Intel Core i7-11700K Review: Blasting Off with Rocket Lake

The march on performance with desktop platforms has unique challenges compared to other platforms. Peak single thread throughput is often considered the Holy Grail, with a fast follow up of good multi-core and all-core performance given the nature of how desktop platforms are used with background processes and multiple concurrent applications. In order to bring its best single core performance to the desktop market, Intel had to redesign its 10nm product on 14nm, which combines the high throughput of the design with the high frequency of 14nm. These redesigned Cypress Cove cores form the basis of Intel’s new 11th Gen Desktop Processor Family, Rocket Lake. Today we are reviewing the Core i7-11700K, an eight-core processor with hyperthreading able to boost up to 5.0 GHz.



Source: AnandTech – Intel Core i7-11700K Review: Blasting Off with Rocket Lake

Axiomtek Unveils IMB700 Motherboard, LGA4189 For Intel Ice Lake-SP

Everyone wants to know what’s in Intel’s new Ice Lake Xeon server platform, right? Well the first promited board has been disclosed: Axiomtek (who?) has unveiled its latest motherboard compatible with Intel’s Xeon Scalable Ice Lake processors based on the LGA4189 socket. The Axiomtek IMB700 is an ATX-sized solution with six memory slots capable of supporting up to 384 GB in hex-channel, with two Gigabit Ethernet ports six SATA-600 storage slots.


During the virtual Hot Chips 2020 industry event show, during our live blog of Intel’s segment, Intel unveiled some details about its upcoming Ice Lake Xeon Scalable processors. Based on Intel’s 10nm+ manufacturing process, we confirmed that Intel had started production on its Ice Lake-SP chips at the beginning of the year. With not much furor surrounding expected motherboard models at the moment, Axiomtek has unveiled its IMB700 with a single LGA4189 socket based on Intel’s C621A chipset. Note that this is the same family of chipsets as current Skylake and Cascade Lake Xeons.



The Axiomtek IMB700 features an ATX PCB with a very simplistic green PCB which is common on professional and industrial-grade motherboards. Some of its key features include a single LGA4189 transposed socket, with six memory slots that can accommodate both LRDIMM and RDIMM DDR4-3200 memory, with a total capacity of up to 384 GB. For storage, the IMB700 features a single PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2 2280 slot and six SATA-600 ports, including support for RAID 0, 1, 5, and 10 arrays.


Located in the center of the board are three full-length PCIe slots, with the top two operating at PCIe 4.0 x16, with the other operating at either PCIe 3.0 x16 or x8. There’s also three half-length PCIe 3.0 x8 slots, although one of the half-length slots shares bandwidth with the blue-colored full-length slot. 


On the rear panel is a basic array of input and outputs, including four USB 3.1 G1 Type-A ports, one D-Sub video output, a PS/2 keyboard, and mouse combo port, as well as an RS-232/422/485 port, and dual Intel i210-AT Gigabit Ethernet. In regards to audio, Axiomtek offers its AX93242 HD audio converter board as an additional extra.


At present, Axiomtek hasn’t unveiled any pricing information, but the official product page does state the IMB700 is coming soon. We’re waiting for Intel to fully disclose its Ice Lake Xeon platform.


Source: Axiomtek


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Source: AnandTech – Axiomtek Unveils IMB700 Motherboard, LGA4189 For Intel Ice Lake-SP

Qualcomm Announces "Snapdragon Sound" Initiative

Today Qualcomm is announcing the new “Snapdragon Sound” branding initiative, essentially an umbrella term that covers the company’s various audio related hardware and software products, promising improved end-to-end interoperability for a better audio experience.



Source: AnandTech – Qualcomm Announces “Snapdragon Sound” Initiative

GlobalFoundries to Invest $1.4B in Expansion, Potential Earlier IPO

GlobalFoundries this week reiterated plans to invest $1.4 billion this year in expansion of its manufacturing capacities across the world. Around one third of the sum will be co-invested by GlobalFoundries’ customers who want to ensure that they have capacity allocation for years to come. The world’s fourth largest foundry is also mulling to bring forward its IPO to late 2021 ahead of its original 2022 date.


In any typical year, GlobalFoundries spends about $700 million on expansion of its production capacities, however growing demand for chips has made clear the need for faster than normal groth – as a result the company is to invest $1.4 billion on expansion this year. The money will be divided equally between GlobalFoundries’ sites in Dresden, Malta (New York) and Singapore, according to Reuters. Production capacity is expected to increase by 13% this year and by 20% next year as a result of the increased funding.


