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back to article US Navy SEALs buy twin-screen laptops, refuse Vista

You know how it is. You're a power user, an alpha nerd. You just aren't happy without multiple screens - a puny one-screen desktop isn't enough for the multiple video feeds, apps and so forth that are essential to your working life. But that's too bad, because you are also a deadly US Navy SEAL supertrooper. Your video feeds …

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Black Helicopters

No such thing as SEALs

in the US Navy any more. Something about Canadian fishermen being able to just club them to death with a bit of 2 by 4.

Not really good for recruitment purposes.

Now they SUC (or is it SOC ?).

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Coat

"...other than strictly work-related tasks."

So, what games _do_ Navy Seal play? Do they have special games in which they play pale-skinned caffeine-swigging nerds?

Mine's the one with a copy of "Navy Seals" in the pocket...

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Bronze badge
Thumb Up

Dual graphics cards in a dual screen laptop

We're talking what, 35 mins battery life?

Unless it's just for use in a mobile base rather than actually on a terrorist. Perhaps a new EeePC, the Eee200AT (anti terrorist).

Mind you I wouldn't say no to one of these for my own err... testing of massively distributed user/client infrastructures with high load graphical interface.

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Tim

Battery life?

Like battery life in a laptop wasnt bad enough, what sort of runtime will two screens give? i doubt the seals will get one decent game of spider solitaire out of it before they need to infiltrate a bogey's house looking for a power point!

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Bronze badge

So when do they ask for the Windows 7 upgrade?

Working for Microsoft Customer Services just got a whole lot more dangerous.

Seriously, the USN could end up using a lot of these machines. And I doubt they'll rush to a new Windows version.

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Ash
Thumb Up

Riiiiiiight...

Asus G71V is the same thing with a 9700M GT and one screen.

They cost $6000 each.

When they can't afford proper body armour for these guys, I wonder if the ruggedised laptop will be stored in a secure pouch in their packs, or strapped to their chest as a ballistic shield.

But sure, why not! This way the SEALS can be in the field and STILL get pwned by 14 year olds in CS: Source.

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Silver badge

Gives a profound insight into future military missions

Either they'll be very short, or come with extremely long extension cords.

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Tom
Alert

RAM nerdery

They're wasting a gig of RAM if they're going to stick with a 32bit OS. I suppose they could be going for XP 64, but I'm guessing penguins are likely to have better driver support than that beleagured old platform.

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what no 9800M GTX's?

plus these things must be heavy, they would be better armour plating a desktop and bringing along a Generator! :)

still how many Geek points do you get for owning one? :)

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Flame

RE: RAM nerdery

Please stop repeating this popular misconception.

32 bit operating systems can handle much more than 64GB of RAM, XP is limited to 4GB.

http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa366778.aspx

For example windows server 2003 sp2 (32 bit) can handle up to 64GB of memory in the enterprise edition and up to 128GB in the data centre edition.

The 3GB limit you're quoting is per process, and it's typically 2GB per process unless you mess with the kernel:userspace memory split. As arguably these laptops would be running more than one process they can almost certainly use the full 4GB (of which around 512MB to 1GB will be used by the kernel and associated data structures anyway).

I'm fed up with people selling Vista or 64 bit operating systems based on this premise and having to explain it to them. The fact that Microsoft put an artificial 4GB limit into XP is almost criminal as it is.

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Black Helicopters

Do the Black Helicopters have plug points!?

As people above have said this is probably more for a forward command station than actually in a little Targus rucksack. Oh and don't forget these days there is all kinds of counter-terrorism ops where they mingle with the rest of us.

Plus don't black helicopters have have plug points?

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Rugged?

Fro m what I have seen of these dual screen laptop jobbies they appear very far from rugged. I mean you'll need some serious armour plating/reinforcement to stop those slide out things from just snapping off first time they get bounced about the back of a hummer

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Anonymous Coward

@Cameron Colley

That's pretty funny.

There was actually an xBox live commercial a while back, featuring a bunch of teenagers sitting around playing something similar to CounterStrike, and getting severely owned. Finally, one of them says, "Who *ARE* these guys?!" - and the camera cuts to a military barracks with a group of marines yucking it up around their 360...

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Flame

Silly Brits

Yinz guys gots no imagination when it comes to ruggidizin any lappies. Didn't yinz change the name of the SBS too?

