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Microsoft seemingly trusts Intel Evo for Windows 11 PCs, no love for AMD Advantage
by Sayan Sen
via rexssj (Reddit) As Windows 11 is now generally available, Microsoft has itself put out a list of recommended hardware for buyers looking to get a new Windows 11 PC. On its blog post titled "A new PC is a great way to get Windows 11" that it published on October 12, the firm has given a few general recommendations via its Windows Resource Center like choosing an SSD for the boot drive, selecting the appropriate form factor, and more such simple yet helpful stuff.
Once you move down the page, there is another section where the company provides "a few more tips". Here, the Redmond Giant is seen recommending Intel's Evo platform for a Windows 11 laptop that "you can count on".
Intel introduced the Evo brand last year to indicate laptops that pack its 11th Gen Tiger Lake mobile processors or newer and all the best technologies it offers in such devices. Basically, it's a certification to show that these Intel PCs are "verified wonderful" (Image below).
In a way, it's a good thing as it is essentially meant to make buying laptops easier for uninformed customers and ensure that they are getting the latest available Windows 11-compatible products. However, unlike Intel's Evo, Microsoft does not bring up AMD's Advantage program here even though the latter's CPUs are also compatible with Windows 11.
AMD Advantage is also a certification program similar to Intel's Evo that AMD debuted alongside its Radeon RX 6000M mobile RDNA 2 graphics. In combination with that, these laptops sport Ryzen 5000 mobile processors, and these CPUs are officially supported by Windows 11 as they fulfill the system requirements criteria for the OS.
To be fair to Microsoft, mentioning AMD Advantage would probably make it seem like the Redmond giant is overlooking Nvidia GPUs completely since the Advantage program combines both CPUs and dedicated GPUs solely from AMD. This possibly explains why AMD Advantage isn't promoted by Microsoft the same way as Intel Evo is. And also, AMD Advantage was released much later and so these laptops are far rarer compared to Intel Evo devices.
Still, it can certainly make someone wonder as to why there is also no mention of at least AMD processors, alongside Intel's Evo, on Microsoft's Windows 11 PC buyer's guide.
Intel's latest 18.104.22.16855 driver brings additional video encode support on Windows 11
by Sayan Sen
Intel earlier today released its newest DCH graphics driver version 22.214.171.12455. The major highlight of the new driver is the addition of support for H264 and HEVC DX12 video encode on Windows 11. Aside from that, it brings several fixes for bugs in games and other applications. There is also a long list of known issues.
The bugs fixed in this release are:
The unresolved issues that remain are:
The new 126.96.36.19955 driver is compatible with all Intel graphics products starting from the 6th gen processors (Skylake) and newer, as well as Xe-based products. To download it, head over to Intel's official site where you can find the relevant links.
There is a separate driver for Kaby Lake G though as it is built with Radeon Vega M inside. You can find details about that driver here.
Xbox father Seamus Blackley says sorry, again, for ditching AMD in favor of Intel
by Sayan Sen
Xbox creator, Seamus Blackley, often lovingly called the Father of Xbox, took to Twitter yesterday and offered his apology to AMD and its engineers as it has been 20 years since the original Xbox was released back in 2001. That's because AMD was ditched by Microsoft in favor of Intel despite the former playing a key part during the console's development phase.
The launch version of the Xbox ran on a 733MHz Intel Pentium III processor alongside Nvidia GeForce 3-based graphics. Bizarrely though, the prototype Xbox hardware was actually running AMD chips. In fact, even the demo on stage for the Intel-inside Xbox launch variant was actually running on AMD hardware according to Blackley.
When a Twitter user quizzed him about the reason for the switch, Blackley hints that it may have had to do with the "Relationship" between Intel and Microsoft, and "Pure politics".
This isn't the first time though that Seamus Blackley has apologized to AMD regarding this matter as back in 2015, on IGN's Podcast Unlocked platform, the Xbox creator probably revealed this last-moment switchover incident publicly for the first time.
It is rumored that AMD was offering a K7 (Athlon) variant of the chip for the Xbox which at the time was a very competitive architecture. Its successor, the K8, in fact, easily bested the Pentium 4 in terms of performance-per-watt.