Last year GlobalFoundries said that it planned to significantly increase capacity it its Fab 1 located near Dresden. The company’s German facility produces chips using 22FDX, 28SLP, 40/45/55NV as well as BCDLite technologies that are particularly important for automotive, mobile, IoT, and industrial applications. Capacity of Fab 1 in 2021 is expected to be in the range between 400,000 and 500,000 wafer starts per year. Increasing that number means that GlobalFoundries will be able to better address high-growth applications.


GlobalFoundries expects to raise around a third of $1.4 billion from its customers that will pre-pay to guarantee supply over the following years, the CEO of the company told Reuters. He did not name the clients.


In addition to boosting its existing production facilities, GlobalFoundries is also looking forward building another fab adjacent to its Fab 8 located in Malta, New York. Funding of the new facility will largely depend on subsidies and incentives provided by the U.S. Government and the state of New York as parts of the CHIPS for America act introduced last year. It should also be noted that Fab 8 in Malta recently recieved ITAR certification for DoD production on its 45 nm process, expanding GlobalFoundries’ value as a home-grown chip manufacturer to the US government.


Back in 2020 GlobalFoundries earned approximately $5.7 billion in revenue, down from $6.176 billion in 2017. The company projects that in 2021 its revenue will grow by 9% to 10% year-over-year as a result of unprecedented demand. 


Since demand for chips is growing and governments have investments almost ready to go, it would seems to be a good time for GlobalFoundries’ initial public offering. Previously GlobalFoundries planned to go public in late 2022 or early 2023, but the company appears to be thinking about bringing it forward into the late 2021 timeframe. Currently GlobalFoundries is wholly owned by Mubadala, an Emerati state-owned holding company.


Related Reading





Source: AnandTech – GlobalFoundries to Invest .4B in Expansion, Potential Earlier IPO

Xiaomi Announces Redmi Note 10 Series: Pro Hands-On at $279

Today Xiaomi is updating one of its most popular and successful phone models with a slew of new Redmi Note 10 variants. Alongside the Note 10, Note 10S and the Note 10 5G, we’ve had the Redmi Note 10 Pro for a few days to get our first impressions of the low-cost device.



Source: AnandTech – Xiaomi Announces Redmi Note 10 Series: Pro Hands-On at 9

First AMD B550 With Thunderbolt 4: The ASUS ProArt B550-Creator

From a post by ASUS’s Technical Product Marketing Manager (u/ASUSTechMKTJJ) on Reddit, ASUS looks to be readying up a new B550 motherboard based on its ProArt series. The ASUS ProArt series primarily aims to provide to creators, and its new ProArt B550-Creator is the first AMD AM4 motherboard to benefit from Intel’s updated Thunderbolt 4 controller. Also included are an advertised 12+2 phase power delivery and dual 2.5 GbE networking.


Similar to previous iterations of its ProArt motherboard, such as the ASUS ProArt Z490-Creator 10G, it follows a simplistic design with straight lines provided by a pair of rectangular M.2 and an L-shaped power delivery heatsink. Keeping in line with its basic theme, it omits any integrated RGB LED lighting. ASUS advertises the B550-Creator as including a 12+2 phase power delivery with teamed power stages, with an 8-pin and 4-pin 12 V ATX CPU power input pairing providing power to the processor. 



Currently, ASUS hasn’t revealed detailed specifications, but we can see that the ProArt B550-Creator includes three full-length PCIe slots, with the top likely conforming to PCIe Gen4 with the bottom slot most probably driven by the B550 chipset. It includes two PCIe 3.0 x1 slots, with four SATA ports for storage, with possibly two PCIe M.2 slots due to the location and length of the pair of M.2 heatsinks featured on the board. It includes four memory slots with up to 128 GB of capacity, but ASUS hasn’t provided information on supported speeds.



Much of the fanfare surrounding this announcement is the inclusion of Intel’s latest Thunderbolt 4 controller, which looks to be the first time it has been implemented on an AM4 model. This is present on the rear panel of the ProArt B550-Creator with two Thunderbolt 4 Type-C ports, a single DisplayPort input, four USB 3.2 G2 Type-A, and two USB 2.0 ports. Also present on the rear panel is a pair of 2.5 GbE ports which ASUS hasn’t specified which controller it’s using, with a PS/2 combo port, one HDMI video output, and a small BIOS Flashback button. Finishing off the rear panel is five 3.5 mm audio jacks and single S/PDIF optical output, which is powered by a Realtek ALC1220A HD audio codec.


The ASUS ProArt B550-Creator motherboard is expected to be released sometime in April with an expected MSRP of $299. 


