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Thread: Anandtech News

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    Anandtech: Day of the Dead: AMD Releases new Carrizo FM2+ APU, the A8-7680

    Reports of a new Carrizo APU have been floating around for the past couple of weeks as several ASRock FM2+ recently had BIOS updates stating ‘now supporting new Carrizo APU’. Of course, this sounds preposterous: why would a new Carrizo APU, on an old platform, on an old 28nm process, be launched? When we spoke to our contacts at ASRock, even they did not know. It looks like AMD has let the cat out of the bag, albeit without an official announcement.
    In AMD’s own Master Product List, which lists every SKU that AMD makes / has stock of, several new listings have shown up which correspond to the naming conventions of a Carrizo APU.
    In this listing, we see the AD767KXBJCWOF, which is the A8-7670K, a known product. Then we have several listings that start AD7680, for the new A8-7680 processor, followed by the A8-7690K, another known unit.
    AD7680ACABBOX will be the code for the boxed processor, and AD7680ACABCBX is likely for the tray units sold to OEMs to put into their systems. Currently, out of all the FM2+ boards in the market, only a few A68 boards have it listed as compatible:

    • ASRock FM2A68M-HD+
    • ASRock FM2A68M-DG3+
    • ASUS A68HM-K
    • ASUS A68HM-Plus
    • MSI A68HM-E33-v2

    It would appear that all of these boards (and some by Biostar, which don’t list the CPU), have processed an AGESA Carrizo PI- update for the chipset in order to accept the new processor. This means that most of these boards currently on the shelves will need to be flashed to the latest update.
    Specifications for the processor are still a little unknown. Given the name, the A8-7680, it is expected to fall somewhere between the A8-7690K and the A8-7670K, which means it should be a dual module processor with four threads (remember AMD’s ‘one module, two threads’ hardware? No, we don’t want to either), a base clock of 3.5 or 3.6 GHz, a turbo clock of 3.8 GHz, a Radeon R7 integrated graphics with 757 MHz base frequency, two channels of DDR3-2133 support, and a TDP of 65W.
    The processor seems to be listed at two shops in Europe already, however both are listed as out of stock: LambdaTek for £51.67 ($55) and CentralPoint in the Netherlands for 52 EUR + tax ($59)
    Our only guess for this new processor is that AMD has a particular customer who needs a refresh processor custom to their needs. Normally this would fly under the radar and be an OEM only part (and probably be part of the 8000 series), but for whatever reason (they made too many?) it seems to perhaps be coming to retail.
    At around the $55-$59 mark, AMD also offers the Athlon 200GE with Ryzen cores and Vega graphics, although that system requires DDR4. This new Carrizo part is DDR3, but I doubt that the price difference in the memory would really make up for the difference in performance. If we happen to pick up a sample, we’ll let you know if the dead have truly risen, or if it’s just for a single night/SKU only.
    Related Reading

    Gallery: Day of the Dead: AMD Releases new Carrizo FM2+ APU, the A8-7680


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    Anandtech: The AMD Threadripper 2 CPU Review: The 24-Core 2970WX and 12-Core 2920X Te

    This year AMD launched its second generation high-end desktop Ryzen Threadripper processors. The benefits of the new parts include better performance, better frequency, and parts up to 32 cores. We tested the first two processors back in August, the 32-core and the 16-core, and today AMD is launching the next two parts: the 24-core 2970WX and the 12-core 2920X. We have a full review ready for you to get your teeth in to.


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    Anandtech: OnePlus Announces the OnePlus 6T

    Today OnePlus has revealed its half-generation refresh for 2018: The OnePlus 6T. This summer we thoroughly reviewed the OnePlus 6 and I was extremely impressed – ending up as being one of the best smartphones this year.
    The OnePlus 6T is an iterative update to the OnePlus 6, as such, there’s a lot of similarities between the new and former models:
    OnePlus 6 OnePlus 6T
    SoC Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
    4x Kryo 385 Gold @ up to 2.80 GHz
    4x Kryo 385 Silver @ up to 1.77 GHz
    Adreno 630 @ up to 710 MHz
    Display 6.28-inch 2280x1080 (19:9)
    6.41-inch 2340x1080 (19.5:9)
    Dimensions 155.7 x 75.4 x 7.8 mm
    177 grams
    157.5 x 74.8 x 8.2 mm
    185 grams
    RAM 6GB / 8GB / 8GB LPDDR4x 6GB / 8GB LPDDR4x
    NAND 64GB / 128GB / 256GB 128GB / 256GB
    Battery 3300mAh (12.7Wh) 3700mAh (14.24Wh)
    Front Camera 16MP Sony IMX371,
    f/2.0, EIS
    Primary Rear Camera 16MP
    Sony IMX519
    1.22µm pixels,
    f/1.7, OIS
    Secondary Rear Camera 20MP Sony IMX376K, 1.0µm pixels, f/1.7
    Low-light & Depth
    SIM Size 2x NanoSIM
    Connectivity 802.11ac 2x2 WiFi
    BT 5.0, NFC
    Interfaces USB 2.0 Type-C; 3.5mm audio USB 2.0 Type-C
    Launch OS Android O (8.1) with OxygenOS 5.1 Android P (9.0) with OxygenOS
    Launch Price
    6GB/64GB: ¥3199 / $529 / €519
    8GB/128GB: ¥3599 / $579 / €569
    8GB/256GB: ¥3999 / $629 / €619
    6GB/128GB: $549 / £499 / €549
    8GB/128GB: $579 / £529 / €579
    8GB/256GB: $629 / £579 / €629
    The OnePlus 6T is still powered by the Snapdragon 845; The OP6 ended up being as one of the fastest devices of the year thanks to OnePlus’ and Qualcomm’s software stack.
    OnePlus promises continued excellent performance, and now introduces “Smart Boost”, which seems to be a new RAM file caching system that is currently advertised to work with gaming applications primarily.
    In terms of design, the biggest changes of the OnePlus 6T is a redesign of the screen notch. The OnePlus 6T sports a much narrower “teardrop” style notch that houses just the front-facing camera, with the earpiece and sensors being relegated above it now.

