* Posts by Steve Todd

2282 posts • joined 19 Sep 2007

Slower US F-35A purchases piles $27bn onto total fighter jet bill

Steve Todd
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Has no-one done the math?

If the US is only buying 60 per year then they are committed to buying the F35 for the next 30 years, at which point it's not going to be anything like leading edge.

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Intel axes 140 IoTers in California, Ireland

Steve Todd
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Re: hmmm...

I don't think Intel have anything as low tech as a 40nm plant left in production (or if they have, it's there to produce legacy parts they have to provide under contract). Everything they have seems to be either producing specialised parts (e.g. Fab 68 in China producing RAM chips), producing 22nm or better parts or being decommissioned/upgraded. They sell the old kit off when they shut a plant down, so they can't restart an older process with any degree of ease.

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Steve Todd
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Re: hmmm...

If they are spending more than US$721 million per quarter then yes, they are losing money. If they can't see revenues getting to the point that they ARE making money (and ideally where they are making a reasonable return) then they will close it.

Intel's problem is that they have an expensive fab process tuned to producing high margin standard CPUs, and IoT is all about low margin SoC chips that are customise-able and cheap. Take for example the ESP32. It's a twin core, 240MHz, 32 bit chip with built in WiFi and Bluetooth. It has 520K of RAM, 16MB of flash ROM and 34 GPIO ports that can be mapped to assorted on-board IO blocks (ADC, DAC, I2C, SPI etc). It's fabricated on a cheap 40nm process and can be bought for less than $5. Intel simply can't compete with this.

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Imagination: Apple relations still rotten but, hey, losses have shrunk

Steve Todd
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Re: It is all Apple's Fault

@Steve Davies - Its a good job that Apple don't sell any of their models for as much as $1000 then.

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China pollutes ocean with bloody big rocket

Steve Todd
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Re: Elsewhere reported flight aborted one hour after launch...

It depends on what was one hour after launch, the report or the abort. If the latter then you'd expect it to be comfortably in orbit. The former could have been an abort within minutes of launch, and the Chinese government only grudgingly admitting to the mistake somewhat later.

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Concorde without the cacophony: NASA thinks it's cracked quiet supersonic flight

Steve Todd
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It was however

unable to cope with moderately tight turns (hence the Paris Airshow breakup) and was vastly thirsty (not having stolen Concorde's secret to optimising fuel flow across the operating speed range, but they did "borrow" most of the rest of the design).

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Steve Todd
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Re: A luddite writes... @scatter

You think executives are the only people that fly, and there's no economic benefit to air travel? I think you'll find that most of the rest of the world disagrees with you.

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IoT coverage for 95% of UK by 2019? We can't even do 4G, Sigfox

Steve Todd
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Since IoT generally doesn't need much bandwidth

You can cover huge areas with low power ISM frequency networks like LoRa. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LPWAN

Rolling out to 95% of the population may not be as hard as El Reg thinks.

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Intel: Joule's burned, Edison switched off, and Galileo – Galileo is no more

Steve Todd
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Re: Hardly unexpected

@daniel - thank you for proving my point. The Pi is far from the only SBC, and even it is available with better than a Cortex A7, thus proving your assertion on performance limits wrong. The ODROID UX4 uses the A15 paired with A7s in big.LITTLE, but the A53 uses the newer ARMv8-A instruction set so is faster at a given clock speed.

Not having source for the GPU driver doesn't stop most IoT developers (no SoC that I'm aware of has open GPU drivers, and x86 systems with open GPU drivers normally significantly underperform the OEM BLOB). Not having source or correct details to make it talk to external devices through the likes of GPIO, SPI, I2C etc does.

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Steve Todd
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Re: Hardly unexpected

The Raspberry Pi 3 is currently using quad core 64 bit A53s, and is far from the only cheap SBC to use 64 bits. Yes, these machines are not as powerful as a full sized PC, but then they are hugely cheaper, capable of many tasks and I'd hardly describe them as plateauing.

Where Intel shot themselves in the foot with these IoT processors was in their lack of support and documentation available to mere mortals. If you want to do pretty much anything with a Pi then you'll find the details you need on the web somewhere. With Intel it's mostly guesswork as they won't tell anyone short of a large OEM anything, and that's with an NDA in place even.

