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Thread: Anandtech News

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    Anandtech: Samsung Unveils Galaxy Fold Availability, Sort Of

    Samsung late on Wednesday disclosed availability of its Galaxy Fold smartphone. The smartphone was originally set to be launched earlier this year, but had been delayed in April because the device needed a redesign in a bid to improve its reliability. As expected, the handset will be available in the US this October at previously disclosed price points.
    Introduced at Mobile World Congress 2019 in February, Samsung’s Galaxy Fold was supposed to be launched in April. During evaluation of the device by the press, it was discovered that that its hinge needed reinforcements, whereas the top protective layer of the Infinity Flex Display needed to be redesigned to make it apparent that it was a part of the phone, not a protective film.
    All the improvements had been made by late July, so the Samsung announced that that the Galaxy Fold would be available in September. On Wednesday, the company said that the foldable smartphone would be available 'next month', meaning October.
    When bough in retail and without a contract, the Samsung Galaxy Fold will cost $1980 in the US, £1799 in the UK, and €2000 in Eurozone.
    Samsung Galaxy Fold
    Galaxy Fold
    SoC Qualcomm Snapdragon 855
    1x Kryo 485 (CA76) @ 2.84GHz
    3x Kryo 485 (CA76) @ 2.42GHz
    4x Kryo 485 (CA55) @ 1.80GHz

    Adreno 640 @ 578MHz
    Display Main Display:
    7.3" 2048 x 1536 Foldable Dynamic AMOLED (4.2:3)

    Cover display:
    4.6" 1680 x 720 Super AMOLED (21:9)
    Dimensions Folded:
    160.9 x 62.9 x 17.0 to 15.5mm

    160.9 x 117.9 x 6.9mm

    NAND 512GB UFS3.0
    Battery 4380mAh (16.86Wh)
    Front Camera Cover Camera:
    10MP f/2.2 "Selfie camera"

    Front camera:
    10MP f/1.9 4K video recording

    Front camera:
    8MP, f/2.2
    Dual Pixel PDAF
    "Live focus"
    Primary Rear Camera 77° Regular Angle
    12MP 1.4µm Dual Pixel PDAF

    Tri-stack CMOS Sensor (Embedded DRAM),
    4K60, 1080p240, 720p960 high-speed recording

    Adjustable aperture f/1.5 or f/2.4,
    OIS, auto HDR, LED flash
    Secondary Rear Camera
    123° Wide Angle

    16MP 1.0µm f/2.2
    Tertiary Rear Camera 45° / Telephoto lens 2x zoom
    12MP 1.0µm f/2.4,
    SIM Size LTE model: eSIM + nanoSIM

    5G model: nanoSIM
    Wireless 802.11a/b/g/n/ac/ax 2x2 MU-MIMO, BT 5.0 LE,
    NFC, GPS/Glonass/Galileo/BDS
    Connectivity USB Type-C
    Features It Folds
    Launch OS Android 9.0
    Launch Price $1980 / £1799 / 2000€
    Samsung also disclosed that the US market will get two colors: Cosmo Black and Space Silver.
    Related Reading:

    Source: Samsung


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    Anandtech: The TCL Plex Smartphone Hands-On: Dedicated Low-Light Camera for Video

    As one of the world’s largest TV manufacturers, with its hands in a lot of other things, TCL is a fairly common name among certain regions of the world. The company also does the hardware for a number of smartphone brands already, namely Blackberry and Alcatel, but this year at IFA, executives were keen to launch TCL as its own smartphone brand, as well as showcasing new smartphone technologies like foldable displays. TCL is coming to the market with its first device, the TCL Plex, very soon, and we had a chance to see the hardware in action.


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    Anandtech: The Snapdragon 855 Phone Roundup: Searching for the Best Implementations

    Over the last few years we’ve seen a lot of changes in the mobile market when it comes to the internal hardware of devices. At the heart of every smartphones sits the SoC, which dictates almost every aspect of a device’s experience. Qualcomm has played a major role in shaping the smartphone, thanks to its widely-used Snapdragon platform. The company has had its ups and downs over the last few years, but particularly starting with the Snapdragon 835 from a couple of generations ago we’ve seen some continued and very robust execution from the chip vendor.
    This year, Qualcomm’s flagship SoC was the Snapdragon 855. The chip is well known and has been powering the vast majority of Android devices this year, bar a few exceptions. With so many options from various vendors, an interesting question arises: who has managed to do the best implementations in getting out the most out of the silicon? To help settle that question, today we’re doing a smartphone roundup – we're taking a look at device performance from a slew of different S855 devices from various vendors, while investigating how software and hardware designs can change a device’s experience on the very same silicon.


