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PostPosted: Sat Nov 26, 2016 5:45 pm 
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I think any amount of ram over 8GB today is ridiculous and falls with 4K as being higher specification just to look better on paper. I'm the kind of guy who never has more than 3 windows open and, correct me if I'm wrong, but no singular program will ever use more than.


I have 8gb in my laptop and i occasionally run out of juice when baking GUI graphics in the adobe creative suit. To keep the workflow up, i need to have photoshop, illustrator and sometimes after effects running at the same time. If there's a lot of high-res raster images involved, those 8gb dry out quickly. Likewise, if you're testing builds in emulated OSes, you want to be sure you have the necessary width. Or if you're realtime-rendering a heart in 3d in four different angles based on data coming from medical equipment, or have large film projects, or what have you. But for home use, 8gb is generally enough.

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 26, 2016 6:13 pm 
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WheelInventor wrote:
or have large film projects

Yeah, I wouldn't ever be trying to make a video longer than 10 minutes so, I'd be perfectly fine. I guess one thing I don't take into account is how much space the OS takes up for ram. The Xbone and PS4's OS taking up 3GB is ridiculous to me. I looked at something online that said Windows 10 took up 5.5GB, but that can't be right... There are several 4GB laptops I've seen run Windows 10, unless it simply takes up more space when you have more memory to avoid having to keep using the hard drive (Which I guess should be less of a problem if I'm getting an SDD). I think the computer I'm getting is pretty balanced in terms of the CPU power to ram. One thing I don't understand is that a CPU running at a higher frequency is (usually) going to be better, like I've seen several expensive ones that go to 4GHz, but when you get past 4 cores, does it even matter at that point? I would imagine most programs aren't designed to go past that, or even up to that.

One last thing: what exactly is "boost"? It sounds like it's what the computer does whenever it's under a heavy load, but can it sustain it? I imagine it holds it up as long as it can until it senses it's getting too hot, but I guess even if being perfectly vented, it will still run too hot under boost? Even though I have a laptop, I always put it on a tray so the bottom can vent.


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 26, 2016 7:37 pm 
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There are several 4GB laptops I've seen run Windows 10, unless it simply takes up more space when you have more memory to avoid having to keep using the hard drive (Which I guess should be less of a problem if I'm getting an SDD)


I do know Windows does a performance test to determine if the system disk is HDD or SSD to optimize itself during installation, but other than turning off scheduled defrag, i don't know what else it does, if anything. Prefetch doesn't matter to SSD, contrary to repeated "tips" (maybe stemming from a time when SSD read/write cycles weren't as durable?).


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The Xbone and PS4's OS taking up 3GB is ridiculous to me.

And here i was thinking the point of consoles were to keep background services to a concice minimum. :|

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One thing I don't understand is that a CPU running at a higher frequency is (usually) going to be better, like I've seen several expensive ones that go to 4GHz, but when you get past 4 cores, does it even matter at that point? I would imagine most programs aren't designed to go past that, or even up to that.

Like you said, software may not have matured to make full use the available number of cores, in which speed of a single core may still matter. Pretty iffy to foresee what gives best value for your intended use.
Then there are the architecture paradigms. It's going to matter that Nintendo Switch is using a newer architecture.

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 26, 2016 9:33 pm 
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WheelInventor wrote:
read/write cycles weren't as durable?

You mean a read or write could fail, making it necessary to return values and check if they're the same? That sounds very problematic...

WheelInventor wrote:
And here i was thinking the point of consoles were to keep background services to a concice minimum.

The advantage of consoles becomes less and less by the generation. The only one I really see now is the lower price for what you're getting. No need to show me your list, tepples. :lol:

WheelInventor wrote:
It's going to matter that Nintendo Switch is using a newer architecture

It seems it's going to use some sort of ARM cpu, but not the newest. I think people undervalue how accessible it is to work with a certain machine compared to hypothetical performance. Just look at the Atari Jaguar, and even in (close to) modern day how people struggled with the PS3, although not even close to the same degree. Most people I know my age who have any knowledge in computers don't believe me when I say the SNES ran at less than 3.58MHz. :lol:


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 27, 2016 6:42 am 
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Sorry, i was being cryptic. I mean that sooner or later, SSDs (especially older ones) go bust after enough reads and writes, just like older flash devices and what not. It's not just that expected life span is dependent on # of writes throughout use, but also the rate they're coming in at.

