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AMD Ryzen 2000-series "Pinnacle Ridge" CPUs Get Soldered IHS

AMD's second-generation Ryzen 2000-series "Pinnacle Ridge" processors, which succeed the company's first Ryzen "Summit Ridge," reportedly feature soldered integrated heatspreaders (IHS), according AMD spokesperson "AMD_Robert" on Reddit. This would make the chips different from the Ryzen 2000G-series "Raven Ridge" APUs launched earlier this week, which come with a thermal paste between the IHS and the die. Soldered heatspreaders are generally known to have better heat transfer between the IHS and die, when compared to packages with thermal pastes between the two; and are more expensive to manufacture. They remove the need to "de-lid" the processor (remove the IHS). Ryzen 2000-series processors are expected to debut in April 2018.

It's a Web Mining Odyssey, Part 3: YouTube Falls to Injected Mining Code

Web mining's advent was the opening of a veritable Pandora's box when it comes to users' peace of mind while surfing the internet. What started with The Pirate Bay's implementation and ended up with a full-on browser war against these injected, unauthorized hijacks of users' electricity and computing resources has now taken to one of the world's most known and visited websites: YouTube.

Users of YouTube started getting heads-up that something might be wrong due to their antivirus protection kicking off some cryptocurrency mining warnings that seemed to only pop up when users were visiting YouTube. These warnings kept popping up even after a web browser change, and then, on Friday, researchers from TrendMicro touched upon the issue, saying that YouTube's web mining injections had led to a more than three-fold spike in the total number of cryptocurrency web mining warnings. Luckily, the web mining exploit wasn't deployed across the entire world: Trend Micro researchers said that the attackers behind the ads were abusing Google's DoubleClick ad platform to display them to YouTube visitors in select countries, including Japan, France, Taiwan, Italy, and Spain.

Microsoft Issues Update to Rollback Intel Spectre, Meltdown Problematic Patches

Multiple reports pegged some issues on Intel's rapid-fire, microcode and software response towards addressing the Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities, with Intel themselves coming forward, admitting to the problems' existence, and urging users not to perform said updates. However, Intel's press release wasn't very clear on whether or not users would be able to rollback changes in order to recover their machines' stability. Microsoft has taken the matter into its own hands, via an out of band update for Windows, KB4078130, that specifically disables only the mitigation against CVE-2017-5715 - "Branch target injection vulnerability."

In Microsoft's testing, this particular update is the one that the company has found to be associated the most with stability issues on host machines, and their out of band update seems to mitigate these completely. Microsoft is also adding the possibility for users to either disable or enable the troublesome mitigation themselves, manually, via registry changes. Microsoft seems to have taken the job of cleaning house on themselves, after Intel's apparent hasty move to restore security to systems based on their CPUs.

Intel Processors to Have "In-silicon" Fixes to Meltdown and Spectre This Year

Intel, which benefited from the post-Q4 public-disclosure of Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities in its latest results, is hoping to mitigate its fallout on Q1-2018. The company, along with several other CPU designers, such as AMD and ARM, are firefighting the two devastating security vulnerabilities through OS kernel patches and CPU micro-code updates; which come at a slight expense of performance. In a bid to unnerve investors, company CEO Brian Krzanich announced that Intel is working on "in-silicon" fixes to Meltdown and Spectre.

An "in-silicon" fix would entail a major CPU micro-architecture design that's inherently immune to the two vulnerabilities and yet offers the benefits of modern branch-prediction and speculative execution. Krzanich says processors with in-silicon fixes to the two vulnerabilities will be released to market by the end of 2018.

BSODs from Meltdown and Spectre Firmware Updates Are Spreading Like the Plague

Have you ever taken your car to the mechanic shop to fix one thing but end up breaking another? Well, that's how Intel CPU owners are feeling right now. Intel previously confirmed that their Meltdown and Spectre firmware updates are causing irritating reboots on systems with Broadwell and Haswell processors. After analyzing the latest customer reports, they are acknowledging that the updates are also causing BSODs on the Kaby Lake, Skylake, Ivy Bridge, and Sandy Bridge platforms. This shouldn't come as a shocker considering how both the Meltdown and Spectre exploits affect Intel processors over the past 20 years. The possibility of all platforms suffering from the same side effects is extremely high. Fear not, though, as Intel is already working on an updated microcode to fix the constant system reboots. Motherboard vendors should have the beta microcode for validation by next week. Expect a new BIOS revision for your motherboard soon.

