The TR Podcast 34: Headaches, our anniversary, and meeting an Intel engineer

Date: Feb 7, 2009

Time: 2:04:55

Hosted by Jordan Drake

Co-Hosts: Scott Wasson, Geoff Gasior, Cyril Kowaliski

Special guest: Matthew Hiltner

Listen now:
Download: MP3 (85.8MB) | M4A (84.8MB)

Subscribe with RSS | Subscribe with iTunes

 

Show notes

Our longest episode ever brings the thunder with a mix of great discussion and one of our most interesting interviews to date. Before our foray into the tech world begins, though, Jordan notes that this episode marks the TR Podcast’s one-year anniversary.

Geoff then goes over his experience with Nvidia’s Ion platform, after which we debate Time Warner’s bandwidth quotas and Bigfoot Networks’ future prospects. Our editors also discuss the list of Windows 7 editions, Scott gives us an interesting perspective on the recent purchase of Shacknews, and Cyril shares his feelings on the PC version of Mirror’s Edge. Finally, Scott talks about Nvidia’s stereoscopic 3D scheme and concludes that zombies look cool in 3D, and so does Zoey from Left 4 Dead.

In the second half of our episode, we interview Intel engineer Matthew Hiltner. Scott and Geoff ask him a mix of editor and user-submitted questions, and Matthew gives us insight on silicon testing, BIOS emulation, what happens when someone in the workplace fries an expensive testing motherboard, and more. Don’t miss this interview!

Send in listener mail, and we’ll answer on the podcast. – jdrake@techreport.com

Tech discussion:

    Nvidia’s Ion platform (0:04:27)- Read more

    Time Warner quotas to spread to more cities (0:11:42)- Read more

    What’s next for Bigfoot? New CEO Michael Howse speaks out (0:28:25)- Read more

    Microsoft reveals Windows 7 editions (0:36:45)- Read more

    Shacknews gets acquired by GameFly (0:41:56)- Read more

    It gets better after the first time: Mirror’s Edge impressions (0:46:58)- Read more

    Nvidia goes stereoscopic with GeForce 3D Vision (0:51:10)- Read more

    Interview with Matthew Hiltner of Intel (1:05:56)

That’s all, folks! Check back on February 14 for the next TR podcast.

Comments closed
    • _Sigma
    • 11 years ago

    It seems the last two (incl this one) TR podcasts stop playing when I sleep my Touch 2G. Other podcasts are fine and keep playing.

    Any ideas?

      • jdrake
      • 11 years ago

      Running it on my iPod Touch (2g) and it plays fine when I sleep the device…. no idea:-(

        • ssidbroadcast
        • 11 years ago

        Hey you never answered my email regarding whether or not there’s a way to skip from chapter to chapter in an iPod Touch. >: /

        • _Sigma
        • 11 years ago

        Did you download through the itunes store on the touch or on a computer? I have 2G too. Even jailbreaking it and running backgrounder doesn’t fix it!

          • _Sigma
          • 11 years ago

          Ok that’s a solid WTF. Downloaded from iTunes (windows app) and transfered – works just fine.

          Download (multiple times) from iTunes (touch 2G) and it’s a big no dice, even though other podcasts don’t have this trouble….

    • Hance
    • 11 years ago

    Best podcast yet. The interview with Matthew Hiltner was great.

    • flip-mode
    • 11 years ago

    Can anyone post cliff notes for us lamers that love to read geek but hate to listen to geek?

      • Meadows
      • 11 years ago

      Aside of the intel interview, they really don’t say much that you couldn’t also get in text. Now I’m not entirely sure though, because my podcast attention span is a maximum of 20 minutes, and I’m pretty much like you on the topic.

      The only thing that’s really annoying is the wide variation between voice qualities, with Jordan’s hitting a consistent standard, but others ranging from “speckled” to “oh god I can’t listen to this”.

      I can say this: in the 15 minutes that I spent with listening to this, I haven’t heard anything I hadn’t read about in earlier headlines. This is probably just a vehicle to deliver news to people like CompUSA2003 who listen to such things when commuting, or stuff. (Talk shows are actually the only appeal about radios, too).

        • indeego
        • 11 years ago

        Funny, my podcast attention spam is about the same. They should transcribe it for those of us that like to read/skimg{<.<}g

          • Meadows
          • 11 years ago

          Attention spam, I like that. Will be useful for building my motto.

          • tfp
          • 11 years ago

          Yep this has been asked at least once.

