Motherboard Forums


Reply
Thread Tools Display Modes

Hardware has finally outrun bloatware?

 
 
Robert Myers
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      02-01-2009, 10:38 PM
I just bought a Dell XPS 121M:

http://www.microcenter.com/single_pr...uct_id=0303045

Studio XPS-121M; IntelŪ Core i7 Quad Processor 920; 6GB Tri Channel
DDR3-1067 SDRAM; 750GB Hard Drive; DVDRW Drive; 19-in-1 Media Card
Reader; ATIŪ Radeon HD 4850; 10/100/1000 Network; Microsoft Windows
Vista Home Premium (64-bit); Display Not Included.

One penny less than a thousand dollars. I infer that the local store
picked up 2^6 or more of these boxes and intended to move them at this
price in a three-day post-Christmas sales event. That's how many
boxes were advertised as left when I ordered mine. The same box
prices out at hundreds more (exclusive of shipping) on Dell's website
(or it did when I made the comparison).

Wow. This box is many times more powerful than a Cray-1 (Do the
numbers yourself. I don't feel like haggling). Ordinarily, I
wouldn't have bought a box without an XP downgrade, except that
Microsoft has hinted strongly that an upgrade to Windows 7 will only
be from Vista, and, like it or not, Windows XP support will be under
the axe as soon as there is a successor that is acceptable to
corporate buyers. And, I decided, it would take a lot of bloatware to
bring a quad processor core i7 with 6GB tri channel 1066MHz memory to
its knees.

The only problem I've experienced with this system (and it's a biggie)
is that the display driver is buggy, and it can and has brought the
entire system down. That is to say, you can overpower bloatware with
enough hardware muscle, but there is no answer for privileged-mode
bugs.

All naysaying to the contrary notwithstanding, this is the very first
microcomputer I've ever used whose user interface could not be made
practically unusable in ordinary (the way I use it) use--except, of
course, for the display adapter bugs, and, yes, I have the most up-to-
date version of the driver.

Overkill? I'm not really sure what user who didn't do HPC-type
calculations would find a use for this box, since, in gaming
applications, the performance is limited by a so-so graphics adapter.
People doing video editing, I guess; I don't really know because I
don't do video editing. Overkill or not, I suspect it will be a long
time before there are applications to make this box huff and puff, and
I can still double the RAM by replacing the 1GB ram sticks with 2GB.

Windows 7 is supposed to be less resource-hungry than Vista, but what
do I care? The Wintel two-legged robot (bloatware and hardware) has
finally run out of energy. I'd rather have had a quad-core Itanium
(more fun), but I'm happy finally to have a computer that eats bad
programming for breakfast.

Robert.
 
Reply With Quote
 
 
 
 
Alphonse Q Muthafuyer
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      02-02-2009, 04:01 AM
OK, you've just spent $1k on what should be a very, very nice system. I
should probably keep my mouth shut, but ...

Have you ever heard of i/o?<g> Are your disks electro-mechanical? Do you
not still have i/o-bound processes whose lack of speed is correlated
with the volume of (disk) data to be processed?

Seriously, you are running hard-core simulation software that is
fully multi-threaded? You've checked and you get a nice, even
distribution of cycles across the 4 cpu's?

Not certain I understand the issue with the display driver. Brought
the whole system down? More detail might be helpful.

AQ

On Sun, 1 Feb 2009 14:38:22 -0800 (PST), Robert Myers <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

