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April 24, 2019 Timothy Prickett Morgan
The energy systems company continues to grow, and that's good information for all IBM i retail outlets, certainly for those of us who actively desire for there to be boisterous competition in server processors and techniques structure. It comes as no shock that we believe large Blue still has lots to present when it comes to engineering techniques that provide real differentiation out there. the continued boom of vigour systems – keeping the happiness of the immense IBM i and AIX client bases and expanding the Linux base – is what's required for IBM to proceed to make the heavy investments in processor and equipment design that it has accomplished on the grounds that launching the energy structure lower back in February 1990.
IBM has completed a little bit of rejiggering in its fiscal reporting segments as it prepares to take in open source software gigantic purple Hat, which it offered to purchase for $34 billion remaining fall, into its corporation sometime within the second half of this year. This rejiggering become additionally completed as IBM is getting ready to promote the Domino collaboration application and a lot of on premises advertising applications to HCL, sells off its final marketing purposes to Centerbridge, and has simply achieved selling off its Seterus personal loan servicing company to Cooper community. in the first quarter, these agencies represented round $417 million in revenues, so this time next yr, when those organizations are long gone, the Q1 2019 numbers can be that a lot lower when looked at from a relentless operations point of view.
The good information is that red Hat is a $three billion (annual) application enterprise growing to be at 25 % or so, and its numbers will snap in and more than make up the difference. As part of the reporting segment rejiggering, IBM merged its cloud application and so-called cognitive software into one neighborhood – cognitive potential database, analytics, and transaction processing structures – and also merged its safety capabilities with its security software. The latter makes good experience. I suppose it's a stretch to name databases, transaction displays, quite a few middleware, and such “cognitive” however IBM has to try to shape some variety of rejuvenation story that Wall road will buy – as do all IT carriers which have been around for so long as huge Blue has been.
within the first quarter led to March, IBM’s total revenues have been $18.18 billion, down 4.7 %, and the enterprise posted net earnings of $1.fifty nine billion, down 5.2 p.c. IBM is generating numerous cash, youngsters nothing like a hyperscaler does, and accomplished the quarter with $18.14 billion in cash and securities, roughly equivalent to that first quarter of profits. IBM is increase its battle chest to pay for that crimson Hat deal, and is promoting these software instruments above to carry money to repay red Hat shareholders, who've given the acquisition the green gentle. (Regulators in the united states, Europe, and China have yet to weigh in, however they will.)
IBM’s systems community, which peddles device z and energy methods servers as well as storage arrays and application and working techniques for these gadgets, had revenue of $1.33 billion to reseller companions and conclusion clients, down 11.5 percent, with one more $163 million bought to other IBM agencies and divisions, up 6.5 p.c year on 12 months. total systems revenue got here to $1.forty nine billion, down 9.8 %. We estimate that inside these figures, IBM bought about $907 million in programs hardware (adding up server and storage hardware) externally, down sixteen %, and working gadget profits got here in at $428 million, down 2 p.c. We reckon that gross profits for all of techniques neighborhood were around $628 million, but because of ongoing investments, pricing drive in the server market in typical, bigger component costs, an unfavorable mixture of device z mainframe earnings, and investment in future gadget z15 and Power10 processors, IBM booked a pretax lack of $202 million within the common programs enterprise. That’s really the same stage of pre-tax loss IBM had in the 12 months-ago length. the first quarter is at all times a nasty one for IBM’s profitability in systems, so here's nothing new, and over the direction of a full year, big Blue makes cash.
Jim Kavanaugh, IBM’s chief fiscal officer, observed on a call with Wall highway analysts ultimate week that the strong U.S. dollar has as soon as again provided a headwind that diminishes the effect of remote places earnings as offers in euro, ponds, yen, renminbi, and other currencies convert into fewer U.S. greenbacks than they would have a yr in the past. For IBM universal, if you measured its increase at regular foreign money, it is simply down 0.9 percent, compared to the four.7 percent decline as said. For the mainframe, the as GAAP revenue as pronounced changed into down 39 % within the quarter, and pretty much the equal at down 38 p.c at constant currency, whereas for power programs the as-pronounced revenue were up 6 percent however had been up 9 % at consistent forex. IBM’s storage revenue within techniques group fell 11 p.c at steady forex however 13 p.c as pronounced. working programs revenues, which contains perpetual licenses for IBM i, AIX, and Linux however a lots higher chunk it truly is for monthly licenses for the device z software stack, rose by means of 2 p.c as reported but multiplied by 5 % at steady foreign money.
As we remind you now and again, the element to believe for IBM as a whole is only how large its actual programs enterprise is, in the event you add in all of the application, technical help, consulting, outsourcing, and financing that the company does for its device z and vigor techniques lines. We take a stab at estimating this every quarter, and this time around, in Q1 2019, we reckon that this real techniques enterprise had income of $5.ninety five billion, up four.7 p.c, and that its gross earnings were around $3.forty two billion, up 12.6 percent. (None of this includes IBM’s public cloud revenues, which we may argue belong in right here, or its database or utility utility, which you may add on.)
this way of taking a look at issues makes IBM seem to be as strong in systems because it in fact is, as adverse to so-Nineteen Nineties-meets-the-2010s manner that IBM talks about itself. To be fair, IBM can best focus on itself in a means that it's measuring itself, and clarity has now not continually been the actual intention of economic reporting. just satisfactory clarity to hold investors and regulators chuffed is the precise aim as a result of too tons suggestions can cause extra problems for a publicly traded enterprise than no longer adequate. In any adventure, this true methods business groundwork represents about a 3rd of the business’s revenues and about 40 % of its gross gains, reckoning on the quarter.
