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Nokia Takeover In Jeopardy Due To Alleged $3.4B Tax Bill In India

Dputiger It's not *absolutely* crazy. (226 comments)

According to records, Nokia did about $4B in business in India in 2010 and 2011, but saw 2012 revenue fall about 23%. Still, that's a fairly large chunk of change. If their business from 2006 - 2010 was strong as well, I guess it's possible that the company owes about $3.4B in tax over that time period.

Thing is, they'd have had to be basically paying no tax at all to rack up that kind of bill. And since we can assume Nokia isn't stupid, it seems a lot more like a shakedown.

about 8 months ago
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US Issues 30-Year Eagle-Killing Permits To Wind Industry

Dputiger No form of power generation is without costs. (466 comments)

There is no perfect solution here. I'm not saying companies should erect wind turbines in the middle of nesting areas, but the truth is, there is no risk-free, cost-free, environmental-damage-free answer to the problem of power production. Coal mining is wretched for the environment and coal miners have a nasty habit of dying of black lung. Nuclear power has risks (and I'm a nuclear proponent). The long-term cleanup and environmental repair is very costly if something goes wrong. Solar power is expensive. Wind turbines kill birds.

At a certain point, the question is "What's an acceptable loss ratio?"

about 8 months ago
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For First Three Years, Consumer Hard Drives As Reliable As Enterprise Drives

Dputiger This is terrible evidence. (270 comments)

The blog post states: "You might object to these numbers because the usage of the drives is different. The enterprise drives are used heavily. The consumer drives are in continual use storing users’ updated files and they are up and running all the time, but the usage is lighter. "

That invalidates the conclusion they're drawing. You can't put two different types of drives under different workloads and then conclude they fail at the same rate. The fact that other studies have reached similar conclusions (Google published one a few years back) is irrelevant when it comes to evaluating whether or not *this* study has measured what it seeks to measure.

Consumer drives and enterprise drives may fail at equal rates, but using different workloads doesn't help us reach that conclusion.

about 8 months ago
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Bitcoin Miners Bundled With PUPs In Legitimate Applications Backed By EULA

Dputiger The really strange thing about this: (194 comments)

Bitcoin mining on anything but ASICs is no longer profitable. Even on an R9 290X with an 80+ Platinum PSU, you're making maybe $1 - $2 a day. And the vast majority of people don't have anything like that equipment. CPU mining is so slow, you'll never complete any work before the block is finished. GPU mining is still fast enough to get some work done, provided you own an AMD GPU.

But Nvidia GPUs don't mine BTC for beans and most mining kernels will crash an NV card or lead to rampant slowdowns and random lockups. Even an AMD card needs a low priority miner to escape the kind of UI chokeup that immediately alerts someone to a problem in the system. This might have made sense in 2010, when CPUs could still mine, but these days the return on investment is going to be terrible -- and the performance hit is big enough that people *will* notice.

about 8 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Review Sites Do You Consult For IT Equipment?

Dputiger Re: AnandTech.com, TomsHardware.com - Beware! (129 comments)

Multiple reviewers, including myself, took note of problems with OCZ hardware when we covered the company. Tech Reports review of the vector 150 explicitly called out these problems,.

about 8 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Review Sites Do You Consult For IT Equipment?

Dputiger Re:As a hardware reviewer: (129 comments)

Ars covers a different spread of topics then it used to when I wrote there, that's true. But it's still an excellent site. The coverage mix has shifted, the quality of that mixture (in my personal opinion), has not.

Your tone implies you think differently, which is fine. It's still on my personal short list.

about 8 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Review Sites Do You Consult For IT Equipment?

Dputiger As a hardware reviewer: (129 comments)

Full disclosure up front: I currently write for ExtremeTech and Hot Hardware. In the past I've written for Ars Technica (2007 - 2009) and briefly Tech Report (2H 2005). Before that, I wrote for a now-defunct site going back to 2001.

Obviously I could be biased and plug the sites I write for. I write for them for a reason, after all. But since no one is going to buy me telling you to read my own work, here's where I go, personally:

For in-depth, excellent analysis (in alphabetical order)

Anandtech (Anandtech.com)
Ars Technica (Arstechnica.com)
Tech Report (techreport.com)

For ultra low-level analysis:
Real World Tech (www.realworldtech.com)
Agner Fog's CPU blog (www.agner.org)
Lost Circuits (www.lostcircuits.com)

All three of these resources update only occasionally. But the information is second to none.

