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Intel Officially Announces Marvel Avengers Collectors Edition KA Series Processors

We previously reported on the leaked listings for the upcoming Intel KA series processors from a Vietnamese retailer. Intel has now officially unveiled the chips and provided some extra details on the collaboration. The Intel KA series of processors are identical to their K series siblings apart from the Marvel Avengers box branding. Intel is reportedly launching five models from their i5, i7, and i9 lineups the Intel Core i5-10600KA, i7-10700KA, i9-10850KA, and i9-10900KA. The box artwork was designed by painter/muralist Tristan Eaton, Intel didn't announce pricing or availability for the lineup.

Intel Ice Lake-SP Processors Get Benchmarked Against AMD EPYC Rome

Intel is preparing to launch its next-generation for server processors and the next in line is the Ice Lake-SP 10 nm CPU. Featuring a Golden Cove CPU and up to 28 cores, the CPU is set to bring big improvements over the past generation of server products called Cascade Lake. Today, thanks to the sharp eye of TUM_APISAK, we have a new benchmark of the Ice Lake-SP platform, which is compared to AMD's EPYC Rome offerings. In the latest GeekBench 4 score, appeared an engineering sample of unknown Ice Lake-SP model with 28 cores, 56 threads, a base frequency of 1.5 GHz, and a boost of 3.19 GHz.

This model was put in a dual-socket configuration that ends up at a total of 56 core and 112 threads, against a single 64 core AMD EPYC 7442 Rome CPU. The dual-socket Intel configuration scored 3424 points in the single-threaded test, where AMD configuration scored notably higher 4398 points. The lower score on Intel's part is possibly due to lower clocks, which should improve in the final product, as this is only an engineering sample. When it comes to the multi-threaded test, Intel configuration scored 38079 points, where the AMD EPYC system did worse and scored 35492 points. The reason for this higher result is unknown, however, it shows that Ice Lake-SP has some potential.

Ampere Altra Family of Cloud Native Arm Processors expands to 128 cores with Altra Max

Ampere today announced further roadmap details of its Ampere Altra server processor family. In March the company announced Ampere Altra, the world's first cloud native processor, featuring 80 cores. Today, Ampere unveiled preliminary details of the expansion of the cloud-native processor family by adding Ampere Altra Max, which has 128 cores, providing customers with another cloud-optimized processor to maximize overall performance and cores-per-rack density.

Ampere Altra Max is ideal for applications that take advantage of scale-out and elastic cloud architectures. Compatible with the 80-core Ampere Altra and also supporting 2-socket platforms, Ampere Altra Max offers the industry's highest socket-level performance and I/O scalability. It will be sampling in the fourth quarter and additional details will be provided later this year.
Ampere Altra Processor

NVIDIA DGX-A100 Systems Feature AMD EPYC "Rome" Processors

NVIDIA is leveraging the 128-lane PCI-Express gen 4.0 root complex of AMD 2nd generation EPYC "Rome" enterprise processors in building its DGX-A100 super scalar compute systems that leverage the new A100 "Ampere" compute processors. Each DGX-A100 block is endowed with two AMD EPYC 7742 64-core/128-thread processors in a 2P setup totaling 128-cores/256-threads, clocked up to 3.40 GHz boost.

This 2P EPYC "Rome" processor setup is configured to feed PCIe gen 4.0 connectivity to eight NVIDIA A100 GPUs, and 8-port Mellanox ConnectX 200 Gbps InfiniBand NIC. Six NVSwitches provide NVLink connectivity complementing PCI-Express gen 4.0 from the AMD sIODs. The storage and memory subsystem is equally jaw-dropping: 1 TB of hexadeca-channel (16-channel) DDR4 memory, two 1.92 TB NVMe gen 4.0 SSDs, and 15 TB of U.2 NVMe drives (4x 3.84 TB units). The GPU memory of the eight A100 units add up to 320 GB (that's 8x 40 GB, 6144-bit HBM2E). When you power it up, you're greeted with the Ubuntu Linux splash screen. All this can be yours for USD $199,000.

