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AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2920X whether to take 12-core AMD instead of a Core i9-9900К?

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When the summer of 2017 AMD has released its first processors Threadripper, many took it as a revolution in the market HEDT (high-end desktop systems). Indeed, offers Intel for enthusiast high performance for a long time did not undergo significant progress. An increase in the number of compute cores was very slow, processors kept the high price and also often had limitations on the number available for use by PCI Express. Ryzen Threadripper steel in these circumstances a breath of fresh air: they all previously adopted rules were swept aside. While Intel was getting ready to release a 10-core chip with 44 lines PCI Express, senior AMD Ryzen Threadripper for the new HEDT platform immediately offered to enthusiasts 16 cores Zen and 60 PCI Express at a price of only one thousand dollars.

And that decision worked out perfectly, despite all the shortcomings of micro-Zen. No one will argue with the fact that the specific performance per core of AMD is obviously worse than the Intel Core. But professional users still perceived multi-core AMD processors with great enthusiasm as the challenges they face to their activities, usually suggesting the possibility of efficient parallelization. The first 16-core processor family Ryzen Threadripper, 1950X, was able to gain much popularity among the digital content creators. Now, a year later, AMD decided to radically increase its offer and launched the second generation of Threadripper, which included even more impressive monster – 32-nuclear Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX. However, fresh Ryzen Threadripper the second generation had at its disposal not only the increased number of cores, but a newer design Zen+, involving the use of modern 12-nm production technology, improved performance and higher clock frequency.

However, not Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX is the main character of this material. Family Ryzen Threadripper is not from one model, and the interest in this can represent not only the older version with the maximum number of compute cores. For example, the first generation Threadripper in which the processor was built on two eight crystals Zeppelin, consisted of three processors from 8, 12 and 16 cores. In the second generation the number of crystals in the structure of the processors has doubled, now there are four, and this gave the opportunity to release a 24 – and 32-nuclear Threadripper. At the same time updated the family survived and the processors of the two crystals, which provide 12 or 16 cores. In the end, the full family Ryzen Threadripper the second generation consists of four models, the lineup grew to include seven different HEDT processors.

  Cores/ Threads Base frequency, GHz Max. frequency, GHz L3 cache MB Memory support Lines PCIe TDP, watts Price
Threadripper 2990WX 32/64 3,0 4,2 64 4 × DDR4-2933 60 250 $1799
Threadripper 2970WX 24/48 3,0 4,2 64 4 × DDR4-2933 60 250 $1299
Threadripper 2950X 16/32 3,5 4,4 32 4 × DDR4-2933 60 180 $899
Threadripper 2920X 12/24 3,5 4,3 32 4 × DDR4-2933 60 180 $649
Threadripper 1950X 16/32 3,4 4,0 32 4 × DDR4-2667 60 180 $779
Threadripper 1920X 12/24 3,5 4,0 32 4 × DDR4-2667 60 180 $485
Threadripper 1900X 8/16 3,8 4,0 16 4 × DDR4-2667 60 180 $319

Processors Ryzen Threadripper the second generation with 16 and 32 cores available for sale from August and on our website you can find a separate dedicated review. But to date, the list of available to buy Ryzen Threadripper second generation finally, was supplemented by a 12-core model 2920X and 24-core processor 2970WX. Among these processors in the first place, our attention was attracted by a younger model.

The fact that the 12-core Ryzen Threadripper 2920X has a relatively low official price of $649. And this means that the CPU do not necessarily need to be regarded as relatively affordable, but still expensive HEDT model. From the position of prices it is quite possible to oppose and mass solutions — for example, enterostomy LGA1151v2 the flagship Core i9-9900K. The recommended price of the senior mass osmeteria Intel installed for $488, but to buy at this price. Due to the current market situation, when the availability of Intel CPU are very limited, the real price of the Core i9-9900K starting from $570, and it allows us to talk about Ryzen Threadripper 2920X as his opponent without much exaggeration.

In other words, in this article we will try to assess how Ryzen Threadripper 2920X may be of interest as the basis for normal desktop top price category. It may be that the youngest Ryzen Threadripper second generation, not the Core i9-9900K is worth recommending for those users who want to swing for the maximum or extreme build.

#Family Threadripper 2: the basics

Although we plan to oppose the 12-core Ryzen Threadripper massive improvement osmeteria, we should start with a reminder that ideologically 2920X as any other processor of this family, cannot be considered a simple improved Ryzen. The AMD approach to the creation of Threadripper was to adapt the EPYC server processors for desktop systems, so the processors have received some operational features which in certain circumstances can become a problem.

Processors EPYC is monstrous not only in performance but also in size to 4096 CPU pin socket, constructed using four hidden under the CPU cover eight crystals Zeppelin. Each of these crystals has its own dual channel memory controller and PCI Express controller on the line 32, and the sum of all that agriculture provides up to 32 cores up to 64 threads up to 128 PCI Express and up to eight memory channels.

