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Thread: Anandtech News

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    Anandtech: Intel to Discontinue Itanium 9500 ‘Poulson’ CPUs

    Intel has begun its product discontinuance program for its "Poulson" Itanium 9500-series processors. Intel’s customers will have to make their final orders for these CPUs this fall and the last Poulson chips will be shipped in early 2021.
    Intel’s Itanium 9500-series lineup consists of four CPUs: the quad-core Itanium 9520 and 9550 as well as the eight-core Itanium 9540 and 9560. All of the these processors were released in Q4 2012, and were supplanted with the newer "Kittson" 9700 CPUs last year. Now Intel has set the entire Poulson family to discontinued in Q1 2021, a little more than eight years after their release.
    Intel’s customers are advised to place their orders on Itanium 9500-series processors by September 17, 2018. Orders will become non-cancelable on September 28, 2018. The final Poulson chips will be shipped by March 5, 2021. Keep in mind that HP Enterprise (the only company that uses Itanium) will cease selling servers based on the Itanium 9500-series on March 31, 2018, so demand for Poulson products is not going to be high in the coming years.
    Intel’s Poulson processor (pictured above on the right, image by was among the most significant microarchitectural and performance advancements of the Itanium products throughout their history: the CPU doubled issue width to 12 instructions per cycle, got 4-way Hyper-Threading, received higher frequencies, as well as up to eight cores. By contrast, Intel’s latest Itanium 9700-series processors run only slightly faster than the highest-end 9500-series chips.
    The retirement of the Poulson family will mean that Intel's 9700 processors will be the only Itanium parts on the market – and indeed they will be the last Itanium processors altogether as Intel has ceased further Itanium development. Meanwhile only a single vendor – long-time Itanium partner HP Enterprise – is still selling Itanium-based servers. But even so, expect Itanium machines to be around for years to come; HPE’s Integrity machines are used primarily for mission- and business-critical applications, where customers are invested into the platform for the very long term.
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    Anandtech: The Intel Optane SSD 800p Review: Almost The Right Size

    Intel's first Optane products hit the market almost a year ago, putting the much-awaited 3D XPoint memory in the hands of consumers. Today, Intel broadens that family with the Optane SSD 800p, pushing the Optane brand closer to the mainstream.


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    Anandtech: The Nokia 8110 4G Hands-On: A Banana Phone for 2018

    At MWC 2018, the depth of the Nokia nostalgia revival was strong. The owners of the Nokia band, a company called HMD Global, has revived an old Nokia favorite, as part ot its 'Originals' family of re-imagined Nokia-branded devices. The new Nokia 8110 4G slider resembles Neo’s slider handset from the 1990s, but with a difference in feel and design to match the modern era. As well as black, it also comes available in yellow, and is curved. Welcome back to the Banana Phone.
    Before we proceed to the Nokia 8110 4G’s background and hands-on, let us summarize what the Nokia 8110 4G is and what it is not. The reloaded Nokia 8110 4G is an entry-level smartphone, designed to come in at the low end of the market. It is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 205 (two ARM Cortex-A7 cores, Adreno 304 graphics, etc.) outfitted with 512 MB of RAM and 4 GB of NAND flash storage (expandable using microSD cards). The smartphone has a 2.4” display with a 240×320 resolution, basic imaging capabilities enabled by a 2 MP cam with a flash, and runs an operating system based on the KaiOS (a successor of Mozilla’s Firefox OS). The OS supports HTML5 applications and modern technologies like 4G/LTE, NFC, and others.
    Do not expect KaiOS to compete against Android in the mass market segment, but just like its ancestor, KaiOS is aimed at the cheapest smartphones typically designed for emerging markets. So despite the fact that the Nokia 8110 4G is a smartphone that imitates a high-end feature phone from the mid-1990s, it costs like an entry-level smartphone today, feeding a little off of nostalgia.
    Some History

