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Intel Introduces new Security Technologies for 3rd Generation Intel Xeon Scalable Platform, Code-named "Ice Lake"

Intel today unveiled the suite of new security features for the upcoming 3rd generation Intel Xeon Scalable platform, code-named "Ice Lake." Intel is doubling down on its Security First Pledge, bringing its pioneering and proven Intel Software Guard Extension (Intel SGX) to the full spectrum of Ice Lake platforms, along with new features that include Intel Total Memory Encryption (Intel TME), Intel Platform Firmware Resilience (Intel PFR) and new cryptographic accelerators to strengthen the platform and improve the overall confidentiality and integrity of data.

Data is a critical asset both in terms of the business value it may yield and the personal information that must be protected, so cybersecurity is a top concern. The security features in Ice Lake enable Intel's customers to develop solutions that help improve their security posture and reduce risks related to privacy and compliance, such as regulated data in financial services and healthcare.

CORSAIR Adds 3rd Screw to Hydro X GPU Blocks, Introduces More White Components

We first noticed a silent update to CORSAIR's Hydro X GPU blocks with the upcoming RTX 30-series block, with a third screw and a new I/O terminal added to reflect the design of their Dominator Platinum RGB memory sticks. The third screw is no doubt to help quench any concerns over potential leaks of coolant with the older design, which a few people noted was a possibility when under duress, as opposed to a typical use case necessarily. As it turns out, dealing with any bad PR was worth even retroactively making the change with the older RTX 20-series block too, which we now see on their website and is pictured below.

In addition, the company has been adding white color options of their more popular components for people to use as a change from the typical black. Following the Hydro X theme here, we see the company is now selling white Hydro XR5 radiators with a matte white polyurethane coating over the Hardware Labs Black Ice Nemesis LS radiators they are based off. The larger XR7 radiators will not get the same treatment unfortunately, given they are not as popular clearly as the thinner XR5, although you can now also get both pump/reservoir units in white too. Their cooling configurator has been updated with the white parts as well.

TSMC 5 nm Node Supply Fully Booked, Apple the Biggest Customer

TSMC has hit a jackpot with its newer nodes like 7 nm and now 5 nm, as the company is working with quite good yields. To boast, TSMC has seen all of its capacity of 7 nm being fully booked by customers like AMD, Apple, and NVIDIA. However, it seems like the company's next-generation 5 nm node is also getting high demand. According to the latest report from DigiTimes, TSMC's N5 5 nm node is fully booked to the end of 2020. And the biggest reason for that is the biggest company in the world - Apple. Since Apple plans to launch the next-generation iPhone, iPad, and Arm-based MacBook, the company has reportedly booked most of the 5 nm capacity for 2020, meaning that there are lots of chips that Apple will consume. TSMC can't be dependent only on one company like Apple, so the smaller portion of capacity went to other customers as well.

CORSAIR Quietly Updates Hydro X Blocks, Confirms RTX 3000-series GPU Blocks

CORSAIR announces more new products each year than most companies, and this often means that marketing resources get devoted to the high-ticket items more often than not. Their custom watercooling line, the Hydro X Series, is not always one of them and so we end up seeing quiet updates without a press release or even a direct note from their representatives to the media. With the new NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3000-series cards coming in three different categories as far as custom watercooling goes (reference, Founders Edition, AIC-variants), we took the weekend to briefly check what the usual custom watercooling suspects were up to. A page on the CORSAIR website confirms, among other things, that Hydro X GPU blocks are on the way for at least the reference PCB, if not more.

More interestingly, we noted that the Hydro XC7 and XC9 CPU blocks had been updated in more ways than one. We have detailed reviews of both (XC7, XC9) for those who want to see, and our review of the iCUE Nexus also showed a rebranding in the making for the company. The updated CPU blocks carry the new wordmark design for the logo on all 5 SKUs and, more importantly, change the mounting mechanism to allow for a captive system with new thumb screws that should make installation even easier on all Intel and AMD CPU sockets. This should bring with it increased compatibility with crowded m-ITX motherboards as well, and we see it reflected in the additional 719 motherboards in the compatibility list relative to before. Finally, a motherboard ARGB LED adapter is now included in the packaging, so you can use the integrated lighting with motherboard LED headers and control software, should you not want to pony extra for CORSAIR's ecosystem. Pricing for the Hydro XC7 is now $5 higher and the same as the XC9, which is confusing given it uses fewer fins on the cold plate and, the launch versions at least, employed a plastic trim compared to the metal on the XC9. We have contacted the company for clarification on this, and will update the post as we receive more information.

