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Thread: Anandtech News

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    Anandtech: Qualcomm Announces X55 Modem: 5G Multi-mode & New Advanced ICs

    It's been an eventful few months for Qualcomm – back in December the company had unveiled the first reference designs of the Snapdragon 855 and demonstrated integration with the 5G X50 modem. It’s easy to forget that the X50 modem has had quite of a long time to market, as we had first reported on the chipset way back in October 2016.
    One of the bigger draw-backs of the X50 modem was the fact that it was a 5G only modem – meaning it only had support for 5G NR communication standards, and it had to be paired with the modem inside the Snapdragon 855 in order to offer full network compatibility. This resulted in some awkward solutions such as the Moto 5G Mod, which to say doesn’t represent the most elegant implementation from an engineering stand-point.
    Today Qualcomm looks to address this major concern with the announcement of the new second-generation X55 modem: A full standalone multi-mode modem solution. The X55 differs from the X50 in that it supports all communication standards, from 2G, 3G, 4G to the newest 5G standards, no longer requiring the chip to work in combination with a Snapdragon SoC modem. The modem’s 4G capability has also been improved, offering UE LTE Category 22 speeds of up to 2.5Gbps via 8xCA at 256QAM.
    X55: A true global 5G modem

    Source: GSMA
    What is actually one of the most important aspects of the new X55 modem is the fact that it’s Qualcomm’s first true global 5G modem. In 5G mmWave, the industry has largely consolidated around three frequency bands: 26, 28 and 39GHz. The 26 and 28GHz are the first pioneer bands that will be implemented by carriers in the next few years. The problem with the first generation X50 modem is that it only supported the 28GHz and 39GHz bands which are predominantly going to be supported in markets such as North America. The addition of the 26GHz band in the new X55 vastly opens up other potential markets in other continents where there’s more plans for deployment with frequency spectrum starting at a lower 24.5GHz.
    Another very important change in the X55 modem is the fact that it now supports 5G NR sub-6GHz in FDD mode. Previously, the X50 only supported TDD frequency bands. While again this might be fine in the first iterations and carrier deployments, lower frequency spectrum at and below 800MHz is only available in FDD duplex mode. It’s extremely crucial to be able to support these lower frequency bands as they give the best range and penetration, and as over the next few years carriers will migrate spectrum to 5G NR, supporting FDD bands will give X55 modem devices much longer longevity and future-proofing. It’s to be noted that the X55 also now supports spectrum sharing, meaning 5G and 4G can co-exist on the same frequencies.
    The new modem is manufactured on a 7nm process node, although Qualcomm woudn't confirm if this means the existing TSMC 7nm node or Samsung's new 7LPP EUV node.
    QTM525 mmWave antenna module: Enabling new X55 bands in a thinner form-factor

    Naturally to be able to support the new 26GHz frequency band, Qualcomm had to also update the RF components. Joining the X55 modem is the new QTM525 mmWave antenna module, succeeding last year’s QTM052.
    The new module further improves its form-factor by becoming even narrower than the QTM052: Qualcomm promises it will enable sub-8mm thick phone designs. In terms of spectrum capability, the new module maintains the same 2x2 MIMO 800MHz bandwidth as the QTM052, reaching mmWave band speeds of up to 6Gbps. Qualcomm is able to advertise 7Gbps by aggregating with sub-6GHz bands on LTE.
    New Envelope Tracking & Antenna Tuning solutions

