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AMD reveals its new Zen 3 Ryzen 5000 processors, including the ‘world’s best gaming CPU’

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AMD just announced its new lineup of Ryzen 5000 series processors for desktops, which are also the first chips from the company set to feature its next-gen Zen 3 architecture and represent the biggest jump for AMD’s desktop chips yet.

AMD is also setting expectations high, promising that the new Ryzen 5900X is nothing short of “the world’s best gaming CPU.” The new chips will be available starting at $299 for the entry-level Ryzen 5 5600X model on November 5th.

Like last year’s Zen 2-based Ryzen 3000 desktop chips these new models replace, the new 5000 series processors are still using AMD’s 7nm process but offer a 19 percent increase in instructions per cycle, along with a complete redesign of the chip layout and a higher max boost speed. (The new chipsets are jumping straight to Ryzen 5000 series branding to avoid any confusion of the new Zen 3 chips with the Zen 2-based Ryzen 4000 desktop chips that AMD released over the summer for prebuilt systems.)

All together, AMD says that simply replacing a Zen 2 CPU with a comparable Zen 3 model —the new chips are compatible with older motherboards after a firmware update — will result in an average 26 percent improvement for customers, all while keeping TDP and core counts the same.

AMD is starting with four new Zen 3 CPUs. There’s a top-of-the-line Ryzen 9 5950X model with 16 cores, 32 threads, and a max boost speed of 4.9GHz for $799; the $549 Ryzen 9 5900X, with 12 cores, 32 threads, and a max boost speed of 4.8GHz; the $449 Ryzen 7 5800X, with eight cores, 16 threads, and a max boost speed of 4.7GHz; and the $299 Ryzen 5 5600X, with six cores, 12 threads, and a max boost speed of 4.6GHz.

AMD Ryzen 5000 Zen 3 CPUs

Model Cores/
Threads
TDP (Watts) Boost / Base Frequency
(GHz)
Cache (MB) Price
Model Cores/
Threads
TDP (Watts) Boost / Base Frequency
(GHz)
Cache (MB) Price
AMD Ryzen 9 5950X 16C/32T 105W Up to 4.9 / 3.4 GHz 70 $799
AMD Ryzen 9 5900X 12C/24T 105W Up to 4.8 / 3.7 GHz 70 $549
AMD Ryzen 7 5800X 8C/16T 105W Up to 4.7 / 3.8 GHz 36 $449
AMD Ryzen 5 5600X 6C/12T 65W Up to 4.6 / 3.7 GHz 35 $299

Notably, each of those chips has gotten a $50 price increase compared to the original prices of the comparable Zen 2 CPUs from 2019. All four new CPUs will be available starting on November 5th.

AMD is taking a direct shot at Intel with the new lineup, particularly the company’s Core i9-10900K model, which Intel has previously boasted is “the world’s fastest gaming processor.” While AMD’s chips don’t beat Intel 10th Gen chips on sheer clock speed — Intel’s top chip maxes out at a boosted 5.3GHz, while the Ryzen 5950X (AMD’s fastest new chip) tops out at 4.9GHz — AMD does offer other advantages, like improved power efficiency and a higher core and thread count.

The company also points to benchmarks, claiming that the Ryzen 9 5900X manages to beat Intel’s i9-10900K in head-to-head performance for a wide range of titles, including League of Legends, Dota 2, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, and more. (Intel’s chip still won out for Battlefield V, and we’ll have to wait and see how third-party benchmarks rank things before making any real judgments here.)

Of course, a new CPU needs a new GPU to go with it, and AMD also took the time to start teasing its upcoming Radeon RX 6000 “Big Navi” graphics cards built on its next-gen RDNA 2 architecture that the company will be fully announcing on October 28th. The new cards are supposed to be AMD’s answer for Nvidia’s RTX 3000 GPUs, and the company is promising that it, too, will be able to push high-level 4K gaming, teasing over 60fps benchmarks for Borderlands 3, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, and Gears 5 at ultra settings.

AMD won’t have too long to rest on its laurels, though: Intel is already gearing up for its response, already teasing its 11th Gen Rocket Lake CPUs for early 2021.

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Microsoft gets a pandemic boost thanks to Surface, Xbox, and cloud services

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Microsoft posted the first quarter of its 2021 financial results today, reporting revenue of $37.2 billion and a net income of $13.9 billion. Revenue is up 12 percent, and net income has increased by 30 percent. While the ongoing pandemic continues to force many to work remotely during an economic downturn, Microsoft is benefiting from the shift in the way people are now working, playing games more, and connecting to others through videoconferencing.

Cloud services are the biggest boost to Microsoft’s revenues from the pandemic shift in behavior. Both Office commercial and consumer are up, with Office 365 Commercial revenue growth up by 21 percent. Server products and cloud services revenue has also increased 22 percent as more businesses rely on cloud services for remote working. Azure revenue itself grew 48 percent.

The biggest news here from a consumer point of view is that Microsoft 365 Consumer subscribers have also increased to 45.3 million. That’s a jump of 27 percent year-over-year, and likely thanks to Microsoft’s renewed focus on consumers with Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Teams earlier this year.

Cloud and Office aren’t the only products driving Microsoft’s growth, though. Surface revenue has jumped by 37 percent this quarter to $1.5 billion. That’s a big increase for a quarter that hasn’t seen any new Surface devices introduced. Microsoft only just introduced a new Surface Laptop Go device and updated Surface Pro X earlier this month, but those will count to next quarter’s revenue.