[Update, September 16: CORSAIR has a new photo for their example GPU block that looks suspiciously like it is meant for the FE RTX 3000-series cards. Note also the revised I/O port terminal which should help address some concerns people had about the previous design.]

ASUS Republic of Gamers Announces Meta Buffs Product Lineup

ASUS Republic of Gamers (ROG) today announced an all-new lineup of gaming gear at the Meta Buffs online launch event. Aligning with the event theme, the new products are all meta buffs: status enhancements that are lighter, faster and more powerful for taking gaming experiences to a new level. The lineup features the new ROG Strix GeForce RTX 30 Series graphics cards, which unleash an amped-up thermal design and chart-topping performance with the NVIDIA Ampere architecture. The new NVIDIA GeForce RTX 30 Series GPUs, the 2nd generation of RTX, feature new RT Cores, Tensor Cores and streaming multiprocessors, bringing stunning visuals, amazingly fast frame rates and AI acceleration to games and creative applications. Powered by the NVIDIA Ampere architecture, which delivers increases of up to 1.9 times performance-per-watt over the previous generation, the RTX 30 Series effortlessly powers graphics experiences at all resolutions, even up to 8K at the top end. The GeForce RTX 3090, 3080 and 3070 represent the greatest GPU generational leap in the history of NVIDIA.

ROG also introduced the ROG Swift PG329Q, ROG Swift 360 Hz PG259QN and ROG Swift 360 Hz PG259QNR gaming monitors for ultrafast and ultrasmooth visuals; the ROG Strix XF 120 fan for low-noise cooling performance and versatility; ROG Rapture GT-AXE11000, the world's first Wi-Fi 6E router; the ROG Strix Scope RX gaming keyboard, which debuts the responsive, reliable and durable ROG RX Red Optical Mechanical Switches; the ROG Keris Wireless mouse for compact and nimble control; the ROG Delta S headset for crystal-clear audio; and ROG Scabbard II, an extended gaming mouse pad with a protective nano-coating that repels water, oil and dust.

Apple's Custom GPU is Reportedly Faster than Intel iGPU

When Apple announced their transition form Intel processors to Apple Silicon, we were left wondering how the silicon will perform and what characteristics will it bring with it. According to the latest report from The China Times, the Apple custom GPU found inside the new Apple Silicon will bring better performance and energy efficiency compared to Intel iGPU it replaces. The 5 nm GPU manufactured on TSMC's N5 semiconductor manufacturing node is supposedly codenamed "Lifuka" and it brings Apple's best to the table. Planned to power a 12-inch MacBook, the GPU will be paired with a custom CPU based on Arm ISA as well. The same chips powering iPhone and iPad devices will go into MacBook devices, with the TDP increased as MacBook will probably have much higher cooling capacity. The first Apple Silicon MacBook will come in H2 of 2021.
Here is the copy of a full report from The China Times below:

ZOTAC GeForce RTX 3090 and RTX 3080 Trinity Holo Custom-Design Graphics Card Rendered

Here's the first render of a finished custom-design GeForce RTX 3090 graphics card, courtesy of a leak by HD Tecnologia. The ZOTAC GeForce RTX 3090 Trinity Holo is shown featuring a conventional axial-flow fan-heatsink design. The card is taller than standard by a good inch or so, over 2 slots thick, and appears to feature an acrylic diffuser with RGB LED elements. The RGB embellishments cover both sides of the card.

A recurring theme with "Ampere" cards appears to be thicker-than-standard backplates. On this card, the backplate looks chunky, with RGB elements all over. As for the cooling solution, it features a triple-fan setup ventilating a large heatsink, and possibly a baseplate underneath. We can see the new-generation multi-GPU connector. Variable fan-speeds for individual fans could be a new design trend with this generation. More renders of the RTX 3090 Trinity Holo surfaced, revealing three 8-pin PCIe power connectors. Renders of the RTX 3080 Holo by ZOTAC also surfaced, revealing a smaller product design with just two fans, and two 8-pin PCIe power inputs. A see-through render shows that NVIDIA is planning to use two grades of the same GA102 silicon on both the RTX 3090 and RTX 3080, differing in core-configuration, memory bus, and clock speeds.

