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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.

Intel Teases Their Upcoming Graphics Cards for 2020

Right in time for SIGGRAPH, the world's leading conference for computer graphics, the people around Raja Koduri and Chris Hook have posted a video on Twitter, which shows a teaser for their upcoming graphics cards, that are scheduled to become available in 2020.
The video is produced in a style that's typical for what Chris Hook has been releasing at AMD, too. It starts with a history lesson, praising Intel's achievements in the graphics department, and then continues to promise that in 2020, Intel discrete graphics cards "will be set free, and that's just the beginning".

In the comments for the video, Chris Hook, who left AMD to join Intel as head of marketing for their graphics department said: "Will take time and effort to be the first successful entrant into the dGPU segment in 25 years, but we have some incredible talent at Intel, and above all, a passion for discrete graphics."

You can find the video here.

Intel and Philips Accelerate Deep Learning Inference on CPUs in Medical Imaging

Using Intel Xeon Scalable processors and the OpenVINO toolkit, Intel and Philips tested two healthcare use cases for deep learning inference models: one on X-rays of bones for bone-age-prediction modeling, the other on CT scans of lungs for lung segmentation. In these tests, Intel and Philips achieved a speed improvement of 188 times for the bone-age-prediction model, and a 38 times speed improvement for the lung-segmentation model over the baseline measurements.

Intel Xeon Scalable processors appear to be the right solution for this type of AI workload. Our customers can use their existing hardware to its maximum potential, while still aiming to achieve quality output resolution at exceptional speeds," said Vijayananda J., chief architect and fellow, Data Science and AI at Philips HealthSuite Insights.

EVGA Announces Availability of the X299 Micro ATX 2 Motherboard

The X299 MICRO ATX 2 is a reimagined mATX board designed to support the power, performance, and cooling necessary to power Intel's i5/i7/i9 CPU's for the X299 Chipset. With a 14 Phase power design, a thick VRM heatsink/fan, two 8 pin EPS power connectors, an additional 6 pin PCIe power connector, and external BCLK, this motherboard was born for the enthusiast desiring maximum power in a small form factor. The X299 MICRO ATX 2 supports current storage standards, including M.2 NVMe, Intel Optane, Intel VROC and SATA 6Gb/s to give you a blazing fast access to your data, while Intel Dual-Band WIFI/BT and an Intel i219V Gigabit NIC Keeps you connected.

Intel X599 Chipset to Drive 28-core HEDT+ Platform

The introduction of 32-core AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX at $1,799 has demolished the competitiveness of the similarly priced Core i9-7980XE, forcing Intel to "productize" its Skylake-X XCC (extreme core-count) silicon for the client-segment. We've already seen one or two motherboards for this platform at Computex, notably the ASUS ROG Dominus (pictured below). Intel's demo platform is reportedly powered by a GIGABYTE-made motherboard. Both these boards may have been prototypes based on Intel C629 "Lewisburg" chipset, as Intel was still mulling on whether to even launch the product.

With the 2990WX out, the fate of the client-segment cousin of the Xeon Platinum 8180 is sealed, and so is that of the C629. In its client-segment avatar, the chipset will be branded "Intel X599 Express." This chipset will support new SKUs derived from the "Skylake-X" XCC silicon (probably 24-core, 26-core, and 28-core), in the LGA3647 package. The platform features not just up to 28 cores, but also a 6-channel DDR4 memory interface, which will probably support up to 192 GB of memory on the client-platform. There's also a rumor that Intel could launch new 20-core and 22-core LGA2066 processors. Those, coupled with the 8-core LGA1151 processor, will be Intel's fig-leaf until late-2019.

Finer Details of Intel Core i7-9700K and Core i9-9900K Emerge

Taiwanese tech site BenchLife.info scored finer details of Intel's upcoming premium LGA1151 processors through screenshots of leaked documents; revealing more about the Core i7-9700K 8-core/8-thread processor, and the top-dog 8-core/16-thread Core i9-9900K. The i7-9700K has the QDF number QQPK, and the i9-9900K "QQPP." The tables below also reveal their extended product code, CPUID, and iGPU device ID. There's also a confirmation that the TDP of both parts is rated at just 95 W. The next table provides a great insight to the clock speeds of the two chips.

Both chips idle at 800 MHz, and have an identical nominal clock speed of 3.60 GHz. The two differ with their Turbo Boost states. The i7-9700K has a maximum Turbo Boost state of 4.90 GHz, which it awards to 1-core. As a reminder, this chip is the first Core i7 SKU ever to lack HyperThreading support. 2-core boost frequency for this chip is 4.80 GHz. 4-core boost is up to 4.70 GHz. 4.60 GHz is the all-core boost (cores 5 thru 8). The i9-9900K gives both 1-core and 2-core the highest boost frequency of 5.00 GHz (that's up to 4 threads). The 4-core boost state is 4.80 GHz, and all-core (cores 5 thru 8) get 4.70 GHz. Intel is keeping its boost states rather high for this round of processors, as it tries to compete with the Ryzen 7 "Pinnacle Ridge" series.

