AMD on USB Dropout Issues, Intel i5-11600K Leaks, NVIDIA vs. Mining
Eric Hamilton
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It's been an interesting week or so for hardware and technology news alike, with Nvidia and LastPass making waves. Nvidia is attempting to stem the flow of GPUs to miners by artificially limiting the hashing power of its upcoming RTX 3060 GPUs, as well as announcing its new CMP HX line of dedicated mining cards.
LastPass, makers of the popular LastPass password manager, have announced some abrupt and contentious changes to its free plan, much to the chagrin of its users.
At GN, we recently looked at variousXbox Series X thermals, including memory, SoC, and VRM temperatures. We alsoreviewed the Arctic Liquid Freezer II 420 AIO, and discovered that frequently entering "Arctic 420" into search engines makes for some interesting targeted ads that aren’t about CPU cooling.

AMD Working on USB Dropout Issues

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AMD recently made a public post acknowledging USB dropout issues that its user-base has complained of for several months now. While we’ve only lightly looked into the issue, we haven’t yet encountered it -- but most of our usage is for review or benchmarking purposes, and so we may not necessarily get the exposure required to see the problem occur. The short of it, if you’re out of the loop, is that some users are experiencing USB device disconnection when using Zen 3 CPUs with some combination of 500-series motherboards and Gen4 GPUs (depending on the board). The issue can be as relatively harmless as a mouse dropout or as harmful as an external drive disconnection.
In its post, AMD said:
AMD is aware of reports that a small number of users are experiencing intermittent USB connectivity issues reported on 500 Series chipsets. We have been analyzing the root cause and at this time, we would like to request the community’s assistance with a small selection of additional hardware configurations. Over the next few days, some r/Amd users may be contacted directly by an AMD representative (u/AMDOfficial) via Reddit’s PM system with a request for more information.

This request may include detailed hardware configurations, steps to reproduce the issue, specific logs, and other system information pertinent to verifying our development efforts. We will provide an update when we have more details to share. Customers facing issues are always encouraged to raise an Online Service Request with AMD customer support; this enables us to find correlations and compare notes across support claims.

NVIDIA Cuts Off Miners & RTX 3060 News

Start video at 04:47
A few days ahead of the official launch for Nvidia’s highly-anticipated GeForce RTX 3060, Nvidia has announced that it is artificially halving the hash rate for RTX 3060 GPUs. Nvidia will be doing this on the software side, via firmware and drivers, but did not offer any explicit details on how exactly it’s going to limit the cards for crypto mining.
Nvidia has seemingly -- and finally -- drawn a line in the sand to separate gaming and mining, in an attempt to placate gamers and also address the cryptocurrency market properly. NVIDIA is reviving its CMP line for mining specifically, with NVIDIA asserting that this line “doesn’t impact availability to GeForce GPUs to gamers” because the GPUs fell below requirements for gaming.
Nvidia’s new CMP HX line is being billed as a dedicated GPU for professional mining. The cards will feature no video outputs or graphics, will have lower peak core voltage and frequencies, and are aimed at being more efficient. NVIDIA has sold these in the past. Without display output, the second-hand market and ability to scalp beat-up cards for high prices is effectively killed (unless selling to other miners), so these are still less desirable to miners than the gaming cards are.
NVIDIA’s statements of isolating CMP from gaming would align with a possibility of using reject gaming silicon, like if a card can’t hit the targeted gaming frequencies. Whether or not that’s reality is another question -- it’s likely that silicon could have been used for some kind of gaming card.
Nvidia’s CMP HX line will consist of four models, at least initially: the Nvidia CMP 30HX, 40HX, 50HX, and 90HX. TDPs will vary, going up to 320W, with VRAM ranging from 6GB to 10GB and hash rates between 26 MH/s and 86 MH/s.
The CMP cards will be available from Nvidia’s partners (Asus, Colorful, EVGA, Gigabyte, MSI, Palit, PC Partner) and will see a staggered launch between Q1’2021 and Q2’2021. Prices are currently TBA.

LastPass Cuts-Down Free Options

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LastPass has been among the most popular password managers for years now, having largely built that reputation on the value and usability of its free service tier.
LastPass announced that, beginning March 16th, 2021, users of the free service will only have unlimited access on one device type: computer or mobile.
As a Free user, your first login on or after March 16th will set your active device type. You’ll have three opportunities to switch your active device type to explore what’s right for you. Please note that all of your devices sync automatically, so you’ll never lose access to anything stored in your vault or be locked out of your account, regardless of whether you use computer or mobile devices to access LastPass,” says the company in a blog post.

Additionally, users of LastPass Free will no longer have access to email support, instead having to rely on the LastPass Support Center. According to the company, the LastPass Support Center “has a robust library of self-help resources available 24/7 plus access to our LastPass Community, which is actively monitored by LastPass specialists.
LastPass is obviously hoping to push users towards its premium service, which costs $3/month, although taking something away is always harder than giving it out to begin with.

Zotac Boasts About Mining Crypto, GN is Mean

Start video at 08:58
A few days ago, GN’s Steve clicked “retweet” on a Zotac tweet showing a partner’s limited edition RTX 30-series cards mining crypto. Upon retweeting, GN said, “Retweeted without further commentary.” That’s all we did, and within a few hours, the tweet was deleted.
Amid power outages in the US and global GPU stock limitations, Zotac had its work cut out for it.
Making matters worse was Zotac’s cringey use of hashtags, which included #PCMR, #PCGaming, and the dankest of all, “#Gamer.” You know, because those would be the appropriate hashtags for gamers who can’t get a gaming GPU right now.
The tweet went over about as well as you’d expect, although surely not as well as Zotac was hoping. Many users erupted in anger and frustration over the tweet, and as usual with these things, the tweet wasn’t long for this world, with Zotac doing a 180 and deleting the tweet.

Intel i5-11600K Benchmark Leaks vs. AMD

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We don’t cover too many performance rumors, but this latest one is close enough to launch that it’s worth throwing out there (if for no other reason than to see if it comes true in about a month).
A new Geekbench score on a Gigabyte Z490 motherboard reports a 6220 multi-core score and 1565 single-thread score for a processor listed as an Intel i5-11600K, which is marked as a 6-core, 12-thread variant at 3.9 to 4.9GHz, although this doesn’t reveal boosting behaviors. We don’t particularly like Geekbench as a benchmark in general or as an indicator of performance overall, but it does have some comparative value. The scoring combines floating point operation performance analysis, cryptography scores, and integer performance, and calculated an aggregate number based on about 21 tests. Gaming isn’t fully represented here, but things like physics, encryption, text and PDF processing, and image compression make up parts of the score.
The current scoring has the pre-release, alleged 11600K belowa 5600X entryin both multi-core and single-core. In the early state of Intel’s CPU -- assuming this is legitimate -- there’s maybe still some time to get a few points back, but pricing will be the ultimate determining factor between these two. Of course, gaming-only performance will also be important to test.
We’re aware that there were leaks about Alder Lake this past week, but until we’re closer to launch, we feel it’d be most responsible to hold on coverage until it’s more solidified.