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Thread: Anandtech News

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    Anandtech: Sapphire Unveils FS-FP5V: AMD Ryzen Embedded Mini-STX Motherboard

    Sapphire has announced one of the world’s first platforms based on AMD’s Ryzen Embedded V1000-series APUs. The motherboard is aimed at various embedded applications that can take advantage of AMD’s latest Zen and Vega architectures and their capabilities. The FS-FP5V also happens to be the industry’s first Mini-STX motherboards to feature AMD’s processor.
    The Sapphire FP5V is based on AMD’s Ryzen Embedded V1000 APU featuring two or four cores with SMT clocked at 2 – 3.35 GHz base frequency, AMD’s Radeon Vega 3/8/11 iGPU, a dual-channel memory controller, and so on. Depending on requirements for performance and price, the Ryzen Embedded SoCs can feature a 12 – 25 or a 35 – 54 W TDP. AMD introduced its Ryzen Embedded chips earlier this year and will continue to sell them throughout 2028, giving adopters plenty of time to build and sell their products.
    The motherboard is outfitted with two DDR4 SO-DIMMs supporting up to 32 GB of DDR4-2400 – DDR4-3200 memory, a SATA connector, an M.2-2280 slot (PCIe 3.0 x4 or SATA) for SSD, an M.2-2242 slot for a Wi-Fi module, two GbE ports (enabled by Realtek’s RTL8111G controllers), a quad-channel audio controller (ALC262), three USB 2.0 headers, one USB 3.1 Type-C connector, one RS232/422/485 module, etc. See precise specs in the table below.
    The key features of Sapphire’s FP5V are of course up to four high-performance Ryzen CPU cores, AMD’s Radeon Vega iGPU with up to 704 stream processors as well as rich connectivity capabilities (e.g., four display outputs). The list of embedded applications that may require such embedded SoCs. include various gaming machines, digital signage, thin clients, medical imaging, and so on.
    Sapphire’s FP5V is available for order from the company’s web site. Pricing depends on exact configurations as well as volumes.
    Sapphire's Mini-STX Motherboard with Ryzen Embedded V1000 APUs
    (Soldered Down)
    Ryzen Embedded V1202B: 2C/4T, 2 - 3.6 GHz, Vega 3, 12 - 25W
    Ryzen Embedded V1605B: 4C/8T, 2.06 - 3.6 GHz, Vega 8, 12 - 25W
    Ryzen Embedded V1756B: 4C/8T, 3.25 - 3.6 GHz, Vega 8, 35 - 54W
    Ryzen Embedded V1807B: 4C/8T, 3.35 - 3.8 GHz, Vega 11, 35 - 54W
    Graphics Ryzen Embedded V1202B: Radeon Vega 3 with 192 SPs at 1100 MHz
    Ryzen Embedded V1605B: Radeon Vega 8 with 512 SPs at 1100 MHz
    Ryzen Embedded V1756B: Radeon Vega 8 with 512 SPs at 1100 MHz
    Ryzen Embedded V1807B: Radeon Vega 11 with 704 SPs at 1300 MHz
    Display Outputs 4 × DisplayPort 1.4
    Memory 2 × DDR4 SO-DIMM slots for up to 32 GB of DDR4 SDRAM
    Ryzen Embedded V1202B: up to DDR4-2400
    Ryzen Embedded V1605B: up to DDR4-2400
    Ryzen Embedded V1756B: up to DDR4-3200
    Ryzen Embedded V1807B: up to DDR4-3200
    Ethernet 2 × Realtek RTL8111G controllers
    Storage 1 × SATA 6 Gbps
    1 × M.2 (PCIe 3.0 x4 or SATA)
    Audio Realtek ALC262
    4-channel audio
    USB 4 × USB 2.0 Type-A
    1 × USB 3.1 Type-C
    Serial Port 1 × RS232/422/485 header
    Wi-Fi M.2-2242 slot
    Operating Temperature 0°C~50°C (32°F~122°F)
    Form-Factor Mini-STX (147.3 mm × 139.7 mm | 5.8" × 5.5")
    Related Reading:

    Source: Sapphire (via Tom’s Hardware)


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    Anandtech: Marvell Completes Acquisition of Cavium, Gets CPU, Networking & Security A

