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ASRock Outs Z390 Phantom Gaming 4S Motherboard

ASRock today rolled out the Z390 Phantom Gaming 4S motherboard. Clearly built to a cost, the board ships with a narrow ATX PCB, and is positioned below both the Z390 Phantom Gaming 4 and the Z390 Pro4. It draws power from a 24-pin ATX and an 8-pin EPS, conditioning it for the CPU with a 6+2 phase VRM. The LGA1151 socket is wired to four DDR4 DIMM slots, and a single PCI-Express 3.0 x16. The second x16 slot is electrically x4 and wired to the PCH. An M.2 PCIe E-key slot (for WLAN cards) and three open-ended PCIe 3.0 x1 slots make for the rest of the expansion area. Storage connectivity includes just the one M.2-22110 slot (PCI-Express 3.0 x4 and SATA 6 Gbps wiring), and six SATA 6 Gbps ports.

Display outputs include just the one HDMI port. USB connectivity includes eight USB 3.2 gen 1 ports, four on the rear panel, four by headers. The board's sole 1 GbE network interface is driven by an Intel i219-V controller. The onboard audio solution combines a rather premium Realtek ALC1220 CODEC with 6-channel analog output, audio-grade capacitors, and ground-layer isolation. Separate PS/2 ports, one 3-pin addressable-RGB, two 4-pin RGB, and five 4-pin PWM fan headers make for the rest of this board. We expect this to be ASRock's cheapest Z390 offering, priced between USD $110-120.

Intel Releases CPU Microcode Updates For MDS Vulnerabilities Unearthed on May 14

Intel released CPU microcode updates to address four new security vulnerabilities disclosed by the company on May 14, 2019. These microcode updates can be encapsulated as motherboard UEFI firmware updates, and for some processors even distributed through Windows Update. In its Microcode Revision Guidance document put out on Tuesday, Intel revealed that all Core and Xeon processors going as far as the 2nd generation Core "Sandy Bridge" architecture are eligible for microcode updates.

2nd generation Core is roughly the time when motherboard vendors were forced to adopt UEFI (unrelated to these vulnerabilities). A number of low-power microarchitectures, such as "Gemini Lake," "Cherry View," "Apollo Lake," and "Amber Lake," which are basically all low-power processors released after 2012-13, also receive these updates. Until you wait for your motherboard vendor or PC/notebook OEM to pass on these microcode updates, Intel advises you to disable HyperThreading if your processor is older than 8th gen "Coffee Lake," and seek out the latest software updates.
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Intel Releases ModernFW as Open Source, minimal Firmware Replacement

Today Intel announced ModernFW - an experimental approach to building a minimum viable platform firmware for machines such as cloud server platforms. The reason for this software is that, while traditional PC Firmware has evolved over time and retained its backward compatibility, it has become very big and often inefficient.

So to meet the requirements of new platforms that need to be built quickly and adapted easily, Intel decided to offer a new software package that will help with that. The new firmware package targets x86_64 from ISA standpoint and Linux kernel based OSes.

AMD Confirms its Processors are Unaffected by RIDL and Fallout Vulnerabilities

AMD in a statement confirmed that its processors are unaffected by the RIDL (Rogue In-Flight Data Load) and Fallout vulnerabilities. The company however worded its statement in CYA language, just to be safe. "...we believe our products are not susceptible to 'Fallout' or 'RIDL' because of the hardware protection checks in our architecture. We have not been able to demonstrate these exploits on AMD products and are unaware of others having done so," reads the AMD statement put out late Tuesday (14th May).

AMD came to these conclusions on the basis of its own testing and discussions with the researchers who discovered RIDL. It's important to note here, that the "Fallout" vulnerability AMD is referring to in this statement is the one which is part of four MDS vulnerabilities Intel disclosed yesterday, and not the identically named "Fallout" vulnerability discovered by CTS Labs in 2018, allegedly affecting secure memory management of AMD "Zen" processors.

