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…

Video Cards: GTX1060 vs RX480

There is debate in the SL Forum as to which video card is a better choice for Second Life™. I’ll try to provide the information needed to make a decision. But, I don’t see a deal maker or breaker that would pull the choice to any one card.

Also there are no good benchmarks, yet, of which new cards work best with Second Life. The following benchmark tests show the cards’ performance are very dependent on how the game is designed.

In the above video he is testing DirectX12 verses Vulkan. Vulkan is the next generation OpenGL. While development on OpenGL has not stopped, it appears to be similar to SL and Sansar. Except I have no doubt Vulkan will be the render engine of choice for most game makers moving on from OpenGL.  Continue reading

The Novice Computer Upgrade Series: Memory

Regular readers will know I am in the process of building a new computer capable of handling VR, Sansar, Obduction (from the makers of Myst), and Second Life. I mostly deal with web tech and repair or upgrade of old computers. I do a lot of repair and upgrading of Core2 vintage machines.

So, when I decided to upgrade I started looking for what is best, fast, and cheap. In the process I realized I haven’t been keeping up with the tech. Helping people in the SL Forum I realize there are a lot of people also unaware of the changes in tech. A lot of bad advice is handed out in the forum. So, I am starting a series of articles on the current state of computer technology. Starting with a tutorial on computer memory.

Memory

Computer memory is called: RAM – Random Access Memory.

DDR4 Top - DDR2 Bottom

DDR4 Top – DDR2 Bottom

Memory chips like all other tech advances. Memory gets better, meaning faster and using less power. So, can you put faster memory in your existing computer? May be.  Continue reading