Intel Releases CPU Benchmarks with Meltdown and Spectre Mitigations

It's safe to say that there's one thing that you don't mess around with, and that's performance. Enthusiasts don't spend hundreds of dollars on a processor to watch it underperform. Given the complicated nature of the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities, Microsoft's so-called mitigations were bound to have an impact on processor performance. The million dollar question was: Just how much? The initial estimate was somewhere around 30%, but Intel, being optimistic as usual, expected the performance impact to be insignificant for the average user. They recently provided some preliminary benchmark results that looked quite convincing too. Well, let's take a look at their findings, shall we?

Intel measured the mitgations' impact on CPU performance using their 6th, 7th, and 8th Generation Intel Core processors but, more specifically, the i7-6700K, i7-7920HQ, i7-8650U, and i7-8700K. The preferred operating system used in the majority of the benchmarks was Windows 10, however, Windows 7 also made a brief appearance. Intel chose four key benchmarks for their testing. SYSmark 2014 SE evaluated CPU performance on an enterprise level simulating office productivity, data and financial analysis, and media creation. PC Mark 10, on the other hand, tested performance in real-world usage employing different workloads like web browsing, video conferencing, application start-up time, spreadsheets, writing, and digital content creation. 3DMark Sky Diver assessed CPU performance in a DirectX 11 gaming scenario. Lastly, WebXPRT 2015 measured system performance using six HTML5- and JavaScript-based workloads which include photo enhancement, organize album, stock option pricing, local notes, sales graphs, and explore DNA sequencing.

Samsung Optimizes Exynos 9810 for AI Applications and Richer Multimedia Content

Samsung Electronics, a world leader in advanced semiconductor technology, today announced the launch of its latest premium application processor (AP), the Exynos 9 Series 9810. The Exynos 9810, built on Samsung's second-generation 10-nanometer (nm) FinFET process, brings the next level of performance to smartphones and smart devices with its powerful third-generation custom CPU, faster gigabit LTE modem and sophisticated image processing with deep learning-based software. In recognition of its innovation and technological advancements, Samsung's Exynos 9 Series 9810 has been selected as a CES 2018 Innovation Awards HONOREE in the Embedded Technologies product category and will be displayed at the event, which runs January 9-12, 2018, in Las Vegas, USA.

"The Exynos 9 Series 9810 is our most innovative mobile processor yet, with our third-generation custom CPU, ultra-fast gigabit LTE modem and, deep learning-enhanced image processing," said Ben Hur, vice president of System LSI marketing at Samsung Electronics. "The Exynos 9810 will be a key catalyst for innovation in smart platforms such as smartphones, personal computing and automotive for the coming AI era."

AMD Updates on AMD Processor Security Status

There has been recent press coverage regarding a potential security issue related to modern microprocessors and speculative execution. Information security is a priority at AMD, and our security architects follow the technology ecosystem closely for new threats. It is important to understand how the speculative execution vulnerability described in the research relates to AMD products, but please keep in mind the following:
  • The research described was performed in a controlled, dedicated lab environment by a highly knowledgeable team with detailed, non-public information about the processors targeted.
  • The described threat has not been seen in the public domain.

Scythe Kotetsu Mark II Aims to Provide Best Price-Performance Ratio

Japanese cooling expert Scythe presents the significantly improved "Mark II" version of its Kotetsu CPU Cooler. While keeping the basic design of the predecessor, Kotetsu Mark II comes with both visual and technical improvements. One of the key advances is the offset, where the heatsink is not centered but moved to the side and the rear. This allows the CPU Cooler to increase the distance to the first PCI-Express slot, offering unchallenged compatibility to VGA card with outsized cooling solutions and avoid clearance issues with memory modules with large heatsinks at the same time. Kotetsu Mark II is able to deliver a significant performance boost compared to the first version, thanks to an optimization of the manufacturing process. Visual improvements include the new aluminum-look top-cover and nickel-plated heatpipes and base-plate. The Kotetsu Mark II is bundled with a high-quality PWM-fan from Scythe's Kaze Flex 120 PWM series. In spite of the significant improvements of performance and visuals, Kotetsu Mark II price is remaining to assure the best possible price-performance ratio.

