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Fraggiebaby
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I need to purge more often.  Cleaning out some bookshelf space this weekend I found an ancient (in computer years) copy of "Caldera linux", copyright 1998 and CD still in it's sleeve attached to the back of the book.  :D  The CD showed signs of use and wikipedia had some interesting things to say about Caldera but I don't recall ever having a system that I'd installed this particular version of linux on.

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  • 1 month later...

Looking at the specs for the just-announced AMD GPUs and I'm just not feeling it.  People are thrilled that the top AMD card is competitive with the top nV card at $500 cheaper.  Sorry, $1k for a GFX card is still a non-starter.  Is it just me?  🤔

And the new "low end" card is still $600!  Somewhere, somehow, things went horribly wrong in the GPU market.  My "old" RX480 needs 150 Watts to give me a G3D Mark of 8523.  The RX590 takes 175W to give me 9487.  That's a 16% power increase for an ~11% performance increase.  (And let's not talk about the higher price as well.)  Fail.  For a while it looked like the new cards were trying.  The RX5700 requires even higher power - 180W - but gives a benchmark of 14458.  I'd have bought it if the power were equal or less and the prices weren't almost double what I paid for my RX480.  It is the same story on the nvidia side, just with slightly different numbers.  The "mid range" rtx 3070 is 220W for a benchmark of 21617 at a price of $600.  (Assuming you can find them in stock.)

Now the new cards are up in the 300W territory!  Not only that but the murketing is obfuscating the true power draw behind terms like TDP or thermal design power.  (Though I have to give props to AMD for talking about the TBP, or total board power, of their new GFX cards in Su's presentation.  You have to dig several layers down in nvidia's product web sites to find that information on their cards.)  The top card out there, nvidia's 3090, is $1500, requires a full 350W, and for all that only benches at 25343.

350W?? $1500??   My 480 is sli-capable.  If I'd bought 4 cards for $220 each instead of just the one then I'd have spent "only" $900 for a benchmark of around 34,000 and a power requirement of 600W.. a "solution" only slightly more ridiculous than what I'm seeing the industry offer me today.  This is electronics we're talking about here.  Where's the better-performing option at a cheaper price?  Just give me a board that costs less than $200, requires 100W or less, and benches at better than my old RX480.  For discussion's sake let's shoot for double the benchmark, or around 18000.  This is nearly 5 years after my RX480 was released (June, 2016) after all.  They ought to be able to manage that much at least but if you search a GPU database that card simply does not exist.  In my mind a GTX1660 or a RX580 from 2 or 3 years ago is still the better buy.

edit:  seems like most of the gaming world thinks the same, at least according to Steam.  Steam's hardware survey page shows the top GPU slots still mainly occupied by nvidia 10-series and AMD RX500-series boards.  The top slot is the GTX1060 with 10.37% of Steam users using it.  After that there's the 1050ti, the 1050, 1070, and 1650.  Then there's the first 20-series board, the 2060, at 2.9% of users.  The %age of Steam gamers using things like the RX5700 or the 2080Ti - combined - is in the single digits.  Too early to see anything like nvidia's 30-series in the list and AMD's RX6900 won't even be available for a few more weeks yet but I think it will be quite a while before very many gamers are using those either.

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Edited by efaardvark
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  • 3 weeks later...

Been working my google-fu for several days (not solid, but off & on) trying to find a way to get [email protected] to use my GPU /and/ my CPU, instead of just my CPU. 

My GFX card is an "old" Radeon RX480.  I'm running the open-source "amdgpu" driver for this card because it works well for general gaming/desktop uses.   There is also a proprietary driver from AMD for this card but the driver doesn't work as well for 3d games or general desktop uses.  AMD (like nvidia) has also been removing support for older cards from their driver.  No doubt to "encourage" people to buy their newer, much more expensive cards.  My card is in the "barely supported" category in the AMD driver and could get dropped at any time so .. not really a viable "upgrade" option at this point. 

Distributed-computing projects like [email protected] also use a software library like OpenCL.  OpenCL works with the gfx card driver to access the GPU hardware for compute-processes like a regular gfx driver does for games and provides such applications a framework for submitting computations and getting results back instead of having something rendered to a screen buffer somewhere.  Projects like [email protected] generally require at least OpenCL v2.x.

