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The Next Gen consoles


Major Britten
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I wonder how much difference going back to out-of-order CPUs is going to make after this gen's focus on in-order processors. I've heard talk of significant (30%) increases in performance just by being able to execute instructions out of order.

Particularly (as I'm sure you are aware) for branch-heavy AI and physics code, both of which are areas I'd love to see improvements in in the next gen.
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I wonder how much difference going back to out-of-order CPUs is going to make after this gen's focus on in-order processors. I've heard talk of significant (30%) increases in performance just by being able to execute instructions out of order.

How much extra logic is going to surround the execution units in these cores though? On Intel's big chips more logic is assigned to stuff like instruction scheduling, branch prediction, reordering and other shenanigans than actual code execution.

The ARM A9 is OoO yet the ancient in order Atom is easily a match for it.

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Yeah, I reckon the engine team at work will be much happier.

I'm no low-level guy (I mostly work in Java middleware) but I have an inkling about how hard it must be to do engine tuning of branch-heavy code for in-order processors. It must suck out loud.
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You guys might as well be talking about wizards in the Nth dimension now for all the sense it makes to me.

I've always found electronics close to magic, I don't get any of it.

There's a popular term in coding circles for the really rarely used, secretive tricks, and that's "deep magic". Trust me when I say that everyone who codes still thinks some of it's pretty close to wizardry too.

http://catb.org/jarg...deep-magic.html

Edit- in fact, about 90% of programming vernacular seems to revolve around wizardry so I guess it makes sense. :lol:

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There's a popular term in coding circles for the really rarely used, secretive tricks, and that's "deep magic". Trust me when I say that everyone who codes still thinks some of it's pretty close to wizardry too.

http://catb.org/jarg...deep-magic.html

Edit- in fact, about 90% of programming vernacular seems to revolve around wizardry so I guess it makes sense. :lol:

A-ha, coding is weird and hard to understand, but I think I'm thinking more of the physical stuff, although there's obviously an awkward nexus between the 'physical' and the language of coding (sorry that sentence makes no sense).

I can't envisage electrons whizzing around fucking 'logic gates' or whatever on a piece of silicon and somehow making calculations and shit happen.

Sure, i've had read about the structure of a microchip and I understand the concepts in a broad sense but I still don't 'get' it.

I get hydraulics. I understand how an engine works. I understand how a CRT monitor works. Whatever.

Electronics (and turning that into calculations) is just like magic to me. Coding is just hard, but I understand that it's just a language and code.

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You guys might as well be talking about wizards in the Nth dimension now for all the sense it makes to me.

I've always found electronics close to magic, I don't get any of it.

I'm exactly the same. When I stop to think about technology and what it's doing, how just a bunch of ground up sand (that is what silicone is made of right?) with some electrons flying through it is letting me shoot aliens in the face or my friends who live hundreds of miles away... it takes my breath away.
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A-ha, coding is weird and hard to understand, but I think I'm thinking more of the physical stuff, although there's obviously an awkward nexus between the 'physical' and the language of coding (sorry that sentence makes no sense).

I can't envisage electronics whizzing around fucking 'logic gates' or whatever on a piece of silicon and somehow making calculations and shit happen.

Sure, i've had read about the structure of a microchip and I understand the concepts in a broad sense but I still don't 'get' it.

I get hydraulics. I understand how an engine works. I understand how a CRT monitor works. Whatever.

Electronics (and turning that into calculations) is just like magic to me. Coding is just hard, but I understand that it's just a language and code.

Essentially a transistor is a switch you can turn off and on with an electric current. You can use that to compare two signals and set a third depending on them. Wire up enough and you can compare binary numbers and add them, and that's the basis of a CPU. Literally everything else is just built on that. We have wonderful software that turns very elaborate high level ideas into comparing two signals but basically for all the complexity we just wind up going "this is on and this is on? Then this is on" and the lowest level.

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Essentially a transistor is a switch you can turn off and on with an electric current.