With the release of the first generation Threadripper AMD decided not to give into the hands of enthusiasts all the capabilities available in server configurations. The initial opportunity was halved: users desktop got only two working crystal Zeppelin, that is up to 16 cores, Quad channel memory and 64 PCI Express, four of which were reserved for communication with the chipset. However, in the new generation Threadripper 2 of EPYC back: models 2970WX and 2990WX were built using four crystals Zeppelin. Do not add memory channels or lines PCI Express, which were originally cut at the platform level, but has allowed AMD to increase the number of compute cores, bringing the number up to 32 pieces in the older model.

At the same time in processors Threadripper 2920X and 2950X all have remained the same. They continue to build on a couple of crystals Zeppelin — the only difference is that now it is the improved silicon, which is produced by the 12-nm technology and has a microarchitecture Zen+. Due to this, even those Threadripper 2 that do not have extra cores, got a bit increased increased IPC (number of instructions cycles) and increased clock frequency. The increase in specific productivity is achieved through optimization of the cache memory. Zen+ the latency of L1-cache is reduced by approximately 8 %, the latency L2-cache – 9% and the latency L3 cache – 15 %. Using the same advanced 12-nm process technology GlobalFoundries (12LP) allows ceteris paribus to reduce the supply voltage of 80-120 mV, which in the end provides about 200-megahertz frequency extension capability.

Despite the fact that the processors Threadripper 2920X and 2950X against their older counterparts 2970WX and 2990WX look not so impressive, they have obvious advantage. The fact that, due to the design of the platform Threadripper, the older processors with 24 cores and 32 receive crystals Zeppelin two types: those that have their own memory controller, and those that don’t have it. Therefore, the memory access is uneven and half of the cores to work with the data forced to go through additional intermediaries in the face of neighboring crystals. This leads to a significant growth delay in loading this diversity of cases is fatal, leading to performance degradation. With processors Threadripper 2, constructed of two crystals, such a problem does not exist.

When we tested Threadripper 2990WX and 2950X, all of this was fully apparent. While the 16-core 2950X always worked better than its predecessor, 1950X, due to higher frequency and some improvements in microarchitecture, 2990WX was very capricious thing. In applications that are well rasparallelivanija and do not require accesses to large amounts of data, a 32-nuclear Threadripper 2 looked like “king of beasts”, inaccessible to any other chip. However, where the algorithms are tied to the memory, Threadripper 2990WX could significantly lose performance 16-core Threadripper 2950X. In other words, the older 32-core model can only be considered as a niche solution for rendering and nothing more. With younger modifications 2920X and 2950X no such problems there, they are versatile and perfectly suited for a wide range of tasks.

Speaking specifically about the main character of this review, Ryzen Threadripper 2920X, he, unlike 2950X, even more simple processor with 12, not 16 cores. It is based, as in the 16-core Threadripper 2950X used two 12-nm crystal Zeppelin. The only difference is that 2920X in each of these crystals is blocked by two cores, one in each block CCX (CPU Complex). And this organization has its pros and cons. On the one hand, the load generating higher number of threads will require more active treatment to relations between crystals which strong place in design Threadripper be considered as definitely not. But on the other cores have at their disposal more than Threadripper 2950X, volume cache of the third level and are better able to accelerate in frequency due to the technology of avtoradgona.

#Threadripper 2920X in detail

Overall Threadripper 2920X can be considered a simple update of last year’s Threadripper 1920X with better performance. The increase is mainly the increased frequencies. Although the nameplate base frequency for a of 3.5-GHz level, the maximum frequency in turbo mode is now declared at 4.3 GHz instead of 4.0 GHz.

It should be borne in mind that the performance increase will be supported with improved technology, Precision Boost 2 (PB2), which finely adjusts the operating frequency to the parameters of the loading and current power and Extended Frequency Range 2 (XFR2), further increasing the frequency of the processor in a favorable temperature mode. The result provided a high quality cooling Threadripper 2920X managed to keep the real frequency above 3.8 GHz at boot up to 12 cores.

This is clearly illustrated in the following graph, where the documented behavior Threadripper 2920X in the nominal mode when rendering in Blender using different numbers of cores.

As shown, the Threadripper 2920X works on the average on 300 MHz frequency frequency in comparison with the predecessor of the last generation, Threadripper 1920X.

The processor power is limited to specified in the specification, the TDP of 180 watts. Frequency Threadripper 2920X adjusted so that does not exceed the established specification limits.

The difference of the frequencies of the 12-core Threadripper first and second generation allows a high degree of reliability to estimate the level of performance that can provide a 12-core new product, because it is directly related to frequency. Micro-improvement in Zen+ minor and no changes in the design and implementation of mikrotechnik interactions in Threadripper 2920X no. This processor is based on two crystals Zeppelin with six active cores, dual channel memory controller and PCI Express controller 32 lines each. The connection between the crystals is realized through Infinity Fabric with a bandwidth of 50 GB/s (when operating mode memory DDR4-3200). In other words, the internal structure Threadripper 2920X identical to the structure of 1920X.

