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NVIDIA Adds New Options to Its MX200 Mobile Graphics Solutions - MX250 and MX230

NVIDIA has added new SKUs to its low power mobility graphics lineup. the MX230 and MX250 come in to replace The GeForce MX130 and MX150, but... there's really not that much of a performance improvement to justify the increase in the series' tier. Both solutions are based on Pascal, so there are no Turing performance uplifts at the execution level.

NVIDIA hasn't disclosed any CUDA core counts or other specifics on these chips; we only know that they are paired with GDDR 5 memory and feature Boost functionality for increased performance in particular scenarios. The strange thing is that NVIDIA's own performance scores compare their MX 130, MX150, and now MX230 and MX250 to Intel's UHD620 IGP part... and while the old MX150 was reported by NVIDIA as offering an up to 4x performance uplift compared to that Intel part, the new MX250 now claims an improvement of 3.5x the performance. Whether this is because of new testing methodology, or some other reason, only NVIDIA knows.

Intel Invites Gamers for a Graphics Odyssey Spanning Multiple Continents

Intel is working to build up hype and awareness around its discrete graphics efforts, of which we're still to see more off besides Intel's continuous acquisition of AMD-based talent for that particular endeavor. It's relatively hard to build up enthusiasm for something other than the fact there is a third competitor entering the high-performance graphics card space; the rest is mostly rumors, speculations, and declared intentions.

Intel's FinFET-Based Embedded MRAM is Ready for Production

A report via EETimes slates Intel's own working MRAM (Magnetoresistive Random-Access Memory) is ready for production in high-volume manufacturing. MRAM is a nonvolatile memory technology, meaning that it retains information even if there is a change in powerstate (ie, power loss), meaning that it's more akin to a storage device than to, say, RAM.

But why does MRAM matter, really? Well, MRAM is being developed as a long-term candidate to a universal memory solution, replacing both DRAM (a volatile memory technology) and NAND flash (a nonvolatile one), since node scaling with these technologies is becoming increasingly harder. MRAM promises better-scaling (at the foundry level) processes, with much higher yield rates. The fact that MRAM has been demonstrated to be able to achieve 1 ns settling times, better than the currently accepted theoretical limits for DRAM, and much higher write speeds (as much as thousands of times faster) compared to NAND flash.

Intel Rolls Out the 4 GHz Pentium Gold G5620 Processor

Intel rolled out its first Pentium-branded processor with 4.00 GHz clock-speed, the Pentium Gold G5620 (retail SKU: BX80684G5620). The chip replaces the G5600 on top of the entry-level product stack. Based on the 14 nm "Coffee Lake" microarchitecture, it packs a 2-core/4-thread CPU clocked at 4.00 GHz without Turbo Boost. 256 KB of L2 cache per core and 4 MB of shared L3 cache are also offered. The integrated graphics solution is Intel's workhorse UHD Graphics 630, with 24 execution units. The dual-channel DDR4 integrated memory controller supports up to 64 GB of DDR4-2400 memory. The chip's TDP is rated at 65W. Pricing is up in the air, with retail channel shortages expected to swing the chip on both sides of the $100-mark. Availability is slated for early-March, 2019.

Intel Acquires Indian Startup to Strengthen Position in Discrete GPU Tech

Several years ago, Ineda, a small startup from Hyderabad, India made headlines when they developed custom-design processors for use in wearable devices that were optimized for high energy-efficiency, while still having the ability to read out various sensors or listen to voice commands at the same time. Such improvements help increase battery life on devices that people don't want to recharge every day. Over the years the company has received several million dollars in funding from Samsung, Qualcomm, Imagination Technologies and others.

Looks like this caused enough attention at chip giant Intel, who's trying to come up with a competitive design for a discrete graphics processor, that's able to take on AMD's and NVIDIA's offerings. While Ineda certainly has patents that could come in useful, it looks like Intel is more interested in the company's manpower. With around 100 engineers, the company has a lot of talent, that's experienced in chip design and how to make these chips energy efficient.