Yeah but it isn't a literal switch is it? Is it? Can electrons move a tiny piece of metal?

I feel like i'm losing my sanity even thinking about it.

I remember giving it some thought when I was young and feeling a scared by it all. Perhaps I've just never had it explained properly to me.

. Wire up enough and you can compare binary numbers and add them, and that's the basis of a CPU. Literally everything else is just built on that.

Yeah, but this even comparing binary numbers sounds like magic to me. A CPU sounds like a god box. I don't get it.

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http://www.amazon.co...d/dp/0077095847

This book is a great intro to it, should you wish to scratch that itch.

No no no! This is like opening some ancient book of the dead. It's some eldritch madness out of a Lovecraft novel.

Humans are not meant to gaze upon such things. Well, only nerds, who have made some sort of pact with evil ones immeasurably older than Satan.

Arrgh.

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Yeah but it isn't a literal switch is it? Is it? Can electrons move a tiny piece of metal?

I feel like i'm losing my sanity even thinking about it.

I remember giving it some thought when I was young and feeling a scared by it all. Perhaps I've just never had it explained properly to me.

Yeah, but this even comparing binary numbers sounds like magic to me. A CPU sounds like a god box. I don't get it.

At the simplest level transistors work by quantum mechanics and other hoodoo, but if you think of it like a relay switch it's functionally the same.

As for adding binary it's just loads of boring rules, like Proper Maths. It's just lots of comparing two values and setting the result to 1 or 0 according to the rules.

:lol: I'll leave it. Seriously tho, every thing about computing is basically either making comparing two bits quicker or hiding away how it actually works so humans can understand it.

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It's probably easier to understand CPUs as a layman if you don't think at such a low level. I find the easiest way to explain it is the whole instruction, fetch, decode and execute stuff, and things like pipelining and having certain hardware take care of certain things and certain design decisions making things like branches and cache misses pretty costly.

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Perhaps more than any other field of human endeavour, programming is made up of layers upon layers upon layers, each hiding the complexity of the one underneath it while providing a simplified foundation for the one above. You only have to do that half a dozen times to mean there is absolutely no intuitive link between the topmost and bottom most layers -- but between 10 PRINT "HELLO"; 20 GOTO 10 and electrons flowing through semi conductors, there are dozens and dozens of layers. Hence, it looks like magic, including to us guys that work with it every day.

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Yeah, one thing I think layfolk don't realise is that maybe 98% of computing is all these layers of abstraction. It's as much about communicating ideas as the technical elements.

Yes but at some point those low level, to the metal things have to be made by someone somewhere. They didn't just spring out of nothing. That's where the scary stuff lies.
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It's probably easier to understand CPUs as a layman if you don't think at such a low level. I find the easiest way to explain it is the whole instruction, fetch, decode and execute stuff, and things like pipelining and having certain hardware take care of certain things and certain design decisions making things like branches and cache misses pretty costly.

WHAT

At the simplest level transistors work by quantum mechanics and other hoodoo, but if you think of it like a relay switch it's functionally the same.

Yeah but how :(

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Yes but at some point those low level, to the metal things have to be made by someone somewhere. They didn't just spring out of nothing. That's where the scary stuff lies.

Except even there it's not scary, because you're doing very little: writing a bit to a particular mapped bit of pci mapped memory that turns something on or off; where that something is tiny - restarting a timer, or clearing a block of memory or something.

It only becomes scary when you start to traverse all the layers of abstraction.

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Smitty - in all seriousness... It's much easier to approach it by looking into Digital Electronics and logic gates first. Then you can look into how those gates work by delving into Analogue Electronics, but the later can get very maths heavy and needs you to come to terms with 'imaginary numbers'

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My brain is starting to melt trying to understand this tech talk at this time of the morning. Bravo for the guys trying to explain it but its like explaining something in another language in another language I don't understand :(. I've not thought of gaming on this level I just love the end result on the screen. It really is witchcraft.

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