Products

  • ISE 2020

    Our reflections on ISE 2020

    Updated 27/02/2020

    Earlier this month, we braved the onslaught of “the storm of the century”, Storm Ciara, and defied all odds to travel to the RAI Amsterdam for this year’s Integrated Systems Europe. It was well worth the trip, with mind-blowing audio-visual displays and innovative installations filling every square inch of the exhibition centre. Exhibiting for the second time along with 1,300 others, we had a truly fantastic show and relished in the opportunity it presented to speak face-to-face with our existing customers. We met a whole lot of new faces over the four days too, so are now even more excited about what’s in store for the year ahead.

    Intel PoEWings, water-cooling, and a wall of PoE

    Stationed in Hall 15 among the likes of HP, Dell Technologies, and Google Cloud, our stand was completely kitted out with some of our most impressive applications. This included an entire wall dedicated solely to our Intel-based Power over Ethernet (PoE) products; our 1U NUC, Fanless NUC, and Bantam PCs. The units proved incredibly popular and really got our customers talking about the power of PoE. Our 3U PC also succeeded in attracting a lot of attention, its open lid proudly showing off two AMD Radeon Pro graphics cards to the delight of passing AV professionals and gamers alike. Equally as cool, our 2U PC was host to a bespoke water-cooling solution for AMD’s Ryzen Threadripper 3970X live on the stand, featuring reengineered Alphacool parts we’d designed specifically for the application. High above the stand, our highly portable 2U Nano flew on neon wings, demonstrating its suitability for transport in flight cases.

    Lots to see at this year’s ISE

    In spite of industry leader LG Electronics’ absence as a result of the coronavirus outbreak in China, there were countless new technologies and solutions across the show’s 15 halls to get our teeth into. This included a particularly notable installation from Epson, #EpsonUnboxed, which featured a revolving projection-mapped box that housed a Formula One racing car. Speaking of racing, Christie also caught our attention with their Scalextric track – using RFID tags, the cars were tracked and images projected in their wake. This theme of gaming continued throughout the Audio and Live Events Hall, with Panasonic displaying a panel of gamers competing in real-time on their 4K screen. Possibly the most controversial installation, however, was Vogel’s pole-dancing robot, “Elettre”, which appeared to demonstrate the robust nature of their display mounts, but not without raising a few eyebrows in the process.

    Panasonic esports

    Take a tour of the stand

    AVTV

    If you missed us at ISE and didn’t get the chance to hear from our MD Chris Hollidge, you’re in luck! We sat down with AV Magazine while at the show to film for AVTV and gave them a unique insight into why our design-led approach to computer engineering sets us apart from other manufacturers and why we believe PoE is a huge game-changer for AV integrators. For a quick tour of our stand and to learn more about our solutions, watch the video here.

    Back for Barcelona

    We’re looking forward to seeing how the show will transfer as it heads to Barcelona next year. ISE 2021 will take place at Gran Via, part of the Fira de Barcelona complex, from 2nd – 5th February. We hope to see you there!

    Posted by: Geoff Undrell
    Posted in: News, Products

  • G2 Digital ISE 2020

    One week to go before ISE 2020!

    Updated 04/02/2020

    We’re now only days away from the world’s largest AV systems integration show, Integrated Systems Europe, in the heart of Amsterdam. The show is a home-from-home for some of the biggest and most respected names in the AV and digital media industry, from Samsung to Sony, and we’re elated to be joining them as an exhibitor for the second year running. With a bigger and better stand than last year in tow, we’re taking things up a notch by showcasing some of our most impressive applications and running live demonstrations so you can see for yourself exactly what our products can do.

    Intel meets Power over Ethernet

    Where last year’s show provided the platform for the debut of our Intel-based Fanless NUC, this year we’re bringing three Intel-powered Dawson Canyon NUC products along with us, all of which allow our customers to harness the many benefits of PoE. Power over Ethernet can be a massive game-changer for AV integrators, not least because it radically simplifies and streamlines computer installation by enabling both power and data to be transmitted through a single cable, but also because it’s more secure, flexible, and affordable than more traditional solutions. We’ll be displaying the true power of PoE on our stand, so make sure you take some time to swing by for a quick coffee and a chat about why these Intel-based products are so great for AV production challenges.

