Meet you back here in half an hour.
What are you going to do?
What I always do - stay out of trouble... Badly.

Monday, October 31


Yes, We Have No Bananas

So, I was all set to buy myself a nice new 8-core Bulldozer system with 16GB of RAM and a whole bunch of disks when (a) Bulldozer a.k.a. AMD's FX processor family turned out to be not that hot except heat-wise, and (b) a quarter of the world's hard disk manufacturing capacity found itself at the bottom of a lake that hadn't been there yesterday.

Seagate drive prices have jumped 30% already, while Western Digital - the ones currently swimming with the fishes - have jumped 40%.  Kind of annoying on the eve of my purchasing a dozen or more.

The other other thing is the pending launch of Intel's Sandy Bridge E, which, when coupled with the right motherboard (that being Gigabyte's GA-X79-UD5) supports 14 disk drives and 32GB of RAM.  Which would let me run my little virtual cloud right on my desktop.

On the fourth hand, the server version of Bulldozer can support a lot more than 32GB of RAM, and I do want to have a desktop Bulldozer to see if the server version is a good option.  On the fifth hand, the low-end serverdozers (the Opteron 4200 family) haven't shown up yet.  On the sixth hand, they're close - a 3GHz (baseline) 8-core dual-socket chip looks set to cost $360. which ain't bad, about the same as the current 2.8GHz 6-core Opteron 4100.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 06:12 PM | Comments (7) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Wednesday, October 19


It Never Rains But It RAIDs

My 8TB LaCie storage thingy just threw a drive, and I'm heading off on a road trip tomorrow and don't have time to look after it.  It's RAID-5, so nothing is lost yet, but another failure and the whole thing is toast.

Only thing I can do is grab a couple of 3TB USB drives this afternoon and kick off a backup to run while I'm gone and hope for the best.

This is where my fansub collection lives, and I'd be kind of cross if I lost them all.

I was about to order a new PC with 8TB of disk, but haven't had a chance yet, so I'll have to go with the external drives for now.  Wonder if they can be pried out of their little cases later on...

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 01:40 PM | Comments (7) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Thursday, October 13



The reviews of AMD's new Bulldozer CPUs are out, and the verdict is pretty clear: It's kind of meh.

It's an 8-core 3.6GHz chip with 16MB of cache, so you'd expect performance to be amazing.  It's not bad, and if you're upgrading from a machine more than a year old it should deliver quite the performance boost, but it's not all you might expect from the raw specs.

Part of the problem is that while there are eight cores, they're arranged in pairs, and there's only one floating-point unit for each pair.  (Which is how AMD managed to fit eight cores on a chip where Intel only provide four.)  So for maths-intensive tasks like games and video compression, the 8-core AMD chip actually runs much the same as a 4-core Intel; sometimes a little faster, sometimes slower.

My primary interest is on the server side of things, though - databases and text processing -  and that part of the picture isn't as clear yet.  I'm hoping it can pull out some better performance numbers there, because the competition in low-end servers is the E3 Xeon, which is crippled by Intel's retarded decision not to support registered memory (the type of memory almost all servers use).  The low-end server edition of the Bulldozer will support 48GB of cheap RAM - 96GB if you go for a dual-processor motherboard.  The E3 Xeon supports 16GB.  You can get high-density modules that let you go up to 32GB, but the cost of upgrading a Xeon server from 16GB to 32GB of RAM is currently more than an entire Opteron server including 32GB of RAM.  And the E3 Xeon doesn't support dual processors at all.

So, I'm planning on picking up a Bulldozer sometime soon and putting it through its servery paces.  And we shall see what we shall see.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 01:40 AM | Comments (5) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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Monday, October 03


Doctor Who Series 6

So, the series final has aired, and I have two commments:

One, I like the trains.

Two, Doctor Who has become a time travel story.  Where the original show mostly used time travel simply as a vehicle to set up adventures, with just the occasional nod to the problems time travel presents, New Who has increasingly made time travel the centerpiece of the show.  The single strongest standalone example would have to be Blink  - though the series 5 final runs a close second - but if you plot out the timelines of the major characters from series 4 through 6, you end up with something that looks like an explosion in a spaghetti-o's factory.  This one only goes up to the second episode of series 6, before things got complicated.  (And contains massive spoilers of anything you haven't watched yet.)

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 05:17 PM | Comments (5) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
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