Technology analysis of the latest gadgets, consoles, and computer architectures.

Friday, April 30, 2004

Dammit...why isn't it time for AMD to release their new chip architecture, the socket 939s? I really want to start putting together the parts for my next computer, but I have this obsession with getting at least some of the new technologies coming out this year; in particular, PCI Express.

Ever since I've owned a PC (8+ years) I've never had a fast computer. In fact, throughout high school I used a 133 Mhz Pentium and a 400 Mhz AMD laptop (this was when AMD chips competed primarily with Celerons). Near the end of high school, I was able to purchase my friend's 450 Mhz P3 from him when he built a new computer, and that's what I continue to use. Since then, processors have been jumping in speeds and I'm still behind the times with my Pentium 3 IBM PC. Considering this will be my first official PC upgrade/purchase, I want to make is worthwhile, and of course I'm going to make it last (considering my current PC lifespan).

Anyways, I've made my decision on an Athlon64, which is an amazing chip. HyperTransport, the interconnection between external components to the CPU along with other CPUs, is a much better way to manage bus speeds than the typical FSB, since AMD can more effectively bring up these speeds when they are needed. The on-die memory controller also brings a large benefit to the table since RAM no longer has to be limited by slow bus speeds. More information about the general Hammer architecture can be found here. I also cannot wait to play around with x86-64 computing; 64-bit Windows should be out by the summer and linux variants are already available, so I'll be dual-booting with at least 32-bit Windows, and I'll have to try out compiling code in linux.

The main upgrade for the 939-pin Athlon64 is the 128-bit memory controller vs. the 64-bit version currently found in the chip. If motherboard manufacturers would release PCI Express for the current Socket 754 models, I would certainly buy a 754. The 939s are going to be expensive when they come out in a month or so, and the motherboards that are going to support them will follow in the same sort of price schedule. I guess in a way I am also obsessed with getting this computer to last a while, but I can't help it; it's not very often that I get to buy a new computer. If I can get an Athlon64 motherboard with PCI Express, PCI, and AGP supported, gigabit ethernet, and 7.1 channel sound (DDR-2 won't be released in a while and will be really expensive anyways), I will be ready to purchase the parts for and build my new computer.
All I have to say right now is that Google is Sweet!

Thursday, April 29, 2004

Wanna know what's been in my mind periodically, and basically brought out the urge to create this? Online Music Stores. Sorry, I know it's a boring topic by now, but I just want to say something about them. First of all, peer-to-peer file sharing does not necessarily take away from any potential album sales. Most of the people who downloaded mp3s were not going to purchase the albums anyways because the money wasn't around to do so. I suppose once services like the original Napster became popular it may have cut into a minimal amount of sales, but before the mp3 revolution, most people would either make a cassette, cd, or mp3 copy of the songs they wanted anyways...aka "Fair Use".

Anyways, online music stores will only make a small appeal to people who do not buy albums often; instead of focusing on these limited sales, these music stores should be trying to gain some of the diehard audience. Making consumers pay for compressed inferior audio is wrong! The next generation medium, also known as the Internet, should not be an excuse to sell subpar quality music, even if it is "CD quality". I would understand this being a download option for slow connections, but lossless compression is the way to go. Audio quality should be getting better as technology progresses, and I refuse to sink a lot of money into something that is inferior to CD audio. (I will admit: I have paid for emusic a couple of times, but $10 for 40 songs is a bit different, and it's 224 kbps average LAME VBR.) I will continue to purchase CD albums online and at real music stores until something reasonable is available.

On a side note, it would also be cool if the music stores distributed the CD cover and album art and booklets in PDF.

Considering that Real Networks is going downhill (in one way or another), lossless is something they should embrace to take the market away from Apple and Microsoft allies. The current Real Networks online music store (not Rhapsody) offers 192 kbit AAC, which is nice, but not quite there yet.

Alright, I didn't just create a's a lie. I mean, if this is real, no one's gonna read it anyways, so it doesn't exist.

And since no one's gonna read this, I'd like to say that corporate America sucks. Not only is money reserved for a select few, but companies like to keep things proprietary using blood-sucking patents and copyrights, slowing the progression of technology (which pisses me off the most). Despite this, I'm gonna ramble about what I want to see in the current and future computing technology world (I can no longer contain my urge to speak!). Maybe I'll get people to agree with me and contribute their own could only hope that eventually (and soon) we will see these ideas unfold*.

*Sorry for that lame had to go somewhere.