• NVIDIA stock shortage

    The great graphics card shortage won’t be improving any time soon

    Updated , by Geoff Undrell

    While we faced a number of stock shortages and supply challenges as a result of COVID-19 throughout most of last year, none have been as enduring as the current constraints of NVIDIA’s RTX 30 series of GPUs. The unfortunate truth is that this situation is unlikely to improve until later this year, with shortages potentially even extending well into May.

    How bad is it?

    For those unaware, the current demand for NVIDIA’s latest graphics cards is at an all-time high, and as a result, production just doesn’t have sufficient capacity to keep up. Even three-year-old cards aren’t available for purchase, and any time these highly sought-after graphics do appear online, they’re snapped up in mere seconds for an extortionate price. The shortage is also affecting the availability of AMD’s new Radeon RX 6000 series, which along with the RTX 30 GPUs are now almost impossible to track down, let alone buy. Previous generations of graphics cards are also sadly out of the question, as these were read their end of life rites when NVIDIA released its latest offering.

    What’s causing the shortage?

    A number of factors have been deemed responsible for these constraints, the primary of which seems to be a shortage of the materials required for production, such as wafers and silicone. NVIDIA has also stated that a lack of GDDR6 memory is to blame for the delays. COVID-19, of course, has a part to play in this, as shipping and freight costs have felt a substantial impact due to the restrictions imposed by the virus. Online gaming has also increased exponentially over the past year as the confines of lockdown have continued, generating an even greater global surge for GPUs.

    Cryptocurrency is a contributor

    What hasn’t helped matters is that the value of popular cryptocurrency Bitcoin skyrocketed in recent months. This has meant any graphics cards that do become available are instantly snatched away by eager crypto-miners, as the GPUs are an ideal way of improving the mining process. This is reminiscent of the GPU shortages we experienced as a result of crypto-mining in 2017, however the big difference is that this time around crypto-miners are not the cause of the shortage, but still a large part of the problem.

    How might this impact my G2 order?

    While we are still experiencing some challenges due to these NVIDIA and AMD stock shortages, we’re doing everything we can to minimise the impact on customer orders. We’re incredibly grateful for your patience during this time, and assure you any G2 products you have yet to receive will be well worth the wait. If you’d like to find out more about these GPU shortages and how they may affect your order, please get in touch with us.

    Posted by: Geoff Undrell
    Posted in: News, Products

  • CES 2021

    A very different CES 2021 still yielded exciting innovations

    Updated , by Geoff Undrell

    Like so many events that preceded it in 2020, COVID-19 has paved the way for a radically different CES this year. The global stage for innovation would have usually taken place amidst the bright lights and bustle of Las Vegas, but instead CES 2021 had to become their first ever all-digital event. While many industry events have translated particularly well to a virtual alternative, the ordinarily very hands-on CES was an odd experience to say the least. However, although it didn’t quite have the awe-inspiring impact it would have achieved in the flesh, it was nonetheless an impressive platform for the reveal of many exciting new releases.

    Intel 11th gen CPUs came into their own

    Intel announced a whole wave of new 11th gen series processors, including their 10nm Core vPro and Evo vPro mobile chips, N-series of Pentium Silver and Celeron CPUs for education, and Tiger Lake H35-series for “ultraportable” gaming. The best news by far, however, was that the Core S-series Rocket Lake desktop processors would be launched in March 2021. These chips will be led by the flagship i9-11900K, offer faster DDR4-3200 memory, and a 19% increase in IPC performance. Alder Lake is also on its way, built on Intel’s 10nm SuperFin architecture with both high-performance and high-efficiency cores. Finally, production of Xeon Scalable Ice Lake CPUs will be kicking off in Q1. This series will help boost performance, security, and efficiency in datacentres. We can’t wait to see what else Intel has up its sleeve this year, particularly as VMware’s Pat Gelsinger has recently become its new CEO.

    Less is more for AMD

    Comparatively, AMD kept its cards a little closer to its chest this year. Their biggest reveal of the event was the launch of the Ryzen 5000 series of mobile CPUs. Based on the same 7nm Zen 3 architecture as its desktop predecessors, the mobile equivalents promise an uplift in performance as well as longer battery life. The announcement was also accompanied by new Ryzen 9 5900 and Ryzen 7 5800 processors, which offer a lower TDP than the 5900X and 5950X. There was, though, a certain absence of Big Navi talk from the chipmaker, aside from the fact that the RDNA2 GPUs will be appearing in gaming laptops in the first half of 2021.

