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Stuttgart-based HLRS to Build a Supercomputer with 10,000 64-core Zen 2 Processors

Höchstleistungsrechenzentrum (HLRS, or High-Performance Computing Center), based in Stuttgart Germany, is building a new cluster supercomputer powered by 10,000 AMD Zen 2 "Rome" 64-core processors, making up 640,000 cores. Called "Hawk," the supercomputer will be HLRS' flagship product, and will open its doors to business in 2019. The slide-deck for Hawk makes a fascinating disclosure about the processors it's based on.

Apparently, each of the 64-core "Rome" EPYC processors has a guaranteed clock-speed of 2.35 GHz. This would mean at maximum load (with all cores loaded 100%), the processor can manage to run at 2.35 GHz. This is important, because the supercomputer's advertised throughput is calculated on this basis, and clients draw up SLAs on throughput. The advertised peak throughput for the whole system is 24.06 petaFLOP/s, although the company is yet to put out nominal/guaranteed performance numbers (which it will only after first-hand testing). The system features 665 TB of RAM, and 26,000 TB of storage.

AMD Zen 2 GNU Compiler Patch Published, Exposes New Instruction Sets

With a November deadline for feature freeze fast approaching, GNU toolchain developers are now adding the last feature additions to GCC 9.0 (GNU Compiler Collection). Ahead of that deadline, AMD has released their first basic patch adding the "znver2" target and therefore Zen 2 support to GCC. While the patch uses the same cost tables and scheduler data as Znver1, it does feature three new instructions that will be available to AMD's next-gen CPUs which include; Cache Line Write Back (CLWB), Read Processor ID (RDPID), and Write Back and Do Not Invalidate Cache (WBNOINVD).

These three instructions are the only ones that have been found thus far by digging through the current code. Taking into account this is the first patch it can be considered a jumping off point, making sure that the GCC 9.1 stable update, which comes out in 2019, has support for Zen 2. Further optimizations and instructions may be implemented in the future. This is likely since AMD has yet to update the scheduler cost tables and by extension means they may not want to reveal everything about Zen 2 just yet. You could say AMD is for now playing it safe, at least until their 7nm EPYC 2 processors launch in 2019.

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

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

Intel CFO and Interim CEO Writes an Open Letter on Processor Supply

Growing anger among PC manufacturers, retailers, and consumers in general, over supply issues with Intel processors, compounded with rising prices, and prompted Bob Swan, CFO and Interim-CEO of Intel, to write an open-letter, addressed to customers and partners, which counts you, since we received it in our main news channel from Intel. The language in the e-mail is straightforward and we wouldn't want to interpret it further than Intel grappling with a combination of massive demand from both its cloud-computing customers, and PC manufacturers hit by a surge of customers upgrading their machines (probably because it took Intel 10 years to increase CPU core counts, giving people a reason to upgrade).

To mitigate this, Intel is firing up all its manufacturing assets, across Oregon, Arizona, Ireland and Israel, in addition to its main foundries, by pumping in an additional $1 billion in capital expenditure (which is now at $15 billion). The letter doesn't miss out mentioning 10 nm, that the company is making progress with yields, and that volume production should roll out in 2019 (without offering guidance as to when). Intel also reassured PC OEMs that their supply teams will be in closer contact with them over the coming weeks. Without further ado, the open-letter follows verbatim.
The letter follows.

More Clarity on 9th Gen Core Processor Pricing Emerges

Intel is debuting its first wave of 9th generation Core desktop processors with three models later this year - the 6-core/6-thread Core i5-9600K, the 8-core/8-thread Core i7-9700K, and the 8-core/16-thread Core i9-9900K. We've been very curious about how the entry of the Core i9 extension to the mainstream-desktop LGA1151 platform would affect pricing of the Core i5 and Core i7 K-series SKUs, especially given that the i7-9700K is the first Core i7 SKU in a decade to lack HyperThreading. An updated catalog by a major Singapore-based PC components distributor adds more clarity.