        • Usacomp2k3
        • 11 years ago

        It’s also to bring in other readers who don’t read the website. You can find the podcast in the iTunes store or the Zune marketplace, were wanna-be-geeks might hang out looking. *shrug*

    • srg86
    • 11 years ago

    The BIOS on the PC is just IBM’s implementation of one. The BIOS was the hardware dependant part of CP/M, so all CP/M machines had their own BIOS.

    The EFI part was very interesting, so EFI will manage the hardware. That’s great in one respect as you won’t need seperate drivers for Windows and Linux. On the other hand, for amateur OS people like me, it takes a lot of the fun out of it. I love mucking around with hardare, that will take a lot of that away.

      • UberGerbil
      • 11 years ago

      UEFI doesn’t eliminate the need for OS-specific drivers. It’s mostly a pre-boot environment; the OS interaction with it after boot is very limited (the kinds of things ACPI does, like setting the date/time).

        • data8504
        • 11 years ago

        You are completely incorrect.

        EFI will dramatically increase the runtime usefulness of firmware. Frankly, from a financial standpoint, it’s the only reason to migrate. -Matt

          • UberGerbil
          • 11 years ago

          Really. Well, you might want to tell that to AMD…
          §[<http://download.microsoft.com/download/5/E/6/5E66B27B-988B-4F50-AF3A-C2FF1E62180F/COR-T605_WH08.pptx<]§ See slide 4: • Pre-boot and boot-time only - minimal runtime services • ACPI is the primary run-time platform interface And you might want to tell that to Microsoft... §[<http://download.microsoft.com/download/a/f/d/afdfd50d-6eb9-425e-84e1-b4085a80e34e/SYS-T303_WH07.pptx<]§ See slide 6 • ACPI firmware used at runtime, UEFI mainly used during bootstrap • Limited runtime usage of UEFI ...also (probably the most thorough discussion) §[<http://download.microsoft.com/download/5/b/9/5b97017b-e28a-4bae-ba48-174cf47d23cd/CPA051_WH06.ppt<]§ See slide 9 (also slide 4): • Windows uses EFI as pre-boot firmware • Some limited runtime interfaces used • Mainly to manipulate NVRAM boot entries And you might want to tell that to the guys at Intel who originated the EFI spec... §[<http://download.intel.com/technology/efi/docs/EFI_110.zip<]§ *[http://www.uefi.org/specs/download/UEFI_Spec_2_2releaseOct.zip<]§ So I'd like to understand how I'm "completely incorrect" when I'm just restating what has been said by AMD, Microsoft, and most notably Intel and the UEFI in the actual specification. Eliminating OS-specific drivers has never been a goal of EFI/UEFI in the 5+ years it has been around. Has something changed recently and the spec has not been updated to reflect it? If anything, the fact that the statement was not only retained in the transition from EFI to UEFI but was moved all the way to page 1 suggests that the spec writers think this point is commonly misunderstood and want to emphasize it. There are a lot of good reasons for UEFI -- as those presentations set out -- but eliminating OS-specific drivers is not one of them.

            • ssidbroadcast
            • 11 years ago

            Ooohhhh Matt! You just got /[

    • Pax-UX
    • 11 years ago

    Great show guys! Really enjoyed Intel Guy interview lots of cool stuff in that one.

    • ThorAxe
    • 11 years ago

    Love the podcast. Happy Anniversary!

    • shiznit
    • 11 years ago

    Very disappointed in how you guys just dismissed the 120hz LCD monitors that are coming out soon to be used with Nvidia 3d.

    I couldn’t care less about 3d but true 120hz LCDs are a gigantic leap in gaming quality. The Samsung model has the best ghosting results Digital Versus has ever tested and 120hz means you don’t have to use vsync anymore (burn in hell) to avoid tearing and you aren’t stuck with 60fps.

    So many people buy into LCD manufacturers’ lies about response times, 8ms or 5ms or 2ms or whatever, but what they don’t realize is that one frame at 60hz is 16.7ms!!! There is very lillte benefit from having a supposedly 5ms screen if you are capped at 16ms by your refresh rate. This is why you can see frame tearing without vsync easily at 60hz while at 120 or better you really have to look hard (at 160hz I don’t see it AT ALL), the frames are simply too slow. Much of the blur of LCD monitors is due to the terribly slow refresh rate, why do you think every major manufactures is coming up 120hz interpolation tricks to make motion smoother. They have to resort to tricks because there is no 120hz TV content, but your pc is and these new monitors can make it shine.

