Intel Launches Sweepstakes for Core i7-8086K and Processor Details

Intel is running a sweepstakes, which began today and runs through tomorrow to win one of their new Core i7-8086K processors. The contest is celebrating 40 years of x86 computing since the initial 8086 release. It began today, June 7, at 5:00 PST and runs for only 24 hours, so hurry and enter if you are interested. Intel is giving away 8,086 of the processors, 2,086 in the United States, and the rest in other regions around the globe. Winners are being chosen on June 11. The processor is described as a limited-edition, available through the sweepstakes, and unknown if it will be available at retail later.

The processor is part of their 8th generation Core family, using the Coffee Lake architecture. Like other Coffee Lake products, it is built on a 14nm process. It is similar to the existing i7-8700K, but slightly faster.

Core i7-8700K Core i7-8086K
Cores/Threads 6/12 6/12
Base Frequency 3.7 GHz 4.0 GHz
Turbo Frequency (single core) 4.7 GHz 5.0 GHz
L3 cache 12MB 12MB
TDP 95W 95W
Graphics UHD Graphics 630 UHD Graphics 630
GPU Frequency 350-1200 MHz 350-1200 MHz
Price $359 Sweepstakes value listed as $425

The other differences are that the 8086K does not have vPro support and is not part of Intel’s Stable Image Platform Program. Neither is surprising given that it is a limited edition processor.

China will have 2000 8086K’s awarded, Germany 1000, and 500 each in Canada, U.K., France, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan.

Threadripper 2 With 32 Cores, 64 Threads Announced by AMD at Computex

AMD introduced Threadripper 2, the next version of their high-end desktop platform, during their press conference at Computex in Taipei. Not many details were shared, as the CPUs will not be released until sometime in Q3 2018. Most importantly, AMD said that Threadripper 2 will have a 32-core, 64-thread model, as well as a 24-core, 48-thread model. There was no mention of clock speeds, though AMD’s demonstration showed both the 24-core and 32-core model running with an air cooler, possibly a bit of shade being thrown at Intel over their 5GHz 28-core demo, which appeared to be using a chilled water cooler according to Tom’s Hardware.

Other details that AMD did share were that Threadripper 2 will contain the same enhancements as the 2nd generation Ryzen desktop processors released in April. These include being built on a 12nm process, and the Zen+ architecture. It was specifically mentioned that the 32-core version uses four active Ryzen 2nd-gen die in one CPU package, tied together with AMD’s Infinity Fabric. The first version of Threadripper with 16 cores, used 2 active die, though four were present in the CPU package. Threadripper 2 is also a drop-in replacement in existing X399 motherboards (likely with a BIOS update).

AMD’s demonstration showed the 24-core Threadripper outperforming an 18-core Intel i9 in a rendering test in Blender by a fair amount. The 32-core was also demoed, though not directly against an Intel product.

The replay of the press conference is available on Youtube here.

Update: Anandtech has posted slides from AMD’s presentation which show that both the 24-core and 32-core Threadripper 2 CPUs had a 3.0 GHz base frequency, and 3.4GHz (all-core) Turbo frequency, along with a 250W TDP. The turbo speed is noted as WIP. The slide also showed that the 24-core was using DDR4-2666, while the 32-core used DDR4-3200 RAM. That appears to have put the 24-core TR2 at a disadvantage in it’s head-to-head rendering test compared to the Intel i9, which was using DDR4-3200, and as Ryzen based systems are impacted more by memory speeds.

Snapdragon 850 for Windows 10 ARM PCs introduced by Qualcomm

On Monday, Qualcomm introduced a new version of their mobile platform for Windows on ARM PCs, the Snapdragon 850. This replaces the Snapdragon 835 Mobile PC platform used in the initial set of always connected Windows ARM devices. The 850 includes a number of enhancements, with Gigabit LTE download speeds via their X20 modem being featured. In terms of battery life, Qualcomm is claiming 25 hours of video playback or multi-day life under normal usage scenarios. We’ll have to wait for devices to be released to see if those claims hold up under real-life usage.

The Snapdragon 850 Mobile PC platform essentially seems to be a modified version of the Snapdragon 845, as the architecture and many of the features carry over from the platform used in mobile phones. The 8 Kryo 385 CPU cores are similar, though they get a slight speed bump from 2.8GHz to 2.96GHz. It’s worth noting that Anandtech compared the SD845 (with Kryo 385 cores) against the SD835 (Kryo 285 cores) and measured a performance improvement of 20-40% in integer tests using Geekbench 4, and a more significant 40-60% increase floating point scores.  The SD850 will have an additional benefit of a 6% clock speed increase. This means that Windows ARM PCs based on the SD850 should see a pretty significant performance improvement over the first-generation devices. The likely release of a new iPad Pro in late 2018 should make for interesting performance comparisons. Continue reading “Snapdragon 850 for Windows 10 ARM PCs introduced by Qualcomm”

DEAL: 1TB SanDisk Ultra 3D SSD for $200 at Best Buy

Best Buy currently has the SanDisk Ultra 3D 1TB SSD available for $200. This is a 2.5″ SATA SSD, and has received a Recommended rating from Anandtech (see the review), noting good performance at a reasonable price. At 20 cents/GB this is a pretty solid deal. The Samsung 860 Evo 1TB seems to be going for $260-280 at this point, and I don’t think the minor performance improvement is really worth an extra 30% or so in cost. Some other competitive drives, like the Crucial MX500 seem to be selling for around $230 at Amazon and other places. Note: Best Buy’s weekly sales usually begin on Sunday, so I’m guessing that the $200 price is good through Saturday, June 2. 

I picked up the SanDisk drive from a local store to replace an older 240GB Crucial M500 SSD that I had been using for Hyper-V VMs that was out of space. This will provide much more breathing room for VMs, and using the SSD for other media as well, at a relatively low cost. I will run some performance benchmarks and update this post in the next day or so.