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    Anandtech: Samsung Announces Standards-Compliant Key-Value SSD Prototype

    Samsung has announced a new prototype key-value SSD that is compatible with the first industry standard API for key-value storage devices. Earlier this year, the Object Drives working group of Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) published version 1.0 of the Key Value Storage API Specification. Samsung has added support for this new API to their ongoing key-value SSD project.
    Most hard drives and SSDs expose their storage capacity through a block storage interface, where the drive stores blocks of a fixed size (typically 512 bytes or 4kB) and they are identified by Logical Block Addresses that are usually 48 or 64 bits. Key-value drives extend that model so that a drive can support variable-sized keys instead of fixed-sized LBAs, and variable-sized values instead of fixed 512B or 4kB blocks. This allows a key-value drive to be used more or less as a drop-in replacement for software key-value databases like RocksDB, and as a backend for applications built atop key-value databases.
    Key-value SSDs have the potential to offload significant work from a server's CPUs when used to replace a software-based key-value database. More importantly, moving the key-value interface into the SSD itself means it can be tightly integrated with the SSD's flash translation layer, cutting out the overhead of emulating a block storage device and layering a variable-sized storage system on top of that. This means key-value SSDs can operate with much lower write amplification and higher performance than software key-value databases, with only one layer of garbage collection in the stack instead of one in the SSD and one in the database.
    Samsung has been working on key-value SSDs for quite a while, and they have been publicly developing open-source software to support KV SSDs for over a year, including the basic libraries and drivers needed to access KV SSDs as well as a sample benchmarking tool and a Ceph backend. The prototype drives they have previously discussed have been based on their PM983 datacenter NVMe drives with TLC NAND, using custom firmware to enable the key-value interface. Those drives support key lengths from 4 to 255 bytes and value lengths up to 2MB, and it is likely that Samsung's new prototype is based on the same hardware platform and retains similar size limits.
    Samsung's Platform Development Kit software for key-value SSDs originally supported their own software API, but now additionally supports the vendor-neutral SNIA standard API. The prototype drives are currently available for companies that are interested in developing software to use KV SSDs. Samsung's KV SSDs probably will not move from prototype status to being mass production products until after the corresponding key-value command set extension to NVMe is finalized, so that KV SSDs can be supported without needing a custom NVMe driver. The SNIA standard API for key-value drives is a high-level transport-agnostic API that can support drives using NVMe, SAS or SATA interfaces, but each of those protocols needs to be extended with key-value support.


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    Anandtech: YMTC Starts Volume Production of 64-Layer 3D NAND

    Yangtze Memory Technologies Co. (YMTC) this week said that it had started volume production of its 64-layer 3D NAND memory that uses its proprietary Xtacking architecture. The bhips were developed entirely in China and will be used for SSDs as well as UFS storage.
    YMTC’s 64-layer 3D TLC NAND device features a 256 Gb capacity, yet its interface speed is unknown. YMTC said that it would launch its own SSDs as well as UFS cards for embedded and mobile applications based on the new memory chips, but did not disclose any details about the said products or their availability timeframe.
    YMTC’s 3D NAND uses the company’s proprietary Xtacking architecture that is designed to enable very high I/O speeds and to some degree minimize die size. Traditionally, manufacturers of 3D NAND make memory array as well as NAND logic (address decoding, page buffers, etc.) on one wafer using the same process technology. By contrast, YMTC produces 3D NAND array and NAND logic on two separate wafers using different process technologies, and then bonds the two wafers together, connecting the memory arrays to the logic by metal vias using one additional process step. Making logic and I/O using an advanced process technology enables to increase I/O speed. Besides, the method places logic under the array, reducing die size of the actual device. YMTC says that Xtacking is not too expensive, though without revealing many details.
    We have learned (but cannot verify) that a report suggests YMTC will output around 100,000 3D NAND wafers per month at XMC’s fab in Wuhan, China, in 2020. The same unconfirmed source states the output is expected to increase to 150,000 3D NAND wafers per month. This is quite a significant output, especially for China. While such production capacity will not immediately make YMTC a formidable rival to established 3D NAND makers globally, but it will certainly enable the company to gain some market share in China and this is exactly what it (and its parent Tsinghua Unigroup) wants.
    Related Reading:

