Monday, April 30, 2007

CoH / CoV Player Versus Player : it's broken

As is, or may not be, well known, I play City of Heroes. I love the game, I really do. I go to Hamidon Raids... I go on Task Forces... I do random patrols... I've gone heal/buffing in lower level zones... Sometimes you'll find me actually talking on the CoH forums...

However... you won't find me doing one of three things in City Of Heroes... playing a Villain... playing a Safeguard... and in Player Versus Player.

Now... I don't play Villains... mainly because it just doesn't suit me... A collection of several different events have killed my interest in Villains... the primary being the lack of teams. Playing as a Mastermind, I went over broadcast chat looking for a team... I put the "Looking for Team" tag on... I received multiple /tells, or in game private messages, that "you must suck as a Mastermind if you need a team". I've had other tells from people telling me "there is something wrong with your account, shows you are looking for team." Yeah... um... okay...

The second... straw... that broke my back on villains happened in a Super Group... I offered to help out an old friend from Hero side with her SG. Created a character... played... but... played in Character. Keep in mind City of Heroes / City of Villains is a ROLE PLAYING GAME. I was told by the Super Group leaders that they didn't want me role playing.

Uh huh. Yeah... real way to make somebody feel welcome in an RPG.

Okay, so Villains has just rubbed me the wrong way from the people who play it... so why I don't I play safeguards? The simple answer is that safeguards just aren't a good game type. The abstract idea was to mirror the events of a mayhem mission from Villain side. However... everything that made a mayhem fun to play... makes the safeguard boring and stressful.

For those who haven't played in City of Villains, a mayhem mission basically involves robbing a bank, with a twist. Destroy. Everything. A player is rewarded for pounding police cars into oblivion, destroying fire hydrants, and taking down parking meters. The reward can come in the form of experience, money, and time. The more damage that is done, the more a player is rewarded. Eventually, when the player does rob the bank, they sit in the vault as a hero comes down, then pound the hero into the ground.

For Heroes though, the game was switched around. The Heroes come in during the robbery, and their primary mission is to halt the robbery first... then the missions actually start. That is a bit of a problem. In a safeguard there are multiple different missions that can be accomplished. Some are door missions which are unlocked by battling certain enemy types. Time can be extended for the safeguard by either completing a door mission, or by defeating vandals in the street. In the entire time that the safeguards have been out, I've only been on one single team where everybody was agreed on performing the Door missions. All the other times I've played, the team has immediately split after the bank. Some start attacking every enemy in sight, some move on to the Door mission enemies, and some just exit the map.

The problem, as I see it, is that safeguards are too complex. There's too much to do, in too little time. Mayhem missions are extremely simplistic. This isn't something that can be "fixed", as a fix implies that something is broken. Safeguards aren't broken, they are just a bad concept. Heroes already had timed missions to prevent certain events from occuring, such as bombings, robberies, or kidnappings.

While safeguards are not broken, Player Versus Player is broken, and again, it isn't fixable. Now, don't get me wrong, I am not saying that Player Versus Player, or PvP mode is bad, it just is fundamentally broken due to the design of the game. The fundamental problem with PvP is that powers do not work the same in PvP mode as they do in Player Versus Enemy (PvE) mode. In my own first experience with PvP, I fought in the arena with my archery blaster. My archer's secondary power is fire melee, which includes a power called Ring of Fire. Ring of Fire is an immobize power, meaning that it holds an enemy in place, but does not prevent the enemy from attacking. Typically, in PvE mode, when the enemy is circled with fire, they cannot move. In PvP mode, Ring of Fire had absolutely no impact on my opponents ability to move. When Heroes versus Villains Player Versus Player was launched, again, powers didn't work the same. Part of this is due to the players having power sets that enemies don't have. Part of it is due to being able to slot various powers with enhancements.

