We just arrived in Canada for LTX and should be working on some content featuring YouTubers in the space. In the meantime, another hardware news episode is due – and this one is heavily filled with industry goings-on, rather than product news. Our first topic is Intel’s debunking of brand death rumors, followed-up by a German court banning pre-orders with indefinite delivery dates, aiming to crack-down on some Kickstarter and Indiegogo failures. Further, AMD’s Threadripper 2 TDP has been re-confirmed by a slide for the Gigabyte X399 Extreme motherboard, which now has a finalized VRM design and layout. Memory suppliers are also back in the news this week, for the third consecutive week, this time with their own concerns about IP and patent theft.
Show notes below, following the embedded video.
Intel Debunks Extreme Edition Rumors
Intel has shut down a rumor that they’re discontinuing their Extreme Edition branding. Former Intel employee François Piednoël casually tweeted “The #ExtremeEdition Brand is about to get killed. What a big mistake” a few days ago, without offering any further explanation. PC Gamer reached out to Intel, who responded that “there is no change to the branding of the Intel Core Extreme Edition processor and Intel Core X-series processor family.”
A German court has ruled that it is illegal to sell preorders without specifying a delivery date. The case originates from an advertisement soliciting preorders for the Samsung Galaxy S6 back in August 2016, which used the phrase “bald verfügbar” (coming soon). This applies to both physical goods and software licenses, like video games. If Valve ever mentions Half Life 3, they’ll be in trouble.
The ruling upholds an earlier judgement, and will become final after the appeals period expires.
AMD’s Threadripper 2 lineup is due out in August, as officially stated by AMD, with a likely launch window in the 2nd or 3rd week of August. We already had official information that suggested a 250W TDP for some of the upcoming Threadripper 2 CPUs, and a new Gigabyte X399 Extreme motherboard listing seems to support that claim. This supports Buildzoid’s previous concerns with existing X399 motherboard VRM capabilities, to which AMD_James on reddit replied saying, quote, “Maybe you should wait till you get hands on with the product before spending time drawing conclusions?”
Despite the unnecessarily snarky response, it appears that Buildzoid was correct: For overclocking purposes, we’re going to need new X399 motherboards with stronger VRMs for big overclocks. Stock is a different story, naturally.
Speaking of the X399 Extreme board, viewers of our content will be happy to hear that Gigabyte has specially marked the heatsink as having fins, something manufacturers have been rediscovering lately. The Gigabyte board also looks to use a 10+3-phase VRM, but we’re not positive on which power stages are used.
Memory Makers Suspect IP Theft by Chinese Companies
The Korea Times reports that Chinese memory chip manufacturers are “attempting to infringe on Samsung and SK patents,” according to an unnamed official. No specific company is accused and Samsung and SK both declined The Korea Times’ request for comment, but this adds to the pile of patent infringement drama we’ve reported on, which recently resulted in the temporary ban of some Micron products in China. Chinese companies are trying hard to break into the semiconductor market, but it’s hard to feel sorry for the massive Korean corporations when they’re constantly under investigation for price fixing.
The tariffs imposed on Chinese goods a week ago could raise the price of PC components and prebuilt systems. The impact may not be direct, but there are concerns about supply chain disruptions to products that use Chinese parts. It’s unlikely that retailers will swallow the higher costs, but will pass them on to consumers instead. The trade war goes both ways, so this is bad news for both American companies importing from China and Chinese companies trying to expand in the US, like Alibaba.
Origin PC expressed concern to Tom’s Hardware, noting that this price increase would be worse than the hike caused by cryptocurrency mining. Origin’s point is that such an increase would affect all components, not just GPUs.
Microsoft, creators of smash-hit innovations like Paint 3D, are updating notepad for the first time in years. It sounds like they deserve some cautious optimism this time, though. Notepad improvements that will be rolled into the Windows 10 “Redstone 5” update include:
- Support for Unix and Macintosh line endings
- Wrap-around find/replace toggle, so ctrl+f can search the whole document rather than just above or below the cursor.
- Text zooming
- Ability to see the “real” line and column numbers even when word wrap is enabled
- Improved performance when opening large files, plus some other minor features and bug fixes
All of these features make Notepad better at doing things that people actually want to use Notepad for, without trying to add a bunch of UI junk.
Samsung’s 5th gen V-NAND has entered mass production, starting with a 256Gb TLC die. The new chips are 96 layers, up from 64, and the height of each layer has been reduced 20 percent. They are making use of the “Toggle DDR 4.0” interface to reach data transfer speeds of 1.4Gbps, a 40% increase over the 64 layer V-NAND’s speed of 800mbps. Operating voltage has been lowered to 1.2V from 1.8V, and Samsung claims energy consumption is therefore “comparable to that of the 64-layer chip.” Write latency is down to 500 microseconds, and read latency is down to 50. Expect to see the 256Gb die in mobile devices and SSDs.