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    #9631

    Anandtech: InWinís Alice: A Unique Chassis Made of Fabric and Plastic

    Over the past few years makers of PC cases have tried virtually all materials to make their boxes: aluminum, steel, glass, various plastics, you name it. In an attempt to offer something completely new, InWin has decided to offer Alice, a case made of plastic and fabrics, a combination never seen before in a mass market computer case.
    InWin’s Alice is an ATX open frame vertical tower PC case made of ABS plastic that wears a "costume" made of fabrics. The manufacturer claims that the skeleton of the case is durable, sturdy, shock-proof, and lightweight, though it does not compare it to products made of metal.
    The chassis can accommodate an air cooling system that is up to 220 mm high, a 320-mm long graphics card, a 220-mm deep PSU, three 2.5-inch storage drives, and one 3.5-inch drive. When it comes to cooling, the Alice can house a 120-mm fan/radiator on top as well as three 120-mm fans/a 360-mm radiator on the bottom. Meanwhile, since fabrics do not completely restrict the movement of air, airflows inside the case should be fine. On the other hand, because fabrics also aren't good for blocking noises, end users will likely go with a hybrid cooling system to maximize performance without producing too much noise.
    Inspired by Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, InWin’s Alice will come in a variety of color schemes. Granted, it is easy to make ABS chassis of different plastics and use fabrics with a variety of prints. The maker says that it can even build the case to order if its clients demand something unique.
    InWin’s Alice PC case will be available in the near future at price points below $100.
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    #9632

    Anandtech: Spotted at Computex: ZOTACís Mek Mini Prebuilt PC Goes Pink

    Having launched their gaming-focused Mek Mini, Mek Ultra, and VR Go 2.0 computers over the past year, ZOTAC can now address virtually all segments of gaming PC market. But even with their current lineup, there are customers that require something that looks uncommon and exclusive. To that end, ZOTAC is working on colorful versions of its Mek Mini desktop, including, of course, a pink version.
    Back at CES, the company originally demonstrated four Special Color Editions of its Mek Mini systems, with cases in green, white, grey, and red. So for this year's Computex, ZOTAC showcased a pink version of its Mek Mini, to complete their rainbow lineup.
    As far as hardware is concerned, ZOTAC’s Mek Mini Special Color Edition systems are based on Intel’s Core i5-9400F six-core processor, and is accompanied by NVIDIA’s GeForce RTX 2070 graphics card with 8 GB of GDDR6. The PCs are also equipped with 16 GB of DDR4-2666 memory, a 240 GB PCIe/NVMe M.2 SSD, as well as a 2 TB 2.5-inch hard drive.
    ZOTAC yet has to announce details about the availability of its Mek Mini Special Color Edition systems, but since they are based on Intel’s 9th Gen Core processors (vs. 8th Gen Core CPUs on regular models), expect them to be available when the manufacturer feels a need for a refresh of its existing compact gaming PCs.
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    #9633

    Anandtech: Phison Demonstrates Turnkey SSDs Based on 3D QLC NAND

    3D QLC NAND promises to become a significant phenomenon on the consumer SSD market thanks to its relatively low cost per gigabyte, further pushing down already dropping SSD prices. As one of the leading suppliers of turnkey SSDs, Phison for its part demonstrated QLC SSD prototypes at this year's Computex, using QLC NAND from both Micron and Toshiba.
    To date, Phison has validated three of its controllers for use with 3D QLC NAND flash memory: two SATA controllers and one PCIe controller. The PS3111-S11T and PS3113-S13T are aimed at entry-level SATA SSDs, whereas the PS5013-E13T is designed for inexpensive PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe drives. The S13T and the E13T support Phison’s 4th Generation implementation of LDPC-based ECC as well as other modern features designed to prolong endurance of SSDs and improve their performance, which are critical components to making QLC SSDs viable on the market.
    As these are all prototypes of low-end drives, Phison isn't promising much in the way of performance; but then that's part of the tradeoffs that come with low-end hardware. Realistically speaking, PCIe SSDs will feel this pinch the most, as as cheap, low-capacity drives will use just a couple of NAND chips, limiting their ability to take advantage of parallelism. Meanwhile, for SATA drives the interface itself limits performance of modern NAND flash, so 3D QLC's performance limits are a lot less obvious. All told, the performance numbers below speak for themselves, with the 512 GB 3D QLC-based SATA looks set to offer up to 550 MB/s sequential read speeds as well as up to 435 MB/s sequential write speeds.
    The following combinations of controllers and 3D QLC NAND chips has been validated by Phison. Eventually, the list and the number of combinations will be expanded.