    Sources: Global Times, DigiTimes


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    Anandtech: The TCL One Piece Tech Demo: The Smartphone with No Holes and No Buttons

    One of the things I love about TCL is its willingness to show off internal conceptual designs to the press. It’s something we see in the car industry all the time, however it’s quite rare in the consumer technology space AnandTech operates in. This year TCL had a couple of demos for us: a seamless smartphone unibody design, and a unique display that redefines what ‘edge’ really means.


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    Anandtech: Lenovo’s ThinkVision S28u-10: A 4K Business Display

    Lenovo has introduced its new business and prosumer-oriented display that brings together an ultra-high-definition resolution, an accurate color reproduction as well as reduced emission of blue light to improve eye comfort.
    The Lenovo ThinkVision S28u-10 monitor is based on a 28-inch IPS panel of 3840x2160 resolution that can display 1.07 billion of colors and reproduce 99% of the sRGB color space as well as 90% of the DCI-P3 color gamut. For some reason, Lenovo says nothing about support of the Adobe RGB color space, which is often required by designers and photographers. Since we are dealing with an IPS display, it is reasonable to expect it to feature all known IPS peculiarities.
    As is standard with Lenovo's monitors designed for business and prosumer market segments, the ThinkVision S28u-10 comes in a chassis that can adjust its tilt, but for those who need additional flexibility it has VESA mounts. As for connectivity, the LCD has a DisplayPort and an HDMI input.
    One of the key selling points of the ThinkVision S28u-10 display is TÜV Rhineland’s Eye Comfort certification, which, as the name suggests, is designed to ensure that the monitor is good for prolonged use. The certificate requires a display to reduce blue light content, flicker, and reflection as well as provide consistent image quality from different viewing angles. Specialists from TÜV Rhineland test displays in accordance with safety and health requirements set in Europe, US, UK, and Hong Kong.
    Brief Specifications of the Lenovo ThinkVision S28u-10
    Panel 28" IPS
    Native Resolution 3840 × 2160
    Maximum Refresh Rate 60 Hz (?)
    Response Time ? ms
    Brightness ? cd/m²
    Contrast 1,000:1
    Viewing Angles 178°/178° horizontal/vertical
    Pixel Pitch 0.1614 mm²
    Pixel Density 157 ppi
    Display Colors 1.07 billion (?)
    Color Gamut Support DCI-P3: 90%
    sRGB/Rec 709: 99%
    Adobe RGB: ?
    Stand Tilt and height adjustable
    Inputs 1 × DisplayPort 1.2
    1 × HDMI 2.0
    PSU External (?)
    Launch Price & Date October 2019
    Lenovo’s ThinkVision S28u-10 monitor will be available in October. Pricing should follow shortly.
    Related Reading:

    Source: Lenovo


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    Anandtech: Lenovo’s Yoga C940 15.6-Inch: Eight Cores and GTX 1650

