Jump to content
Sturgeon's House


Forum Nobility
  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


N-L-M last won the day on September 18

N-L-M had the most liked content!

Recent Profile Visitors

1,536 profile views

N-L-M's Achievements

Advanced Member

Advanced Member (3/3)



  1. I suppose if you insist on making a fool of yourself in public, we can only cooperate. The belly, being 0.6" RHA with an extra 0.4", is not a single plate and will therefore not have nearly the stiffness of a single plate. The rest of the hull and turret structure, likewise, by using 0.8"-1" base plates onto which the thinner armor packs are tacked on, are all very thin for a vehicle of this weight. Especially when one uses a form of suspension which applies high bending loads to the hull sides, and a powerful gun applying high structural loads. The roof too, at 0.4" base with an extra box structure on top, leaves a lot to be desired. Stiffness scales with the cube of the plate thickness, and the allowable bending moment with the square. In this context, therefore, 2 thin plates, even if rigidly welded into a box structure, are not equivalent to one thick one. No such distinction was offered because no such distinction was requested. The LFS does not look kindly upon this cavalier attitude to vehicle survivability. Also last time I checked 0.6" plus 0.4" with an air gap between them is less than 1.25" of steel, as well as being significantly less stiff as explained above. Cascadian 3.54" HEDP, Cascadian BGM-1 tandem ATGM, and Mormon 2"/4" tandem warhead. at various elevations. Kudos to @Fareastmenace for correctly guessing 2 out of 3, and being real close on the third. The problem is not the concept of transversely mounted engines, but rather your desire to mount one alongside the driver. there is not enough width, this will not fit. Also, the named engine block will not fit by itself in a 1.5 m^3 engine bay you assigned to it. So again, the point stands, a lack of basic spatial reasoning skills. If however you mean to put a transverse engine in front of the driver as your model suggests, the question of where all the bits and bobs you've removed from the engine to squeeze it in go, and just how far back a driver has to sit to comfortably fit. The meaning for the length of the engine deck and the position of the turret ring are both clear and negative. Mines are a distinctly secondary concern to getting places in one piece in the first place, and mines will break single pin tracks too. The much higher wear of a single pin track limits the deployability of the vehicle, as well as its lower energy efficiency lowering both speed and range. a roughly 0.5" top and 0.5" bottom are both very very thin, and even then there's not enough room for the kind of rack mechanism proposed. Shells don't just exist in midair, and the mechanism proposed does not have enough space for the kinds of rails needed. In fact, it hardly has enough space for a static rack. It's also worth noting that 4.7" Kraut, by its nature, has fairly fragile ammunition which needs to be babied to prevent it from falling apart, and so rack solutions such as that used on the IS-7 load assist are not very applicable. Even there, however, the structure to support the rounds was substantial: This of course being the closest system to that which you propose. One would note that the autoloader must support the ammunition in all the various accelerations and shocks of driving and combat, which with heavy ammunition means a substantial structure is required, one for which you left no room. This structure is also the reason why the proposed mechanized magazine reload is nothing but a joke. Perhaps by reducing the turret load to 20 rounds such a system could be contemplated, but again the need to protect the combustible case from damage during travel or handling would not be addressed at all. You appear to have missed quite a bit of the gun's length inboard of the trunnion. Note too that the breech ring extends down quite a bit from the cradle, and the breech block even more when open. All of which speak against the forwards trunnion location even if we ignore the 2-ais solution which is still a farce. The broadly accepted view in the business of armored vehicles is that returning to a loading elevation is perfectly acceptable, and that all-angle loading isn't all that important. Because it is neither good nor truly bad, as the minimum requirement is met. And all must be divided up between the good, the bad, and the ugly.