    • PS3111-S11T + N18
    • PS3113-S13T + BiCS4
    • PS5013-E13T + BiCS4 1.33 Tb

    Since Phison demonstrated its turnkey 3D QLC-based SSDs at Computex, expect actual products to show up on the market later this year or early in 2020. MSRPs will, of course, depend on the price of 3D NAND at the time, as well as market demand for QLC SSDs.
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    #9634

    Anandtech: An Interview with AMDís Forrest Norrod: Naples, Rome, Milan, & Genoa

    There’s no getting away from the fact that AMD’s big revenue potential exists in the server space. While the glitz and the glamor is all about the Ryzen, the big money is with EPYC. Heading up AMD’s EPYC efforts, as well as their extended collaborations in the embedded and semi-custom segments, is Forrest Norrod, the SVP and GM of the Datacenter and Embedded Solutions Group at AMD. We spent some time at Computex talking with Forrest about the upcoming premise of Rome, and how AMD now sees itself in the server and enterprise ecosystem.

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    #9635

    Anandtech: ZOTACís GeForce RTX 2080 Ti ArcticStorm: A Single-Slot GeForce RTX 2080 Ti

    Ultra-high-end graphics cards these days all seem to either come with a very large triple fan cooler, or more exotically, a hybrid cooling system based around a large heatsink with fans and a liquid cooling block. Naturally, these cards use two or more slots to fit all of their mass, making them look bulky. What we don't see much of these days are smaller cards designed purely around liquid cooling system, and instead those often require an aftermarket conversion. So taking aim at the market for pre-built liquid cooled cards, ZOTAC is rolling out their GeForce RTX 2080 Ti ArcticStorm Single-Slot, which true to its name, is an RTX 2080 Ti that comes with a single-slot water block pre-installed.
    The ZOTAC GeForce RTX 2080 Ti ArcticStorm is based on NVIDIA’s TU102 GPU clocked at 1350/1575 MHz, which out of the gate, at least, is not tangibly higher when compared to NVIDIA’s reference spec. Meanwhile, ZOTAC equipped its card with a 16+4-phase digital VRM that promises to enable the GPU to run at a considerably higher frequency after tweaking. Since the card has two 8-pin PCIe power inputs, it will get enough juice to hit the maximum clocks it is capable of.
    The main selling feature of the ZOTAC GeForce RTX 2080 Ti ArcticStorm is of course its elegant water block stylized after the company’s ZOTAC Gaming brand and featuring integrated addressable RGB LEDs. The water block’s cold plate features 0.3-mm micro-channels as well as G ¼ fittings compatible with standard tubes.
    At Computex, ZOTAC demonstrated its GeForce RTX 2080 Ti ArcticStorm Single-Slot card in a rather fancy looking open-frame PC by GGF Events. Without any doubts, this machine looked extremely impressive, though many people will likely prefer something less eye-catching.
    Finally, as things stand, ZOTAC is already selling a dual-slot bracket version of the card on Amazon for $1,499. This uses a single-slot cooling, however a DisplayPort is still taking up a spot on the second slot, necessitating the dual-slot bracket and preventing the card from being used in a single-slot fashion. The true single-slot version that ZOTAC was showing off at Computex, in turn, is expected to follow when the company sees fit.
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    #9636

