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Comment Re:Why is Windows 10 the benchmark? (Score 1) 205

I should add, the evidence of this is plentiful. Anyone remember the days of IDE PIO ? Before IDE DMA and in particular before command and data blocks could be fully buffered by a hardware FIFO in the control, IDE PIO was a complete disaster. It barely worked (and quite often didn't). And we had to pull out the stops as device driver writers to get it work as well as it did (which wasn't very well).

-Matt

Comment Re:Why is Windows 10 the benchmark? (Score 5, Informative) 205

Not quite true A.C. The instructions for those old 8-bit CPUs could be synchronized down to a single clock tick (basically crystal accuracy), thus allowing perfect read and write sampling of I/O directly. We could do direct synthesis and A/D sampling, for example, with no cycle error, as well as synchronize data streams and then burst data with no further handshaking. It is impossible to do that with a modern CPU, so anything which requires crystal-accurate output has to be offloaded to (typically an FPGA).

RTOSs only work up to a point, particularly because modern CPUs have supervisory interrupts (well, Intel at least has the SMI) which throw a wrench into the works. But also because it is literally impossible to count cycles for how long something will take. A modern RTOS works at a much higher level than the RTOSs and is unable to provide the same rock solid guarantees that the 8-bit RTOSs could.

-Matt

Comment Re:model Slashdot response (MS DOS-ickies r.i.p.) (Score 3, Informative) 205

Looks interesting... I've pre-ordered two (both cpu models, 4G) for DragonFlyBSD, we'll get it working on them. Dunno about the SD card, but a PCIe SSD would certainly work. BIOS is usually the sticking point on these types of devices. Our graphics stack isn't quite up to Braswell yet but it might work in frame buffer mode (without accel). We'll see. The rest of it is all standard intel insofar as drivers are concerned.

My network dev says the Gigabit controller is crap :-) (he's very particular). But for a low-end device like this nobody will care.

All the rest of the I/O is basically just pinned out from the Intel cpu. Always fun to remark on specs, but these days specs are mostly just what the cpu chip/chipset supports directly.

I'm amused that some people in other comments are so indignant about the pricing. Back in the day, those of us who hacked on computers (Commodore, Atari, TRS-80, Apple-II, later the Amiga, etc) saved up and spent what would be equivalent to a few thousand dollars (in today's dollars) to purchase our boxes. These days enthusiast devices are *cheap* by comparison. My PET came with 16KB of ram and a tape cassette recorder for storage, and I later expanded it to 32KB and thought it was godly.

-Matt

Comment Re:Wagging the dog (Score 1) 551

What new and relevant thing do you want to see in the phone? I for one can't really think of anything. I don't really need a better camera, for example, nor do I need any on-phone storage. LTE (or LTE-A) is plenty fast enough, no point having more bandwidth that I'm not going to pay the cell carrier for. Wifi is plenty fast enough. Games run fine on the -6 so they'll run fine on the -7. What's left?

-Matt

Comment Intel must love these articles (Score 1) 276

So full of complete nonsense. Throwing out terms without knowing what they actually mean, let alone whether an operating system actually has to make any changes to support it.

Take speed-shift for example... all it does is remove the need for the OS to calculate a P-state for HLT/MWAIT. All ACPI has to do is present a smaller list of P states and *ANY* OS that supports HLT/MWAIT p-state setting (which basically worked meaningfully from Haswell onward) will instantly be using SpeedShift. There's nothing to 'support' unless the OS is coded to intentionally break it.

AMD's SMT improvements don't need any OS-specific coding. The original bulldozer architecture *DID* need OS-specific coding, because it was a piece of shit (and a lot of us just didn't bother to code the OS to try to characterized mixed integer/FP loads), but continuing to use that coding in the newer architecture doesn't really cost anything. And, again, the CPU topology is made available to the OS via ACPI, and any OS since before Sandybridge could use it. Linux and the BSDs have been using the topology info provided by ACPI for years, and Microsoft had better have been too, so no specific OS coding is required.

What a load of crap.

-Matt

Comment No stability (Score 0) 236

Firefox has been extremely unstable for us for at least the last year. Finally putting a process behind each tab is an important step, certainly, but its one they should have implemented 2+ years ago. I also really wish Mozilla would stop with all the useless bells and whistles that nobody uses and instead focus on stabilizing the code they have.

