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Microsoft announces Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2, concludes that tablets need not be low power device

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  • QuizzicalQuizzical Posts: 14,784Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by JeroKane
    Originally posted by Quizzical
    Originally posted by JeroKane

    In fact, the Surface Pro and Surface Pro 2 are excellent tablets that performance wise are no less than the average ultrabook.

    The only advantage an ultrabook has, is a larger battery, but Microsoft is fixing that With the release of the new battery touch cover.

    While the Surface Pro and Surface Pro 2 will indeed perform identically to Ultrabooks from their respective generations, that's because they use exactly the same internal hardware as an Ultrabook, and just put it in a different form factor.  But even if we agree that it's no worse than an Ultrabook (which I wouldn't, as the tablet form factor means that the Surface Pro is vastly more likely to have heat issues if you try to do anything demanding with it), that doesn't necessarily mean much, as I don't see any good reason why anyone would want an Ultrabook.

    That´s because you are kid at School (presumably) and don´t work yet.

    Ultrabooks are no kids toys.  They are business Laptops for business People that travel a lot and want to minimize carrying weight and more portability.

    I work for a very large IT Company as one of many consultants (10.000 total employees) and I see more People With ultrabooks every single day! Me included.

    I am a consultant myself. Have back problems and thus need to reduce carrying weight as much as possible. These 1 kilo ultrabooks were gift from heaven for me. And performance wise they are excellent for work tasks.

    And by the way. When I am at work, I work and don´t play games! So I do not need a high performing gaming Laptop at work.

    I certainly understand why some people would value lightweight.  But "Ultrabook" doesn't mean "lightweight".  Ultrabook primarily means thin--and makes a ton of crippling sacrifices to get that thinness that wouldn't be necessary if low weight were the goal.

    The reasons why someone who carries around a laptop a lot would want it to be light weight are obvious.  But the reasons why he would also want it to be feature-barren, fragile, difficult or impossible to repair, unreliable, have poor battery life, have an awkward keyboard, and be expensive to get all of those problems?  Allow a few more millimeters of thickness and you can fix all of those except the battery life, and without meaningfully changing the weight.  But an Ultrabook says you can't do that.

    While the MacBook Air was the inspiration for Ultrabooks, it is not itself an Ultrabook.  Apple can make a MacBook Air as thick as they please, wherever they please, and do it for reasons of engineering rather than Intel marketing.

  • NadiaNadia Canonsburg, PAPosts: 11,866Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by JeroKane

    The Transformer books With Atom processors are crap! The New Bailtrail Atom CPU has still horrible performance. Especially when you want to run full blown Windows on it and run software without horrible lag and performance issues!

    yet to be seen - will know more when they launch later this month

    http://liliputing.com/2013/09/intel-atom-bay-trail-benchmark-test-shows-a-big-performance-boost.html

    posted benchmark results for an upcoming Intel Atom Bay Trail processor called the Atom Z3770. It’s a quad-core chip running at 1.47 GHz, and according to AnandTech it scores almost as well in the Cinebench test as a 2011-era Intel Pentium processor.

    That’s about 3 times better than what you’d expect from an Intel Atom Z2760 Clover Trail processor, and about what you’d expect from a 2010 Core 2 Duo chip.

    In other words, Intel’s upcoming low-power tablet chips will offer the same kind of performance you would have gotten from one of Intel’s best laptop chips just 3 years ago.

    At least, that’s what we see when running a multi-core test like Cinebench.

     

  • QuizzicalQuizzical Posts: 14,784Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Ridelynn

    I don't get why people get all bent out of shape over tablet performance.

    Sure it should be snappy enough, and I'm glad they get a bit faster each generation, but inside of a given generation I don't really care if Tablet A can run a benchmark faster than Tablet B - so long as both can run a web browser and basic computational skills without totally choking, I'm ok with that.

    I take the view that you want as much performance as comfortably fits the form factor.  In a tablet today, you want AMD Temash, Intel Bay Trail Atom, Apple Swift, Qualcomm Krait, or ARM Cortex A15.  You don't want dramatically lower performance from Intel Cedar Trail Atom or ARM Cortex A9 when you could just as well have had more performance.  But you also don't want something like Haswell that doesn't comfortably fit the form factor.

