HP Announces Z Club Device-as-a-Service Program: Hardware Bundles at $108+ per Month

In addition to launching “Boosted” versions of its ZBook notebooks, HP has also introduced its Z Club device-as-a-service (DaaS) program. Under the terms of the program, select HP customers will be able to lend certain hardware bundles at a fixed monthly payment, and get a special Z Concierge service. The Z Club will be initially available only to select HP customers, if the company finds it successful enough, it may expand it in the future.


The Z Club DaaS program is aimed at creative professionals, such as artists, graphics designers, photographers, and video editors. For each group HP will offer a special hardware bundle. Furthermore, it will offer a choice of components and accessories that users may install themselves and find out how certain hardware affects their workflow. Select customers of HP that will be offered membership in the Z Club will be able to tryout HP’s hardware and components bundle for free for 90 days and in that period,  they will be able to configure systems however they see viable. In addition, Z Club members will be offered Z Concierge service available 24/7. The latter will provide recommendations concerning usage of hardware and software to simplify transition to HP Z workstations.



Initially, HP will offer six hardware packages for different workflows:


The Artist’s Bundle will include HP’s ZBook x2 with Pen, HP’s 24-inch DreamColor 24x display, a 1 TB external drive, wireless keyboard & mouse, collaboration software, as well as Z Concierge and next-day business service. Montly cost of this package will be at $156, exact specs are listed in the table below.


The Graphics Designer’s Bundle will include the HP ZBook x360 with Pen, HP’s DreamColor 24x monitor, a 1 TB external storage device, wireless keyboard & mouse, and the aforementioned software and services. This package will cost $167 a month.


The Video Editor’s Bundle will consist of either HP Z2 Tower or HP Z4 Tower desktop PCs, an HP Z38C curved display, or two 24-inch monitors (see the table for details). Depending on exact configuration, the package will cost from $183 to $210.


The Photographer’s Bundle will feature the HP Z mini workstation or HP ZBook x360 with Pen, a 24-inch display, and a printer. The package will be available for $108 to $180 a month, depending on exact hardware specs.



Keeping in mind that HP intends to offer its customers a choice of hardware to install themselves, actual monthly payments will differ from those of canonical bundles. Meanwhile, a quick analysis of hardware packages and their prices indicate that montly payments are about 27-34 times lower than the current cost of hardware. That said, it makes a great financial sense to rent the workstations when using them for less than 27 – 34 months. At the same time, it will be cheaper to buy hardware if you plan to use it for three years or more.











HP Z Club Hardware Bundles
  Configuration Approximate* Price of Hardware at HP.com Monthly Cost
Artists’s Bundle HP ZBook x2 with Pen

14-inch 4K IPS LCD

Intel Core i7-8650U

32 GB of DDR4-2133 RAM

1 TB PCIe SSD

NVIDIA Quadro M620 2 GB

+

HP DreamColor Z24x

+

Wireless Keyboard & Mouse

+

1 TB external drive

+

Services
$5362 $156
Graphics Designer’s Bundle HP ZBook Studio x360 with Pen

15.6-inch 4K LCD

Intel Core i7-8750H

32 GB of DDR4-2667 RAM

2×512 GB PCIe SSD

NVIDIA Quadro P1000 4 GB

+

HP DreamColor Z24x

+

Wireless Keyboard & Mouse

+

1 TB external drive

+

Services
$5738 $167
Video Editor’s Bundle 1 HP Z2 Tower

Intel Core i7-8700K

64 GB of DDR4-2667 RAM

Z Turbo 512 GB PCIe SSD

4 TB 3.5-inch 7200 RPM HDD

NVIDIA Quadro P5000 16 GB

+

HP DreamColor Z24x+ HP Z 24-inch LCD

+

1 TB external drive

+

Wireless Keyboard & Mouse

+

Services
$5374 $183
Video Editor’s Bundle 2 HP Z4 Tower

Intel Core i7-7820X

64 GB of DDR4-2667 RAM

Z Turbo 512 GB PCIe SSD

4 TB 3.5-inch 7200 RPM HDD

NVIDIA Quadro P5000 16 GB

+

HP DreamColor Z38C Curved LCD

+

1 TB external drive

+

Wireless Keyboard & Mouse

+

Services
$7090 $210
Photographer’s Bundle 1 HP Z2 Mini

Intel Core i7-8700

32 GB of DDR4-2400 RAM

Z Turbo 256 GB PCIe SSD

1 TB 3.5-inch 7200 RPM HDD

+

HP DreamColor 24x LCD

+

1 TB external drive

+

HP Photosmart Printer

+

Wireless Keyboard & Mouse

+

Services
$2937 $108
Photographer’s Bundle 2 HP ZBook x360 with Pen

15.6-inch 4K LCD

Intel Core i7-8750H

32 GB of DDR4-2667 RAM

2×512 GB PCIe SSD

NVIDIA Quadro P1000 4 GB

+

HP 24-inch

+

1 TB external drive

+

Wireless Keyboard & Mouse

+

HP Sprocket Printer

+

Services
$5479 $180
Note *Since we do not know exact configuration, actual prices may be different than the ones we picked at HP.com on 10/15/2018.