>I just bought a Dell XPS 121M:
>
>http://www.microcenter.com/single_pr...uct_id=0303045
>
>Studio XPS-121M; IntelŪ Core i7 Quad Processor 920; 6GB Tri Channel
>DDR3-1067 SDRAM; 750GB Hard Drive; DVDRW Drive; 19-in-1 Media Card
>Reader; ATIŪ Radeon HD 4850; 10/100/1000 Network; Microsoft Windows
>Vista Home Premium (64-bit); Display Not Included.
>
>One penny less than a thousand dollars. I infer that the local store
>picked up 2^6 or more of these boxes and intended to move them at this
>price in a three-day post-Christmas sales event. That's how many
>boxes were advertised as left when I ordered mine. The same box
>prices out at hundreds more (exclusive of shipping) on Dell's website
>(or it did when I made the comparison).
>
>Wow. This box is many times more powerful than a Cray-1 (Do the
>numbers yourself. I don't feel like haggling). Ordinarily, I
>wouldn't have bought a box without an XP downgrade, except that
>Microsoft has hinted strongly that an upgrade to Windows 7 will only
>be from Vista, and, like it or not, Windows XP support will be under
>the axe as soon as there is a successor that is acceptable to
>corporate buyers. And, I decided, it would take a lot of bloatware to
>bring a quad processor core i7 with 6GB tri channel 1066MHz memory to
>its knees.
>
>The only problem I've experienced with this system (and it's a biggie)
>is that the display driver is buggy, and it can and has brought the
>entire system down. That is to say, you can overpower bloatware with
>enough hardware muscle, but there is no answer for privileged-mode
>bugs.
>
>All naysaying to the contrary notwithstanding, this is the very first
>microcomputer I've ever used whose user interface could not be made
>practically unusable in ordinary (the way I use it) use--except, of
>course, for the display adapter bugs, and, yes, I have the most up-to-
>date version of the driver.
>
>Overkill? I'm not really sure what user who didn't do HPC-type
>calculations would find a use for this box, since, in gaming
>applications, the performance is limited by a so-so graphics adapter.
>People doing video editing, I guess; I don't really know because I
>don't do video editing. Overkill or not, I suspect it will be a long
>time before there are applications to make this box huff and puff, and
>I can still double the RAM by replacing the 1GB ram sticks with 2GB.
>
>Windows 7 is supposed to be less resource-hungry than Vista, but what
>do I care? The Wintel two-legged robot (bloatware and hardware) has
>finally run out of energy. I'd rather have had a quad-core Itanium
>(more fun), but I'm happy finally to have a computer that eats bad
>programming for breakfast.
>
>Robert.


"The monkey and the baboon was playing 7-up.
The monkey won the money but he scared to pick it up.
The monkey stumbled, mama.
The baboon fell.
The monkey grab the money and he run like hell!"
- from "Dirty Motherfuyer", Roosevelt Sykes, around 1935
 
Reply With Quote
 
 
 
 
daytripper
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      02-02-2009, 04:14 AM
On Sun, 1 Feb 2009 14:38:22 -0800 (PST), Robert Myers <(E-Mail Removed)>
wrote:

