Sabrent Rocket Nano Rugged IP67 Portable SSD Review: NVMe in a M.2 2242 Enclosure

Portable bus-powered SSDs are a growing segment of the direct-attached storage market. The ongoing glut in flash memory (and the growing confidence of flash vendors in QLC) has brought down the price of these drives. Sabrent, a computer peripherals and accessories manufacturer, has made a name for itself in the space by catering to niche segments such as ultra-high capacity and compact SSDs. The company sent over a bunch of unique external SSDs to put through our strenuous review process. The first product we are going to take a look at is the Rocket Nano Rugged 2TB USB 3.2 Gen 2 drive. Read on to find out how it stacks against the rest of the competition.

Source: AnandTech – Sabrent Rocket Nano Rugged IP67 Portable SSD Review: NVMe in a M.2 2242 Enclosure

Intel’s 11th Gen Core Rocket Lake Detailed: Ice Lake Core with Xe Graphics

During a time of increased competitor activity, Intel has decided to disclose some of the high level details surrounding its next generation consumer processor, known as Rocket Lake or Intel’s 11th Gen Core. The new processor family is due in the market in the first quarter of 2021, and is expected to share a socket and motherboard compatibility with the current 10th Gen Comet Lake processors, providing an upgrade path even for those with a Core i9-10900K, Intel’s highest performing desktop processor to date. New 500-series motherboards are also expected to be available.

Source: AnandTech – Intel’s 11th Gen Core Rocket Lake Detailed: Ice Lake Core with Xe Graphics

AMD Reveals The Radeon RX 6000 Series: RDNA2 Starts At The High-End, Coming November 18th

Preparing to close out a major month of announcements for AMD – and to open the door to the next era of architectures across the company – AMD wrapped up its final keynote presentation of the month by announcing their Radeon RX 6000 series of video cards. Hosted once more by AMD CEO Dr. Lisa Su, AMD’s hour-long keynote revealed the first three parts in AMD’s new RDNA2 architecture video card family: the Radeon RX 6800, 6800XT, and 6900XT. The core of AMD’s new high-end video card lineup, AMD means to do battle with the best of the best out of arch-rival NVIDIA. And we’ll get to see first-hand if AMD can retake the high-end market on November 18th, when the first two cards hit retail shelves.

Source: AnandTech – AMD Reveals The Radeon RX 6000 Series: RDNA2 Starts At The High-End, Coming November 18th

AMD's "Where Gaming Begins" Radeon Live Blog: Starts At Noon Eastern (16:00 UTC)

AMD’s second and final product keynote of the month is taking place today, with an event AMD has dubbed “Where Gaming Begins”. Hosted as always by AMD CEO Dr. Lisa Su, AMD will be focusing on the new Radeon RX 6000 series and more, unveiling for the first time their latest generation of video cards. Powered by the company’s new RDNA2 architecture, the RX 6000 cards and associated RDNA2-powered game consoles mark an important launch for AMD as they establish the technological cornerstone of gaming products for years to come.

So please join us at noon Eastern (16:00 UTC) for our live blog coverage of AMD’s latest and greatest in video cards.

Source: AnandTech – AMD’s “Where Gaming Begins” Radeon Live Blog: Starts At Noon Eastern (16:00 UTC)

Xbox Series X Unboxed: Our First Look At Microsoft’s Next Gen Console

After over a year of official teases, naming, and plenty of performance details, Microsoft is on the cusp of launching their first proper new generation of the Xbox since the Xbox One launched in 2013. Set to be released on November 10, 2020. Microsoft is going all-out on their next-generation Xbox, and they have been gracious enough to send us one for review. Sadly, that review will have to wait until close to the 10th, but they are allowing some unboxing and photos today of the new hardware, which we thought we would share with you.

The new console is a somewhat radical departure from the previous generation, with Microsoft moving to a vertical tower design that’s shaped, well, like a box. Dressed in a flat black finish, it should fit quite well in most TV setups, and hopefully blend into the background. Design is of course a subjective measure, but the Xbox team has stuck with an understated design. The console can be used either vertically or horizontally, but the asymmetrical Xbox logo on the power button will be pointed the wrong way if it is used on its side.

