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Intel Core i9-9900K De-lidded, Soldered TIM Outperformed by Liquid Metal

We kept seeing hints regarding Intel's 9000-series processors running hot, including from their own board partners. As it turned out, the actual results are a mixed bag with some running very hot and most others ending up being power-limited more so than temperature-limited. Our own review sample showed overall better load temperatures relative to the predecessor 8000-series processors thanks to the soldered TIM (sTIM) used here, to give you some context. But that did not stop overclocker extraordinaire Roman "Der8auer" Hartung from de-lidding the processor to see why they were not generally better as expected.

As it turns out, there are a few things involved here. For one, replacing sTIM with Thermal Grizzly Conductonaut (Der8auer has a financial interest in the company, but he does disclose it publicly) alone improves p95 average load temperatures across all eight cores by ~9 °C. This is to be expected given that the liquid metal has a vastly higher thermal conductivity than the various sTIM compositions used in the industry. Of more interest, however, is that both the PCB and the die are thicker with the Core i9-9900K compared to the Core i7-8700K, and lapping the die to reduce thickness by a few microns also does a lot to lower the CPU temperatures relatively. Overall, Intel have still done a good job using sTIM- especially compared to how it was before- but the current state of things means that we have a slightly better stock product with little scope for improvement within easy means to the consumer.

Micron Announces Acquisition of Remaining Interest in IM Flash Technologies Joint Venture, Intel Out of Partnership

The Intel-Micron partnership pertaining to memory technologies is drawing to a close, with Micron today announcing they'd be acquiring remaining interest in IM Flash Technologies. IM Flash Technologies is the literal embodiment of the Intel-Micron partnership, and Micron acquiring the entire stake of it means that Intel is left out of any investment/development of 3D XPoint memory.

Micron expects to pay approximately $1.5 billion in cash for the transaction, dissolving Intel's non-controlling interest in IM Flash, and the two companies will independently drive their own future technology roadmaps. Based on prior agreements, Micron will sell 3D XPoint memory wafers to Intel for up to a year after close.

MIT Researches Find a New Way to Fix Spectre and Meltdown, Isolation Is Key

The Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities have been a real nightmare throughout this year. Those affected were quick (maybe too much) to mitigate the problems with different solutions, but months later even the most recent Intel chips aren't completely safe. Hardware fixes only work for certain Meltdown variants, while the rest are still mitigated with firmware and OS updates that have certain impact on performance.

Intel will have to redesign certain features on their future processors to finally forget Meltdown and Spectre, but meanwhile others have jumped to give some options. MIT researchers have developed a way to partition and isolate memory caches with 'protection domains'. Unlike Intel's Cache Allocation Technology (CAT), MIT's technology, called DAWG (Dynamically Allocated Way Guard) disallows hits across those protection domains. This is important, because attackers targeting this vulnerabilities take advantage of 'cache timing attacks' and can get access to sensible, private data.

Intel Plans To Split its Manufacturing Group Into Three Segments

We are still waiting for 10 nm to happen at Intel, and although we have recently received some good news about those chips, they won't be available until the end of 2019. The problems at Intel could be alleviated thanks to a strategic change that the company is proposing. Sohail Ahmed, who was in charge of the manufacturing group since 2016, will retire next month, and that will lead to a number of major changes in manufacturing management at Intel.

Intel will divide its manufacturing group into three new segments led by different managers, but there is no information on how the three groups will collaborate. The decision to split the manufacturing division is important, and comes at a weird time given that there hasn't been a replacement for Krzanich, who left the company in June 2018 after violating Intel's non-fraternization policy. Chief Financial Officer Bob Swan is leading the company as the interim CEO, but the six month process to find a new leader should clarify things at the company.

AMD Could Cut Prices of 2nd Gen Ryzen "Pinnacle Ridge" Processors

AMD's first response to Intel's 9th generation Core "Coffee Lake Refresh" processors could be that of 5-10% price-cuts of its Ryzen "Pinnacle Ridge" processors across the board, according to a pricing list compiled by Techspot. These cuts could see the company's Ryzen 7 2700X priced just below the $300-mark. These cuts will be introduced not just by AMD, but also retailers.

