The tragic comedy that is Bulldozer

Subject: General Tech | October 18, 2011 - 12:07 PM |
Tagged: bulldozer, amd

It is hard to know exactly what to say about Bulldozer.  It is not a complete fail for in multithreaded applications it sits in between the performance of the i5-2500 and i7-2600, which it was intended to.  Power consumption at idle has been improved but not at load which hurts, but not as much as the poor single threaded performance which is far worse than we had hoped.  SemiAccurate traced the long 5+ year history of the Bulldozer to see where AMD went astray from the dream that was.  The length of the story is certainly a part of it, 5 years is too long for silicon to languish especially when part of the delay was due to problems with the 45nm process.  Read on to hear about the struggles AMD underwent to get this chip to market as well as what corners were cut, or at least rounded, to get the chip on shelves.

SA_Bulldozer_Excavator1.jpg

"The story of Bulldozer and why it does what it does, both good and bad, can be summed up as death by 1000 cuts. There isn’t really any high point to the architecture, nor are there any really low points. To make matters worse, there isn’t any obvious smoking gun as to why things ended up so, well, meh. What you can get now, what you should have been able to get, and what you will be able to get from this new architecture is a long and complex story. Lets get started."

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Tech Talk

 

Source: SemiAccurate

Somebody bleached the R.A.T. 7 mouse!

Subject: General Tech | October 17, 2011 - 02:29 PM |
Tagged: input, Mad Catz, Cyborg R.A.T.7 Albino, gaming mouse

The Mad Catz Cyborg R.A.T.7 gaming mouse is already the strangest looking mouse on the market.  The amount of customization possible just for the physical layout of the mouse is incredible, this goes far beyond just adjusting weight and DPI, the entire mouse can be reshaped for your hand.  Not content with having only one type of these oddball devices, Mad Catz have created an albino version which will certainly stand out on any desk.  RealWorldLabs needs more than just a colour change before they recommend a mouse, they need to game with it as well.

RWL_rat_7_albinoa.jpg

"With an lightning fast next gen 6400DPI twin-eye laser sensor, a more elegant white color (Apple fans) and the same impressive set of features as the original R.A.T.7 the latest Albino version is very close to being the ultimate gaming mouse to date aimed at the most hardcore of gamers."

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Tech Talk

 

Not quite older than dirt; the microprocessor turns 40

Subject: General Tech | October 17, 2011 - 11:47 AM |
Tagged: microprocessor, history

Intel's 8080, 8086 and 8088 might ring a few bells for some readers, but how many remember the 4-bit 4004 that started it all 40 years ago.  SemiAccurate takes a quick trip down memory lane, recalling the VIC-20 which was powered by Motorola's 6500, the 16-bit TMS9900 that was inside the Texas Instruments 99/4(A) and other chips which have taken us from 740kHz to the multi-gigahertz chips of today. It isn't just speed that has improved, think of the 16 address values of the 4-bit processors and compare it to the 264 addresses available now (18,446,744,073,709,551,616).  It can be argued the F-14 Tomcat's Central Air Data Computer did beat the 4004 by a year, but as it was not publicly available and indeed classified until the late 90's it was never really in the competition.  The same would go doe calculators and industrial control units which were purpose built and not capable of general processing.

4004.jpg

"This fall it is exactly 40 years since the first microprocessor saw the day of light. Intel has of course provided us with a press kit that we will make good use of, but complement it with additional information."

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Source: SemiAccurate

Thermaltake's Shock One headset is virtually 5.1 surround sound

Subject: General Tech | October 14, 2011 - 02:03 PM |
Tagged: audio, thermaltake, shock one, 5.1 headset

It can be difficult to implement true surround sound into a headset without having a serious amount of speakers located all over the headband and ear cups, however simulated surround sound can be produced from just two speakers.  The technology behind virtual surround sound has matured and [H]ard|OCP's testing could get realistic surround sound from these headphones, after a fashion.  They needed to do quite a bit of tweaking in order to properly get the environment to sound correct but had nothing but trouble with dialog; voices were indistinct when they utilized the virtual 5.1 surround settings.  The gaming performance was also sub-par, which leads them to recommend avoiding these headsets in lieu of similarly priced competitors models.

H_Shock_One.jpg

"While Thermaltake is a familiar brand name to PC enthusiasts, the company is one of the newest competitors in the PC gaming headset market. We take its USB model, featuring DTS Surround, for a spin to tell you if it is worth your hard earned dollar or if the competition in this segment of the PC audio market is simply too steep already."