For the console’s default standing position, the new Xbox features a round podium to keep it elevated, allowing more airflow into the device. And for horizontal use, there are four rubber feet on the one side. Unlike some previous gen Xbox models, there will be no accessories needed to change the orientation, which is nice to see.

The top of the Xbox Series X features a wide-open cooling grill, with some Xbox green highlighting that can be seen from the right angles. It looks pretty good. Cooling is also helped by some wide vents on the rear of the device. With 12 TF of performance, cooling was clearly one of the key design features, and there is plenty of room for airflow.

The console’s dimensions are almost exactly a 1:2 ratio, with the short sides being 151 mm / 5.94 inches, and the long edge being 301 mm / 11.85 inches. Compared to the outgoing Xbox One X, it is much taller, as the former generation console was only 60 mm tall, but the square design means it takes up a very small footprint, despite having around 50% more volume than the Xbox One X. Though it does look a bit strange when laid out horizontally, since it is much shallower than you would expect a console to be.

With the new console comes a new revision of the Xbox controller. Comparatively, this updated controller has not changed much from the previous generation, and all of the previous-generation controllers will work with the new Xbox if you have a custom one you enjoy. The new design has some subtle changes, with more texture on the grips for better control, and an updated D-pad which now includes a full circle on the D-Pad which should improve usage. There is also a new share button in the center of the controller which lets you share game clips and screenshots more easily. The controller is still powered by two AA batteries, which are included, with Microsoft opting to keep selling the rechargeable kit as an optional accessory.

The console ships with a controller, batteries, a power cord, and a high-speed HDMI cable in the box. There is no power brick, as the power supply is internal, so the power cord is the same standard connector as shipped with the Xbox One S and One X. The rear of the unit also features a couple of USB ports for connecting storage and accessories, as well as an Ethernet jack, and the new Storage Expansion port for adding additional NVMe SSD storage without having to dig into the console itself. Somewhat sadly, but also likely to not be missed, there is no longer an HDMI input port, unlike the Xbox One range.

We will have a much deeper review coming up, so check back soon. If there is anything you’d like to see tested, let us know in the comments.

Source: AnandTech – Xbox Series X Unboxed: Our First Look At Microsoft’s Next Gen Console

AMD Reports Q3 2020 Earnings: Making Money and Settings Records Yet Again

As part of this morning’s announcement from AMD that the company would be buying FPGA maker Xilinx for $35 billion in stock, the company also released its Q3 earnings report alongside the buyout news. An atypical earnings release to say the least, an early-morning release allowed AMD investors and others to get a look at the very latest in AMD’s financials while also digesting the decision to use the company’s sizable market capitalization to buy another company – and ultimately to help AMD justify why they’re in such a good position now to make the transaction. Coming on the heels of a record Q2 for the company, AMD closed out the third quarter of the year setting revenue records once again all the while trebling its profits.

For the third quarter of 2020, AMD reported $2.8B in revenue, a 56% jump over the same quarter a year ago. As a result, AMD has once again set new revenue records for the company, posting both their best Q3 ever, and their best single quarter period. Driving this was further growth in both of AMD’s major segments, with everything from consumer CPU sales to EPYC and semi-custom sales reported as being on the rise.

AMD Q3 2020 Financial Results (GAAP)
  Q3’2020 Q3’2019 Q2’2020
Revenue $2.8B $1.8B $1.93B
Gross Margin 44% 43% 44%
Operating Income $449M $186M $173M
Net Income $390M $120M $157M
Earnings Per Share $0.32 $0.11 $0.13

Most eye-popping, perhaps, has been AMD’s net income, which more than trebled over the year-ago quarter. For Q3’20, AMD booked $390M in GAAP net income, a 225% increase that dwarfs the $120M they took home at this point last year. Even on a quarterly basis AMD’s revenues and profits were up significantly across the board, with AMD again more than doubling its net income versus Q2. In fact the only aspect of AMD’s financials not showing significant growth at the moment is AMD’s gross margin, which at 44% is only up 1% over last year. According to the company, GM growth is being limited by relatively low margin semi-custom sales, with the PS5/XSX ramp-up counterbalancing the increase in CPU sales.