Intel Core i9-9990XE OEM-only, Even Then it's a Lottery

In a sign of just how arid the DIY retail channel has become for Intel, Tom's Hardware reports that the new socket flagship LGA2066 HEDT processor model Intel sneaked into its product-stack, the Core i9-9990XE, is restricted to the OEM/SI (system integrator) channel. Even to OEMs, ordering a tray of i9-9990XE chips isn't as simple as ordering other chips, such as the i9-9900K. Apparently, Intel has been running secret online auctions that are OEM-only, for these chips. OEMs get to bid on the per-chip price in n-unit tray quantities.

Workstation integrator Puget Systems was able to score itself some i9-9990XE inventory at USD $2,300 per chip. Puget Systems last week received its first batch of chips from Intel, and released performance benchmarks. At this price, the i9-9990XE is being sold at a 21% premium over the retail-channel SEP price of the i9-9980XE, and a whopping 65% premium over the i9-9940X. Intel can't shake off comparisons between the i9-9990XE and the i9-9940X because both chips are 14-core/28-thread with 19.25 MB shared L3 cache, with the i9-9990XE only offering significantly higher clock-speeds, but at an astounding TDP of 255W. The i9-9990XE was shown beating the 18-core i9-9980XE in a variety of HEDT-relevant benchmarks.

EK co-develops a heatsink for the Intel Optane 905P M.2 SSD

EK Water Blocks, the premium computer cooling gear manufacturer, is releasing a passive heatsink for the M.2 version of the Intel Optane 905P NVMe SSD. The passive heatsink ensures lower operating temperatures which expands the lifespan and improves the sustained performance of the drive. It ensures that the Intel Optane 905P NVMe SSD operates at its maximum possible performance by preventing thermal throttling during heavy workload cycles.

The 905P Intel Optane Drive uses around 9.35 W of power under load, which is challenging to dissipate without a dedicated cooling solution like the EK-M.2 Intel Optane Heatsink. The cooling performance of this solution by EK is achieved via thermal pads that transfer heat to the aluminum heatsink that is finned for a larger dissipation area. The design of the heatsink ensures that it is easy to install, it is low profile, easily reusable and aesthetically not intrusive.

New Intel Core i9-9990XE Sheds Cores in Favor of High Clock Speeds, Benchmarked

Intel is giving final touches to a new socket LGA2066 high-end desktop processor with an interesting model number for its specifications. The new Core i9-9990XE is positioned above the current flagship i9-9980XE. Normally you'd expect it to be the same 18-core "Skylake-X" chip with a speed-bump, however, the i9-9990XE is a unique proposition. It sheds cores in favor of significantly higher clock-speeds than the i9-9980XE.

The i9-9990XE is a 14-core/28-thread processor, based on a binned "Skylake-X" HCC (high core count) die, and uses STIM (soldered thermal interface material) between the die and integrated heatspreader (IHS). It features some aggressive clock-speeds, with 4.00 GHz nominal clock-speeds, and a massive 5.10 GHz maximum Turbo Boost frequency that beats even the Core i9-9900K. Besides 14 cores, the i9-9990XE is configured with 19.25 MB of shared L3 cache, and 1 MB of L2 cache per core. The four disabled cores alone don't help Intel's efforts to dial up clock-speeds. Intel has increased the chip's rated TDP all the way up to 255 Watts!

Intel Invests €7 Billion in Ireland Toward a New Fab

Intel is following up on its massive $11 billion investment in Israel with a second large manufacturing investment, this time in Leixlip, Ireland. The company has earmarked a €7 billion investment toward construction of a new fab in Leixlip, which will employ 1,600 people, and have a built-up area of 110,000 m². This fab will sit alongside existing fabs that already employ over 4,500 staff. The company did not go into details of what the fab will manufacture. The investment aligns with Intel's strategy of massive investments in manufacturing to increase its chip volumes as enterprises, small and medium businesses, and consumers at large look to upgrade their computers at the turn of the decade. The company is already combating acute shortages of processors in the retail channel.

