Subject: General Tech | February 17, 2014 - 03:10 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: web browser, Google Chrome, chromium
This stutter was 628 milliseconds, or about 38 consecutive frames at 60 FPS.
Image Credit: Chromium Project Blog
Web browsers are designed under the assumption that a single thread of instructions will weave through every task, one by one, until everything is done. At some point, since the early 1990s, computers have been give multiple cores (and some of those designs can have multiple threads shoved through at once). The problem is now that, since "Task A" was designed to occur before "Task B", doing them separately... can break stuff good.
A simplified browser execution flowchart. Execution follows the arrow.
Image Credit: Mozilla
In case you are wondering, Mozilla started to move compilation to a background thread as of Firefox 21. Firefox 29 will move the entire just-in-time (JIT) compilation process off the main thread. This is currently in their "Aurora" release channel. To the rest of the world: it's an alpha.
This optimization is currently available in Google Chrome Beta (33).
Subject: General Tech | February 16, 2014 - 10:39 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Windows 7
You cannot purchase a retail copy of Windows 7 at this point, officially. The last day of retail availability was October 30th, 2013. System builders can still include the operating system in their PCs, however, until October 31st, 2014.
Windows 7 Professional is the exception.
The Windows lifecycle website claims that OEMs can include Professional in PCs until a to-be-announced date. That date will be at least one year after whenever they decide to announce it. As of February 16th, the date is still listed as "Not yet established".
I should note that Volume Licensing customers have downgrade rights and installation media available for the two versions prior to whatever is current. In short, they have their own timeline.
Basically, we know that preinstalled Windows 7 Professional availability is on a countdown timer. We know that timer is at least one year long. We do not know how much longer than a year it will be. We also do not know when the announcement will be made and thus, when the timer will start ticking.
The Ars Technica article claims that this Windows 7 Professional OEM extension is for business users. That said, a fair amount of those users are on volume licensing. Another possibility is that Microsoft wants to bridge the gap between Windows 7 and the rumored "Windows 9" for enthusiasts. "Threshold", as it is codenamed, is supposed to address users who are primarily in the desktop interface. Professional would give them devices to purchase until then, without the general public purchasing a cheap Windows 7 machine and intending to use it for a decade (potentially beyond Windows 7's EOL in 2020).
Windows 7 Home Basic, Home Premium, and Ultimate will no longer be preinstalled in PCs on October 31st, 2014. Windows 7 Professional will be available for some unannounced time afterward.
Subject: General Tech, Storage | February 16, 2014 - 03:37 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: toshiba, hdd, 5TB
We may see an internal hard drive with up to 5TB of storage from Toshiba. This is an enterprise SKU but, either way, it is a step beyond the tyranny of 3TB models dotted with 4TB options at a higher price per gigabyte. For example, Newegg.com lists a 3TB Caviar Green at $114 with the 4TB version going for $164.
You might just be, Toshiba. You might just be.
The push to 3TB was fairly difficult, due mostly to software limitations in addressing more than about 2.2TB per drive. 3TB was uncommon for internal storage, although external USB drives avoided the issue. And then came the flood. Back in 2011, disastrous flooding exploded prices of hard drives. The world was cut to a fraction of its production. With standard 2TB drives over doubling in price, the industry took forever to return. Ryan, at the time (October 2011), noted that the days of 2TB for $89 would be gone for a while; that is the exact price which Newegg lists, today. Even worse, we basically did not see 4TB until almost 2013.
It is a good step, though. I hope this reaches other companies and the consumer space in reasonable time. While I am dreaming, just maybe it could push down prices on existing models? I am looking at you, 4TB disks.
Toshiba's MG04 series drives will be available in both SAS and SATA models with sizes up to 5TB. Samples will begin to ship this month.
Subject: General Tech, Mobile | February 15, 2014 - 11:47 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: motorola, Lenovo, acquisition
According to Bloomberg, Lenovo's CEO has recently made a claim in a phone interview that, "In a few quarters we can turn around the business [Motorola]". Google is currently in the process of selling a subset of Motorola to Lenovo for $2.9 billion USD. When it was first announced, I assumed the deal was based on Motorola's brand power and their relationship with wireless carriers around the world.
