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Comment Depends if you want to support it (Score 4, Informative) 309

That really is the big issue with a self build: If something goes wrong, you have to track it down and handle all the support. If you get a pre-built from a good vendor, they'll handle it all. Say what you want about Dell, but all you have to do is run their diags (baked in to the UEFI) and call them with the code, they'll send a dude with the parts needed.

So that should be the major thing you think about. If you don't want to do support, then buy it from a vendor that will provide you with support to the level you require. I tend to recommend Dell because their hardware is reasonable and they have support available everywhere. They subcontract it, but it all works well. We use it at work all the time.

If you are willing to do support yourself, then building it gets you precisely what you want. I build my system at home because I have very exacting requirements for what I'm after and nobody has that kind of thing for sale. Like I don't want a "good large power supply", I want a Seasonic Platinum 1000, nothing else.

Also you'll find that generally at the higher end of things you save money building a system. For more consumer/office range stuff it usually is a wash: They build the mass market systems around as cheap as you could afford to. However when you start talking higher end gaming stuff, you can pay a large premium for things.

As an example I just built a system for a good friend of mine. He wanted some very, very high end hardware and pretty specific requirements. Origin PC would get him what he wanted... for about $9,000. I put it together for around $6,000. The gamer stuff often commands a hefty premium.

Comment Re:I'll believe it when I see it (Score 1) 50

And yet for all your misdirected Windows whining DirectX for Windows is the only area that AMD cards perform well. Their Linux drivers blow, as noted by other posts here, and that is because AMD can't write OpenGL drivers to save their life.

nVidia, on the other hand, has extremely fast and solid drivers for Linux.

Comment Well of course, because Linux is OpenGL (Score 1) 50

And AMD can't handle OpenGL. I don't know why, I'm not sure what's so hard, I'm not sure if there's a monster that guards the OpenGL specs in the AMD office or something, but they have sucked at GL for over a decade, and show no signs of getting any better. They can't claim it is because of an API limitation either. For whatever you want to say about the mess that is OpenGL, nVidia makes their GL drivers dead even with their DX drivers. You can use either rendering path and can't tell the difference in features or speed.

That is also why I'm real skeptical that Vulkan is going to do anything for AMD. While they are heavily involved in the development, they are involved with OpenGL's development too (ATi was a voting member on the ARB and is a promoter with Khronos Group). Given that Vulkan is heavily GL based, originally being named glNext, I worry that AMD will suck at performance with it as well.

Comment I'll believe it when I see it (Score 2, Insightful) 50

Not the driver, that's out, but that they are going to change how they do drivers. They've said that numerous times before, and always the situation is the same. They are very slow at getting actual release drivers out (they are forever beta versions) and their OpenGL performance and support is garbage (to the point that HFSS would fail to run on systems with AMD cards).

So AMD: Less talk, more good drivers. I want to support you, I really do, but I've been burned too many times.

Comment And what does that cost for gigabit routing? (Score 1) 112

The problem PFSense has as compared to consumer routers is that running on normal Intel CPUs it needs more CPU power (and thus cost) to be able to forward a given amount of traffic. Plus all the NICs and such are separate silicon. Boradcom makes little all-in-one chips that have a couple of ARM cores that have acceleration for routing and so on. Also they have things like an ethernet switch and ethernet PHYs on the chip so they needn't be added. Have a look at a BCM4709A for an example that is popular in routers.

PFSense is good but it is not the most economical thing if you are talking features matching a consumer router, meaning gig routing, multiple ports, and wifi, you can have your costs go up a fair bit. Particularly if you also then want it to be fairly small and low power. If you hop over to PFSense's site it would cost about $575 for a SG-2440 with WiFi which would give features roughly on par with a consumer router.

While I'd much rather have that over a consumer router, a consumer router is in fact what I have because I didn't want to spend a ton of money for a home router.

Comment This is the only answer that matters (Score 5, Informative) 374

If this is for the kids, then they need to make the choice. Mostly because online play tends to only work in console. So if all their friends have an Xbox one and they have a PS4, then they can't play games together.

If you want any kind of technical considerations or the like the PS4 is faster than the Xbone because of details with hardware design so it will end up rendering things at a higher resolution and so on. Also the controllers feel very different in the hands, and some people have a strong preference. I like the Xbone controllers much better and they are what I use with my PC (I have a PS4 controller as well).

Really though what matters is choosing the one that has the games you want, and that plays with the people you want to play with. The rest is secondary.

Comment Sigh (Score 5, Insightful) 519

Another person who doesn't understand the first amendment. The first amendment says that the government can't mess with your free expression. They can't put you in jail because you say something they don't like, they can't shut down a news paper for reporting on things they don't want, and so on. It does NOT say that people have to listen to whatever you say, like it, and not respond in any way.

This guy didn't have his rights violated at all: He said something extremely stupid, and people then used their first amendment rights to express that he's a jackass. His political party decided that because he'd pissed off lots of voters, they weren't interested in supporting them. They aren't required to support anyone, the choose the candidates they like. He realized he'd fucked up, and had no chance of wining, and so withdrew.

Nothing improper here. You seem to think that the first amendment should mean speech without consequence. Of course that doesn't work without infringing on the rights of others. If you say something I don't like, I have to be free to say I don't like you for it, or my freedom of speech is being infringed upon. I have to be free to refuse to talk to you, do business with you, etc or my freedom of association is being infringed upon.