    Marvell on Friday announced that it had completed its takeover of Cavium. The combined company will have a broad portfolio of IP and patents that promise to enable the combined company to grow as new types of compute workloads emerge in the coming years. In particular, Marvell gains processing capabilities along with a number of other assets. However the company yet has to make it as far as developing a comprehensive roadmap that takes advantage of all assets.
    As reported in November, Marvell had to offer approximately $5.5 billion for outstanding shares of Cavium and absorb Cavium’s debt of approximately $637.6 million, which brought the value of the transaction to over $6.1 billion. For a rather hefty sum of money, Marvell obtained a developer of ARM and MIPS-based SoCs for network, video, security, storage connectivity, server, and other applications. Essentially, the company transformed itself from a developer of storage controllers (HDD, SSD, RAID, etc.), networking and connectivity solutions into a corporation with a much greater potential.
    Marvell now pins a lot of hopes on such applications as AI, 5G, and Cloud & Edge computing. It is particularly noteworthy that in its letter to customers, the company even put processing ahead of storage when describing its new portfolio of products.
    Applications such as AI, 5G, Cloud, automotive, and edge computing all require engineering solutions that combine high bandwidth, very low power consumption, and leadership in complex system on a chip solutions,” said Matt Murphy, Marvell’s CEO. “As a combined company, we now offer industry-leading IP, a broad portfolio of infrastructure solutions, and a talented team of innovators ready to tackle our customers’ toughest challenges. We’re excited to get started.
    As for the actual merger, while the merger itself was in the planning stages well before it was even announced, in a sense the company can only now really get started on being a merged entity now that the merger has been completed. Due to regulations, companies cannot work really closely (i.e., share confidential information) before the transaction is closed. As a result, Marvell and Cavium will have to create a new roadmap from scratch in the coming months while talking to their clients and having all the required information about each other’s capabilities.
    Moving on to the impact on employees. With the acquisition of Cavium, Marvell’s headcount should have increased to around 7000. Meanwhile, in letters to clients and suppliers Marvell’s management said that the combined company would employ “5000+” people, roughly the same number Marvell employed before the takeover. Perhaps Marvell’s execs are too optimistic about synergies between two companies, and are planning on significant layoffs. Obviously, letting almost 30% of the staff go sounds like a rather drastic measure that is going to cost a lot a lot of money. Another explanation is that Marvell does not want certain businesses it now has, so they will be eventually sold off and the headcount will reduce to 5000+.
    Speaking of prospects of the merged company in general, it remains to be seen whether the “new Marvell” wants to keep all the business units, but optimize the workforce, or get rid of certain businesses. I will repeat what I said back in November:
    "In the coming years the expected serviceable addressable market for CPUs and specialized SoCs will grow. In particular, low-power CPUs will be needed for 5G base stations and other emerging applications. Cavium already has custom ThunderX SoCs for servers and telecom equipment, so Marvell will need to develop them further to gain in the future."
    What I can add to this is that compute capabilities are getting increasingly important for storage industry in general. In fact, in-storage processing looks to be gaining traction. Since Marvell announced plans to acquire Cavium, Western Digital has disclosed plans to use RISC-V cores for all of its products in the coming years and has implied on in-storage processing. Furthermore, NGD released its second-gen Catalina SSD with in-storage processing and is gearing up to release an ASIC-based Catalina 3 later this year.
    Finally, with the closure of the deal, Marvell has also announced that Syed Ali (co-founder and CEO of Marvell), Brad Buss (a director of Cavium) and Dr. Edward Frank (a director of Cavium) would join Marvell’s board of directors.
    Marvell and Cavium at a Glance
    All data as of November 20, 2017
    Marvell Cavium
    Market Capitalization $10.58 billion $5.76 billion
    Revenue per Fiscal Year (recent) $2.318 billion $603.3 million
    Profit/Loss per Fiscal Year
    $21.151 million -$147.2 million
    Total Cash $1.57 billion $127.06 million
    Total Debt - $637.6 million
    Headcount 5,000+ 1831
    Revenue Split (recent FY) Storage $1.158 billion Enterprise, datacenter,
    and service provider
    $568.8 million
    Networking $590 million
    Connectivity $318million Broadband and
    consumer markets
    $34.5 million
    Other $252 million
    Additional information, data sources 1, 2, 3 1, 2
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    Sources: Marvell’s Press Release, Letter to Customers, Letter to Suppliers


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    Anandtech: Microsoft Announces The Surface Go: Smaller And Less Expensive