That brings us to vigor techniques, the iron upon which IBM i runs. here is the sixth consecutive quarter that the power programs business line grew, and the push of Linux on vigour is paying off, specially in the HPC space. SAP HANA in-reminiscence processing, and quite a lot of types of data analytics, specifically the type that makes use of machine researching with GPU acceleration to provide the practicing for neural networks. The Power9 upgrade cycle for valued clientele operating huge workloads on Oracle 11g and 12c as well as IBM Db2 databases is additionally helping, chiefly at the excessive end of the power line. “each the excessive end and entry stage offerings posted amazing boom this quarter as consumers continue to adopt this new technology,” Kavanaugh noted in reference to income of energy-based iron.
however power-based mostly storage sales, just like the excessive end DS8800 disk arrays, took it on the chin a little in Q1 2019, and that become as a result of the downdraft in the mainframe market, which is due commonly to the incontrovertible fact that the gadget z14 is within the seventh quarter of its existence. it would seem to be that IBM needs a brand new era of mainframes (possibly the gadget z15), however that probably received’t turn up until 2021 or so, when the Power10 chips are also anticipated to be put into as a minimum two exascale-class supercomputers and also be unfold across the greater conventional energy methods line.
in line with our revenue mannequin for power server revenue and storage income in response to power iron (just like the DS collection), right here is how we think the quarter mapped out compared to these because the extraordinary Recession started in 2009:
the first quarters for 2017, 2018, and 2019 had been trending upwards, however somewhat, and would have seemed even stronger had storage hardware sales not taken a 13 % dive. simply so that you don’t ought to squint your eyes there, we consider that IBM had $302 million in energy methods revenue – again, together with servers based on energy processors as well as a component of the storage array hardware earnings that come from issues like the DS sequence – up three.eight p.c. This does not keep in mind sales of operating programs for vigor iron or revenue of vigor equipment to IBM’s outsourcing clients. That may have delivered greatly to the income circulation from power, but we haven't any approach of guessing how plenty that can be. We lately went out on a limb to are attempting to reckon these numbers for all of 2018, and that is about so far as we consider comfortable doing.connected experiences
vigor programs: driving greater profits Than initially idea
Taking At Stab At Modeling The vigour techniques company
vigor programs retain growing To finish Off 2018
methods A shiny Spot In blended results For IBM
The Frustration Of now not understanding How we are Doing
vigor systems Posts boom in the First Quarter
IBM’s techniques group On The financial Rebound
massive Blue profits, Poised For The Power9
The power Neine Conundrum
IBM Commits To Power9 improvements For huge vigour systems retail outlets
Corsair is advertising and marketing the newest generation of its One computer as a desktop for professionals in addition to game enthusiasts - and it certainly has sufficient processing and graphical vigour to scythe through hard productivity utility.
it's high priced, notwithstanding, at £2,833 exc VAT, and the One faces effective competitors from a number of normal workstations.Corsair One i160 evaluate: Design
The Corsair One has been round because 2017, and it be at all times been small, close-silent and tremendously potent. it be always looked extraordinary, too; the Corsair is built from rock-strong aluminium, with two bands of RGB LEDs down the entrance and a wise vigour button. it be subtle and chic satisfactory to grace any office.
Corsair's laptop appears superior than many desktop workstations, and it's smaller too. it be just 380mm tall and 172mm vast, and it handiest weighs 7.38kg. the entire Corsair's competitors are larger, universal machines. The Dell Precision 5820 is taller, deeper and weighs 15kg, and the Armari Gravistar BR-850A 24c TR4 uses a BeQuiet enclosure it's 523mm tall and 514mm deep. The InterPro IPW-CL additionally uses a full-sized enclosure.
The Armari is the simplest rival that expenses greater than the Corsair - it has a 24-core AMD CPU and suggestions the scales at £3,295 exc VAT. The Dell and InterPro machines are round £400 more cost-effective than the Corsair.
The Corsair's excessive price is partly justified through its design. It takes lots of work to construct compact PCs that can tackle high-end add-ons, and this latest new release crucial a couple of inner alterations to cope with a brand new era of hardware.
Older models filled the massive add-ons into the backside of the rig. The mini-ITX motherboard changed into installed on one facet, with the PSU, with the photographs card on the different aspect of the computing device. That turned into sufficient, nonetheless it wasn't perfect. Cables trailed untidily across the interior, making lots of the accessories tough to reach and hindering airflow.
This year's mannequin strikes things round. The energy give continues to be on the backside, but it surely's in its own compartment. The motherboard moves to the properly, while the images card still occupies the other aspect. The motherboard's higher position skill it's now not obscured by cables, so accessories can be accessed. The separate PSU compartment capability cables are superior-hidden and smartly-routed, which merits the complete indoors.
There are different, much less glaring inside adjustments. The CPU and GPU are chilled with the aid of dedicated water-cooling devices within the side panels. The CPU cooler has been made smaller with no discount in efficiency, which cleverly makes it possible for the PSU to have its own supply of cool air. That capability it would not have to count on the Corsair's sole 140mm fan, which sits within the roof of the laptop.
The Corsair continues to be tremendously handy to open. A button on the again allows the true to raise free, and two screws on either aspect free up the facet panels. once it really is finished, the motherboard, memory and storage are available. if you need access to the leading accessories, you are going to must eradicate the cooling devices which is a greater worried job.
The front ports circulation from the right to the backside of the redesigned chassis. You get two USB three.1 Gen 1 connectors, an audio output and an HDMI port. On the rear, you get two sooner USB 3.1 Gen 2 connectors - one significant, one type-C. Rear reveal outputs consist of three DisplayPort connectors, but there is no rear-installed HDMI.
Corsair's machine is an instance of miraculous design, but its opponents are greater in some areas. All three of those higher machines have more improve room and house to work, and the Dell is simpler to get inner and repair than anything outlined right here.Corsair One i160 review: Hardware
The design is never the most effective element it is modified with the brand new unit; the Corsair One has also had an entire component upgrade. The model reviewed here has an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti. or not it's considered one of Nvidia's most powerful purchaser playing cards, with 11GB of GDDR6X reminiscence and four,352 stream processors. It also has a small overclock for a bit extra tempo.