Update Aug 30th: VideoCardz scored a family shot of possibly all of ZOTAC's upcoming custom RTX 30-series board designs.

Intel Releases mOS - Custom Operating System for HPC

Intel has been focusing its resources on data center and high-performance computing lately and the company has made some interesting products. Today, Intel has released its latest creation - mOS operating system. Created as a research project, Intel has made an OS made for some extreme-scale HPC systems, meaning that the OS is created for hyper scalers and ones alike. The goal of mOS is to deliver a high-performance environment for software with low-noise, scalability, and the concept of lightweight kernels (LWK) that manage the system.. Being based on the Linux kernel, the OS is essentially another distribution, however, it has been modified so it fits the HPC ecosystem the best way. The mOS is a product in the pre-alpha phase, however, it can already be used in supercomputers like ASCI Red, IBM Blue Gene, and others. Intel is aiming to develop a stable release by the time the Aurora exascale system is ready so it can deploy mOS there.

Corsair Intros Hydro X Series iCUE Custom Water Cooling Kits

Corsair today introduced the Hydro X series iCUE custom water cooling kits. These include the Hydro X Series iCUE XH305i, and the Hydro X Series iCUE XH303i. Both kits are nearly identical, differing with the included radiator fans and reservoirs. The XH305i kit includes an XC7 RGB CPU water block that supports AM4, LGA115x, and LGA1200 CPU socket types; an XR5 360 radiator, an XD5 pump+reservoir combo device, XL5 clear coolant, 3 m XT Hardline 10 mm and 14 mm tubing, eight Hardline 14 mm fittings, a pair of 90° rotary adapters, a 250 ml filling bottle, a Hardline tubing bending toolkit, a trio of QL 120 RGB fans, iCUE Commander PRO, and RGB Fan LED Hub. The XH303i is mostly similar to the XH305i, except that it includes a trio of SP 120 RGB PRO fans, and XD3 pump+radiator combo device. Corsair is pricing the Hydro X Series iCUE XH305i at 579.90€, while the XH303i is going for 499.90€. Corsair is also selling the Hardline Bending Toolkit for 49.90€.

Marvell Unveils the Industry's Most Comprehensive Custom ASIC Offering

Marvell today announced a unique custom ASIC offering that addresses the stringent requirements of next generation 5G carriers, cloud data centers, enterprise and automotive applications. Marvell's comprehensive custom ASIC solution enables a multitude of customization options and a differentiated approach with best-in-class standard product IP including Arm -based processors, embedded memories, high-speed SerDes, networking, security and a wide range of storage controller and accelerators in 5 nm and beyond. By partnering with Marvell, customers gain enhanced performance, power and area resulting in accelerated time-to-market and providing optimal returns on investment.

Traditionally, data infrastructure manufacturers and cloud data center operators have had to choose between securing standard products or a full custom silicon solution designed in-house, while developing or licensing foundational IP as needed. Now, for the first time, Marvell is offering full access to its broad and growing portfolio of industry-leading data infrastructure standard product IP and technologies, which can be integrated and enabled in custom ASIC solutions at the most advanced technology nodes.

AMD Ramps Up Custom SoC Production for Next-Generation Consoles

Both Sony and Microsoft are expected to soon launch their next-generation consoles, which are highly anticipated among console gamers as they will bring some of the latest advancements in graphics, like ray tracing. The current situation in the world is that everything is slowed down due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Companies across the world have mostly slowed down their production lines due to the less demand, however, AMD has done exactly the opposite for their custom SoC customers. In wake of expected high demand, AMD has ramped up its production lines so it can supply Sony and Microsoft for their next-generation consoles—PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X. This is an encouraging sign that the demand is going to be strong - and that AMD is up to the task of delivering.
AMD custom SoC

Arm Delivers New Edge Processor IPs for IoT

Today, Arm announced significant additions to its artificial intelligence (AI) platform, including new machine learning (ML) IP, the Arm Cortex -M55 processor and Arm Ethos -U55 NPU, the industry's first microNPU (Neural Processing Unit) for Cortex-M, designed to deliver a combined 480x leap in ML performance to microcontrollers. The new IP and supporting unified toolchain enable AI hardware and software developers with more ways to innovate as a result of unprecedented levels of on-device ML processing for billions of small, power-constrained IoT and embedded devices.

