Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook


Forgot your password?

Slashdot videos: Now with more Slashdot!

  • View

  • Discuss

  • Share

We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).


Comment: Ummmm.... no (Score 1) 119

by Sycraft-fu (#49495033) Attached to: AMD Withdraws From High-Density Server Business

Sorry but you are having some selective memory. AMD actually was only a performance leader for a very brief period of time, that being the P4 days. That was also not because of anything great they did, but rather because the P4 ended up being a bad design because it did not scale as Intel thought it would. Outside of that they were competitive during the P3 days, but behind other than that.

They also had serious problems outside of any business practices from Intel. The three big ones that really screwed them today:

1) Their disastrous chipset situation. When the Athlons came out, their chipsets were garbage. The AMD made chipsets lacked any advanced features. The VIA chipsets were full featured, but poorly implemented. I bought an Athlon, excited at the performance upgrade I'd get from my P2 and drawn in by the price. I spent two weeks fighting and fighting to make it work, before finally finding out that GeForce graphics card were just incompatible with the boards because of VIA's out-of-spec AGP implementation. I sent it all back, got a P3 on an Intel chipset, and it all worked from the word go. Experiences like that really put many people and vendors off of AMD (combined with things like lacking a thermal halt on the chip so if a heatsink fell off the chip would bur out).

2) Their utter lack of innovation/resting on laurels. AMD took FOREVER to get out any kind of real new architecture, that being the Bulldozer, and it was poor when it happened. For too long they kept rehashing their same CPU architecture, while Intel kept moving theirs forward. This became particularly acute when the Sandy Bridge came out, which was a really good architecture improvement. Having nothing new and just trying to glom more cores on the server products was not a winning strategy long term.

3) Ignoring the software side of things. One of the things that makes Intel chips perform so well is their excellent compiler. It generates faster code than any other compiler, in every single test I've ever seen. That matters in the real world since people aren't going to waste time hand-optimizing assembly. Only recently did AMD get a compiler out (I haven't seen benchmarks on how good it is), for most of their life they just relied on other compilers and whined that the Intel compiler was mean to their chips. That has been a problem, particularly in research settings where people need high performance but are not primarily programmers and need something good at automatic code optimization.

AMD has done a lot to screw themselves over long periods and it has built up to a situation now where they are struggling in a big way. If you think Intel is all to blame you've your head in the sand.

Comment: ...and? (Score 1) 119

by Sycraft-fu (#49494845) Attached to: AMD Withdraws From High-Density Server Business

What is your proposal, people should purchase AMD chips as a charity?

Nobody other than Intel zealots wants to see AMD go away. However if AMD's products are not competitive for what they want, why should they buy them? Trying to argue charity buying is a non-starter and a very bad strategy.

AMD has been really screwing up on their processors as of late. Their performance is not that good in most things and their performance per watt is even worse. So for a great many tasks, they are not a great choice. Their "APU" concept is an interesting one, but one who's time seems to be up as Intel's integrated graphics have been very good lately and getting better with each generation so "a CPU with good graphics" is likely to just be what we think of as a CPU.

If AMD wants more sales they have to make a product that is compelling in some way. As it stands, it isn't compelling in that many markets.

Comment: Sure (Score 2) 119

by Sycraft-fu (#49494789) Attached to: AMD Withdraws From High-Density Server Business

Look up "Shadowplay" by nVidia. That is their software that uses the "nvenc" feature of their new GPUs. It has near zero CPU and GPU load, just load on the disk. All encoding is done by a special dedicated encoder on the chip. It's a fast encoder too, it can do 2560x1600@60fps.

The downside is it is not as good looking per bit as some of the software encoders (particularly X264) so if the target is something low bitrate you may wish to capture high bitrate and then reencode to a lower bitrate with other software later.

Bandicam also claims to support the hardware encoders of all the platform (Intel calls their QuickSync, AMD calls there's AMD APP).

Comment: Also what kind of idiot buys at retail price? (Score 1) 319

by Sycraft-fu (#49491339) Attached to: LA Schools Seeking Refund Over Botched iPad Plan

When you are big, you get to get stuff for a discount. At work we are a Dell partner and it means, at a minimum, that we get a 3 year basic warranty on their stuff for no charge, even for one off orders. If we are doing a big order, like a few hundred computers, you get additional discounts.

I realize Apple doesn't like to offer this kind of thing which is a reason NOT TO GO WITH APPLE. If they aren't willing to give you a price break when you are ordering tens of thousands of units then they aren't worth being a vendor.

This reeks of someone who is a complete fanboy deciding everyone has to have a shiny toy rather than any kind of consideration about what product might work well.

Comment: Have a friend who had a similar experience (Score 1) 290

by Sycraft-fu (#49491291) Attached to: IT Worker's Lawsuit Accuses Tata of Discrimination

He decided to become an independent contractor, mostly because he was having so much trouble finding a job during the last big recession. He finally got a job as a contractor to a contractor basically. This firm is your typical contract programming shop, and they would contract to him, didn't bring him on full time. He's American, of Pacific Islander descent (native Hawaiian) the company is mostly Indian.