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I think people undervalue how accessible it is to work with a certain machine compared to hypothetical performance.

On N Switch, this is getting towards speculation; but it would seem to be the logical thing for nvidia to make precicely that happen with the GPU as it is their one shot getting into the console market. They're fully in Nintendo's boat and need to succeed. Though... the most significant feature, however, probably won't be in terms of well exploited computation performance but in lowered wattage and heat dissipation.

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 27, 2016 10:53 am 
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Espozo wrote:
WheelInventor wrote:
or have large film projects

Yeah, I wouldn't ever be trying to make a video longer than 10 minutes so, I'd be perfectly fine. I guess one thing I don't take into account is how much space the OS takes up for ram. The Xbone and PS4's OS taking up 3GB is ridiculous to me. I looked at something online that said Windows 10 took up 5.5GB, but that can't be right... There are several 4GB laptops I've seen run Windows 10, unless it simply takes up more space when you have more memory to avoid having to keep using the hard drive (Which I guess should be less of a problem if I'm getting an SDD).

I cant comment on the consoles, but with Windows you are right about keeping things in memory to increase responsiveness. Vista did this and people didn't stop whining about it. "Vista is crap! It eats all my memory!" and so on. The thing is, a OS has a base level of RAM it needs just to keep running. Anything else it loads can and will be paged out to the HDD/SSD. It's the paging that gives the feeling of unresponsiveness in day to day computer use. Vista introduced a feature called Superfetch. What it did was Vista would keep track of the applications you used the most and boot would pre-load them into ram. I'd say this is where the memory hogging myth came from. The thing is, Superfetch is a low priority service. It my hog memory, but it you start a memory hogging application yourself then Windows will just page as much Superfetched data out as needed.
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I think the computer I'm getting is pretty balanced in terms of the CPU power to ram. One thing I don't understand is that a CPU running at a higher frequency is (usually) going to be better
Not necessarily true. Depending on the task the old Athlons were faster than the contemporary Pentium 4s of the time, clock for clock. Today the tables have been turned, with Intel's Core i series beating AMD's construction machine (bulldozer, excavator) series at the same clocks.

Modern x86/x64 processors, like quite a few others use what's called microcode architectures. This is where the CPU fetches an instruction to execute and then code internal to the CPU executes the instruction. The speed rating of these processors is based on how fast these internal operations run. Different CPU designs execute the same instruction in a different number of clock cycles. Think of it as transferring water from one pond to another. You can use a cup, you don't carry much water but you can move fast or you can use a barrel, you carry a lot but you move it slowly.
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but when you get past 4 cores, does it even matter at that point? I would imagine most programs aren't designed to go past that, or even up to that.

Not yet. :wink: Seriously, if budget allows it always go for the best part you can. Years ago when I did my upgrades I bought 'cheap', 'value' and 'I ain't going to need more than that much power' parts. When I stopped doing that I more than doubled the amount of time between upgrades. The first time I did that was when I bought one of AMDs first dual core Athlon CPUs. It cost a bomb but It wasn't until the late Phenom 2s that I felt I needed to upgrade. Again, my current Phenom 2 x4 wasn't cheap but I've been happy enough with the performance that I've basically skipped AMDs construction machine line and waiting for the Zen based CPUs to launch.
Quote:
One last thing: what exactly is "boost"? It sounds like it's what the computer does whenever it's under a heavy load, but can it sustain it? I imagine it holds it up as long as it can until it senses it's getting too hot, but I guess even if being perfectly vented, it will still run too hot under boost? Even though I have a laptop, I always put it on a tray so the bottom can vent.
CPU 'boosting' is something that modern multicore x86/x64 cpus do. Essentially the CPU automatically overclocks itself based on the current load. How it works is if one core is more active and the others are idling or not doing much then the CPU can overclock that single core. It is down to heat as obviously the more cores you overclock the hotter you run. Overclocking just the one core while the others are idle increases the single thread performance without impacting heat much, but as soon as those other cores spring into life the boos shuts down to maintain temperatures.

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 27, 2016 11:06 am 
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Boost means that Skylake 6300HQ (i5 quad core normally 2.3GHz) runs at 3GHz if you are running an intensive dual-core program (such as Dolphin Emulator).