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Report estimates cost of disruption to GPS in UK would be £1bn per day

Steve Todd
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Re: Fun with Glonass

@david - I think you need to check out your history there. GPS (formerly NAVSTAR) was developed by the US Department of Defense, and it was only after the shooting down of Korean Airlines flight 007 by the USSR when it drifted off course into its airspace that Ronald Reagan mandated that the system be made available for civilian use.

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Steve Todd
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"Of course the UK could just use the EU’s Galileo GPS system that went live in December.....oh wait, post-Brexit the UK will now have to negotiate, and pay for access to it"

The public service is free. There are extra services with improved accuracy and/or resiliency which require a subscription, but they shouldn't change in cost or availability because of Brexit.

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Samsung releases 49-inch desktop monitor with 32:9 aspect ratio

Steve Todd
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@Dan

Screen sizes are quoted as the diagonal measurement, corner to corner, not edge to edge. In the days of CRTs they were quoted as outside edge to outside edge (so non-visible parts of the screen) to make things even harder.

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Months late, unaudited: ZX Spectrum reboot firm files accounts

Steve Todd
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Re: What a complete waste of time that was. @MrRimmerSIR

So you MIGHT get it for £300, but chances are customs won't buy the $20 declared value and you'll be stung for import charges and VAT at a minimum. It's still an expensive solution in comparison to the Vega+

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Steve Todd
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Re: What a complete waste of time that was.

Erm, that (1) costs £400, and (2) isn't yet available. Any more bright ideas?

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Judge holds Uber's feet to the fire over alleged Waymo tech theft

Steve Todd
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Re: Uber faces massive punitive damages.

If your pension fund is involved in Venture Captial to any significant degree then you should sack them and move elsewhere. It's far too volatile an area for them to be involved with, and shouldn't be used by anyone or any company that can't afford to write off an investment completely and move on.

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PC, Ethernet and tablet computer pioneer 'Chuck' Thacker passes

Steve Todd
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Re: I first met him at Stanford ...

Probably because of the poster (Jake), who is known for his wild claims.

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Hyperloop One teases idea of 50-minute London-Edinburgh ride

Steve Todd
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Re: Total travel time? @Pete 2

The problem with your 1h15m flight is that (1) you first have to travel out to the airport, (2) you have to negotiate your way through checkin/security, (3) you and your fellow passengers all need to board while your luggage is placed in the hold. (4) your aircraft needs to push back from the stand, start its engine and taxy (slowly) to the runway, (5) fly the route, (6) land and taxy to the stand, (7) you need to walk from the aircraft to the baggage claim area. (8) you need to wait for your luggage to turn up, (9) you need to walk from the baggage area to public transport and (10) you need to travel in to your destination.

if you have any change from 3 hours when making that 1h15m flight then I'd be surprised. Trains let you load and unload your own baggage, have stations close to the centre of cities and don't require the same elaborate security. A 50 minute journey shouldn't take you much more than an hour.

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'Fat boy' flies: ISRO's heavy rocket fails to blow up

Steve Todd
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It still isn't a heavy lifter

8,000kg to LEO places it firmly in the Medium category.

Ariane 5 is also rather more powerful than the author thinks: 21,000kg to LEO and 10,700kg to GTO.

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The Big Blue Chopper video that IBM might want to keep quiet

Steve Todd
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Re: errr

@nuked have you even the slightest idea what it costs per hour to fly a helicopter, on top of the cost of buying it that is. You'd be able to afford the return train ticket out of just the cost of the jet fuel, and have change left over.

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India sets June 5 as the day it will join the heavy-lift rocket club

Steve Todd
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Re: Not really heavy is it?

Heavy is defined as 20,000 - 50,000 kg to LEO. Medium is 2,000 - 20,000 kg, Super Heavy is over 50,000 kg. So the Indian rocket is a Medium, as is the Soyuz. The Falcon 9 FT is a Heavy and the Falcon Heavy is actually a Super Heavy (at least according to the NASA classification system).

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Steve Todd
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Re: Geostationary vs. LEO

The Indian launcher is being used first for a geostationary satellite, but it can be used also for LEO launches. The comparison of mass-to-LEO is not unreasonable (some of that mass can then be used to boost to GEO).

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Steve Todd
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Re: I'm impressed that we have 64 and 70 ton low earth orbit payload capability coming.

You haven't seen the expected price tag on an SLS launch then? More than $2bn per launch (20 launches are expected to cost NASA $60bn). Even the Falcon Heavy is thought to cost around $160 million per launch.