Breaking down the numbers by segment, AMD’s Computing and Graphics segment enjoyed a strong quarter based in large part on an increase in Ryzen processor sales. Overall the segment booked $1.67B in revenue, which is up 31% over the year-ago quarter. Carrying the segment were sizable increases in both AMD’s desktop and notebook CPU shipments, with AMD reporting double-digit growth in both and setting a new record for notebook processor shipments. AMD’s graphics division was the odd man out, however; the run-up to the RX 6000 series means that graphics revenue was down versus Q3’19.

AMD Q3 2020 Computing and Graphics
  Q3’2020 Q3’2019 Q2’2020
Revenue $1667M $1276M $1367M
Operating Income $384M $179M $200M

As for product average selling prices (ASPs), AMD is reporting that both client processor and graphics ASPs have taken a hit on a yearly basis. Graphics ASPs were down due to AMD’s current-generation RX 5000 products approaching the end of their lifecycle, while CPU ASPs declined due to higher sales of mobile chips, which tend to carry lower prices. Both of these should change for AMD in the next quarter, as the launch of Zen 3 and the Radeon RX 6000 series will put a fresh round of products on the market that can fetch higher prices.

Meanwhile, AMD’s Enterprise, Embedded, and Semi-Custom segment saw another greater quarter with Q3, with shipments of everything from EPYC processors to console SoCs on the rise. With the former, AMD has continued to grow its market share in the server space, and on the company’s earnings call CEO Dr. Lisa Su confirmed that server sales have more than doubled over Q3’19, citing improved cloud and enterprise adoption. Meanwhile the ramp-up for the Playstation 5 and Xbox Series X has pushed semi-custom sales higher as well, and that’s expected to grow even more in Q4.

AMD Q3 2020 Enterprise, Embedded and Semi-Custom
  Q3’2020 Q3’2019 Q2’2020
Revenue $1134M $525M $565M
Operating Income $141M $61M $33M

And, like the consumer side of AMD’s business, the enterprise side is about to benefit as well from the launch of next-generation products. AMD has confirmed that their Zen 3 architecture-based EPYC “Milan” processors will begin shipping this quarter as previously promised, with the initial chips going out to cloud and “select HPC” customers. Meanwhile general OEM availability will follow in the first quarter of 2021.

Overall, AMD has a lot to be happy about for Q3, and even more to look forward to in Q4. With AMD posting record revenue and their traditionally strongest quarter still to come, the company is expecting an even better Q4. The combination of Zen 3 CPUs for desktops and servers, along with new Radeon hardware will mean that AMD has momentum and new products on their side. All of which comes at a critical time for the industry, as AMD seeks to use its technology advantages to carve a larger piece of the x86 processor market from an uncharacteristically dazed Intel.

Source: AnandTech – AMD Reports Q3 2020 Earnings: Making Money and Settings Records Yet Again

Launching This Week: NVIDIA’s GeForce RTX 3070; 1440p Gaming For $499

It’s a couple of weeks later than originally planned, but this week NVIDIA is finally amping up the last of its high-end video card lineup with the release of the GeForce RTX 3070. Based on the Ampere architecture first launched back in September for the GeForce RTX 3080, the RTX 3070 is NVIDIA’s $500 take on a next-gen video card, incorporating a leaner Ampere GPU and otherwise shrinking Ampere down to something that’s a bit lighter on the wallet. Fittingly, whereas the RTX 3080 was positioned for 4K gaming, the RTX 3070 is being aimed at the 1440p crowd, a lower resolution that the Ampere card is very capable of handling. Reviews of NVIDIA’s Founders Edition (reference) card are going out today, with retail sales of NVIDIA and partner cards set to kick off on October 29th.