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 27, 2016 12:10 pm 
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Okay, so I get the general idea of "boost". I wonder though, how does the computer know what the right temperature is? It sounds like it won't ever boost all cores for any period of time, but if there's a thermometer regulating it, it seems it should, for at least a little (although you probably wouldn't ever run into this situation). Is it "hardcoded" to never allow behaviors like this?

Dwedit wrote:
an intensive dual-core program (such as Dolphin Emulator).

I hope 2 3.4GHz cores is enough to run it. :lol:

Yeah, I found the computer I'm using right now has a lame 1.4GHz dual core cpu with 1.8GHz boost. So really, this new cpu should be about four times as powerful, so I can just barely play Super Monkey Ball smoothly. :lol:


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 27, 2016 12:28 pm 
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Espozo wrote:
Okay, so I get the general idea of "boost". I wonder though, how does the computer know what the right temperature is?

The computer doesn't, the CPU does. All the computer (more specifically, the OS) demands is the CPU to go into the highest ACPI P-state that the CPU advertises (this happens under normal usage; the OS's scheduler decides what ACPI P-state it should request. It's a lot more complicated than "if something wants to use N cores", trust me) -- what clock frequency is chosen by the CPU is up to the CPU. This "secret sauce" of "how it really works under the hood/what the CPU decides and based on what" isn't publicly disclosed by any of the CPU vendors (you didn't seriously think this would be definitively and publicly explained, did you?).


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2016 10:58 pm 
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Espozo wrote:

Apparently, it's just a $1000 Raspberry Pi. I now understand even more why Apple gets no respect among computer people.

Okay, sorry for the rant... :lol: One last thing though, is if I get the first computer I showed, what would be the feasibility of replacing the hard drive with an SSD one? I know laptops aren't exactly made to be taken apart. If I could, I imagine it would fit though. I find it ridiculous we're still using HHD drives in 2016.


Apple gets a lot of frowny faces by even the most loyal Apple fans for the lack of Professional equipment, as Apple hasn't produced any Professional equipment since 2010. Apple loves their industrial design, but good grief professional video editing and effects people are routinely upset with the lack of usable Pro equipment. That said, the professional market is a very small market that holds onto their equipment for 5-7 years. iOS devices are designed to be replaced after 3 years, and these "solid state" laptops are the iPod'ization of the laptop.

If you want an actual game-capable laptop you have to look into spending $3000 on a Sager/Clevo configuration with the upgradeable GPU MXM cards. Everything else (except for a few high end Alienware/Dell and MSI units) tends to be either have poor build quality (eg poor cooling, low product reliability) or following the same path Apple is taking and making them unrepairable.

Most Laptops today may have a SSD. Those that still come with 5400 RPM drives are because people still need to carry 1 or 2TB of storage, and a 2TB SSD costs more than the laptop in a 2.5" 7mm thickness profile. M.2 drives are what everything will be using eventually, if not already, not 2.5" profile SATA drives, because the M2 drives can either be SATA or PCIe, and the latter is substantially faster.

The main problem with upgrading hard drives in a laptop is that many laptops come with the OS pre-installed and no way to restore the OS if you replace the drive (unless it has a boot restore-from-internet option like Apple does), USB-boot is possible if it has a USB UEFI driver, and you create a UEFI bootable drive, but most of the time what USB boot drives are are closer to bootable CD/DVD's, thus you need to make sure you can boot your OS installer image before you try replacing the drive or you are going to cry when you can't boot anything but the original hard drive (beware of secureboot features.)

My personal opinion is that you should use Apple as the "minimum capable" system. If Apple isn't selling it, don't buy anything less powerful than what Apple is selling (as the top end typically.) So right now that means don't buy anything less than 2.7GHz 16GB 512GB(SSD) Radeon 455 or similar. If you want to get into the VR fad, completely throw that idea under the bus, and pick the highest end parts in a DESKTOP system that you are willing to spend, because even though a GTX 980 or GTX 1070 might be good enough for VR "today", it certainly will not be in a year or two. If you are not wanting to get into VR, the nvidia GTX 1080 is overkill unless you have a 4K monitor. Personally I'd wait and see which direction VR goes before investing in any of the kit out right now. This isn't VR-Boy 2.0, but more like Wiimote 2.0 where one vendor doubles-down on their VR kit, and everyone else just gets squeezed out (Hello Kinect and PS Move/PS Eye) and developer support vanishes because they weren't bundled accessories.