As before, the internal topology of double-crystal Threadripper 2920X allows to use system memory UMA and NUMA modes. Mode, the default, performs UMA when the memory that is physically connected to two different crystals, collected in a single domain, which is a four-channel access. It is this balanced configuration provides the best performance in most cases.

Режим UMA (Distributed)

Mode UMA (Distributed)

However, the utility Ryzen Master users can switch to the NUMA mode, when each of the crystals runs in dual channel mode memory. In the case when the load is low-flow in nature and all active processes that belong to the same application, you can assemble within the framework of the six-core NUMA node, it reflects the latency.

Режим NUMA (Local)

Mode NUMA (Local)

#Acceleration and Precision Boost Override

Since we decided to oppose Threadripper 2920X typical desktop processor, the Core i9-9900K, subject acceleration it is impossible to ignore. Typically, the processors of class Ryzen Threadripper not differ noticeable undisclosed frequency potential. For example, 16-core Threadripper 2950X in our laboratory was able to overcome a mark of 4.1 GHz, but no more. With Threadripper 2920X the situation was similar, except that 12-core CPU managed to overclock a little better – to 4.15 GHz.

This dispersal required an increase in voltage to 1.35 V and enable Load-Line Calibration. When testing stability with Prime95 29.4 the CPU temperature did not exceed 82 degrees, and the maximum CPU power consumption was 240 watts. However, no problems with stable operation of the computer did not arise, good for heat dissipation we used a liquid cooling system MSI motherboard MSI 240 TR4 with a special waterblock that completely covers the surface Threadripper.

Speaking on the topic of overclocking, not to mention about another opportunity – function Precision Boost Override, which appeared in all processors Ryzen second generation, including new Threadripper. It can realize intelligent overclocking CPU to a fixed frequency, and dynamically so that the frequency is automatically adjusted to the current load in the process.

The point is that AMD implemented turbo mode, which is controlled by the Precision Boost technology 2, does not work by a simple formula that matches the frequency and the number of loaded cores, and relies on quite different parameters. Operating frequency is determined based on the current consumption and calculated heat dissipation, which allows you to manage performance is much more subtle.

The Boost Override function of Precision in turn allows you to change the pre-programmed standard limits for electric and thermal characteristics of the CPU. Raising them, the user can increase the aggressiveness of the turbo, allowing the processor adjusting its own frequency to take the high levels as with a weak and under multithreaded load. Such acceleration in many cases more interesting than just setting a fixed frequency, because when you use Precision Boost Override processor continues to interactively adapt the frequency under load, but makes it much bolder than in the nominal condition.

AMD said that with the installation of the CPU powerful enough cooling system performance through Precision Boost Override can be raised by about 13 percent. In other words, this acceleration is a (or even the best) analogue antalovsky the function of Multi-Core Enhancements, which, sacrificing the efficiency, also displays the CPU beyond the rated regime. And there all done so that not to create problems with the stability of the system. The user only need to accept the fact that in the name of higher performance will have to sacrifice heat and power consumption.

Strictly speaking, to configure a Precision Boost Override the motherboard BIOS or the utility Ryzen Master you need to change three parameters: PPT Limit – the maximum allowable level of heat dissipation of the processor (CPU Package); TDC Limit the maximum current which does not lead to overheating the VRM circuit Board; and EDC Limit – the maximum current that does not cause electrical overload of the VRM Board. However, the majority of motherboard manufacturers offer a simple method of modifying these parameters in one click.

For example, in the BIOS we use to test the motherboard MSI MEG X399 Creation option Precision Boost Override allows you to raise the bar allowed power consumption of the processor 300, 400 or 500 watts in one fell swoop.

For the experiment, we chose the maximum option — 500 watt, and it really increased the working frequencies of the CPU by 200-300 MHz without any damage to the stability of the system. The profile of the frequency is illustrated in the following graph, which displays the behavior Threadripper 2920X when rendering in Blender using different numbers of cores.

As you can see, activate, Boost Precision Override is allowed to transfer the operating frequencies of the test Threadripper 2920X in the range of 4.0-4.3 GHz. The most significant increase in frequency occurred in the modes with high CPU load, but at low-flow loads the processor has not lost its ability to avtoradgona. Therefore, Precision Boost Override can indeed be a better option than a simple overclock of 4.15 GHz to fixed. Especially in this case, the processor not only receives the higher rate during low-flow load, but retains the ability to fold it together with the voltage in idle moments.

Incidentally, this mode proved to be more economical overall. As can be seen from the measurement results, the power consumption of the processor when testing in Blender increased in comparison with the performance in nominal mode is not stronger than 10-15 %.

Although AMD considers Precision Boost Override a variety of acceleration and does not provide in respect of this mode are no guarantees, we are pretty sure that most owners Threadripper the second generation will want to provide them a free additional boost to performance. And deter, we will not: Precision Boost Override does not violate the stability of the system and works in such a way that the CPU temperature stays within acceptable limits. Therefore, there is no reason not to take advantage of this opportunity, especially in the case of a 12-core Threadripper 2920X, which are unlikely to overload the power system on the motherboard.