Singapore-based PC component distributor BizGram, in its latest catalog, disclosed the all-inclusive retail prices of the three new processors. As Redditor Dylan522p suggests, if you do the SGD-USD conversion and subtract all taxes, you get ominous-looking SEP prices for the three. Intel could price the Core i5-9600K at USD $249.99. The Core i7-9700K could be priced at $349.99. The flagship Core i9-9900K could go for $449.99. These seem like highly plausible pre-tax launch prices for the three chips, and fit into the competitive landscape.

AMD Announces "Zen" Based Athlon and 2nd Gen Ryzen PRO Desktop Processors

AMD today announced a reimagined family of AMD Athlon desktop processors with Radeon Vega graphics that have been optimized for everyday PC users: the AMD Athlon 200GE, Athlon 220GE, and Athlon 240GE processor. Combining the high-performance x86 "Zen" core and "Vega"] graphics architectures in a versatile System-on-Chip (SOC) design, the Athlon desktop processors offer responsive and reliable computing for a wide range of experiences, from day-to-day needs like web browsing and video streaming through more advanced workloads like high-definition PC gaming. Complementing this news, AMD announced the availability of the commercial-grade Athlon PRO 200GE desktop processor, along with three 2nd Gen Ryzen PRO desktop processor models for the commercial, enterprise, and the public sector: the Ryzen 7 PRO 2700X, Ryzen 7 PRO 2700, and Ryzen 5 PRO 2600 processors. With these new introductions, AMD now offers a top-to-bottom line-up of professional-grade computing solutions for experiences that range from premium content creation to advanced multitasking and office productivity.

"We are proud to expand our successful "Zen" core-based consumer and commercial product portfolios today with the addition of AMD Athlon, AMD Athlon PRO, and 2nd Gen AMD Ryzen PRO desktop processors. The new Athlon desktop processors, now incorporating the advanced "Zen" core and "Vega"3 graphics architectures, energize a legendary processor brand in AMD Athlon - a brand that consumers and PC enthusiasts alike trusted throughout nearly two decades of innovation," said Saeid Moshkelani, senior vice president and general manager, Client Compute, AMD. "Additionally, we are continuing to offer business PC users more processing power than we ever have before with the launch of 2nd Gen Ryzen PRO desktop processors into the commercial market."

Intel 14nm Processors Face Shortages

Intel's 8th generation Core desktop processors based on the company's 14 nm node are facing shortages in the market, according to a Tom's Hardware report. Tracking prices and availability of popular 8th generation Core SKUs such as the i5-8400, i5-8600K, and i7-8700K, the report notes that retailers are heavily marking up these SKUs above their SEP, and many of whom are running out of stock often. This may not be attributed to heavy demand.

A possible explanation for these shortages could be Intel allocating volumes from the same 14 nm++ node for its upcoming 9th generation Core processors, which debut with three SKUs - i5-9600K, i7-9700K, and i9-9900K. Intel probably wants to launch the three chips not just at competitive prices, but also good enough volumes to win the 2018 Holiday season, and repair its competitiveness damaged by AMD 2nd generation Ryzen over the past couple of quarters.

AMD Launches World's Most Powerful Desktop Processor: 2nd Generation Threadripper

AMD today announced the availability of world's most powerful desktop processor, the 2nd Gen AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX processor with 32 cores and 64 threads. Designed to power the ultimate computing experiences, 2nd Gen AMD Ryzen Threadripper processors are built using 12 nm "Zen+" x86 processor architecture and offer the most threads on any desktop processor with the flagship model delivering up to 53% greater performance than the competition's flagship model. Second Gen AMD Ryzen Threadripper processors support the most I/O, and are compatible with existing AMD X399 chipset motherboards via a simple BIOS update, offering builders a broad choice for designing the ultimate high-end desktop or workstation PC.