Microsoft’s next-gen Xbox consoles.
Photo by Tom Warren / The Verge

Over on the gaming side, Xbox content and services revenue has also increased significantly by 30 percent compared to the same quarter last year. A number of consumers have turned to gaming and services like xCloud or Game Pass during the pandemic, and it’s clear there’s an increased demand for Microsoft’s gaming services. Microsoft notes that Xbox Game Pass subscriptions and strength in third-party and first-party titles helped with revenue.

Microsoft is now gearing up to launch its next-gen Xbox Series X and Series S consoles on November 10th. The consoles complement Microsoft’s xCloud game streaming service that launched last month, and the company’s ongoing efforts with Xbox Game Pass. Microsoft revealed it has 15 million Xbox Game Pass subscribers last month, but the company hasn’t provided any fresh numbers today.

Microsoft appears to be bullish about demand for the Xbox Series X and S consoles. “We expect very strong demand following the launch of our next-generation Xbox Series X and S consoles,” said Microsoft CFO Amy Hood during a call with investors. This demand should drive “supply constrained hardware revenue growth of approximately 40 percent” next quarter.

Microsoft reported a jump in Windows usage earlier this year after lockdowns throughout many parts of the world led to remote working for many. This jump in usage hasn’t resulted in increased Windows OEM revenue during this quarter, though. Windows OEM revenue has dropped 5 percent, and Microsoft blames lower commercial demand for the dip.

While commercial demand for PCs might be softening, Windows OEM non-pro revenue has grown by 31 percent, thanks to consumer PC demand. It’s likely that students and families are driving this growth during the pandemic, turning to PCs to help support remote learning. During an earnings call with investors, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said “PCs have become mission critical,” and that Microsoft is seeing double digit growth in monthly active devices for Windows 10.

Surface Laptop Go.
Photo by Tom Warren / The Verge

Elsewhere, LinkedIn revenue has also grown by 16 percent year-over-year with 722 million users. Search revenue has decreased by 10 percent, though. Microsoft splits its various businesses into three buckets: productivity and business processes, intelligent cloud, and more personal computing. The more personal computing bucket includes Surface, Xbox, and Windows, and Microsoft says gaming and Surface drove its revenue growth of 6 percent for this quarter.

Azure drove the intelligent cloud revenue growth, and Office 365 and LinkedIn helped the productivity and business processes bucket. It’s clear that these main revenue drivers — Azure, gaming, Surface, and Office — have been influenced by the pandemic.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said at the beginning of this pandemic that the company had witnessed “two years’ worth of digital transformation in two months.” That transformation appears to be continuing for many businesses, students, and consumers.

Update, October 27th 6:10PM ET: Article updated with comments from Microsoft’s investor call.

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You can now buy Vizio’s rotating Atmos soundbar

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Vizio’s Elevate soundbar has finally hit shelves. You can buy it today for $999.99. The 48-inch soundbar supports Dolby Atmos and DTS:X. The soundbar houses 18 speakers and comes with a wireless eight-inch subwoofer. The cool thing is that some of the speakers rotate — they face upward while you’re playing Dolby Atmos content and point forward for standard audio.

I spoke to Vizio CEO William Wang about the Elevate earlier this year. He said the soundbar is intended to hook non-enthusiast customers on Dolby Atmos by showing them, visually, the difference between the two tiers of audio. He also noted that while the Elevate is asking a steep price, he expects the rotating speakers to appear in lower-cost devices down the road. The Elevate is being positioned as a good companion purchase for Vizio’s first 4K OLED TV, which is also now available.

Currently, you can order the Elevate at Best Buy and Walmart. Vizio says it’s coming to Amazon and Sam’s Club, too, but those don’t appear to have active links yet.

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Don’t Eat Deli Meat if You’re Pregnant or Old, CDC Says

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slices of salami on bread, surrounded by pretty food things

Photo: photocrew1 (Shutterstock)

There’s an outbreak of listeriosis linked to deli meat, the CDC says. The exact source has not been tracked down, but they say if you are pregnant, over 65, or have a weakened immune system, to not eat deli meat or take extra precautions.

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Listeria bacteria can live at refrigerator temperatures, but are killed by heat. That’s why they turn up in deli meats (including Italian style processed meats like salami) and soft cheeses made with unpasteurized milk. If you’ve ever been told not to eat brie while you were pregnant, this is why—although most soft cheeses in U.S. supermarkets aren’t made with raw milk. In the past few years, Listeria outbreaks have also been linked to lettuce and other produce.

If you don’t fall into those risk groups, listeriosis is not a serious illness. But if you are pregnant when you get it, it could cause miscarriage, stillbirth, or death of your newborn. It can also be serious for people who are elderly or have a weakened immune system.

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The CDC says it knows of 10 recent cases in which people were hospitalized, and one died. Here’s what they say about the source:

  • Ill people have reported eating Italian-style meats, such as salami, mortadella, and prosciutto.
  • People have reported purchasing both prepackaged deli meats and meats sliced at deli counters. The investigation is ongoing to determine if there is a specific type of deli meat or common supplier linked to illness.

If you are in one of the higher risk categories (pregnant, older, or with a weakened immune system) the CDC recommends either avoiding deli meats or making sure they are heated just before serving until they are steaming hot. (That’s an internal temperature of 165 Fahrenheit, if you’re able to get a thermometer probe into your salami.)

You should also wash your hands after handling deli meats, clean any surfaces that deli meats or their juices have been in contact with (such as your refrigerator shelves) and make sure you’re not keeping deli meats in the fridge too long. Meat you buy from a deli counter is usually good in the fridge for five days; factory sealed packages are good for two weeks.

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