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Portable So I bought a Microsoft Surface RT...

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by Nexxo, 5 Jan 2013.

  1. longweight

    longweight Possibly Longbeard.

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    Man I want a Surface!
     
  2. Nexxo

    Nexxo * Prefab Sprout – The King of Rock 'n' Roll

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    I love Quake. It brings back memories for me like certain record albums do for others. It is the first game I install on any computer I've ever owned since it came out.

    And I think it has the best commercials ever: "Quake is good for you". :D

    [​IMG]
     
  3. mike_dowler

    mike_dowler What's a Dremel?

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    Nexxo, thanks so much for posting this. I consider myself pretty well-informed when it comes to new tech, but for some reason (poor marketing on Microsoft's part, plus my antipathy towards Win 8 for desktop PCs, probably), the Surface RT had completely passed me by.

    I went to John Lewis and had a play last night, and was very interested. I was surprised by one thing though - there are too many apps in the store! Or rather, there are too many dodgy apps. There were at least half a dozen apps called "Windows Media Player" or something similar, all using the MS logo, but not from MS. That sort of thing is just going to add to the consumer confusion.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  4. Nexxo

    Nexxo * Prefab Sprout – The King of Rock 'n' Roll

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    Yeah, the first sign of a burgeoning app market is a lot of crap apps. :) Don't worry; the excellent VLC Player is about to be released for Windows RT, and it will be free (but please donate to its non-profit open source cause).

    For YouTube I highly recommend YouTube RT. For media playback and streaming from local sources there is also (for free) Multimedia 8. For Vimeo, there's a good Vimeo app. Both the YouTube and vimeo app have live tiles flashing up the latest videos.

    For file compression, unless you want to go the jailbreak route and have 7Zip on the desktop (I have; it's rather neat), I managed to bribe boo studios into releasing an RT port of their Metro app 8 Zip in exchange for a Dutch translation (although it was on the charts anyway, I'm sure). I think it's better than the official WinZip app.

    There are other good apps, but to be honest you don't need that many. There's Google Search, which has the killer application of voice search so you can do that neat Siri-like thing they show in the Nexus 7 commercials. When the tile is set to large, it also flashes up the daily Google doodle (when there is one that day). There's News Bento (must have), a BBC news reader lovingly crafted by an independent programmer (the official BBC ones are crap), and Mine for Facebook makes an acceptable Facebook app, although you can just use the browser and pin a bookmark to the start screen. I did that with The Clean Dictionary, but now I've replaced that with a brilliant dictionary app that only just came out today: Sidebar Dictionary (free). Apart from offering on the fly definitions and translation, and text-to-speech, it shows off how useful the sidebar snapping function can really be.

    Star Chart is a nice, well, star chart. Rocket Riot is a nice game, as is Ilomilo. ByeBye Brain App-ocalypse is a promising tower-defence kind of game.

    More stuff is coming out all the time. A lot of it is crap, but there are some real gems.
     
    Last edited: 18 Jan 2013
  5. rollo

    rollo Modder

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    May get the surface rt 2 later this year as I'd expect it to get tegra4 hardware.

    Surface pro2 on haswell is what most people i speak to want to see, should have excellent performance and battery life to boot and enough 3d grunt to get most games going in the screen size.

    By that stage the App Store would of improved and alot of the bugs should of been ironed out.
     
  6. Nexxo

    Nexxo * Prefab Sprout – The King of Rock 'n' Roll

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    Good call. A Surface RT 2 with Tegra 4 could offer good performance, a 1080p screen and possibly even better battery life.

    I don't think the Atom is going to be a significant improvement. It runs Windows 8 and therefore offers legacy compatibility, but legacy software struggles on it, and drains batterly life fiercely. I don't think people can see it yet, but Windows RT makes sense as a long term strategy.

    And a Surface Pro 2 on Haswell... that would be epic.

    App store is improving daily. Wait until the Pro hits the market...
     
  7. Cabe6403

    Cabe6403 Supreme Commander

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    The main thing that's holding me back from buying one right now is the resolution. I was set to sell my iPad and buy one before I saw the resolution of the screen. I was a bit disappointed in that. How is it in practice resolution wise?
     
  8. Yslen

    Yslen Lord of the Twenty-Seventh Circle

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    I am going to bet against this prediction; I think RT is going to be ditched before long.

    The Surface RT is far too expensive to justify compared to x86 equivalents. Samsung's RT offering even more so. Dell's Latitude 10 is a much more attractive option all round, and Haswell is only going to improve the lot of x86 tablets; Q3 and Q4 should be interesting.
     
  9. Nexxo

    Nexxo * Prefab Sprout – The King of Rock 'n' Roll

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    It's like the first and second iPad.

    I wouldn't be so sure. ARM processors are getting increasingly powerful and power-economical too. The Atom seems great in principle, but it is not powerful enough to really run legacy apps. And Haswell is a much more expensive platform. It could go either way.
     