Europe Readies its First Prototype of Custom HPC Processor

European Processor Initiative (EPI) is a Europe's project to kickstart a homegrown development of custom processors tailored towards different usage models that the European Union might need. The first task of EPI is to create a custom processor for high-performance computing applications like machine learning, and the chip prototypes are already on their way. The EPI chairman of the board Jean-Marc Denis recently spoke to the Next Platform and confirmed some information regarding the processor design goals and the timeframe of launch.

Supposed to be manufactured on TSMC's 6 nm EUV (TSMC N6 EUV) technology, the EPI processor will tape-out at the end of 2020 or the beginning of 2021, and it is going to be heterogeneous. That means that on its 2.5D die, many different IPs will be present. The processor will use a custom ARM CPU, based on a "Zeus" iteration of Neoverese server core, meant for general-purpose computation tasks like running the OS. When it comes to the special-purpose chips, EPI will incorporate a chip named Titan - a RISC-V based processor that uses vector and tensor processing units to compute AI tasks. The Titan will use every new standard for AI processing, including FP32, FP64, INT8, and bfloat16. The system will use HBM memory allocated to the Titan processor, have DDR5 links for the CPU, and feature PCIe 5.0 for the inner connection.

Ek Waterblocks Announces Soft Tube Cutter and Hard Tube Bending Tool

EK Water Blocks, the Slovenia-based premium computer liquid cooling gear manufacturer,today announces the expansion of its liquid cooling gear portfolio with two new tools from the EK-Loop portfolio - EK-Loop Soft Tube Cutter and EK-Loop Modulus Hard Tube Bending Tool.

EK-Loop Soft Tube Cutter
EK-Loop Soft Tube Cutter is a small handy tool specifically made for soft tube cutting. It is compatible with various flexible soft tubing types such as PVC, EPDM, Norprene, silicone, etc. The maximum size compatibility of the cutter is 16 mm (5/8") OD. The EK-Loop Soft Tube Cutter is made in China and is available for purchase for €4.90.

Intel Launches Data Streaming Accelerator

Intel has today launched a new product called Data Streaming Accelerator known as Intel DSA shortly. The new device is going to be present inside every future Intel processor with a goal of "optimizing streaming data movement and transformation operations common with applications for high-performance storage, networking, persistent memory, and various data processing applications."

The DSA processor will replace an existing solution that is Intel QuickData Technology, which was previously used for data movement. This new dedicated processor has a much-needed purpose to free up CPU cycles from doing IO work like moving data to/from volatile memory, persistent memory, memory-mapped I/O, and through a Non-Transparent Bridge (NTB) device to/from remote volatile and persistent memory inside a chip. In addition to the usual data movement operations, the DSA processor can create and test CRC checksums for any errors in storage and networking applications.

Samsung Shuts Down Its Custom CPU Design Group

According to the information obtained by Statesman, Samsung Electronics is shutting down its custom CPU design group within the company. Known for the designs of mobile SoCs like Exynos 9110, 9810 and 9820 just to name a few, it seems that there will be no more future developments of custom Exynos SoC for Samsung's mobile devices. Instead of designing its own cores, Samsung is now going to use ARM's reference A7x series of CPUs based on ARM v8 instruction set, with A76 or A77 being chosen as likely candidates for the high-performance workloads.

So far it is still unknown what will be inside new processors like the upcoming Exynos 9830 SoC, meant to power the next generation of mobile devices. But if things are like Samsung states, there should be reference ARM cores like A77 inside the new chip. Already announced chips like Exynos 990 are supposed to use a custom CPU core, while all future revisions of any new Exynos SoC will license a design IP from ARM. This decision is supposedly a by-product of being unable to compete with offers from Qualcomm, which offers faster "Snapdragon" SoCs. Samsung already uses the Snapdragon SoCs in its phones for the US and Chinese markets, while the rest of the world is getting an Exynos equivalent with the purchase of the same mobile device.

Express Yourself with the Creator PC from NZXT BLD

NZXT, a leading developer of software-powered hardware solutions for PC gaming, today announces the Creator PC a new high-end pre-build that focuses on the needs of creatives at all skill levels.

The NZXT Creator PC is designed to ensure that everyone has the right tools to showcase their talents. Housed in the stylish NZXT H510 Elite chassis, the NZXT Creator PC comes packed with an Intel Core i9 9900k and Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti, giving users all the horsepower needed to edit photos and videos, stream, and play the latest video games at optimal settings.

