The TR Podcast 92: Fusion, the cloud, and dongles galore

The Tech Report Podcast Date: July 25, 2011

Time: 1:11:59

Hosted by Jordan Drake

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

MP3 (52.0MB) | M4A (71.2MB)

RSS (MP3) | RSS (M4A)
iTunes (MP3) | iTunes (M4A)

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Show notes

We kick off this episode by answering some listener questions, delving into the latest cloud computing solutions from Microsoft, the possibilities of reviewing the new Samsung Chromebook, and the many AMD Fusion options that have befuddled one of our readers. Then, after a little RSS housekeeping, we dive into two stories from Apple. Our panel analyzes the record numbers from the Mac maker’s latest earnings report, discusses the latest updates to the MacBook Air lineup, and gets the scoop from Cyril as to whether or not Lion is worth the $29.99 asking price.

We then move into a series of recent posts and stories from TR, including our newest comic from Fred Silver, Geoff’s review of the Asus Xonar U3 USB audio device, and Cyril’s take on the Diamond VStream wireless HDMI adapter. We also revisit (albeit for a third time now) AMD’s Llano APU, exploring two new variables of faster RAM and IGP-only power consumption. We wrap things up with Cyril’s Gladwellian (I think we just made up a word) look at the science of fanboys, plus a quick peek at a very powerful little Z68 Mini-ITX motherboard from Zotac.

Send in listener mail, and we’ll answer on the podcast. –

Follow us on Twitter – ScottJordanGeoffCyrilThe Tech Report

Listener mail:

Cloud based office software and the Chromebook? – from ssidbroadcast – (0:01:11):

“I have a question/talking point that I’d like the guys to discuss for the podcast. As recently as last week, Microsoft announced a cloud-based version of their ubiquitous office-productivity software called Office365 ( As you might have already guessed, this variant of MSOffice allows users to use all of the software provided in MS Office from anywhere they have access to the internet (I am unsure if a small custom-client is downloaded or if it is browser-based like Googledocs). This is perhaps an obvious response to Google’s recently-released Chromebook, which allows a user to have all of their productivity things worked on from any other Chromebook, etc, and you can either buy the Chromebook outright or pay a subscription fee. Who do you think has a better shot at establishing themselves in this market, and is “cloud-office” the future for that class of software?

Related follow up: Are you guys going to review that Samsung Chromebook? It looks nice…”

Fusion? – from KJ – (0:06:48):

“Hey guys, another great podcast! I had some questions about AMD Fusion purchase. I want to own a AMD fusion system llano or bulldozer. I want to get the Fusion build that is best performing FUSION product. I am focused on any of these build types: zacate ITX, zacate laptop, llano itx desktop or llano laptop. So if you were looking to purhcase a AMD FUSION build which one would you get? Laptop – In your opinion which is teh better FUSION implementation: FUSION Zacate Laptop of FUSION llano laptop? Where would you spend your $$$$. ITX Small Form Factor Desktop (HTPC). I would use the FUSION system for light HTPC (i.e. extender) or light gaming (1080p) monitor. I was looking to either replace my 2 yr old Gateway SU4100 Intel build with a AMD FUSION laptop or purchase a ITX FUSION build as a test box. I am open though to your suggestions and your thoughts. Thanks.”

Tech discussion:

    Sneak a peek at our new RSS feeds, please (0:14:04)- Read more

    Apple posts yet another round of record results (0:18:21)- Read more

    Apple unleashes Lion, new MacBook Air, and more (0:22:29)- Read more

    What PC makers think is happening at retail (0:38:50)- Read more

    Asus’ Xonar U3 USB audio device (0:43:07)- Read more

    Diamond’s VStream wireless HDMI adapter (0:45:33)- Read more

    Llano in overtime: 1866MHz RAM & IGP-only power (0:48:49)- Read more

    The science of fanboyism (0:56:00)- Read more

    Zotac’s Z68-ITX WiFi Mini-ITX motherboard (1:05:02)- Read more

That’s all, folks! We’ll see you on the next episode.

Comments closed
    • CaptTomato
    • 10 years ago

    [url<][/url<] 1080p res for you guys....

      • indeego
      • 10 years ago

      [url=<]U.S. Equivalent right here.[/url<]

    • ssidbroadcast
    • 10 years ago

    Good podcast, thanks for asking my question!:)

    … Geoff: “It Just Works, right Cyril?”


    • guruMarkB
    • 10 years ago

    Thanks for another great podcast. I am suprised that there is a debate over screen size versus resolution. I would think everyone would want the highest resolution. For example, I’m using a 21.5 inch 1920 x 1080 HP LCD on my desktop and other than switching to the large font in XP and tweaking the desktop icons to 40 pixels with a 12 point font plus a 28 point Title bar to get a larger Task Bar I don’t have a problem with the higher resolution (I’m 51 and wear glasses). Increasing the DPI is a total disaster however as there are many programs that can’t fit all the text into their fixed sized dialog boxes so the messages can’t be completely read. Since I use the Opera browser it has built-in web page scaling so The Tech Report and most websites look and fit perfect at 150% scaling on my Radeon HD5770. Over in Firefox 5 the “NoSquint” add-on solves the scaling problem perfectly.