Related Reading:




Source: AnandTech – HP Announces Z Club Device-as-a-Service Program: Hardware Bundles at 8+ per Month

Samsung Shares SSD Roadmap for QLC NAND And 96-layer 3D NAND

At Samsung’s Tech Day event today in San Jose, the company shared their SSD roadmap for transitioning to 96-layer 3D NAND and introducing four bit per cell (QLC) NAND flash memory. Successors have been named for most of their current SSDs that use three bit per cell (TLC) NAND flash and are being updated with 96-layer 3D TLC, and new product lines using QLC NAND have been introduced.


Taking TLC to new heights


Most of the updates to the TLC-based SSDs are fairly straightforward NAND upgrades that use existing SSD controllers. The PM981 client NVMe SSD and the 970 EVO retail counterpart that use 64-layer 3D TLC will be succeeded by the PM981a and 970 EVO Plus respectively. Capacity options remain the same, ranging from 250GB to 2TB. The most significant performance improvements are to sequential write speeds, but the PM981a also brings significant random I/O improvements that almost catch it up to the 970 EVO and 970 EVO Plus.


The PM983 datacenter SSD that uses the same Samsung Phoenix controller as the above client/consumer drives is being replaced by the PM983a. This update brings a doubling of capacities, now allowing for up to 16TB (presumably only on NF1 and U.2 form factors). In the datacenter, SLC write caches are not used so the advertised write speeds are significantly lower than for the client/consumer drives, but there are still significant improvements here.


The PM971a client NVMe BGA SSD is getting a significant update in the new PM991 that roughly doubles random I/O and sequential write performance and improves sequential reads by about 50%.


The enterprise SAS product line is not seeing any major changes to performance or available capacities, but the update from the PM1643 to the PM1643a does improve random write performance by about 20%. The largest model remains 30.72TB.



The high-end enterprise NVMe drives are getting a major controller update that brings PCIe 4.0 support in addition to the NAND upgrade. This allows for much higher performance across the board, most notably with sequential read speeds reaching 8GB/s on the new PM1733 compared to 3.5GB/s on the PM1723b. The maximum available capacity has caught up to the SAS product line with the introduction of a 30.72TB model. The PM1733 also introduces dual-port PCIe capability to this product line, providing a migration path for SAS SSD users who require this reliability feature.


Rolling out QLC


Samsung’s naming scheme for enterprise and OEM SSDs uses model names starting with SM for drives with MLC NAND, PM for TLC NAND, and now BM for QLC NAND. Four new QLC SSDs have been announced: the BM1733 and BM9A3 enterprise NVMe SSDs, the BM1653 enterprise SAS SSD, and the BM991 client NVMe SSD. All of these have obvious parallels with TLC-based PM-series models above, but Samsung has not yet shared detailed specifications for any of these QLC drives. Samsung also mentioned  the 860 QVO SATA and 980 QVO NVMe client drives. Since these names don’t fit into Samsung’s OEM SSD naming scheme, we assume these are upcoming retail products, but Samsung hasn’t shared any release plans.



Without release schedules or detailed technical specifications, it’s hard to assess the state of Samsung’s QLC efforts, but the sheer number of models makes it clear that Samsung sees QLC NAND as a very important part of their storage portfolio going forward.


Samsung also mentioned that in Q2 2019 they are planning to introduce a higher-performing 512Gb QLC die to complement their current 1Tb die. Samsung compared the performance of this new 512Gb die against an unspecified competitor’s 1Tb QLC, claiming that Samsung’s high-performance QLC will have 37% lower read latency and 45% lower program latency. Their slides suggested that the performance differences relative to Samsung’s own 1Tb part could be even larger, but Samsung did not quantify this.



Second-Generation Z-NAND


The first products featuring the second generation of Samsung’s low-latency Z-NAND flash memory will be the SZ1733 and SZ1735, high-end enterprise NVMe SSDs that differ primarily in the amount of overprovisioning. Samsung has announced that their second generation of Z-NAND will include a MLC version, but these drives are using the SLC version. Like the TLC-based PM1733, the new Z-NAND SSDs will also feature dual-port capability and PCIe 4.0 support. Sequential reads of up to 12GB/s are claimed, but this product line is all about random I/O, which Samsung hasn’t detailed yet. Samsung demoed a 4TB model, significantly larger than the 800GB maximum for the first-generation SZ985.



Source: AnandTech – Samsung Shares SSD Roadmap for QLC NAND And 96-layer 3D NAND

Samsung Starts Mass Production of Chips Using Its 7nm EUV Process Tech

Samsung Foundry on Wednesday said that it had started production of chips using its 7LPP manufacturing technology that uses extreme ultraviolet lithography (EUVL) for select layers. The new fabrication process will enable Samsung to significantly increase transistor density of chips while optimizing their power consumption. Furthermore, usage of EUVL allows Samsung to reduce the number of masks it requires for each chip and shrink its production cycle.


