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      You’re the OS is a game that will make you feel for your poor, overworked system

      news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Tuesday, 15 August, 2023 - 17:49 · 1 minute

    Screenshot of You're the OS game, with multi-colored processes and gray memory pages

    Enlarge / If I click the "I/O Events" in the upper-left corner, maybe some of the frozen processes with a little hourglass will unfreeze. But how soon? Before the other deep-red processes die? I can't work under these conditions! (credit: Pier-Luc Brault)

    I spent nearly 20 minutes this morning trying to be a good operating system, but you know what? People expect too much of their computers.

    I worked hard to rotate processes through CPU slots, I was speedy to respond to I/O requests, and I didn't even let memory pages get written to disk. But the user—some jerk that I'm guessing keeps 32 shopping tabs open during work—kept rage-quitting as processes slid in attrition from bright green to red to "red with a frozen face emoji." It made me want to get four more cores or potentially just kill a process out of spite. If they were a writer, like me, I'd kill the sandboxed tab with their blog editor open. Learn to focus, scribe!

    You're the OS! is a browser game that combines stress, higher-level computer design appreciation, and panic-clicking exercise. Creator Pier-Luc Brault says specifically that the game "has not been created with education in mind," but it might introduce people to principles like process scheduling and memory swapping—"as long as it is made clear that it is not an exact depiction." Brault, a computer science teacher himself, writes that they may use the game to teach about cores, RAM shortages, and the like.

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      SGX, Intel’s supposedly impregnable data fortress, has been breached yet again

      news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Tuesday, 9 August, 2022 - 17:01

    Architectural bug in some Intel CPUs is more bad news for SGX users

    Enlarge (credit: Intel)

    Intel’s latest generation of CPUs contains a vulnerability that allows attackers to obtain encryption keys and other confidential information protected by the company’s software guard extensions, the advanced feature that acts as a digital vault for security users’ most sensitive secrets.

    Abbreviated as SGX, the protection is designed to provide a fortress of sorts for the safekeeping of encryption keys and other sensitive data, even when the operating system or a virtual machine running on top is maliciously compromised. SGX works by creating trusted execution environments that protect sensitive code and the data it works with from monitoring or tampering by anything else on the system.

    Cracks in Intel’s foundational security

    SGX is a cornerstone of the security assurances many companies provide to users. Servers used to handle contact discovery for the Signal Messenger, for instance, rely on SGX to ensure the process is anonymous. Signal says running its advanced hashing scheme provides a “general recipe for doing private contact discovery in SGX without leaking any information to parties that have control over the machine, even if they were to attach physical hardware to the memory bus.”

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      Intel claims its new Tiger Lake-H CPUs for laptops beat AMD’s Ryzen 5000

      Samuel Axon · news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Tuesday, 11 May, 2021 - 19:39

    Intel

    Enlarge / Intel's new Core i9-11980HK leads the 11th-gen laptop CPU lineup. (credit: Intel )

    Intel today announced 10 new 11th-generation CPUs for high-performance laptops like those made for gamers or content creators. Built on the 10nm SuperFin process, the new chips are in the Core i9, Core i7, Core i5, and Xeon families, and they carry the label "Tiger Lake-H."

    New consumer laptop CPUs include the Core i9-11980HK, Core i9-11900H, Core i7-11800H—all of which have eight cores—plus the Core i5-11400H and Core i5-11260H, which each have six cores.

    Naturally, Intel today put the spotlight on the fastest Core i9-11980HK chip. The company claims this CPU is able to beat its predecessor by several percentage points in games like Hitman 3 or Rainbow Six: Siege , depending on the game—anywhere from 5 percent to 21 percent, according to Intel's own testing.

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      Nvidia wants to buy CPU designer Arm—Qualcomm is not happy about it

      Jim Salter · news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Friday, 12 February, 2021 - 22:26 · 1 minute

    Some current Arm licensees view the proposed acquisition as highly toxic.

    Enlarge / Some current Arm licensees view the proposed acquisition as highly toxic. (credit: Aurich Lawson / Nvidia)

    In September 2020, Nvidia announced its intention to buy Arm, the license holder for the CPU technology that powers the vast majority of mobile and high-powered embedded systems around the world.

    Nvidia's proposed deal would acquire Arm from Japanese conglomerate SoftBank for $40 billion—a number which is difficult to put into perspective. Forty billion dollars would represent one of the largest tech acquisitions of all time, but 40 Instagrams or so doesn't seem like that much to pay for control of the architecture supporting every well-known smartphone in the world, plus a staggering array of embedded controllers, network routers, automobiles, and other devices.