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Review ASUS ROG MAXIMUS GENE XI: Micro-ATX hard boiled

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Our website is one of the few online resources in the Russian segment, which still pays attention to motherboards and has been tested on latest devices all present on our market for the producers. However, by going to the “motherboard” 3DNews, we will see that the last review of the motherboard form factor mATX, which you can use to build a really powerful gaming PC, came out in early 2017. Such payment to and acceleration was all right, and with reliability and functionality. Basically, if we are talking about reviews, in the test lab hosted ATX and mini-ITX solutions are the current trend. Meanwhile, there are Micro-ATX case, which is quite suitable for the solution of the given task — they are well-organized cooling and they are able to accommodate powerful hardware. Thing is, it turns out, for small: need payment — and one of the few options left will be ASUS ROG MAXIMUS GENE XI. About all the pros and cons of the device read in this review.



#Specifications and packaging

The people series motherboards MAXIMUS GENE long dubbed the “Genicam”. Main features of the 11th version of “Eugene”, supporting processors, Coffee Lake (Refresh) that are listed in the table below.

Supported processors Intel 9-th and 8-th generations (Core, Pentium and Celeron Gold) for LGA1151 platform-v2
Chipset Intel Z390 Express
Memory subsystem 2 x DIMM slots, up to 64 GB of DDR4-2133-4700 (OC)
Expansion slots 1 × PCI Express x16
1 × PCI Express x4
The storage interface 2 × M. 2 (Socket 3, 2242/2260/2280) with support for PCI Express x4
1 × DIMM.2 PCI Express x8
4 × SATA 6GB/s
RAID 0, 1, 10
LAN Intel I219V, 10/100/1000 Mbps
Wireless network Intel Wireless-AC 9560
Audio ROG SupremeFX (S1220A) 7.1 HD
Interfaces on the rear panel 1 × PS/2
1 × HDMI
1 × RJ-45
1 × optical S/PDIF
3 × USB 3.1 Gen2 Type A
1 × USB 3.1 Gen2 Type C
6 × USB 3.1 Gen1 Type A
2 × USB 2.0 Type A
5 × 3.5 mm audio
Form factor mATX
Price 23 000 rubles

The device is Packed in a small but colorful cardboard box. In addition to the cost, it was a lot of accessories, both useful and not:

  • user guide, all kinds of stickers, cardboard stand for the mug, as well as optical media with software and drivers;
  • external antenna for wireless communication module;
  • two custom SATA cable;
  • one extension cable to connect the RGB strip;
  • the additional screws to install the SSD;
  • Q-connector for easy connection of buttons of the housing;
  • ROG DIMM module.2, support the installation of two SSD.

#Design and capabilities

ASUS ROG MAXIMUS GENE XI established on the basis of a full form factor mATX, in which each side of the printed circuit Board has a length of 244 mm. We focus on it because the budget segment is common to encounter devices that have an even more reduced printed circuit boards approaching the size rather to the mini-ITX format.





Theoretically any Board form factor mATX allows you to unsolder the four expansion slots (compared to seven connectors from standard ATX). However, ASUS ROG MAXIMUS GENE XI includes just two ports, one of which — PEG, aka PCI Express x16 3.0. This connector is further reinforced. A makeshift metal frame called SafeSlot, according to ASUS, increases the strength of the port by 1.8 times under the load of fracture, and 1.6 times when the load on the pulling. Given the fact that “Jack” can realistically become the basis for a bench-bench, this strengthening PEG port clearly will not be superfluous, because sometimes a day has to switch the graphics card by 10 times and more.

Near to the CPU socket is a PCI Express x4 slot is four lines from the chipset, corresponding to the standard 3.0. The connector has no latch, so it can be set to anything — even video card. However, technologies like AMD CrossFire and NVIDIA SLI, consider the card does not support, so put here the graphics card makes no sense.

What PCI Express x4 wired, so to speak, the first is good. This fact, on the one hand, means that we can use in the system of a huge supercooler. So, no its Archon or Noctua NH-D15 does not overlap the main PEG port (as, however, and PCI Express x4).

Achilles ‘ heel ASUS ROG MAXIMUS GENE XI is considered close proximity of the two DIMM sockets to the CPU socket LGA1151-v2. The distance from the center of the socket until the first slot is only (!) 45 mm. This means that most tower coolers will block the DIMM ports required for installation of RAM. The Board supports the installation of ultra-fast modules of standard DDR4, which means that the system can use sets of RAM with extra large heat sinks, which moreover do not get along with supernumerary.

It is obvious that ASUS ROG MAXIMUS GENE XI “adapted” to the use of maintenance-free liquid cooling system, but here we catch the problems. So, the new “dropsy” NZXT Kraken X62, used in the stand also blocked the DIMM slots — because pipe and fittings this WITH the right. In the end had to deploy the new “Kraken” at 90 degrees, and this, dear readers, is the farm, because “water” has a lighted logo that implies a definite location (although the backlight can be disabled in the cooling device). So here you need a responsible approach to the selection of water cooling. For example, AMD A80 you have such problems will not arise.