    Revealed today is also the announcement of two new accompanying RF solutions: The new QET6100 envelope tracker and the new QAT3555 antenna impedance tuner.
    The QET6100 isn’t the first 5G ET solution (ET is also available on the X50 and competing solutions), however Qualcomm is able to claim it’s the first to support 100MHz upload spectrum, while its predecessor was only able to support 40MHz. As carriers allow for wider frequency bands, this will be a crucial addition that will improve battery life of devices.
    The QAT3555 enables better antenna impedance tuning with the multitude of antennas expected to be employed in 5G devices. Antenna impedance tuning is able to avoid reception issues when users hold their device in certain ways- this was popularly referred to as “death grip” several years back.
    Overall, the X55 modem is I think a much more future-proof and elegant solution than what we’ve seen presented in the X50. The X50’s band and mode limitations inherently mean it will only garner limited support by some devices in certain markets. The X55 seems to be truly global in its capabilities, and most importantly also offers a full all-in-one solution meaning we could see the modem paired with non-Qualcomm SoCs/CPUs. Qualcomm expects the first commercial devices with the X55 modem to come towards the latter half of 2019.
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    Anandtech: The Samsung 983 ZET (Z-NAND) SSD Review: How Fast Can Flash Memory Get?

    Samsung's 983 ZET is a high-end enterprise SSD and the first retail drive to feature Samsung's low-latency SLC Z-NAND flash memory. Designed for highly performance-bound workloads that favor IOPS and minimal latency above all else, the 983 ZET is designed to compete with the likes Intel's Optane SSDs and their underlying 3D XPoint memory. Meanwhile, by building a drive with some of the best flash memory ever designed, Samsung is giving us an up-close look at the answer to a very interesting question: just how fast can flash memory get?


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    Anandtech: Alldocube X Android Tablet Quick Look: Low-Cost OLED

    Back in August we first talked about the Alldocube X tablet, launching with Android 8.1. The company sent us one to check out, so I’ve run some tests on it to kick the tires a bit. This isn’t going to be a full review, but some first impressions along with some performance levels. The Android tablet market hasn’t really worked out the way Google likely expected, and we don’t really see a lot of high-end tablets launching with Android, and even Google has launched their latest tablet with Chrome OS. Still, there’s definitely a market for Android tablets, and one area where Alldocube should do well here is as a media playback device.
    Alldocube’s X tablet features the same Samsung 10.5-inch Super AMOLED display as found on Samsung’s tablets. This display features a 2560x1600 resolution, meaning a 16:10 aspect ratio and 287 pixels-per-inch, and being OLED, the vibrant colors and amazing contrast rations that make OLED such a crowd pleaser. Alldocube fits this into a tablet with reasonable bezels as well, especially on the sides.
    The Alldocube even offers a fingerprint reader built into the side of the device. It works well, but only if you are holding the tablet in landscape. In portrait mode, the fingerprint reader finds itself on the bottom where it’s difficult to access.
    The build quality of the X is quite impressive, with a fully CNC aluminum chassis that is one you’d expect to see in a much higher cost device. The device weighs in at just 500 grams, which isn’t class-leading, but still light enough to make it very portable. It’s 6.4 mm thick, which also helps with the portability.
    Alldocube X Tablet
    Component X Tablet
    Display 10.5" 2560x1600 Samsung AMOLED
    100% P3 D65 coverage with HDR
    SoC MediaTek MT8176
    2 x Cortex A72 @ 2.1 GHz
    4 x Cortex A53 @ 1.6 GHz
    Storage 64 GB / 128 GB eMMC
    Operating System Android 8.1 Oreo
    WiFi 802.11ac w/Bluetooth 4.2
    Cameras Front: 8MP
    Rear: 8MP
    Misc Headset Jack
    Fingerprint Reader
    microSD Slot
    Battery 30 Wh - USB-C Charging
    Dimensions 257 x 179 x 6.4 mm
    10.1 x 7.0 x 0.25 inches
    Weight 500 grams
    1.1 pounds
    Starting Price $265.99 USD
    Buy the Alldocube X Tablet at AliExpress
    Alldocube has tapped an older SoC to power the X tablet with the MediaTek MT8176, which offers two Cortex A72 cores and four Cortex A53 cores, along with an IMG PowerVR GX6250 GPU. This is an older 28 nm processor, so it’s pretty far from the cutting edge we’re seeing launched these days
    On the CPU side, the CPU does a fair job against some newer, faster SoCs. The A72 was a good CPU core for performance, but the 28 nm process really limits the maximum frequency on this, and at 2.1 GHz it is well behind the latest chips, plus there are only two high-performance cores.
    On to the GPU:
    The PowerVR GX6250 offers just two GPU clusters of the same vintage as Apple’s iPad Air 2 with its A8X, but Apple offers 8 clusters on 20 nm, so the MediaTek is at a severe disadvantage to even a four-year-old tablet. As such, GPU performance is a particularly sore spot on the tablet, and it can run into stuttering issues even with the notification shade.
    As for battery life, that again is a sore spot. The Alldocube has a 30 Wh battery, which should be sufficient for a device like this, but it appears to lack any sort of sophisticated power management, and when coupled with the OLED display which is definitely more power-hungry displaying the typical white background of a website or application, it runs into trouble. I calibrated the display to 200 nits and ran it through PCMark’s battery life test to see how it performed under load.
    As you can see, it’s not pretty. The company rates the tablet for up to 8 hours, which will be likely ideal conditions such as dim movie viewing, but for web browsing and any sort of task that leverages the CPU, the power usage is very high.
    Still, the Alldocube does offer a very nice design, coupled with the AMOLED display, so if the Samsung tablets offering this same display have been a bit out of the budget, this is an option. It just comes with some serious compromises to get to the price point it is sometimes at. For instance, there was a flash sale recently which had a 128 GB model of this tablet for $287 USD, which makes it pretty appealing despite the older SoC and battery issues, but on Amazon right now it’s almost $370 USD which puts it too close to the Samsung tablets to make it a recommendation. With a new brand, you’ll likely need to shop around to find a good price.
    Buy Alldocube X Tablet on