    Water-cooling for the win

    We know how difficult it can be to make the most of high-end next-generation processors the likes of Intel’s i9-9900K, particularly in a compact rack mount PC. That’s why we’ve engineered a pretty epic water-cooling solution made up of components modified specifically for use in a smaller unit. This awesome application will feature on our stand in the form of our 2U PC, which will be host to AMD’s powerful Ryzen Threadripper 3970X. Because the 3rd gen chip has a sweltering TDP of 280W, the same as its younger cousin, the 64-core 3990X, it requires sufficient cooling in order to ensure the temperature of our host unit is kept to a safe operating range. By visiting us at ISE, you’ll get the chance to see up close exactly how our solution works and better understand why water-cooling is so key to unlocking the full potential of your CPU.

    Perfect for portability and plenty of PCIe

    An ideal computer for maximising your graphics (GFX) cards, the vertical variant of our 3U PC will be in prime position on the stand. Offering up to 7x full height single PCIe bays, it allows as many as 3x professional GPUs to be fitted for exceptional graphics performance. We’ll also be bringing our horizontal model along, so you can see how we’ve enabled 2x consumer GFX cards to fit without compromising on the height of the unit.

    Also making an appearance this year is our popular and incredibly portable 2U Nano. Ultra-short-depth, the rack mount PC is perfect for transport in a flight-case, which is exactly how you’ll find it on our stand. Because it’s so compact, it fits neatly into the flight-case with plenty of room to spare. In fact, it’s even possible to fit two units within the same rack. Featuring dual-width GPU support and an optional redundant power supply, we’re certain this unit will really take off at ISE 2020.

    Book a meeting to learn more

    Make sure you don’t miss the opportunity to learn everything there is to know about our rack mount computers by booking a 1-2-1 meeting with us at the show. You’ll be given the V.I.P treatment with a personalised tour of the stand based on the products that interest you. We’d love to see you there, so secure your slot before it’s too late!

    You’ll find us on Stand S282 in Hall 15 from 11th – 14th February at the RAI Amsterdam.

    Posted by: Geoff Undrell
    Posted in: News, Products

  • Threadripper 3990X

    64-core Ryzen Threadripper 3990X set to be another game-changer for AMD

    Updated 28/01/2020

    We’re absolutely blown away by AMD’s new Ryzen Threadripper 3990X monster processor. Officially unveiled at CES 2020 earlier this month, the chip has a phenomenal 64 cores and 128 threads, making it the world’s first 64-core high-end desktop CPU. Based on the titan chipmaker’s Zen Core architecture, the CPU is purpose-built to handle large workloads with ease and at speed, even rivalling the performance of server and data centre equivalents. For that reason, we’ve already started getting our line-up of rack mount PCs ready to contain this awesome beast.

    “One processor to render them all”

    The Threadripper 3990X has been boldly referred to by AMD in their promotion of it as “the one processor to render them all”, and indeed, it will probably be a while yet until its position as such is challenged by the likes of Intel. With up to 288MB of combined cache, an impressive 88 PCIe 4.0 lanes, and a thermal design power (TDP) of 280W, the processor pushes the boundaries of high-performance computing like never before. It offers simultaneous multi-processing power thanks to its sheer number of threads, lightning-fast rendering, and rapid access to large data sets. Despite its modest base clock of 2.9GHz and boost of 4.3GHz, we’re still expecting great things from the chip.

    AMD is giving us loads to look forward to

    CES 2020 also provided the platform for AMD’s reveal of their 3rd gen Ryzen 400-series of mobile processors, as well as Radeon 7 – the very first 7nm gaming graphics card – due to launch this February. This is particularly interesting, considering Intel has recently confirmed they’re also working on a next-gen 7nm GPU, but it’s likely we won’t see this in the flesh until 2022.

    Unleash the beast!

    We can’t wait for the Ryzen Threadripper 3990X to finally be unleashed on the 7th February. We’ve already got plans for some awesome and innovative cooling solutions that will help tame the CPU’s sweltering 280W TDP within our compact rack mount computers.

    If you would like to discover more about AMD’s Ryzen Threadripper 3990X chip and find out when this will become available in selected models of our PCs, speak to one of the team.