Newegg Black Friday Deals 2017

Black Friday is indisputably the best time of the year for any computer enthusiasts because we can get new toys for cheaper prices. Whether it be computer hardware or consumer electronics, Newegg has become the preferred place for many enthusiasts. We here at TechPowerUp have put together a list of the amazing deals currently available at the online retailer. The promotions are grouped into different categories for your viewing convenience. If you've been eyeing a particular piece of hardware or gadget, come take a look at our list. Who knows? Maybe you can save yourself a few hard-earned dollars. Don't forget to come back periodically to check for new deals!

Intel to Bring Additional Assembly Online to Improve Supply of Coffee Lake CPUs

There were some rumors regarding an expected low availability of Intel's latest, 8th Gen "Coffee Lake" CPUs. Then, in a new report, those rumors were sort of confirmed by Newegg. Now, we have it straight from the blue giant themselves, as Intel has announced that they're adding another facility to their 8th Gen Coffee Lake production and certification facilities. Stock of Intel 8th Gen CPUs has been spotty, to say the least, and pricing of the lineup's unlocked CPUs (8600K and 8700K, which are the most interesting for enthusiasts) have been particularly affected. If current output isn't enough to satisfy demand, the oldest trick in the book is to simply improve output. And Intel is doing it.

While Intel has been mainly using its assembly and test facilities based in Malaysia, the company is adding a new, certified assembly to the list: one in Chengdu, China. That shouldn't send alarms ringing, however; Intel's assembly and test facilities are a part of Intel's Copy Exactly! (CE!) program. This means that in order to be certified, all facilities must have identical methodologies and process technologies across different production sites throughout the world - there should be no quantifiable difference in quality. Intel's customers will begin to receive the aforementioned processors assembled in China starting from December 15. There is no real way to know exactly how much difference the new assembly facility will make on the worldwide supply of Intel 8h Gen CPUs - but it should only improve.

MINIX Creator Andrew Tanenbaum Sends Open Letter to Intel Over MINIX Drama

We recently reported about MINIX, the hidden Unix-like OS that Intel was secretly shipping in all of their modern processors. This came as a shock to most of us and to MINIX creator Andrew Tanenbaum as well. Although Andrew wasn't completely surprised by the news, since Intel approached him couple years back asking him to make a few changes to the MINIX system. He stated in the open letter that he wasn't looking for economic remuneration, but it would have been nice if Intel had told him about their plans to distribute his operating system in their processors.

Intel Xeon Scalable Processors Supercharge Amazon Web Services

Intel Xeon Scalable processors are deployed by today's cloud service providers to deliver disruptive performance efficiency across a diverse range of cloud workloads. Today, Intel announced Amazon Web Services' (AWS) public cloud customers can now harness the workload-optimized performance that the Intel Xeon Scalable platform delivers in Amazon's latest cloud instance. Available now, the Amazon EC2 C5 instances are AWS' latest generation, most powerful compute-optimized instances with the best price-to-compute performance.

Intel Xeon Scalable processors are highly agile, high-performance compute engines that allow public cloud environments to seamlessly transition among general purpose compute, high-performance computing (HPC) and AI/deep learning compute. This agility provides public cloud users a wide range of options for their target workloads. Intel Xeon Scalable processors are uniquely architected for today's evolving cloud data center infrastructure, offering energy efficiency and system-level performance that average 1.65x higher performance over the prior generation Xeon processors.

Ultrafast Magnetic Reversal Leads the Way for Speedy, Energy-Efficient Memory

Researchers at UC Berkeley and UC Riverside have developed a new, ultrafast method for electrically controlling magnetism in certain metals, a breakthrough that could lead to greatly increased performance and more energy-efficient computer memory and processing technologies. The findings of the group, led by Berkeley electrical engineering and computer sciences (EECS) professor Jeffrey Bokor, are published in a pair of articles in the journals Science Advances (Vol. 3, No. 49, Nov. 3, 2017) and Applied Physics Letters (Vol. III, No. 4, July 24, 2017).