    Anandtech: Silicon Motionís SM8108: A Next-Gen Enterprise SSD Controller w/ Dual DRAM

    Having secured strong positions on the market for consumer SSDs, Silicon Motion is now after the enterprise SSD market. At Computex, the company demonstrated a prototype of an SSD based on its next-generation controller for enterprise applications, the SM8108. The key features of the controller include support for two DRAM interfaces for higher bandwidth and improved QoS, as well as support for the latest memory types, including 3D TLC and 3D QLC.
    The Silicon Motion SM8108 controller features a PCIe 3.0 x4 interface and supports the NVMe 1.3 protocol. The controller has eight NAND channels, which have a peak transfer rate of 800 MT/sec, and overall the controller can support up to 16 TB of 3D TLC and 3D QLC NAND flash. Being aimed at enterprise applications, the SM8108 sports a dual DRAM interface to allow for more DRAM buffer bandwidth as well as isolation for improved QoS (i.e., more predictable performance under loads by several virtual machines), end-to-end data path protection with ECC for SRAM and DRAM, as well as NandXtend technology featuring LDPC ECC and RAID.
    When it comes to performance, Silicon Motion promises sequential read speeds up to 2800 MB/s as well as sequential write speeds up to 1900 MB/s. As for random performance, SMI is quoting 550K/140K read/write IOPS. Since we are dealing with a controller for enterprise-grade SSDs, the chip company has focused on sustained performance numbers, as these are going to be the most important figures for enterprise customers.
    At Computex, SMI demonstrated an SSD based on the SM8108 controller that is intended for its subsidiary Shannon Systems. The M.2 drive features power loss protection and carries 880 GB usable capacity of 3D TLC NAND memory from Toshiba as well as 2 GB of DDR4 DRAM from Micron. The SM8108 chip used for the SSD was produced on the 8th week of 2019 (mid to late February).
    Silicon Motion says that a reference design for SSDs based on the SM8108 are available, as well as turnkey firmware for the controller. Keeping in mind that we are talking about drives for servers, we expect that it will take quite some time before SSDs based on the new controller reach the market; both SSD manufacturers and server markers will need to validate them the drives before anything can ship in volume.
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    #9637

    Anandtech: Silicon Power Goes Gaming: Unleashing XPower Turbine RGB Memory & SSDs

    Silicon Power is best known for its reasonably-priced storage devices as well as various accessories for PCs and smartphones. But in an attempt to grow further, the company recently decided to enter the market for gaming PC components. Last year the company unveiled its first enthusiast-class memory modules, and this year it is unleashing its RGB-adorned XPower Turbine RGB family of DIMMs and SSDs for gamers.
    Silicon Power’s XPower Turbine RGB DIMMs come in 16 GB and 32 GB dual-channel kits. Specification wise, these modules use 10-layer PCBs and offer the same speed bins, latency, and voltage settings as the original XPower DIMMs launched last October: DDR4-2666 CL16, DDR4-3200 CL16, DDR4-3600 CL19, and DDR4-4133 CL19 at up to 1.4 V. As the brand name suggests, the key difference between the new modules and their predecessors are addressable RGB LEDs, which can be controlled using software from the major motherboard makers (ASUS, ASRock, GIGABYTE, MSI).
    The XPower Turbine RGB DIMMs look rather impressive in person, but I wish Silicon Power offered higher speed bins with its RGB-enabled memory just to provide further differentiation with the regular XPower-branded memory as these are premium products after all.
    Another product in the XPower Turbine family is the XPower Turbine P34A80 RGB SSD. These drive family is based on Phison’s PS5012-E12 controller and offers sequential read speeds up to 3.2 GB/s as well as write speeds up to 3 GB/s. The product is based on one of Phison’s turnkey designs, but featuring Silicon Power’s PCB with RGB LEDs. At this point the drives are still in development, so its final look will most probably differ from what the supplier demonstrated at Computex.
    Silicon Power's DIMMs and SSDs for Gamers and Enthusiasts
    Capacity Performance Features
    XPower AirCool Memory 16 GB dual-channel
    32 GB dual-channel
    DDR4-2666 CL16
    DDR4-3200 CL16
    DDR4-3600 CL19
    DDR4-4133 CL19
    Air Cooling
    XPower Turbine Memory Aluminum heatspreader
    XPower Turbine RGB Memory Aluminum heatspreader with RGB LEDs
    XPower Turbine PA34A80 RGB SSD 256 GB
    512 GB
    1 TB
    2 TB
    Reads: 3.2 GB/s
    Writes: 3 GB/s
    M.2-2280
    PCIe 3.0 x4
    NVMe 1.3
    Phison PS5012-E12
    RGB LEDs
    5-year warranty
    One thing to point out about the XPower Turbine initiative as a whole is that as the company intends for them to be premium gaming products – meaning they're focusing on performance and quality, but they also aren't going to be sold at cutthroat prices. Instead, it's part of a a step-by-step approach of the company, gradually expanding the lineup and building up the brand.
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    #9638

