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Worldwide Markets Feel Jolt of Tencent's Epic $143 Billion Stock Crash

Tencent Holdings, China's second most valuable tech firm after Alibaba, was mauled at the markets Tuesday (31/07), with its share value dropping 25 percent from its January peak. This translates to a stunning USD $143 billion (yes, billion) in investor wealth being wiped out. The crash has had a domino effect on tech stocks worldwide, as FANG block member Facebook lost an equally stunning $136 billion in market value, over the past three trading sessions. Apparently, buzzwords of the season such as AI and big-data aren't proving enough to keep investors interested in tech stocks as many are beginning to question the stability of the tech industry. All eyes are now on Tencent's August 15 release of its Q2-2018 financial results.

NVIDIA's Next Gen GPU Launch Held Back to Drain Excess, Costly Built-up Inventory?

We've previously touched upon whether or not NVIDIA should launch their 1100 or 2000 series of graphics cards ahead of any new product from AMD. At the time, I wrote that I only saw benefits to that approach: earlier time to market -> satisfaction of upgrade itches and entrenchment as the only latest-gen manufacturer -> raised costs over lack of competition -> ability to respond by lowering prices after achieving a war-chest of profits. However, reports of a costly NVIDIA mistake in overestimating demand for its Pascal GPUs does lend some other shades to the whole equation.

Write-offs in inventory are costly (just ask Microsoft), and apparently, NVIDIA has found itself in a miscalculating demeanor: overestimating gamers' and miners' demand for their graphics cards. When it comes to gamers, NVIDIA's Pascal graphics cards have been available in the market for two years now - it's relatively safe to say that the majority of gamers who needed higher-performance graphics cards have already taken the plunge. As to miners, the cryptocurrency market contraction (and other factors) has led to a taper-out of graphics card demand for this particular workload. The result? NVIDIA's demand overestimation has led, according to Seeking Alpha, to a "top three" Taiwan OEM returning 300,000 GPUs to NVIDIA, and "aggressively" increased GDDR5 buying orders from the company, suggesting an excess stock of GPUs that need to be made into boards.

NVIDIA Joins S&P 100 Stock Market Index

With tomorrow's opening bell, NVIDIA will join the Standard and Poors S&P 100 index, replacing Time Warner. The spot that NVIDIA is joining in has been freed up by the merger of Time Warner with AT&T. This marks a monumental moment for the company as membership in the S&P 100 is reserved for only the largest and most important corporations in the US. From the tech sector the list comprises illustrious names such as Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Google Alphabet, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Netflix, Oracle, Paypal, Qualcomm and Texas Instruments.

NVIDIA's stock has seen massive gains over the last years, thanks to delivering record quarter after record quarter. Recent developments have transformed the company from a mostly gaming GPU manufacturer to a company that is leading in the fields of GPU compute, AI and machine learning. This of course inspires investors, so the NVIDIA stock has been highly sought after, now sitting above 265 USD, which brings the company's worth to over 160 billion USD. Congratulations!

CTS Labs Sent AMD and Other Companies a Research Package with Proof-of-Concept Code

CTS Labs, the Israel-based IT security research company behind Tuesday's explosive AMD Ryzen security vulnerabilities report, responded to questions posed by TechPowerUp. One of the biggest of these, which is also on the minds of skeptics, is the ominous lack of proof-of-concept code or binaries being part of their initial public report (in contrast to the Meltdown/Spectre reports that went into technical details about the exploit). CTS Labs stated to TechPowerUp that it has sent AMD, along with other big tech companies a "complete research package," which includes "full technical write-ups about the vulnerabilities," "functional proof-of-concept exploit code," and "instructions on how to reproduce each vulnerability." It stated that besides AMD, the research package was sent to Microsoft, HP, Dell, Symantec, FireEye, and Cisco Systems, to help them develop patches and mitigation.

An unwritten yet generally accepted practice in the IT security industry upon discovery of such vulnerabilities, is for researchers to give companies in question at least 90 days to design a software patch, harden infrastructure, or implement other mitigation. 90 days is in stark contrast to the 24 hours AMD got from CTS Labs. CTS Labs confirmed to TechPowerUp that it indeed shared its research package with AMD (and the other companies) just 24 hours prior to making its report public, but urged those disgruntled with this decision to look at the situation objectively. "If you look at the situation in the following way: right now the public knows about the vulnerabilities and their implications, AMD is fully informed and developing patches, and major security companies are also informed and working on mitigation."

SEC Warns Tech Execs Not to Trade Stock When Investigating Security Flaws

The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) came down hard on silicon valley executives trading company stock when their companies were investigating security or design flaws that could potentially bring down stock value; as something like that borders on insider-trading, a felony under US law. This comes in the wake of senior executives of credit rating company Equifax, and chipmaker Intel, dumping company stock while their companies were investigating security flaws in their products or services. Intel CEO Brian Kraznich raised quite a stink when reports emerged that he sold $39 million worth Intel stock while the company was investigating the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities in its processors (which hadn't been made public while he dumped the stock).