For spot-checking or specific issues:

TechSpot.com does great CPU/GPU scaling articles. LaptopMag or NotebookCheck are great for their particular areas. CPU-World has good general database information, VR-Zone often has interesting scoops, as does wccftech -- if you're willing to filter out a lot of rumor / speculation from the latter. Tom's Hardware has useful dynamic databases for product performance. So does Anandtech.

Don't be afraid to read a review on a site you haven't heard of, or with a layout from 1999. While established names and high-quality writers tend to go together, they are neither exclusively matched nor guaranteed. A good reviewer will document issues, give a thorough discussion of the topic, and won't come off sounding like a marketing employee.

about 8 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: How Reproducible Is Arithmetic In the Cloud?

Dputiger Simulate IEEE754-compliant FPU? (226 comments)

Can't Mathematica be told to stick to an 80-bit precision output? If you can specify that in software, it shouldn't matter what code the underlying platform runs on.

about 8 months ago
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NHTSA Tells Tesla To Stop Exaggerating Model S Safety Rating

Dputiger Re:He'll love that (284 comments)

Yes, absolutely an attempt to drum up false news about Tesla.

Alternately, an accurate report of new guidelines released by the NHTSA YESTERDAY. As opposed to the claims and NHTSA unhappiness over the summer.

about 8 months ago
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Vivante Mobile GPU Architecture Gains Traction

Dputiger Re:Pay-for-Play PR on Slashdot (29 comments)

I am honestly not familiar enough with OpenCL implementations to even judge the situation there. But I thought the emergence of a new player interesting in its own right. Obviously good driver support and long-term OpenCL integration matters, but you've got to run before you can walk, and mid-to-low-end devices aren't going to be the first targets for the kinds of users that care about broad GPGPU support and want to play with the tricks it offers.

about 10 months ago
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Vivante Mobile GPU Architecture Gains Traction

Dputiger Re:Pay-for-Play PR on Slashdot (29 comments)

Alright, so, I don't normally comment on this sort of thing, but I'm going to make an exception. I'm the author of the article. I've written for hardware IT sites for 12 years. I've written for Hot Hardware since 2009.

Vivante contacted us in August and asked if we'd be interested in doing an article on the architecture. I looked over the slides and data, and said I'd like to see an example of the chip in action. They arranged for us to test a Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 7.0. This was done in exactly the same fashion as any other product review.

The Galaxy Tab 3 7.0 is objectively a pretty lousy tablet relative to other products in the market. It's an 8GB device with a dual-core Cortex-A9 at $199, when you can buy a 16GB Nexus 7 for $229. But remember -- the point of the article was to talk about Vivante, not the mediocre device the GPU is currently paired with. To be clear, the major problem here is *price.* If the Tab 3 7.0 was selling at $129, I'd call it a much stronger product and it would compare passing well against the non-advertising supported version of the Kindle Fire.

  If I'd had more devices to compare against, I would have compared against them, but the only iOS product I own is an iPhone 4S that I bought out of my own pocket. I wrote the article to discuss an interesting, more modular approach to the GPU market, backed it up with standard benchmarks, and noted that faster, larger versions of the core were available. If I had access to those versions of the core, I would have benchmarked them.

I will be paid at a standard rate for this work, with no additional kicker from Vivante or Hot Hardware. I was not asked to take a particular stance on the product or its performance, and I chose my own benchmarks.

I maintain that it's interesting to see a new GPU vendor come on the scene, that building midrange parts that are designed for modest products is a viable strategy, and that a company doesn't need to deliver the fastest performance to build an acceptable product for a given price point. Vivante's work is still relatively new and so I am not surprised that its driver stack or OpenCL support is still in early stages.

Anyone claiming that this chip is automatically a Kepler, or PowerVR, or Adreno killer is mistaken. I did not evaluate the chip under such criteria and feel no obligation to rate it against chips it was not designed to face.

about 10 months ago
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Vivante Mobile GPU Architecture Gains Traction

Dputiger Re:It's an article (29 comments)

As the author: No, they weren't. I don't own them.

But furthermore, the iPhone 4S is the best comparison against the Galaxy Tab 3 7.0. Both are Cortex-A9. Both are dual-core. The Tab 3 7.0 has a faster chip. The two displays have *exactly* the same number of pixels. And the iPhone 4S generally wins.