It makes use of the Turing architecture - which ability you get ray-tracing for greater lighting and particle consequences and deep-studying tremendous-sampling for AI-powered anti-aliasing. The GPU helps a highest resolution of 7,680 x four,320, and it helps OpenCL 1.2, OpenGL four.6, Vulkan 1.1 and DirectX 12. the new facets don't seem to be supported in many applications, but they are sure to be adopted via more developers over time. As here is a customer GPU, you don't get ISV certification, but there's no denying the big uncooked vigor on present.
The processor is an eight-core Hyper-threaded Intel Core i9-9900K, which uses the enterprise's newest coffee Lake-S structure - a client structure which on the other hand delivers stronger base and increase clock speeds compared to notebook chips with extra cores.
The i9-9900K's sixteen addressable threads are considerable for multi-tasking, office purposes, picture and video work and database equipment. however, it would not have the core count to deal with CAD design application, engineering equipment and different functions that are designed to thrive on proper computer CPUs like the Armari's 24-core AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2970WX CPU.
The Corsair contains a generous 32GB of DDR4 memory, however its 2,666MHz speed could be better. nonetheless, it truly is enough for most work applications. You also get home windows 10 home on a 512GB Samsung PM961 SSD alongside a 2TB hard disk. The storage is capacious, and that SSD isn't slow, but there are minor concerns here: Samsung's latest 970-branded purchaser drives are faster, and the difficult disk's rotational speed of 5,400rpm is slow.
The components hook up with a modified MSI Z370I Gaming professional Carbon AC motherboard. it be acquired dual-band 802.11ac instant and Gigabit Ethernet built in, but it doesn't support more than 32GB of reminiscence. Of direction, it is a mini-ITX motherboard, so upgrade room is limited. if you're after extra reminiscence slots, further PCI connectivity or extra storage alternatives then a tremendous ATX gadget can be more desirable.Corsair One i160 review: performance
In our performance benchmarks, the Corsair racked up an basic ranking of 299, with scores of 176, 296 and 342 in the image encoding, video encoding and multi-tasking exams, respectively. That puts it forward of Dell's Precision on all fronts - which isn't completely extraordinary seeing that the Precision makes use of a Xeon W-2125 processor with half the number of cores, as well as a much less effective GPU - but behind the Armari and InterPro for most tests. the former rig's 24-core CPU makes it more suitable at multi-tasking, and the latter has a Core i9-9900K with sooner reminiscence.
although, a look at Cinebench exhibits how far the Core i9-9900K is in the back of suitable laptop chips. The Corsair's rating of 1,854cb is first-rate - forward of the Dell and very nearly stage with the InterPro. however it's now not even half as good as the 4,651cb recorded via the Armari and its 24-core CPU.
The hard SPECviewperf benchmarks illustrate the Corsair's strengths and weaknesses. It outpaced the Dell in just about all tests - once more, no shock given the Dell's weaker components. The Corsair's RTX 2080 Ti changed into quicker than the Armari's Radeon GPU within the 3dsmax-06, maya-05 and creo-02 tests, so 3D animation and modelling will evidently work smartly on the Corsair - along with picture and video functions. although, the Corsair delivered a bad ranking within the snx-02 benchmark, and was in the back of the Armari within the catia-04 tests. CPU-intensive initiatives like rendering, engineering and product design can be slower.
after which, finally, there may be the complicated Blender Gooseberry render look at various. during this benchmark the Corsair took 2,011 seconds to render a scene - but the 24-core Armari managed it in 899 seconds.
The Corsair presents dazzling efficiency tiers in mainstream purposes, and its thermal efficiency is even improved. The CPU and GPU peaked at strong temperatures of seventy two°C and 64°C, and there were no throttling considerations. The CPU ran consistently at 4.7GHz and at four.2GHz with all cores at load, and the GPU rattled along at 1,870MHz.
Impressively, the Corsair is pretty much silent when dealing with a large number of work purposes. When the accessories were actually wired, the Corsair produced a low rumble - however it's so quiet that you just won't notice the noise in an office.Corsair One i160 overview: Verdict
The Corsair One i160 is a great pc. The revised design is neater and greater available, and it helps the i160 convey a performance increase without thermal concerns. The Corsair is smaller and more advantageous-looking than all of its rivals - and with superior construct excellent.
Corsair's laptop serves up decent vigor for the reason that its dimension. it be bought adequate CPU potential for mainstream design, productivity and workplace equipment and it'll handle multi-tasking too. The GPU is high-quality for picture and video modifying, design work and 3D animation.
although, you will want workstation-stage components to easily run the hardest rendering, engineering and CAD software. The small chassis additionally means there is in reality no upgrade room, and you'll't add greater reminiscence. The GPU is rarely ISV licensed, and there is usually a broader choice of ports and screen outputs.
The Corsair One i160 is the middle machine from the latitude, but it's undoubtedly costly. The Corsair One i140 fees £2,375 exc VAT and includes an i7-9700K processor that has eight cores but no Hyper-Threading alongside an RTX 2080 graphics card. The extra costly Corsair One seasoned i180, meanwhile, fees a mighty £three,983 exc VAT, and it's the more interesting option option. It has a 12-core i9-9920X that offers greater grunt for inventive work and database tools. It retains the RTX 2080 Ti, and upgrades the storage to a 1TB SSD.
in spite of this, a variety of places of work might be more desirable served by means of a small, quiet computing device with loads of vigour than by using a major tower - and the Corsair certainly matches that quick. or not it's high priced, however the Corsair One i160 is an excellent alternative in order for you lashings of mainstream work ability in a small equipment.
Dell XPS(image: Courtesy Dell)
college-bound students have already got a couple of selections to make: Which classes should I take? reside on campus or neighborhood? Scrape up the cash or follow for a scholar mortgage?
another option boils right down to what tech to use for note-taking, on-line research and writing assignments.
Do you go together with a traditional computing device or decide upon the more moderen, sexier pills? Or what a few tried-and-authentic laptop for the dorm room?
if you can not find the money for all three options (and even two), be sure to believe the pros and cons for every form aspect. right here are some options on each choice.