Source: AnandTech – Launching This Week: NVIDIA’s GeForce RTX 3070; 1440p Gaming For 9

AMD in $35 Billion All-Stock Acquisition of Xilinx

After a couple of weeks of rumor, as well as a couple of years of hearsay, AMD has gone feet first into a full acquisition of FPGA manufacturer Xilinx. The deal involves an all-stock transaction, leveraging AMD’s sizeable share price in order to enable an equivalent $143 per Xilinx share – current AMD stockholders will still own 74% of the combined company, while Xilinx stockholders will own 26%. The combined $135 billion entity will total 13000 engineers, and expand AMD’s total addressable market to $110 Billion. It is believed that the key reasons for the acquisition lie in Xilinx’s adaptive computing solutions for the data center market.

AMD CEO Dr. Lisa Su

“Our acquisition of Xilinx marks the next leg in our journey to establish AMD as the industry’s high performance computing leader and partner of choice for the largest and most important technology companies in the world. This is truly a compelling combination that will create significant value for all stakeholders, including AMD and Xilinx shareholders who will benefit from the future growth and upside potential of the combined company. The Xilinx team is one of the strongest in the industry and we are thrilled to welcome them to the AMD family. By combining our world-class engineering teams and deep domain expertise, we will create an industry leader with the vision, talent and scale to define the future of high performance computing.”

Xilinx CEO Victor Peng

“We are excited to join the AMD family. Our shared cultures of innovation, excellence and collaboration make this an ideal combination. Together, we will lead the new era of high performance and adaptive computing. Our leading FPGAs, Adaptive SoCs, accelerator and SmartNIC solutions enable innovation from the cloud, to the edge and end devices. We empower our customers to deploy differentiated platforms to market faster, and with optimal efficiency and performance. Joining together with AMD will help accelerate growth in our data center business and enable us to pursue a broader customer base across more markets.”


As part of the acquisition, Victor Peng will join AMD as president responsible for the Xilinx business, and at least two Xilinx directors will join the AMD Board of Directors upon closing.

Part of the enablement of the acquisition is AMD leveraging its market capitalization of ~$100 billion, and a lot of the industry will draw parallels of Intel’s acquisition of FPGA-manufacturer Altera in December 2015 for $16.7 billion. The high-performance FPGA markets, as well as SmartNICs, adaptive SoCs, and other controllable logic, reside naturally in the data center markets more than most other markets. With AMD’s recent growth in the enterprise space with its Zen-based EPYC processor lines, a natural evolution one might conclude would be synergizing high-performance compute with adaptable logic under one roof, which is precisely the conclusion that Intel also came to several years ago. AMD reported last quarter that it had broken above the 10% market share in Enterprise with its EPYC product lines, and today’s earnings call is also expected to see growth. AMD is already reporting revenue up +56% year on year company-wide, with +116% in the Enterprise, Embedded, and Semi-Custom markets.

The press release states that AMD expects to save $300m in synergistic operational efficiencies within 18 months of closing, due to streamlining shared infrastructure. The deal has been unanimously approved by both sets of directors, and is subject to approval of both sets of shareholders. The transaction is expected to close by the end of Calendar Year 2021.

AMD shares are currently down 5% before the market opens. A conference call will be held at 8am ET to discuss AMD’s Third Quarter Financial results and acquisition plans.


AMD’s key product lines includes its Zen based processor lines such as Ryzen and EPYC, its Graphics division for Radeon and Radeon Instinct, and its semi-custom and embedded division which has been developing the latest generation of console processors for both Sony and Microsoft

Xilinx recently entered the market with its Versal Alveo Adaptive SoCs, built as combination programmable logic plus hardened compute logic and specialized co-processors and accelerators. Its FPGA families include Spartan, Zynq, Artix, Kintex, Virtex, and Virtex Ultrascale, used in a wide variety of commercial, embedded, and enterprise markets, including the hardware used to design processors of the future.

