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Next-generation Intel Xeon Scalable Processors to Deliver Breakthrough Platform Performance with up to 56 Processor Cores

Intel today announced its future Intel Xeon Scalable processor family (codename Cooper Lake) will offer customers up to 56 processor cores per socket and built-in AI training acceleration in a standard, socketed CPU as part of its mainline Intel Xeon Scalable platforms, with availability in the first half of 2020. The breakthrough platform performance delivered within the high-core-count Cooper Lake processors will leverage the capabilities built into the Intel Xeon Platinum 9200 series, which today is gaining momentum among the world's most demanding HPC customers, including HLRN, Advania, 4Paradigm, and others.

"The Intel Xeon Platinum 9200 series that we introduced as part of our 2nd Generation Intel Xeon Scalable processor family generated a lot of excitement among our customers who are deploying the technology to run their high-performance computing (HPC), advanced analytics, artificial intelligence and high-density infrastructure. Extended 56-core processor offerings into our mainline Intel Xeon Scalable platforms enables us to serve a much broader range of customers who hunger for more processor performance and memory bandwidth."
-Lisa Spelman, vice president and general manager of Data Center Marketing, Intel Corporation

Intel Starts Shipping 10 nm Ice Lake CPUs to OEMs

During its second quarter earnings call, Intel announced that it has started shipping of 10th generation "Core" CPUs to OEMs. Making use of 10 nm lithography, the 10th generation of "Core" CPUs, codenamed Ice Lake, were qualified by OEMs earlier in 2019 in order to be integrated into future products. Ice Lake is on track for holiday season 2019, meaning that we can expect products on-shelves by the end of this year. That is exciting news as the 10th generation of Core CPUs is bringing some exciting micro-architectural improvements along with the long awaited and delayed Intel's 10nm manufacturing process node.

The new CPUs are supposed to get around 18% IPC improvement on average when looking at direct comparison to previous generation of Intel CPUs, while being clocked at same frequency. This time, even regular mobile/desktop parts will get AVX512 support, alongside VNNI and Cryptography ISA extensions that are supposed to bring additional security and performance for the ever increasing number of tasks, especially new ones like Neural Network processing. Core configurations will be ranging from dual core i3 to quad core i7, where we will see total of 11 models available.

Japanese DIY Market Goes Big on Ryzen: 68.6% Market Share for AMD

The Japanese DIY PC market has developed a strong appetite for AMD Ryzen processors, with PC Watch reporting sales data aggregated by BCN across leading retailers. In the DIY space, AMD processors now hold a monstrous 68.6 percent market share. Data was collected from Amazon Japan, Bic Camera, EDION, etc., and distributors who supply to brick-and-mortar PC hardware stores. AMD's market share started its upward trend from September 2018, when it stood at 20 percent, propelled mainly by shortages of Intel processors in the DIY channel, overpricing of Intel processors, discounts on AMD 2nd generation Ryzen processors; and the recent introduction of 3rd generation Ryzen processors which are both priced reasonably and outperform Intel at every price-point.

AMD's problem area continues to be OEMs and the pre-built PC market, which makes up a bulk of processor sales for Intel. Despite the upperhand with pricing, performance, and efficiency, the company isn't able to match Intel in design-wins. Intel is able to retain its stranglehold over the OEM space with volume pricing and prioritizing the OEM channel over the DIY retail channel. In Japan, pre-built desktops and notebooks with AMD processors make up a paltry 14.7 percent of the market, although that number is still crawling upward. Perhaps AMD needs faster processor models with integrated graphics to appease OEMs?

Microsoft Won't Move Production Out of China

Previously, we have reported that major OEMs are looking and exploring for ways of moving production outside of China, into other Asian countries, because of tariffs imposed by US-China trade war and rising labor costs. The original report from Nikkei specifically indicated that Microsoft will move its Xbox and Surface manufacturing to Thailand and Indonesia, while the production in China would stop.