  2. 6 AA batteries? What is this, the late 1990s? Haven't they heard that modern consumer electronics are powered by USB-charged Lithium Ion batteries?
  3. The claimed risk has always been that of a slippery slope plus reduced oversight. "If we export HEU reactors to our allies, what's to prevent the other side doing the same, and what's to prevent exporting of fresh fuel rods which may or may not be used for their intended purpose?". With current gen "life of ship" cores which do not need refuelling the question of spare fuel assemblies is no longer relevant, of course.
  4. It was only a matter of time, I suppose. I do find the lack of wings to be surprising, as it implies a speed high enough to gain substantial aerodynamic body lift for maneuvering.
  5. I wish I was given 85 million pounds to think about boats.
  6. FROM THE FILES OF LFS ORDNANCE DEPT. - Lone Free State proprietary information - 9.18.2247 To: LFS central command SUBJ: RE: candidate heavy armored truck designs Kind sirs, In conclusion of the evaluation process, LFS Ordnance would also like to share its in-house design for consideration. It was assumed that the Ordnance Dept was being put together to meet the failure of industry to meet the old armored truck requirement, and that the new requirements were in addition to those of the previous competitive bidding process. As a result, we were somewhat surprised to discover an RFP had been sent out and that industry had not only replied with multiple proposals, many of them with caterpillar tracks rather than the usually accepted pneumatic tires! Nevertheless, attached is the Ordnance proposal for the heavy armored truck requirement, and Ordnance welcomes its new role as a more advisory body in the acceptance trials of the industry prototypes. See attached proposal. Ordnance Design Proposal HT-1 “Howling Retriever” Main Battle Truck Table of basic statistics: Parameter Value Mass, combat (armor) 94,600 Lb (47,300 Lb armor) Length, combat (transport) 369” = 30’ 9” Width, combat (transport) 142” = 11’ 10” Height, combat (transport) 114” = 9’ 6” to top of commander’s sight, 99” = 8’ 3” to turret body roof Ground Pressure, zero penetration 1986 PSF NGP (25” tire width, 24” rolling radius on 55” dia tires for 28” length contact patch) Estimated Speed Up to 60 MPH on hard ground Estimated range 526 Miles at 40 MPH (690 HP and 2,200 Lb fuel) Crew, number (roles) 3-5 - Commander, gunner, driver, 2 optional dismounts/waist gunners. Main armament, caliber (ammo count ready/stowed) 5”/45 high pressure gun, 17 ready, 0-27 stowed 5”x24.6” semi-combustible case. Secondary armament, caliber (ammo count ready/stowed) Coaxial .30 MG - 2,000 ready, 6,000 stowed Over-gun .50 HMG - 100 ready, 800 stowed Commander’s .30 MG - 600 ready, 1800 stowed 4x .30 waist guns - 500 rounds ready per gun, none stowed, not intended for reloading in combat. Grenade projectors - 24 ready, 24 stowed 3” smoke grenade launchers may be armed with HE grenades for close in defense against infantry. WP smoke grenades also have substantial anti-infantry effects. Vehicle designer’s notes: explain the thought process behind the design of the vehicle, ideas, and the development process from the designer’s point of view. Vehicle feature list: Mobility: 1. Appendix 1 - performance spec 2. Engine- V8 AVDS- 1200 - From the early-war documentary series Mad Max, it is clear that the optimal engine type for long range motorized conflict or patrolling is the V8. featuring intercoolers, large radiators, and a PTO at the rear to power the truck’s pneumatics, as well as a 650 Amp alternator, this engine is conservatively rated at 700 HP and not the 900 HP one would expect from cutting down a 1790 with the same mods. This is intentional, the de-rating intended to boost the reliability and lifetime of the engine, allowing longer ranged patrols with less frequent maintenance or replacement required. The air-cooling is likewise very reliable and very robust, being mostly immune to damage to the fans or fins, and potentially even to the loss of a cylinder or two. 3. Transmission - Copy of the pre-war Allison 4700 SP, uprated to 700 HP, with the coolant running through the radiators on the engine as is typical for AVDS engines. Also modified to have 2 reverse ratios rather than one, the combination of torque converter and a large number of gear ratios allows good torque delivery at any power output. The transmission connects to a 2-range transfer case, which also contains the AWD selector clutch. Rear wheels (axles 4 and 5) are always engaged, axles 1-3 selectable. Ranges and speeds are estimated as in low range, with those in high range being proportionally greater. The transfer case feeds the lengthwise drive shafts, which then in turn feed the (pneumatically lockable) diffs on each axle. Steering is accomplished via a pneumatic assist, feeding the second axle with Ackerman bars, with the rest being connected by H-style linkage bars as well as cross-bars to prevent the loss of one wheel preventing the steering of others. 