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I imagine they'll actually run Solaris on it

Same as they do on the 'Bullfrog' laptops that they currently use in the field. Bullfrogs are made by DG-Tadpole, and tradtionally used Sparc Ultra chipsets. This order could signal a move away from Sparc, towards cheaper intel units, but all that fire-control software, and so on, runs on Solaris. (And, yes, that's 64-bit Solaris, Tom.) Since the Bullfrog carries something like half a dozen batteries in the base of a standard unit, I would expect that this will be one of the firstt upgrades this company will have to add to their unit for Navy use. Yes, they're heavy, but suck it down, soldier: Marines usually carry 130-150lbs of gear in the field.

Lenovo may argue that their semi-functional piece of plastic crap is a 'twin-screen laptop' - as may HP, their even more dismal 'Firefly' offering - but if gScreen are saying "the first dual-screen laptop with identical displays", I think the keyword is 'identical'. The 'second screen' on the Lenovo and the HP are actually part-remaindered appologies from the bottom shelves, bolted on the side of a more modern, standard display. Saying that, the civilian version of the gScreen looks almost as rubbish as the Lenovo.

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Joke

Who needs string...

and oriental grappling techniques? I'm sure our SAS lads can dispose of terrorists equally silently with nothing more than a blade of grass, using techniques that most Glaswegians could teach you if you annoyed them enough (i.e. speak with an English Accent)

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Silver badge

Would the BOFH like one?

To bash users/beancounters around the ears

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Anonymous Coward

@George

> Oh and don't forget these days there is all kinds of counter-terrorism ops where they mingle with

> the rest of us.

With a ruggedised, twin-screen laptop (possibly running Solaris), they won't be doing much "mingling"...

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Silver badge

Words of Wisdom ...... inadvertly given.

"I'm sure our SAS lads can dispose of terrorists equally silently with nothing more than a blade of grass,...." .... By John Ferris Posted Tuesday 10th February 2009 13:49 GMT

Would that be a Virtual Joint Operation, John?

You do realise that that is the Capability of Special Services in Irregular and Unconventional Warfare nowadays ....... although you will hardly be advised of it by anybody, as you would wish to expect, given the nature of the Services required.

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Heart

Awesome!

Now you can use that thing to SKYSURF deep into enemy territory before you touch down in some smelly bog where it will instantly provide you with all the real screen estate the lonesome warrior could ever wish for out in the cold, cold night.

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Thumb Down

Re: Antony Riley

I'm afraid your rather wrong there - it's not a popular misconception - it's the truth. A 32 bit operating system can only PROPERLY address 4Gb - even Unix & Linux, it's not a Windows only thing.

The Advanced Server you mention can address 64Gb but that's because it uses a process called Physical Address Extension. Using PAE does not give more memory to the kernel. It only gives more to the user-mode application processes. All PAE does is “trick” the application into thinking it has more space by creating multiple page tables for each application.

In any event, the trickery uses processing power which effectively negates the effect of having that extra RAM in the first place.

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Linux

Hadn't XP been pulled ?

I thought you were only allowed to buy XP on a low end system nowadays ?

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Silver badge

Prove me wrong .

"Oh and don't forget these days there is all kinds of counter-terrorism ops where they mingle with the rest of us." ..... By George Posted Tuesday 10th February 2009 12:33 GMT

How very true, George. You just never know who you are talking to, nowadays, and as for what some folk are doing, well ...... even whenever it is clearly explained, it is still hard to believe and some would even say that they don't believe it ..... but that is their problem should they have had a need to know.

And some even wear fancy dress/uniform ..... http://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/news/919/1050919/germany-deploys-cybersoldiers

Do you imagine there is anything similar from the MOD or is it the Private Sector which makes a Killing in the Markets and the pongoes get to deal with all the crap which is left, which is normally how the MOD is treated?

If the Services had any officers who could Lead Virtually , it might be different.

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Don
IT Angle

God bless um

"is a ruggedised version". Methinks "is a rugged version" would save some money for storage space and typing time. Perhaps not for rather "angerised" respondents?

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Another reason why you won't see the full 4GB

On XP device I/O uses the same address space as the 4GB of system memory. Toss in a 1GB graphics card and suddenly 1GB of system memory is unreachable ...

