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AMD in Talks with Partners About Custom Radeon RX 6900 XT Designs

Just a few days ago AMD has announced its Radeon RX 6000 series of graphics cards based on the new RDNA 2 architecture. While AMD has given out the "Big Navi" chips to its partners to design custom boards and give users designs with better cooling and possibly higher overclocking capabilities, that doesn't seem to extend to the highest-end parts. So far, we have seen custom designs from companies like ASUS, MSI, etc., and all of them have one thing in common - they only do designs for Radeon RX 6800 or RX 6800 XT. So one would wonder where are the highest-end custom Radeon RX 6900 XT designs.

The first wave of the "custom" cards will be on November 18th, when manufacturers will release designs that are MBA (Made-by-AMD), meaning that the PCB is a reference design, just with a custom cooler installed. When it comes to the custom RX 6900 XT cards, AMD is now in talks with its partners whether to keep the biggest "Big Navi" design available for custom designs, or to keep it as AMD exclusive, with the most likely scenario being the AMD exclusivity. AMD partners could carry the models in their stores and offerings, however, the PCB and cooler design would be AMD's. The situation is yet unresolved so we have to wait and see what comes out of it and if we are getting any custom designs of the Radeon RX 6900 XT model.

AMD Radeon RX 6000 Series "Big Navi" GPU Features 320 W TGP, 16 Gbps GDDR6 Memory

AMD is preparing to launch its Radeon RX 6000 series of graphics cards codenamed "Big Navi", and it seems like we are getting more and more leaks about the upcoming cards. Set for October 28th launch, the Big Navi GPU is based on Navi 21 revision, which comes in two variants. Thanks to the sources over at Igor's Lab, Igor Wallossek has published a handful of information regarding the upcoming graphics cards release. More specifically, there are more details about the Total Graphics Power (TGP) of the cards and how it is used across the board (pun intended). To clarify, TDP (Thermal Design Power) is a measurement only used to the chip, or die of the GPU and how much thermal headroom it has, it doesn't measure the whole GPU power as there are more heat-producing components.

So the break down of the Navi 21 XT graphics card goes as follows: 235 Watts for the GPU alone, 20 Watts for Samsung's 16 Gbps GDDR6 memory, 35 Watts for voltage regulation (MOSFETs, Inductors, Caps), 15 Watts for Fans and other stuff, and 15 Watts that are used up by PCB and the losses found there. This puts the combined TGP to 320 Watts, showing just how much power is used by the non-GPU element. For custom OC AIB cards, the TGP is boosted to 355 Watts, as the GPU alone is using 270 Watts. When it comes to the Navi 21 XL GPU variant, the cards based on it are using 290 Watts of TGP, as the GPU sees a reduction to 203 Watts, and GDDR6 memory uses 17 Watts. The non-GPU components found on the board use the same amount of power.

Porsche Design and AOC Gaming Announce Partnership

Porsche Design and AOC have entered a partnership that combines Porsche Design's sophisticated and functional design philosophy with AOC's state-of-the-art display technology. Together they will bring exceptional gaming monitors to the market, developed for gamers looking for the highest performance while infusing their gaming stations dramatic style. The first ever Porsche Design AOC AGON gaming monitor will be launched in autumn 2020.

The Porsche Design brand is synonymous with exclusive lifestyle products, which stands for precision and perfection. The company's pure design philosophy is to optimize form and function by discovering new and innovative solutions. AOC is a subsidiary of TPV Technology, the largest LCD monitor manufacturer in the world. Thanks to its excellent, high performance and unique gaming displays from the AOC Gaming and the premium AGON lines, AOC holds the number one position in the global gaming monitor market.

Rambus Advances HBM2E Performance to 4.0 Gbps for AI/ML Training Applications

Rambus Inc. (NASDAQ: RMBS), a premier silicon IP and chip provider making data faster and safer, today announced it has achieved a record 4 Gbps performance with the Rambus HBM2E memory interface solution consisting of a fully-integrated PHY and controller. Paired with the industry's fastest HBM2E DRAM from SK hynix operating at 3.6 Gbps, the solution can deliver 460 GB/s of bandwidth from a single HBM2E device. This performance meets the terabyte-scale bandwidth needs of accelerators targeting the most demanding AI/ML training and high-performance computing (HPC) applications.

