AMD Plans PlayReady 3.0 Support for Polaris and Vega based GPUs in 2018, Vega APUs in Q2

For the recent launch of AMD’s Ryzen 5 2400G and Ryzen 3 2200G APUs, our review found that AMD raised the low-end integrated graphics bar to a new level. With superior gaming performance at lower cost and power draw compared to competing solutions, the Ryzen 5 2400G has effectively shut down the sub-$100 graphics card market. But outside of gaming, the other major use-case of integrated graphics is for media content playback and streaming, typically related to HTPC use. In recent days, one of the bigger issues is not just hardware encode/decode capabilities but also hardware DRM support, such as HDCP 2.2, or Microsoft’s PlayReady 3.0 that is required for Netflix 4K and HDR streaming on PCs.


With this capability, the new APUs and upcoming low-power variants would be fit for higher-end HTPC use, but no AMD discrete or integrated PC GPU is currently PlayReady 3.0 capable. In that vein, AMD stated in the corresponding Ryzen desktop APU Reviewer’s Guide:


Please note that HDCP 1.4/2.2 are supported for the purposes of streaming 4K+HDR content. AMD intends to have a production PlayReady 3-capable graphics driver in early Q2.


Referring to Polaris and Vega GPUs in general, AMD clarified for us that they are looking to bring PlayReady 3.0 support with driver updates later this year.



Unfortunately, there is no succinct way to translate how this affects consumers. The complete PC landscape for PlayReady 3.0 support and Netflix 4K/HDR streaming capability has grown increasingly complicated, despite Netflix’s initial announcement a couple years ago. Building the right HTPC setup for 4K/HDR/UHD Bluray is rather involved. To recap, the following items are pre-requisites to stream Netflix 4K content on a PC:


  • Windows 10 Fall Creators Update (for HDR or using discrete graphics)
  • Windows 10 HEVC Media Extension, or equivalent (if missing due to Fall Creators Update)
  • Latest unspecified Windows Updates
  • Microsoft Edge or Windows 10 Netflix application
  • Netflix plan that supports 4K and HDR streaming
  • High or Automatic Streaming Quality in Netflix Account Playback Settings
  • Minimum internet connection speed of 25 Mbps
  • 4K display with HDCP 2.2 capability
  • HDCP 2.2 certified HDMI 2.0 cable
  • HDMI 2.0 port on motherboard video-out or discrete GPU
  • Supported discrete or integrated GPU (PlayReady 3.0, HDCP 2.2/HDMI 2.0 output)
  • Appropriate graphics driver

For Intel, only Kaby Lake iGPUs or later are supported. For NVIDIA, only GeForce GTX 1050 or higher with at least 3GB VRAM are supported, with driver version 387.96 or higher required. As NVIDIA notes, streaming 4K on SLI/LDA is not supported, and multi-monitor configurations require all active monitors to be HDCP 2.2 capable or content will be downgraded to 1080p. For Intel’s part, this capability became enabled in November 2016. And while NVIDIA announced 4K Netflix support for Pascal at launch, it wasn’t until April 2017 and 381.74 that they previewed 4K Netflix support for Windows 10 Insider builds, before production support with 387.96. As of the time of writing, Netflix help documentation still does not list NVIDIA graphics as supported for 4K streaming on PC.


Recent months have seen further wrinkles, such as the removal of the built-in HEVC decoder for Windows 10 Fall Creators Update; it is unclear if Microsoft’s stated “Codec Pack” is incoming, though for the time it appears users have been struggling with a supposedly insider-only KB4041994, an automated Windows Store installation of HEVC Media Extension that fails if it is already present.


In these circumstances, AMD is adding their products into the mix. For AMD, beyond new drivers they will need to ensure motherboards have an HDMI 2.0 output. Outside of anything Netflix or vendor specific, Microsoft and PlayReady 3.0 have their own certification process, which includes SL3000 and a number of other steps. AMD stated that in light of the multiple hardware generations they are supporting, there are no announcements at this time about more specific timelines of software updates and related certifications, though they will update more closer to the driver releases.


Source: AMD



Source: AnandTech – AMD Plans PlayReady 3.0 Support for Polaris and Vega based GPUs in 2018, Vega APUs in Q2

The ASUS Prime X299-Deluxe Motherboard Review: Onboard OLED and WiGig

Sitting at the top of ASUS’ consumer-focused motherboard line for X299 is the ASUS Prime X299-Deluxe. In the past, ASUS’ ‘Deluxe’ line-up has attempted to emulate the status of the Mercedes S-Class but in motherboard form: showcasing new technology that may eventually filter down into where the bulk of the market sits over the next 3-5 years. The newest X299-Deluxe thus comes with a few of those technological features, such as WiGig and an informational OLED display, but also comes with onboard U.2 and a bundled Thunderbolt 3 add-in card. The Prime X299-Deluxe is the most expensive X299 motherboard we have tested to date.



Source: AnandTech – The ASUS Prime X299-Deluxe Motherboard Review: Onboard OLED and WiGig

Intel's 10nm Briefly Appears: Dual Core Cannon Lake in Official Documents

Intel briefly listed two 10nm Cannon Lake processors in a microcode update document this week, confirming that it has shipped such chips, although we expect it to be in small quantities. Intel has since removed the references to them from the public version of the paper.


Intel has adjusted its 10nm roadmap multiple times in the recent years. Back in 2013, the company planned to make CPUs produced using its 10nm technology available in 2015. Then, the company pushed them to 2016, but that was a minor change. In mid-2015 the chipmaker delayed its 10 nm products to late 2017. Then in early-2016, Intel switched its “Tick-Tock” cadence to “Process-Architecture-Optimization” model, officially prolonging lifecycles of its manufacturing technology nodes and changing its approach to new product development in general. When it comes to 10 nm products, Intel has not made formal announcements about any product family yet, but said earlier this year in a side-presentation to its CES keynote that it had shipped some of them to customers in 2017.


Since the company did not disclose any details about the 10nm CPUs it shipped, it naturally caused further questions on the state of Intel’s 10nm process in general and when the Cannon Lake products, expected to be the first on 10nm, were coming. Fortunately, our friends at Tom’s Hardware noticed Cannon Lake processors in the latest version of Intel’s microcode update document earlier this week. After the fact, Intel has since removed the references from the document.


The first version of the document, as it appears, suggests that Intel has shipped Cannon Lake-U CPUs in 2+2 and 2+0 configurations to undisclosed customers. The “2+2” denotes that a chip has two processing cores (the first number) as well as GT2-class graphics (the second number), whereas the “2+0” indicates that a dual-core chip has no iGPU at all. Intel’s “U” series parts, aimed at the 15W notebook market, usually feature an integrated chipset in the CPU package. Therefore, the CNL-U 2+2 and CNL-U 2+0 parts are aimed primarily at mobile and low-power applications.



It is noteworthy that in the recent years Intel has begun commercial roll-outs of its new CPUs starting with ultra-low-power 4.5W Y-series processors, e.g., Broadwell-Y in 2014, Skylake-Y in 2015, and Kaby Lake-Y in 2016. If Intel is launching its U-series chips with a TDP of 15 W first for 10nm, this would indicate a change in policy. So it is surprising to see that Intel has started shipments of Cannon Lake-U, but not Cannon Lake-Y.


A natural question that arises because of the listing is whether Intel has started to ship its CNL-U parts in mass quantities to PC makers. Intel has not disclosed where these parts have been sold, which could be for entry-level low-power laptops, or to certain specific customers and requests with custom/semi-custom CNL products. While a CNL-U 2+2 CPU could be used for inexpensive notebooks, a CNL 2+0 part would fit into applications that either do not require a display controller at all (such as routers, NAS, DAS, etc.), or can use a discrete GPU (a low-end PC with a low-end/outdated dGPU – there are a lot of such machines sold in developing countries, a system for software/hardware development/compatibility tests/etc.). Unfortunately, at this point it is completely unclear where Intel has shipped these 10nm parts. 


Related Reading




Source: AnandTech – Intel’s 10nm Briefly Appears: Dual Core Cannon Lake in Official Documents

Corsair ONE Gets Caffeinated: Now with Coffee Lake

This week Corsair introduced two new versions of its small form-factor desktop, called the ‘ONE’. The new versions upgrade the processor to the latest generation Intel six-core Coffee Lake processors. The end result is more performance, with a corresponding increase in price. The new versions, called the ONE Pro Plus and the ONE Elite, represent the best performance versions of the Corsair One, while the model at the bottom of the stack is discontinued.


Corsair’s new ONE Pro Plus and ONE Elite systems are based on Intel’s Core i7-8700K processor, and subsequently get an upgrade to a Z370 based motherboard. The new Corsair ONE PCs come in the familiar 12L aluminum chassis with a custom liquid cooling system, featuring dual liquid cooling loops that are used to cool down the CPU and the GPU separately. For the new units, the GPU is also upgraded, to NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX 1080 Ti graphics card. Despite packing rather significant compute horsepower then, the use of the liquid cooling loops allows Corsair to promote the ONE Pro Plus and ONE Elite as quiet.


As for other components, the new high-end Corsair ONE models are outfitted with 16 GB of Vengeance LPX DDR4-2400 (ONE Plus) or 32 GB of Vengeance LPX DDR4-2666 (Elite) memory, a 480 GB M.2 NVMe SSD, and a 2 TB 2.5” 5400-RPM HDD. Since the systems use industry-standard components, they are upgradeable. Technically the CPU and GPU can also be overclocked, as long as cooling performance and 500W PSU are sufficient.













Specifications of Early-2018 Corsair ONE Gaming PCs
Model ONE Pro

CS-9000011
ONE Pro

CS-9000015
ONE Pro Plus

CS-9000013
ONE Elite

CS-9000014
CPU Core i7 7700K with liquid cooling Core i7 8700K with liquid cooling
GPU GeForce GTX 1080 w/LCS GeForce GTX 1080 Ti /w LCS
DRAM 16 GB DDR4-2400 32 GB DDR4-2400 16 GB DDR4-2400 32 GB DDR4-2666
Motherboard mini-ITX, Z270 chipset mini-ITX, Z370 chipset
Storage SSD 480 GB NVMe
HDD 2 TB HDD, 5400 RPM
PSU 400 W SFX 500 W SFX
Warranty 2 years
MSRP $2300 $2500 $2800 $3000

The new ONE Pro Plus and ONE Elite gaming machines exist alongside Corsair’s existing ONE Pro systems, featuring Intel’s Core i7-7700K as well as NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX 1080. At the same time, Corsair has EOLed its original ONE computer based on the Core i7-7700 and the GeForce GTX 1070. Corsair says that customer interest for the $1800 system was low, so it decided to discontinue the SKU. As a result, the range now starts at $2300, while the most expensive Corsair ONE Elite model retails for $3000.