    Just over three years since the launch of the surprisingly good Surface 3, Microsoft has finally refreshed this category with a new device, now called the Surface Go. The Surface Pro series has been very successful for the company, and they’ve decided it’s time to offer an entry level Surface again. The Redmond company has been working on trying to win back the education market, so a smaller, lighter, and most importantly, less expensive Surface makes a lot of sense.
    The Surface Go is the thinnest and lightest Surface yet at just 8.3 mm, down from the 8.7 mm of the Surface 3, and 8.5 mm on the latest Surface Pro, but it undercuts the other models on weight significantly at 521 grams, or 1.15 lbs. That’s a full 31% lighter than the larger Surface Pro.
    The display is also smaller, this time coming in at 10-inches in the now familiar 3:2 aspect ratio Microsoft has focused on, and the taller aspect ratio certainly helps on mobile devices such as this that may be used in portrait. It’s an 1800x1200 PixelSense display, with 10-point multi-touch and Surface Pen support. The screen has a reasonable 216 pixels per inch of density, which is pretty much the same as the Surface 3 back in 2015. That’s not quite as high as the Surface Pro or iPad Pro, but should still be fairly clear.
    One of the biggest upgrades over the outgoing Surface 3, which was the first of the value-oriented Surface models to ship with an x86 processor, is the move from the quad-core Atom to an Intel Pentium Gold 4415Y. This is a dual-core Kaby Lake processor with four threads, and a 1.6 GHz base frequency. With a TDP of just 6W, it’s not going to be a powerhouse, but it’ll still offer solid performance for a device of this size. The low TDP also means that it can be fanless, which it is. The CPU is coupled with the Intel HD Graphics 615, which offers 24 Execution Units (EUs), although at just 850 MHz maximum boost. Still, that should offer a good jump over the Atom in the previous model.
    The base model comes with just 4 GB of LPDDR3-1866, and 64 GB of eMMC storage, although it will be offered in 8 GB RAM versions with 128 GB and 256 GB SSDs, which should offer much better performance.
    Microsoft Surface Go
    Surface Go Specifications
    CPU Intel Pentium Gold 4415Y (Kaby Lake-Y)
    2 core, 4 thread, 1.6 GHz base frequency
    GPU Intel HD 615
    24 EUs 850 MHz boost frequency
    Display 10-inch PixelSense
    1800x1200 3:2 aspect
    10-point Multitouch
    Surface Pen support
    Dimensions 245 x 175 x 8.3 mm
    9.6 x 6.9 x 0.33 inches
    RAM 4 or 8 GB LPDDR3-1866
    Storage 64 GB eMMC
    128 / 256 GB SSD optional
    Wireless 802.11ac with Bluetooth 4.1
    LTE Optional
    Battery Up to 9 hours of video playback
    24W Charger
    Cameras Windows Hello IR camera
    5 MP Front Camera with 1080p video
    8 MP Rear Camera with 1080p video
    Ports USB Type-C 3.1 Gen 1
    Surface Connect
    Price 4GB/64GB $399
    8GB/128GB $549
    Windows 10 Pro $50 extra
    The Surface 3 was charged with micro USB, but the Surface Go steps up to the 24-Watt magnetic Surface Connect found on the rest of the mobile Surface lineup, and it also includes a USB 3.1 Gen 1 with a Type C connector, and they’ve kept the expandable storage with MicroSD included.
    Microsoft has also included an IR camera for Windows Hello login, along with a 5 MP front camera for 1080p video, and an 8 MP rear camera. For those that want to use it on the go (pun intended) there will be an LTE model available too, which makes sense with Microsoft’s push towards Always Connected PCs.
    Microsoft is claiming up to 9 hours of battery life which they tested doing video playback on the top end model.
    Microsoft is also launching a new Surface Type Cover for the smaller model, featuring the same Alcantara as its larger siblings, or as just black if you prefer that. Microsoft has also found a way to fit their full-friction hinge to the smaller Surface Go, allowing for up to 165° of movement.
    The new low-end Surface Go looks like a great replacement for the Surface 3, offering a way into the Surface lineup at a much more affordable price. The move to Kaby Lake will be a major boon to performance as well. Prices start at $399 for the base model, $449 for the same model with Windows 10 Pro, or $549 for 8 GB of RAM and 128 GB SSD. The 256 GB and LTE models will ship later. Pre-orders should be available soon.
    Source: Microsoft


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    Anandtech: Samsung Begins Mass Production Of 96L 3D NAND