"With this achievement by Rambus, designers of AI and HPC systems can now implement systems using the world's fastest HBM2E DRAM running at 3.6 Gbps from SK hynix," said Uksong Kang, vice president of product planning at SK hynix. "In July, we announced full-scale mass-production of HBM2E for state-of-the-art computing applications demanding the highest bandwidth available."

Zergotech Introduces the Zergotech Freedom: Aussie-based Ergonomic Mechanical Keyboard

Well, introduces to yours truly at least! The Zergotech Freedom has officially been out since April 2020, but anything before March this year might as well be a parallel universe. The Sydney-based company has thus been also seeing a hard time getting the word out on their take on the ergonomic, split mechanical keyboard design. Developed in collaboration with another Sydney-based design company, Boost Design, the Zergotech Freedom has since won the Red Dot product design award and, as of the time of this post, the Australian Good Design award. These design awards specifically call out the two features that interested me as well, in the form of the patented sliding palm rests that ensure your palms are always supported when needed only, and the semi-orthogonal key layout that should theoretically lower the learning curve when going from a more-traditional staggered column setup to the parallel columnar setup usually employed in such keyboards.

The Zergotech Freedom otherwise ticks off just about every feature I expect to see from a split ergonomic keyboard in 2020, including the option of different tactile, clicky, and linear feedback mechanical switches from Kailh, multi-OS compatibility with a programmable interface to customize key mapping on the different layers of the keyboard, tilting and tenting of the keyboard halves for ergonomics, as well as the ability to go with blank keycaps out of the box if desired. What is different here, apart from those palm rests aforementioned, is the inclusion of O-rings to make the keyboard quieter, as well as the provision of a 75% keyboard for discrete key functionality. This means that the learning curve will be even lower, although the foot print occupied by the keyboard is higher than contemporary offerings. The Zergotech Freedom retails from $339 US, the pricing being another thing in common with other such keyboards, and one that I want to get my hands on to see if the pricing is justified.

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.

IBM Reveals Next-Generation IBM POWER10 Processor

IBM today revealed the next generation of its IBM POWER central processing unit (CPU) family: IBM POWER10. Designed to offer a platform to meet the unique needs of enterprise hybrid cloud computing, the IBM POWER10 processor uses a design focused on energy efficiency and performance in a 7 nm form factor with an expected improvement of up to 3x greater processor energy efficiency, workload capacity, and container density than the IBM POWER9 processor.

Designed over five years with hundreds of new and pending patents, the IBM POWER10 processor is an important evolution in IBM's roadmap for POWER. Systems taking advantage of IBM POWER10 are expected to be available in the second half of 2021. Some of the new processor innovations include:
IBM POWER10 Processor IBM POWER10 Processor

Jim Keller on Moore's Law, Microprocessors, and Designing Chips from Scratch

Jim Keller on Lex Fridman's AI Podcast shed some light on his thoughts on the microprocessor design fundamentals as he sees them. In a hour-and-a-half-long interview, he approaches Moore's Law and its much lauded - and ubiquitously repeated - death, as well as the need for both iterative and zero-point microprocessor design requirements.

Mr. Keller approaches the usual microprocessor design loop, where a company develops a new design from scratch and then looks at the most fundamental way of adding performance. Usually, he says, easy 10% performance increments can be found by simply looking at a design and increasing execution units - increase a buffer here, increase a cache over there, put in another add processor on this part of the pipeline. However, he also speaks of how this process in itself is limiting, inasmuch as doing this often will eventually guide processor designs towards a bottleneck and the diminishing returns problem, where any more additions made to the design don't seem to increase performance - mostly just adding complexity, area and power requirements, and generally convoluting a given design.