The sour thing right now is that if you want 4K Netflix and stuff on your desktop, you need to have a 6th generation Intel CPU. Never mind what GPU you have. So all of us with 3rd or 4th generation parts aren't bothering to upgrade since the 6th generation parts are slower than the 4th generation parts. The Intel Core i7-4790K is faster than the i7-6700K, and most of us disable the iGPU anyway on desktops. There is less than 10% of a performance difference between the 3770,4770 and 6700. So if you are into accuracy-focused emulators like Higan, you want the CPU with the strongest single-thread performance.

As for the question in the title, you'd be surprised. People may balk at the price of an Apple computer, but the profit margin is much less than the same configuration by HP/Dell/Acer/etc as people tend to discount the engineering that goes into the computer design like it was free. In a desktop it's a lot easier to see where you are getting ripped off by Lenovo and such, because you can typically build the exact same thing yourself. In a laptop you can not build a "ultrabook", and for the most part, people would not be buying these things because they are critically underpowered if "Mhz" wasn't so meaningless. I can't tell you how often someone complains about poor performance in something (eg a MMORPG, DOSBOX, Higan, etc) and they are trying to use a new $200-400 laptop that has the same performance as a 15 year old desktop *coughAtomcough*. It's like trying to compare a Samsung Galaxy S2 to a Galaxy S7. Your average consumer thinks in terms of automobile style changes, not performance or efficiency. They can readily see the style changes, they can not tell if it's faster or slower than the previous model. There have been improvements in vehicle designs to increase mileage, but your average consumer doesn't know what those are.

At any rate, the reason SSD's are not standard on desktops and laptops is because a mechanical drive costs $50 where as the same size in in a MLC SSD is 20X that. TLC SSD's don't last anywhere near as long. In one data center we've had to replace SSD's every 2 years in SSD systems, where as Mechanical drives have been going for 15 years. Servers get quite a bit more use than laptops and desktops, so just going from experience, you will be lucky if you get 4 years out of a SSD, which is why these things should never be soldered to the mainboard. I can understand CPU and RAM to reduce the errors generated from parts being jiggled out of their sockets, but a I would never want a laptop that I can't replace the storage. Every Laptop I've ever had to deal with typically needs 2-3 hard drive swaps over it's 7 year reasonable lifetime, and that's mostly because mechanical drives suck at shock absorption. So you have to weigh the risk of wearing out a SSD to mechanically damaging a Mechanical drive that has 20X the capacity.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 01, 2016 12:10 am 
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Kismet wrote:
USB-boot is possible if it has a USB UEFI driver, and you create a UEFI bootable drive, but most of the time what USB boot drives are are closer to bootable CD/DVD's, thus you need to make sure you can boot your OS installer image before you try replacing the drive or you are going to cry when you can't boot anything but the original hard drive (beware of secureboot features.)

Yeah, I learned all this when I zero filled my hard drive several times to try and get rid of a virus I didn't even have. :lol:

Kismet wrote:
If you want an actual game-capable laptop you have to look into spending $3000 on a Sager/Clevo configuration with the upgradeable GPU MXM cards.

You don't think $3000 is a bit overkill? :lol: Maybe I'm delusional, but I'd have thought the specs of my laptop could handle most games at 1080p, 60fps, which is perfect with me. The only demanding games I really even plan to play on the computer are GameCube games.

Kismet wrote:
Alienware

This would be the first good thing I've ever heard about them.

Kismet wrote:
eg poor cooling, low product reliability

Well, laptops have never been known for their cooling due to the fact that it really can't get cool if it's sitting on a blanket or something. Like I said, I put mine on a tray if I'm on it in bed so I don't run into any cooling problems. Also, I thought that reliability really maxed out at about $500. Discount anything always has piss poor built quality.

Kismet wrote:
right now that means don't buy anything less than 2.7GHz 16GB 512GB(SSD) Radeon 455 or similar.

Going by numbers, (although you can't quite do that, as 93143 pointed out the "Omen" laptop's CPU was actually 20% faster even if the clock speed was virtually identical) the processor is basically the same as the one in the $520 computer I'm getting. Ram is only half (I really don't need more, and I doubt most people do either), and if I get the SSD drive I want, one forth. I don't care for any more memory: I have, no joke, only used 28GB of storage on my computer.