The maker of semiconductors says that the 7LPP fabrication technology enables a 40% area reduction (at the same complexity) along with a 50% lower power consumption (at the same frequency and complexity) or a 20% higher performance (at the same power and complexity). As it appears, usage of extreme ultraviolet lithography enables Samsung Foundry to place 40% more transistors inside its next-gen SoCs and reduce their power consumption, a very compelling proposition for mobile SoCs that will be used by the parent company inside its future flagship smartphones.







Advertised PPA Improvements of New Process Technologies
Data announced by companies during conference calls, press briefings and in press releases
  14LPP

vs 28LPP
10LPE

vs 14LPE
10LPE

vs 14LPP
10LPP

vs 10LPE
10LPU

vs

10LPE
7LPP

vs 10LPP
Power 60% 40% 30% ~15% ? 50%
Performance 40% 27% >10% ~10% ? 20%
Area Reduction 50% 30% 30% none ? 40%

Samsung produces its 7LPP EUV chips at its Fab S3 in Hwaseong, South Korea. The company can process 1500 wafers a day on each of its ASML Twinscan NXE:3400B EUVL step and scan systems with a 280 W light source. The company does not say whether it uses pellicles that protect photomasks from degradation, but only indicates that usage of EUV enables it to cut the number of masks it requires for a chip by 20%.


This is a breaking news. We are adding details.


Related Reading:




Source: AnandTech – Samsung Starts Mass Production of Chips Using Its 7nm EUV Process Tech

AKiTiO Thunderbolt 3 Dock Pro with Aquantia 10 GbE

AKiTiO has announced its new Thunderbolt 3 dock for high-end mobile workstations. AKiTiO’s Thunderbolt 3 Dock Pro features a 10 GbE port enabled by an Aquantia chip, along with multiple USB Type-A ports, card readers, eSATA, and other connectors.


The Thunderbolt 3 Dock Pro from AKiTiO is aimed at creative professionals who happen to use 10 GbE Ethernet (or other multi-Gig options), so the vast majority of its owners right now will be from corporate space. In terms of connectors, the Thunderbolt 3 Dock Pro has three USB 3.1 Type-A ports (one on the front, two on the back), one eSATA header, a DisplayPort, a 10 GbE RJ45 port enabled by Aquantia’s AQtion AQC-107 silicon, a 6-pin power input, and two TB3 connectors with 15 W and 60 W power delivery.



The complexity of AKiTiO’s Thunderbolt 3 dock should be rather formidable as AQtion AQC-107 silicon connects using a PCIe interface, whereas eSATA requires a separate controller. To cool down the device, AKiTiO uses a fan that can still be turned off in a bid to make the dock whisper quiet.


AKiTiO has not announced details about pricing of its Thunderbolt 3 Dock Pro, but keeping in mind that this is the only TB3 docking solution for Apple’s MacBook Pro and other high-end laptops, we expect the device to carry a premium price tag.


Related Reading




Source: AnandTech – AKiTiO Thunderbolt 3 Dock Pro with Aquantia 10 GbE

iBASE Launches MI995 Mini-ITX Intel CM246-Based Board for Xeon E

iBASE introduced one of the industry’s first Mini-ITX motherboards for Intel’s Xeon E processors on Tuesday. The MI995 is based on Intel’s mobile CM246 PCH and is aimed at low-power miniature specialized PCs. Meanwhile, small does not mean limitations, so the MI995 has nearly all the expansion capabilities its bigger brothers do.


The iBASE MI995VF-X27 is based on Intel’s CM246 chipset designed for laptops and supporting Intel’s Xeon E processors in FCBGA1440 packaging for mobile workstations. The particular model carries six-core Xeon E-2176M CPU. In addition, the manufacturer also offers the MI995VF-8850 and MI995VF-8400 platforms featuring the QM370 PCH as well as six-core Core i7-8850H and quad-core Core i5-8400H processors respectively. The Xeon-powered SKU supports up to 32 GB of ECC memory, whereas the Core-powered models can carry up to 32 GB of non-ECC DRAM. All the SKUs feature a TPM 2.0 module, and support vPro, iAMT 11.6 remote management, and iSMART 3.5 technologies.



When it comes to expandability, the iBASE MI995 motherboards feature a PCIe 3.0 x16 slot for graphics cards, a mini-PCIe slot, an M.2-2280 slot for SSDs, an M.2-2230 slot for CNVi Wi-Fi solutions, two or four SATA connectors, and so on.


Moving on to connectivity. The MI995 is equipped with two Intel GbE controllers, a Fintek F8196D-I chip for four COM ports, three display outputs, (DisplayPort, DVI-D, HDMI 2.0), six USB 3.1 ports, and audio connectors. As noted above, the motherboards may be outfitted with an optional 802.11ac Wi-Fi CNVi module.


iBASE officially positions its MI995 motherboards for digital signage, gaming, entertainment, and POS applications. Even out of the box, the platform can support multiple displays. Once equipped with a discrete graphics card, the system gains both GPU performance and additional display outputs, just what is needed for digital signage and gaming applications.


















iBASE’s MI995 Motherboards
  MI995VF-X27 MI995VF-8850 MI995VF-8400
CPUs Intel Xeon E-2176M


