Author Archives: Tom Li

Is Remote Work Making Us Paranoid? – New York Times

Remote work eliminated any chance encounters and in passing conversations with our teammates. With only cold assignment emails breaking long hours of dead air, remote workers are missing the reassurance of their social standing. That’s the central topic of a New York Times article. When isolated, imagination can exaggerate a banal, harmless text into a…

The post Is Remote Work Making Us Paranoid? – New York Times first appeared on IT World Canada.

CES 2021: AMD launches Ryzen 5000 mobile processors and new desktop processors for OEM

AMD announced its 5000 series mobile processors at CES 2021 and two new lower-power desktop processors for OEM.

Ryzen 5000 mobile processors

AMD divided the Ryzen 5000 mobile family into the H-series high-performance processors for gaming laptops and the U-series mainstream processors for ultraportable.

AMD says that the gaming industry is now larger than the music and movies industries combined. All image credits: AMD.

With this release, AMD brings the Zen 3 architecture to its mobile segment. AMD claims that the Ryzen 5000 mobile chips are 16 per cent faster in single-threaded tasks and 14 per cent faster in multi-threaded performance than the previous gen.

Full AMD Ryzen 5000 series mobile processor lineup. Click to enlarge.

The new chips fall between 15 to 45W+ thermal design power (TDP). AMD further divided the “H” suffix into “H” for 20W, “HS” for 35W, and “HX” for 45W+ TDP. Chips designed for mainstream have the “U” suffix and 15W TDP. In addition, HX chips support manual overclocking, hence their 45W+ TDP.

All Ryzen 9 series chips have 8-cores/16-threads and 20MB of cache. Their performance is segmented by their thermals. At the top is the 45W+ Ryzen 9 5980HX. As the hottest chip, the Ryzen 9 5890HX also has the highest frequency, clocking in at 4.8GHz boost and 3.3GHz base.

AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX vs the Intel Core i9-10980HK mobile processor.

During the presentation, AMD CEO Lisa Su noted that the Ryzen 9 5900X beats the Intel Core i9-10980HK, which also has eight cores and 16 threads, in PassMark and 3DMark FireStrike Physics. Most importantly, Su showed the Ryzen 9 5900HX beating the Core i9-10980HK in Cinebench’s single-threaded test by 13 per cent. She also demonstrated the PlayStation console exlusive Horizon Zero Dawn running at 100 FPS at 1080p on the Ryzen 9 5900HX, and said that gaming notebooks with Ryzen 5000 mobile processors can deliver “smooth gaming experiences” at 4K.

The Ryzen 7 segment is topped off by the Ryzen 7 5800H, an 8-core/16-thread part that measures at 4.4GHz boost and 3.2GHz. Moving down the ladder, the Ryzen 5 5600HS carries 6-cores/12-threads and 4.2GHz / 3.3 GHz boost.

In the mainstream segment, the Ryzen 7 5800U is the company’s best offering. It has eight cores just like the performance range but caps the base clock to 1.9GHz due to its lower-rated TDP. Also note that the Ryzen 5 5500U and the Ryzen 3 5300U are based on Zen 2 architecture, not Zen 3.

AMD Ryzen 7 5800U competes against the Intel Core i7-1185U.

Su compared the Ryzen 7 5800U to the Core i7-1185G7, Intel’s current best mainstream mobile processor. The company’s internal tests showed that the Ryzen 7 5800U leads video encoding in Adobe Premiere by 44 per cent thanks to its higher core count. In addition, the Ryzen 7 5800U was shown to lead in PC Mark 10 content creation and application benchmarks.

AMD says it expects the Ryzen 5000 series to power over 150 devices this year.

New desktop processors for OEM

AMD also announced two desktop processors with reduced TDP for OEMs. The Ryzen 9 5900 and the Ryzen 7 5800 are lower-powered alternatives the Ryzen 9 5900X and the Ryzen 7 5800X. They both feature 65W TDP, down from the 105W of the originals. As expected, reducing the TDP also drops the clock speed, especially for the base clock. It’s not yet known whether these new chips support overclocking.

The Ryzen 9 5900 and Ryzen 7 5600 cut the TDP at the expense of clock speed.
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CES 2021: Intel’s new vPro platform, Tiger Lake-H, new chips for education, and Rocket Lake-S

Intel announced the 11th gen intel vPro mobile platform, 11th gen Core H-series mobile processors, new Pentium and Celeron processors, and previewed Rocket Lake-S and Alder Lake desktop processors.