The new Corsair ONE Pro Plus and Corsair ONE Elite will be available worldwide directly from Corsair as well as its resellers.


Related Reading




Source: AnandTech – Corsair ONE Gets Caffeinated: Now with Coffee Lake

AMD Releases Radeon Pro Software Enterprise Edition 18.Q1 WHQL: Adrenalin Comes To Enterprise

This week AMD has released the first quarterly Radeon Pro Software Enterprise Edition driver drop of the year, aptly numbered 18.Q1 WHQL. Coming on the heels of December’s major driver update on the consumer side, this is the first enterprise package based on Adrenalin Edition Pro drivers. As such, 18.Q1 incorporates new Adrenalin Pro ReLive enhancements, Pro Overlay, Pro-oriented Connect Tab, and ProRender plugin updates. Likewise, as the first post-Windows 10 Fall Creators Update enterprise driver, 18.Q1 is intended for Fall Creators Update and formally supports Mixed Reality. Rounding out this quarterly release are performance optimizations for professional applications, VDI & graphics virtualization updates, and a number of bug fixes.


First things first, AMD is implementing a slight rename from Radeon Pro Software “Enterprise Driver” to “Enterprise Edition,” making it consistent to the overall Radeon Software naming. This streamlining has not been extended, however, to the latest gaming driver now supported by 18.Q1 Driver Options, which remains “Radeon Software Adrenalin Edition for Radeon Pro 18.2.1.”



Touching on the highlights of Adrenalin Pro features, AMD referred to new Pro ReLive features like borderless region capture, microphone track separation, and chroma key background transparency, as well as Radeon Pro Overlay for Pro ReLive. This also includes the several ProRender plugin updates introduced with the inaugural Adrenalin Pro 17.12.1 Meanwhile, for performance improvements, AMD is citing year-over-year uplifts compared to 17.Q1 using SPECapc and SPECviewperf testing, notably a 47% improvement in Autodesk 3ds Max and 25% improvement in Siemens NX.




Moving on to AMD’s MxGPU, their hardware-based SR-IOV virtualized graphics solution, 18.Q1 is coupled with the January technical preview host driver for Citrix XenServer MxGPU, while production-level XenDesktop and XenApp guest drivers have been updated with 18.Q1 binaries for cloud-deployed 64-bit Windows 10, 7, Server 2016, and Server 2008 R2 platforms. The packages and compatibility notes can be found on AMD’s Citrix Pro Driver page.



In a similar vein, their Guest Interface Manager (GIM) open source KVM host OS driver remains available on GitHub as a technical preview, though the guest drivers have not been updated since Adrenalin Pro 17.12.2.


Wrapping things up, 18.Q1 comes with a list of bug fixes and documented issues typical of professional and enterprise drivers.


Bug Fixes & Resolved Issues


  • [Pro Application] Viewport in Modo may hang when using lighting set to scene on normal map.
  • [Pro Application, Vega] Unexpected behavior in Adobe Premiere Pro CC 8K playback when resuming from sleep and hibernate on Radeon Pro SSG.
  • Intermittently, only one display per GPU is selectable for setting Timing-Client.
  • Radeon Settings may crash when opening Global Settings using Radeon Software Crimson ReLive Edition for Radeon Pro 17.9.1 driver. 
  • ReLive toolbar may not appear using Radeon Software Crimson ReLive Edition for Radeon Pro 17.9.1 driver. 
  • Advanced Radeon Pro Settings may not open for mobile platforms. 


Known Issues


AMD notes that Multi-GPU Single Large Surface on Windows 10 is not currently supported on any hardware for 18.Q1.


  • [Pro Application] SOLIDWORKS Viewport may appear black during resizing of the camera view of the assembly. 
  • [VDI] When more than three 2K displays are connected in Horizon View 7.1 and Horizon View 7.4, VDI may fail to resize the desktop.
  • [VDI] VM may disconnect when upgrading the driver and unable to connect until reboot.
  • [VDI] Extended monitor configuration may not function as intended in VDI environment with Windows 10 Fall Creators Update and Windows 7 using Citrix XenDesktop. 
  • [VDI] VM may disconnect to Horizon View client during driver un-install and cannot connect until reboot on blast.
  • [VDI] Radeon Pro Settings may crash on initial VM launch with Citrix XenDesktop.
  • [Vega] Unexpected behavior when resume from sleep on Radeon Pro SSG.
  • [Vega] The user may experience unexpected behavior creating 4×1 or 6×1 AMD Eyefinity display configurations with 5K displays for “Vega”-based hardware.
  • [Vega] Application profiles may not be automatically created for “Vega”-based hardware.
  • Workstation features may not appear in Advanced Radeon Pro Settings such as 10-bit, Stereo 3D, SDI and EDID for mobile platforms.
  • User may see Radeon branding when uninstalling the driver in Professional Mode, if a Radeon Software Crimson ReLive Edition for Radeon Pro gaming driver is installed. 
  • User may see Radeon Pro Settings icon in taskbar to be red instead of blue.
  • Radeon Pro Settings may become unresponsive when user clicks “Restore Factory Defaults”.
  • Sun Temple application (Unreal Engine demo) may crash when launched in Vulkan mode in Windows 7.
  • D2D applications may hang when switching to fullscreen using LiquidVR.
  • Radeon Pro Overlay may not appear during clone mode with 2 displays.
  • BSOD may be triggered while running Nuke Benchmark on Windows 7 OS with AMD FirePro W9100 and AMD FirePro 8100.
  • Blank screen may be seen with hot unplug and plug of 8K display. 
  • Radeon Settings may crash when opening “Global Settings” using Radeon Vega Frontier Edition with the Radeon Software Crimson ReLive Edition for Radeon Pro 17.9.1 gaming driver. 
  • User may encounter difficulties switching to older gaming drivers. 
  • Radeon Software branding may be observed with driver un-install from control panel during un-installation process in professional mode, if at least one gaming driver is installed. 
  • Device Manager may show yellow bang after installation and error message when opening Radeon Pro Settings. 


ISV Certification Notes


  • Due to Maya-MtoA software issue “Trac #3142,” some Viewport Draw modes for stand-ins draw an infinite line. Workaround is to toggle the Viewport Draw Mode of the stand-in in the Attribute Editor.
  • Autodesk Maya 2017/2018 may show gray patch in playback in certain models due to Maya issue “Maya 41945.” Workaround is to click on a different frame on timeline or to click on first frame.

For Linux support, details can be found in the release notes for Radeon Pro Software Enterprise Edition 18.Q1 for Linux.


The updated drivers for AMD’s professional workstation GPUs are available online at the AMD’s professional graphics driver download page. More information on this update and further issues can be found in the Radeon Pro Software Enterprise Edition 18.Q1 release notes and Radeon Pro newspost on 18.Q1.


New Radeon Pro Software Enterprise Editions are released on the 2nd Wednesday of the 2nd month of the quarter. The next releases will follow on 5/9/18, 8/8/18, and 11/14/18.




Source: AnandTech – AMD Releases Radeon Pro Software Enterprise Edition 18.Q1 WHQL: Adrenalin Comes To Enterprise

The Intel SSD DC P4510 SSD Review Part 1: Virtual RAID On CPU (VROC) Scalability

Today, Intel is introducing their 64-layer 3D TLC NAND to the enterprise SSD market with the new Intel SSD DC P4510 NVMe drive. They are also finally giving us a chance to test the Virtual RAID On CPU feature introduced with the Skylake-SP and Skylake-X processors last year.



Source: AnandTech – The Intel SSD DC P4510 SSD Review Part 1: Virtual RAID On CPU (VROC) Scalability

Xiaomi Launches Redmi Note 5 & Redmi Note 5 Pro with 18:9 5.99-Inch LCDs

Xiaomi on Wednesday introduced its new Redmi Note 5 and Redmi Note 5 Pro smartphones in India. The key difference between the new phablets and their predecessors is a large 5.99” display with an 18:9 aspect ratio, but there are many other improvements too, including new design, camera, software and so on. The Redmi Note 5 will continue to employ the Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 SoC, but the Redmi Note 5 Pro will use a more powerful Snapdragon 636. The Redmi Note 5 will be priced below $200, whereas the Redmi Note 5 Pro will address audiences demanding higher performance/improved features and will therefore cost more than $200.


New Display & Look


Displays with an 18:9 aspect ratio introduced to the mass market by the LG G6 and the Samsung Galaxy S8/S8+ last year will become more widespread on higher-end, mainstream and specialized smartphones this year. The new Redmi Note 5 and Redmi Note 5 Pro handsets from Xiaomi are outfitted with large 5.99” IPS displays featuring a 1080×2160 resolution and covered by Corning Gorilla Glass for protection.


The larger screens naturally have an impact on overall design of the new smartphones, so it is not surprising that the Redmi Note 5 and Redmi Note 5 Pro look significantly different than their predecessors. Both phones come in an aluminum unibody chassis with rounded edges and antenna separated from the rest of the back cover using polycarbonate strips that look like metal. When compared to the Redmi Note 4, the tapered back covers of the Redmi Note 5/Note 5 Pro seem to have even more rounded edges and a slightly different texture. Xiaomi says that the new shape is more comfortable to use, but keep in mind that all physical features of all mobile gadgets are very individual.



In addition to new design, Xiaomi will also offer a broader choice of colors with the new phablets. The Redmi Note 5 and Redmi Note 5 Pro will be available in matte black, matte blue, matte gold and matte rose gold colors in India. The color lineup might be different in other countries, but it is hard to make guesses about what exactly the manufacturer will offer at this point.