4. Fuel - Diesel, approximately 2,200 lb, stowed in the front hull left behind an 0.4” bulkhead, and in the engine compartment under the V engine. Fuel is the lifeblood of the vehicle’s mobility, and is therefore stowed entirely under armor yet also separate from the crew. Range is estimated as 526 miles in low range, using the formula for tracked vehicles as requested. It is however noted that a good rule of thumb is that tracked vehicles have half the fuel efficiency of a wheeled vehicle at the same weight and power, so actual range will likely be much greater. Being behind an armored bulkhead, the front fuel tank can also participate ballistically against threats which make it through the frontal armor or through the wheel well gap in the frontal arc. In such a case, the rear engine compartment tanks should provide enough emergency range to get out of trouble. 5. Other neat features in the engine bay. The powerpack, featuring the engine, transmission, cooling, and pneumatic system, slides out on rails around 45” before lifting, to clear the dismount compartment tunnel the transmission is located in. Air filtration is located in the left large sponson box, along with 4 6T size 12V batteries, with the right large sponson box featuring a small 15 HP APU also driving the compressor for the crew’s AC. Engine features a pneumatic start feature for high starting reliability. 6. Suspension - 10x10 Double wishbone with twin coil spring suspension on large off-road tires, featuring a travel of 10” jounce (in addition to additional tire compression), ground clearance of 15” minimum at the wishbones, 28” to the center of the V-hull, mounted to hull outriggers stiffened by the driveline components themselves. 7. CTIS fed off truck pneumatic system for best suiting the ground pressure to the terrain. Survivability: 1. Appendix 1 - performance spec 2. Appendix 2 - armor array details 3. Non-specified survivability features and other neat tricks A. The armored truck features an extremely low profile in firing position. B. The armor is fully modular, allowing both easy replacement of damaged modules, as well as easy future upgrades. C. All flammable materials other than the optional stowed ammo are separated from the crew behind blast bulkheads. D. The design features very thick roof armor, to help defend against valley ambushes, mountain combat, indirect fire, air attacks, or the like. E. The ability to dismount a scout section of 2 men to scout ahead of the vehicle in close terrain or beyond cover allows the vehicle to avoid situations it may otherwise have blundered into. It is suggested that should platoon or larger formations be used, that a mix of gun-trucks and troop-trucks be employed for an optimal carrying capacity of both men and ammunition to be achieved. F. The side doors both allow dismounting under fire and quick resupply and return to the fight. G. Dedicated waist gunners offer a much more comprehensive ability to lay down suppressive fire along the flanks than alternatives. H. The thick bottom, V-shape, and extreme standoff offer very good protection against mines and IEDs. I. All equipment is mounted to the sides or roof, not the floor, to prevent whiplash from mines. J. Driveline is immune to the loss of any single wheel, and likely all 2-wheel - loss combinations. K. Sponson boxes are made of 0.4" HH, to protect both their contents and the wheels from small arms fire and fragmentation threats. L. Large quantity of smoke or HE grenade launchers (24+24 for 4+4 salvos of 6). Fired from the commander’s position. M. Sufficient electronic overhead to accept warning systems as well as softkill and potentially hard-kill active protection means when those mature. It is not seen as necessary to mount such a system yet, as current threat weapon systems are not SACLOS. Firepower: A. Weapons: 1. Appendix 1 - performance spec 2. Main Weapon- a. Type: high pressure, long recoil stroke smoothbore with