Related Reading




Source: AnandTech – First AMD B550 With Thunderbolt 4: The ASUS ProArt B550-Creator

AMD Announces Radeon RX 6700 XT: RDNA2 For 1440p, Coming March 18th For $479

As part of AMD’s latest Where Gaming Begins product presentation, the prolific processor designer announced the next member in its Radeon family of video cards, the Radeon RX 6700 XT. Following the tried and true scale-down release strategy that has come to define the GPU industry, the company is preparing its second RDNA2 GPU to further flesh out its lineup of video cards. Set to be released on March 18th, the Radeon RX 6700 XT will be AMD’s anchor card for 1440p gaming, succeeding the last-generation RX 5700 XT and giving AMD’s product lineup a more wallet-friendly option than their 4K-focused 6800/6900 series cards. The launch for the latest Radeon card will be an all-out affair, with both reference and partner custom cards launching the same day, with prices starting at $479.



Source: AnandTech – AMD Announces Radeon RX 6700 XT: RDNA2 For 1440p, Coming March 18th For 9

AMD Ryzen Threadripper Pro: Retail Offering Starts Today

Today AMD is officially going to start offering its Ryzen Threadripper Pro processors at retail, effectively ending the exclusivity deal with Lenovo on the product line. To date, Lenovo is the only company to have offered Threadripper Pro in the Thinkstation P620 platform. In the past few months, beginning with the CES trade show, we have seen three motherboard manufacturers showcase models of compatible motherboards for the retail market, and today is supposed to be the day that systems with those motherboards can be purchased.


At the launch of the Threadripper Pro platform, AMD advertised four different models from 12 cores up to 64 cores, built upon its Zen 2 architecture and mirroring the Threadripper 3000 family of hardware. The Pro element is an upgrade, giving the processor eight memory channels rather than four, support for 128 PCIe 4.0 lanes, support for up to 2 TB of ECC memory per CPU, and Pro-level admin tools. In essence, sometimes it is easier to think of Threadripper Pro more as ‘Workstation EPYC’, as these new processors are aimed at the traditional workstation crowd.













AMD Ryzen Threadripper Pro
AnandTech Cores Base

Freq
Turbo

Freq
PCIe

4.0
L3

Cache
DDR

Cap
Price

SEP
3995WX 64 / 128 2700 4200 128 256 MB 2 TB $5490
3975WX 32 / 64 3500 4200 128 128 MB 2 TB $2750
3955WX 16 / 32 3900 4300 128 64 MB 2 TB $1150
3945WX 12 / 24 4000 4300 128 64 MB 2 TB *
*Special OEM model
TR

3990X
64 / 128 2900 4300 64 256 MB 256 GB $3990
EPYC

7702P
64 / 128 2000 3350 128 256 MB 4 TB $4425


Out of the four processors, only three are being made at retail – that final 12-core processor is going to remain for specific OEM projects only. Pricing for these units is also being announced today, with the 64-core model sitting at $5490, the 32-core model at $2750, and the 16-core model at $1150.



These prices are larger than the equivalent Threadripper processors by up to 40%, despite our benchmarks showing the difference between the 64-core parts actually around 3% on average. This is because of all the extra features that Threadripper Pro brings to the table.


Motherboards from three manufacturers will be made available: the Supermicro M12SWA-TF, the GIGABYTE WRX80-SU8-IPMI, and the ASUS Pro WS WRX80E-SAGE SE WiFi. Prices for these motherboards are currently unknown, however we did have a short hands on with the ASUS motherboard which you can find in the link below.




We have already reviewed both the Threadripper Pro 3995WX and the Lenovo ThinkStation P620, which you can find here:



Exactly where and when these CPUs will start at the usual retail places is unclear – we do know that system integrators have been developing configurations with the hardware for several weeks now, so we might see these parts first hit the pre-built area before going fully retail.


We are hoping to get review units for the other CPUs in later this month, along with a few of these motherboards.


 


Update 1: Scan in the UK is currently selling the 64-core (£5000) and 32-core (£2500), with the 16-core (£1050) on preorder. They also have the ASUS motherboard for sale for £890.



Source: AnandTech – AMD Ryzen Threadripper Pro: Retail Offering Starts Today

The Intel Moonshot Division: An Interview with Dr. Richard Uhlig of Intel Labs

Some analysts consider Intel to be a processor company with manufacturing facilities – others consider it to be a manufacturing company that just happens to make processors. In the grand scheme of things, Intel is a hybrid of product, manufacturing, expertise, investment, and perhaps most importantly, research. Intel has a lot of research and development on its books, most of it aimed at current product cycles in the 12-36 month time span, but beyond that, as with most big engineering companies, there’s a team of people dedicated to finding the next big thing over 10-20+ years. This is usually called the Moonshot Division in most companies, but here we find it called Intel Labs, and leading this team of path-finding gurus is Dr. Richard Uhlig.