11th Gen Intel vPro platform

Intel’s vPro platform has been updated to 11th generation. With it, commercial and enterprise users can now benefit from the more efficient 10nm SuperFin transistors and Intel’s Xe graphics. The 11th gen Core i5 and i7 vPro processors also natively support Wi-Fi 6/6E, as well as Thunderbolt 4.0. Intel says that the new vPro platform is 23 per cent faster in productivity than the competition in Office 365 and up to 50 per cent faster in video conferencing.

On the heel of its vPro platform, Intel also announced the Intel Evo vPro platform to push the industry towards sexier laptop designs for business. Similar to the consumer Evo verification, Intel has set criteria around responsiveness, wake times, and battery life to ensure user experience.

High-performance Tiger Lake-H (H35) processors

Tiger Lake mobile processors have been around for some time now, but Intel has been mum on the arrival of its H-series chips. Seeing its release at CES 2021 is a sight for sore eyes.

Tiger Lake-H launch lineup. Click to enlarge. All image credits: Intel

The new H-series lineup consists of the Core i5-11300H, Core i7-11370H, and the Core i7-11375H Special Edition. They retain the 4 cores of the power-effient Tiger Lake U processors but raise the thermal design power (TDP) to 35W. This increased TDP refers to the configurable TDP (cTDP) up, the highest base TDP the processor can run at with adequate cooling.

Perhaps even more significant is the jump in the minimum configurable TDP. For Tiger Lake-H, the cTDP-down, the lowest TDP the processor can be configured, has been increased to 28W. The new Tiger Lake-H’s cTDP-down matches the cTDP-up of the highest-end Tiger Lake processor in the mobile segment.


Big cat swims: Intel details Tiger Lake and SuperFin transistors


Raising the cTDP-down also raises the processor’s base frequency. Whereas the Core i7-1185G7 runs at 1.2GHz at its cTDP-down of 12W, the Core i7-11375H runs at 3GHz at 28W, which is the cTDP-up frequency of the Core i7-1185G7.

Intel Tiger Lake-H performance and features overview. Click to enlarge.

Looking at the three SKUs, the only difference between the Core i7-11375H Special Edition and the Core i7-11370H is that the former has a 200MHz higher boost clock. The Core i5-11300H has the same number of cores but lower frequencies, as well as 4MB less cache.

Because Tiger Lake-H’s cTPD-down has more than doubled, it needs more powerful cooling solutions. Since it needs more thermal pampering, Tiger Lake-H will be more at home in gaming systems that have better cooling than ultraportables.

Intel has been making an effort into the mobile gaming market. Despite its higher power profile, Tiger Lake-H will find itself in 14 to 15-inch laptops that are under 2cm thick.

Other than the tweaked power and thermal parameters, Tiger Lake-H looks identical to the high-end Tiger Lake U processors launched last year. In this launch, Intel could be trying to squeeze out more performance from its existing chips by tuning the power profiles until it could release the next product. Intel was not immediately available for comment.

Click to enlarge.

And the next product is coming soon. The company also showcased an 8-core mobile processor that’s still in the works. Not much is known about this chip other than it can hit 5GHz across multiple cores.

Tiger Lake-H will come with DDR4 support, Wi-Fi 6 and 6E, PCIe Gen 4, and a resizable base address register (BAR) feature that will give CPU access to the entire GPU memory. AMD’s Smart Access Memory (SAM) is built on the same concept.

New Celeron and Pentium processors for education

Remote learning has exponentially driven up the demand for affordable mobile PCs. Intel suggests that 10 per cent of all PC purchased were for students. Targeting this sector, Intel launched the Pentium Silver N6000, Celeron N6211, Celeron N5100, and Celeron N4500 series processors built on the 10nm node. Intel claims that these new processors deliver up to 35 per cent overall application performance and 78 per cent better graphics performance gen-on-gen.

Core i9-11900K to lead Rocket Lake-S lineup, Alder Lake-S powered on

Intel also announced that Rocket Lake-S, the 11th generation desktop processors, will arrive in Q1 2021. The lineup will be led by the Core i9-11900K that features 8-cores and 16 threads. Rocket Lake’s Cypress Cove core architecture is a backport of Ice Lake’s 10nm Sunny Cove core architecture onto Intel’s 14nm node. It is not based on Tiger Lake’s Willow Cove core.

With the backport, Intel hopes to at least bring the architectural benefit of Sunny Cove to its 14nm node. According to the company, Rocket Lake-S achieves 19 per cent instruction per cycle (IPC) improvement over Comet Lake-S. Several slides also show that the Core i9-11900K can hit a max single-core frequency of 5.3GHz on a single core and 4.8GHz on all cores.

