The TR Podcast 118: CPUs inside the second, and steamrolling the Forcepad

The Tech Report Podcast Date: September 3, 2012

Time: 1:53:47

Hosted by Jordan Drake

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

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Show notes

We’ve got a substantial episode of the TR Podcast this round. Our panel kicks things off by discussing a LAN party of epic proportions at Damage Labs, the latest Radeon price drops, and a chunky triple-slot graphics card from PowerColor. Then, it’s on to the milestone jury decision for the Apple v. Samsung case, which earns commentary from Scott and Cyril.

Next, Ubisoft’s CEO says something profoundly silly, and we point and laugh. We look at some new tablets from Samsung and HP, which feature the same detachable keyboard design as Asus’ Transformer slates. Jordan and Geoff examine new touchpad tech from Synaptics as well as Samsung’s Galaxy S III smartphone. Finally, Scott and Jordan dive into the nitty-gritty of AMD’s Steamroller architecture, and Scott wraps up the show by going inside the second with today’s CPUs.

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

Follow us on Twitter – ScottJordanGeoffCyrilThe Tech Report

Tech discussion:

    Scott in the running for Dad of the Year – (0:01:06) – Read more

    It’s on: AMD trims Radeon prices yet again – (0:11:54) – Read more

    Dual Tahiti GPUs team up on PowerColor Devil 13 – (0:16:12) – Read more

    Jury finds Samsung violated Apple patents – (0:19:00) – Read more

    Ubisoft CEO claims PC piracy rate 93-95% – (0:34:45) – Read more

    New tablets from Samsung and HP – (0:38:59) – SamsungHP

    Hands-on with Synaptics’ next-generation mobile input devices – (0:46:10) – Read more

    A few weeks with Samsung’s Galaxy S III smartphone – (1:03:48) – Read more

    AMD CTO reveals first Steamroller details – (1:13:46) – Read more

    Inside the second: Gaming performance with today’s CPUs – (1:25:54) – Read more

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

Comments closed
    • clone
    • 8 years ago

    regarding the Apple Samsung Patent comments, their was discussion about how the “travesty vote was against IP altogether”.

    the discussion went on to highlight a number of small fish that got eaten by bigger fish…. the problem with this position is thus.

    lawsuits take time and lots and lots of money, large fish have that money, they have the resources and alternative products from which to gain revenue in order to prolong such lawsuits while small fish don’t so eventually the small fish either die or get devoured.

    while big fish are still swimming what you don’t see are a lot of small fish coming into the market and a huge reason for that is because they are being sued out of the market the moment they get their fins wet.

    their is a great episode of “This American life” that covers it and what’s been ongoing called “When Patents Attack”

    • Troy Roberts
    • 8 years ago

    Linux — “We don’t believe in property”

    That is a terrible misrepresentation of FOSS…

    • Troy Roberts
    • 8 years ago

    I registered just so I could comment. The load of rubbish about the Apple/Samsung case was so over the top. “Cosmic Justice”? What did Samsung have to do with anything between Apple and Microsoft, that was so off the wall.

    If you truly believe that rounded corner rectangles should be protectable by design pattens, how can we take you seriously on any design commentary?

    If you are not going to follow a case, then possibly you should limit your comments to the thing you are actually familiar with.

    Wow…. just wow…

      • Damage
      • 8 years ago

      Thanks for registering. I figured some folks wouldn’t entirely agree with my comments on the podcast. However, I think you’re reading an awful lot into my words that wasn’t there. For instance:

      [quote<]If you truly believe that rounded corner rectangles should be protectable by design pattens [sic], how can we take you seriously on any design commentary?[/quote<] Yeah, never said that rounded corners should be protected by patents. We talked some about the trouble with patents, and especially software patents, if you listened to the whole segment. You're taking the opposite side of an argument I didn't make. So... good luck with that. ๐Ÿ™‚

        • Essence
        • 8 years ago

        I think staying neutral has its advantages

    • halbhh2
    • 8 years ago

    Great “inside the second” stuff, *but*, we are *still wondering* (at least 5-10 of us in the comments at the “Inside the Second” article, and likely a lot more, how the TR Recommended (Econobox) i3 2120 would rate in the “Inside the Second” review.

    Is the cheap i3 2120 (about $99 lately), really better than the similar priced x4 965 for gaming? Don’t know. Read the article, and I don’t know.

    More: what if my antivirus program is scanning while I’m gaming, and my email is coming in, etc. Will the dual core i3 outperform the 4 core 965 during the game *at that moment*?



    um….the dominate, repeated question in the “Inside the Second” comments thread I saw was by far:

    “Where is the i3 in the review?”

      • halbhh2
      • 8 years ago

      About the AWESOME “Inside the Second article” being so much work.

      Well, what if you limited the cpus to just the 7-10 cpus in your guides (including the “alternates”, and 4-5 of the most popular cpus of 3 years ago. Just 12-15 cpus, and that’s enough.

      But, and it really isn’t like you brought me a dozen flowers, and where is the___. No, just wondering, how does the i3 perform?