    Today’s Arm doesn’t sell hardware

    Arm's business model is fairly unusual in the hardware space, particularly from a consumer or small business perspective. Arm's customers—including hardware giants such as Apple, Qualcomm, and Samsung—aren't buying CPUs the way you'd buy an Intel Xeon or AMD Ryzen. Instead, they're purchasing the license to design and/or manufacture CPUs based on Arm's intellectual property. This typically means selecting one or more reference core designs, putting several of them in one system on chip (SoC), and tying them all together with the necessary cache and other peripherals.

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      White House scrambles to address global chip shortage

      Eric Bangeman · news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Friday, 12 February, 2021 - 15:12

    Ford has cut production at its Chicago facility from three shifts to one as a global chip shortage takes a toll on the car industry.

    Enlarge / Ford has cut production at its Chicago facility from three shifts to one as a global chip shortage takes a toll on the car industry. (credit: Scott Olson | Getty Images)

    The Biden administration has pledged to take immediate action to address a global shortage of semiconductors that has forced the closure of several US car plants.

    Jen Psaki, White House press secretary, said the administration was "identifying potential chokepoints in the supply chain" after coming under pressure from lawmakers, semiconductor companies and car manufacturers over the shortages.

    A surge in demand for consumer electronics during the pandemic has led to the shortage of chips, which has been exacerbated in the US by sanctions on SMIC, the Chinese chipmaker.

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      A quick Intel CES roundup: New gaming laptop CPUs and a glimpse at Alder Lake

      Samuel Axon · news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Tuesday, 12 January, 2021 - 18:58 · 1 minute

    The Consumer Electronics Show this week was never going to be where Intel would venture into extreme detail on major new 12th-generation CPUs, but nonetheless, the company hosted a press conference this morning that laid out a few new evolutions of the 11th-gen CPUs it has already been shipping, plus an early look at what to expect from the 12th-generation Alder Lake.

    Using an improved version of the 10nm SuperFin process, Alder Lake will take on Apple's ARM instruction set-based M1 chip and its ilk with a somewhat similar architecture. Namely, that means a hybrid architecture of high-performance (Golden Lake) and high-efficiency (Gracemont) cores similar in spirit to ARM's BIG.little design, and to Lakefield. Intel says these are desktop and laptop CPUs and that they'll reach consumers in the second half of 2021, but details are otherwise pretty sparse.

    More than anything, it looks like Intel is trying to get ahead of the narrative that the company is facing some serious challenges ahead as Macs with M1 CPUs delivered much better price-to-performance ratios than what Intel is currently putting in competing devices—especially in the face of Intel's delays.

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      How an obscure British PC maker invented ARM and changed the world

      Ars Contributors · news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Sunday, 20 December, 2020 - 14:00 · 1 minute

    How an obscure British PC maker invented ARM and changed the world

    Enlarge (credit: Jason Torchinsky)

    Let's be honest: 2020 sucks. So much of this year has been a relentless slog of bad news and miserable events that it's been hard to keep up. Yet most of us have kept up, and the way most of us do so is with the small handheld computers we carry with us at all times. At least in America, we still call these by the hilariously reductive name "phones."

    We can all use a feel-good underdog story right now, and luckily our doomscrolling 2020 selves don't have to look very far. That's because those same phones, and so much of our digital existence, run on the same thing: the ARM family of CPUs . And with Apple's release of a whole new line of Macs based on their new M1 CPU —an ARM-based processor—and with those machines getting fantastic reviews , it's a good time to remind everyone of the strange and unlikely source these world-controlling chips came from.

    If you were writing reality as a screenplay, and, for some baffling reason, you had to specify what the most common central processing unit used in most phones, game consoles, ATMs, and other innumerable devices was, you'd likely pick one from one of the major manufacturers, like Intel. That state of affairs would make sense and fit in with the world as people understand it; the market dominance of some industry stalwart would raise no eyebrows or any other bits of hair on anyone.

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      Mac mini and Apple Silicon M1 review: Not so crazy after all

      Samuel Axon · news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Thursday, 19 November, 2020 - 14:03

    Apple is crazy, right? The Mac just had its best year of sales ever, and Cupertino is hitting the platform with a shock like it hasn’t had in nearly 15 years—back in a time when the Mac was not having such a good year. Apple is beginning the process of replacing industry-standard Intel chips with its own, custom-designed silicon.

    In a way, we're not just reviewing the new Mac mini—a Mac mini is always a Mac mini, right? We're reviewing an ARM-based Mac for the first time. And this is not exactly the same story as all the other ARM machines we've looked at before, like Windows 10 on ARM—a respectable option with some serious tradeoffs.

