Assessing Cavium’s ThunderX2: The Arm Server Dream Realized At Last

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A little less than 2 years ago, we investigated the first Arm server SoC that had a chance to compete with midrange Xeon E5s: the Cavium ThunderX. The SoC showed promise, however the low single-threaded performance and some power management issues relegated the 48-core SoC to more niche markets such as CDN and Web caching. In the end, Cavium’s first server SoC was not a real threat to Intel’s Xeon.

But Cavium did not give up. The new creation of underdog Cavium deserves the benefit of the doubt. Much has changed – much more than the name alone lets on – as Cavium has bought the "Vulcan" design from Avago. Vulcan is a rather ambitious CPU design which was originally designed by the Arm server SoC team of Broadcom. Based on its experience from the ThunderX, Cavium was able to take what they’ve learned thus far and have introduced some microarchitectural improvements to the Vulcan design to improve its performance and power.

As a result, ThunderX2 is a much more "brainiac" core than the previous generation. While the ThunderX core had a very short pipeline and could hardly sustain 2 instructions per clock, the Vulcan core was designed to fetch 8 and execute up to 4 instructions per clock. It gets better: 4 simultaneous threads can be active (SMT4), ensuring that the wide back-end is busy most of the time. 32 of those cores at clockspeeds up to 2.5 GHz find a home in the new ThunderX2 SoC.

To that end, today we are comparing this new contender for the server CPU market with the mighty Xeon Platinum 8176 as well as AMD’s EPYC. Can Cavium finally deliver on the promise of a performant and efficient Arm CPU for servers? Let’s find out!

The New HTC U12+ Smartphone Hands On

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After the latest deal with Google on personnel, the next flagship out from HTC is the U12+, succeeding the squeeze-focused U11 and U11+ from 2017. For this generation HTC will only launch a single model called the U12+, rather than a U12 now and another one later, with the company citing that it felt too many of its enthusiast users would wait for the plus model, so instead they have decided to just go with a singular unit with the upgraded name. The headlines on the U12+ include a quad camera design, an upgraded Edge Sense detection system, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 SoC, an IP68 ingress rating, and an upgraded BoomSound experience. We had the chance to get a hands-on with the device at a briefing last week.

The ASUS Z370-I Gaming Review: Mini-Me Mega Motherboard

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The ASUS ROG Strix Z370-I Gaming is one of the major Mini-ITX options for Intel’s latest Coffee Lake processors. ASUS has a good history of building substantial Mini-ITX offerings, particularly with the ROG Impact line, however it is the Z-series mainstream Mini-ITX models that are the more cost effective option. For this generation, ASUS is combining dual M.2 slots, USB 3.1, EMI shielded audio and Wi-Fi on this small square platform. In this review we put it through its paces.


Delidding The AMD Ryzen 5 2400G APU: How To Guide and Results

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Delidding is a process with the aim being to reduce CPU core temperatures on processors with a less-than-ideal thermal interface between the silicon and headspreader. The benefits of delidding a design with such an interface lead to having a cooler system, or the ability perform extra overclocking with a larger delta for thermal headroom. However, delidding a processor does carry risk, such as potentially damaging the CPU when done incorrectly and certainly voiding the warranty. In this article, we have produced a How-To guide for delidding one of the latest desktop processors: AMD’s Ryzen 5 2400G APU.

The AnandTech Podcast, Episode 46: More Choice on x86

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The recent discussions at AnandTech have been about the latest updates in desktop computing. We recently went live with our Ryzen 2000-series review of all four processors, and our subsequent follow up with regards how operating systems like Windows rely on timers of different accuracy to account for time passing. In this podcast we cover the details of both topics, and then discuss how Intel’s ‘Core with Radeon RX Vega’ is not a true Vega chip, but is actually built on AMD’s Polaris architecture. Finally, we comment on Intel’s recent hires from AMD’s staff, as well as a new generation of power supply components.

The AnandTech Podcast, Episode 46:


Ian Cutress, Host
Senior Editor
Ryan Smith

RSS – mp3m4a
Direct Links – mp3m4a


Total Time:  1 hour 11 minutes 52 seconds

Outline mm:ss

00:00 Introduction
01:34 Ryzen 2nd Generation (Ryzen 2000 Series)
20:28 Ryzen 2nd Generation Timer/HPET Situation
41:46 Intel Kaby Lake G’s Vega M: Not True Vega
54:25 Intel Hires Jim Keller and Chris Hook
62:47 Corsair AX1600I 1600 W Power Supply
71:52 FIN

Edited by Gavin Bonshor

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The ASUS ROG Apex line of boards have always been known for its focus on overclocking as well as unique design implementations like the "X" shaped board and the unique ‘DIMM.2’ slot – a DRAM-like slot for a bundled add-in card that can be used for two additional M.2 modules on a PCIe 3.0 x8 link. The Z370 ROG Maximus X Apex sticks with its pedigree and even adds a 5G network port to a long feature list. 

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The Intel NUC8i7HVK (Hades Canyon) was reviewed back in late March, and emerged as one of the most powerful gaming PCs in its form-factor class. Our conclusion was that the PC offered gaming performance equivalent to that of a system with a GPU between the NVIDIA GTX 960 and GTX 980. We received feedback from our readers on the games used for benchmarking being old, and the compared GPUs being dated. In order to address this concern, we spent the last few weeks working on updating our gaming benchmarks suite for gaming systems / mini-PCs. Read on for a look at the performance of the Hades Canyon NUC with the latest drivers in recent games and how it compares against some of the other contemporary small-form factor gaming machines.

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In the next leg of the Honor journey, the flagship Honor 10 is being announced today in London as part of a worldwide launch. We are here for a Live Blog, and in an AnandTech first, I am actually going to be using our Honor 10 sample to do the pictures for the Live Blog. Unfortunately I can’t tell you about the device until our embargo lifts! But Honor has pulled out all the stops for the event, with the CEO George Zhao set to take the stage, and Honor promoting some Youtubers.

Come back near to 1pm UTC to follow along with the presentation.

Honor 10 Launch and Hands On: Kirin 970, More AI, More Notch

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In a world filled with rectangular blocks with displays, it takes a large effort to differentiate. The new Honor 10, launched today at an event in London, follows the trend of premium smartphones in 2018: more display, and added a notch. Under the hood is the latest HiSilicon Kirin 970 chipset, as seen in the Huawei Mate 10 and P20, with the added AI functional blocks to accelerate certain apps built on machine learning algorithms. The Honor line is always seen as a more cost effective way to yet most of the latest features from the Huawei main brand, and this year is no different.

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The Acer Swift 3 SF315-41 Review: Ryzen Meets Laptop

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Over the past week LG has teased various characteristics of the G7 – in particular we knew in detail the specifications of the screen. Today we see the full device unveiled and are able to paint a full picture of LG’s new mainstream flagship device.

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