    I totally aggree with the comments on the desktop A8 Llano APU. I just installed a desktop system and while I could have used an AMD A8-3850 Llano APU and FM1 motherboard, after looking at the choices I ended up using an ASRock 880GHX/USB3 motherboard (which I got on sale) and an Athlon II X3 445 CPU. Since this is an office build (no gaming) the HD4250 GPU in the northbridge is more than adaquate for the Windows 7 HP 64-bit OS at 1920 x 1080 resolution. With the ASRock BIOS sporting a feature called “Turbo 50” is was a snap to get slightly over a 3.5 GHz speed with 4GB of G.Skill 1600 DDR3 ram on the Athlon II X3, all rock solid stable, and at a better price/performance than the newest Llano could provide. Maybe Bulldozer will change the price/performance equation but for now it doesn’t make sense to me either.

      • indeego
      • 10 years ago

      [quote<] Increasing the DPI is a total disaster however as there are many programs that can't fit all the text into their fixed sized dialog boxes so the messages can't be completely read.[/quote<] Curious about this. We do this at work, and have for about 8 years now, and only had one issue with one program (Workshare Deltaview). We spoke with the developer and they issued a patch, and we were gold. Do you have examples of programs where this occurs? Our users can't stand XP's default "small" DPI with LCDs, so it would be a disaster from the opposite perspective for us.

    • dragosmp
    • 10 years ago

    Nice podcast overall, but I have to wonder how come only on TR Llano has no value. The man needs a HTPC and a laptop and you are saying all there is for him is Sandy Bridge as Brazos is too weak for a laptop and Llano is too hot for a desktop; I can agree with that, but how about combining things differently:
    *Brazos in a Mini-ITX enclosure as HTPC – enough speed for any remote-controlled PC and better-than-SB power efficiency.
    *Llano on laptop – 35W yes, but much faster than the SU4100 and 6 cell battery Llano laptops hold their charge some 6-8 hours, same as CULV.

    Would you say that Brazos is too weak for a HTPC or Llano too hot for a laptop? No, in the reviews you gave the affirmative nod to these setups. TR’s tests have shown these platforms are valid. Fusion isn’t what AMD advertised 3 years ago, but you shouldn’t offer arguably worse-than-Fusion alternatives only because you’re disappointed about the lack of elegance in the architecture or with what might have been.

      • Cyril
      • 10 years ago

      FWIW, the Pentium SU4100 is a 10W chip aimed at cheap ultraportables. While it’s true that you can get better performance and adequate battery life out of a 35W Llano APU, that’s not going to happen in the same kinds of form factors. Buying a laptop with a faster, more power-hungry chip always involves size and weight tradeoffs.

        • Arag0n
        • 10 years ago

        Cyril, I strongly disagree with you… you are just focused to the reality you can see in the US maybe or the reality you live as Hardcore PC users, but the reality outside US is quiet different. I know some people from China and India that would be pretty happy to buy bigger laptops but they keep buying netbooks just because is cheap. They don’t care about performance, they just care about functionality. So make your facts straight: Outside the US and Europe, form factors aren’t such a big deal. Functionality & Convenience comes as top priority.

        Inside the US’s, you still have the same problem about your point of view. Sure you are hardcore PC users that care much more about pure horsepower than anything else. Given that, I feel I know what you are missing to understand.

        People doesn’t wants sluggish feelings, people wants smooth system (not necessarily fast), fast transitions, and systems that seems to behave just as you expect them. People doesn’t care about the system showing a progress bar for 1 minute or 1 minute and half. What pisses of people is to press the start button of windows and it doesn’t open, so they click again and then it shows and hide because they double clicked and things like this. People wants smooth systems not faster ones. That’s why the C-50 and E-350 is succeeding, they remove most of the sluggish feeling from Windows7 laptops or net-tops with a proper integrated GPU in front of ATOM. Until now what people understood about a system is -> Faster CPU -> Faster Computer -> Less sluggish. Once people starts to realize the GPU is the one that removes the sluggish feeling, they will start to think otherwise ->Faster GPU -> Faster Computer. Actually I already saw that with a 12 years old kid comparing a Phenom II x3 2.1Mhz + ATI 4570M vs a Core i5.+ Intel GPU. Despite the AMD system owning a clearly slower CPU, the kid kept choosing the AMD system against the Core i5 one complaining about the Core i5 being slow, despite the fact that the only thing the kid was doing is browse websites and play flash games in the browser. A software engineer or any kind of person that needs computers for scientific calculation will never give such an answer given the things they care the most is the execution times of Matlab or simulation programs. They don’t really care if Matlab has an smooth feeling while scrolling the log or code editor…

        Summarizing, that’s why I think you miss the point trying to understand what’s llano strengths in mobile market: 12 to 14″ inexpensive laptops but with a good user experience.

        • dragosmp
        • 10 years ago

        While it’s true CULV processors take 10W they also had a NB bonus to sip some power; the listener didn’t ask for a same form factor laptop nor for a different form factor for that matter afaik. He did ask where you’d put your hard earned $$$ between a Brazos and a Llano laptop, which is what you gave. I was pointing out that you may have missed an opportunity to put to good use the conclusions in your two Fusion reviews.


    • Arag0n
    • 10 years ago

    It’s nice the reference to the discussion about discrepancy of the results in other websites and techreport about Llano, thanks for noting that Scott!

    • wiak
    • 10 years ago

    jordan, you should check out dBpoweamp, it can encode to two codecs at the same time, supports aac, mp3, ogg vorbis, flac, wav and i can even edit id tags by file properties in windows explorer
    [url<][/url<] [url<][/url<] (look for Muli-Encoder) love the podcast Tommy from Norway

    • BoBzeBuilder
    • 10 years ago

    Dang, I was wondering when the podcast was going to show up 😉 downloading.

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