>I just bought a Dell XPS 121M:
>
>http://www.microcenter.com/single_pr...uct_id=0303045
>
>Studio XPS-121M; IntelŪ Core i7 Quad Processor 920; 6GB Tri Channel
>DDR3-1067 SDRAM; 750GB Hard Drive; DVDRW Drive; 19-in-1 Media Card
>Reader; ATIŪ Radeon HD 4850; 10/100/1000 Network; Microsoft Windows
>Vista Home Premium (64-bit); Display Not Included.
>
>One penny less than a thousand dollars. I infer that the local store
>picked up 2^6 or more of these boxes and intended to move them at this
>price in a three-day post-Christmas sales event. That's how many
>boxes were advertised as left when I ordered mine. The same box
>prices out at hundreds more (exclusive of shipping) on Dell's website
>(or it did when I made the comparison).
>
>Wow. This box is many times more powerful than a Cray-1 (Do the
>numbers yourself. I don't feel like haggling). Ordinarily, I
>wouldn't have bought a box without an XP downgrade, except that
>Microsoft has hinted strongly that an upgrade to Windows 7 will only
>be from Vista, and, like it or not, Windows XP support will be under
>the axe as soon as there is a successor that is acceptable to
>corporate buyers. And, I decided, it would take a lot of bloatware to
>bring a quad processor core i7 with 6GB tri channel 1066MHz memory to
>its knees.
>
>The only problem I've experienced with this system (and it's a biggie)
>is that the display driver is buggy, and it can and has brought the
>entire system down. That is to say, you can overpower bloatware with
>enough hardware muscle, but there is no answer for privileged-mode
>bugs.
>
>All naysaying to the contrary notwithstanding, this is the very first
>microcomputer I've ever used whose user interface could not be made
>practically unusable in ordinary (the way I use it) use--except, of
>course, for the display adapter bugs, and, yes, I have the most up-to-
>date version of the driver.
>
>Overkill? I'm not really sure what user who didn't do HPC-type
>calculations would find a use for this box, since, in gaming
>applications, the performance is limited by a so-so graphics adapter.
>People doing video editing, I guess; I don't really know because I
>don't do video editing. Overkill or not, I suspect it will be a long
>time before there are applications to make this box huff and puff, and
>I can still double the RAM by replacing the 1GB ram sticks with 2GB.
>
>Windows 7 is supposed to be less resource-hungry than Vista, but what
>do I care? The Wintel two-legged robot (bloatware and hardware) has
>finally run out of energy. I'd rather have had a quad-core Itanium
>(more fun), but I'm happy finally to have a computer that eats bad
>programming for breakfast.
>
>Robert.


So, someone is unloading a shi@tload of boxes with effed-up graphics?
 
Reply With Quote
 
Robert Myers
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      02-02-2009, 04:25 AM
On Feb 1, 10:14*pm, daytripper <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

>
> So, someone is unloading a shi@tload of boxes with effed-up graphics?


Maybe. I'm puzzled about the selection of capabilities, but only
because I don't think my needs are typical. As a bonus, I don't see
how this box will ever be overwhelmed by bloatware. Perhaps I just
lack imagination.

Robert.
 
Reply With Quote
 
Robert Myers
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      02-02-2009, 04:40 AM
On Feb 1, 10:01*pm, Alphonse Q Muthafuyer <(E-Mail Removed)>
wrote:
> OK, you've just spent $1k on what should be a very, very nice system. I
> should probably keep my mouth shut, but ...
>
> Have you ever heard of i/o?<g> Are your disks electro-mechanical? Do you
> not still have i/o-bound processes whose lack of speed is correlated
> with the volume of (disk) data to be processed?
>


Well, sure. I could pick a set of disk-intensive tasks that
bottleneck with disk i/o. If that has prospects for making the system
unresponsive, I guess I don't understand how. Those applications will
only be able to proceed as fast as they can get and put information,
but that's life. What won't happen is that the system won't come to a
screeching halt as it mixes up heavy disk i/o from applications with a
need to swap memory to disk because I have too many applications
open. If my view is naive, educate me.

So, maybe the step up for this system is solid state disks rather than
more memory.

> Seriously, you are running hard-core simulation software that is
> fully multi-threaded? You've checked and you get a nice, even
> distribution of cycles across the 4 cpu's?
>

Parallelism is well in hand for the kinds of tasks that interest me.

> Not certain I understand the issue with the display driver. Brought
> the whole system down? More detail might be helpful.
>

Yes indeed. Shut the system down. Literally. There have been two
incidents with the display driver. One made the system burp, with
some kind of announcement from which it recovered. The other produced
a panic shutdown. The diagnostic information from the panic shutdown
said that the problem occurred in the display driver. I'm not a
windows guy, so I don't understand how the OS is unable to protect
itself from a device driver, but apparently that's the case.

Robert.
 
