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der8auer Demonstrates How He Washes His Hardware Using a Dishwasher

"How can you put hardware in a dishwasher!?" der8auer’s latest video explores this seemingly risky concept as a way of washing substances such as Vaseline off of motherboards and memory sticks, which may be applied to prevent condensation under certain testing conditions. Naturally, there are some precautions that should be taken (e.g., removing the motherboard battery), but der8auer suggests the process is generally safe.
Posted by Megalith October 14, 2018 4:00 PM (CDT)

Intel's i9-9900K Is Only 12% Faster than AMD's 2700X at Gaming, but 66% Pricier

Principled Technologies has published a revised report comparing the performance of the Core i9-9900K processor with various competitors, and according to TechPowerUp, Intel’s latest and greatest only offers a marginal improvement compared to the Ryzen 2700X despite being priced much higher. "The bottom-line of PT's new data is this: the Core i9-9900K is roughly 12 percent faster than the Ryzen 7 2700X at gaming, while being a whopping 66% pricier ($319 vs. $530 average online prices)."

While Principled Technologies corrected half its rookie mistakes by running the 2700X in the default "Creator Mode" that enables all 8 cores, it didn't correct the sub-optimal memory. Despite this, the data shows gaming-performance percentage differences between the i9-9900K and the 2700X narrow down to single digit or around 12.39 percent on average, seldom crossing 20 percent. This is a significant departure from the earlier testing, which skewed the average on the basis of >40% differences in some games, due to half the cores being effectively disabled on the 2700X.

Posted by Megalith October 13, 2018 1:40 PM (CDT)

IBM Squeezes AI Into Tiny Scalable Cores

At VLSI 2018, IBM showed off an interesting machine learning architecture. Instead of squeezing a ton of throughput through huge cores, as AMD, Nvidia, and Google do with their AI products, IBM tiled tiny cores in a giant 16x32 2D array. David Kanter says that each "PE is a tiny core; including an instruction buffer, fetch/decode stage, 16-entry register file, a 16-bit floating-point execution units, and binary and ternary ALUs, and fabric links to and from the neighboring PEs." There are also SFUs designed to handle 32 bit floating point data, and separate X and Y caches with 192GB/s of bandwidth each. Much like Intel's Skylake Xeons, the cores are connected to each other with a mesh fabric. A test accelerator IBM made reportedly offered 1.5 Tflops of machine learning training throughput on a 9mm^2 chip made on a 14nm process, and achieved 95% utilization when training on a batch of images.

As a research project, the absolute performance is not terribly important. However, the key architectural choices are quite interesting. IBM's processor uses a large array of very small processor cores with very little SIMD. This architectural choice enables better performance for sparse dataflow (e.g., sparse activations in a neural network). In contrast, Google, Intel, and Nvidia all rely on a small number of large cores with lots of dense data parallelism to achieve good performance. Related, IBM's PEs are arranged in a 2D array with a mesh network, a natural organization for planar silicon and a workload with a reasonable degree of locality. While Intel processors also use a mesh fabric for inter-core communication, GPUs have a rather different architecture that looks more similar to a crossbar. The IBM PEs are optimized for common operations (e.g., multiply-accumulate) and sufficiently programmable to support different dataflows and reuse patterns. Less common operations are performed outside of the core in the special function units. As with many machine learning processors, a variety of reduced precision data formats are used to improve throughput. Last, the processor relies on software-managed data (and instruction) movement in explicitly addressed SRAMs, rather than hardware-managed caches. This approach is similar to the Cell processor and offers superior flexibility and power-efficiency (compared to caches) at the cost of significant programmer and tool chain complexity. While not every machine learning processor will share all these attributes, it certainly illustrates a different approach from any of the incumbents - and more consistent with the architectures chosen by start-ups such as Graphcore or Wave that solely focus on machine learning and neural networks.

Posted by alphaatlas October 10, 2018 12:11 PM (CDT)

Evidence of Supermicro Infected Hardware Found at U.S. Telecom

Bloomberg says that security expert Yossi Appleboum has found evidence of altered Supermicro hardware in a major U.S. telecom's network. Mr. Appleboum has worked for the Israeli Army Intelligence Corps and is now co-chief executive officer of Sepio Systems in Gaithersburg, Maryland. His company was hired to scan data centers for an undisclosed telecom and discovered that a server was performing unusual communications. An implant was discovered on the server's Ethernet connector. He says that his company has seen other modifications on hardware being imported from China and explained that Supermicro isn't the only victim of the Chinese supply chain.

In the case of the telecommunications company, Sepio's technology detected that the tampered Supermicro server actually appeared on the network as two devices in one. The legitimate server was communicating one way, and the implant another, but all the traffic appeared to be coming from the same trusted server, which allowed it to pass through security filters. Appleboum said one key sign of the implant is that the manipulated Ethernet connector has metal sides instead of the usual plastic ones. The metal is necessary to diffuse heat from the chip hidden inside, which acts like a mini computer. "The module looks really innocent, high quality and 'original' but it was added as part of a supply chain attack," he said.