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    Anandtech: Samsung to Cease Selling Blu-ray Players in the US

    Surprisingly for the electronics titan, Samsung has not released any new Blu-ray or Ultra HD Blu-ray players for the US market since 2017. And now in 2019 it looks like their development of Blu-ray players has ceased entirely, as the company recently confirmed that it has no plans to release any new Blu-ray players.
    Sales of movies on physical media have been on the decline for years now as streaming services have been gaining market share. To make the matters particularly worrying, sales of Ultra HD Blu-ray discs are considerably behind sales of Blu-ray and DVD movies. In fact, despite being technologically obsolete, DVD is still the most popular format, according to a report from MediaPlayNews that cites NPD VideoScan. On the week ended on February 9, DVD commanded 55.2% of unit sales, Blu-ray captured 39.8%, whereas Ultra HD Blu-ray only had a 5% unit share. Whether this is entirely consumer-driven however is up for debate; some believe that the lion’s share of DVDs are being purchased by disc rental services.
    Presumably because of low popularity of Ultra HD Blu-ray discs among consumers, Samsung has backed off plans to release any new Blu-ray players. Specifically, the company has confirmed that they don't have any plans to launch new UHD BD players in the US; however they have not elaborated on other markets. Keeping in mind that the US is the largest market for consumer electronics, canning the product category here means that it would be quite surprising to see it maintained in other markets.
    Apart from Samsung, Oppo also recently pulled the plug on its Blu-ray players as well. Furthermore, in an odd move from the studios, several high-profile movies including The Favourite, Stan & Ollie, and Holmes And Watson, will not be released on UHD media.
    Meanwhile, though Samsung is set to bow out of the market for Blu-ray players, there are a number of other makers that will continue to offer players, including Sony, and Panasonic. Both companies introduced their new decks back at CES 2019, so it does not look like they will be cancelling this product category any time soon. In the meantime, market researchers predict that shipments of Blu-ray players will decline from 72.1 million units in 2017 to 68.0 million units in 2023.
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    Source: Forbes, SlashGear