However, Tom's Hardware had a conversation with Microsoft regarding the situation and the outcome was contradictory to the report of Nikkei. Microsoft told Tom's Hardware "that there currently aren't any plans to do so", which means that current manufacturing facilities are there to stay. We still don't know how will the rest of OEMs react or comment, but HP also said to Tom's that it shares industry concerns and will not comment any further to the rumors, adding that tariffs are hurting consumers.

AMD Reports First Quarter 2019 Financial Results- Gross margin expands to 41%, up 5 percentage points year-over-year

AMD today announced revenue for the first quarter of 2019 of $1.27 billion, operating income of $38 million, net income of $16 million and diluted
earnings per share of $0.01. On a non-GAAP(*) basis, operating income was $84 million, net income was $62 million and diluted earnings per share was $0.06.

"We delivered solid first quarter results with significant gross margin expansion as Ryzen and EPYC processor and datacenter GPU revenue more than doubled year-over-year," said Dr. Lisa Su, AMD president and CEO. "We look forward to the upcoming launches of our next-generation 7nm PC, gaming
and datacenter products which we expect to drive further market share gains and financial growth."

Intel CPU Shortages to Worsen Thru Q2-2019

Supplies of Intel processors will worsen in the second quarter of 2019 according to Taiwan-based industry observer DigiTimes. In a research-based report covering not just the DIY channel, but also the OEM channel focusing on notebook manufacturer, DigiTimes notes that heading into Q2, growth in demand for entry-level portables such as Chromebooks based on entry-level Intel processors, and mainstream notebooks powered by Core i3 processors, which make up the largest demographic of PC consumers in the market.

A pertinent concept to this report is supply-gap, the percentage difference between demand and supply. A positive supply-gap indicates demand exceeding supply and shortages. Leading notebook vendors HP, Dell, and Lenovo, reported supply-gaps of 5% going into Q3-2018, which severely impacted their bottom-lines. The companies waded through Q4 with 4-5%. DigiTimes reports that even Apple wasn't spared from shortages in "Amber Lake" processors. "In the first quarter of 2019, the Core i5 processors featuring Coffee Lake architecture are now having the worst supply shortfall. Some of the demand for Intel's entry-level Atom processors has turned to AMD, while some others have opted for Core i3 processors," the report reads. AMD's market-share among OEMs increased from 9.8% in Q1-2018 to 15.8% in Q1-2019.

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."

Toshiba Shows Off 96-Layer BiCS FLASH Alongside Plethora of Enterprise SSDs at CES 2019

During our visit with Toshiba at CES 2019, we were shown not only new technologies that they will be rapidly deploying but a large number of SSDs for various market segments. The biggest draw was their 96-layer BiCS Flash with 4-bit-per-cell quadruple-level cell (QLC) technology. Toshiba is now pushing the boundary for capacity as a single chip device can reach 1.33 Tb (Terabits) while a single package device with 16-dies stacked architecture can reach 2.66 TB. That said, they are already sampling their 1 TB NVMe single package BG4 series SSDs to PC OEM customers in limited quantities.

These latest drives with their new BiCS FLASH technology incorporate everything into a tiny SSD that offers class-leading storage with sequential read performance reaching up to 2250 MB/s. Random read performance can also hit exceptional levels reaching up to 380,000 IOPS. For now, these BG4 based drives are targeted at ultra-thin PC notebooks, IoT embedded systems and will be made available in four capacities including; 128 GB, 256 GB, 512 GB and finally 1 TB. To meet expected demand, Toshiba will also be opening a facility in Japan dedicated to this latest technology in order to bring even higher capacities per NAND module.

GeForce RTX Mobility Series Outed by Taiwanese OEM, CES Announcement Incoming?

Taiwanese OEM CJSCOPE has outed a tease for their upcoming HX 970 GX laptop, featuring an Intel 9th gen processor and NVIDIA's RX 2080 graphics card in an MXM form-factor. The Mobility version of the RX 2080 will feature the same 2944 CUDA cores, but an up to 1847 MHz core clock - better binning in the mobile versions of these chips, likely.