    Samsung has started mass production of their fifth generation of 3D NAND flash memory, which they brand as V-NAND. This new generation bumps the layer count from 64 up to 96 (officially, "more than 90" layers), providing further density increases without incurring the endurance and reliability costs that came with process shrinks for planar NAND flash memory. Samsung first announced their 96L V-NAND at Flash Memory Summit in August 2017.
    The fifth generation V-NAND also includes performance enhancements, most significantly a Toggle DDR 4.0 interface running at 1.4Gbps, compared to the 800Mbps interface speed of Samsung's previous 3D NAND. A reduction of operating voltage from 1.8V to 1.2V offsets the extra power consumption that faster interface speed would otherwise bring. Samsung is also citing improvements to both read and program latency. Read latency did not improve from 48L to 64L, but now has been "significantly" reduced to 50μs. Program (write) latency is down about 30% to 500μs.
    Samsung hasn't shared many details about their process refinements, but the height of each memory cell layer has been reduced by 20%, which helps reduce the extremely high aspect ratio of the holes that need to be etched for the vertical strings of memory cells. Difficulties with high aspect ratio etching are widely believed to be the primary cause for delays that Samsung's 48L V-NAND suffered, which led to several product cancellations as Samsung's NAND development failed to keep pace with their SSD controller improvements. Samsung's transition to 64 layers was much smoother, and Samsung is claiming a 30% improvement to manufacturing productivity with the 96L process. Whether this is on a per-bit basis or a per-wafer basis, this should allow for another on-time roll out.
    The first 96L part in mass production is a 256Gb TLC (three bits per cell) die, which should see broad usage in the mobile and SSD markets. Larger dies will follow to fulfill the need for higher capacities with lower cost per bit, primarily in the enterprise SSD market. This will include a 1Tb QLC NAND (four bits per cell) part.


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    Anandtech: Intel’s High-End Cascade Lake CPUs to Support 3.84 TB of Memory Per Socket

    While Intel has yet to detail its upcoming Cascade Lake processors for servers, some of the key characteristics are beginning to emerge. According to a new report, some of the new chips will support up to 3.84 TB of memory per socket, double the amount supported by contemporary Skylake-based Xeon Platinum M-series CPUs that support 1.5 TB of DDR4, due to combining 512 GB Optane DIMMs and 128GB DDR4 DIMMs. For a dual socket system, this rises to up to 7.68 TB per node.
    Last year Intel published a picture of a Cascade Lake-based server outfitted with six DDR4 DIMMs and six Optane Persistent Memory DIMMs per socket. Intel’s code-named Apache Pass modules have 512 GB capacity, whereas commercial standard DDR4 LRDIMMs often carry a peak of 128 GB of usable memory. If these modules are installed into a server, in a 6 x Optane and 6 x DDR4 configuration, they will provide 3072 GB of 3D XPoint memory and 768 GB of DDR4 RAM for a total of 3.84 TB of memory.
    For write endurance reasons, six DDR4 DIMMs and six Optane DIMMs per socket will likely be a popular configuration for servers that run databases which benefit from high capacity of memory.
    These metrics are confirmed by a document released by QCT and their QCT QuantaMesh systems, with the key picture here below:
    The top left is a single server in a 1U configuration, showing five PCIe expansion slots and up to 7.68 TB memory capacity when a Cascade Lake CPU is installed. The bottom right is the T42D-2U, giving four nodes in a 2U configuration, totalling 30 TB memory capacity for a 2U rack. Given that the price of a single DDR4 128GB LRDIMM is circa $3500, and pricing for Optane still unknown, along with reports that pricing for Cascade Lake might be adjusted, these systems are likely to cost a pretty penny.
    It is worth noting, given Intel's historic policy on product segmentation, that not all Cascade Lake SKUs will support the maximum 3.84 TB of memory, leaving it only to premium models. Or Intel may go even further, potentially, and say that not all SKUs will support Optane DIMMs - that might also be a premium feature. Intel did not confirm at the launch of Optane if all of the Cascade Lake Xeons would support it (the official response was 'we haven't released that information yet').
    Related Reading

    Source: ServeTheHome


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    Anandtech: GlobalFoundries Announces 22FDX Milestone: $2 Billion in Design Wins

    GlobalFoundries on Monday announced a milestone concerning its 22FDX-branded fully-depleted SOI low-power planar transistor platform. The company initiated volume production using the technology with yields and performance meeting expectations of its clients. So far, the company has gained over 50 client designs and has booked contracts worth $2 billion.
    GlobalFoundries’ positions its 22FDX manufacturing technology as a cheaper alternative to 14 nm/16 nm FinFET fabrication processes. Since the 22FDX relies on planar transistors as well as fully-depleted SOI wafers, it is easier and cheaper to use than FinFET-based technologies. Another key feature of FD-SOI is very low static and dynamic power consumption, low voltages (down to 0.4 Volts) and software-controlled transistor body-biasing (up to 1.5V, which helps increase performance), all of which makes the process very appealing for mobile, wearables, IoT, RF and other applications. Since such chips are developed by startups without a lot of money, relatively low development costs are crucial for such companies.
    GlobalFoundries formally introduced its 22FDX platform — which includes four different manufacturing technologies for various applications — in mid-2015 and started early production this year. One of the first customers to use the GlobalFoundries’ 22FDX platform is Synaptics, but previously GlobalFoundries mentioned Cisco, Freescale and Sony as adopters of the technology.
    According to GlobalFoundries, the 22FDX has booked customers’ orders worth $2 billion, which is a lot. To put this number into perspective, GlobalFoundries earned $6.176 billion in revenue last year. Meanwhile GlobalFoundries does not share any additional details about the 22FDX wafer revenue so we do not know the amount of time it will take GlobalFoundries to actually get these money.
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    Anandtech: ASRock Expands Phantom Gaming Lineup with Radeon RX Vega Cards