    Sure, longer battery life and quick waking from sleep are already out there on other ARM computers. But as you may have seen in our hands-on earlier this week , what we're encountering here is also a performance leap—and as you'll also see in this review, a remarkable success at making this new architecture compatible with a large library of what could now, suddenly, be called legacy Mac software.

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      A history of Intel vs. AMD desktop performance, with CPU charts galore

      Jim Salter · news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Tuesday, 17 November, 2020 - 12:30 · 2 minutes

    A tortoise and a hare are on a racetrack.

    Enlarge / Spoiler: When it comes to performance over the years, Intel is the slow and steady tortoise to AMD's speedy-but-intermittent hare. (credit: Aurich Lawson / Getty Images )

    The comment wars between Intel and AMD fans have been hot for the last few release cycles, with a lot of digital ink spilled about which company has—or has not—improved significantly over the years. There's been no shortage of opinions about the current raw performance of each company's fastest processors, either. We thought it would be interesting to dive into archived performance benchmarks of the fastest desktop/enthusiast CPUs for each company to get a good overview of how each has really done over the years—and perhaps to even see if there are patterns to be gleaned or to make some bets about the future.

    Before we dive into charts, let's start out with some tables—that way, you can see which CPUs we're using as milestones for each year. While we're at it, there are a couple of irregularities in the data; we'll discuss those also and talk about the things that a simple chart won't show you.

    Twenty years of enthusiast computing

    Year Intel Model AMD Model Notes
    2001 Pentium 4 2.0GHz (1c/1t) Athlon XP 1900+ (1c/1t)
    2002 Pentium 4 2.8GHz (1c/2t) Athlon XP 2800+ (1c/1t) Intel introduces hyperthreading
    2003 Pentium 4 Extreme 3.2GHz (1c/2t) Athlon XP 3200+ (1c/1t)
    2004 Pentium 4 3.4GHz (1c/2t) Athlon 64 FX-55 (1c/1t)
    2005 Pentium 4 3.8GHz (1c/2t) Athlon 64 X2 4800+ (2c/2t)
    2006 Pentium Extreme 965 (2c/4t) Athlon 64 X2 5000+ (2c/2t) Intel takes the undisputed performance lead here—and keeps it for a decade straight.
    2007 Core 2 Extreme QX6800 (4c/4t) Phenom X4 9600 (4c/4t) Intel and AMD both launch the first true quad-core desktop CPUs
    2008 Core 2 Extreme X9650 (4c/4t) Phenom X4 9950 (4c/4t)
    2009 Core i7-960 (4c/8t) Phenom II X4 965 (4c/4t)
    2010 Core i7-980X (6c/12t) Phenom II X6 1100T (6c/6t) Intel and AMD both introduce hex-core desktop CPUs
    2011 Core i7-990X (6c/12t) FX-8150 (8c/8t)
    2012 Core i7-3770K (4c/8t) FX-8350 (8c/8t) Intel abandons hex-core desktop CPUs—but few miss them, due to large single-threaded gains
    2013 Core i7-4770K (4c/8t) FX-9590 (8c/8t) AMD's underwhelming FX-9590 launches—and it's Team Red's last enthusiast CPU for four long years
    2014 Core i7-4790K (4c/8t) FX-9590 (8c/8t) Intel's 5th generation Core dies stillborn. AMD releases low-power APUs, but no successor to FX-9590
    2015 Core i7-6700K (4c/8t) FX-9590 (8c/8t)
    2016 Core i7-7700K (4c/8t) FX-9590 (8c/8t) Strictly speaking, 2016 was an Intel whiff—Kaby Lake didn't actually launch until January 2017
    2017 Core i7-8700K (6c/12t) Ryzen 7 1800X (8c/16t) Launch of AMD's Zen architecture, return of the Intel hex-core desktop CPU
    2018 Core i9-9900K (8c/16t) Ryzen 7 2700X (8c/16t)
    2019 Core i9-9900KS (8c/16t) Ryzen 9 3950X (16c/32t) AMD's Zen 2 architecture launches, Intel whiffs hard in the performance segment
    2020 Core i9-10900K (10c/20t) Ryzen 9 5950X (16c/32t) AMD's Zen 3 finally crushes Intel's long-held single-threaded performance record

    Although both Intel and AMD obviously launch a wide array of processors for different price points and target markets each year, we're limiting ourselves to the fastest desktop or "enthusiast" processor from each year. That means no server processors and no High-End Desktop (HEDT) processors either—so we won't be looking at either Threadrippers or the late model XE series Intel parts.

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