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Comment Ya, pretty much (Score 1) 464

You seem to think this is somehow an amusing contradiction, but it isn't. It was my entire point: I have not had to buy a complete new system in like 8 years, yet I still have current hardware. The reason is I keep upgrading pieces. There is almost nothing in it that is original. The case is, but that's it. Everything else has been replaced at least once, most things more than once. However that is doable. That's upgradability. When you can upgrade any component, without needing to upgrade the others.

Comment And you are going to do that on what space? (Score 1) 372

One of the problems with "very large video files" is they are, well, very large. This lil' PCIe SSD isn't (480GB likely). So you'll be needing external storage, since there aren't drive bays, and then you are back to where you started. Also with video files, you need enough speed to stream them in realtime, more doesn't make it magically better. Unless you are doing 4:2:2 uncompressed or something, you don't need that kind of throughput. REDCode is only like 42MB/sec, AVCUltra is 55MB/sec max. A regular SATA 3 SSD is enough to easily stream 6+ of them. At that point, your system will be swamped anyhow with the decoding, you'd probably build proxies for editing.

Also it is rather amusing that you bring up video since anyone who has something like an AJA Kona, Blackmagic Decklink, MOTU HDX-SDI, Avid Nitris DX, or the like is straight fucked. No PCIe slots. So you get to rebuy your hardware if you can get it in Thunderbolt (like the HDX-SDI) or you get to go and find something new if you can't (like the Kona).

This is NOT some well reasoned design to make video pros happy. This is Apple wanting a new toy to wave around and say "Oooo, look how fast this is!" For most uses, useless. If you actually have the need for that kind of speed, you probably also need more capacity than it can deliver. That and PCIe was the chones interface for most video gear, and either PCIe or FW for audio. None of that to be found, so you get to get new gear on top of a new system. Well isn't that fun.

Comment I've been telling people this for some time (Score 2) 372

Heck, in this thread even. SSDs are all more than fast enough for today's usage on desktops. They aren't the bottleneck. With the lower latency, and good random access, they all seem to work well.

There's a difference between synthetic benchmarks and what you notice on the wall clock, and just because it is faster doesn't mean it is needed. Another area you see it is RAM. DDR3 scales up to 2133MHz by the spec, and you can find stuff of to 3000MHz. The Sandy/Ivy bridge controllers support RAM speeds async with the CPU bus, so it can scale up. When you drop a synthetic RAM speed test on it, you see the results. The faster RAM scales nearly linearly, as you'd expect. However then you test actual computation, including synthetic CPU benchmarks, and the difference vanishes. Anything past 1600MHz makes essentially no difference and even 1333MHz->1600MHz isn't that big. The RAM speed just isn't the limiting factor on the CPU.

That's what people need to understand about any data access kind of benchmark: There is such thing as enough. Once whatever processing you are doing isn't limited by it, more doesn't help. Now as processing speed increases, so can bandwidth requirements, but at a given level, you can hit "enough".

SSDs really are that point (past it really) for desktop tasks. You just don't wait on them. They can get data as fast as is needed, if there's any waiting it is on other things.

So while I don't hate on faster SSDs, I don't care either. I've played with RAIDing them, I've used fast and slow ones, none of it matters in terms of how long it takes for things to happen, or my ability to work in parallel. SSDs are just faster than I require.

Now this is not true in all applications, you can find server setups (NAS, DB, VM, that kind of thing) where indeed an SSD might not be fast enough and you need more than one ganged together, or you need them on a faster interface like PCIe or maybe FC.

Even then, SAS is advancing. HGST has 12G SAS SSDs on the market, and that'll get you 1.2GB/s of throughput, and do on in a hot-pluggable, RAID-able, setup and with more drives. There are reasons to want to hang drives off of a storage bus rather than right on the system bus.

Comment Ummm, I kinda doubt it (Score 2) 372

While the speed sounds impressive on paper, SSDs are really already going beyond what is needed for storage speeds. You can try this by upgrading from a SATA II to SATA III SSD yourself. I've done that, and I even went from a slow one (WD SiliconEdge Blue) to a fast one (Samsung 840 Pro). Actual difference in system performance? Eh, I doubt I could tell you which was which in a blind test.

The big numbers are mostly dick-waving in a desktop setup. I think the advantages offered by a storage connector and controller are likely to outweigh speed.

Also please note SAS 12g is coming out soon, and that means SATA at the same speed is soon to come as well.

It just really isn't that big a deal on the desktop. For SANs, databases, other high performance shit? Sure, there are cases where you need more IO or iops then you can get out of a SAS interface and then PCIe or the like may be an answer. But for user systems, SSDs are already more than fast enough, additional speed gains don't seem to translate in to wall time gains.