The $200-300 segment could get crowded, with the 8-core/16-thread 2700X at around $295, the Ryzen 7 2700 (non-X) at $265, and the 6-core/12-thread Ryzen 5 2600X drop to around $210. Intel's only sub-$300 offering from its 9th generation family is the 6-core/6-thread Core i5-9600K. The sub-$200 segment will see the Ryzen 5 2600 go for $160, a rather compelling price for a 6-core/12-thread chip, given that Intel's cheapest 6-core offering, the i5-8400, is now retailing for $220, and that the company only has the quad-core i3-8350K around this price, at $170.

GIGABYTE Z390 OC Guide Suggests Intel 9000 Series Processors Will Run Hot Even With Custom Watercooling

It seems that by the time NDA drops on Intel's latest and greatest mainstream processor platform, we will have known more about it than ever before with similar launches. GIGABYTE joined the club with the release of their Z390 overclocking (OC) guide specific to their AORUS-branded motherboards. This contains a lot of useful information in general, and we certainly recommend taking a look at it in the source linked in the full post. As it is, a few items in the guide caught our eye- in particular, a direct quote saying "As you can tell from the last screenshots, the CPU temperature of the i9-9900k is quite high. This is something that we've noticed on almost all the processors. For this reason we suggest you to use a custom water-cooling and adjust the TjMAX Temperature to 110°C."

The quote references their guide to achieve a stable 5 GHz overclock on all cores on the Core i9-9900K, which was cooled via a custom watercooled setup and a Vcore ranging from 1.3-1.4 V. GIGABYTE's internal testing thus indicates that these higher end, unlocked 9000-series CPUs will run incredibly hot if you wish to push them, and the soldered IHS may not be as effective in cooling these dense processors as we may have hoped. Indeed, with news of the 28-core Xeon using thermal paste for the IHS, it appears that Intel may be conflicted on optimal cooling when battling the Core Wars with AMD.

Benchmarks for Intel Core i5-9600K Leak, Can Be Overclocked to 5.2 GHz On Air

The first official data we have received about the performance of the new Intel processors are not exactly spectacular. The Core i9-9900K has aroused considerable controversy due to the unfair Principled Technologies test bench. The results have been reviewed and confirm that the performance gain is debatable, but independent analyses have yet to appear for Core i9-9900K, Core i7-9700K and Core i5-9600K processors.

Today we have some info about one of them: a new video in China shows a Core i5-9600K being benchmarked with a MSI Z390 MEG Godlike motherboard with 16GB of DDR4 memory and a Silver Arrow Extreme cooler from Thermalright. We don't have game benchmarks, but at least we have some Cinebench results both with the processor working with its 3.7 GHz base clock and overcloked to 5.2 GHz. That process was done without problems despite using an air cooler.

Intel Xeon W-3175X to Lack STIM, Retain Thermal Paste for IHS

Soldered thermal interface material, or STIM, has been one of Intel's key feature-additions to its high-end 9th generation Core i7 and Core i9 processors. Besides higher clock-speeds, STIM is the only feature that sets its refreshed Core X 9000-series family apart from Core X 7000-series. STIM is also only given to the i9-9900K and i7-9700K in the mainstream-desktop space. The 28-core Xeon W-3175X was touted by Intel to be a high-end desktop (HEDT) processor initially, before Intel decided to retain the Xeon brand and target the gray-area between HEDTs and workstations. This also means that the W-3175X will lack STIM, as confirmed by an Intel spokesperson in an interview with PC World.