        • DancinJack
        • 8 years ago

        [quote<]More: what if my antivirus program is scanning while I'm gaming, and my email is coming in, etc. Will the dual core i3 outperform the 4 core 965 during the game *at that moment*?[/quote<] A modern CPU such as the two you mentioned shouldn't really be affected by an AV program scanning while you are gaming. If you're worried about it, which you shouldn't be, just set it to scan while you're sleeping or a time when you know you won't be gaming. I don't know what the thing is "with email coming in." That won't affect anything.

          • halbhh2
          • 8 years ago

          Makes sense I guess. Even if 5 emails come in at a time, still shouldn’t load processors a lot. Probably not many people run a significant background task while gaming. We are left with the open question of how well games more generally preform in the x4 965 vs the i3 2120 (not only those that use a single thread). I suppose for myself, when I do analyze a chess position and use multi-cores, I’m guessing that more is better in this matchup. Again, this is an uncommon app.

            • travbrad
            • 8 years ago

            [quote<]We are left with the open question of how well games more generally preform in the x4 965 vs the i3 2120 (not only those that use a single thread)[/quote<] In the best case scenario (games that actually fully use 4 threads), the 965 will be a little bit slower than a 2120, but in games that only use 1-3 threads the 2120 has a significant advantage. In TR's original Sandy Bridge review they included an i3-2100 and a X4 975. Not exactly what you're asking about but pretty similar: [url<][/url<] Some "inside the second" numbers would be nice though, I agree.

            • halbhh2
            • 8 years ago

            Thanks for that link! It did have something useful, I think, in the way of taking a guess at the latency. It reports the “low” in framerate. This number, the low, is the one I usually discussed with people back when I was very into the performance issue. It was the best indicator we had back then. For Starcraft, the i3 is beating the x4 975 by 28 fps vs 22 fps for the low. That’s a real advantage!

            In BFBC2, the 2 cpus are about the same. In CivV, indefinite/mixed. In F1 2010, slight advantage i3 at reasonably high resolution. In Metro 2033, i3 has advantage. Altogether it’s better for gaming on this set of games, not night and day better, no, but less latency.

            The 975 wins on…well most of the other benches, and that’s not too surprising with 4 cores vs 2. Altogether, for users that do a lot of stuff other than only gaming, they’d have to look at what they are doing. The 975 seems better on the whole to me, for my own uses, which include some multi-core stuff.

            For someone with an AM3 board and an aging dual core, their most cost efficient play, if they need to save money, is to snap up the $90-$100 range Phenom II 4 or 6 cores.

            But for a new build…’s trickier, unless you are mostly gaming! Then it is easy.

            But for gaming, I’d give it to the i3 for those budget builds. And…it also has a reasonable upgrade path! That’s big to me. Being able to replace the cpu in a year or 2 when the current 4 cores get cheaper, that’s very good.

            Thanks for the link.

            • brucethemoose
            • 8 years ago

            For those willing to OC, looks like the Phenom II x4 is still the go-to budget CPU.

            • travbrad
            • 8 years ago

            If you already have an AM3 board I agree it’s probably the best bang-for-your-buck if you are overclocking. If I was building a new system though, I’d go for the i3. The Z68/Z77 chipset has a great upgrade path from the i3, whereas AM3 has almost no upgrade path from a X4 (Bulldozer is barely faster).

            The i3 will still be faster in some games even compared to an overclocked X4 too, because a lot of games are annoyingly still not using 4 cores.

          • travbrad
          • 8 years ago

          I think the limitation with an anti-virus scan is more likely to be IO limited (especially on a HDD) rather than CPU limited. It also depends a lot on which AV you use though. The better AV solutions are smart enough to not run scans in the middle of gaming and don’t effect performance much anyway.

          I still question the usefulness of “always-on” AV for someone who knows what they’re doing though. If you aren’t downloading sketchy files from the web it’s pretty hard to get a virus these days.

            • halbhh2
            • 8 years ago

            Funny, I just ran into this problem, exactly. Which is rare for me. Because I normally play online chess on my old (and fast) Phenom II x6 desktop, with lots of ram and an old F3 hard drive.

            But tonight I tried to play on my much newer dual core Sandy Bridge laptop, with 4GB ram and a Samsung 830 1280GB SSD.

            Guess which system had trouble.

            It was the newer dual core, a Sandy Bridge B940.


            Because my internet security decided to have a large update just as I was sending out a game seek on the online java player.

            Something happened then that just doesn’t happen in hundreds of times on my desktop: slow, slow, slow….slow….failure basically. My seek didn’t even show up in the seek table after 12 seconds. I closed the window and gave up on it.

            The blazing fast I/O of the Samsung 830 didn’t matter. The task manager cpu in the icon tray showed me the trouble immediately: the cpus were loaded. when the update finally finished, the cpus usage dropped instantly to negligible.

            So, it does matter how many cores you have.

            And for me, my direct experience is that 2 cores is not enough.