Source: Press Release

Source: AnandTech – AMD in Billion All-Stock Acquisition of Xilinx

Akasa Turing Fanless Case Review: Unrivalled Noiseless NUC

Silent computing systems are preferable for a multitude of use-cases ranging from industrial applications (where dust and fans make for a troublesome configuration) to noiseless HTPCs (particularly for audiophiles). Akasa has been providing thermal solutions in multiple computing verticals for more than 20 years, with a particular focus on passive cooling. They have been targeting NUCs since the launch of the Ivy Bridge version in early 2013. The NUC solution was completely re-imagined with the launch of the Turing fanless case for the Bean Canyon NUCs.

Source: AnandTech – Akasa Turing Fanless Case Review: Unrivalled Noiseless NUC

Intel: DG1 GPU Now Shipping, Xe-HPG DG2 GPU In Labs

Alongside today’s profitable-but-uneasy earnings report from Intel, the company’s earnings presentation also offered a short update on the status of their discrete GPUs. As of today, Intel’s DG1 GPU is now shipping. Meanwhile the company announced their next GPU, appropriately named DG2, which is based on their upcoming Xe-HPG architecture. This GPU is now back from the fab and is in Intel’s lab, and is now far enough along to have been powered on.

First and foremost we have DG1, or as it’s better known by its commercial product name, Iris Xe Max. Intel’s first discrete GPU in over two decades, the company has since the beginning of this year been touting it as a companion to their Tiger Lake CPUs, pitching it as an upgraded graphics option for thin & light notebooks, and a successor of sorts to Intel’s GT3e and GT4e iGPU configurations from past generations. Until recently, we weren’t quite sure when it would show up in commercial products, but recent OEM notebook reveals along with Intel’s earnings announcement are now confirming that the GPU is shipping to OEMs. According to Intel, DG1-equipped notebooks are expected later in Q4. In the meantime, there are still scant few details on DG1 itself, such as expected performance and power consumption; so hopefully Intel will be getting ahead of its OEM partners on this one to set some expectations.

Meanwhile, today’s notes also announce for the very first time the next discrete GPU to come out of Intel, DG2. While obviously still some time off, Intel has completed tape-out and fabbing of the initial alpha silicon, with the company reporting that they’ve powered-on the GPU in their labs.

Somewhat surprisingly, CEO Bob Swan has also confirmed that this isn’t just a DG1 successor, but instead is a higher performing GPU based on the company’s forthcoming Xe-HPG(aming) architecture. First revealed this summer, Xe-HPG is Intel’s enthusiast/gamer-focused architecture, incorporating marquee features found in similar dGPUs like ray tracing. It’s also being manufactured completely external of Intel; while the company hasn’t said which fab and process node is being used, it’s none of Intel’s nodes. So this is the first major piece of external fabbed silicon that we know of to be up and running at Intel.

But like all teasers/financial disclosures, Intel isn’t saying too much more at this time. Nothing new was revealed about the Xe-HPG architecture, and Intel hasn’t clarified whether DG2 is a big, flagship-grade chip, or a more modest, high-volume part. For now, the company is simply saying that DG2 will “take our discrete graphics capability up the stack into the enthusiast segment.”

Source: AnandTech – Intel: DG1 GPU Now Shipping, Xe-HPG DG2 GPU In Labs

Intel Reports Q3 2020 Earnings: Still Very Profitable, But Challenging Times Ahead

Once again kicking off our earnings season coverage for the tech industry is Intel, who reported their Q3 2020 financial results this afternoon. The traditional leader of the pack in more than one way, Intel has been under more intense scrutiny as of late, particularly due to their previously disclosed delay in their 7nm manufacturing schedule. None the less, Intel has been posting record revenues and profits in recent quarters – even with a global pandemic going on – which has been keeping Intel in good shape. It’s only now, with Q3 behind them, that Intel is starting to feel the pinch of market shifts and technical debt – and even then the company is still well into the black.

For the third quarter of 2020, Intel reported $18.3B in revenue. A drop of $0.9B over the year-ago quarter. As previously mentioned, Intel has been setting a string of record revenues in previous quarters, but the boom is coming to an end as margins and revenues are slipping. Those declines are also having the expected knock-on effect to Intel’s profitability, with the company reporting $4.3B in net income, a 29% drop versus Q3’19.