    But of course, in a desktop (say, Mini ITX or bigger), you don't want any of those, as you can get far higher performance that fits the form factor.  But you weren't arguing against that.

    It's not just how well the tablet can run things today.  There's also the question of how well it can run things a few years from now.  This generation is a huge jump on the CPU side from the previous, and in a few years, you might see a lot of applications that assume you have a tablet on the "good" side of that jump.  Or you might not, if those applications still need to run on cell phones.

  • QuizzicalQuizzical Posts: 14,784Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Nadia
    Originally posted by JeroKane

    The Transformer books With Atom processors are crap! The New Bailtrail Atom CPU has still horrible performance. Especially when you want to run full blown Windows on it and run software without horrible lag and performance issues!

    yet to be seen - will know more when they launch later this month

    http://liliputing.com/2013/09/intel-atom-bay-trail-benchmark-test-shows-a-big-performance-boost.html

    posted benchmark results for an upcoming Intel Atom Bay Trail processor called the Atom Z3770. It’s a quad-core chip running at 1.47 GHz, and according to AnandTech it scores almost as well in the Cinebench test as a 2011-era Intel Pentium processor.

    That’s about 3 times better than what you’d expect from an Intel Atom Z2760 Clover Trail processor, and about what you’d expect from a 2010 Core 2 Duo chip.

    In other words, Intel’s upcoming low-power tablet chips will offer the same kind of performance you would have gotten from one of Intel’s best laptop chips just 3 years ago.

    At least, that’s what we see when running a multi-core test like Cinebench.

    They're wrong on a whole bunch of counts.  For starters, Atom Z3770 will run at 2.4 GHz at load if you aren't also pushing the GPU.  It's a lot faster than Clover Trail, but the bulk of the improvement is from four cores versus two--which only benefits if you're actually scale to four cores.  Core 2 Duo was Intel's 2006-2008 architecture and was long obsolete by 2010, so I have no clue what a "2010 Core 2 Duo" is.  With both that and the "Pentium", without a clock speed, the comparison is meaningless.  Three years ago, Intel's best laptop chips were Clarksfield, which would probably about triple the performance of the Atom Z3770 in most programs--whether single-threaded or scaling well to many cores.

  • RidelynnRidelynn Fresno, CAPosts: 4,179Member Uncommon


    Originally posted by Quizzical
    It's not just how well the tablet can run things today.  There's also the question of how well it can run things a few years from now.  This generation is a huge jump on the CPU side from the previous, and in a few years, you might see a lot of applications that assume you have a tablet on the "good" side of that jump.  Or you might not, if those applications still need to run on cell phones.

    Well, in a tablet, longevity is also somewhat different.

    Right now, the tablet landscape is changing so fast that inside of 2 years, your tablet is basically obsolete in terms of hardware support by software. We are seeing almost 2 generations of tablets a year right now. That is pretty astonishing, seeing as how the entire tablet industry has only been around since 2010, but I do expect it to slow down as we see the market mature a bit more. Android is more driving this than Apple, because of their severe device fragmentation and multiple vendors all looking to one-up each other to gain market appeal, not to mention multiple storefronts which are not all compatible. Apple only has 1 tablet that can't be upgraded to their latest iOS.

    And then looking at the technical aspect: most tablets do not have user replacable batteries. Those LiIon batteries only have a 2-3 year service life anyway under normal conditions before they really start to degrade into something less than desirable.

    I have an original iPad. It has an A4 / Cortex A8 CPU. Aside from some javascript-intensive web pages, it still performs more than adequately for me for everything I do with it: mostly web browsing, Netflix, light casual gaming, and Kindle reader. It doesn't quite have the battery life it did when it was new, but it still passes my "All Day Airline Travel" test with ease. It doesn't have a Retina display, but it's still easy on the eyes. It doesn't have iOS7, or even iOS6, but there are still a good number of apps available for it, and most of the apps I have are still receiving updates that work on iOS5. For me, I have no reason to upgrade it right now, and so I haven't.

