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Intel Core i9-10900 10-core CPU Pictured

Intel's desktop Comet Lake-S lineup is close to being released and we are getting more leaks about the CPU models contained inside it. Perhaps one of the most interesting points for Comet Lake-S series is that it brings a boost in frequency and boost in core count, with the highest-end Core i9 processors going up to 10 cores. Thanks to Xfastest, a Hong Kong-based media outlet, we have first pictures of what appears to be an engineering sample of the upcoming Core i9-10900 processor.

Being a non-K version, this CPU is not capable of overclocking and has a fixed TDP rating of 65 Watts. Compared to 125 W of the K models like the upcoming Core i9-10900K, this CPU will output almost half the heat, thus requiring a less capable cooling solution. The CPU is installed in LGA1200 socket, which is a new home for Comet Lake-S CPUs and provides backward compatibility for coolers supporting LGA1151. In the sample processor pictured below, we can see a marking on the CPU that implies 2.5 GHz base clock. Previously rumors were suggesting that this CPU version has 2.8 GHz base clock, however, it can be an early engineering sample given that no official imprints are found on the CPU heat spreader.

VMWare Updates Licensing Model, Setting 32-Core Limit per License

VMWare, one of the most popular virtualization solutions commercially available for businesses and the industry in general, has announced changes to its licensing model. From now on, licensees will have to acquire a license per 32 CPU cores, instead of the former "per socket" model. This effectively means that users who had made a migration to AMD's 64-core EPYC CPUs, for instance, and who saved on both price-per core and VMWare licensing fees compared to Intel customers (who would need two sockets to achieve the same core-count, and thus, two licenses) are now being charged for two licenses for a 64-core, AMD-populated socket. This was a selling point for AMD - the company stated that their high-end EPYC processors could act as a dual-socket setup with a single processor, thanks to EPYC's I/O capabilities and core counts. VMWare claims this change is in line with industry standard pricing models.

Of course this decision from VMWare hits AMD the hardest, and it comes at a time where there are already 48 and 64 core CPUs available in the market. Should this licensing change be done, perhaps it should be in line with the current state of the industry, and not following in a quasi-random core-count (it definitely isn't random, though, and I'll leave it at that). From VMware's perspective, AMD's humongous CPU core counts does affect their bottom line. The official release claiming customers license software based on CPU counts may be valid, and they do allow for free licenses for servers past 32 cores until April 30, 2020. Of course, VMWare is also preparing itself for future industry changes - Intel will obviously increase its core counts in response to AMD's EPYC attack on the expected core counts of professional applications.

Intel's Frost Canyon NUC 10 Mini PC is now Available

Intel's latest NUC (Next Unit of Computing) series of Mini PCs, based on the 10th generation of Intel "Core" processors, is now available for purchase. Dubbed Frost Canyon, this NUC series is featuring Intel's 10th generation Comet Lake CPUs at its base. All of the available configurations are based around the Intel Core i7-10710U processor, Intel i219-V Gigabit Lan, Bluetooth 5.0 and Intel WiFi 6 AX200 networking module. Configurations are varying by the amount of pre-installed RAM and storage and the option of whatever you want OS pre-installed or not.

The NUC 10 supports up to 64 GB of DDR4 memory, while the storage options include space for one 2.5 inch SSD/HDD in smaller variants or two 2.5 inch SSD/HDD drives in taller variants, with one NVMe M.2 SSD slot available in both versions. Pricing starts at $679 for the base models, while higher-end configurations cost upward of $1,295. Additionally, it is worth pointing out that all CPUs inside the new NUC are configured to run at 25 W of TPD, regardless of the model. This will result in higher performance compared to 15 W versions of processors found in most laptop solutions.

ASRock Announces Brand new Mars Series of Mini PCs

The leading global motherboard & graphics card manufacturer, ASRock, a pleasure to launch brand new compact Mini PC - Mars Series. Supports up to Intel Core i5 Quad-Core processor, 32 GB DDR4-2666 MHz, PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD, 2.5-inch hard drive, and wireless connectivity; all implies into 0.7-liter chassis with 26 mm height.