    Nokia released its first 8-series mobile phone designed to demonstrate social status of its owner in late '96. The phone was among the first to use the slider form-factor, which was chosen because it resembled 'stylish' clamshell phones of the 1990s, and yet was significantly different than Motorola’s StarTAC and MicroTAC. The Nokia 8110 also had a slight curve, designed to wrap around a face, which was very unusual for the time and clearly became a distinctive feature. The price of the phone was rather high for the time, especially considering its minuscule feature set. Meanwhile, because of its extravagant design, the 8110 quickly received its nickname: the 'banana phone'. Later on, a manufacturer of aftermarket enclosures for mobile phones even released a bright yellow case for the 8110 with Chiquita logotype for those who wanted an eye-catching “banana phone.”
    The original Nokia 8110 advertising. Source: DeviantArt.
    The original Nokia 8110 was rather heavily advertised in various high-profile and lifestyle magazines, making it impossible to miss. Back then, GSM networks were only starting to roll out in many countries, which is why Nokia co-advertised the 8110 with Radiolinja - the world’s first GSM operator (many do not remember this brand, which is now called Elisa). In fact, like many others, I first saw the Nokia 8110 on an advertisement sometime in 1997. Despite being one the world’s first mobile phones in slider form-factor, the original Nokia actually did not impress me much. In the end, this was just another plastic phone with an antenna, and while its dimensions were smaller when compared to most other GSM handsets of the time, but they were not remarkably small, especially when compared to its successors. It was two years later when a modified Nokia 8110 caught my eye — this is when it was used by characters in The Matrix movie released in 1999.
    The Nokia 8110 from The Matrix. Source:
    By late 1999, Nokia already offered its smaller and more advanced 8-series handsets, such as the 8210 (a plastic candy bar, co-released with Kenzo and featuring removable covers of different colors), the chrome-plated 8810 (this was one of the world’s first phone with and internal antenna and chrome plating), and the 8850/8890 with metal plating. As a result, while the Nokia 8110 product placement in The Matrix attracted attention to the brand, but it hardly drove sales of the original 8110 as more sophisticated and elegant devices were already available. For those that really wanted technology, Nokia offered the 7110 with a scrolling wheel and a spring mechanism that would automatically open the cover (this mechanism was featured on the 8110 from The Matrix).
    Nonetheless, in the march to revive a brand with device recognition, HMD Global has decided to re-release the Nokia 8110. There were a number of reasons for this decision, but the main ones probably were: a widespread recognition of the device because it was featured in The Matrix (and a number of other movies), its distinctive nickname, an inexpensive case made of polycarbonate, and an extravagant form-factor that is barely used today.
    Design and First Impressions

    The two key things about the re-released 'Originals' line are the nostalgia and the attention-grabbing design. While last year’s Nokia 3310 re-design was not particularly advanced, for some it was what the doctor ordered for people tired of smartphones and unwilling to buy expensive refurbished mobile phones from the late 1990s or the early 2000s. The new Nokia 8110 4G naturally continues this tradition.