          • halbhh2
          • 8 years ago

          Well, Jack, it was. See my description (last response to travbard) of what happened, surprisingly, to my dual core Sandy Bridge in my laptop (with SSD) during chess gaming when the AV software downloaded an update at the same time….

    • Unknown-Error
    • 8 years ago

    On a Techreport [b<]Date[/b<]? No, that is creepy! ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

      • dmjifn
      • 8 years ago

      So you’re saying you’d be against the new Techreport Dating forum?

    • Silus
    • 8 years ago

    Regarding the Apple vs Samsung, how can it not be a travesty ? Just look at the video of the idiot foreman:

    [url<][/url<] And I quote (regarding prior art for a given patent in the trial): ""the software on the Apple๏ปฟ side could not be placed into the processor on the prior art and viceversa, and that means they are not interchangeable" It's painfully obvious that something happened behind the curtains. Something probably involving a large sum of money from Apple to this foreman...prior art can't be ignored ESPECIALLY when the reason to ignore it is such an idiotic argument... The US is ridiculous in terms of patent law and protects SHAMELESSLY their own companies. Bounce back animations and pinch to zoom SHOULD NOT be patentable, since there are far too many prior art examples. Same thing goes for the iPhone design...Leave it to the americans to protect their dear company. You know, the company that doesn't even employ that many people in the US (far, very far from the likes of Dell and HP) and outsources EVERYTHING to Asia...oh and evades taxes like no other company. Great company to protect right there!..... And then there's the UI vs Microsoft thing, mentioned in the podcast. Yeah, like Apple blatantly copied Xerox ? It seems that Apple can copy pretty much everything, call it innovation, patent it and americans will cheer them! It's so stupid that there are no words to describe it...especially when they are being hurt with this. This decision won't thrive will thrive patent disputes even more, since every stupid and obvious animation can be patented and enforced in a court of law (at least in the US)...

      • ChangWang
      • 8 years ago

      I agree with some parts of this.

      I think we all can agree that Samsung should have lost on the majority of the trade dress stuff. But quite a few of those software patents are a wash. Couple that with a jury foreman that appears to only have his own best interests at heart and there you go.

      By own best intrests, what I mean is this guy wants the patent system strong. He wants that different processor jive to hold up. If you read his patent, it sounds like its basically a tivo (of which existed some years before he even filed). But if he can keep his patent valid by saying his invention doesn’t run on the same processor as a Tivo (or any other DVR type device), his patent wouldn’t be invalidated by prior art.

      • mcnabney
      • 8 years ago

      Since when does underlying processor architecture have anything to do with prior art? Hell, he could have used the same logic to support Samsung since the iOS and Android OS’s aren’t compatible.

        • Silus
        • 8 years ago

        Since this trial apparently, especially if the judge upholds the jury’s decision…this creates a HUGE precedent, one that will lead to more patent disputes and LESS products for consumers. Competition is now resumed to lawyers and pieces of paper, not actual products that consumers can choose to buy or not….Also to note that Apple already included the Galaxy S3 in their injunction to ban Samsung models, even though the Galaxy S3 was developed under the LAWYERS GUIDELINES to not infringe on any idiotic and worthless animation/design from Apple.

        Let’s imagine for a second that the same type of Apple idiocy went on in the graphics card market, where NVIDIA and AMD would sue each other to ban each others products based on the “look” of a freaking graphics card or how the cooler is so much similar in design to their own…Ridiculous, just ridiculous…these things CANNOT be subject to a patent, but the USPO is just a bunch of monkeys with stamps, so they grant these patents to Apple without even looking for prior art. But I’m sure this happens because Apple bribes them. I know stupidity has no bounds, but it just seems too stupid for the USPO to do it without compensation…

      • d0g_p00p
      • 8 years ago

      We are talking about people who line up and wait for days to purchase a new cell phone and had public wakes when a multi billion dollar CEO died. If that’s not a sad look at society than I don’t know what is.

    • tbone8ty
    • 8 years ago

    definitely need to get me steamrolling forcepad!

    • RtFusion
    • 8 years ago

    I should really listen to this podcast more. Only listened to a very few episodes.

    But from what listened to, its well produced, written, spoken, and I really like your guy’s voices. It has some “command” and “heft” in it I guess.

    Anyway, thanks again for the latest podcast.

      • jdrake
      • 8 years ago

      I use two plug-ins when editing to make the show sound better. One is called, “command”, and the other is called, “heft”. How did you know!!?!?!

    • odizzido
    • 8 years ago

    UT2004 really is far better than UT3. So sad.

    And talking about mods, Alien Swarm for UT2004 is great.

      • drfish
      • 8 years ago

      You should try a couple steps further back and try the best game based on the original UT engine, [url=<]Nerf Arena Blast[/url<]. Yes, I'm serious.

    • Arclight
    • 8 years ago

    Man i wish i could play at lanparties ๐Ÿ™
    The closest i came was playing lan on the local town network, which given the stable community was also fun, but i didn’t actually know those guys by name, rather by their nickname.

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