My recommendation... switch to chrome. It's a much better browser.

-Matt

Comment Too thin (Score 1) 536

If a phone is too thin to have a headphone jack, then it's too thin. I'm annoyed by the trend of making phones so thin to the point where it compromises structural strength (remember BendGate?), isn't thick enough for the camera lens (iPhone 6/6S), and requires dropping standard ports. Allow another millimeter or two and use the extra space for a better battery!

Comment The real question (Score 1) 211

Is ... can I run DragonFly on it? Or is the BIOS locked to Chrome ? If this baby has the normal write-protect screw / developer mode BIOS features that allow us to run whatever we want on it instead of being locked to chrome, then great!

We've had great success with the older Acer C720[P] (running a mobile haswell cpu) running DragonFly. So if one of these new HP Skylake-m babies allows me to cut into the dance then I'll give it a big thumbs up.

I'll have to buy one to find out, I guess.

-Matt

Comment Re:iPhone 5s with dying battery (Score 1) 183

I will impart a warning here. I have a friend who has repeatedly tried to use non-Apple batteries in his Apple mobile devices and its been a dismal failure for him. Spend the money to have Apple replace your battery, you will be happier in the end.

Apple laptops... well, the ones with replaceable batteries are a different story. Going third-party there works fairly well. The ones that don't... again spend the money to have Apple do it for you, you will be happier in the end.

Another recommendation... when possible, always leave your devices plugged in. This causes the Apple battery management software to properly load cycle the full battery and will significantly increase battery life. I usually bring along an external battery and just keep my phone plugged in whenever possible for that very reason (when convenient).

My ipad-1's battery is still in great shape (now going on 6 years old), though the ipad-1 itself doesn't have enough memory to really be able to run much any more. My ipad-2 as well. 512M of ram isn't enough to run apps smoothly any more on the ipad-2 (and the ipad-1 can barely run anything), but the battery is in great shape because I leave the devices plugged in as much as possible.

-Matt

Comment The key event (Score 1) 183

Perhaps not one key event, but a combination of solid state storage removing the hard-drive-failure event that often drove people to upgrade, CPU performance topping out, and RAM well beyond anything most programs need have all conspired together to give us desktops, laptops, and mobile devices that basically no longer get 'old'. Not to mention that power consumption is low enough now that PSUs just aren't burning out like they used to :-).

Something strange happened in the last year or two. I buy computers all the time for DragonFly testing, so I have a pile of machines of all different kinds including a bunch of BRIX form-factor units. I stuff nominal sweet-spot memory and storage into them all, always, because they get repurposed or farmed out to friends all the time to make room for new hw.

The strange thing that happened... it became convenient to just throw 8-16GB of ram into all of these things. Even the tiny little BRIX. And even the little BRIX can dual-head two 4K displays, and easily fit a 2.5" SSD (and so can hold quite a bit of storage). None of these boxes have any moving components except a fan or two. They don't fail if I put them on a shelf for a year.

Up until about 2 years ago I was regularly throwing away my oldest hardware, including the bulky cases (which had to be large enough to hold a CD and/or DVD and several 3.5" drives).

But the remainder of that really old hardware petered out last year. Now there's no reason at all to throw away my 'new' old hardware... it is still useful enough that I can give it away or repurpose some of its components. The cases are all small so I just reuse those if I can't find any use for the mobo. I reuse the SSDs (I never reused old hard drives). I reuse the PSUs (if any). There's no graphics card to replace since it is built into the cpu.

In fact, the only thing I haven't been able to recycle in the new old machines have been the DIMMs due to continuous technology changes, but those just stay with the original motherboard.

In our colocation for DragonFly our blade server (12 x haswell blades in 2U) has handled all of our needs and other than slowly replacing the remaining HDDs with SSDs will probably handle all of our needs for the next 10 years. Or longer. It will be interesting to see what the failure mode is for the hardware because it will probably be the first piece of hardware I own that stays fully active and relevant until the blades actually physically fail.

I love the technology but I think there's only more pain to come for Intel.

-Matt

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