Intel Puts Out Benchmarks Showing Minimal Performance Impact of MDS Mitigation

Intel Tuesday once again shook the IT world by disclosing severe microarchitecture-level security vulnerabilities affecting its processors. The Microarchitectural Data Sampling (MDS) class of vulnerabilities affect Intel CPU architectures older than "Coffee Lake" to a greater extent. Among other forms of mitigation software patches, Intel is recommending that users disable HyperThreading technology (HTT), Intel's simultaneous multithreading (SMT) implementation. This would significantly deplete multi-threaded performance on older processors with lower core-counts, particularly Core i3 2-core/4-thread chips.

On "safer" microarchitectures such as "Coffee Lake," though, Intel is expecting a minimal impact of software patches, and doesn't see any negative impact of disabling HTT. This may have something to do with the 50-100 percent increased core-counts with the 8th and 9th generations. The company put out a selection of benchmarks relevant to client and enterprise (data-center) use-cases. On the client use-case that's we're more interested in, a Core i9-9900K machine with software mitigation and HTT disabled is negligibly slower (within 2 percent) of a machine without mitigation and HTT enabled. Intel's selection of benchmarks include SYSMark 2014 SE, WebXprt 3, SPECInt rate base (1 copy and n copies), and 3DMark "Skydiver" with the chip's integrated UHD 630 graphics. Comparing machines with mitigations applied but toggling HTT presents a slightly different story.

Yet Another Speculative Malfunction: Intel Reveals New Side-Channel Attack, Advises Disabling Hyper-Threading Below 8th, 9th Gen CPUs

Ouch doesn't even begin to describe how much that headline hurt. As far as speculative execution goes, it's been well covered by now, but here's a refresher. Speculative execution essentially means that your CPU tries to think ahead of time on what data may or may not be needed, and processes it before it knows it's needed. The objective is to take advantage of concurrency in the CPU design, keeping processing units that would otherwise be left idle to process and deliver results on the off-chance that they are indeed required by the system: and when they are called for, the CPU saves time by not having to process them on the fly and already having them available.

The flaws have been announced by Intel in coordination with Austrian university TU Graz, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, the University of Michigan, the University of Adelaide, KU Leuven in Belgium, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Saarland University in Germany and security firms Cyberus, BitDefender, Qihoo360 and Oracle. While some of the parties involved have named the four identified flaws with names such as "ZombieLoad", "Fallout", and RIDL, or "Rogue In-Flight Data Load", Intel is using the PEGI-13 "Microarchitectural Data Sampling (MDS)" name.

Intel Receiving $1.3B From Micron for IM Flash Stake

The Intel-Micron divorce in the wake of the former's exit from the joint Im Flash venture has taken some strange turns. However, it seems that Micron is looking to take the entire business out of Intel's hands and keep the manufacturing capacity that was jointly developed and invested in all for themselves, offering Intel anywhere from $1.3B to $1.5B for their stake on the venture - including associated debt of the IMF venture to Intel, which amounts to a cool $1B of that amount. This means that Intel's stake in the venture is being valued at $300 to $500 million.

The only remaining factory that is being operated by both parties is located in Lehi, Utah, and exclusively fabricates 3D XPoint memory, which has only been turned to a consumer and professional product by Intel. The acquisition from Micron means they'll have to fulfill Intel's 3D XPoint orders until 2020, and that they'll be investing on the factory's capacity to produce 2nd generation 3D XPoint for their own product portfolio, as well as post-3D XPoint technologies.

AMD Ryzen 9 3000 is a 16-core Socket AM4 Beast

AMD is giving finishing touches to its 3rd generation Ryzen socket AM4 processor family which is slated for a Computex 2019 unveiling, followed by a possible E3 market availability. Based on the "Matisse" multi-chip module that combines up to two 8-core "Zen 2" chiplets with a 14 nm I/O controller die, these processors see a 50-100 percent increase in core-counts over the current generation. The Ryzen 5 series now includes 8-core/16-thread parts, the Ryzen 7 series chips are 12-core/24-thread, while the newly created Ryzen 9 series (designed to rival Intel Core i9 LGA115x), will include 16-core/32-thread chips.

