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More Buyers for AMD Due to Intel CPU Shortages, OEMs Unhappy

Intel is hit by crippling inventory shortages for many of its fast-selling 8th generation Core desktop processor SKUs. A number of factors are contributing to these shortages, as we discussed in this article. A key short-term consequence of shortages in Intel's inventories is more uninitiated buyers discovering AMD processors, now that they've achieved the highest levels of competitiveness against Intel in over a decade. Stock market analyst firm Jefferies has raised AMD's outlook for Q4-2018, and projects that its $30 stock price could hit $36, by raising its target price.

OEMs are not happy with Intel. Haphazard roadmap and platform changes have forced them to revise their product designs way too frequently, and now they're faced with the prospect of a short-supply. A report from research firm Fubon predicts that by next year, 1 in every 3 personal computers sold by HP (Hewlett Packard) will run an AMD processor. "Fubon's report that Intel will undersupply the PC market between 4Q18 and 2Q19 leaves us with higher conviction that AMD will report improving revenue, pricing and margins near term, and that is positioned to take share in the high end PC MPU and server market long term," said stock market analyst Mark Lipacis. He predicts that AMD's CPU market-share climbing to 30% through next year (a very huge feat for AMD).

Intel Targets 5G Infrastructure with Latest Silicon Photonics Technology

Intel today announced details on the expansion of its portfolio of 100G silicon photonics transceivers beyond the data center and into the network edge. At the European Conference on Optical Communication (ECOC) in Rome, Intel unveiled specifics on new silicon photonics products that are optimized to accelerate the movement of massive amounts of data being generated by new 5G use cases and Internet of Things (IoT) applications. The latest 100G silicon photonics transceivers are optimized to meet the bandwidth requirements of next-generation communications infrastructure while withstanding harsh environmental conditions.

"Our hyperscale cloud customers are currently using Intel's 100G silicon photonics transceivers to deliver high-performance data center infrastructure at scale. By extending this technology outside the data center and into 5G infrastructure at the edge of the network, we can provide the same benefits to communications service providers while supporting 5G fronthaul bandwidth needs," said Dr. Hong Hou, vice president and general manager of Intel's Silicon Photonics Product Division.

Intel to Move Select Chipset Fabrication Back to 22nm in Wake of 14 nm Silicon Constraints

Things seem to be taking turns to the worse at Intel in accordance to Murphy's law. Not only was the company hit with a multitude of security flaws embedded in their CPUs, which puts their michroarchitecture design chops in jeopardy, but now they also have to contend with silicon fabrication snags. That Intel's 14 nm fabs are being hit with overwhelming demand for their output capacity is already a known quantity, with rising prices of Intel mainstream CPUs and reports of the company outsourcing 14 nm chip production to TSMC in a bid to increase availability - a first since the company became vertically integrated with both design and manufacturing of their own chips.

BIOSTAR Presents Professional Crypto Mining Motherboards with TB360-BTC Expert and TB360-BTC PRO

BIOSTAR, a leader in crypto mining motherboards, introduces two new BTC series professional crypto mining motherboards - TB360-BTC Expert and TB360-BTC PRO. Fully optimized for professional crypto mining, the TB360-BTC Expert and TB360-BTC PRO support 17 x PCI-E 3.0 and 12 x PCI-E 3.0 expansion slots respectively. Packed with features for scaling up professional mining operations of any size, the TB360-BTC Expert and TB360-BTC PRO ensure a rock-solid mining system with improved mining performance. The BIOSTAR TB360-BTC series is also the first crypto mining motherboards based on the B360 and H370 chipset, which can support 8th generation Intel Core processors.

AMD CEO Speaks with Jim Cramer About the "Secret Sauce" Behind its Giant-Killing Spree

Jim Cramer of CNBC Mad Money interviewed AMD CEO Dr. Lisa Su on the floor of the NYSE remarking her company as the year's biggest tech turnaround stories. The two spoke a variety of topics, including how the company went from a single-digit stock and a loss-making entity to one of the hottest tech-stocks, which threatens both Intel and NVIDIA. Dr. Su placed emphasis on taking long term strategic decisions that bear fruit years down the line.