Goldman Sachs Upgrades Stock Ratings for AMD, Downgrades Intel to "Sell"

Goldman Sachs, citing problems with Intel's 10 nm manufacturing process delivery - which was supposed to be available in the market for years now - has reduced the blue giant's stock rating. Previously at a "neutral" stance - already downgraded in the face of Intel's manufacturing woes - the stock is now at a "Sell" level. Even though Intel is still outperforming the S&P 500's 6.7 percent return with their (current) 8.6 percent this year through Thursday, the outlook isn't good for the company.
"We see Intel's struggles with 10 nm process technology having ramifications in terms of its competitive position - across a broad set of products. While the 10nm push is well-publicized at this point, we believe Intel's manufacturing issues could potentially be deeper-rooted than what most think and could have a sustained impact on market share and/or spending levels as Intel competes with a growing/stronger TSMC eco-system."

Goldman Sachs Analyst Toshiya Hari

Intel "Whiskey Lake-U" Core Processor Lineup Detailed

Intel is giving final touches to its 9th generation Core "Whiskey Lake-U" processors for Ultrabooks and other ULV platforms. Successors to 8th Gen "Kaby Lake Refresh" chips, these 15-Watt SoCs may not pack a newer microarchitecture in terms of IPC increases, but Intel is building them on the latest iteration of its 14 nm node, along with tweaks made to their Turbo Boost algorithm, which combined with higher boost clocks, should offer better performance than the previous generation.

The lineup begins with the Core i3-8145U, successor to the i3-8130U. This 2-core/4-thread chip is has a lower nominal clock at 2.10 GHz (vs. 2.20 GHz of its predecessor), but significantly higher boost clocks of 3.90 GHz (vs. 3.40 GHz of the i3-8130U). The Core i5-8265U and top-end i7-8565U are both 4-core/8-thread chips with a nominal clocks of 1.60 GHz and 1.80 GHz, respectively. The i5-8265U has a boost clock of 4.10 GHz and 6 MB of L3 cache; while the i7-8565U tops that with 4.70 GHz boost clocks, and 8 MB of L3 cache. All three chips have 15W TDP, configurable to 25W by applying the "high performance" power scheme.

Intel Sneaks in Windows 7-compatible H310 Chipset Revision

Without making too much noise about it, Intel sneaked in a revision of its H310 Express entry-level chipset with support for Windows 7. Microsoft, if you'll recall, restricted support for newer processors (Intel "Kaby Lake" and newer, and AMD "Zen" and newer) on the 9-year old operating system, late-2016. There are ways around this restriction. The revised H310 chipset is pin-compatible with its predecessor, and hence major motherboard manufacturers are putting out revisions of their H310 motherboards with the newer chipset, being referred to as either "H310C" or "H310 R2.0."

To bolster this change, Intel is also releasing Windows 7 drivers for the chipset (INF Update Utility); integrated USB 3.0 controllers, the SATA AHCI controller, and even Management Engine Interface (MEI). What you don't get (yet), however, is Windows 7 versions of Intel UHD 6xx Graphics drivers, so you're restricted to using discrete graphics cards. Windows 7 refuses to die down, not just in enterprises, but also among PUBG gamers from China.

Intel "Crimson Canyon" NUCs with Discrete GPUs Up for Pre-order

One of the first Intel NUC (next unit of computing) mini PCs to feature completely discrete GPUs (and not MCMs of CPUs and GPUs), the "Crimson Canyon" NUC8i3CYSM and NUC8i3CYSN, are up for pre-order. The former is priced at USD $529, while the latter goes for $574. The two combine Intel's 10 nm Core i3-8121U "Cannon Lake" SoC with AMD Radeon 540 discrete GPU. Unlike the "Hades Canyon" NUC, which features an MCM with a powerful AMD Radeon Vega M GPU die and a quad-core "Kaby Lake" CPU die; the "Crimson Canyon" features its processor and GPU on separate packages. The Radeon 540 packs 512 stream processors, 32 TMUs, and 16 ROPs; with 2 GB of GDDR5 memory.

