Tagged With cpus

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Intel’s had a rough year, with major departures, security disasters, dwindling sales compared to its competitor, and the general appearance of a company trailing the competition technologically speaking. But in the twilight days of 2018 Intel’s laid out a plan of action to remind us all of exactly why Intel first crushed the competition to begin with, and it just gave us a peek behind the curtain about what’s to come.

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The launch of a new CPU, particularly a gaming-centric one, is supposed to be a flashy event. And when Intel unveiled their 9th generation desktop CPUs, including what they termed as "the best gaming processor ever", that was undoubtedly the plan.

But instead of flashy headlines and discussion about its gap over the competition, Intel has found itself in a scandal related to benchmarks, third-party firms, and the role the press plays in validating and refuting hype.

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I won’t lie, when AMD’s new 16-core monster CPU, the Ryzen Threadripper 2950X, arrived, I ran around the office showing off it and its accompanying air cooler to anyone who would make eye contact with me. The thing is enormous—easily twice as large as a standard desktop CPU from Intel.

The air cooler, saddled with the goofy name Wraith Ripper and festooned with LED lighting, is larger than most power supplies, and if dropped, it could do damage to floors, feet, and small woodland creatures. Even people who know nothing about computers were suitably impressed by these enormous pieces of PC. Then they’d ask how much the Threadripper 2950X cost.

And that’s where I’d lose them.

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There are few gambles in the tech world as big as spending billions to build a new computer processor from scratch. Former AMD board member Robert Palmer supposedly compared it to Russian roulette: "You put a gun to your head, pull the trigger, and find out four years later if you blew your brains out."

Six years ago AMD loaded the gun and pulled the trigger, dramatically restructuring itself internally in a mad bid to escape a disaster of its own making. Now we've seen the results and, instead of dying, AMD has a savvy new CPU microarchitecture, Zen, that's the foundation of the shockingly good new series of Ryzen processors. They're so good, in fact, that they could pose a real challenge to Intel's incumbent dominance and change what the computer market looks for the next few years.

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It looks as though Intel has some issues with its next generation of CPUs. Yesterday during an earnings call, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich admitted that Intel would be delaying the highly anticipated Cannon Lake processor until 2019. The delay means Intel's CPUs won't see a very large jump in speed or power efficiency any time soon.

Instead, we'll be getting the just-announced Whiskey Lake, a new CPU architecture, as well as a body of booze I'm sure more than one CPU designer at Intel would like to leap into.

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After Intel's very bad last few months and AMD's very good last few months, it seemed awfully confusing that the two rival CPU makers would team up for a new chip.

Sure it was all good for AMD - who is riding high on the success of its new Ryzen CPUs and Vega GPUs - but Intel has spent the last few months in the hot seat courtesy of the Meltdown and Spectre security fiasco. Every CPU the company makes, including the one reviewed here, is vulnerable without patch. Fortunately, the new Intel 8th-gen CPU with integrated AMD Vega graphics is so fast you can almost forgive the fact it had to be patched to be secure.

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It's been nearly a month since The Register first revealed that every single major processor in devices is subject to a series of harrowing security vulnerabilities known as Spectre and Meltdown. And in light of news that Intel informed foreign interests of the vulnerabilities before the US government, and that Microsoft is pulling its latest patch from Intel due to some heinous bugs, we thought we'd revisit the saga and what you can (and cannot) do to protect your data.