The Toshiba TR200 3D NAND SSD Review: One Step Forward, One Step Back

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The Toshiba TR200 finally brings Toshiba’s 3D NAND to the retail SSD market. Where Western Digital and SanDisk chose to go after Samsung’s performance with their 64L 3D NAND SSDs, Toshiba’s TR200 is an entry-level DRAMless SATA SSD that will have to compete solely on price. The TR200 does not bring any performance improvement over the TR150 it replaces, but it may bring respite from the past year’s price increases.

The ADATA XPG SX950 480GB SSD Review: In Search of Premium

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ADATA likes to produce a broad range of SSDs, sampling from all the controller and NAND manufacturers. To that end, they have wholeheartedly embraced the use of 3D MLC NAND even as most brands are using the 3D NAND transition to entirely remove MLC from their consumer product lines or relegate it to niche models instead of treating it as the mainstream default.

The ADATA XPG SX950 is their top of the line SATA SSD. Technologically, it is very similar to their Ultimate SU900: both use the same Micron 3D MLC NAND and Silicon Motion SM2258 controller. The SX950 is distinguished by reserving more spare area (yielding usable capacities like 480GB instead of 512GB) and a six-year warranty instead of five. The SU900 has a 2TB model listed but not yet available, while the SX950 line only goes up to 960GB, with limited availability of the largest model.

From a performance standpoint, the ADATA XPG SX950 tries to be a premium SATA SSD by using 3D MLC in a market dominated by TLC NAND. The SX950 offers the highest SATA performance ADATA could deliver, but it’s still not fast enough to match Samsung’s SATA SSDs, and ADATA made too many sacrifices for the sake of maximizing peak performance.

Price and Availability Watch: Core i7-8700K, Core i5-8600K and Core i3-8350K

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Intel on Thursday officially initiated sales of its 8th Generation ‘Coffee Lake’ processors for desktops worldwide. The new chips offer more physical cores in the mainstream processor segment than their predecessors, but unlocked versions also come at $15-$20 higher MSRPs. As what usually happens with new products, the main questions are around whether the chips are actually available, and if the on-shelf prices are on par with manufacturer’s suggested ones. In our searches so far, the new 8th Gen chips for desktops are not easy to get.

Actual Availability and Pricing

For our availability and price checks, we use multiple well-known stores across the world as well as price search engines to ensure that we are not missing anything. It is important to note that most stores tend to sell products at their MSRPs on launch days, but going forward prices tend to fluctuate.

Intel publishes prices as RCP (Recommended Customer Pricing). This is the price it gives for customers buying 1000 CPUs (a ‘tray’) as an OEM. Retail prices are often $5-15 higher depending on the configuration.

Intel Core i7-8700K

We start our small availability investigation from the Core i7-8700K (RCP: $359), which has all chances to become a bestseller: the CPU has six cores with HT, a relatively high-frequency out of the box, and an unlocked multiplier. It sounds like a dream processor for an enthusiast that also wants to save money compared to a high-end desktop system.

Intel Core i7-8700K Availability and Pricing
As of October 6th
Retailer Country Local Price Equivalent in USD (w/tax) Status
Amazon U.S. Not Listed
Check Availability
B&H Photo Video U.S. $370 $370 ETA Unknown
CDW U.S. Not Listed
Fry’s Electronics U.S. Not Listed
Newegg U.S. $380 $380 Sold Out
NCIX Canada $470 $373 ETA Unknown
 
Amazon UK U.K. Not Listed
Overclockers UK U.K. £360 $471 ETA Unknown
OcUK Pre-Binned U.K. £500 – £800 $654 – $1046 Limited Stock
Scan U.K. £360 $471 ETA Unknown
 
Amazon DE Germany Not Listed
Amazon ES Spain Not Listed
Amazon FR France Not Listed
Alternate Austria €400 $468 ETA in December
Comstern Austria €396 $464 ETA 2-4 weeks
Bora Computer Germany €410 $480 ETA Unknown
CaseKing Germany €410 $479 ETA Unknown
CK Pre-Binned Germany €440 – €870 $514 – $1017 ETA Unknown
 