All that's differentiating the NUC8i3CYSM from the NUC8i3CYSN is memory. You get 4 GB of LPDDR4 memory with the former, and 8 GB of it with the latter. Both units come with a 2.5-inch 1 TB HDD pre-installed. You also get an M.2-2280 slot with PCIe 3.0 x4 wiring, and support for Optane caching. Intel Wireless-AC 9560 WLAN card handles wireless networking, while an i219-V handles wired. Connectivity includes four USB 3.0 type-A ports, one of which has high current; an SDXC card reader, CIR, two HDMI 2.0 outputs, and 7.1-channel HD audio. The NUC has certainly grown in size over the years. This one measures 117 mm x 112 mm x 52 mm (WxDxH). An external 90W power-brick adds to the bulk.

AsRock Confirms Z390 Motherboard in Its Support Pages

Via its support pages, AsRock has spilled the beans on at least five of their upcoming motherboards based on Intel's upcoming Z390 chipset in their Live Update & App services. The naming scheme of these motherboards is in-line with previous ASRock lineups, and there shouldn't be any confusion as to their tiering. The motherboards hence confirmed are the Z390 Extreme4, Z390 Pro4, Z390 Taichi, Z390 Taichi Ultimate, and the Z390M Pro4.

CRYORIG Releases New Dual Fan Versions of Best Sellers H7 Plus and M9 Plus

Enthusiast thermal solutions brand CRYORIG releases the new H7 Plus and M9 Plus dual fan heatsinks. Based on the best-selling H7 and M9i/a, CRYORIG is now offering these two models with a direct dual fan upgrade for best in class performance. Adding an additional fan makes the overall heatsink airflow even better optimized to expel heat directly into the rear system fan and out of the PC case. With an included PWM Y-Cable, users can have both front and back fan speed synced together for optimal efficiency.

ASUS Releasing 9th Gen Core Supporting BIOS Updates

ASUS announced that it is releasing motherboard BIOS updates that add 9th generation Core "Whiskey Lake" processor compatibility for almost its entire Intel 300-series chipset motherboard family. This includes models based on H310, B360, Q370, and H370 chipsets, and not just the top Z370. Intel is expected to debut its 9th generation Core processor family with three SKUs later this year: the Core i9-9900K, the Core i7-9700K, and the Core i5-9600K. The tables below list motherboard models alongside the minimum BIOS version you'll need for "Whiskey Lake" compatibility. You'll find your BIOS in the "support" tab of the product page of your motherboard on ASUS website.

Intel Intros 660p Series M.2 NVMe SSDs with QLC NAND Flash

Intel Tuesday introduced the new SSD 660p series M.2 NVMe solid state drives. At the heart of these drives is the new 64-layer 3D QLC (quadruple level cell, or 4 bits per cell) NAND flash memory by IMFlash Technology (an Intel and Micron joint-venture). This memory is mated with a SIlicon Motion SMI 2263 controller. This chip is a derivative of the popular SMI2262EN, built on a newer process, with support for QLC NAND flash, compacted to have a smaller PCB footprint, and is driven by a custom firmware by Intel. The drives use over 10% of the QLC NAND flash area as SLC cache. The 660p series comes in three variants based on size - 512 GB, 1 TB, and 2 TB. The prices are the biggest dividend of QLC: the 512 GB variant goes for USD $99.99, the 1 TB variant at $199.99, and the 2 TB variant for $399.99.

Built in the M.2-2280 form-factor, the SSD 660p series drives feature PCI-Express 3.0 x4 interface. Intel's pricing puts these drives close to competing drives with PCIe x2 interface, but offering higher transfer rates thanks to the wider bus. It's also interesting to note here that the controller is cushioned by a DRAM cache (something PCIe x2 drives tend to lack, to keep costs down). Performance numbers differ by variant, and the 512 GB drive is the slowest, sequentially reading at speeds of up to 1500 MB/s, with up to 1000 MB/s sequential writes; up to 90,000 4K random reads, and up to 220,000 IOPS 4K random writes. The 1 TB and 2 TB variants both sequentially read and write at up to 1800 MB/s. The 1 TB variant offers 150,000 IOPS 4K random reads, and up to 220,000 IOPS random writes; while the 2 TB variant has 4K random reads/writes numbers of 220,000 IOPS.

GIGABYTE Optimizes Z370, H370, B360, H310 Motherboards Ahead Of Intel 9000 CPUs' Debut

GIGABYTE has announced via a news post on its official website that it will be offering BIOS updates for its motherboards which bring support for Intel's upcoming 9000-series CPUs. Much like MSI did, GIGABYTE's engineering teams have developed BIOS updates for the Z370, H370, B360, H310 motherboards to provide the best support for Intel's next-gen CPUs - again, with no information on core-count support at all.

The newest BIOS updates are now available on the official GIGABYTE website for users to download and upgrade their systems. GIGABYTE has pledged to continue to release new BIOS updates for the best system performance and stability.
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