    Anandtech: Everspin Begins Production of 1Gb STT-MRAM

    Everspin recently announced they have begun pilot production of their 1Gb STT-MRAM (Spin-transfer Torque Magnetoresistive RAM) nonvolatile memory, after shipping the first pre-production samples in December. The new MRAM parts are fabbed on a GlobalFoundries 28nm process and are a significant advance in density and capacity compared to their current 40nm 256Mb parts. Production will be ramping up through the second half of this year.
    The new parts offer 8-bit or 16-bit DDR4 interfaces at 1333MT/s (667MHz), but as with the older DDR3-based MRAM components, timing differences mean they're not necessarily a drop-in replacement for DRAM. Low capacities have kept discrete MRAM components largely confined to embedded systems, where SoCs and ASICs can more easily be designed with compatible DDR controllers. The new 1Gb capacity will significantly broaden the appeal of MRAM, but Everspin still has a ways to go before catching up to the density of DRAM. We don't expect to see much in the way of MRAM-only storage devices yet (SSDs or NVDIMMs), but there will probably be more uses along the lines of the hybrid SSDs we've seen that still rely on NAND flash as the primary storage medium but replace some or all of the capacitor-backed DRAM with MRAM: IBM's FlashCore Module introduced last year, and a Seagate prototype shown at FMS 2017.
    Everspin isn't the only company working on MRAM technology, but they are the the only supplier of discrete MRAM parts, as opposed to embedded on-die MRAM for ASICs. This is the second generation of discrete MRAM parts Everspin has produced in partnership with GlobalFoundries, and they also have embedded MRAM on the roadmap for GloFo's 22nm FD-SOI process. Since GlobalFoundries cancelled plans for 7nm and smaller processes, specialized processes including embedded memories like Everspin's MRAM have become crucial to their new future.


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    #9639

    Anandtech: Raspberry Pi 4 Launched: Quad Cortex-A72 Single-Board Computer For $35

    This morning the Raspberry Pi Foundation took the wraps off of their next generation hobbyist project computer, the Raspberry Pi 4. The eagerly anticipated update to the Raspberry Pi lineup – which is actually arriving a bit ahead of schedule due to some good fortunes in SoC development – offers a significant upgrade to the family thanks to its new 28nm Broadcom SoC, which among other things incorporates a more powerful quad Arm Cortex-A72 CPU cluster. The single-board computer is available now, and like its predecessors, prices start at $35.
    Long a favorite for tinkers, makers, and anyone else looking for a project board or a simple computer, the Raspberry Pi family has been around since 2012. Its last full update was in 2016, when the Foundation released the Raspberry Pi 3. In the intervening three years the technology landscape has changed a fair bit, and so has the underlying hardware of the Pi. While still based on Broadcom SoCs, the new Pi incorporates Broadcom’s BCM2711, a 28nm SoC with a quad Cortex-A72 setup along with the company’s VideoCore VI GPU. While the GPU remains nothing to write home about – the Raspberry Pi Foundation prioritizes an open GPU first and foremost – the CPU upgrade is far more interesting. This update replaces the old Cortex-A53 CPU cores with cores from Arm’s much faster high-performance line of out-of-order execution cores. As a result, even with a clockspeed of just 1.5GHz, the Pi 4 is a good deal faster than the Pi 3, not to mention faster than even some mid-range smartphones.
    Raspberry Pi
    Raspberry Pi 4
    SoC Broadcom BCM2711