    Posted by: Geoff Undrell
    Posted in: News, Products

  • Windows 7 end of support

    No need to say goodbye to Windows 7 just yet

    Updated 23/01/2020

    Windows 7 had a very good run in the ten glorious years following its introduction back in 2009, but following the discontinuation of support by Microsoft last week, we must finally say a fond farewell to the decade-old operating system. This is not least because by ending support for Windows 7, Microsoft will no longer be providing technical assistance, patches, or software updates, meaning any bugs or security vulnerabilities that still exist within the OS will never be fixed. This makes Windows 7 PCs an attractive and easy target for hackers and cybercriminals.

    It doesn’t have to end this way

    Regardless of the security issues that may be encountered as a result of sticking with Windows 7, there’s been a lot of resistance when it comes to upgrading to Windows 10, which is what Microsoft is encouraging users to do. To some degree, this is understandable – Windows 7 was incredibly popular, and it can be hard to let go of something so familiar to make the leap to something new. With that in mind, we have some great news for steadfast and loyal users of Windows 7 – Extended Security Updates (ESU) are still available for Windows 7 Pro, Enterprise, and Pro for Embedded Systems editions.

    What does this mean?

    Thanks to the availability of ESU, we have the option of extending the support of our Windows 7 machines for up to an additional three years. This means your G2 PC could still be benefitting from Embedded Support in 2023! And while you can still purchase our products with the Windows Embedded Standard 7 service pack until 2024, you won’t receive any security patches without ESU, so we think it’s a complete no-brainer if you’re a dedicated Windows 7 user.

    What’s the catch?

    Windows 7 is already living on borrowed time. Its mainstream support officially ended in 2015, so for the past four years it’s been leeching off Microsoft’s extended support. Now having finally reached its end, there are a lot of issues to circumnavigate. To add to the fact that without any support or security updates your PC is no longer protected, you also won’t get the benefit of any new software or features as these will be incompatible with the OS. Likewise, very few manufacturers now offer Windows 7 drivers with their hardware, so you’ll be restricted to what little is available.

    Maybe it’s time to move on

    Although we’ll still readily offer the option to extend the support of your Windows 7 G2 PC, the argument to consider switching to Windows 10 is compelling. It’s more secure, user-friendly, and agile, and according to Microsoft will likely be the last major release of the OS for a very long time. For that reason, upgrading to Windows 10 alongside an upgrade to your current PC seems like a considerably worthwhile investment.

    If you’d like to know more about how you can enjoy Windows 7 Embedded Support, or are interested in upgrading to Windows 10, please contact one of the team.

    Posted by: Geoff Undrell
    Posted in: News, Products

  • Ryzen 9 3950X

    Power and productivity made possible by AMD’s Ryzen 9 3950X

    Updated 02/01/2020

    As we enter 2020, there’s still an overwhelming demand for AMD’s latest Ryzen 9 processor – the 3950X. Officially launched back in November, the chips were snapped up incredibly quickly upon their release, and now trying to track one down is like trying to spot a polar bear in the snow. That in mind, we thought we’d take some time to explain why these processors are proving to be so popular, and why we’re making it a New Year’s Resolution to get our hands on some.

    Awesome raw performance

    The Ryzen 9 3950X comes ready with a sizeable 16 cores and 32 threads, and in spite of delays to its initial release because of supposedly unsatisfactory clock speeds, has a base clock of 3.5GHz and an impressive boost of 4.7GHz. Where the high-end desktop CPU truly excels though is in its ability to manage multi-core workloads and complete complex productivity tasks, which it does with considerable ease.

    How does it compare?

    In terms of its multi-core capabilities, the chip does far better than Intel’s recent i9-9900KS, if only due to the fact it has twice the number of cores and threads. The Ryzen 9 3950X’s Thermal Design Power (TDP) is also that much lower, offering 105W as opposed to 127W, a figure that has the potential to be reduced even further thanks to AMD’s introduction of an ‘eco-mode’. Its predecessor, the 3900X, also doesn’t quite measure up on the cores front, with 12 cores and 24 threads to speak of, and while the 3950X’s base clock is 0.3GHz below the 3900X’s, its boost is now 4.7GHz versus 4.6GHz.

    More news to come

    We’ll have more information on when the Ryzen 9 3950X chips will be available in our PCs over the next month or so, so keep an eye out for any news! In the meantime, if you would like to know more about the AMD CPUs currently supported in our line-up of rack mount and compact PCs, please speak to one of the team.

