HW News - NVIDIA GPU Overstock, RAM Price Fixing Fines
Posted on June 23, 2018
Hardware news hasn’t slowed since Computex; in fact, this week has been among the busiest in months, with several news items out of the “Big Three” manufacturers. NVidia has seemingly purchased too many GPUs, according to GamersNexus sources (and verifying other stories), GPU shipments overall are trending downward, Intel’s CEO “resigned,” and AMD is working on Vega 20 and V340 products.
Other news for the week includes smaller items, like Be Quiet! opening a US service center and expanding US operations. Learn more in the video, or find the show notes below:
NVIDIA Bought Too Many GPUs
A few weeks ago, a GN source informed us that nVidia had over-ordered GPUs, and that one vendor had begun attempts to return excess GPUs purchased. We never did anything with that story, but a few other sites heard similar news from their own sources. At this point, we have been able to verify stories published by other publications alleging nVidia’s potential overstock of Pascal GPUs, likely a heavy bet that mining demand would persist.
GPU Shipments Trend Downward
In another digitimes report, AIB partners are expected to see their shipments fall in the second half of 2018, due to the waning cryptocurrency market. As shipments and profits shift downwards due to the demand shrinkage, prices are still suspect to remain high. Companies such as Asustek, Gigabyte, MSI, and TUL are all expected to see inflated inventories as they abandon the mining market; however, as prices continue to normalize somewhat, vendors are still maintaining profit margins at around 20%. Admittedly, this is much lower than the 40 - 50% we’ve been seeing, but still higher than the normal 8 to 10% seen before the mining boom.
According to digitimes, industry sources indicate that DRAM suppliers -- Samsung, SK Hynix, and Micron -- could be facing antitrust fines up to $8 billion in China for price fixing. The three companies collectively control 90% of the DRAM market, and memory prices have been rising exponentially since 2017, something we’ve covered many times now. Samsung, Hynix, and Micron have all confirmed that China’s antitrust regulators have visited their offices, as part of an ongoing investigation into price fixing. If found guilty, the vendors could face fines ranging from $800 million, up to $8 billion; the estimated fines are based on profits in China between 2016 - 2017.
As we’ve previously mentioned, China has no small interest all things memory related; they have become the world’s largest consumer of DRAM memory, and the Chinese government is currently working on becoming more self-sufficient by supporting several local memory start-ups.
Intel has announced that Brian Krzanich has resigned amidst discovering a past consensual relationship with another Intel employee that violated Intel’s non-fraternization policy for management. Intel has appointed CFO Bob Swan as the interim CEO, while they conduct a search for a permanent replacement. Krzanich was tasked with several restructuring initiatives during his tenure as CEO, the most notable being Intel’s transition to data-centric business, and evolving past the PC segment. Krzanich was a decades old employee, starting with Intel in 1982. Timing is suspect, as the alleged relationship wasn’t a new occurrence, and difficulty launching 10nm could lead the jaded among us to assume ulterior motives.
Allegedly leaked AOTS benchmarks point to a suspected workstation grade GPU based on a 7nm Vega 20. Note first, however, that there have been several fake leaks lately in the form of modified Cinebench or other benchmark files, so we’d scrutinize the Vega 20 ‘leaks’ a little more than normally. Vega 20 is initially expected to hit the server/data center market, with little word on when/if other markets can expect AMD’s 7nm Vega 20 silicon; AMD has clearly stated they will bring 7nm silicon to the gaming sector, but it is widely speculated that it will come in the form of Navi. Early Vega 20 specs claim 4096 stream processors, support for up to 32GB of HBM2, allegedly twice the density and power efficiency, and a 35% performance increase compared to 14nm Vega.
AMD has somewhat quietly launched the Pro V340. Rumors have surfaced online, speculating as to whether this card was Vega 10 or 20 (20 being based on 7nm). It is almost certainly not 7nm, as AMD would be making a much bigger announcement. Additionally, the Pro V340 is supposedly a multi-chip solution comprised of two Vega 10 dies, with a total of 32GB of HBM2. That likely means 16GB per Vega 10 GPU; Vega 20 allegedly supports up to 32GB for a single die. The Pro V340 is aimed at virtualization for professional use, such as oil and gas research, designers, and media/entertainment.
Intel recently held a sweepstakes celebrating the 40th anniversary of their venerable 8086 processor, and the launch of the limited edition i7-8086K. AMD took this opportunity to troll Intel by offering the winners of Intel’s sweepstakes a chance to trade in their i7-8086K for one of AMD’s Threadripper 1950X CPUs.
Intel quickly responded via their Intel Gaming Twitter page: “@AMDRyzen, if you wanted an Intel Core i7-8086K processor too, you could have just asked us. :) Thanks for helping us celebrate the 8086!”
Overall, this seemed to be a pretty good spirited exchange between the two companies.
Intel’s Raja Koduri, previously of AMD, has just hired Intel’s former Larrabee GPU architect Tom Forsyth to aid in development the company’s new GPUs. Forsyth previously made advancements to AVX instruction processing, and has been speculated as a potential player for VR development focus.
Forsyth noted that he will, quote, “start at Intel shortly as a chip architect in Raja Koduri’s group.”
AMD announced Threadripper 2 at Computex, and along with the increased core count comes an increased TDP -- 250W, to be precise. While motherboard vendors are working on the X399 refresh to properly power AMD’s new high-end silicon, cooling vendors are no doubt working on new TR4 coolers.
AMD is collaborating with Cooler Master for the Wraith Ripper mega cooler, a massive air cooler capable of dissipating 250W of heat. The cooler will use eight pairs of heat pipes attached to a stack of tens of fins. Wraith Ripper will purportedly guarantee memory module clearance, even for DIMMs using taller heat spreaders. The cooler will also be adorned with addressable RGB lighting. A center mounted, concealed 120mm fan will handle airflow. Wraith Ripper will be sold through Cooler Master, and neither Cooler Master or AMD have revealed pricing or availability details.
German based be quiet! has announced the opening of their first U.S. based service center, declared as a “commitment to our U.S. based customers” by Stanislav Minkin, be quiet! General Manager. The service center will be based in Los Angeles, California, and will be aimed at both consumer and business customers.