Cooler Master Kickstarts Pi Case 40, Passively Cooled Raspberry Pi Case

Cooler Master, a popular maker of computer peripherals, has today launched a Kickstarter campaign for its latest project - a Raspberry Pi 4 case. Called the Pi Case 40, it is made from 100% aluminium and provides passive cooling to the Pi chip. Designed exclusively for Raspberry Pi 4, the case has precise port cutouts so every port is accessible. The case has a hatch on the side for GPIO cutout, however, the use of HATs is prevented as it gets blocked. The case is capable of providing sufficient cooling to the chip, and the design files are open source. With the purchase, you get the VESA mounting adapter so you can attach the case to anything with a VESA mount. If you sign up for the waitlist now, you get a 25% off discount, however, exact pricing is unknown.
Cooler Master Pi Case 40 Cooler Master Pi Case 40

Microsoft Gives Windows 10 Start Menu an Overhaul

Microsoft is giving the Windows 10 OS some finishing touches still, as a lot of UI is slowly changing over time. For example, just a few months back we have received a new icon pack that brought the material design to Windows 10 icons. However, now Microsoft is going even further in its mission to blend UI elements and give users the best possible viewing pleasure. This time, Microsoft is giving the start menu an overhaul. "We are freshening up the Start menu with a more streamlined design that removes the solid color backplates behind the logos in the apps list and applies a uniform, partially transparent background to the tiles. This design creates a beautiful stage for your apps, especially the Fluent Design icons for Office and Microsoft Edge, as well as the redesigned icons for built-in apps like Calculator, Mail, and Calendar that we started rolling out earlier this year."

It is available in Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 20161 and should come to mainstream later on. If you want to splash a bit of color (see images below) you can apply that theme by going to Settings > Personalization > Color, then toggle the "Show accent color on the following surfaces" for "Start, taskbar, and action center". Below, you can check before and after comparison between old and new designs, along with the new color theme.

Google Teams up with SkyWater to Create Open Source PDK for Silicon Design

Silicon design is a hard process. You start by defining design in a hardware description language (HDL) and finish by routing all the wires on the piece of silicon. This used to be done by using proprietary tools and silicon Process Design Kits (PDK) that were unique to silicon manufacturing facilities. Starting from Intel, Samsung, and TSMC, they all have a specific PDK that is used for their silicon manufacturing and it contains all of the specifications for their nodes. It contains design constrains/information on the number of metal layers, how close can two wires be to each other, etc.

In the aim to open-source silicon design and finally allow for fully open silicon design flow, Google has partnered with SkyWater to deliver an open-source PDK that will allow designers to produce silicon on an open platform. Despite being designed for an older 130 nm node, this represents a massive achievement as there was a lack of such a thing before. There is already existing open-source toolchain to create designs, but there wasn't a PDK to port them to. Now, the PDK is available and designers can manufacture 100% open source silicon at SkyWater's facilities. In the GitHub repository listed as a source below, you can find some examples on how you can use the PDK with open source tools as well.

OWC Announces First-ever Thunderbolt 3 Certified Bus-powered Portable Storage Enclosure

OWC; a leading zero emissions Mac and PC technology company and one of the world's most respected providers of Memory, External Drives, SSDs, Mac & PC docking solutions and performance upgrade kits announces the new OWC Envoy Express, the world's first Thunderbolt 3 certified bus-powered portable storage enclosure that makes for effortless DIY projects. Shorter than a ballpoint pen and weighing only 3.3 ounces, the rugged anodized aluminium pocket-sized enclosure and unique laptop mounting system are ready for go-anywhere use.

While small in form, the OWC Envoy Express is big news. For the first time ever in the history of Thunderbolt, users can buy a bus-powered Thunderbolt certified enclosure and install their own drive in it. Finally, a DIY kit that allows users to break free of pre-configured choice limits in order to build a pocket-sized storage solution that meets their specific needs. And rebuild it anytime those needs change. Equally revolutionary is the included slide mount. This surface-safe removable drive holder allows the user to slide the Envoy Express onto the back of a laptop screen for out-of-the-way mobile use convenience. More options. More usability. More functionality….first and only from OWC.