    ASRock has expanded its Phantom Gaming lineup with AMD’s Radeon RX Vega 56 and Vega 64 GPUs running at reference clock rates. This launch allows ASRock to move into AMD’s top-of-the-range offerings.
    ASRock’s Phantom Gaming X Radeon RX Vega 56 and Vega 64 graphics cards are based on AMD’s reference design with air cooling featuring a composite vapor chamber and a high-performance blower. ASRock’s Phantom Gaming X Radeon RX Vega 64 runs at 1247-1546 MHz, whereas the Phantom Gaming X Radeon RX Vega 56 operates at 1156-1471 MHz, exactly what AMD recommends. Display outputs include three DisplayPort 1.4 connectors as well as an HDMI 2.0 header.
    ASRock started to offer its own graphics adapters this March and is still a new player in this market. The company’s Phantom Gaming Radeon RX 500-series video cards are available worldwide, but sources close to AMD believe that ASRock’s main focus with these board is China. Meanwhile, since AMD's Radeon RX Vega offerings are considerably more expensive than Polaris-based devices, it is likely that the products may be concentrated primarily on Western markets.
    Pricing of ASRock’s Phantom Gaming X Radeon RX Vega graphics cards is something that remains to be seen, but expect them to cost comparably with rivals based on the same GPUs and featuring AMD’s reference design.
    Buy ASRock Radeon RX 570 on
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    Anandtech: A DIY Portable Thunderbolt 3 SSD with the TEKQ Rapide and SanDisk Extreme

    The emergence of NVMe SSDs in the compact M.2 form-factor, coupled with the rising popularity of Thunderbolt 3, has enabled a new class of portable high-performance flash storage devices. External SSDs with a Thunderbolt interface have been around for a few years now, but, the price to performance ratio had prevented them from getting wide acceptance. Things are changing with the portable Thunderbolt 3 SSDs, and wallet-friendly choices are emerging, thanks to Phison's reference designs that went public at the 2018 CES. We recently reviewed TEKQ's Rapide, a portable Thunderbolt 3 SSD using a Phison controller (but, not the 3D TLC-based low-cost reference design). It proved to be quite easy to disassemble. We set out to determine the performance of the Rapide with the internal SSD replaced by one of the current high-performance units in the market - the SanDisk Extreme Pro M.2 NVMe 3D SSD.

    The TEKQ Rapide is a 98mm x 45mm x 12mm silver-colored external SSD with an aluminum chassis. It sports a single Thunderbolt 3 interface for both power and data. The port is enabled by the Intel DSL6340 Thunderbolt 3 Controller - note that this belongs to the Alpine Ridge family, and hence, works only with Thunderbolt 3 Type-C ports. On the other side of the DSL6340 is a PCIe 3.0 x4 connection that leads to a M.2 slot capable of accommodating M.2 2260 or 2280 PCIe SSDs. There are no plastic components in the chassis.
    There is nothing preventing advanced users from installing their own M.2 PCIe SSDs in the internal M.2 slot. The device is easy to disassemble, with four screws hidden under the rubber feet on the underside of the chassis. We took out the internal SSD (a Phison E7 reference design with Toshiba's MLC NAND) and replaced it with a 1TB version of the SanDisk Extreme Pro M.2 NVMe 3D SSD. The TEKQ Rapide enclosure includes thermal pads for both the M.2 SSD and the Thunderbolt 3 controller.
    As a refresher, the SanDisk Extreme Pro M.2 NVMe 3D SSD is essentially the same as the Western Digital WD Black 3D NAND SSD (review) except for the external branding. It uses Western Digital's in-house controller and couples it with 64-layer BiCS 3D TLC flash. While the SSD itself claims transfer rates of 3400 MBps reads and 2800 MBps writes, the extent of throttling introduced by the enclosure is not immediately evident.
    Synthetic Benchmarks