Intel Core i5-9400F Processor Lacks STIM, Uses Thermal Paste

With its 9th generation Core processor family, Intel introduced STIM (soldered thermal interface material) to transfer heat between the processor die and the metal integrated heatspreader (IHS), as opposed to fluid thermal pastes. Enthusiasts prefer soldered IHS for their superior heat-transfer characteristics. It was known since the series launch that STIM will be restricted to the unlocked "K" SKUs, such as the i9-9900K and i7-9700K, while locked SKUs would retain thermal pastes. PC enthusiast @momomo_us (Twitter handle) de-lidded a Core i5-9400F sample to confirm this.

The Core i5-9400F was de-lidded (its IHS removed) and placed next to a de-lidded i5-9600K, showing you TIM residue surrounding the i5-9400F die, and solder fragments on that of the i5-9600K. Interestingly, the i5-9600K die looks visibly larger than the i5-9400F, despite both being 6-core processors with 9 MB L3 cache. This isn't because the latter lacks an iGPU (not physically anyway). The i5-9400F die appears to be roughly as big as the 6-core "Coffee Lake" die used in 8th generation Core 6-core processors, while the i5-9600K appears to be carved out of the 8-core "Coffee Lake" die by disabling two CPU cores. The iGPU is physically present on the i5-9400F, but disabled.

Intel Posts Open-Source AV1 Encoder for Online Streaming Servers

Intel posted an open-source video encoder for the new AV1 video format, targeted at online streaming servers that process large amounts of online videos for streaming. The new SVT-AV1 (Scalable Video Technology-AV1), is an BSD-2-Clause-Patent licensed video encoder that supports Linux, Windows, and MacOS operating systems, optimized for Intel Xeon Scalable processors based on the "Skylake" microarchitecture and older, as it probably leverages the AVX-512 instruction-set. It has some pretty steep hardware requirements from a client viewpoint, but nothing big video stream service providers can't afford: 48 GB of minimum RAM for a 10 bpc 4K stream, or 16 GB for a Full-HD stream. The encoder can scale up to 112 logical processors. Intel earlier offered a similar encoder for the proprietary H.265/HEVC format, with SVT-HEVC. You can inspect and grab SVT-AV1 from Intel's Git.

Intel Names Robert Swan CEO

Intel Corporation (NASDAQ: INTC) today announced that its board of directors has named Robert (Bob) Swan as chief executive officer. Swan, 58, who has been serving as Intel's interim CEO for seven months and as chief financial officer since 2016, is the seventh CEO in Intel's 50-year history. Swan has also been elected to Intel's board of directors. Todd Underwood, vice president of Finance and director of Intel's Corporate Planning and Reporting, will assume the role of interim chief financial officer as the company undertakes an internal and external search for a permanent CFO.

"As Intel continues to transform its business to capture more of a large and expanding opportunity that includes the data center, artificial intelligence and autonomous driving, while continuing to get value from the PC business, the board concluded after a thorough search that Bob is the right leader to drive Intel into its next era of growth," said Chairman Andy Bryant. "The search committee conducted a comprehensive evaluation of a wide range of internal and external candidates to identify the right leader at this critical juncture in Intel's evolution. We considered many outstanding executives and we concluded the best choice is Bob. Important in the board's decision was the outstanding job Bob did as interim CEO for the past seven months, as reflected in Intel's outstanding results in 2018. Bob's performance, his knowledge of the business, his command of our growth strategy, and the respect he has earned from our customers, our owners, and his colleagues confirmed he is the right executive to lead Intel."