Other options given by CJSCOPE in configuring the laptop include the Mobility 2070 and 2060. The Mobility RX 2070 follows the desktop version in CUDA cores (2304) and slightly increases the maximum Boost clock to 1710 MHz, while the RX 2060 Mobility reduces the amount of CUDA cores from the prospective 1920 found in the (unreleased) desktop version to 1536 (a 20% reduction in computational resources). The marketing materials also state that the RTX 2060 should be available on January 15th.

URCDKeys Now Selling Windows 10 Pro OEM and Office 2016 Lifetime Keys at Up To 92% Off

URCDKeys is a sensational new deep-discount online software license store. The store is selling two of its most popular products among TechPowerUp readers, at an unbeatable discount of up to 92% off the regular online price. Windows 10 Pro is a recommended flavor of Windows 10 for PC enthusiasts as it gives you greater control thanks to Group Policy Editor, and other administrative tools. URCDKey is selling the OEM license key to Windows 10 Pro for USD $14.86, which further goes down to $11.81 when you apply a TechPowerUp-exclusive coupon at checkout.

Your Windows 10 PC is incomplete without Microsoft Office, and URCDKey is stocked with Office 2016 Professional lifetime global license keys for just $38.02, with a further 20% off for TechPowerUp readers, making the effective price you pay just $30.42. That's a fraction of the price you'd pay for an annual subscription of Office 365. This deal is particularly useful for students, so they don't have to shell out $100 every two semesters.

Buy Windows 10 Pro OEM from URCDKeys | Buy Office 2016 Professional Plus from URCDKeys

Exclusive Discount for TechPowerUp readers: Don't forget to use coupon-code TP20 at checkout for an additional 20% off on the already discounted prices!

Introducing URCDKeys: One Stop Shop for Discounted Software Licenses, Up To 87% Off

URCDKeys is a new online store for heavily discounted non-gaming software licenses, based in California, USA. The site is debuting its non-gaming software section with two massively discounted products that will help PC enthusiasts significantly cut costs of new PC builds. Windows 10 Pro is a more preferred variant of Windows 10 among enthusiasts, as it features significantly more management features over the Home variant. URCDKeys is selling globally-valid OEM licenses of Windows 10 Pro (license that is non-transferrable between systems), at USD $14.79, a massive 90% discount from market prices.

Crucial Expands Server Memory Portfolio with First 32GB NVDIMM Offering

Crucial , a leading global consumer brand of Micron Technology for memory and storage upgrades, today announced a new 32GB Nonvolatile DIMM (NVDIMM) to help companies preserve critical data in the event of a system power loss and limit costly downtime. The first Crucial NVDIMM to operate at 2933 MT/s, the new module provides companies powerful and persistent memory performance while reducing the amount of NVDIMMs needed in a server.

In fast-paced business environments, sales and customer satisfaction are decided in milliseconds. Crucial NVDIMMs give organisations the advantage when data transactions hang in the balance by fusing memory with on-module NAND, providing near-instant access with data persistence. In the event of a system power loss, the NVDIMM would back up DRAM data to the NAND with help from an ultracapacitator, its backup power source. Crucial NVDIMMs are compatible with the latest 2.5 inch drive bay and HHHL PCIe AgigA Tech PowerGEM ultracapacitors, enabling continual power to up to four NVDIMMs during power loss until a backup is completed.

ASUS Z390 Motherboards Automatically Push Software into Your Windows Installation

During testing for our Intel Core i9-9900K review we found out that new ASUS Z390 motherboards automatically install software and drivers to your Windows 10 System, without the need for network access, and without any user knowledge or confirmation. This process happens in complete network-isolation (i.e. the machine has no Internet or LAN access). Our Windows 10 image is based on Windows 10 April 2018 Update and lacks in-built drivers for the integrated network controllers.