Source: AnandTech – Intel Reports Q3 2020 Earnings: Still Very Profitable, But Challenging Times Ahead

Huawei Announces Mate 40 Series: Powered by 15.3bn Transistors 5nm Kirin 9000

Today Huawei took the stage to unveil the new Mate 40 series of devices. In the form of the Mate 40, Mate 40 Pro and the Mate 40 Pro+, the new phones represent the company’s leading edge in terms of technology, mostly enabled by the new Kirin 9000 chipset which is manufactured on a new 5nm manufacturing node, promising great leaps in performance and efficiency.

The new phones also feature an updated design with a different camera layout, differentiated display design and improved speakers and charging features.

The new Kirin 9000 is are the core of the discussion – and it’s also Huawei’s biggest problem as the new silicon is no longer under production since September due to US sanctions on the company, representing a much more substantial threat than the already existing limitations on the company’s products, such as not being able to ship with Google Mobile Services.

Source: AnandTech – Huawei Announces Mate 40 Series: Powered by 15.3bn Transistors 5nm Kirin 9000

Acer’s New Swift 3X Notebook, with Intel Iris Xᵉ MAX Discrete Graphics, from $900

At Acer’s global press conference today, one of the hot ticket items was the announcement of an upcoming laptop featuring an Intel’s discrete graphics option. The new Intel Xe graphics architecture, which debuted in Intel 11th Gen Tiger Lake notebook processors, is now set to see the launch of an additional higher power discrete graphics option and coming to notebooks first. One of those devices will be the Acer Swift 3X, with both Tiger Lake and discrete Xe MAX inside.

Source: AnandTech – Acer’s New Swift 3X Notebook, with Intel Iris Xᵉ MAX Discrete Graphics, from 0

Crucial Portable SSD X6 and X8 2TB Review: QLC for Storage On-the-Go

Bus-powered portable flash-based storage solutions are one of the growing segments in the consumer-focused direct-attached storage market. The emergence of 3D NAND with TLC and QLC has brought down the cost of such drives. NAND manufacturers like Western Digital, Samsung, and Crucial/Micron who also market portable SSDs have an inherent advantage in terms of vertical integration. Last year, Crucial/Micron had announced its entry into the segment with the QLC-based Crucial Portable SSD X8. A few months back, Crucial updated the lineup with a 2TB model while adding a lower-performance X6 member to the portfolio. Read on for our review of how these two high-capacity models fare in our evaluation.

Source: AnandTech – Crucial Portable SSD X6 and X8 2TB Review: QLC for Storage On-the-Go

Silicon Motion Launches PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSD Controllers

Silicon Motion has announced the official launch of their first generation of PCIe 4.0-capable NVMe SSD controllers. These controllers have been on the roadmap for quite a while and have been previewed at trade shows, but the first models are now shipping. The high-end SM2264 and mainstream SM2267/SM2267XT controllers will enable consumer SSDs that move beyond the performance limits of the PCIe 3.0 x4 interface that has been the standard for almost all previous consumer NVMe SSDs.

The high-end SM2264 controller is the successor to Silicon Motion’s SM2262(EN) controllers, and the SM2264 brings the most significant changes that add up to a doubling of performance. The SM2264 still uses 8 NAND channels, but now supporting double the speed: up to 1600MT/s. The controller includes four ARM Cortex R8 cores, compared to two cores on SMI’s previous client/consumer NVMe controllers. As with most SSD controllers aiming for the high end PCIe 4.0 product segment, the SM2264 is fabbed on a smaller node: TSMC’s 12nm FinFET process, which allows for substantially better power efficiency than the 28nm planar process used by the preceding generation of SSD controllers. The SM2264 also includes support for some enterprise-oriented features like SR-IOV virtualization, though we probably won’t see that enabled on consumer SSD products. The SM2264 also includes the latest generation of Silicon Motion’s NANDXtend ECC system, which switches from a 2kb to 4kB codeword size for the LDPC error correction.