LAP IT UP
a brief guidelines of the advantages laptops have over drugs:
• A physical QWERTY keyboard is faster, comfortable and more accurate than typing on a tablet's virtual (onscreen) keyboard.
• A desktop's reveal is larger than a tablet's, so it is more perfect for multitasking and observing video. A desktop's reveal is usually 12 to 17 inches, in comparison with a tablet's 7- to 10-inch screen. A computing device monitor, however, offers even more display precise estate.
• A desktop (and computer) has diverse ports, which makes it effortless to get information on and off the computer. This includes USB ports for thumbdrives and exterior hard drives, as well as SD card slots, webcams, printers, microphones and game controllers. Many laptops (but most effective some pills) have an HDMI port to hook up with a tv, display screen or projector.
• Laptops offer extra means (storage) than a tablet; most laptops beginning at 500 gigabytes (GB), in comparison with an average of 32GB on a pill.
• A fold-and-go "clamshell" design protects the reveal when no longer in use.
• as a result of they've been round longer than the two biggest tablet structures (Apple's iOS and Google's Android), windows and Macs both offer a ton of software, together with courses recommended with the aid of educators. Many laptops and laptop still have an optical disc power for those who need one for DVDs and CD-ROMs.
• Laptops customarily beginning at $299 for a home windows eight computer — however don't expect good energy devoid of paying at least $499 — while a MacBook Air begins at $899 for an eleven-inch mannequin. A beefier MacBook professional will set you lower back as a minimum $1,099. college students on a tight price range might additionally consider a Chromebook, as these Google-powered laptops birth at simply $179.
where drugs ARE TOPS
capsules, on the other hand, offer a number of compelling benefits:
• drugs are thinner, lighter and smaller than laptops, making them more moveable (and comfortable) to tote around all day. whereas laptops are usually 3 or four pounds, most capsules are beneath a pound.
• while laptops and pcs have become more desirable with boot-up instances, you don't should watch for a pill to turn on and launch classes.
• Most drugs can ultimate 10 to 12 hours between fees, which might be twice and even three times so long as the common computer.
• because they may be lighter and formed extra like a true e-book, tablets are extra conducive for reading electronic books than laptops, in addition to digital newspapers and magazines. be aware: Textbooks are going digital, too.
• the usage of your fingertip on a dash-monitor pill, like an iPad or Android tablet, is highly relaxed and intuitive. Many more youthful (and older) clients who could combat with a keyboard and mouse would not have these boundaries with an all-touch interface.
• not best are drugs much less high priced than laptops, on typical, however purposes ("apps") are very reasonably priced in comparison with computer application. in many cases, tablet apps are only 99 cents or even free.
• Some capsules have built-in mobile connectivity — for this reason you do not need to hunt for a Wi-Fi hotspot to get on-line — whereas laptops require a USB modem. capsules also boast one or two cameras, GPS and Bluetooth.
• as a result of pills use durable flash memory (like your digital digital camera), without a moving materials, as adverse to a spinning complicated disk force (found in most laptops today), your records might not be as susceptible to damage.
• pills start at about $ninety nine for a common 7-inch Android model, whereas manufacturer identify machines like a Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 or windows 8.1-based mostly Toshiba Encore 2 delivery at roughly $199, a brand new Google Nexus 7 at $229 and iPad mini at $299. top rate pills birth at about $399 for a 9.7-inch iPad or eight.4-inch Samsung Galaxy Tab S, or $799 and up for a Microsoft surface pro three.
desktops aren't dead
finally, whereas their recognition has waned through the years, stationary computer computer systems are nevertheless a consideration for many. right here's why:
• due to the fact they may be not designed for on-the-go use, computers are much less prone to hurt; they sit in one area and may't be banged or dropped easily. they're also less prone to be stolen as they're all the time in a single (presumably secure) region.
• laptop computers have better screens than a laptop or pill — up to 30 inches in some instances — therefore are greater for multitasking (having dissimilar home windows open without delay). reckoning on the subjects, students might additionally prefer a larger canvas wherein to work — be it pouring over architectural designs, computer-generated artwork or animation, and different pictures-intensive experiences.
• On a linked observe, many desktop game enthusiasts choose pcs as they are greater "modular": it's a great deal simpler to upgrade accessories on a tower-primarily based desktop than a laptop — akin to a video card, challenging pressure, system memory (RAM), and extra. note: Many "all-in-one" pcs, although, aren't that convenient to trade add-ons as they may be packed in in the back of the video display.
• just as laptops now offer pill-like touch-displays in most fashions, many computers mean you can use your fingertips on the screen itself — together with or in its place of the keyboard and mouse.
• fogeys with young college students may consider a desktop in a valuable area in the home, comparable to a kitchen, family unit room or some other particularly trafficked area. Why? kids can believe unbiased while surfing on-line but no longer be "on my own."
• pcs customarily start between $249 and $399 for an honest entry-stage computer, but costs hover round $599 to $799 for a greater advanced windows laptop laptop. Souped-up gamer rigs can set you back as plenty as $5,999 for a among the finest model. All-in-one home windows computers delivery at about $329 for a basic model and as much as $1,999 for a high-end mannequin; a 21.5-inch iMac all-in-one starts at $1,029. a powerful Mac professional begins at $2,999, however a tiny Mac mini computer laptop begins at $599 (without a display screen).
finding out between a computing device, desktop and a tablet boils right down to your needs, finances, mobility and luxury degree.
The above-outlined advantages and downsides should help you narrow down your selections, but on the chance of complicating concerns, you do produce other alternate options if you are having a hard time selecting one in your schoolwork.
as an instance, you may always choose up an external keyboard accent for a tablet, which isn't too expensive. Or perhaps you are going to spring for a "2-in-1" desktop that borrows the top-quality from the tablet world — together with a touch-monitor that folds or flips down over the keyboard if you don't deserve to type or detaches altogether to take with you.
comply with Marc on Twitter: @marc_saltzman. email him at email@example.com.