Under the Hood


Now, let’s take a look under the hood. The Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 is based on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 SoC, the same model was used for the Redmi Note 4. The chip has eight ARM Cortex-A53 general-purpose cores, the Adreno 506 graphics processor as well as Qualcomm’s X9 LTE modem, its performance and capabilities are well known, so there is nothing new here. It is a bit strange to see one SoC be inside both Redmi Note 4 and Redmi Note 5, but perhaps Xiaomi decided to stick to the chip due to cost reasons in a bid to price the RM5 competitively.


By contrast, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro is powered by the Snapdragon 636 featuring Kryo 260 CPU (four semi-custom ARM Cortex A73 cores at 1.8 GHz and four semi-custom ARM Cortex-A53 cores at 1.6 GHz), the Adreno 509 GPU, an LPDDR4X memory controller as well as Qualcomm’s X12 LTE modem. Since A73 cores are among the highest-performing mobile CPU cores today, the Redmi Note 5 Pro will offer significantly higher peak general-purpose performance than the Redmi Note 5. Meanwhile, the S636 will also maintain similar energy efficiency in power saving mode (when compared to the S625) since low-power A53 derivatives are still there; besides, both SoCs are made using Samsung’s 14LPP process technology and therefore their voltages and other physical characteristics are similar.


When it comes to DRAM and storage configurations, Xiaomi will offer various versions of the Redmi Note 5 and Redmi Note 5 Pro — there will be models with 3 GB of memory and 32 GB of NAND flash (the entry-level Note 5), variants with 4 GB of DRAM and 64 GB of storage as well as 6 GB of LPDDR4X with 64 GB of NAND (the flagship Note 5 Pro model). The new Redmi Note 5 smartphones have microSD slots that support cards of up to 128 GB, so it is easy to upgrade internal storage of the new devices (but keep in mind that you are going to need microSD cards with A1 or A2 badges to install software on them).


As for operating system, the new Redmi Note 5 and Redmi Note 5 Pro will ship with the Android Nougat version 7.1.2 with the MIUI 9 on top.


Imaging: New Sensors, Improved Software and LED Flash for Selfies


In addition to different SoCs, the Redmi Note 5 and Redmi Note 5 Pro have vastly different imaging capabilities. The Redmi Note 5 is outfitted with a 12 MP sensor with f/2.2 aperture and a dual-tone LED flash on the back as well as a 5 MP sensor with f/2.0 aperture and a LED flash on the front. Xiaomi claims that the new back-facing camera works better in low light conditions and also has an improved white balance, but one has to test the handset to verify such claims.



By contrast, the Redmi Note 5 Pro comes with a ‘dual’ camera on the back that is comprised of a Sony IMX 486 12 MP (f/2.2, 1.25 μm) sensor, a 5 MP (f/2.0, 1.12 μm) depth sensor from Samsung and a dual-tone LED flash. The camera supports electronic image stabilization, phase detection autofocus as well as a variety of capabilities enabled by a depth sensor. Xiaomi says that the Redmi Note 5 Pro rear camera software features machine learning-based enhancements for more accurate edge detection by using semantic segmentation. On the front, the phone has a Sony IMX376 20 MP (f/2.0, 1/2.8”) sensor with a 4500K LED flash. This camera is also outfitted with the same ML-based software for edge detection, but since it does not have a depth sensor, the algorithm probably works a bit differently here. To further improve quality of selfies made by the front camera, Xiaomi also furnished its Redmi Note 5 Pro smartphone with its Beautify 4.0 software enhancement that supports multiple filters to remove various face imperfections. It is noteworthy that the camera software with Beautify 4.0 enhancements was tuned with India in mind and it remains to be seen whether the company introduces region- and/or country-specific camera enhancements in different parts of the world.


Connectivity, Battery, Security


Connectivity is a mixed bag for the Redmi Note 5. The smartphones support 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2 and a microUSB 2.0 port for charging. Both 802.11n and microUSB look a tad outdated for 2018 smartphones. Capping Wi-Fi to 802.11n is something that Xiaomi did to the  S625-based Redmi Note 4, so it is not completely surprising that the company did the same to the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5. Perhaps, Xiaomi will rethink its Wi-Fi support for the Redmi Note 5 aimed at different markets, but only time will tell (frankly, it is something unlikely to happen). Connectivity of the Redmi Note 5 Pro was improved considerably compared to the RN4/RN5. The handset supports 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5.0, but it still uses microUSB 2.0 port for charging.


As for WWAN connectivity, the Snapdragon 625 and 636 support LTE, WCDMA, CDMA and GSM, but since this was an India-specific announcement, Xiaomi revealed bands fthat are relevant for this country and particular models. In any case, the best thing one can get out of the S625/X9 is 300 Mbps DL and 150 Mbps UL, whereas the S636/X12 supports up to 600 Mbps DL and 150 Mbps UL. Exact capabilities of particular smartphones depend on what manufacturers decide to support.


Next up is biometric security, which is a standard capability nowadays. The Redmi Note 5 and Redmi Note 5 Pro are equipped with fingerprint readers, but the latter will also support Face Unlock feature after it gets an OTA update in late March. According to Xiaomi, its face recognition mechanism works faster than its fingerprint reader, but at present the company does not go beyond that.


Both new smartphones from Xiaomi are equipped with a 4000 mAh battery that enables them to last for at least a day of active usage (based on the manufacturer’s clams). The company is known for using high-capacity batteries in its handsets, so the Redmi Note 5 and Redmi Note 5 Pro are not exceptions.























Xiaomi Note 5 and Note 5 Pro Smartphones

  Redmi Note 5

3 GB/32 GB
Redmi Note 5

4 GB/64 GB
Redmi Note 5 Pro

4 GB/64 GB
Redmi Note 5 Pro

6 GB/64 GB
SoC Qualcomm Snapdragon 625

8 × ARM Cortex-A53 at 2 GHz

Adreno 506 at 624 MHz
Qualcomm Snapdragon 636

4 × custom ARM Cortex-A73 at 1.8 GHz

4 × custom ARM Cortex-A53 at 1.6 GHz

Adreno 509
RAM  3 GB LPDDR3 4 GB LPDDR3 4 GB LPDDR4X 6 GB LPDDR4X
Storage 32 GB + microSD 64 GB + microSD
Display 5.99″ 2160×1080 (403 ppi)

450 nits brightness

1000:1 contrast ratio

84% NTSC color gamut
Network 4G: LTE FDD 1/3/5, LTE TDD 40/41

3G: WCDMA 1/2/5/8

2G: 2/3/5/8
LTE Down: 300 Mb/s

Up: 150 Mb/s
Down: 600 Mb/s

Up: 150 Mb/s
Fingerprint  Yes
Dimensions 158.5 × 75.5 × 8.1 mm

6.24 × 2.97 × 0.32 inches
Weight ~180 grams
Rear Camera

12 MP (f/2.2 aperture)


dual-tone LED flash

12 MP (f/2.2, 1.25 μm)
Sony IMX 486 sensor


5 MP (f/2.0, 1.12 μm)

Samsung depth sensor


Dual-tone LED flash

Front Camera 5 MP (f/2.0 aperture)

LED flash
Sony IMX376 20 MP (f/2.0, 1/2.8”) sensor

4500K LED flash
Battery 4000 mAh
OS Google Android 7.1.2 with MIUI 9
Connectivity 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2, microUSB 2.0, 3.5mm TRRS 802.11 b/g/ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5
microUSB 2.0, 3.5mm TRRS
Navigation GPS + GLONASS
SIM Size Nano SIM + micro SD/Dual Nano SIM
Colors Black, Gold, Blue, Rose Gold
Launch Countries India
Price Rs. 9,999

$156
Rs. 11,999

$187
Rs. 13,999

$219
Rs. 16,999

$265

Price & Availability


Xiaomi will start selling its new Redmi Note 5 and Redmi Note 5 Pro smartphones in India this month and will gradually expand their availability to other markets in the coming months and quarters. The Redmi Note 5 will retail starting from Rs. 9,999 ($156) for the 3 GB + 32 GB version and Rs. 11,999 ($187) for the 4 GB + 64 GB variant. The Redmi Note 5 Pro will naturally be more expensive: the flagship model with 6 GB of LPDDR4X and 64 GB of NAND will cost Rs. 16,999 ($265), whereas a SKU with 4 GB of DRAM and 64 GB of storage will be priced at Rs. 13,999 ($219).


Related Reading:


Source: Xiaomi



Source: AnandTech – Xiaomi Launches Redmi Note 5 & Redmi Note 5 Pro with 18:9 5.99-Inch LCDs

HP Expands DaaS Offerings: Apple Devices, HP VR Solutions, and Tech Café Market

Today, HP announced a new set of Device as a Service (DaaS) offerings for customers and channel partners. Notably, this includes the reveal of DaaS offerings for Apple devices, where HP will provide support for iPhone, iPad, Mac, and other Apple equipment. Along with expansion through Apple products, HP is also expanding their DaaS services to cover their own VR solutions. This includes the Z4 Workstation and the HP Windows Mixed Reality VR headset. HP aims to cover major customer pain points by unifying diverse fleets of different device types and OSes and free up IT resources.


HP DaaS program for Apple will cover dozens of SKU and include multiple versions of each device. Apple coverage includes accidental damage protection as well as next day onsite repair or replacement which can minimize downtime for the user increasing productivity. Part of this plan includes specialized endpoint management. These  HP experts are able to deploy applications, provision Wi-Fi access, and set and enforce security policies taking a load off internal IT resources. They are also able to find and protect data on devices that may have been lost or stolen. HP also offers optional services covering the entire device lifecycle from design and planning, as well as configuration and deployment services.  




HP is also expanding its real-time hardware analytics and proactive device management capabilities. The analytics are able to capture data including health monitoring (device to component level), security status reports as well analytics and reports for IT planning. Monitoring points such as CPU and Memory utilization, temperatures, battery and HDD life, Windows BSOD and software errors, and security policy compliance are some of the items which are monitored and analyzed. Some of the data can be used to proactively fix or update devices when a trend is recognized. HP says they have nearly 40 Million devices reporting non-PII (Personally Identifiable Information) into their analytics. HP is able to use this data to be able to spot trends and more quickly resolve issues with data collected from both the client level and the entire ‘data lake’ as HP called it. 