"We created Ryzen Threadripper processors because we saw an opportunity to deliver unheard-of levels of multithreaded computing for the demanding needs of creators, gamers, and PC enthusiasts in the HEDT market," said Jim Anderson, senior vice president and general manager, Computing and Graphics Business Group, AMD. "With the 2nd Gen processor family we took that challenge to a whole new level - delivering the biggest, most powerful desktop processor the world has ever seen."

Intel Leak Confirms Ten New Entry Level Coffee Lake Xeon Processors

Latest leak confirms that Intel is preparing new Xeon processors targeted at the entry level market. These Xeon chips, which are based on Coffee Lake-S, have been rebranded from Xeon E3 to Xeon E. The Xeon E-2000 family consists of ten models featuring up to six cores. They differ from their consumer Coffee Lake counterparts in terms of features, memory support, operating frequencies, and TDP ratings. Seven of the ten processors come with iGPUs as denoted by the G suffix in the model number. The new Xeon E-2000 processors will be manufactured in Intel's Vietnam facility. The first batches of these processors are expected to ship sometime around June 25, 2018.

Possible Intel 8-core LGA115x Processor Surfaces on SANDRA Database

That Intel bringing 8 cores to the mainstream-desktop (MSDT) platform is more than a rumor now, as a curious-looking SiSoft SANDRA database entry suggests. An anonymous source submitted benchmark results of a processor with 8 cores, 16 threads, 256 KB of L2 cache per core, and 16 MB of L3 cache; clocked at 2.60 GHz (prototypes and engineering-samples are usually clocked low). This can't be i7-5960X or the i7-6900K, because the HEDT chips pack 20 MB of L3 cache. The more recent i7-7820X packs 11 MB of L3 cache, with 1 MB per core of L2 cache. It's conceivable that an MSDT chip could retain the cache hierarchy of the current MSDT processors from Intel, with 2 MB L3 cache slices per core, adding up to 12 MB on the i7-8700, for example, explaining the large 16 MB L3 cache on this chip.

The SANDRA numbers suggest similar IPC to the "Coffee Lake" architecture, while a proportionate increase in performance to the increased core-count. The chip scored 96 points with 237.03 GOPS score; 330.64 GIPS Dhrystone integer, 194.46 GFLOPS Whetstone single-precision floating-point; and 148.47 GFLOPS Whetstone double-precision; and 91.45 GOPS/GHz clocks/performance. Intel is rumored to launch an 8-core/16-thread LGA115x processor, possibly paired with its upcoming Z390 Express chipset, and possibly based on its new 10 nm silicon fabrication process; sometime either in 2H-2018 or Q1-2019.

Pro Overclocker der8auer Delids the AMD Ryzen 5 2600 Processor

In his latest Youtube video, famous overclocker der8auer has delidded his AMD Ryzen 5 2600 processor for the sole purpose of evaluating whether the benefits justify the risk. Since the IHS in the new Pinnacle Ridge processors is soldered directly to the die with Indium, delidding the processors is a tricky but not impossible task. Everything melts when it gets warm enough, and indium starts melting around 156.60 °C. Therefore, der8auer had to use a modified version of his popular Delid Die Mate 2 tool by replacing the acrylic pieces with aluminum while also removing the rubber washer. After baking his Ryzen 5 2600 chip in the oven between 170 °C to 180 °C, Der8auer removed the IHS easily with his delidding tool. For his testing, he replaced the indium solder with Thermal Grizzly liquid metal thermal compound. As expected, the results weren't very impressive. With the Ryzen 5 2600 overclocked to 4.1 GHz with 1.35V, the difference was a mere 4 °C under load. So, there you have it. Don't delid your Pinnacle Ridge processor. It's not worth the effort.