    Not our bananas. Even HMD/Nokia gets it.
    The new Nokia 8110 4G phones from Nokia will come in full black or full yellow enclosures, made of polycarbonate. The handsets are rather well built, as they do not look or feel cheap, but the overall impression is that they are not as solid as Nokia’s past plastic models (such as the Nokia 8210, 8310, 6310, etc.). Of course, nowadays we are used to mobile phones made of aluminum or glass, so any plastic handsets feel like entry-level models. However, with sliders and plastic smartphones, they tend to bend and wear out over time. In case of the Nokia 8110 4G, the plastic cover for the keyboard feels quite loose on samples. Over time they may get even more slack, but this depends on usage model and other factors. This was probably one of the reasons why Nokia moved on to chrome and metal-plated plastic with its 8-series sliders back in the late 90s and early 2000s. The Nokia 8800-series moved on to stainless steel, which was then used for numerous 8-series and E-series products.
    When you charge well above average for a handset, you need to ensure that it looks and feels like a solid device. While a metallic enclosure is by definition more expensive than a plastic one, the price is important for the 'Originals' phones — they have to be affordable. The 8110 G will cost about €80 ($98) without taxes, and there are doubts it was possible to squeeze a metal or metal-plated enclosure into its BOM. At this time it is unclear why Nokia decided not to go with a higher price, elevate its BOM cost and use a slightly better kind of plastic along with a spring mechanism.
    It is obvious that aside from looks, this 2018 mobile phone has nothing to do with the 1996 handset internally. However, two things strike the eye when you compare the old witht he new: the new uses an internal antenna and a relatively large 2.4” color screen with a 240×320 resolution. Back in the nineties, widespread use of the ceramic antennas found in today’s mobile phones did not make business sense: they had high prices and often mediocre performance at times. Nokia used them primarily for expensive devices at first, but it eventually started to use them for more affordable 3-series and 5-series phones. Such antennae allowed handset makers to move away from external antennas, making mobile phones more compact, and comfortable to use (sometimes at a cost of antenna performance and/or battery life). Today, it is hard to imagine a mobile phone with an external antenna, and this new re-design does not have one.
    A color TFT LCD is another much appreciated thing on the handset, yet it is clear that it completely changes the overall design and impressions about the phone. Furthermore, the resolution of the display and PPI are not high by today’s standards and naturally these affect general impression — instead of nostalgia about the old times, the Nokia 8110 4G gives a feeling of a low-cost smartphone in an unorthodox form-factor. The same could potentially be said with some of the other re-released designs last year.
    Moving on to the keyboard - the keys are rather big, but since they are very tight and completely flat, they are not as comfortable to use as on previous-gen sliders from Nokia. Keeping in mind that few people nowadays dial numbers manually, but choose them from menus or even use voice dialing, keys are hardly a big problem. Then again, if we compare the keys to the 'old' Nokias, this comparison will not bode well for the new one.
    Software & Features

    As noted above, the Nokia 8110 4G relies on an inexpensive hardware platform for affordable smartphones. It is impossible to impress anyone with the Snapdragon 205 featuring two ARM Cortex-A7 cores today, but the 8110 4G is not meant to set performance records. What it has to do is to bring back good memories. Yet, it sort of fails there as well.
    Nokia’s mobile phones from the 1990s got popular primarily because of two reasons: they featured an attractive ergonomic design, and the very simple software had a distinctive style. The Nokia 8110 4G runs KaiOS, developed specifically for entry-level smartphones, many of which use a keyboard. The OS can use contextual soft buttons and a 4-way navigation button, just like Nokia phones back in the day, and it is simple to use. However, KaiOS does not offer the original Nokia feel and style. In fact, it looks almost exactly the same as KaiOS on cheap smartphones down to the font size, but with some customizations to the UI. The latter works, and is quite snappy, but that is a promise of KaiOS in general.
    Another advantage that Nokia advertises about KaiOS is its relatively high energy efficiency: the new Nokia 8110 4G features up to 25 days standby time and up to 7 hours of talk time on a 1500 mAh battery.
    The Nokia 8110 4G comes preloaded with various programs for the modern age, such as a basic Internet browser, Facebook, Twitter, Google Assistant, Google Maps, etc. Given the display and the keyboard-based navigation, such apps are not particularly comfortable to use. Basically, they just need to be there for a 'just in case' scenario. Of course, there is also a new version of Nokia’s Snake game that looks better than ever, but keep in mind that due to miniature display, this title will be among a few games that will actually work well on this phone.
    The Nokia 8110 4G
    SoC Qualcomm Snapdragon 205
    2x ARM Cortex-A7 @ 1.10 GHz
    Adreno 304
    Hexagon 536
    RAM 512 MB RAM
    Storage 4 GB + microSD
    Display 2.45" QVGA curved display
    Network SKU 1 (Europe)
    2G: 900, 1800
    3G: WB-CDMA 1, 5, 8
    4G: FDD-LTE 1, 3, 5, 7, 8, 20,