Source: AnandTech – The Intel Moonshot Division: An Interview with Dr. Richard Uhlig of Intel Labs

Crucial X6 Portable SSD 4TB Launches at $490: Phison's U17 Flash Controller Enters Retail

Crucial introduced the X6 Portable SSD last year as an entry-level alternative to their NVMe-based X8 Portable SSD. Launched in capacities of up to 2TB, the X6 adopted a 96L 3D TLC version of the BX500 SATA SSD along with an ASMedia ASM235CM SATA to USB 3.2 Gen 1 bridge chip. Today, the company is launching a unique high-performance product in the external SSD space within the same X6 family.


Direct flash-to-USB controllers have traditionally been used only in thumb drives, where compactness is the primary feature. These controllers present a number of advantages including significant reduction in bill-of-materials (BOM) cost and overall device power consumption. However, such controllers have typically been restricted to speeds of around 400MBps. Taking advantage of the USB 3.2 Gen 2 and Gen 2×2 interfaces, Phison introduced a couple of high-speed flash controllers with a direct USB interface at CES 2021. The U17, sporting a USB 3.2 Gen 2 (10Gbps) upstream interface and a 2-channel 1200 MT/s downstream NAND interface, is the one on which Crucial’s Portable SSD 4TB is based.



Crucial claims speeds of up to 800MBps for both reads and writes. This is significantly higher than the 540 MBps numbers possible with the SATA-based external SSDs. Officially, the X6 drives have ‘Micron 3D NAND’ and there is no specification of the generation / layer count. However, Crucial indicated that the X6 4TB drives being shipped today come with 96L Micron 3D NAND (QLC). As is usual with Micron / Crucial, it is likely that the NAND generation may get updated in the future to allow Micron to offer even lower price points.


The new 4TB X6 Portable SSD is priced at $490. At this price point, it compares quite favorably with the other QLC-based external SSDs such as the Sabrent XTRM-Q (though the latter comes with a Thunderbolt interface). The other 4TB external SSDs in the market are from Western Digital, with prices ranging from $680 to $750. Given their 3D TLC flash and the usage of a NVMe drive behind a bridge chip, they can offer much better performance, endurance, and additional flexibility (such as the ability to salvage the internal SSD in the case of a bridge chip failure) for professional use-cases. However, for the average consumer, the price per GB as well as price to performance ratio are both in Crucial’s favor with the new X6 Portable SSD based on the Phison U17 controller.



Source: AnandTech – Crucial X6 Portable SSD 4TB Launches at 0: Phison’s U17 Flash Controller Enters Retail

Intel Discontinues Performance Tuning Protection Plan for Overclocking Warranties

After a 9-year run, Intel today has begun to wrap up its Performance Tuning Protection Plan service, the company’s optional extended warranty for CPU overclocking. As of today, Intel is no longer selling new PTP plans, and the program will be shifting to servicing existing warranties while those are still active. Intel’s warranty service was quite unique throughout the industry; given the potentially destructive nature of overclocking, it’s almost unheard of to be covered, even by optional warranties.


Intel originally launched the Performance Tuning Protection Plan back in January of 2012, right in the middle of the heyday of Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge CPU overclocking (ed: has it really been that long?). At the time, for anywhere between $20 and $35, Intel would offer a one-time warranty that specifically covered damages incurred by overclocking – something that Intel’s standard warranty explicitly does not cover. Should a retail boxed processor fail due to overclocking, intel would replace a PPTP warrantied chip once and only once, free of charge.


When Intel kicked off the program, it was initially started as a six-month trial, where saw enough success to become a long-term offering for Intel, covering all overclockable Intel consumer chips including their massive HEDT parts. Even though the program made it very affordable to overcook an Intel CPU for little more than the price of a pizza, the one-time replacement restriction seemingly did its job, as stories of people trying to abuse the program have been few and far between.


None the less, the PTPP’s days have finally come to an end. In a message posted to the plan’s website, Intel announced that the program was being discontinued, citing that “As customers increasingly overclock with confidence, we are seeing lower demand for the Performance Tuning Protection Plans”.