    NVIDIA expands its graphics card line-up

    Further adding to its already significant RTX 30 series of graphics cards, NVIDIA announced the new GeForce RTX 3060 at CES. An Ampere desktop GPU, the RTX 3060 is a compelling alternative to the RTX 3060 Ti and 3070, with 12GB of GDDR6 memory as opposed to 8GB, and a boost clock speed of 1.78GHz compared to 1.67GHz and 1.73GHz respectively. A notable difference, however, is that the 3060 only boasts 3584 CUDA cores, a modest count that doesn’t quite measure up to the 4864 CUDA cores of the 3060 Ti and 5888 CUDA cores of the 3070. The 3060 is expected to become available in late February, but with NVIDIA’s recent stock shortages in mind, it may be an even longer wait.

    While the virtual CES 2021 wasn’t quite the same as its physical counterpart, a lot of interesting releases still made it a very worthwhile event. We’re looking forward to the launch of these products so that we can start getting them into our rack mount PCs. If you would like to find out more about these announcements and when they might become available within our product range, get in touch with one of the team.

    Posted by: Geoff Undrell
    Posted in: News, Products

  • 2020

    A look back on 2020, a year no one will forget

    Updated , by Geoff Undrell

    2020 has been a year unlike any other. No one could have anticipated the global impact and sheer scale of the COVID-19 pandemic since its initial outbreak at the tail end of 2019. Despite its unwelcomed arrival, however, and the challenges it has presented over the past year, 2020 has also provided a platform for a number of new and exciting innovations. With the Christmas break fast approaching and the New Year within touching distance, we’ve decided to take a look back over the events of 2020 and their effect on our partners, our own business, and the industry as a whole.

    All hail AMD

    Although 2020 has been rife with stock shortages and supply chain delays, the good news from AMD has kept on coming. Kicking off the year with the launch of their 64-core Ryzen Threadripper 3990X processor at CES 2020, they really started with a bang. And it was only uphill from there – the Ryzen 4000 series of desktop processors offered breakthrough performance for desktop PCs following its release over the summer, but was quickly overshadowed by the Ryzen 5000 series which marked the arrival of their highly anticipated Zen 3 architecture and the “world’s best gaming CPU”. That’s all without mention of their introduction of 8-channel memory in the Threadripper PRO 3995WX too.

    Game-changing graphics

    2020 also made way for Intel’s new and disruptive Xe range of discrete graphics, which have most recently come to life inside the Intel NUC 11 Pro Tiger Canyon. Like AMD, we’ve seen two generations of processors emerge from Intel this year, with the release of their 10th gen Comet Lake-S and 11th gen Tiger Lake chips, both of which are now available across our line-up of rack mount PCs. Speaking of great graphics, we announced last month that NVIDIA’s RTX 30 series of GPUs was coming to selected models of our product range. These graphics cards truly are a game-changer for ray tracing in particular, accelerating performance by up to 2x.

    A great year for G2!

    In spite of a few stock and pricing difficulties encountered due to the virus early on, it’s been an exciting and productive year for G2 overall. We started 2020 on a high with our second appearance at Integrated Systems Europe, the world’s largest systems integration show, where we debuted new Power over Ethernet capability in our 1U products as well as the vertical variation of our 3U PC. Additionally, 2020 saw the launch of our Support Portal, helping us deliver even greater support and real-time order information to our customers. We also introduced the benefits of U.2 connectors to our products, made Dual PCIe possible within our 1U PC and 1U Nano, and added three new redundant power supply unit options to our range. To top it all off, we’re currently working on a brand-new product, the 1U Titan, which we hope to officially launch in the first half of 2021.

    While 2020 has been a strange year to say the least, a lot of good has still come out of it, and we’re excited to see where 2021 takes us. There’s plenty to look forward to on the horizon, but until then we would like to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

    Posted by: Geoff Undrell
    Posted in: News, Products

  • Ray tracing graphics cards

    Realise more from ray tracing in a rack mount PC

    Updated , by Geoff Undrell

    Simply put, a computer’s graphics processing unit (GPU) is there to make graphics look good. Its purpose is to render the 3D visual images being processed by a PC to then bring them to life on a 2D screen. Heavily relied upon by both the gaming and the audio-visual industry, graphics can be critical to any creative project.

    Over the last decade or so, significant steps have been taken towards helping graphics produce a higher degree of visual realism. One such step is ray tracing, which allows artists to work with light in order to achieve this. While this technique isn’t by any means new, its gradual introduction into the mainstream combined with its revolutionary rendering capabilities has propelled it into popularity in recent years.

    What is ray tracing?

    Ray tracingRay tracing is a graphics rendering technique that traces rays of light and simulates how that light interacts with different objects. Using ray tracing, it is possible to achieve truly life-like imitations of how light and shadows behave within a digital scene, as it calculates this behaviour much like the human eye is able to. The difficulty is, because ray tracing is so advanced, it’s exceedingly compute-heavy and can be expensive to power.