Reply With Quote
 
Alphonse Q Muthafuyer
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      02-02-2009, 06:24 PM


On Sun, 1 Feb 2009 20:40:59 -0800 (PST), Robert Myers <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

>On Feb 1, 10:01*pm, Alphonse Q Muthafuyer <(E-Mail Removed)>
>wrote:
>> OK, you've just spent $1k on what should be a very, very nice system. I
>> should probably keep my mouth shut, but ...
>>
>> Have you ever heard of i/o?<g> Are your disks electro-mechanical? Do you
>> not still have i/o-bound processes whose lack of speed is correlated
>> with the volume of (disk) data to be processed?
>>

>
>Well, sure. I could pick a set of disk-intensive tasks that
>bottleneck with disk i/o. If that has prospects for making the system
>unresponsive, I guess I don't understand how. Those applications will
>only be able to proceed as fast as they can get and put information,
>but that's life. What won't happen is that the system won't come to a
>screeching halt as it mixes up heavy disk i/o from applications with a
>need to swap memory to disk because I have too many applications
>open. If my view is naive, educate me.


The history of computing is replete with repetitions of sequences like:

a.) Hardware developers invent new viable technology.
b.) Software developers (who have been watching carefully)
write code to take advantage of a.).
c.) Business, research, etc folk find ways to make use of new
computing abilities/resources.

In the case of, say, generations of memory technology (ie DDR, DDR2, etc)
the sequence can proceed relatively quickly. New, faster memory, they've
already been working on 64-bit systems that allow addressing beyond
old restrictive boundaries (ie 4 gb limit), things proceed with no
major obstacles.

In the case of parallelism, things are different. To implement, a
lot of software has to be rewritten, and there are limits on what
processes lend themselves to running in parallel. See:

http://www.informit.com/articles/art...=1193856&rll=1

On the other hand, if you are not working for anyone, and are merely
designing experiments for yourself, you can limit yourself to the
context of your available resources and, I suppose, be happy.

>So, maybe the step up for this system is solid state disks rather than
>more memory.


With the right (I assume server-grade) pipe, SSD can be very much
like adding memory for reads. Writes take longer.

Your 6 gb sounds very adequate for ordinary and perhaps some not-
so-ordinary desktop applications. Outside the domain of desktop
apps, 6-12 gb is not so impressive. It all depends on the apps.

>> Seriously, you are running hard-core simulation software that is
>> fully multi-threaded? You've checked and you get a nice, even
>> distribution of cycles across the 4 cpu's?
>>

>Parallelism is well in hand for the kinds of tasks that interest me.


That is a less-than-detailed response. Are you adept with Task
Manager?

>> Not certain I understand the issue with the display driver. Brought
>> the whole system down? More detail might be helpful.
>>

>Yes indeed. Shut the system down. Literally. There have been two
>incidents with the display driver. One made the system burp, with
>some kind of announcement from which it recovered. The other produced
>a panic shutdown. The diagnostic information from the panic shutdown
>said that the problem occurred in the display driver. I'm not a
>windows guy, so I don't understand how the OS is unable to protect
>itself from a device driver, but apparently that's the case.


Your ATIŪ Radeon HD 4850 driver is fully supported for Vista Home
Premium 64? Have you made support inquiries? There are "little holes"
in all Windows products: it's possible that a problem with your
driver has found one. With such a system, I'd follow the usual
support channels first. If that yields no relief, you might want
to take a peek at :

technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/default.aspx

AQ

"The monkey and the baboon was playing 7-up.
The monkey won the money but he scared to pick it up.
The monkey stumbled, mama.
The baboon fell.
The monkey grab the money and he run like hell!"
- from "Dirty Motherfuyer", Roosevelt Sykes, around 1935
 
Reply With Quote
 
Robert Myers
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      02-02-2009, 07:21 PM
On Feb 2, 12:24*pm, Alphonse Q Muthafuyer <(E-Mail Removed)>
wrote:

>
> In the case of parallelism, things are different. To implement, a
> lot of software has to be rewritten, and there are limits on what
> processes lend themselves to running in parallel. See:
>
> http://www.informit.com/articles/art...=1193856&rll=1
>


Donald Knuth needs to stick to his knitting--which isn't parallel
computing.

