The GIGABYTE MZ31-AR0 Motherboard Review: EPYC with Dual 10G

See the original posting on Anandtech

The workstation and server markets are big business for not only chip manufacturers such as Intel and AMD, but for motherboard vendors too. Since AMD’s introduction of its Zen-based EPYC processors, its prosumer market share has been slowly, but surely, creeping back. One example of a single socket solution available on the market is the GIGABYTE MZ31-AR0. With support for AMD’s EPYC family of processors, the MZ31-AR0 has some interesting components including its 2 x SFP+ 10 G Ethernet ports powered by a Broadcom BCM57810S controller, and four SlimSAS slots offering up to sixteen SATA ports. 

Samsung Galaxy S20+ & Ultra (Snapdragon & Exynos) Battery Life Preview

See the original posting on Anandtech

Last week we brought you a quick performance preview of the Snapdragon 865-based Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra, showcasing that the phone has some outstandingly good performance and power efficiency statistics. Since then, we’ve been able to get our hands on an Exynos 990 based Galaxy S20+ and S20 Ultra, putting the trio of phones through our usual extensive review process.

We’re still working on the full big article which is still a week or more away, but we wanted already to cover one largest talking points about the new devices: battery life. Samsung’s new 120Hz refresh mode is quite a power-hungry beast, which alters the battery life formula for this year’s flagships. On top of that, we’re again seeing some quite large differences between the Exynos and Snapdragon based phones, and we’re able to report the first preliminary battery test results and analyse what the situation looks like.

Help Fight COVID-19 and Tom’s Hardware: Join The Great Folding@Home Coronavirus Race

See the original posting on Anandtech

Stuck at home for the foreseeable future, we here at AnandTech are doing the only thing that we can do: getting into trouble and picking fights. And we want your help! Please read on to learn about our “friendly” race with Tom’s Hardware, as we work towards using the power of distributing computing to help combat COVID-19.

AMD Details Renoir: The Ryzen Mobile 4000 Series 7nm APU Uncovered

See the original posting on Anandtech

The notebook market has not been kind to AMD over the last decade – for a long, long time the company was only ever seen as the discount option for those on a strict budget. It didn’t help that OEMs only saw AMD in that light, fitting bulky units with sub-standard displays and storage options meant that even retailers were only presenting AMD as something for the budget conscious.

All that seems set to change. Fast forward to 2020, and notebook users are eagerly awaiting the arrival of products based on AMD’s latest Ryzen Mobile 4000 series processors, which combine up to eight Zen 2 cores and upgraded Vega graphics into a small CPU for the notebook market. AMD has already made waves with its Zen 2 cores in the desktop and enterprise space, and the company has already announced it plans to put eight of those cores, along with a significantly upgraded graphics design, into a processor that has a thermal design point of 15 W. These 15 W parts are designed for ultraportable notebooks, and AMD has a number of design wins lined up to show just how good an AMD system can be.

Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra (Snapdragon 865) Quick Performance Preview: Impressive

See the original posting on Anandtech

Samsung’s Galaxy S20 series phones have been available since last Friday in markets such as the US. And earlier this week we also finally received a unit, in the form of a North American, Snapdragon 865-based Galaxy S20 Ultra. While our review is already underway, we’re also still waiting for public availability in Europe in order to get our hands on our Rest of World, Exynos 990 variant, so that we can take a comprehensive look at both variants of the S20 series. As we’ve seen in previous years, there have been some pretty significant differences between the Snapdragon and Exynos models at times, thanks to the SoC selection impacting everything from performance to image processing.

But first things first: since we have a bit of a lead time with the Snapdragon unit, we wanted to at least publish the performance figures for this model ahead of the full review, to temporarily satisfy everyone’s curiosity on at least this aspect of the phone.

The Ultimate Hacking Keyboard Review: A Truly Unique, Truly Expensive Keyboard for Pros

See the original posting on Anandtech

Today we are having a look at the Ultimate Hacking Keyboard, the most overconfident and expensive mechanical keyboard that has ever found its way into our labs. Developed with IT professionals in mind, the keyboard is designed to maximize productivity and ease a tough workday, utilizing a rather unique 60% layout that can even be split in two. Coupled with the manufactuer’s excellent software, it’s an incredibly powerful keyboard. But be warned: the price tag for that power is even higher.