Intel's Alder Lake Processors Could use Foveros 3D Stacking and Feature 16 Cores

Intel is preparing lots of interesting designs for the future and it is slowly shaping their vision for the next generation of computing devices. Following the big.LITTLE design principle of Arm, Intel decided to try and build its version using x86-64 cores instead of Arm ones, called Lakefield. And we already have some information about the new Alder Lake CPUs based on Lakefield design that are set to be released in the future. Thanks to a report from Chrome Unboxed, who found the patches submitted to Chromium open-source browser, used as a base for many browsers like Google Chrome and new Microsoft Edge, there is a piece of potential information that suggests Alder Lake CPUs could arrive very soon.

Rumored to feature up to 16 cores, Alder Lake CPUs could present an x86 iteration of the big.LITTLE design, where one pairs eight "big" and eight "small" cores that are activated according to increased or decreased performance requirements, thus bringing the best of both worlds - power efficiency and performance. This design would be present on Intel's 3D packaging technology called Foveros. The Alder Lake CPU support patch was added on April 27th to the Chrome OS repository, which would indicate that Intel will be pushing these CPUs out relatively quickly. The commit message titled "add support for ADL gpiochip" contained the following: "On Alderlake platform, the pinctrl (gpiochip) driver label is "INTC105x:00", hence declare it properly." The Chrome Unboxed speculates that Alder Lake could come out in mid or late 2021, depending on how fast Intel could supply OEMs with enough volume.
Intel Lakefield

Intel 10th Generation Comet Lake Desktop Processors and 400-Series Chipsets Announced, Here's what's New

Intel today launched its 10th generation Core desktop processor family and its companion Intel 400-series chipsets. Based on the 14 nm++ silicon fabrication process and built in the new LGA1200 package, the processors are based on the "Comet Lake" microarchitecture. The core design of "Comet Lake" and its IPC are identical to those of "Skylake," however Intel brought significant enhancements to the processor's clock-speed boosting algorithm, increased core- or thread counts across the board, and introduced new features that could interest enthusiasts and overclockers. The uncore component remains largely unchanged from the previous-generation, with support for DDR4 memory and PCI-Express gen 3.0. Use of these processors requires a new socket LGA1200 motherboard, they won't work on older LGA1151 motherboards. You can install any LGA115x-compatible cooler on LGA1200, provided it meets the thermal requirements of the processor you're using.

At the heart of the 10th generation Core processor family is a new 10-core monolithic processor die, which retains the same basic structure as the previous-generation 8-core "Coffee Lake Refresh" die, and 4-core "Skylake." The cores are arranged in two rows, sandwiched by the processor's uncore and iGPU blocks. A ring-bus interconnect binds the various components. The cache hierarchy is unchanged from previous generations as well, with 32 KB each of L1I and L1D caches; 256 KB of dedicated L2 cache per core, and 20 MB of shared L3 cache. The iGPU is the same Gen 9.5 based UHD 630 graphics. As we mentioned earlier, much of Intel's innovation for the 10th generation is with the processor's microcode (boosting algorithms).
Intel Core i9-10900K 10th Gen Intel Core Desktop Comet Lake Lineup 10th Gen Intel Core Desktop Comet Lake Lineup 10th Gen Intel Core Desktop Comet Lake Lineup

Marvell Announces OCTEON TX2 Family of Multi-Core Infrastructure Processors

Marvell today announced OCTEON TX2, the latest family of infrastructure processors targeting a wide variety of wired and wireless networking equipment including switches, routers, secure gateways, firewall, network monitoring, 5G base stations, and smart network interface controllers (NICs). Massive increases in data traffic coupled with escalating requirements for end-to-end security are intensifying the need for highly scalable compute platforms with integrated workload-optimized hardware accelerators to meet performance, power and total cost of ownership requirements. Building on five generations of the industry's most scalable and widely adopted infrastructure processor platform, the OCTEON TX2 family is enabled by a broad software ecosystem including a feature-rich software development kit (SDK) and virtualization support, delivering a unique combination of performance and programmability. The OCTEON TX2 portfolio extends Marvell's industry-leading performance and scalability, delivering a 2.5x improvement over the previous generation and scaling up to 200 Gbps of packet processing throughput.

