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HW News - AMD Makes New Console SOC, New York Bans Spectrum, Threadripper 2 SKUs

Posted on August 5, 2018

Between our process of moving into a new office with actual space for testing stuff, we've been working on hardware news videos and other content alongside office setup. This week's hardware news has heavy AMD focus, split between Threadripper 2 SKUs and specs, a new AMD console SOC, and motherboard add-ons for ASUS X399 boards. The add-ons include SOC and Vcore cooling modules, meant to help cope with overclocked TR2 VRM thermals and power delivery requirements.

Also in major news this week, New York state banned Charter communications (Spectrum, formerly TimeWarner Cable) from its state, and has given the company 60 days to leave. This is a major event in a world with duopolistic and monopolistic ISP establishments.

Threadripper 2 SKUs

Several SKUs for AMD’s second generation of Threadripper have surfaced online, with AMD’s website being one of the sources. Reddit users discovered several models for 2nd gen Threadripper on AMD’s website, including what appears to be the flagship 32C/64T 2990WX. Also, a Canadian retailer briefly listed the 2990WX on their website, for roughly $1,835. Being that AMD has doubled the core and thread count from the previous 1950X that debuted at $1000, that price isn’t altogether startling.   

We have independently confirmed that the 2990WX is a 32C/64T part, and have confirmed its frequency as 3.0GHz base to 4.2GHz boost. Pricing should be about $1800 on that part. We’ll post the rest of the information on August 6th. As with the Ryzen 2000 launch, we are not under an embargo from AMD on this one, but are holding the remainder of the news information out of respect for our peers in media.

Source: https://www.tomshardware.com/news/amd-ryzen-threadripper-2990wx-price,37524.html

& https://www.pcgamer.com/amd-website-now-lists-several-second-generation-threadripper-skus/

AMD Makes New Console Gaming Parts

AMD issued a press release stating that they’ve developed a semi-custom SOC for Chinese company Zhongshan Subor, to be sold in a gaming PC available later this month and a gaming console later this year. Both use the same hardware, but the console will have a “customized operating system.” Subor is currently known for making “famiclones” and cheap consoles with built-in games, but the SOC created for them by AMD is a significant step up. The CPU is 4C/8T and runs at 3.0GHz peak, while the Vega GPU has 24 CUs, runs at 1300MHz, and uses 8GB of GDDR5 installed on the board, making it competitive on a hardware level with the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X. The semi-custom SOC uses a 256-bit interface for GDDR5 and advertises other Vega-specific feature inclusion, like RPM.

Primary Source: https://community.amd.com/community/gaming/blog/2018/08/03/new-amd-semi-custom-soc-combines-the-power-of-amd-ryzen-cpu-and-amd-vega-gpu-for-gamers-in-china?sf194826771=1

Secondary Source: https://www.anandtech.com/show/13153/amd-creates-quad-core-zen-soc-with-24-vega-cus-for-chinese-consoles

Tertiary Source: http://bootleggames.wikia.com/wiki/Subor

ASUS Outs Own Z390 Roadmap

An Anandtech reader spotted that ASUS had outed its Z390 motherboards ahead of launch. These boards will support Intel’s upcoming 8-core CPU, likely the 9900K, and presumably have stronger power delivery for the increase in current requirement by the new CPUs.

ASUS’ list of boards includes some heavyweights in the ROG family, though we don’t yet have specifications on the boards. The company aims to ship its full listing of Maximus XI boards, ROG Strix boards, TUF Gaming boards, and Prime motherboards, with a Z390-Dragon board for the China market. ASUS has already pushed BIOS updates for existing boards to support the new 8-core processors, which helps give lead time to ensure compatibility at product launch.