    Hardcore CRT users like myself have been waiting with our FW900s (and others) for a very long time for an LCD that is finally good enough to game on. This 3d tech, however flawed and silly, has made it possible for me to finally get such a monitor. All I care about is having the highest refresh rate possible, being able to never use vsync again, and minimizing the nasty blur and ghosting that all LCDs have and these 120hz LCDs are finally good enough. I don’t look at my monitor from an angle and putting up with TN dithering is a small price to pay for the benefits of the fastest LCDs you can get. These are the first gaming worthy LCDs ever made imo, I have no idea how so many people have been stuck on 60hz for years and don’t care at all. I have a 4ghz E8400 with 8800gt, and I still play CS:S at 960×600 for the 160hz refresh rate. Other LCD haters have already bought the bundle and are simply amazed by how good the LCD is. Don’t even get me started on input lag, 90% of all LCD monitors are absolutely terrible when it comes to this (50ms or higher for some) and it never gets any attention, the 120hz Samsung is very respectable at 12ms, hopefully the Viewsonic will be closer to 0.

    TN is not perfect but nether are the other techs. VA is the slowest of the bunch and probably not worthy of 120hz, and IPS is mostly wide gamut (all the decent ones anyway) which looks horrible with sRGB content, basically everything you will ever see on your screen unless you are a professional, in which case a gaming monitor probably isn’t a priority anyway.

    They are expensive but you don’t have to buy the bundle, and the msrp for the Viewsonic VX2265wm is $350 which is about on par with what a FW900 in decent condition will cost you.

    I know I’m about to get flamed by the TN haters and the 30/60 fps human eye limit idiots, but I don’t care. I just expected TR editors to look into the benefits of these monitors before dismissing them so fast in 15 seconds. I can’t make you review them or make you care about having a CRT worthy LCD, but please don’t trash something so fast without knowing anything about it.

    Play some shooters on the Samsung at 120hz, with vsync off, lower the graphics so you can maintain at least 120fpz (not hard to do in CS:S with overclocked C2D), 500hz mouse polling rate, and then go back to a 60hz LCD. If you can’t see the gigantic leap in gaming quality and smoothness then I will shut up.

      • Meadows
      • 11 years ago

      g{<120 Hz means you don't have to use vsync anymore<}g I beg your pardon? Do you even know what refresh rates mean or what vsync accomplishes? Sure you have a point in that it's harder to notice, simply because LCD response times are so atrocious, but tearing won't go away. Speaking of response times, some people think motion blur is a gimmick (I've even read a site that hilariously claimed that "your eyes /[

        • shiznit
        • 11 years ago

        the question is do you? if you don’t know why vsync is bad for gaming I’m starting to think you might have to look it up more carefuly.

        at 120hz or better it’s very hard to see the tearing, the only good reason to ever enable vsync in the first place. Vsync can ruin the framerate if it ever drops below the refresh rate (look up double buffering). sure you can triple buffer to reduce the framerate problems but that introduces input lag, which is already bad enough on LCD.

        so vsync=bad, triple buffer=bad

        120+ hz & vsync off = good

          • Meadows
          • 11 years ago

          I know all the nitty-gritty about buffering, vsync, latency and framerate issues, don’t worry. I also know that tearing is outright magnified by some games in cinematic panning sessios, and I know how much I hate that.

          Bear in mind that to actually see the negative effects disappear, you’d have to run your games at a high enough framerate, which may not happen every time even with exotic SLI configurations unless you play a lot of older games.

          Also note that using a 120 Hz monitor, you essentially risk nothing by enabling vsync, because even those miniscule latencies that seem to bother you are practically halved, and the framerate issues and syrupy jumpiness might be improved more than twofold as well.

            • shiznit
            • 11 years ago

            well for games that really matter like CS:S or COD4 (when I was still playing league), I definitely do set up the graphics to maintain at whatever framerate is required for maximum performance. With 100 rates in the Source engine you need at least 100fps. In COD4 it is more complex since the framerate is used as a clock for everthyng, if you don’t have 100fps you can’t have 100 maxpackets and shooting will suffer and if you don’t have 125fps the game clock is too slow and you can’t make some jumps or throw nades as far.

            but even if the framerate sometimes dips below my refresh rate, it does so in a linear way with vsync off. If I have my refresh at 60hz and the fps drop to 55, it will be 55. If you have vsync ON w/o triple buffer and drops to 55, it actually drops to 30! With triple buffer it doesn’t get halved (since there is a third frame waiting) but the input lag is nasty in a precision shooting game.