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Test System Configuration Notes: When configuring our test systems for this article, we first entered their respective system BIOSes / UEFI and set each board to its "Optimized" or "High performance" defaults. We then saved the settings, re-entered the BIOS and set the memory frequency to the maximum officially supported speed for the given platform. The SSDs were then formatted, and the latest build of Windows 10 Pro x64 was installed.
The Intel Core i7-6950X Extreme Edition Installed In The MSI X99A Gaming Pro Motherboard
When the Windows installation was complete, we fully updated the OS, and installed the drivers necessary for our components. Auto-Updating and Windows Defender were then disabled and we installed all of our benchmarking software, performed a disk clean-up, and cleared any temp and prefetch data. Finally, we let the systems reach an idle state before invoking a test.
System 1: Intel Core i7-6950X(3GHz+ - Deca-Core)
Intel Core i7-5690X(3GHz+ - Octo-Core)
MSI X99A Gaming Pro(X99 Chipset)
4x8GB G.SKILL DDR4(@ 2133MHz / 2400MHz)
GeForce GTX 960On-Board Ethernet On-board Audio
OCZ Vertex 3 MaxIOPS
System 2: Intel Core i7-6700K (4GHz+ - Quad-Core)
Asus Z170 Deluxe (Z170 Express Chipset)
4x4GB Corsair DDR4 (@ 2133MHz)
IPG or GeForce GTX 960 On-Board Ethernet On-board Audio
OCZ Vertex 3 MaxIOPS
System 3: AMD A10-7890K(4.1GHz+ Hex-Core)
Asus A88X Pro(A88 Chipset)
2x8GB Radeon DDR3 (@ 2133MHz)
Radeon R7 IGPOn-Board Ethernet On-board Audio
OCZ Vertex 3 MaxIOPS
System 4: AMD FX-8370 (4GHz+ Octo-Core)
AMD FX-9590 (4.7GHz+ Octo-Core)
Asus CrossHair V Formula(AMD 990FX Chipset)
2x4GB Radeon DDR3 (@ 2133MHz)
GeForce GTX 960On-Board Ethernet On-board Audio
OCZ Vertex 3 MaxIOPS
We began our testing with SiSoftware's SANDRA 2016, the System ANalyzer, Diagnostic and Reporting Assistant. We ran four of the built-in subsystem tests that partially comprise the suite with Intel Core i7-6950X Extreme Edition processor (CPU Arithmetic, Multimedia, Cache and Memory, and Memory Bandwidth). All of the scores reported below were taken with the CPU running at its default settings, with Turbo Boost 3.0 technology enabled, and with 32GB of DDR4-2400 RAM running in quad-channel mode on the MSI X99A Gaming Pro X99-based motherboard.
Cache and Memory
The new Intel Core i7-6950X led the pack in the various SiSoft SANDRA benchmark modules we ran. In the processor arithmetic test, the CPU put up an aggregate score of over 288 GOPS. And in the multi-media test it managed an impressive aggregate score of 858.62MPix/s. The memory bandwidth showed the platform offering up over 40GB/s of total bandwidth. And despite the relatively loose timings of DDR4 memory available for the platform, cache and memory latency looks pretty good. The 6950X looked especially good in the 256K - 4MB data set range.
PCMark 8 v2 is the latest version in Futuremark’s series of popular PC benchmarking tools. It is designed to test the performance of all types of systems, from tablets to desktops. PCMark 8 offers five separate benchmark tests--plus battery life testing—to help consumers find devices that offers the perfect combination of efficiency and performance for their particular use case.
This latest version of the suite improves the Home, Creative and Work benchmarks with new tests using popular open source applications for image processing, video editing and spreadsheets. A wide variety of workloads have also been added to the Work benchmark to better reflect the way PCs are used in enterprise environments. These tests can be run with our without OpenCL acceleration. We chose to run with OpenCL acceleration enabled to leverage all of the platforms’ available CPU and GPU compute resources…Despite its lower frequencies in comparison to the Skylake-based 6700K, the Core i7-6950X put up the best scores in PCMark. The combination of additional cores helps it in the multi-threaded portions of the benchmark, especially in video encoding, and Turbo Boost 3.0 optimizes single-thread performance.
From its spaceship-inspired appearance to its selection of high-end silicon, the Alienware Aurora R8 caters to the demands of enthusiast gamers. This gaming desktop was designed for high-end gamers — features top out with Intel’s 9th-Generation Core i9-9900K processor, dual-Nvidia RTX 2080 graphics support, and whopping amounts of storage and memory — but even casual gamers who are fond of Alienware’s gamer-first designs can get in on the action thanks to a more affordable $899 entry price.
Enthusiasts who demand more performance than the base configuration — an Intel Core i5-9400 processor, 8GB RAM, and AMD Radeon RX 560X graphics — will be happy to know that Alienware offers plenty of upgradeable configurations for this desktop. Unlike other boutique gaming PCs, like Digital Storm’s Lynx and Origin PC’s Neuron, Alienware only allows users to choose from internal upgrades, leaving the case design standard across all builds of the R8.More of the same
Aesthetically, the Aurora R8 maintains the same design Alienware has been using since 2016’s Aurora R5. Though this isn’t necessarily bad, given that the tower was built to allow gamers easy access for upgrades, the dual-tone gunmetal and black bulbous design is starting to show its age next to sleeker more minimalist desktops, like HP’s Omen Obelisk, or the Lynx or Neuron. Alienware’s attempts at a futuristic silhouette with its UFO-like Aurora R8 falls a bit flat; the unit’s sloped top and angled feet make this tower look rather retro, and perhaps dated. Unlike many of the R8’s contemporary rivals, this gaming PC is mostly constructed from opaque plastic devoid of any see-through tempered glass window, a feature that’s quickly becoming standard on many gaming desktops.
On the Origin PC Neuron and HP Omen Obelisk, for example, the glass window not only helps to showcase the technology inside, like water cooling pipes and LED backlighting, but also helps to add visual interest. The R8 comes with a removable side metal-lined plastic panel. Though we didn’t encounter any durability issues with the Aurora R8’s choice of materials, we found that some flexing in the plastic made this desktop feel less durable than competing all-metal cases.