    2G: 900, 1800
    3G: WB-CDMA 1, 5, 8, 39
    4G: FDD-LTE 1, 3, 5, 7, 8, 20 TDD-LTE 39, 40, 41 (38)
    LTE Speeds Download: 150 Mbps
    Upload: 50 Mbps
    Dimensions 133.45 × 49.3 × 14.9 mm
    Weight 117 grams
    Ingress Protection IP52: Partly protected against dust,
    protected against drops of water
    Rear Camera 2 MP sensor with a LED flash
    Battery 1500 mAh
    OS Smart Feature OS powered by KaiOS
    Connectivity 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1,
    microUSB 2.0, headphone jack
    Navigation GPS, AGPS
    SIM Size Nano SIM + Micro SIM
    Colors Black, Yellow
    Launch Countries US, UK, EU, etc
    Price ~€80 without taxes
    Some Thoughts

    The original Nokia’s 8-series mobile phones have always been on an intersection between art, experience and technology. HMD’s 'Originals' are different: they have to resemble their ancestors, inspire nostalgia causing owners to re-live their past emotions, and be good enough for millions of people who still remember the original model.
    When HMD launched a re-imagined Nokia 3310 last year, it only had to offer a slightly revamped feature phone that would resemble the original one. Despite this, we felt the 2017 Nokia 3310 did not really look like the original one, and it did not feel like the original one. It was also more breakable, one of the key aspects of the original. But to a degree, it preserved the spirit of its ancestor.
    Things are a bit different with the Nokia 8110 4G. With this one, HMD had to replicate not only design, but the experience with the world’s first status slider phone. The new handset does not look exactly like the original one, but it has preserved the form-factor and the distinctive bended shape. The keyboard is different (and not ideal), and the software does not look the same, but this is not necessarily bad as it is a different phone with a completely different feature set and even usage model of handsets has changed in 20 years. It is disappointing that the sliding cover did not feel particularly solid, but it is still an eye catcher, especially in yellow.
    But does it make you feel nostalgic? If yes, then €80/$100 is not a too high price for a good mood for a couple of weeks. If not, you can get a a more powerful inexpensive Android-based phone for ~$100 ~ $120 in the U.S. as a secondary one. Pulling out a $400 mid-range smartphone in a crowd won't be noticed by anyone. But this? It will turn heads.
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    Anandtech: NZXT Expands Kraken AIO Lineup: Their First 360mm AIO, New Kraken M Series

    NZXT has announced the expansion of its Kraken all-in-one liquid CPU cooler family with the addition of the X72 and M22 AIOs. The X72 is a 360mm AIO – a first of its size for NZXT, which should offer users better cooling than its smaller 240/280mm X Series brothers. Meanwhile the M Series AIOs are new to the Kraken line and are designed to be more affordable, but still offer many of the features in the X Series such as RGB LEDs and the infinite-mirror effects but at that lower price point.
    Before the X72, NZXT’s largest AIO was the Kraken X62 sporting a 280mm radiator. NZXT has now gone a step farther to build a more powerful AIO that's able to cool the higher TDP processors that are out. To that end, the X72 boasts a 360mm radiator, a 50% increase in surface area over the 240mm model, able to better manage the thermals. The X72 also redesigned the pump, saying it is both quieter and offers a greater volumetric flow rate than previous generations (the X42/52/62 used the Asetek Gen 5 pump w/modifications – perhaps it is Gen 6?). Connecting the pump to the radiator is nylon-braided sleeved rubber tubing 400mm(~15.75-inches) long. The X72 does keep the cool looking RGB lighting and infinite-mirror effects on the pump.
    As for the M22 AIO, NZXT notes that “One of the biggest requests from our community has been to deliver that same signature look at a lower price point." The M22 is built using the same materials found in the X Series and features the same advanced RGB lighting modes with customizable lighting and cooling control through NZXT’s CAM software – it will also sync with other NZXT Hue accessories. The price point is lower by dropping some of the extra features the X lineup has such as built-in fan control and liquid temperature monitoring. Users are able to utilize the PWM fan headers on the motherboard, NZXT fan controllers such as the Grid+ V3, or the Smart Device included in the H700i, H400i, or H200i cases. The CAM software will provide CPU temperature and pump speed information as well as other system-level data.
    The both the X72 and M22 will use Aer P 120 radiator fans with a chamfered intake and fluid dynamic bearings said to deliver silent operation, durability, and cooling performance. NZXT says the fans are optimized for radiators and have high static pressure to push air through the fins. These fans can also be customized using removable color trims (not included). As far as compatibility goes, there is a long list from Intel and AMD fitting sockets 115x, 2011, 2011-3, and 2066, while AMD support ranges from FM1/2/2+, AM2/2+/3/3+/4 as well as TR4 (Threadripper) sockets.
    Both the X72 and M22 AIOs will be available mid-March. The Kraken X72 will be priced at $199.99 while the M22’s MSRP is $99.99 ($30 cheaper than the X42). The X72 sports a very long 6-year warranty while the M22 has a 3-year warranty.
    NZXT X72 and M22 AIO CPU Coolers
    X72 M22
    CPU Socket Compatibility Intel - LGA 2066/ 2011-3 / 2011 / 1151 / 1150 / 1155 / 1156 / 1366
    AMD - FM1 / FM2 / FM2+ / AM2 / AM2+ / AM3 / AM3+ / AM4 (TR4 = X72 only)
    Radiator Material Aluminum
    Dimensions 394 x 120 x 27mm (L x W x H)
    152 x 120 x 32mm (L x W x H)
    Fan Dimensions 120 x 120 x 26mm
    Speed 500-2000 RPM +/- 300RPM (PWM)
    Air Flow 18.28 - 73.11 CFM
    Air Pressure 0.18 - 2.93 mmAq (Max)
    MTTF 60000 Hours / 6 Years
    Noise Level 21 - 36 db(A)
    Connector 4-Pin (PWM)
    Pump Dimensions 80 x 80 x 52.9mm (L x W x H)
    65 x 64 x 48mm (L x W x H)
    Materials Copper, Plastic
    Noise Level N/A
    Motor Speed 1600 - 2800 RPM +/- 300 RPM
    3000 RPM +/- 300 RPM
    Price $199.99 $99.99
    Warranty 6 Years 3 Years
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    Anandtech: Opro9 Introduces USB-C Dock & Adapters: from €29 to €109