    When I do travel, more often than not I just take my iPad rather than my laptop. If I'm just expecting to need email and light editing capability, the iPad 1.0 still has more than enough muscle to do that for me. If I need to hook up to industrial equipment or really work on some large spreadsheets, I'll take the laptop.

    So - your right, I want as much CPU as will comfortably fit in the form factor, but that doesn't need to be a lot. The old Cortex A8 still packs enough punch for what I need to do in something I can carry around. That being said, I do understand your point, if I were buying new today, I wouldn't pay $400 for a Cortex A8 when I could get a Swift or A9 for the same price and battery life. Putting Haswell, or any other CPU for that matter, in a tablet form factor when it detracts from battery life or adds weight/size, is just a dumb idea.

    Performance isn't really a factor in tablets, unless your one of those people who just likes to post their benchmarks for the sake of it.

    And the concept of "How well will it run years from now" also isn't so much of a concern. There is the question of usable battery life in a non-replaceable battery. You want your device to still be supported, sure. You could argue the iPad 1 is not supported any longer, since it doesn't allow either of the last 2 iOS upgrades - but not for reasons of CPU speed (it has the same CPU as the iPhone 4 at a faster clock speed, which can run iOS6/7), but because it lacks a camera.

  • JeroKaneJeroKane OsloPosts: 5,353Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Quizzical

     

    I certainly understand why some people would value lightweight.  But "Ultrabook" doesn't mean "lightweight".  Ultrabook primarily means thin--and makes a ton of crippling sacrifices to get that thinness that wouldn't be necessary if low weight were the goal.

    The reasons why someone who carries around a laptop a lot would want it to be light weight are obvious.  But the reasons why he would also want it to be feature-barren, fragile, difficult or impossible to repair, unreliable, have poor battery life, have an awkward keyboard, and be expensive to get all of those problems?  Allow a few more millimeters of thickness and you can fix all of those except the battery life, and without meaningfully changing the weight.  But an Ultrabook says you can't do that.

    While the MacBook Air was the inspiration for Ultrabooks, it is not itself an Ultrabook.  Apple can make a MacBook Air as thick as they please, wherever they please, and do it for reasons of engineering rather than Intel marketing.

    You again proof you do not know what you are talking about!

    Ultrabook is exactly what it is! Lightweight!  It´s the primary sales Pitch of the ultrabook!

    Asus Zenbook series are for example awesome ultrabooks that offer very good performance and yet manages a very thin and lightweight design.

    The reason why they can go this thin, is because they  don´t have a dedicated GFX onboard that requires serious cooling. They are targeted for business and People that don´t need highend GFX performance.

    The Macbook Air 2013 model is awesome! My girlfriend has the 13inch Version. It´s extremely light, has excellent batterylife and surpisingly good performance.  Even the New Intel Integrated HD 5000 Graphics are impressive.

    The MacBook Air is currently one of the most sold Laptop hands Down! they are almost continiously on back order.

    At my work I see a ton of People walking around with one.

    The Asus Zenbook ultrabooks are also very popular. And Asus even released 15inch and 17inch Versions now, for People that would like a larger screen, but still want a low carry weight.

    Ultrabooks are the future! Especially in business. And now Intel has launched the first series of Haswell CPU´s, you will see a lot more ultrabooks, convertibles and tablets coming to market.

     

    I get it, you don´t like them. But you are obviously not their target audience. Ultrabooks are not targeted at gamers. Period!

  • BladestromBladestrom edinburghPosts: 4,946Member Uncommon
    I have lenova yoga touch screen, i7 and it's a pretty slick machine which I use just for work and it's ideal. Personally I think the surface is a confused idea, it should be a lap top first with tablet as a secondary function- j just don't use the latter that much, but it's handy on trains etc.

    rpg/mmorg history: Dun Darach>Bloodwych>Bards Tale 1-3>Eye of the beholder > Might and Magic 2,3,5 > FFVII> Baldur's Gate 1, 2 > Planescape Torment >Morrowind > WOW > oblivion > LOTR > Guild Wars (1900hrs elementalist) Vanguard. > GW2(1000 elementalist), Wildstar

    Now playing GW2, AOW 3, ESO, LOTR, Elite D

  • QuizzicalQuizzical Posts: 14,784Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by JeroKane

    The reason why they can go this thin, is because they  don´t have a dedicated GFX onboard that requires serious cooling. They are targeted for business and People that don´t need highend GFX performance.