Comment It's also rather hard to believe it would work (Score 5, Insightful) 223

Ultrasonic response is not something most devices are good at. We, unsurprisingly, tend to design your sound systems around what we can hear. Particularly when you are talking cheaper equipment the high frequency response of speakers and microphones is often not very impressive. There's also the issue that the digital audio compression we use for things, like TV broadcasts, deemphasizes high frequencies.

So for this to work they need:

1) A TV broadcast with sufficient audio bitrate to get their high frequency signal encoded (the AC-3 streams usually used in ATSC broadcasts can be any bitrate from 64kbps to 448kbps).

2) Encoded in such a way by the broadcaster that the high frequencies are preserved to a sufficient amount that their signal isn't distorted.

3) Reproduced by speakers good enough to produce their signal, but to do it at a sufficient level to be picked up (speakers roll off at more extreme frequencies).

4) Picked up by a microphone with sufficient range to be able to receive such a signal and isn't being occluded too much be being in a pocket or something.

5) Processed by a program running on the device, that has control of the microphone at the time the signal is playing.

Ya... While that isn't impossible, that is not likely to work any real amount of time. To have any good chance of working you'd probably have to push the signal down in to the audible range, which would of course piss people off to hear spurious high frequency noise. Likewise for it to be of any use the user would need to have an app on their device that is running. The mic doesn't magically record everything that comes in and store it for anything to access. A program has to be running and take control of the microphone to be able to get any input from it.

This sounds like an advertiser pipe dream, not something that has been tried with real technology in realistic settings.

People seem to think that ultrasonic communication is some kind of magic. It isn't. I mean it can be done, no question, you can encode information in sound, and you can do it in sound frequencies above human hearing. However that doesn't mean you can do it with any arbitrary device, or under arbitrary conditions.

Comment Re:How about NO (Score 1) 125

Intel CPUs fully support 16-bit mode still. Look it up. What they don't support is going to VM86 while in Long Mode which leads to the old WoW system not working for 16-bit support.

There is just no need to sandbox 32-bit support, since it works great how it is. If you are interested, go and read about how WoW64 works and how Compatibility Mode inside Long Mode (on the CPUs) works. It allows for 32-bit software to execute in a 64-bit system with no fuss, and it is something people highly value.

Also again, do more research. You are jerking hard at the knee: Hyper-V -IS- included with Windows. Comes with every copy of pro, you just turn it on. Further if you think something like XP mode is a good solution you are kidding yourself. Now you have a virtual OS which doesn't get updated because it is no longer supported and is an easy vector for attacks. That copy of XP in XP mode is a full OS, and thus has the attack profile of any XP system out there.

Seriously, you really, really need to go and do some research on this topic if you care about it as much as you seem to. It isn't a simple situation of "just virtualize it" nor is a 32-bit compatibility layer the massive problem you make it out to be. You have a bunch of bits and pieces of facts, but a lot of misinformation filling it in.

Comment How about NO (Score 4, Insightful) 125

If you want a platform that breaks older shit, well then go ahead and find one. However many of us would like our software to keep working. WoW64 has been a great success because 32-bit apps run seamlessly and very fast. So you can just use whatever software you want. This has made widespread 64-bit adoption possible. If suddenly 80+% of your programs stop working because there's no compatibility layer, people just won't want to use it. Many, many programs these days are still 32-bit. You may not like that or agree with the choice, but it is what it is. I want to be able to run my software, I don't care about ideological purity.

Also you might want to do your research a bit better, VirtualPC -IS- back. It's called Hyper-V now and it is MS's all encompassing virtualization solution. You can have it on the desktop all the way up to big clusters of servers.

Comment They've increased in charge/discharge cycles too (Score 4, Informative) 100

In particular there have been some improvements along those lines recently. Likewise just last year new batteries with silicon electrodes increased energy density over anything seen before, and smartphone manufacturers are already using them for their newest toys.

There has been no revolution in batteries, no completely new chemistry that changes everything, but there has been steady development.

Comment To add to your post (Score 2) 363

Here an Associate Professor has tenure. If you are tenure track you are hired as an Assistant Professor, and become an Associate when you are granted tenure. So it means you've been around for some time and passed your big milestone. Becoming a full professor does not happen for a long time after that, generally at least 10 years, sometimes longer. As a practical matter departments usually only have so many lines for full professors.

So an associate isn't some junior level position or anything. It means a tenured professor with their own research lab, at least where I work.

Comment Ever consider maybe the licensed code helps? (Score 1) 109

With nVidia alone maybe the argument is that they won't release open source drivers just because they are dicks. Ok, yet AMD has thrown in with open source, however they still have a faster proprietary driver. Why? Perhaps the licensed code has something to do with that. They license various things they can't open source, and those things are some of what help make it faster. AMD didn't just release the Catalyst source because they can't. It contains code they paid licenses for and can't open up.

The situation isn't quite as simple as some people would like to make it. If it was, well then the OSS AMD drivers would have full support, be faster than Windows, perfectly stable, etc, etc. However it turns out that writing a graphics driver is REALLY HARD and very complex.

We're living in a golden age. All you need is gold. -- D.W. Robertson.