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The TOTEM Poll: Totally Off Topic, Everything Media
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Old September 18th, 2004, 04:55 PM   #1
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computer evolution disappointment

Is it just me, or does it seem like computers are not evolving fast enough lately? Could this be the economy?

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Old September 18th, 2004, 05:12 PM   #2
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Not sure if you are right or not, but if so, maybe it's because computers these days already have more power than people can possibly use. My editing computer is powerful enough to launch a space shuttle and my cell phone has more processing power than most computers from the late '90s.

Besides editing HD and running more spyware in the background, what do we need more power for, besides just the sheer desire to have more power than the guy next door (which is a good enough reason for me really).
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Old September 18th, 2004, 07:19 PM   #3
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Well you're certainly right that most people don't need even as much power as we have now. So Apple and Microsoft keep making their user interfaces more graphics intensive to make us need a faster machine ;-) As you must have read, computer sales have levelled off for this very reason, as well as companies feeling an economic pinch over the past few years. Not many corporations are placing big orders for desktop computers, so I think that's slowing progress a bit as the computer manufacturers need someone to buy all the boxes they build.

But gamers are always hungy for more power, and so are those of us that edit video and do 3d modeling. Personally, I can't imagine a machine that would be too fast rendering 3d animation! I did a project with a lot of photorealistic 3d animation last year, and on my G4/1.25ghz some of the sequences took two hours to render one second (30 frames)of video! I'm sure the G5 would be a nice improvement, but only a baby step in the right direction...
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Old September 20th, 2004, 04:23 PM   #4
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I would disagree, John. I feel like I can't turn around without hearing about some sort of computer progress. Intel seems to be continually upping the ante with their Pentium chips (recently releasing their "extreme edition" chips, and currently getting ready to release 64-bit chips). AMD as well has been making strides with their own 64-bit chips. PCI Express (the PCI bus on steriods, so they say) has started appearing in new computers. Serial ATA, although not horribly new, is new enough and helping to increase hard drive data speeds.

And let's not forget laptops -- they seem to be continually improving and getting faster, whether it's improvements in mobile CPUs or the introduction of upgradable graphics cards.

I dunno -- I see improvements being made constantly. What do you think is missing from the PC landscape?
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Old September 20th, 2004, 05:58 PM   #5
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I understand what John's saying. We're not seeing the huge leaps in hardware performance that we saw in the past few years. There are incremental improvements going on, but not the type that make your current system feel obsolete overnight.

Partially I think it's because both Intel and AMD have run up against a wall with the current architecture. Faster CPU core speeds are not yielding significantly faster real-world performance. Both companies have pretty much said that the Mhz/Ghz rating is mostly a marketing tool anyway, and only very slightly a reflection of real performance in different applications.

From the recent chip introductions, it looks like both companies are preparing for multiple CPU core architectures which theoretically will yield significantly faster systems. But it's taking them some time to introduce the supporting technologies to take advantage of them. That may be what's holding up the big increases that we are used to seeing.

Well that, the economy, and lack of killer apps that need and can use the increased speed.
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Old September 20th, 2004, 06:38 PM   #6
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Moore's "Law" is still on track. CPU performance still is doubling every 18 months. The "Gee-Whiz" has worn out some. HD speeds are not jumping as fast though which helps the progress appear to be slow.

Actually, for the last 3 years, software has not progressed in speed that much. Our revolution is here. The new real-time HD NLEs will take care of all that slack speed and make computers seem slow enough again that we will notice when it doubles this next time. ;)
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Old September 20th, 2004, 06:41 PM   #7
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i think the prob lies in software. there just ain't enough software that advantage of the power that lies in hardware.

the other prob is there ain't enough real-time application of hardware/software in the 3D end of things. we still have to pre-render to get truly nice photorealistic CG. wouldn't it be nice to model, paint and render something in REAL time without having to wait ANY time at all for CG? that's what we're still waiting for. the day we conqueror that is the day we conquer hunger... ok maybe not the hunger part but at least we'll have REAL time 3D =).
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