He continually faced a culture of "You can't know very much, you aren't Indian." Not stated outright, of course, but that attitude. He'd have Indian guys glommed on to a project he was doing who were utterly unhelpful, he'd consistently be the second or third choice, after Indian programmers had failed to be able to solve a problem, and so on. All the while he was kept contract.

Well, he's actually a really talented guy and got a really good reputation with the clients since he would deliver work on time, and as promised, and the rest of the consulting company was not so good at that. He ended up just getting more and more contracts on his own. Finally they realized what they were losing and tried to hire him full time, for an insultingly low figure, and he said no. Now they still bother him with jobs they want him to do from time to time, but he's booked solid, and not very interested in them.

Comment: Re:It's the school's fault (Score 2) 319

by magarity (#49487505) Attached to: LA Schools Seeking Refund Over Botched iPad Plan

They didn't want to look like Starfleet Academy. They wanted to look like a rich suburb:

the technology effort was a civil rights imperative designed to provide low-income students with devices available to their wealthier peers

Civil rights have come a long way if having iPads is now one. Do people even know what civil rights are anymore?

Comment: Landing vs splashdown (Score 1) 340

One would think lifting off with all that fuel needed for the landing is inefficient compared to a splashdown parachute recovery like the shuttle's boosters. And the damage caused by landing on water with parachutes has got to be less than the explosions from the landings on the barges.

Comment: They have been, but there's a snag (Score 2) 309

by Sycraft-fu (#49481157) Attached to: NVIDIA's New GPUs Are Very Open-Source Unfriendly

That being their drivers suck. Also that writing GPU drivers is hard and the OSS community hasn't done a good job.

AMD released a bunch of hardware info, and what code they could (they can't just open up all of their proprietary driver, there are things in it they legally can't release). There were claims of an absolutely amazin' driver that would be made, better than Windows, that there were thousands of skilled OSS programmers who were chomping at the bit to work on it.

Well that was mostly just people bragging on places like /. who didn't know what they were talking about, someone who'd fooled around writing a NIC or SATA driver and thought it was easy. Turns out graphics drivers are REALLY COMPLEX and each generation of hardware needs a new one. So the AMD OSS driver has been pretty poor quality. I mean it works, and supports some features, but it has some stability issues and is nowhere near the full feature set.

So ya, not really helping them. What the OSS community wants is for someone to write an nVidia quality driver, and open it up. Do all the work and then hand it out. Doesn't seem like anyone is interested in doing that. In part that is because some of what makes those closed drivers good is IP that gets licensed that can't be open sourced.

Comment: And what's more (Score 2) 309

by Sycraft-fu (#49480783) Attached to: NVIDIA's New GPUs Are Very Open-Source Unfriendly

Valve has little to no Linux gaming clout. Ya they released a rebadge of Ubtunu with Steam on it. Yay. So far it has had very little influence. Most people continue to game on Windows (and to a lesser extent OS-X). They are not migrating in droves, nor are there droves of people who used Linux but didn't game that are now. Valve has changed very little in the Linux gaming space, as of yet,

The Unity engine and Kickstarter have done a lot more for driving any sort of Linux gaming than Valve.

Most of nVidia's gaming customers play on Windows, and they don't care about closed source drivers. Indeed, binary drivers are the way of things, the users would be extremely mad if you gave them source packages and told them to download a compiler. On OS-X it is all Apple's way, all the time. You gets the drivers you gets from Apple and live with it. Only in the Linux arena is there any wish for OSS drivers, and then only form a minority of their customers. Most of nVidia's Linux customers are high end enterprises, doing simulations or CAD work. They want certified binary drivers, because they want everything to be verified to work.

Valve really doesn't have much they can do to change nVidia's mind. I mean maybe if Valve themselves made Steam Machines and they could threaten to change vendors, but they don't, all kinds of hardware companies make them and they all do business with nVidia.

Comment: Re:Why is it even a discussion? (Score 1) 440

by magarity (#49467659) Attached to: Republicans Introduce a Bill To Overturn Net Neutrality

The open internet is one of the most democratizing things we have in a modern society, why is this even up for debate? What benefit would society have in enabling "Fast lanes" or "premium" connections or other nonsense? What do we get protecting commercial interests?

How would you know the open internet is one of the most democratizing things we have in a modern society? Net neutrality rules were just published to the federal register today so only today does the internet finally, at long last, start to become open? It seems net neutrality is yet another piece of social openness being hunted down by government regulation.

Comment: Re:How would you promote job growth (Score 1) 238

Easy. The cost of maintaining a country is based on the GDP

WTF? The cost of maintaining a country is based on the government budget, not GDP. GDP is a measure of economic output. If citizens have good saving habits and the government doesn't run deficits then the cost of maintaining the country can be a small fraction of GDP. For bad savers and runaway spending governments, the cost can be much higher than GDP.

And in your example, trucks are charged a highway tax all their own to help pay their share.

It's sad you work at McD's but stop hating on more economically successfull people. It's clear from your posts that you're a coffee shop marxist.

If you think nobody cares if you're alive, try missing a couple of car payments. -- Earl Wilson