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Thread: Anandtech News

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    #11351

    Anandtech: The Mountain Everest Max Mechanical Keyboard Review: Reaching New Heights

    Mountain is a brand that you probably never heard of before in the gaming peripherals industry. The company was founded just a couple of years ago and they currently market only a handful of products. Despite their newcommer status, Mountain went reaching for the top with their first product releases. In today's review, we are taking a look at their mechanical keyboard, the Everest Max, a product designed to rival the best keyboards ever released.

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    #11352

    Anandtech: AMD’s Instinct MI250X: Ready For Deployment at Supercomputing

    One of the big announcements at AMD’s Data Center event a couple of weeks ago was the announcement of its CDNA2 based compute accelerator, the Instinct MI250X. The MI250X uses two MI200 Graphics Compute Dies on TSMC’s N6 manufacturing node, along with four HBM2E modules per die, using a new ‘2.5D’ packaging design that uses a bridge between the die and the substrate for high performance and low power connectivity. This is the GPU going into Frontier, one of the US Exascale systems due for power on very shortly. At the Supercomputing conference this week, HPE, under the HPE Cray brand, had one of those blades on display, along with a full frontal die shot of the MI250X. Many thanks to Patrick Kennedy from ServeTheHome for sharing these images and giving us permission to republish them.
    The MI250X chip is a shimmed package in an OAM form factor. OAM stands for OCP Accelerator Module, which was developed by the Open Compute Project (OCP) – an industry standards body for servers and performance computing. And this is the accelerator form factor standard the partners use, especially when you pack a lot of these into a system. Eight of them, to be exact.
    This is a 1U half-blade, featuring two nodes. Each node is an AMD EPYC ‘Trento’ CPU (that’s a custom IO version of Milan using the Infinity Fabric) paired with four MI250X accelerators. Everything is liquid cooled. AMD said that the MI250X can go up to 560 W per accelerator, so eight of those plus two CPUs could mean this unit requires 5 kilowatts of power and cooling. If this is only a half-blade, then we’re talking some serious compute and power density here.
    Each node seems relatively self-contained – the CPU on the right here isn’t upside down given the socket rear pin outs aren’t visible, but that’s liquid cooled as well. What looks like four copper heatpipes, two on each side of the CPU, is actually a full 8-channel memory configuration. These servers don’t have power supplies, but they get the power from a unified back-plane in the rack.
    The back connectors look something like this. Each rack of Frontier nodes will be using HPE’s Slingshot interconnect fabric to scale out across the whole supercomputer.
    Systems like this are undoubtedly over-engineered for the sake of sustained reliability – that’s why we have as much cooling as you can get, enough power phases for a 560 W accelerator, and even with this image, you can see those base motherboards the OAM connects into are easily 16 layers, if not 20 or 24. For reference, a budget consumer motherboard today might only have four layers, while enthusiast motherboards have 8 or 10, sometimes 12 for HEDT.
    In the global press briefing, Keynote Chair and Professor world renowned HPC Professor Jack Dongarra, suggested that Frontier is very close to being powered up to be one of the first exascale systems in the US. He didn’t outright say it would beat the Aurora supercomputer (Sapphire Rapids + Ponte Vecchio) to the title of first, as he doesn’t have the same insight into that system, but he sounded hopeful that Frontier would submit a 1+ ExaFLOP score to the TOP500 list in June 2021.
    Many thanks to Patrick Kennedy and ServeTheHome for permission to share his images.
    Gallery: AMD’s Instinct MI250X: Ready For Deployment at Supercomputing