The AMD-proprietary driver actually comes with AMD's own implementation of the OpenCL 2.1 spec so that would be ok if I didn't mind the closed-source option and the looming end-of-life decree from AMD for my card.  :( 

Fortunately the amdgpu driver I'm using also supports/works with OpenCL.  Theoretically that just makes it a matter of finding and installing the right OpenCL drivers/libraries.  Ubuntu does ship with the mesa-OpenCL package, but there's a known bug in that library's implementation of the sortShortList code for my card that hits distributed-computing projects like [email protected], causing them to pseudo-randomly break when confronted with certain work-units.  That'll probably be fixed soon (may have already been fixed "upstream"), but then Ubuntu will have to get around to updating their mesa-OpenCL package in the distro's repository.  There's a couple other options out there for intel- or nvidia-based GPUs that don't help me with my card. 

Best option is probably something like ROCm (Radeon Open Compute).  ROCm implements the OpenCL 2.x spec and supports my gfx card, but it isn't in the Ubuntu package repository and installing it looks to be a bit of a pain.  (I'd have to add the ROCm repository, then perform a series of package download/install/reboot cycles to get everything installed.  That or download the source and compile and install the whole thing myself.)

So the TL;DR version is I think I'll stick with just using my CPU for now.  Maybe I'll revisit the topic when/if I get a new GPU that's better-supported wrt OpenCL, or if a new version of the mesa-opencl code comes to the Ubuntu repositories.

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Looking for a new webcam.  My old one was a Logitech 270C but a friend needed a new one because his was a POS so I let him have mine.  (Not exactly being altruistic.. his audio in Discord sessions sucked and his video was always black-on-dark.  I got tired of dealing with it. ;)  Besides, I'm stuck working at work for the next couple weeks so I won't need it for webex etc. while working from home and I've been thinking of getting a new one anyway.)

I'm not looking for anything especially fancy.  Nothing wrong with the old one really but it was only 3 megapixel and didn't have a way to adjust the pointing horizontally when attached to the top of my monitor like I like to do.  The mic was mono too, which left the audio a bit flat.  It did have good audio processing to pick up the voice and not the background though.. I'd like to keep that.  It was also pretty good at auto-adjusting the color and light levels, though not so great in dim light.  I'm on linux so nothing that requires Windows drivers or configuration software.  (I wouldn't use such even on Windows.  Webcams should be like microphones.. plug them in and they work.  If it is more complicated than that then you're doing it wrong.)  Finally of course not too expensive either.  I think I spent like $30 on the 270 a couple years ago.  Nothing in the $200+ range.  (Well, unless it can actually attend my tele-meetings for me.  :)Keep it real.

I'd be ok with just buying the same old 270 (or step up to something like the C525) as a replacement but that was from a couple years ago and since everyone is working from home these days I thought I'd throw this out there and ask what everyone else is currently using.  Anyone using something that they either love or hate, webcam-wise?  Kind of leaning towards a Anivia Full HD Webcam 1080p at this point but I'm still in the talking-to-myself-about-it stage.

 

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  • 4 months later...

I was thinking today that if the GPU pricing / availability situation goes on like this for much longer then I may consider replacing my "old" Ryzen 2700X CPU with something like one of the upcoming 5800G APUs.. and selling my old radeon RX480 gfx card on ebay to pay for it.

Another entry for the "weird things COVID made us do" column.

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On 4/10/2021 at 7:41 AM, efaardvark said:

I was thinking today that if the GPU pricing / availability situation goes on like this for much longer then I may consider replacing my "old" Ryzen 2700X CPU with something like one of the upcoming 5800G APUs.. and selling my old radeon RX480 gfx card on ebay to pay for it.

Another entry for the "weird things COVID made us do" column.

I think the availability problem will continue for a bit longer, I fear maybe even into the next year, but I'm sure at least until fall. I only hope my Laptop isn't going break...

