Rage3D Kombuting // September 1st edition

Author: Panagiotis Vagiakos
Editor: Charles Oliver
Date: September 3rd, 2012

Kombuting: Microsoft, AMD CPUs, Apple vs. Samsung, Sleeping Dogs

This week: Microsoft's Logo and the new Surface tablet, AMD CPU rant, Apple vs Samsung and Sleeping Dogs

Is it a blog? Is it my rumblings? Is it Stuff That Are Entirely My Opinion And Do Not Reflect That of Rage3Dô? Guilty as charged on all accounts. Enjoy and comment away :)

Microsoft's new Logo

So Microsoft has a new logo after 25 years, on par with the latest Metro Windows 8 UI craze. I've been reading various articles about it on the web and, I swear, some of them are oozing with hate, like MS slayed their family and took their world hostage or something. I've even seen it called a branding fail, believe it or not. So let's put some things into perspective. The new logo is not exactly "new", it has been around since the era of Windows 95 (there are two YouTube videos with Windows 95 commercials that show a logo remarkably similar to this one, here and here) as Neowin's spot-on article has shown. And take a look at the logo of the Microsoft stores:

Ring any bells? Yes, almost same logo, same font (I think it's Segoe UI). So what is all this fuss? I don't get it. The logo is simple, to the point, and has a Metro feel to it. Oh, and it finally resembles a window and not a flag. Because, as you know, the most popular operating system is not called Microsoft Flags, it's called Microsoft Windows. Many people whine because Microsoft is not just Windows, and I agree, to a point. You see, Microsoft IS the Windows company. Windows is its most iconic product. Office creates more revenue for them, but in a world where web apps are getting better and better, and LibreOffice gains more momentum (my company recently did away with Office altogether, and deployed LibreOffice everywhere, more cost-effective), I don't see that being sustainable. At some point, a word processor is just good enough, after all. So using a version of the Windows flag as part of the official Microsoft logo makes perfect sense to me.

But then again, haters gonna hate. Btw...

Rumour that Microsoft Surface will cost $199

AMD and their CPUs - a sad tale

This all comes from an article I read over at Legit Reviews called "AMD Remains Committed to the Performance CPU Market"; you can find it here if you want to read it. Honestly, I chuckled a bit when I read the statement, because in order to be committed to a market you have to be a part of it. And sadly, I haven't seen a proper performance CPU part from AMD for a VERY long time. Now I will like to draw your attention to this lovely slide:

Here, AMD claims that in 2014 (if my calculator says the truth) it will have a part out that will be 52% faster than its current AMD FX. And that's with 15% performance increases every year, aka executing flawlessly. Now take a look on where we are today, performance-wise (image courtesy of Guru3D, and their great i3770k/Z77 review):

This is the difference between the two camps in a popular game where the CPU actually plays a big role in performance (there is also a Crysis 2 benchmark in that review, but in the relevant resolutions, aka above 1650x1050 its pretty much graphics card limited). So I ask you, faithful readers: does anyone think that in 2014, that 50% increase will be enough for AMD to take the performance crown from Intel processors that will be available then (namely Broadwell)? Unfortunately, I highly doubt it, and I believe that the delta between Intel and AMD performance will be even greater. I am really sad about AMD and its processors, and this is coming from a guy that has been in computing for 25 years and has only owned 4 Intel processors: a Pentium MMX 200MHz, a Celeron 300a, a Core 2 Duo E6600 and now a Core i7 2600k happily running overclocked at 4.7GHz without breaking a sweat. All my other processors (even my first 80286) were from AMD. Donít get me wrong, their APUs are great; I have built a small HTPC at home connected to my TV running an A3850 and it absolutely rocks. Silent, plays games beautifully, everything I ever wanted from an HTPC. But they are great because of the (former) ATI division and the Radeon tech AMD inherited. Not because of their CPU. I don't think things will change with the upcoming Trinity release in October.

So please AMD. From a former owner of your CPUs, get your act together and bring some serious high-end competition to the table. We need you.

Apple vs. Samsung: was justice served?

Everyone and their dog is making comments on the verdict of the Apple vs. Samsung trial. I am firmly in the camp which claims that justice was definitely NOT served in this occasion; and here are the reasons why.

First of all, I will be honest. I am not an Apple fanboy, never was, and never will be. I have used their products, and my impressions were always "nothing here I haven't seen before". The difference between Apple and other companies was always presentation, and for that I always had enormous respect. The late Steve Jobs might have been many things, but he had a tremendous sense of style. I still remember Bill Gates and his Tablet PC presentation way back in 2001 - when I saw it, I knew that this device was in my future. But Tablet PCs were never actually a hit, they came out and they were super expensive, and ended up a niche market. Until the iPad came, and after the obligatory "pad" jokes it took the world by storm. Was it revolutionary? No. Was it something never seen before in this world. No again. Did Apple simply take a great idea, repackaged it and reintroduced it, perfecting it? An astounding yes. If you go back in history, almost every Apple "innovation" is just that. A great idea someone else had, repackaged, restyled, and reintroduced. And that's not wrong; mind you, that's super cool. Because it drives the market forward. It's the same with every electronic appliance, a manufacturer presents an idea, it becomes a hit, so the other manufacturers know which way the market goes and try to move that way too. It's been like that since the dawn of time.

With this verdict, Apple is attempting to hurt Samsung for doing the exact same thing Apple has been doing since forever. Yes, Samsung imitated Apple, I will not deny that. But imitating is not copying. Nobody in their right minds will ever confuse a Samsung phone with an Apple phone, even the technology-illiterate users. Samsung saw what Apple did, recognised a good thing and moved their phones into that design direction, and actually made it better in my opinion. Current iPhones look bulky compared to some of the more advanced Samsung phones, and let's not forget Job's belief that anything larger than an iPhone's 3.5" is bad, and that 7" tablets are useless (wonder what Apple fanboys will say about that later this year ;)). I will agree that Apple is usually a leader in the style department, at least while Jobs was in control of the company, because while Jobs was away until the mid-90s, Apple was in the verge of bankruptcy (Newton, anyone?). But this patent thing is getting silly. Companies were making mobile phones way before Apple started doing so, and if they start enforcing silly patents, Apple will stop producing phones altogether - Google, feeling threatened by all this, already has started litigation against Apple via Motorola, which is one of the oldest mobile phone companies in the world and holds many patents. One thing is certain; this will not end well for consumers.

Sleeping Dogs and controller woes

To be honest I have been slacking off in my gaming for the past few years; don't play as many titles as I want to. Before Diablo III, the last game I finished was Shank 2, and I am still trying to finish Alan Wake because of the story (always loved Remedy titles). But Sleeping Dogs looks awesome and I think it's the next game I'll finish. I won't bore you with details of the game; after all, our very own Sean Ridgeley has written not one, but two excellent articles, a technical review and a tweaking guide which should get you up to speed with the game.

But, the consolitis is still strong with this one. First thing I do in every game, is setup controls. You see, I don't use WASD, I use the arrow keys, since my left hand operates the mouse. Sleeping Dogs will not let you reassign the arrow keys, it has them hard-locked to other functions. Which means I can't properly enjoy the game. Hopefully a patch will remedy that. Apart from the controlling woes, the game is very good, great graphics, and for those of you that like Grand Theft Auto games, it's a must until GTA V comes out - plus, it absolutely flies on my GTX680 :)