The tech community has been abuzz lately with advancements in VR technology, phone companies vying for pole position, and even self driving cars.
Buckle up boys and girls!
Chief among these tech wars is a rivalry older than cats versus water. I'm not sure which is which in this scenario but Advanced Micro Devices, Inc and Intel Corporation have rekindled their battle for supremacy after some of the fanciest penny saving any company has ever showcased. I mean AMD was nearly insolvent and irrelevant for what seemed like a decade in comparison to the silicon giant that is Intel. This allowed Intel to enjoy unchallenged freedom to create what ever they wanted with a strangle-hold on the market, except that they really didn't.
All of a sudden, like a thief in the night, AMD sucker punched Intel square in the jaw with their release of the Zen architecture. Much to seemingly everyone but Intel's delight, AMD's new processors offered competitive and comparable performance for noticeably lower costs to consumers. AMD kept the pressure on with their multi-tasking chip that was seemingly named by 80's movie script writers. Threadripper, which really would be the least frightening Bond villain, boasts up to 16 cores 32 threads of processing power with its flagship model the 1950X for $999. To compare, Intel's later released i9 7980XE costs $1999 and with higher specifications still loses out in some multi-core tests to the 1950X.
Threadripper. Easily a silver-age Batman villain.
You would think that Intel would have maintained its composure and simply trounced AMD with their unsurpassed research and development from years of having the advantage, but they reacted in some odd ways. Intel released a bunch of slides for a press release where as well as naming some brands twice, it mostly focused on bashing AMD:
VERSACE VERSACE VERSACE.
That would actually be some pretty impressive glue if it were true.
Here is an adorable slide that compared the $2220 Xenon 6134 to the $499 Ryzen 1800x. Also, keep in mind the 1800X is a consumer-grade desktop chip boasting a core clock of 3.8Ghz, not 2.2Ghz, meaning for this data, Intel throttled back a $500 chip to nearly two thirds of its potential to make it barely worse than an enterprise-grade server workhorse. That's like if Chevy took 200 horsepower out of Mustang to compare it their new 3500 diesel Silverado, neat I guess:
Not pictured: meaningful information.
Intel flopped with their x299 platform Kaby Lake X combo and completely alienated their fans within 6 months. Now Intel has shown up with its new dog in this race and boy is she something. The i7 8700k, part of the Coffee Lake generation of Intel processors, is being hailed as the second coming of saviors for most major middle-eastern originating religions. It's a 6 core desktop dominator with a stock 3.7Ghz clock and 4.7Ghz turbo clock speed and guess what, its only $379. Take that AMD! This would have been the end of this debate if the phrase, if something seems too good to be true it often is, didn't exist, but it do...
A closer look at the i7 8700k shows that it is a retooled Kaby Lake chip with onboard graphics removed, two cores added, and the voltage increased like, a butt ton. The Intel faithful should recall that the Kaby Lake chip is a retooled Skylake chip. All of these chips are the same 14nm design and have the same number of pins, meaning they use the same socket motherboard; but guess what you can't do. You can't use a Skylake chip in a LGA 1151 board made for Kaby Lake or Coffee Lake, nor can you use a Kaby Lake chip in a LGA 1151 board made for Coffee Lake or Skylake. Do you think they corrected that issue with the i7 8700k? Nah, go ahead and buy a new LGA 1151 v3 motherboard, ya bitch.
Alright, so you have to buy a new motherboard and RAM, not great but not world ending news. Well, there is a small chance you might need a new power supply as well because the chip runs up to 30° hotter than the previous generations and consumes as much power as the aforementioned 18 core i9 in some preliminary tests. The tests also revealed another discrepency in performance as it scored as low as 1230 and as high as 1579 in Cinebench R15 from various testers; that's over a 26% variance between testers. As a reference, the Ryzen 1700x scores on average a 1516 on the same test. This discrepancy has been revealed to be because of an overclocking setting that overrides the Intel turbo clock settings to sync all the cores at 4.7 rather than 4.3Ghz mysteriously defaulted to on with the ASUS boards that shipped to the higher scoring testers. Jaytwocents actually tested this and confirmed even after the BIOS is flashed, the setting remains.
ASUS couldn't explain why a BIOS setting, which has never in history been defaulted to on, was suddenly so. To their credit, some reviewers made videos describing the issue but the original videos and thumbnails hailing this chip as the Ryzen killer still remain. Incidentally, the media coverage of appeals are always less viewed than the trials. To quell this incident from ever arising again, Intel revealed they are no longer going to release Turbo Clock specifications. This is coming from a company that was forced by European Antitrust Regulation to pay AMD $1.4 billion for anticompetitive behaviors.
All things considered though, this has to be a step forward for Intel and consumers as competition has delivered a great options for a competitive price in 2017, right? Oh you beautiful summer child, no. Intel has been floating some news that the i7 8700k, having been released to the consumers just this month, may not actually be in stock until Q1 2018. Wait, what? Is it released or not? You can't just make 50 chips to give to tech news outlets touting they are better than AMD's latest offering and then whisper that they won't actually be realistically purchasable for another four to six months. Multiple tech outlets have reported receiving absolutely no stock of i7 8700k chips. If this isn't a bullshit paper release, I don't know what is.
Forget that we called AMD an inconsistent supplier literally 3 months ago.
Despite all these knee-jerking, anti-consumer moves, it hasn't stopped the tech industry from going all Sasha Grey on Intel's USB dongle. It even prompted some reviewers to go from this:
Nothing like a little bit of money and a stern reminder that early free samples of expensive hardware to review are the only thing that keep your channel relevant to make you shut the fuck up and drink the kool-aid, or in this case, coffee. It does need to be said that AMD still has a lot to prove in terms of sustainability, continued technical advancements, as well as marketing and partnership strategies, but it is succeeding at making Intel run AMD's race at the moment. I hope that this trend continues because it is one of the last displays of competition in the tech frontier and competition is always good for the consumer; unless of course that consumer wants an i7 8700k at this moment.
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