    Various synthetic benchmarks are available to quickly evaluate the performance of direct-attached storage devices. Real-world performance testing often has to be a customized test. We present both varieties in this review, starting with the synthetic benchmarks in this section. Prior to covering those, we have a quick look at our testbed setup and testing methodology.
    Testbed Setup and Testing Methodology

    Evaluation of DAS units on Windows is done with the testbed outlined in the table below. For devices with a Thunderbolt 3 (Type-C interface) connections (such as the DIY TEKQ Rapide - SanDisk Extreme Pro TB3 SSD 1TB that we are considering today), we utilize the USB 3.1 Type-C port enabled by the Intel Alpine Ridge controller. It connects to the Z170 PCH via a PCIe 3.0 x4 link.
    AnandTech DAS Testbed Configuration
    Motherboard GIGABYTE Z170X-UD5 TH ATX
    CPU Intel Core i5-6600K
    Memory G.Skill Ripjaws 4 F4-2133C15-8GRR
    32 GB ( 4x 8GB)
    DDR4-2133 @ 15-15-15-35
    OS Drive Samsung SM951 MZVPV256 NVMe 256 GB
    SATA Devices Corsair Neutron XT SSD 480 GB
    Intel SSD 730 Series 480 GB
    Add-on Card None
    Chassis Cooler Master HAF XB EVO
    PSU Cooler Master V750 750 W
    OS Windows 10 Pro x64
    Thanks to Cooler Master, GIGABYTE, G.Skill and Intel for the build components
    The full details of the reasoning behind choosing the above build components can be found here. The list of DAS units used for comparison purposes is provided below.

    • DIY TEKQ Rapide - SanDisk Extreme Pro TB3 SSD 1TB (NTFS)
    • LaCie Rugged Thunderbolt 500GB
    • TEKQ Rapide TB3 SSD 240GB (NTFS)
    • TEKQ Rapide TB3 SSD 240GB (exFAT)
    • d2 TB2 - SSD

    Synthetic Benchmarks - ATTO and Crystal DiskMark

    The SanDisk Extreme Pro M.2 NVMe 3D SSD's 3.4 GBps / 2.8 GBps numbers for read and write accesses seem to get throttled down to around 2.7 GBps / 2.4 GBps due to the external enclosure, as per the ATTO benchmarks provided below. Unfortunately, these access traces are not very common in real-life scenarios.
    Drive Performance Benchmarks - ATTO
    DIY TEKQ Rapide - SanDisk Extreme Pro TB3 SSD 1TBLaCie Rugged Thunderbolt 500GBTEKQ Rapide TB3 SSD 240GB (exFAT)
    CrystalDiskMark, despite being a canned benchmark, provides a better estimate of the performance range with a selected set of numbers.
    Drive Performance Benchmarks - CrystalDiskMark
    DIY TEKQ Rapide - SanDisk Extreme Pro TB3 SSD 1TBLaCie Rugged Thunderbolt 500GBTEKQ Rapide TB3 SSD 240GB (exFAT)
    As evident from the screenshot below, the performance can dip to as low as 40 MBps for random reads at low queue depths. However, peak performance is as good, if not better, than the numbers from ATTO.
    Benchmarks - robocopy and PCMark 8 Storage Bench

    Our testing methodology for DAS units also takes into consideration the usual use-case for such devices. The most common usage scenario is transfer of large amounts of photos and videos to and from the unit. The minor usage scenario is importing files directly off the DAS into a multimedia editing program such as Adobe Photoshop.
    In order to tackle the first use-case, we created three test folders with the following characteristics:

    • Photos: 15.6 GB collection of 4320 photos (RAW as well as JPEGs) in 61 sub-folders
    • Videos: 16.1 GB collection of 244 videos (MP4 as well as MOVs) in 6 sub-folders
    • BR: 10.7 GB Blu-ray folder structure of the IDT Benchmark Blu-ray

    Photos ReadPhotos WriteVideos ReadVideos WriteBlu-ray Folder ReadBlu-ray Folder WriteExpand All
    For the second use-case, we take advantage of PC Mark 8's storage bench. The storage workload involves games as well as multimedia editing applications. The command line version allows us to cherry-pick storage traces to run on a target drive. We chose the following traces.