Thai PC enthusiast TUM_APISAK confirmed the existence of the Ryzen 9 series having landed himself with an engineering sample of the 16-core/32-thread chip that ticks at 3.30 GHz with 4.30 GHz Precision Boost frequency. The infamous Adored TV leaks that drew the skeleton of AMD's 3rd generation Ryzen roadmap, referenced two desktop Ryzen 9 parts, the Ryzen 9 3800X and Ryzen 9 3850X. The 3800X is supposed to be clocked at 3.90 GHz with 4.70 GHz boost, with a TDP rating of 125W, while the 3850X tops the charts at 4.30 GHz base and a staggering 5.10 GHz boost. The rated TDP has shot up to 135W. We can now imagine why some motherboard vendors are selective with BIOS updates on some of their lower-end boards. AMD is probably maximizing the clock-speed headroom of these chips out of the box, to preempt Intel's "Comet Lake" 10-core/20-thread processor.

Intel Drivers Reveal 400, 495 Series Chipsets for Comet Lake, Ice Lake - New Year, New Socket, Same 14 nm Process

Data extracted from Intel's latest Server Chipset Driver (10.1.18010.8141) mentions support for new chipsets, which will bring about compatibility for the company's upcoming Comet Lake chips. Comet Lake, if you remember, is Intel's latest gasp in the 14 nm process for CPUs, and should bring up to 10 cores to the consumer segment. The increase in maximum number of cores will naturally be Intel's justification for the need for new chipsets and sockets, due to "electrical incompatibilities" and increased requirements in the power delivery subsystem.

If you're looking for the latest and greatest changes to Intel's architecture and manufacturing process, you'll have to wait for Ice Lake, for which the 495 series chipset brings compatibility. But for that one, you'll have to wait until 2020. Let's see what AMD's Ryzen 2 brings to the table against Intel's current (and up to 10 nm Comet Lake) offerings. Even excluding platform longevity, AMD's architecture and core density really has been giving Intel a run for its money.

Intel Switches to a "Data Center First" Strategy with 7nm

Intel traditionally released new CPU microarchitectures and new silicon fabrication nodes with the client segment, and upon observing some degree of maturity with both, graduated them to the enterprise segment. With its homebrew 7 nanometer silicon fabrication process that takes flight in 2021, Intel will flip its roadmap execution strategy, by going "Data Center First." Speaking at the 2019 Investors Day summit, Intel SVP and GM of Data Center Group Navin Shenoy revealed that the first product built on Intel's 7 nm process will be a GPGPU accelerator chip derived from the Xe architecture for the Data Center, followed closely by a new server CPU. Both these products come under Shenoy's group. One is a competitor to likes of NVIDIA Tesla and AMD Radeon Instinct, while the other is a Xeon processor competing with AMD EPYC.

Shenoy explained the reason why within his group, the GPGPU product was prioritized over the server CPU. It has to do with redundancy of the GPU silicon, or specifically, the higher potential to harvest partially defective dies than CPU. A GPU has a larger number of indivisible components that can be disabled if found non-functional at the time of quality assurance, and these harvested dies can be used to carve out variants of a main product. An example of this would be NVIDIA carving out the GeForce GTX 1070 (1,920 CUDA cores) from the GP104 silicon that physically has 2,560 CUDA cores. The first manufacturing runs of the GPGPU will give the foundry valuable insights into the way the node is behaving, so it could be refined and matured for the server CPU. With 10 nm, however, Intel is sticking to the client-first model, by rolling out the "Ice Lake" processor towards the end of 2019. Within the Client Computing group, Intel has flipped its roadmap execution such that mobile (notebook) CPUs take precedence over desktop ones.

Intel "Tiger Lake" Architecture Combines Willow Cove CPU Cores and Xe iGPU

Even as Intel banks on 10 nm "Ice Lake" to pull it out of the 14 nm dark ages, the company is designing a fascinating new monolithic processor SoC die that succeeds it. Codenamed "Tiger Lake," and slated to debut in 2020, this die packs "Willow Cove" CPU cores and an iGPU based on Intel's Xe architecture, not Gen11. "Willow Cove" CPU cores are more advanced than the "Sunny Cove" cores "Ice Lake" packs, featuring a redesigned on-die cache, additional security features, and transistor optimization yielded from the newer 10 nm+ silicon fabrication process.

