The US has finally sounded its panic alarm. With much more public awareness and increasing COVID-19 testing capability, now governments (states and federal) are implementing social distancing with closure of various businesses and schools. This is welcomed. Italy had shown that restricting travel alone is not enough. Much more intense testing (like South Korea), physical distancing and case tracking are all required.
It is known that COVID-19 has been present in the US in January, if not earlier. So there is no reason why it has not been spreading already. We are finding many more cases now because we are finally able to test specifically for it. So the key question is whether any future cases will overwhelm the healthcare system, and what kind of response can the government mount should that happen. Milan/Lombardi area was clearly overwhelmed, and Italy was not able to come to rescue in terms of building more hospital beds and reinforcing with more personnel. China was able to support Wuhan/Hebei once it became clear to the central government what was necessary.
With more and more people working from home, plus all the people just staying at home, gaming/computer use/streaming/cloud demand/online shopping actually will all increase.
Microsoft had formally announced the specs for the Xbox Series X, published here at Xbox.com.
CPU 8x Cores @ 3.8 GHz (3.6 GHz w/ SMT) Custom Zen 2 CPU
GPU 12 TFLOPS, 52 CUs @ 1.825 GHz Custom RDNA 2 GPU
Die Size 360.45 mm2
Process 7nm Enhanced
Memory 16 GB GDDR6 w/ 320b bus
Memory Bandwidth 10GB @ 560 GB/s, 6GB @ 336 GB/s
Internal Storage 1 TB Custom NVME SSD
I/O Throughput 2.4 GB/s (Raw), 4.8 GB/s (Compressed, with custom hardware decompression block)
Expandable Storage 1 TB Expansion Card (matches internal storage exactly)
External Storage USB 3.2 External HDD Support
Optical Drive 4K UHD Blu-Ray Drive
Performance Target 4K @ 60 FPS, Up to 120 FPS
In short, this is spectacular! Specifically, Xbox will have hardware accelerated DirectX raytracing.
PCWorld wrote: “XBox Series X probably puts your gaming PC to shame”
AdoredTV did a great article, here. In short:
“Overall, the new Xbox looks really powerful, and that’s a good sign for the longevity of this system. Current generation consoles were hobbled with a rather weak CPU and graphics solution, but the next generation looks to totally reverse this by using the world’s fastest x86 CPU core and a highly anticipated graphics core. The new Xbox also brings features like ray tracing”
Worth mentioning is that Microsoft is introducing a new storage architecture called DirectStorage. Xbox is using a custom SSD for ultra fast game loading. Even more importantly, Microsoft will be bringing this technology to Windows PC, in conjunction with Seagate, as described here in PCWorld.
Amid all the COVID-19 news, AMD had finally launched the Ryzen 4000 (code name Renoir) mobile chips. Notebook computers will be available very soon. Media coverage has been very favorable. Since notebook PC is a huge segment of the PC TAM, this is an excellent step for AMD.
VideoCardz: AMD launches Ryzen 4000 mobile Renoir processors with 7nm vega igpu.
DigitalTrend : “Eight cores in a two pound laptop? AMD’s Ryzen 4000 does the impossible.”
Anandtech: AMD announces Ryzen 9 4900H and 4900HS, the Halo 35W and 45W Mobile APUs (previously was kept secret)
PCWorld: “AMD’s new Ryzen 9 laptop CPUs aim to topple Intel’s most powerful Core i9 chips”
PCWorld: “Ryzen 4000 CPUs explained: How AMD optimized Zen 2 for laptops”
PCWorld: “Battery life won’t be a problem for AMD’s Ryzen 4000 notebooks”
As if this is not enough good news, Semiaccurate just put out several articles about Intel canceling a major server platform, here. While his content is behind a paywall, shortly after Servethehome confirmed his story, here. To put it simply, Intel’s server chips will be no match to AMD’s Epyc.
Finally, given what was revealed by the Xbox specs, it now appears RDNA2 will be very power efficient and has high performance, over RDNA1. This bodes well for big Navi coming later this year.
Now it looks like COVID-19 will be with us for a long time, and will come back during the next flu season. As long as there is no zombie apocalypse/total economic collapse, people will need more and more computing power. In the next few years, AMD will do very well indeed. This article in the Investor’s Business Daily echoes that thought.