    Ultrabook is an Intel trademark and means whatever Intel defines it to mean.  Part of Intel's definition of Ultrabook is that it has to be extremely thin.  If any portion of your laptop is a fraction of a millimeter thicker than Intel's marketing department thinks it ought to be, then it's not an Ultrabook.  If your engineers say that you need to make some portion of the laptop a fraction of a millimeter thicker for engineering reasons in order not to be a terrible device, then your choices are either making a terrible device or making it not an Ultrabook and missing out on Intel's marketing money.  The MacBook Air is under no such artificial constraints, so Apple makes it as thin and light as makes engineering sense, rather than what Intel's marketing department thinks it ought to be.

    Another part of the definition of an Ultrabook is that it has to have a high price, low performance Intel ULV processor.  If AMD has clearly superior hardware for the form factor in some future generation of hardware, and you use AMD hardware, then it's not an Ultrabook, even if it meets all of the other requirements.

    And yes, the thinness constraints cause big problems.  For example, the hardware most likely to go bad is the memory, storage, and battery.  In normal laptops, these three components tend to be replaceable by the end user.  Ultrabook thinness means that you don't have room for normal SODIMM slots or a SATA port with a typical drive.  Instead, you have to solder everything onto the motherboard directly.  That adds considerably to the cost.

    It also means that if a memory module is having problems, instead of a $20 replacement, your $1000+ Ultrabook is completely dead.  Depending on how big of problems the memory module is having, if you can't boot, it may mean that your data is unrecoverable, even if the storage is still working completely fine.  And that, of course, is part of the point of Ultrabooks:  short life expectancies mean that you have to buy another one soon.  Intel likes that, for obvious reasons.  Why businesses would like it is something of a mystery.

    Take away the thinness requirements and, without making the laptop meaningfully heavier, you can have normal SODIMM slots, a normal 2.5" storage drive, and a removable battery.  Not requiring weird engineering contortions can easily take hundreds off of the price tag.  More depth means more space for a decent keyboard, and more space for airflow.  That can let you make a device that, at the cost of making the laptop several millimeters thinner and a rounding error worth of added weight, is far superior in many ways to what you can make in an Ultrabook, while costing far less.

    Now, laptop vendors aren't making very many such devices, as there isn't a very big market for them.  Just like there isn't much of a market for Ultrabooks.

  • NadiaNadia Canonsburg, PAPosts: 11,866Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Quizzical

    Ultrabook is an Intel trademark and means whatever Intel defines it to mean.  Part of Intel's definition of Ultrabook is that it has to be extremely thin. 

    look at this 2013 link - i agree

    http://www.pcworld.com/article/2040694/thinner-touchier-more-efficient-intel-tightens-its-ultrabook-definition.html

    An Ultrabook must now be outfitted with a touchscreen, and Intel is encouraging manufacturers to build two-in-one convertible designs (notebooks with touchscreens that detach from their keyboards to become tablets). Also, no laptop can be thicker than 23mm (0.9 inches) if it’s to be marketed as an Ultrabook, and it must now be hardware-ready for voice command and control.

  • JeroKaneJeroKane OsloPosts: 5,353Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Quizzical
    Originally posted by JeroKane

    The reason why they can go this thin, is because they  don´t have a dedicated GFX onboard that requires serious cooling. They are targeted for business and People that don´t need highend GFX performance.

    Ultrabook is an Intel trademark and means whatever Intel defines it to mean.  Part of Intel's definition of Ultrabook is that it has to be extremely thin.  If any portion of your laptop is a fraction of a millimeter thicker than Intel's marketing department thinks it ought to be, then it's not an Ultrabook.  If your engineers say that you need to make some portion of the laptop a fraction of a millimeter thicker for engineering reasons in order not to be a terrible device, then your choices are either making a terrible device or making it not an Ultrabook and missing out on Intel's marketing money.  The MacBook Air is under no such artificial constraints, so Apple makes it as thin and light as makes engineering sense, rather than what Intel's marketing department thinks it ought to be.