> On the other hand, if you are not working for anyone, and are merely
> designing experiments for yourself, you can limit yourself to the
> context of your available resources and, I suppose, be happy.


I made the post because it touches on some subjects of current
interest: core i7, what to do with all that power, Vista device driver
bugs, mountains of unsold computers that would have been snapped up a
year ago. I thought I might start some interesting conversation.
What I didn't post for was to get into another ****ing match.

>
> That is a less-than-detailed response. Are you adept with Task
> Manager?


I'm not sure what being adept with Task manager means. I certainly
know how to use it, and I know how to use the resource monitor.

That some kinds of computing tasks lend themselves well to (say)
clusters is well understood, and I don't see much point in repeating
any of that discussion here.

>
> Your ATIŪ Radeon HD 4850 driver is fully supported for Vista Home
> Premium 64? Have you made support inquiries? There are "little holes"
> in all Windows products: it's possible that a problem with your
> driver has found one. With such a system, I'd follow the usual
> support channels first. If that yields no relief, you might want
> to take a peek at :
>
> technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/default.aspx
>

That's an interesting link. I'm not sure how much time I want to
devote to windows.

Robert.
 
Reply With Quote
 
Nate Edel
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      02-03-2009, 03:11 AM
Robert Myers <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> Overkill? I'm not really sure what user who didn't do HPC-type
> calculations would find a use for this box, since, in gaming
> applications, the performance is limited by a so-so graphics adapter.
> People doing video editing, I guess; I don't really know because I
> don't do video editing. Overkill or not, I suspect it will be a long
> time before there are applications to make this box huff and puff, and
> I can still double the RAM by replacing the 1GB ram sticks with 2GB.


A single SATA spindle is grossly inadequate for video editing, but with a
good amount of additional disk, it would be pretty good for video editing.
The expansion options aren't great for it, but the disk needed would
certainly be doable at the low end of things.

--
Nate Edel http://www.cubiclehermit.com/
preferred email |
is "nate" at the | "I do have a cause, though. It's obscenity. I'm
posting domain | for it."
 
Reply With Quote
 
Alphonse Q Muthafuyer
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      02-03-2009, 11:08 PM
On Mon, 2 Feb 2009 11:21:44 -0800 (PST), Robert Myers <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

>On Feb 2, 12:24*pm, Alphonse Q Muthafuyer <(E-Mail Removed)>
>wrote:
>
>>
>> In the case of parallelism, things are different. To implement, a
>> lot of software has to be rewritten, and there are limits on what
>> processes lend themselves to running in parallel. See:
>>
>> http://www.informit.com/articles/art...=1193856&rll=1
>>

>
>Donald Knuth needs to stick to his knitting--which isn't parallel
>computing.


Silly. He's dying, but I suspect he can still knit algorithms all around you
(and me). But he's just a very knowledgable pragmatist: not someone that needs
to be worshipped.

>> On the other hand, if you are not working for anyone, and are merely
>> designing experiments for yourself, you can limit yourself to the
>> context of your available resources and, I suppose, be happy.

>
>I made the post because it touches on some subjects of current
>interest: core i7, what to do with all that power, Vista device driver
>bugs, mountains of unsold computers that would have been snapped up a
>year ago. I thought I might start some interesting conversation.
>What I didn't post for was to get into another ****ing match.


Nor did I.

I'll grant that your post may well have been of general interest.

>> That is a less-than-detailed response. Are you adept with Task
>> Manager?

>
>I'm not sure what being adept with Task manager means. I certainly
>know how to use it, and I know how to use the resource monitor.
>
>That some kinds of computing tasks lend themselves well to (say)
>clusters is well understood, and I don't see much point in repeating
>any of that discussion here.


I am much less convinced as to how well understood it is.