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6 hours ago, leinwandname said:

I think the availability problem will continue for a bit longer, I fear maybe even into the next year, but I'm sure at least until fall. I only hope my Laptop isn't going break...

That’s another thing I’m looking for.  My old laptop is one of the 2013(ish?) MacBook airs.  It was old and slow and I was looking to replace it even before COVID.  System76s “pangolin” model looks nice.. or would if it were ever in stock.

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4 hours ago, efaardvark said:

That’s another thing I’m looking for.  My old laptop is one of the 2013(ish?) MacBook airs.  It was old and slow and I was looking to replace it even before COVID.  System76s “pangolin” model looks nice.. or would if it were ever in stock.

Oh man that's a sexy laptop. I've been thinking about getting a new one in the near future, probably once I pass my board exams. I'm still running on a 2015 Macbook as my main computer, but the thing has been surprisingly resilient. Nonetheless its age is beginning to show. Might have to watch this line.

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Ryzen 7 7000-series CPUs rumored with Zen 4 on 5nm and DDR5 .. and maybe announced as early as CES 2021.  APU versions with NAVI finally too.  In a laptop?  Yes please!

https://planetsmarts.com/2021/04/13/ryzen-7000-apus-will-combine-a-zen-4-cpu-and-an-rdna-2-gpu/

 

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On 4/11/2021 at 9:57 PM, Wedgy said:

Oh man that's a sexy laptop. I've been thinking about getting a new one in the near future, probably once I pass my board exams. I'm still running on a 2015 Macbook as my main computer, but the thing has been surprisingly resilient. Nonetheless its age is beginning to show. Might have to watch this line.

With computers I usually go for, as long as it works it works, even if it's a bit slower. (can always mitigate this with light weight SW). I did by a new Laptop for Uni but only because I used to only have a desktop PC (which still works fine, though you see the difference in loading/booting/compiling time...)

 

On 4/11/2021 at 5:34 PM, efaardvark said:

That’s another thing I’m looking for.  My old laptop is one of the 2013(ish?) MacBook airs.  It was old and slow and I was looking to replace it even before COVID.  System76s “pangolin” model looks nice.. or would if it were ever in stock.

I like the idea of System76, the only thing I wonder is, if I install another Distro than PopOS! how much "optimization" I'd loose. They did put their drivers on the AUR, but since their PopOS! is custom made they probably optimized their HW and SW for this....

That being said, it's not like any other machine is optimized for Linux anyway and its mostly about drivers, I guess.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thinking about updating my "old" 2700X CPU in my main desktop to something like a 5900X.  A 5900X is 50% more cores and more than double the performance overall, but since it uses the same AM4 socket and has the same heat dissipation it is theoretically a simple drop-in replacement for the 2700x.  Just have to decide if I want to pay for the upgrade.  (And find one in stock.)

I haven't made any significant upgrades to the system since I built it over a year ago so I can somewhat justify the upgrade based on the magnitude of the performance difference.  To do it right I should probably upgrade the memory too tho.  Currently I'm using 3400Mhz RAM OCed to 3600.  The (x470) motherboard+BIOS supports up to 4400Mhz.  That would add another few $$$ to the expense.

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  • 1 month later...

Anyone heard anything interesting from computex this year?  I watched the keynotes but.. Frankly Intel’s put me to sleep.  (What were they even talking about?)  The more interesting bits of AMD’s and nvidia’s keynotes I just couldn’t get too excited about either.  I mean, who needs announcements of more unobtainable products?  Did I miss something?  Maybe there will be some more interesting products announced later this week?

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  • 2 weeks later...

Was not sure if I should post this here or make a new thread but I am currently in the process of building a new pc. It's been a few years and I'm struggling with the whole gpu situation. Am I better off waiting for prices to go down or is over paying for one unavoidable at this point? 

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17 hours ago, mechaBD said:

Was not sure if I should post this here or make a new thread but I am currently in the process of building a new pc. It's been a few years and I'm struggling with the whole gpu situation. Am I better off waiting for prices to go down or is over paying for one unavoidable at this point? 