    4x Cortex-A72
    @ 1.5GHz

    VideoCore VI
    @ 500Mhz
    DRAM 1/2/4GB LPDDR4
    Storage microSD
    Networking 1x Gigabit Ethernet
    802.11ac
    BT 5.0
    USB 2x USB-A 3.0
    2x USB-A 2.0
    Video Output 2x HDMI 2.0 Type-D
    GPIO 17 Pins
    Power USB-C (Suggested: 15W, 5.1V/3A)
    Dimensions 85.6mm x 56.5mm x 17mm
    Price 1GB: $35
    2GB: $45
    4GB: $55
    I/O has also received a much-needed upgrade for the latest Pi. The new SoC brings with it USB 3 support, giving the platform access to SuperSpeed USB data rates for the first time. HDMI support has been similarly bumped to 2.0 (meaning 4K output support), and fittingly, the board can now decode H.264 and H.265 video (another first) at resolutions up to 4K. Networking performance has been upgraded as well with the addition of a full-speed Gigabit Ethernet port, and joining the 802.11ac radio is support for Bluetooth 5.0.
    All told, the Foundation is selling 3 different versions of the Raspberry Pi 4, depending on the memory configuration. The $35 model comes with 1GB of LPDDR4, while 2GB and 4GB models are available for $45 and $55 respectively. Which in the case of the latter two models is a significant shot in the arm for the board, as now they have two to four times the memory to play with.
    Meanwhile, our sister site Tom’s Hardware already has an early review out, confirming much of what you’d expect from the Raspberry Pi 4 based on the specifications. CPU, memory, and storage performance are all greatly improved over past models, though power consumption has gone up a bit in the process.


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    #9640

    Anandtech: Corsairís PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSD Found For Pre-Order: MP600 up to 2TB

    Amazon Japan has started to take pre-orders on Cosair’s upcoming PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSD. The MP600 SSDs will ship in mid-July, several days after AMD and its partners start to sell platforms that support the PCIe 4.0 interface.
    At press time, Amazon Japan is offering Corsair MP600 M.2-2280 SSDs with a PCIe 4.0 x4 interface featuring 1 TB and 2 TB capacity for ?36,936 ($320) and ?66,852 ($579), respectively. Considering the fact that we are talking about ultra-high-end client SSDs aimed at expensive desktops, their prices are not exactly surprising. Meanwhile, keep in mind that these are not their official MSRPs.
    UPDATE: Amazon US on Tuesday also started to take pre-orders on Corsair's MP600 SSDs. The 1 TB model costs $250, whereas the 2 TB SKU is priced at $450.
    Buy Corsair MP600 PCIe Gen 4 SSD on Amazon.com
    According to Corsair, its MP600 SSDs will offer up to 4950 MB/s sequential write speed as well as up to 4250 MB/s sequential read speed when used with a PCIe 4.0 x4 interface, which is substantially faster when compared to modern PCIe 3.0 x4 drives.
    Corsair’s MP600 drives are based on Phison’s PS5016-E16 controller as well as 3D TLC NAND memory. Considering that Phison usually sells controllers and NAND flash memory as a turnkey solution, expect other suppliers of SSDs to offer drives very similar to the MP600 family by Corsair at around the same timeframe. In the meantime, Corsair definitely deserves a credit for starting to offer its PCIe 4.0 SSDs ahead of competitors.
    We saw a number of PCIe 4.0 drives at Computex this year, so we expect the market to have a sizeable number available in due course:








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