    Posted by: Geoff Undrell
    Posted in: News, Products

  • Intel Quartz Canyon

    Quartz and Provo Canyon: the next generation of Commercial Intel NUCs

    Updated 03/12/2019

    Although Intel’s chip shortage is predicted to last slightly longer than we anticipated, there is some silver lining to take comfort in – Intel will soon be launching a new ‘commercial’ line-up of next-generation NUC PCs. While there is plenty of information already available on the upcoming Quartz Canyon NUC, the lesser-known Provo Canyon has been more tightly kept under wraps. Because so little is currently known about it, we wanted to give you a better insight into what to expect from the new NUC to ensure you’re suitably prepared for its release.

    Get reacquainted with the Quartz Canyon

    Before looking into the Provo in any detail, we thought we’d provide you with a quick overview of the Quartz Canyon and why this workstation-specific NUC could be of significant interest. It supports an 8-core Xeon or 9th Gen i7 processor, ECC Memory, and boasts a PCIe expansion slot. A 100W internal power supply is also a notably attractive feature, as is the availability of 2x Thunderbolt 3 ports. We have high hopes the NUC will be fast and furious, offering serious processing capabilities in a small form factor.

    Introducing the Provo Canyon

    The more elusive Provo Canyon also brings a lot to the table, with support for Intel’s latest 8th gen i3, i5, and i7 range of CPUs as well as its own Thunderbolt 3 connector, which could mean super-quick data transfers and a third display output. It’s not short on its sheer number of available ports either, with Dual HDMIs and the Thunderbolt port allowing up to three native connections. What’s especially exciting about this NUC, however, is the fact that it offers extended display identification data (EDID) emulation. For headless, 2nd virtual, and persistent displays, this important feature ensures extended AV signals are optimised and any EDID information is achievable regardless of the cable types involved in your installation, meaning you can more easily match the needs of the display you’re working with. This could really be a gamechanger for audio-visual production environments.

    Not long to wait!

    We’re expecting even more information on Intel’s 8th generation NUCs this month, so watch this space for more news. In the meantime, if you would like to find out more about the next-gen NUCs or discover how our innovation has made it possible to rack mount Intel NUC PCs, please get in touch.

    Posted by: Geoff Undrell
    Posted in: News, Products

  • AMD Ryzen Threadripper CPUs 3rd gen

    AMD’s 3970X and 3960X Ryzen Threadripper CPUs on sale!

    Updated 19/11/2019

    AMD’s 3rd generation of Ryzen Threadripper desktop processors has finally arrived, and just in time for Christmas too – having gone on sale at 2pm today. Built using AMD’s 7nm Zen 2 microarchitecture, the latest additions to their incredible line-up of CPUs are the 3970X and the 3960X. Both are run with the new TRX40 motherboard chipset, and promise higher clock speeds and improved efficiency and performance to help content creators “realise their creative vision”. The chips will very soon be available within selected models of our products, so for now we wanted to give you a taste of what you can expect from them.

    Power, punch, and PCIe lanes

    Purpose-built to handle lightning-fast creative workloads, there is a lot to get excited about from the new Threadripper CPUs. The 3960X boasts 24 cores and 48 threads with a base clock of 3.8GHz and a boost of 4.5GHz, with its higher-end sibling, the 3970X, offering a massive 32 cores and 64 threads and a base and boost clock of 3.7GHz and 4.5GHz respectively. Most impressive, though, is the availability of up to 88 PCIe 4.0 lanes in both chips, something which makes them ideal for multi-GPU configurations. It’s no wonder that AMD is claiming the 3970X is the world’s most powerful desktop processor, especially with 144MB of combined cache.

    Coming soon…

    Following the official launch of the 3rd gen Threadripper CPUs, AMD will be releasing its flagship 16-core and 32-thread Ryzen 9 3950X chip on 25th November, which has been anticipated for some time. Along with this, AMD has stated they’ll be providing the new Ryzen 3000 processors with a new ‘eco-mode’, wherein you can scale your Thermal Design Power (TDP) back to significantly reduce power consumption. This can even take the 3950X’s TDP down from 105W to 65W, but does come at the expense of some performance. Having said that, AMD has confirmed that the chip can successfully run at 77% standard performance using only 44% of its power.

