HW News - 7nm Production, Another GTX 1050 Announced (3GB)
Posted on June 30, 2018
Hardware news for the past week includes another Pascal card launch -- the GTX 1050 3GB, which has some shared characteristics with the GTX 1050 Ti -- and news of the TSMC 7nm production timelines. We also talk about the new "Summit" supercomputer by NVIDIA and IBM, worthy of note for any interested in high-end computing and scientific research advancements.
More related to our audience, GDDR6 production continues to ramp, 7nm and 5nm are on-track, NAND prices continue to fall, and Gigabyte reiterates a GPU shipment reduction.
Show notes are below the video, if you prefer to read.
Further NV NDA Discussion
We briefly revisit the NVIDIA NDA topic for a few more minutes. Our original coverage of the NDA leak dismissed most of the online concerns as non-issues, but we revisit the concern of "GPP" or "GPP2" in the above video. That discussion will be left for the video format.
Micron Ramping GDDR6 Production
Micron have announced they’ve commenced production of their next-gen GDDR6 memory, becoming the last of the big 3 to announce plans for GDDR6. Micron will initially be rolling out a few different 8Gb chips for graphics, automotive, and networking. Micron has plans in the future for faster 16Gbps chips, but the first run of chips will be at 10Gbps, 12Gbps, and 14Gbps.
GDDR6 will supercede the decade old GDDR5, and the more recent GDDR5X. The new memory will offer density improvement (up to 32GB capacity), and lower operating voltage -- anywhere from 1.25 to 1.35V, a reduction from the GDDR5/GDDR5X voltage of 1.5V to 1.6V. GDDR6 also stand to offer improvements in data rate, as Micron has successfully overclocked a GDDR6 prototype to 20Gbps.
We’ve previously discussed pricing of GDDR6, and supplier sources at SK Hynix have told us to expect approximately a 20% increase in BOM price over GDDR5, with plans to lower that later.
NVidia has just pushed a new graphics card into the channel, and it’s the GTX 1050 3GB version. The 3GB GTX 1050 increases CUDA core count to 768 from 640 on the original GTX 1050, putting it closer to a GTX 1050 Ti in specs, and also increases the boost clock to 1518MHz, up from 1455MHz on the original 1050. Memory speed remains 7Gbps, so the only major difference here is that the GTX 1050 3GB drops to 96-bits on the memory interface width, down from 128-bits for the 1050 Ti and 1050 2GB. Memory bandwidth is also reduced, down to 84GB/s from 112GB/s on both the original 1050 and 1050 Ti.
The 3GB cards are expected to ship at $160, which is around the price the original 1050 Ti aftermarket models shipped at. The SC model will be $170. Considering video card prices for the last few months, it’s tough to gauge value right now.
TSMC has begun producing 7nm products commercially, and hopes to make 5nm in 2019 or 2020. The company's technology symposium in Taiwan directly refuted claims that 7nm yield was poor, leading to higher prices and lower volume, and stated that TSMC is actually emboldening its wafer output by 9% for 7nm. The company is working on 50 taped-out designs by EOY 2018, including major design focus on GPU, AI, and cryptocurrency ASICs. Apple's upcoming A12 processor will also impact TSMC 7nm focus. The foundry already has a waitlist of 20 customers for 7nm, including AMD, NVIDIA, Bitmain, and Qualcomm.
Nvidia & IBM Retake Supercomputing Lead From China
Nvidia and IBM, in collaboration with numerous other partners, have helped the U.S. usurp China as owner of the world’s fastest supercomputer. The machine, dubbed “Summit” has helped propel the U.S. back to the forefront of supercomputing, and bested China’s “Sunway TaihuLight” machine.
Summit belongs to The Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and consumes 5,600 SF of space. Summit scored 122.3 petaflops of compute performance on HPL, the benchmark Top500 uses to score supercomputers. Summit consists of 4,356 nodes (compute servers) interconnected, each equipped with a pair of 22-core IBM Power9 CPUs, six Nvidia Tesla V100 GPUs, and consumes 15 MW of power (1 MW = 1,000 KW. So, 15 MW = 15,000,000 W).
Sierra, another IBM built machine representing the U.S., claimed the number three spot. Sierra’s design is similar to that of Summit’s. Overall, the U.S. claims 124 of the top 500 supercomputers, coming in behind China with 206 total systems.
Summit was conceived to research the fields of human disease, astrophysics, fusion energy, and climate change. Nvidia notes that Summit is capable of 3 exaops of deep learning operations. Overall, not a bad way to spend $200 million.
Corsair has widened their focus in the gaming market to include game streamers. With the purchase of the Elgato Gaming brand, Corsair will be the new home for Elgato’s products such as their internal and external capture cards, and their popular Stream Deck. Elgato also owns a line of connected home devices under the brand Elgato Eve; this was not part of Corsair’s acquisition, and will continue on independently.
Corsair didn’t disclose many details regarding the purchase, such as price or any potential staffing changes.
A recent report from DRAMeXchange/TrendForce suggests the contract prices of NAND will continue to decline into the second half of 2018, amidst the improved yield rates of current gen NAND, coupled with the NAND market reaching a balance between supply and demand.
NAND prices have been descending for two consecutive quarters now, and suppliers are expected to postpone capacity expansion plans in an attempt to “moderate” the price decline. Demand is expected remain weak due to slow growth in notebooks, lack of specification upgrade in smartphones, and less replacement demand. However, a looming iPhone release this fall could influence the NAND market.
In last week’s HW News, we mentioned reports indicating a steep GPU shipment decline, due to the mining demand shrinkage. This week, Gigabyte all but confirms the GPU market is preparing for steep declines in the second half of 2018.
Gigabyte expects their GPU shipments to fall by 20% in 2H18, with ASP (Average Selling Price) to drop by 10%.Gigabyte, and likely other AIB partners, will be shifting their focus back to the gaming market.
Noteworthy sales for the week primarily include the Threadripper 1950X CPUs, which are now marked down from the original launch price of $1000. It seems that this may be a new permanent or semi-permanent low. In the face of Threadripper 2, it makes sense -- but that's still a decent deal on TR 1950X CPUs. The ASUS Zenith Extreme board would go well with this, and is also at least temporarily reduced in price. Finally, the EVGA GTX 1070 Ti cards are now closer to original MSRP, ending a months-long GPU overpricing trend.
Editorial: Eric Hamilton Host: Steve Burke Video: Keegan Gallick