While I'd have included the additional devices if I *owned* those devices, the point was not to simply dogpile a new chip by dumping far more powerful chips at it, particularly when the focus was on the GPU architecture itself and not the Tab 3 7.0 as a device.

about 10 months ago
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The Chip That Changed the World: AMD's 64-bit FX-51, Ten Years Later

Dputiger Re:P4 vs Athlon XP (259 comments)

As the author of the article:

In 2000 - 2001, the Athlon / Athlon XP were far ahead of the P4. But from Jan 2002 to March 2003, Intel increased the P4's clock speed by 60% and introduced Hyper-Threading. SSE2 became more popular during the same time. As a result, the P4 was far ahead of Athlon XP by the spring of the year in most content creation, business, and definitely 3D rendering workloads. Now it's true that an awful lot of benchmark shenanigans were going on at the same time, and the difference between the two cores was much smaller in high-end gaming. But if you wanted the best 'all around' CPU, the P4 Northwood + HT at 2.8 - 3.2GHz was the way to go. Northwoods were also good overclockers -- it was common to pick up a 2.4GHz P4 and clock it to 3 - 3.2GHz with HT.

Athlon 64 kicked off the process of changing that, but what really did the trick was 1). Prescott's slide backwards as far as IPC and thermals and 2) The introduction of dual-core. It really was a one-two punch -- Intel couldn't put two Pentium 4 3.8GHz chips on a die together, so the 820 Prescott was just 3.2GHz. AMD, meanwhile, *could* put a pair of 2.4GHz Athlon 64's on a single chip. Combine that with Prescott's terrible efficiency, and suddenly the Athlon 64 was hammering into the P4 in every workload.

about 10 months ago
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DEA Argues Oregonians Have No Protected Privacy Interest In Prescription Records

Dputiger How does this not violate HPAA? (455 comments)

HPAA, from what I've seen, is taken pretty seriously. And the rules about what you can and can't disclose because of it are pretty strong. But how does this not flagrantly violate the protections it's supposed to offer? I'm not saying HPAA is perfect or implemented perfectly, but if you know what someone is taking, you know far more about them than if they simply see a doctor.

Seeing a general physician could mean you've got the flu, an infected cut, a torn muscle, or be the first step towards a cancer diagnosis. But if you're on Flexeril, you've probably got a muscle problem. If you're taking Enalapril, you've got a heart condition. If you're on Adderall, or Vicodin, or Cymbalta, you're being treated for ADD, pain, or depression. Some of those meds have off-label uses (Cymbalta is also used for fibromyalgia), but a quick check of Wikipedia against a script list will give you a darned good idea what someone is using a medication for.

about 10 months ago
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X.Org Foundation Loses 501(c)3 Non-Profit Status

Dputiger Re:Solution (208 comments)

There's no such thing as a half-citizen of a country. You are a citizen, a permanent legal immigrant, a temporary visitor with a visa, or an illegal immigrant. Taxation varies accordingly. There may even be a category or two in between those, like dual citizenship, but if you're a dual citizen, you aren't automatically assessed taxes in both locations -- other factors come into play.

about a year ago
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Protests Mount In New Zealand Against New Surveillance Laws

Dputiger Re: I can tell from the pixels (138 comments)

What I suspect actually occurred was this: Almost all games report latency as an averaged value over n period of time. It's entirely possible that Dotcom's *average* latency went up 20-30ms because the network grabbing introduced substantially higher spikes. If a game takes one measure a second and reports the averaged value over 10 seconds, you can end up with a series like this:

100
100
180
100
150
100
100
180
100
100

Average Latency = 121ms.

So if his old latency was "100ms" and now it's "121ms" then Dotcom says "I immediately noticed a 20ms difference. But he didn't. What he actually noticed were the spikes up to 150 - 180ms that were then averaged out to produce a 20ms reported difference.

about a year ago
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Ask Slashdot: Best/Newest Hardware Without "Trusted Computing"?

Dputiger Re:TPM often left off (but can work FOR you). (290 comments)

Sure, plenty of boards ship with a header. But *no* consumer board I'm aware of ships with the *chip.* Typical price looks like $65-$75 for the module itself.

So the answer to the question, I think, remains "All of them."

about a year ago
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Ask Slashdot: Best/Newest Hardware Without "Trusted Computing"?

Dputiger Re:ThinkPenguin.com's against trusted computing... (290 comments)

As the poster above explained, there's a requirement to meet an FCC-approved whitelist, but not a Dell-specific lockout. Every instance listed is an example of an issue that's created by technical incompatibility (PCIe over USB, for example) or FCC regulation, but not an example of Dell trying to force you to buy a Dell-branded product.

When did Dell ever build a system with a chip-based lockout on non-branded batteries?

about a year ago
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Ask Slashdot: Best/Newest Hardware Without "Trusted Computing"?

Dputiger Re:ThinkPenguin.com's against trusted computing... (290 comments)

pieces that prevent users from replacing things like the wifi in what is otherwise a standard slot. As a result if you get a system with a unsupported wifi card you can't replace it.

