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krisi
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finally
krisi   12/13/2013 3:42:38 PM
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Finally someone is recognizing that you can't do engineering work on a smart phone or tablet...Kris

garydpdx
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Re: finally
garydpdx   12/13/2013 7:46:18 PM
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Word!  In another thread, someone mentioned that this year's Black Friday computer specials involved costlier but higher performance machines.  I feel that reflects how tablets and smartphones have been displacing low-end PC's, not mid-level and high performance (or business) PC's especially laptops.

This is even reflected at Apple, where the plastic-cased Macbook was ended when the Macbook Air came out, and they kept the Macbook Pro.  (Disclaimer: I use a BYOD dual boot MBP with OS X and Windows 7, for personal and work respectively, and can travel for business with just one computer!  And I run ESL SystemC simulations on Windows 7.)

daleste
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Re: finally
daleste   12/15/2013 12:57:58 PM
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Don't forget the gaming market.  A lot of these higher end desktop computers go to the serious gamers.

Caleb Kraft
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Re: finally
Caleb Kraft   12/16/2013 9:20:33 AM
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oh absolutely. I think people underestimate both: a) how many people could completely switch to something like a tablet, and b) how many people absolutely need a workhorse.


For my own work I could use a tablet 90% of the time but do find that occassionally I need to boot up the behemoth for some serious number crunching.

Wilco1
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Re: finally
Wilco1   12/14/2013 5:00:58 AM
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PC's will certainly continue to exist in the workplace. However desktop PC's are way too slow for serious engineering work. All of the real work I do is done on large clusters of servers that sit in a room on the other side of the world. I often keep 20+ expensive servers busy for hours on end... My laptop is simply used for typing, so anything that can connect to a keyboard would be good enough.

Caleb Kraft
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Re: finally
Caleb Kraft   12/16/2013 9:22:16 AM
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that is an interesting aspect of our current place in computing. I saw many engineers who still needed monsters on their desk, but admittedly those were mainly mechanical engineers. Some things could be offloaded to a cluster (structural analysis) but the rest required that they have a machine capable of rendering complex structures right there.

GordonScott
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Re: finally
GordonScott   12/14/2013 8:00:44 AM
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The only puzzle to me is why they couldn't see that in the first place.


One wonders why on earth they needed a survey to demonstrate the blindingly obvious.

 

_hm
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past logic of main frame
_hm   12/13/2013 5:36:58 PM
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This same logic was also true for past main frame and minis. However, there is difference with wish and inevitable future.

However, at some point in near time, this will change suddenly. Reasons can be lower demand, higher price and not much difference in performance.

 

DrQuine
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Highly responsive professional workstations
DrQuine   12/14/2013 9:24:52 PM
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It has been years since I had a computer whose speed impressed me. I'd love to have a computer that was quick and snappy at and ordinary computing and basic operations (open a local folder or open a web page on a very high speed connection). Everytime I buy a new laptop and pay a little extra for the extra memory and fast disk drive, the operating system has become even more bloated and the net result is a system that is not substantially faster than my old one.  I suppoose if I bought a Linux server for my personal computing I wouldn't be complaining about speed - but I'd be suffering from compatibility issues with my colleagues.

David Ashton
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Re: Highly responsive professional workstations
David Ashton   12/14/2013 10:48:12 PM
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@DrQuine....amen to all that.  One of my first PCs, a 286, went from switch on to DOS prompt in about 6 seconds.    We've lost something along the way.....

DrQuine
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Re: Highly responsive professional workstations
DrQuine   12/14/2013 11:21:16 PM
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My first personal computer in 1979 - a Commodore CBM 8032 (80 column screen version of the Commodore PET) was the fastest personal computer I've ever seen. It really made me believe that electrons were faster than neurons. The bright green letters on a black screen were easy to read but graphics were very primitive.

David Ashton
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Re: Highly responsive professional workstations
David Ashton   12/14/2013 11:24:15 PM
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I had a Sinclair Spectrum around 1983 and same thing - almost instant boot.  And I could get pretty much everything I wanted done on that primitive thing.  I wonder how much we have really progressed.....

_hm
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Re: Highly responsive professional workstations
_hm   12/15/2013 8:00:52 AM
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Thanks for remembering Sir Sinclair. He was forerruner and great visionary. ZX81 and Spectrum, both were wonderful devices.

