AMD at CES 2019: Ryzen Mobile 3000-Series Launched, 2nd Gen Mobile at 15W and 35W, and Chromebooks

Everyone is keen for AMD to announce its next-generation processors, based on the 7nm Zen 2 architecture, which are expected to carry the 3000-series branding. However we’re still going to have to wait for those announcements; instead AMD is announcing its 12nm Zen+ Mobile processors today, with these processors going under the 3000-series branding.

These parts are upgraded versions of the first generation of Ryzen Mobile parts, the Ryzen 3 2300U and the Ryzen 5 2500U (codename: Raven Ridge), which found their way into a number of premium designs. These new second generation parts will take advantage of the upgraded microarchitecture going from Zen to Zen+, as well as the additional frequency headroom and lower power offered by GlobalFoundries’ 12nm process. The new processors will also expand the range of power envelopes that Ryzen Mobile is available under, from the top of the stack 35W Ryzen 7 3750H processor down to the 15W Athlon 300W for entry-level devices.

AMD’s reasoning for expanding its offerings, the company says, intel ssd 256gb is in part due to the shape of the notebook market. Based on data from analysts at IDC, the notebook market sells around 87-90 million units per year, but the sales distribution between the various market segments has changed from 2017 to 2018: there are fewer ‘mainstream’ products, more Chromebooks, more premium devices, and more gaming devices. By increasing the number of processors on offer, as well as the power/performance at both the high-end and the budget and value segments, AMD hopes to address most of the possible market in order to get a bigger slice of the pie. Usually the discussion here is about TAM, or ‘Total Addressable Market’, measured in billions of dollars – the more market you can address, the higher the TAM.

Also on AMD’s lips was the rationale behind some of its performance comparisons for the new processors. Much like Intel, AMD is quoting a MIcrosoft research report that states that the average time between notebook upgrades for an typical user is around five years. Because of this, AMD is sometimes comparing the performance of the new 2nd Generation Ryzen Mobile parts against a Broadwell (2014/2015 era) notebook. Other comparisons were against the latest Intel Coffee Lake-Refresh and Whiskey Lake processors.

Memory Frequency Scaling in SFF Systems: An Investigation with SO-DIMMs and Coffee Lake

Overclocking has generally been the domain of enthusiasts with desktop rigs. Though more recently we have seen even SFF PCs joining the bandwagon – Intel’s Hades Canyon NUC, for example, supports overclocking the CPU as well as the GPU. However, increasing the CPU frequency beyond the official specifications is not the only way to extract more performance from a computing system. Memory-bound workloads can benefit from memory hierarchies with increased bandwidth and/or lower latencies.

We last looked at DDR4 memory scaling effects on SFF PCs when we experimented with different SO-DIMMs in the Skull Canyon NUC (NUC6i7KYK) based on the Skylake platform. Current SFF PCs are based on Coffee Lake, which brings in more cores while keeping power efficiency in mind. Compared to the Skylake memory controller’s official limit of 2133 MT/s, the Coffee Lake memory controller ships with DDR4-2666 supported out of the box. In this article, we explore the effects of varying DDR4 SO-DIMM frequencies and timings on a SFF PC with a standard Coffee Lake desktop CPU.

Introduction
Since the introduction of DDR4 dell hard disk 1tb price support in the Skylake platform, we have seen expanded support for overclocked memory kits on both the desktop and notebook segments. On standard non-overclocked systems, the DDR4 memory controller in Coffee Lake desktop CPUs operates at 2666 MT/s, while the U-series CPUs have a 2400 MT/s interface. DDR4 DIMMs operating as high as 4266 MT/s are available for desktop systems with full-sized memory slots. On the SO-DIMM side, we have seen various vendors introduce kits operating between 2133 MT/s and 3200 MT/s. While 2400 MT/s has become the de-facto SO-DIMM frequency for current systems, the usage of desktop CPUs in SFF PCs such as the ASRock DeskMini have ensured that the higher frequency SO-DIMMs also have adoption.

The Google Pixel 3 Review: The Ultimate Camera Test

The Pixel 3 is Google’s third generation in-house design, meant to showcase the company’s own view of what an Android device should be, whilst fully embracing Google’s first-party software applications and services. The one thing Google’s Pixel phones have become synonymous with is the camera experience. The Pixel 3 continues this focal point of the line-up, and promises to be “the best smartphone camera”, period.