That brings up the second problem with PvP mode, the power sets that are useful in PvP are not the same powers that are useful in PvE mode. For example, because of the Stalkers native invisibility, the only counter for it is Tactics, which comes from the leadership power pool. Therefor, most effective Hero builds for PvP need to have Tactics as a default choice. This means that the player will also need either the attack boost, or the defense boost, from the leadership power pool. That means that at least two powers will be used in order to counter the Scrappers stealth. Add in having to slot tactics for endurance reduction and attack bonus, and suddenly slots are gone. Another example of a power is invisibility, which doesn't make sense for a lot of power sets, but in PvP, invisibility is extremely useful. In the case of a Fire Tank, there are the two powers Combustion and Burn. Burn is useless in PvE mode, same as Combustion. These are AOE attacks that cause enemies to run. In PvP mode, enemies may not know to run when faced with either of these powers.

Now, while I could go on listing specific examples of where builds are different, I'd rather focus on why builds have to be different. It because the classes are different, radically different.

Consider something like Aliens Versus Predator 2 by Monolith Productions. It featured a class based multi-player system where each class of player had a different set of weapons or abilities. However, in order to play the multi-player maps, it isn't required to have one of each type of character class in order to fill out the team. Rather, each character class is suited to a particular playing style.

With City of Heroes / City of Villains, the multi-player aspect of the game is built to require certain classes. It is an intentional design choice of the developers that no character class is complete. A Fire Tanker really needs an -empath, a -kinetics, or a -storm healer in order to prevent endurance drain, stun, and other status effects. A Stone tanker's best friend is a -kinetics, who removes the speed restriction on knockback and hold protection for Stone tanks (rooted). Defenders and Controllers have excessively low health compared to other character classes, and need a tank or a scrapper in order to hold, quote "aggro." Blasters, while having the highest damage output from their ranged and melee attacks, don't have that good of a defense, so again, they need a scrapper or a tank to hold aggro. A scrapper is intentionally low on defense as well, so they either need a defender or controller that can keep them healed, or buffed. Tanks, while having a high defense, have naturally less offensive powers. It is not uncommon for a lvl 30 tank to only have 2 or 3 real attacks. So, in order to deal damage, a tank needs a scrapper or a blaster who can deal damage.

This is all intentional. For example, Fire Tankers. One of their Fire Aura attacks is called Burn. Burn lays down a patch of flames that has a very high Damage over time (DoT) rate. However, all Non-playable Characters (npc's) are programmed to run from Burn. In order to be effective, a character with Burn needs a controller who can hold enemies in place.

That is the root cause of the imbalance in Player versus Player modes. While the Cryptic Development team did a fantastic job of creating different character classes for City of Villains that offer different playing styles, and therefor different playing experiences, the classes are different. There is no direct correlation between MasterMinds and Controllers. There is no direct correlation between Brutes and Tanks. There is no direct correlation between Stalkers and Scrappers. The list goes on, but each side is designed to offer a fundamentally different playing experience.

Which I think is a problem for City of Heroes / City of Villains. It is my opinion that the developers succeeded in making a balanced class system from the start with City of Heroes. I think that Cryptic succeeded with designing each character class to work well with another character class. Each type compliments or completes another type. I also think that the developers succeeded when designing a multi-classed archetype, specifically the Warshade and Peacebringer.

When designing Villains then, Cryptic had to break the formula. As exampled above, the general opinion that I encountered with Masterminds is that they didn't need teams. Truth be told, I can solo attack an Elite Boss that is 3 levels above me. I have soloed Arch-Villains that are 2 levels above me. I can generally walk into the middle of a mob, drop my pets, and live. That does not mean that I do not want to play on a team, but a lot of players seem to be of the frame of mind that Masterminds are out to solo everything.

So how does this apply to Player Versus Player mode? Okay, a little more background. Teams in City of Heroes / City of Villains can consist of 8 players. The objective of the game design is that for each team to balance each other out. A tank to hold damage, a scrapper to deal damage up close, a blaster to launch multiple Area of Effect attacks, a Controller to debuff the opponents, and a Defender to heal or buff the team. Then, the other 3 slots are given to make up deficiencies in the team. Exampling a FireTank, which could be backed up with a -storm defender and an -empath defender. A scrapper backed up by two empaths. A blaster with 3 controllers to make sure nothing moves... and so on. Perhaps a Blaster with Tactics and and another Blaster with teleport, and another blaster with powers from the healing set.