I feel your pain.  GPU prices at 3x (or more!) of the balance-of-system prices are ridiculous.  I was fortunate enough that I bought an 8GB Radeon RX 480 just before the cryptominers bid up the price a couple/few years ago.  The 480 is still serviceable but I've built two systems since then & I'd have liked to upgrade the GPU somewhere along the line since then.  The newer cards are at least 3x as performant, albeit at 10x the price.  I think waiting is your only real hope. 

That said, if you -need- a new system now then I think the best plan is to get one of the AMD (or maybe Intel) CPUs with an integrated GPU.  I recently built a set-top box system based on an ASRock "deskmini" chassis and an 4/8-core Ryzen 5 3400G APU.  It turned out surprisingly capable.  Actual GFX benchmarks are scarce for AMD's APUs but I can vouch that the above system was able to run several 3D games I tried - KSP, Valheim, Minecraft - at playable frame rates.  I also saw this YT demo of a system w/5700G a couple weeks ago.

Now, I'm not recommending my case/system above as your main system.  (To be sure it doesn't compete with a system with a dedicated GPU but that wasn't the intended use nor was a discrete GPU an option with this case/mobo.)   However, with that experience I'm thinking that if you got a regular case and filled it with a nice motherboard that had an a4 socket, BIOS support for one of the newer 4000- or 5000-series Ryzen A4 APU, and a free PCI slot, then going for an APU in the initial build might be an alternative worth considering.  You could have a working system now, then fill the PCI slot with a discrete GPU as/if prices come down.  Once you have a decent GPU in there then you can upgrade the CPU to something more powerful as well.  AMD's A4 socket and a decent mobo can take you as far as you want without having to upgrade to a new motherboard.  All the way up to a 16/32-core Ryzen™ 9 5950X if you want (and don't mind the $800 price).  Depending on how much GFX performance you need then the APU might even be enough by itself to keep you going until the DDR5 systems/chipsets come out.  By then you'll want to upgrade the mobo anyway.

Even CPUs are still somewhat hard to find in stock however, especially the newer 5000-series APUs, so that's one problem with this approach.  Not a perfect plan but that's the path I'd look at first if I absolutely had to buy/build a new one.  Personally though I'm probably just going to keep waiting.  As long as my current Ryzen 7 2700x + RX 480 system continues working anyway.

hth..

 

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On 6/13/2021 at 10:00 PM, mechaBD said:

Was not sure if I should post this here or make a new thread but I am currently in the process of building a new pc. It's been a few years and I'm struggling with the whole gpu situation. Am I better off waiting for prices to go down or is over paying for one unavoidable at this point? 

GN just did a look-see into building a system with a CPU + IGP compared to a CPU + discrete GPU.  They compared an AMD 5600G to i3-10100 + GT 1030.  As usual from GN there's lots of testing and numbers but if you're into that sort of thing it is worth a watch...

 

 

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  • 4 weeks later...

I’ve wanted to build my own computer for a very long time now. I think it would be amazing. 

Sadly, I most definitely do not have the money or the space for it. 

I use some Asus laptop (I have no idea which one) that has served me well for several years now. 

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 7/10/2021 at 7:35 PM, Kohloo said:

I’ve wanted to build my own computer for a very long time now. I think it would be amazing. 

Sadly, I most definitely do not have the money or the space for it. 

I use some Asus laptop (I have no idea which one) that has served me well for several years now. 

They don't have to be big.  I have a system in an ASRock "Deskmini" case that I'm typing this on and it is only 155 x 155 x 80 mm (or 6.1 x 6.1 x 3.1 inches if you prefer).  You can even get a mount for attaching the case to your monitor's VESA mount so you don't have to lose any desk space.  Put one of AMD's 5000-series APUs that they just released yesterday in there and you don't have to pay for a discrete GPU, so you save some $$$($$$$$$) too.  The APU's built-in GPUs don't have the performance of discrete GPUs but they do beat anything you'll find in a laptop.  Mine has an older, 4-core  Ryzen 5 3400G in it and it'll still run things like Minecraft, Valheim, and Kerbal Space Program.