    AMD Threadripper in G2 PCs

    We’ve already started building the new 3rd gen Threadripper chips into members of our product family, adding to the growing amount of AMD chips already available in our PCs. We even engineered a solution for a customer that allowed the 3970X to consistently run thanks to the introduction of water-cooling components, successfully lowering the 3970X’s temperature and cooling our host 2U PC down to a safe operating range.

    If you would like to find out how to take advantage of the powerful CPUs in a G2 PC, please speak to one of the team.

    Posted by: Geoff Undrell
    Posted in: News, Products

  • Our new 3U PC is purpose-built for PCIe expansion

    Updated 30/09/2019

    After our announcement back in July that the new 3U PC was on its way, we can officially confirm that it is now available to purchase. We’re thrilled to finally welcome the unit into our product family, where it has taken its rightful place as the first of our 3U units.

    The perfect PC for PCI expansion

    3U PC 3 Dual PCIeWe’ve designed the 3U PC to be as versatile as possible, meaning it’s ideal for PCIe expansion. And because our units are used for all kinds of different applications across various industries, we’ve allowed for even greater flexibility by offering two variants of the unit, with horizontal and vertical PCIe slots respectively. This makes it so much easier to enjoy the benefit of multiple graphics (GFX) cards inside a single rack mount PC.

    Our horizontal model rises the PCI card through 90 degrees, enabling 2x consumer GFX cards 3U Redundant PSU 7 PCIto fit comfortably into the machine thanks to 5x full height single bays. Importantly, any GFX cards with power connectors built into the top edge, like NVIDIA GTX, can be used without compromising on the height of the unit – something which is typically difficult to achieve in 19” Rack units. By comparison, the vertical model of the 3U PC offers 7x full height single bays, allowing up to 3x professional GPUs to be fitted, whether Quadro or AMD.

    Here’s what you can expect from our latest PC:

    • 448(W)x457(D)x133(H)mm
    • 2x 3.5″ or up to 6x 2.5″ hot swappable SSD/HDD bays
    • Up to 7x PCIe x16 slots
    • Dual Socket AMD EPYC or Intel Xeon CPU Support
    • Rubber mounted internal cooling fan(s)
    • Optional 800W Redundant Power Supply
    • Optional water-cooling functionality

    Get it while it’s hot!

    We can’t wait to show you what our 3U PC can do. It’s got a load of PCIe potential to look forward to, so if you would like to find out how you can make the most out of your graphics cards by getting your hands on the new unit, get in touch with one of the team.

    Posted by: Geoff Undrell
    Posted in: News, Products

  • Power over Ethernet Intel-based NUC

    Power over Ethernet: The perfect rack mount solution

    Updated 28/08/2019

    As specialists in the design and manufacture of PCs for challenging environments, we understand how difficult many PC installations can be, sometimes stopping a project in its tracks before it’s even begun. And it’s not simply a case of negotiating considerations such as case size and weight – the tidiness of your comms cabinet as well as the setup of a reliable Wi-Fi connection can also prove obstructive depending on your unique circumstances. We believe that a big part of the solution in the future will be making the most of the possibilities presented by Power over Ethernet.

    We’ve recently seen an overwhelming demand from our customers for products that capitalise on Power over Ethernet (PoE), and are therefore delighted to announce that we’ve designed a device to help you get the most out of PoE within selected models of our product range.

    Why Power over Ethernet?

    Power over Ethernet is the ideal solution for complicated PC installations. Seamless yet incredibly powerful, PoE enables both power and data to be transmitted through a single Ethernet cable. For this reason, it’s the perfect fit for challenging and remote installations, particularly in locations where a mains power cable would prove impractical. With less cables to contend with, it makes mounting your G2 units easier and ensures your comms cabinet remains uncluttered. Most helpfully of all, as the Ethernet cable required to run our PoE hardware is usually already installed in many office buildings, PC installation is instantly more cost-effective. And, thanks to its transmission via a wired Ethernet connection, your data stays far safer and connectivity is more stable. More and more often, PoE-powered products are proving themselves as the best possible choice for tricky PC installations. That’s why we’ve introduced PoE support to some of our most popular products.

