From The Desk Of Andrew Ku
Tom’s Hardware generally focuses on its bread and butter—giving you access to reviews of the latest PC-oriented hardware to help you make the right buying decisions. But today, we introduce to you a new feature that we’d like to publish on a more regular basis. Instead of going hands-on with graphics cards, CPUs, and motherboards, we are presenting business-oriented content emphasizing the hot issues relating to technology.
It’s funny—because we spend so much time going hands-on with hardware, the same analyst firms that everyone likes to cite are the ones who call us asking about this processor generation versus that one, how AMD’s graphics match up to Nvidia’s, and so on. We’ll give those companies our assessment, and you’ll often read about it later. The difference is that business analysts are often looking at larger trends from a quarter-to-quarter or year-to-year perspective. Compare this to the reviewer’s job--comparing a product to the next or last big technology to run through the labs. For example, IT administrators want to know if AMD’s new Opteron offerings provide better value over Nehalem-based Xeons. Meanwhile, business-focused readers want to know where and to what degree AMD can retake server market share.
So, on an early morning in June, Chris Angelini and I started tossing ideas back and forth, trying to figure out how to bring business content to Tom’s Hardware (he had already embarked on this quest after building a Xeon 5600-based machine). One of the ideas that I suggested stuck: start an industry dialogue about some of the most prevalent business trends and strategies.
However, we don’t want to just talk about our own opinions. This is an old and tired approach, and our insight isn’t necessarily straight from the horse’s mouth. Instead, our idea was to bring together leading industry figures directly involved in R&D, as well as the early product deployment process, to talk about hot topics.
We should make clear these are not marketing representatives sent to evangelize certain agendas. If they are, they’re pulling double duty as product managers. The primary duty of public relations is to get good press, and sometimes it is hard to get those folks out of that mode without having to resort to alcohol (Chris and I are both in agreement that it would probably be unwise to do so, anyway).
We specifically chose to talk to people in charge of the technical aspect of their company’s graphics business. Depending on the organization, we carefully selected GMs, VPs, heads of departments, and R&D engineers. It is important to note that these are people from headquarters, meaning they bring us their ideas from a global perspective.
There were no barriers in our quest. If we needed to use another language to find the people we wanted, we used it (that’s the beauty of working for a global media company). Distance did not deter us, and if you saw our international phone bill, you’d understand our dedication to this project. No stone was left unturned to find the people we needed. To our participants out there, we extend our most gracious thanks and sincerest apologies for the constant pestering.
Ultimately, we see this as a way to bring a better sense of industry dialog, answer a lot of your questions, end a lot of speculation, and hit you with surprising insights on the current and upcoming industry trends.
The anger that people showed towards Vista and it's horrible bloat should be directed to all major software companies. None of them have achieved anything worthwhile in a very long time.
Since the start of that idea, believed that IGP on the processor die could serve to offload math operations and complex transformations from CPU to IGP, freeing CPU cycles for doing what is intended to do.
Many years ago Apple made somewhat similar to this with their Quadra models that sported a dedicated DSP to offload some tasks from the processor to the DSP.
My personal view on all this hype is that we're going to a different computing model, from a point that all the work was directed to the CPU and making some small steps making that specialized processors around the CPU do part of the work of the CPU (think on the first fixed instruction graphics accelerators, sound cards that off-load CPU, Physx and others).
From a standalone CPU -> SMP ->A-SMP (Asymetric SMP).
But great read.
I agree with Snort and silky salamandr, we are held back by developments on the software side. Maybe because developers need to take backwards compatibility into consideration. Just take games for example: developers would like to keep the minimum and even recommended specs down so that they can get more customers to buy. So we see games made tough for the top-end hardware but, thru tweaks and reduced detail, can be played on a 6-year old Pentium 4 with a 128mb AGP card.
From a business consumer standpoint, and the fact that I work for a company that still uses tens of thousands of Pentium 4s for productivity related purposes, I figure that adoption of the GPU/CPU in the business space will not happen for another 5-7 years AFTER they launch. There is simply no need for an i3 if a Core2 derivative Pentium Dual Core or Athlon X2 could still do spreadsheet, word processing, email, research, etc. Pricing will definitely play into the timelines as the technology ages (or matures) but both companies will have to get money to pay for all that R&D from somewhere, right?