Intel is already boasting of 1 TFLOP/s compute power of the Gen11 iGPU on "Ice Lake," so it's logical to predict that the Xe based iGPU will be significantly faster. It will also support the latest display standards. The "next-gen I/O" referenced by Intel could be faster NVMe, Thunderbolt, and USB standards that leverage the bandwidth doubling brought about by PCI-Express gen 4.0. Here's the catch: much like "Ice Lake," the new "Tiger Lake" chip will get a mobile debut as Tiger Lake-Y or Tiger Lake-U, and desktop processors could follow later, possibly even 2021, depending on how much pressure it faces from AMD.

Intel Switches Gears to 7nm Post 10nm, First Node Live in 2021

Intel's semiconductor manufacturing business has had a terrible past 5 years as it struggled to execute its 10 nanometer roadmap forcing the company's processor designers to re-hash the "Skylake" microarchitecture for 5 generations of Core processors, including the upcoming "Comet Lake." Its truly next-generation microarchitecture, codenamed "Ice Lake," which features a new CPU core design called "Sunny Cove," comes out toward the end of 2019, with desktop rollouts expected 2020. It turns out that the 10 nm process it's designed for, will have a rather short reign at Intel's fabs. Speaking at an investor's summit on Wednesday, Intel put out its silicon fabrication roadmap that sees an accelerated roll-out of Intel's own 7 nm process.

When it goes live and fit for mass production some time in 2021, Intel's 7 nm process will be a staggering 3 years behind TSMC, which fired up its 7 nm node in 2018. AMD is already mass-producing CPUs and GPUs on this node. Unlike TSMC, Intel will implement EUV (extreme ultraviolet) lithography straightaway. TSMC began 7 nm with DUV (deep ultraviolet) in 2018, and its EUV node went live in March. Samsung's 7 nm EUV node went up last October. Intel's roadmap doesn't show a leap from its current 10 nm node to 7 nm EUV, though. Intel will refine the 10 nm node to squeeze out energy-efficiency, with a refreshed 10 nm+ node that goes live some time in 2020.

ASUS Also Outs ROG Strix B365-F Gaming Motherboard

In quick succession to last week's launch of the ROG Strix B365-G Gaming, ASUS rolled out its first ROG-branded ATX motherboard based on Intel B365 Express chipset, the ROG Strix B365-F Gaming. Supporting all 9th and 8th generation Core processors out of the box, this board is targeted at gamers who don't intend to overclock their CPUs or need memory clock speeds above DDR4-2667. The board draws power from a combination of 24-pin ATX and 8-pin EPS connectors, conditioning it for the CPU with a 10-phase VRM. The board supports up to 64 GB of dual-channel DDR4 memory capped at 2667 MHz.

Expansion includes one PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slot with metal reinforcement wired to the CPU, a PCI-Express 3.0 x4 (physical x16) slot wired to the B365 PCH, three PCIe x1, and an M.2 E-key slot for WLAN cards. Storage connectivity includes two M.2 slots each with PCI-Express 3.0 x4 wiring, one of which even has SATA 6 Gbps wiring; and six SATA 6 Gbps ports. USB connectivity includes two 10 Gbps USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports at the rear panel, and six 5 Gbps USB 3.0 ports, four on the rear panel, two by header. The onboard audio solution is premium ROG SupremeFX, combining a Realtek ALC1220A CODEC with dual high-impedance headphones amplifiers, audio-grade capacitors, and ground-layer isolation. The board's sole 1 GbE interface is pulled by the ubiquitous Intel i219-V controller. Expect this board to be priced around $120.

Intel Unveils Project Athena Open Labs

Intel today revealed plans for Project Athena Open Labs in Taipei, Shanghai and Folsom, California, to support performance and low-power optimization of vendor components for laptops built to Project Athena design specifications and target experiences in 2020. Located in key ecosystem hubs and operated by teams of Intel engineers with system-on-chip (SOC) and platform power optimization expertise, the three Open Labs sites will begin operating in June 2019 to enable and optimize components.

"Across the industry, we each play an important role in delivering the advanced laptops of today and the future. Project Athena Open Labs are a critical step in enabling more extensive, day-to-day collaboration with the components ecosystem to continuously raise the bar for innovation across the platform," said Josh Newman, Intel vice president and general manager of PC Innovation Segments, Client Computing Group.