MSI to Launch Custom Radeon RX 5700 GPUs

While the reviews of Radeon RX 5700 and 5700 XT have been published, there were no confirmations or signs of custom designs from AMD's partners of any kind. However, Hardwareluxx, a German tech media, has acquired some slides from MSI about its upcoming line of Navi GPUs. There will be a total of 7 new models, four being RX 5700 XT variants and three for RX 5700. Surprise here is the new branding series for those GPUs. The MECH series is a rebrand of previous Armor series, now with different red and black color combination. Notable addition to design is inclusion of DVI port. Unlike before, we will now get a so called "EVOKE" series, which we don't have details on yet. All we know is that the new cards supposed to arrive with all the custom cards in August.

TSMC Expects Most 7nm Customers to Move to 6nm Density

TSMC in its quarterly earnings call expressed confidence in that most of its 7 nm (N7) process production node customers would be looking to make the transition to their 6 nm (N6) process. In fact, the company expects that node to become the biggest target for volume ordering (and thus production) amongst its customers, since the new N6 fabrication technology will bring about a sort of "backwards compatibility" with design tools and semiconductor designs that manufacturers have already invested in for its N7 node, thus allowing for cost savings for its clients.

This is despite TSMC's N6 process being able to take advantage of extreme ultraviolet lithography (EUVL) to lower manufacturing complexity. This lowering is achieved by the fact that less exposures of the silicon are required for multi-patterning - which is needed today as TSMC's N7 uses solely deep ultraviolet (DUV) lithography. Interestingly, TSMC expects other clients to pick up its N7+ manufacturing node that aren't already using their 7nm node - the need to develop new tools and lesser design compatibility between its N7 and N7+ nodes compared no N7 and N6 being the justification. TSMC's N7+ will be the first node to leverage EUV, using up to four EUVL layers, while N6 expands it up to five layers, and the upcoming N5 cranks EUVL up to fourteen (allowing for 14 layers.)

ASUS Responds to Reports of ASUS Live Update System Being Compromised by Hackers

Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) attacks are national-level attacks usually initiated by a couple of specific countries, targeting certain international organizations or entities instead of consumers. ASUS Live Update is a proprietary tool supplied with ASUS notebook computers to ensure that the system always benefits from the latest drivers and firmware from ASUS. A small number of devices have been implanted with malicious code through a sophisticated attack on our Live Update servers in an attempt to target a very small and specific user group. ASUS customer service has been reaching out to affected users and providing assistance to ensure that the security risks are removed.

ASUS has also implemented a fix in the latest version (ver. 3.6.8) of the Live Update software, introduced multiple security verification mechanisms to prevent any malicious manipulation in the form of software updates or other means, and implemented an enhanced end-to-end encryption mechanism. At the same time, we have also updated and strengthened our server-to-end-user software architecture to prevent similar attacks from happening in the future.

PowerColor Preparing Custom AMD Radeon VII Designs

PowerColor, one of AMD's foremost AIB (Add-in-Board) partners, is preparing at least as many as five different SKUs based on the latest, upcoming AMD graphics chip. While AMD did say that initial availability of the new, shrunk-down Vega graphics card would be limited to base design models, it's clear that at least PowerColor wants to bring its years of R&D on cooling solutions to bear.

The product codes for PowerColor's in-development SKUs stand as AXVII 16GBHBM2-3DH (reference model), AXVII 16GBHBM2-2D2H (RedDragon Triple Fan), AXVII 16GBHBM2-2D2HD (RedDevil Triple Fan), AXVII 16GBHBM2-2D2H/OC (RedDragon Triple Fan OC, and AXVII 16GBHBM2-2D2HD/OC (RedDevil Triple Fan OC). Whether PowerColor is moving the fastest, has the best relations with AMD, or is just the one company whose beans have been spilled is uncertain for now, but you can expect other brands to join in on the SKU development, if they aren't doing so already (highly, highly doubtful at that).

Update (30/01): A PowerColor representative on Reddit stated that the company is not planning to launch any custom-design Radeon VII in the immediate future. "We did clarify to the media, that at this moment we will only carry AMD reference design and at the moment we do not have custom model planned in the immediate future," they said. PowerColor didn't completely shut off the possibility of a "Red Devil" branded Radeon VII. "Obviously there's quite of you guys out there wanting our Red Devil series on the Vega VII and we will always consider the option. Just not at this point," the statement read.
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