Dell Announces G Series Notebooks and Desktops and Gaming Hardware

Summer is traditionally a season for togetherness - family vacations, backyard barbeques and outdoor festivals. Of course, all things traditional have been upended recently and the concept of togetherness has been redefined. As a father of two young girls whose job requires experiencing the latest Dell gaming systems and gaming titles, I've had to balance home with work. Sure, we might take turns playing our favorite games, but even in our cozy family ecosystem we all need space to do our own things. It's that recognition of individual needs that brings families together and makes me appreciate the Dell G Series even more - this is a product ecosystem designed for gamers at every level.

With its myriad of form factors, colors and configurations, the G Series stands out as one of the broadest selections of gaming systems Dell has ever offered. Its appeal parallels the strong growth of the PC gaming industry and the big tent of gamers it welcomes. What's consistent across the G Series ecosystem is the upscale design, performance muscle and great value - ultimately delivering the best gaming experiences without a significant investment. Dell is introducing the new G7 15/17, a powerful gaming laptop that stands out with its own sophisticated style that can easily go from classroom to gaming.

New AMD Radeon Pro 5600M Mobile GPU Brings Desktop-Class Graphics Performance and Enhanced Power Efficiency to 16-inch MacBook Pro

AMD today announced availability of the new AMD Radeon Pro 5600M mobile GPU for the 16-inch MacBook Pro. Designed to deliver desktop-class graphics performance in an efficient mobile form factor, this new GPU powers computationally heavy workloads, enabling pro users to maximize productivity while on-the-go.

The AMD Radeon Pro 5600M GPU is built upon industry-leading 7 nm process technology and advanced AMD RDNA architecture to power a diverse range of pro applications, including video editing, color grading, application development, game creation and more. With 40 compute units and 8 GB of ultra-fast, low-power High Bandwidth Memory (HBM2), the AMD Radeon Pro 5600M GPU delivers superfast performance and excellent power efficiency in a single GPU package.

Xilinx Announces World's Highest Bandwidth, Highest Compute Density Adaptable Platform for Network and Cloud Acceleration

Xilinx, Inc. today announced Versal Premium, the third series in the Versal ACAP portfolio. The Versal Premium series features highly integrated, networked and power-optimized cores and the industry's highest bandwidth and compute density on an adaptable platform. Versal Premium is designed for the highest bandwidth networks operating in thermally and spatially constrained environments, as well as for cloud providers who need scalable, adaptable application acceleration.

Versal is the industry's first adaptive compute acceleration platform (ACAP), a revolutionary new category of heterogeneous compute devices with capabilities that far exceed those of conventional silicon architectures. Developed on TSMC's 7-nanometer process technology, Versal Premium combines software programmability with dynamically configurable hardware acceleration and pre-engineered connectivity and security features to enable a faster time-to-market. The Versal Premium series delivers up to 3X higher throughput compared to current generation FPGAs, with built-in Ethernet, Interlaken, and cryptographic engines that enable fast and secure networks. The series doubles the compute density of currently deployed mainstream FPGAs and provides the adaptability to keep pace with increasingly diverse and evolving cloud and networking workloads.
Xilinx Versal ACAP FPGA

Rambus Designs HBM2E Controller and PHY

Rambus, a maker of various Interface IP solutions, today announced the latest addition to its high-speed memory interface IP product portfolio in form of High Bandwidth Memory 2E (HBM2E) controller and physical layer (PHY) IP solution. The two IPs are enabling customers to completely integrate the HBM2E memory into their products, given that Rambus provides a complete solution for controlling and interfacing the memory. The design that Ramus offers can support for 12-high DRAM stacks of up to 24 Gb devices, making for up to 36 GB of memory per 3D stack. This single 3D stack is capable of delivering 3.2 Gbps over a 1024-bit wide interface, delivering 410 GB/s of bandwidth per stack.