            • Meadows
            • 11 years ago

            It may settle at 30, yes, but it often picks other settling points, for example 45. There may also be more intermediate points if you use triple buffering, but to correctly have that, the game must offer the setting.

            I get your point, and I don’t play/like games that use your framerate as their metronome. Probably that’s why I have an experience deficiency in that area.

            • shiznit
            • 11 years ago

            Not a problem. for the average joe World of Warcraft player 60hz + vsync + triple buffer is probably “good enough” but for anyone who plays online FPS (all the good ones have some kind of relationship between framerate and netcode) but doesn’t want a CRT these monitors will make a huge difference.

            We still have a long way to go and I agree some color transitions will be slower than a 120hz frame effectively negating the benefit but most will be faster and it’s immediately noticeable.

            If the world economy wasn’t in the toilet maybe FED/SED would get here faster (one can only pray), but for now these are the best LCDs a gamer can buy.

            • Usacomp2k3
            • 11 years ago

            I have a friend who is a professional gamer, and he’s more than happy with his 5ms TN panel. *shrug*

          • Freon
          • 11 years ago

          Ok, break it up kids.

          120hz is better than 60hz, whether you use vsync or not. Using vsync at any refresh is a choice.

            • shiznit
            • 11 years ago

            true. but these monitors make that choice a lot easier.

    • data8504
    • 11 years ago

    Hi everyone. In case you’d like to toss additional questions my way, jump over to:

    §[<http://www.techreport.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=64540<]§ (Please do me a favor, and read my housekeeping request.)

    • Usacomp2k3
    • 11 years ago

    I’m still trying to figure out what the Blue Man is doing there?

      • Nitrodist
      • 11 years ago

      “Intel.”

      • data8504
      • 11 years ago

      Because obviously that’s what I look like!

      • Meadows
      • 11 years ago

      He’s the arch-enemy of the green goblin.

    • Prototyped
    • 11 years ago

    There’s been a Starter Edition since XP — that also had the three application limitation, and yet you never saw XP Starter Edition on netbooks. Windows 7 Home Basic doesn’t have the applications limitation, but also doesn’t do Aero Glass. I think netbooks are more likely to ship with Home Basic than Starter, which has largely been for emerging markets such as China and India (where it sells for something like $2 or $3 per unit).

    It’s mostly for white-box builders who want to hit certain low price points who Microsoft would prefer to sell Starter to for a small amount of money rather than have them bundle unlicensed copies of the OS. The severe restrictions on multitasking would encourage everyone else to buy the regular editions instead.

    Matthew,

    Thank you for that excellent synopsis on firmware for IA32/Intel 64 platforms. I’m glad to see that Intel is still enthusiastic about rolling out UEFI across its platforms, and that the initiative is being pushed strongly to other IHVs.

    I should probably head back to the questions thread to see if you responded to any questions in text . . .

    Edit: I guess not!

      • data8504
      • 11 years ago

      Hmm. I’ll head back there later on (say, tomorrow) and have a look… I didn’t even think about hitting the forums post-interview.

    • Fastfreak39
    • 11 years ago

    “Not anymore!” I died laughing for some reason.

    • ssidbroadcast
    • 11 years ago

    Recording quality on Geoff could’ve been nicer… maybe he ran out of bandwidth??

      • jdrake
      • 11 years ago

      Yeah – this boils down to two culprits:
      1. A mediocre mic without built in noise removal
      2. More background noise than usual

      Sorry bout that:-(

        • ssidbroadcast
        • 11 years ago

        Huh… to me it sounded more of that “rush garble” that’s typical of a narrow bandwidth. I guess you were just scrubbing aggressively…

          • Pax-UX
          • 11 years ago

          Sounds like a flange filter (@23:20) to me XD

            • ssidbroadcast
            • 11 years ago

            Yeah on closer examination, it’s not the rush-garble (I screenshare too much) its definitely poor mic quality. Geoff’s levels are WAY off.

    • DrDillyBar
    • 11 years ago

    Happy Anniversary!
    +86MB to my cap….

    • grantmeaname
    • 11 years ago

    the website lists the time as 1:28:28, which is last week’s time, instead of 2:04:05, which is this week’s time.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This