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Audio Corner

Source: [H]ard|OCP

Overclocking the next generation of Intel CPUs

Subject: General Tech | October 14, 2011 - 11:24 AM |
Tagged: sandy bridge-e, overclocking, lynx point, Ivy Bridge, Intel, haswell

 Perhaps not everybody has fond memories of overclocking past architectures with jumpers on motherboards and needing to be able to do math to determine what overclock you want and more importantly if it took or if the system bailed back to default clocks.  Those days are behind us now, as the BIOS becomes the UEFI and you can use a mouse to affect changes on your system timings.  Bulldozer does offer some complexity to those looking for a challenge but for most it is the unlocked Sandy Bridge processors that are the go to chip for overclockers.  According to information VR-Zone picked up at IDF, overclocking the upcoming families of processors will be even easier.  Intel has changed quite a bit over recent years, from the extreme of locking all their processor frequencies to making it easy for the enthusiast to push their CPU beyond design specs.

VRZ_ocing.jpeg

"Ivy Bridge CPUs decouple the main clock finally, following what the coming Sandy Bridge - E Socket 2011 is also implementing. Now, you can overclock the cores and memory without worrying about affecting the I/O and PCIe clocks. But then comes the more interesting piece news. A year later, in early 2013, the pinnacle of Intel's 22 nm process show off, the initial Haswell processor, is expected to go another step further, where CPU core, GPU, memory, PCI and DMI ratios are all set independently here, on top of fine grain BCLK base clock available within the Lynx Point chipset."

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Source: VR-Zone

Podcast #174 - AMD FX Processor launch, New products from Corsair, Viewer Questions and more!

Subject: General Tech | October 14, 2011 - 12:02 AM |
Tagged: podcast, Intel, FX, corsair, bulldozer, amd

PC Perspective Podcast #174 - 10/13/2011

Join us this week as we talk about the AMD FX Processor launch, New products from Corsair, Viewer Questions and more!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

  • iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the iTunes Store
  • RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader
  • MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file

Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Josh Walrath, Jeremy Hellstrom, Allyn Malventano

This Podcast is brought to you by MSI Computer, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!

Program length: 57:42

Program Schedule:

  1. 0:00:40 Introduction
  2. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  3. http://pcper.com/podcast
  4. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  5. 0:02:04 AMD FX-8150 Processor Review - Can Bulldozer Unearth an AMD Victory?
    1. Bulldozer Impressions: That was... interesting
  6.  0:29:19 Video Perspective: AVADirect $1000 Gaming System Review
  7.  0:30:00 This Podcast is brought to you by MSI Computer, and their all new Sandy Bridge Motherboards!
  8. 0:31:15 Corsair Releases High Capacity Force GT and Force 3 SSDs
  9. 0:33:00 Corsair Launches New H40 and H70 CORE Sealed Loop Water Coolers
  10. 0:35:23 Corsair Announces Availability of $139 Gaming PC Case
  11. 0:37:55 Samsung and Micron Developing Hybrid Memory Cube Technology
  12. 0:41:35 A quick and easy way to duplicate your drives
  13. 0:45:32 Email from Jeff about SSD slow down
  14. Email from Kent about SSD reviews
  15. 0:50:00 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
    1. Ryan: Novatel Mifi Verizon 4G LTE
    2. Jeremy: MDK2HD!
    3. Josh: Sup Com and SC: FA on Steam now!  Cheeeap.  http://store.steampowered.com/sub/11732/
    4. Allyn: Sysinternals tools (namely Process Explorer)
  16. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  17. http://pcper.com/podcast   
  18. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  19. Closing

Video coming soon!

Source:

Ubuntu 11.10 released today, try it in your browser

Subject: General Tech | October 13, 2011 - 09:20 PM |
Tagged: Ubuntu 11.10, ubuntu

If you are one of the millions of people who have used Linux -- and realized it -- then you are probably well aware of Ubuntu. Ubuntu has been around since 2004 and has captured an estimated 50% of Linux desktop installations. Ubuntu is financially supported through purchasing technical support from its parent company, Canonical. Today Canonical has released their 15th version of Ubuntu, 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot, into the wild; feel free (literally) to try it out.

ubuntu.png

Excuse me, waiter: You got Firefox in my Firefox.

One of the largest contributing factors to Ubuntu’s success has historically been the ease of testing without installing and the ease to install when you are won over. You currently have the choice between using a Live CD to boot directly into Ubuntu from, using Wubi to run from a Windows in virtualization, and recently browse the interface from an in-browser mockup. The Javascript-based application mimics the Ubuntu desktop and allows you to play around with various windows including spawning a fake web browser and email client each capable of being dragged and dropped within the browser.  Play around and you might fall in love; fittingly, money cannot buy either.