ASRock Mars offers abundant USB devices connectivity, features a total of 7 USB ports, including one Type-C port; In addition, the native SD card reader and dual display outputs to provide more productive and convenience.

AMD Announces Integration With Microsoft's Secured-Core PC Initiative

In today's world, computer security is becoming very important due the exponential increase in malware and ransomware attacks. Various studies have shown that a single malicious attack can cost companies millions of dollars and can require significant recovery time. With the growth of employees working remotely and connected to a network considered less secure than traditional corporate network, employee's computer systems can be perceived as a weak security link and a risk to overall security of the company. Operating System (OS) and independent hardware vendors (IHV) are investing in security technologies which will make computers more resilient to cyberattacks.

Intel Core i9-9900KS to Cost around $600

Australian e-tailer MWave has put up their product page for the Intel Core i9-9900KS processor that Intel announced earlier this year, but with no actual product in sight. The merchant's listing is showing an AUD 899 price for SKU BX80684I99900KS, which converts to USD 605. The new Intel processor, is basically a binned eight-core Coffee Lake Core i9-9900K, which runs at 4.0 GHz base clock (up by 400 MHz) and 5.0 GHz all-core Turbo (300 MHz increase). Single-core maximum Turbo remains at 5.0 GHz (just like on the Core i9-9900K).

Just earlier this week, ASUS posted a BIOS update note, mentioning in it that the Core i9-9900KS will have a 127 W TDP. It looks like Intel can definitely defend the gaming performance crown with the Core i9-9900KS, mostly thanks to its high clock speeds. However, since most of the improvements are in multi-core workload boost clocks, and single-threaded clocks are identical to 9900K, I'm having some doubts whether the processor can really make any substantial difference — it's definitely not going to beat the $100 cheaper Ryzen 9 3900X in Cinebench, and the 127 W TDP limit might mean that the 5.0 GHz all-core Boost will end up being active only for a short amount of time.

Alleged Leaked Details on Intel Comet Lake-S Platform Require... You Guessed It... A New Platform

Intel's development of their Core architecture in the post-Ryzen world has been slow, with solutions slowly creeping up in core counts with every new CPU release - but much slowly than rival AMD's efforts. Before Intel can capitalize on a new, more scalable and power-efficient architecture, though, it has to deliver performance and core count increases across its product line to stay as relevant as possible against a much revitalized rival. Enter Comet Lake-S: the desktop parts of Intel's new round of consumer CPUs, which will reportedly see an increase in the maximum core count to a 10-core design. This 10-core design, however, comes with an increase in power consumption (up to 135 W), and the need, once again, for beefier power delivery systems in a new, LGA 1200 package (with 9 more pins that the current LGA 1151).

The move to a new socket and the more stringent power requirements give Intel the opportunity to refresh its chipset offerings once again. If everything stays the same (and there's no reason it should change), new Z470 and Z490 chipsets should be some of the higher tier offerings for builders to pair with their motherboards. The new Comet Lake-S CPUs will still be built in the now extremely refined 14 nm process, and allegedly keep the same 16 PCIe 3.0 lanes as current Coffee Lake Refresh offerings. The new CPU offerings from Intel are expected to roll out in Q1 2020.

Intel Launches First 10th Gen Core Processors: Redefining the Next Era of Laptop Experiences

Today, Intel officially launched 11 new, highly integrated 10th Gen Intel Core processors designed for remarkably sleek 2 in 1s and laptops. The processors bring high-performance artificial intelligence (AI) to the PC at scale, feature new Intel Iris Plus graphics for stunning entertainment and enable the best connectivity with Intel Wi-Fi 6 (Gig+) and Thunderbolt 3. Systems are expected from PC manufacturers for the holiday season.