Now, two weeks later, Lenovo outlines their plan. The company expects to push Motorola into China, emerging markets, and even existing ones. Lenovo's CEO, Yang Yuanqing, believes that customers will positively identify with the brand, especially in China. They are planning to relaunch the brand in China and become a stronger third-place competitor (globally).
The company also disclosed that approximately 3,500 employees would carry over with this acquisition.
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | February 14, 2014 - 06:02 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: supply shortage, shortage, R9 290X, podcast, litecoin, dogecoin, bitcoin
UPDATE (Feb 14th, 11pm ET): As a commenter has pointed out below, suddenly, as if by magic, Newegg has lowered prices on the currently in stock R9 290X cards by $200. That means you can currently find them for $699 - only $150 over the expected MSRP. Does that change anything about what we said above or in the video? Not really. It only lowers the severity.
I am curious to know if this was done by Newegg voluntarily due to pressure from news stories such as these, lack of sales at $899 or with some nudging from AMD...
If you have been keeping up with our podcasts and reviews, you will know that AMD cards are great compute devices for their MSRP. This is something that cryptocurrency applies a value to. Run a sufficient amount of encryption tasks and you are rewarded with newly created tokens (or some fee from validated transactions). Some people seem to think that GPUs are more valuable for that purpose than their MSRP, so retailers raise prices and people still buy them.
Currently, the cheapest R9 290X is being sold for $900. This is a 64% increase over AMD's intended $549 MSRP. They are not even the ones receiving this money!
This shortage also affects other products such as Corsair's 1200W power supply. Thankfully, only certain components are necessary for mining (mostly GPUs and a lot of power) so at least we are not seeing the shortage spread to RAM, CPUs, APUs, and so forth. We noted a mining kit on Newegg which was powered by a Sempron processor. This line of cheap and low-performance CPUs has not been updated since 2009.
We have kept up with GPU shortages, historically. We did semi-regular availability checks during the GeForce GTX 680 and 690 launch windows. The former was out of stock for over two months after its launch. Those also sometimes strayed from their MSRP, slightly.
Be sure to check out the clip (above) for a nice, 15-minute discussion.
Subject: General Tech | February 14, 2014 - 03:28 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: audio, roundup, headphones
The Inquirer has put together a list of the 14 best headphones released so far this year, including both on ear and over the ear styles. You won't find a single Beats model in this roundup but you will hear about a wide range of best in class headphones from a wide variety of uses from the cheapest pair that still sounds good to the best ones for travelling. Just don't buy the ones with frogs on them.
"Long gone are the days when people felt too embarrassed to wear a hefty pair of cans on their heads in the fear that they'd be accused to trying to look like an Ibiza DJ wannabe. The hype about on-ear headphones has helped convince the masses that, "Actually, these clumsy looking music accessories are pretty cool," or, "Why shouldn't I wear them with pride on the Tube after forking out hundreds for them?""
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Bitfenix Flo Gaming Headset Review @ Madshrimps
- Ozone Onda Pro Headset @ Rbmods
- SteelSeries 9H Gaming Headset Review @ Legit Reviews
- SteelSeries 9H Gaming Headset @ NikKTech
- Fanny Wang WangBuds Review @ TechwareLabs
- Antec pulse Bluetooth Wireless Headphone Review! @ Bjorn3D
- Func HS-260 Gaming headset Review! @ Bjorn3D
- Thermaltake eSPORTS Cronos Gaming Headset Review @ Modders-Inc
- Func HS-260 Stereo Gaming Headset @ eTeknix
- Corsair Vengeance 2100 Dolby 7.1 Wireless Gaming Headset Review @ Madshrimps
- CM Storm Pitch In-Ear Gaming Headset @ eTeknix
- Creative T4 2.1 Wireless Speaker System with NFC Review @ Madshrimps
- Edifier Luna Eclipse e25 2.0 Speakers @ Kitguru
Subject: General Tech | February 14, 2014 - 02:43 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: amd, Kabini
As you may have heard mention of on the podcast last night, AMD has a habit of crowding the lower end of the CPU and GPU markets with a wde variety of choices of product separated by very little money. While this can lead some entry level PC buyers to a bit of confusion at first, having a wide variety of choices is a good thing for the consumer. DigiTimes reported on an interesting decision made by AMD which bucks that trend, at least in China. It would seem that instead of releasing Kabini there, AMD is depending on the deep price cuts they've applied to previous generations of APU to compete against Intel as those price cuts would make Kabini much less attractive in that market. As a bonus we also received confirmation that Beema is still on schedule for the second half of this year.