And while Intel doesn’t provide any specific numbers to back that up, broadly speaking it’s not at all surprising to hear that demand is down. Since the Sandy Bridge era overclocking has become a lot less fruitful; with Turbo Boost Max 3.0, Thermal Velocity Boost, and other turbo technologies, Intel has begun wringing out the bulk of clockspeed headroom from their CPUs right out of the box. At the same time peak clockspeeds have stalled at a bit over 5GHz, and the much larger core counts of today’s CPUs means that Intel differentiates its parts based on core count more than it does based on clockspeeds. So unlike the Sandy Bridge era, where you could easily expect to add another 1GHz (or more) to a $216 i5-2500K, a modern i5-10600K is lucky to achieve half of that thanks to already starting at a peak clockspeed of 4.8GHz. Ultimately, although CPU overclocking is far from dead, it’s no longer delivering big, easy performance boosts as it once did.


At any rate, with the retirement of the PPTP, Intel is transitioning to servicing existing warranties. Intel chip owners who have already purchased a plan are still covered for the length of their warranty, which rides on top of Intel’s standard 3-year warranty. So Intel will still be replacing a handful of chips for a couple more years yet.



Source: AnandTech – Intel Discontinues Performance Tuning Protection Plan for Overclocking Warranties

Report: Semi Demand 30% Above Supply, 20% Year-on-Year Growth

Semiconductor foundry offerings are thriving due to unprecedented demand for semiconductors and processors in recent quarters. Analysts from TrendForce believe that in Q1 2021 foundries will increase their revenue by 20% year-over-year as their capacities are fully loaded. Since the demand for chips is projected to continue to exceed the constrained supply for several quarters, market observers predict that manufacturers will be busy for a long time, and beyond this, will take a long time to catch up. This is good news for foundry revenue, and may encourage others to widen their foundry offerings. Warnings however about fab equipment are coming into play – being fully loaded means equipment now wears out faster, which increases risks of disruptions should that equipment also be short on supply.



Source: AnandTech – Report: Semi Demand 30% Above Supply, 20% Year-on-Year Growth

Launching Today: NVIDIA’s GeForce RTX 3060 – Aiming For Mainstream At $329

NVIDIA this morning is launching their previously announced GeForce RTX 3060. First unveiled back at CES 2021, the latest member of the GeForce RTX 30 series is continuing NVIDIA’s ongoing top-to-bottom launch of Ampere-based video cards, with today’s card in some respects being the most popular one. Aimed at the mainstream market, the RTX 3060 is designed to be a more balanced option for the larger market of gamers who probably aren’t trying to drive high-end 4K displays, but still want the latest graphical features on a 1080p or 1440p display. RTX 3060 cards will go on sale a bit later this morning – at 9am Pacific – with prices starting at $329.



Source: AnandTech – Launching Today: NVIDIA’s GeForce RTX 3060 – Aiming For Mainstream At 9

NVIDIA Closes Out Q4 & FY2021 With Another Round of Record Earnings

NVIDIA this afternoon closed the book on another record fiscal year, announcing their FY 2021 and Q4 2021 earnings results for the company. For the last quarter of their fiscal year, NVIDIA booked just over $5B in revenue with a profit of $1457M, marking NVIDIA’s first five billion dollar quarter, and setting earning records across the board. Meanwhile for the full fiscal year, NVIDIA has recorded just under $16.7B in revenue, with a net income for the year of $4.3B.



Source: AnandTech – NVIDIA Closes Out Q4 & FY2021 With Another Round of Record Earnings

AMD To Unveil Next Radeon RX 6000 Video Card On March 3rd

It looks like AMD is getting ready to launch the next part in their RDNA2/RX 6000 family of video cards. This afternoon the company sent out a save the date invitation to the press and public, announcing that the company will be holding a Radeon-related announcement next Wednesday, March the 3rd. And with a picture of a previously unseen Radeon video card included with the announcement, AMD is leaving little ambiguity about their plans.


The event, officially dubbed “Where Gaming Begins Episode 3”, will be another Radeon-focused event, where AMD will “introduce the newest addition to the Radeon RX family of high-performance graphic cards.” AMD’s previous two WGB events have been pre-recorded presentations, so we’re expecting the same here.


The cornerstone of the announcement will be the introduction of a new Radeon video card. Essentially giving us half of the product announcement up-front, AMD has also posted a short, looping video of the card, highlighting the fairly sizable card and its open air cooler with dual axial fans. Given this, we’re almost certainly looking at what will be a Radeon RX 6700 card. AMD started the RDNA2 family with the top cards and GPU (Navi 21) first, so this is the next step in the expected filtering down of RDNA2 into cheaper video cards.




