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Comment Re:Nintendo's taking a lot of flak for this... (Score 1) 156


The 3D screen, while being a fun gimmick, is expensive to produce. At the same time it imposes a heavy hit to battery life due to both the energy costs of running the parallax barrier and the energy costs of the more powerful backlight needed to send enough light through that barrier. That's a big reason the original 3DS, despite its relatively puny SoC, only gets 3-5 hours on a single charge (typically closer to the former). So producing a model without the 3D screen, along with solving their unsafe-for-children problem, scratches an itch in the market for a version of the console without the 3D screen and its drawbacks.

The issue however is as you note: the rest of the design. I for one was hoping for a 3DS sans the 3D screen and that's it; maintain the size and the clamshell, just ditch the 3D screen. Instead we have something that looks like the bastard son of a tablet and a 3DS. Given the market Nintendo is going for (the under 7 crowd) this may make all the sense in the world for as far as I know; Nintendo does do their research before going ahead with their spacier ideas. But I'll freely admit it's not the 2DS I was wanting.

Comment Re:Call me old fashion (Score 1) 156

Modern SSDs so a lot of compression and de-duplication to reduce the amount of data they write.

That is only true for SandForce based drives as the tech behind it is LSI's "secret sauce". Samsung, Marvell, and Toshiba do not do any kind of compression or dedupe; they write out on a 1:1 basis.

The latter group could probably create their own compression and dedupe tech if they really desired to, but it's a performance tradeoff rather than something that has clear and consistent gains. SandForce performance is more bursty than 1:1 writing, since the content matters.

Comment Re:seems the Mac premium is disappearing (Score 4, Insightful) 224

For the base model. Just don't select any upgrades. Especially don't select RAM upgrades. Apple charges $100 to upgrade from 4GB to 8GB of RAM... so effectively $100 for 4GB. You can get 8GB of brand name (Corsair, G.Skill, Crucial...) laptop ram at RETAIL for less than $70.

Note that the Airs have their DDR3L memory soldered directly onto the motherboard to save space. You can't buy aftermarket memory for those models, so this advice is out of date at best.

Comment Re:Why? (Score 1) 300

The answer to both questions is the same: because subscription revenue alone no longer covers the costs of content and distribution. Advertising is why XBL is $50/year for all of the services they provide instead of $200 for fewer services. Or to use a cable TV example, it's why every channel producing scripted content isn't $15/month like HBO.

Which is not to say it's a great outcome, but the public has shown time and time again that they'll accept advertising in exchange for staving off service cost increases. As MS has found out, all of that content that makes users flock to XBL (and hopefully flock to XB1) is expensive.

Comment Keyword: Beta Driver (Score 5, Informative) 251

The submitter is reading too much into this. The drivers linked are beta drivers - this is not the first time AMD hasn't published an XP version of a beta driver, due to the relatively low number of XP users on 5000/6000/7000 series video cards (all of which are post-Win7). XP is supported by the current WHQL certified driver (13.4) and I expect the next certified driver will support XP, too. If and when AMD does drop XP support they'll announce it a couple of versions ahead of time, just as they did for Win9x and Win2K.

Comment Will make them angry? (Score 4, Interesting) 403

Undoubtedly it will make the some people angry.

But for anyone that does Windows graphics development and knows something about the underlying system, it's not a big deal. We've known that adding some of these features to Direct3D would require making some changes to the underlying display driver stack (WDDM), which is why D3D 11.2 requires WDDM 1.3 drivers, and WDDM 1.3 requires Windows 8.1. Unless of course you want Microsoft backporting a new version of the display driver stack and breaking your old OSes...

TL;DR: D3D 11.2 requiring Win8.1 can't be helped

Comment Re:Resolution (Score 2, Informative) 397

That would be with XP style scaling. On WinVista and later that mode can only be used with scaling levels less than or equal to 125%. After 125% you get Vista style scaling, which depending on how well behaved an application is will result in one of two things.

If the application is flagged as being DPI scaling aware (Office, web browsers, etc) then the application will take care of scaling on its own, and hopefully render a suitably large image natively. If an application isn't flagged as being DPI scaling aware, then Vista reverts to "fractional scaling", where it simply does a bilinear upscale of the application window, resulting in a blurry, god-awful mess where nothing was rendered natively.

Apple does something similar here, but their innovation was that instead of resorting to fractional scaling on non-aware applications they do integer scaling, which is far cleaner in practice. Furthermore all of Apple's drawing APIs were retina aware, so applications that weren't fully retina aware themselves could still have their text drawn natively, whereas Vista would always have to upscale the resulting Window.

The worst case scenario then for Mac OS X (a non-aware application not using Apple's drawing APIs) is that at the default 2x setting (backing scale factor 2.0) every element will simply be scaled up by a factor of 4:1; every 1 pixel now occupies 4 pixels. This means that there aren't any benefits gained from using the retina display, but using integer scaling means that this doesn't introduce any fractional interpolation artifacts that hurt the text quality, since every original text pixel maps cleanly to 4 display pixels.

Right now the expectation is that Microsoft will be introducing something similar in Win8.1. There's only so much they can do without breaking backwards compatibility, but if they follow Apple's "render big then scale down" philosophy rather than Vista's "render small and scale up" philosophy, then results should be much cleaner.

Comment Re:Proprietary ports? (Score 2) 397

Samsung should have put in a Thunderbolt port and sold adapters.

At the very least they should have put in mini-DP. What's the point of a 3200x1800 monitor, and not having the ability to drive an external/second monitor even half that resolution? Micro-HDMI is cute, but it's incredibly limited in 2013. One mini-DP1.2 port would get you the ability to drive a 4K monitor, or easily convert it over to HDMI or VGA.

Comment Re:Was performance the problem? (Score 1) 157

Tegra 3 wasn't bad. But on Surface RT there were also times where it was clearly not up to the task of running Windows software.

Simply typing quickly in Microsoft Word maxes the single threaded performance of Tegra 3's ARM Cortex A9 cores. I've seen CPU usage a high as 50% when typing very quickly, but mostly it tends to sit between 20 - 40%. Switch to notepad and max CPU utilization drops to sub 10%. This says more about Office 2013 than the performance of NVIDIA's Tegra 3, but there are not a whole lot of spare CPU cycles to go around with Surface.

Comment Re:Don't we already have this? (Score 1) 257

There's still no nationwide database in the US of all stolen IMEI numbers

Actually there is. The two major GSM carriers, T-Mobile and AT&T, share a database. Sprint and Verizon will be joining that database by the end of the year; though not that stealing a CDMA phone does you much good on a GSM network and vice versa at the moment. In any case the problem is that the IMEI database is not enough;

  1. IMEIs are not unique. We've hit the equivalent of IPv4 space exhaustion. So they're simply reusing IMEIs now.
  2. IMEIs can be changed on a number of phones, so it's not a reliable way to keep a phone blocked.
  3. These IMEI databases are not shared on a global level, and there's really no way to force everyone to work together. China Telecom for example has little incentive to block iPhones stolen in other countries

The solution then is that rather than merely unreliably blocking a phone, the phone needs to be disabled entirely so that a stolen phone cannot be of any value. It essentially needs to be (reversibly) destroyed if stolen, to eliminate all financial incentive for stealing a phone. This is why the Attorneys General and other law enforcement officials want kill switches, so that shipping a purloined phone overseas is no longer a viable business, ultimately leading to criminals to stop stealing the damn things.

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