    The screen is still an AMOLED panel at FHD+ resolution, but OnePlus stretches it from a 19:9 to a 19.5:9 aspect ratio, mostly thanks to a reduction of the bottom chin bezel.
    The back of the phone remains largely the same, with the big difference being that there’s no more fingerprint sensor. The OnePlus 6T now sports an under-screen fingerprint sensor on the front, and OnePlus claims it’s the fastest in the industry in terms of unlocking speed.
    On the camera side of things, there are no hardware changes, however OnePlus is introducing a new software mode called “Nightscape” that promises to work similarly to Huawei’s night mode or Google’s more recent “night sight”, addressing one of the bigger weaknesses of the OnePlus 6’s camera setup. A positive for current OnePlus 6 owners is that the new mode will also be backported to their devices via a software update.
    Settling on no 3.5mm headphone jack

    OnePlus notoriously didn’t address this at all in the launch event: The new OP6T no longer offers a 3.5mm headphone jack. While it’s arguable that some of the increased battery capacity, which is now 12% bigger at 3700mAh might have come from a changed internal design, I think it’s more likely due to the 0.4mm thicker design of the new OP6T. The fact that OnePlus doesn’t mention the headphone jack removal in any PR material might indicate they’re possibly aware it’s a mistake that could backfire. Personally I just can’t comprehend why companies are doing this as it’s a very big degradation of device experience with absolutely no benefits.
    US availability through T-Mobile

    The bigger news about the OnePlus 6T isn’t really the device itself, but the fact that OnePlus now is officially launching the phone in the US, partnering with T-Mobile. Price wise, the OnePlus 6T is just a tad more expensive for its basic model, which is now at a minimum of 128GB, with equal pricing for the higher tier models.
    Overall, the OnePlus 6T is a good iterative update. To me personally the OnePlus 6 was a star phone for 2018; the fact that the 6T compromised on the headphone jack is going to have some people want to avoid it. I do look forward to the new “nightscape” camera mode, as computational photography becomes ever more important in the smartphone space.


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    Anandtech: Apple Announces New 11" and 12.9" iPad Pros with A12X SoC

    Today at Apple’s Special Event in New York, among other things such as the a new release of a new Macbook Air and a new Mac Mini, Apple has taken the opportunity to do a refresh of its iPad Pro line-up, releasing the successors to 2017’s summer devices.
    The new iPads succeed both the 2017 10.5” as well as 12.9” models, and Apple describes the new units as the most significant iPad update ever, pushing the envelope of what is possible inside of a tablet device, along with a brand new design.
    Apple iPad Pro Comparison
    iPad Pro 10.5"
    iPad Pro 12.9"
    iPad Pro 11"
    iPad Pro 12.9"
    SoC Apple A10X Fusion
    3x Apple Hurricane
    3x Apple Zephyr

    12 core GPU
    Apple A12X
    4x Apple Vortex
    4x Apple Tempest

    7 core A12 GPU
    Display 10.5-inch 2224x1668
    DCI-P3, 120Hz
    12.9-inch 2732x2048
    DCI-P3, 120Hz
    DCI-P3, 120Hz
    DCI-P3, 120Hz
    Dimensions 250.6 x 174.1 x 6.1 mm
    469 / 477 grams (WiFi / LTE)
    305.7 x 220.6 x 6.9 mm
    677 / 692 grams (WiFi / LTE)
    247.6 x 178.5 x 5.9 mm
    468 / 468 grams (WiFi / LTE)
    280 x 214.9 x 5.9 mm
    631 / 633 grams (WiFi / LTE)
    RAM ? 4GB LPDDR4 ? ?
    NAND 64GB / 256GB / 512 GB 64GB / 256GB / 512GB / 1TB
    Battery 30.4 Wh 41.0 Wh 29.37 Wh 36.71 Wh
    Front Camera 7MP, f/2.2, Auto HDR, Wide Color Gamut, Retina Flash 7MP, f/2.2, Smart HDR, Wide Color Gamut, Retina Flash
    Rear Camera 12MP, 1.22µm pixels, f/1.8, PDAF, OIS, Auto HDR, Wide Color Gamut, True Tone Quad-LED flash 12MP, f/1.8, PDAF,
    Smart HDR, Wide Color Gamut, True Tone Quad-LED flash
    Cellular 2G / 3G / 4G LTE (Category 9) 2G / 3G / 4G LTE (Category 4)
    SIM Size NanoSIM NanoSIM
    Wireless 802.11a/b/g/n/ac 2x2 MIMO, BT 4.2 LE, GPS/GLONASS 802.11a/b/g/n/ac 2x2 MIMO, BT 4.2 LE, GPS/GLONASS
    Connectivity Apple Lightning, 3.5mm headphone, Apple Smart Connector USB-C
    Apple Smart Connector
    Launch OS iOS 10 iOS 12.1
    Launch Price Wi-Fi:
    $649 (64GB)
    $749 (256GB)
    $949 (512GB)

    Wi-Fi + LTE:
    $779 (64GB)
    $879 (256GB)
    $1079 (512GB)
    $799 (64GB)
    $899 (256GB)
    $1099 (512GB)

    Wi-Fi + LTE:
    $929 (64GB)
    $1029 (256GB)
    $1229 (512GB)
    $799 (64GB)
    $949 (256GB)
    $1149 (512GB)
    $1549 (1TB)

    Wi-Fi + LTE:
    $949 (64GB)
    $1099 (256GB)
    $1299 (512GB)
    $1699 (1TB)
    $999 (64GB)
    $1149 (256GB)
    $1349 (512GB)
    $1749 (1TB)