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Apple asks FCC to let it run mm-wave tests - for backhaul?!

Steve Todd
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Your home microwave

Runs at a frequency much closer to WiFi. If you could use WiFi to nuke a burrito then yes.

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Intel's Optane in PCs is as good as it will get for years, says analyst

Steve Todd
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@Dave 126

To quote the article "the firm cites a Gamespot review to assert that a PC with Optane and a 1TB, 7,200 RPM spinning rust hard was four to eight times faster than a solid state disk at read-heavy tasks data."

Gamespot said no such thing. They made only limited comparisons with SATA SSDs, and you can pick up a 500GB SATA drive for not much more than the Optane + 1TB combo.

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Steve Todd
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Maybe I'm missing something

But that Gamespot review is mostly comparing against traditional HHDs, with only passing mention to SSDs, and when it does talk about them it makes speed comparisons with SATA units, not M.2.

Optane seems to be at best only a small improvement over SSD, and at worst a disappointment.

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Apple's zippy silicon leaves Android rivals choking on dust

Steve Todd
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There are two different kinds of ARM licence

The majority of companies that use an ARM processor take an off-the-shelf ARM design, combine it with components from ARM or 3rd parties to form their SoC and hand the results to a fab company (TSMC, Samsung etc) to build. A small number of companies (Apple, Qualcomm and nVidia for example) have Architecture licences, which allows them to come up with their own CPU designs that execute ARM code. The resulting designs can be faster and/or more power efficient than the stock ARM cores.

The silicon design company (PA RISC IIRC) was bought many years ago, well before the first of their internal ARM designs. The designers may be pre Apple, but their work has all been done on Apple's time.

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IBM. Sigh. Revenues. Sigh. Down. Sigh. For the 20th quarter in a row

Steve Todd
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Power8 slower than x86?

That very much depends on what kind of workload you throw at it. See https://www.hpcwire.com/2015/06/09/ibm-power8-outperforms-x86-on-stac-benchmarks/

The Power CPU has vastly more memory bandwidth, so it may be slower at headline FP numbers but it can chew its way through more data. It's also got much better fault tolerance and recovery. It isn't the no-brainier you seem to think over which you should chose.

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ZX Spectrum reboot project's Great Ormond Street charity cash questions

Steve Todd
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Re: Think this is bad? Just wait till someone brings out the QL version..

Surprisingly there are about 80. Not a great piece of hardware, but they did manage to attract a reasonable number of developers.

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Steve Todd
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Re: I must have missed. .

They don't have licences. The deal with the original game developers was that they would forego licence payments if a portion of the profits were paid to charity, Great Ormond St being the one that RCL nominated.

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Back to the future: Honda's new electric car can go an incredible 80 miles!

Steve Todd
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Re: One of the factors I'd be interested in

The batteries are actually highly recyclable. See http://www.greenprogress.com/environment_article.php?id=1762

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Boeing-backed US upstart reckons it'll be building electric airliners

Steve Todd
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The important word here is Hybrid

A small turboprop can burn 70 gallons of jet fuel per hour. Commercial aircraft tend to need two of them. A single generator, with a battery to handle surge demands and as backup, driving two electric motors, may make a fair bit of sense. Considering you need much less power in a cruise then even more so.

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Three to lawyer up unless Ofcom intervenes in spectrum market

Steve Todd
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There's a balance

More towers cost (lots) more money. Building more, smaller towers helps in dense urban areas, not so much in rural. Then there's the NIMBYs to consider.

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New iPad revealed. Big price cut is main feature

Steve Todd
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Re: Same Old Tricks?

Given that Huawei want £150 for a wireless router that handles the LTE cat 6 spec, and you also get AGPS/GLONAS in the iPad (which can also double as a wireless router) then $130 doesn't seem wildly unreasonable.

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Windows Server ported to Qualcomm's ARM server chip. Repeat, Windows Server ported to ARM server chip

Steve Todd
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Re: So .NET is not part of Windows Server

The only reason that .NET on Linux is cut down is that it's living on top of a different OS environment that is incompatible with a lot of the library code. There's no reason they can't compile the full stack if Windows is the host (though they will need a new JIT compiler).

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Steve Todd
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Re: Hyper-V?

As that would mean that the CPUs were executing native x86 code, that would be a No. Hyper-V is a virtual machine manager, not an emulator.