At 18.6 x 14.2 x 8.4 inches, the Aurora R8 is about the same size as most mid-sized gaming desktops. Given the R8’s ability to accommodate up to two graphics cards, it’s closest competitors include the 18 x 18 x 8-inch Digital Storm Lynx and the highly customizable and compact 16.5 x 15.3 x 6.8-inch Origin PC Neuron. And even though the R8 weighs 32 pounds, it’s plastic top-carry handle – which feels less solid than Lenovo’s Legion C730 Cube’s cooler-inspired carry handle – helps in transporting this desktop to LAN parties.
The Aurora R8 is designed to accommodate up to two graphics cards, allowing for massive performance potential.
Overall, if you’re a fan of Alienware’s aesthetics, or if you’ve invested in an Alienware display – like the Alienware 34 Curved AW3418dw gaming monitor – the Aurora R8’s design will not disappoint. Like the Alienware display, the Aurora R8’s accents are minimal, including simple LED strips on its side panels, which can be controlled by the Alien FX software. The sloped top and angled feet make Alienware’s UFO-chasing design feel a bit retro, rather than futuristic, on a desk. If you prefer more understated aesthetics, you may want to look elsewhere.Built for the future
Like more powerful mid-sized towers on the market, the Alienware Aurora R8 is designed to accommodate up to two graphics cards, providing gamers – and creatives who are interested in this PC’s design – with massive performance potential. With space to accommodate ample storage drives, the Aurora R8 is a PC that can grow with you, provided the gaming-forward design doesn’t look stale in a few years.
For cubicle dwellers looking to use the Aurora R8 as a workstation, a single screw, along with a secure lock port on a liftable tab on the rear, is designed to secure the R8’s internals from “RAM jackers” in your office. Though it adds a bit of security to the system’s internals, the screw is a curious element given that the R8 is likely to appeal more to gamers than cubicle dwellers. Once the screw is undone and a couple of latches are switched to the unlocked position on the rear of the unit, the entire side panel can be removed.Riley Young/Digital Trends
Inside, you’ll be greeted by a large metal bracket containing the 850W power supply unit. An image shows that you can lift the bracket out from the rear of the Aurora, allowing it to swing open to reveal the micro ATX motherboard, graphics card, memory, and RAM. Our review unit ships with two sticks of 16GB of HyperX DDR4 RAM, and users can easily upgrade to 64GB of memory through the four DIMM slots on the motherboard.
Storage space should not be a concern for digital hoarders. Even though our review unit ships with a 512GB NVMe solid-state drive and a 2TB hard disk drive, the R8 ships with five storage bays. Given the open design when the PSU bracket is swung open, making DIY upgrades is very easy. Though cables are neatly managed, there’s always a concern that cables may become cinched or inadvertently clipped when the bracket is closed.Ports galore
Even if this PC’s styling may not be to your liking, a lack of port should not be a complaint with the Aurora R8. All configurations of this PC ships with the same abundance of ports, making it easy to connect mainstay peripherals on the rear and accessing flash drives on the front.
The front ports are located at the top near the front of the unit just above the Alienware glowing alien head logo, which doubles as a depressible power button. Here, you’ll find connections for three USB-A ports, single USB-C port, microphone input, and headphone jack. Thunderbolt 3, however, is absent.
On the rear, you’ll find an SPDIF connector, Ethernet jack, eight USB-A ports, single USB-C port, single USB 3.1 Type-A port, and audio jacks. There are also three DisplayPort connectors, and HDMI port, and an extra USB-C port on the Nvidia RTX 2080 graphics card on our review unit. Depending on the graphics card you choose, these ports may vary.Chunky but not clunky
Our Aurora R8 review unit ships with an eight-core Intel Core i7-9900K processor from Intel’s 9th-generation processor family, and performance is strong. If you’re looking at the Aurora R8 for productivity tasks, you can upgrade to a configuration with a more powerful Intel Core i9-9900K processor. As configured with a Core i7 silicon, we did not encounter any issues using the R8 for Adobe Creative Cloud or Microsoft Office 365 applications, and games load relatively fast.
Though processing performance isn’t as strong as on newer systems with Intel Core i9-9900K CPUs, the Aurora R8’s processor performance is higher than the HP Omen Obelisk, which is to be expected given the latter system shipped with an older Intel Core i7-8700 processor. In our Geekbench 4 benchmark, the R8 scored 6,056 and 29,032 points in single- and multi-core tests respectively. This isn’t as high as the Origin Millennium’s scores of 6,357 and 34,309, respectively, given that system’s better CPU configuration. Interestingly, the R8 beats the Alienware’s Area-51m in single-core performance of 5,848 points, but fell short of notebook’s the 32,164 multi-core result.
Most users likely won’t notice any marginal gains in performance with upgrading to an Intel Core i9 processor on the Aurora R8. Instead, a better investment would be to go with a Core i7 build and using your funds to upgrade the RAM and memory.
In our video encoding test, the Aurora R8 took 96 seconds to encode a 4K video using the Handbrake software. This places the performance of the R8 in between Core i9-9900K systems, like the Origin Millennium, which took 77 seconds to accomplish the same task, and older processors, like the Core i7-8700-equipped HP Omen Obelisk. Given that the Area-51m laptop ships with a stronger Intel Core i9-9900K processor, it’s interesting that the R8’s time wasn’t too far off from the 81 seconds posted by its sibling.
Though the SK Hynix SSD on the R8 isn’t the fastest SSD on a system we’ve tested, the read and write scores of 1,801 Mbps and 1,365 Mbps, respectively, is still plenty fast for most daily activities.Double the graphics
Though the Aurora R8 is a pre-built gaming PC, it accommodates plenty of graphics potential that will make you the envy of enthusiast gamers, including some of the best graphics cards you can buy. The Aurora R8 has the distinction of being one of the more commercially available and compact systems that can support up to two GPUs, topping out with dual-Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti cards. Our review unit ships with a single GeForce RTX 2080 non-Ti card. This places it in the company of the Origin PC Neuron, though most users will likely not even need or approach that level of GPU power unless they’re using the system for design work.