Upon first boot, with the machine having no LAN or Internet connectivity, we were greeted by an ASUS-specific window in the bottom right corner of our screen, asking whether we'd like to install the network drivers and download "Armoury Crate". This got us curious and we scanned the system for any files that aren't part of the standard MS Windows installation. We discovered three ASUS-signed files in our Windows 10 System32 folder, which, so it seems, magically appeared on our harddrive out of thin air. Upon further investigation we also found a new, already running, system service called "AsusUpdateCheck."

More Buyers for AMD Due to Intel CPU Shortages, OEMs Unhappy

Intel is hit by crippling inventory shortages for many of its fast-selling 8th generation Core desktop processor SKUs. A number of factors are contributing to these shortages, as we discussed in this article. A key short-term consequence of shortages in Intel's inventories is more uninitiated buyers discovering AMD processors, now that they've achieved the highest levels of competitiveness against Intel in over a decade. Stock market analyst firm Jefferies has raised AMD's outlook for Q4-2018, and projects that its $30 stock price could hit $36, by raising its target price.

OEMs are not happy with Intel. Haphazard roadmap and platform changes have forced them to revise their product designs way too frequently, and now they're faced with the prospect of a short-supply. A report from research firm Fubon predicts that by next year, 1 in every 3 personal computers sold by HP (Hewlett Packard) will run an AMD processor. "Fubon's report that Intel will undersupply the PC market between 4Q18 and 2Q19 leaves us with higher conviction that AMD will report improving revenue, pricing and margins near term, and that is positioned to take share in the high end PC MPU and server market long term," said stock market analyst Mark Lipacis. He predicts that AMD's CPU market-share climbing to 30% through next year (a very huge feat for AMD).

Samsung Ready with 32GB DDR4 UDIMMs for Desktops, Paving the Way for 16GB Single-Rank

Samsung is ready with a 32 GB DDR4 UDIMM (unbuffered DIMMs) targeted at desktops. Dual-channel kits with these modules could let you max out the 64 GB memory limit of today's mainstream desktop processors, and 128 GB limits of Intel's Core X HEDT processors, with quad-channel kits. AMD's Ryzen Threadripper processors are advertised to support up to 2 TB of memory (including ECC support), so it should finally be possible to pack up to 256 GB of memory on Threadripper-powered machines.

The new M378A4G43MB1-CTD DDR4 UDIMM from Samsung is, unsurprisingly, a dual-rank module (x8 / x16 Organization or up to 2 ranks per DIMM and 2DPC configuration). It ticks at DDR4-2666 at a module voltage of 1.2 V. The module itself won't be much to look at, with a green PCB and bare-naked DRAM chips. It is is currently sampling to PC OEMs. It could also be possible for more popular memory manufacturers to get in touch with Samsung for the DRAM chips that make up this module. A single-rank variant of this module could finally make it possible for AMD Ryzen AM4 machines to have 32 GB of dual-channel memory at acceptably high memory clocks.

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."

TrendForce: Contract Prices in NAND Flash Market Will Keep Falling in 2H18 Due to Oversupply and Weak Seasonal Demand

The latest analysis on the NAND Flash market by DRAMeXchange, a division of TrendForce, forecasts that the ASP of NAND Flash will drop by around 10% QoQ respectively in 3Q18 and 4Q18. Although 3Q18 heralds the traditional peak season for the sales of consumer electronics, the growth of the end market demand has been weaker than anticipated. At the same time, the supply of 3D-NAND Flash continues to expand.

DRAMeXchange points out that the main reason behind the falling prices is oversupply at various levels. First, the annual shipments for smartphones this year are expected to be just on par with last year's. The replacement demand for smartphones has been sluggish due to the lack of differentiation among products in terms of hardware specifications. Second, notebook shipments were very strong in 1H18, so the seasonal shipment growth for notebooks in 2H18 will be lackluster compared with the growth in the year's first half as the base period. Third, the competition is very intense in the server SSD market. Although demand for server systems is growing steadily, there is an oversupply of server SSDs because too many suppliers are engaging in this profitable segment. Finally, NAND Flash suppliers have raised their output forecasts as they have expanded their production capacity and improved the yield rates of their 64/72-layer 3D-NAND production. Given the above factors that have led to a persistent oversupply, contract prices of various NAND Flash products will remain weak through 2H18.

