Guilty late for the three holiday months with no new posts, Sir Arthur is pleased to report the release of a new version of the Computer hardware poster made by Sonic84/Jeff Grisso: the first release was posted by the artist/designer on the DeviantArt community seven years ago, and it was created to collect in a single chart the plethora of interfaces, sockets and slots belonging to modern computers’ rich history. The newest version starts from the previous one and makes the collection substantially more solid and useful to browse.
Worrisome reports and apocalyptic sights are spreading during these months (and in these years) about the state of the PC industry, a market unavoidably doomed to collapse while dragging away a lot of tech businesses with it. Reality hiding behind the marketing lie is of course much more complex and much less apocalyptic compared to what they describe, but even in the worst case scenario the issue is almost never evaluated by the only viewpoint that really matters. That is the one of the potential buyer for all this unsold hardware which will soon end up in a landfill.
The month of February 2014 marks the 32nd anniversary of the debut of the Intel 80286 CPU, a historical processor of changing fortunes which helped to build what would have later become the market domination of the x86 instruction set. As Computer Hope reminds, the 286 processor (also known as “iAPX 286″) was introduced on February 1st in 1982 bringing important technology innovations a bit too ahead of the times.
When, several months ago, I decided to upgrade my laptop with a more performing processor, I never thought that some time later I would have been forced to go back on my steps: the system was going well, everything worked as it should with no problems of sorts. And yet the idyl with the X9100 CPU has lasted just three months, whereupon the PC has started to misbehave forcing me to put hands on several internal components, to waste time and precious money in useless purchases before I was persuaded that in the end the upgrade had been a failure.
Soon another technology that in the past years dominated the always-changing universe of computer hardware will bite the dust. That’s the decision by Intel, the merciless executioner of standards which the company itself imposes on the market and that in the upcoming months will rule the end of official support for the PCI bus. Developed by the Californian chipmaker in 1993, the PCI Local Bus standard has been implemented on all the motherboards for x86 and compatible platforms until 2004, the year when it passed on the baton to the younger and faster PCI Express technology.
UPDATE: After a few months the CPU upgrade turned to be a remarkable failure. I advise anyone against this kind of practice and I invite you to read the post regarding my useless troubleshooting efforts.
I purchased my latest computer in absolute emergency conditions, and except for an annoying, sound-related issue when I extensively use the network (a fact for which I would be inclined to blame and damn Vista SP1) I’m satisfied with it until now. But being obliged to spend a limited budget obviously didn’t hinder me to upgrade the system main component, the CPU, overlapping to satisfaction the pleasure of having a fairly recent setup to let me use it in scenarios that are a little less retrograde than the ones I’m usually accustomed to.
Links & Suggestions # 7: videogame birthdays, pirates, industry assholes, nanometers and super-consoles
If technology is inclined to constantly project itself onward leaving very few room for remembering products that were so popular just some time before, Jake Gyllenhaal acting as the Prince of Persia is convincing as a cactus in a melodrama. If Doom is an historic videogame that deserves to be remembered for its birthday, pirates once again prove to be the only ones capable of saving the media world from the current DRM madness. And if the reading of this paragraph has a meaning for you then I would suggest to make an appointment with a psychiatrist, but a good one. Or the reading of a good grammar book. I am dispensed from the second, at least
Parallel computing and GPGPU, the super-PC genesis between universal libraries and proprietary platforms
Far from slowing down because of the worldwide economic crisis, PC technology evolution (and particularly the videogaming peripherals one) continues to break records and Gigaflops, opening usage scenarios that was solely related to super-computers just a few years ago. Such scenarios are currently colliding with the opposite development of standards and API competing with each other, resulted from the desire of market supremacy or from the need to reach an agreement on a common computing platform.
In the endless race to the immensely small, a typical trait of the integrated circuits world, the American giant IBM states to be the first chipmaker to having developed a reliable enough process for the manufacturing of 22 nanometers microchips. A technological achievement that, if not quite round the corner, surely pushes the final boundaries for the exploitation of silicon as the transistors’ basic element some years forward.
The last week of August has been the opportunity for NVIDIA to invite public and press to attend NVISION, a convention devoted to the technological vision of the historic GPU and discrete graphics cards manufacturer held in San Jose. No new products were showed at the expo, but the statements against the competitors have been clear: NVIDIA will continue to keep the performance leadership in the future too.
Summertime, a lounge for the most vacationer populations but also an occasion for big preparations by the PC videogaming hardware companies, that sharpen their weapons and introduce innovations waiting to run for the users wallets during the incoming fall, the Christmas holidays and beyond. The future of the marked, in fact, foresees substantial news spread on a relatively long period of time, with the entrance in the conflict of a new protagonist and sceneries of unprecedented technological evolutions.