Intel Officially Sinks the Itanic, Future of IA-64 Architecture Uncertain

Intel has unceremoniously, through a product change notification (PCN), discontinued the Itanium family of microprocessors. The Itanium 9700 "Kittson," which was released in 2017, is the final generation of Itanium, and its sales to new customers have stopped according to the PCN. The series has been marked "end of life" (EOL). Existing customers of Itanium who already have their IT infrastructure built around Itanium 9700 series, have an opportunity to determine their remaining demand of these processors, and place their "Last Product Discontinuance" order with Intel. The final LPD shipments would go out mid-2021.

With this move, Intel has cast uncertainty over the future of the IA-64 microarchitecture. IA-64 was originally conceived by Intel to replace 32-bit x86 at the turn of the century, as an industry-standard 64-bit processor architecture. AMD laid the foundation for its rival standard AMD64, which could go on to become x86-64. AMD64 won the battle for popularity over IA-64, as it maintained complete backwards-compatibility with x86, and could seamlessly run 32-bit software, saving enterprises and clients billions in transition costs. Intel cross-licensed it as EM64T (extended memory 64-bit technology), before standardizing the name x86-64. Itanium dragged on for close to two decades serving certain enterprise and HPC customers.

Intel Looking to Buy Out Mellanox to Challenge Huawei in the 5G Infrastructure Gold Rush

Intel is in the fray to acquire Israeli networking infrastructure manufacturer Mellanox Technology for $6 billion in cash and shares, which constitute a 35 percent premium over its most recent valuation. Mellanox designs and manufactures infrastructure-scale networking hardware, such as high-bandwidth switches, adapters, and other data-center networking hardware, and when acquired by Intel, could give the company sufficient IP and manpower to take on Chinese networking equipment giant Huawei, in the gold-rush to bring 5G to the world, in addition to sustaining the cloud-computing boom. Huawei has been banned in several western nations (particularly NATO member states) for political or strategic reasons, and a large vacuum has been built that's being approached by other "Kosher" players such as Mellanox, Cisco, etc.

Asetek Unveils the 690LX-PN AIO Cooler for Intel Xeon W-3175X at $399

In time with Intel's launch of the new Xeon W-3175X 28-core workstation CPU today, Asetek has announced their first, and only to date, certified CPU cooler for the processor. The cooler, code-named 690LX-PN, is a closed loop liquid cooler developed in collaboration with Intel, and approved by the latter to be used with the 28-core behemoth that no doubt needs more ample cooling than most of Intel's desktop offerings. It is rated for a 500 W TDP, thanks to the use of a triple 120 m radiator (copper/brass instead of aluminium, for a change) with fans pre-installed, and their latest Gen6-s pump integrated with a copper cold plate.

The cold plate in question is fairly large relative to the pump, which indicates that the cooling engine itself is not necessarily optimized for the larger heatspreader on the CPU. The cooler is only compatible with this CPU platform, and is also the only cooler approved by Intel for the platform as of the time of this post. It is available for purchase on the Asetek web shop, and comes with a 2-year warranty.

G.SKILL Announces New Hexa-Channel Massive Capacity DDR4 Memory Kits

G.SKILL International Enterprise Co., Ltd., the world's leading manufacturer of extreme performance memory and gaming peripherals, is exhilarated to announce new ultra-fast, ultra-high capacity Trident Z Royal DDR4 RGB memory specifications designed for use with the latest unlocked 28-core Intel Xeon W-3175X processor. Operating in hexa-channel with 6- or 12-module kit configurations, these new 6-channel Trident Z Royal memory kits can reach insane memory speeds of up to DDR4-4000 CL17-18-18-38 at 1.35V, which feature extreme performance Samsung B-die memory ICs. With fast memory speed and massive capacity, these hexa-channel memory kits are perfect for heavy-workload workstations when paired with the 28-core Xeon processor.