CacheOut is the Latest Speculative Execution Attack for Intel Processors

Another day, another speculative execution vulnerability found inside Intel processors. This time we are getting a new vulnerability called "CacheOut", named after the exploitation's ability to leak data stored inside CPU's cache memory. Dubbed CVE-2020-0549: "L1D Eviction Sampling (L1Des) Leakage" in the CVE identifier system, it is rated with a CVSS score of 6.5. Despite Intel patching a lot of similar exploits present on their CPUs, the CacheOut attack still managed to happen.

The CacheOut steals the data from the CPU's L1 cache, and it is doing it selectively. Instead of waiting for the data to become available, the exploit can choose which data it wants to leak. The "benefit" of this exploit is that it can violate almost every hardware-based security domain meaning that the kernel, co-resident VMs, and SGX (Software Guard Extensions) enclaves are in trouble. To mitigate this issue, Intel provided a microcode update to address the shortcomings of the architecture and they recommended possible mitigations to all OS providers, so you will be protected once your OS maker releases a new update. For a full list of processors affected, you can see this list. Additionally, it is worth pointing out that AMD CPUs are not affected by this exploit.

Intel Ghost Canyon NUC, Comet Lake-H, and Tiger Lake Processors Teased

During this year's CES, Intel had an event called the Performance Workshop, where many things were presented. Among those are Intel's upcoming Comet Lake-H CPUs, Ghost Canyon NUC 9, and last but not the least there was a mention of the future Tiger Lake processor and its AI performance. Starting with the Comet Lake-H announcement, Intel promised to deliver 8 core, 16 thread processors that are capable of reaching as high as 5 GHz clock speeds, in a 45 W TDP. These processors are the answer to AMD's upcoming "Renoir" Ryzen 4000 series of mobile processors, which are rumored to feature up to 8 cores and 16 threads as well. The advertised 5 GHz boost on these Comet Lake-H CPUs is for the Core i7 model, while Core i9 SKUs are supposed to reach even higher speeds. All the system improvements tied to Comet Lake like support for WiFi 6, Thunderbolt 3 and Optane memory support are also present on these CPUs.

Intel Discontinues Omni-Path Enabled Xeon Processors

Intel's Omni-Path technology has been used primarily in high performance computing market, in order to provide high speed interconnect between Intel Xeon CPUs, with speeds reaching around 100 Gbps. Accompanied by different design and system integration that Omni-Path uses, it was a bit difficult to integrate into server system, while not adding much value that other technologies couldn't match or beat.

Because of these reasons, Intel is now discontinuing its last product capable of utilizing Omni-Path - the first generation Xeon Scalable CPUs. Carrying the suffix "F", these CPUs had an extra connector sticking out of CPU's PCB to enable the Omni-Path functionality (see images bellow). There were eight CPUs manufactured in total that had this extra feature, consisting out of two Xeon Platinum and six Xeon Gold CPUs, which have now reached end of life. Intel states that focus from these CPUs has shifted to other technologies like silicon photonics, which provides much greater speed reaching 100s of gigabits per second. Intel already demonstrated transceivers capable of reaching 400 Gb/s speeds with the magic of light, which will become available in 1H 2020.

Intel Announces 10th Gen Core X Series and Revised Pricing on Xeon-W Processors

Intel today unveiled its latest lineup of Intel Xeon W and X-series processors, which puts new classes of computing performance and AI acceleration into the hands of professional creators and PC enthusiasts. Custom-designed to address the diverse needs of these growing audiences, the new Xeon W-2200 and X-series processors are targeted to be available starting November, along with a new pricing structure that represents an easier step up for creators and enthusiasts from Intel Core S-series mainstream products.

Intel is the only company that delivers a full portfolio of products precision-tuned to handle the sustained compute-intensive workloads used by professional creators and enthusiasts every day. The new Xeon W-2200 and X-series processors take this to the next level, as the first high-end desktop PC and mainstream workstations to feature AI acceleration with the integration of Intel Deep Learning Boost. This offers an AI inference boost of 2.2 times more compared with the prior generation. Additionally, this new lineup features Intel Turbo Boost Max Technology 3.0, which has been further enhanced to help software, such as for simulation and modeling, run as fast as possible by identifying and prioritizing the fastest available cores.