Source: Ubuntu

UEFI comin' down the road ahead

Subject: General Tech, Motherboards | October 13, 2011 - 12:02 PM |
Tagged: x79, uefi, roadmap

To call The Tech Report obsessed about motherboards is an understatement, like here at PC Perspective there is never enough information to satisfy us fully.   That is probably why we are such suckers for sneak peeks and hints of what is coming up in the next generation of parts.  Today it is the new UEFI implementation that we will be seeing from ASUS that will be present on the new family of X79 motherboards.  This new type of BIOS is obviously maturing as you can get the same functionality we are used to seeing from GUI based overclocking and monitoring programs except now you are much closer to the metal.  Check out the sneak peek and keep an eye out for more information from this super secret meeting.

TR_ez.jpg

"Later this week, I embark on a super-secret mission to Silicon Valley to get a sneak peek at Asus' upcoming X79 motherboards. At a similar preview event for Sandy Bridge motherboards last year, I got my first hands-on time with the UEFI—that is, the better, more flexible BIOS replacement—that went on to outclass everything in the industry. Asus will probably have a few new UEFI tricks to show off this time around, and I'm curious to see what's in store. I also have some rather specific thoughts on what should be incorporated in new firmware implementations. When you've been reviewing motherboards for more than a decade, you spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about such things—and have a somewhat inflated sense of the value of your opinions."

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Can't hide the Bulldozer

Subject: General Tech | October 12, 2011 - 05:52 PM |
Tagged: bulldozer, amd, fx series, fx-8150

Not to imply that looking at more Bulldozer reviews is like rubbernecking as you pass an accident ... but there are some similarities.  While it might not be as great a performer as we were hoping, the chance to finally see AMD's new architecture is still a great thing.  A totally new way of looking at a CPU Core, a brand new style of overclocking and a processor that seems almost ahead of its time when you examine its multitasking capabilities is interesting even if it does not deliver the processing power that we hoped for.  Check out The Tech Report's indepth report to see what they thought of its performance

TR_bulldozer-overlay.jpg

"AMD's "Bulldozer" processors are here, and we have a full and extensive review."

Here are some more Processor articles from around the web:

Processors

 

WIPO’s rebuttal to internet consortium very conCERNing

Subject: General Tech | October 12, 2011 - 05:06 PM |
Tagged: WIPO, Patent, ISOC, CERN

While this is a slight departure from business as usual here, there was a recent fire that roasted through the internet: at the Global Innovation Index, a number of speakers gathered during the “Innovation for Expanding the Frontiers of Growth and Development” panel. The closing argument for the panel was given to Dr. Francis Gurry, director of World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) who was seated directly between Lynn Saint-Amour of the Internet Society (ISOC) and Rolf-Dieter Heuer of the European Organization of Nuclear Research (CERN). I will let the captioned screenshot capture the mood of the situation.

conCERN.jpg

WIPO seems to believe that internet development is better antISOCial, which is conCERNing

The arguments that Gurry made seem to be fundamentally misunderstanding the concept of the World Wide Web and specifically the W3C standards body itself.

"If you had found a very flexible licensing model in which the burden for the innovation of the World Wide Web had been shared across the whole community in a very fair and reasonable manner and with a modest contribution for everyone for this wonderful innovation it would have enabled an enormous investment in turn in further basic research."

We have that: everyone invests in their personal projects relative to their goals and pushes it to be included freely into the open standard. The money does not flow into a single entity for research; the research flows into a single entity for inclusion.

"[after discussing the innovations on the patented Saxophone which is now public domain ...] You can contrast that of course with the violin where nobody knows how the violins of Chremona in the 18th century were made because the secret was lost as it was passed in secrecy from family to family and not disclosed."

What Gurry apparently does not understand is that the W3C and other organizations standardizing the World Wide Web likewise ensure a lack of trade secrecy. What is more important for the success of the internet is that we are interoperable between all parties which the patent system does not promote. Even with a vastly dominant marketshare and ridiculous amounts of money, which Gurry seems to believe is the whole of research; Microsoft was unsuccessful in unseating the W3C standards and eventually needed to cave into supporting it. This structure is free which lowers the barrier to entry for those with a good idea: mission accomplished.

Lastly, as we are well aware: in practice we do not see patents used to disclose trade secrets. The ability to purchase something in one click is not a trade secret to be lost forever and yet it remains a defensible patent. Intellectual Property is a flexible tool that received a lot of bad stigma recently, but WIPO needs to acknowledge that it is still an unsuitable tool for the job at hand. Lastly, like a flexible pocket knife, patents can and have been used as a weapon as easily as a tool.

Source: BoingBoing