Still they don't seem to sell 1.5 GB memory modules and memory runs faster than in dual channel mode which requires pairs of memory.

So for XP 32 bit ... 2x2GB is still a better memory configuration than ... 2X1GB or 1GB +2 GB.

I am hoping the system will dual boot into another OS for actual work. XP is probably for them for in field recreational use.

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XBOX ownage

@David; everyone knows console FPS players are nubs! I'd be impressed if those marines could pwn some real players.

Anyone know if MS are going to remove the 'workstation' 4GB limit in 7? (sorry, will Google this in a minute, couldn't be bothered to delete this now even though it would have been quicker to do so rather than type this explanation)

...the spelling checker here doesn't recognise proper english; meanwhile it recognises Google (a proper noun) but not google? Flagfox and the suffix confirm it's in the UK, what gives? Are the majority of readers American?

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@ Antony Riley

a better question to ask would be why you're not actually using a 64bit operating system, to access all that ram natively, it's not like 64bit processors are rare nowadays.

despite the majority of software not taking advantage of it, including the preinstalled OS's that most companies supply, the vast majority of processors out there today are 64bit, and all new ones will be. It's about time people actually started coding, well compiling, to take advantage of it. certainly 4GB+ of ram is becoming standard

as a user of xp x64 for a very long time, then vista 64, i can honestly say that there has been no disadvantage for years, drivers were scarce originally for xp, but have not been problematic for a good 4-5 years, I can't see how there is any excuse for not releasing windows 7 as 64bit only, it would mean it actually served a purpose beyond being vista 2.0

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Silver badge

@Sooty

It is my understanding that PAE is a function that has to be supported in hardware and that support is not included in most consumer aimed systems.

As well as that, PAE support must be compiled into the kernel too, so a different kernel is required for systems that support PAE vs those that don't.

Now, I suppose it would be possible to ship multiple kernels on the W7 install media and do some sort of "PAE support test" during install but I imagine that this would be a significant development cost as well as being a potential major support problem somewhere down the line.

It would be far more sensible for people who NEED >4Gb RAM to just install an OS that supports it natively ( ie any 64 bit version of their fave OS) rather than trying to kludge that support into a 32 bit version.

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Pirate

killer machine ...

hi folks,

well, if i would have the money, i would want this cool piece of technology too ..

kind regards MK ultra

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Pirate

killer application ...

hope the terrorists will never get such hightech stuff ...

would be very bad for us all !!!

MK ultra

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Anonymous Coward

@Goat Jam

Not supported? Wow. That'd be news to Intel, which has has PAE on every CPU since the Pentium Pro (and it was actually intended for the original Pentium)

>=4G RAM is readily supported by any operating system with PAE support (and that includes XP Pro notionally, but MS artificially limit it to the first 4G of physical space which does get big chunks taken out by the PCI space)

http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/system/platform/server/PAE/PAEdrv.mspx

32 bit operating systems can't easily offer more than 4G of space to applications without breaking the programming model and ABI so even though the operating system can map 64G of physical RAM all over the place (ie. into multiple chunks up to 4G for applications, disk cache, whatever), its still not going to help applications directly.

Most Unix based systems "support" PAE for some definition of it (there's sometimes driver issues)

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Paris Hilton

SEALs are wankers

About 12 years ago I was working in a hotel in Oman that was used by these guys for RnR. Every one of them (except a medic attached) were steroid abusing, macho wankers. Drunker than shiat on 2 beers and then out and about to abuse the locals for being "ragheads". Bunch of idiots.

They deserve to suffer Windows, it'll keep them busy.

/Paris, because she is smarter than all of them

//and I love her

///but the best BJ I ever had was from a roided up Navy seal

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Tom
Silver badge

@Snooty, I mean sooty

It's a chicken and egg problem. The apps and the OSes both have to be bought at the same time. I built an 8G system and got 64-bit Vista and 32-bit XP. My apps run fine on the 32-bit XP, but not the 64-bit Vista.

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Silver badge

Special Services and Special Forces are normally worlds apart.

"///but the best BJ I ever had was from a roided up Navy seal" .... By slack Posted Wednesday 11th February 2009 11:39 GMT

Now there's a novel approach to esprit de corps. :-) Is it compulsory, slack? And I bet you say that to all the boys/bots.

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