GIGABYTE Smashes 11 World Records with New AMD EPYC 7002 Processors

GIGABYTE, a leading server systems builder which recently released a total of 17 new AMD EPYC 7002 Series "Rome" server platforms simultaneously with AMD's own official launch of their next generation CPU, is proud to announce that our new systems have already broken 11 different SPEC benchmark world records. These new world records have not only been achieved against results from all alternative processor based systems but even against competing vendor solutions using the same 2nd Generation AMD EPYC 7002 Series "Rome" processor platform, illustrating that GIGABYTE's system design and engineering is perfectly optimized to deliver the maximum performance possible from the 2nd Generation AMD EPYC.

Intel Launches First 10th Gen Core Processors: Redefining the Next Era of Laptop Experiences

Today, Intel officially launched 11 new, highly integrated 10th Gen Intel Core processors designed for remarkably sleek 2 in 1s and laptops. The processors bring high-performance artificial intelligence (AI) to the PC at scale, feature new Intel Iris Plus graphics for stunning entertainment and enable the best connectivity with Intel Wi-Fi 6 (Gig+) and Thunderbolt 3. Systems are expected from PC manufacturers for the holiday season.

"These 10th Gen Intel Core processors shift the paradigm for what it means to deliver leadership in mobile PC platforms. With broad-scale AI for the first time on PCs, an all-new graphics architecture, best-in-class Wi-Fi 6 (Gig+) and Thunderbolt 3 - all integrated onto the SoC, thanks to Intel's 10nm process technology and architecture design - we're opening the door to an entirely new range of experiences and innovations for the laptop."
-Chris Walker, Intel corporate vice president and general manager of Mobility Client Platforms in the Client Computing Group

AMD Announces 3rd Generation Ryzen Desktop Processors

AMD CEO Dr. Lisa Su at her 2019 Computex keynote address announced the 3rd generation Ryzen desktop processor family, which leverages the company's Zen 2 microarchitecture, and are built on the 7 nm silicon fabrication process at TSMC. Designed for the AM4 CPU socket, with backwards compatibility for older AMD 300-series and 400-series chipset motherboards, these processors are multi-chip modules of up to two 8-core "Zen 2" CPU chiplets, and a 14 nm I/O controller die that packs the dual-channel DDR4 memory controller and PCI-Express gen 4.0 root complex, along with some SoC connectivity. AMD claims an IPC increase of 15 percent over Zen 1, and higher clock speeds leveraging 7 nm, which add up to significantly higher performance over the current generation. AMD bolstered the core's FPU (floating-point unit), and doubled the cache sizes.

AMD unveiled three high-end SKUs for now, the $329 Ryzen 7 3700X, the $399 Ryzen 7 3800X, and the $499 Ryzen 9 3900X. The 3700X and 3800X are 8-core/16-thread parts with a single CPU chiplet. The 3700X is clocked at 3.60 GHz with 4.40 GHz maximum boost frequency, just 65 Watts TDP and will be beat Intel's Core i7-9700K both at gaming and productivity. The 3800X tops that with 3.90 GHz nominal, 4.50 GHz boost, 105W TDP, and beat the Core i9-9900K at gaming and productivity. AMD went a step further at launched the new Ryzen 9 brand with the 3900X, which is a 12-core/24-thread processor clocked at 3.80 GHz, which 4.60 boost, 72 MB of total cache, 105W TDP, and performance that not only beats the i9-9900K, but also the i9-9920X 12-core/24-thread HEDT processor despite two fewer memory channels. AMD focused on gaming performance with Zen 2, with wider FPU, improved branch prediction, and several micro-architectural improvements contributing to a per-core performance that's higher than Intel's. The processors go on sale on 7/7/2019.

Some AMD Processors Have a Hardware RNG Bug, Losing Randomness After Suspend Resume

Red Hat Systemd (system and service manager) lead developer Lennart Poettering discovered that AMD A6-6310 "Beema" SoC that's popular among low-cost notebooks, has a faulty implementation of the RdRand random-number generation instruction. The processor's hardware random number generator (RNG) loses "randomness" after the machine resumes from a suspended state (i.e. waking up the notebook from sleep by opening its lid while it's powered on). Modern computers rely on RNGs for "entropy," critical to generation of unpredictable keys on the fly for SSL. However, the entropy source needn't be hardware, and isn't so by default. Software RNGs exist, and by default the Linux kernel does not use RdRand to generate entropy. Windows is not known to use RdRand for basic ACPI functions such as suspend/resume; however a faulty hardware RNG is not without implications for the platform, and applications that run on it.