    Opro9 may not sound like a household name, but this company introduced a lineup of USB Type-C adapters and a docking station that feature rather interesting configurations, and at prices that do not break the bank.
    Primarily due to lack of USB Type-A headers and display outputs on the latest MBPs and other ultra-slim laptops, demand for various multi-port adapters and docking stations featuring USB Type-C or Thunderbolt 3 headers is accelerating. Historically, such devices were used by professionals for rather specialized use cases, which is why they have always been quite expensive (think of volumes). Meanwhile, since demand for these products is growing, manufacturers can sell them at lower margins while increasing volumes. Apparently, this is exactly why it makes sense for newer entrants to reach this market with their products and this is exactly why companies like Opro9 are rolling out their adapters and docking stations.
    Opro9’s family of USB Type-C devices contains three products.

    • The first one features a USB Type-A port, one DisplayPort 1.2, and one additional USB-C connector (this one makes a lot of sense for use Apple’s MacBook that has only one USB-C port).
    • The second one features three USB Type-A ports and a GbE header. This one seems to be aimed at users in the enterprise space who need Gigabit Ethernet.
    • The third one provides everything one may way want: three USB Type-A ports, two card readers (for SD and microSD cards), a GbE header, an HDMI output, a mini DisplayPort and one more USB Type-C header.

    Meanwhile, important things about these products are their prices. The former two adapters cost 29 – 49 Euros, whereas the docking station is priced at 109 Euros. Some might say that it is expensive because the said ports have to be present in all laptops. I would argue. One physical interface for everything (power, display, data, etc.) on personal computers is what the industry needs and USB Type-C and Thunderbolt is simple to use and fast. If you need something else, you unfortunately have to pay for this, in the end it is impossible to have all kinds of ports on ultra-thin laptops. Prices of docking stations and adapters are not low, but Opro9 gives you an option to pay a bit less when compared to products from other companies.
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    Anandtech: Coming March 12th: Tom Hardware’s versus AnandTech - Folding@Home Round 2