  10. faugusztin

    faugusztin I *am* the guy with two left hands

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    Right now the only W8/WRT tablet that makes sense is Acer Iconia Tab W700, 64GB model (Core i3 3217U, 4 GB RAM, 64 GB HDD, 11.6" 1920x1080 IPS, stand, BT keyboard) for 699€. The rest is at least questionable - other brands try to sell you ARM or Atom/1366x768/2GB in that price :duh:.
     
  11. GoodBytes

    GoodBytes How many wifi's does it have?

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    Atom is crap. The only reason why you see tablet with Windows 8 with Atom look and response quickly is because the UI is dead simple, and that it's all GPU rendered.

    My mother computer is an Atom.. dual core 1.6GHz overclocked to 1.8GHz, 64-bit, with 64-bit Windows 7, running with a GeForce 9300M (Nvidia ION). Everything on it's side to be powerful, it can BARELY handle 1080p video, word and/or web surfing, and/or Skype. And by barely I mean.. you have to be patient. CPU is nearly always above ~50% as you open programs or do stuff with it. Yes, you might argue that Atom got better since then... but I would be seriously annoyed by this. And I see this as a waste of battery life. If the CPU struggles, that means it consume more power. Ultra-voltage Core i series for me please, or ARM for longer battery life and smoother and more responsive experience.
     
  12. oasked

    oasked Stuck in (better) mud

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    I saw one of these being used in a pretentious coffee chain near me - makes a change from all the Apple love. Good to see a little variety! :)
     
  13. Yslen

    Yslen Lord of the Twenty-Seventh Circle

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    As far as I can tell, ARM is becoming less and less efficient with each generation. They're getting more and more complex, closer to Intel's designs than earlier ARM chips. Look at the battery life of recent phones vs only a couple of years ago. Clock speeds are continuing to rise, and we're approaching the point where Intel's refined architectures and tiny process sizes are going to pay off.

    As for power, the current Atom is faster than my laptop, which easily handles Office, Steam, 99% of the Good Old Games catalogue, Photoshop, music production software... the list goes on. There's plenty of legacy software that will run fine on these things.

    I got the name wrong with Haswell, I apologise. I was referring to the next gen Atom on a smaller process, and I still can't remember the code name for it. Bay Islands perhaps?

    EDIT: Valleyview. Stupid name, no wonder I couldn't remember it. Looks fast though.




    That's a decent buy, but the Dell is cheaper and has better battery life, plus Acer isn't known for build quality. Latitude stuff is rock solid.





    Depends on the Atom. The 230 (1.6Ghz dual core) is a lot slower than the current Z2760 (1.5Ghz dual core). The former is just over half the speed of the latter. The architecture has evolved a bit since the netbook days, thankfully.
     
  14. rollo

    rollo Modder

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    Id also agree on that resolution been a bit pants but then again surface rt 2 can come with better screen so they can sell it as an upgrade.
     
  15. faugusztin

    faugusztin I *am* the guy with two left hands

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    So let me get this straight. You are willing to buy Dell Latitude 10 with Atom Z2760, 10" 1366x768 display, 2GB RAM and 64GB storage, "4-cell 59W/HR" battery for 683,00 € (that is the official Dell price on german Dell page) instead of a Core i3 ULV, 11" 1920x1080 display, 4GB RAM, 64GB storage for 699€ and 4,850mAh battery which according to Engadget : "we got seven hours and 13 minutes of runtime after looping a video off the local disk with WiFi on and the brightness fixed at 65 percent" ? :eyebrow:

    And the build quality - i guess you didn't have chance to play with any of the new Acer ultrabooks, i suggest you to try out Aspire S7 if you got a chance. You will be surprised.
     
  16. Nexxo

    Nexxo * Prefab Sprout – The King of Rock 'n' Roll

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    I'm thinking of how the Tegra 4 compares to the Tegra 3: six times more powerful, but 65% more power economical. Intel is exploiting a lot of technology that has not yet trickled down to other chip manufacturers, but once it does, they are ahead of the game again in economical processors.

    What you are mentioning is stuff that runs fine on ARM too. But ask PhotoShop to do something a bit demanding, or run something that people typically think of as legacy software, the Atom struggles and battery life drops dramatically --or so the reviews of Z2760 devices show. That 'legacy compatibility' is a bit misleading.
     
  17. Yslen

    Yslen Lord of the Twenty-Seventh Circle

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    I took at look at the Engadget review of the W700. The battery life is better than I expected for the i5 (which it is, not an i3, looking at the Engadget review), not far off the Nexus 10 and not a million miles away from the Nexus 7 either. The performance is also right up there with ultrabooks, very impressive. Unfortunately it does have active cooling / fan vents by the looks of it, which isn't ideal for a tablet. The dock is also damn ugly, who designed that?!