Soldered TIM is preferred by PC enthusiasts as it offers superior heat-transfer between the CPU die and the integrated heatspreader. Intel's decision to equip the Core X 9000-series and higher-end Coffee Lake-Refresh parts with it, is aimed at improving the thermals and overclocking headrooms of its products. The lack of STIM for the W-3175X speaks for its intended use-case - a workstation processor that can be overclocked, provided it's de-lidded and cooled by exotic methods such as liquid nitrogen evaporators. Intel's branding decisions could be guided by AMD's decision to side-brand its 24-core and 32-core Ryzen Threadripper processors as "WX," which focuses on their workstation proficiency while slightly toning down their PC enthusiast appeal.

AMD "Zen" Does Support FMA4, Just Not Exposed

With its "Zen" CPU microarchitecture, AMD removed support for the FMA4 instruction-set, on paper. This, while retaining FMA3. Level1Techs discovered that "Zen" CPUs do support FMA4 instructions, even through the instruction-set is not exposed to the operating system. FMA, or fused multiply add, is an efficient way to compute linear algebra. FMA3 and FMA4 are not generations of the instruction-set (unlike SSE3 and SSE4), but rather the digit denotes the number of operands per instruction. Support for both were introduced by AMD in 2012 with its FX-series processors, while Intel added FMA3 support in 2013 with "Haswell."

The exact reasons why AMD deprecated FMA4 with "Zen" are unknown, but some developers speculate it's because AMD's implementation of FMA4 is buggy, even though it's more efficient (33% more throughput). Intel's adoption of FMA3 made it more popular, and hence more stable over the years. Level1Techs used an OpenBLAS FMA4 test-program to confirm that feeding "Zen" processors with FMA4 instructions won't just return a "illegal instruction" error, but also the processor will go ahead and complete the operation. This is interesting because FMA4 isn't exposed as a CPUID bit, and the operating system has no idea the processor even supports the instruction. For linear algebra, FMA4 has proven more efficient than AVX in both single- and double-precision.

Principled Technologies' Response to Allegations of Horse Manure Data Disingenuous

Principled Technologies Wednesday published its first response to allegations of flawed and misleading "independent" comparison between the $319 AMD Ryzen 7 2700X and the 66% pricier $530 (pre-order price) Intel Core i9-9900K, which Intel used in its launch event to woo gamers and investors. In its response, the company elaborated on the reasons why it tested the AMD chip with memory and cooler settings reputed hardware reviewers found sub-optimal. "One goal of this study was to test the CPUs and their graphics subsystems, not the GPUs, so we ran the tests at the most common gaming resolution (62.06%), 1920×1080," reads the response, touting a foregone conclusion that gamers with $500 8-core processors still game at 1920 x 1080. We get that they, like every CPU reviewer, are trying to simulate a CPU-limited scenario, but to justify their settings with Steam Hardware Survey data as "the most common resolution," is a disingenuous argument.

We next see Principled Technologies justify the use of NH-U14S TR4-SP3 cooler on the Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX. Noctua, in its own TDP Guide for this cooler, states that 250W TDP (which also happens to be the TDP of the 2990WX), is the design limit of this air cooler, and goes as far as to mention that an additional NF-A15 fan, which is not included with the cooler, is recommended to be able to "increase Precision Boost headroom," implying that out of the box, the cooler is already bottlenecking the 2990WX. The Core i9-9980XE, on the other hand, has a rated TDP of 165W, and Noctua provides no additional guidance for 165W TDP Core X family processors, such as the Core i9-7980XE. Principled Technologies' reasoning for memory configuration proves they either continue to lack basic knowledge on AMD Ryzen memory controller limitations, or are deliberately disregarding it in an attempt to cripple AMD chips.

Principled Technologies Comments on their Intel Processor Study

Today, we have seen several reports that suggested Principled Technologies (PT) published misleading information in our recent study comparing Intel's gaming processors to AMD's. We apologize for our delay in responding, but it's been a busy day, and we wanted to be as thorough as possible in addressing inquiries concerning our testing. We'll address specific questions and share more detail on our methodology in a moment, but we first must respond directly to attempts to call our integrity into question.

For almost 16 years, we have tested products for our clients because they trust our integrity. We have worked not just for any one company but for dozens of the leading technology firms, including rivals such as Intel and AMD, Microsoft and Google, Dell and HP, and many others.