    Way back in the year 2016 we held a friendly but none the less highly competitive cutthroat competition with our colleagues arch rivals over at sister Purch publication Tom’s Hardware. Putting our processor time where our mouth was (ed: eww), Team AnandTech, our distributed computing team, took on Tom’s Hardware in a race to see who could rack up the most points (and do the most good) Folding@Home. Team AnandTech of course won that competition, and that was the end of that.
    Or was it?
    Since then both teams have been eager for a rematch, either to prove the first time was a fluke or to cement their victory for all time. And with a new, unsuspecting editor-in-chief at the helm of Tom’s Hardware – John “how bad could this possibly be” Burek – at long last we’re finally going to make this rematch happen.
    Starting March 12th and running through the 16th, Team AnandTech will once again be racing the Tom’s Hardware distributed computing team in Folding@Home. With pride, glory, and proteins on the line, Team AnandTech will be defending their title, all the while looking to do some good by helping Stanford University’s research efforts. And they want your help!
    For those of you who didn’t take part in the first race and may not be familiar with what’s going on, Folding@Home is a long-standing distributed computing project organized by Stanford that allows individuals to contribute computing time to Stanford’s protein research. This in turn helps the researchers in combating the illnesses that emerge as a result of proteins not folding correctly, such as Alzheimer's disease and Huntington's disease. Folding@Home has now been going on for over a decade and a half. And along with a long-standing AnandTech folding team, we’ve even used it in GPU benchmarks for several years now.
    Though the research is complicated, the rules for this race are simple. The more computer time donated to Folding@Home – the more protein folding work completed – the more points a team will score. The highest scoring team will in turn be crowned the winner.
    Ultimately this race is for fun, but it’s also for a good cause. Donating computing time to Folding@Home helps Stanford’s researchers to better understand folding-related diseases as part of the process of developing more effective treatments.
    The full details on the contest, including how to download the Folding@Home client and join Team AnandTech, our distributed computing team, can be found here. And be sure to drop on by our distributed computing forum and say hello; it's the best place to go to connect with the other team members and to get answers to any questions.


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    Anandtech: Immersion Server Liquid Cooling: ZTE Makes a Splash at MWC