    Nothing but Ethernet

    Available across both our Intel-based 1U NUC, Fanless NUC, and Bantam PCs, but soon to extend to the rest of our product line-up, our bespoke Power over Ethernet device enables you to take advantage of all four PoE standards:

    • IEEE 802.3af-2003, Type 1
    • IEEE 802.3at-2009, Type 2 or PoE+
    • IEEE 802.3bt-2018, Type 3
    • IEEE 802.3bt-2018, Type 4

    With all of this captured in a single PC, you could therefore not only benefit from PoE+, which can support devices with up to 30W of power such as VoIP phones, but PoE Types 3 and 4, which support information kiosks, video conferencing, high-performing digital signage, and much more. Conformity with all the prevailing standards means our products offer lots of flexibility when designing solutions using PoE.

    However, what’s important to keep in mind when considering PoE is that it is a developing technology. It’s not possible to use it to simply power any legacy PC, so it’s critical to understand what you’ll be investing in, as well as the practical and commercial implications, before you decide to make the change.

    Our range of PoE-powered PCs were designed specifically with complex installations and all of the necessary considerations in mind, so you’re free to enjoy all of the opportunities Power over Ethernet represents.

    If you would like to learn more about how you can harness the power of PoE in one of our products, or else find out the best way to migrate to PoE-powered hardware, please get in touch with one of the team.

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

  • 3U PC front

    Get ready to meet our brand-new unit: the 3U PC

    Updated 09/07/2019

    We’re excited to officially reveal that we have a brand-new rackmount unit in the works – the 3U PC. The very first 3U computer to join our ever-expanding line-up of Mini and Rack PCs, we’ve created the 3U PC in response to an increasing demand for multi GPU configurations.

    Why are multiple GPU slots so hard to come by?

    The fundamental issue with consumer grade GPUs, while cost effective, is that they come built with power connectors on their top edge. This means they are generally very tall, and difficult to fit into more compact, space-sensitive PCs, restricting the number of graphics cards that can be deployed in a single unit. By comparison, the power connectors on ‘professional’ cards can be found on the back of the GPU rather than the top edge, thereby only affecting case depth, which is a much easier challenge to negotiate.

    Enter the 3U PC

    Our new 3U PC was designed to alleviate the issues associated with multiple GPU slots. As the need for PCs with a smaller height but sufficient room for more expansion cards continues to grow, our 3U case allows professional GPUs to be mounted vertically, making it possible for customers to add several to their unit.

    Available in two variants, the 3U PC takes both pro and consumer cards into consideration. The first variant will offer 7x full height single bays able to fit up to 3x dual-width NVIDIA RTX or AMD professional graphics cards. The second variant rises the bays through 90 degrees, offering 5x full height single bays able to fit up to 2x dual-width NVIDIA RTX/GTX consumer graphics cards.

    3U PC rear alternate variant3U PC rear variant

    But that’s not all there is to get excited about – the 3U PC is bursting with other brilliant features:

    • 425(W) x 547(D) x 133(H) mm
    • 4x 3.5” or 8x 2.5” hot swap bays
    • Dual Socket AMD EPYC or Intel Xeon CPU Support
    • Water-cooling functionality (optional)
    • Redundant power supply (optional)
    • DVD/Blu-ray Bay (Optional)

    Proving three’s not a crowd

    We can confirm that the 3U PC has now been fully designed and is currently awaiting initial production samples, but we don’t anticipate it’ll be very long before the new unit joins our family of compact and rackmount PCs. We anticipate availability in around 5 weeks’ time, so watch this space for any updates on how you can get your hands on one.

    If you would like to learn more about the 3U PC, or any of our other products, please get in touch with one of the team.

    Posted by: Geoff Undrell
    Posted in: News, Products

  • Water-cooled 2U rack PC

    We water-cooled Intel’s i9-9900K in an epic 2U rack PC

    Updated 11/06/2019

    We know just how important it is to ensure our customers are always getting the most out of their choice of processor – it’s one of the many reasons why we’re constantly developing and refining our versatile line-up of Rack and Mini PCs. A recent example saw us commissioned by our customer Epic Games to engineer a solution that would mean they could run Intel’s flagship i9-9900K CPU at its Turbo frequency of 5GHz for a sustained period of time – a feat that presented some interesting challenges.