In addition to expanding the available devices and how they are managed, HP also introduced the Tech Cafe Market Enhanced. The Tech Café is an end-to-end smart vending and storage solution able to provide end-users immediate access to accessories and peripherals. A 24/7 locker for device swaps is available for quick exchange of devices for repair or new deployment. End users are able to easily access accessories or new devices directly from the lockers without a dedicated IT resource saving time and improving customer experience. HP can also manage ordering, stock replenishment, and reporting for the clients again with an aim to free up IT resources.



HP’s DaaS update continues to point the service in the direction of a complete end-to-end solution for commercial environments who would like to reduce expenses by essentially renting hardware, while still getting quality IT support for the ever-increasing amount of devices today’s workers have. Customers are able to get everything needed from hardware to lifecycle services intended to improve efficiency and free up IT resources. HP’s key value proposition is to deliver a lower total cost of ownership for getting the right product in the user’s hands. The rollout for DaaS programs for Apple is in North America now with plans to expand out to India and the Asia-Pacific region in the coming months. Both the new Z4 workstation and the HP Windows Mixed Reality headset is available now. 


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Source: AnandTech – HP Expands DaaS Offerings: Apple Devices, HP VR Solutions, and Tech Café Market

Google Announces Cloud TPU v2 Beta Availability for Google Cloud Platform

This week, Google announced Cloud TPU beta availability on the Google Cloud Platform (GCP), accessible through their Compute Engine infrastructure-as-a-service. Using the second generation of Google’s tensor processing units (TPUs), the standard Cloud TPU configuration remains four custom ASICs and 64 GB of HBM2 on a single board, intended for accelerating TensorFlow-based machine learning workloads. With a leased Google Compute Engine VM, Cloud TPU resources can be used alongside current Google Cloud Platform CPU and GPU offerings.



First revealed at Google I/O 2016, the original TPU was a PCIe-based accelerator designed for inference workloads, and for the most part, the TPUv1 was used internally. This past summer, Google announced the inference and training oriented successor, the TPUv2, outlining plans to incorporate it into their cloud services. Both were detailed later at Hot Chips 2017 technical presentations.



Under the hood, the TPUv2 features a number of changes. Briefly recapping, the second generation TPU ASIC comes with a dual ‘core’ configuration, each having a scalar/vector unit and 128×128 mixed multiply unit capable of 32-bit floating point operations, as opposed to TPUv1’s single core 256×256 MXU and 8-bit integer capability. TPUv2 also improves on the memory bandwidth bottlenecks of its predecessor by using HBM instead of DDR3, with 8GB HBM2 connected to each core for a total of 16 GB per chip.



Four of these ASICs form a single Cloud TPU board, ultimately with Google citing up to 180 TFLOPS of unspecified compute performance. As announced earlier, Google is targeting a ‘TPU pod’ setup as one of the end goals, where 64 Cloud TPUs are combined in a dedicated networked array of racks. Google is aiming to offer full TPU Pods on GCP later this year.


In practical terms, this capability is catered to developers looking for TPU-suitable machine learning performance for particular TensorFlow workloads, with the benefit of Google’s existing cloud infrastructure-as-a-service offerings. Given that it is a beta, Google has a number of documents and tools up on their site. In many ways, the current TPU capabilities exist as a development pipe-cleaner of sorts for the upcoming TPU pods, with Google alluding to the same thing in their announcement. A number of capabilities are yet to be ironed out for TPUs: for example, model parallelism is not yet supported, not all built-in TensorFlow ops are available, and specific limitations exist for training reinforcement learning models, recurrent neural networks (RNN), or generative adversarial networks (GAN).


While select partners have had access to Cloud TPUs for production use, today’s announcement opens the availability to general GCP customers. Google’s Cloud TPUs are available today as purchasable compute time in the US from a Compute Engine provisioned VM, with a $6.50 per TPU per hour rate charged in one-second increments. Interested parties may submit a beta quota request.


Related Reading




Source: AnandTech – Google Announces Cloud TPU v2 Beta Availability for Google Cloud Platform

Intel Adds Mobile Core i3-8130U to Lineup: Increased Cache and Turbo

Intel on Tuesday introduced the Core i3-8130U, its first mobile 8th Generation Core i3 processor. The new chip features two cores operating at a high frequency and supports Turbo Boost 2.0 technology to make them even faster when power and temperatures permit. The CPU also gains an L3 cache size increase over its predecessors, stepping up to 2MB of inclusive L3 cache per core. However, the new processor is listed as only $16 cheaper than one above it in Intel’s stack, the quad-core Core i5-8250U, posing questions about its appeal to the end-user.


The Core i3-8130U


The Intel Core i3-8130U has two cores with Hyper-Threading, operating at 2.2 GHz base frequency and speeding up to 3.4 GHz in Turbo Boost 2.0 mode; the chip is outfitted with 4 MB of L3 cache and has a 15 W TDP. Previous-generation mobile ULV Core i3 processors came with 3 MB of L3 cache and did not feature Turbo mode, by comparison. The addition of Turbo comes at a different cost, as it would appear that Intel has reduced the base frequency to compensate: the default frequency of the previous generation Core i3-7130U was 2.7 GHz, whereas the new Core i3-8130 is at 2.2 GHz. There is also the added complication that Turbo frequency boosting depends on multiple factors, such as chassis design and cooling performance.


When it comes to graphics and memory, the new CPU features the UHD Graphics 620 iGPU (GT2) as well as a dual-channel memory controller supporting LPDDR3-2133 or DDR4-2400. From silicon point of view, we are dealing with a Kaby Lake Refresh 2+2 design, and the main difference with the original Kaby Lake is the addition of native support of HDMI 2.0, HDCP 2.2, and possible minor fixes.




















Intel Mobile Core i3 and Core i5 Processors
  Core i5-8250U Core i3-8130U Core i3-7130U
CPU Cores/Threads 4/8 2/4
Frequency Base 1.6 GHz 2.2 GHz 2.7 GHz
Dual-Core Turbo ? 3.4 GHz 2.7 GHz
Single-Core Turbo 3.4 GHz 3.4 GHz 2.7 GHz
TDP (PL1) @ Base Frequency 15 W
Instantaneous Turbo Power (PL2) 44 W ? 19 W
Configurable TDP-up Freq. 1.8 GHz
Configurable TDP-up 25 W
L3 Cache 6 MB 4 MB 3 MB
Graphics GPU UHD 620 HD 620
EUs 24 EUs
Base Freq. 300 MHz
Turbo Freq. 1.1 GHz 1 GHz
DRAM Support LPDDR3-2133

DDR4-2400

128-bit
DDR3L-1600

LPDDR3-1866

DDR4-2133

128-bit
Price at Launch $297 $281 $281
Launch Timeframe Q3 2017 Q1 2018 Q2 2017

Intel positions the Core i3-8130U as its lowest-cost offering for the latest mainstream notebooks and 2-in-1 PCs. The processor is listed at $281 in 1000-unit quantities, which is only $16 cheaper than the price of the quad-core Core i5-8250U. Historically, RCPs of Intel’s higher-end mobile Core i3 products have matched (or almost matched) prices of the company’s entry mobile Core i5 offerings, so there is nothing new here.


However, the difference between 7th Generation mobile Core i3 and Core i5 was negligible and pricing of these CPUs just reflected that. By contrast, today we are dealing with a $297 quad-core Core i5-8250U operating at 1.6-3.4 GHz as well as a $281 dual-core Core i3-8130U operating at 2.2-3.4 GHz. Despite the clock speed difference, we would expect many modern workloads that are multi-threaded to give the i5-8250U a significant advantage over the i3-8130U.  In any case, at $281, the new CPU is currently the most affordable 8th Generation mobile Core processor and it will enable PC makers to build slightly cheaper versions of their latest laptops or 2-in-1s. 


Note: The image above depicts Intel’s 8th Generation Core i7 SoC. The 8th Generation Core i3 SoC may look differently.


Related Reading




Source: AnandTech – Intel Adds Mobile Core i3-8130U to Lineup: Increased Cache and Turbo

The Latest High-Capacity M.2: The Samsung 860 EVO 2TB SSD, Reviewed

The Samsung 860 EVO is the mainstream side of Samsung’s new generation of consumer SATA SSDs, though our 2TB M.2 drive is a bit of a niche product. Like the 860 PRO, the new 860 EVO provides the necessary improvements to keep up with today’s competition, but Samsung is still setting prices like they’re the only ones with a high-performance TLC drive.



Source: AnandTech – The Latest High-Capacity M.2: The Samsung 860 EVO 2TB SSD, Reviewed

AMD Releases Radeon Software Adrenalin Edition 18.2.2 & Inaugural Ryzen Desktop APU WHQL Drivers

This week, AMD released Radeon Software Adrenalin Edition 18.2.2, a smaller patch bringing support for the just-launched Kingdom Come: Deliverance, as well as performance optimizations for Fortnite and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG). Purely game-focused, 18.2.2 documents no new bugfixes or issues. And alongside Monday’s launch of AMD Ryzen 5 2400G and Ryzen 3 2200G, AMD has put out the inaugural Windows 10 WHQL drivers specific to those two new APUs.


Released just yesterday, Kingdom Come: Deliverance is a CryEngine-powered first-person single player historical RPG, thematically reminiscent of Mount and Blade and The Witcher. The developers, Warhorse Studios, have stated their desire to focus on realism, story, open-world freedom, and hardcore combat mechanics, the latter of which is not too surprising considering the Operation Flashpoint and ARMA pedigree of Warhorse Studio’s team members.



For Kingdom Come: Deliverance, AMD cites their 18.2.2 testing to show up to 3% faster 1440p performance for the Radeon RX Vega 56 and up to 4% faster 1080p performance for the Radeon RX 580 compared to Radeon Software Adrenalin Edition 18.2.1. As it so happens, Warhorse Studios marks down the Radeon RX 580 as the recommended AMD GPU requirement, with the Radeon HD 7870 as the minimum.


As for Fortnite and PUBG, AMD compares Radeon Software Adrenalin Edition 17.12.1 performance to 18.2.2, claiming 1440p improvements for the Radeon RX Vega 56 up to 3% faster for Fortnite and up to 5% faster for PUBG. Meanwhile, for the Radeon RX 580 at 1080p, AMD cites up to 6% faster performance in Fortnite and up to 7% faster performance in PUBG.