Source: Seamus Blackley (Twitter)
The new Acer Predator Orion 7000 is a Windows 11 gaming PC packing Intel's Alder Lake-S CPUs
by Sayan Sen
Acer today has launched its new Predator Orion 7000 liquid-cooled gaming desktops. The notable thing about this new upgradeable prebuilt is that it comes with Intel's upcoming 12th gen Alder Lake-S processors, which will debut with the new Performance Hybrid architecture consisting of big (P-) and little (E-) cores. The flagship Alder Lake-S SKU dubbed the Core i9-12900K(F) will also be on offer inside this build.
Jeff Lee, General Manager, Stationary Computing, IT Product Business, Acer seems excited about these new Alder Lake-S CPUs stating:
To get the best out of Alder Lake, Intel worked closely with Microsoft on its new Thread Director feature for the most optimal Windows 11 performance. That's good news for the Orion 7000 as it will come with the Windows 11 Home OS. Performance leaks also suggest that the gaming on Alder Lake-S will be very sound.
For a gaming PC, a processor is only part of the equation and so the Predator Orion 7000 comes with a GeForce RTX 3090 dedicated graphics card.
Other notable hardware specifications pf the Predator Orion 7000 are:
up to 64GB DDR5-4000 memory PCIe Gen5 Up to 2X 1TB M.2 PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSD
Up to 2X 3TB HDD SATA3
2.5-inch USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-C hotswap drive bay
Front: three USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A, one USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type C, and two audio jacks.
Rear: three USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A, one USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 Type-C, two USB 2.0 ports, and three audio jacks
Intel Killer 2.5G LAN
6GHz Wi-Fi 6E (AX211)
DTS:X Ultra audio
140mm Predator FrostBlade™ 2.0 fans (120mm rear fan)
The Predator Orion 7000 will be available in North America in Q2 of this year; in EMEA and China, in Q1 of next year. Pricing for this starts at EUR 2,199 or RMB 20,000. This means the top-of-the-line Orion 7000 with an i9-12900K(F) will likely be more expensive.
You may find more details about the new Predator Orion 7000 in the original press release here.
Update: The Predator Orion 7000 will be available in EMEA and China in Q1 of next year, followed by North America in Q2.
By Usama Jawad96
IBM's ModelMesh goes open-source, enabling developers to deploy AI models at scale
by Usama Jawad
Model serving is a critical component of AI use-cases. It involves offering an inference from an AI model in response to a user request. Those who have dabbled in enterprise-grade machine learning applications know that it is usually not one model providing an inference, but actually hundreds or even thousands of models running in tandem. This is a very expensive process computationally as you can't spin up a dedicated container each time you want to serve a request. This is a challenge for developers deploying a large number of models across Kubernetes clusters because there are limitations such as the maximum number of pods and IP addresses allowed as well as compute resource allocation.
IBM solved this challenge with its proprietary ModelMesh model-serving management layer for Watson products such as Watson Assistant, Watson Natural Language Understanding, and Watson Discovery. Since these models have been running in production environments for several years, ModelMesh has been thoroughly tested for various scenarios. Now, IBM is contributing this management layer to open-source complete with controller components as well as model-serving runtimes.
ModelMesh enables developers to deploy AI models on top of Kubernetes at "extreme scale". It features cache management and also acts as a router that balances inferencing requests. Models are intelligently placed in pods and are resilient to temporary outages. ModelMesh deployments can be upgraded with ease without any external orchestration mechanism. It automatically ensures that a model has been fully updated and loaded before routing new requests to it.
Explaining the scalability of ModelMesh with some statistics, IBM went on to say that:
IBM has contributed ModelMesh to the KServe GitHub organization that was developed jointly by itself, Google, Bloomberg, NVIDIA, and Seldon back in 2019. You can check out the ModelMesh implementation contributions in the various GitHub repositories mentioned below:
Model serving controller ModelMesh containers used for orchestrating model placement and routing Runtime Adapters modelmesh-runtime-adapter - the containers which run in each model serving pod and act as an intermediary between ModelMesh and third-party model-server containers. It also incorporates the "puller" logic which is responsible for retrieving the models from storage triton-inference-server - Nvidia's Triton Inference Server seldon-mlserver - Python MLServer which is part of KFServing