6C/12T

2.7 – 4.4 GHz

12 MB cache

45 W

Intel Core i7-8850H


6C/12T

2.6 – 4.3 GHz

9 MB cache

45 W

Intel Core i5-8400H


4C/8T

2.5 – 4.2 GHz

8 MB cache

45 W

PCH Intel CM246 + Fintek F81966D-I controller
Graphics Intel UHD Graphics from CPU

PCIe 3.0 x16 slot
Display Outputs 1 × DisplayPort 1.2

1 × eDP header

1 × DVI-D

1 × HDMI 2.0a
Memory 2 × DDR4 SO-DIMM

Up to 32 GB of DDR4-2667

ECC or non-ECC, depending on CPU
Slots for Add-In-Cards 1 × PCIe 3.0 x16

1 × miniPCIe
Ethernet LAN 1:

Intel I219LM Gigabit LAN PHY (MI995VF-Series)

Intel I219V Gigabit LAN PHY (MI995EF)

LAN 2:

Intel I210AT Gigabit LAN (MI995VF-X27)

Intel I211AT Gigabit LAN (MI995VF-8850/8400, MI995EF)
Storage 4 × SATA 6 Gbps

1 × M.2 (PCIe 3.0 x4 or SATA)
2 × SATA 6 Gbps

1 × M.2 (PCIe 3.0 x4 or SATA)
Audio Realtek ALC888S-VD2-GR
USB 6 × USB 3.1 Type-A

4 × USB 2.0 Type-A via header
Serial Ports 2 × RS232

2 × RS232/422/485
Wi-Fi M.2-2230 slot
Operating Temperature 0°C~60°C (32°F~140°F)
Form-Factor Mini-ITX (170 mm × 170 mm | 6.7″ × 6.7″)

iBASE already lists MI995 motherboards on its website, but has not touched upon pricing and availability timeframe.


Related Reading


Source: iBASE



Source: AnandTech – iBASE Launches MI995 Mini-ITX Intel CM246-Based Board for Xeon E

Samsung Begins Sales of 65-Inch Q900R 8K UHDTV in the UK

Samsung on Wednesday started sales of its Q900R QLED 8K Ultra-HD televisions in the UK. The device initially available in the UK is the smaller 65-inch model, rather than the 75-inch one Samsung will be selling in the US in the coming weeks.


Samsung’s Q900R-series televisions, featuring a 7680×4320 resolution, are currently available exclusively from Currys. Right now, only 65-inch 8K UHDTV from Samsung is available, but 75-inch and 85-inch models can be pre-ordered and delivered within 10 to 21 days. The “smaller” version of Q900R is priced at £4,999 ($5,588), whereas the 75-inch will cost £6,999 ($7,825) and the 85-inch will cost £14,999 ($16,768).


Besides the 8K resolution, all Samsung’s Q900-series TVs are backed by a quantum dot-enhanced LED backlight that is also capable of FALD-like operation. The TVs offer a peak brightness of 4000 nits, which is the maximum brightness at which HDR content is mastered today. They also support HDR10, HDR10+, and HLG formats, but not Dolby Vision (at least for now). As for color gamut, the Q900-series can reproduce 100% of the DCI-P3 space.



To properly playback existing content, Samsung’s Q900-series televisions feature proprietary 8K AI Upscaling technology, which is designed to enhance the quality of digital content to panel’s native resolution (does not work with PCs, games, analogue content, etc.). Also, the Tvs are able to interpolate content to 240 FPS. Both capabilities are enabled by the company’s Quantum Processor 8K, which is responsible for all decoding, upscaling, and other operations.


Samsung is not the first company to start sales of 8K UHDTV globally, however this is a first for the UK. Sharp has been selling its 8K televisions in various regions for a little less than a year now. In the meantime, Samsung is the first to market with an 8K TV featuring a 4000 nits peak brightness.


Related Reading:




Source: AnandTech – Samsung Begins Sales of 65-Inch Q900R 8K UHDTV in the UK

Intel to Split Manufacturing Group into Three Segments

News today from OregonLive, a reputable source on news out of Intel, has posted that Intel is set to reorganize its manufacturing group. Spurred by the retirement of Sohail Ahmed next month, who has led the group since 2016, the Technology and Manufacturing Group will be split between the Technology Development, Manufacturing and Operations, and the Supply Chain.


Intel’s delays in its 10nm process technology have been extensively discussed, although the reasons behind it have rarely been aired in public. The process technology was originally set to have been in producion in 2016, and although Intel officially ‘shipped for revenue’ an obscure 10nm part in 2017, we are still waiting on the 10nm process to hit the primetime. Normally we expect to see a new major manufacturing process every 18-36 months, however the difficulties Intel has faced by attempting to implement a raft of new features down at the 10nm level have proved bigger than expected.


After the retirement of Ahmed, the full three groups will be headed up by different managers already at Intel:


  • Technology Development, to be led by CTO Mike Mayberry*
  • Manufacturing and Operations, led by Ann Kelleher
  • Supply Chain, led by Randhir Thakur

*Mike Mayberry was the head of Intel Labs. Rich Uhlig will be the new interim manager for Intel Labs.


