M.2 vs NVMe – Fast or Slow SSD?

In the world of Solid State Drives (SSD) we have new tech most home users haven’t heard of. So, the idea is they can put in an SSD and it will be fast, which is wrong. Only if hardware is matched and properly installed will it be fast.

The video is bit long winded but, it clearly explains what has to be matched and the settings issue.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fJCHx7mZEKo

He did not mention the need for the motherboard to have ample PCIe channels. If one pours all this data into a PCIe bus with only 8 channels nothing is going to be fast. Your new video card likely wants 16 channels but will work with 4… not well. With an SSD wanting 4 channels the motherboard is forced to divide up channels.

If you have anything else using PCIe… things get really crowded.

So, installing an SSD is easy and simple. Getting it to perform at the rated specs is complicated. Not rocket science, just a bunch of details one has to know about.

Intel vs AMD for Second Life

Second Life™ users want performance. Most of you know Second Life is NOT an optimized game world but rather a hobbyists-built world that can drag even the best gaming machine down to single digit frame rates. So, performance is a thing among SL users.

CPUs are the heart of performance with the GPU being the legs.

Both Intel and AMD have new CPUs out. So, the natural question is which is best for running Second Life?

In general, this is how the two stack up in head to head testing. (8+ min)

For some data processing in the beginning AMD is noticeably ahead. Yet in the games similar to Second Life the Intel consistently renders about 5±% more frames. Continue reading

CPU’s – Intel 8th Generation and Second Life’s Viewer

Technology is advancing. A year ago, I was building my new machine and researching hardware. CPU’s were a major consideration for me. What was the best gaming CPU and what was important for good performance in Second Life?

That last question is a significant point of debate in Second Life. I think it mostly comes from the lack of information about how the viewer works. In SL it seems old information hangs around forever. The viewer is changing just as technology does. Since Oz Linden’s arrival and later promotion to director (?) of Second Life development the backside of Second Life has been getting lots of attention, especially for the last year, 2016-2017

Quantum Computer – Available now online…

So, most of that old information is wrong. In particular, the idea of whether the viewer runs multiple threads. It does.

A thread in computer-geek-speak, is an independent task, like decompressing an image. Other independent tasks would be retrieving the image via download or finding it in the cache.

A CPU can run a single task. We now put multiple CPU’s, called cores, in a single CPU CHIP. So, a single CPU chip is really multiple CPU’s and can run multiple tasks in parallel.

Intel has been steadily improving their ability to task switch. A CPU must pull program instructions and data from computer memory. To speed things up there are subsystems that set up program instruction cues and data cues. What Intel calls hyperthreading is the highly optimized process of switching out data and program instruction cues for one task for another. The effect is a 6-core CPU can perform as if it were a 12-core CPU, almost. It is so close that for most purposes we consider it as 12-core. Continue reading

Hardware: Intel 7th Generation CPU

The 4th quarter of 2016 Intel released their 7th generation CPU. As of now, I can’t find the chips for sale. Apparently, all the chips are going to OEM’s.

Intel 7th Gen CPU's

Intel 7th Gen CPU’s

The 7th gen chips are based on 14nm tech. The CPU’s deliver 12% more performance than the 6th generation CPU’s. Power consumption remains about the same in 6th and 7th gen CPU’s for general computing and gaming.  Continue reading

Hardware: Intel CPU’s – Review – What’s Up?

Over the last 4 months I’ve been dealing with what I can buy now and what is the best for the money. But, when considering what to buy it makes sense to look ahead. Earlier I wrote about looking at AMD CPU’s and what they have coming. Now I’ll write about what Intel has coming.

[ kunst ] - Industrial Loft Gacha

[ kunst ] – Industrial Loft Gacha

Intel’s 6th generation CPU’s are about a year old now. So, what do they have in their pipeline? For 2017 it is Kaby Lake… In January 2017 we will see Kaby Lake chips coming out for phones and tablets, Later in the year for laptops and even later for desktops. These will be 7th generation iCore CPU’s in the 7### series of i3, i5, and i7 CPU’s.  Continue reading

Hardware: AMD CPU’s – Review – What’s Up with Zen?