[Citation fucking needed]

Please, show me the special proprietary WiFi slot in Dell's latest $299 standardized-to-an-inch-of-existence system that only sends and receives electrical signals from Magical Dell WiFi.

about a year ago

Submissions

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AMD FirePro W9100 16GB Workstation GPU Put To The Test

Dputiger Dputiger writes  |  about three weeks ago

Dputiger (561114) writes "It has been almost two years since AMD launched the FirePro W9000 and kicked off a heated battle in the workstation GPU wars with NVIDIA. AMD recently released the powerful FirePro W9100, however, a new card based on the same Hawaii-class GPU as the desktop R9 290X, but aimed at the professional workstation market. The W9100’s GPU features 2,816 stream processors, and the card boasts 320GB/s of memory bandwidth, and six mini-DisplayPorts, all of which support DP1.2 and 4K output. The W9100 carries more RAM than any other AMD GPU as well, a whopping 16GB of GDDR5 on a single card. Even NVIDIA's top-end Quadro K6000 tops out at 12GB, which means AMD sits in a class by itself in this area. In terms of performance, this review shows that the FirePro W9100 doesn’t always outshine its competition, but its price/performance ratio keep it firmly in the running. But if AMD continues to improve its product mix and overall software support, it should close the gap even more in the pro GPU market in the next 18-24 months."
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AMD, Nvidia, and developers weigh in on GameWorks controversy

Dputiger Dputiger writes  |  about 2 months ago

Dputiger (561114) writes "Since Nvidia debuted its GameWorks libraries there's been allegations that they unfairly disadvantaged AMD users or prevented developers from optimizing code. We've taken these questions to developers themselves and asked them to weigh in on how games get optimized, why Nvidia built this program, and whether its an attempt to harm AMD customers."
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Nvidia's GameWorks program usurps power from developers, prevents optimization

Dputiger Dputiger writes  |  about 7 months ago

Dputiger (561114) writes "Nvidia's GameWorks program has been marketed as an extension of The Way It's Meant To Be Played that gives developers access to Nvidia-created libraries for implementing advanced DX11 functions. Unfortunately, those libraries are closed — which means neither the developer, AMD, or Intel can optimize their own drivers for running a GameWorks game. GameWorks is already used in titles like Arkham Origins and Assassin's Creed IV — which means Nvidia now controls how its competitors' perform in those titles."
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5GHz Gaming Showdown: AMD's FX-9590 Takes On Intel's Ivy Bridge 4960X

Dputiger Dputiger writes  |  about 9 months ago

Dputiger (561114) writes "When AMD announced the FX-9590 this past summer, it was an obvious move to win back support from enthusiasts. With a 4.7GHz base clock and 5GHz Turbo, can the AMD CPU challenge Intel in high-end gaming with either the brand-new R9 290X or the older dual-GPU Radeon HD 7990?"
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The chip that changed the world: AMD's 64-bit FX-51, ten years later

Dputiger Dputiger writes  |  about 10 months ago

Dputiger (561114) writes "It's been a decade since AMD's Athlon 64 FX-51 debuted — and launched the 64-bit x86 extensions that power the desktop and laptop world today. After a year of being bludgeoned by the P4, AMD roared back with a vengeance, kicking off a brief golden age for its own products, and seizing significant market share in desktops and servers."
Link to Original Source
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Microsoft Takes Another Stab at Tablets, Unveils Surface 2, Surface 2 Pro

Dputiger Dputiger writes  |  about 10 months ago

Dputiger (561114) writes "Microsoft has unveiled both the Surface 2 and Surface 2 Pro, updating the former with a Tegra 4 processor and the latter with a new Haswell chip. Among the additional improvements are a more comfortable kickstand with two height settings, 1080p displays for both devices, USB 3.0 support, better battery life, and a higher resolution camera. Pricing for the 32GB Surface without a Touch or Type Cover is set at $449"
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Post-post PC: Materials and technologies that could revive enthusiast computing

Dputiger Dputiger writes  |  about 10 months ago

Dputiger (561114) writes "Given the recent emphasis on mobile computing and the difficulty of scaling large cores, it's easy to think that enthusiast computing is dead. Easy — but not necessarily true. There are multiple ways to attack the problem of continued scaling, including new semiconductor materials, specialized co-processor units that implement software applications in silicon, and enhanced cooling techniques to reduce on-die hot spots."
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With Lavabit, Silent Circle Gone, what are the secure email alternatives?