How the three groups will work together has not yet been determined. As this is still during the transition to 10nm, there could be additional challenges in splitting the groups. This is also on the back of Intel still not having a CEO, after Krzanich was removed earlier this year. Given Intel’s predicted six-month search for a new CEO, we should be hearing about it soon.



Source: AnandTech – Intel to Split Manufacturing Group into Three Segments

Cadence & Micron DDR5 Update: 16 Gb Chips on Track for 2019

Earlier this year Cadence and Micron performed the industry’s first public demonstration of next-generation DDR5 memory. At a TSMC event earlier this month the two companies provided some updates concerning development of the new memory technology. As it appears, the spec has not been finalized at JEDEC yet, but Micron still expects to start production of DDR5 memory chips in late 2019.


As noted back in May, the primary feature of DDR5 SDRAM is capacity of chips, not just a higher performance and a lower power consumption. DDR5 is expected to bring in I/O speeds of 4266 to 6400 MT/s, with a supply voltage drop to 1.1 V and an allowable fluctuation range of 3% (i.e., at ±0.033V). It is also expected to use two independent 32/40-bit channels per module (without/or with ECC). Furthermore, DDR5 will have an improved command bus efficiency (because the channels will have their own 7-bit Address (Add)/Command (Cmd) buses), better refresh schemes, and an increased bank group for additional performance. In fact, Cadence goes as far as saying that improved functionality of DDR5 will enable a 36% higher real-world bandwidth when compared to DDR4 even at 3200 MT/s (this claim will have to be put to a test) and once 4800 MT/s speed kicks in, the actual bandwidth will be 87% higher when compared to DDR4-3200. In the meantime, one of the most important features of DDR5 will be monolithic chip density beyond 16 Gb.


 


Leading DRAM makers already have monolithic DDR4 chips featuring a 16 Gb capacity, but those devices cannot offer extreme clocks or I/O speeds because of laws of physics. Therefore, companies like Micron have a lot of work to do in a bid to bring together high DRAM densities and performance in the DDR5 era. In particular, Micron is concerned about variable retention time, and other atomic level occurrences, once production technologies used for DRAM reach 10 – 12 nm. Meanwhile, the DDR5 Add/Cmd bus already features on-die termination to make signals cleaner and to improve stability at high data rates. Furthermore, high-end DDR5 DIMMs will have their own voltage regulators and PMICs. Long story short, while the DDR5 standard is tailored to wed performance and densities, there is still a lot of magic to be done by DRAM manufacturers.


Micron expects to start production of 16 Gb DDR5 chips using its “sub-18nm” fabrication process late in 2019, though this does not necessarily mean that actual applications featuring this memory will be available by the end of next year. Cadence already has DDR5 IP (controller + PHY) implemented using TSMC’s N7 (7 nm DUV) and N7+ (7 nm DUV+EUV) process technologies, so chip developers have what they need to design SoCs compatible with the new type of memory. Cadence is working on DDR5 IP for more advanced process technologies. 



Given the key advantages of DDR5, it is not surprising that Cadence forecasts servers to be the first applications to use the new type of DRAM. What is particularly interesting is that Cadence believes that client SoCs made using N7+ process will support DDR5, which essentially means chips due to hit the market in 2020. Given rather quick ramp of DDR5 production predicted by Cadence, it looks like the new DRAM will be supported by a wide range of chips.



Related Reading:


Source: Cadence



Source: AnandTech – Cadence & Micron DDR5 Update: 16 Gb Chips on Track for 2019

Arm Announces Neoverse Infrastructure IP Branding & Future Roadmap

Among of the first announcements coming out of Arm’s TechCon convention in San Jose, is the unveiling of Arm’s new infrastructure branding and a sneak peek at the product roadmap for the next 3 years.


Up till today, the Arm’s IP portfolio for the infrastructure market didn’t differentiate itself much from the regular consumer IP. Today this now changes, as Arm tries to convey its dedicated focus in this market. The new IP portfolio which will see broader announcements over the coming months and years, is now dubbed “Arm Neoverse”.



The Neoverse branding is supposed to be live alongside the usual consumer device oriented Cortex IP branding, meaning that at some point we’ll see a new Neoverse CPU announced whose use-cases are meant to be in the infrastructure space.



Arm showcases that over the last several years, they’ve been able to capture a significant amount of market share in infrastructure devices. What infrastructure devices actually means, is any kind of non-end user device, such as networking equipment, going from switches, base stations, gateways, router, and most importantly also servers. Here the various Arm vendors have reportedly gained up to a 28% market share.



The biggest surprise today was that Arm again has publicly published the roadmap for the next several years, revealing the codenames of the infrastructure focused CPU and platform IPs. As such, we finally see the Ares, Zeus, and Poseidon codenames acknowledged. The CPU IPs based on these codenames should be the sever-oriented counterparts to Enyo/A76, Deimos and Hercules, the latter of which would remain under the Cortex branding. What the differences between the Cortex and Neoverse cores are is still unclear, but among the many possibilities, it’s not hard to imagine that we’ll be seeing SVE implemented in the server IP first.