    Overclocking is not a game

    A video game and software development company, Epic Games is renowned for many highly successful video games, including the hit sensation Fortnite. Driven by the need for powerful, responsive and stable compute, Epic Games’ initial requirement was for a machine that could achieve a Turbo speed of 5GHz across the first couple of the processor’s cores only. However, the only way to ensure this speed was consistently reached while maintaining stability was by fully overclocking the Intel chip, meaning all cores would need to be activated.

    Playing it cool

    Water-cooling 2U PC

    The drawback of overclocking the CPU to this extent was that it resulted in the processor’s power consumption almost doubling from 95W to 180W. This massive leap caused the host 2U PC to reach temperatures of up to 85 degrees – a mere 15 degrees less than Tjunction, Intel’s recommended maximum. The reason for this surge in heat was largely down to the CPU’s die surface area, which was little more than the size of a stamp. Dissipating the heat from such a small area is tricky, and as such, we knew that the only way of solving the challenge was to introduce water-cooling. By bringing the CPU’s hot surface into contact with a cool, temperature-controlled liquid, we managed to successfully lower the i9-9900K’s temperature and thereby cool the 2U PC down to a safe operating range that wouldn’t exceed 70 degrees.

    An epic solution

    2U PC water-cooled IntelOur solution didn’t just stop at water-cooling, either. Because most off-the-shelf water-cooling components aren’t typically designed for smaller units, their height can be difficult to accommodate. To ensure Epic Games’ solution was able to fit neatly inside a compact 2U PC, we therefore had to reengineer the Alphacool water-cooling parts we had selected by reducing their height while retaining their effectiveness. This perfectly suited Epic Games’ space-sensitive deployment needs. The depth of the case also presented a different challenge – as the 2U PC is a deeper unit, it needed greater airflow to circulate and expel the CPU’s heat. We designed fans specifically to accomplish this task, enabling Epic Games to truly get the most from the i9-9900K. Finally, we kitted the 2U unit out with a redundant power supply, protecting the processor from any downtime due to a power failure. The result of some rigorous testing, the final product was a sophisticated solution that did exactly what Epic Games needed it to.

    If you would like to find out more about how water-cooling could benefit your PC’s CPU, or how we can help you maximise your choice of processor, get in touch with one of the team.

    Posted by: Geoff Undrell
    Posted in: Products

  • Intel CPU shortage

    The impact of Intel’s chip shortage is almost behind us

    Updated 20/03/2019

    In both Q3 and Q4 of 2018, overwhelming demand for Intel’s 14nm processors meant that both consumers and suppliers of products reliant on Intel chips were faced with considerable stock constraints. Now well into 2019, we’re still feeling the effects of the CPU shortage, which only looks set to continue into the next quarter. This does sadly mean that both the prices and lead times of our products are still being impacted, but we are doing everything we can to alleviate this issue for our customers. This may even influence previously issued quotes, so if you have recently received a quote from us for any upcoming projects that involve an Intel chip, please contact us for an updated quote.

    Why is there a chip shortage?

    Intel’s chip shortage is down to a number of different factors surrounding the supply of their 14nm 8th generation processors. Due in large part to a record demand for the CPUs, as well as a delay in the 10nm manufacturing process, this resulted in a significant supply gap in the latter half of 2018 which has since rolled over into 2019. This is likely to be augmented in Q2 ‘19 by an anticipated demand for Chromebooks containing Intel’s lower-end CPUs, which may mean their i3 processors could overtake the highly sought-after i5 quad-core Kaby Lake-R chips as the hardest to get your hands on.

    Things are looking up for Q3 ‘19

    According to DigiTimes research, however, the worst of the shortage may be over by Q3 of this year. Acknowledging that their shift in capacity for high-end processors was one of the causes behind the chip shortage, Intel has been taking steps to address the problem and it’s now predicted that we’ll see a new 14nm capacity expansion of around 25%, which will supposedly mean the end of the issue for good. Likewise, with the data centre boom seemingly almost over, things could be looking up for the supply of Intel’s chips as we move further into 2019.

    It’s always darkest before the dawn

    We’re hoping that the shortage won’t last much longer and are working to ensure this has a minimal impact on our customers’ orders. If you would like to better understand how Intel’s chip shortage will affect the prices and lead times of your G2 order, please get in touch.

    Posted by: Geoff Undrell
    Posted in: News, Products