Komplett Sweden

The AnandTech Coffee Lake Review: Initial Numbers on the Core i7-8700K and Core i5-8400

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It has been ten years since Intel introduced quad-core processors into its mainstream product range. It was expected that six-core parts would hit the segment a few years after, however due to process improvements, microarchitecture gains, cost, and a lack of competition, the top-end mainstream processor is still a quad-core a decade later. That changes today, with the new Intel 8th Generation Coffee Lake CPUs now available, with the Core i5 and Core i7 parts having six distinct physical cores. In this review, we cover the top SKU, the Core i7-8700K, with numbers from the Core i5-8400.

The Asus ROG Strix Z270G Gaming Motherboard Review

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Micro ATX motherboards mark the spot between the expansion limiting Mini ITX and the classic ATX motherboards that often offer more than what a user requires. Many users need more than a single PCIe slot but not nearly as many as seven. In this review, we are having a look at the Asus ROG Strix Z270G Gaming, a Micro ATX motherboard based on the Intel Z270 chipset.

Best CPUs for Workstations: 2017

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In our series of Best CPU guides, here’s the latest update to our recommended workstation CPUs list. All numbers in the text are updated to reflect pricing at the time of writing (02-Oct). Numbers in graphs reflect MSRP.

Best CPUs for Workstations 2017

Sometimes choosing a CPU is hard. So we’ve got you covered. In our CPU Guides, we give you our pick of some of the best processors available, supplying data from our reviews. Our Best CPUs for Workstations guide mostly covers workstation processors available to consumers, although some server products cover both segments.

Workstation CPU Recommendations: 2017
(Prices are 02-Oct or MSRP)
Segment Processor
Best Overall Choice AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1950X $999
Maximum Performance Intel Core i9-7980XE
Intel Xeon W-2195
 AMD EPYC 7551P
$1999
$2553
$2100
Maximum PCIe 1P 60 AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1900X $549
128 AMD EPYC 7351P $750
2P 96 Intel Xeon Bronze 3104 $241
128 AMD EPYC 7251 $475
Maximum Memory 1TB+ EPYC 7351P
EPYC 7601
$750
$4200
<512GB Intel Xeon W-2123 $294
Ones to Watch None. For Now.

The majority of our recommendations aim to hit the performance/price curve just right, with a side nod to power consumption as well.

Best Overall Choice:
AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1950X ($999) – Read Our Review

Our best pick here isn’t the fast overall CPU, it isn’t even the fastest single threaded CPU, and it is not the best bang-for-buck CPU. So why pick it at all then? Overall, it performs really well in all categories. Let me explain.

The 1950X at $999 is half the cost compared to the Core i9-7980XE at $1999. The 7980XE has two cores more and some extra IPC, but the 1950X has a much better performance-per-dollar ratio for almost all our pure throughput tests. It offers a full 60 PCIe lanes for coprocessors, compared to 44, and it matches the Intel for DRAM support (until 32GB UDIMMs hit the market, where AMD has stated it will overtake). Technically the Ryzen 5 or Intel Pentium processors have the best absolute bang-for-buck, but have a low overall performance: a workstation processor still needs a good absolute performance.

The AMD Ryzen Threadripper is a jack-of-all-trades. In most circumstances, it is not the absolute best CPU, but it strikes as the best all-rounder.

Best Absolute Performance, Money No Object:
The Intel Core i9-7980XE ($1999) – Read Our Review
The Intel Xeon W-2195 ($2553)
The AMD EPYC 7551P ($2400)

For the top performance, I’ve picked three processors for different reasons, depending on your situation. For some workstation users money is no object – it can easily be amortized into the step up in the speed of the workflow. But what you get will depend on your access to hardware.

For prosumers building their own system, or buying at retail, then the best option is the Intel Core i9-7980XE. This processor is destined to be on the shelves of the usual retailers, and offers eighteen of Intel’s high-performance cores at a 3.4 GHz all-core frequency as well as AVX-512. For users that have software optimized for multithreading or vector instructions, Intel has you covered here.