    Wi-Fi + LTE:
    $1149 (64GB)
    $1299 (256GB)
    $1499 (512GB)
    $1899 (1TB)
    The new iPad’s most striking feature is their new design: These are the first iPads that have gotten rid of the home button, allowing Apple to reduce the bezels and significantly increase the body-to-screen ratio of the new models.
    The smaller 11” iPad largely matches the same form-factor as last the previous 10.5” model, which Apple claims was immensely successful. Here Apple has used the reduction of the bezels to increase the screen size of the device. In terms of resolution, the 11” model comes in at 2388 x 1668, which means that the screen’s aspect ratio has changed from 4:3 to a wider 4.3:3 or 12.9:9.
    The bigger 12.9” model, as the name says, doesn’t change in terms of screen diagonal, and maintains the 2732 x 2048 resolution of the previous model. It’s interesting to see here that this model is still 4:3 in its aspect ratio, marking a difference between the small and big models.
    Both displays are “Liquid retina” LCD panels, and checkmarks on all possible Apple features that a display can have: Wide gamut support with DCI-P3, True Tone support, and most importantly, “Pro Motion” or more commonly known as 120Hz refresh rates.
    The removal of the home button also means significant changes in terms of unlocking the new iPad Pro’s: Here we see the adoption of Face ID, with the usual set of sensors integrated onto the top bezel of the tablets. Software navigation follows the same gesture paradigm as the iPhone X.
    Powering the new tablets is the brand-new Apple A12X SoC. Apple here seemingly has jumped over one generation of tablet SoCs, as we never saw the A11X released or commercialised.
    The new A12X SoC, as its name implies, is based on the IP generations that were found in the A12 SoC, just bigger and better. The CPU complex employs 4x Vortex CPUs as the high-performance cores, along with 4x Tempest CPUs serving as the higher-efficiency, low-power CPUs, making this SoC Apple’s first 8-core CPU SoC. We don’t know much about the frequencies of the cores, but I imagine they’ll be similar or higher than the 2.5GHz Vortex cores of the A12.
    As a reminder, we did an extensive deep dive on the A12 and its CPU microarchitecture, seeing astoundingly good performance tiers above the competition. Apple mentioned during the keynote that the new A12X is more powerful than 92% of the available laptops in the market, which isn’t very surprising given the performance levels we saw on the A12.
    Along with the 8-core CPU, we see a 7-core GPU of the same generation as on the A12. It’s to be noted that a large amount of the increased GPU performance (Compared to an A12) will go towards driving the 120Hz screen, but it’s also a very significant increase over the last generation A10X GPU. Here Apple also made the fun comparison that the new iPads are as powerful (graphically speaking) as an Xbox One S, while being 94% smaller.
    Apple for the first time also employs a neural engine/NPU in the iPads, featuring the same neural network accelerator block as found on the A12, sporting up to 5 TeraOPS of processing speeds.
    The A12X comes in at a massive 10 billion transistors and is manufactured on TSMC’s 7nm process node. The A12 came in at 7 billion with a die size of 83.27mm² - if we assume similar density we’re expecting the A12X to come in around a bit less than 120mm², still, not all that big historically speaking.
    As is usual with Apple, we can’t yet confirm the RAM configurations of the new iPads, but the new storage options come in at 64, 256, 512, and 1TB options.
    Cameras on the new iPads seem similar in specs as the 2017 models, with a 7MP f/2.2 front-facing module and a 12MP f/1.8 module in the back. Apple does say it’s a new sensor, so we’re possibly talking about the same new 1.4µm sensor as on the iPhone XS. It does come with all the new XS features such as Smart HDR.
    The camera module unfortunately does protrude with a camera bump. This is accentuated by the fact that the new iPads are now even thinner, shaving off 0.2mm from the past 10.5” model and 1 whole millimetre off the 12.9” model up to a total of 5.9mm on both units.
    The reduced form-factor and volume of the new models, especially the 12.9” model, is unfortunately also mirrored by a reduction in battery capacity, as we see a 11% smaller battery coming in at 36.71Wh. The new 11” model sees a smaller 3.5% decrease, totalling at 29.37Wh. Here the increased power efficiency of the new SoC as well as possible screen efficiency gains will need to counter-act the reduced capacities.
    A definitely cool feature of the new iPads is the way the new Apple Pencil is charged: Apple has made away with the awkward charging of the pen via the Lightning port, and instead now uses wireless charging. The new Pencil magnetically attaches itself to one side of the new iPads, wirelessly charging this way. A new feature of the new pencil is also the ability to tap it, acting as a sort of button action that will vary depending on the application used.
    Speaking of Lightning port – it is no more. The new iPads now offer a single USB-C port instead, claiming it offers better interoperability with various new modern devices. It can also be used to reverse charge other devices, such as your iPhone.
    Unfortunately with the removal of the Lightning port, we also saw the removal of the 3.5mm headphone jack. Here again I’m just outright furious about the implications – not just because internal component space usage is in no way a rationale for removing it on iPads, but specifically because if you’re a power-user using the new iPad Pro’s in a professional way, and actively using the USB-C port for connectivity, there is no way than a complicated set of dongles to get wired audio out of the new iPads. Apple here now offers a new USB-C to 3.5mm adapter for $9 (I do wonder if it’s really just compatible with the iPads, as Apple describes it to be). You’ll need another dongle as well if you want to charge or connect devices at the same time.
    At least a positive on the audio side is that the new iPad Pro’s promise to offer great speakers, with separate tweeters and woofers, promising up to 2x better bass and also improved wider stereo separation.
    The new iPad Pro’s continue to be offered in WiFi only and also LTE versions. Here Apple advertises gigabit LTE speeds, which might again indicate the adoption of Intel’s new XMM7560 for cellular connectivity.
    Lastly, there comes the pricing and availability. The entry-level 11” model comes in at $799 for 64GB, and goes up to $1549 for the 1TB variants. The 12.9” models start at $999, going up to $1749. The cellular variants receive a $150 premium on top. Here Apple really demands quite the premium at $800 per TB of storage, and similarly I’m disappointed to see 64GB and not 128GB being the base model, even though the new generation is respectively $150 and $200 more expensive at launch. The new iPad Pro’s are available for pre-order now, with units available on November 7th.