"We decided to make the right investments. Technology is all about making the right choices, where we're going to invest, and where we're not going to invest...three or four years ago, it was mobile phones, tablets, and IoT that were the sexy things, and we were like 'hey we know that those are good markets, but those are not AMD.' We focused on what we thought the future would hold for us," said Dr. Su. "We are making decisions now that you won't see the outcome of for the next 3-5 years. We're making some good decisions," she added.

More Clarity on 9th Gen Core Processor Pricing Emerges

Intel is debuting its first wave of 9th generation Core desktop processors with three models later this year - the 6-core/6-thread Core i5-9600K, the 8-core/8-thread Core i7-9700K, and the 8-core/16-thread Core i9-9900K. We've been very curious about how the entry of the Core i9 extension to the mainstream-desktop LGA1151 platform would affect pricing of the Core i5 and Core i7 K-series SKUs, especially given that the i7-9700K is the first Core i7 SKU in a decade to lack HyperThreading. An updated catalog by a major Singapore-based PC components distributor adds more clarity.

Singapore-based PC component distributor BizGram, in its latest catalog, disclosed the all-inclusive retail prices of the three new processors. As Redditor Dylan522p suggests, if you do the SGD-USD conversion and subtract all taxes, you get ominous-looking SEP prices for the three. Intel could price the Core i5-9600K at USD $249.99. The Core i7-9700K could be priced at $349.99. The flagship Core i9-9900K could go for $449.99. These seem like highly plausible pre-tax launch prices for the three chips, and fit into the competitive landscape.

Intel Acquires NetSpeed Systems for Chip Design and Interconnect Fabric IP

Intel today announced the acquisition of NetSpeed Systems, a San Jose, California-based provider of system-on-chip (SoC) design tools and interconnect fabric intellectual property (IP). Deal terms were not disclosed. NetSpeed's highly configurable and synthesizable offerings will help Intel more quickly and cost-effectively design, develop and test new SoCs with an ever-increasing set of IP. The NetSpeed team is joining Intel's Silicon Engineering Group (SEG) led by Jim Keller. NetSpeed co-founder and CEO, Sundari Mitra, will continue to lead her team as an Intel vice president reporting to Keller.
Intel is designing more products with more specialized features than ever before, which is incredibly exciting for Intel architects and for our customers. The challenge is synthesizing a broader set of IP blocks for optimal performance while reining in design time and cost. NetSpeed's proven network-on-chip technology addresses this challenge, and we're excited to now have their IP and expertise in-house.

Jim Keller, senior vice president and general manager of the Silicon Engineering Group at Intel

First Intel Core i7-9700K Review Surfaces

Spanish language tech publication El Chapuzas Informático published the first almost-complete review of Intel Core i7-9700K processor. Without Intel disclosing the pricing of this chip, the review doesn't include price/performance numbers or a conclusion that explores the competitive landscape. You still get a sumptuous serving of 14 tests, from which 9 are some of the latest AAA games.

The bottom-line is that the i7-9700K locks horns with the Ryzen 7 2700X in most multi-threaded tests except Cinebench nT; and owing to its high clock speeds, it will end up as the fastest gaming processor around the $350-400 mark. Interestingly, the i7-9700K isn't 33% faster than the i7-8700K despite 33% more cores, because HyperThreading is sorely missed. The distinction could be reserved for the Core i9-9900K, although samples of that chip are far too rare.
More graphs follow.

TSMC to Build Intel 14nm Processors and Chipsets

Try to wrap your head around Intel contracting TSMC to build some of its processors! With its own 14 nanometer silicon fabrication nodes under stress from manufacturing several generations of Core and Xeon processors simultaneously, leading to market shortages, Intel is looking to contract TSMC to manufacture some of its 14 nm products. Among these are certain models of its desktop processors, and several 300-series chipsets, including the H310, which are currently fabbed on Intel's last 22 nm node, that's probably being converted to 14 nm.

The TSMC contract appears to be moving faster than expected, with the Taiwanese fab eager to demonstrate its competence to Intel and secure future orders as the company is closer than ever in going fully or partly fabless. According to industry observers, Intel is staring at a 1:2 supply-demand ratio, for the countless chip it's building on 14 nm; which may have forced it to contract some of these chip designs to TSMC. Motherboard vendors expect Intel to sort out its supply issues by the end of 2018, with big help from TSMC.