Computers use different kinds of memory technologies to store data. Long-term memory, typically a hard disk or flash drive, needs to be dense in order to store as much data as possible. But the central processing unit (CPU) - the hardware that enables computers to compute - requires its own memory for short-term storage of information while operations are executed. Random Access Memory (RAM) is one example of such short-term memory.

Heatkiller IV Waterblocks for AMD Threadripper CPUs Go Up for Preorder

Watercool started development on their waterblocks for AMD Threadripper processors back in August. The brand made an announcement today on their Facebook stating that waterblocks are ready to come out of the oven. The Heatkiller IV waterblocks will come in three variants: copper, nickel, and nickel/black. All three models are available for preorder tomorrow. If you're quick enough to pull the trigger, you can also net yourself a nice 10% preorder discount. According to Watercool, the copper model ships on November 10th, while the other two remaining nickel models will start shipping on November 24th.

The full copper model is a waterblock aimed at copper lovers. It comes with an unique, huge Threadripper cooling plate made entirely of copper. The massive top is milled out of one solid block of copper. On the other hand, the nickel block caters to those who prefer a more glossy look. Both the huge cold plater and top are milled out of solid copper; then consequently nickel plated. Lastly, Watercool calls the nickel/black model the jack of all trades. The copper cold plate is nickel plated, while the top is manufactured from acrylic (Plexiglas GS) and comes with a black anodized aluminum cover. RGB lighting is present thanks to the preinstalled RGB LED strip which connects to the RGB LED headers on X399 motherboards through a black, paracord sleeved cable.

ASUS Confirms Z270 Platform Could be Compatible with Intel Coffee Lake CPUs

In an interview with Bit-tech, ASUS ROG motherboard product manager Andrew Wu has let the proverbial cat out of the bag: apparently, compatibility of Z270 boards with Coffee Lake processors wouldn't have been impossible after all. When asked why the new Coffee Lake CPUs aren't compatible with the previously released Z270 platform, Andrew Wu explained that it" (...) depends on Intel's decision." Andrew Wu also went on to mention that Intel's stated power delivery reasons don't "make much difference", and that ASUS themselves could make their Z270 motherboards compatible with Coffee Lake. For that, however, they'd need "(...) an upgrade from the ME [Management Engine] and a BIOS update", for which "Intel somehow has locked the compatibility."

It seems all of that extra "pin-count" doesn't really matter in the grand scheme of the current Coffee Lake lineup with up to six core processors - the CPU socket and platform as designed with Z270 would have been able to handle the increased core counts and power loads. The question gets murkier with Intel's ability to release an 8-core CPU to the Z370 platform though - that particular amount of cores might indeed prove to be too much for Z270's power delivery. Making an educated guess, it would seem that Intel could have allowed for Coffee Lake compatibility on Z270 motherboards on CPUs up to 6 cores, but would need the new revisions on the Z370 platform to allow for operation of 8-core Coffee Lake chips.

Politifact Sees Unsactioned Introduction of Web Miner, Vows to Investigate

This here is an issue that this editor has been fearing for a while, and that we here at TPU have called our users' attention to in the past. It's bad enough when websites willingly implement web mining scripts absent of users' consent or simple knowledge. Opt-in mining as a contribution to a website's revenue would be the best way to go around the issue; however, absent that, a simple opt-out capability wouldn't be much worse. But if stealth usage of a site viewers' computing resources is bad, what then can be said when the site managers themselves are unaware of the implementation of a web miner?

This is what happened with Politifact, the US politics fact-checking website, which is but one of hundreds of the world's top traffic websites that have seen the stealth introduction of these web mining scripts - against the will of the site managers. In the meantime, Politifact has brought down the offending code and has vowed to investigate, but this opens up Pandora's box, really. Generally speaking, these JavaScript apps are running code hosted on another server that the end user - and sometimes even the site hosts - can't inspect or don't expect to have to inspect. And this is easier to do than one would imagine; there's a lack of protection against JavaScript routines like this one. And where there's potential for profit, there's abuse; and that's what we're seeing. It also doesn't help that injecting the necessary JavaScript into the front page of a website is much easier than a full blown hack into a website's databases; and once the code has been shoehorned into a website's code, it runs itself, hijacking users' CPU cycles and putting the resulting Monero coins into a designated wallet.