By the way, the number of DIMM slots, I have no complaints. ASUS ROG MAXIMUS GENE XI is a device that will be used along with pricey components, therefore with very high probability the system will install the dual channel kit 32 GB. Install — and forget about the lack of RAM the next many years.

The DIMM slots are soldered so close to the CPU socket because of the attempts of engineers to ASUS to cram followed by another three connectors. Immediately behind the ports under the RAM are two M. 2 slots — they have a combined metal cap, which plays simultaneously the role of passive cooling. And behind them — DIMM connector.2 to install a special expansion card that is firmly entrenched in the top motherboards MAXIMUS series. Read more about it below.

M. 2 ports can install two SSD form factors 2242, 2260 and 2280 — each connector will only work in PCI Express 3.0 x4 (lines — chipset). They are covered with a large aluminum heatsink. He was, incidentally, can be removed only if the slot PCI Express x16 graphics card is not installed. To do this, Unscrew the two screws.

Hindsight, as you know, we are all strong. If I were the engineer at ASUS, the DIMM slots are pushed to the place under M. 2 drives, and the slots for the SSD ROG MAXIMUS GENE XI divided: one mounted above the PCI Express x4 or right of it, redoing chipsety radiator and moving the slot for the batteries; the second M. 2 would make vertical. Actually, the way it is implemented, for example, in ASUS Prime X299-Deluxe. Yes, that would be not so beautiful, but, in my opinion, more practical.

And still on the Board illuminated the entire right side and a large icon with the ROG on the plastic plug I/O panel. Also ASUS ROG MAXIMUS GENE XI is equipped with two 4-pin connectors for connecting led strips and other RGB peripherals.

In the DIMM slots.2 is a ROG branded motherboard DIMM.2. For the first time this design feature the “Republican” motherboards came from ASUS Maximus IX Apex, which was published in 2017. To the slot supplied eight lines PCI Express 3.0 from the CPU. Therefore, if we use it, the only PEG-device port automatically operates in the x8 mode.

The design of the DIMM card.2 changed again, and the new variant is passive cooling for SSD. The Board itself allows you to install two M. 2-drive up to a length of 110 mm each.

Due to this configuration, the M. 2 ports, in particular, the motherboard has only four SATA connectors 6 GB/s. But the gaming PC, a number pad would be sufficient.

ASUS ROG MAXIMUS GENE XI is equipped with seven 4-pin connectors to plug the fans. For mATX Board is a great figure! In this part of connector (five) highlighted in black — they allow you to regulate the speed of not only the “Carlson” with a shim. Therefore, there is no need to use additional device like a fan controller, or pick a case with a built-in controller for the fans. Beauty! The remaining two connectors — white, they can’t lower the speed. They can “hang”, such as fans with originally low speeds.

There are 4-pin connectors, generally successfully. For example, we use a small Tower case and a two-piece DLC. Pump and fans “dropsy” are connected to the top row of connectors. Corpus impeller, located on the rear wall, to the socket near the PCI Express x4 slot, and the front Cabinet fan — port W_PUMP located on the bottom and deployed at 90 degrees. This port will be useful to those who collect custom DLC along with ASUS ROG MAXIMUS GENE XI tank with a pump usually mounted in the lower part of the Tower housing.

Yes, all the connectors are located at the bottom of the PCB, deployed 90 degrees. This is because the video card with a three slot cooler will simply cover that area of the motherboard. Interesting ports internal I note the presence W_IN/OUT W_Flow — these connectors are monitoring the temperature of the refrigerant and the speed of the liquid flow in the cooling system. And yet the Board there is a connector Node is required to connect a compatible power supply. If you do, you will be able to control the fan speed of the PSU, as well as to follow the input and output voltages. The list of compatible hardware can be found here.

Panel I / o Board is equipped with an integrated plug. It is quite tightly Packed the various ports — in addition to the five analog audio jacks and optical S/P-DIF output, it is possible to detect the display’s HDMI output, combo PS/2 port (still needed during extreme overclocking, since the USB controller in a stressful environment can “fall off”), set of USB ports, including a new-fangled Type-C, Gigabit network, and even two buttons ClearCMOS and USB BIOS Flashback.

Wired network connection is created using the Intel I219-V and wireless — by Wireless-AC 9560, which, in addition to the standard Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac with a capacity of up to 1733 Mbps, and supports Bluetooth 5.0.

Sound in ASUS ROG MAXIMUS GENE XI, as in many other ROG-boards, meets the audio codec, Supreme FX, which is based on the familiar Realtek chip ALC1220A. The manufacturer claims that he gets “exclusive version” of this chip, therefore, the name of the second letter A. In comparison with the “standard” Realtek ALC1220 the ratio of “signal to noise” from “elite,” 113 vs 108 dB. Traditionally, expensive boards in the composition of the audio included high-quality Nichicon capacitors and operational amplifier RC4580 OPA1688 and production Texas Instruments. The audio chip is shielded, and all elements of the sound system is separated from the other components of the PCB strip, which does not conduct current.