    • Adobe Photoshop (Light)
    • Adobe Photoshop (Heavy)
    • Adobe After Effects
    • Adobe Illustrator

    Usually, PC Mark 8 reports time to complete the trace, but the detailed log report has the read and write bandwidth figures which we present in our performance graphs. Note that the bandwidth number reported in the results don't involve idle time compression. Results might appear low, but that is part of the workload characteristic. Note that the same testbed is being used for all DAS units. Therefore, comparing the numbers for each trace should be possible across different DAS units.
    Adobe Photoshop Light ReadAdobe Photoshop Heavy ReadAdobe After Effects ReadAdobe Illustrator ReadAdobe Photoshop Light WriteAdobe Photoshop Heavy WriteAdobe After Effects WriteAdobe Illustrator WriteExpand All
    We can see that the SanDisk Extreme Pro M.2 NVMe 3D SSD, when placed inside a TEKQ Rapide enclosure, and formatted in NTFS, is at the top of the charts in almost all the workloads.
    Performance Consistency

    Yet another interesting aspect of these types of units is performance consistency. Aspects that may influence this include thermal throttling and firmware caps on access rates to avoid overheating or other similar scenarios. This aspect is an important one, as the last thing that users want to see when copying over, say, 100 GB of data to the flash drive, is the transfer rate going to USB 2.0 speeds. In order to identify whether the drive under test suffers from this problem, we instrumented our robocopy DAS benchmark suite to record the flash drive's read and write transfer rates while the robocopy process took place in the background. For supported drives, we also recorded the internal temperature of the drive during the process. The graphs below show the speeds observed during our real-world DAS suite processing. The first three sets of writes and reads correspond to the photos suite. A small gap (for the transfer of the videos suite from the primary drive to the RAM drive) is followed by three sets for the next data set. Another small RAM-drive transfer gap is followed by three sets for the Blu-ray folder.
    An important point to note here is that each of the first three blue and green areas correspond to 15.6 GB of writes and reads respectively. Throttling, if any, is apparent within the processing of the photos suite itself. Here, we can see the first set of photo writes reach higher peak write speeds compared to the other two sets. This has to do with the amount of SLC cache available for filling up during the transfer. However, temperatures are normal (less than 60C) throughout the test, pointing to the thermal solution being very effective.
    Performance Consistency and Thermal Characteristics
    DIY TEKQ Rapide - SanDisk Extreme Pro TB3 SSD 1TBLaCie Rugged Thunderbolt 500GBTEKQ Rapide TB3 SSD 240GB (NTFS)TEKQ Rapide TB3 SSD 240GB (exFAT)
    Western Digital / SanDisk also shipped the SanDisk Extreme Pro M.2 NVMe 3D SSD without any heatspreader. The uncommon layout that places the controller in the middle of the stick with NAND flash memory on both sides of the controller is adequate to prevent overheating, and the thermal pads on the TEKQ Rapide chassis are more than enough to prevent the SSD from going above 60C in the course of our heavy DAS workload.
    Miscellaneous Aspects and Concluding Remarks

    The Thunderbolt 3 specifications indicate that the host port must be able to supply up to 15W for bus-powered devices connected to it. Since the TEKQ Rapide is a bus-powered device, it is given that its power consumption can't exceed 15W in order to be a certified Thunderbolt 3 device. It is still relevant to take a fine-grained look at the power consumption profile, since the SanDisk Extreme Pro M.2 NVMe 3D SSD we are putting in has a very different performance and power profile compared to the Phison E7 reference design that it originally shipped with. Using the Plugable USBC-TKEY, the bus power consumption for the unit was tracked while the CrystalDiskMark workloads were processed. The workloads were set up with an interval time of 30s.
    We find that the peak power consumption is slightly south of 8W (compared to the sub-7W profile of the 240GB Phison E7 reference SSD in the TEKQ Rapide). The SSD idles at around 2.8W (compared to 2.5W of the original configuration).
    Support for TRIM is an important aspect - it ensures that performance consistency is maintained even after the SSD has been subject to long-term use. Since the Thunderbolt interface is transparent for all practical purposes, and the host OS sees a PCIe NVMe SSD, it comes down to the SanDisk Extreme Pro M.2 NVMe 3D SSD supporting TRIM. We were able to successfully activate TRIM with the configuration.
    The final aspect that we deal with in the review is the pricing. Since we have a DIY configuration, the 'build' involves buying the TEKQ Rapide enclosure with the minimal capacity SSD, and re-using the internal SSD for some other purpose. The cost breakdown is presented in the table below.
    DIY TEKQ Rapide + SanDisk Extreme Pro M.2 NVMe 3D NAND SSD - Cost Breakdown
    Item Price
    TEKQ Rapide Thunderbolt 3 240GB NVMe External SSD $245
    MyDigital SSD BPX NVMe MLC SSD (Phison E7 Reference Design Equivalent) -$100
    SanDisk Extreme Pro M.2 NVMe 3D NAND SSD / WD Black M.2 NVMe 3D NAND SSD $395
    Total Cost for DIY Portable TB3 SSD $540
    Flash prices are on a downward trend, and it is likely that the configuration will become cheaper in the coming months. Even without discounting the extra NVMe SSD's cost, the price per GB comes to a respectable $0.64/GB, which is cheaper than the approx. $0.80/GB for the 1TB TEKQ Rapide SSD. That said, the cost is not as economical as what has been promised for the upcoming Phison reference designs for portable Thunderbolt 3 SSDs (in the range of $0.45 to $0.50/GB for the 1TB variants). However, they are not expected to provide as much performance as our DIY configuration.

