Friday, September 18


Daily News Stuff 17 September 2020

Zed Eighty Edition

Tech News

  • Sony ran a gender reveal for its new console, devastating three continents.  (AnandTech)

    $499 for the full version with Blu-Ray drive; $399 for the digital-only version.

    That pushes back fairly hard against both the $299 Sbox and the $499 Xbox.  Smart move by Sony, except for the part where they're probably losing money at that price point.

  • Numbers, how do they work?  (AnandTech)

    Sony also announced the Xperia 5 II, a companion to the Xperia 1 II.

    It's not cheap at $949, but it does have a Snapdragon 865, 2520x1080 120Hz OLED display, 8GB RAM,  128GB or 256GB of flash, microSD slot, headphone jack, wireless charging, and IP65 and IP68 ratings.

    Oops.  Wireless charging is only on the 1 II.

  • Taking the Tiger out for a spin.  (Tom's Hardware)

    A look at Tiger Lake on an Intel reference laptop, with some benchmarks run under Intel's watchful eye, so take it with a grain of salt.  Single-threaded performance - on Geekbench - appears excellent, clearly faster than current Intel laptops and beating a Ryzen 4800U by 40%.  That's a lot, but it is just one benchmark.

    And on the other hand, video encoding with Handbrake ran twice as fast on the 4800U.

    The Intel chip is running at 28W, but for single-threaded tests that is only likely to bump the clock speed up by 2% or so, not a significant factor.

    Intel's Xe graphics more-or-less catch up with AMD too.  Both systems tested used LPDDR4X-4266 RAM, and while AMD is still faster for gaming by 5-20% at 15W, it no longer squishes Intel like a bug.  When the Intel chip is freed up with a 28W TDP it can outpace AMD's 15W part, but then AMD has a 35W part, so you can play that game forever.

    Looking forward to see if that single-threaded performance is real across a broad range of benchmarks, and to what AMD delivers with Zen 3.

    Update: AnandTech have the same Intel reference unit and confirm the great single-threaded performance across a wider range of benchmarks.  They ran the SPEC 2006 and 2017 suites and posted individual as well as composite scores, so there's a lot more than one Geekbench score to chew on here.

    Short summary: If you run Dwarf Fortress, Intel's 11th gen chips are 50% faster than AMD.  If you run Blender, AMD is well over twice as fast as Intel.  And if you run Civilization 6 on integrated graphics, you're a masochist.

  • An LL(1) expression parser in exactly 100 lines of Python.  (GitHub)

    Thanks, I'll take it.

    The only imports are enum and re - the Python regular expression library - and it only uses re to check if a string of characters is numeric, which you can do with the isdigit() method.  So it should be nearly as simple rewritten in Basic.

  • That nibble-mode trick I used for the Dream means I can reasonably offer an upgraded version of the Imagine in Imagine-Emu.

    The Imagine 1200 was launched in 1987.  It offered a faster CPU and DSP - 6MHz vs. 3MHz - with 256k system RAM and 256k video RAM, using 100ns nibble-mode chips to deliver 12MB/sec of bandwidth on each bus.  The system also replaced the earlier 500k and 1M double-density floppy drives with a new extended density (ED) drive with a capacity of 4M.

    Which means that all the tricks the original model could do by stealing cycles on the system bus, this model can do just in VRAM.  And then do more tricks by stealing cycles from the system bus again.

    This version will have 256 bytes of cache on the CPU and DSP, which will speed up the cycle-accurate emulation mode but slow-down the free-running mode.

  • Whatever happened to the Z800?  It was announced in 1980 but never appeared.  Turns out it did eventually show up, much delayed, renamed, and converted to CMOS, as the Z280.

    And it a strange little beast it was too.  Instructions could still only directly address 64k of RAM at a time, but it had a complete paged memory management unit capable of mapping 16MB of RAM, a supervisor mode, and a 256-byte instruction cache.  It even supported multi-processor configurations, as if someone really, really wanted to build a Z80-based Unix system.

    The Z800 / Z280 was a commercial failure, as was the Z380, a 32-bit version of the Z80 with eight banks of registers.  The Z180, though, based on the Hitachi 64180, is still being made today, as is the eZ80, which for under $10 delivers the performance of a 150MHz Z80.  Meaning that by today's standards it's dead slow.

Disclaimer: In the future, everything will be dead slow by today's standards for fifteen minutes.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 12:37 AM | Comments (2) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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1 I continue to be delighted that Sony called a device the One Two.  I was hoping Microsoft would do it with the Xbox.

Posted by: Rick C at Friday, September 18 2020 01:03 AM (eqaFC)

2 Just pretend it's a roman numeral. The New Ten-bo-ten Series Ten!

Posted by: normal at Friday, September 18 2020 01:39 AM (LADmw)

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Apple pies are delicious. But never mind apple pies. What colour is a green orange?

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