All series motherboards MAXIMUS suitable for overclocking and ROG MAXIMUS GENE XI and for extreme overclocking. Therefore, the Board has several overclocking “uluchshayzerov” that make life easier for young and not so young enthusiasts. Buttons power and reset, as well as the POST indicator signals it is easy to notice. And in the right part of the PCB there are indicators QLED that demonstrate, at what stage is the computer is booted. There are also ReTry button (instantly reboots the system) and Safe Boot (runs stand with secure settings). Add to this the switches MemOK! Pause (the PC is put on pause so the user can change parameters during execution of the benchmark) and Slow Mode (instant reset CPU multiplier to 8x, to accommodate the computer severe tests). Finally, in the bottom of the device are the contact track ProbeIt, allows using the DMM to measure the exact parameters of the main stress system. It is really unfortunate. When you use graphics cards with three slot cooler for her not to get close (or get close, but then you have to work a soldering iron). Anyway to run the probe near the rotating fan 3D accelerator — so.


The power of the CPU is made by two 8-pin connectors. Don’t forget that power supply with this cable set do not occur very often, and basically we are talking about powerful devices — watts on the 700 and more. However, the additional power to the processor is necessary only in extreme cases.

At the core of the Converter power supply ASUS ROG MAXIMUS GENE XI is a PWM controller ASP1405I. It may seem that the Board is equipped with 12 phases, but it is not. Each channel is responsible for the operation the CPU is equipped with two inductors and two assemblies IR3555. Two single-phase “look out” for iGPU. Looks power Converter very powerful.

During the cooling of field-effect transistors meets an array of a pair of aluminum radiators is of medium size, combined, however, copper deplorable. About how effectively the system works cooling the VRM area in the acceleration, I will tell you next.


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The Intel Core i5-9400F: fake Coffee Lake Refresh

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Despite the obvious difficulties with the production of 14-nm chips in sufficient quantities, Intel continues to gradually expand the lineup of Core processors, the ninth generation, known under the code name Coffee Lake Refresh. However, given it to her with varying degrees of success. That is, formally in the lineup really added new products, but in retail they appear very reluctant, and some models presented immediately after the New year novelties have been unable to check in the stores until now.

However, based on official data, now for the platform LGA1151v2 there are already at least nine desktop models of the Core pertaining to the thousandth of the series, including processors with four, six and eight cores. Moreover, the composition of this family includes not only the obvious representatives with predictable characteristics, but also unexpected CPU that is different from all predecessors ideologically. We are talking about CPUs F-series mass desktop chips, the specifications of which is not stated integrated graphics core.

Surprising in their appearance that these deals have expanded the range of consumer Intel for the first time in the last eight years, during which the company offered for mass segment only solution with integrated graphics. But now something has changed and the microprocessor giant has been forced to revise his principles. And we even know that: failures in planning and difficulties with the commissioning process with a 10-nm standards has led to a serious lack of Intel on the market, to mitigate which the company is trying by all means. The release of processors without integrated graphics – one of the rather apparent measures aimed at achieving this goal. Thanks to it the manufacturer has been able to set a serial processor previously considered defective semiconductor workpiece with a corrupted graphics core, which even at eight Coffee Lake Refresh “biting” up to 30 % of the area is 174 mm crystal. In other words, such a measure capable of increasing the yield and significantly reduce waste.

However, if Intel is the point in the release of processors F-series is quite obvious, that Benet from the emergence of such offers consumers the issue is very controversial. The chosen manufacturer of the tactic is that trimmed at its core, the processors are implemented without any discounts, for the same price as their “full” counterparts. In order to fully understand this situation, we decided to take the tests one of the Core lineup of the ninth generation, devoid of the integrated graphics and try to find his hidden advantages.

As the object for investigation was selected as Core i5-9400F Junior six-core CPU generation Coffee Lake Refresh. This chip of particular interest: its predecessor, the Core i5-8400, at the time, was very popular thanks to very attractive ratio of price and performance. Officially announced four months ago, Core i5-9400 (no F in the name) offers a slightly higher frequency such at the same price, but selling him is practically impossible. But the Core i5-9400F represented on the shelves everywhere, and, moreover, since the deficit of this model does not apply, its real value in retail as close as possible to recommended. However, this does not Core i5-9400F a good option for “basic” configurations automatically, because now AMD in the same price category offers six-core processors Ryzen 5, which, in contrast to the Core i5 series have the support for multithreading (SMT). That is why today’s quiz promises to be especially meaningful: it must give an answer to several questions and clearly show whether the Core i5-9400F chance to repeat the success of the legendary Core i5-8400.

#Lineup Refresh Coffee Lake

To date, there have been two waves of announcements of processors that are conditionally related to the generation of Coffee Lake Refresh. Despite the fact that such a CPU is largely similar to its predecessors from the family of Coffee Lake, Intel refer them to the ninth generation of Core numbers and indices, start with the number 9. And if the Core i7 and Core i9 this distinction may be partly justified, because they first obtained an eight compute cores, the new processors series Core i5 and Core i3 got an increase in model numbers for the most part. In fact, they only offer higher clock frequency.