The HBM2E controller core is DFI 3.1 compatible and has support for logic interfaces like AXI, OCP, or a custom one, so the customer can choose a way to integrate this core in their design. With a purchase of their HBM2E IP, Rambus will provide source code written in Hardware Description Language (HDL) and GDSII file containing the layout of the interface.

Dell Shows Off Foldable and Dual Screen Laptops at CES

During this year's CES, Dell had a few concept products on hand that we checked out. Among those are the two laptop concepts called the Concept Duet and the Concept Ori. Designed as unconventional mobile devices, these laptops are very different than anything currently present on the market. First in line is the Concept Duet. This model is a standard looking laptop from outside, however, when you open it up, you will find that the keyboard is absent. The place where the keyboard sits is now replaced with another screen. Both the main and the secondary screens are the same quality 13.4-inch 1080p displays that work in tandem to achieve the best possible experience. However, if you wish to use a real keyboard, there is a magnetic addon that snaps on the bottom screen and makes for a standard laptop experience, like show in the image below.

Sharkoon Launches Mobile DAC and Mobile DAC PD

Sharkoon Technologies is an international supplier of PC components and peripherals, offering performance at a reasonable price. Sharkoon now introduces the Mobile DAC and the Mobile DAC PD. These are two audio converters that are compatible with the most popular Android-based mobile devices. Both devices deliver a high-resolution audio amplification of sound output for headsets and headphones which have a TRRS connection, and, in addition, they provide quality voice transmission thanks to an integrated microphone input. Therefore, podcasters and streamers will also benefit from the Mobile DACs.

AWS Starts Designing 32-Core Arm Neoverse N1 CPU for Data Center

Amazon Web Services, a part of Amazon that is in charge of all things cloud, has announced plans to release 32 core CPU based on Arm Neoverse N1 microarchitecture that is designed to handle a diverse workload that today's cloud infrastructure needs. This new CPU should be the second iteration of AWS'es custom CPU based on the Arm architecture. First-generation AWS CPU was a processor called Graviton, which Amazon offered on-demand in the cloud.

The still-unnamed second-gen CPU will utilize a 7 nm manufacturing process if the Neoverce N1 core at its base is to be believed. Additionally, everything from the Neoverse line should translate to this next-gen CPU as well, meaning that there will be features like high frequency and high single-threaded performance, cache coherency, and interconnect fabric designed to connect special-purpose accelerators to the CPU complex. For reference, Arm's design of Neoverce N1 has a TDP of 105 W for the whole SoC and its packs 64 cores running at 3.1 GHz, delivering amazing power efficiency and high core count.

GLOBALFOUNDRIES and SiFive to Deliver Next Level of High Bandwidth Memory on 12LP

GLOBALFOUNDRIES (GF ) and SiFive, Inc. announced today at GLOBALFOUNDRIES Technology Conference (GTC) in Taiwan that they are working to extend high DRAM performance levels with High Bandwidth Memory (HBM2E) on GF's recently announced 12LP+ FinFET solution, with 2.5D packaging design services to enable fast time-to-market for Artificial Intelligence (AI) applications.

In order to achieve the capacity and bandwidth for data-intensive AI training applications, system designers are challenged with squeezing more bandwidth into a smaller area while maintaining a reasonable power profile. SiFive's customizable high bandwidth memory interface on GF's 12LP platform and 12LP+ solution will enable easy integration of high bandwidth memory into a single System-on-Chip (SoC) solutions to deliver fast, power-efficient data processing for AI applications in the computing and wired infrastructure markets.

GLOBALFOUNDRIES Introduces 12LP+ FinFET Solution for Cloud and Edge AI Applications

GLOBALFOUNDRIES (GF), the world's leading specialty foundry, announced today at its Global Technology Conference the availability of 12LP+, an innovative new solution for AI training and inference applications. 12LP+ offers chip designers a best-in-class combination of performance, power and area, along with a set of key new features, a mature design and production ecosystem, cost-efficient development and fast time-to-market for high-growth cloud and edge AI applications.

