A Rumor popped up today that claims that Intel’s 14nm Broadwell might be pushed back to 2H 2014. This information comes as a slide that was posted on the site VR-Zone. In the slide it seems to show that the second generation of Haswell is now slated for release later than originally expected 2Q 2014 and with Boradwell slipping with it. The new information (if accurate) means that Intel will be pushing back their expected “tick” for desktop and dropping in a refresh instead (another “tock”?).
Asus at the Computex show introduced two new all-in-one computers. Computers come with a 23 or 27 inch screen, and are equipped with the latest generation of Intel processors (codenamed Haswell).
One of the great arguments in the PC industry is always who (or what) is faster. We all want to know what CPU, GPU, HDD, SDD, etc., is the fastest. We might not be able to buy that particular product, but we want to know, and we will scour the internet in the hopes of finding out which is truly the king. In these cases, the issue is often settled by the smallest margin (1-2 frames per second) which might not even be noticeable to the average person. However, there is a new term that is being swapped out for speed, and that is responsiveness. Unfortunately, responsiveness is not the same as speed or power, but this term is being used very often. During a recent trip to a local box store it was used to push a system that while responsive, was actually quite slow when put it to the test.
Today Anandtech had an announcement from Intel about a reduction to their desktop motherboard business with a ramp down planned over the next three years. This means that Intel will begin to bow out of this market slowly with an expected exit sometime around 2016. Intel will continue to work with third party manufacturers in the design and build of their boards including the development of reference boards for new form factors (like the one used for the Next Unit of Computing). The question is; what will this mean to both Intel and the rest of the desktop market? In truth it means very little to the majority of the market, but it is significant in many ways.
Gamers there is great news for you! According to Microsoft your text will now render up to 336% faster than in Windows 7! This means that if you are playing a text based game you are going to get blazing fast performance. Although not related to gamers the announcement that Windows 8 now renders text faster than Windows 7 due to DirectWrite has been used to create headlines that read Windows 8 Smokes Windows 7. Unfortunately Microsoft is only talking about 2D graphic and the user interface. Microsoft has also done something that is very disingenuous; they used percentages instead of raw numbers.
Although we have been saying this for months we are glad to finally see someone else pick on the fact that Microsoft has forgotten their most important market segment. We are talking about businesses and the enterprise. When we first saw Windows 8 and its MetroUI we were not a fan at all, this is because our first interaction with it was on a desktop PC where the keyboard and mouse controls were awkward and cumbersome. When we put the initial build (the original release from the build conference) onto our Asus EEE Slate EP121 we had a little better luck, but many of the touch and gesture controls were not working and we had to abandon the attempt and go back to Windows 7.
It seems that Microsoft might actually be listening to some of the criticism that has been flowing about their next generation operating systems. A few days ago we reported that Microsoft had made the decision to ship Visual Studio Express 2012 with support for Metro Apps only. This upset a large portion of the development community and was lambasted across the internet as a very dumb move.
Now that Windows 8 has hit the “general public” in the form of a developer’s preview we are starting to see the internet community chime in about whether they like it or not. I have been reading quite a bit of this (as you can imagine) and have been struck once again by how people complain about, yet resist and fear any type of change.
I have been working in the IT industry since the birth of Windows 3.0 one of my first large scale projects was implementing Windows 3.11 for workgroups into Fort Riley during my time with the US Army. I can remember the grumbling prior to this “new” software coming in about how the current system was terrible because it could not do this or that. When we brought Microsoft in (we even brought the early components of Office in) the same people that complained about the current UNIX based system were suddenly its biggest fan. I can remember one clerk who complained loudly and often about the system suddenly thought it was the best one we had. She did not like the new Windowed interface and Word was just horrible compared to her usual word processing application (which was called Wordstar).
Now take a big jump forward in time; Windows 8 is a rebuilt OS with a new (although somewhat cheesy) UI. Microsoft has really put in some effort to move with the market and change the OS to meet the needs of the new tablet based consumer. If you think about it more and more people are moving in the direction of the tablet/smart phone for their day to day needs. I am not saying it is there for productivity but for the general computing people do the tablet is the ideal platform. Microsoft HAD to change and reinvent its OS or it would be lost in the stampede of more and more powerful general usage tablets.
I personally own both an Android and Windows based tablet. One is the Asus EEE Slate EP121 the other is the Asus Transformer. When I want to tinker around or just surf the net I grab the light and small Tegra 2 armed (no pun intended) Transformer. When I want to do some work I grab the EP121 with its Core i5 470 UM and 4GB of RAM. The problem with Android (and even the iPad to a certain extent) is that there are no real productivity applications that truly work. Polaris Office, Documents to Go, and all of the others that I have tried all fall very short of the mark of MS Office or even Open Office. Apple knew this with the iPad so they came up with light versions of their productivity applications for iPad users. Android has nothing like this so it is hard for me to get real work done. Instead I surf the net looking for news and then add it to my Evernote account and pull out the EEE Slate or power up the desktop to get the real work done.
This brings us to Windows 8; Microsoft is taking a leaf out of Apple’s book here with their development of a light version of Windows 8 for ARM. It will give people a consistent feel to their computing experience. It the OS you run on your tablet looks and feels the same as the one you run on your desktop that is an improved user experience. Now you can also bet there is a version of Office in the works for ARM to keep that the same. It will be like the interaction between the iPad and Apple’s OSX clean and consistent. Microsoft is doing something very smart with this move and from what we are hearing many of the tablet makers are behind this movement. We know that nVidia certainly is.
Between now and the time that Windows 8 Launches (around November 2012) you will hear people taking sides ARM, x86, Windows 8, Windows 7 (much like those that did not want to leave XP), Tablet, Desktop, Laptop; the choices will be just as confused as some of the reasons to be on one side or the other. Just keep in mind that with one move Microsoft has made it possible to cover all of these. Windows 8 will work for ARM and x86. Windows 8 can run with the Metro UI for Tablets and can also run in Desktop Mode for more traditional PC’s and Laptops (giving you a Windows 7 feel). No matter the camp you are in it looks like Windows 8 could have something for you.
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