In Wake of Controversy, Intel-Paid Principled Technologies Retesting AMD Ryzen Processors

Well, that proverbial storm of dirty undies did serve to rile up some people over at Intel and their paid-for stint with Principled Technologies, whose name begs for a change for honesty's sake. In wake of the controversy regarding its... flawed... testing of AMD's Ryzen 2700X performance in gaming workloads, Principled technologies has now come forward to say it's retesting AMD's processors in less... biased circumstances.

Let's start with the glass half-full part of this retesting: initial reports of memory timings on AMD's system being set in an almost "whatever" kind of way apparently weren't fair, since Principled Technologies have said they used D.O.C.P. settings for AMD's XMP-equivalent memory settings (not properly disclosed in the initial report, so, it's their own fault this happened). The good stuff ends there, though; numerous other flaws in the methodology, such as the usage of AMD's stock cooling solutions against a Noctua cooler for the Intel system (which they'll now fix on retesting), and the usage of AMD's Game Mode on their consumer Ryzen processors, which meant the usually 8-core processor was working in a 4-core mode (really, now?)... The company will now retest both CPUs in a more even-footed way. How's that for a change?

Intel Fixes Spectre & Meltdown on New Desktop Processors, Core-X Will Have to Wait

The new 9th generation Intel Core processors arrived yesterday with a series of improvements made to entice gamers and content creators. These improvements, however, join others that go beyond pure performance. Intel has introduced several architectural changes to fix the infamous Spectre & Meltdown vulnerabilities, and the new processors mitigate most of the variants of these attacks through a combination of hardware, firmware and OS fixes.

The big changes come to two of the six variants of those vulnerabilities. In both "Rogue Data Cache Load" (Meltdown, variant 3) and "L1 Terminal Fault" (Meltdown, Variant 5) vulnerabilities these new processors have hardware fixes that are new and not present on the rest of the current portfolio of Intel chips. This includes the new Xeon W-3175X (Core-X Skylake-X Refresh), which still depend on firmware fixes to mitigate those problems.

Intel Core i9-9900K Overclocked to 6.9 GHz On All Cores - With LN2

Intel took their opportunity to add a golden sheen to their new 9th Gen CPUs by going as far as showcasing their extreme overclocking capabilities right from the launch event. partering with world-renowned overclocker Splave, Intel showcased how a Core i9-9900K can withstand up to 1.7V Vcore, with a little aid from yours truly liquid nitrogen.

That scorchingly high Vcore paired with the sub-zero temperatures of LN2 allowed for all CPU cores to be overclocked up to 6.9 GHz, with Splave saying some samples could reach 7.1 GHz across all cores. Intel then went on to show some of the increased performance benchmarks - which, as you'd expect, don't showcase a linear performance improvement with increased frequency. Still, it's an impressive pure voltage and frequency feat. Splave went on to say that these new 9th Gen Intel processors can now achieve some 5.3 GHz under watercooling and at a much more mundane 1.4V Vcore. We'll all be able to test that for ourselves soon now won't we?

Intel Xeon W-3175X is a new Beast for Workstation Lovers: 28 Cores and Up to 512 GB of Memory

Although the big stars of today's Intel event have been the new desktop processors, the company also wanted to take this opportunity to launch its new beasts for the workstation field. These are the Intel Xeon W-3175X, which are destined to conquer ambitious users in that professional segment. These unlocked microprocessors, similar (but not equal) to what we saw at Computex in June, have 28 cores, 56 threads and base frequencies of 3.1 GHz, although they can reach 4.3 GHz.

These chips support 68 PCIe 3.0 lanes (44 on the CPU, 24 on the chipset), and there is another important feature on the memory front: the 6-channel DDR4 support allows the user to configure these systems with up to 512 GB at 2666 MHz (ECC and standard). This processor's TDP is 255 W and is based on Intel's Skylake-X architecture.