    Thankfully, consumer-grade ray tracing is slowly gaining traction, and reduces this load drastically. It works by tracking the path of light from what is essentially a virtual camera through individual pixels to the object sat behind those pixels, and back to the light source. It can even go so far as to account for light that is absorbed by objects within a scene and creates shadows to represent this change.

    Why does it matter?

    Because the quality of graphics is increasing by the day, it’s essential to be able to render those graphics as accurately as possible. That goes for anything from the CGI used in film-making right down to the graphics-intensive apps you use every day. Before ray tracing came along, a process called “rasterization” was widely used to render scenes using polygons and shaders. However, because the behaviour of light and the way it travels is so hard to track, rasterization wasn’t sophisticated enough to achieve the degree of realism that ray tracing can. Ray tracing has massively accelerated what’s possible from visual rendering and enabled graphics to become more life-like than ever before.

    Choose rack mount for ray tracing

    For a long time, ray tracing has only been supported by NVIDIA graphics cards, however AMD have very recently entered the race with the RX 6800 XT, their very first ray tracing enabled GPU. In addition to already hosting several NVIDIA cards within our product range, we recently revealed that their new RTX 30 series of GPUs is now available in selected models of our rack mount PCs. This series offers considerable performance improvements for ray tracing among a host of other benefits. Combined with the compact size and high-performance of our rack mount PCs, you’ll realise the full value of ray tracing’s rendering capabilities.

    If you would like to learn more about ray tracing or find out how you can harness NVIDIA’s RTX 30 series in our rack mount products, please get in touch.

    Posted by: Geoff Undrell
    Posted in: Products, Technical Articles

  • Tiger Canyon 11th gen NUC

    Intel Tiger Lake chips and Iris Xe graphics make their way into G2 NUCs

    Updated , by Geoff Undrell

    While it’s been a long time coming since our initial exploration of Intel’s upcoming 11th gen NUCs back in April, we’re excited to reveal that these are finally on their way! As such, we’ll be welcoming in the Intel NUC 11 Pro Tiger Canyon prior to its official release in February 2021. The arrival of this new generation of NUCs is particularly compelling for two reasons. Firstly, they will be among the first Intel NUCs to contain the new, powerful 11th gen Tiger Lake series of processors, and secondly, will offer the benefits of Intel’s long-anticipated Iris Xe graphics cards.

    Why get excited about Iris Xe?

    AI-enhanced, Intel Iris Xe graphics enrich the creative process and accelerate performance. Thanks to Xe’s low-power architecture, users can multi-task at speed without needing to worry about battery life. Most importantly, the integrated nature of Iris Xe means the synergy between Intel chips and graphics has never been stronger.

    What else is new in 11th gen?

    As well as marking the introduction of i3, i5, and i7 10nm+ Tiger Lake CPUs and the integrated graphics made possible by Intel Iris Xe, the 11th gen NUCs have a lot more to offer:

    • Dual 4K HDMI 2.0 ports
    • Dual Thunderbolt 3 ports – 4K Outputs, USB3 and Power
    • 3x M.2 PCIe Gen4 slots (2280/2242/2230) for expansion
    • Up to 64GB DDR4 RAM
    • 2.5Gbit LAN

    This means a whopping 4x outputs are available. With the promise of quad extended displays and up to 4K support, multi-screen displays and video wall tiling effects are made easy. The addition of dual Thunderbolt ports is also a significant step forward for these NUCs, enabling both power and video output to be provided to multiple connected devices or monitors via a single cable.

    Intel NUCs. G2 innovation.

    We’ll soon be integrating Intel’s 11th gen NUCs into our innovative 1U NUC and Fanless NUC cases, so it won’t be long before you can enjoy the many benefits of Tiger Lake and Iris Xe within a G2 PC. In fact, a pre-production sample of Tiger Canyon will be arriving next week! If you would like to learn more about the latest generation of Intel NUCs and their integrated graphics, please get in touch with a member of our team.

    Posted by: Geoff Undrell
    Posted in: News, Products

  • NVIDIA RTX 30 series

    It’s all about Ampere: NVIDIA RTX 30 graphics cards now available in G2 PCs

    Updated , by Geoff Undrell

    NVIDIA’s new GeForce RTX 30 series of GPUs has really hit the ground running since its launch back in September, but it seems the graphics giant isn’t quite done with it yet. With the RTX 3070, 3080, and 3090 already making a big impression in the market, NVIDIA is now gearing up to launch the 3050, 3050 Ti, 3060, 3060 Ti, and the 3080 Ti in the first half of 2021. This in mind, there’s a lot to look forward to from this new Ampere architecture, from improved ray tracing to significant performance gains.