Arm is also seemingly pushing the performance projections, and promises a 30% jump in performance for each generation over the coming years. This figure is more aggressive than the 20 to 25% quoted CAGR for the Cortex based CPUs in consumer devices, so we’ll likely see more differentiation in the infrastructure IPs.



Arm went on to discuss more the various scaling possibilities that vendors can achieve by using Arm’s IP, varying from more simple configurations in edge devices up to very wide implementations for server CPUs, advertising the possibility of 48, 64 or 96 cores per socket in the maximum configuration.



The one slide that really caught my eye and Arm notoriously went over quick was in regards to the offering for architecture partners. Here Arm wants to again communicate that it’s able to provide customised IP on demand, and alter things such as the interfaces to the cores, their memory hierarchy as well as the SVE units’ width and depth. Among these items is also “threading architecture”. While I’m not keen on guessing Arm’s intents here, I do wonder if this means we’ll be seeing SMT implemented in Arm’s Neoverse IPs?


While today’s announcement didn’t have any major technical unveiling, it does put to rest the question how Arm is going to name its new server cores, as well as publicly acknowledging roadmap names and goals for the coming years. Arm promised more details and announcements at TechCon – and we’ll be sure to report on the happenings in the comings days.



Source: AnandTech – Arm Announces Neoverse Infrastructure IP Branding & Future Roadmap

Arm TechCon 2018 Keynote Live Blog (Starts at 10am ET)

We’re here at the San Jose Convention Center for Arm’s annual developer conference and tech showcase, TechCon. Arm of course needs no introduction, and while the company is an IP provider rather than a hardware manufacturer, the net result is that they have their finger in everything from servers to embedded devices. Which has presented the company with a lot of growth opportunities, but also no shortage of competition as everyone works to grab a piece of these markets.



Source: AnandTech – Arm TechCon 2018 Keynote Live Blog (Starts at 10am ET)

Crucial's First NVMe SSD: P1 M.2 With QLC NAND

Micron’s consumer-oriented Crucial brand is finally entering the world of NVMe SSDs with the new Crucial P1 M.2 SSD. The P1 is an entry-level NVMe drive using four bit per cell (QLC) NAND flash memory and the Silicon Motion SM2263 controller. This is the same basic formula as used in the Intel 660p, the only other consumer QLC drive on the market so far. Micron has brought their own firmware customizations, so while the performance characteristics are similar to the Intel 660p they are definitely not the same drive. The Crucial P1 has slightly lower usable capacities than the Intel 660p, which translates into slightly more spare area available for garbage collection and SLC caching. Unlike the Intel 660p, the Crucial P1 uses the same 1GB DRAM per 1TB NAND ratio as most MLC and TLC SSDs.



















Crucial P1 SSD Specifications
Capacity 500 GB 1 TB 2 TB
Form Factor single-sided M.2 2280 double-sided M.2 2280
Interface NVMe 1.3 PCIe 3.0 x4
Controller Silicon Motion SM2263
NAND Flash Micron 64L 3D QLC NAND
DRAM 512GB DDR3 1GB DDR3 2GB DDR4
Sequential Read 1900 MB/s 2000 MB/s 2000 MB/s
Sequential Write 950 MB/s 1700 MB/s 1750 MB/s
Random Read 90k IOPS 170k IOPS 250k IOPS
Random Write 220k IOPS 240k IOPS 250k IOPS
SLC Write Cache (approximate) 5GB min

50GB max
12GB min

100GB max
24GB min

200GB max
Power Max 8W
Idle 2mW (PS4), 80mW (PS3)
Warranty 5 years
Write Endurance 100 TB

0.1 DWPD
200 TB

0.1 DWPD
400 TB

0.1 DWPD
MSRP $109.99 (22¢/GB) $219.99 (22¢/GB) TBA

With top sequential speeds of only 2GB/s, the Crucial P1 doesn’t really need all four PCIe lanes, but Silicon Motion’s entry-level SM2263 controller still has four instead of the two that some other low-end NVMe controllers use. Given the use of QLC NAND, the P1’s SLC cache is far more important than it is on drives with TLC NAND. Micron has taken a similar approach to what Intel did with the 660p by making the SLC cache not just a write buffer but a full-time dynamically sized read and write cache. All data written to the Crucial P1 hits the SLC cache first, and is compacted into QLC blocks only when the drive’s free space starts running low. This means that a mostly-empty drive will be using tens or hundreds of GB of SLC, but as it fills up the cache will shrink down to just 5-24GB depending on the model. All of Crucial’s official performance specifications are for the SLC cache.


As with the Crucial MX series of SATA SSDs, the Crucial P1 features a greater degree of power loss protection than typical consumer SSDs, though not the fully capacitor-backed protection that most enterprise SSDs feature. With the MX500, Crucial had already substantially reduced the number of capacitors required for their partial power loss protection thanks in part to a reduction in write power requirements for their 64-layer 3D NAND. The P1 gains additional data security from its SLC-first write policy, which eliminates the partially-programmed page risk. However, there is still a tiny bit of used data buffered in volatile RAM, on the order of a few MB at the most.