The reality is, teams are rarely built to be optimal. This is both due to the players available who are within level range as much as it is the player running. In my own case, I've seen multiple occasions where the scrapper running a team refused to look for or invite any tanks. I've seen teams with 4 or 5 blasters, and no scrappers or defenders. I've been on one team as a corrupter, and despite having 4 Masterminds and 2 stalkers, the team leader refused to invite a brute, instead looking for a dominator that was never located.

So, imagine for a minute that the PvP theory carries out. Two complete teams run at each other, and their combined powers should make them equal. Wrong. As already covered, no character is equal to another character type across CoH / CoV. The result is that double teams and triple teams will occur, and inevitably leave a character open to attack or status effect. A blaster with tactics is best suited to remove a stalker because of their range, but the only character that can regularly survive the stalkers initial strike is a Tank, so the tank should be the one going after the stalker... Only then you have the Brute to worry about who is going to go after the defenders and the controllers and remove them... Which means that the tank will have pull off to counter the brute, which will free the stalker up to start picking off everybody else... and so on.

Or, looking at it from the Villains side, the Dominators and Corrupters are sitting ducks for a tank or a scrapper. Because hold and immobilize powers do not work identically to their PvE affect, Dominators and Controllers are in for trouble should a tank or scrapper get close enough, not to mention the Blaster who probably has a greater range of attack. A MasterMind is a sitting duck to Controllers because of their lack of defense. A Mastermind generally hides behind it's pets, which is not an option when pets are getting removed by the AOE's from a Blaster, and the constant AOE from a Tank. Stalkers are in major trouble if somebody with tactics is around, there literally is no place to hide, and the stalkers naturally weak and limited powers compared to scrappers makes them sitting targets.

Now, if I'm making it seem complex and hard, that's intentional. PvP mode is a mess, period. Sadly, there is no fix for it. As long as City of Heroes and City of Villains offer different gameplay experiences, there is no possible way to reconcile the Player Versus Player mode.

It's also my opinion that PvP pretty much had already set sail on City of Heroes long ago. The truth is, if I wanted to play against another player in an MMORPG enviroment, I would choose something like Planetside, or World of Warcraft, where multiplayer class balance was conceived along with the game itself, not a few years after the game is on the market.

While it would be my personal opinion that the developers would be better off forgoing any additional Player versus Player content, and focus more on Player with Player content, such as missions in Pocket D, I understand that there will always be a vocal number of game players who can't possibly imagine an MMO without a Player Versus Player mode.

I just don't think it's right for what City of Heroes / City of Villains is.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

AMD + IBM + Charter = Nintendo...

Something just literally flashed through my head concerning AMD. Call this a wild shot in the dark if you will, but what if one of the "exit" strategies that AMD is looking at calls for purchase by Nintendo? Okay, lets step back a second and look at some factors here:

First, Nintendo already has a working relationship with AMD as is. Nintendo originally went into the N64 with a partnership with SGI, who had purchased MIPS Technology. The N64 was, as some remember, a 64bit MIPS machine. With the Gamecube, Nintendo's relationship with SGI changed. ArtX was founded by members of SGI who had worked on the N64, and ArtX designed the Memory Controller, Graphics, and System I/O functions for the Gamecube. Just before the launch of the Gamecube, ArtX was purchased by ATi. ArtX's influence within ATi is largely the credit for the turn around on driver quality, and hardware quality (R300 series).

Continuing on, with the launch of the Wii, again saw Nintendo's partners changing hands, this time falling into AMD. So, from an aspect of continuous developer relations, Nintendo has been working with the higher echelons of AMD for well over a decade.

Coming from the other side of the equation with the Fabs that actually make Nintendo's products, Nintendo has been working with both IBM and Charter Semiconducters for a long time as well. IBM was responsible for delivering the "true" hyperthreaded G5 derived "Gekko" processor in the Gamecube. IBM is also behind the second PPC processor in the Nintendo Wii.

This puts Nintendo in a position where it already has good working relationships with everybody that AMD works with as well.

