Linked by Universal Mind on Fri 6th Aug 2010 16:16 UTC
Apple The "Macs are too expensive" argument is one of the most tiresome and long-lived flamewars in internet history. Obviously, Apple makes a premium product and charges premium prices, and you can always find a computer from another vendor that seems to match or exceed specs that costs less. But if you look at Apple's Mac Pro line, and compare it not so much to other vendors, but to the past lineup of Mac Pros, you discover some very unpleasant truths that help explain why Apple is enjoying record earnings for their Mac line, but doing so to the detriment of some its most loyal and valuable customers.
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Computing has changed
by athomsonguy on Fri 6th Aug 2010 18:29 UTC
Member since:

"Granted, I totally ignored costs for drives, memory and graphics card."

I'm not sure that this article is going to find accurate results. The market for CPUs has really changed in the last few years. We all remember the Ghz race, but today the CPUs are trying to get wide and control heat. Because we are not really looking for perf from the CPU anymore there is increasing emphasis on RAM and graphics cards. I'm willing to bet that the percentage cost of both of these components went up during the sampled period.

I like the analysis, but really wish he had looked at the cost of more components in the system. I really don't think there is enough here to draw any conclusions.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Computing has changed
by TheGZeus on Fri 6th Aug 2010 19:36 in reply to "Computing has changed"
TheGZeus Member since:

Processors in 'workstations' et al are gaining cores, and are still gaining ghz vs the privious generations.

Graphics cards? Yeah, gpgpu has alot of buzz now, but without open SDKs and cross-graphics-card APIs (OpenCL support from anything is currently vaporware), developers will _not care_, unless they're already using CUDA, and I do mean already. Anyone who needs gpgpu _now-now-now_ already has a 'supercomputer' of some kind, and is tuning their oceanic/space/geologic simulation for better performance as I type.
No one will write anything that matters for one platform any more (anything using OpenCL basically has to use OSX, and anything that's OSX-exclusive is geared for... morons. (I'm not saying all OSX users are morons, but anyone writing code for that platform alone is writing stuff that can be found in cross-platform software, but is shiny) CUDA works on nVidia only). A closed SDK will turn off nearly all Linux devs, and I'm sure a large number of devs have been turned off to such things by being forced into XCode.

RAM? I use 512mb on average. Were I using a full desktop environment I'd use maybe 1.5gb, and that's assuming I was using that desktop's default application set, rather than what I use now.
Do the other big systems use more RAM? Yeah, wastefully. Why do I say wastefully? Because they're not doing anything more! Shiny effects? KDE4 has them. Heck, Compiz does a decent imitation of OSX. _Less_ default functionality? Written for _one architecture?_ The resource usage for Windows and OSX are certifiable insanity.

Sorry, computing will be CPU-bound for the next decade.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Computing has changed
by james_parker on Fri 6th Aug 2010 20:48 in reply to "RE: Computing has changed"
james_parker Member since:

Sorry, computing will be CPU-bound for the next decade.

I must disagree. Computing is not really CPU-bound; rather it is main-memory (MM) speed bound. Nearly every other technology used in computers has increased in speed over the last 10-20 years by at least an order of magnitude more than MM.

The "hack" that has been used to ameliorate this problem is to increase the amount of cache available, as well as the number of cache levels. Managing this cache efficiently and correctly is one of the biggest problems faced in CPU/system design today, and it still wreaks havoc with the performance of certain types of software (since the cache hit ratio can dramatically affect performance).

If/when there is a commercially available breakthrough in MM speed (MRAM, memristor-based RAM, etc.), low-level computer architecture will change dramatically, as will programming techniques.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Computing has changed
by aaronb on Sun 8th Aug 2010 21:48 in reply to "RE: Computing has changed"
aaronb Member since:

Sorry, computing will be CPU-bound for the next decade.

A lot of projects are now using GPUs for computing (As well as CPUs). ATI and Nvidia have added OpenCL to their drivers. OpenCL is not limited to MacOS X.

Reply Parent Score: 2