Rendering: Blender 2.78

What the Core i9-7980XE does is go for maximum threads at high frequency. In our testing compared to the Core i9-7960X, which has two fewer cores and a slightly higher all-core frequency, there were a few occasions where the processors performed equally and one or two where the higher frequency parts scored higher. For variable threaded workloads this can be the case, however in most circumstances workstation workloads are all about the multithreading. If a simulation doesn’t scale beyond 8 cores, then two simulations are run side by side in a sixteen core system. While single thread performance matters for some software, most of the gains are in thread count or memory performance.

Some workstation users will need ECC memory, and up to 512GB of it. When memory has an error rate of 1 error per GB per year, using 512GB ensures almost two bit errors per day: something that a 60-day simulation would find catastrophic. The top Xeon-W processor from Intel’s workstation line is the Xeon W-2195, offering almost the same as the Core i9-7980XE but with ECC RDIMM support and a few more PCIe lanes. The only issue is that Intel is not selling this at retail: only in pre-configured systems through system integrators, OEMs, or someone selling a tray chip as a third party. We’re also waiting for LGA2066 motherboards to hit the market, although very few will hit direct retail.

The same situation applies to AMD’s EPYC 7551P, e

The ASRock Z270 Supercarrier Motherboard Review: 4-way SLI and 5 Gigabit Ethernet on Kaby Lake

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In this review we are having a close look at ASRock’s Z270 Supercarrier, an apical motherboard that is targeting design professionals and hardcore gamers. The motherboard is bristling with features, some of which cannot be found on middle-range designs, and yet it retains a standard ATX form factor. The combination of the above however had the predictable side effect of a sizable price tag.

The ASRock Fatal1ty X299 Professional Gaming i9 Motherboard Review

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All of the main motherboard vendors have launched a long list of X299 motherboards, aiming from budget to premium users. ASRock has been involved in the melee, with all their product segments providing products to support Intel’s Skylake-X and Kaby Lake-X processors. The gaming line is still under the Fatal1ty naming scheme, featuring a vibrant red motif, and at the top of that stack is the $390 ASRock Fatal1ty X299 Professional Gaming i9 motherboard. It touts a 13 phase power delivery, SLI and Crossfire capabilities, and the latest connectivity. ASRock is aiming for a mid-to-high range board to satisfy a wide range of users here. We take it for a spin for this review.

Intel Announces 8th Generation Core “Coffee Lake” Desktop Processors: Six-core i7, Four-core i3, and Z370 Motherboards

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In an unusual set of circumstances (ed: someone couldn’t follow a simple embargo), this evening Intel is officially announcing its 8th Generation desktop CPU lineup, codenamed Coffee Lake. We’ve already seen part of the 8th Generation announced – the "Kaby Lake Refresh" based mobile parts – which included a bump in core counts for some of the formerly dual-core U-series processors, upgrading them to quad-core processors with HyperThreading. Meanwhile on the desktop side, there’s been some news that’s already found its way out, and as usual, some rumors as well. But tonight, Intel is finally and officially taking the wraps off of their latest lineup of desktop CPUs, along with the associated Z370 chipset.

Although there’s a lot of new enhancements coming to the party, arguably the biggest one for most people is that Intel has finally expanded the core counts across the range, which is something they’ve not done on non HEDT systems since they originally went to quad-cores with the Core 2 Extreme QX6700, way back in 2006. If you wanted more Intel cores than four previous to now, you’d have to move to HEDT, but no longer. Core i7 is moving to six cores with HyperThreading, Core i5 is moving to six cores, and Core i3 is moving to four cores.