    Another part of the definition of an Ultrabook is that it has to have a high price, low performance Intel ULV processor.  If AMD has clearly superior hardware for the form factor in some future generation of hardware, and you use AMD hardware, then it's not an Ultrabook, even if it meets all of the other requirements.

    And yes, the thinness constraints cause big problems.  For example, the hardware most likely to go bad is the memory, storage, and battery.  In normal laptops, these three components tend to be replaceable by the end user.  Ultrabook thinness means that you don't have room for normal SODIMM slots or a SATA port with a typical drive.  Instead, you have to solder everything onto the motherboard directly.  That adds considerably to the cost.

    It also means that if a memory module is having problems, instead of a $20 replacement, your $1000+ Ultrabook is completely dead.  Depending on how big of problems the memory module is having, if you can't boot, it may mean that your data is unrecoverable, even if the storage is still working completely fine.  And that, of course, is part of the point of Ultrabooks:  short life expectancies mean that you have to buy another one soon.  Intel likes that, for obvious reasons.  Why businesses would like it is something of a mystery.

    Take away the thinness requirements and, without making the laptop meaningfully heavier, you can have normal SODIMM slots, a normal 2.5" storage drive, and a removable battery.  Not requiring weird engineering contortions can easily take hundreds off of the price tag.  More depth means more space for a decent keyboard, and more space for airflow.  That can let you make a device that, at the cost of making the laptop several millimeters thinner and a rounding error worth of added weight, is far superior in many ways to what you can make in an Ultrabook, while costing far less.

    Now, laptop vendors aren't making very many such devices, as there isn't a very big market for them.  Just like there isn't much of a market for Ultrabooks.

     

    Dude seriously. The tablet market has completely taken over the PC / Laptop market! Followed by Ultrabooks (or lightweight Laptops whatever you want to name it)

    It´s the primary reason why Dell is in such trouble and goes private. They are completely surviving on their Server hardware sales atm.  HP isn´t doing that much better either, but still has a printer market and also still doing well selling Server Hardware.

    Lenovo is one of the few Laptop manufacturers doing well, due to their reputation of durable design and good hardware. They also manage to sell their Laptops at twice the price of a HP or Dell Laptop and so have much higher profit margins.

    Their New carbon ultrathin Laptops are selling really well and very popular within the Company.

     The same With Apple. Their primary sales atm are the iPhone and iPad. Followed by the iPods. Then MacBook Airs. Regular Laptops and iMacs following behind.

    Samsung. Galaxy Phones 1st Place in sales, followed by their Galaxy tablets. Laptops way Down the list.

    Amazon and Google are selling their Kindle Fire and Nexus tablets like hotcakes.

     

    But whatever man....

  • JeroKaneJeroKane OsloPosts: 5,353Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Nadia
    Originally posted by Quizzical

    Ultrabook is an Intel trademark and means whatever Intel defines it to mean.  Part of Intel's definition of Ultrabook is that it has to be extremely thin. 

    look at this 2013 link - i agree

    http://www.pcworld.com/article/2040694/thinner-touchier-more-efficient-intel-tightens-its-ultrabook-definition.html

    An Ultrabook must now be outfitted with a touchscreen, and Intel is encouraging manufacturers to build two-in-one convertible designs (notebooks with touchscreens that detach from their keyboards to become tablets). Also, no laptop can be thicker than 23mm (0.9 inches) if it’s to be marketed as an Ultrabook, and it must now be hardware-ready for voice command and control.

    Ultrabook is just a trademark created by Intel. It´s used by EVERYONE to define a thin and lightweight Laptop. Intel can´t put a stop on the new slang everyone is using it´s trademark for.

    So Intel can make up all kinds of rules for their Ultrabook trademark.  The name itself however has far surpassed to what Intel wants to make it out to be.  It has become the general slang Word for ultrathin lightweight Laptops.

  • RidelynnRidelynn Fresno, CAPosts: 4,179Member Uncommon

    I think the entire point of this thread was Surface 2 (RT and Pro)...