    Lenovo today introduced its brand-new Yoga C940 convertible laptop with a 15.6-inch display that is aimed at performance-driven consumers and creative professionals. In addition to a large screen, the new hybrid notebook got a discrete GeForce GTX GPU, a first for the product family.
    At first glance, it looks like the Lenovo Yoga C940 15.6 is an extension of the Yoga 9-series family with a product featuring a 15.6-inch Full-HD or Ultra-HD HDR-supporting display and better graphics. It comes in an all-metal Iron Grey CNC-milled chassis featuring a 360° watchband hinge that looks very similar to the chassis used by the Yoga C940 14. Meanwhile, the addition of a discrete GPU, use of Intel’s 9th Generation Core processor with up to eight cores, and some other factors (like a numpad) somewhat change positioning of the system enabling Lenovo to address demanding consumers and creative professionals who need CPU and GPU horsepower more than they need other features (more on that later).
    The Lenovo Yoga C940 15.6-inch is based on Intel’s 9th Generation Core i7 or Core i9 processor with six or eight cores that is accompanied by NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX 1650, a combination that guarantees rather decent performance. The system can be equipped with up to 16 GB of DDR4 memory as well as an up to 2 TB SSD (see general specifications in the table below).
    Other features of the Yoga C940 15.6-inch are generally similar to its smaller brother, the C940 14-inch. The system features Wi-Fi 5 or Wi-Fi 6, two Thunderbolt 3 ports, and one USB 3.1 (Gen1) Type-A connector. In addition, the convertible comes with a Dolby Atmos-supporting rotating soundbar, a far field microphone array supporting Alexa, Wake on Voice and similar functionality, a fingerprint reader, and a webcam with Lenovo’s TrueBlock privacy shutter.
    The 15.6-inch version of the Yoga C940 is 17.5 mm thick and weighs around 1.9 kilograms, which is generally in line with contemporary convertible machines of this size. The Full-HD version is rated for 12 hours of operation on one charge, whereas the Ultra-HD models are expected to work for 9 hours.
    Lenovo's Yoga C940 15.6-Inch
    Yoga C940 14-Inch FHD
    Yoga C940 14-Inch UHD
    Display Type IPS IPS
    Resolution 1920×1080 3840×2160
    Brightness 500 cd/m² 500 cd/m²
    Color Gamut 72% NTSC 72% NTSC
    Touch Yes Yes
    HDR DisplayHDR 400 DisplayHDR 400
    CPU Intel's 9th Generation Core i7/i9
    Graphics Intel UHD 620 + NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650
    RAM Core i9: 16 GB DDR4
    Core i7: 12 GB or 16 GB DDR4
    Storage PCIe 3.0 x4 SSD: 256 GB, 512 GB, 2 TB
    Optane Memory H10: 32 GB 3D XPoint + 512 GB QLC
    Optane Memory H10: 32 GB 3D XPoint + 1 TB QLC
    Wi-Fi Wi-Fi 5 or Wi-Fi 6
    Bluetooth Bluetooth 5
    Thunderbolt 2
    × USB Type-C TB3 ports
    USB 1
    × USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A
    Fingerprint Sensor Yes
    Webcam HD camera with IR and TrueBlock shutter
    Other I/O Far-field microphone, Dolby Atmos soundbar, TRRS audio jack trackpad, etc.
    Battery Capacity ? Wh
    Life up to 12 hours up to 9 hours
    Dimensions Thickness 17.5 mm | 0.69 inches
    Width 355.5 mm | 13.1 inches
    Depth 238.5 mm | 9.39 inches
    Weight 1.9 kilograms | 4.19 lbs
    Operating System Windows 10
    Lenovo plans to start sales of its Yoga C940 15.6-inch hybrid laptops this October at prices starting at $1709.99.
    Now, a couple of words about positioning of the Yoga C940 15.6. The evolution of Lenovo’s high-end convertible laptops is an interesting story by itself. Historically, Lenovo had two 13/14-inch class advanced convertibles: ThinkPad X1 Yoga with a decent Intel Iris-branded integrated GPU in a carbon fiber chassis as well as Yoga 9-series with a regular integrated GPU in an all-metal chassis. Last year, the company adopted an aluminum chassis for its ThinkPad X1 Yoga, but removed the superior Iris graphics. Effectively, Lenovo left the market of convertibles with decent graphics to its competitors like Dell and HP who offer rather advanced Envy x360 2-in-1 and XPS 2-in-1 systems with discrete GPUs. With the Yoga C940 15.6 featuring up to eight-core CPU along with NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX 1650 graphics processor, Lenovo is returning to the market of high-end convertibles aimed at those who value performance most of all.
    Related Reading:

    Source: Lenovo


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    Anandtech: Huawei Announces Kirin 990 and Kirin 990 5G: Dual SoC Approach, Integrated

    For the last 3 years, Huawei has announced its next generation SoC at the IFA technology show here in Berlin. In every occasion, the company promotes its hardware, using the latest process technologies, the latest core designs, and its latest connectivity options. The flagship Kirin processor it announces ends up in every major Huawei and Honor smartphone for the next year, and the Kirin 990 family announced today is no different. With the Mate 30 launch happening on September 19th, Huawei lifted the lid on its new flagship chipset, with a couple of twists.