The SM2264 controller will be competing with in-house controllers used by Samsung and Western Digital for their flagship consumer SSDs, and against the upcoming Phison E18 controller. Phison’s E16 controller was the first consumer PCIe 4.0 controller to hit the market, but is now being outclassed by a second wave of PCIe 4.0 controllers that come much closer to using the full potential of a PCIe 4.0 x4 interface. The SM2264 controller is currently sampling to drive vendors, but we don’t have an estimate for when products will be hitting the shelves.

Silicon Motion Client/Consumer NVMe SSD Controllers
  SM2263(XT) SM2267(XT) SM2262EN SM2264
Market Segment Mainstream Consumer High-End Consumer

28nm 28nm 28nm 12nm
Arm CPU Cores 2x Cortex 2x Cortex R5 2x Cortex 4x Cortex R8
Error Correction 2kB LDPC 2kB LDPC 2kB LDPC 4kB LDPC

-XT: None

-XT: None
Host Interface PCIe 3.0 x4 PCIe 4.0 x4 PCIe 3.0 x4 PCIe 4.0 x4
NAND Channels, Interface Speed 4ch

667 MT/s



CEs per Channel 4 8

-XT: 4
4 8
Sequential Read 2400 MB/s 3900 MB/s 3500 MB/s 7400 MB/s
Sequential Write 1700 MB/s 3500 MB/s 3000 MB/s 6800 MB/s
4KB Random Read IOPS 300k

-XT: 280k
500k 420k 1000k
4KB Random Write IOPS 250k 500k 420k 1000k

For the more mainstream product segments, Silicon Motion’s SM2267 and SM2267XT controllers are the replacements for the SM2263 and SM2263XT. These will help bring entry-level NVMe performance up to about the level that used to be standard for high-end PCIe 3.0 SSDs. The SM2267XT is the DRAMless variant of the SM2267 and also has half as many chip enables (CEs), which allow for a much smaller package size suitable for use on small form factors like M.2 2230. The SM2267(XT) controllers are still manufactured on the cheaper 28nm process. The SM2267 and SM2267XT controllers are in mass production and the first products using those parts have also entered the supply chain: we already have a sample of ADATA’s Gammix S50 Lite with the SM2267 controller on our test bench.

The SM2267 will be competing against a mix of older 8-channel controllers like the Phison E12, and newer 4-channel solutions as seen in the SK hynix Gold P31. We expect this to be the most important consumer SSD product segment going into 2021 as these drives will not carry the steep price premium currently seen on high-end 8-channel PCIe 4.0 SSDs, and they’ll still be plenty fast for almost all use cases. The DRAMless SM2267XT variant will be competing against controllers like the Phison E19T for entry-level NVMe SSDs that carry little or no price premium over SATA drives. These low-cost NVMe controllers are also increasingly popular for portable SSDs; the performance increases of the SM2267XT over the SM2263XT will not matter for drives using 20Gb/s USB to NVMe bridge chips, but will be helpful for Thunderbolt SSDs.

Related Reading

Source: AnandTech – Silicon Motion Launches PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSD Controllers

SK Hynix to Buy Intel’s NAND Memory Business For $9 Billion

In a joint press release issued early this morning, SK Hynix and Intel have announced that Intel will be selling the entirety of its NAND memory business to SK Hynix. The deal, which values Intel’s NAND holdings at $9 billion, will see the company transfer over the NAND business in two parts, with SK Hynix eventually acquiring all IP, facilities, and personnel related to Intel’s NAND efforts. Notably, however, Intel is not selling their overarching Non-Volatile Memory Solutions Group; instead the company will be holding on to their Optane memory technology as they continue to develop and sell that technology.

Source: AnandTech – SK Hynix to Buy Intel’s NAND Memory Business For Billion

New Cadence Transient EM Simulation Tools: 3D Clarity

In the realm of processor and product design, having the right series of tools to actually build and simulate a product has been a key driver in minimizing time to market. Cadence is one of the more prolific companies in the electronic design automation (EDA) software space, with tools for designing integrated circuits, PCBs, packaging, SoCs, radio frequency, as well as respective verification tools. What landed in my inbox this morning was an announcement for a new tool in Cadence’s solver portfolio to enable better full-system EM simulation while also scaling across CPU and GPU as well as to other systems.