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    Anandtech: New GIGABYTE X299-WU8 Workstation Motherboard: Dual PLX8747, but Built for

    In what appears to either be a silent launch, GIGABYTE has launched a new workstation motherboard called the X299-WU8. The new GIGABYTE X299-WU8 has a total of seven full-length PCIe 3.0 slots with a consumer-professional convergent aesthetic due to waves of stainless steel PCIe armor slot protection as well as offering full support for NVIDIA Quadro professional graphics cards and server grade network ports.
    The crux of the GIGABYTE X299-WU8 includes the implementation of two Broadcom PLX8747 PCIe switches. This allows the board to operate at either x16/x16/x16/x16 or x16/x8/x8/x8/x8/x8/x8, for GPUs or FPGAs or other PCIe accelerators. The GIGABYTE X299-WU8 is based on the Intel X299 HEDT chipset and according to the supported CPU list on the GIGABYTE website, looks ready for the new Inel Basin Falls Skylake-X refresh such as the new 18-core i9-9980XE processor which is just around the corner to being released onto the market. While there is no official information on the boards inclusive power delivery, the X299-WU8 features dual 8-pin 12 V CPU power inputs, a 24-pin ATX 12 V motherboard power input and a single 6-pin PCIe power input for the boards PCIe slots.
    Memory support is catered for with eight slots offering users the capability to install up to 128 GB - this is due to using the consumer UDIMMs, rather than anything ECC (this board does not support ECC, because the processors do not). The official specifications states support for up to DDR4-2666 as per the Skylake-X processor specifications, but the official QVL memory support list shows support for DDR4-4000 through the use of X.M.P 2.0 profiles. The X299-WU8 conforms to the CEB form factor which is similar to E-ATX, but users looking to pair this board up with an existing E-ATX case should err on the side of caution and physically check sizing for possible complications and constraints.
    More interestingly along the bottom edge of the boards PCB is an LED debug, a power switch, a reset switch and clear CMOS switch all located next to each other. Also alongside these is two full RGB LED headers with support for RGBW LEDs and runs in conjunction with the GIGABYTE RGB Fusion software. Like a true server board, a lot of the attention is aimed at cooling with a total of eight 4-pin fan headers with a combined total of nine different temperature sensors located across the board. All of these 4-pin headers work in tandem with the GIGABYTE Smart Fan 5 utility and the sensors and headers are also interoperable with each other.
    Focusing on the storage the GIGABYTE X299-WU8, there's a total of eight SATA ports with support for RAID 0, 1, 5 and 10 arrays. In addition to this is a single PCIe 3.0 x4/SATA capable M.2 slot which allows drives up to and including M.2 2280 to be installed; this slot is located just below the X299 chipset heatsink. This board is also certified ready for support with Intel's Optane memory modules.
    The X299-WU8 consumer workstation board also makes use of dual Intel-based server Gigabit LAN ports with the exact controllers currently unconfirmed (I211-AT?), but will most probably allow for teaming between the LAN. Onboard audio is facilitated by five 3.5 mm audio jacks and a single S/PDIF optical output due to the inclusion of a Realtek ALC1220-VB HD audio codec. USB real estate consists of two USB 3.1 Gen2 ports with a Type-A and Type-C both present, with an additional six USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-A ports and two further USB 2.0 ports. Finishing off the rear panel on the X299-WU8 is a PS/2 keyboard and mouse combination port. Users looking to bolster the USB further will be happy to know that the GIGABYTE X299-WU8 includes a pair of USB 3.1 Gen1 front panel headers for an additional four USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-A ports.
    The current pricing and availability is yet unknown, but the GIGABYTE X299-WU8 will support the impending Basin Falls Intel Skylake-X refresh processors including the Core i9-9980XE, Core i9-9960X and the rest of the upcoming Basin Falls desktop SKU list. The target is clearly on the workstation market, but GIGABYTE looks to have amalgamated elements from their AORUS gaming range as RGB support is included and the board's accessories bundle is set to include a 12-month license to XSplit Gamecaster and Broadcaster. One of the key features will be the extra PCIe bandwidth afforded by the PCIe switches, so users with lots of PCIe requirements only need apply. We also know that those PLX8747 chips are super expensive, so we might be looking at nearly $1000 for this board. I guess at that price, they couldn't even throw in a 10G NIC. Users will have to buy their own, and thankfully there are enough slots for one.
    We have reached out to GIGABYTE for more information.


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    Anandtech: Apple Launches New Mac Mini: Up to 6 Cores, 64 GB RAM, 2 TB SSD, & TB3

    Apple on Tuesday introduced its first new small form-factor PC in four years. The new Mac Mini is based on Intel’s latest Coffee Lake processors with up to six cores and improves the SFF system in almost all ways possible, making the miniature PC almost as capable as regular desktops. With that said, the considerably higher performance enabled by the new Mac Mini also comes at higher price points when compared to the predecessors.
    Apple’s Mac Mini desktops are designed for SOHO market segment as well as everyday workloads that normally do not require very capable hardware. Meanwhile, historically Apple used mobile processors for its Mac Mini, which the company found good enough for the market segment. With its 2018 SFF desktops Apple is changing the game here: the company now calls its Mac Mini a “workhorse” and therefore uses Intel’s custom 8th Gen Core CPUs with four or six cores operating at 4.6 GHz Turbo Boost frequency. In a bid to cool the processor down, Apple uses a brand-new cooling system featuring a blower.
    To bring the Mac Mini even closer to fully-fledged desktop workstations, the new PCs are outfitted with up to 64 GB of DDR4-2666 memory, up to 2 TB SSD, four Thunderbolt 3 ports to connect an external graphics adapter, a storage system, or an Ultra-HD display, as well as an optional 10 GbE NIC that we expect is based on Aquantia AQtion AQC107 silicon (since there are no other suitable controllers on the market). In addition, the new Apple Mac Mini has the company’s T2 security chip for encrypted storage and secure boot. Meanwhile the system also has regular USB 3.0 Type-A ports, an HDMI 2.0 header, and a 3.5-mm audio connector for headphones.
    Apple’s new Mac Mini systems start at $799 for a quad-core Core i3-based model outfitted with 8 GB of DRAM, and 128 GB of storage. Previously Apple’s entry-level Mac Mini used to cost $499 - $599, enabling people in budget to tap into Apple’s Mac ecosystem. Meanwhile, once configuration of the new Mac Mini is maxed out with 64 GB of DRAM, 2TB of storage, and a hex-core processor, its price skyrockets to $4,199.
    Apple Mac Mini Brief Specifications
    Mac Mini 2018
    CPU Intel Core i3
    3.6 GHz
    6 MB L3
    Intel Core i5
    3.0/4.1 GHz
    9 MB L3
    Intel Core i7
    3.2/4.6 GHz
    12 MB L3
    PCH ?
    Graphics Intel UHD Graphics 630
    Memory 8 GB DDR4-2666
    Configurable to 16 GB, 32 GB or 64 GB DDR4-2666
    Storage 128 GB PCIe SSD
    Configuratble to 256 GB, 512 GB, 1 TB, or 2 TB SSD
    Wi-Fi IEEE 802.11ac Wi-Fi + BT 5
    Ethernet 1 GbE or 10 GbE
    Display Outputs 4 × Thunderbolt 3
    Audio 1 × 3.5mm audio out
    USB 2 × USB 3.0 Type-A (5 Gbps)
    4 × USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C (via TB3)
    Other I/O HDMI 2.0
    Dimensions Width 19.7 cm | 7.7"
    Height 3.6 cm | 1.4"
    Depth 19.7 cm | 7.7"
    PSU ~ 150 W (external)
    OS Apple MacOS Mojave
    Buy the Apple Mac Mini (2018) at