Now, follow me on this: Nintendo has a reputation for making a profit on everything. The Wii has made a profit from Day 1, something that is unheard of from everybody but Nintendo.

Nintendo also happens to have a rather sizeable war chest built up to combat Sony and Microsoft. Several billion actually... More than 3.6 billion in reserves.

Nintendo could, in theory, pay off AMD's long term debt in one fell swoop.

While that thought is pondering, let me also put a couple more tidbits out there. Nintendo has a reputation for selling products that are considered to be underpowered. The Gamecube never did shake the image of being a machine for kiddies, yet it raked in profits for every hardware vendor involved. Despite the constant pixel shader and vertex shader chants from followers of the Xbox, the original Xbox never moved out of it's worldwide 3rd place spot. (Don't make me haul out the sales charts and point to where Microsoft had to restate Xbox sales amounts... 4 years in a row to tax agencies... and every single time placing it BEHIND the Gamecube).

The Nintendo DS, while having the 3D capabilities of an N64, has so soundly trashed the Playstation Portable, that even those who mock the touch interface are having to admit that the DS isn't a gimmick.

The Wii, while having more power than an original Xbox, is hardly in the league of the Xbox 360 or the Playstation3... yet unlike either High Resolution console, the Wii is selling.

So, how would this apply to AMD? Well, think about it. "Everybody" knows that Intel products are more powerful than AMD products, in the same way that half a dozen is more than six. Nintendo knows how to market products that have intentional bad press from the start, and how to make those products profitable. Imagine what Nintendo could do if it got behind selling the Athlon64.

Okay, I'll grant that this is fantasy. Nintendo has no interest in owning a hardware design company again, and despite the long list of Nintendo owned or controlled development companies and stock in other business catagories, owning and controlling the Number Two x86 processor vendor just isn't in the cards for Nintendo.

Chances are, if push ever came to shove, I can see the ArtX guys leaving AMD for spots within a Nintendo design team, but that's about all that would ever really happen.

lovely... just lovely...

Okay, first thing is, I'm not going out of my way to be another Sharikou. In that respect, I don't want this blog to just be about AMD, and just be about Intel... yet, recently, that's the only topic that really needs SOMEBODY fighting back on.

I've gone over several points before in this particular blog, pointing out where things are just wrong, as well as taking a certain Pro-Intel site and it's readers out to the woodshed on Multiple Occasions.

Okay, restart. First thing, AMD is having some financial problems. The revenues expected to come up in didn't show up. Products were late, and, well, everything went broke. Sort of like what happened with Nvidia during the GeforceFX. So, I guess I shouldn't be surprised that Dailytech is running an article proclaiming that "Intel Wipes out AMD's Lead in One Quarter."

Part of me wants to take a two-by-four to the keyboard of whoever posted that. The other part of me says it isn't worth my time to combat every single idiotic posting that comes out of AT/DT these days.

The problem, as I see it, is that Intel has succeeded in Astro-Turfing the processor market. Anandtech successfully got away with passing off known bugs as factual data in their processor benchmarks, and succeeded in snow jobbing readers about Intel products.

It is my opinion that Anandtech/Dailytechs irresponsible journalism is directly responsible for the problems that AMD is having in money. Okay, fair question, how could one site that has rapidly lost any credibility affect the sales of an international company?

Quick shot is, Anandtech isn't the only one who is Astro-Turfing for Intel. The second thing is, sources. For example, HardOCP is currently running this News Story :

[H] reader extraordinaire TJ spotted some ATi Radeon HD 2900 XT benchmarks over at Engadget today that have the upcoming card from ATi besting a GF 8800GTS. No telling where the card that was tested came from, testing environment and so on but it is still fun to speculate.

While the marks weren't the end-all answer to the ATI vs. NVIDIA question, the Radeon managed to best its opponent in every single trial, including Call of Duty 2, Company of Heroes, F.E.A.R., Oblivion, 3DMark06, Maya 02, Cadalyst C2006, and a few more for good measure.

There isn't any mention made that this news story comes from... Dailytech, not Engadget. Now, in this case, I think Dailytech may be fairly accurate in their testings... although I could be wrong.