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    #11353

    Anandtech: Qualcomm x Nuvia: Silicon Sampling in Late 2022, Products in 2023

    One of the more curious acquisitions in the last couple of years has been that of Nuvia by Qualcomm. Nuvia was a Silicon Valley start-up founded by the key silicon and design engineers and architects behind both Apple’s and Google’s silicon for the past few years. Qualcomm CEO Cristiano Amon made it crystal clear when Nuvia was acquired that they were going after the high-performance ultraportable laptop market, with both Intel and Apple in the crosshairs.
    Nuvia came out of stealth in November 2019, with the three main founders having spent almost a year building the company. Gerard Williams III, John Bruno, and Manu Gulati have collectively driven the silicon design of 20+ chips, have combined over 100 patent, and have been in leadership roles across Google, Apple, Arm, Broadcom, and AMD. Nuvia raised a lot of capital, $300M+ over two rounds of funding and angel investors, and the company hired a lot of impressive staff.
    The goal of Nuvia was to build an Arm-based general purpose server chip that would rock the industry. Imagine something similar to what Graviton 2 and Ampere Altra are today, but with a custom microarchitecture on par (or better) with Apple’s current designs. When Nuvia was still on its own in start-up mode, some were heralding the team and the prospect, calling for the downfall of x86 with Nuvia’s approach. However, Qualcomm swept in and acquired the company in March 2021, and repurposed Nuvia’s efforts towards a laptop processor.
    It’s been no secret that Qualcomm has been after the laptop and notebook market for some time. Multiple generations of ‘Windows on Snapdragon’ have come to market through Qualcomm’s partners, initially featuring smartphone-class silicon before becoming something more bespoke with the 8cx, 8cx Gen 2, and 7c/7 options in the past couple of years. It has taken several years for Qualcomm to get the silicon and the Windows ecosystem somewhere that makes sense for commercial and consumer use, and with the recent news that Windows 11 on these devices now enabling full x86-64 emulation support, the functional difference between a Qualcomm laptop and an x86 laptop is supposed to be near zero. Qualcomm would argue their proposition is better, allowing for 2 days of use on a single charge, holding charge for weeks, and mobile wireless connectivity with 4G/5G. I’ve tested one of the previous generation S855 Lenovo Yoga devices, and the battery life is insane – but I needed better were functional support (turns out I have an abnormal edge-case work flow…) and more performance. While Qualcomm has been working on the former since my last test, and Nuvia is set to bring the latter.

    Image from @anshelsag on Twitter, Used with permission
    At Qualcomm’s Investor Day this week, the Qualcomm/Nuvia relationship was mentioned in an update. I had hoped that by the end of this year (and Qualcomm’s Tech Summit in only a couple of weeks) that we might be seeing something regarding details or performance, however Qualcomm is stating that its original schedule is still on track. As announced at the acquisition, the goal is to deliver test silicon into the hands of partners in the second half of 2022.
    The goal here is to have laptop silicon that is competitive with Apple's M-series, but running Windows. This means blowing past Intel and AMD offerings, and coupled with the benefits of better battery life, sustained performance, and mobile connectivity. From the disclosures so far, it’s perhaps no surprise that the Nuvia CPUs will be paired with an Adreno GPU and a Hexagon DSP, although it will be interesting to see if the Nuvia CPU is a single big core paired with regular Arm efficient cores, or everything in the CPU side will be new from the Nuvia team.
    I have no doubt that at Qualcomm’s Tech Summit in December 2022 we’ll get a deeper insight into the microarchitecture of the new core. Either that or Qualcomm might surprise us with a Hot Chips presentation in August. With regards to going beyond laptop chips, while Qualcomm is happy to state that Nuvia's designs will be 'extended to [other areas] opportunistically', it's clear that they're locking the crosshairs on the laptop market before even considering what else might be in the field of view.
    Gallery: Qualcomm x Nuvia: Silicon Sampling in Late 2022, Products in 2023




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    #11354

    Anandtech: MediaTek Announces Dimensity 9000: Supercharged Flagship SoC on 4nm

    Today, MediaTek is re-entering the flagship SoC space with a bang. The Dimensity 9000 is the first Armv9 SoC, with X2, A710 and A510 cores, large new GPU, massive new ISP, first LPDDR5X, and all in a new TSMC N4 process node.

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    #11355

    Anandtech: Sponsored Post: ASUS Z690 Motherboard Buying Guide

    ASUS has introduced a broad range of Z690 motherboards for gaming enthusiasts, creators, and more.


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    #11356

    Anandtech: The Intel Z690 Motherboard Overview (DDR4): Over 30+ New Models

    To support the launch of Intel's latest 12th generation 'Alder Lake' processors, Intel has also pulled the trigger on its latest Z690 motherboard chipset. Using a new LGA1700 socket, some of the most significant advancements with Alder Lake and Z690 include PCIe 5.0 support from the processor, as well as a PCIe 4.0 x8 link from the processor to the chipset. In this article, we're taking a closer look at over 30+ different DDR4 enabled motherboards designed to not only use the processing power of Alder Lake but offer users a myriad of high-class and premium features.