I don’t use them. The basic reason is cost and timing. When I’ve been ready to buy Intel has had a CPU with a better performance to price ratio. I have no particular love or hate for either AMD or Intel. Its who has a well performing CPU and what will it cost me at the time I need  one?

CW: Chryss - Earth

CW: Chryss – Earth

One of the commenters here suggests people looking for a new CPU wait for AMD to release its new Zen CPU. One can always wait for the next new thing but, then they wait. However, I did wonder if a wait would be worth the time. I started researching AMD and their next CPU. Continue reading

Hardware: Picking a New CPU for Second Life

The skeleton and brain of a computer is the motherboard and CPU.  A CPU is the Central Processing Unit. This is most like our brain.

The mother or main board is like out nervous system or skeleton. It is the large circuit board that every part of the computer plugs into, including the CPU. It holds everything together.

For detailed information on CPU’s see the video: (jump to TM 6:07 to skip the explanations and see the benchmarks.

There is a lot of jargon in the video, I’ll get the important stuff explained.

First the TL:DR, the video shows there is very little difference between the various CPU’s. When it comes to frames per second. The three tested CPU’s are about equal. However, if you are going to use Intel’s HD Graphics without a dedicated graphics card, he shows there is a difference and the 6th generation CPU wins. So, laptop people… go for 6th gen CPU or a dedicated video chip. Continue reading

Hardware: Data Storage – What is the Best Buy?

As I built my new computer and researched hardware I realized I was falling behind in my technical knowledge. I had to sort out a number of things to be able to intelligently decide which was best technically and for the money. This article is on the aspects of storage devices and proves a lot of information on SSD’s.

SSD M.2 Connectors

SSD M.2 Connectors

I wrote Hardware: Disk Performance Compared to provide just performance information. I was concerned with performance of Second Life™ an OpenGL based game/virtual world. Here I’ll get into the complications behind getting good performance, cover how to make comparisons for the best buy, and provide information on how it affects Second Life performance.

Numbers

To get the most for your money you are going to have to be able to see through the advertising hype. So, as you read specs and try to make comparisons you’ll run into a variety of designators for data transfer rates and storage volume. They are all worded to make a product sound good.

Let’s start with the upper case ‘B’ and the lower case ‘b’, which have specific meanings. In the simplest use 1B = 8b, or 1 byte equals 8 bits. A bit is a 0 or 1. A byte is a total of eight 0’s and 1’s. (For more on this see Online Conversion, a tutorial.)

In some places we see 6GBps used to mean 600Mbps. This can look like B = 10b. Here because they are talking about data moving from storage devices through the transfer path they add in the data overhead of 2b (bits) for error correction and 1B does equal 10b in THEIR math. They are taking some liberties in their ad copy. One often has to CAREFULLY look at the numbers and determine the context intended to understand the size of a ‘byte’ being discussed.

In some ways the B’s, G’s, and M’s are misleading in how they are used. It is easy to make a case for that being deliberate. The actual data being moved is 8b/10b = 0.8 * 6000Mb raw data = 4,800Mbps actual usable by you data. But, manufactures like the bigger number and they are literally moving 6Gbps. It just isn’t all your data that is getting reported. They assume the knowledgeable user will infer their true meaning. I suspect they know a whole bunch of people won’t.

Unless you are comparing devices and protocols on a way technical level thinking in terms of data rates as 6GBps verses 4.8GBps doesn’t matter much. Consider. Is 6GBps SATA III faster than 3GBps SATA II? Yes. Is 4.8GBps faster than 2.4GBps? Yes. The difference wouldn’t change the take away that SATA III is faster than SATA II regardless of which numbers you use. Nor when comparing prices does it really change what we decide.

The take away here is to be sure you use the same measures for your comparisons. Also understand these are the THEORETICAL values of maximum performance which is seldom achieved.

More pages, links below…