The Core i9-11900K is expected to carry to 20 CPU PCIe 4.0 lanes, four more than what Comet Lake processors offer and a generation newer. It will support up to DDR4-3200 memory. Intel will release a new 500 series chipset with Rocket Lake-S, but the processor will be backward compatible with motherboards using Intel’s 400 series chipsets.

Looking towards the future, Intel’s 12th gen Alder Lake processors are set to arrive in the second half of 2021. In addition to its enhanced 10nm SuperFin transistor, Alder Lake’s will see a new design by combining performance cores and efficiency cores into a single product. This approach is reminiscent of the long-standing strategy adopted by smartphone processors.

Intel demonstrated an Alder Lake PC during its CES presentation. Click to enlarge.


The post CES 2021: Intel’s new vPro platform, Tiger Lake-H, new chips for education, and Rocket Lake-S first appeared on IT World Canada.

HP Elite Dragonfly G2 and Max take off at CES 2021

HP’s new Elite Dragonfly G2 and Dragonfly Max laptops include new remote work enhancements.

Device HP Elite Dragonfly G2 HP Elite Dragonfly Max
CPU Up to 11th-gen Intel Core i7 vPro processor Up to 11th-gen Intel Core i7 vPro processor
GPU Intel Iris Xe graphics  Intel Iris Xe graphics
  • 13.3-inch, 1920 x 1080p, 400 nits, low power
  • 13.3-inch, 1920 x 1080p, 1000 nits, HP Sure View Reflect
  • 13.3-inch, HDR400, 3840 x 2160, 550 nits
13.3-inch, 1920 x 1080p, IPS, 1000 nits, HP Sure View Reflect privacy screen
Memory Up to 32GB LPDDR4 Up to 32GB LPDDR4
Storage Up to 2TB Up to 2TB
Battery TBD 56.2Wh
Ports 1x USB 3.1 Gen 1, 2x USB-C (Thunderbolt 3), 1x HDMI 1.4b, 1x nano SIM 1x USB 3.1 Gen 1, 2x USB-C (Thunderbolt 3), 1x HDMI 1.4b, 1x nano SIM
Weight Starting at 1kg (2.2lbs) Starting at 1.13kg (2.49lbs)
OS Up to Windows 10 Pro Windows 10 Pro

Elite Dragonfly G2

HP Elite Dragonfly G2

When the first Elite Dragonfly hit the market, its lightweight and attractive design swooned commercial and personal users alike. The Elite Dragonfly G2 retains its predecessor’s design language and tacks on a ton of new features.

The chassis is still made using magnesium alloy and weighs under a kilogram. But under the hood, the Dragonfly G2 now uses Intel’s 11th-gen Tiger lake vPro processors. It also expands memory support to 32GB, double that of the previous generation. The touchpad is now backlit and the keyboard spill-resistant.

Users can configure their device with a 13.3-inch 400 nits 1080p display or a 550 nits 4K display. For those who work in bright environments, HP also offers a 1080p display option that can reach 1000 nits with HP’s privacy screen that shields the display from prying eyes. All displays are covered using Corning’s Gorilla Glass 5 and are compatible with the HP Pen.

Hardware aside, the Elite Dragonfly G2 now supports on-lap detection, intrusion detection, and enhanced sound and AI noise cancellation.

There are some sidegrades as well—for example, the manual webcam shutter slider. Instead, the Elite Dragonfly G2 features a dedicated key on the keyboard to turn the webcam on and off. The webcams still boast an IR sensor for Windows Hello sign in.

Designed as an always-connected device, the Dragonfly G2 accompanies a 4G and 5G radio alongside Wi-Fi to ensure that the Zoom meeting is never interrupted.

Elite Dragonfly Max

HP Elite Dragonfly Max

The Dragonfly Max has all the benefits of the Dragonfly G2 and then some. In addition to the updated performance and features, the Dragonfly Max also comes with a sharper 5MP webcam. It also features four microphones to capture sound from multiple directions and participants. It also features HP Eyease, a blue light filter typically found on HP’s business monitors.

The extra functionalities do come at the cost of a slight weight increase. Moreover, the Dragonfly Max has only a single 1080p display option.


The HP Dragonfly G2 is coming to Canada in late January. The Dragonfly Max will follow in April. Pricing will be announced closer to the launch date. Since they’re the best HP has to offer, both in terms of function and style, don’t expect them to be cheap.

The post HP Elite Dragonfly G2 and Max take off at CES 2021 first appeared on IT World Canada.