We’ll find out more about the card next week of course, but I would expect to see it positioned to compete against NVIDIA’s GeForce RTX 3060 series, with today’s announcement by AMD clearly intended to be a bit of a spoiler ahead of NVIDIA’s launch tomorrow. Currently AMD’s product stack stops at the $579 RX 6800, so it will be interesting to see just where this upcoming video card lands – if it’ll be positioned closer to the $400 RTX 3060 Ti, or the (nominally) $329 RTX 3060. AMD and NVIDIA’s GPUs have been slightly out of alignment this generation, as evidenced by Navi 21’s performance, so I won’t be too surprised if this next Navi GPU (Navi 22) similarly floats between NVIDIA’s GA106 and GA104.


Finally, I suspect we’ll hear some software-related news from AMD as well. The company has demonstrated an aptness for bundling software news into these hardware announcements, looking to make the most of these large, highly visible product launches. So I don’t expect AMD to solely talk about the new video card for 15+ minutes.


At any rate, we’ll find out more on March 3rd at 11am ET. So please join us then for the full details on AMD’s next Radeon video card.



Source: AnandTech – AMD To Unveil Next Radeon RX 6000 Video Card On March 3rd

HP is Acquiring HyperX for $425 Million

In some unexpected news today, HP and HyperX (formerly a division of Kingston) have jointly released a statement that HP is to acquire HyperX gaming peripherals portfolio, and the brand, for $425 million USD. Kingston retains the DRAM, Flash, and SSD products (those that are branded HyperX will probably be renamed). Perhaps it is indicative that Kingston wants to remain focused on the memory and storage markets, and divest away from a variable commodity market, while at the same time HP is looking to boost its presence in the space alongside its HP OMEN branding.


Pending regulatory review, the deal is expected to go close in Q2 2021, with the acquisition accretive on a non-GAAP to HP in the first full year. The HyperX peripheral line-up, which includes gaming headsets, microphones, keyboards, mouse pads, mice, power supplies, console accessories and apparel, is expected to be used by HP’s broader gaming ecosystem to expand potential add-ons for its OMEN series gaming desktops and laptops, as well as build that ecosystem for hardware, software, and services.



HyperX as a brand has always been a distinct element somewhat separate from Kingston – over the last few years, every trade show we’ve attended we have made separate meetings for each company, whereas a decade ago we would cover both in the same room. This disaggregation of the business has obviously allowed Kingston to package it up should it ever need to offload, as it has now done with HP. Kingston still retains the gaming focused RGB-laden DRAM and SSD businesses, although these are likely to be sold either under Kingston or a separate new brand that we will learn about in due course. It is unclear whether HyperX sponsorships of eSports teams is also part of the deal, if those will transfer to HP, or they will remain with Kingston.



In the press release, HP quotes that the PC hardware industry is set to have a $70 billion addressable market by 2013, with the global peripherals market (gaming and non-gaming) to grow to $12.4 billion by 2024. HP states that gaming peripherals will be a disproportionally large element of that year-on-year growth, and that HyperX’s brand recognition will help HP ‘advance its leadership in personal systems by modernizing compute experiences and expanding into valuable adjacencies’. In non-corporate speak, that just means that HP sees collective value in enabling its own systems with top-brand accessories to improve the overall experience. For a price, naturally, although there will no doubt be some synergies as HP can mothball some of its own HP OMEN peripherals that may not have had large distribution.


With the deal expected to close in Q2, it will be interesting to see if HP does any brand reorganization with HyperX, such as ‘HyperX by HP’, or leave it as it is. If we get more information we will add to this news post.


Source: https://press.hp.com/us/en/press-releases/2021/hp-inc-to-acquire-hyperx.html



Source: AnandTech – HP is Acquiring HyperX for 5 Million

Lenovo Updates ThinkPads: New Intel and AMD Processors, New Displays, New Designs

Today Lenovo is announcing a slew of updates across a large portion of their ThinkPad lineup, and updating their business-focused products for 2021. Some of the big changes for this year are impressive and welcome, with Lenovo committing to bringing feature-parity between their AMD and Intel offerings, as well as refreshing some of their laptops with 5G, Wi-Fi 6E, and continuing the trend of bringing back 16:10 aspect ratio displays for a better productivity experience.


ThinkPad X13 and X13 Yoga



Although some of the ThinkPad X lineup got refreshed back at CES, Lenovo is continuing the 2021 updates today on the X13 and X13 Yoga products, and the changes make these already impressive devices even more so.


