporting Google Android was scarce (and their universal compatibility was not guaranteed).

Meanwhile in early 2017 NVIDIA took the wraps off of its second-generation GeForce NOW service, which despite the identical name had a very different service model and an equally different (initial) audience. This seocnd-generation service was aimed PCs running macOS or Windows, and is currently operating as a free-to-use beta....

Cooler Master has announced the release of a new gaming mouse in the CM310. The mouse includes a 10000 DPI gaming grade optical sensor, RGB illumination, and is designed to be ambidextrous.  The new peripheral, according to Cooler Master, is designed as 'a mouse for gamers of all calibers and is designed to be comfortable, reliable, and doesn’t break the bank'.

The outside of the mouse is made of a matte black plastic and rubber and includes an RGB illuminated web wheel. A Cooler Master symbol is on top, along with an RGB strip which is wrapped around the entire body. Cooler Master includes five preset RGB modes and effects, but no mention if it can work with motherboard RGB software. Although the mouse is said to be ambidextrous, the side buttons are on the left and for right-handed grip so this may not work as well for lefties who need those buttons. For increased grip, the sides of the mouse, where most users’ thumb and pinky finger rest, are rubberized to prevent slippage in the middle of a game.

 

There are a total of eight buttons on the mouse. The three buttons on top are mapped to DPI changed and profiles for the ability to quickly switch to slower/faster movements on the fly with seven levels (500, 1000, 2000, 3000, 4000, 5000, and...

Lian Li has started to sell its new PSU cable featuring addressable RGB lighting. The cable is now available on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean at an introductory price below $40/€40. Going forward, the unit will get a bit more expensive, but will stay below $50/€50.

Announced at Computex last month, the the Lian Li Strimer (pronounced 'Streamer') is a light emitting module featuring RGB LEDs that can be attached to Lian Li’s white PSU cable and create an impression that the wires are glowing. The Strimer has a connector to attach to motherboards that can control addressable RGB lighting and works with all popular motherboards brands as well as their software. Alternatively, the Strimer can be plugged to a special module that features 10 pre-programmed lighting options and can be controlled manually.

Check out a news story from our Computex coverage.

Lian Li’s Strimer module and its white cable are compatible with all ATX PSUs available on the market and the installation procedure does not seem to be too complex.

The Lian Li Strimer is now available from Amazon and Newegg in the US, Caseking in Germany, and OcUK in the UK. For a limited time the product will cost $5/€5/£5 below its MSRP, but after that its price will increase to $45/€45/£40.

Pricing of Lian Li Strimer Retailer Country