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    Anandtech: Apple Announces 2018 MacBook Air: Entry-Level Laptop Gets Essential Refres

    This morning at a keynote in New York City, Apple took the wraps off of their latest notebook update, the 2018 MacBook Air. The entry-level member of Apple’s laptop lineup is finally getting a much-anticipated redesign, which is seeing the laptop adopt most of the same design characteristics and technologies as Apple’s other laptops, including TouchID and Apple’s T2 controller. Still coming in with a 13.3-inch screen – and now in Retina – the laptop will be shipping on November 7th.
    When it was introduced in 2008, the MacBook Air employed a then-unusual ultra-portable laptop design, most famously demonstrated by Apple’s equally unusual marketing gimmick of showing it easily fitting into a manila envelope. Since its introduction the MacBook Air paved the way for Ultrabooks as whole in the process, and within Apple’s lineup it eventually settled as the entry-level member of the MacBook family. However in more recent years the laptop ended up neglected, as Apple focused on integrating more expensive technologies into their laptops and with prices to match, which was counter to the MacBook Air’s entry-level nature. As a result, until today the last time the MacBook Air had been significantly updated was in early 2015. So today’s announcement marks the first big update for the laptop in almost 4 years.
    2018 MacBook Air Specifications
    Model 2018 (Base) 2017 (Base)
    Dimensions 0.41 - 1.56 cm x 30.4 cm x 21.2 cm 0.30 - 1.7 cm x 32.5 cm x 22.7 cm
    Weight 2.75 lbs (1.25 kg) 2.96 lbs (1.35 kg)
    CPU 1.6GHz (3.6GHz Turbo)
    Core i5
    2 CPU Cores
    1.8GHz (2.9GHz Turbo)
    Core i5-5350U
    2 CPU Cores
    GPU Intel UHD Graphics 617 Intel HD Graphics 6000
    Display 13.3-inch 2560x1600 IPS LCD 13.3-inch 1440x900 TN LCD
    Memory 8GB LPDDR3-2133 8GB LPDDR3-1600
    I/O 2x USB 3.1 Type-C
    w/Thunderbolt 3
    3.5mm Audio
    Touch ID
    2x USB 3.0 Type-A
    1x Thunderbolt 2
    SDXC Card Reader
    3.5mm Audio
    Battery Capacity 50.3 Wh 54 Wh
    Battery Life 12 Hours 12 Hours
    Price $1199 $999
    In terms of design, the MacBook Air fits right in to Apple’s modern laptop families. In fact at first glance it’s not especially distinct from Apple’s other wedge-shaped laptop, the 12-inch MacBook. The vanilla MacBook itself essentially split the difference between the MacBook Air and the MacBook Pro – taking the size of the former and pairing it with the overall aesthetic design and some of the technologies of the latter – and while the MacBook itself was never a de-facto replacement for the Air, it’s now clear that this is the direction that Apple has wanted to take their laptop line as a whole.
    The end result is that by and large, the MacBook Air is the 13.3-inch MacBook that never was. It employs the same wedge shape and aluminum body as the MacBook, and even comes in the same Gold/Silver/Space Grey color trio. In terms of dimensions the laptop is 30.41cm x 21.24cm – giving it a slightly smaller footprint than the previous MacBook Air – while the thickness at the largest point is down from 1.7cm to 1.56cm. Interestingly, the laptop is actually a bit less wedge shaped than its predecessor, as the thinnest point has increased from 0.3cm to 0.41cm. The laptop’s weight is also down a bit, from 1.35kg in the old model to 1.25kg on the new Air.
    Meanwhile the focus on slimming the already small MacBook Air down means that the laptop has incorporated a number of technologies and design elements from Apple’s other laptops. This includes the move to exclusively using USB Type-C ports for all charging and data connectivity, with the new laptop getting two of these ports on its left side (versus 1 for the MacBook). Furthermore these are both Thunderbolt 3-capable ports, with all the features and bandwidth that entails, making the Air more like the Pros and less like the vanilla MacBook in this regard. Apple has also retained the 3.5mm audio jack, however the SDXC card slot is no more.
    The slim design also means that Apple has integrated their modern butterfly-switch keyboard & Force Touch trackpad combination. First introduced on the MacBook back in 2015, the butterfly switch was designed to be thinner and more stable than contemporary switches, though the shallower key travel has received mixed feedback. Notably, this is now also the largest up-to-date laptop that Apple offers without a touch bar, as Apple stopped updating the touch bar-free 13-inch MacBook Pro earlier this year. Meanwhile like Apple’s other laptops, the Force Touch trackpad offers a solid-state trackpad that generates haptic feedback through a linear actuator, making the entire trackpad a single consistent device, and doing away with the diving-board effect of a pivoting trackpad.