Users on GitHub and Bugzilla report that with this bug, you cannot make a machine suspend a second time after waking it up from a suspended state, if your kernel uses RdRand. Commit cc83d51 to Systemd introduced optional randomness generation based on RdRand instruction. So, if RdRand instruction is present, it is used to generate UUIDs for invocation IDs. Michael Larabel of Phoronix comments that the RdRand bug is only found on older generations of AMD processors, "Excavator" and older; and does not affect the latest "Zen" processors. This bug report chronicles what's wrong with RdRand on the affected processors, as does this Linux kernel bugzilla thread. By avoiding RdRand usage on the system as part of generating a UUID, the reported systemd issue no longer happens. Red Hat is working on a solution to this bug.

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

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

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

ASRock DeskMini 310 supports Intel 9th Gen Processors

The world leading motherboard and mini PC manufacturer - ASRock, announces DeskMini 310 supports Intel the latest 9th Generation Core series 65-watt LGA1151 processors. ASRock DeskMini 310 adopts with Intel H310 chipset, supports up to 32GB DDR4-2666MHz memory, dual 2.5-inch hard drive and one M.2 (2280) PCIe Gen3 x4 NVMe SSD. ASRock provides various optional accessories of DeskMini 310, includes USB 2.0 cable, VESA mount kit, and Wi-Fi ac kit. With comprehensive accessories, DeskMini 310 can satisfy diverse demands from all users.

AMD Kicks-Off 2019 Offering Complete Mobile Portfolio with Ryzen, Athlon, and A-Series Processors for Notebooks and Chromebooks

Today, AMD announced the first members of its 2019 mobility line-up encompassing all notebook segments: 2nd Gen AMD Ryzen 3000 Series Mobile Processors powering ultrathin and gaming notebooks; AMD Athlon 300 Series Mobile Processors powering mainstream notebooks with the fast and efficient "Zen"3 core; and optimized 7th Gen AMD A-Series processors, elevating performance for mainstream Chromebooks. In addition, AMD announced that starting this quarter, gamers, creators and enthusiasts will be able to install Radeon Software Adrenalin software to bring the latest GPU features and game optimizations to all systems powered by AMD Ryzen Processors with Radeon Graphics.

"Users expect mobile PCs that excel at both everyday tasks and compute-heavy experiences, and with our latest mobile processor portfolio AMD offers exactly that across all levels of the market," said Saeid Moshkelani, senior vice president and general manager, Client Compute, AMD. "Notebook users want to experience the latest modern features while streaming, gaming, or finishing work faster. Enabling breakthrough entertainment experiences, AMD is pleased to enable a wide range of AMD powered notebooks than ever that deliver on those expectations with blazing fast performance, rich graphics, and long battery life."

AMD 7nm EPYC "Rome" CPUs in Upcoming Finnish Supercomputer, 200,000 Cores Total

During the next year and a half, the Finnish IT Center for Science (CSC) will be purchasing a new supercomputer in two phases. The first phase consists of Atos' air-cooled BullSequana X400 cluster which makes use of Intel's Cascade Lake Xeon processors along with Mellanox HDR InfiniBand for a theoretical performance of 2 petaflops. Meanwhile, system memory per node will range from 96 GB up to 1.5 TB with the entire system receiving a 4.9 PB Lustre parallel file system as well from DDN. Furthermore, a separate partition of phase one will be used for AI research and will feature 320 NVIDIA V100 NVLinked GPUs configured in 4-GPU nodes. It is expected that peak performance will reach 2.5 petaflops. Phase one will be brought online at some point in the summer of 2019.