On the processor side, Lenovo is offering either 11th Gen Intel Core – aka Tiger Lake – processors with vPro optional, as well as AMD Ryzen 5000 Pro options. Lenovo says they have heard the feedback from customers and are working hard to close the feature and option gap between the two platforms. For the most part, customers choosing AMD or Intel will have the same specifications and options available for the rest of the product, such as displays, memory, and so on, other than the platform specific features such as Intel supporting Thunderbolt 4 and PCIe 4.0.



The X13 and X13 Yoga will also be getting Wi-Fi 6E meaning 6 GHz support, and for those that want connectivity when out and about, sub-6 5G is an option on the X13, or 4G is available on both models.


Lenovo is also continuing to move to 16:10 displays, with the taller displays filling out more of the body and providing more vertical pixels for productivity. This is a great trend, and one that should not have taken this long to come back to, as of course the original widescreen ThinkPads were all 16:10 before the entire industry moved to 16:9. Lenovo is also proud to offer low-blue light hardware support on the displays, and unlike most low-blue light technologies which cause a red-shift on the display, the backlight physically produces less of the stressful blue lights, allowing the display to still keep the proper white balance.


As this is a proper business machine, there is also addition security such as Match-On-Chip fingerprint readers built into the power button, and the Intel models will support Human Presence Detection which allows the machine to lock when you are away and unlock when you get back. This will be through the IR camera, and as far as the visual camera, Lenovo is including an option for both HD with IR, as well as FHD with IR, the latter being a nice addition thanks to the increase in video conferencing over the last year.


The updated ThinkPad X13 will be available in May starting at $1139 USD, and the X13 Yoga will be available in April starting at $1379.


ThinkPad T14, T14s, and T15


ThinkPad T14


When most people imagine ThinkPad, they likely think of the venerable T Series. Lenovo said they are working on feature parity between Intel and AMD, and one of the changes is not branding the products differently based on the CPU, but for the T series, it doesn’t look like they’ve quite gotten there yet. There will be ThinkPad T14 i, ThinkPad T14s i, and ThinkPad T15 powered by Intel, and for the 14-inch models, the ones branded without the i will be AMD Ryzen based.


Although the T series is, at least for this gen, sticking with 16:9 aspect ratios, with several options for the 14-inch and 15-inch range including UHD displays with Dolby Vision. Lenovo is also offering its PrivacyGuard displays for extra security, and some low-power options depending on how you configure it.


ThinkPad T14s


As far as performance, the laptop will offer up to Core i7 11th Gen with vPro options, or AMD Ryzen 5000 Pro. Memory will be up to 32 GB on the S model, and up to 48 GB on the non-S. Storage is up to 2 TB of PCIe storage, with the Intel platforms supporting PCIe 4.0 speeds. The non-S model T14 and the T15 also offers an optional NVIDIA GeForce MX450 with 2 GB of GDDR6, if extra graphics compute is needed over the Intel Iris Xe or AMD Vega 8 graphics.


As with much of the ThinkPad lineup, Lenovo is offering Wi-Fi 6, 6E, and cellular capabilities with 4G and 5G options. As with the ThinkPad X13 range, Lenovo will also be offering FHD webcams with IR as optional upgrades.


Although the T14s is smaller and lighter than the T14, it includes a larger battery at 57 Wh, compared to just 50 Wh in the larger model. The 15-inch T15 also has the 57 Wh battery.


The ThinkPad T14s is one of my favorite laptops around, and it is always nice to see it get updated. The new models will be available starting in March and going through May depending on the model, with prices starting at $1149 for the ThinkPad T14 AMD model.


ThinkPad P14s and P15s



Also getting an update is a couple of the mobile workstation models under the P-Series, and as with the other units there will be both 11th Gen Intel Core with vPro as well as AMD Ryzen 5000 Pro CPU offerings.


The P14s and P15s will both offer 8 GB or 16 GB of soldered memory, as well as a SO-DIMM slot, which will allow for up to 48 GB maximum memory in these thinner and lighter versions of the P-series laptops. Lenovo is also offering the NVIDIA T500 which is the workstation class graphics based on the Turing MX450 and featuring 4 GB of VRAM.


Both the P14s and P15s will offer FHD displays as standard, with a few options such as ePrivacy or Low-Power, and both will offer an optional UHD display with HDR 400 and Dolby Vision HDR. The UHD displays will come with X-Rite factor color calibration.


For those that need a Linux version, Lenovo will be offering Ubuntu 20.04 LTS installs, as well as Red Had as factory options.



Wireless will be Intel Wi-Fi 6E for 6 GHz support thanks to the Intel AX210 on the Tiger Lake models, and the AMD offerings will still support Wi-Fi 6, but without the 6 GHz support.