The SEC has come up with a far-reaching new guideline to keep tech execs from exhibiting similar borderline-insider-trading behavior. "Directors, officers, and other corporate insiders must not trade a public company's securities while in possession of material nonpublic information, which may include knowledge regarding a significant cybersecurity incident experienced by the company," the new guideline reads. "There is no doubt that the cybersecurity landscape and the risks associated with it continue to evolve," said SEC Chairman Jay Clayton. "I have asked the Division of Corporation Finance to continue to carefully monitor cybersecurity disclosures as part of their selective filing reviews. We will continue to evaluate developments in this area and consider feedback about whether any further guidance or rules are needed."

Newegg Confirms Limited Availability of Intel Core 8th Gen Processors

A user from [H]ardOCP has posted on the website's forums an exchange he had with the customer service over at Newegg. If availability of Intel's latest 8th Gen CPUs was rumored to be limited before, this seems to bring some more credence to those reports. Case in point: over at Newegg, orders for the Core i5 8600K processor are currently being put on back-order, with estimated shipping dates of 15 to 20 days. Pore over the i7 8700K processor, though, and you'll find it currently out of stock.

Newegg has apparently ordered over 3000 units of the Core i7 8700K CPU alone, in order to keep pace with demand (these have been well-received chips as you can see on TPU's own reviews). Newegg expects these to come in at around a "3 to 5 weeks" time-frame. What separates this particular availability problem from being simply an issue of overly high demand is that Intel's Coffee Lake processors were already expected to be limited in availability even before they were launched. Remember that while Intel probably had such six-core processors as these taped out well in advance already, they did pull up their launch window so as to better compete with current AMD Ryzen offerings.

MicroCenter Starts Limiting GPU Orders per Customer

Taking a distinct approach towards the whole GPU availability and stock issues that we've been seeing in the past few months - mainly due to the cryptomining craze, partly due to low yields on particular GPUs, MicroCenter has started implementation of hard limits on the amount of graphics cards a single user can purchase. According to the new policy, users can buy up to two graphics cards for the base pricing (varying on model) as-is, but orders including more than two units show each additional graphics card coming in at a staggering $10,000 online. This is true for both NVIDIA and AMD-based graphics cards.

In practice however, things are not as harsh as the pricing here leads one to believe. This is a deterrent to people wanting to purchase more than two GPUs, with a senior level employee needed to be able to add three or more cards for each customers. Once approved, you get to buy the graphics cards at prices that remain between the store and the customer depending on the number of units available and required but the local Microcenter here told TechPowerUp that it is certainly not $10,000/card. Microcenter has made this policy known in person, where most of their sales tend to happen. As such, it is their attempt at limiting access to GPUs for mining conglomerates or particularly affluent individual miners, which would otherwise - as has been the case - buy up the entire inventory. It also marks a particularly strong position from MicroCenter, since usually, for retailers and e-tailers as well as for AMD, a sale is a sale, independent of use or buyer case. The company is likely missing out on some additional orders from miners by going this route, and the fact that they are willing to do so really speaks to how strong their vision is for how the market should be behaving. Likely, it isn't that difficult to circumvent this imposed restriction - but the simple fact that it exists is of note. And while this isn't a new approach (we've seen some retailers do the same around RX Vega 64's launch), this might make it more likely for other retailers to follow suit.

Update: The story initially mentioned that the $10,000 per card from three cards and up was an actual store policy, and it has been updated to reflect its nature as a deterrent instead.

AMD RX Vega Mining Performance Reportedly Doubled With Driver Updates

Disclaimer: take this post with a bucket of salt. However, the information here, if true, could heavily impact AMD's RX Vega cards' stock at launch and in the subsequent days, so, we're sharing this so our readers can decide on whether they want to pull the trigger for a Vega card at launch, as soon as possible, or risk what would seem like the equivalent of a mining Black Friday crowd gobbling up AMD's RX Vega models' stock. Remember that AMD has already justified delays for increased stock so as to limit the impact of miners on the available supply.

The information has been put out by two different sources already. The first source we encountered (and which has been covered by some media outlets solo) has been one post from one of OC UK's staff, Gibbo, who in a forum post, said "Seems the hash rate on VEGA is 70-100 per card, which is insanely good. Trying to devise some kind of plan so gamers can get them at MSRP without the miners wiping all the stock out within 5 minutes of product going live."

AMD Says Vega Delays Necessary to Increase Stock for Gamers

In an interview, AMD's Chris Hook justified Vega's delayed release due to a wish to increase available stock for gamers who want to purchase the new high-performance architecture by AMD. In an interview with HardOCP, Chris Hook had this to say:

"Part of the reason it's taken us a little longer to launch Vega - and I'll be honest about that - is that we wanted to make sure we were launching with good volume. (...) Obviously we've got to compensate for things like coin-miners, they're going to want to get their hands on these. We believe we're launching with a volume that will ensure that gamers can get their hands on them, and that's what's important to us."

It appears that AMD tried their best to increase production and stock volumes so as to mitigate price fluctuations upon Vega's entry to the market due to above normal demand from cryptocurrency miners. The jury is still out on whether Vega will be an option for mining due to its exquisite architecture, however. Still, this sounds as good a reason as any to delay Vega for as long as it has been already. Just a few more days until we see what AMD managed with this one, folks. Check the video after the break.

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