Industry stub

HW News - Ryzen 3000 Binning, CCX Overclocking, RAM Price Drop

Posted on July 28, 2019

This week's hardware news was filmed prior to our trip to Vancouver for LTX, which we're covering in a lot of content pieces coming up. HW News discusses CCX overclocking, 3nm and 5nm process progress, DRAM revenue dropping hard, and industry topics like Origin's sale to Corsair. We also talk about 5.2GHz 3900X overclocking results, but that'll be in the video only for this one. The rest is in the written section below, as always.

CCX Overclocking Tool, But Be Careful

Former EVGA employee and current ASUS employee Shamino released his updated Work Tool for per-CCX overclocking. You can already sort of do some individualized CCD or CCX overclocking in Ryzen Master, but Work Tool is supposed to break the FIT limit so that you can trick Ryzen 3000 CPUs into running tighter per-CCX overclocks.

The Stilt pointed-out, however, that this tool can kill CPUs and is dangerous for the general public to use. There are a lot of important steps to follow for using this, like setting manual voltages and not using offset or auto, and as such, we won’t directly link the tool. You can go find it if you want it, but this is something we think best reserved for competitive overclocking as of now, seeing as competitive overclocking tends to throw the life of the CPU out the window, anyway.

The Stilt:

Silicon Lottery Launches Binned Ryzen 3000

We recently mentioned placeholders on Silicon Lottery’s website for binned Ryzen 3000 parts, and it seems now the company has formally launched its Ryzen 3000 selection, albeit currently most of the SKUs are already sold out. Silicon Lottery is offering the Ryzen 7 3700X, Ryzen 7 3800X, Ryzen 9 3900X, and the unreleased Ryzen 9 3950X. 

Looking at the binning and overclocks, it confirms what almost all reviews have already: limited headroom for manual overclocking. Robert Hallock, AMD's Senior Technical Marketing Manager, even said as much on a reddit thread while discussing Ryzen’s boost clock behavior.

Silicon Lottery took to reddit to discuss its findings with Ryzen 3000 binnings, as well as offering praise for AMD and musing on the future of Silicon Lottery’s business model in its current form. 

“AMD has done a fantastic job here overall, and we’re very aware this is the start to the end of our company in general. As both AMD and Intel optimize their binning process more and more, overclocking will not be possible as CPUs will boost themselves on their own to the highest clocks possible.” While Silicon Lottery will surely be around for the next few CPU generations, here’s hoping the company can make a successful pivot to another niche within the enthusiast community.   


Gartner: Semiconductor Revenue Dips 9.6%, DRAM Down 42%

The latest report from the Gartner think tank is predicting a global, year-over-year decline for semiconductor revenue, to the tune of 9.6%. Global semiconductor revenue is expected to total $429 billion for 2019, compared to $475 billion in 2018, marking its sharpest decline since 2009.

“The semiconductor market is being impacted by a number of factors. A weaker pricing environment for memory and some other chips types combined with the U.S.-China trade dispute and lower growth in major applications, including smartphones, servers and PCs, is driving the global semiconductor market to its lowest growth since 2009,” explains Ben Lee, senior principal research analyst at Gartner.

Gartner is also forecasting a DRAM price decline of 42.1% for 2019, due to a demand-driven oversupply that is expected to hang around all the way through the second half of 2020. Gartner notes the DRAM oversupply is in part due to weak demand from hyperscale data centers, and is accentuated by glutinous inventories of DRAM vendors. 

The ongoing dispute between the US and China, which recently let up a bit, is expected to have a long-term effect on semiconductor revenue, as well as supply and demand. The tensions between the US and Chinese economies will accelerate China’s domestic semiconductor production, and spur local forks of ARM processors (see: Huawei).  


CXL Consortium Gains AMD

AMD’s Mark Papermaster has stated via the AMD blog that the company has joined the  Compute Express Link (CXL) Consortium. CXL is an open-source, high bandwidth interconnect based on PCIe 5.0 that offers low latency and tighter coherency for heterogeneous processing. With the announcement, AMD now supports all the current and upcoming interconnects: CXL,   CCIX, OpenCAPI, and Gen-Z.