Intel Core i5-9600K Surfaces on GeekBench Database

With the swanky Core i9-9900K and Core i7-9700K eight-core chips getting all the attention, the less glamorous Core i5-9600K is taking shape, which could bring a little more performance to the $250 price-point. This 6-core/6-thread chip succeeds the current-gen i5-8600K, and has the same 9 MB of L3 cache. With not much in the way of micro-architectural IPC improvements, barring silicon-level hardening against certain vulnerabilities, which could improve speculative execution performance (versus processors with software patches that inflict performance penalties); Intel has dialed up clock speeds. The chip is clocked at 3.70 GHz, with a maximum Turbo Boost frequency of 4.60 GHz, compared to the 3.60 GHz nominal and 4.30 GHz Turbo Boost frequencies of its predecessor.

The higher clocks seem to bring the i5-9600K a touch higher than the i5-8600K in terms of GeekBench scores, although still nowhere close to the i7-8700 (non-K). The i5-8600K, if you'll recall, beat some of its pricier previous-generation siblings such as the i7-7700, in multi-threaded tests. Someone with access to an i5-9600K put it through GeekBench 4. The chip scores 6,015 points in the single-core test or about 3.7 percent faster than its predecessor (the i5-8600K typically scores 5,800 points), coming from the 300 MHz higher single-core boost. The multi-core score is 23,393 points, which is a meager 2 percent faster (the i5-8600K typically scores around 23,000 points). The generational jump in performance for the mid-range hence seems to have stagnated. At best the i5-9600K will repair the uncertain price/performance equation the i5-8600K has against the AMD Ryzen 5 2600X.

Intel 14nm Processors Face Shortages

Intel's 8th generation Core desktop processors based on the company's 14 nm node are facing shortages in the market, according to a Tom's Hardware report. Tracking prices and availability of popular 8th generation Core SKUs such as the i5-8400, i5-8600K, and i7-8700K, the report notes that retailers are heavily marking up these SKUs above their SEP, and many of whom are running out of stock often. This may not be attributed to heavy demand.

A possible explanation for these shortages could be Intel allocating volumes from the same 14 nm++ node for its upcoming 9th generation Core processors, which debut with three SKUs - i5-9600K, i7-9700K, and i9-9900K. Intel probably wants to launch the three chips not just at competitive prices, but also good enough volumes to win the 2018 Holiday season, and repair its competitiveness damaged by AMD 2nd generation Ryzen over the past couple of quarters.

Analyst Firm Susquehanna: "Intel Lost its Manufacturing Leadership"

Intel was once the shining star in the semiconductor manufacturing industry, with a perfectly integrated, vertical product design and manufacturing scheme. Intel was one of the few companies in the world to be able to both develop its architectures and gear their manufacturing facilities to their design characteristics, ensuring a perfect marriage of design and manufacturing. However, not all is rosy on that field, as we've seen; AMD itself also was a fully integrated company, but decided to spin-off its manufacturing arm so as to survive - thus creating GLOBALFOUNDRIES.But Intel was seen as many as the leader in semiconductor manufacturing, always at the cutting edge of - well - Moore's Law, named after Intel's founding father Gordon Moore. Now, Mehdi Hosseini, an analyst with Susquehanna, has gone on to say that the blue giant has effectively lost its semiconductor leadership. And it has, in a way, even if its 10 nm (which is in development hell, so to speak) is technically more advanced than some 7 nm implementations waiting to be delivered to market by its competitors. However, there's one area where Intel will stop being able to claim leadership: manufacturing techniques involving EUV (Extreme UltraViolet).

Surging Tech Companies' Inventories Could Spell Trouble for the Industry

Even as we achieve consumerism in scales hitherto unseen, tech companies always want to sell more - there's "always" increased production, there must always be increased, projected demand from customers. However, when demand isn't there, and growth slows down or even stagnates, production takes its time to adjust - and already manufactured products have few opportunities other than going on towards a swelling inventory.

This is what is happening with a myriad of tech companies, such as Apple, Samsung, Xiaomi, Intel, Hon Hai (Foxconn), among others. We could even take a page from our own PC industry and look at NVIDIA's Pascal inventory that is in need of clearing up - and which has resulted in bottoming prices of previous-gen cards as we look towards the new RTX 20-series. Which, coincidentally, have been launched with increased pricing over the previous generation. Perhaps another way of moving old inventory?