On Intel's Decision to no Longer Disclose All-core Turbo

Intel is no longer going to disclose all-core Turbo Boost speeds, starting with their 8th Gen Coffee Lake processors that have just been released. The information comes straight from the blue giant. Answering a query from ExtremeTech on the matter, the company said that "[W]e're no longer disclosing this level of detail as its proprietary to Intel. Intel only specifies processor frequencies for base and single-core Turbo in our processor marketing and technical collateral, such as ARK, and not the multi-core Turbo frequencies. We're aligning communications to be consistent. All Turbo frequencies are opportunistic given their dependency on system configuration and workloads."

This decision is a rollback that does little more than rob users of another data point that has really always been there. The practical effect of this change isn't anything to write home about: Intel's Turbo Boost capabilities were never guaranteed performance levels (the fact that the advertised Turbo speeds were called "Max Turbo" implied Turbo levels could be lower.) However, there's also not much that can be said to explain this change in stance from the blue giant. If anything, this decision only opens up debate and speculation regarding the reasons why Intel is making this change: and the skeptics among us will always default to foul play or dark linings.

To our Forum dwellers: this piece is marked as an Editorial

The Pirate Bay Resumes Cryptocurrency Mining, No Opt-Out

We've previously covered The Pirate Bay's usage of a web-based miner on users' machines without their knowledge or consent. We've even done a pretty extensive editorial on whether or not this could be the revenue model of the future. At the time, we came away with the conclusion that the problem isn't with the technology per se, but with the fact it's implemented by humans (and most problems do have their root cause in us humans after all, don't they?).

This seems to be such a case, since The Pirate Bay has now resumed their web-based mining activities with no Opt-out or, better yet, opt-in business model. Now, however, the code isn't being run in the site's core code, but is instead embedded on an advertisement script (yes, advertisements are still running parallel on The Pirate Bay). The most popular adblockers should be enough to stop this miner from ever running, anyway, but yes, there are still users who surf the web absent of any ad-blocking capabilities - and these should see some added processing spikes on their CPUs.

Intel Coffee Lake CPUs Have Different Pin Configuration than Previous Generation

Intel is set to release its newest generation of processors, known as code name Coffee Lake in just a few days. Recent controversy has focused around the inability of newer processors to be used with motherboards supporting the previous generation CPUs. Intel has released data sheets for Coffee Lake CPUs, and images of the socket's layout support Intel's statement that Coffee Lake will indeed need a new socket design. Specifically, there are more pins responsible for delivering the main power for the CPU cores, known as VCC pins, with Coffee Lake motherboards sporting 146 VCC pins illustrated in the first image below, compared to Kaby Lake and Skylake's 128 illustrated in the second image.

With these pins responsible for delivering power to the CPU cores, this may suggest that previous generation motherboards allowed for lower power operation than is possible with the higher core count of Coffee Lake processors. Whatever the reason, it definitely confirms that Coffee Lake CPUs are hardware-incompatible with previous generation motherboards, and not simply a software or BIOS-level lock.

AMD's Pinnacle Ridge Zen+ 12 nm CPUs to Launch on February 2018

A recent AMD roadmap leak showed the company's "tick", process-improved plans for 2018's Zen+, as well as its painter-imbued aspirations with Zen 2 in 2019. Now, there's some new info posted by DigiTimes that's being sourced straight from motherboard makers that points to the company's Pinnacle Ridge launch being set sometime in February 2018.

This information seems to have been delivered to the motherboard makers straight from AMD itself, as a heads-up for when they should be expecting to ramp up production of next-generation chipsets. Sources report that AMD will follow their Summit Ridge, Ryzen launch, with the initial release of Pinnacle 7 in February, followed by the mid-range Pinnacle 5 and entry-level Pinnacle 3 processors in March 2018. DigiTimes also reports that AMD is expecting to see its share of the desktop CPU market return to at least 30% in the first half of 2018 which, coeteris paribus, is more of a simple mathematical progression than clarvoyance.