The CXL initiative was started by Intel, but also boasts founding members like Microsoft, Google, Dell EMC, and Facebook. The consortium now includes 55 members, and is becoming one of the fastest growing interconnects.  


Toshiba/WD Power Outage Could Lead NAND/DRAM Price Hike

The June power outage in Japan that affected both Toshiba and Western Digital is expected to lead to a short-lived rebound in pricing for NAND and DRAM. The power outage disrupted production at several fabs, and led to several exabytes of memory being affected. The news of price hikes comes via DRAMeXchange. 

As DRAMeXchange points out, there is also some political interposition at play here. According to DRAMeXchange, the Japanese government announced that “it will be controlling South Korea-bound exports of three key materials used in the manufacturing of semiconductors, smartphones and panels, causing module manufacturers in the memory industry downstream to give higher quotes.”

DRAMeXchange and TrendForce seem to believe any serious reversal in supply and demand for the DRAM market is slim, given the continued downward slide of DRAM prices and overall weak demand. NAND is expected to be affected more, with short term price increases beginning this month. However, prices are only expected to be affected in the near term; DRAMeXchange and TrendForce believe any price increase will be resolved in the long term.  


TSMC: N3 Early Customer Engagement, N5 Volume Production 2H20

TSMC’s forward pace with semiconductor development continues unabated. TSMC noted in an earnings call that process technologies such as the company's N3 and N5 are progressing according to plan, and that TSMC has already engaged early customers with its N3 process. Regarding N5, TSMC is expecting an 80% increase in logic density, and a 15% performance uplift compared to N7. TSMC is expecting to enter volume production with N5 in the second half of 2020. 

TSMC was less revealing with its N3 process, only saying  “On N3, the technology development progress is going well, and we are already engaging with the early customers on the technology

definition. We expect our 3-nanometer technology to further extend our leadership position well into the future.”

TSMC also mentioned the ramp-up of its N7 process, and that its N7+ process -- the company’s first that adapts EUV for certain layers -- is entering volume production this year. 

Source: TSMC Conference Call Transcript --

Origin PC Celebrates Anniversary by Selling to Corsair

In celebration of its 10-year anniversary, Origin PC has built the “Big O” 2.0. The build combines a gaming PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and a Nintendo Switch in one chassis. The hybrid, one- off build (that won’t go on sale) represents a throwback to 2009’s Big O 1.0 that integrated an Xbox 360.

The Big O 2.0 also features custom liquid loops that cool the SoCs for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, each with brand-respective color; that is, green and blue. The Nintendo Switch slides into a separate dock on the front of the case. The consoles are all connected to an HDMI switch, and the build also has 4K capture cards for streaming.

Other hardware specs include an MSI MEG Z390 Godlike motherboard, i9-9900K, Nvidia Titan RTX, 64GB Corsair Dominator Platinum RGB RAM, 2x 2TB Samsung EVO NVMe SSDs, and a 14TB Seagate Barracuda HDD.      


In another anniversary surprise, Origin PC and Corsair jointly announced that Corsair will be acquiring the boutique PC builder. Corsair CEO Andy Paul cited an increasing number of gamers making the jump to PC gaming, and noted a desire to extend Corsair’s reach to those that would rather buy than build. As we’ve noted before, the pre-built and boutique PC market is wider than many enthusiasts give it credit for.

Corsair will offer iCUE software integration into Origin PCs, as well as extending its mintly announced Hydro-X liquid cooling parts to select Origin PC builds. Future collaborations are TBA, as the press release notes. Origin PC will continue to operate as a separate brand under the Corsair umbrella, with all Origin PC warranties, purchases, and support remaining intact. 

Corsair will also continue to offer its own range of branded pre-built systems.         


Editorial: Eric Hamilton
Host: Steve Burke
Video: Andrew Coleman