Basic Specifications of Intel Core i5/i7 Desktop CPUs
7th Generation 8th Generation
CPU Cores Freq.
(Base)
Freq.
(Boost)
L3 TDP CPU Cores Freq.
(Base)
Freq.
(Boost)
L3 TDP
i7-7700K
($305)
4/8 4.2GHz 4.5GHz 8 MB 91W i7-8700K
($359)
6/12 3.8GHz 4.7GHz 12MB 95W
i7-7700
($272)
3.6GHz 4.2GHz 65W i7-8700
($303)
3.2GHz 4.6GHz 65W
i5-7600K
($217)
4/4 3.8GHz 4.2GHz 6 MB 91W i5-8600K
($257)
6/6 3.6GHz 4.3GHz 9 MB 95W
i5-7400
($170)
3.0GHz 3.5GHz 65W i5-8400
($182)
2.8GHz 4.0GHz 65W
i3-7350K
($157)
2/4 4.2GHz NA 4 MB 60W i3-8350K
($168)
4/4 4.0GHz N/A 6MB 91W
i3-7100
($109)
3.9GHz NA 51W i3-8100
($117)
3.6GHz N/A 65W

If you’ve got workloads that can handle more threads, the latest Coffee Lake parts should provide a significant boost in performance. We’ll have to wait for the full review to see how much of an increase this provides, but Intel is saying up to 25% more FPS and 45% better performance when “mega-tasking” compared to the Core i7-7700K. Those are fairly bold claims, so we’ll have to see how they make out, but it would not be out of the realm of possibility, especially on the “mega-tasking” where Intel is talking about gaming, plus streaming, plus recording of

The MSI X299 Gaming Pro Carbon AC Motherboard Review

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Intel’s HEDT platform in recent times has always had a two CPU generation cadence. The last change was in August 2014, catering for Haswell-E and Broadwell-E, so with the recent launch of Skylake-X, it was time for a refresh: the new LGA 2066 socket and a new X299 chipset, with the inevitable slew of new motherboards looking to capitalize on the margin-rich high-end desktop sector. For our first review, we are testing the X299 Gaming Pro Carbon AC from MSI.

The ASRock Fatal1ty Z270 Gaming-ITX/ac Motherboard Review

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Today we are having a look at a feature-packed Mini ITX motherboard from ASRock, the Fatal1ty Z270 Gaming-ITX/ac. With specifications that suggest it could be the holy grail for home entertainment systems and a reasonable price tag, the Z270 Gaming-ITX/ac appears to be one of the most interesting Z270-based motherboards currently available. We closely examine its features and capabilities in this review.

Intel Finalizes Skylake-X Processor Specifications: 18-Cores, 4.4 GHz Turbo, 165W on September 25th

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When Intel launched its new high-end desktop platform a few weeks ago, we were provided with Core-X CPUs from quad cores on the latest Kaby Lake microarchitecture, and 6/8/10 core parts on the Skylake-SP microarchitecture derived from the enterprise line and taking a different route to how the cache was structured over Skylake-S. At the time we were told that these latter parts would be joined by bigger SKUs all the way up to 18 cores, and up to $2000. Aside from core-counts and price, Intel was tight lipped on the CPU specifications until today.

Skylake-X goes HCC

The original Skylake-X processors up to 10 cores used Intel’s LCC silicon, one of the three silicon designs typically employed in the enterprise space, and the lowest core count. The other two silicon designs, HCC and XCC, have historically been reserved for server CPUs and big money – if you wanted all the cores, you had to pay for them. So the fact that Intel is introducing HCC silicon into the consumer desktop market is a change in strategy, which many analysts say is due to AMD’s decision to bring their 16-core silicon into the market.

Both the new HCC-based processors and the recently released LCC-based processors will share the same LGA2066 socket as used on X299 motherboards, and all the processors will differ in core count, with slight variations on core frequencies, TDP and price.

The Skylake-X line-up now looks like:

Skylake-X Processors
  7800X 7820X 7900X   7920X 7940X 7960X 7980XE
Silicon LCC   HCC
Cores / Threads 6/12 8/16 10/20   12/24 14/28 16/32 18/36
Base Clock / GHz 3.5 3.6 3.3   2.9 3.1 2.8 2.6
Turbo Clock / GHz 4.0 4.3 4.3   4.3 4.3 4.3 4.2
TurboMax Clock N/A 4.5 4.5   4.4 4.4 4.4 4.4
L3 1.375 MB/core   1.375 MB/core
PCIe Lanes 28 44   44
Memory Channels 4   4
Memory Freq DDR4 2400 2666   2666
TDP 140W   140W 165W
Price $389 $599 $999   $1199 $1399 $1699 $1999

Along with this, we have several release dates to mention.