AMD Introduces Broad AMD Ryzen PRO Mobile & Desktop APU Systems for Enterprise

AMD today announced unprecedented adoption of its AMD Ryzen PRO processors - including new notebooks and desktops powered by Ryzen PRO processors with built-in Radeon Vega graphics now available from the world's three largest enterprise PC OEMs. AMD Ryzen PRO APUs for premium commercial desktop and notebooks provide commercial PC buyers with new levels of choice and innovation and enable Dell, HP, and Lenovo to create a range of business systems, from sleek enterprise notebooks to powerful commercial desktops. Combined, these systems make up the broadest portfolio of AMD processor-based enterprise PCs in the company's history.

AMD Officially Releases Specs, Cards in the OEM-Branded RX 500X Series

AMD today has officially released specs and the listing of graphics cards that are being rebranded to the OEM-only RX 500X series. For all the rumors and speculation that abounded around a super-charged, maybe even Vega-sprinkled new Polaris architecture from AMD has seen their dreams of interesting times squelched unceremoniously.

What were before expected reports have now been rendered true: these are nothing more than an OEM-specific rebrand of AMD's RX 500 graphics cards. They're just direct rebadges - not a single MHz was increased across the entire portfolio, except for one lonely graphics card: the RX 550X has apparently seen a bump in clockspeeds, from the RX 550's "up to 1183 MHz" to the RX 550X's "up to 1287 MHz). Aside from that, folks, move along: there's nothing to see here.

Microsoft Pushes New Software-Based Spectre, Meltdown Mitigation Patches

The Spectre/Meltdown road is long and pocked with lawsuits and security holes as it is, and Microsoft is one of the players that's trying to put the asphalt back to tip-top, Autobahn-worth shape. The company has already improved users' security to the Meltdown and Spectre exploits on its OS side; however, hardware patches, and specifically BIOS-editing ones are much harder to deploy and distribute by the PC chain. That may be one of the reasons why Microsoft is now again stepping up with software-based mitigations for Intel-based systems, specifically.

The new updates introduce a software-based CPU microcode revision update, and work at the OS-level to plug some security holes on your Intel processors that might otherwise remain unpatched. The reasons for them remaining unpatched can be many: either Intel taking even more time to deploy patches to the still vulnerable systems; your OEMs not deploying the Intel CPU microcode revisions via a BIOS update; or the good old "I forgot I could do it" user story. Of course, being software based means these Microsoft patches will have to be reapplied should users format their Windows system. The update can for now only be manually downloaded and installed, and can only be applied to version 1709 (Fall Creators Update) and Windows Server version 1709 (Server Core), but that's definitely better than the alternative of forcing less knowledgeable users to try and find their way through BIOS updates. Of course, that is assuming OEMs will ever push BIOS updates to their products.

Updated Firmware Available for 6th, 7th and 8th Generation Intel Core Processors

Intel today shared in a blog post that they are deploying microcode solutions that have been developed and validated over the last several weeks. These updates aim to patch security vulnerabilities recently found in Intel processors, and will be distributed, mostly, via OEM firmware updates - users who want to have their system hardened against Spectre and Meltdown exploits will have to ensure that their system manufacturer of choice makes these microcode updates available. If they don't do it in a timely fashion, users have no choice but to be vocal about that issue - Intel has now done its part in this matter.

This is the second wave of Intel's patches to mitigate the Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities, after the first, hasty patch sent users on towards unstable, crashing systems and the inevitable update rollback. Security had already been reinstated, of sorts, for Intel's Skylake processors, but left users of any other affected Intel CPU family out in the cold. Here's hoping this is the one update that actually sticks after thorough testing and validation.