IBASE Announces PICMG 1.3 CPU Card With Intel 6th/7th Gen Xeon, Core CPUs

IBASE, a global leader in the manufacture of embedded computing and IIoT solutions, launches its new IB990 PICMG 1.3 full-size CPU card. The board supports the latest 7th/6th Generation Intel Xeon/Core i7/i5/i3 processors with speeds up to 4.0GHz. Based on the chipset family formerly known as Skylake, Intel C236 and Q170 Express chipsets, the high-performance IB990 SBC is built with two DIMM sockets to support DDR4 2133 MHz memory modules with up to 32GB in total and six superfast SATA III ports featuring RAID 0/1/5/10 and 6 Gb/s speed.

As a perfect solution for control systems in factory automation and other industrial applications, IB990 is designed for compute, data and graphics intensive applications and enables up to three independent displays via DVI-I, VGA and DVI-D interface. This long-life single board computer incorporates a rich set of I/O connectivity including two Gigabit Ethernet, four COM, two USB 2.0 and three USB 3.0 ports, plus a Mini PCI-E expansion socket for optional wireless modules. Additionally, the IB990 takes advantage of Intel AMT 11.0 for remote management and powering-on functionalities.

Intel Skylake-X HCC CPU Delidded by Der8auer, also not Soldered

Overclocking poster-boy Der8auer has seemingly gotten his hands on some early samples of Intel's Skylake-X high core count (HCC)HEDT CPUs. The upcoming 12 to 18-core enthusiast-class CPUs are being launched on the same X299 platform on socket LGA 2066 that Intel has already launched 4 (Kaby Lake-X), 6, 8 and 10-core parts already, and are supposed to bring Intel towards a level playing field - and then some - with competitor AMD's Threadripper CPUs, which boast of up to 16 cores.

From this delidding process with Der8auer's own delidding tool, Delid-Die-Mate-X, seems to result a die that is much larger - as expected - than Intel's 10-core i9-7900X. At the same time, it seems that Intel is still opting, again, for not soldering its enthusiast-targeted CPUs, which would result in better temperatures and, potentially, overclocking potential. The fact that Der8auer managed to delid the i9-7920X and didn't recommend against doing it likely means that there is minimal risk of damaging your CPU while subjecting it to this process. This is something the renowned overclocker did do when he recommended that users shouldn't delid their Ryzen or Threadripper CPUs looking for better temperatures, since the fact that these were soldered would likely result in both catastrophic damage and a much diminished chance of operating temperatures improvement through the application of special purpose thermal compounds. The Facebook post from Der8auer with the delidded 7920X likely serves as an appetizer for an upcoming delid video on YouTube, as has been the overclocker's MO.

AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1900X Core Configuration Detailed

At its pre-launch media conference call for the Ryzen Threadripper 1900X, AMD mentioned that the chip has been carved out from the common 4-die EPYC MCM using a "4-0-4-0 diagonal configuration," which led to some confusion as to which cores/dies AMD disabled to carve out the $549 8-core HEDT processor. The company shed some light on this matter, responding to questions from TechPowerUp.

It turns out, that the Threadripper 1900X features an entire CCX (quad-core CPU complex) disabled per active die on the multi-chip module, so the CCX that's enabled has 8 MB of L3 cache; and access to the die's entire uncore resources, such as the dual-channel memory controller, PCIe root complex, etc. With two such active "Zeppelin" dies, the Threadripper 1900X ends up with 8 cores, 16 MB of L3 cache, a quad-channel memory interface, and 64 PCIe lanes.

AMD Ryzen PRO Desktop Processors Released Worldwide

Building on the global enthusiasm generated by the launch of Ryzen high-end desktop processors and EPYC server processors for the datacenter, AMD (NASDAQ: AMD) today announced broad adoption of enterprise solutions featuring AMD Ryzen PRO desktop processors. Designed for business, Ryzen PRO processors bring reliability, security, and performance to address the demands of today's compute-intensive enterprise-focused workloads. Commercially-focused desktop solutions based on these new processors are expected to be available from Dell, HP, and Lenovo in the coming weeks.

"Today's business PC users require more processing power than ever before to run increasingly demanding applications, to ensure they can multi-task without disruption, and to help protect against security threats," said Jim Anderson, senior vice president and general manager, Computing and Graphics Group, AMD. "Ryzen PRO is designed to address these needs, and we're proud to collaborate with such a strong set of industry leaders on a robust assortment of AMD-based desktop PCs that showcase the strength and flexibility of the Ryzen PRO platform."
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