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HW News - Intel 7nm EUV CPUs, Memory Prices Drop for 2019

Posted on December 9, 2018

Extreme Ultra-Violet Lithography is something of a unicorn in the space of silicon manufacturing, and has been discussed for generation upon generation. EUV only recently started seeing any form of use in mass produced products, with Samsung kicking off high-volume efforts recently. Intel has also made progress with EUV, deviating from its choice of DUV lithography for a struggling 10nm process and instead setting sights on a 7nm option. This is our leading news item in the recap today, with RAM price declines following closely behind.

As always, show notes are below the embedded video.


Intel 7nm & Extreme Ultra-Violet Lithography

Intel announced to a room full of Nasdaq investors that its Extreme Ultra-Violet Lithography 7nm node is forging ahead for volume manufacturing toward 2020. We previously spoke with technical analyst David Kanter about the differences of Intel’s 10nm and AMD’s 7nm solutions, and how density means that these numbers aren’t as simple to compare as just looking at their numerical value. In that discussion, Kanter remarked that EUV has been the next big thing for a few decades now, and that it is becoming necessary in order to continue shrinking designs.

Intel has used Deep Ultra Violet, or DUV, for its pseudo-real 10nm process -- something that is comprised in its entirety of low-end, low-power Skylake cores rebranded as Cannon Lake. Intel remarked that its DUV and EUV teams are different, something Anandtech picked-up on, and that both are being developed simultaneously. Intel is projecting a doubling in density as it moves toward 7nm, but it must first retrofit Arizona’s Fab 42 for silicon fabrication on the 7nm node.

Source: https://www.anandtech.com/show/13683/intel-euvenabled-7nm-process-tech-is-on-track

Walmart Slashes Price on Gaming PCs

Despite quality and value concerns, Walmart did not pull its Overpowered line of gaming desktops from sale. After our own exhaustive analysis, a well as other technical YouTubers in the space, it became clear that there was much to be suspect about -- quality of components, value to the consumer, customer service, and overall ineptitude (read: hot glue on the motherboard).

That said, rumors began to circulate that Walmart had ceased sales due to the bad publicity, rapidly circulating the newsphere. This misinformation was strengthened by the fact that the desktops were listed as “unavailable” on Walmart’s website; however, a representative issued a statement on behalf of Walmart:

"Yesterday, we briefly removed the OP desktops to update product information," a Walmart spokesperson told Tom's Hardware. "They are now back on the site."

We can confirm that the DTW1, DTW2, and DTW3 are presently listed for sale. Their prices are also slashed, with the $2000 unit we bought coming down to about $1600 now, and the $1400 unit -- the DTW1 that we actually received -- falling down to $1000.

For those unaware, check out our review of both the DTW case and the Overpowered DTW3 and DTW1. Alternatively, check out our video on the topic.

Statement via Tom's Hardware

Memory Prices Could Slide 10% in 1Q19

The DRAM market continues to level out, after multiple quarters of record high prices. Memory prices keep seeing updated predictions for lower prices, and now DRAMeXchange is reporting that 1Q19 could yield another 10% drop in desktop RAM prices.

Prices are trending downwards thanks to the market being at an oversupply, while manufacturers continue to increase output. Additionally, the demand for DRAM has been sluggish. For the last couple years, demand has far outpaced supply; that’s no longer the case. The US-China dispute is also expected to impact the cost and shipments of memory going into 2019, and that could favor consumers.

As a reminder, the China investigation into price fixing is ongoing, with possible evidence.       

Source: https://press.trendforce.com/press/20181204-3186.html

Intel Debuts 10nm in US with Crimson Canyon NUCs

Intel’s Crimson Canyon NUCs are popping up at US retailers like Newegg, Amazon, Walmart, and B&H Photo. The two new SKUs -- NUC8i3CYSN and NUC8i3CYSM -- feature an Intel Core i3-8121U based on Intel’s long awaited 10nm node. The fact that US retailers are reported as having wide availability is a good sign that Intel is approaching volume shipments of 10nm, which they’ve said is on tap for 2019.