    Big data centers are often cooled by air, and large HVAC/air-conditioning machines. The ones near the Arctic Circle can rely on the outside air to help. If a center invests properly, especially with a specific design and layout in mind, then using water cooling is another investment that can be made. If a designer really wants to go off the deep end, then full immersion liquid cooling is a possibility.
    Immersive liquid cooling is ultimately not that new, and is based on non-conductive liquids. It allows for the full system to be cooled: all of the components, all of the time, and removes the need for large cooling apparatus, and encourages energy recycling, which is a major metric for data center owners. For data centers limited by space, it also offers better density of server nodes in a confined space, ideal for deployments on the edge of communication networks.
    There are two angles to immersion cooling: non-phase change, or phase change. The first one, non-phase change, involves using a liquid with a high heat capacity, and cycling through a heat exchange system. The downside of those liquids is that they often have a high viscosity (mineral oil), requiring a lot of energy to forcibly circulate. By contrast, the phase-change variety is, for most purposes, self-convecting.
    The idea here is that the liquid being used changes from a liquid to a gas by the act of being warmed up by the component. The gas then rises up to a cool surface (like a cold radiator), condenses, and then falls, as it is now cooler again. The energy transferred into the radiator can then be circled into an energy recovery system. The low viscosity of the phase change material aids significantly in the convection, with the act of creating a large volume low density gas displacing the liquid for that convection.
    The formation of the gas ultimately displaces liquid in contact with the hot surfaces, such as heatsinks, or as we'll discuss in a bit, bare processors. Forming a gas at the processor displaces the amount of liquid in contact with the heat spreader, restricting the overall cooling ability. Over the last 10 years, this phase-change immersion implementation has evolved, with liquids developed that have a suitably low viscosity but a good boiling point to be able to cool hardware easily in excess of 150. If you have ever seen us utter the words '3M Novec' or 'Fluorinert', these are the families of liquids we are taking about - low viscosity, medium sized organic molecules engineered with specific chemical groups or halogens to fit the properties needed, or combinations of liquids that can adjust to fit the mold needed. Bonus points for being completely non-toxic as well.
    As mentioned, this is not a new concept. We have seen companies display this technology at events for years, but no matter when it happens, when a non-tech journalist writes about it, it seems to spread like wildfire. In the world of cool demonstrations at trade shows, this seems to fair better than liquid nitrogen overclocking. However, making it a commercial product is another thing entirely. We have seen GIGABYTE's server division demonstrate a customer layout back at Supercomputing 2015, and then the PEZY group showed a super-high dense implementation with their custom core designs at Supercomputing 2017, both showing what is capable with a tight cooperation. ZTE's demonstration at Mobile World Congress was specifically designed to show to potential customers its ability to offer dense computing with more efficient cooling methods, should anyone want to buy it.
    A few things marked ZTE's demonstration a little different than those we have seen before. Much to my amazement, they wanted to talk about it! On display was a model using dual processor E5 v4 nodes, however next generation is using Xeon Scalable. I was told that due to the design, fiber network connections do not work properly when immersed: the distortion created by the liquid even when a cable is in place causes a higher than acceptable error rate, so most connections are copper which is not affected. I was told that they do not have a problem with the thermal capacity of the liquid, and supporting the next generation of CPUs would be no problem.
    One of the marked problems with these immersion designs is cost - the liquid used ranges from $100-$300 per gallon. Admittedly the liquid, like the hardware, is a one-time purchase, but can also be recycled for new products when the system is updated. Our contact at ZTE mentioned that they are working with a chemical company in China to develop new liquids that have similar features but are a tenth of the cost. It was not known if those materials would be licensed and exclusive to ZTE however. As a chemist, I'd love to see the breakdown of these chemicals, also most of them remain proprietary. We did get a slight hint when GIGABYTE's demo a few years ago mentioned that the Novec 72DA it used is a solution of 70% 1,2-trans-dichloroethylene, 4-16% ethyl nonafluorobutyl ether, 4-6% ethyl nonafluoroisobutyl ether and trace other similar methyl variants.
    One topic that came up was the processors. As noted in the images, the tops of the heatspreaders are copper colored, indicating that an engineer has taken sandpaper to rub off the markings. Normally with a heatspreader, the goal is for it to be as flat and perfect as possible, to provide the best contact through paste to the heatsink. With immersion cooling, the opposite is true: it needs to be as rough as possible. This creates a large surface area, and more importantly creates nucleation sites that allow the liquid to boil easier. This avoids cavitation boiling, caused when there is a limited surface, and the liquid boils a lot more violently.

    A roughed up processor
    Of course, the downside to an immersion setup is the ability to repair and upgrade. If possible, the owner does not want to have to go in and replace a part. It ends up messy and potentially damaging, or requires a full set of servers to be powered down. There is ultimately no way around this, and while the issue exists with standard data center water cooling, it is a more significant issue here. ZTE stated that this setup was aimed at edge computing, where systems might be embedded for five years or so. Assuming the components all last that long as well, five years is probably a good expectation for an upgrade cycle as well.
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    Anandtech: The MSI B350 Tomahawk Motherboard Review: Gaming On a Budget

    Without key buzzwords such as 'RGB' and 'gaming', MSI is looking to target AMD users on a strict budget with the B350 Tomahawk. Compared to X370, the B350 boards lack multi-card graphics support, but at $85 the B350 Tomahawk looks to have a couple of tricks up its sleeve.


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    Anandtech: Microsoft and AMD to Bring FreeSync 2 Support to Xbox One S and Xbox One X