As computing technology improves, the amount of processed data also increases, leading to a demand for more memory channels and higher bandwidth. For the first time, this new platform introduces hexa-channel memory support to the larger consumer market, which was previously only found in server-class systems. While operating under 6-channels, the extreme performance DDR4-4000 CL17 96GB (8GBx12) memory kit reaches a blazing fast read bandwidth speed of 122GB/s - a substantial increase over currently available quad-channel platforms. See below for a screenshot of the bandwidth result from the AIDA64 memory benchmark:

Intel Xeon W-3175X 28-core Processor Now Available at $2,999

The Intel Xeon W-3175X processor is available today. This unlocked 28-core workstation powerhouse is built for select, highly-threaded and computing-intensive applications such as architectural and industrial design and professional content creation. Built for handling heavily threaded applications and tasks, the Intel Xeon W-3175X processor delivers uncompromising single- and all-core world-class performance for the most advanced professional creators and their demanding workloads.

Intel Launches Free Open Image Denoise Library for Ray-tracing

De-noising is a vital post-processing component of ray-traced images, as it eliminates visual noise generated by too few rays intersecting pixels that make up an image. In an ideal world, a ray should hit every pixel on the screen, but in the real world, computing hasn't advanced enough to do that in reasonable/real-time. Denoising attempts to correct and reconstruct such images. Intel today launched a free Open Image Denoise (OIDN) library for ray-tracing.

Governed by the Apache 2.0 license, OIDN is part of Intel Rendering framework. From the looks of it, the library is CPU-based, and leverages 64-bit x86 CPU (scaling with multi-core and exotic instruction-sets), to de-noise images. Intel says OIDN works on any device with a 64-bit x86 processor (with at least SSE4.2 instruction-set), although it can take advantage of AVX2 and AVX-512 to speed things up by an order of magnitude. The closest (and closed) alternative to OIDN would be NVIDIA's AI De-noiser. NVIDIA "Turing" GPUs use a combination of ad-hoc deep-learning neural networks and GPU compute to de-noise. You can freely access OIDN on Intel's Git.

Intel Prepares a Mammoth $11 Billion Investment in Israel

With a combination of tax-sops and State support, Intel loosened its purse-strings for a massive investment in Israel, where the company already has substantial investments in manufacturing and R&D. The investment consists of a 40 billion Shekel (~USD $11 billion) semiconductor foundry. "Intel's global management has informed us about its decision to invest another 40 billion shekels in Israel, an unprecedented decision that is expected to bring thousands of jobs to the south (of Israel)," said the country's Minister of Finance, Moshe Kahlon.

This $11 billion investment closely follows news of Intel committing $5 billion last year toward expanding its existing facility in Kiryat Gat. Expansion of this plant in the southern part of the country, is expected to complete by 2020. As part of that agreement, Intel will spend $3 billion on sourcing materials, labor, and services from local Israeli businesses. The new factory is slated to come up in the same city, although it's not known if the site is contiguous with the existing factory. Intel is one of the largest multinational employers in Israel.

Intel's IGP-less i9-9900KF, i7-9700KF CPUs First Listings Appear Above MSRP Pricing

Intel will be relasing IPG-less versions of their most popular desktop processors soon, if some retailers' listings of the CPUs are anything to go by. The i9-9900KF and i7-9700KF CPUs will bring about Intel's best-performing architecture to date in an integrated GPU-less package, which will allow the company to bring prices down for the end user. Of course, this has all the hallmarks of a bid for a more competitive positioning of its products against AMD's upcoming Zen 2 products, whilst simultaneously (and likely) increasing profit on every processor sold (we'd expect the savings passed on to the customer to be inferior to Intel's saved costs at the foundry level).

The i9-9900KF has been found online for $582.50, more than $50 above the i9-9900K's $530 street pricing, while the 9600KF is listed at $308.75, more than $60 over the street pricing of Intel's i7-9600K. Remember that these prices are gouged on account of limited availability on the market; when these are more widespread and the market sees stocks in line with demand expectations, these should bottom down. But then again, we've seen Intel's products being price-increased for a while as the company struggled to keep its production up to the demand, amidst a constrained and supposedly already second-line 14 nm process.