Although some of the other ThinkPads are being offered with a FHD webcam, the P14s and P15s are not, at least for now. The newer webcam is physically larger, and would take a more comprehensive redesign of the chassis, but the HD webcam does offer IR if needed.


The Intel powered P14s i, and the P15s will be available in March, starting at $1389 for either, with the AMD powered P14s coming in May, and starting at $1169.


ThinkPad L14 and L15



Rounding out the lineup is the least-expensive way to get into a ThinkPad, and that is the L Series. Also being offered in a L14/15 i Intel based, or L14/15 AMD based design, the least expensive offerings still offer some powerful options.


With 11th gen Intel Core with vPro, and AMD Ryzen 5000, there will be two SODIMM slots, thanks to the thicker and heavier design, which means the least expensive models here can be outfitted with the most RAM, at up to 64 GB. There will be Intel Iris Xe, or AMD Vega graphics, and purchasers can opt for NVIDIA GeForce MX 450 as well.


One of the sad realities of a budget device is the display, and the base model comes with a (Yuck) 1366×768 TN panel. Luckily Lenovo offers FHD IPS offerings on both.


Storage is up to 1 TB PCIe SSD, or up to 2 TB spinning hard drive, but you do get Wi-Fi 6 across the range, and optional cellular options.


The L series is really all about entry price, and the new L14 and L15 will be available in May starting at $689.


Source: Lenovo


 



Source: AnandTech – Lenovo Updates ThinkPads: New Intel and AMD Processors, New Displays, New Designs

Lenovo Introduces The ThinkVision P40w: 40-inch Thunderbolt 4 Display With Intel AMT

Alongside a raft of ThinkPad updates, Lenovo is also announcing a new monitor to pair nicely with those Thinkpads. The Lenovo ThinkVision P40w is a rather impressive looking product, offering a 39.7-inch 21:9 panel, featuring a 5120×2160 WUHD resolution. And that’s not all.



The new P40w is also a dock for your laptop, thanks to the single-cable Thunderbolt 4 port which can charge the laptop at up to 100 Watts. It can provide up to 12 ports from the monitor, including two Thunderbolt 4 ports, and one USB Type-C. Not only that, but Lenovo includes an eKVM, which allows you to control two devices from this single monitor and dock combination. The extra Thunderbolt 4 port also would allow you to daisy-chain another 5K monitor.




















Lenovo ThinkVision P40w
Specification Display
Display Size 39.7-inches

2.0 mm bezels top/sides
Resolution 5120×2160 WUHD 75 Hz

140 PPI
Curvature 2500R
Color Gamut 98% P3

Factory Calibrated
Brightness 300 nits

1000:1 Contrast IPS
Response Time 4 ms (Extreme Mode)

6 ms (Normal Mode)
Ports (Video) 2 x Thunderbolt 4

1 x HDMI 2.0

1 x DisplayPort 1.4

1 x 3.5 mm Audio Out
Ports (I/O) Output Ports:

4 x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A

1 x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-C

1 x Thunderbolt 4

Input Ports:

1 x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-B

1 x Thunderbolt 4

RJ-45
Power Delivery USB Type-C : Up to 27 W

Thunderbolt 4: Up to 100 W
Power Consumption 60 Watts (Typical)

0.5 Watts Sleep Mode
Tilt (`)-5° to 22°
Swivel 45° Plus/Minus
VESA 100 x 100 and 200 x 100
Weight 14.65 kg / 32.30 lbs with stand


The 21:9 panel offers 98% of the P3 color space, and is factory calibrated for an error level of less than 2.0, and includes hardware-level blue light reduction, to keep the proper white balance while still reducing blue light emissions.


There is a built-in RJ-45 jack as well, allowing the monitor to be your network hub, and it supports Wake-On-LAN, PXE, and MAC pass-through. Lenovo is the first manufacturer to retail a professional monitor with Intel Active Management Technology built-in to integrate with the vPro on ThinkPads, and provide the extra management capabilities that provides.



If you have always wanted a big monitor with high resolution, wide gamut support, and of course the management capabilities of Intel AMT, Lenovo has you covered.


The new ThinkVision P40w will be available in June, starting at $1699 USD.




Source: AnandTech – Lenovo Introduces The ThinkVision P40w: 40-inch Thunderbolt 4 Display With Intel AMT

The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra & S21 Review: The Near Perfect and The Different

Today we’re reviewing the Galaxy S21 Ultra in both Exynos and Snapdragon SoC flavours, as well the baseline Galaxy S21 – contrasting two very different devices in Samsung’s new series, coming in at two very different price points.



Source: AnandTech – The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra & S21 Review: The Near Perfect and The Different