    The Dell, on the other hand, will last well over 10 hours under the same test conditions, is entirely passively cooled, and in the UK at least is over 100 GBP cheaper. I'm happy with the performance of the Atom given the advantages here. As I've said before, from the perspective of a low power Windows tablet, it looks great.

    I've not seen many new Acer products, no, I admit I was basing my ideas about their build quality on the three terribly badly made laptops we've had in this house.


    Those statistics relate to the GPU, primarily, as I understand it? The Tegra 3 will drain my Nexus 7 dry when running some games in about an hour, so even a 65% boost isn't going to get it up to anything like ideal.

    Intel has been ahead of everyone else in terms of process size for ages, and there are no signs that it will change soon. They're looking at 5nm by 2015. If they keep improving the architecture to better compete with ARM, that advantage is going to make Intel the only sensible choice, just as with the desktop market. R&D power is everything, and Intel is right up there.

    They only run fine on ARM if a) someone has recoded them for ARM, and I don't mean a crappy cash in like the mobile version of Photoshop, I mean the actual app and b) you pay for it again. I have a ton of software for x86 that needs very little power and would run fine on an Atom. Sure, powering through benchmarks in photoshop uses a lot of juice, but who does that? Most of the time I'm editing photos my laptop CPU is idling. Moving a brush around on a screen uses next to no power. The same is true of high-end audio software; there's a music studio here running on a 2.2GHz Athlon X2 because even loaded up with plugins, it doesn't take much power to run. The current Atom is almost that fast, so firing up your DAW while sat on a train and playing with some mixes is perfectly possible. How about all the old games? Forget remakes, there are tons of them on GoG.com and they'll all work fine because the Atom is 10x more powerful than the computers they were made for.

    So, you're right in a sense - if you load up photoshop and try to assemble a panorama then run some filters on it, your battery life will go through the floor. The point I was trying to make, however, is that a great deal of what I do on my laptop or even desktop PC requires practically no power and could easily be done on a tablet. Having the same software on both a desktop and a tablet would be really useful to me, and I think it's something Microsoft should be throwing money at. To a lot of people it would be a killer feature.


    p.s. Bit-tech is so refreshing, everyone is so nice :D
     
  18. faugusztin

    faugusztin I *am* the guy with two left hands

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    The cheapest model is i3/64GB, the more expensive model is the i5/128GB (the one reviewed by Engadget). I could even look over the lower performance of the Atom, but 2GB RAM is laughable.
     
  19. rollo

    rollo Modder

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    Would take Nvidias figures with a pinch of salt as always. There claimed performance boosts are always titles that they either made or have the way its ment to be played stuff on them.

    I personally think tegra4 will be ipad3 level Gpu with a faster CPU. Currently its about as fast as an old iPad in gaming terms( anandtechs benches)

    If they get it up to ipad4 level with similar battery life would be a major win for nvidia but history is not with them, personally think they are fighting a loosing battle either way.

    Be 3-4 months minimum before we see a tegra 4 product( most likely a Samsung tablet to counter whatever apple makes.) assuming it does not cost the earth bom for tegra4 + LTE chip has to be less than competing products or outperform it so much that it does not matter.( rumours on the web nvidia wants to be inside the Samsung galaxy s4 if rumour specs are out to go by its failed)

    More intrested in what it does for phone, as at the moment using any heavy duty app will kill the battery in 3-5hrs.(all high end phones suffer under heavy game usage between 3-5hrs max for grand theft auto app level)
     
  20. GoodBytes

    GoodBytes How many wifi's does it have?

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    The Tegra 3 was a descent chip at release. Not the fastest, as it was in development when the Tegra 1 was in use on the Zune, and no one had the Tegra 2. By the time you see Tegra 3 products, the processor is weak at best. Not terrible and still faster than many other models, but certainly not the fastest.

    Tegra 4 is much more powerful. The question is when it will come out, let alone see products with it. If it takes a year before you see a product with it, than expect to be like the Tegra 3, where it's decent again. However, Nvidia is grasping the ARM processor architecture very fast... The Tegra 5 might be the real champion or be with the top big boys.

    The problem that Nvidia has, is that Apple and Samung, as they manufacture their own processor, they dont' care of making 0 money, and they don't care about producing an extra large chip, so easier to make them much more powerful, as they make money on the end products. Nvidia needs to make the chip the smallest as possible, and very cheaply to make their chips compete with the others. So while Nvidia Tegra isn't the best and won't be best, it is truly amazing what they can do. Such knowledge and experience will be super beneficial in the years to come, especially that Apple and Samsung ARM processor size are reaching it's peak size. They have now to focus on making it smaller, reduce heat significantly (already the iPad 3 is unacceptable), and reduce power usage to be able to use the chip on phones and other devices of small form factor.
     

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