Anyways, the point is, there is a constant stream of news stories, comments, and reports made about Intel Dominating the market, Intel's processors being better, and so on. You don't see the qualification made to that... Sure, Intel may have the highest performing processor available... But they also carry the highest price. There is a lot of talk about the wattage consumption and heat output... yet you don't see anybody pointing out the obvious factor of the Memory Controller as I did.

So, everytime Anandtech/Dailytech, or another site lays out a blanket comment about Intel processors, and nobody responds to it... the average reader who DOES NOT know is going to think it's true.

In such a manner, sites like Anandtech/Dailytech that merely gloss over stories, or simply use falsified test data as factual results... directly affect the market conditions.

Now... imagine for a second what would have happened if tech sites had been honest... had they pointed out that if you timed your DDR2 correctly on an Athlon64, there is a clock for clock match with Intel... sorta like what HardOCP has done.

Now, I could go on about Anandtech/Dailytech's irresponsible journalism, but honestly, it's getting a little tiresome.


Something else popped into my head a while back and I figure now is a good as time as any to address it. Someone sent me an email pointing out that Intel and AMD processors were not sold in equivalent clockrates.

This is true: AMD Athlon64 processors have clock rates of 1.9ghz, 2.0ghz, 2.1, 2.2, and so on up.

Intel Conroe processors have clock rates of 1.86ghz, 2.13ghz, 2.4ghz, and 2.66ghz.

Part of this is due to the antiquated front side bus design that the Conroe processors use. The other part is that it prevents direct comparisons of Conroe processors to Athlon64 X2 processors.

Say what? Think about it... aside from the 2.4ghz entry, every other Conroe based processor isn't at an "even" stepping. If you normalize the clock rates in order to compare it to an AMD Athlon64, you either have to underclock, or overclock, one of the processors.

Cute trick isn't it.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Do People really believe this? (yes, DailyTech again)

I saw this comment in the posts on a story about Jack Thompson on Dailytech

He is right to a Degree. At least we can legally remove the Muslim extremists. Cristian Evangelists, are working day and night to take away our rights because its something they don't agree with. The problem is if you disagree with them then you're not a good Christian.

Do people actually believe that? Because I can destroy that theory in less than 5 seconds, and with only 8 letters. RIAA : MPAA

Okay, follow with me on this. Every geek, nerd, whatever you want to call us, technology inclined if you will, agrees that Digital Rights Management is a bad thing. We all agree that we don't like to be locked out of our content, and many of us actively work to break down the locks on things like movies and music.

The RIAA and MPAA, on the other hand, pursue an aggressive strategy to remove control of content from end users. The RIAA and MPAA openly prosecute anybody who dares try to circumvent their technology, and work to put laws into place that make it illegal for content buyers to actually... buy content. The dream world of the RIAA and MPAA is that everybody pays to rent content, nobody actually owns it. Even if somebody creates content, they don't actually own the content, the content is owned by the RIAA and the MPAA.

So, how does this fit in with Evangelical Christians?

Let me pose a question : How many movies are made each year that openly mock the Christian Faith and the Jewish Faith? I can think of a couple right off hand, including one coming up later this year that mocks the plagues brought forth against Egypt during the time of Moses. Consider Mel Gibson for a minute who withered a fire storm of criticism for his movie, Passion of the Christ. Mr. Gibson went out of his way to create a movie that looked at the Death of Jesus Christ in a respectful manner, and the members of the RIAA and MPAA collectively attempted to Rip him a new one.

How many music tracks are released each year that blaspheme the Christian Faith and Jewish Faith? Listen to a modern rock station for 10 minutes, and you'll probably hear some song come on that will attack either faith. Obscenities flow forth like water over a waterfall from the mouths of many a "popular" R&B star, or from people like Kid Rock. These are the people being held up as "models" for children to emulate?