Six First-Generation AMD Ryzen Processor Models Reach EOL

With the April 19 introduction of four new second-generation Ryzen "Pinnacle Ridge" desktop processor SKUs, namely the 2700X, 2700, 2600X, and 2600; AMD is retiring six first-generation "Summit Ridge" SKUs from its lineup, according to a Guru3D report. Six SKUs have been marked EOL (end of life), meaning retailers can no longer order them from AMD. They can sell their remaining inventory, and AMD will honor full product warranties and aftersales support, to end users.

Among the retired SKUs are the previous-generation flagship Ryzen 7 1800X, 1700X, and 1700 (non-X); Ryzen 5 1600X, 1400, and the Ryzen 3 1200. As revealed in its product stack slide, the 2700X currently replaces both the 1800X and 1700X as the "8-core high performance" SKU, followed by the 2700 as the "8-core high efficiency" SKU, which replaces the 1700. The 2600X and 2600 succeed the 1600X and 1600, respectively. The Ryzen 5 1400 finds itself replaced by the GPU-equipped Ryzen 5 2400G "Raven Ridge" APU, and the entry-level Ryzen 3 1200 by the sub-$100 Ryzen 3 2200G. The table below reveals the updates prices of first-generation SKUs still in the product stack.

New "BranchScope" Side-channel CPU Vulnerability Threatens Modern Processors

In the age of cyber-security vulnerabilities being named by their discoverers, much like incoming tropical storms, the latest, which exploits speculative execution of modern processors, is named "BranchScope," discovered by academics from four US universities, Dmitry Evtyushkin, Ryan Riley, Nael Abu-Ghazaleh, and Dmitry Ponomarev. The vulnerability has been successfully tested on Intel "Sandy Bridge," "Haswell," and "Skylake" micro-architectures, and remains to be tested on AMD processors. It bears similarities to "Spectre" variant 2, in that it is an exploit of the branch prediction features of modern CPUs.

BranchScope differs from Spectre variant 2, in that while the latter exploits the branch target buffer, BranchScope goes after the directional branch predictor, a component that decides which speculative operations to execute. By misdirecting it, attackers can make the CPU read and spit out data from the memory previously inaccessible. The worst part? You don't need administrative privileges to run the exploit, it can be run from the user-space. Unlike CTS-Labs, the people behind the BranchScope discovery appear to have alerted hardware manufacturers significantly in advance, before publishing their paper (all of it, including technicals). They will present their work at the 23rd ACM International Conference on Architectural Support for Programming Languages and Operating Systems (ASPLOS 2018), later today.

Initial AMD Technical Assessment of CTS Labs Research

On March 12, 2018, AMD received a communication from CTS Labs regarding research into security vulnerabilities involving some AMD products. Less than 24 hours later, the research firm went public with its findings. Security and protecting users' data is of the utmost importance to us at AMD and we have worked rapidly to assess this security research and develop mitigation plans where needed. This is our first public update on this research, and will cover both our technical assessment of the issues as well as planned mitigation actions.

The security issues identified by the third-party researchers are not related to the AMD "Zen" CPU architecture or the Google Project Zero exploits made public Jan. 3, 2018. Instead, these issues are associated with the firmware managing the embedded security control processor in some of our products (AMD Secure Processor) and the chipset used in some socket AM4 and socket TR4 desktop platforms supporting AMD processors.

AMD Provides Support for BIOS Update on 2nd Gen Ryzen - Boot Kit Available

The Socket AM4 platform is designed to be a long life, fully featured, scalable solution with support for multiple processors, with varying capabilities. Since the release of the AMD Socket AM4 motherboards in early 2017 with the AMD Ryzen desktop processor, there have been several BIOS updates made available through our motherboard partners. These updates not only provide improved system performance but also expand support for newer processors as they become available.