Dputiger Dputiger writes  |  about a year ago

Dputiger (561114) writes "Tor Mail, Lavabit, and Silent Circle all killed their email services in the past week, leaving something of a service gap for users concerned with privacy protections. Other popular products, like Hushmail, have a history of turning over data when asked. Extremetech discusses two EU-based alternatives, as well as the reasons for not using email for private communications — it's too difficult to secure."
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Caustic R2500 dedicated hardware raytracing solution benchmarked, reviewed

Dputiger Dputiger writes  |  1 year,11 hours

Dputiger (561114) writes "Imagination Technologies is mostly known for its mobile GPU products, but the company owns a specialized raytracing vendor as well. The Caustic R2500 is the first high-end dedicated ray tracing unit to ship and it offers much higher performance than typical software solutions for a relatively cheap (by workstation standards) price."
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New open-source x265 encoder tested against x264.

Dputiger Dputiger writes  |  1 year,9 days

Dputiger (561114) writes "The H.265 / HEVC (High Efficiency Video Codec) promises to deliver equal or better quality than H.264 at substantial bandwidth savings, but so far, there's been no way to confirm the projected results. This article examines the performance of an early alpha version of the open source x265 encoder against x264, and while it's very early days for the new standard, it delivers some substantial bandwidth savings. Source code should be available later today at x265.org."
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MIT Attempts to Block Release of Documents in Aaron Swartz case

Dputiger Dputiger writes  |  1 year,14 days

Dputiger (561114) writes "In the wake of activist Aaron Swartz's suicide, MIT launched an investigation into the circumstances that led to his initial arrest and felony charges. It's now clear that the move was nothing but a face-saving gesture. Moments before the court-ordered release of Swartz's Secret Service file under the Freedom of Information Act, MIT intervened asking the judge to block the release. Supposedly this is to protect the identities of MIT staff who might be harassed — but government policy is to redact such information already."
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Can a 5GHz AMD FX processor compete with Intel's Haswell, Ivy Bridge?

Dputiger Dputiger writes  |  about a year ago

Dputiger (561114) writes "AMD has announced that it's launching a new FX processor with a 225W TDP and a 4.7GHz base clock / 5GHz Turbo speed. We decided to see how an overclocked FX-8350 would compare if set to the same clock speeds courtesy of a phase-change cryo cooler. The performance gains are significant in some areas, but this is definitely an uphill battle.

http://www.extremetech.com/computing/159619-5ghz-showdown-overclocked-5ghz-amd-haswell-ivy-bridge"
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Can the AMD / Nvidia Bitcoin mining gap be bridged?

Dputiger Dputiger writes  |  about a year ago

Dputiger (561114) writes "AMD has held a huge advantage in Bitcoin hashing performance for years, even against top-end Nvidia cards like the GTX Titan. This article examines the performance difference between the two companies, tests a new, CUDA-optimized kernel, and discusses why even the GTX Titan can barely beat AMD's $149 HD 7790. It's not just core counts — AMD's underlying GPU architecture has several advantages over Nvidia in this area."
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Triple monitor madness: Top solutions from AMD, Nvidia face off

Dputiger Dputiger writes  |  about a year ago

Dputiger (561114) writes "Nvidia's latest GTX Titan puts a renewed focus on multi-monitor gaming, but how does it compare against other cards at half the price? Field of view adjustments, the impact of bezels, and single-card performance at multiple detail levels are all covered, as is the price of multi-screen setups."
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Extremetech proposes a cloud Bill of Rights

Dputiger Dputiger writes  |  about 2 years ago

Dputiger (561114) writes "The MegaUpload debacle, growing concerns over user privacy when using cloud services, and the hack against Wired contributor Mat Honan all point to a growing need for a cloud user's bill of rights.

This article proposes such a bill and discusses five current events that illustrate the need for increased protections. My goal was to balance a user's right to access personal data and understand how that data is used against the fair needs of companies that provide cloud services and the government's ability to conduct legal investigations."

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Testing the impact of Software Upgrades, Hyper-Threading on 3D Workstations

Dputiger Dputiger writes  |  about 2 years ago

Dputiger (561114) writes "Companies like Autodesk release software updates every year at several thousand dollars each, but if you work in this field, are you better off sticking with a relatively recent suite and buying new hardware — or should you spring for the updates? The answer — especially with 3ds Max 2012 — might surprise you."
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The Definitive Diablo III Preview -- Written By A Diablo 2 Modder

Dputiger Dputiger writes  |  about 2 years ago

Dputiger (561114) writes "I've written a substantial preview of Diablo III that includes a substantial consideration of how the game's underlying mechanics and mathematical models have evolved since Diablo II. I was a major modder back when D2 was new and our mod team spent a huge amount of time fixing the balance flaws and bugs in the game's first releases."
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