The Ultimate Hacking Keyboard Review: A Truly Unique, Truly Expensive Keyboard for Devs

See the original posting on Anandtech

Today we are having a look at the Ultimate Hacking Keyboard, the most overconfident and expensive mechanical keyboard that has ever found its way into our labs. Developed with IT professionals in mind, the keyboard is designed to maximize productivity and ease a tough workday, utilizing a rather unique 60% layout that can even be split in two. Coupled with the manufactuer’s excellent software, it’s an incredibly powerful keyboard. But be warned: the price tag for that power is even higher.

How Good (or Bad) is a $100 Laptop? The Coda Spirit Review

See the original posting on Anandtech

Back in late 2014, I remember Brett reviewing the HP Stream 11-inch laptop for $200. At the time, it was a great little machine, offering all you need to do basic work flow and get online with a dual-core Atom and a low resolution display. Fast forward to 2019, and I picked up a 1080p IPS 13-inch clamshell laptop, with Win 10 Home and storage expansion, for just $100. On paper, this thing is epic for the price. But is it actually worth it? 

AMD’s RDNA 2 Gets A Codename: “Navi 2X” Comes This Year With 50% Improved Perf-Per-Watt

See the original posting on Anandtech

While AMD’s Financial Analyst Day is first and foremost focused on the company’s financial performance – it’s right there in the title – this doesn’t stop the company from dropping a nugget or two of technical information along the way, to help excite investors on the future of the company.

One such nugget this year involves AMD’s forthcoming RDNA 2 family of client GPUs. The successor to the current RDNA (1) “Navi” family, RDNA 2 has been on AMD’s roadmap since last year. And it’s been previously revealed that, among other things, it will be the GPU architecture used in Microsoft’s forthcoming Xbox Series X gaming console. And while we’re still some time off from a full architecture reveal from AMD, the company is offering just a few more details on the architecture.

First and foremost, RDNA 2 is when AMD will fill out the rest of its consumer product stack, with their eye firmly on (finally) addressing the high-end, extreme performance segment of the market. The extreme high end of the market is small in volume, but it’s impossible to overstate how important it is to be seen there – to be seen as competing with the best of the best from other GPU vendors. While AMD isn’t talking about specific SKUs or performance metrics at this time, RDNA 2 will include GPUs that address this portion of the market, with AMD aiming for the performance necessary to deliver “uncompromising” 4K gaming.

But don’t call it "Big Navi". RDNA 2 isn’t just a series of bigger-than-RDNA (1) chips. The GPUs, which will be the codename “Navi 2X” family, also incorporate new graphics features that set them apart from earlier products. AMD isn’t being exhaustive here – and indeed they’re largely already confirming what we know from the Xbox Series X announcement – but hardware ray tracing as well as variable rate shading are on tap for RDNA 2. This stands to be important for AMD at multiple levels, not the least of which is closing the current feature gap with arch-rival NVIDIA.

And AMD didn’t stop there, either. Even to my own surprise, AMD isn’t just doing RDNA (1) with more features; RDNA 2 will also deliver on perf-per-watt improvements. All told, AMD is aiming for a 50% increase in perf-per-watt over RDNA (1), which is on par with the improvements that RDNA (1) delivered last year. Again speaking at a high level, these efficiency improvements will come from several areas, including microarchitectural enhancements (AMD even lists improved IPC here), as well as optimizations to physical routing and unspecified logic enhancements to “reduce complexity and switching power.”

Process nodes will also play some kind of a role here. While AMD is still going to be on a 7nm process here – and they are distancing themselves from saying that they’ll be using TSMC’s EUV-based “N7+” node – the company has clarified that they will be using an enhanced version of 7nm. To what extent those enhancements are we aren’t sure (possibly using TSMC’s N7P?), but AMD won’t be standing still on process tech.

This strong focus on perf-per-watt, in turn, will be a key component of how AMD can launch itself back into being a fully viable, top-to-bottom competitor with NVIDIA. While AMD is already generally at parity with NVIDIA here, part of that advantage comes from an atypical advantage in manufacturing nodes that AMD can’t rely on keeping. NVIDIA isn’t standing still for 2020, and neither can AMD. Improving power efficiency for RDNA 2 (and beyond) will be essential for convincingly beating NVIDIA.

Overall, AMD has significant ambitions with RDNA 2, and it shows. The architecture will be the cornerstone of a generation of consoles, and it will be AMD’s first real shot in the last few years at taking back the flagship video card performance crown. So we’re eagerly awaiting to see what else RDNA 2 will bring to the table, and when this year the first video cards based on the new architecture will begin shipping.