In February 2018, AMD began introduction of the new 2nd Gen Ryzen Desktop Processor with Radeon Vega Graphics. To enable support for this new processor, an updated BIOS is required. Due to the rapid pace of innovation, and strong demand for Ryzen Processors with Radeon Graphics, it may be possible that some users with an AMD Socket AM4 motherboard paired with a 2nd Generation Ryzen Desktop introduced in 2018, may experience an issue where the system does not boot up during initial setup.

VAIO Introduces the New VAIO S with VAIO TruePerformance and 8th Gen Core

As part of its continued support for the business user, today VAIO Corporation has introduced a new line of the VAIO S laptops equipped with the 8th Generation Intel Core Processor and VAIO TruePerformance, a technology designed to maintain higher performance for a longer period of time by increasing CPU power limits and more efficiently eliminating processor heat.

By applying VAIO TruePerformance, the 8th Generation Intel Core Processor demonstrates higher performance for both the CPU and graphics over the usual 8th Generation Core i7 Processor. In addition, the Core i5 Processor with VAIO TruePerformance has the effect of achieving higher performance than the usual 8th Generation Core i7 Processor.

Intel Processors to Have "In-silicon" Fixes to Meltdown and Spectre This Year

Intel, which benefited from the post-Q4 public-disclosure of Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities in its latest results, is hoping to mitigate its fallout on Q1-2018. The company, along with several other CPU designers, such as AMD and ARM, are firefighting the two devastating security vulnerabilities through OS kernel patches and CPU micro-code updates; which come at a slight expense of performance. In a bid to unnerve investors, company CEO Brian Krzanich announced that Intel is working on "in-silicon" fixes to Meltdown and Spectre.

An "in-silicon" fix would entail a major CPU micro-architecture design that's inherently immune to the two vulnerabilities and yet offers the benefits of modern branch-prediction and speculative execution. Krzanich says processors with in-silicon fixes to the two vulnerabilities will be released to market by the end of 2018.

AMD Confirms They are Affected by Spectre, too

The public disclosure on January 3rd that multiple research teams had discovered security issues related to how modern microprocessors handle speculative execution has brought to the forefront the constant vigilance needed to protect and secure data. These threats seek to circumvent the microprocessor architecture controls that preserve secure data.

At AMD, security is our top priority and we are continually working to ensure the safety of our users as new risks arise. As a part of that vigilance, I wanted to update the community on our actions to address the situation.

AMD Announces Official Price-Cuts for Ryzen Processors

Following its Ryzen 5 2400G and Ryzen 3 2200G socket AM4 APU announcement, AMD announced price cuts for its Ryzen family of processors, across the board. These are official price cuts, and not seasonal retailer discounts. The price cuts have been made in a bid to make its existing socket AM4 Ryzen processors more competitive against 8th generation Intel Core "Coffee Lake" processors.

Among the notable changes, are bringing the entire Ryzen 7-series lineup under the $350-mark, with the 1800X being priced at $349, the 1700X at $309, and the 1700 non-X at $299. These changes make the three competitive against the Core i7-8700K (which is scraping the $400-mark in many places), and the i7-8700 non-K (around $330). The Ryzen 5-series six-core parts also receive much-needed price-cuts to make them competitive against the Core i5 six-core SKUs, such as the i5-8600K and i5-8400. There are marginal changes in the Ryzen 3 series and Ryzen Threadripper series. All price cuts are tabled below.

AMD Updates on AMD Processor Security Status

There has been recent press coverage regarding a potential security issue related to modern microprocessors and speculative execution. Information security is a priority at AMD, and our security architects follow the technology ecosystem closely for new threats. It is important to understand how the speculative execution vulnerability described in the research relates to AMD products, but please keep in mind the following:
  • The research described was performed in a controlled, dedicated lab environment by a highly knowledgeable team with detailed, non-public information about the processors targeted.
  • The described threat has not been seen in the public domain.

Intel Announces New Pentium Silver and Celeron Processors

Intel delivers industry-leading innovations and creates new experiences across its portfolio products. Today, Intel unveils the all-new Intel Pentium Silver and Intel Celeron processors.