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    Anandtech: Netgear Expands 802.11ax Portfolio with Orbi Wi-Fi 6 Mesh System and Night

    As part of IFA 2019, Netgear has a number of new announcements across different product lines. The wireless networking products are of particular interest to us. We had attended Qualcomm's Wi-Fi 6 Day last month, and I had tweeted about Netgear's Orbi Wi-Fi 6 (RBK850) that was showcased at the event. Things are being made official today, with additional details becoming available.
    Netgear's Orbi systems need little introduction, given their wide retail reach and popularity. At CES 2019, the company had divulged some details about the meshing together of Orbi and Wi-Fi 6. The key to the great performance of the Orbi RBK50 (802.11ac) was the dedicated 4x4 wireless backhaul between the router and the satellites. This left two 2x2 streams (one in 5 GHz and one in 2.4 GHz) available for the client devices connected to either member of the kit. The Orbi RBK850 (the kit carries the RBK852 designation) retains the same 4x4 backhaul, but makes the move from Wi-Fi 5 to Wi-Fi 6. In theoretical terms, the wireless backhaul is now 2.4 Gbps (4x4:4 / 80MHz 802.11ax) compared to 1.73 Gbps in the RBK50. The clients also get 4x4:4 streams from the satellite or the router, with one set of spatial streams dedicated to 2.4 GHz duties / 1.2 Gbps, and another to 5 GHz duties / 2.4 Gbps. Wired backhaul is also supported (the dedicated wireless backhaul spatial streams are disabled in that case), just like the Orbi RBK50.
    As announced at Qualcomm's Wi-Fi 6 Day, the Orbi RBK852 is based on Qualcomm's Networking Pro 1200 platform. It will be available next month and the kit (a single router and satellite) will be priced at $700.
    In other Orbi news, Netgear is announcing that the Orbi Voice and Outdoor Orbi satellites for the original Orbi (802.11ac) are getting a 'Universal Mode' update, enabling them to act as extenders for any router (even non-Netgear ones). This is a welcome addition to the Orbi family's feature set, and will help the company draw more people into the Orbi ecosystem.
    Netgear is also announcing the Nighthawk EAX80 Wi-Fi 6 wireless extender today. It is based on a Broadcom chipset and meant to complement the Wi-Fi 6 routers already in the market.
    Netgear is aiming to promote ease of extender use with an app-based configuration flow. The EAX80 will be available later this month for $250.
    Based on reader feedback for previous Wi-Fi 6 articles, I brought up two questions for Netgear related to the above announcements - one related to the pricing of the Orbi RBK852 at $700 (a tad too high?), and another related to the consumer appetite for Wi-Fi 6 equipment given the current draft nature of the 802.11ax standard.
    On the cost aspect, Netgear noted that the premium Wi-Fi 6 Nighthawk routers priced around the $300 - $400 range have been selling relatively well. Given that a mesh system is essentially the hardware for at least two wireless routers in one kit, the pricing is justified. Regarding the consumers' ability to stomach a $700 expense for a Wi-Fi system, Netgear pointed to internal surveys that showed consumers treating Orbi-like Wi-Fi systems as long-term investments (3-5 years). Given that these are folks who have invested in the latest premium notebooks and phones (Wi-Fi 6 clients), Netgear believes that the target market would not be put off by the price tag of the Orbi Wi-Fi 6 kit.
    Apropos the Wi-Fi 6 standard's pending ratification, Netgear believes that the issues currently holding back Wi-Fi 6 in the draft stage are all controllable via the firmware, and will not require any hardware fixes. Since ongoing firmware updates have pretty much become the norm for most electronic products nowadays, any changes in the standard between now and eventual ratification can also make it to units already deployed in the field. It must also be noted that a final standard is needed to ensure maximum inter-operability between Wi-Fi 6 clients and APs from different vendors. Given that Netgear has systems based on silicon from all three major chipset vendors (Qualcomm, Broadcom, and Intel), interoperability issues should not be much of a concern for their customers.
    Overall, we see that the Wi-Fi 6 market is poised to take off with the ongoing launch of multiple Wi-Fi 6 client systems and phones. The rollout of DOCSIS 3.1 as well as FTTH ISPs has brought gigabit Internet to many households, and consumers' appetite for practical gigabit Wi-Fi has been whetted. Netgear's 802.11ax portfolio expansion is happening at the right time for the company to take advantage of the current state of the market.
    Gallery: Negear Adds Orbi Wi-Fi 6 Mesh System and Nighthawk EAX80 Extender to Expanding 802.11ax Portfolio


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