Cadence’s 3D Transient Solver uses a finite difference time domain model to essentially model an anechoic chamber over a wide frequency range for both electromagnetic interference but also electromagnetic compliance. This is what the EC/FCC certification enablement is all about in order to enable sales of a product in a region – the more accurate (and scalable) the EM simulation work is, the idea is that the results from any anechoic chamber testing will be more in line with the simulation, resulting in fewer prototype sampling in advance of the certification test.

The Transient Solver is designed to work in conjunction with Cadence’s other tools, such as FEM and MoM, for whole product simulation – due to capacity, it has often been the case that products would be simulated part-by-part, and then a full scale simulation result would be interpolated. Cadence points to its full product potential, as the software is designed to scale almost linearly across as many CPU cores as can be thrown at it (either in a single system or in a multi-system environment), as well as leveraging GPU acceleration (note, something I did in my PhD for FDTD but for chemical simulations). Cadence also points to its ability to keep the simulation memory footprint low, often a difficult task with these sorts of simulations (especially FDTD), such that systems no longer need terabytes of DRAM just to run. The software can also be run via cloud services and scaled as needed. Due to the scalability, it also allows for quicker deformation testing, to avoid such areas as the iPhone 4 issues.

Anechoic chambers are marvellous things – if you ever get a chance to go in one, I highly recommend it. If the 30% reduced cycle time that one of Cadence’s partners is quoting is anything to go by, then there might be some chambers empty for a bit – perfect to get your company to convince that an employee tour is needed.

Cadence’s Clarity 3D Transient Solver is due for release in Q1 2021.

Source: Cadence

Related Reading

Source: AnandTech – New Cadence Transient EM Simulation Tools: 3D Clarity

Test Driving SPECviewperf 2020: A Look At The Latest In Workstation GPU Benchmarks

Over the years, the Standard Performance Evaluation Corporation’s SPECviewperf benchmark has become the industry standard for workstation GPU benchmarking. Owing to the fact that, unlike video games, there’s little concept of a “standard” workload for CAD, content creation, and visual data analysis tools, as well as the sheer complexity of these applications, there is an ongoing need for a standardized multi-application benchmark. This is both to offer a wider, holistic view of GPU performance under workstation applications, and even more fundamental than that, to provide a proper apples-to-apples testing environment.

With the previous release of SPECviewperf dating back to 2013, the benchmark has been due for a refresh – and that has finally arrived this week with the release of SPECviewperf 2020. An incremental update over SPECviewperf 13, the 2020 version makes some important changes including support for 4K resolutions, as well as updating the workload traces.

Meanwhile, with a few systems already setup for other needs, we decided to take a quick test drive of the new version of the SPECviewperf, giving us a better look at what’s new along with an idea of where performance lies with the updated benchmark workloads.

Source: AnandTech – Test Driving SPECviewperf 2020: A Look At The Latest In Workstation GPU Benchmarks

AMD Zen 3: An AnandTech Interview with CTO Mark Papermaster

The announcement of the new Ryzen 5000 processors, built on AMD’s Zen 3 microarchitecture, has caused waves of excitement and questions as to the performance. The launch of the high-performance desktop processors on November 5th will be an interesting day. In advance of those disclosures, we sat down with AMD’s CTO Mark Papermaster to discuss AMD’s positioning, performance, and outlook.

Source: AnandTech – AMD Zen 3: An AnandTech Interview with CTO Mark Papermaster

The Corsair H150i Elite Capellix AIO Cooler Review: Go Big Or Go Home

Today we are taking a look at the largest member of Corsair’s new Elite Capellix AIO cooler family, the H150i Elite Capellix. An upgrade for the renowned H150i Pro RGB, the H150i Elite Capellix features a 400 mm long radiator that holds three 120 mm fans, all the while incorporating improved iCUE integration and more powerful cooling fans.

Source: AnandTech – The Corsair H150i Elite Capellix AIO Cooler Review: Go Big Or Go Home