Intel Officially Launches 9th Generation Processors Including the 8-Core / 16-Thread Core i9-9900K

Anand Srivatsa, Vice President of Intel, officially announced their all-new 9th generation of core processors in today's live stream. While the Coffee Lake refresh has certainly been no secret, a few facts were confirmed today. The Core i9-9900k will be Intel's first broad volume 5 GHz processor and is their first mainstream 8 core, 16 thread offering. In order to facilitate better overclocking results for enthusiasts, the company also confirmed that they will use solder TIM for the whole range of products, which should result in not only better overclocking potential but much lower thermals as well.

NZXT Unveils N7 Z390 Motherboard: Feature-rich for Enthusiast Gamers

NZXT today announces the N7 Z390, its newest motherboard designed around Intel's Z390 chipset and supporting the latest Intel 9th Gen CPUs. With the new N7 everything you need to build a stunning and powerful gaming PC is available right out-of-the-box.

All the essentials are included, along with built-in wireless and Bluetooth connectivity, digital fan control, and HUE 2 integrated RGB lighting channels. Get the N7 into your build even faster with an integrated rear I/O shield. The N7's signature all-metal motherboard cover returns to perfectly match the color and finish of your case, creating a visually seamless backdrop for your components. Additionally, NZXT's CAM software gives you full control over your system's lighting, cooling, and performance straight from your desktop.

MSI Redefines Gaming PC Design with the Trident X

MSI, a world leader in gaming hardware, proudly introduces the new Trident X compact desktop with the latest MSI GeForce RTX 2080 graphics cards and Intel 9th Generation Core K series processors. The MSI Trident X is the first compact desktop PC to incorporate an SFX power supply and the highest performing new MSI GeForce RTX graphics cards into a small 10-liter case. The Trident X is a completely new PC experience that rivals the performance of much larger traditional desktop PCs.

The Trident X comes equipped with up to an Intel Core i9-9900K processor for up 50 percent more performance. The i9 provides massive, overclockable performance in a small chassis. Additionally, gamers can take advantage of the newest innovations in graphics and raytracing with up to NVIDIA RTX 2080 Ti graphics. With these components, the Trident X provides impressive performance in a small footprint for any task, including gaming or video editing.

Memory, not smartphones, is what is really working at Samsung

Smartphones or TVs may be Samsung's most popular products, but they are certainly not the most profitable for the company. The South Korea electronics giant has announced its estimates for the third quarter of the year, and that data points to the company achieving the highest operating profit in its entire history. Samsung is set to reach 17.5 trillion won ($15.8 billion), up 20% from the same period last year. Not only that: revenues will also reach a record 65 trillion won ($57.3 billion), almost 5% more than last year.

The surprise of these results lies precisely in the products that have been the main protagonists of these revenues and profits. It wasn't smartphones, and in fact in the second quarter those lost more market share than any other manufacturer with a Galaxy S9 and a Galaxy S9+ whose sales haven't been as good as expected. TVs weren't that succesful either.

ASRock Launches The Outstanding Intel Z390 Motherboards with Phantom Gaming Series

The leading global motherboard manufacturer, ASRock, is pleased to announce the launch of the new Intel Z390 motherboard series, and also the Phantom Gaming Motherboards, the latest addition to the company's popular Phantom Gaming line up. These versatile new motherboards support the latest 9th Generation Intel Core processors with socket 1151.

A Blazingly Fast Gaming Network Experience
Fast internet will be the trend of the future, it is certain that the old-fashioned 1 Gbps Ethernet with soon be replaced by the more advanced 2.5 Gbps LAN interface, giving network performance boost to up to 2.5x the speed of old-fashioned gigabit Ethernet. The Z390 Phantom Gaming motherboards will be the first to adopt this new industry standard and provides blazing fast 2.5 Gbps LAN, supporting next generation networking standards, for an unbeatable experience. The intelligent Phantom Gaming 2.5Gb/s LAN platform is designed for the demanding requirements of home networking, content creators, online gamers and users of high-quality streaming media. Also ASRock's Phantom Gaming network software is able to automatically accelerate critical gaming network traffic ahead of other data to provide smoother, stutter-free game performance and give gamers the ultimate competitive edge.