The rated write endurance of 0.1 drive writes per day is low even for an entry-level consumer SSD, but given the large drive capacities it is adequate. The P1 is definitely not intended to be the workhorse of an enthusiast system with a write-heavy workload, but for more typical read-oriented workloads it offers better performance than SATA SSDs.


The initial MSRPs for the Crucial P1 are unimpressive: it’s substantially more expensive than the Intel 660p, and about matches some of the most affordable high-end NVMe drives like the HP EX920 and ADATA SX8200. If Micron can catch up to Intel’s pricing and compete for the lowest $/GB among all NVMe SSDs then the Crucial P1 has a shot at success.


The 2TB model will be launching slightly later due to using DDR4 DRAM instead of the DDR3 used by the 500GB and 1TB models. We are testing the 1TB Crucial P1, with some results already in our Bench database. Look for our full review next week.



Source: AnandTech – Crucial’s First NVMe SSD: P1 M.2 With QLC NAND

Huawei to announce new Matebook in November

In the process of describing new features for the Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro, the comments on one of the slides let slip that Huawei is set to announce a new Matebook this November. One of the features, according to the slides for the Mate 20 Series, is a single button sharing with the Mate 20 series phones in order to share 1000 photos in two seconds. The side showed what looked like a regular Matebook, not the Matebook X, so it could be that thee new laptop is set to be a standard Matebook replacement, but information about the new laptop is set going to be upcoming. We’ll keep our ears to the ground for more information. 



Huawei’s previous Matebook launch, the Matebook X Pro, was announced earlier this year with an Intel CPU and an NVIDIA GTX GPU. You can read our review here



Source: AnandTech – Huawei to announce new Matebook in November

Corsair Launches Force Series MP510 NVMe SSD

Today Corsair is launching the Force Series MP510 as their new high-end M.2 NVMe SSD. The MP510 is a big improvement over the preceding MP500, replacing the Phison E7 controller with the new E12 controller and switching from planar MLC NAND to Toshiba’s 64-layer 3D TLC NAND. The MP510 is based on the Phison E12 reference design we tested a few months ago, with slightly improved performance and power efficiency. This makes it generally competitive with other high-end TLC SSDs, giving Phison customers like Corsair their first credible high-end NVMe SSDs.

















Corsair Force Series MP510 Specifications
Capacity 240 GB 480 GB 960 GB 1920 GB
Form Factor double-sided M.2 2280, PCIe 3 x4
Controller Phison PS5012-E12
NAND Flash Toshiba BiCS3 256Gb 64-layer 3D TLC
Sequential Read 3100 MB/s 3480 MB/s 3480 MB/s 3480 MB/s
Sequential Write 1050 MB/s 2000 MB/s 3000 MB/s 2700 MB/s
Random Read 180k IOPS 360k IOPS 610k IOPS 485k IOPS
Random Write 240k IOPS 440k IOPS 570k IOPS 530k IOPS
Power Read 6.1 W 6.7 W 6.9 W 7.1 W
Write 3.5 W 4.8 W 5.6 W 6.2 W
Idle 30 mW
Warranty 5 years
Write Endurance 400 TB

0.9 DWPD
800 TB

0.9 DWPD
1700 TB

1.0 DWPD
3120 TB

0.9 DWPD
MSRP $65.99

(27¢/GB)
$124.99

(26¢/GB)
$235.99

(25¢/GB)
 

The performance, power efficiency, warranty and write endurance rating are all up to par for a high-end drive in today’s market. However, with the Silicon Motion SM2262EN controller coming soon, 96L 3D NAND starting to ship, and possible new SSD announcements at a Samsung event tomorrow, the Corsair MP510 and similar Phison E12 drives are facing strong competition.


The Corsair Force MP510 is currently available in capacities from 240GB to 960GB, with a 1920GB model coming soon. Our review of the 960GB model will be up later this week, but most of our benchmark results are already online in our Bench database.



Source: AnandTech – Corsair Launches Force Series MP510 NVMe SSD

Huawei Launches the Mate 20 Series: Kirin 980 7nm SoC Inside

New to the market is the latest flagship smartphone from Huawei. Following the Mate series, last year’s Mate 10 and Mate 10 Pro are succeeded by the Mate 20 and the Mate 20 Pro, featuring the 7nm Hisilicon Kirin 980 chipset and whole new design with added features. Out of the two, the Mate 20 Pro is aiming for the upsell, with new features such as reverse wireless charging, an OLED HDR display, an IP68 rating, a larger battery, and support for a 40W Supercharge.



Source: AnandTech – Huawei Launches the Mate 20 Series: Kirin 980 7nm SoC Inside

The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 Founders Edition Review

When NVIDIA first announced their Turing based GeForce RTX 20 series, they unveiled three GeForce RTX models: the 2080 Ti, 2080, and 2070. As we’ve seen earlier, Turing and the GeForce RTX 20 series as a whole are designed on a hardware and software level to enable realtime raytracing for games, as well as other new specialized features, though all of these are yet to launch in games. Nevertheless, last month’s release of the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti and 2080 finally revealed their places on the traditional performance spectrum. As the ‘value’ oriented enthusiast offering, the RTX 2070 is arguably the more important card for most prospective buyers. And so, ahead of tomorrow’s launch, today we take a look at the GeForce RTX 2070 Founders Edition.