The single GeForce RTX 2080 card on the Aurora R8 delivers solid performance for 1080p gaming, and even gamers with 2K ultra-wide 1440p monitors will find a lot to love about this ray tracing-capable card. When benchmarked against Underwriter Laboratories’ 3D Mark Time Spy test, the RTX 2080 card still trails its more powerful RTX 2080 Ti sibling, but results were better than other RTX 2070 systems we’ve tested. The Aurora R8’s score of 9,670 points on this test is about 1,000 points better than the RTX 2070 card on the Digital Storm Lynx, but this result is still more than 3,000 points behind the RTX 2080 Ti performance on the Corsair One Pro i180.
In our gaming performance, the RTX 2080 card performed as expected, besting the results of Nvidia’s RTX 2070 while trailing the more powerful RTX 2080 Ti cards. With modern, less graphics-heavy titles, such as Epic’s Fortnite and 2K Games’ Civilization VI, the Aurora R8’s RTX 2080 graphics managed to stay above 60 frames per second (FPS) across all resolutions, even when gaming details were turned up to Epic mode in the former and Ultra mode in the latter game. At 4K in Epic mode, the Aurora R8 only dropped to 61 FPS at 4K resolution in Epic mode. Gamers who prefer either a FHD display or an ultrawide 3,440 x 1,440-pixel 2K display won’t experience any issues, and even at 4K, the RTX 2080 was more than capable at handling these titles.
Titles with more complex graphics rendering, like Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed Odyssey and EA Dice’s Battlefield V, show more degraded performance in frame rates when played at higher resolutions. Although Alienware boasts “whisper quiet” operations on the Aurora R8, fan noise becomes noticeable when the system is taxed. On idle, the fan the fan emits a low pitch hum, and when the system is on full load, the fan sounds slightly louder than on competing systems, like Origin’s Neuron and Digital Storm’s Lynx. Gamers, designers, and those who rely on the system for GPU-heavy tasks should likely consider the placement of the R8 in a workspace to minimize distraction caused by the whirling fan.
In Battlefield V, our RTX 2080-powered R8 review showed a noticeable drop in performance when the game is played in 4K resolution compared to more powerful RTX 2080 Ti systems, like Corsair’s One Pro i180. In 2K resolution, the game played well above 60 FPS, but there is some drops on frame rates, making Battlefield V appear a bit choppy during scenes with heavy rendering at 1440p in Ultra mode despite an average frame rate of 94 FPS.
When ray tracing is enabled in Battlefield V, the game showed slightly more details. At 1080p and 1440p resolutions, there wasn’t any perceivable loss in frame rates, but at 4K, the RTX 2080 really began to show its weakness. Gamers who play in 4K will want to upgrade to the RTX 2080 Ti, but if you mostly play at 1080p or 1440p, the RTX 2080 graphics in our R8 review unit is more than adequate.
Similarly, with the graphics-rich Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, the RTX 2080 was able to deliver above 60 FPS results at 1080p and 1440p resolutions, even when Ultra mode is enabled. At 1440p Ultra, stuttering was noticeable, and frame rates dipped below 60 FPS at 4K resolution — down to 39 FPS at 4K in Ultra mode. Gaming performance is on par with other RTX 2080 systems. Graphics performance overall is slightly weaker than comparable systems with better RTX 2080 Ti graphics, but it’s still better than the RTX 2070-equipped Digital Storm Lynx.Warranty
Although the Alienware Aurora R8 ships with a standard one-year warranty on parts and labor with a generous free on-site repair policy, the system also benefits from Dell’s PC experience. Drawing from the Dell’s extensive enterprise support packages, Alienware also offers optional warranty packages that extend the coverage to five years with extras like virus removal. Users who prefer a standard warranty can also add optional accidental damage coverage. These optional coverage plans add to the cost of the Aurora R8 – Alienware’s 5-year Premium Support Plus is priced at $749 – but the extended warranty can provide peace of mind.
Unlike Origin PC, which also offers an optional upgrade plan that will give you market value of your PC components when you send them back to the company, Alienware offers no such plan. In this case, enthusiast gamers who wish to upgrade their graphics card in the future, for example, will either have to sell their existing cards themselves or eat the cost.
The Aurora R8 delivers the performance you need in a very uniquely Alienware design. With eight different pre-built configurations to choose from, the Aurora R8 can either be an economical system for casual gamers or a worthy investment for enthusiast gamers.
As reviewed, our Intel Core i7-9700K and RTX 2080-powered configuration costs approximately $2,500 after discounts, but upgrades that add even more performance to this system – like a better Core i9-9900K processor, dual-RTX 2080 graphics, and speedier RAM – will quickly drive up the cost to more than $4,500.Is there a better alternative?
The closest competitor to the Alienware Aurora R8 is HP’s Omen Obelisk. Since we’d reviewed the 2018 Obelisk, HP had made some notable changes to the 2019 model that makes it more competitive with the Aurora R8. Like the Aurora, this year’s Omen Obelisk can be configured with the same choices of 9th-generation Intel processors, and the PC can be configured with up to an RTX 2080 graphics card. Even though HP doesn’t ship the Omen Obelisk with two graphics cards, the tower does support it. An Omen Obelisk that’s similarly configured to our Aurora R8 review unit would cost $3,223, making the Aurora the more affordable option. Where the Obelisk stands out is with its more modern design, a see-through tempered glass side panel that showcases the unit’s liquid cooling mechanism, and a mostly metal build.