Okay, I'll grant you that for every Korn, there was an Impelliteri, and for every Metallica, there was a Petra. For every Limp Biscuit (sorry, I don't know how to spell their name), you had a Stryper. For every horrible "mass market" record, there was an alternative to listen to. However, getting those alternatives on the air, especially when they come from a Christian base, has traditionally been next to impossible. Consider chart toppers like Jars Of Clay, DC Talk, Newsboys, and SuperChick, and actually trying to get them on a modern Radio station. You might here one of two tracks, but you won't ever hear anything else on the album. Sometimes the artist is asked to change the words of a song (DC Talk), or to change the video (Michael Sweet) before it will be given air time.

In most cases, retail stores are ordered to go out of their way to separate "Christian" music from "genre" music. Often times, at the order of the RIAA and it's members. For a period of time, retailers were required to mark tape cassettes with "Warning: Contains Explicit Christian Lyrics" (DC Talk, Liaison, Idle Cure, Shout, Alter Boys, Michael Sweet, Stryper).

So... can you see where I'm going with this? The same guys who openly mock the Christian and Jewish faiths are the same guys that geeks agree are bad, and are trying to remove our freedoms.

Has anybody also paid attention to the political party that the RIAA and MPAA are most closely aligned with either? Has anyone ever actually paid attention to the political alignments of the news media including Associated Press, Reuters, ABC, NBC, CBS, and CNN?
I'll give you a hint, they are NOT aligned with Republicans.

So, where do people like Jack Thompson fit into this? Well, if I had my guess, I'd say he was a liberal socialist out to cause trouble. The problem is, that isn't how Jack Thompson sells himself. He sells himself a Republican (or at least that is what the reports I have read indicate). However, his rhetoric isn't in line with what most Republicans believe, full stop, end of story.

Now, if you want my opinion, it is the desire of the RIAA and MPAA, and their partners within the mass media to sell Jack Thompson as a Republican, and promote him as such. The result is.. well... destructive. One on hand, Republicans are put on the spot that they don't want to outright reject the concerns over video games, since the concerns mimic the concerns they have about Movies and Music. So there are feelings that something does need to be said. On the other hand, if Republicans don't quickly reject the arguments of Jack Thompson and call foul, you get the impression that the Republican parties are fully behind Jack Thompson... which isn't true.

I'd suggest people who don't understand what's happening there to pick up a little book by Joseph Heller called... Catch-22. It's almost a perfect setup in which there is no simple way out.

Getting back to the point, Christian Evangelists have done more than anybody else to PROTECT the freedoms we enjoy today. The Founding Fathers of the United States of America were all Christians, and they were out of their way to establish a legal foundation that protected EVERYBODY, not just themselves. Ever hear of a guy by the name Voltaire? You know, he said this:
I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it.
Welcome to the opinion held by most Christians and Jews today. The US, a Christian nation, went after Saddam Hussein not once, but twice, at the request of other Arab nations to protect their freedoms. Our forces went overseas to defend somebody else's right to vote, and control their own household, and to say what they want to say. People we didn't even know or had any emotional attachment to, we went and bailed out.

Back in 2005, Jason Siebels published a comic covering the typical behavior of Americans when somebody else is hurt, be it a country or person :

The guys behind ( ) have gone out of their way to stop restrictions on Grass-Roots activism, as well as prevent Illegal Aliens from being given the same rights as people who were born or naturalized in the US. Care to guess exactly who is behind RightMarch? You would be right, Evangelical Christians.

Who has fought back against regulation of the Internet? Yep. Republicans and Conservatives... many of whom where... yes. Evangelical Christians.

Who is fighting for regulation of the Internet... oh yes. Our dear leftist Democrat friends, the RIAA, MPAA, and their associates in quoted "Big Media."

Now, I could go on, and I'm highly tempted to, but there really is not a point at this time.

If you really do think that Liberals and Democrats have your personal freedoms in mind, and if you really do believe that a Liberal or Democratic Congress or President is going to enforce those freedoms, then I can't help you. I can't say anything to change your mind, because, take this the wrong way if you will, you are not living in reality. I simply do not have the power to pull you out of your fantasy world.

All we can do at this point is hammer on the Conservatives and Republicans in Congress, and make sure they have the backbone to stand up against those who ARE actively trying to remove your personal freedoms.