    At the business end of the review, we can say without hesitation that the DIY Thunderbolt 3 SSD presents a very valuable proposition to the end user. In particular, the TEKQ Rapide can leave the consumer with a spare 240GB NVMe SSD that can be used in the recent NUCs or a number of other modern PC platforms. The WD Black / SanDisk Extreme Pro SSDs have great performance for DAS workloads, and team up effectively with the TEKQ Rapide enclosure for a high-performance portable Thunderbolt 3 SSD that doesn't break the bank.


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    Anandtech: Lenovo’s Miix 630 Snapdragon 835-Based 2-in-1 Now Available

    Lenovo has started to sell its Miix 630 always-connected PC based on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 SoC and Microsoft’s Windows 10 S. The system weighs around 1.4 kilograms yet promises up to 20 hours of battery life with a perminent connection to the internet when in cell-tower coverage.
    Lenovo’s Miix 630 is a 2-in-1 detachable notebook with a 12.3-inch FHD+ display and a 15.6 mm z-height when equipped with a keyboard. The system is outfitted with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 SoC, 4 GB of LPDDR4-1866 memory, 128 GB of UFS 2.1 storage, 2x2 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1, and an integrated Gigabit LTE modem. Since the Miix 630 uses a mobile SoC, it is always connected to a 4G/LTE network and offers a very long battery life because it is equipped with a laptop-class 48 Wh battery: Lenovo rates the system for 20 hours of video playback at 150 nits screen brightness.
    The 2-in-1 comes with Microsoft’s Windows 10 S, but there is an option to upgrade to Windows 10 Pro for free within the first 180-days after initial registration. Since the Snapdragon 835 is designed to be more space and efficient than the competition, the Miix 630 is rated to work significantly longer than the vast majority of ultra-thin notebooks.
    As reported previously, the platform supports applications through the Windows Store that are natively compiled for the S835, as well as non-native 32-bit apps through machine translation. Qualcomm is still in the middle of developing its 64-bit SDK, as well as looking into translation of non-native 64-bit apps. We covered the topic when Qualcomm announced the Snapdragon 850. For some power users, this may be a limitation at this time, however most regular program suites for business use are ready and operational for full performance.
    Lenovo charges $899.99 for the Miix 630 product, which is the price that Microsoft charges for its entry-level Surface Pro 4 2-in-1 that is powered by Intel’s Core m3-6Y30 SoC.
    Lenovo’s Miix 630 is now available both directly from Lenovo as well as from retailers like Amazon.
    Buy Lenovo Miix 630 on
    The Lenovo Miix 630
    Display 12.3"
    187 PPI
    400 nits
    CPU Qualcomm Snapdragon 835
    4 x Kryo 280 Performance (2.45 GHz)
    4 x Kryo Efficiency (1.9 GHz)
    Graphics Adreno 540 GPU at 710 MHz
    RAM 4 GB
    Storage 128 GB + microSD
    Wi-Fi 2×2 802.11ac Wi-Fi
    Bluetooth Bluetooth 4.1
    WWAN Qualcomm X16 Gigabit LTE
    USB 3.0 1
    × Type-C
    Cameras Front 5 MP with IR and Windows Hello
    Rear 13 MP
    Other I/O Microphone, stereo speakers, audio jack, trackpad, card reader, etc.
    Battery 48 Wh
    Battery Life 20 hours
    Dimensions Width 293 mm | 11.5"
    Height 210 mm | 8.2"
    Thickness 15.6 mm | 0.6" w/ keyboard
    Weight 1.39 kilograms | 2.93 lbs
    Related Reading

    Source: Lenovo (via Liliputing)


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    Anandtech: The GIGABYTE B360 Gaming 3 WIFI Review: A Cheaper Alternative at $120

    One of GIGABYTE's first B360 series motherboards in the Gaming 3 WIFI. This is our first review of this new chipset, and it offers users a cheaper way into the 8th generation Intel processors. The GIGABYTE B360 Gaming 3 WIFI includes many of the features found in the Z370 version, and even trumps it in one respect with its ultra-fast Intel CNVi Wi-Fi with speeds up to 1.73 Gbps.


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