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Smart meter firm EDMI asked UK for £7m to change a single component

Steve Todd
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Re: That doesn't sound ridiculous

13 people, on full time at about £700 per day, for 18 months, to replace ONE chip in an existing design doesn't sound rediculus to you? Where do you work?

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81's 99 in 17: Still a lotta love for the TI‑99/4A – TI's forgotten classic

Steve Todd
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Re: Interesting machine, but hamstrung by TI marketing

Sorry AC, your nerd mode failed. It had a full TMS9900 @3MHz. TI had intended to use the TMS9995, but had problems with it. They did use the 9995 in the TI 99/2 and TI 99/8, but they never got beyond the prototype stage.

BTW, both chips were NMOS, so had the same hideous power requirements. The 9900 (and I presume the 9995) needed a complex 4 phase clock, which might be where you got the 12MHz number from.

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Steve Todd
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Interesting machine, but hamstrung by TI marketing

Yes, it had a 16 bit CPU, but they only gave it 256 bytes of 16 bit memory. All the rest was a nasty 8->16 bit multiplexed cludge. TI marketing didn't want it to compete with their lucrative mini computer market, so they deliberately made sure it couldn't.

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Bring it BACK... with MODs! Psion 5 storms great tech revival poll

Steve Todd
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Re: Bit pricey and it'll be a few more months until it's out but...

@Paul - you seem sadly missguided about the power of an Atom X7-Z87xx, they are nowhere near Core i5/i7 in performance. Clock for clock the Core i5-5250U from over a year ago is about 95% faster, and that's only 2 core 4 threads.

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Steve Todd
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Re: Bit pricey and it'll be a few more months until it's out but...

They're still extracting the P. Trying to compare an Atom based machine to Core i5/i7s based only on the clock speed and number of cores is a joke. Prices starting at 400 euros for what is basically an updated netbook is another.

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The Psion returns! Meet Gemini, the 21st century pocket computer

Steve Todd
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Re: I want one

Go to Indigogo and search for Gemini. Not a site that has the best reputation though.

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Finally proof that Apple copies Samsung: iPhone 7 Plus halts, catches fire like a Galaxy Note 7

Steve Todd
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Re: Mechanical damage

Not so good when it comes to waterproofing though. Fixed vs exchangeable is a design decision with trade offs in both directions. Pick whichever set of compromises suits you best.

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BT and Virgin Media claim 'broadband' tax will cost £1.3bn

Steve Todd
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Translating that

It's going to cost them an extra 173 million per year (spread between the two of them) on top of the already fairly generous tax breaks they already get.

Not a huge amount of sympathy, and the amount they've already bumped line rental by should cover it.

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SpaceX blasts back into the rocket trucking business

Steve Todd
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Why does El Reg insist

On giving the wrong reason for the failure? It failed because of creases in the pressure vessels that caused problems when they deliberately used supercooled helium, not because the helium was too cold. The long term fix is in the design and manufacture of the COPVs, not changing the helium temperature.

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Cheer up, pal: UK mobe networks are now 8% less crap, tests show

Steve Todd
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Odd

I'm looking at an EE Speedtest result at this moment. Signal strength of 3 bars (not great) but I'm still getting 53.61Mbps down, 10.09Mbps up. I can't say I've seen a difference with them lately.

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Next Superdome CPU chips amble into HPE

Steve Todd
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The fact that Itanium relied on a smart compiler

to statically do instruction scheduling, that x86 figured out how to do dynamically in hardware didn't help. Newer generations of processor thus required a recompile to work at full speed on later CPUs.

It was always too little, too late, and not enough better than the much cheaper x86/x64 ranges to draw much attention.

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Grumpy Trump trumped, now he's got the hump: Muslim ban beaten back by appeals court

Steve Todd
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Re: 8USC1182

You CAN, but may not be banned from entry if you've ever committed acts of genocide. US emigration are a weird lot.

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Supermicro sockets it to Skylake rivals

Steve Todd
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This is the Xeon version

Server based Xeons are normally a generation behind the desktop CPUs, but have more cores, ECC memory support and everything enabled.

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AMD's had a horrible 2016: Never mind, it lost slightly less than half a billion this time

Steve Todd
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Don't forget

That the top-end Ryzen is 8 cores, 16 threads. This is competing against i7s with 4 cores/ 8 threads. Depending on your workload you should be able to get a fair bit more than 50% extra performance out of one.

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