Intel Manufacturing Facilities Run 365 Days a Year

Intel will join the National Association of Manufacturers on Friday, Oct. 5, 2018, to celebrate Manufacturing Day. The majority of Intel's advanced manufacturing and research and development is in the United States, creating high-precision, high-value, IP-driven products that enable industries and businesses to innovate around the world. Intel Corp.'s U.S. manufacturing and research and development facilities are in Oregon, Arizona and New Mexico. They operate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Intel Releases Graphics Driver 25.20.100.6323 for Windows 10

The release of Windows 10 October 2018 Update has had the side-effects of new driver releases from a variety of manufacturers. NVIDIA released its GeForce 416.16 WHQL drivers today, and now Intel has also released the first driver update for its graphics chips following the release of this major Windows 10 update. This WDDM 2.5 driver introduces HDR10 on internal displays, support for Wide Color Gamut on capable displays, as well as improvements in EDR Quality.

The driver also introduces performance improvements for Microsoft WinML-based applications on 7th Generation Intel Core processors and higher. Power optimizations are also included even when the display is in standby. This driver also has performance improvements for Pro Evolution Soccer 2019 (DirectX 11 version) on 6th Generation Intel Core processors or higher.

Newegg Canada Inadvertently Shows Z390 Motherboard Pricing

The leak train for Intel's latest and greatest mainstream CPU platform is showing no signs of stopping before hitting the final stop when Intel formalizes it officially. Yesterday, we had MSI do a long preview video with everything but the Z390 branding visible, and today we got word of Newegg Canada deciding it could do better. Indeed, searching for "Z390" on their website shows up, at the time of this post, 15 Z390 motherboards from MSI and Gigabyte alike.

Noting that these are in Canadian dollars, the respective Z370 offerings from the same website are priced 30-40% lower at this time where applicable courtesy of some sales but also a direct MSRP-to-MSRP comparison. Keep in mind also that the features may not be identical, and that may contribute also to the pricing strategy we see employed here. These do not look to be placeholders either, given the precision down to two decimal points, but we will have to wait for USD prices to know if this is price gouging from a retailer or a blanket increase worldwide. In anticipation of these links being taken down sooner than later, we just saved a web archive of the page that can be seen here.

Core i7-8700K Now at $400 as Intel CPU Prices Continue to Boil

Intel's mainstream-desktop flagship Core i7-8700K processor is now retailing north of USD $400, a departure from its launch price of $359, which erodes its competitiveness to the AMD Ryzen 7 2700X, which can be had for as low as $319. Prices of 8th generation Core processors remain on the boil across the board as reports emerge of the industry facing supply shortages from Intel. In its defense, Intel claims that the shortage is triggered by a spike in demand, and not a drop in supply.

The company raised its capex by $1 billion YoY to increase its manufacturing output, and has even outsourced manufacturing of non-processor components such as chipsets, to other semiconductor foundries such as TSMC. Prices of other popular SKUs are also on the rise. The Core i5-8400, which launched at $184, is now hovering $225, which is supposed to be the launch price of the i5-8600 (non-K). The i5-8600K is fast approaching the $300-mark. Prices of AMD Ryzen processors remain not just stable, but also a touch lower than their launch prices.

MSI Shows Off A Plethora of Next Gen Z390 Motherboards and Features

In a recent live stream, MSI gave a sneak peek at their next generation of motherboards. The first one shown was a new red and black themed Gaming Plus model reminiscent of the early days in the MSI Gaming brand. It features a few quality of life improvements one of which is an enlarged PCIe latch making GPU removal a bit easier in cramped environments or when you happen to have a beefy air cooler. Keep out zones were also highlighted on the back of the motherboard giving users a visual cue to make sure other components, standoffs, screws etc do not come into contact with those particular regions. Furthermore, they also included an angled slot in the board's design for easier access to both the SATA ports and USB 3.0.
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