    Under the hood details are a little harder to come by. Curiously, Apple is only offering a single CPU option here, an Intel Core i5. And while the company never names the specific processor models they use, the specifications here – 3.6GHz turbo with Intel UHD Graphics 617 – do not match any known Intel chip, even when factoring in various cTDP options. We’ve heard rumors of Intel putting together a Core i5-8210Y, and we’ve reached out to Intel to try to confirm.
    At a minimum, it’s clear that this is one of Intel’s 5 Watt Y-series chips – almost certainly Amber Lake. Launched back in August, Amber Lake is Intel’s latest-generation 5W chips and goes under the 8th Gen Core branding. Compared to the Broadwell (5th Gen Core) chips in the previous MacBook Air, these chips represent a big step up in capabilities and performance, incorporating a newer CPU core design as well as a newer GPU design. However it’s also notable that the new chips, even in cTDP up mode, are also much lower power than the older 15W U-series chips Apple used, which means that processor power consumption should be significantly reduced – and the chips thinner as well – though the total performance gain won’t be quite as much as if Apple had stuck with U-series chips.
    Using Amber Lake also means we’re once again looking at LPDDR3 memory for an Apple laptop. Apple outfits the standard model with 8GB of the stuff, with 16GB being an option. Amber Lake doesn’t support LPDDR4, so Apple’s options are to either stick with LPDDR3 or use less power efficient DDR4, which is something the company did do for the 15-inch MacBook Pro.
    Like all of Apple’s other Macs introduced in the last 12 months, the new MacBook Air also incorporates Apple’s T2 co-processor. The chip essentially incorporates all of the hardware processing functions that the Intel CPU doesn’t offer or which Apple wants to handle themselves, including audio input processing (for Hey Siri), image signal processing (for the FaceTime camera), hardware video encoding, secure boot, a secure enclave for Touch ID, system management controller functionality, and serves as a (impressively high performance) SSD controller as well. The T2 is one of the biggest differentiators Apple has in the laptop space right now with respect to internal components, as pretty much everyone else uses Intel’s standard hardware.
    Speaking of SSDs, the MacBook Air will come with a range of SSD capacities. The base model unfortunately isn’t getting any kind of capacity upgrade from the previous MacBook Air – still shipping with just 128GB – though storage performance should be remarkably better. Meanwhile the top configuration is now 1.5TB, 3x that of the old Air’s top configuration.
    The other big and quickly noticeable improvement for the new MacBook Air is the display. Whereas the last-gen Air was the last Apple laptop without a Retina display, the new Air finally gets its pixel density boost. The laptop uses a 2560x1600 panel, and keeping with Apple’s other laptops this is (thankfully) another 16:10 panel. In virtually every respect the new display should be a major step up over the previous Air, not only offering greater pixel densities but switching to a LED-backlight IPS display, versus the previous Air’s very cheap 1440x900 TN display. The net result is greater color stability at off-angles and a wider color gamut that should come a lot closer to the complete sRGB color space.
    Rounding out the package, the new MacBook Air incorporates a 50.3 Watt-hour battery. Apple is rating the laptop for 12 hours of battery life, and while this will vary with the workload, their estimates are generally on the mark. Interestingly this battery is slightly smaller than the 54Wh battery in the previous MacBook Air; the lower-power SoC and other improvements mean that average power consumption has dropped a bit, so Apple can hit the same 12 hours on a smaller battery.
    On the whole then, the new MacBook Air should be a significant upgrade from the previous model in almost every way, from processing power to display quality. However the increased focus on quality is also matched by an increased price tag, and in general is in-line with Apple’s efforts to focus more on high-end, high-margin products in the Mac space. As a result the new Air starts at $1199, $200 more than the previous model. Notably this is $100 cheaper than the base 12-inch MacBook, meaning this is still the cheapest (modern) MacBook Apple offers. Though it does seem to put a nail in the coffin of the idea of a sub-$1000 MacBook, especially as Apple seems more interested in moving those users on to the new iPad Pros.
    Buy the Apple MacBook Air (2018) at


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    Anandtech: AMD’s Vega Mobile Lives: Vega Pro 20 & 16 in Updated MacBook Pros In Novem