 

daleste
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Re: Highly responsive professional workstations
daleste   12/15/2013 12:55:58 PM
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All this reminiscing about the old machines that were so much faster is interesting.  How much could you do on that old DOS PC or Sinclair.  For engineering work today, you need the graphics and advanced software applications that take a much more powerful machine.  The processors, memory and disc have increased in performance exponentially, but then so have our demands on them.  I always used to say, "I wish I had a Cray on my desk."

David Ashton
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Re: Highly responsive professional workstations
David Ashton   12/15/2013 5:06:12 PM
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@daleste - in no way am I saying we should not progress.  But Windows these days is full of features I and 90% of users will never use.   I'd rather have a stripped-down version that does what I want and does not take 4 or 5 minutes to finish loading.   As an example, I stuck to Windows 3.11 until the standard machine was a Pentium 300MHz or so, and W311 screamed along on that.    Your comments about a Cray on your desk prove my point.  I always wish now that I had something bigger, better and faster too.  Much more than I did in the old Dos days.

Duane Benson
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Re: Highly responsive professional workstations
Duane Benson   12/15/2013 7:02:49 PM
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David - re: "switch on to DOS prompt in about 6 seconds"

I've taken a step back there. I recently bought an Acer C720 Chromebook. It's on and ready to go in roughly six seconds. Not only that, but the battery life actually seems to meet the ~ eight hour claim. This one certainly isn't going to replace my workstation, but it will likely take over much of my witing work (I'm using it now).

I was originally looking for a tablet to give me a bit more mobility when writing, but this thing is head and shoulders above any tablet I looked at. This is a real computer.

Next, I need to try it out with the mbed online IDE. I've heard rumor on a cloud-based IDE for Microchip PIC processors, but I haven't found it yet.

David Ashton
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Re: Highly responsive professional workstations
David Ashton   12/15/2013 7:42:02 PM
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@Duane - I WANT ONE!!!   I don't do a lot of stuff that is PC intensive and if I can get a USB drive for my reams of PDF dataheets etc then I am sure it would suit me fine.  Thanks for that, I will see if I can find one around here.

Caleb Kraft
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Re: Highly responsive professional workstations
Caleb Kraft   12/16/2013 9:25:27 AM
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My mother-in-law has one. After the initial adjustment going from windows she seems pleased. It does appear snappy every time I go there, but I haven't tried to use it for any extended amount of time.

TonyTib
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Re: Highly responsive professional workstations
TonyTib   12/16/2013 1:49:05 PM
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I just put together a nice desktop system with a 256G Samsung 840 Pro SSD and a 1TB WD Black HDD.  Both are awesome; the systems boots really fast on the superfast SSD, the HDD is pretty fast for a HDD, and gives me plenty of affordable storage, for 1/8th the price of a 1T SSD.  It's important back up HDDs and SSDs: SSDs have signficant failure rates (just look at Newegg SSD feedback).


For my next portable system, I'm heavily leaning towards a Win 8.1 tablet with keyboard, such as a Dell Venue 11 Pro; I want OK performance with long battery life, light weight, and a decent keyboard.  But that's not happening for a while.

Caleb Kraft
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Re: Highly responsive professional workstations
Caleb Kraft   12/16/2013 2:21:57 PM
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yeah, I would really like a new surface pro, but I have no budget for something like that right now. 

betajet
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Re: Highly responsive professional workstations
betajet   12/16/2013 3:40:03 PM
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Wait a few months.  It it's anything like the original Surface, the price will quickly come down to your budget :-)

Caleb Kraft
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Re: Highly responsive professional workstations
Caleb Kraft   12/16/2013 2:21:58 PM
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yeah, I would really like a new surface pro, but I have no budget for something like that right now. 

daleste
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Re: Highly responsive professional workstations
daleste   12/15/2013 8:15:10 PM
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The Chrome book is a good compromise for a quick computer if you don't need the high performance.  Most of the stuff we do these days doesn't need the performance.  We can always offload the compute intesive tasks to a server.  I would be afraid of Acer just due to past experience.  Still have one next to me that the mother board in the laptop died after 13 months...

What about the chromebook commercial where it can't get you to LA only to Reno?  I guess low cost is good for us.

Caleb Kraft
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Re: Highly responsive professional workstations
Caleb Kraft   12/16/2013 9:23:38 AM
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strangely, this is what makes things like tablets so appealing. Their limitations generally keep them snappy.

 

Have you tried a recent machine with a solid state drive? They tend to hold on to that initial quickness for much longer.

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