Intel Core i7-9700K Put Through Geekbench on a Z370 Motherboard

The Core i7-9700K will be Intel's second fastest 9th generation Core LGA1151 processor. The 8-core/8-thread chip is equipped with 12 MB of shared L3 cache, and clocked at 3.60 GHz, with 4.90 GHz maximum Turbo Boost. It's no secret that these chips will be supported on just about any Intel 300-series chipset motherboard provided you have a BIOS update; although Intel prefers you use one of its upcoming Z390 chipset boards for overclocking its 8-core chips. That said, there are plenty of Z370 chipset boards with fairly strong CPU VRM setups. Someone with access to the i7-9700K paired it with an Aorus Z370 Ultra Gaming 2.0 motherboard, and put it through Geekbench.

The Core i7-9700K yielded a single-core score of 6,297 points, which is marginally higher than that of a stock Core i7-8700K (3.70 GHz to 4.70 GHz), owing to a higher boost frequency. The i7-8700K averages 6,000 ±100 points in this test. Multi-threaded performance is where the i7-9700K comes alive, scoring 30,152 points, which is about 12 percent higher than the 27,000 ±500 points the i7-8700K scores; and about 4-5% higher than the 28,000 ±1,000 points the AMD Ryzen 7 2700X manages in this test. The lack of HyperThreading seems to be more than compensated by the two extra cores the i7-9700K has over its predecessor. The i9-9900K maxes out the silicon with HyperThreading and 16 MB L3 cache, which could enable Intel to target a higher price-point.

Intel's Chris Hook Confirms Commitment to Support VESA Adaptive Sync on Intel GPUs

Intel's Chris Hook (there's something strange there) said in a conversation with r/Hardware's moderator dylan522p that the company is still planning on adding support for VESA's Adaptive Sync (also known as AMD's own FreeSync branding) in Intel GPUs. To put this in perspective, Intel is the single largest player in the overall graphics market; their integrated solutions mean they have the highest graphics accelerator share in the market, even against AMD and NVIDIA - and Intel hasn't even entered the discrete graphics market - yet.

It makes sense that the blue giant would be pursuing this option - royalty-free frame syncing beats developing a proprietary alternative. A quick thought-exercise could point towards NVIDIA's G-Sync being rendered irrelevant with such strong support from the industry.

Intel Explains Key Difference Between "Coffee Lake" and "Whiskey Lake"

Intel "Whiskey Lake" CPU microarchitecture recently made its debut with "Whiskey Lake-U," an SoC designed for Ultrabooks and 2-in-1 laptops. Since it's the 4th refinement of Intel's 2015 "Skylake" architecture, we wondered what set a "Whiskey Lake" core apart from "Coffee Lake." Silicon fabrication node seemed like the first place to start, with rumors of a "14 nm+++" node for this architecture, which should help it feed up to 8 cores better in a compact LGA115x MSDT environment. Turns out, the process hasn't changed, and that "Whiskey Lake" is being built on the same 14 nm++ node as "Coffee Lake."

In a statement to AnandTech, Intel explained that the key difference between "Whiskey Lake" and "Coffee Lake" is silicon-level hardening against "Meltdown" variants 3 and 5. This isn't just a software-level mitigation part of the microcode, but a hardware fix that reduces the performance impact of the mitigation, compared to a software fix implemented via patched microcode. "Cascade Lake" will pack the most important hardware-level fixes, including "Spectre" variant 2 (aka branch target injection). Software-level fixes reduce performance by 3-10 percent, but a hardware-level fix is expected to impact performance "a lot less."

Intel-Micron QLC NAND Yields Less Than 50%, a Prelude to Global SSD Price Hikes?

IMFlash Technologies (IMFT), the Intel-Micron joint venture that manufactures NAND flash and 3D Xpoint memory for use in Intel and Micron end-user products, and Micron Technology-branded NAND flash supply to other SSD manufacturers, is facing a big hurdle with its QLC NAND flash manufacturing ramp-up, which if not checked, could influence SSD prices globally. The company is apparently seeing dangerously low yields of less than 50 percent for its 3D QLC NAND flash memory. This effectively makes its QLC NAND pricier (in terms of $/GB) than current-generation 3D TLC NAND.