EK-Classic - Less Talk, More Cooling!

EK Water Blocks, the leading premium liquid cooling gear manufacturer, announces the expansion and global availability of newly released Classic Product Lineup. The Classic Lineup is directly addressing price-conscious users while reusing some of the key technological solutions that set the EK as the market leader in the PC liquid cooling industry. The packaging, just as the products themselves are streamlined and simplified, making Classic Line Products the pure essence of liquid cooling. And now, it's available for everyone.

The portfolio is now bearing all the relevant parts that a user needs to complete his liquid cooling loop. The existing combo unit, CPU block and GPU block are now joined with Classic Line radiators, fittings and even a GPU block for the ROG Strix GeForce RTX 2080 Ti graphics card. The Classic Lineup is implementing EK's market-proven technologies that ensure high-quality and high-performance liquid cooling products at a more accessible price. Available at about 3/4 of the price of leading EK Quantum series products, our products can now reach more liquid cooling enthusiasts that desire efficient cooling with EK's guaranteed quality and excellent customer support.

Intel Xe GPUs to Support Raytracing Hardware Acceleration

Intel's upcoming Xe discrete GPUs will feature hardware-acceleration for real-time raytracing, similar to NVIDIA's "Turing" RTX chips, according to a company blog detailing how the company's Rendering Framework will work with the upcoming Xe architecture. The blog only mentions that the company's data-center GPUs support the feature, and not whether its client-segment ones do. The data-center Xe GPUs are targeted at cloud-based gaming service and cloud-computing providers, as well as those building large rendering farms.

"I'm pleased to share today that the Intel Xe architecture roadmap for data center optimized rendering includes ray tracing hardware acceleration support for the Intel Rendering Framework family of API's and libraries," said Jim Jeffers, Sr. Principal Engineer and Sr. Director of Intel's Advanced Rendering and Visualization team. Intel did not go into technical details of the hardware itself. NVIDIA demonstrated that you need two major components on a modern GPU to achieve real-time raytracing: 1. a fixed-function hardware that computes intersection of rays with triangles or surfaces (which in NVIDIA's case are the RT cores), and 2. an "inexpensive" de-noiser. NVIDIA took the AI route to achieve the latter, by deploying tensor cores (matrix-multiplication units), which accelerate AI DNN building and training. Both these tasks are achievable without fixed-function hardware, using programmable unified shaders, but at great performance cost. Intel developed a CPU-based de-noiser that can leverage AVX-512.

Patriot Launches New Signature Premium DDR4 Memory

PATRIOT , a global leader in performance memory, SSDs, gaming peripherals, and flash storage solutions, today has announced the release of their latest Signature Premium series line of DDR4 UDIMM memory, which are Non-ECC unbuffered memory designed to deliver outstanding quality, rock solid stability and great performance expected by today's mainstream PC builder.

Signature Premium DDR4 memory provides a wide range of capacities allowing the builder to choose from a variety of speeds and capacities starting with 4GB single modules up to 32GB dual channel kits. The minimalist heat spreader design offers great heat dissipation and is made from high-purity aluminum. Signature Premium DDR4 series modules offer reliability to those who upgrade or build systems for work or business and are cost effective too.

Intel, AMD, and HTC Partner to Resolve Vive Wireless Adapter Compatibility Issue with Ryzen Processors

The headline of this post makes it seem a touch more innocuous than the story may lead to, at least if you believe the rumor mills abound. There has been an ongoing issue with AMD systems using Ryzen CPUs and the HTC Vive wireless adapter (powered by Intel WiGig) to where the systems have frozen or even had a BSOD. HTC acknowledged this as early as Nov, 2018, noting that they have seen this with a subset of Ryzen-based motherboards when the PCIe wireless adapter is installed and running. It took until last week to get a solution of sorts, and unfortunately reports from users indicate this is not a true fix for everyone.

The hotfix update 1.20190410.0 was made available April 25 to attempt to combat this issue, which was garnering a lot of attention in the VR-community on whether there was more Intel could be doing to help AMD customers. This hotfix update is available automatically once an end user with the Vive wireless adapter checks for an update, and HTC acknowledge that they continue to test this, as well as partner with Intel and AMD to help resolve this once and for all. In the meantime, users report mixed success to date, including some we know personally as well, and it remains a thorn in the side of wireless VR to get to the PC successfully.