"These 10th Gen Intel Core processors shift the paradigm for what it means to deliver leadership in mobile PC platforms. With broad-scale AI for the first time on PCs, an all-new graphics architecture, best-in-class Wi-Fi 6 (Gig+) and Thunderbolt 3 - all integrated onto the SoC, thanks to Intel's 10nm process technology and architecture design - we're opening the door to an entirely new range of experiences and innovations for the laptop."
-Chris Walker, Intel corporate vice president and general manager of Mobility Client Platforms in the Client Computing Group

Intel Starts Shipping 10 nm Ice Lake CPUs to OEMs

During its second quarter earnings call, Intel announced that it has started shipping of 10th generation "Core" CPUs to OEMs. Making use of 10 nm lithography, the 10th generation of "Core" CPUs, codenamed Ice Lake, were qualified by OEMs earlier in 2019 in order to be integrated into future products. Ice Lake is on track for holiday season 2019, meaning that we can expect products on-shelves by the end of this year. That is exciting news as the 10th generation of Core CPUs is bringing some exciting micro-architectural improvements along with the long awaited and delayed Intel's 10nm manufacturing process node.

The new CPUs are supposed to get around 18% IPC improvement on average when looking at direct comparison to previous generation of Intel CPUs, while being clocked at same frequency. This time, even regular mobile/desktop parts will get AVX512 support, alongside VNNI and Cryptography ISA extensions that are supposed to bring additional security and performance for the ever increasing number of tasks, especially new ones like Neural Network processing. Core configurations will be ranging from dual core i3 to quad core i7, where we will see total of 11 models available.

Rumor: AMD Navi a Stopgap, Hybrid Design of RDNA and GraphicsCoreNext

The Wheel of Rumors turns, and assumptions come and pass, sometimes leaving unfulfilled hopes and dreams. In this case, the rumor mill, in what seems like a push from sweclockers, places Navi not as a "built from the ground-up" architecture, but rather as a highly customized iteration of GCN - iterated in the parts that it actually implements AMD's RDNA architecture, to be exact. And this makes sense from a number of reasons - it's certainly not anything to cry wolf about.

For one, AMD's GCN has been a mainstay in the graphics computing world since it was first introduced back in 2012, succeeding the company's TeraScale architecture. Game engines and assorted software have been well optimized already to take advantage of AMD's design - even with its two ISAs and assorted improvements over the years. One of the most important arguments is derived from this optimization effort: AMD's custom designs for the console market employ architectures that are GCN-based, and thus, any new architecture that would be used by both Microsoft and Sony for their next-generation consoles would have to be strictly backwards compatible.

ASUS Provides BIOS updates addressing MDS vulnerabilities, ZombieLoad, RIDL, and Fallout

ASUS is aware that a new sub-class of speculative execution side-channel vulnerabilities in Intel CPUs, called Microarchitectural Data Sampling (MDS), also known as ZombieLoad, RIDL, and Fallout, may allow information disclosure. Intel states that selected 8th and 9th Generation Intel Core processors, as well as the 2nd Generation Intel Xeon Scalable processor family, are not vulnerable to MDS. If you are using one of these processors, no further action is necessary.

For other Intel processors, ASUS is working closely with Intel to provide a solution in a forthcoming BIOS update. We recommend owners of affected products update both the BIOS and operating system as soon as these mitigations are available. Please find our first-wave model list below and download the appropriate BIOS update from the ASUS Support website. More details, including affected systems, will be added to this document as they become available.

Spoiler Alert: New Security Vulnerability Found Affecting Intel CPUs

A new security vulnerability has been found that only affects Intel CPUs - AMD users need not concern regarding this issue. Dubbed Spoiler, the newfound security vulnerability was discovered by the Worcester Polytechnic Institute in partnership with the University of Lübeck, and affects all Intel CPUs since the introduction of their Core architecture. This vulnerability too affects Intel's speculative execution design, and according to the researchers, works independent of OS, virtual machine, or sandboxed environments.

As the researchers explain, Intel's speculative execution of certain memory workloads requires the full physical address bits for the information in memory to be known, which could allow for the full address to be available in user space - allowing for privilege escalation and other microarchitectural attacks. According to the researchers, a software solution to this problem is impossible, which means this is yet another silicon-level bug that needs to be addressed in future processor designs.
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