If you’re after a more customizable PC where you can select the paint and trim colors, Origin PC’s Neuron is an excellent alternative. The Neuron feels more modern with its all-metal construction and glass window design. The Neuron is as compact as it is powerful, making this gaming rig an excellent choice for gamers and designers who need to maximize desk space. Like the R8, the Neuron supports up to two graphics cards, but power users can extend this PC’s performance with an 18-core Intel Core i9-9980XE processor, making it a workstation replacement. And while the Aurora R8 tops out with dual-RTX 2080 graphics, users have the option of dual-RTX 2080 Ti graphics on the Neuron. When similarly configured to our R8 review unit, the Origin PC costs upwards of $2,700.How long will it last?
The Aurora R8 offers a lot of value for its price. With builds that incorporate some of the best processors and graphics cards on the market today, the Aurora R8 will last for years of use. The highly upgradeable case design – although made of opaque plastic – will help keep this gaming PC fresh years down the road, allowing you to make DIY upgrades in the future.Should you buy it?
Yes, the Alienware Aurora R8 is a solid gaming PC that offers excellent performance for its price. With plenty of room for future upgrades, it’s a system that will last you for years, making it all the more curious as to why Alienware went with a design that is already several years old. If you can forgive Alienware’s relentless UFO-chasing design pursuit, the Aurora R8 delivers punchy performance at a reasonable price in a system that offers a lot of room for upgrades down the road.
Innovation in the commodity server game is no easy feat. New generations of servers tend to have incremental feature updates to go with the latest processor chips.
And when it comes to total cost, calculating the figures involved in running a datacenter typically shows that long-term operating and maintenance expenses far outweigh the initial purchase price. The quickest way to lower operating costs is to reduce the number of servers. As a result, server consolidation continues to be high on the priority list for most IT administrators.
With virtualization firmly established as the primary consolidation tool, the game has changed to maximizing processing power and memory density. While the promise of virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) nirvana has never really fully materialized, it is seeing more interest as technologies like USB redirection and video fidelity steadily improve. For a server to meet the graphic demands of VDI it needs as many GPU cards as possible.
The introduction of the HP ProLiant DL580 Gen8 represents the company's latest effort to meet these demands while also helping to lower long-term costs. We were given the opportunity to get our hands on a beta system prior to official product launch so we could take the DL580 Gen8 through its paces.Hardware and Design
Power and cooling are without question the two most significant operating costs for servers. While reducing the number of servers can help, it won't make any difference if you simply trade two boxes for one that has the same power and cooling requirements as the previous two.
Comparing the HP ProLiant DL580 Gen8 to an older DL385 G7 shows significant power gains for the latest generation. Over a 24-hour period the DL385 G7 averaged 183 Watts while the DL580 Gen8 came in around 280 Watts. The older DL385 G7 has two 16-core AMD processors versus the four Intel Xeon processors and 128GB of memory versus 256GB. The bottom line here is you could take all the workloads from three of the older DL385 G7 and run them on a single DL 580 Gen8 with room to spare.
HP has always been a company of engineering excellence, and it definitely shows when you look at the ProLiant DL580 Gen 8's specs. It's obvious when you open the box and look inside as well.
The HP ProLiant DL580 Gen 8 has processing power covered in spades. Four sockets house the latest Intel multi-core CPUs, specifically the Xeon E7-8800/4800v2 family of processors. Our beta system came equipped with four 2.80 GHz E7-4890 v2 15-core processors installed. At launch the system will be able to support 3 TB of memory and up to 6 TB later in the year using 64GB DIMMs.
On the disk front, the system includes support for 12Gbps SAS and has room for up to ten small form factor drives. Data safety is another area of innovation with the HP Smart Array SAS controllers. These boards feature 4GB cache, Advanced Data Mirroring and HP Smartdrive technology. The DL580 Gen 8 also offers a total of nine PCI-e Gen3 expansion slots compatible with full height / full length boards.Installation and Setup
The HP ProLiant DL580 Gen8 comes with HP's integrated Lights Out (iLO) 4 for out-of-band management. A dedicated GbE Ethernet port provides connectivity over a network separate from normal data traffic. Figure 1 shows the boot screen using the iLO remote console feature. As long as you have connectivity to the management port you can fully control the system to include powering on and off. Our test system came with two 279GB SAS drives configured in a RAID 1 mirror. That's not exactly an overwhelming amount of disk space for a powerful system like this, but it does provide a redundant boot drive.
We did run into a bump when attempting to use the Intelligent Provisioning option. One step in the process will check for system updates prior to installing the operating system. Our system would get hung up at this point unless we selected Skip Update (see Figure 2).
We're hoping this was due to the beta status of our system and will have been rectified by ship time. With the Skip Update option we were able to successfully install Windows Server 2012 R2 Datacenter without any further problems. Figure 3 shows the dashboard page of Windows Server Manager after installation.
We installed the Hyper-V role and loaded up a number of virtual machines to get an idea of how they performed. Microsoft offers a number of demo VHD files with different System Center 2012 R2 modules pre-configured. We used the System Center Virtual Machine Manager and System Center App Controller to simulate typical workloads and found them highly responsive.
We used Windows PowerShell to create thirty virtual machines with 8 GB of memory each and then to launch each one. Figure 4 shows the out-of-memory message and the amount of CPU currently in use (2%). In this scenario the system ran out of memory resources with very little drain on the available CPU. While this certainly isn't a stretch of this system, it does give some indication of the amount of horsepower available.Final Notes
Pricing for the HP ProLiant DL580 Gen8 starts at $13,079 for a system with two Intel E7-4809 v2 processors (6-core, 1.9 GHz), 64 GB of RAM, two 1200 W power supplies and a 4-port GbE network module. You'll pay $30,779 for a system equipped with four Intel E7-4850 v2 (12-core 2.3 GHz) processors, 128GB of RAM, four 1500 W power supplies and a 2-port 10 GbE network module.
Operating costs vary widely by region of the country or world, but the more you pay for heating and cooling the more you'll save by upgrading to a new system like the DL 580 Gen8. It's definitely worth a look as a cost-efficient addition to most any datacenter environment.
Paul Ferrill, based in Chelsea, Alabama, has been writing about computers and software for almost 20 years. He has programmed in more languages than he cares to count, but now leans toward Visual Basic and C#.
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