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Intel Optane MEM M10 Cache Modules Surface on Retailers' Websites

The next step in Intel's Optane product launch could be right around the corner, as retailers have started listing the company's upcoming Optane MEM M10 cache drives up for pre-order. If you'll remember, these products were first leaked in some Intel product roadmap slides, where they appeared identified as "System Acce. Gen 1.0". Whether or not today's workloads and faster SSD-based storage require the introduction of a faster caching solution is up for debate; however, Intel seems to think there is room in the market for these caching solutions, even if the vast majority of users would be much better served by acquiring a higher capacity SSD as their primary drive (especially if they're coming from the HDD world).

These new Optane MEM M10 cache drives will come in capacities ranging from 16 GB to 64 GB. The M10 modules will take the M.2 2280 form-factor and deliver data through the PCIe 3.0 interface. Prices are being quoted at $47.58 for the 16 GB model, $82.03 for the 32 GB model, and $154.37 for the largest, 64 GB model. These should ensure lower latency and higher throughput than traditional SSDs do, due to their caching of users' more heavily requested data; however, due to the very nature of these caching solutions, and the memory footprint available for them, it's likely most users will hit severe performance bottlenecks, at the very least, on the 16 GB model.

Gigabyte Releases New Gemini Lake-Powered Motherboards

GIGABYTE TECHNOLOGY Co. Ltd, a leading manufacturer of motherboards and graphics cards, has announced the release of new generation Gemini Lake based J/N series motherboards with the built-in latest Intel Pentium Silver/ Intel Celeron processors. With humidity protected glass fabric PCBs, long acting capacitors, anti-surge ICs, low resistance MOSFETS, and Ultra Durable components, GIGABYTE J/N series motherboards maximize product value by offering users the ability to customize performance settings.

GIGABYTE newest J/N series motherboards utilize a fanless cooling solution and the built-in Intel Gemini Lake processors make them perfect for compact, mainstream builds. The motherboards support HDMI 2.0 4K at 21:9 resolution for high definition video quality. Integrated PCIe Gen2 x2 M.2 slots supporting high speed NVMe SSD allows for fast data transfer speeds. The board's native Intel WIFI via the M.2 Connector along with an independently sold Intel CNVi wireless networking solution can make way for impressive wireless connectivity exceeding 1 gigabit per second, traditionally found in wired connections. Additionally, its support for M.2 SATA SSD, UDIMM DDR4 modules rated for 2400MHz, and noise free configurations makes it a perfect option for school, business, and home usage.

Intel Coffee Lake-S Core i3-8300, i5-8500 Release Date, Lineup Pricing Outed

Intel's 8th gen, Coffee Lake-architecture CPUs will soon see new additions to the lineup, if leaked retail dates are correct. While Intel's six-core processors have earned themselves a respectable position in the CPU market - even if outgunned, core-wise, by AMD's Ryzen - the company is in dire need of shoring up its lower-pricing offerings so as to better compete with AMD's full available line-up, which currently offers users many more choices in both platform pricing, features, and processor specs. The date seems to be a make-up gift from the blue giant: it's expected these processors will hit retail on February 14th.

Intel Now Shipping Their RealSense D400 Depth Cameras

Today, Intel began shipping two new Intel RealSense D400 Depth Cameras from the next-generation Intel RealSense D400 product family: the D415 and D435, adding 3D capabilities to any prototype development or end user-ready device or machine.

Ideal for makers and educators as well as hardware prototyping and software development, the new depth cameras come in a ready-to-use, USB-powered form factor that pair with a D400 depth module, a turnkey optical depth solution, and the new Intel RealSense vision processor D4 for processing complex depth data in real time. Supported by the Intel RealSense SDK 2.0 - available for the first time as a cross-platform, open source SDK - the cameras can also be used both indoors and outdoors and in any lighting environment.

AMD Is Served: Class Action Lawsuit Launched Over Spectre Vulnerabilities

Despite the grunt of the media's attention and overall customer rage having been thrown largely at Intel, AMD hasn't moved past the Spectre/Meltdown well, meltdown, unscathed. News has surfaced that at least two law firms have announced their intention of filing a class action lawsuit against AMD, accusing the company of not having disclosed their products' Spectre vulnerability, despite knowledge of said vulnerabilities.