vertical sliding breech. b. Caliber: 5” L/45 c. ammunition types and performance: 1) DU slug, steel body, spool sabot, subcaliber fin, APFSDS. The performance of this round cannot possibly be worse than that of the 3BM22 of yore, boasting 17” of penetration at 1.25 miles. Likely, the performance is substantially better, but even if not, the gun is sufficiently powerful that substantial growth potential exists to rounds more powerful than any fielded by the Kraut 4.7” gun from ages long forgotten. MV of at around 6,000 ft/s. 2) Multi purpose HE, featuring a hardened body capped with a ballistic cap and pre-formed frag, nose fuze with 2 modes and a backup tail fuze. MV of at least 3,000 ft/s, with an all-up weight of 59 lb. Mode 1 - Super Quick - for use in the open against soft targets or very hard targets where penetration isn’t considered likely. In this mode, the tail fuze acts only as a backup. Mode 2 - Point Detonating Delay - for use against semi - hard targets such as bunkers, lightly armored trucks, and troops in cover. In this mode the nose fuze is disabled and only the delay tail fuze acts, to detonate only after penetration or ricochet. As a future growth option, a selectable time fuze is proposed. HEAT ammunition is not considered worth the effort, as it is expected that any targets resistant enough to the HE round will also feature a reactive armor kit serious enough to render such a round moot. d. Ammo stowage arrangement- 17 ready in autoloader in turret bustle blowout compartment, up to 27 stowed in fire-resistant sleeves in dismount compartment instead of dismounts. Spare MG ammo stowed in spaced armor pockets along turret roof sides, and inside turret under crew seats and floor. e. FCS - Fully independently stabilized gunsights, with “3-switch” style firing, with gun hydraulically stabilized in closed loop via gun resolver. Hydraulics for gunnery and autoloader live in turret bustle, under the autoloader, with only thin lines running into the fighting compartment. Commander’s independent fire control cupola, featuring stabilization piggybacked off the turret stabilization, and laser rangefinder. Commander has override ability and controls. Gunner’s sight features dual channel (space claim for thermal optics when they are ready), 2-axis stabilized mirror, plus laser rangefinder and 1X periscope forwards. f. Neat features: 1) The main gun features a very high max elevation of +30 degrees, to better aim at targets in annoyingly high places, like mountain passes. 2) Autoloading and independent stabilization allow true fire-on-the-move capability. 3. Secondary weapons. a. Coax .30. Rigidly tied to the main armament, internally operated, can hot-swap barrels or be reloaded (by the gunner). b. Overhead .50. Rigidly tied to main armament, externally loaded but fired from within the vehicle. c. Commander’s .30 MG - fired from within the cupola, fed from 600 round banana box above the periscopes behind the hatch. d. Waist MGs - 4, servo-driven and controlled either by the waist gunners via joystick, periscope, and tracer, or by driver, via automatic sweep in traverse and elevation using limit switches (as featured in the documentary Breaking Bad). 500 rounds each, to be reloaded out of combat, likewise limit switch limits may be set out of combat. e. WP or HE 3” grenades in the smoke grenade launchers for immediate, close-in, destructive fire in a 60 deg arc. Fired from the commander’s position in salvos of 6. f. Dismount weapons. Typically, scouts are equipped with self-loading rifles or auto-rifles, including scoped variants, but are also capable of operating most infantry weapons, including dismounted machine guns from the vehicle. The ability to provide fire and maneuver in conjunction with a base of fire laid down by the parent vehicle allows the solving of usually complex tactical situations. 4. Appendix 3 - weapon system magic B. Optics: 1. Primary gunsight: Type: 2 axis, independently (electrically) stabilized mirror head, 2-channel, with integrated LRF and 1X direct vision periscope. Due to lack of space in the turret, there is no direct extension for the commander to see through, for the thermal sight a repeater will be installed in the commander’s position. Second channel is currently occupied by a 2nd-gen I2 device, to be replaced by thermals as soon as possible. 