Posted by cageymaru October 09, 2018 3:28 PM (CDT)

Ryzen was Partially Disabled in Commissioned 9900k Benchmarks

Intel commissioned Principled Technologies to run some gaming benchmarks on its new Core i9 9900k, which PCGamesN published earlier today. The results were suspicious to say the least, with the 9900k commanding a 50% performance lead over an AMD Ryzen 7 2700X in certain titles. Hardware Unboxed did some more digging, and as it turns out, the Ryzen 2700X may have been in "Game Mode" during the tests. They were able to replicate the commisioned reviewer's results by disabling a whole CCX, turning the 2700X into a four core chip. PCGamesN is still waiting for a comment from Intel. Thanks to ir0nw0lf for the tip.

This is unbelievable, I don't know if they are being extremely malicious or it's just incompetence of the highest order. How do you take note of every last setting to be documented but not realize just 4-core/8-threads are active on an 8-core/16-thread processor?

Posted by alphaatlas October 09, 2018 10:53 AM (CDT)

Hardware Unboxed Analyzes Intel's Commissioned Core i9-9900K Benchmarks

Intel has commissioned Principled Technologies to run benchmarks of the upcoming i9-9900K CPU and pit it against older Intel CPUs and some AMD CPUs such as the AMD Ryzen 2700X, Threadripper 2990WX, and Threadripper 2950X. PCGamesN wrote a glowing article that has since been heavily edited, about how Intel's new chip was up to 50% faster than AMD's best. Reading over the original PCGamesN article you would have thought that sliced bread had just been invented and Intel was delivering us from the Dark Ages. To PCGamesN's credit they did run this article acknowledging that Hardware Unboxed found bias in the benchmarks, but they still have the flawed and biased Principled Technologies charts showcased on their website for all to see. Hardware Unboxed did a short analysis of a few of the benchmarks as their team felt that the i7-8700K benchmarks and the AMD Ryzen 2700X numbers were incorrect. They found that Principled Technologies had allegedly gimped the AMD CPUs by using different coolers, incorrect ram timings, and possibly even disabled some of the cores on the AMD Ryzen 2700X. To put this into perspective, on the Ashes of the Singularity benchmark that Hardware Unboxed ran, the AMD Ryzen 2700X was 18% faster and the i7-8700K was 4% slower, than the commissioned testing that Intel has published. They even showed how over a suite of games that the i7-8700K was only 9% faster than the AMD Ryzen 2700X in previous pure gaming benchmarks conducted by Hardware Unboxed. Yet in Intel's commissioned benchmark results, the AMD Ryzen 2700X was far, far, behind the Intel i7-8700K in performance metrics. This is why we never trust a manufacturer's benchmarks. Always wait for the review before buying hardware.

"Why is PCGamesN publishing this misleading data? Why aren't they tearing this obviously paid report; because they're very transparent that this is a paid report commissioned by Intel, why aren't they tearing it to shreds? Do they simply not know any better? I'm a bit worried or wondering if we might see other websites covering this report; perhaps paid to cover it. And I'm not accusing or saying that PCGamesN were paid by Intel. Doesn't look great and I suppose the very least it is very shoddy journalism."

Posted by cageymaru October 09, 2018 8:21 AM (CDT)

ASUS Announces New ROG Dominus Extreme X299 Chipset Board for 28 Core Intel

ASUS has pushed out some sneak peeks for its new ROG Dominus Extreme motherboard. We have all been hearing about Intel's new 28 core Skylake-S CPU and the ROG Dominus Extreme is designed specifically for this CPU. While certainly cooling has got to be on your mind about this, the Dominus has 14 PWM fan headers down on the PCB. Other standouts are support for 4-way PCIe Gen 3 X16 NVLin and CrossFireX, and Aquantia AQC-107 10Gbps LAN, Intel I219-LM Gigabyte LAN, Intel AC-9260 802.11ac Wi-Fi. This is not a small motherboard in any way as you might expect. It is an EEB/ATX format with an LGA 3647 socket and a 32 phase VRM configuration. Is that two 24-pin power connectors you see down on the board? Yes it is. Does that mean you will need two PSUs to fully power the Dominus? Yes it does. We also see four 8-pin and two 6-pin 12V power connections as well. And we thought the 2990WX was a power pig. The fact of the matter is that it is very likely you will not be able to power this system off a single breaker in a normal residential North American setting if you are overclocking. If you look at the top edge of the board you will see that there are four fans under that shroud. While we have not seen it powered on yet, there is a color 1.77" OLED screen on top of that IO panel cover. We expect these to be hitting the market by year end.

The rest of the onboard cooling is tailored for custom liquid loops, starting with a special connector that supports temperature sensing, flow monitoring, and leak detection for compatible CPU blocks. Separate headers for flow and temperature sensors let you monitor another point in the system, and two of the onboard fan headers are configured for pumps. They’re joined by 12 additional fan headers capable of feeding multiple massive radiators.