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    #11357

    Anandtech: Texas To Get Multiple New Fabs as Samsung and TI to Spend $47 Billion on N

    After a year of searching for the right place of its new U.S. fab, Samsung this week announced that it would build a fab near Taylor, Texas. The company will invest $17 billion in the new semiconductor fabrication plant and will receive hundreds of millions of dollars in incentives from local and state authorities. Separately, Texas authorities have announced that Texas Instruments intend to spend $30 billion on new fabs in the state, as well.
    Samsung to Spend $17 Billion on New Texas Fab

    Samsung yet has to disclose all the details about its fab near Taylor, Texas, but for now the company says that the new fab site will occupy an area of over 5 million square meters and will employ 2,000 workers directly and another 7,000 indirectly. To put the number into context, Samsung's fab near Austin, Texas currently employs about 10,000 of workers.
    Samsung will start construction of the new fab in the first half of 2022 and expects it to be operational in the second half of 2024. It usually takes about a year to construct a building for a semiconductor manufacturing facility and then about a year to install and set up all the necessary equipment.
    Samsung has not announced which process technologies will be used at its fab near Taylor, Texas, but says it will produce chips for 5G, artificial intelligence (AI), high-performance computing (HPC), and mobile applications, which implies that the fab will gain fairly advanced technologies. In fact, keeping in mind that all of Samsung's nodes thinner than 7 nm rely on extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography, it is reasonable to expect the new fab to be EUV capable. As a result, Samsung's customers from the U.S. (such as IBM, Nvidia, and Qualcomm) will be able to produce their chips in the U.S. rather than in South Korea, which might allow their developers to address systems used by the U.S. government.
    "With greater manufacturing capacity, we will be able to better serve the needs of our customers and contribute to the stability of the global semiconductor supply chain," said Kinam Kim, Vice Chairman and CEO, Samsung Electronics Device Solutions Division. "In addition to our partners in Texas, we are grateful to the Biden Administration for creating an environment that supports companies like Samsung as we work to expand leading-edge semiconductor manufacturing in the U.S. We also thank the administration and Congress for their bipartisan support to swiftly enact federal incentives for domestic chip production and innovation."
    Samsung's new semiconductor production plant will be located 25 kilometers away from the company's fab near Austin, Texas, so the facilities will be able to share infrastructure and resources (such as materials and supplies).
    Samsung says that it will spend about $6 billion on construction on the building as well as improvements of the local infrastructure. Tools that will be used by the fab will cost another $11 billion. Meanwhile, to build the new plant Samsung will receive hundreds of millions in incentives from the state, the county, and the city, according to media reports. Some of the packages have not been approved yet.
    Texas Instruments to Invest $30 Billion on New U.S. Fabs

    Samsung is not the only company to build new fabs in Texas. The Governor of Texas recently announced the Texas Instruments was planning to build several new 300-mm fabs near Sherman. In total, TI intends to build as many as four wafer fabrication facilities in the region over coming decades and the cumulative investments are expected to total $30 billion as fabs will be eventually upgraded.
    Texas Instruments itself yet have to formally announce its investments plans, but the announcement by the governor Greg Abbot indicates that the principal decisions have been made and now TI needs to finalize the details.
    Sources: Samsung, Austin American-Statesman, Texas.gov


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    #11358

    Anandtech: The SilverStone NightJar NJ700 Passive PSU Review: Silent Excellence

    In today’s review we are taking a look at a passively cooled power supply, the SilverStone Nightjar NJ700. Despite the lack of active cooling, the NJ700 can continuously output up to 700 Watts, underscoring its very high efficiency as well as the rest of its impressive electrical specifications. Thanks to it's impeccable design and component selection – courtesy of OEM SeaSonic – the overall performance of the Nightjar NJ700 is world-class, making it more than a match for the even the vast majority of actively cooled 700W PSUs on the market today. Just don't expect one of the best PSUs we've ever reviewed to come cheaply.

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