Where things get interesting is in phase two, which is set for completion during the spring of 2020. Atos' will be building CSC a liquid-cooled HDR-connected BullSequana XH2000 supercomputer that will be configured with 200,000 AMD EPYC "Rome" CPU cores which for the mathematicians out there works out to 3,125 64 core AMD EPYC processors. Of course, all that x86 muscle will require a great deal of system memory, as such, each node will be equipped with 256 GB for good measure. Storage will consist of an 8 PB Lustre parallel file system that is to be provided by DDN. Overall phase two will increase computing capacity by 6.4 petaflops (peak). With deals like this already being signed it would appear AMD's next-generation EPYC processors are shaping up nicely considering Intel had this market cornered for nearly a decade.

New Intel (9th Gen?) Processors Leaked, Core i7-9550U Will Replace Core i7-8565U

The specsheet of a Lenovo IdeaPad S530-13IWL has allowed us to know the existence of the new Intel 9000 series mobile CPUs. These are the Core i7-9550U, i5-9250U and i3-9130U. The laptop datasheet, spotted on Twitter by @momomo_us, confirms new members of that family , with "IWL" at the end of the model name meaning "Intel Whiskey Lake", a family launched last October with the Core i7-8565U, Core i5-8265U and Core i3-8145U. There is no confirmation from Intel on this rumor, and there aren't much details about the CPUs either: clock speeds and core counts are not specified, though should remain quite similar to the previous members of the 8000 series.

This information points to a light rebadge of Whiskey Lake CPUs according to NotebookCheck given that there is no mention of the 9th generation of processors. This is weird because the 8000 series is basically a synonym of the 8th Gen and the same happens with the 9000 series and the 9th generation. It seems the Core i7 will be a quad-core CPU with Hyper Threading support and 8 MB of L3 cache, while the Core i5, with the same core count, will have 6 MB of L3 cache. The Core i3 CPU would be a dual-core chip with 4 MB of L3 cache. We'll have to wait for an official confirmation to confirm the specs and advantages over the older models.

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.

Intel 9th Gen LGA1151 Processors Support Up to 128GB of Memory

Intel's 6-core "Coffee Lake" die was essentially a "Kaby Lake" die with two extra cores, and no physical changes to other components, such as iGPU or uncore. With its new 8-core "Coffee Lake" Refresh silicon, Intel has turned its attention to not just increasing the core-count, but also improving the processor's integrated memory controller, in addition to hardware fixes to certain security vulnerabilities. The 128-bit wide (dual-channel) integrated memory controller now supports up to 128 GB of memory. Intel's current DDR4-capable mainstream desktop processors only support up to 64 GB, as do rival AMD's Ryzen socket AM4 processors.

Support for up to 128 GB explains the emergence of off-spec memory standards such as ASUS' Double Capacity (DC) DIMMs. Samsung is ready with a JEDEC-compliant 32 GB dual-rank UDIMM memory module for client platforms. Introduction of 32 GB UDIMMs also comes amidst reports of DRAM pricing cool-off through 2019, which could make 32 GB dual-channel memory kits consisting of two 16 GB UDIMMs more affordable. The increase in maximum memory amount could also indicate Intel's seriousness to introduce 3D Xpoint-based Optane Persistent Memory modules as alternatives to DRAM-based main memory, with higher capacities compensating for worse latencies and data-rates compared to DRAM.

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.

VIA C3 Processors Compromised by a Simple Shell Command

VIA processors probably make up an infinitesimal amount of the desktop PC market-share, and its makers market the chip only at pre-built machines such as digital-signage kiosks, information kiosks, ticket vending machines, ATMs, etc (which don't need a lot of processing power). At the Black Hat 2018 conference, security researcher Christopher Domas discovered that getting access to root privileges in Linux on a machine powered by VIA C3 "Nehemiah" processors is laughably easy. Just key in ".byte 0x0f, 0x3f" (without quotes) in any Linux CLI in user mode, and voila! You are now the root user.

Domas calls this his own iddqd (the cheat-code for "God Mode" in "Doom"). This backdoor, probably put in place by the processor's designers themselves, completely collapses the ring-based privilege system of the operating system, and elevates users and applications from the ring-2 (and above) userspace to ring 0 (root). It is an exploitation of a shadow-core, a hidden RISC processor within C7, which manages the startup, operation, and key storage of the x86 cores. Intel and AMD too have shadow-cores with similar functions.
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