AMD stated loud and clear that their processors weren't affected by the Meltdown flaw. However, regarding Spectre, AMD's terms weren't as clear cut. The company stated that its CPUs were vulnerable to the Spectre 1 flaw (patchable at a OS level), but said that vulnerability to Spectre 2's variant had "near-zero risk of exploitation". At the same time, the company also said that "GPZ Variant 2 (Branch Target Injection or Spectre) is applicable to AMD processors", adding that "While we believe that AMD's processor architectures make it difficult to exploit Variant 2, we continue to work closely with the industry on this threat.

Caseking Starts Selling Skylake-X Direct Die Cooling Frame

Caseking, in partnership with overclocking prowess Der8auer, have introduced a new overclocking product for users that want to extract every little percentage of additional overclocking from their chips (they had already introduced 99.9% purity silver-based heatspreaders, too). The Skylake-X Direct-Die Cooling Frame is a solution that aims to replace Intel's Integrated Loading Mechanism (ILM), attaching itself to the CPU cooler mount holes, and enabling users to use direct-to-die cooling mechanisms (sans heatspreader). The idea is that users can "cut the middleman" and make do without both Intel's terrible TIM and their stock heatspreaders, achieving a much higher heat transfer form the CPU die to the CPU cooler and, therefore, higher heat dissipation, lower temperatures, and higher overclocking.

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

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

Intel 760p NVMe SSD Variants' Performance Numbers Surface

Earlier this week, we broke the story of Intel giving finishing touches to its new SSD 7-series 760p and 660p NVMe drives. Newer screenshots scored by Tom's Hardware put out the company's performance numbers for each of the five 760p series models, 128 GB, 256 GB, 512 GB, 1 TB, and 2 TB. The 128 GB variant is the slowest, and its numbers are the territory of the slower 660p series - up to 1500 MB/s sequential reads, with up to 650 MB/s sequential writes; and 4K random access numbers of up to 100,000 IOPS (both reads and writes).

The 256 GB variant is where the 760p really begins to come to life. With up to 2900 MB/s sequential reads, and up to 1300 MB/s sequential writes, this model begins to make use of the 32 Gb/s PCIe interface. Its 4K random access performance is rated at up to 210,000 IOPS reads, with up to 250,000 IOPS writes. The 512 GB, 1 TB, and 2 TB models have near-identical performance numbers, which are the speeds Intel vaguely advertises for the entire series. The three have the same sequential read speeds of up to 3200 MB/s, and 4K random access performance of up to 350,000/280,000 IOPS (reads/writes). The company didn't put out sequential write numbers of the 1 TB and 2 TB models. Intel reportedly launches the 760p some time early-February.

Intel Core i5-8500 Surfaces on SANDRA Database

It's no revelation that Intel is expanding its 8th generation Core "Coffee Lake" desktop processor lineup through Q1-2018, alongside cost-effective B360 Express and H310 Express motherboard chipsets. One of these is the Core i5-8500 six-core processor, positioned a notch above the current Core i5-8400. The chip surfaced on a SiSoft SANDRA database entry. Although the i5-8400 launched at $189, retailers are pushing it for 10-15 percent margins above MSRP. The i5-8500 could launch bang-on the $200-mark, although one must expect a similarly jacked up $220-ish retail price.

The Core i5-8500 comes with a psychologically-pleasing 3.00 GHz nominal clock speed (while the i5-8400 has a sub-3 GHz clock of 2.80 GHz). The database entry doesn't reveal Turbo Boost clocks, but given that the i5-8400 comes with a 4.00 GHz Boost frequency, one can expect that of the i5-8500 to be 4.20-4.30 GHz. The 6-core/6-thread chip comes with 9 MB of shared L3 cache, and a TDP rating of 65W. It scored 139.63 GOPS in the Arithmetic test, 317.88 Mpix/s in the multi-media test, 7.49 GB/s in the cryptography test, which puts its performance in the league of AMD's Ryzen 5 1600.

Intel SSD 760p and 660p Specifications and Pricing Listed Online

Autobuy, a popular online shopping site in Taiwan, recently listed Intel's upcoming 760p and 660p M.2 NVMe SSDs on their store. The SSD 760p will be manufactured under Intel's 64-layer 3D NAND technology and feature TLC (triple-level-cell) NAND. It's obviously the faster of the two with a sequential read speed up to 3,200 MB/s and a write speed up to 1,600 MB/s. The drive offers random access reads up to 350,000 IOPS and writes up to 280,000 IOPS. Intel will offer this model in capacities of 128 GB, 256 GB, 512 GB, 1 TB, and 2 TB. TigerDirect listed the pricing for them at $96, $120, $240, $448, and $893, respectively.