Comment Re:A host of things (Score 1) 1215

It is just something you have to be pragmatic about. You have three options with samples:

1) Good sounding, playable samples for a reasonable price of professional quality that have DRM. It is either direct DRM, in the case of soft synths, or effective DRM in the case of hardware (there's no direct access to the internal banks or generation engines so it is tied to the hardware).

2) Crap samples for free/cheap with no DRM. Well I take that back, I have found a couple good commercial sample banks that are not DRM'd. Native Instrument's now discontinued Bandstand is composed on just WAV files and unencrypted NKI definitions. It is ok, sound wise.

3) Make your own non-DRM samples for a ton of money. Doing samples right is amazingly expensive. 6-7 figures easy. It requires a good bit of facilities, and trained individuals (musicians and engineers) to make.

So, of those, I choose #1. I'm not happy, but it is the only realistic choice if I want good sound. I can't afford to make a sample set, even if I wanted to, I just don't have that kind of money. I'm also not willing to deal with the poor quality of non DRM'd sets. Now if someone comes out with a pro quality open sample set, I'll be all over that shit, even if it is a duplication of what I already have. However, until that day, here I am.

Comment No not really (Score 4, Informative) 464

In terms of opening, it depends on the case. There are some very easy no-tools PC cases out there. All Dell servers, for example, are just a lever to open (I mention them since we buy a lot).

However that aside easy of upgradeability isn't about how easy you can get the side off, I mean really if a thumb screw vexes you, you are being silly. It is about component availability and this has always been a massive Mac problem. Things like custom powersupplies, custom video card BIOSes, that sort of thing, and of course fuck-all available from Apple. When you get a PC, particularly a high end one, you've got all kinds of options. With a good manufacturer, they will sell you the stuff, as well as your ability to get it aftermarket. Like with a Dell workstation Dell will sell you, after the fact, addon processors, memory, GPUs, HDDs, SSDs, RAID controllers, HBAs, network adapters, power supplies, and so on for your system. All of them come with full warranty support though Dell, of course.

They don't have what you want, or don't have it for a good price? No problem, you can get it all aftermarket. Nothing special needed, buy the regular stuff from any vendor.

You can really upgrade the hell out of a PC, and keep doing it, if you want. I haven't bought a new desktop in like 8 years, yet it is still very much top of the line. What happens is I just replace components as needed. I get a new GPU every 18ish months, new HDDs if I run out of space or if something is faster enough to catch my interest (like my SSD), a new audio card when I see one with features I want, a new motherboard/CPU every 2ish years, new RAM if the motherboard needs it, new PSU should power requirements change (hasn't happened) and a new case never because I like mine. So even when the core, the CPU and motherboard, get upgraded it isn't a new system. I can keep the case, PSU, GPU, sound card, drives, and all that jazz.

Now I'm not saying this is how people should do it, but that is a demonstration of what real upgradeability means. It is the ability to upgrade any component when a new one comes out more or less, and to do so with anything as much as needed. Not the ability to take the case off and put in more RAM.

In terms of network storage I suppose... But what? OS-X can't act as an iSCSI initiator so you can't use any of the nice high end iSCSI arrays (like an Equallogic) or something. No 10gig so no FCoE. Apple doesn't make storage arrays and nothing else seems to support AFP. So... You buy a Windows server and use CIFS? Last I tried, CIFS performance wasn't great on the Mac, but whatever.

Macs really aren't that well designed for network storage on account of not having anything out there for them. I mean generally for network storage you either want a NAS that speaks the protocol your OS likes, and for OS-X that's AFP which is not popular, or for higher performance/lower latency you hook up using iSCSI or FCoE. iSCSI is real popular because gig (and bonded gig) are options and you can run it over your regular network, even over the Internet if necessary. Most OSes (Windows, Linux, BSD, Solaris, VMWare) can act as initiators and talk to an iSCSI target (most of them can be targets too if you want), but not OS-X, it has no iSCSI support.

I mean they'll talk to a CIFS share if you are just looking for a place to put stuff, but given the lack of space I presume you are talking about networked storage in a high performance capacity, using it online like local storage. That really only works well with high performance stuff and that they do not seem to have.

Comment Re:What the hell? (Score 3, Informative) 464

On external arrays? No probably not. Not unless you are talking SAS/FC arrays. iSCSI would be an option, but not on a Mac since they don't support it. Firewire and USB are too slow. Yes I realize Thunderbolt is faster, it is also brand new and not in existing Mac Pros, it isn't what people use.