    Buried towards the tail-end of today’s MacBook Air press release from Apple was a second announcement: that they’d be releasing a minor MacBook Pro refresh next month. Though curious in and of itself – the MacBook Pros were just updated in July – more interesting is what they’d be refreshed with: new AMD GPUs. Announced by AMD at the same time, we now have confirmation that AMD’s missing mobile GPU is finally shipping. It will be arriving first as the Radeon Pro Vega 20 and Radeon Pro Vega 16, upgradable graphics options for the 15-inch MacBook Pro set to become available next month.
    As a bit of background, AMD first announced the Vega Mobile GPU – which we believe is codenamed Vega 12 – at the start of the year at AMD’s CES Tech Day. The company stated the GPU would be coming later this year, and even showed it off. While details were scarce at the time, it was announced that it would be a smaller, lower-power GPU specifically for mobile devices. And of particular note, it would have a z-height of only 1.7mm, the same as AMD’s mobile Polaris 11 GPU, making it suitable for installation in relatively thin laptops.
    However between CES and today, AMD has been completely silent about the GPU. Even when I reached out to them I couldn’t get a solid answer, and to be perfectly honest, I had given up on seeing the GPU. Sometimes products hit too many problems, or can’t find interested customers; it happens. With everyone (sans Apple) already having their holiday 2018 products on store shelves, it seemed like AMD had all but missed their launch window, and with it, any real chance of adoption.
    Instead, as we now know, it will be making it to commercial products after all as an upgrade option for the 15-inch MacBook Pro. And while the lack of a shipping date for the new models is not especially confidence-inspiring given everything else that has been going on, none the less I have to admit that I was premature in giving up on AMD.
    The flip side to this however is that because the first Vega Mobile SKUs are going into Apple products, AMD has limited what they’re saying about the products, as is traditional for Apple suppliers. So while the company is proud to announce the part – they even have a short video showing it off – specific details are a bit thinner. As a result, the following is a mix of details from AMD and some guesses on my part.
    AMD Radeon GPU Comparison
    Vega 12 Vega 10 "Vega M" Polaris 10 Polaris 11
    CUs 20
    (1280 SPs)
    (4096 SPs)
    (1536 SPs)
    (2304 SPs)
    (1024 SPs)
    ROPs (Probably?) 64 64 32 16
    Base Clock ? 1247MHz 1063MHz 1120MHz 1175MHz
    Boost Clock 1300MHz 1546MHz 1190MHz 1266MHz 1275MHz
    Memory Clock 1.5Gbps
    1.89Gbps HBM2 1.6Gbps
    Memory Bus Width 1024-bit 2048-bit 1024-bit 256-bit 128-bit
    VRAM 4GB 8GB 4GB 8GB 2GB/4GB
    Die Size ? 484mm2 ? 232mm2 123mm2
    Manufacturing Process GloFo 14nm GloFo 14nm GloFo 14nm GloFo 14nm GloFo 14nm
    Architecture Vega
    (GCN 5)
    (GCN 5)
    GCN 4* Vega
    (GCN 5)
    GCN 4
    Launch Date 11/2018 08/2017 06/2016 06/2016 08/2016
    Perhaps the most important bit of news here is that the new GPU is definitely an actual Vega GPU. This is no mix-and-match semi-custom GPU like the “Vega M” GPU in Kaby Lake G – which turned out to be Polaris’s graphics core with Vega’s memory controller – but rather it’s a bona fide Vega GPU with all of the features that entails, including Rapid Packed Math. So, if only at long-last, we finally have a second discrete GCN 5 GPU from AMD.
    AMD’s announcement and the resulting SKUs also strongly point to this part having a total of 20 CUs (or 1280 SPs). As a mobile part we were already expecting it to be less than half of a Vega 10 (64 CUs), but this is actually smaller than we were expecting. In practice this puts Vega Mobile much closer to Polaris 11 than it does Polaris 10 or Vega 10; in fact even “Vega M” has more CUs. Which again, we’re looking at mobile parts here, so it becomes a matter of what’s viable in terms of chip size and power consumption. But it also means that we shouldn’t expect to see Polaris 10-like performance out of the part, while the performance improvements over Polaris 11 remain to be seen. Apple for their part is touting a “60%” improvement, but they don’t actually specify what they’re comparing the new GPUs to.
    AMD Radeon Mobile SKUs
    Vega Pro 20 Vega Pro 16 Pro 560X
    CUs 20
    (1280 SPs)
    (1024 SPs)
    (1024 SPs)
    Boost Clock 1300MHz 1185MHz ?
    Memory Clock 1.5Gbps HBM2 1.5Gbps HBM2 5.1Gbps GDDR5
    Memory Bus Width 1024-bit 1024-bit 128-bit
    VRAM 4GB 4GB 4GB
    Architecture Vega
    (GCN 5)
    (GCN 5)
    GCN 4
    Launch Date 11/2018 08/2017 07/2018
    Meanwhile AMD was also able to send over clockspeed information for both SKUs. The Pro Vega 20 has an “engine clockspeed” – which I’m interpreting to mean the boost clock given that we’re talking about mobile parts – of 1300MHz. Meanwhile the lower-end Pro Vega 16 tops out at 1185Mhz. The Pro Vega 16 also only features 16 CUs out of 20, so on-paper we’re looking at around 70% of the Pro Vega 20’s theoretical throughput.
    Past that, we don’t have any further confirmed information on the GPU itself. Specifically, we don’t know the number of ROPs or the clockspeeds. 32 ROPs is likely since that would be half of a Vega 10, but then “Vega M” included 64 ROPs anyhow. We also don’t have a good estimate on die size at this time, as we don’t have better pictures of the GPU. What we do know however is that the chip is being fabbed on a 14nm FinFET process, which means it’s almost certainly being done by long-time partner GlobalFoundries.
    Moving on, feeding the new GPU is a single HBM2 memory stack, which means we’re looking at a 1024-bit wide memory bus. Because these are mobile parts, AMD has clocked them fairly conservatively, with a memory clock of 1.5Gbps. Even then, a single HBM2 stack offers 192GB/sec of memory bandwidth, a more than 70% improvement over the best Polaris 11 product and even more over the various mobile SKUs which Apple uses. So there is far more bandwidth available here to feed the GPU. Meanwhile it’s worth noting that Apple’s SKUs are all using 4GB stacks here, but if AMD wanted to, they should be able to offer 8GB (8-Hi) configurations as well.
    Once Apple’s machines do ship, it will be interesting to see what performance is like. The Radeon Pros Apple current uses are no slouches, but they are limited by their relatively small size, not to mention the TDP limits of the notebook itself. Improving performance on the MacBook Pro means not only offering a larger GPU, but also better performance-per-watt than the current GPUs. In the desktop space AMD has struggled mightily here as they’ve aggressively pursued absolute performance, however we’ve never seen what Vega is like in a more conservative configuration. So it will be interesting to see what AMD and Apple can do.
    Finally, looking at the broader landscape, I’m curious to see whether Vega Mobile will be adopted anywhere else. AMD is quite late in this generation, and as I’ve mentioned previously they’ve missed the rest of the 2018 laptop updates. However as we still don’t have a good replacement for NVIDIA’s GP106 GPU – the workhorse of many high-end laptops – AMD may not be as late as they seem if they can sign up more laptop manufacturers in the first part of next year. In which case AMD may not be as late as it would seem.