    Over the weekend, Microsoft and AMD made a somewhat unexpected announcement on the debut of their new Inside Xbox show: AMD FreeSync 2 support will be coming to the Xbox One S and Xbox One X this spring. With FreeSync-over-HDMI capable displays, the consoles will be able to implement variable refresh rates to reduce input lag and screen tearing, as well as the HDR aspects that are part of the FreeSync 2 spec. Current Alpha Xbox Insiders will be able to test the feature next week when variable refresh rate support will be pushed out to the Alpha preview ring. Slated to arrive this spring for general release, FreeSync 2 support appears to be part of the upcoming Xbox Spring Update.
    As revealed last spring in Digital Foundry's series of exclusive Xbox One X (Scorpio) deep dives, the console would be able to support forthcoming variable refresh technologies, including both AMD's proprietary Freesync-over-HDMI technology as well as the open standard HDMI 2.1 implementation. However outside of the HDMI consortium reiterating this idea – and while Microsoft has tip-toed a fine line since they can't claim to be compliant with an HDMI specification before it's finalized – we hadn't heard anything further on the subject until now.
    Along with finally enabling a variable refresh rate mode with FreeSync, Microsoft's announcement adds an extra dimension since it turns out this is going to support the expanded FreeSync 2 feature set. Announced last year, AMD’s FreeSync 2 extends AMD's FreeSync abilities, chiefly by specifying low-latency HDR support on top of variable refresh.
    In terms of upcoming Xbox support, details were sparse; only FreeSync-over-HDMI is supported, and the FreeSync 2 HDR features were confirmed to be supported. In practice, the actual TV implications look to be quite limited right now; as best as I can tell, there are no FreeSync TVs on the market at this time. PC monitor users however will be better off: the Xbox's new variable refresh capabilities should work with all FreeSync-over-HDMI monitors, while owners of the handful of FreeSync 2 displays on the market will get access to that expanded feature set.
    Meanwhile the fact that the Xbox One S is included in all of this was a small surprise in and of itself. We've known for a while that Microsoft's budget console includes a newer display controller in order to support 4K output for UHD videos, but until now it was never for certain that the controller was also capable of supporting variable refresh.

    Xbox One S/X and FreeSync 2 announcement at 1:38:00
    Overall the implementation of FreeSync support for the Xbox One familiy is one of several Xbox graphics updates on Microsoft's schedule. The Xbox Spring Update is bringing support for native 1440p, and support for Auto Low Latency Mode (i.e. TV ‘Game Modes’) – a feature that disables TV post-processing during gameplay – is set to come later in 2018. And of course, along with introducing cross-platform FreeSync capability, we're expecting to see HDMI standard variable refresh pop up in a later as well.


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    Anandtech: Broadcom-Qualcomm Takeover Blocked By White House on National Security Gro

    Stepping into the increasingly wild saga that has been Broadcom’s efforts to purchase Qualcomm, the US government is now weighing in by issuing a new order to block the merger of the two companies. Citing national security concerns with the Singapore-based Broadcom acquiring the US-based Qualcomm, President Trump issued an order under the Defense Production Act of 1950 to prohibit the proposed acquisition or any similar transaction, effectively ending Broadcom’s acquisition efforts.
    Given what would have potentially been the largest acquisition to date in the technology industry, Broadcom’s acquisition efforts had already attracted the attention of Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), who was investigating the buyout. However in exercising his own authority based on the CFIUS’s recommendations, the President has blocked the merger on national security grounds, citing that through their ownership of Qualcomm, Broadcom “might take action that threatens to impair the national security of the United States.”
    As a result of the presidential order, Broadcom’s purchase efforts are on hold for the time being, if not forever. The order requires the two companies to immediately stop any and all merger activity, and to unwind any efforts they’ve taken thus far, reporting to the CFIUS on their progress. Furthermore the candidates that Broadcom was running for Qualcomm’s board of directors are barred from participating in that election, and Qualcomm cannot accept their nominations.
    The President's order does not go into detail about the national security concerns he and the CFIUS have with the potential deal. But the Washington Post, citing a letter from the CFIUS sent to the companies’ attorneys sent over the weekend, notes that “it was concerned research and development at Qualcomm might atrophy under Broadcom's direction” and that Qualcomm rivals such as Huawei “might become much more dominant around the world” as a result.
    As the framework blocking the acquisition is a presidential order, it cannot be appealed and this block is seemingly permanent. However as Broadcom has already been going through great lengths to acquire the company, including planning to redomicile to the US so that the acquisition was no longer a foreign deal, it might yet prove too early to rule them out entirely.


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