Most of the video editing stations I've encountered use internal disk arrays. External drivers are used just for acquisition. I'm sure if you talk really high end you'll start going to some external setup to hold more drives, but that isn't the norm. You can pack a lot of drives in a normal tower, most people seem to do that.

In terms of RAM slots numbers matter because it does dictate cost and capacity. Like say it is using RDIMMs. Ok well with 16GB modules your cost is $160ish per stick. Not bad, provided 64GB of RAM will do it. Want 128GB? There are 32GB sticks... for about $1100 each. It takes a massive jump to go to that density. Now if it uses UDIMMs then you are talking a max of 8GB per stick, that's all there is right now, so 32GB max.

That's why a system with a lot of RAM slots is often desired, even if you aren't going max RAM capacity. Our VM servers can technically take 768GB of RAM, but we won't ever do that because it would cost like $26k. However we wanted that many RAM slots because we can do 384GB for under $4k which is reasonable. So more slots are useful, they can get you RAM for less money.

My best? It is 16-32GB max. The 1866MHz speaks to UDIMM RAM (I've never seen 1866 RDIMMs), which means 32GB max no matter what because there aren't bigger sticks right now (and probably won't be, too many electrical issues without a register). It also might end up being 16GB, because as you push speeds, doing 32GB gets hard. Though I dunno, the memory controller on Hawell might have an easier time with that.

In terms of the liquid thing, this is a real concern. Should you avoid spilling on shit? Sure but accidents happen. Everyone I know likes to have a beverage at their desk while they work. With a normal case, a spill on it (which I have seen happen) is unlikely to be a problem. With an open top, it is likely to short out the system.

Comment Bragging rights (Score 1) 464

The Mac Pro has always been about dick-waving more than anything. They pack in random high end technology and then say "Oh look how much more power than a PC it is!" Never mind if any of it is needed or wanted. The thing is just an expensive, not very customizable, workstation as it always has been. Now they want to make it look different to try and sell people on how nifty it is.

Comment Re:A host of things (Score 1) 1215

Ok well you seem to be mistaken here: You seem to think that if you can just convince me that I could possibly use my samples on Linux, I'd switch. I can't, by the way (WINE doesn't support iLok which is what Play auths against) but that aside it isn't the only, or even main, thing. To convince me to switch to Linux you have to convince me how I could do what I do better, or easier, or do something I want to do that I don't.

Windows works well, it runs the games I want, the audio software (DAW and samples) I want, it is stable (if it isn't for you that's your problem it is for me) and I find it easy to use. I have zero reason to try and switch to Linux, particularly if the answer is "Umm, just fuck around with WINE and hope you can make stuff work. If not then do without."

For me, good sounding samples matter, and I can't find that in an open format. You can get them DRM'd, and you can get them as part of hardware (the Roland Integra-7 has some pretty sweet sounds) but you can't get them in just an open format.

For me, a computer is a tool. I have tasks I want it to do. I don't care about ideology with it, I am not here to make a stand in my computer room. I just want it to work well. Windows does that for me. You want me to switch? Show me how something else meets my needs BETTER. Not "kinda sorta, maybe with problems," but better. I have used Linux, I don't particularly care for it. I certainly don't feel like it is something worth making a massive sacrifice in what I do for.

Comment Re:Technology can't replicate everything.... (Score 1) 206

" It's well known that classical anti-depressants are much, much better than modern medication."

Wrong. go talk to a doctor that knows their shit. While many of them have greater effect, they do so at a cost of greater side effects. One of the benefits of many of the newer ones is lower side effects. For example Sertraline (Zoloft) has no serious side effects, all the ones it has are annoying at most, they are not harmful. Also it is non-addictive, non-habit forming, so it is something that can be taken your whole life, no problem.

Now it doesn't work on all people's conditions. It isn't a heavy hitter (most SSRIs aren't), but if it does work, it can do so with minimal adverse effects.

Also, something to note here, is that those older anti-depressants haven't gone away. It isn't as though somehow 20 years later they all vanished. Rather we have more options now. So the older ones can be, and are, prescribed when appropriate.

Same shit you see in many areas, like pain killers. Morphine Sulphate is pretty much the ultimate pain killer, and we've had it since the early 1800s. It can deal with even extremely severe cases of pain. So we use it in hospitals, trauma centers, the military and so on. However it carries a high price for what it does: It is highly, highly addictive, and kills your lungs. So it is not suited for general use. Hence there is a reason to keep looking for other pain killers, it isn't as though we were done then. On the other end you have something like Tylenol, which is only effective against fairly mild pain, but not addictive and well tolerated... Except if you take too much you'll kill your liver.