While no improvements on the level microarchitecture can not speak at all. And surprise, to be honest, it doesn’t matter. Intel practiced the concept of development is that the profound changes in processors attached to the improvement of production technologies. Therefore, the delay in the implementation of the 10-nm process technology lead to the fact that we once again have to deal with the Skylake microarchitecture, released in 2015. However, what is surprising for some reason Intel does not seek to change features that do not require any noticeable change. For example, the official Coffee Lake Refresh continue to rely on dual DDR4-2666 memory, while AMD has repeatedly adds to its processors support high-speed modes, reaching in the latest versions of mobile Raven Ridge already up to DDR4-3200. The only thing that made Intel, is increased up to 128 GB of memory supported in systems based on Coffee Lake Refresh.

However, despite the absence of changes in microarchitecture, Intel still manages to produce quite an interesting model, extensive methods – increasing the number of cores and clock frequency. The first wave of announcements Coffee Lake Refresh, which took place in October last year, brought three flagship overclocking of the processor, to conquer new frontiers of performance: OCTA core Core i9-9900K and Core i7-9700K, as well as six-core Core i5-9600K. With the second wave of the Christmas list for the latest processors added another six CPU easier. In the end, the full nomenclature of the Refresh Coffee Lake began to look like the following.

Cores/ threads Base frequency, GHz Turbocheetah, GHz L3 cache MB iGPU IGPU frequency, GHz Memory TDP, watts Price
Core i9‑9900K 8/16 3,6 5,0 16 UHD 630 1,2 DDR4‑2666 95 $488
Core i9‑9900KF 8/16 3,6 5,0 16 No DDR4‑2666 95 $488
Core i7‑9700K 8/8 3,6 4,9 12 UHD 630 1,2 DDR4‑2666 95 $374
Core i7‑9700KF 8/8 3,6 4,9 12 No DDR4‑2666 95 $374
Core i5‑9600K 6/6 3.7 V 4,6 9 UHD 630 1,15 DDR4‑2666 95 $262
Core i5‑9600KF 6/6 3.7 V 4,6 9 No DDR4‑2666 95 $262
Core i5‑9400 6/6 2,9 4,1 9 UHD 630 1,05 DDR4‑2666 65 $182
Core i5‑9400F 6/6 2,9 4,1 9 No DDR4‑2666 65 $182
Core i3‑9350KF 4/4 4,0 4,6 8 No DDR4‑2400 91 $173

The main part of the processors added to the released in the first place overclocking K-models later, consists of chips, deprived of the integrated graphics core. Technically Core i9-9900KF, Core i7-9700KF and Core i5-9600KF are based on exactly the same semiconductor Foundation, and have absolutely the same characteristics as the Core i9-9900K, Core i7-9700K and Core i5-9600K, differing only in the fact that they don’t offer the built-in GPU, in hardware blocks at the production stage.

But the list of innovations of the second wave can be seen and indeed a new model. First is the Core i3-9350KF is the only Coffee Lake Refresh Quad core processor with an unlocked multiplier. If you close your eyes to the lack of built-in GPU, it is possible to calculate an updated version of the Core i3-8350K, which was accelerated by adding Turbo Boost technology 2.0 and the newfound ability of automatic overclocking to 4.6 GHz.

Another more-or-less full new in the second wave it is possible to calculate Core i5-9400 and devoid of the integrated graphics Core i9 fellow-9400F. The value of these models lies in the fact that with their help, Intel has significantly lowered the cost of the Junior six-core Coffee Lake Refresh, allowing you to use the latest generation CPU in the configuration baseline. However, formal differences between Core i5-9400 from last year’s hit, Core i5-8400, not so much. Clock frequency increased by only 100 MHz, which is likely due to the desire of the microprocessor giant to leave your younger shestiyaderny within the 65-watt thermal package. As a result, the gap in the maximum frequency in turbo mode between the senior and the Junior six-core processors in the family Coffee Lake Refresh increased to 500 MHz, while in the generation of Coffee Lake it was only 300 MHz.

Judging from the specs, it seems that trump the new Core i5-9400 and Core i5-9400F on the background of the old Core i5-8400 really nothing. However, the specifications in this case do not give quite the full picture. During the announcement of the first Coffee Lake Refresh, Intel said, including about the advantages of an indirect nature. For example, for a new generation of chips was promised a change of the internal thermal interface: polymer place of thermal paste was to take a highly bestlady solder. But does this apply to the Junior six-core Core processors, the ninth generation? It turns out that not always.

#Details about Core i5-9400F

It so happened that, releasing the Coffee Lake Refresh processors, Intel raked in the pile, several different variants of semiconductor crystals with process technology 14 nm++, and not all of them are in fact new. Based on Core processors, the ninth generation may lie as semiconductor crystals, designed for them specifically, and relatively old versions of the silicon, which was used extensively including in the processors of the eighth generation ranked as family Coffee Lake.