Source: AnandTech – The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 Founders Edition Review

The Huawei Mate 20 Launch Event Live Blog (2pm UK, 9am ET)

After announcing the Kirin 980 at IFA, built on the latest TSMC process and latest ARM cores, today Huawei is opening the book on the Mate 20 series of devices which will be the Flagship brand for the company in this smartphone generation.


The event starts at 2pm local time. 



Source: AnandTech – The Huawei Mate 20 Launch Event Live Blog (2pm UK, 9am ET)

The Microsoft Surface Pro 6 Review: More Than A Color

Microsoft is in a bit of a unique place in the PC space compared to other manufacturers. Other than Apple, Microsoft is the only company that controls both the hardware and software sides, and when the Surface lineup launched way back in 2012, Microsoft’s goal was to showcase the advantages of their platform with a premium hardware lineup. On October 2nd 2018, the company unveiled their sixth iteration of what is now a staple in the PC space, the Surface Pro 6.



Source: AnandTech – The Microsoft Surface Pro 6 Review: More Than A Color

Paul Allen, Co-Founder of Microsoft, Passes Away

Paul Allen, the man who co-founded Microsoft with Bill Gates, died on Monday, October 15, 2018. Mr. Allen left Microsoft in 1983, but remained in its Board of Directors till November 2000. In the recent years Paul Allen focused on various investment and philanthropic activities. He was 65.


“Paul Allen’s contributions to our company, our industry and to our community are indispensable,” said Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, in a statement. “As co-founder of Microsoft, in his own quiet and persistent way, he created magical products, experiences and institutions, and in doing so, he changed the world. I have learned so much from him – his inquisitiveness, curiosity and push for high standards are something that will continue to inspire me and all of us at Microsoft. Our hearts are with Paul’s family and loved ones. Rest in peace.”


Paul Gardner Allen was born on January 21, 1953, in Seattle, Washington. He attended Lakeside School, where he met Bill Gates, with whom he shared a passion for computers and programming. Eventually Mr. Allen would drop out of Washington State University to work as a programmer, and then convince Bill Gates to drop out of Harvard in order to establish Microsoft. In fact, it was Paul Allen who came up with an idea about the name of the company, only in 1975 the future software giant was called Micro-Soft.


Paul Allen was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and battled with it in 2009. On October 1 he said that the disease has returned.


This is a breaking news. We are adding details.


Sources: Microsoft, PaulAllen.com



Source: AnandTech – Paul Allen, Co-Founder of Microsoft, Passes Away

AMD Launches Radeon RX 580 with Reduced Number of Stream Processors

AMD has quietly launched a Radeon RX 580 GPU with a reduced number of stream processors. The new product is called the Radeon RX 580 2048SP and, as the name suggests, it has 2048 stream processors, down from 2304 SPs on the original product. The Radeon RX 580 2048SP is currently available only in China and it is unclear whether the product will be sold in other countries as well.


The Radeon RX 580 2048SP is basically the Radeon RX 570, but with a slightly higher boost clock and a different name. Compute performance of the Radeon RX 580 2048SP is listed as 5.1 TFLOPS, which is around 18% lower when compared to the Radeon RX 580. Just like the RX 570, the RX 580 2048SP cards come equipped with 8 GB of GDDR5 memory running at 7 Gbps, down from 8 Gbps on the original RX 580. Given how close specs of the RX 580 2048SP and the RX 570 are, it is unclear why AMD decided to release this “new” product with the RX 580 name, if only to confuse customers.



















AMD Radeon RX 580 Specification Comparison
  AMD Radeon RX 580 AMD Radeon RX 580 2048SP AMD Radeon RX 570
Compute Units 36 CUs

2304 SPs
32 CUs

2048 SPs
32 CUs

2048 SPs
Texture Units 144 128
ROPs 32
Base Clock 1257 MHz 1168 MHz 1168 MHz
Boost Clock 1340 MHz 1284 MHz 1244 MHz
Memory Clock 8Gbps GDDR5 7Gbps GDDR5
Memory Bus Width 256-bit
VRAM 4 GB or 8 GB
Transistor Count 5.7 billion
Typical Board Power 185 W 150 W
Manufacturing Process GloFo 14nm
Architecture GCN 4
GPU Polaris 11
Launch Date 4/18/2017 10/15/2018 4/18/2017
Launch Price $199 – $229  – ? $169

This is not the first time when AMD revises specs of its already launched products. Last year the company let partners to sell Radeon RX 560 products with 896 stream processors, down from 1024 SPs inside the original GPU. Back then the company explained that graphics processors with lowered specs enable its partners to sell more graphics cards and offer a better choice to their customers. At the time the Radeon RX 560D with 896 SPs was an entirely new product sitting above the Radeon RX550 – this time however the Radeon RX 580 2048 SPs is essentially the Radeon RX 570 with slightly higher boost clocks.




We have reached out to AMD for more information.


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Source: AnandTech – AMD Launches Radeon RX 580 with Reduced Number of Stream Processors