Kismet wrote:
People may balk at the price of an Apple computer, but the profit margin is much less than the same configuration by HP/Dell/Acer/etc as people tend to discount the engineering that goes into the computer design like it was free.

A 4K screen and fancy aluminum shell do not raise the price by $2000. Those companies have options for crap like this for people who are willing to throw away their money, but the number is very small and you can still often find them for cheaper than Apple. These types of computers are all about aesthetics and nothing else. Above 1080p for a 17" screen is just a higher number.

Kismet wrote:
The sour thing right now is that if you want 4K Netflix and stuff on your desktop, you need to have a 6th generation Intel CPU. Never mind what GPU you have. So all of us with 3rd or 4th generation parts aren't bothering to upgrade since the 6th generation parts are slower than the 4th generation parts. The Intel Core i7-4790K is faster than the i7-6700K

Wait, it requires a less powerful processor? How? It's not like it's a different architecture.

Kismet wrote:
Every Laptop I've ever had to deal with typically needs 2-3 hard drive swaps over it's 7 year reasonable lifetime, and that's mostly because mechanical drives suck at shock absorption.

Like I said, I had a fairly cheap laptop for 5 years and I never ran into any problems, so I have no clue what your customers are doing unless they're accidentally dropping their computer all the time. Ironically, the computer I did have that had a hard drive failure was a Dell desktop.

Kismet wrote:
I'd wait and see which direction VR goes before investing in any of the kit out right now.

I think it's just a fad. Why do you need such a powerful GPU for VR though?

Kismet wrote:
you want the CPU with the strongest single-thread performance

I would rather have fewer faster cores than a bunch of weaker ones. I love hearing stories of people wasting their money on Intel Xeon CPUs for "gaming PCs".


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 25, 2016 10:09 pm 
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I got the laptop, and I successfully replaced the hard drive, although it was a bitch. It was not meant to be taken apart; I had to unscrew about fifteen screws, ripping off two of the rubber feet that I put back on but will probably fall off, and getting a knife and prying the two large pieces of plastic holding everything inside apart to open it up. It scuffed it up some, but I sanded it down a little so it was smooth again, which isn't as good as it was (obviously), but I don't know how else you were supposed it do it. I heard using a credit card, but I tried, and it wasn't nearly thin enough. Those plastic tabs can burn in hell; there were about twenty of them, and I ended up breaking 3 on accident because the damn thing wouldn't open. A true testament to the build quality! :lol: I was pretty surprised though, the computer didn't have any holes on the bottom at all, just on the side, but upon taking it apart, I found a large part of it was empty space (upon separating the two large pieces of plastic, it's actually very easy to work with) so this probably helps with cooling. Upon installing Windows, the CPU usage went way up (system took a whopping 30% on idle. Now it only takes about 1%) and the fan sounded like a jet taking off. I thought it was interesting that almost everything could be replaced on the inside (with labels saying "REPLACE WITH HP SPARE" on everything), and that there were two slots for ram, with only one being used so I could upgrade it to 16GB if I really want to. It kind of stunk though, the CPU appeared to be on the other side of the board (it would have been a major pain in the ass to disconnect the motherboard from everything else) so I couldn't see if it could be replaced, not that I want to though.

Looking up stuff the other day, I'm surprised, I couldn't find any laptops that reached 3GHz or had more than 4 cores, not even the "legendary" Alienware ones. I guess the amount of heat produced and the battery consumption just make it impossible. That, or not enough people care; I know I'm in the minority. This computer is already plenty powerful for me (although I say that before downloading Dolphin onto it... I was amazed by how fast it booted up though, never having an SSD before) and I'd probably need to cut holes in the bottom if I got a more powerful CPU, assuming I can even replace it or if it would fit. :lol:

(Edit to the edit; I can't think right now) Edit: Never mind about the not 3GHz thing: I found two that are, one that's 3.2 and one that's 3.5, both Dell computers. Kind of sucks too: they were no more than $924. :? (not as good of a deal as I thought earlier, but still. I was under the impression this was the most powerful thing I was going to get, unless I wanted to sink $120 for 100MHz.) This one ended up costing $580 with the hard drive.

Edit (again): I actually found several at 3.5GHz. (It seems the most common is 2.6 or 3.5. Why those exact numbers, I don't know) They're all Dell, (except for one Alienware, actually) and well over $1000. It's at the point when they delve into things I don't care about, like a 4K screen.


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