Wrapping things up on the 18.2.2 side, there has been no documented bugfixes and the list of open issues remain identical to 18.2.1:


  • FreeSync intermittently engages during Chrome video playback incorrectly, resulting in playback flicker.
  • Radeon Overlay hotkey fails to bring up the overlay or causes a Radeon Host Application crash intermittently on a limited number of gaming titles.
  • FreeSync may rapidly change between min and max range when enabled causing stutter in fullscreen games on multi display system configurations.
  • When Enhanced Sync is enabled on some FreeSync connected displays, flickering occurs with the performance metrics overlay.
  • Water textures appear to be missing in World of Final Fantasy.
  • A random system hang may be experienced after extended periods of use on system configurations using 12 GPU’s for compute workloads.
  • The GPU Workload feature may cause a system hang when switching to Compute while CrossFire is enabled. A workaround is to disable CrossFire before switching the toggle to Compute workloads.


Radeon Software for New Ryzen Desktop APUs


Released as “Radeon Software for Ryzen Desktop Processors with Radeon Vega Graphics,” the inaugural public graphics drivers are WHQL certified and are documented as version 17.40.3701 (Windows Driver Store Version 23.20.827.0). The update applies only to the Ryzen 5 2400G and Ryzen 3 2200G, and notes the following:


  • RAID drivers are not included in display driver packages. Users wishing to use RAID should navigate to the amd.com APU chipset driver page to find and install RAID drivers.
  • AMD has noted a potential system crash while running certain OpenCL applications like Linpack-DGEMM & Indigo benchmark. AMD is currently testing a solution to this issue and an updated driver will be released very shortly. Please visit amd.com for updates.
  • 3DMark Firestrike may experience an application hang during GT2 test.

Additionally, AMD has put up a support page for issues with system boot-up failure on configurations with some 2nd generation Ryzen desktop processors (CPUs & APUs) and AM4 motherboards. Unsurprisingly, AMD notes that the likely cause in this scenario is a motherboard that has not been updated to the latest BIOS with APU support, but offers a boot kit solution under warranty if this is not the root cause.



The updated drivers for AMD’s desktop, mobile, and integrated GPUs are available through the Radeon Settings tab or online at the AMD driver download page. More information on these updates and further issues can be found in the respective Radeon Software Adrenalin Edition 18.2.2 release notes and Radeon Software for Ryzen Desktop Processors with Radeon Vega Graphics release notes.



Source: AnandTech – AMD Releases Radeon Software Adrenalin Edition 18.2.2 & Inaugural Ryzen Desktop APU WHQL Drivers

AKiTiO’s Thunder3 10G Adapter Now Available: TB3-to-10GbE for Sub-$300

AKiTiO has quietly begun to sell its Thunderbolt 3 to 10 GbE network adapter, which it first demonstrated at Computex 2017. The device is based on a 10 GbE solution from Tehuti Networks and is compatible with both Macs and Windows PCs. Priced at just under $300, AKiTiO is selling the adapter directly as well as through Amazon.


As described back in June, the AKiTiO Thunder3 10G (T3NA-T3LNITY-AKT) network adapter supports five speeds, including 10GBase-T as well as NBase-T, allowing it to work not only with corporate 10 GbE networks, but also with upcoming 2.5GBase-T and 5GBase-T networks primarily aimed at small businesses and consumers, as well as existing 1 GbE and 100 M networks. The device itself is a relatively small rugged box made of aluminum for better heat dissipation and featuring rubber pads on its sides for further protection.



The adapter is bus-powered, it only has one 10 GBase-T port, a Thunderbolt 3 header, as well as an opening for a security lock. Unlike many other TB3 devices, this one does not have another TB3 connector to daisy chain it with other TB3 appliances, perhaps to reduce development and BOM costs (more on this later), or address security concerns of certain clients. Theoretically, it should be possible to plug the Thunder 10G network adapter at the end of a Thunderbolt 3 daisy chain after a display and a DAS, but AKiTiO does explicitly list this as supported.



The AKiTiO Thunder3 10G (T3NA-T3LNITY-AKT) is based on Tehuti Networks’ TN9710x-TB3 reference design for Thunderbolt 3 to 10GBase-T/NBase-T network adapters. This reference design is intended to minimize the number of chips and components required: it carries Tehuti’s own TN4010 MAC, Marvell’s Alaska X 88X3310P 10 GbE transceiver, Intel’s DSL6340 Thunderbolt 3 controller (which is why daisy chaining is not supported), Texas Instruments’ TPS65983 USB Type-C and Power Delivery (PD) controller, as well as an essential set of power and other ICs (integrated circuits). AKiTiO already uses Tehuti’s designs for its Thunder2 10G network adapter as well as its 5-Speed 10G/NBASE-T PCIe network card, so the decision to go with this partner was logical. Apart from developing chips and reference designs, Tehuti provides unified drivers for them and having one driver for all three products greatly simplifies their support. Speaking of drivers, the Thunder3 10G is compatible with macOS 10.12.5 and above, Windows 7 and Windows 10.



AKiTiO’s Thunder3 10G is now available directly from the company as well as from Amazon for $279.99, which is below MSRP of most Intel-based 10GbE add-on cards. Considering the fact that the latter are generally aimed at servers and high-end workstations (and therefore come with appropriate features and software stack), this is not really surprising. In the meantime, it is noteworthy that the Thunder3 10G costs $120 less than the Thunder2 10G ($399.99), a clear indicator that 10 GbE hardware in general is getting more affordable.




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Source: AnandTech – AKiTiO’s Thunder3 10G Adapter Now Available: TB3-to-10GbE for Sub-0

Gen-Z Interconnect Core Specification 1.0 Published

The first major release of the Gen-Z systems interconnect specification is now available. The Gen-Z Consortium was publicly announced in late 2016 and has been developing the technology as an open standard, with several drafts released in 2017 for public comment.


Gen-Z is one of several standards that emerged from the long stagnation of the PCI Express standard after the PCIe 3.0 release. Technologies like Gen-Z, CAPI, CCIX and NVLink seek to offer higher throughput, lower latency and the option of cache coherency, in order to enable much higher performance connections between processors, co-processors/accelerators, and fast storage. Gen-Z in particular has very broad ambitions to blur the lines between a memory bus, processor interconnect, peripheral bus and even straying into networking territory.


The Core Specification released today primarily addresses connecting processors to memory, with the goal of allowing the memory controllers in processors to be media-agnostic: the details of whether the memory is some type of DRAM (eg. DDR4, GDDR6) or a persistent memory like 3D XPoint are handled by a media controller at the memory end of a Gen-Z link, while the processor itself issues simple and generic read and write commands over the link. In this use case, Gen-Z doesn’t completely remove the need for traditional on-die memory controllers or the highest-performance solutions like HBM2, but Gen-Z can enable more scalability and flexibility by allowing new memory types to be supported without altering the processor, and by providing access to more banks of memory than can be directly attached to the processor’s own memory controller.


At the lowest level, Gen-Z connections look a lot like most other modern high-speed data links: fast serial links, bonding together multiple lanes to increase throughput, and running a packet-oriented protocol. Gen-Z borrows from both PCI Express and IEEE 802.3 Ethernet physical layer (PHY) standards to offer per-lane speeds up to the 56Gb/s raw speed of 50GBASE-KR, and will track the speed increases from future versions of those underlying standards. The PCIe PHY is incorporated more or less as-is, while the Ethernet PHY standards have been modified to allow for lower power operation when used for shorter links within a single system, such as communication between dies on a multi-chip module. Gen-Z allows for asymmetric links with more links and bandwidth in one direction than the other. The Gen-Z protocol supports various connection topologies like basic point to point links, daisy-chaining, and switched fabrics, including multiple paths of connection between endpoints. Daisy-chain links are estimated to add about 5ns of latency per hop, and switch latencies are expected to be on the order of 10ns for a small 8-port switch up to 50-60ns for a 64-port switch, so using Gen-Z for memory access is reasonable, especially where the somewhat slower persistent memory technologies are concerned. The Gen-Z protocol expresses almost everything in memory terms, but with each endpoint performing its own memory mapping and translation rather than attempting to form a unified single address space across a Gen-Z fabric that could scale beyond a single rack in a data center.


Wide Industry Participation


The Gen-Z Consortium launched with the support of a dozen major technology companies, but its membership has now grown to the point that it is easier to list the big hardware companies who aren’t currently involved: Intel and NVidia. Gen-Z has members from every segment necessary to build a viable product ecosystem: semiconductor design and IP (Mentor, Cadence, PLDA), connectors (Molex, Foxconn, Amphenol, TE), processors and accelerators (AMD, ARM, IBM, Cavium, Xilinx), switches and controllers (IDT, Microsemi, Broadcom, Mellanox), every DRAM and NAND flash memory manufacturer except Intel, software vendors (RedHat, VMWare), system vendors (Lenovo, HPE, Dell EMC). It is clear that most of the industry is paying attention to Gen-Z, even if most of them haven’t yet committed to bringing Gen-Z products to market.


At the SuperComputing17 conference in November, Gen-Z had a multi-vendor demo of four servers sharing access to two pools of memory through a Gen-Z switch. This was implemented with heavy use of FPGAs, but with the Core Specification 1.0 release we will start seeing Gen-Z show up in ASICs. The focus for now is on datacenter use cases with products potentially hitting the market in 2019.


In the meantime, it will be interesting to see where industry support concentrates between Gen-Z and competing standards. Many companies are members or supporters of more than one of the new interconnect standards, and there’s no clear winner at this time. Nobody is abandoning PCI Express, and it isn’t clear which new interconnect will offer the most compelling advantages over the existing ubiquitous standards or over proprietary interconnects. Gen-Z seems to have one of the widest membership bases and the widest target market, but it could still easily be doomed to niche status if it only receives half-hearted support from most of its members.



Source: AnandTech – Gen-Z Interconnect Core Specification 1.0 Published

Panasonic Unveils Let’s Note SV7: 12.1-Inch, Quad-Core CPU, TB3, ODD, 21 Hrs, 2.4 Lbs

Panasonic has upgraded its 12.1-inch series laptops with Intel’s quad-core 8th Generation Core i5/i7 CPUs. The new Panasonic Let’s Note CF-SV7-series notebooks are the only ultra-compact PCs to feature Intel’s latest mobile processors, a Thunderbolt 3 interconnection, an optical drive and an optional LTE modem in a package that weighs from 999 grams to 1.124 kilograms (2.2 – 2.47 pounds).