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    Anandtech: MyDigitalSSD M2X M.2 NVMe SSD Enclosure Review - A PCIe to USB Storage Bri

    Storage bridges come in many varieties within the internal and external market segments. USB has become the de-facto standard when it comes to external mass-market storage enclosures. But while there are plenty of options to bridge SATA devices in different form factors to USB, the rapid rise in popularity of NVMe drives has brought about a different challenge. In the premium market, we have many Thunderbolt 3 external SSDs with M.2 NVMe drives inside. However for various reasons, the development of NVMe-to-USB adapters has been another matter.
    In fact it's only recently that we've finally seen some progress on this front. JMicron's introduction of a PCIe 3.0 x2 to USB 3.1 Gen 2 bridge chip (JMS583) has enabled Asian OEMs to introduce bus-powered NVMe SSD enclosures with a USB interface, finally enabling relatively cheap USB adapters for NVMe drives. MyDigitalSSD, in turn, is one of the first to bring such a device to the North American market with their M2X External USB 3.1 Gen 2 M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD Enclosure Adapter.


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    Anandtech: Nubia X: a Dual-Display Smartphone with No Selfie Camera

    Nubia, a ZTE brand, this week introduced its new range-topping smartphone outfitted with front and rear displays and Qualcomm’s high-end SoC. The new Nubia X features a rare 93.6% screen-to-body ratio on the primary LCD, maximizing its screen real estate while also offering a serious performance. The phone will certainly catch some eyes, but what remains to be seen is how useful the second display is and how will it affect battery life of the device.
    Impressive on the Outside

    The two screens are naturally the key selling point of the Nubia X. The primary display is a 6.26-inch IPS LCD offering a 2280×1080 resolution, a 19:9 aspect ratio, and featuring no notch (as there is no camera). The secondary display is a 5.1-inch OLED that has the same aspect ratio, but a 1520×720 resolution. The screen on the rear of the smartphone blends with the device’s aluminum body and is designed primarily for ultimate personalization (e.g., you can load your own unique wallpaper on the back and get a handset no one else has). To make selfies as the Nubia X does not have a front-facing camera, but users will use the main camera and the rear screen to do so.
    Speaking of the body, the Nubia X features a CNC-machined frame with Deep Gray, Black Gold, or Sea Light Blue finishes. The chassis has two side-mounted fingerprint readers, so the phone can be activated from either of its “sides”. It is noteworthy that despite packing two displays, the Nubia X is neither thicker or heavier than competitors. The phone has an 8.4-mm z-height and weighs 181 grams.
    Powerful Inside

    The smartphone is based on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 845 SoC that integrates eight general-purpose Kryo 385 cores running at 1.80-2.65 GHz, the Adreno 630 GPU, a 64-bit LPDDR4X memory controller, Qualcomm’s X20 LTE modem, and so on. Right now, the S845 is Qualcomm’s flagship SoC for smartphones, so from processing and general features point of view, the Nubia X is on par with its competitors from other companies. The SoC is paired with 4 or 8 GB of LPDDR4X memory as well as 64 or 128 GB of storage. Interestingly, Nubia claims that it uses graphene layers too cool down the key electronic components of the Nubia X.
    As for the battery, the handset is equipped with a 3,800 Li-Po battery, which is in line with battery capacity of top-of-the-range smartphones from other makers. Meanwhile, one has to keep in mind that the Nubia X has second screen and therefore consumes more than competing devices. Even though OLEDs do not consume a lot of power, they still do consume some, so it will be interesting to see how long will the Nubia X live on one charge.
    When it comes to imaging capabilities of the Nubia X, they are limited to the back-facing dual camera setup. The primary camera comprises of a 24 MP sensor with an f/1.7 aperture, followed by a 16 MP sensor with a f/1.8 aperture, and a dual-LED dual-tone flash (one of the LEDs is a soft light one). As noted above, the camera is designed to be used both for regular and for selfie photos. The latter will clearly benefit from an advanced flash and high-performance sensors, so the Nubia X could become popular among those interested in selfies. Nubia claims that its camera software can detect scenes and environments to adjust settings, but does not elaborate.
    Next up is connectivity. The smartphone supports modern 4G/LTE networks, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 5.0 on the wireless side of things. As for physical interfaces, the Nubia X has a USB Type-C port for charging, but no 3.5-mm jack for headsets.
    Nubia will ship the X with Google Android 8.1 OS and its own Nubia 6.0 UI.
    General Specifications of the Nubia X
    Nubia X
    6 GB + 128 GB
    Nubia X
    8 GB + 256 GB
    Display(s) Size 6.26 inches + 5.1 inches
    Resolution 2280×1080 (19:9) + 1520×720 (19:9)
    PPI 403 PPI + 330 PPI
    Cover Gorilla Glass 3
    SoC Snapdragon 845
    4 × Kryo 385 Gold @ 2.65 GHz
    4 × Kryo 385 Silver @ 1.80 GHz
    GPU Adreno 630
    RAM 6 GB LPDDR4 8 GB
    Storage 64 GB 128 GB
    Networks GSM GPRS (2G), UMTS HSPA (3G), LTE (4G) CAT 18/13 (DL/UL)
    Peak Download Speed: 1.2 Gbps
    Peak Upload Speed: 150 Mbps
    SIM Size Nano SIM
    SIM Options Dual SIM
    Local Connectivity Wi-Fi 802.11ac, BT 5.0
    USB Type-C
    Front Camera none
    Rear Camera 24 MP sensor with an f/1.7 aperture with PDAF
    16 MP sensor with a f/1.8 aperture with PDAF
    Dual-LED dual-tone flash (one of the LEDs is a soft light one
    Battery 3,800 mAh
    Dimensions Height 154.1 mm | 6.07 inches
    Width 73.3 mm | 2.89 inches
    Thickness 8.4 mm | 0.33 inches
    Weight 181 grams | 6.8 ounces
    Launch OS Android
    Nubia will start sales of the X in early November in China with availability in other countries following a bit later. The version equipped with 6 GB of RAM and 64 GB of storage will cost around $470 in China, whereas the flavor accommodating 8 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage will be priced at approximately $600.
    Related Reading

    Source: Tom’s Guide, GSM Arena, AndroidCentral


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