Alongside Google’s forte, software, this year’s Pixel family has pushed forward with a few hardware design choices, some of which we might have liked to have seen last year. The new units have updated panel technology, integrated wireless charging, and even fast wireless charging. Also now for Google, the Pixel 3 actually looks like a current flagship smartphone, compared to the Pixel 2 which did not at the time.

This year’s Pixel 3 phones hope to maintain the software advantages, doubling down on them with various new innovative features, especially on the camera side, whilst addressing the hardware aspects to be considered a true vendor flagship of a very competitive generation.

In this full analysis of the Pixel 3, we’ll cover the hardware, the design, the software, and a detailed look to what makes users rave about the camera. We’ve tested over 18 current and former high-end smartphones worth of cameras to get to our conclusions, with all the analysis contained within these few pages. Commentary is of course, more than welcome.

It should be noted that for this review, unfortunately we only were able to get our hands on a regular Pixel 3, colored in ‘Not Pink’. We do hope that sometime in the future we’ll be able to do a battery update on the bigger Pixel 3 XL once we’re able to source one.

Pixel Hardware and Design
In terms of hardware specifications, the new Pixel 3 family follows the many Android flagships trend of this year: at the heart of the phones, the Snapdragon 845 SoC is powering the devices. 2018 has been an excellent competitive year for Qualcomm and the S845 was able to take the performance lead among its Intel CPU competition. One thing to note here if you’re considering a Pixel device is that Google’s release schedule is very much out of sync with the silicon vendor’s SoC lineups – meaning users investing in a Pixel are buying a flagship phone whose silicon is by now 8 months old, and will most likely will be superseded by its successor in just a few months’ time. For those that want the leading edge, the Pixel 3 might be a short lived experience. However that doesn’t detract from what is under the hood today.

The Razer Phone 2 Hands On: Now With Wireless Charging, IP67, and RGB

When Razer announced its Razer Phone as a ‘gaming smartphone’, a sizeable number scoffed at the idea – how can it be a gaming smartphone if everyone has the same flagship hardware? In Razer’s own words, they were ‘carving a new market’ , with features like a 120Hz Ultramotion display and HDR, as well as a special fast chip under the hood. Razer says it easily met their sales expectations, and they are ready to announce the Razer Phone 2, a refined model with a number of extra requested features.

The Razer Phone 2
The new phone looks, from the front, practically identical to the old one. It has the same 5.72-inch IGZO LCD display, with a 2560×1440 resolution and running up to a variable 40-120Hz. This display is rated at 645 nits peak, up to 50% higher than the previous Razer Phone, and also supports HDR.

Also on the front, it has two front facing speakers in identical positions to the previous generation, and it has a front facing camera and sensor (albeit with swapped positions). That front camera is an 8MP f/2.0 unit, capable of recording at 1080p60, a user-requested feature for streaming and selfie recording. The front of the device is Corning Gorilla Glass 5, an upgrade from GG3 in the last generation.

When we move to the rear, things change much more noticeably. Instead of the aluminium rear, Razer has a full Gorilla Glass 5 back, which helps enable Qi Wireless Charging, a much requested feature. This is alongside QuickCharge 4+ through a Type-C cable. On the rear we have the dual cameras, this time placed in the center just above the logo. This time around Razer has gone with a 20MP Sony IMX363 f/1.75 main camera with OIS, and an 8MP Sony IMX 351 f/2.6 telephoto camera to enable some extra zoom functionality. These cameras can record in 4K60 or 1080p120, although not in HDR.

One of the biggest criticisms with the original Razer phone was the rear camera quality, and Razer states that along with the hardware improvement, the software is also a step above the previous generation. In this instance the user has access to features such as panorama shot, portrait mode, face beauty, timer, and the usual things we expect from a modern smartphone camera. This is Razer’s second generation software, which means they’re still behind the main smartphone manufacturers who are on their 8th/9th versions of software, but a step in the right direction is a good thing.

Below the cameras is the Razer logo, which has a full 16.8million color RGB LED underneath which users can adjust through the onboard Chroma software.