It also turns out this isn't magic. It isn't as though if we just wished hard enough we could have the perfect medicine. So, we keep working at it, keep trying to find new ways to treat things.

Comment Re:Technology can't replicate everything.... (Score 5, Insightful) 206

It always amuses the hell out of me when people think there were these amazing ancient technologies so much better than anything modern. It is like they think various videogames and novels are real and that we study the knowledge of the ancients to advance what we have, despite all evidence to the contrary.

As you say, all this stuff is bullshit. In terms of violins we can, if anything, build even better violins today because of better material selection and manufacturing techniques. The thing that makes Stradivarius sought after is its rarity. It is a special thing to own one, as there aren't many. That then of course leads to a mystique and to people making bullshit claims.

Same kind of thing with Damascus Steel. It has been claimed to be able to do things like cut through a gun barrel, which of course it can't do (gun barrels are amazingly tough objects). We can do better with modern metallurgy and processes (like an industrial hammer forge). The reason there's research to replicating Damascus Steel is because it is neat, it was very advanced for the time and it would be of historical interest to understand how it was done. We can do better, and indeed do all the time.

Comment Re:A host of things (Score 1) 1215

Because commercial samples are DRM'd. The ones for Kontakt use its DRM, the EastWest ones use Play, their own sampler. They are not in convertible formats. Not my favourite setup, but it is how it is done. The producers of samples feel piracy is a major problem, so they basically all use DRM.

What will I do when support for Kontakt ends? Well probably nothing, since I'm likely to be dead by then. It has a rather good chance of lasting a long time and that aside, old version work fine. Kontakt 1.5 still runs no problem on modern systems (6 is current).

It is just the reality of quality samples. You want them, you deal with the DRM. I'm not a fan, but there's not an option. The free samples I've been pointed to are generally laughably bad, and sometimes not even free, they are just resampled versions of commercial samples and thus pirated.

If you happen to know of a place that has good free or at least DRM free samples, I'd love to hear about it. However bear in mind by good, I mean professional grade, the kind of things that are used to make video games, movies that kind of thing. Something like this http://www.soundsonline.com/Symphonic-Orchestra (and yes all the demos on the page were made using it).

Comment Re:Wow a whole 126 (Score 1) 1215

Is that a serious question? Just go and have a look at Steam, that's an easy way to check. By "commercial release" I'll presume you mean only things with a publisher backing them. In order from newest to oldest released:

Arcane Saga Online (6/6/2013)
Jagged Alliance Online
Remember Me
Marvel Heroes
Rising Storm
Wargame: Airland Battle
Grid 2
Call of Juarez Gunslinger
Fallen Enchantress: Legendary Heroes
Fast & Furious Showdown
Resident Evil Revelations
Renaissance Heroes
Metro Last Light
Luxor 2 HD
Might and Magic Heroes 6: Shades of Darkness (05/02//2013)

So that's roughly what was released in the last month's time, which isn't particularly a bit time for game releases. For that matter, when you look at the indies, only 3 of them support Linux, the rest (20ish) are Windows only or windows and Mac.

As to what would make me happy, well all the games I want to play. I have them all now. I see no reason to transition to something that gives me less than what I have, less of what I want. That aside if you think you are going to convince me on Linux, I suggest you go and look at my other post on here that details the reasons I stick with Windows.

My point was simply that Linux people need to stop trying to make Linux gaming look impressive because Steam, and a handful of games, are now there. It really isn't, it is still a very lacking scene. Will that change? We'll see, but saying something like "There's Steam and 126 games!" sounds silly when a Windows user can say "There's Steam and over 2500 games!"

I don't own a console, I do not wish to own one. I like gaming on my PC, and it turns out I can. I see no reason to change that.

Comment That's not really a good thing (Score 1) 1215

Working during one's leisure time isn't something to be proud of. In America people already are way, way too over focused on work and not enough on quality of life. If you don't play games because it gives you more time to work, then you need to reevaluate your priorities (unless finances make it necessary). That isn't to say "you need to play videogames!" just that you need to have things you enjoy and that relax you to do in your down time, not more work.

Comment Re:A host of things (Score 1) 1215

PC in this case means a computer, not a console. One of the things I hear as soon as I say "gaming" from many Linux zealots is "OMG get a console!!!11" My point is that the games I like tend to be only for the computer, or are better on it.

I addressed reasons I don't like Macs in other points, but in terms of games there are plenty that do not run on the Mac. Skyrim, which I mentioned, is one but hardly the only one. Don't fall into the Linux zealot trap of finding one single thing someone mentions that your platform can do and then try to use it as a reason to switch. That is never convincing.

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