    The first wave of RTX 30

    We’re already in awe of the three 7nm RTX 30 graphics cards from NVIDIA’s initial release, so we can’t wait to see what the others can do. When compared to their predecessors from the RTX 20 series, the 3070, 3080, and 3090 leave these cards in the dust. The 3070 is 37% more powerful than its 2070 equivalent, the 3080 is 24% faster than the 2080 Ti, not to mention much more affordable, and the flagship 3090 is even more powerful than that, boasting 10,496 CUDA cores and 24GB of memory.

    What we know about wave two

    With wave two of the RTX 30 series on the way, a few speculative details have already emerged about the GPUs. The RTX 3050 will supposedly be the entry point to the rest of the range, with 2,304 CUDA cores, 4GB of memory, and 90W of power consumption (TGP). The 3050 Ti in comparison will likely offer 3,584 CUDA cores, and the 3060 3,840 CUDA cores, with the 3060 Ti topping things off with 4,864. The 3080 Ti is causing the most excitement, however, offering the same core count as the 3090 as well as 20GB of memory. We could be seeing some of these cards as soon as January as they go head-to-head with AMD’s upcoming Radeon RX GPUs.

    Hooray for ray tracing!

    While NVIDIA’s RTX 20 series does offer ray tracing capabilities, the RTX 30 series greatly improves this, with dedicated 2nd gen ray tracing cores that accelerate performance by up to 2x. This is especially great news for those in video production who work with real-time rendering and require the lighting benefits ray tracing makes possible.

    The RTX 30 series meets our PCs

    We’ve already started introducing the RTX 30 series into our line-up of rack mount computers. Due to the sheer size of the cards, however, for the moment these will only be available in our 2U PC, 3U PC, and 4U Nano. As more of the GPUs emerge over the coming months, we will be implementing these into our PCs too, so keep an eye out for any updates.

    If you would like to know more about NVIDIA’s RTX 30 series of GPUs or find out how you can unlock their full value in one of our rack mount PCs, please speak to one of the team.

    Posted by: Geoff Undrell
    Posted in: News, Products

  • AMD Ryzen 5000 series

    AMD’s Ryzen 5000 series of processors are coming to G2 PCs

    Updated , by Geoff Undrell

    We are now only a few days away from the official launch of AMD’s latest 5000 series of Ryzen desktop processors. Due to be unveiled on November 5th, there is already a lot of information available about what we can expect from the CPUs, particularly with regards to the 5900X and their flagship 5950X. Importantly, the 5000 series marks the introduction of AMD’s long-awaited Zen 3 architecture, which promises significant performance gains and is supposedly “the world’s fastest processor core for the world’s fastest gaming processors”.

    Zen 3 versus Zen 2

    Based on a 7nm+ process, AMD’s Zen 3 architecture is a huge step up from Zen 2. Thanks to double the amount of L3 cache and a unified 8-core complex, Zen 3 is able to offer a huge reduction in latency and according to AMD delivers as much as 2.8x more performance-per-watt than competitor CPUs. The main appeal of this Zen 3 5000 series of chips, however, is a whopping 19% increase in instruction per clock (IPC) performance for PC workloads.

    Meet the 5000 family

    The 5000 family’s flagship 5950X is truly something to behold. With 16 cores and 32 threads, 72MB of combined cache, a 4.9GHz Boost Clock and 3.4GHz Base, it offers the highest single-thread and multi-core performance of any desktop gaming processor on the market today. What’s more, it also boasts the best multi-core performance in a mainstream CPU socket. Its sibling, the 5900X, has been dubbed the “world’s best gaming CPU”, and has 12 cores and 24 threads to speak of, along with 70MB of cache and a 4.8GHz Boost. The more modest chips of the series are the Ryzen 7 5800X and the Ryzen 5 5600X, which offer 8 cores and 16 threads, and 6 cores and 12 threads respectively.

    New boards on the horizon

    We’re already getting systems ready to ship by the 5000 series launch date, which will be using ASRock’s new X570D4U and X570D4U-2L2T motherboards. This latter variant will host the 5950X and comes with Dual X550 Intel NICs onboard. For those using AMD’s 500 series of boards, the Ryzen 5000 chips are compatible but a small BIOS update is required.

    AMD’s Zen 3 Ryzen 5000 desktop processors will be available in our 1U PC, 1U Plus, all 2U models, our 3U PC, and our 4U Nano. If you would like to find out more about how these chips could benefit your rack mount PC, please get in touch.

    Posted by: Geoff Undrell
    Posted in: News, Products