Intel to Use 5-digit Processor Model Numbering with 10th Gen?

A lot of us could be wondering how Intel could number its client-segment processors after the i9-9980XE, or the 9th generation Core in general, and hoping for a major branding change or at least a change in the model numbering scheme. It turns out, Intel will brazen it out with a 5-digit model number and stick to the current scheme. Going by this scheme, the successor to the Core i7-9700K could be the Core i7-10700K, for example. Intel jumped from 3-digit to 4-digit as it transitioned from 1st gen Core to 2nd gen as it ran out of 3-digit numbers with the Core i7-9xx. It's now running out of 4-digit numbers.

Evidence of 5-digit number surfaced when Thai enthusiast TUM_Apisak tweeted a screenshot of a UL Benchmarks Systeminfo page describing an unreleased Core i5-10210U, which is probably a mobile processor based on the 10 nm "Ice Lake-U" silicon slated for late-2019. With a nominal clock-speed of 1.60 GHz and "reported" speed of 2.10 GHz, the Turbo Boost frequency of this 4-core/8-thread chip is rated at almost 3.80 GHz. Japanese enthusiast Komachi Ensaka confirmed this with three other model numbers: i3-10110U, i5-10510U, and i7-10710U.

Bitspower Launches New CPU Block- Summit MS OLED- For Intel Platform

Bitspower, a leading supplier of water-cooling equipment for performance computers, has announced the release of their latest Intel CPU block, the Bitspower Touchaqua CPU Block Summit MS OLED for Intel Platform. This product combines the best of both performance and aesthetics to give you an ideal cooling solution for LGA 115x and LGA 2066 socket CPUs. In addition to a CNC-machined block top made of hardwearing acrylic and base made of high-quality copper, the block features a digital thermal sensor and a bright OLED display so you can monitor your water-cooling loop temperature in real time, as well as dazzling DRGB lighting.

The block incorporates a single piece of wiring that runs power to both the DRGB lighting, as well as the temperature gauge - ensuring that you can keep the design of your build as clean as possible. Furthermore, the water block's RGB LED Strip has been certified by ASUS AURA Sync, GIGABYTE RGB Fusion, MSI Mystic Light Sync, ASRock Polychrome and Razer Chroma-so it's highly compatible with a range of setups. Bitspower Touchaqua range offers the same quality as Bitspower's regular product lines, but features a range of unique functions and designs.

Intel on Q1 FY 2019: Servers Down, PC Market Up, Revenue Flat

Intel Corporation today reported first-quarter 2019 financial results. In the first quarter, the company generated approximately $5.0 billion in cash from operations, paid dividends of $1.4 billion and used $2.5 billion to repurchase 49 million shares of stock.

"Results for the first quarter were slightly higher than our January expectations. We shipped a strong mix of high-performance products and continued spending discipline while ramping 10nm and managing a challenging NAND pricing environment. Looking ahead, we're taking a more cautious view of the year, although we expect market conditions to improve in the second half," said Bob Swan, Intel CEO. "Our team is focused on expanding our market opportunity, accelerating our innovation and improving execution while evolving our culture. We aim to capitalize on key technology inflections that set us up to play a larger role in our customers' success, while improving returns for our owners."

Intel 10nm Ice Lake to Quantitatively Debut Within 2019

Intel put out interesting details about its upcoming 10 nanometer "Ice Lake" CPU microarchitecture rollout in its recent quarterly financial results call. The company has started qualification of its 10 nm "Ice Lake" processors. This involves sending engineering samples to OEMs, system integrators and other relevant industry partners, and getting the chips approved for their future product designs. The first implementation of "Ice Lake" will not be a desktop processor, but rather a low-power mobile SoC designed for ultraportables, codenamed "Ice Lake-U." This SoC packs a 4-core/8-thread CPU based on the "Sunny Cove" core design, and Gen11 GT2 integrated graphics with 64 execution units and nearly 1 TFLOP/s compute power. This SoC will also support WiFi 6 and LPDDR4X memory.

