Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Upgrades And AMD APUs

For the third year in a row I'm incredibly disappointed with AMDs APU offerings. The processors themselves are just fine. They're adequately powered for a low level gaming machine, and their quality ranges from playing all games at low settings and low resolution to playing all games at medium setting and high resolution or high settings and medium resolution. The problem is really with the upgrades. A decent video card in a complete system is a stepping stone, as long as the socket is compatible. The PCIE-16x has been pretty standard for a while and even among the graphics PCIE slots there has been a lot of inter compatibility. I've been able to pop in just about any video card that's come out for years and years now. Same with the AMD 2, 2+, 3, and 3+, each and every one of these sockets offered a wide range of chips that scaled from entry level to high end.

And this is where the APUs have just flat out failed, three years in a row all the socket has changed, limiting you to inside of a single generation of chips. You've cut out every prior generation of consumers from upgrading in any meaningful way. They can't upgrade the processor without changing the motherboard, at all. And if you upgrade your video card on its own you're torn between a very tiny Crossfire upgrade or an expensive upgrade that totally discounts your system's APU graphics core. You certainly can't use one of the new APUs. When this happened in the first generation it was upsetting, but three generations in a row is unforgivable. AMD APUs are off my list, it's not happening again. I'm not going to buy another system that requires a full system rebuild every year for a modest increase in performance. Because when you get down to it, the third generation APUs are nice, but they're not nice enough to justify a third new motherboard and processor to run them.

As for the upgrade route, I'm currently using an A-10 6800k, I ended up deciding to grab a 6670 GPU for my Steam Box, a decent little card that will give me a modest crossfire performance boost for my APU. I really can't wait to see how much improvement I get to milk out of the combination. Would be nice to see a really good improvement in Crysis 2 and Skyrim, the two benchmarks I've been using lately. The new A-10 7850k is just absolutely not worth the system rebuild cost. It'd be close to 250$ for a performance increase of a fraction of what an equivalently priced video card would offer.

By the way, Ninja hoodies are pretty cool, I love mine.

Monday, January 06, 2014

Thinking About Things

So, I've been thinking a lot about movies and books where the characters clearly voice one opinion, intended as the message of the story, but the actions clearly paint a different picture.

This one was kind of a weird monster. All of the narrative problems aside, and any of the other things you might not have liked about this movie, one thing it did really poorly was stick to its message. It tried to explore the idea of a machine with a consciousness and a life as valuable as a human being. And then at the end it sacrifices the machine specifically to save a human being, showing which one of them is really a person.

You're as good as real people, unless one of the real people needs a new heart.

A really good experience comes from a cohesiveness, where the film says its messages subtextually as well as overtly. Terminator salvation was particularly disappointing because it came from the otherwise excellent Terminator franchise. Take Terminator 2 for instance. The future is what is important, not any one person regardless of emotional attachment. They say this over and over again, and then they repeat it in the subtext, any character can die as long as they accomplish the goal of saving the world from Skynet. And in the end, to prevent the world from repeating its mistakes, the terminator destroys itself, because it has to.

Terminator Salvation could have made a similar argument, but they didn't, really. They didn't even look for other solutions. The machine was a convenient sacrifice.

I'll spend some time thinking of other movies where the message differs from the underlying values of the story.
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