Derived from GF's existing 12nm Leading Performance (12LP) platform, GF's new 12LP+ provides either a 20% increase in performance or a 40% reduction in power requirements over the base 12LP platform, plus a 15% improvement in logic area scaling. A key feature is a high-speed, low-power 0.5 V SRAM bit cell that supports the fast, power-efficient shuttling of data between processors and memory, an important requirement for AI applications in the computing and wired infrastructure markets.

Compete at the Speed Of Light With the Razer Huntsman Tournament Edition

Razer, the leading global lifestyle brand for gamers, today announced the Huntsman Tournament Edition (TE) compact gaming keyboard designed for esports tournaments.

The Huntsman TE joins the Huntsman premium keyboard family built with Razer's ultra-fast light activated Optical Switches. After its introduction in June 2018, the critically acclaimed Razer Huntsman Elite has taken the world by storm, becoming the best selling gaming keyboard in the U.S. The Huntsman TE, the latest addition to Razer's lineup of high-performance gaming keyboards, now features a new type of optical switch that actuates even faster - the Razer Linear Optical Switch.

AMD To Continue Offering Reference Design for RX 5700, RX 5700 XT

With the introduction of AMD's AIB partners' custom designs for the Navi-based RX 5700 and RX 5700 XT graphics cards, rumors (ie, reports) started to float around of AMD's discontinuation of their reference designs. However, AMD's own Scott Herkelman confirmed via Twitter that the company isn't transitioning its reference designs to an EOL (End of Life) status, and that they will continue to be offered in the traditional venues.

However, Scott did say that AMD is in the stage of transitioning their AIB partners fully to their own custom designs. This means that AMD will likely keep the market cornered on blower-style designs, that can be bought by users planning to stick their own aftermarket cooling solution and just want the cheapest possible card. This way, AIB partners will always sell Radeon cards under their own brand names, instead of something like "ASUS Radeon RX 5700".

Greenliant Offers Superior Data Retention and Endurance with EnduroSLC SATA NANDrive SSDs

Greenliant is now sampling its SATA 6Gb/s NANDrive EX Series ball grid array (BGA) solid state drives (SSDs) to customers that require superior data retention and high program-erase (P/E) cycles. Designed with Greenliant's EnduroSLC Technology, SATA 6 Gb/s NANDrive EX Series SSDs are capable of performing 50K, 100K and industry-leading 250K+ P/E cycles. EnduroSLC Technology substantially enhances data retention and extends write endurance of 1-bit-per-cell (SLC) SSDs with advanced hardware ECC capabilities and NAND flash management algorithms.

Developed with Greenliant's DRAM-less controller, SATA 6 Gb/s NANDrive has enhanced power loss data protection and offers four times the performance over the previous generation of SATA NANDrive products. SATA 6 Gb/s SSDs support Native Command Queuing (NCQ) up to 32 commands and use advanced NAND management techniques to optimize the device's performance during its lifetime. With faster read/write speeds and available in a wide range of capacities (2 GB - 128 GB), SATA 6 Gb/s NANDrive EX Series is ideal for high-performance computing, industrial, transportation, video and networking applications.

NVIDIA RTX Studio Laptops and Mobile Workstations - Purpose-Built for Creators - Coming from Every Major OEM

NVIDIA today announced that 10 new NVIDIA RTX Studio laptops and professional-grade mobile workstations are being released by major partners, delivering real-time ray tracing, advanced AI and ultra-high-resolution video editing to the world's 40 million creatives.

The latest designs from Dell, HP, Lenovo and BOXX bring the number of RTX Studio models to 27 - including 17 that are now available. These laptops power more than 40 creative and design applications that have turned "RTX On", enabling tens of millions of creatives to harness ray tracing and AI in their workflows. NVIDIA RTX features are being shown at SIGGRAPH this week in software from a diverse set of independent software vendors, including Adobe, Autodesk and Blackmagic Design.
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