The MSI Creator TRX40 Motherboard Review: The $700 Flagship for Threadripper

See the original posting on Anandtech

The TRX40 chipset is designed to support all the current generation AMD Ryzen Threadripper processors including the 3990X which has 64-cores and 128-threads of processing power. On the test bench today is the MSI Creator TRX40 which is its current top-tier offering with a high-end feature set including four full-length PCIe 4.0 slots and supports up to three PCIe 4.0 x4 M.2 drives. With a feature set led by an Aquantia AQC107 10 gigabit Ethernet controller, and an Intel AX200 Wi-Fi 6 wireless adapter, MSI opts for a more content creator and professional theme for its flagship.

Sony Announces New Xperia 1 II Flagship, Teases Xperia PRO

See the original posting on Anandtech

Today Sony announces the successor to last year’s Xperia 1 flagship phone, the new Xperia 1 II, as well as teasing a new interesting device in the form of the Xperia PRO, aimed at professional photographers.

The Xperia 1 was the first Sony flagship device that followed the company’s mobile division reshuffle under the head of Kimio Maki, former head of Sony’s Alpha mirrorless camera success. The new Xperia 1 II further embraces this new merging of product lines within Sony as we’re seeing new synergies between features that made the Alpha line-up of devices popular.

The Xperia 1 II also upgrades its hardware to be on par with what you’d expect in 2020: Powered by a new Snapdragon 865 SoC, brand-new camera sensors, as well as a seemingly 90Hz screen, all while packing a bigger battery, the new device on paper looks to be an upgrade in the right places, all while retaining the signature characteristics that made the Xperia 1 a differentiating device in 2019. There are also some surprises in the mix, some good, and some possibly bad. We see the return of the 3.5mm headphone jack, but an odd lack of 5G in the US variants of the phone. We’re be going over the specifications in more detail:

Sony Xperia 1 Series
 

Sony Xperia 1 II

Sony Xperia 1
SoC Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 

1x Cortex-A77 @ 2.84GHz
3x Cortex-A77 @ 2.42GHz
4x Cortex-A55 @ 1.80GHz

Adreno 650 @ 587MHz

Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 

1x K485 (Cortex-A76) @ 2.84GHz
3x K485 (Cortex-A76) @ 2.42GHz
4x K485 (Cortex-A55) @ 1.80GHz

Adreno 640 @ 585MHz

DRAM 8GB LPDDR4X 6GB LPDDR4X
Display 6.5" AMOLED
3840 x 1644 (21:9)

90Hz (Interpolated?)

6.5" AMOLED
3840 x 1644 (21:9)

 

Size Height 166 mm 167 mm
Width 72 mm 72 mm
Depth 7.9 mm 8.2 mm
Weight 181 grams 178 grams
Battery Capacity 4000mAh

18W USB-PD Adaptive Charging

3330mAh

18W USB-PD Adaptive Charging

Wireless Charging Yes
Rear Cameras
Main 12MP 1.8µm Dual Pixel PDAF
1/1.7" sensor

24mm / 
f/1.7 with OIS

12MP 1.4µm Dual Pixel PDAF
1/2.6" sensor

26mm / 78°
f/1.6 with OIS

Telephoto 12MP 1.0µm PDAF
1/3.4" sensor

70mm /  / 3x zoom
f/2.4 with OIS

12MP 1.0µm PDAF
1/3.4" sensor

52mm / 45° / 2x zoom
f/2.4 with OIS

Wide 12MP 1.4µm Dual Pixel PDAF
1/2.6" sensor

16mm / 130°
f/2.2

12MP 1.0µm PDAF
1/3.4" sensor

16mm / 130°
f/2.4 fixed focus

Extra 3D Time-of-Flight (ToF)
Front Camera 8MP 1.12µm
f/2.0
8MP 1.12µm
f/2.0
Storage 256GB 128GB UFS 2.1
I/O USB-C
3.5mm headphone jack
USB-C
no 3.5mm headphone jack
Cellular 4G (US)

5G (Depending on market)

4G
Wireless (local) TBC 802.11ac Wave 2 Wi-Fi
Bluetooth 5.0 LE + NFC
IP Rating IP65 & IP68
Other Features Dual Speakers
Dual-SIM