If you don't agree with that, or if you don't agree with what I'm saying... I'm going to leave one final suggestion.

Research the history of Russia under Joseph Stalin. Research the History of Red China. And read the works of Karl Marx.

Keep in mind that their economic and personal opinions are considered to be dead wrong in this day and time. Keep in mind that there is empirical proof, both in an economic and social sense, that their ideas failed.

Then compare their policies with those spouted by those controlling the RIAA, MPAA, and Democrat Parties. Compare the platforms written by the Democrat parties with documents available from the Kremlin.

If you can't see the connection, then again, I can't help you.


Shutting down another attack vector: After I posted the above, another point of attack arose in my mind, coming from Gays and Lesbians. I know that some joker is going to read this, raise his hand, then state "Oh, but Evangelical Christians ARE trying to remove rights and freedoms, look at what they are doing with Gays and Lesbians." Okay, lets get the usual lines out of the way. The United States of America is a country for Christians... by Christians. The USA founding fathers, and the vast majority, believe that when god said that Homosexuality is wrong, God meant, it is wrong.

So, lets cut through the banter and hit what this argument is about. Money.

What the gays and lesbians want is the same financial benefits that are given to Heterosexual couples. They want the same "Dependant" classifications, the same credits, and so on and so forth.

However, why are those Credits and Tax Breaks in the existing Tax code to begin with?

Most Gays and Lesbians who are activists don't stop and consider that point... first. The tax breaks and credits are in place in an attempt to encourage the reproduction of further tax payers. Gays and Lesbians can't reproduce though... Still takes one guy and one girl. Or forged cloning projects. Take your pick.

So, let me pose this question:

What would have happened if George Bush had succeeded on the Social Security Reform? What, exactly, would happen, if the Republican backed Flat Tax was placed into effect, and the existing tax code was erased...

Where would all of the tax breaks and credits be? Oh... wait a second... they wouldn't actually exist. Everybody would be on the same financial playing field.

Get the picture? Had Gays and Lesbians backed the Social Security Reform, and if they also get behind the Flat Tax efforts, they will be placed on equal footing with Heterosexuals. Why? Because the tax codes will no longer make a difference between any classifications.

Now, this doesn't change the Marriage question, and since this is a Christian Country, that is never going to change, period, full stop, end of story. However, the financial question, which is the root of the protests in the first place, would effectively be neutered.

So, in a sense, Gays and Lesbians have shot themselves in the... ahem, rump... over their financial state in the past years.

So, here's my piece of advice to them. Shut up, get Social Security reformed and get a flat tax in place, and nobody is going to bother questioning what you do in bed because there won't be any point in asking.

Another little TidBit about Intel

Not that you wanted to see this.

Someone called me out in one of the Previous posts where I stated this:

not to mention the 35watt processors of which AMD has 6... and Intel has none.

The person then proceeded to link me to several Wattage Specifications for Intel Processors which indicated that the Conroe and Memron chips were playing about in the sub 65watt power arena. Not so fast. Comparing AMD processors to Intel Processor's isn't as simple as Intel would like you to believe. While Intel promotes the WoodCrest processors of averaging about 40watts, Intel is not promoting the same thing that AMD is promoting.

The first point to be made is that Intel likes to post the average amount of watts consumed by their processors. This was noted with the Pentium4 in which realistic heat output was far higher than the reported heat leves by Intel. The changing factor was the wattage consumption, which was way out of line with the reported amount by Intel.

With the Conroe based designs, Intel has not appeared to change their strategy in regards to listing wattage consumption. The numbers given by Intel are for the normalized workload, and don't indicate the wattage consumption in a high continuous stress enviroment.

The second point is that AMD typically lists the maximum thermal envelope. When you buy a 65watt processor from AMD, chances are unless you overclock that processor, your wattage consumption won't come close to 65watts. When you buy a 35watt Athlon64, again, your wattage consumption in a high continuous stress enviroment... will be 35watts.

There is one architectural difference between the Intel Processors and the AMD processors that allow for this to happen, and why you can't compare the Wattage and Heat output of an Intel Conroe to that of any AMD Athlon64. Just one tiny little difference...