"AMD is expected to ship 300,000 Kabini processors in the first quarter of 2014, 1.2 million units in the first half, and 3.8-3.9 million units in the whole year, the sources indicated."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- How about a Radeon R9 290X for 900 bucks? @ The Tech Report
- Samsung ramping up 25nm production for DRAM @ DigiTimes
- The UNTOLD SUCCESS of Microsoft: Yes, it's Windows 7 @ The Register
- Lenovo cracks its first ever $10bn quarter @ The Register
- Indonesia market: BlackBerry to stage a turnaround with Jakarta model @ DigiTimes
- Win MSI GTX760 Gaming and Z87I Gaming ITX combo! @ Kitguru
Subject: General Tech | February 14, 2014 - 02:11 PM | Ken Addison
Tagged: video, r9 270x, r7 265, r7 260x, podcast, nvidia, fusion-io, arm, amd, A17
PC Perspective Podcast #287 - 02/14/2014
Join us this week as we discuss the release of the AMD R7 265, Coin Mining's effect on GPU Prices, NVIDIA Earnings and more!
The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!
- iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the Store
- RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader
- MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file
Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath and Allyn Malventano
Week in Review:
0:28:45 NVIDIA Posts Solid Quarter
News items of interest:
0:56:15 In a Galaxy far far away?
Hardware/Software Picks of the Week:
Josh: $379 for next few days!
Subject: General Tech, Systems | February 13, 2014 - 10:18 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Chromebook, google, vmware
Google has just announced a partnership with VMware for "cloud access" to virtualized Windows desktops through Chrome OS. The Verge takes the narrative that Google is looking to hurt Microsoft via their enterprise market. Honestly, I think it just makes sense as a business.
As time passes, the list of tasks which require native applications is diminishing. Legacy applications, which cannot be reprogrammed for copyright or development reasons, are still on a leash to their intended platform, however. Google knows that their customers want access to those programs and utilities. Virtualization is one of the easiest ways, especially since it is already happening.
Some will prefer native apps on a dedicated machine (and that is okay).
Google also notes that Windows XP is nearing its end of life. They claim that Chromebooks and virtualized Windows instances nullifies security vulnerabilities and compatibility woes. Of course, you are never perfectly secure but at least Google puts their money where their mouth is.
VMware Horizon View 5.3 is currently available "as an on-premise service".
Subject: General Tech | February 13, 2014 - 01:26 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Intel, Broadwell
There are many possible reasons why Intel is delaying the arrival of the 14nm Broadwell, from a lack of competition to the slowing of the laptop market to simply wanting to sell more Haswell chips. Regardless of the cause, DigiTimes is reporting that we will not see the first Broadwell chips until the beginning of 2015 with the arrival of Celeron and Pentium branded chips. The first ones to be shipped will be to mobile system builders in the last quarter of this year, limited amounts of U- and Y-series models will be distributed to manufacturers to be sold at the beginning of 2015. That is a long way off, don't give up all hope but don't hold your breath.
"Intel's upcoming 14nm Broadwell-based processors were previously scheduled for mass production at the end of the first quarter for release in the third; however, sources from the upstream supply chain say the processors have recently been delayed and will not be available until the fourth quarter."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- VMware and Google announce Windows applications for Chrome OS @ The Inquirer
- Sandisk announces world's fastest memory card for 4K video @ The Inquirer
- Have a Linksys router? Now's a good time to update that firmware @ The Register
- John McAfee declares war on Android @ The Register
- Bad luck, n00bs: Mozilla to splurge ADS inside empty Firefox tiles @ The Inqurier
- An Introduction to the AWS Command Line Tool @ Linux.com
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