The new Intel Pentium Silver and Intel Celeron processors are based on Intel's architecture codenamed Gemini Lake, and are engineered for a great balance of performance and connectivity for the things people do every day - working on office documents and spreadsheets, browsing online, enjoying favorite shows and movies, and editing photos - with great battery life. And it can all be performed on a range of devices at an amazing value. Pentium Silver will deliver 58 percent faster productivity performance compared with a similar 4-year-old PC.

Newegg Black Friday Deals 2017

Black Friday is indisputably the best time of the year for any computer enthusiasts because we can get new toys for cheaper prices. Whether it be computer hardware or consumer electronics, Newegg has become the preferred place for many enthusiasts. We here at TechPowerUp have put together a list of the amazing deals currently available at the online retailer. The promotions are grouped into different categories for your viewing convenience. If you've been eyeing a particular piece of hardware or gadget, come take a look at our list. Who knows? Maybe you can save yourself a few hard-earned dollars. Don't forget to come back periodically to check for new deals!

AMD EPYC 7601 Processors Set Two New World Records on SPEC CPU Benchmarks

​AMD today announced that the new Hewlett Packard Enterprise ProLiant DL385 Gen10 server, powered by AMD EPYC processors set world records in both SPECrate2017_fp_base and SPECfp_rate2006. The secure and flexible 2P 2U HPE ProLiant DL385 Gen10 Server joins the HPE Cloudline CL3150 server in featuring AMD EPYC processors. With designs ranging from 8-core to 32-core, AMD EPYC delivers industry-leading memory bandwidth across the HPE line-up, with eight channels of memory and unprecedented support for integrated, high-speed I/O with 128 lanes of PCIe 3 on every EPYC processor.

"HPE is joining with AMD today to extend the world's most secure industry standard server portfolio to include the AMD EPYC processor. We now give customers another option to optimize performance and security for today's virtualized workloads," said Justin Hotard, vice president and GM, Volume Global Business Unit, HPE. "The HPE ProLiant DL385 featuring the AMD EPYC processor is the result of a long-standing technology engagement with AMD and a shared belief in continuing innovation."

ASUS BIOS Change-log Reveals New Ryzen Processors Incoming

ASUS recently released BIOS updates for its socket AM4 motherboards based on AMD X370 and B350 chipsets, which implement AGESA 1.0.0.7, which as you'll recall, paves the way for implementing support for upcoming processors, based on AMD's Vega-infused "Raven Ridge" APU silicon, and the 12 nm refreshed Ryzen "Pinnacle Ridge" silicon due for February 2018. ASUS published, and later withdrew the BIOS updates as the media got whiff of them.

The next parts for AMD's mainstream-desktop socket AM4 platform will be Ryzen "Raven Ridge" APUs, which let you finally use the HDMI and DisplayPorts on your motherboards. "Raven Ridge" combines a quad-core "Zen" CPU with a 640-stream processor integrated graphics based on the "Vega" graphics architecture. The "late-2017 or early-2018" time-line for these chips still appears to stand. RedGamingTech suggests that AMD's answer to Intel "Coffee Lake" processors, the 12 nm Ryzen "Pinnacle Ridge" processors, could be out by as early (or late) as February 2018. These chips could be previewed or teased at the company's events held on the sidelines of the 2018 International CES.

MINIX Creator Andrew Tanenbaum Sends Open Letter to Intel Over MINIX Drama

We recently reported about MINIX, the hidden Unix-like OS that Intel was secretly shipping in all of their modern processors. This came as a shock to most of us and to MINIX creator Andrew Tanenbaum as well. Although Andrew wasn't completely surprised by the news, since Intel approached him couple years back asking him to make a few changes to the MINIX system. He stated in the open letter that he wasn't looking for economic remuneration, but it would have been nice if Intel had told him about their plans to distribute his operating system in their processors.
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