The other thing I'd like try is start with a mini-itx case such as Cooler Master's Elite 130.  That case is somewhat larger than the deskmini - though still pretty small for a desktop PC - but would let you use desktop parts.  It also gives you a full-length PCI slot.  Again, put an APU in there and leave off the GFX card for now.  The desktop RAM would be faster and help a lot with an APU's performance, but you could still add a GFX card later if/when prices come down.

Edited by efaardvark
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I really want to do a build like this.  With GPU prices still ridiculously high and CPUs with built-in GPUs like AMD's 5700G it seems like one ought to be able to get some pretty good performance even in the under-$1k build category.  In a case like this one you still have the option of adding a discrete GPU in a PCI slot if/when prices come down.  Likewise AMD's A4 socket supports upgrading the CPU if/when the need arises as well.

 

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Looks like System76's "pangolin" laptop has been updated.  It now has either a 6/12 core Ryzen 5 5500U or an 8/16 core Ryzen 7 5700U mobile APU in place of the "old" 4000-series CPUs.  And a bump in the base price from $900 (iirc) to $1200 unfortunately.  (Not that it matters since you still can't buy one anyway.)  I think the keyboard might have been updated as well.  I didn't save the old specs and I'm too lazy to go dig in the archive but I don't recall it being multicolor.

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18 hours ago, efaardvark said:

Looks like System76's "pangolin" laptop has been updated.  It now has either a 6/12 core Ryzen 5 5500U or an 8/16 core Ryzen 7 5700U mobile APU in place of the "old" 4000-series CPUs.  And a bump in the base price from $900 (iirc) to $1200 unfortunately.  (Not that it matters since you still can't buy one anyway.)  I think the keyboard might have been updated as well.  I didn't save the old specs and I'm too lazy to go dig in the archive but I don't recall it being multicolor.

Went back today and it turns out I lied.  You can buy one!  Or at least order one anyway.  So I did.  :D  I hope this works out.  The last time I bought a new laptop was my old 2013-vintage MacBook Air so I'm looking forward to having something a bit more modern to work with.

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I've got two computers in my workstation space:

Dell Optiplex 7020 - Intel Core i7-4770 @ 3.4Ghz (4 cores), 16 GB RAM, 512 GB SSD + 1 TB SSHD, Radeon RX 560 w/ 4GB VRAM

Apple MacBook Air - M1 processor @ 3.2Ghz (4 performance + 4 efficiency cores), 16 GB RAM, 256 GB internal SSD + 1 TB external SSD

I've mainly been using the MacBook Air as my daily driver ever since I got it, and have no complaints outside of needing to buy an external adapter to plug it in through my HDMI/USB KVM switch. As far as speed goes, this thing absolutely flies. The graphics performance is roughly on par with my PC's Radeon RX560, although admittedly most games that I've run on it so far are not M1 native. 

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On 9/2/2021 at 10:17 AM, pathospades said:

I want the Steam Deck to be my new computer. I'm holding out until it becomes available, but I fear scalpers are gonna scalp.

I don't think it could be my main computer but it certainly is intriguing.  As a portable gaming system it looks awesome.  My last portable is/was an old(!) NIntendo 3DS & I've thought of replacing it with a switch several times but never pulled the trigger.  If I had more time for games I would probably get a Steam Deck at this point but I just don't.  (I have 2 games sitting untouched in my steam library that I've been trying to find time to play for several months now as it is.  :veryangry:💢 )

 

5 hours ago, KrutoyChuvak said:

Apple MacBook Air - M1 processor @ 3.2Ghz (4 performance + 4 efficiency cores), 16 GB RAM, 256 GB internal SSD + 1 TB external SSD

I have a coworker who just bought an M1 Air and loves it.  He almost got me to buy one too as an upgrade to my old MB Air.  They're nice systems but I've kind of moved away from Apple since I bought my MBA.  When I set up my current desktop - an AMD 2700X-based "PC" system - I put linux on it so I decided my next laptop needs to be linux as well.  I've always been a unix guy anyway.  (Or at least since the '90s when Commodore went out of business.)

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  • 3 months later...

I learned everything I know about computers from Linus Tech Tips. I even built my own gaming PC before. I was however irked that he's an RGB addict. Those RGB may look cool but they just up your TDP.

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