The first victim of low yields of 3D QLC NAND flash is Intel's SSD 660p series, a mainstream NVMe SSD that brought 1 TB of storage under the $200-mark. Sources within IMFT tell Tweaktown that the company is seeing 48% yields in its 64-layer QLC NAND flash wafers (i.e. 52% of the wafer is unfit for further production). In contrast, 64-layer 3D TLC yields are above 90% (margin/incomplete dies are excluded from these figures). What's worse, the source predicts that the conditions may never get better with this generation.

Intel Announces 8th Gen Core Processors for Ultrabooks and Notebooks

Intel today announced additions to the 8th Gen Intel Core processor family: The U-series (formerly code-named Whiskey Lake) and Y-series (formerly code-named Amber Lake) are optimized for connectivity in thin, light laptops and 2 in 1s for the first time, while also providing ultimate mobile performance and long battery life.

"The new 8th Gen Intel Core processors extend once again our leadership in delivering exceptional performance. Now with Gigabit Wi-Fi, we've enabled faster PC connectivity, added more intuitive voice experiences and enabled longer battery life needed for the next wave of mobile computing," said Chris Walker, vice president of the Client Computing Group and general manager of Intel Mobile Client Platform.

Crucial DDR4-2933 Registered DIMMs Now Available

Crucial , a leading global brand of memory and storage upgrades, today announced the immediate availability of DDR4 2933 MT/s Registered DIMM server modules, a new offering in its server memory product portfolio. Designed to keep servers running at full speed and peak efficiency in support of Intel's next-generation Xeon processor product families, the new RDIMM modules enable IT users to get the most out of their server infrastructure deployments.

"Our new DDR4 2933 MT/s RDIMMs are designed to deliver the speed required to maximise the memory throughput in the next generation of servers," says Teresa Kelley, VP & GM, Micron Consumer Products Group. "Today's data centres are running memory intensive applications that require a higher degree of overall system performance, and our new RDIMM modules were designed to meet this next level of system performance."

TP-Link Announces Archer C2700 Router Powered by Intel Components

TP-Link , a leading global provider of consumer and business networking products, today announced the upcoming launch of the Archer C2700, a next level AC2600 Dual-Band WiFi Router that utilizes Intel technology to provide lightning-fast WiFi at speeds up to 1733 Mbps on the 5 GHz band and 800 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz band.

As leaders in their respective industries of networking and computing, TP-Link worked closely with Intel to develop the Archer C2700, which is the first in a portfolio of TP-Link routers that will use Intel technology. "By relying on Intel's extensive processing expertise when building this router, we've managed to optimize the router signal so that multiple devices can receive a smooth uninterrupted signal without any loss of performance," said Louis Liu, CEO of TP-Link USA Corporation.

Intel Core i7-9700K Overclocked to 5.5 GHz on Water, Cinebenched

Intel's upcoming Core i7-9700K processor is the first Core i7 SKU to lack HyperThreading, but that isn't stopping the chip with 8 physical cores from edging past its predecessor posting strong multi-threaded performance. Chinese publication ZOL managed to overclock the chip to 5.50 GHz under liquid cooling with all its cores enabled, by simply dialing up the unlocked multiplier to 55.0X, and a rather high 1.535V core voltage.

The overclocked i7-9700K was put through Cinebench R15, where it scored 250 points in the single-threaded test, and 1827 points in the multi-threaded one, a 7.31x multiprocessing ratio. A current-generation 6-core/12-thread Core i7-8700K typically manages around 1550 points at stock speeds (at least 4.30 GHz all-core Turbo Boost frequency), in the multi-threaded test. The i7-9700K could hence be less ahead of its predecessor than hoped. It's the 8-core/16-thread Core i9-9900K, which could grab enthusiasts' attention (and monies).

9th Gen Core Processor Price Leak by Czech Retailers Drop Hints on Possible MSRP

A number of retailers across Europe are coming up with early pricing of Intel's 9th generation Core-K processors, codenamed "Whiskey Lake" or "Coffee Lake Refresh." One such set of pricing, compiled by Czech publication Alza.cz confirms that our suspicions that Intel will establish a new $500-ish price-point in its MSDT (mainstream desktop) segment. We are not counting the anomalous / limited-edition Core i7-8086K in our assertion. The current Core i5-8600K is a $250-ish product, while the current platform flagship Core i7-8700K remains around $350. The upcoming Core i5-9600K (6-core/6-thread) and Core i7-9700K (8-core/8-thread) will succeed the two at nearly identical price-points. We expect Core i9-9900K to have a premium price around the $500-mark.

