Looking Back on 2018

Well it's certainly been a busy year in the tech industry, with some fine and not so fine products coming to market. Memory pricing skyrocketted, GPU prices flew too high to the sun and Intel released another 14nm processor "generation".

For this article, we will be talking in relation to Gamers Nexus' "Disappointment Tour 2018" T-Shirt, which can be found here. (Please note, this is not sponsored.)

January - Spectre/Meltdown

Now, this one was a massive wakeup call to the entirety of the semiconductor industry responsible for making general purpose CPUs, such as those that power the every day computer.

Intel got hit pretty hard by this, while AMD got off fairly lightly (but not altogether).

In short, meltdown is an exploit of the out-of-order execution feature, or in more simple terms, pipelining. This specific exploit allowed access to kernel memory via utilisation of the processor caches. Meltdown predominantly affects Intel processors (excluding 9th generation) made since 1995.

Spectre comes in two variants, and is an exploit of the speculative execution feature (which is part of the out-of-order execution feature set) which use either a bounds check bypass or branch target injection in order to run certain harmful processes. Spectre is scarier to be blunt, as it affects almost every system in existence. We highly recommend doing an update.

January - Crypto Mining

This is one thing I'm slightly... reserved about. Personally, I mined on and off with my PC working for ETN while it was profitable. But that was it. No fancy mining rig or anything. Unfortunately, there were a number of upstart mining organisations popping up, which innevitably drove up the cost of both GPUs and RAM (although we will cover that later).

February - Final Fantasy XV Benchmark

As someone who likes to use their downtime gaming, I must say that I don't envy people who sit and run benchmarks continuously on different pieces of hardware, but I get the appeal of having boxes and boxes of hardware to test.

This benchmark was infamous amongst the community for its very selective scenes and testing of DLSS.

March - GeForce Partner Programme

I'm not sure what to say about this one honestly. This has to be perhaps one of the worst kerfuffles I have seen in the industry to date. To keep a long story short, the GPP was a plan put together by Nvidia in order to "keep gamers aware" of what products were best for gaming, by bribing manufacturers with deals if they made their AMD cards under a separate brand. Excuse me for a moment, but really? The entire community believed it to be an early April fools joke until Nvidia actually put out a post on April in regards to the GPP, confirming it was going ahead.

Needless to say, this programme was promptly forgotten.

April - RAM Price Fixing

This is one thing that has definitely stunted my investments in my own rig (until recently buying some Corsair RGB PRO 2x8GB which is currently on sale). It has been under investigation for months now and is being spearheaded by China, and has resulted in Micron being banned from conducting trade in the country after they were found guilty of limiting supply in order to raise their profit margins exponentially.

June - Intel Demonstration

This one really surprised us, as it seems Intel mistook the people they invited to their event for being blind. They had the perfect demo going, a 28 core CPU running at 5GHz. The only thing they didn't say was that it was heavily overclocked and running on exotic cooling by use of a chiller. Needless to say, it didn't go down too well with shareholders.

August - RTX

Well, just saying the name leaves a bad taste in my mouth. RTX. The new standard for Nvidia's graphics division, allowing for real time raytracing which is a massive feat and saves hours of time in the animation industry. The launch of the consumer cards however, was abysmal.

There are high reports of faulty cards with the launch, especially circulating around the RTX 2080 Ti, with the free copy of space invaders (video artifacting). During the presentation, the normally enthusiastic Jen Hsun Huang resorted to phrases such as "just buy it" and "it just works", which is just one of the factors that has led to Nvidia's stocks tumbling in recent times.

October - RX 580 (2048)

An RX 570 overclocked to the speed of an RX 580. Case Closed. AMD has done a lot right this year, however their graphics division is not in a good state as it stands. Here's hoping that Navi can pull them out of the grave.

November - i9 9980XE

This just puts the icing on top of the cake. The 9980XE is essentially the EXACT SAME as the 7980XE, a processor that is (by name) 2 generations behind. The only difference with this chip, is that it has a soldered IHS (Integrated Heat Spreader) which allows it to dissipate more heat, thus allowing it to get higher clock speeds. Now, for the average consumer this is a better chip and it can handle XOC (Extreme overclocking) much better. However, for the standard overclocker, the 7980XE would be our go to as you can simply delid the IHS and apply liquid metal to get the same clock speeds.

Removing the IHS will void your warranty.

Well, thats it for the disappointments of 2018, we hope you enjoyed the read!

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