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December 18, 2022

Daily Tech News 18 December 2022

Three Months* To Christmas Edition

Top Story

  • No, Virginia, shader prefetching is not broken on AMD's new Radeon 7000 graphics cards. (Tom's Hardware)

    This rumour was circulating yesterday, based on a comment in the code for AMD's open source graphics drivers. It would be odd if prefetch didn't work on these new RDNA3 cards, because it worked in RDNA2 and indeed in the original RDNA.

    AMD has explained what that comment means: The feature that doesn't work and is disabled in the drivers is an experimental new prefetch mode planned for RDNA4.

    As the article points out, AMD has a history of including test features in production chips and just quietly not using them if they don't work or aren't needed yet (so long as none of the planned features are affected). The connection points needed for the cache chips in the 5800X3D gaming CPU and Milan-X server CPUs were included in every Ryzen die sold for at least a year before a product appeared that actually used them.

    So don't hold off buying an 7900 XT because of imaginary issues. Hold off because at $899 the $999 7900 XTX is better value.

    And if you're spending $999 on a 7900 XTX you might as well spend $1199 on the RTX 4080, which although slightly slower on rasterisation, has much better ray tracing, and of course Cuda support, and faster OpenCL in many cases.

    And if you're spending $1199 on an RTX 4080, you might as well go all the way and spend $1599 on the RTX 4090, which is in a class of its own and the fastest graphics card you can buy today.

    Which nobody should do because $1599 is far too much money to spend on a graphics card. (Never mind the Australian pricing, which is just horrifying.)

Tech News

  • I mentioned before that the upcoming lower-end Raptor Lake parts - the 13400 and 13500 in particular - may provide the best price-performance around for normal people who aren't buying RTX 4090s. The 13400, for example, has the same configuration and offers similar performance the the previous generation's 12600K, which cost around 50% more.

    That may be because it is the previous generation's 12600K. (Tom's Hardware)

    There's not a huge difference between the 13th generation cores and 12th generation; the major change is that Intel doubled the number of low-power Efficiency cores (E-cores).

    Since the 12400, 12500, and 12600 didn't include any E-cores at all, Intel can just re-use previous generation chips and not disable the E-cores this time around.

    Which sounds a bit sus but actually makes perfect sense; you get a faster CPU for your money and it's cheaper for Intel to produce.

    Ballpark numbers for multi-threaded workloads should put the 13400 at 25% faster than the 12400, and the 13500 at 50% faster than the 12500. Performance for single-threaded tasks won't change much, but those E-cores - four on the 13400, eight on the 13500 - will stop Windows cluttering up your P-cores with the infinite amount of bullshit it likes to do in the background.

    If pricing is similar to 12th generation the 13500 would be my recommendation for this generation for anyone who doesn't need absolute maximum performance - and who isn't concerned about threads running at different speeds.

    I need a couple of PCs for the new office and while my main workstation will be a Ryzen 7950X, anything else is likely to be a 13500.

  • Meanwhile in laptop land Intel's 13980HX will soon deliver 24 cores sort of. (WCCFTech)

    8 Performance cores (P-cores) and 16 E-cores. Sine E-cores run half as fast as P-cores, it will likely be the same speed overall as AMD's upcoming 16 core laptop CPUs.

  • -108 diopters. (Points de Vue)

    My eyesight is bad enough that I can't order bifocal or multifocal glasses online - I just have four pairs of glasses (reading, computer, distance, and sunglasses). But by ordering online four pairs work out cheaper than what I used to pay for a single pair locally. And also of course if I lose one pair there's another pair I can wear to find them.

    But -108 is a whole different ballpark, and indeed a new world record.

  • If you're running a public Minecraft server between versions 1.7.2 and 1.18.2 - which is a lot of versions, since it updates once or twice a year - time to get a patched version now. (Bleeping Computer)

    There's a worm in the wild actively exploiting unpatched Minecraft servers. You can tell it's evil because it's indented by two spaces.

  • This is that 8.4" tablet / gaming toy thingy I mentioned yesterday - the ONEXPLAYER 2.

    From above it looks perfectly reasonable and compact (when the controllers are detached) but as soon as he turns it at an angle you can see how chunky this thing is - it's a small production run of a complete PC with cooling fans, and thin is expensive.

    It's still an amazing little device and I'd love to get one. You can take off the controllers and turn them into a Bluetooth game controller, and there's an optional keyboard and pressure-sensitive stylus. And for the size, it's impressively powerful, with 8 CPU cores, 12 graphics cores, and up to 32GB of RAM and 2TB of NVMe SSD, plus a full 40Gbps USB 4 port.

    Not cheap though.

* Rule One of Project Estimation: Think of a number, double it, add one, and use the next larger unit.

Disclaimer: This may cause friction if you are using SI units. "Pixy, accounts payable wants to know why we just got an invoice for 201 kilometres of CAT8 cable."
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