The $120 MSI X470 Gaming Plus Review: Only 4-Phase VRM, Not 11-Phase as Advertised

We’ve seen a steep increase in ‘gaming’ branded motherboards over the last half a decade and the one on our test bench today is at the forefront of the ‘gaming’ mantra. The MSI X470 Gaming Plus is a mid-range gaming themed motherboard which as it currently stands (at the time of writing) is the cheapest full-sized ATX X470 entry-level option at a cost of $120. For the $120 MSI have included a selection of mid-level controllers such as a Realtek ALC892 HD audio codec which offers five 3.5mm gold plated audio jacks and a S/PDIF optical out, as well as a Realtek RTL8111H Gigabit controller powering the single LAN port on the rear panel of the board. Further connections include a pairing of video outputs consisting of a DVI-D and an HDMI 1.4 port. The X470 Gaming Plus is compatible with the Ryzen 2000 series APUs, the Ryzen 5 2400G ($169) and Ryzen 3 2200G ($99) on top of the Ryzen first and second-generation desktop processors. A total of four USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-A ports make up the bulk of the rear panel USB real estate an additional two USB 2.0 ports. MSI has opted to omit any USB Type-C ports and has instead chosen to include two USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-A ports. Users of older keyboard and mice can make use of the included PS/2 combo port.

Low budget doesn’t necessarily mean low quality, and although there are always exceptions to this rule, MSI looks to break the stigma behind this with their lowest cost X470 chipset motherboard, the X470 Gaming Plus. This model is specifically aimed at gamers looking to be more gingerly with their cash which allows users to potentially upgrade their other components without sacrificing too much on quality. With a selection of components including a Realtek pairing consisting of an ALC892 HD audio codec and RTL8111H Gigabit LAN controller, MSI’s attempt to dominate the low to mid-range X470 market with this $120 offering hinges on its implementation and performance.

The i-Rocks Pilot K70E Capacitive Gaming Keyboard Review: Our First Capacitive Keyboard

We have reviewed many keyboards here in AnandTech, both electronic (membrane) and mechanical. In today’s market, most cost-effective keyboards are based on membrane designs, while more advanced keyboards are using mechanical switches that are either made by Cherry or, usually, are a “cloned” version of their products. Recently however we had something relatively rare shipped for testing in our labs – the i-Rocks Pilot K70E, a keyboard with unique capacitive switches.

Capacitive switches are not something unique to this keyboard. As a matter of fact, the current top-of-the-line capacitive keyboard switches were introduced by Topre several years ago. The problem with Topre-based products is that their prices are excessive, placing them well outside what the mainstream market can afford.

The i-Rocks Pilot K70E keyboard that we are reviewing today has non-contact capacitive switches developed in-house by i-Rocks itself. The Taiwanese company’s capacitive switches are available in two variants, 45g and 60g, with slightly different force-to-travel charts. The retail price of the Pilot K70E is rather steep, with the keyboard retailing at $150 at the time of this review, and yet that price is significantly lower than that of any keyboard using Topre’s capacitive switches.

Hands-on with the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti: Real-time Raytracing in Games

After yesterday’s announcement from NVIDIA, we finally know what’s coming: the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti, GeForce RTX 2080, and GeForce RTX 2070. So naturally, after the keynote in the Palladium venue, NVIDIA provided hands-on demos and gameplay as the main event of their public GeForce Gaming Celebration. The demos in question were all powered by the $1200 GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Founders Edition, with obligatory custom watercooling rigs showing off their new gaming flagship.

While also having a presence at Gamescom 2018, this is their main fare for showcasing the new GeForce RTX cards. In a separate walled-off area, NVIDIA offered press some gameplay time with two GeForce RTX supporting titles: Shadow of the Tomb Raider and Battlefield V. Otherwise, they also had a veritable army of RTX 2080 Ti equipped gaming PCs for the public, also demoing Battlefield V and Shadow of the Tomb Raider (without RTX features), along with Hitman 2 and Metro: Exodus. Additionally, there were a few driving simulator rigs for Assetto Corsa Competizione, including one with hydraulic feedback. These games, and more, support real-time ray tracing with RTX, but not necessarily Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS), another technology that NVIDIA announced.

Spectre and Meltdown in Hardware: Intel Clarifies Whiskey Lake and Amber Lake

With the launch of Intel’s latest 8th Generation Core mobile processors, the 15W Whiskey Lake U-series and the 5W Amber Lake Y-series, questions were left on the table as to the state of the Spectre and Meltdown mitigations. Intel had, previously in the year, promised that there would be hardware fixes for some of these issues in consumer hardware by the end of the year. Nothing was mentioned in our WHL/AML briefing, so we caught up with Intel to find out the situation.

There Are Some Hardware Mitigations in Whiskey Lake
The takeaway message from our discussions with Intel is that there are some hardware mitigations in the new Whiskey Lake processors. In fact, there are almost as many as the upcoming Cascade Lake enterprise parts. Intel told us that while the goal was to be transparent in general with how these mitigations were being fixed – we think Intel misread the level of interest in the specifics in advance of the Whiskey Lake launch, especially when the situation is not a simple yes/no.