Intel is pairing the I3-8121U with AMD’s Radeon 540 dGPU and either 4GB or 8GB of soldered LPDDR4-2666 memory. The mini-PCs are equipped with a 1TB SATA drive, but will also come with a M.2 2280 slot for a SATA or PCIe SSD. Connectivity comes in the form of Intel Wireless- AC 9560 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5, and HDMI 2.0 outputs.

Pricing starts at $530.

Source: https://www.tomshardware.com/news/intel-10nm-cannon-lake-nuc-specs-pricing,38191.html

Seagate Claims 16TB Capacity With HAMR

Seagate announced that they currently have a 16TB HAMR HDD in testing, for an eventual enterprise release. The 16TB HDD uses Heat Assisted Magnetic Recording, and is based on Seagate’s Exos line up enterprise storage. As an aside, Seagate intends to use HAMR to reach 20TB HDDs by the end of 2020.

Like most high density mechanical storage, the 16TB Exos uses helium to increase the quantity of platters, but Seagate did not disclose exactly how many platters they’re using to achieve 16TB.

After Seagate validates and qualifies the drives internally, they’ll be deployed to customers in the datacenter segment. Seagate recently released their Exos X14 14TB HDD this past September, and with the arrival of the Exos HAMR 16TB, it’ll officially be the largest HDD available, usurping the throne form Western Digital’s 15TB Ultrastar DC HC620.   

Source: https://blog.seagate.com/craftsman-ship/hamr-milestone-seagate-achieves-16tb-capacity-on-internal-hamr-test-units/

Gaming Monitor Shipments Doubled in 2018

Thanks to games like PUBG and Fortnite, the gaming sector has seen an increased rate of peripheral upgrades, notably gaming monitors. A lot of products that heretofore were considered normal, are now slapped with a gaming aesthetic or brand and marketed at gamers. However,  monitors are one product that actually benefit from a gaming denomination, especially as it relates to competitiveness or frame quality.

For instance, WitsView, a division of TrendForce, identifies a gaming panel as one with a refresh rate above 100Hz. WitsView previously reported that gaming monitors would exceed sales of 5.1 million units in 2018 -- an annual growth of 100%.

According to the report, games like PUBG and Fortnite have spurred new momentum within the PC gaming sector, particularly in China, where Internet cafes have purchased new 144Hz monitors. Additionally, curved gaming monitors are seeing an uptick to 50% market share, led mostly by demand from China.

The report also suggests that the popularity of games like PUBG and Fortnite are making high refresh rate monitors more appealing to “common” players.  

Source: https://press.trendforce.com/press/20181205-3187.html

Nvidia Titan RTX Announced for $2500

Nvidia announced what most already knew was coming: the new Turing based Titan. Nvidia also announced what most, again, already knew: no one can afford it. At $2500, the card is aimed squarely at professional users. And no, we don’t have one, despite what would be astute YouTube viewers might think.

The Titan RTX recycles the same TU102 silicon used for Nvidia’s RTX 2080 Ti, but with a slightly increased TDP of 280W. It boasts a massive 24GB GDDR6 VRAM buffer, on a slightly wider 384-bit memory bus. The new Titan also packs 4608 CUDA cores and 576 Tensor cores.

Like Intel, Nvidia are masters of products segmentation. Features not present on consumer cards are fully enabled on the Titan RTX, with full tensor core performance being one of them. On GeForce RTX cards, FP32 accumulation is limited to half-throughput (0.5x); the Titan RTX is capable of 1.0x FP32 accumulation.  

Nvidia has been placing some space between the Titan cards and the old “prosumer” designation, instead focusing on AI, deep learning, neural networks, professional content creation, as well as scientific and non-graphics applications. According to Nvidia, the Titan RTX, or the T-Rex, as Nvidia has dubbed it, will be available later this month.

Source: https://nvidianews.nvidia.com/news/nvidia-reveals-the-titan-of-turing-titan-rtx

That’s it for HW News this time. As usual, tweet at us or pick something up in the GN store -- our new shirt, for example.