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    Anandtech: Intel's First 4.0 GHz Pentium: Pentium Gold G5620 Listed At Retail

    A number of European retailers have started listing new Celeron and the Pentium Gold-branded processors, which indicates that the world’s largest CPU supplier is about to formally announce the products. Topping the list of new processors is the Pentium G5620, which happens to be Intel's first Pentium-branded CPU clocked at 4 GHz.
    The list of budget-focused dual-core processors includes seven SKUs: the Pentium Gold G5620, the Pentium Gold G5420, the Pentium Gold G5420T, the Pentium Gold G5600T, the Celeron G4950, the Celeron G4930, and the Celeron G4930T. The key selling points of the new processors are their higher clockspeeds when compared to predecessors.
    At this point we don't know what architecture Intel is using – if it's Kaby Lake, Coffee Lake, or Coffee Lake Refresh – however the distinction between the three is largely academic, since these are locked processors with few active cores. Coffee Lake Refresh would be ideal, since it includes Meltdown and Spectre hardware mitigations, but as we've already seen with the high-end chips, the hardware fixes aren't any faster than the software fixes; they're just more convenient.
    Intel Forthcoming Pentium Gold & Celeron Processors
    Frequency L3 Cache iGPU TDP PN
    Pentium Gold G5620 2/4 4 GHz 3 MB? UHD 630 65 W BX80684G5620
    Pentium Gold G5420 3.8 GHz BX80684G5420
    Pentium Gold G5600T 3.3 GHz UHD 610 35 W ?
    Pentium Gold G5420T 3.2 GHz ?
    Celeron G4950 2/2 3.3 GHz 2 MB? 65 W BX80684G4950
    Celeron G4930 3.2 GHz BX80684G4930
    Celeron G4930T 3 GHz 35 W ?
    According to Germany-based ISO Datentechnik and Finland-based Futureport online stores, the new CPUs from Intel will be available starting from early March. But since that information does not come directly from Intel, it may not be completely accurate.
    Intel originally planned to release its Pentium 4 processors based on the NetBurst microarchitecture and clocked at 4 GHz sometime in the middle of the previous decade. At some point, Intel stopped development of its Tejas generation of NetBurst processors cancelling all the products in the lineup, then the company cancelled release of Pentium 4 4.0 GHz CPUs featuring the Prescott, and the Prescott 2M designs due in 2005 – 2006. Later on the company released numerous Core-branded processors clocked at 4.0 GHz and higher, but frequencies of Pentiums topped at 3.8 GHz.
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    Source: Retailers, momomo_us/Twitter


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    Anandtech: Arm Announces Neoverse N1 & E1 Platforms & CPUs: Enabling A Huge Jump In I

    Anybody following the industry over the last decade will have heard of Arm. We best know the company for being the enabler and providing the architecture as well as CPU designs that power essentially all of today’s mobile devices. The last 7-5 years in particular we’ve seen meteoric advances in silicon performance of the mobile SoCs found in our smartphones and tablets.
    However Arm's ambition goes widely beyond just mobile and embedded devices. The market for compute in general is a lot larger than that, and looking at things in a business sense, high-end devices like servers and related infrastructure carry far greater profit margins. So for a successful CPU designer like Arm who is still on the rise, it's a very lucrative market to aim for, as current leader Intel can profess.
    Today’s announcement is all about enabling that server and infrastructure ecosystem. To that end we're covering in detail two new “platforms” that will be at the core of Arm’s infrastructure strategy for the next few years, the Neoverse N1 and E1 platforms.