Ruckus Signs Strategic OEM Deal with Dell

Ruckus Networks, an ARRIS company, today announced it has signed a global original equipment manufacturing (OEM) agreement with Dell EMC to deliver Ruckus' broad portfolio of wireless solutions, including access points (APs), controllers, virtualized and data analytics assets, and Cloudpath secure network access software-along with Ruckus IoT and CBRS LTE products-as Dell-branded solutions. This agreement gives Dell EMC's networking sales team and end-user customers access to Ruckus' award-winning portfolio of secure wireless connectivity solutions and strong brand presence not available through alternative suppliers. The agreement is effective immediately and encompasses a range of sales, marketing and customer support programs in international markets, including APAC, EMEA and the Americas.

"Delivering innovative wireless networking solutions to our partners is key to address the insatiable demand for high-performance wireless networking in the enterprise," said Dan Rabinovitsj, president, Ruckus Networks, an ARRIS company. "The Dell EMC brand and market reach is complementary to our own and represents a significant path for growth for both companies across a range of vertical markets, including education, public infrastructure, the federal government and service providers. We view Dell EMC's strength in storage and scalable computing platforms as critical to collaboration where complete bundled solutions are required to compete and win."

Select AMD Mobile Platforms to Include Qualcomm-Powered LTE Capabilities

At the Qualcomm Technology Summit, AMD made a surprise appearance to shed some light on their partnership in Qualcomm. The objective: to integrate Qualcomm's LTE modems in AMD-powered mobile platforms, offering always connected capabilities to laptops and convertibles. AMD's Kevin Lensing took to the stage to talk about how AMD's reference designs for the Ryzen Mobile platform (which includes deployment of the company's Ryzen 5 2500U and Ryzen 7 2700U APUs, for instance) shipped to OEMs with an integrated Qualcomm LTE modem - a clear nod at another design point OEMs could look towards integration on their products. These should allow for online connectivity on the go, offering users more ways to keep connected, whether for work or play.

Of course, this is hardly the first time mobile PC form-factors have had this kind of modem integration; Intel has done it for quite some time on their products, with the XMM7260 and XMM7360 that it has applied to more business-oriented devices or Chromebooks. However, adding LTE enablement as an option for AMD-based platforms at this scale is actually a first for AMD. Naturally, the integration of yet another piece of silicon to a mobile device will undoubtedly add to cost and battery consumption, besides adding some more question that end-users have to answer: which carrier option are available, which of those to go with... But having more options is usually better than the alternative, is it not?

Intel Doubles Capacity of World's Most Responsive Data Center SSD

Today, Intel announced the Intel Optane SSD DC P4800X Series, the world's most responsive data center solid state drive, is now available in a new 750GB capacity in both half-height, half-length add-in card and a hot-swappable 2.5-inch U.2 form factor. Both form factors and capacities will be broadly available this month.

Increased capacity and multiple form factors expand data center implementation options and deliver both solution-level and total cost of ownership flexibility for customers. Intel Optane technology for data centers combines the attributes of memory and storage with low latency, high endurance, outstanding quality of service and high throughput, creating a new data tier that increases scale per server and reduces transaction costs.

Radeon RX 540 Surfaces on AMD Website

It isn't unusual for AMD or NVIDIA to launch OEM-specific graphics chips, and it would seem that AMD is doing just so with its rebranded yet improved RX 500 series. Now, it's time for the RX 540 to surface, which, like the name implies, flies right below the RX 550 in terms of specs, though you wouldn't know it without a closer look.

The chip packs the same 8 CUs as the RX 550 (512 stream processors), but its memory bandwidth (in 2 GB or 4 GB flavors) peaks at 96 GB/s (lower than the RX 550's 112 GB/s.) However, its core clocks see an interesting boost from the RX 550's 1183 MHz boost clocks to a "up to 1219 MHz" value, which should alleviate the performance impact from the stunted memory bandwidth. This is a GPU that's likely to be used by OEMs and system integrators, whether on desktop computers or in laptops, though I do have to wonder regarding this configuration. I'd expect higher clocks on the core to increase power consumption more than the offset allowed by the reduced memory clocks, but then again, I'm not an AMD engineer.
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