Panasonic is one of a few companies nowadays that offers highly-integrated ultra-compact laptops with optical disc drives. These machines are very light because they are made of plastic (they are still rugged enough and can be dropped from a height of 76 cm) and their weight is about a kilogram, but they are not ultra-thin like modern notebooks from Apple, HP or Lenovo. To a large degree, they are relatively thick because they are designed to offer their owners the best possible connectivity, feature set and battery life, something that we usually see on 14”/15.6” laptops from other manufacturers. In Europe and the U.S. many people nowadays prefer ultra-thin PCs even if they lack replaceable batteries or certain ports (and I am not even talking about laptops with ODDs — they have become exotic). User preferences are different in Japan, which is why Panasonic still offers 12”-class laptops with optical drives, thick replaceable batteries and plenty of connectors.



The Panasonic Let’s Note CF-SV7 family of notebooks succeeds the company’s Let’s Note CF-SZ6 lineup that featured a similar appearance, a 12.1” WUXGA (1920×1200) display, comparable weight and dimensions as well as a very long battery life of up to 21 hours (enabled by a removable accumulator). Meanwhile, even though the CF-SV7 continues traditions of the CF-SZ6, it does not mean that Panasonic just installed new quad-core CPUs into an old chassis.


The Let’s Note SV7-series based on Intel’s quad-core Core i5/i7 processors actually uses a new chassis that is 24.5 mm thick (down from 25.3 mm in case of the SZ6) and features a new cooling system for its new CPUs. Because of the new cooler, the SV7 PCs are a bit heavier than their predecessors, but even when equipped with a high-capacity “L” battery, their weight does not exceed 1.124 kilograms. Besides the new quad-core 8th Generation Core i5/i7 processors, Panasonic’s latest SV7-series laptops obtained a Thunderbolt 3 port, a rare feature for 12”-class mobile computers.



Exact configurations of Panasonic’s Let’s Note CF-SV7 vary greatly. Retail versions of the CF-SV7 are equipped with Intel’s Core i5-8250U or Core i7-8550 CPUs, 8 GB of LPDDR4-1866 memory and a SATA SSD (128 GB – 1 TB). Meanwhile, built-to-order models bought directly from Panasonic can be customized to feature Intel’s Core i5-8350U or Core i7-8650U, 16 GB RAM as well as a 1 TB PCIe SSD. As for connectivity, the systems are outfitted with an 802.11ac + Bluetooth 4.1 wireless module, a GbE connector, three USB 3.0 Type-A ports, a D-Sub output, an HDMI 2.0 header (supporting 4Kp60 resolution), a TRRS audio connector and so on. In addition, the systems feature stereo speakers, a microphone, a 720p webcam with an IR sensor compatible with Windows Hello, an SD card reader supporting SDHC/SDXC cards with UHS-II interface as well as a CD/DVD burner/reader or a Blu-ray reader/CD/DVD burner. Some systems come with a 4G/LTE modem, other can be configured to include a 1 TB HDD in addition to a 128 GB SSD. It is noteworthy that the width of a key on SV7’s keyboard is 19 mm, comparable to that of a modern MacBook Pro. Meanwhile, the new SV7 continues to feature Panasonic’s round touchpad that does not look too comfy.


Besides high integration, the Let’s Note CF-SV7-series can be proud of its battery life. When equipped with an “S” battery and an SSD, the laptop can work for up to 14 hours, according to Panasonic. Meanwhile, if an “L” accumulator is installed, the system is rated for 21 hours, probably a record for 12”-class PCs in general.



















General Specifications of Panasonic Let’s Note CF-SV7-Series
  “High-End” “Mainstream” “Entry”
Display 12.1″ non-glossy

1920×1200 resolution
SoC Core i7-8550U

Core i7-8650U*
Core i5-8250U

Core i5-8350U*
RAM 8 GB LPDDR3

16 GB LPDDR3*
Storage 256 – 512 GB SSD SATA

up to 1 TB SSD PCIe*
128 – 256 GB SSD SATA

up to 1 TB SSD PCIe*
1 TB HDD

128 GB SSD + 1 TB HD*

up to 1 TB SSD PCIe*
ODD CD/DVD burner

BD reader/CD/DVD burner*

No ODD*
Camera 720p webcam with IR sensor for Windows Hello
Wireless  802.11ac Wi-Fi

Bluetooth 4.1

optional 4G/LTE modem 300/50 Mbps
I/O ports 3 × USB 3.0 Type-A

1 × Thunderbolt 3/USB Type-C

1 × HDMI

1 × D-Sub

1 × GbE

SD card reader with UHS-II support
Audio Integrated speakers and microphone

1 × TRRS 3.5-mm jack for headset
Dimensions 283.5 × 203.8 × 24.5 mm
Weight 999 – 1124 grams
Battery Life Based on JEITA 2.0 Up to 21 hours with L battery and SSD

Up to 14 hours with S battery and SSD

Up to 11 hours with S battery and HDD
OS Windows 10 Pro Windows 10 Home

Windows 10 Pro
Windows 10 Pro
Finish Body: Silver or Black*

Top Cover: Silver, Black*, Blue*, Dark Red*
Notes *Available only directly from Panasonic

As mentioned above, Panasonic’s Let’s Note CF-SV7 laptops will come in different configurations. A basic one featuring Intel’s Core i5-8350U, 8 GB of RAM, a 256 GB SSD, a DVD drive and an “S” battery pack costs ¥253,584 w/taxes (~$2320) when bought online. A premium one equipped with Intel’s Core i7-8650U, 16 GB of RAM, a 1 TB SSD, a Blu-ray drive, an LTE modem and an “S” battery is priced at ¥425,304 w/taxes (~$3880) when bought directly from Panasonic. The Let’s Note CF-SV7 PCs are definitely priced well above average, but the systems offer unique features that tend to cost a lot.



Related Reading:


Sources: Panasonic, PC Watch



Source: AnandTech – Panasonic Unveils Let’s Note SV7: 12.1-Inch, Quad-Core CPU, TB3, ODD, 21 Hrs, 2.4 Lbs

ARM Announces Project Trillium Machine Learning IPs

Today’s Arm announcement is a bit out of the norm for the company, as it’s the first in a series of staggered releases of information. For this first announcement Arm is publicly unveiling “Project Trillium” – a group of software solutions as well IP for object detection and machine learning.


Machine learning is indeed the hot new topic in the semiconductor business and has particularly seen a large focus in the mobile world over the last couple of months, with announcements from various IP companies as well as consumer solutions from the likes of Huawei. We’ve most recently had a more in-depth look and exploration of the topic of machine learning and neural network processing in a dedicated section of our review of the Kirin 970.


Whilst we had a great amount of noise from many industry players on the topic of machine learning IPs. Arm was conspicuously absent from the news and until now the focus has been on the CPU ISA extensions of Armv8.2, which introduce specialised instructions which simplify and accelerate implementations of neural networks with the help of half-precision floating point and integer dot products.


Alongside the CPU improvements we’ve also seen GPU improvements for machine learning in the G72. While both of these improvements help, they are insufficient in use-cases where maximum performance and efficiency are required. For example, as we’ve seen in the our test of the Kirin 970’s NPU and Qualcomm’s DSP – the efficiency of running inferencing on specialized IPs is above an order of magnitude higher than running it on a CPU.


As Arm explains it, the Armv8.2 and GPU improvements were only the first results towards establishing solutions for machine learning, while in parallel they’ve examined the need for dedicated solutions. Industry pressure from partners made it clear that the performance and efficiency requirements made dedicated solutions inevitable and started work on its machine learning (ML) processors.



Today’s announcement covers the new ML processors as well as object detection processors (OD). The latter IP is a result of Arm’s Apical acquirement in 2016 which saw the company add solutions for the display and camera pipelines to their IP portfolio.


Starting with the ML processor – what we’re talking about here is a dedicated IP for neural network model inferencing acceleration. As we’ve emphasised in our NN related announcements of late, Arm also emphasises that having an architecture which is specifically designed for such workloads can have significant advantages over traditional CPU and GPU architectures. Arm also made a great focus on the need to design an architecture which is able to do optimised memory management of the data that flows through a processor when executing ML workloads. These workloads have high data reusability and minimising the in- and out-bound data through the processor is a key aspect of reaching high performance and high efficiency.



Arm’s ML processor promises to reach theoretical throughput of over 4.6TOPs (8-bit integer) at target power envelopes of around 1.5W, advertising up to 3TOPs/W. The power and efficiency estimates are based on a 7nm implementation of the IP.


In regards to the performance figures, Arm agrees with me that the TOPs figure alone might not be the best figure to represent performance of an IP; however it’s still useful until the industry can work towards some sort of standardisation for benchmarking on popular neural network models. The ML processor can act as a fully dedicated and standalone IP block with its own ACE-Lite interface for incorporation into a SoC, or it can be integrated within DynamiQ cluster, which is a lot more novel in terms of implementation. Arm wasn’t ready to disclose more architectural information of the processor and reserves that for future announcements.


An aspect that seemed confusing is Arm’s naming of the new IP. Indeed Arm doesn’t see that the term “accelerator” is appropriate here as traditionally accelerators for Arm meant things such as packet handling accelerators in the networking space. Instead Arm sees the new ML processor as a more fully-fledged processor and therefore deserving of that naming.



The OD processor is a more traditional vision processor and is optimised for the task of object detection. There is still a need for such IP as while the ML processor could do the same task via neural networks, the OD processor can do it faster and more efficiently. This showcases just how far the industry is going to make dedicated IP for extremely specialised tasks to be able to extract the maximum amount of efficiency.



Arm envisions use-cases where the OD and ML processors are integrated together, where the OD processor would isolate areas of interest within an image and forward them to the ML processor where more fine-grained processing is executed on. Arm had a slew of fun examples as ideas, but frankly we still don’t know for sure how use-cases in the mobile space will evolve. The same can’t be said about camera and surveillance systems where we the opportunity for continuous use of OD and ML processing.


Arm’s first generation of ML processors is targeted at mobile use while variants for other spaces will follow on in the future. The architecture of the IP is said to be scalable both upwards and downwards from the initial mobile release.