Source: https://www.anandtech.com/show/13130/asus-publishes-list-of-upcoming-intel-z390based-motherboards

TR4 Motherboard Compatibility Concerns

ASUS will be launching cooling kits with existing Threadripper TR4 socket motherboards, intended to be coupled with the new, higher TDP Threadripper 2 CPUs. The cooling kits include 40mm fans and brackets for SOC and VRM cooling mounts. ASUS will be offering these kits only upon request, and will not include them with existing boards. Upcoming boards for Threadripper 2 will get updates to deal with the thermal load out of the box.

Primary Source: https://www.4gamers.com.tw/news/detail/35802/ASUS-X399-cooling-kit-for-2nd-gen-Ryzen-Threadripper

New York Bans Spectrum

Recently, the State of New York’s Public Service Commision banned ISP Charter Communications, who operates as Spectrum, from operating in the state. In 2016, Charter merged with Time Warner to become the second biggest ISP in the country; the State of New York approved the merger based on several contingencies, including building out their network to 145,000 homes and businesses in underserved and rural areas, and increasing statewide broadband speeds of 100Mbps by the end of 2018.

As of now, Charter has failed to deliver on every performance goal, and New York cites a poor track record, fraudulent claims, and many instances of misconduct in support of their decision to revoke their approval of the 2016 merger and subsequently ban Charter from the state. Charter has been previously accused of throttling speeds for Netflix and League Of Legends, with a 2017 lawsuit containing data that demonstrates decreased internet speeds for League Of Legend players, up until the point where Riot Games paid Spectrum for increased connection speeds. Additionally, Charter is accused of false advertising stemming from their failure to increase internet speeds, but continued to advertise as if they were delivering higher speeds.

Charter has 60 days to design and file a transition plan with the state, while operating uninterrupted, while a successor provider is found. New York as also issued a $3M fine, and referred the case to the State Supreme Court.

While this isn’t strictly hardware news, it underpins a serious issue that affects PC gamers, enthusiasts, and all internet denizens: lack of choice and competition among ISPs. New York’s actions against a massive provider are unprecedented, but warranted. However, thousands of consumers are left without knowing what might happen to their internet access next; if one ISP doesn’t work out, one might have second choice, and almost certainly not a third.          

Source: https://www.techspot.com/news/75713-spectrum-no-longer-allowed-operate-new-york-must.html

AMD Announces B450 Chipset

AMD officially rolled out their new B450 chipset, the lower power successor to B350, and motherboard vendors are debuting their new boards based on the new chipset. The B450 adds many improvements and X470 like features, including improved CPU VRM specifications, support for XFR2 and Precision Boost, StoreMI support, and support for Ryzen 2000-series CPUs out of the box.

Anandtech recently did an overview of several new B450 boards, should anyone be looking at buying into the ecosystem.   

Source: https://www.anandtech.com/show/13091/analyzing-b450-for-amd-ryzen-a-quick-look-at-all-the-motherboards

NZXT Acquires Forge

NZXT announced that they’ve acquired Forge, who are known for their software for capturing and sharing gameplay footage. This announcement echoes the one from Corsair, who recently bought Elgato, and is highlighting a trend of PC hardware makers showing an increased interest in the streaming market. Like Corsair, NZXT shared little details of their plans, but both Corsair and NZXT have undertaken serious software initiatives, each with their own proprietary utilities (NZXT’s CAM and Corsair’s iCUE). It could be that NZXT plans to leverage Forge’s software expertise to expand their capabilities with CAM to include gameplay streaming and capturing, and Corsair could be doing the same with iCUE.   

Source: http://www.nzxt.com/news/72

HW Sales

For hardware sales this week, we spotted several AMD last-gen processors still on fire sale. This includes Threadripper 1950X CPUs (significantly discounted from MSRP) and the Ryzen 7 1700 CPUs.

For GN's part, our modmats are in stock and shipping now, having been freshly restocked. We are selling out fast and will be waiting for another production run soon, so if you want the order to ship ASAP, order soon.

Host: Steve Burke
Editorial: Eric Hamilton, Patrick Lathan, Steve Burke
Video: Andrew Coleman