Posted by Kyle October 09, 2018 4:46 AM (CDT)

Intel Introduces Unlocked 28 Core Xeon and Refreshes Skylake X

In addition to bumping up the core count of their consumer desktop lineup, Intel launched a new high end Xeon and refreshed their "prosumer" Skylake-X lineup today. The Core i9-9980XE features a 165W TDP, a $1979 MSRP, a 3.0ghz base clock and a 4.5Ghz Turbo Boost 3.0 speed, up from the 18 core 7980XE's 2.6Ghz base and 4.2Ghz boost speed. The rest of the Skylake-X lineup got similar clockspeed boosts in their respective price brackets. Meanwhile, Intel also launched a monster of a workstation chip: the Xeon W-3175X. Unlike the Skylake-X lineup, this chip only drops into LGA 3467 sockets on server motherboards. It features 6 memory channels, 28 cores running at a base speed of 3.1Ghz, a 4.3Ghz turbo speed, an unlocked multiplier for tuning those speeds, and a 255W TDP that would put some GPUs to shame. Intel demoed a processor like this before, and didn't list an official MSRP. But, seeing how the Xeon Platinum 8180 goes for over $10k a pop, a whole system with one of these probably falls into the "if you have to ask, you can't afford it" category.

For the select, highly threaded and computing-intensive applications such as architectural and industrial design and professional content creation, Intel will deliver the unlocked Intel Xeon W-3175X processor. This new 28-core Intel Xeon processor was built with real-world performance in mind for these large, intensive workloads with up to 4.3 GHz single-core turbo frequency, 56 threads and unlocked for those who want to push performance even higher. This platform also provides 38.5 MB Intel Smart Cache, 6-channel DDR4 memory support with up to 512 GB at 2666 MHz, and ECC and standard RAS support. The new Intel Core X-series processors will be available in November; the Intel Xeon W-3175X processor will ship from Intel in December.

Posted by alphaatlas October 08, 2018 12:33 PM (CDT)

Facebook Launches Their First Home Hardware

Facebook launched their first 2 home-grown hardware products today. The Portal and Portal+ both feature Alexa integration, 4 beamforming microphones, stereo speakers, and a "Smart Camera" that "uses AI to keep everyone in the frame - panning and zooming automatically no matter where the conversation goes." The base portal goes for $199 and features a 720p display, wile the Portal+ goes for $349 and features a tall 1080x1920 display. Facebook themselves aren't totally oblivious to privacy and security concerns, so on top of a software option to disable the camera and microphone array, they include a camera cover with the product. You can check out the promotional video on the website, and you can see the BBC's less flashy take on the device below:

Facebook doesn't listen to, view or keep the contents of your Portal video calls. Your Portal conversations stay between you and the people you're calling. In addition, video calls on Portal are encrypted, so your calls are always secure.

Posted by alphaatlas October 08, 2018 10:26 AM (CDT)

Intel's Fall Desktop Launch Event is Live

Intel is streaming their Fall Desktop Launch Event here, where they will officially announce the Core 9000 series lineup.

Starting at 10 a.m. EDT/7 a.m. PDT Monday, Oct. 8, Intel will kick off its Fall Desktop Launch Event in New York City. You are invited to join our livestream as Intel's Anand Srivatsa, vice president and general manager in the Client Computing Group, delivers the keynote and invites special guests on stage. Tune in and learn about Intel's next line of desktop processors for gaming, content creation and high-end PCs.

Posted by alphaatlas October 08, 2018 9:00 AM (CDT)

Sony May Be Adding Hardware V-Sync Support to the PlayStation 5

In yet another PlayStation 5 rumor spurred by a patent filed this year by Sony, the inevitable upgrade will supposedly boast hardware-based V-Sync. While this concept is nothing new for the PC crowd, console folks and developers should be pleased to know that an alternative to capping frame rates may be on the way for eliminating screen tearing.

One of the main reasons consoles haven’t properly implemented V-Sync yet is the process is very taxing on the GPU. Sony may have something up their sleeves if they’re confident enough to implement it in the PlayStation 5. Some games on consoles like Street Fighter V do support V-Sync but that’s software, where the output frame is buffered until the display is ready to accept it.

Posted by Megalith October 07, 2018 1:05 PM (CDT)

Intel Will Officially Unveil the 9th-Gen Core Series on October 8

An official tweet suggests Intel will formally announce its 9th-gen Core CPUs via livestream and Newsroom page at 10 am EDT (7 am PDT) this Monday, Oct. 8. While the lineup is not specifically mentioned, a quick shot of the i9-9900K’s fancily geometric packaging can be spotted in a teaser video. VideoCardz has heard rumors that Intel will also discuss upcoming HEDT CPUs (Basin Falls Refresh).
Posted by Megalith October 06, 2018 2:50 PM (CDT)