As part of Project Trillium, Arm also makes available a large amount of software that will help developers implement their neural network models into different NN frameworks. These are going to be available starting today on Arm’s developer website as well as Github.


The OD processor is targeted for release to partners in Q1 while the ML processor is said to be ready mid 2018. Again this is highly unusual for Arm as usually public announcements happen far after IP availability to customers. Due to the nature of SoC development we should thus not expect silicon based on the new IP until mid to late 2019 at the earliest, making Arm one of the slow-adopters among the semiconductor IP vendors who offer ML IP.



Related Reading




Source: AnandTech – ARM Announces Project Trillium Machine Learning IPs

Micron Readies 3D QLC NAND-Based Datacenter SSDs for Nearline Storage

Micron has revealed plans to release datacenter-class SSDs based on 3D QLC NAND memory in an effort to compete in the nearline storage market. Briefly announced at a conference last week, the company is taking aim at applications that currently use 7200 RPM HDDs, the use of which is increasingly common in nearline storage. The manufacturer did not reveal any additional details about the upcoming drive, but demonstrated a wafer with QLC 3D NAND dies.


Micron disclosed its plans concerning own-brand SSDs in 2018 at the A3 Technology Live conference in London last week. Among other things, the company intends to introduce a QLC-based SSD with a SATA interface for cloud datacenters this year. The drive will be positioned below the existing 5200-series SSDs and will be aimed primarily at read intensive applications (or the so-called WORM — write once, read many workloads). The QLC-based SSD will have a feature set aimed at hyperscale datacenters and will compete for the place currently occupied by high-capacity 7200 RPM HDDs, reports The Register.



The manufacturer did not disclose capacity of the upcoming QLC-based drives and did not reveal whether they will feature in-house developed controllers with enhanced ECC capabilities (developed using IP and engineers the company got when it acquired Tidal Systems several years ago), or third-party enterprise-grade controllers. The company demonstrated a wafer carrying 64 GB (i.e., 512 Gb) 3D QLC NAND chips, indicating that it has the new flash memory at hand already.



QLC flash memory stores four bits per cell, thus offering a 33% higher bit density and lower per-bit cost compared to TLC flash commonly used for high-capacity SSDs today. 3D QLC NAND has been formally announced by Toshiba and Western Digital so far, but there are no doubts that all producers of NAND are working on QLC chips too. Increasing the bit density of NAND flash usually comes at the cost of endurance, but Toshiba last year said that it had managed to increase endurance of its 3D QLC NAND flash to 1000 program/erase cycles by using a stronger ECC mechanism, which is comparable to endurance of 3D TLC NAND.


QLC’s higher bit densities as well as lower per-bit costs are expected to reduce per-GB prices of high-capacity SSDs further and enable them to compete against existing leading-edge HDDs, such HGST’s Ultrastar with 12 or 14 TB capacity. Two obvious advantages that high-capacity QLC-based SSDs will have when compared to hard drives are lower latencies and higher storage densities. Meanwhile, per-GB costs of HDDs will remain lower when compared to NAND flash for years to come — this is what producers of both HDDs and flash memory agree on. So I’d expect to see that these upcoming 3D QLC NAND-based SSDs will sit between high-capacity HDDs and high-performance SSDs, occupying a tier of their own in hyperscale datacenters.


Related Reading:


Sources: The Register, A3 Communications Technology Live



Source: AnandTech – Micron Readies 3D QLC NAND-Based Datacenter SSDs for Nearline Storage

AMD Readies Ryzen 3 2200GE & Ryzen 5 2400GE APUs with Reduced TDP

AMD is preparing to release low-power versions of its Ryzen APUs with built-in Radeon Vega graphics. The new Ryzen 3 2200GE and Ryzen 5 2400GE chips will have a 35 W TDP and will operate at lower frequencies when compared to the Ryzen 3 2200G and the Ryzen 5 2400G that hit the market this week. ASUS has already added support for the new energy-efficient APUs to BIOS of one of its AM4 motherboards, so the actual launch is imminent.


AMD’s Ryzen 3 2200G with Radeon Vega 8 graphics as well as Ryzen 5 2400G with Radeon RX Vega 11 graphics have configurable TDP of 45 – 65 W and enable AMD to compete for mainstream desktops. This market is rather big and it is important to address it with competitive offerings, but sales of traditional desktops are stagnating at best. Meanwhile, demand for small form-factor desktops is growing, so AMD has to offer processors with reduced power consumption to address them. The company already has multiple energy-efficient Excavator-based APU for the AM4 platform in its arsenal and in the coming weeks or months it will release Zen-based APUs for SFF desktops.


Initially, AMD plans to offer two energy-efficient Zen-based APUs: the Ryzen 3 2200GE and the Ryzen 5 2400GE. Both APUs feature four Zen cores as well as Radeon Vega graphics, but their exact specs and configs are yet to be disclosed. According to ASUS, the Ryzen 5 2400GE will feature four cores with SMT operating at 3.2 GHz (down from 3.6 GHz of the Ryzen 5 2400G) as well as a 35 W TDP. Meanwhile, the Ryzen 3 2200GE appears to feature four cores without SMT working at 3.2 GHz (down from 3.5 GHz of the 2200G) along with a 35 W TDP*. It remains to be seen whether AMD’s Ryzen 3 2200GE and Ryzen 5 2400GE sustain iGPU configurations of their higher-power brethren (obviously, at reduced clocks) as well as DDR4-2933 support, but at this point base CPU frequencies is all we know about these products.




















AMD Ryzen 2000-Series APUs
  Ryzen 5

2400G

with Vega 11
Ryzen 5

2400GE

with Vega 11
Ryzen 3

2200G

with Vega 8
Ryzen 3

2200G

with Vega 8
CPU Cores/Threads 4 / 8 4 / 4  
Base CPU Frequency 3.6 GHz 3.2 GHz 3.5 GHz 3.2 GHz (?)
Turbo CPU Frequency 3.9 GHz ? 3.7 GHz ?
TDP @ Base Frequency 65 W 35 W 65 W 35 W
Configurable TDP 46-65 W 35 W 46-65 W 35 W
L2 Cache 512 KB/core
L3 Cache 4 MB
Graphics Vega 11 Vega 11 (?) Vega 8 Vega 8 (?)
Compute Units 11 CUs 11 CUs (?) 8 CUs 8 CU (?)
Streaming Processors 704 SPs 704 SPs (?) 512 SPs 512 (?)
Base GPU Frequency 1250 MHz ? 1100 MHz ?
DRAM Support DDR4-2933

Dual Channel
DDR4

Dual Channel
DDR4-2933

Dual Channel
DDR4

Dual Channel
OPN PIB YD2400C4FBBOX ? YD2200C5FBBOX ?
OPN Tray YD2400C5M4MFB ? YD2200C4M4MFB ?
Price $169 ? $99 ?
Bundled Cooler AMD Wraith Stealth ? AMD Wraith Stealth ?

The 35W Ryzen APUs will enable AMD to compete for OEM SFF and ultra-slim Mini-ITX DIY builds (previous-gen Bristol Ridge chips were hardly attractive for enthusiasts), which will help the company to further increase its market share.


AMD did not comment on the news story because the Ryzen 3 2200GE and the Ryzen 5 2400GE have not been announced, so we cannot fill the gaps when it comes to specs and prices of the new APUs.


*Specifications of the Ryzen 3 2200GE are a bit less clear from the ASUS listings because the company attributes partially correct specs of the Ryzen 3 2200G (the L3 cache size the company cites is incorrect) to the 2200GE (see the image below). Now, if the company attributes specs of the 2200GE to the 2200G, then we have basic specifications of the former, but if there is a mistake somewhere, we do not and the 3.2 GHz base frequency figure is inaccurate.



Related Reading:




Source: AnandTech – AMD Readies Ryzen 3 2200GE & Ryzen 5 2400GE APUs with Reduced TDP

VAIO S Laptops Updated With 8th Gen Core CPUs & TruePerformance to Prolong Turbo Time

VAIO has updated its popular 13-inch VAIO S laptops sold in the U.S. with Intel’s latest 8th Generation Core i5/i7 processors featuring four cores. Besides new CPUs, the systems have also added the company’s new TruePerformance technology, which is designed to maintain a higher turbo boost frequency for longer periods of time. The new VAIO S also feature a fingerprint reader and a TPM 2.0 module, emphasizing their business nature. Meanwhile the 2018 VAIO S retain their “classic” chassis along with a set of connectors, so they do not support modern headers, such as USB Type-C.


The new VAIO S laptops are based on Intel’s quad-core Core i5-8250U or Core i7-8550U processors with Intel UHD Graphics 620 accompanied by 8 – 16 GB of LPDDR3-1866 memory and a PCIe SSD featuring 256 GB, 512 GB or 1 TB capacity. One of the key features of the 2018 VAIO S notebooks is the TruePerformance technology that promises to maximize time that a CPU works at increased frequencies, giving VAIO a competitive advantage over other laptops based on the same processor.



VAIO’s TruePerformance tech is a combination of VAIO’s increased CPU power limits and a cooling system that can handle the increased heat. For reference, Intel’s Turbo Boost 2.0 technology increases the CPU frequency in increments of 100 MHz when an operating system requests a higher performance state. Typically, the amount of time that a CPU can work at its maximum Turbo Boost 2.0-defined frequency is about 20 to 30 seconds (according to VAIO), then it has to reduce its clocks because of thermals and other factors. VAIO claims that even if it increased the amount of time a processor operates at its TB 2.0-defined peak to 40 seconds, this would not bring many benefits to end users.



Instead, engineers from VAIO increased the base TDP limits of Intel CPUs to prolong the amount of time the chips operate at an above-nominal frequency (or frequencies), but below the TB 2.0-defined peak frequency. The company does not say whether it boosted TDP of Intel’s 8th Generation Core i5/i7 CPUs all the way to  25 W from 15 W (an increase allowed by Intel and called configurable TDP-up) which would explain and define higher frequencies. Meawhile, VAIO admits it needed to redesign its CPU VRMs as well as its cooling system to remove the extra heat. The new cooler has a thicker vent (and probably an enlarged radiator) as well as apply a new fan rotation speed control algorithm to ensure that the chips do not overheat.