Intel CEO Bob Swan also remarked that the company has doubled its 10 nm yield expectations. "On the [10 nm] process technology front, our teams executed well in Q1 and our velocity is increasing," he said, adding "We remain on track to have volume client systems on shelves for the holiday selling season. And over the past four months, the organization drove a nearly 2X improvement in the rate at which 10nm products move through our factories." Intel is prioritizing enterprise over desktop, as "Ice Lake-U" will be followed by "Ice Lake-SP" Xeon rollout in 2020. There was no mention of desktop implementations such as "Ice Lake-S." Intel is rumored to be preparing a stopgap microarchitecture for the desktop platform to compete with AMD "Matisse" Zen 2 AM4 processors, codenamed "Comet Lake." This is essentially a Skylake 10-core die fabbed on existing 14 nm++ node. AMD in its CES keynote announced an achievement of per-core performance parity with Intel, so it could be interesting to see how Intel hopes 10 "Skylake" cores match up to 12-16 "Zen 2" cores.

Intel CPU Shortages Could be Over, Hints Microsoft

Microsoft CFO Amy Hood in a quarterly financial results conference call with investors this Wednesday hinted that the worst could be over with Intel CPU shortages. "In Windows, the overall PC market was stronger than we anticipated, driven by improved chip supply that met both unfulfilled Q2 commercial and premium consumer demand as well as better-than-expected Q3 commercial demand." It's important to note that Hood did not name Intel, as PCWorld otherwise observed, but it's highly likely that she was referring to Intel, given that it continues to dominate pre-built notebook and desktop markets.

PCWorld uses Hood's statement from the previous quarter's results call to zero in on Intel. "The overall PC market was smaller than we expected primarily due to the timing of chip supply to our OEM partners, which constrained an otherwise healthy PC ecosystem and negatively impacted both OEM Pro and non-Pro revenue growth," she had said. Prices of 9th generation Core desktop processors in the retail channel appear to be normalizing, with the Core i5-9400 selling for $184 on Newegg, which is close to MSRP, its iGPU-devoid twin, the i5-9400F selling at a discounted price of $169; the overclocker-friendly i5-9600K selling for $264, and the i7-9700K at $409, which is a tiny $20 markup over MSRP.

Intel Reports First-Quarter 2019 Financial Results

Intel Corporation today reported first-quarter 2019 financial results. "Results for the first quarter were slightly higher than our January expectations. We shipped a strong mix of high performance products and continued spending discipline while ramping 10nm and managing a challenging NAND pricing environment. Looking ahead, we're taking a more cautious view of the year, although we expect market conditions to improve in the second half," said Bob Swan, Intel CEO. "Our team is focused on expanding our market opportunity, accelerating our innovation and improving execution while evolving our culture. We aim to capitalize on key technology inflections that set us up to play a larger role in our customers' success, while improving returns for our owners."

In the first quarter, the company generated approximately $5.0 billion in cash from operations, paid dividends of $1.4 billion and used $2.5 billion to repurchase 49 million shares of stock. In the first quarter, Intel achieved 4 percent growth in the PC-centric business while data-centric revenue declined 5 percent.

Team Group Releases T-Force T1 and Vulcan Z Memory, and Vulcan SSD

Today Team Group releases three new products from the T-FORCE gaming series: T-FORCE T1 gaming memory, T-FORCE VULCAN Z gaming memory and T-FORCE VULCAN high speed gaming solid state drive. T-FORCE T1 gaming memory's unique look is specially designed for entry gamers. T-FORCE VULCAN Z gaming memory's cooling performance has fully evolved to perfectly protect the memory. T-FORCE VULCAN high speed gaming solid state drive has focused on overall details and offering large capacity and high speed read/write performance at the same time. All three products have inherited the unique and classic design of T-FORCE gaming series, which makes building your own pc cooler than ever.

T-FORCE T1 gaming memory's impressive racing style is specially designed for entry gamers. Created using exclusive patented color printing and special ink, the racing design enhances the overall style of the DIY PC. The selected high-quality IC chips are exceptional in durability, stability and compatibility, allowing gamers to have excellent combat status on the battlefield of eSports. T-FORCE T1 gaming memory supports both Intel & AMD platform. Plug & play allows gamers to be ready for battles at any time.
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