Intel Readies "Cyclone Peak" Wireless-AX 22260 WLAN Cards

Intel is giving finishing touches to its new family of compact WLAN cards for portables and motherboards, under the "Cyclone Peak" family. These include the Wireless-AX 22260 sold under Intel's main brand, and two re-branded or differentiated products by RivetNetworks: Killer Wireless-AX 1650x (22260NGW), and Killer Wireless-AX 1650W (22260D2W). Device IDs for these cards were recently added to the IWLWIFI repository by Intel software teams. "Cyclone Peak" offers 802.11ax Wi-Fi connectivity, in addition to Bluetooth 5. 802.11ax provides about 37 percent higher data-rate than 802.11ac, but improved effective bandwidth due to better spectrum utilization.

Intel Readies Energy-efficient 35-Watt Core i9-9900T Processor

Intel succeeded in bringing down the TDP of its 8-core/16-thread "Coffee Lake-Refresh" silicon all the way down to a staggering 35 W, from its currently rated 95 W, which in real-world usage easily exceeds 110 W, given Turbo Boost, and other performance enhancements enabled by DIY motherboards. The new Core i9-9900T achieves its TDP with a combination of significantly lower clock-speeds, and an aggressive on-die power-management system. Its nominal-clock is down to 1.70 GHz from 3.60 GHz of the original i9-9900K, while 1~2 core Turbo Boost frequency is down to 3.80 GHz from 5.00 GHz of the original. The all-core Turbo clock-speed could be as low as 3.30 GHz. Intel hasn't tinkered with the L3 cache amount, which is still set at 16 MB, and the UHD 630 iGPU retains its EU count and clock-speeds. The chip features its 4-character product code of QQC0.

ZADAK and NVIDIA Team up at Taipei Game Show 2019, Showcase Pip-Boy (Fallout 76) Scratch Build by AK

ZADAK, in association with NVIDIA Taiwan, wowed visitors at the opening of the Taipei Game Show 2019, presenting a scratch build from up and coming Taiwanese modder AK. Inspired by the popular Fallout 76 PC game, the Pip-Boy mod is composed of leather, aluminum and 3D-printed acrylics. It marks the first collaboration between ZADAK and NVIDIA Taiwan, showcasing the flagship MOAB II Water-cooled PC from ZADAK, and the latest NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti gaming graphics card.

Intel Reports Fourth-Quarter and Full-Year 2018 Financial Results

Intel Corporation today reported fourth-quarter and full-year 2018 financial results. The company also announced that its board of directors has approved a five percent increase in its cash dividend to $1.26 per-share on an annual basis. The board declared a quarterly dividend of $0.315 per-share on the company's common stock, which will be payable on March 1 to shareholders of record on February 7.

"2018 was a truly remarkable year for Intel with record revenue in every business segment and record profits as we transform the company to pursue our biggest market opportunity ever," said Bob Swan, Intel CFO and Interim CEO. "In the fourth quarter, we grew revenue, expanded earnings and previewed new 10nm-based products that position Intel to compete and win going forward. Looking ahead, we are forecasting another record year and raising the dividend based on our view that the explosive growth of data will drive continued demand for Intel products."

Intel Achieves Gender Pay Equity Globally

Today, Intel announced a major milestone in global inclusion - achieving gender pay equity across our worldwide workforce while also adding stock-based compensation to its pay equity analysis. Our commitment to achieving gender pay equity is central to making Intel a truly inclusive workplace, which we believe is a key factor in employee performance, productivity and engagement. A diverse workforce and inclusive culture are essential to our evolution and growth.

Intel defines pay equity as closing the gap in the average pay between employees of different genders or races and ethnicities, where data is available, in the same or similar roles after accounting for legitimate business factors that can explain differences, such as performance, time at grade level and tenure.
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