AMD's Memory controller... is on the processor.

Catch that? When you buy an Athlon64, you aren't just buying the processor, you are also buying the memory controller to go along with it. This is just one of the reasons why AMD motherboard costs are generally lower than Intel motherboard costs.

It is also the reason why AMD can be more consistent in delivering a constant state of energy usage to their processors, and why you can't compare the Wattage consumption of Intel Processors to AMD Processors.

In an Intel design, you have to add the wattage cost of the northbridge chipset to the wattage cost of the processor in order to get a clearer picture of the energy consumption when comparing an Intel Processor to and AMD processor. However, that comparison is also going to be imbalanced in AMD's favor, period.

In an Intel motherboard design, in addition to housing the Memory controller, the Northbridge also has to house the I/O operations for the PCI Bus, an AGP bus if one is present, as well as the handles for any Integrated sound outputs, and the handles for any integrated network device, and so on. While these operations could be pushed off onto a Southbridge chipset, and many are, it doesn't change the fact that the Intel Northbridge is going to be more complex than an "equivalent" from AMD.

In an AMD motherboard design, in most cases the Northbridge will be cooler running because of no memory controller, but will often be offset by including more functions that were typically split between a Northbridge and Southbridge. One of the terms that you might hear getting tossed around today is "Single Chip Design," which is where a single Northbridge chip handles all of the I/O operations within the system.

So, in order to get a clearer picture of Wattage consumption, you have to keep going out... And include not just the Processor, but the entire motherboard.

That's why a majority of server vendors state that AMD systems are cooler running, period. AMD accounts for the heat output and the energy consumption of the memory controller in the same space as the Processor... Intel Does not.

So, I'm going to stick by my statement that Intel doesn't offer any 35watt, or even 40watt processors. In order to compare it to AMD, I would either have to:

A: Add the thermal information and wattage consumption figures for the Intel Northbridges
B: Subtract the thermal information and wattage consumption from the AMD processors.

Call it a hunch, but I'd very surprised if the combination of Processor and Northbridge would allow Intel to have any Processors below the 60watt mark.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Auction / Fundraiser - Mepis

Okay, here we go. I'm putting 4 of my systems up for Auction. Money from the auction will go directly to MepisLovers and Warren at

The auctions are now listed on Ebay

Information pages are also up on

Friday, April 06, 2007

Oh Intel... guess who you are two years behind... again...

Over on Mepis Lovers somebody has a problem with their AMD based laptop freezing randomly. By keeping a program running though, the system doesn't freeze. It sounds like a C-State error, the processor goes into Halt or C3 and just doesn't restart. While researching the C-States on an Athlon64... I found this interesting...

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

The processor I had grabbed for the example in the post was the TMSMT32BQX4LD.

This processor is the Turion64 MT-32. It was released in March 2005, has a maximum thermal envelope of 25watts, has a 1.8ghz clock, 512k cache, and is a Socket 754 processor. The processor is also of the original Lancaster family of Turion processors, built on a 90nm process.

As it downclocks, the wattage drops. Given the about 50% drop in Thermal wattage to processor speed, (about 20w @ 1.6ghz vs. 8w @ 800mhz) it is not unreasonable to assume that if the processor were clocked at 1ghz it would be putting out less than or just about 10watts?

Okay... fast forward from March 2005 to April 5th 2007... and you have this little tidbit from Cnet :

The two new Core 2 Duo chips only consume a maximum of 10 watts of power when running full speed

Intel will offer the chips in two speeds, the U7600 runs at 1.2GHz and the U7500 runs at 1.06GHz.

Now, just to put this in perspective, these are Memron based processors. Memron is built on a 65nm process.

Is it clicking yet? It's taken Intel an entirely new die size to replicate what AMD was doing literally over 2 years ago. Is it clearer about how much of a non-issue Core2 performance and power usage is? Intel is literal years behind AMD in all areas, period, end of story.

All Core2 has done is bring Intel's products in line with AMD's products, and these new "low power" chips are just further proof of how far back Intel's technology is.