Intel arrested the growing popularity of AMD's Ryzen 5 1600 earlier this year, with its 8th generation Core i5 processors. The 2nd generation Ryzen 5 series only trade blows with Intel's competing offerings, with the Ryzen 5 2600X at best edging past the i5-8600K with a wafer-thin margin, in price-performance and absolute-performance. The Ryzen 7 2700X has more merits over the 6-core/12-thread i7-8700K, besides a slightly lower price, creating a competitive uncertainty that works to AMD's advantage; and which Intel hopes to plug with the 8-core/8-thread i7-9700K. The 8-core/16-thread i9-9900K could be double-digit percentage faster owing to HyperThreading and larger cache, and Intel could look to monetize that with a premium price.

Intel Updates Microcode License Deleting "No-Benchmarks" Clause

A huge controversy erupted earlier this week as the license governing Intel's latest CPU microcode updates redistribution inserted a legally-binding clause that gagged its customers from publishing benchmarks or comparative testing that showed the performance impact of microcode updates that mitigate security vulnerabilities in Intel processors. Intel has since started reaching out to media sites. "We are updating the license now to address this and will have a new version available soon. As an active member of the open source community, we continue to welcome all feedback," the opening remarks from the Intel spokesperson read. Not long after, Intel updated the license terms to have just three conditions:
Redistribution and use in binary form, without modification, are permitted, provided that the following conditions are met:
  • Redistributions must reproduce the above copyright notice and the following disclaimer in the documentation and/or other materials provided with the distribution.
  • Neither the name of Intel Corporation nor the names of its suppliers may be used to endorse or promote products derived from this software without specific prior written permission.
  • No reverse engineering, decompilation, or disassembly of this software is permitted.
"Binary form" includes any format that is commonly used for electronic conveyance that is a reversible, bit-exact translation of binary representation to ASCII or ISO text, for example "uuencode."

Intel Gags Customers from Publishing Performance Impact of Microcode Updates

Much of the secret sauce that made Intel processors faster than AMD is going sour, as the cybersecurity community is finding gaping security vulnerabilities by exploiting features such as speculative execution. Intel's microcode updates that mitigate these vulnerabilities impact performance. Intel isn't too happy about public performance numbers put out by its customers, which it fears could blunt the competitive edge of its products. The company has hence updated the license terms governing the microcode update distribution to explicitly forbid its users from publishing comparative "before/after" performance numbers of patched processors.

The updated license for the microcode update has this controversial sentence (pay attention to "v"):
"You will not, and will not allow any third party to (i) use, copy, distribute, sell or offer to sell the Software or associated documentation; (ii) modify, adapt, enhance, disassemble, decompile, reverse engineer, change or create derivative works from the Software except and only to the extent as specifically required by mandatory applicable laws or any applicable third party license terms accompanying the Software; (iii) use or make the Software available for the use or benefit of third parties; or (iv) use the Software on Your products other than those that include the Intel hardware product(s), platform(s), or software identified in the Software; or (v) publish or provide any Software benchmark or comparison test results."

Intel Confirms Soldered IHS for 9th Gen Core Series

Soldered integrated heatspreader has been a longstanding demand of PC enthusiasts for Intel's premium "K" mainstream-desktop processors. With AMD implementing it across all its "Summit Ridge" and "Pinnacle Ridge" Ryzen AM4 processors, just enough pressure for built on Intel. The company, in a leaked slide, confirmed the feature-set of its upcoming 9th generation "K" Core processors, which highlights "STIM" (soldered thermal interface material) for this chip. It shows that STIM could be exclusive to the "K" series SKUs, namely the i9-9900K, i7-9700K, and i5-9600K.

The slides also list out the clock speeds and cache sizes of the three first 9th generation desktop SKUs, confirming that the Core i7-9700K will indeed be the first Core i7 desktop SKU ever to lack HyperThreading. The TDP of the 8-core chips don't seem to breach the 95W TDP barrier Intel seems to have set for its MSDT processors. The slides also seem to confirm that the upcoming Z390 Express chipset doesn't bring any new features, besides having stronger CPU VRM specifications than the Z370. Intel seems to recommend the Z390 to make the most out of its 8-core chips.
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