Based on graphs demonstrated by VAIO, its TruePerformance technology can increase a CPU performance in Cinebench by 11% ~ 13% when compared to the same CPU without the tech. Meanwhile, the increased TDP limit can also lift iGPU performance by 4.5% ~ 8.6%. While performance increases are not radical, they add value to VAIO’s new PCs.



Now, back to the laptops themselves. This year’s VAIO S systems are outfitted with a 802.11ac Wi-Fi + Bluetooth 4.1 module, a GbE connector, a 0.92 MP webcam, an SD card reader, a fingerprint reader, a TPM 2.0 module and so on. Configuration of I/O ports remains unchanged from the original (non-Sony) VAIO S model launched in 2016: three USB 3.0 ports (including one always-on USB 3.0 for charging), a TRRS audio connector, an HDMI and a D-Sub output. When it comes to battery life, the new model S can work for approximately 8 hours 45 minutes on one charge, depending on the model and usage, which is in line with previous-gen VAIO S systems, but is hardly impressive when compared to other modern laptops.



As for display and physical dimensions, the new VAIO S features a 13.3” screen with a 1920×1080 resolution, it weighs just about a kilogram (2.34 lbs) and is only 15 – 17.8 mm thick. When compared to the 2016 VAIO S, the chassis got ~1.8 mm thicker at its thinnest point and ~0.2 mm thinner at its thickest point, which is hardly a big deal for portability.




































The VAIO S 2018 at a Glance
  VJS132X0611S VJS132X0511S VJS132X0411S VJS132X0311S
Display Size 13.3″
Type IPS
Resolution 1920×1080
CPU SKU Core i5-8250U Core i7-8550U
Cores/Threads 4C/8T
Cache 6 MB 8 MB
Frequency Base 1.6 GHz 1.8 GHz
cTDP-up 1.8 GHz (?) 2 GHz (?)
Turbo 3.4 GHz 4 GHz
TDP TDP 15 W
  cTDP-up 25 W (?)
GPU SKU Intel HD Graphics 620 (GT2)

24 EUs, Gen 9
Base 300 MHz
Turbo 1.1 GHz 1.15 GHz
DRAM 8 GB LPDDR3-1866 16 GB LPDDR3-1866
SSD 256 GB PCIe 512 GB PCIe 1 TB PCIe
USB 3 × USB 3.0 Type-A (one w/charge)
Card Reader SD card reader
Wi-Fi 2×2 802.11ac
Bluetooth 4.1
Ethernet GbE
Display Outputs D-Sub

HDMI
Audio Stereo Speakers

Microphone

TRRS audio jack for headsets
Webcam 0.92 MP webcam
Fingerprint Reader Yes
Battery Life 8 hours 45 minutes
Dimensions Width 12.61″ | 32 cm
Depth 8.53″ | 21.66 cm
Thickness 0.59″ – 0.7″ | 15 – 17.8 mm
Weight 2.34 lbs | 1.06 kg
Colors Silver
Price at Launch $1,199 $1,599 $1,899 $2,199

The new VAIO S will be available in the U.S. this month at MSRPs starting from $1,199. It is noteworthy that in Japan VAIO offers two business-oriented VAIO S lineups — with 11.6” and 13.3” displays (there is also a family with a 15.5” screen, but it is barely aimed at business customers). Both VAIO S11 and S13 are based on Intel’s latest quad-core Core i5/i7 8000-series processors, come with optional LTE modems and even feature spill-resistant keyboards that are never mentioned in case of the U.S. VAIO S 2018.


Related Reading:




Source: AnandTech – VAIO S Laptops Updated With 8th Gen Core CPUs & TruePerformance to Prolong Turbo Time

AM4 Motherboard BIOS Updates Released to Support AMD Ryzen APUs

AMD’s Ryzen CPUs made a large impact on the market starting around mid-2017 when they were released. When Ryzen based CPUs hit the scene, performance was on generally on par or better than its Intel counterparts and pricing was notably better for the same thread count. This was a dramatic change from previous generations and brought competition back to the CPU market. Fast forward to today and AMD’s new Ryzen-based APUs are being released – the Raven Ridge-based Ryzen 5 2400G and Ryzen 3 2200G – which merge AMD’s Vega GPU architecture along with Ryzen CPU. 


With this latest release of what AMD is calling their 2000-series processors, existing X370, B350, and A320 based motherboards will require a BIOS update for proper support of the new APUs. As a result, all of the major board partners have released updates for their respective lineups to include AMD’s AGESA 1.1.0.1 microcode, allowing existing boards to fully support these new APUs.


In accordance with this latest round of updates, we have compiled a list from four major OEMs of all the updated BIOS versions below. Missing is Biostar who did not make any announcements. We checked the website and as of today, they have not released new BIOSes for their AM4 boards which include the AGESA 1.1.0.1 update supporting these APUs. 



 


MSI


MSI distributed a press release a couple days ago on its website. These can be found at the motherboard’s site and the support section.






































MSI X370 Motherboards
Name PCB Version BIOS Version
X370 XPower Gaming Titanium 1.1 E731AMS.1C0
X370 Gaming M7 ACK 1.1 E7A35AMS.150
X370 Gaming Pro Carbon AC 1.1 E7A32AMS.280
X370 Gaming Pro Carbon 1.1 E732AMS.1C0
X370 Krait Gaming 1.0 / 1.1 E7A33AMS.190
X370 Gaming Pro 2.0 / 2.1 E733AMS.480
X370 SLI Plus 2.0 / 2.1 E7A33AMS.390
X370 Gaming Plus 3.0 E7A33AMS.580
B350
B350 Gaming Pro Carbon 1.1 E7B00AMS.190
B350 Krait Gaming 1.0 E7B08AMS.180
B350 Tomahawk Plus 1.2 E7B36AMS.180
B350 Tomahawk 1.0 E7A34AMS.1C0
B350 Tomahawk Arctic 3.0 E7A34AMS.HA0
B350 Gaming Plus 4.0 E7A34AMS.M70
B350M Mortar 1.1 E7A37AMS.1B0
B350M Mortar Arctic 2.1 E7A7AMS.AA0
B350M Bazooka 1.0 E7A38AMS.1A0
B350M Gaming Pro 1.0 E7A39AMS.2C0
B350 PC Mate 2.0 E7A34AMS.AA0
B350M Pro-VD Plus 1.1 E7B38AMS.250
B350M Pro-VDH 2.0 E7A38AMS.A90
B350I-S01 1.1 E7A40AMS.230
B350I Pro AC 1.1 E7A40AMS.110
B350M Pro-VH Plus 1.0 E7B07AMS.250
A320
A320M Gaming Pro 1.0 E7A39AMS.190
A320M Bazooka 1.0 E7A38AMS.280
A320M Grenade 3.0 E7A39AMS.A80
A320M Pro-VD/S 1.0 E7A36AMS.270
A320M Pro-VH Plus 1.0 E7B07AMS.360
A320M Pro-VHL 1.0 E7B07AMS.160
A320M Pro-VD Plus 1.0 E7B38AMS.310
A320M Pro-VD Plus 1.1 E7B38MAS.150

 


Asus


Asus also sent out an official announcement on their new BIOSes. The Asus website lists them as well as instructions on how to update. The X370 Crosshair motherboards are able to flash via BIOS Flashback or EX Flash 3 while the rest of the of the boards will use the more traditional EX Flash 3. 


























Asus X370 Motherboards
Name BIOS Version
ROG Crosshair VI Extreme 3502
ROG Crosshair VI Hero (Wi-Fi AC) 3502
ROG Crosshair VI Hero 3502
ROG Strix X370-F Gaming 3803
ROG Strix X370-I Gaming 3803
Prime X370-Pro 3803
Prime X370-A 3803
B350
ROG Strix B350-F Gaming 3803
ROG Strix B350-I Gaming 3803
TUF B350M-Plus Gaming 3803
Prime B350-Plus 3803
Prime B350M-A 3803
Prime B350M-E 3803
Prime B350M-K 3803
B350M-Dragon 3803
A320
Prime A320M-C  R2.0 3803
Prime A320M-A 3803
Prime A320M-E 3803
Prime A320M-K 3803
EX-A320M-Gaming 3803

 


ASRock


ASRock also made an announcement, however, it was only on their Japanese website or via email to the press. Since that was published, additional BIOSes have already been released and are listed below.























ASRock X370 Motherboards
Name BIOS Version
X370 Taichi 4.40
X370 Killer SLI/AC 4.50
X370 Killer SLI 4.50
Fatal1ty X370 Professional Gaming 4.40
Fatal1ty X370 Gaming K4 4.50
Fatal1ty X370 Gaming X 4.50
Fatal1ty X270 Gaming-ITX/AC 4.40
B350
AB350 Pro4 4.50
AB350M Pro4 4.50
AB350M 4.40
AB350M-HDV 4.40
Fatal1ty AB350 Gaming-ITX/AC 4.40
Fatal1ty AB350 Gaming K4 4.60
A320
A320M Pro4 4.50
A320M 4.40
A320M-DGS 4.40
A320M-HDV 4.40

 


GIGABYTE


GIGABYTE did not have an official announcement but are listed on the website for all AM4 motherboards. 





























GIGABYTE X370 Motherboards
Name BIOS Version
GA-AX370M-Gaming 3 F20
GA-AX370M-DS3H F20
GA-AX370-Gaming K7 F20
GA-AX370-Gaming K5 F20
GA-AX370-Gaming K3 F20
GA-AX370-Gaming 5 F20
GA-AX370-Gaming 3 F20
GA-AX370-Gaming F20
B350
GA-AB350M-Gaming 3 F20
GA-AB350N-Gaming WiFi T20h
GA-AB350M-DS3H F20
GA-AB350M-D3V F20
GA-AB350M-HD3 F20
GA-AB350M-DS2 F20
GA-AB350-D3H F20
GA-AB350-Gaming 3 F20
GA-AB350-Gaming F20
A320
GA-A320M-S2H F20
GA-A320MA-M.2 F20
GA-A320M-D2P F20
GA-A320M-DS2 F20
GA-A320M-HD2 F20
GA-A320-DS3 F20

Related Reading:




Source: AnandTech – AM4 Motherboard BIOS Updates Released to Support AMD Ryzen APUs