This week’s hardware news recap primarily focuses on Intel’s Minix implementation, alongside creator Andrew Tanenbaum’s thoughts on the unknown adoption of the OS, along with some new information on the AMD + Intel multi-chip module (MCM) that’s coming to market. Supporting news items for the week include some GN-style commentary of a new “gaming” chair with case fans in it, updates on nVidia quarterly earnings, Corsair’s new “fastest” memory, and EK’s 560mm radiators.
Find the show notes after the embedded video.
Photo of Intel + AMD MCM
We reported on the Intel/AMD collaboration on a multi-chip module featuring 8th Generation H-series CPUs and discrete AMD graphics. Rumors have since indicated a potential Polaris inclusion, rather than Vega, but those haven’t yet been confirmed. What has been more or less confirmed, though, is what the package looks like in its present state. A new photo posted on Beyond3D shows the package, which hosts the Intel CPU, AMD GPU, and HBM all on a single substrate. The Intel component will still include its IGP, despite the AMD GPU inclusion. The IGP will be used to take-over for lower load video playback tasks, encode/decodes, and anything which doesn’t need the discrete GPU. The result will be power savings.
For anyone who missed it, last week saw the reveal that Intel uses a negative ring for its management engine, where a lightweight OS exists inaccessible to the user. The Minix OS was created by Andrew Tanenbaum, an educator on operating systems, and was released under the Berkeley license. Although Minix was not originally intended for use outside of its educational environment, it is also not illegal to use Minix in a corporate setting. The license permits freedom to use and modify code without compensation or, technically, even attribution.
Fast-forward from the Berkeley license release of Minix in 2000, and we see Intel has deployed the OS on a negative Ring in all of its PCHs since Skylake, running on a CPU core when enabled to do so. Related to this, more news emerged of possible exploits via physical access, where USB devices could gain access to the system.
None of that is today’s news, but gives some back-story. Today’s news is that Tanenbaum released a public letter to Intel, noting that, although he doesn’t seek compensation, it, quote, “would have been nice” if Intel let him know that Minix was so widely deployed. Tanenbaum had previously answered questions from Intel about reducing the memory footprint of Minix, but wasn’t told the context of the questions. Tanenbaum’s letter added a note post-publication, stating that, quote, “I think creating George Orwell’s 1984 is an extremely bad idea, even if Orwell was off by about 30 years. People should have complete control over their own computers, not Intel and not the government.” Tanenbaum also stated that “putting a possible spy in every computer is a terrible development.”
We’ll have links to sources for the full letter in the article below.
Samsung has already collected a CES Innovation Award for its GDDR6 memory, which seems to be turning out better than expected. Originally, Samsung had stated their GDDR6 would offer throughputs of 14Gbps; however, the memory appears to already be hitting throughputs of 16Gbps.
That’s much higher than both GDDR5 and GDDR5X. Moreover, the memory subsystem should operate at 1.35V, compared to the 1.5V it currently takes to drive GDDR5/X.
We don’t yet know anything about timings of the memory, which are a major player in performance for GDDR5X. At lower, matched clocks to GDDR5, GDDR5X performs significantly worse in gaming tasks when considering its higher memory latency. The frequency largely makes up for this in its Pascal deployments, but latency will be a big question for GDDR6.
NVidia posted its financial results for its third fiscal quarter, marking a 32% climb year-over-year in revenue, at $2.64B up from $2B. NVidia noted growth in AI and data center, gaming, and automotive technologies, where the Drive PX Pegasus was announced as an autonomous taxi solution. NVidia also noted adoption by cloud computing giants of the Volta V100 GPU.
Corsair Claims “World’s Fastest” 32GB DDR4 Kit
In the realm of PC hardware vendors, superlatives float in the air—with “Fastest” and “First” being the most popular, and always preceded by “World’s”, of course. Given the current market for RAM, “exorbitant” might be equally apposite. Regardless, Corsair has outed a new 32GB (4x8GB), to which they have claimed is the world’s fastest at 4,333MHz. The new Vengeance LPX kits use Samsung ICs and 8-layer PCBs, with the easily recognizable heat spreaders affixed thereto. Timings come in at CL19-26-26-46 at 1.35V.
Availability is listed as December 2017, with no current word on pricing. However, it’s sure to be eye watering.
The gaming chair market is one that hasn’t seen much distinction in recent years; just about every company has some variant of the racing style bucket seat. Thermaltake’s new X Comfort Air does offer some dissimilarity, albeit it’s hard to know how effective or sought after active air-cooling in a chair is. The cooling system consists of 4 fans locating in the base of the chair, powered via an integrated control box that plugs into the wall. The fans are 3-speed, and top out at 5100 RPMs.
Aside from the active cooling, the chair offers faux leather, 4D armrests, a class 4 gas lift, a steel frame and a 331lb weight limit. The chair is available from Thermaltake for $500.
OFM Enters Gaming Chair Market with Respawn Series
North Carolina based OFM is entering the already crowded gaming seat market with their new Respawn line, with chairs starting at $140. The Respawn Series consists of 8 models in total, with different colors, features, and specifications. The aforementioned $140 price is for the low-end model, with the top-end offering costing $225.
EKWB is now offering two more options within their CoolStream SE line-up. The 420 and 560mm radiators both utilize 140mm fans, offer zero overhang, have brass cores, use a 22 GPU fin density, and have standard G ¼” ports.
The CoolStream SE 420 will go for $90, while the bigger 560mm variant will be available for $110.