What this means is that Whiskey Lake is a new spin of silicon compared to Kaby Lake Refresh, but is still built on that Kaby Lake microarchitecture. Intel confirmed to us that Whiskey Lake is indeed built on the 14++ process node technology, indicating a respin of silicon.

As a result, both CPU families have the all-important (and most performance degrading) Meltdown vulnerability fixed. What remains unfixed in Whiskey Lake and differentiates it from Cascade Lake CPUs is Spectre variant 2, the Branch Target Injection. This vulnerability has its own performance costs when mitigated in software, and it has taken longer to develop a hardware fix.

What About Amber Lake?
The situation with Amber Lake is a little different. Intel confirmed to us that Amber Lake is still Kaby Lake – including being built on the 14+ process node – making it identical to Kaby Lake Refresh as far as the CPU die is concerned. In essence, these parts are binned to go within the 5W TDP at base frequency. But as a result, Amber Lake shares the same situation as Kaby Lake Refresh: all side channel attacks and mitigations are done in firmware and operating system fixes. Nothing in Amber Lake is protected against in hardware.

Performance
The big performance marker is tackling Spectre Variant 2. When fixed in software, Intel expects a 3-10% drop in performance depending on the workload – when fixed in hardware, Intel says that performance drop is a lot less, but expects new platforms (like Cascade Lake) to offer better overall performance anyway. Neither Whiskey Lake nor Amber Lake have mitigations for v2, but Whiskey Lake is certainly well on its way with fixes to some of the more dangerous attacks, such as v3 and L1TF. Whiskey Lake is also offering new performance bins as the platform is also on 14++, which will help with performance and power.

Intel’s Disclosure in the Future
Speaking with Intel, it is clear (and they recognise) that they appreciate the level of interest in the scope of these fixes. We’re pushing hard to make sure that with all future launches, detailed tables about the process of fixes will occur. Progress on these issues, if anything, is a good thing.

AnandTech at Hot Chips 30: Our 2018 Show Coverage

The last couple of days have been a whirlwind of coverage at two key events: Hot Chips, the semiconductor industry conference regarding new product designs, and some minor thing at Gamescom. At Hot Chips, we have planned to run over a dozen different Live Blogs, and have written up several of the talks into more detailed analysis pieces.

Hot Chips is one of the most enjoyable trade shows I go to every year: in the absence of IDF, Hot Chips is a show where we can learn significant information about both cores in the market, either server or desktop or mobile, or cores that are upcoming in future products. It also gives a chance for some companies to go into more details, or explain how their current products will lead into the future. The other yearly trade show that gives me goosebumps is SuperComputing.

Because we’ve got plenty of content about the show, I just wanted to run a small piece where our readers can access without searching for it. Here is our day one roundup. Day two roundup to follow when day two finishes.

Over the coming months much of the hype for the new Exynos 9810 with its M3 cores fizzled out due to less and less enticing results. Starting from some questionable early-on benchmarks at the release of the Galaxy S9, through to our extremely in-depth Galaxy S9 device and SoC review, later on moving to DIY improvements in attempting to resolve some of the lower-hanging fruit in terms of software issues which hampered the real-world performance of the Exynos Galaxy S9. Throughout these pieces of course we had little official word from Samsung – and up till today we still didn’t know much about how the M3’s microarchitecture actually worked.

Best external hard drives of 2018

Even if you have one of the best SSDs, you can quickly run out of space – so, it’s critically important to have one of the best external hard drives, especially if you work with a lot of documents with large file sizes. Don’t worry, though, we here at TechRadar are here to help you find the best external hard drive money can buy today.

When you go out shopping for one of the best external hard drives, you should think about some important details. For one, you’ll need enough storage – trust us, you don’t want to run out of space at an inopportune moment. However, you also don’t want to pay for storage you’re not going to use.

You’ll also need to consider data transfer speeds – the best hard drives let you transfer large files from your PC quickly, so you can move on to more important projects.

Still, the best external hard drives are also dependable and rugged, so you can safely store your data without worry. The best external drives will also be light enough to carry in your bag, with large capacities so that you can keep your data safe when travelling.

There’s a huge range of external hard drives on offer, so we’ve put together this list of the best external hard drives to help you find the perfect one for your needs.