>> Your ATIŪ Radeon HD 4850 driver is fully supported for Vista Home
>> Premium 64? Have you made support inquiries? There are "little holes"
>> in all Windows products: it's possible that a problem with your
>> driver has found one. With such a system, I'd follow the usual
>> support channels first. If that yields no relief, you might want
>> to take a peek at :
>>
>> technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/default.aspx
>>

>That's an interesting link. I'm not sure how much time I want to
>devote to windows.


Your call to make.

Just a brief mention about "eats bad programming for breakfast" and bloatware:
with many, many millions of lines of code that go into current Windows
product, there's bound to be some degree of bad programming, but it is
bloatware because it was designed to be virtually all things to virtually all
people. That's why it is "ubiquitous". 'Tis both a blessing and a damnation.

But you already knew all that. Eh?

AQ

"The monkey and the baboon was playing 7-up.
The monkey won the money but he scared to pick it up.
The monkey stumbled, mama.
The baboon fell.
The monkey grab the money and he run like hell!"
- from "Dirty Motherfuyer", Roosevelt Sykes, around 1935
 
Reply With Quote
 
Robert Myers
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      02-04-2009, 01:01 AM
On Feb 3, 5:08*pm, Alphonse Q Muthafuyer <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> On Mon, 2 Feb 2009 11:21:44 -0800 (PST), Robert Myers
>
> >Donald Knuth needs to stick to his knitting--which isn't parallel
> >computing.

>
> Silly. He's dying, but I suspect he can still knit algorithms all around you
> (and me). But he's just a very knowledgable pragmatist: not someone that needs
> to be worshipped.
>

Good thing I got my public lampoon of his the past is the way it
should always be attitude in before I could be accused of being in bad
taste. Right now, there is nowhere to go but multiple cores, and
people have seen it coming for a long, long time. Just not Donald
Knuth.

>
> >That some kinds of computing tasks lend themselves well to (say)
> >clusters is well understood, and I don't see much point in repeating
> >any of that discussion here.

>
> I am much less convinced as to how well understood it is.
>

Depends on what you are referring to by "it." There is a large enough
class of applications that are well in hand that zillions of
transistors in any plausible format will be marketable for as far as
the imagination can wander.

That there are also many things that are not understood at all is
pretty common knowledge, and a frequent subject of public discussion.
Just not here.

>
> Just a brief mention about "eats bad programming for breakfast" and bloatware:
> with many, many millions of lines of code that go into current Windows
> product, there's bound to be some degree of bad programming, but it is
> bloatware because it was designed to be virtually all things to virtuallyall
> people. That's why it is "ubiquitous". 'Tis both a blessing and a damnation.
>
> But you already knew all that. Eh?
>

Computer "science" and software "engineering" are embarrassments to
science and engineering. If you're going to defend them and be snotty
at the same time, I suppose it stands to reason you wouldn't be
posting under your real name.

Robert.
 
Reply With Quote
 
 
 
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
DELL finally has a deal!!!!!!!!!!!!! K. Landsworth Dell 117 12-19-2006 05:05 AM
9800 pro aiw finally working -has ATI abandoned Gemstar? None40 ATI 4 05-05-2005 01:46 PM
intel.microprocessors.pentium, comp.sys.intel, comp.hardware, alt.comp.hardware.homebuilt, alt.comp.hardware.pc-homebuilt, alt.comp.mainboards.abit J Higbee Intel 3 06-24-2004 03:03 PM
intel.microprocessors.pentium, comp.sys.intel, comp.hardware, alt.comp.hardware.homebuilt, alt.comp.hardware.pc-homebuilt, alt.comp.mainboards.abit J Higbee Hardware 3 06-24-2004 03:03 PM
Knights of the old republic was originally designed on Xbox hardware which has an equivalent Geforce3 TI card I'm told? So since it's optimized for Nvidia hardware I'm guessing that's my problem? Atiupgrade ATI 4 01-12-2004 12:32 AM


All times are GMT. The time now is 03:27 PM.


Welcome!
Welcome to Motherboard Point
 

Advertisment