  • The 12-core Core i9-7920X will be available from August 28th
  • The 14-18 core parts will be available from September 25th (my birthday…)

On the specification side, the higher-end CPUs get a kick up in TDP to 165W to account for more cores and the frequency that these CPUs are running at. The top Core i9-7980XE SKU will have a base frequency of 2.6 GHz but a turbo of 4.2 GHz, and a Favored Core of 4.4 GHz. The turbo will be limited to 2 cores of load, however Intel has not listed the ‘all-core turbo’ frequencies which are often above the base frequencies, nor the AVX frequencies here. It will be interesting to see how much power the top SKU will draw.

One question over the launch of these SKUs was regarding how much they would impinge into Intel’s Xeon line of processors. We had already earmarked the Xeon Gold 6154/6150 as possible contenders for the high-end CPU, and taking the price out of the comparison, they can be quite evenly matched (the Xeons have a lower turbo, but higher base frequency). The Xeons also come with multi-socket support and more DRAM channels, at +60% the cost.

Comparing against AMD’s Threadripper gives the following:

Comparison
Features Intel Core
i9-7980XE
Intel Core
i9-7960X
AMD Ryzen
Threadripper 1950X
Platform X299 X299 X399
Socket LGA2066 LGA2066 TR4
Cores/Threads 18 / 36 16 / 32 16 / 32
Base/Turbo 2.6 / 4.2 / 4.4 2.8 / 4.2 / 4.4 3.4 / 4.0
GPU PCIe 3.0 44 44 60
L2 Cache 1 MB/core 1 MB/core 512 KB/core
L3 Cache 24.75 MB 22.00 MB 32.00 MB
TDP 165W 165W 180W
 Price $1999 $1699 $999

We fully expect the review embargoes to be on the launch dates for each CPU. Time to start ringing around to see if my sample was lost in the post.

Related Reading

The AMD Radeon RX Vega 64 & RX Vega 56 Review: Vega Burning Bright

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We’ve seen the architecture. We’ve seen the teasers. We’ve seen the Frontier. And we’ve seen the specifications. Now the end game for AMD’s Radeon RX Vega release is finally upon us: the actual launch of the hardware. Today is AMD’s moment to shine, as for the first time in over a year, they are back in the high-end video card market. And whether their drip feeding marketing strategy has ultimately succeeded in building up consumer hype or burnt everyone out prematurely, I think it’s safe to say that everyone is eager to see what AMD can do with their best foot forward on the GPU front.

Launching today is the AMD Radeon RX Vega 64, or just Vega 64 for short. Based on a fully enabled Vega 10 GPU, the Vega 64 will come in two physical variants: air cooled and liquid cooled. The air cooled card is your traditional blower-based design, and depending on the specific SKU, is either available in AMD’s traditional RX-style shroud, or a brushed-aluminum shroud for the aptly named Limited Edition.

The AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1950X and 1920X Review: CPUs on Steroids

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In the early 2000s, we had the battle to high frequencies. The company that could force the most cycles through a processor could get a base performance advantage over the other, and it led to some rather hot chips, with the certain architectures being dropped for something that scaled better. Move on 10-15 years and we are now at the heart of the Core Wars: how many CPU cores with high IPC can you fit into a consumer processor? Up to today, the answer was 10, but now AMD is pushing the barrier to 16 with its new Threadripper processors. We got both of the launch CPUs for review and put them on the grill.

Samsung Portable SSD T5 Review: 64-Layer V-NAND Debuts in Retail

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?Samsung has been an active participant in the high-performance external SSD market with their Portable SSD series. The T1 was introduced in early 2015, while the T3 came out in early 2016. The T3 was the first retail product to utilize Samsung’s 48-layer TLC V-NAND. Today, Samsung is launching the Portable SSD T5. It is a retail pilot vehicle for their 64-layer TLC V-NAND as they ramp up its production. The Portable SSD T5 also moves up to a USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C interface, while retaining the same compact form factor and hardware encryption capabilities of the Portable SSD T3. Read on for our analysis of the product’s performance and value proposition.

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