The SSD 660p is Intel's budget-friendly this time around. Therefore, it will use QLC (quad-level-cell) NAND despite being manufactured with the same technology as its older brother. This SSD can reach up to 1,800 MB/s in sequential read and up to 1,200 MB/s in sequential write speeds with random access read and write performance in the range of 150,000 IOPS. Surprisingly, Intel won't be offering this model in the 128 GB and 256 GB capacities. Instead, the lowest capacity model will start from 512 GB and make its way up to 2 TB. Unfortunately, pricing wasn't available at the time of this article.

NVIDIA to Launch Efficiency-Oriented GeForce GTX 1050 Max-Q, Aims at Intel EMIB

NVIDIA through the changelog of one of its Linux driver releases may have spilled the beans in an as of yet unannounced, unreleased product. The company's Max-Q variants of their graphics cards typically trade performance for power efficiency, sitting the designs somewhat more optimally in the power/performance ratio curve. The fact that NVIDIA is looking to bolster efficiency of its GTX 1050 with a Max-Q design is likely aimed at competing with the performance level of the already announced Intel + AMD EMIB design, where an Intel discrete CPU is paired with a discrete, Vega-based AMD GPU and its accompanying HBM2 memory stacks, in a small, extremely power efficient package (when compared with current designs.)

The folks at Notebookcheck expect the 1050 Max-Q to perform about 10 to 15 percent slower than the standard 1050 and 1050 Ti, respectively, with TDP likely ranging between 34 W to 46 W - NVIDIA is aiming at the same market that the >AMD + Intel EMIB collaboration is going after (thin, light, adequate performance solutions.)

Intel Could Ditch AMD dGPU Die on Future Core G-series MCMs with "Arctic Sound"

Intel did the impossible in 2017, by collaborating with rival AMD after decades, on a product. The new Core i7-8000G series processors are multi-chip modules that combine quad-core "Kaby Lake" CPU dies with discrete AMD Radeon Vega GPU dies that have their own dedicated HBM2 stacks. With performance-segment notebooks and sleek AIO desktops building momentum for such products, Intel sees a future in building its own discrete GPUs, at least dies that can replace the AMD Radeon IP from its Core G-series processors.

With former AMD Graphics head Raja Koduri switching to Intel amidst rumors of the company investing in discrete GPUs of its own, details emerge of the company's future "Arctic Sound" and "Jupiter Sound" graphics IP, which point to the possibility of them being discrete GPU dies based on the Gen 12 and Gen 13 graphics architectures, respectively. According to Ashraf Eassa, a technology stock commentator with "The Motley Fool," both "Arctic Sound" and "Jupiter Sound" are discrete GPU dies that connect with Intel processor dies over EMIB, the company's proprietary high-density interconnect for multi-chip modules. It could be a long wait leading up to the two, since the company is still monetizing its Gen 9.5 architecture on 8th generation Core processors.

Intel Releases CPU Benchmarks with Meltdown and Spectre Mitigations

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

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

Intel Chip Flaw Meltdown Prompts Company Reorganization, Internal Security Group

Intel CEO Brian Kzarnich announced on Monday to its employees that as part of the company's continued strife towards better communication and consideration of its customers, the creation of a new internal group was necessary. The move comes after considerable media and tech industry turmoil after news broke out on Intel's 10-year product stack being almost completely vulnerable to some specific exploits. The Intel Product Assurance and Security group will be headed by Intel HR chief Leslie Culbertson, who will have on her team the former Vice President and General manager of Intel's New Technology Group, Josh Walden, who was, alongside Steve Smith, Intel Vice President and General Manager of its Data Center Engineering group, pulled from his current functions to work under Culbertson.

"It is critical that we continue to work with the industry, to excel at customer satisfaction, to act with uncompromising integrity, and to achieve the highest standards of excellences," Krzanich told employees in a memo Monday, obtained by The Oregonian/OregonLive. "Simply put, I want to ensure we continue to respond appropriately, diligently, and with a customer-first attitude."

Intel Advances Quantum and Neuromorphic Computing Research

Today at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Intel announced two major milestones in its efforts to research and develop future computing technologies including quantum and neuromorphic computing, which have the potential to help industries, research institutions and society solve problems that currently overwhelm today's classical computers.

During his keynote address, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich announced the successful design, fabrication and delivery of a 49-qubit superconducting quantum test chip. The keynote also noted the promise of neuromorphic computing.