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    Anandtech: TSMC’s Fab 14B Photoresist Material Incident: $550 Million in Lost Revenue

    TSMC on Friday revealed more details regarding an incident with a photoresist material at its Fab 14B earlier this year. The contaminated chemical damaged wafers on TSMC’s 12 nm and 16 nm lines, and the company now expects the full impact of the event to reduce their revenue by a whopping $550 million in the first quarter.
    TSMC said that a batch of photoresist it used included a specific element which was abnormally treated, creating a foreign polymer in the photoresist. The problem was detected late when the wafer yeilds were lower than expected. As it turns out, consequences of the photoresist incident at Fab 14B were more serious than initially calculated by TSMC. There are media reports claiming that between 10,000 and 30,000 wafers were affected and had to be scrapped, but TSMC has never confirmed either of the numbers.
    According to media reports, the affected companies include HiSilicon/Huawei, NVIDIA, and MediaTek, but TSMC has not disclosed names of its customers that suffered from the incident. The only thing that TSMC does confirm is that it has already negotiated new delivery scheduled with its customers.
    In any case, the cost of the wafers totals $550 million and they will be made up in Q2. In the meantime, TSMC is pulling in "certain production" from Q2, which will bring in $230 million in additional revenue in Q1. As a result, TSMC’s first quarter earnings are now expected to be between $7 billion and $7.1 billion, down from $7.3 - $7.4 billion predicted in mid-January.
    In a bid to avoid similar situations in the future, TSMC will make inspection of incoming materials more thorough and will strengthen inline wafer inspection. The company also indicated that it will need better controls because of increasing complexity of leading-edge fabrication technologies.
    Related Reading:

    Source: TSMC


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    Anandtech: The Samsung Galaxy Unpacked 2019 Live Blog (Starts at 2pm ET/19:00 UTC)

    I'm here at the London venue for Samsung's global Galaxy Unpacked event. Samsung's annual gathering for flagship smartphone news, we'll be seeing the eagerly awaited (and widely leaked) Samsung Galaxy S10 series of phones. And maybe a few other surprises along the way?


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    Anandtech: BenQ Unveils PD3220U Professional Monitor with AQColor, TB3, HDR10, & KVM

    BenQ has introduced a new professional-grade display aimed at designers. The BenQ DesignVue PD3220U monitor supports virtually all color gamuts currently used by professionals, and can even display images in two different color spaces at the same time in BenQ’s DualView mode. Meanwhile, like many advanced LCDs, the PD3220U features Thunderbolt 3 connectivity, a built-in KVM switch, and a hardware hotkey puck.
    The general specifications of BenQ’s DesignVue PD3220U monitor are pretty typical by today’s standards. The display is based on a 31.5-inch 10-bit IPS panel featuring a 3840×2160 resolution, 300 nits typical brightness, 1000:1 static contrast, 5 ms response time, a 60 Hz refresh rate, 178° viewing angles, and an anti-glare coating. BenQ does not disclose the type of backlighting it uses, but it must be professional-grade given positioning of the device.
    Like virtually all professional LCD panels, the one used by the PD3220U can reproduce 1.07 billion colors, but unlike many competing offerings this monitor can cover the sRGB, Adobe RGB, DCI-P3, and the Display P3 color spaces, hitting 95% on the latter two. Furthermore, the monitor supports HDR10 transport, as well as a specially-tuned Animation Mode (enhances dark areas without overexposing bright areas), Darkroom Mode (for darkened post-processing environments), and CAD/CAM Mode (enhances contrast). One interesting feature the monitor has is ability to display images in two color spaces side by side in DualView mode to speed up productivity. Furthermore, it also has a built-in KVM switch that enables to seamlessly use more than one computer with one or two displays.
    To ensure maximum accuracy of color reproduction, the display supports BenQ’s proprietary AQColor technology, which BenQ yet has to detail. The DesignVue PD3220U comes factory calibrated, but BenQ does not mention DeltaE accuracy as well as color spaces used for calibration. The company also says nothing about 3D look-up tables (LUTs) for HDR10 as well as blending accuracy, but it is possible that this is because the monitor is yet to be made available and not all details have been finalized. Furthermore, with peak brightness at 300 nits it is unlikely that the monitor will ever be used for post-production of HDR-intensive content.
    When it comes to connectivity, the DesignVue PD3220U has two Thunderbolt 3 connectors for daisy chaining (one of the ports supports 85 W power delivery and thus can feed most 15.6-inch class laptops), a DisplayPort 1.4 connector, and two HDMI 2.0 ports. The monitor also has a triple-port USB 3.1 hub (there is a Type-C port too). As an added bonus, the display features two 2W built-in speakers, and a headphone jack.
    Specifications of the BenQ DesignVue PD3220U
    DesignVue PD3220U
    Panel 31.5" IPS
    Native Resolution 3840 × 2160
    Maximum Refresh Rate 60 Hz
    Response Time 5 ms GtG
    Brightness 300 cd/m² (typical)
    Contrast 1000:1
    Viewing Angles 178°/178° horizontal/vertical
    HDR HDR10
    Backlighting ?
    Pixel Pitch 0.1845 mm²
    Pixel Density 138 ppi
    Display Colors 1.07 billion
    Color Gamut Support sRGB: 100%
    DCI-P3: 95%
    Display P3: ?
    Adobe RGB: ?
    Aspect Ratio 16:9
    Stand adjustable
    Inputs 1 × DisplayPort 1.4
    2 × Thunderbolt 3
    2 × HDMI 2.0
    USB Hub Triple-port USB 3.1 hub
    Launch Date Spring 2019
    BenQ announced its DesignVue PD3220U fairly recently and it is expected that the product will hit the market in April. In the U.S., the display will cost $1,199.99, which is a pretty much expected price point for a professional-grade monitor.
    Buy BenQ DesignVue PD3220U on
    Related Reading:

    Source: BenQ (via Hermitage Akihabara)


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    Anandtech: Arctic Preps Freezer 50 TR: A ‘0 dB’ Cooler for AMD’s Threadripper

    At an event for gamers in Leipzig, Germany, Arctic demonstrated a prototype of one the industry’s first partially-passive cooling systems for AMD’s Threadripper processors. The Freezer 50 TR is a sizable heatsink-fan cooler that is specifically designed to be able to cool a Threadripper processor passively under low loads, allowing its fans to be turned off to minimize noise. And while it looks extremely big and will be an interesting challenge in fit in most modern PC cases, having cooler that can run noise-free under light loads certainly comes with its advantages.
    The construction of the Arctic Freezer 50 TR generally resembles that of other so-called “mega coolers”. The Arctic Freezer 50 TR is comprised of two massive aluminum radiators outfitted with eight thick heat pipes that are in direct contact with the processor’s IHS. The cooling system can be equipped with two (presumably 140-mm) fans that stop spinning when PWM signal drops below 5%. As an added bonus, the unit has adressable RGB LED bars.
    Arctic is not disclosing the TDP rating of its Freezer 50 TR cooler just yet (just like it does not disclose maximum rotation speed of its fans) as the product is still a prototype. Given that it's made especially for Threadripper, it's reasonable to to expect that it can dissipate more than 250 W, but the upper limit is unknown. For reference, there are air coolers capable of dissipating up to 340 W of power, but they are pretty rare.
    Since AMD’s Threadripper (as well as Intel Core i9/Xeon W-3175X) processors are aimed at extreme desktops and workstations and usually get overclocked by their owners, CPU makers often recommend using closed-loop liquid cooling systems with them to ensure consistent performance and longevity. Meanwhile since not everyone trusts LCS, many suppliers offer air coolers for “extreme” CPUs.
    Arctic did not disclose when it plans to release its Freezer 50 TR as well as its estimated price. Considering the fact that it usually takes months to finalize validate CPU coolers, it is possible that the product will be launched towards Computex trade show. Whether or not it will support next-gen processors is something that remains to be seen.
    Related Reading:

    Source: AquaTuning/Twitter, Arctic
    Image Source: @AquaTuning


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