In particular, at the moment aware of the existence of at least four stoppingof crystals that are set in a certain mass the Core of thousandth of the series:

  • P0 – the only “honest” option of the crystal, which is really unfair to make Coffee Lake Refresh. This crystal has eight cores and is used in overclocking the Intel Core i9-9900K, Core i7-9700K and Core i5-9600K in their F-variations of the Core i9-9900KF, Core i7-9700KF and Core i5-9600KF, as well as the Intel Core i5-9400;
  • U0 – six-core crystal used in processors Coffee Lake, that is, in the eighth generation Core. Now it is used to create a six-core Core i5-9400F;
  • B0 the Quad – core chip, which is used for the Intel Core i3-9350K. This version of silicon, too, came into the Quad-core processor straight out of the Coffee Lake, including the Core i3-8350K;
  • R0 – a new stepping of a crystal, in which it is assumed will be the senior Core processors, the ninth generation, starting in may. Currently, the serial CPU does not occur, and therefore no specific information about its features and causes no.

Thus, the Core i5-9400F about which we are talking in this review, is the black sheep: one of a kind processor that may be internal to the device is different from the other six-core and eight-core counterparts-generation Coffee Lake Refresh. Strictly speaking, it is not a stripped-down or time-lapse version of the Core i5-9600K or Core i5-9400, and a slightly overclocked variant of the old Core i5-8400 with disabled graphics core.

And I must say, this is manifested not only in the screenshots diagnostic utilities that show for the Core i5-9400F old stepping U0 instead of a new P0. In Core i5-9400F in fact, there is no innovation peculiar to Coffee Lake Refresh. In particular, the Assembly of these chips soldering the die to the heat-spreading lid is not applied, and the internal thermal interface is exactly the same polymer compound used in processors Coffee Lake.

Core i5-9400F и Core i5-9600K без крышки. Фото momomo_us

Core i5-9400F and Core i5-9600K without a lid. Photo momomo_us

In addition, the Core i5-9400F, unlike the rest of a new generation of Coffee Lake Refresh going on the PCB with thinner the PCB is the same as used for conventional Coffee Lake.

Слева направо: Core i5-8400, Core i5-9400F и Core i5-9600K

From left to right: Core i5-8400, Core i5-9400F and Core i5-9600K

And moreover, even the shape of the heat-spreading lid Core i5-9400F gives the relationship of the Core CPU of the eighth generation. Because purebred Coffee Lake Refresh cover has changed.

Слева направо: Core i5-8400, Core i5-9400F и Core i5-9600K

From left to right: Core i5-8400, Core i5-9400F and Core i5-9600K

In other words, there is no doubt that the Core i5-9400F – in fact, no Coffee Lake Refresh and rejection of previous-generation processors with disabled graphics core. And this applies to all wholly supplied at present, the serial Core i5-9400F that largely explains the wide availability of these processors at a time when the mass supply of Coffee Lake Refresh others continue to experience significant problems. For example, formally announced simultaneously with the Core i5-9400F its “full” counterpart with integrated graphics UHD Graphics 630, which should be based on “fair” crystal stepping P0, in retail sales is still missing.

At the same time, the microprocessor giant doesn’t exclude the possibility of transfer Core i5-9400F on the “right” stepping P0 in the medium term. But it will happen, obviously, only when all accumulated in the warehouses of Coffee Lake with a defective integrated GPU will be successfully sold out.

However, for most users this fact of forgery of silicon crystals is unlikely to have any significance. Anyway, Core i5-9400F real shestiyadernik without support Hyper-Threading, which at any load is running at 100 MHz faster than its predecessor, Core i5-8400. This means that the frequency formula Core i5-9400F corresponds to $10 more expensive Core i5-8500.

Despite the fact that Core i5-9400F claimed comparatively low base frequency of 2.9 GHz, in reality this CPU is able to work much faster thanks to technology Turbo Boost 2.0. If enabled, the Multi-Core Enhancements (that is the default mode for the vast majority of motherboards) under full load, the Core i5-9400F able to keep the frequency of 3.9 GHz accelerating under load on one core to 4.1 GHz.

  Nominal frequency The maximum frequency Turbo Boost 2.0
1 core 2 cores 3 core 4 cores 5 cores 6 cores
Core i5-8400 2.8 GHz 4.0 GHz 3.9 GHz 3.9 GHz 3.9 GHz 3.8 GHz 3.8 GHz
Core i5-8500 3.0 GHz 4,1 GHz 4.0 GHz 4.0 GHz 4.0 GHz 3.9 GHz 3.9 GHz
Core i5-9400(F) 2.9 GHz 4,1 GHz 4.0 GHz 4.0 GHz 4.0 GHz 3.9 GHz 3.9 GHz

No overclocking capabilities in this speech, of course, is not. The most capable Core i5-9400F, for the maximum allowed in the technology Turbo Boost 2.0 frequency. And on motherboards with chipsets H370, B360 or H310 do not get to use and faster than DDR4-2666 memory. More speed modes available only on motherboards with older chipsets Z370 or Z390.


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