Easily Build a Quiet and Gorgeous System with NZXT's N7 Z370 Motherboard

NZXT today announces the N7 Z370, its first motherboard. Built around Intel's Z370 chipset, the N7 delivers everything you need to build a powerful, gorgeous gaming PC right out-of-the-box. All the essentials are included, along with a built-in digital fan controller and integrated RGB lighting channels. The all-metal motherboard cover perfectly matches the color and finish of your case, creating a visually seamless backdrop for your components. Using NZXT's CAM software, you have full control over your system's lighting, cooling, and performance.

"Leveraging our years of experience as professional PC builders, we've designed the N7 motherboard with a completely new approach. In the face of increasing complexity in the PC gaming market, we want to make building easier and more enjoyable, with the N7 as a cornerstone for this new experience. Everything you need--from easy layout and obvious connections to digital fan control and RGB lighting--is included. We've also designed a completely unique motherboard cover so it's both beautiful and powerful. You can't build a quieter, better-looking system as easily as you can with our new N7 motherboard." says Johnny Hou, NZXT's founder, and CEO.

Acer Chromebook 11 Built for Content Consumption, Productivity, and Fun

Acer today introduced its new Chromebook 11 line that offers strong everyday performance and a portable design with all-day battery life of up to 10 hours. The new Acer Chromebook 11 (CB311-8HT / CB311-8H) offers an 11.6-inch display in a portable and fanless design, so it's great for consumers and families who will move the device around or use in shared spaces. Plus, connecting peripherals, charging phones and other devices, and even sharing content on a large display can be done thanks to the Acer Chromebook 11's two USB 3.1 Type C ports.

"The new Acer Chromebook 11 continues Acer's tradition of delivering strong performance with all the benefits of Chrome OS at an excellent value," said James Lin, General Manager, Commercial & Detachable Notebooks, IT Products Business, Acer Inc. "Chromebooks are widely known as a fast, easy and secure way to work and play both online and offline. Customers can play games, stay productive, enjoy content and do even more with the new Acer Chromebook 11 thanks to its support of Google Play."

Micron and Intel Announce Update to NAND Memory Joint Development Program

Micron and Intel today announced an update to their successful NAND memory joint development partnership that has helped the companies develop and deliver industry-leading NAND technologies to market. The announcement involves the companies' mutual agreement to work independently on future generations of 3D NAND. The companies have agreed to complete development of their third-generation of 3D NAND technology, which will be delivered toward the end of this year and extending into early 2019. Beyond that technology node, both companies will develop 3D NAND independently in order to better optimize the technology and products for their individual business needs.

Micron and Intel expect no change in the cadence of their respective 3D NAND technology development of future nodes. The two companies are currently ramping products based on their second-generation of 3D NAND (64 layer) technology. Both companies will also continue to jointly develop and manufacture 3D XPoint at the Intel-Micron Flash Technologies (IMFT) joint venture fab in Lehi, Utah, which is now entirely focused on 3D XPoint memory production.

Intel Launches the Smallest VR-capable System Ever

Today, Intel launched the latest and most powerful Intel NUC to date, based on the newly announced 8th Gen Intel Core i7 processor with Radeon RX Vega M graphics. The new Intel NUC (formerly code-named Hades Canyon) brings this powerful new processor and graphics solution into an incredibly tiny 1.20-liter system. Great for VR enthusiasts and workload-heavy content creators, it will be Intel's smallest premium VR-capable system in the market.

The new NUC will come in two versions: NUC8i7HVK and NUC8i7HNK.
  • The NUC8i7HVK is based on the unlocked version of the new 8th Gen Intel Core processor with the Radeon RX Vega M GH graphics, giving overclockers the ability to take the system to higher levels.
  • The NUC8i7HNK uses the 8th Gen Intel Core processor with the Radeon RX Vega M GL graphics.

Intel Announces 8th Gen Core i7 Processor with Radeon Vega M Graphics

Today, Intel is launching a first-of-its kind processor: the 8th Gen Intel Core processor with Radeon RX Vega M Graphics. Packed with features and performance crafted for gamers, content creators and fans of virtual and mixed reality, it expands Intel's portfolio thanks to its optimization for small form factors like 2 in 1s, thin and light notebooks, and mini PCs.

Among the devices launching with this processor: new thin and lightweight 2 in 1s from Dell and HP as well as the most powerful NUC Intel has ever introduced. The new 8th Gen Intel Core processor will come in two configurations:
  • 8th Gen Intel Core processor with Radeon RX Vega M GL Graphics (65W total package power)
  • 8th Gen Intel Core processor with Radeon RX Vega M GH Graphics (100W total package power), which features an unlocked configuration

Intel Braces for an Avalanche of Class Action Lawsuits

Following reports of Intel's gross mishandling of its CPU vulnerabilities Spectre (CVE-2017-5753 and CVE-2017-5715), and Meltdown (CVE-2017-5754); particularly its decision to not call off 8th generation Core "Coffee Lake" processor launch after learning of its vulnerability; and a general barrage of "false marketing" allegations, with a dash of "insider trading" allegations added to the mix, the company is bracing for an avalanche of class-action lawsuits in the US, and similar legal action around the world.