    Not Ultrabooks.

    As far as I can tell, the Surface Pro 2 is not officially an Ultrabook, although it's specs, performance, and limitations more accuratly fit in that genre than in the tablet arena.

    What you call something is very much important. Such as the Macbook Air - it's an ultra thin laptop, but definitely not an Ultrabook.

  • IselinIselin Vancouver, BCPosts: 5,622Member Uncommon

    All incarnations of the Surface--be they RT or Pro or 2, just confirm the MS dedication to the business market. Entertainment has always been an afterthought for them. Despite their aggressive home and entertainment focused advertising, they are really odd ducks. Niche gizmos for the tech-challenged affluent business traveler.

    That's not to say that Surface can't be used for entertainment. But most who starts looking at them for that purpose (since they run  Windows programs--including thousands of PC games) inevitably leave all thoughts of the Surface behind and look instead at the available laptops (of all sizes) with better gaming potential. Many already have touch screens and can be converted into tablets (fat ones usually but whatever) and are not that far off the $900 Pro price.

    Nice try Microsoft...close but no cigar.

     

  • QuizzicalQuizzical Posts: 14,784Member Uncommon

    http://semiaccurate.com/2013/10/02/intel-labels-ultrabooks-failure/

    He claims that Intel is going to abandon Ultrabooks in favor of "two-in-ones".  Intel's $300 million campaign to convince the world that everyone needs an Ultrabook has certainly been a failure thus far.

    The new approach of detachables--such as the Microsoft Surface--is a form factor that does make some sense, I think.  Just not with the Haswell hardware that Intel will surely push for it.  For that, with Windows, you want either AMD Temash or Intel Bay Trail Atom.

    Speaking of which, if businesses need light, portable machines that don't offer much performance, why go for Haswell, anyway?  If you don't need much performance, then why aren't Temash and Bay Trail Atom perfectly acceptable?

    -----

    In other news, now that Dell has pulled out of Windows RT devices, it looks like the only Windows RT devices on the market are the Surface RT and soon the Surface 2.  So Microsoft has the Windows RT market all to themselves.  Which surely wasn't what they had in mind when they wanted to license an OS to other vendors.

  • RidelynnRidelynn Fresno, CAPosts: 4,179Member Uncommon

    Well I can sorta see what they were trying to do with the Surface.

    They completely missed the smart phone boat (so they bought out Nokia, right when it could help them the absolute least)

    They completely missed the tablet boat, despite ~almost~ inventing it back in the early 2000's (largely because they missed the phone boat).

    Their main strength lay in larger corporate software - Office, Server, etc. And of course Windows.

    So they tried to leverage that - create a new category all together that plays to their strengths, while merging in a lot of the benefits that people enjoy about all those boats that they missed, and then wrap it all up into one nice and tidy ecosystem - Windows 8 Phone, Windows 8 RT, and Windows 8, running on phones, on Surface RT tablet, and Surface Pro tablet. And of course, lots and lots of 3rd party hardware as well.

    With the hardware side, the problem is, their phone business never really got off the ground, despite having their own dedicated phone manufacturer (who used to be the largest phone company in the world). Without the phone market, the tablet RT market is all by itself (since they are the only ARM-shared devices). And the full blown x86 device has the exact same problems it had back in 2001 - it still has crappy battery life (compared to everything else in the market), it's still bigger than everything else, and it still needs it's peripherals attached somehow (the keyboard is better than most, I admit, but expensive).

    However, the hardware isn't the crux of the problem, because Microsoft isn't really a hardware company. The glue of the entire thing was Windows 8. Without good Windows 8 acceptance, nothing goes anywhere. And how did the public take Windows 8?

    So... it wasn't that they were trying to cater to some ultra-small niche, it's that they were betting on jump starting an entire ecosystem around Windows 8 devices and pull the entire thing up by it's bootstraps, but it rather fell flat on it's face and all we are left with are some niche products.

  • VallistaVallista San Diego, CAPosts: 282Member
    I have a surface pro.  I love it.  The most I'll use it for is zbrush.  Outside of that, I'm gonna wait for the surface pro 3 with is long time from now.
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