Owners of Intel CPU-based computers in California, Oregon, and Indiana, have filed separate complaints alleging that Intel sold vulnerable processors even after the discovery of Meltdown and Spectre; that the chips being sold were "inherently faulty," and that patches that fix them are both an "inadequate response to the problem," and "hurt performance" (false marketing about performance), by 5 to 30 percent. All three complainants are in the process of building Classes.

Samsung Introduces the New Notebook 7 Spin (2018)

Samsung Electronics America, Inc. today announced the Samsung Notebook 7 Spin (2018), a versatile notebook that provides consumers with the accessibility needed to remain productive in today's digital world. Designed for working professionals, students and those looking for entertainment, the Notebook 7 Spin (2018) offers modern features including a 360-degree touchscreen for added convenience; an Active Pen (sold separately) for quick and easy note-taking; as well as the power and performance for more efficient multi-tasking.

"Our customers wanted a functional, intuitive device that includes a wide range of their favorite features, and that's what we've delivered with the Notebook 7 Spin (2018)," said YoungGyoo Choi, Senior Vice President of the PC Business Team, Mobile Communications Business at Samsung Electronics. "This device meets the needs of today's digital lifestyle, combining work and play with a smart, seamless and personalized experience that connects users with their other devices."

Intel Released "Coffee Lake" Knowing it Was Vulnerable to Spectre and Meltdown

By the time Intel launched its 8th generation Core "Coffee Lake" desktop processor family (September 25, 2017, with October 5 availability), the company was fully aware that the product it is releasing was vulnerable to the three vulnerabilities plaguing its processors today, the two more publicized of which, are "Spectre" and "Meltdown." Google Project Zero teams published their findings on three key vulnerabilities, Spectre (CVE-2017-5753 and CVE-2017-5715); and Meltdown (CVE-2017-5754) in mid-2017, shared with hardware manufacturers under embargo; well before Intel launched "Coffee Lake." Their findings were made public on January 3, 2018.

Intel's engineers would have had sufficient time to understand the severity of the vulnerability, as "Coffee Lake" is essentially the same micro-architecture as "Kaby Lake" and "Skylake." As one security researcher puts it, this could affect Intel's liability when 8th generation Core processor customers decide on a class-action lawsuit. As if that wasn't worse, "Skylake" and later micro-architectures could require micro-code updates in addition to OS kernel patches to work around the vulnerabilities. The three micro-architectures are expected to face a performance-hit, despite Intel extracting colorful statements from its main cloud-computing customers that performance isn't affected "in the real-world." The company was also well aware of Spectre and Meltdown before its CEO dumped $22 million in company stock and options (while investors and the SEC were unaware of the vulnerabilities).

Intel Issues Updates to Protect Systems From Security Exploits

Intel has developed and is rapidly issuing updates for all types of Intel-based computer systems -- including personal computers and servers -- that render those systems immune from both exploits (referred to as "Spectre" and "Meltdown") reported by Google Project Zero. Intel and its partners have made significant progress in deploying updates as both software patches and firmware updates.

Intel has already issued updates for the majority of processor products introduced within the past five years. By the end of next week, Intel expects to have issued updates for more than 90 percent of processor products introduced within the past five years. In addition, many operating system vendors, public cloud service providers, device manufacturers and others have indicated that they have already updated their products and services.

Google, ARM, Microsoft Issue Statements Regarding Discovered Security Flaws

After Intel and AMD's differing statements on the same issue, now is the time for Google, ARM, and Microsoft to release statements regarding the recently discovered (and still in the spotlight) security flaws that impact almost all Intel CPUs from the last decade. Google is the company that originally alerted Intel to the existence of the security vulnerabilities, and mentioned some reservations regarding AMD and ARM's immunity as well. Microsoft, as the maker of the world's most recognized and widely-used OS, has also issued a statement. The ARM statement follows, with both Google and Microsoft's statements transcribed after the break.

ARM
This method requires malware running locally and could result in data being accessed from privileged memory. Our Cortex-M processors, which are pervasive in low-power, connected IoT devices, are not impacted.
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