2. Commander’s independent sight: Part of the FCS cupola, featuring single channel day/ I2 optics (with potential thermal upgrade down the line), stabilized by piggyback off the turret gyro unit and a coarse resolver around the cupola ring, intended to balance cost and quality. Solution is unlikely to be useful for long range gunnery, but sufficient for close range gunnery and for selecting targets for the gunner to interrogate and engage with his superior optics. 3. Commander’s peripheral periscopes: Give the FCS cupola good all-around vision when buttoned down, especially over the right of the turret. 4. Gunner’s peripheral periscopes: Give the gunner a good view over the left, (both a bit forwards and a bit aft of 9 oclock), of the turret when buttoned down, complementing the commander’s field of view. 5. Driver’s periscopes: Positioned at the edge of the 15 degree slope, give the driver a good field of view in front of the vehicle with few obstructions. Center periscope may be equipped with I2 devices for night driving. Periscopes for this position are of the split type, with one reflective surface in the hatch and the other in the hull to allow easier opening of the driver’s hatch. 6. Mk 1 eyeball. Commander’s hatch features an open protected position, and the angles of the roof allow him good all-around vision without having to stick his head too far out. 7. Waist gunner periscopes. These periscopes offer a good field of view to the front quarter of each side, especially upwards, to allow the waist gunners to direct their fire against targets in those likely ambush sectors. 8. Dismount scouts. Better than any other vision system, and capable of operating all infantry optical devices, as well as self-deploying short distances away to scout dangerous terrain before the vehicle advances. C. FCS: 1. 2-axis stabilized 5” L/45 smoothbore 2. Independently 2-axis stabilized gunner’s sight with dual channel operation and LRF 3. Independently stabilized commander’s FCS cupola with built-in MG 4. Electronic computer for controlling turret systems. 5. Servo drives for waist MGs 6. Appendix 3 - weapon system magic Crew comfort: 1. Air conditioning - a must have, particularly for the dismounts who have no hatches for use while in motion. Located in the right large sponson box along with the APU, feeding the crew compartment via the dismount compartment. Aircon also aids in maintaining the life of electronic components, an important feature for such an electronically-rich vehicle. With flow reversal, the aircon unit heats the crew compartment during the winter, with none of the dangers of a fuel-powered crew heater. 2. Drinking water. There is a tank for drinking water installed, between the frontal fuel tank and the turret basket.. With a capacity of 47 gallons, this allows the tank to operate in the desert and support infantry for extended operations without supply. Additional external stowage is of course possible. A heat exchanger with the driver’s aircon pipe allows drinking water below ambient temperature. 3. Diesel -powered burner stove for cooking hot meals outside the vehicle. 4. Height. All seats are adjustable and suitable to the above-average Texan recruit. There is sufficient headroom and elbow space in every crew position. 5. Fume extractor on the barrel greatly reduces the flow of gas into the fighting compartment when the gun fires. Upgradeability: 1. Suspension capable of taking both current weight and potential weight growth without excessive wear, though at higher ground pressure. Ground pressure can be reduced via CTIS at the cost of increased tire wear. 2. Armor upgradeability, as the armor is modular. 3. Powerpack allows upgrades as they become available, and rear wheel position allows extending the hull rearwards should more space be required in the powerpack compartment. 4. Spare internal volume for more vetronics. 5. Frontally removable gun, allows easy maintenance and upgrading. Additional Features: 1. Current development of variants includes: a. HAPC/HIFV (similar in concept to a heavy BTR-82A), as well as sub-variants for command, MEDEVAC, recovery, and other purposes. b. SPAA (Shilka-like turret, with twin 1.5” guns, and basic air search and ranging radars; plenty of space for more advanced electronics when available. Also useful for bullying mormonhideen off of mountains) c. Howitzer truck - Similar chassis, but with outrigger stabilizers, less heavy armor, and a larger turret with an unstabilized 6" gun capable of even higher elevation and an enlarged autoloader, for providing maneuver forces with the requisite heavy artillery support they may require. d. Medium armored truck - by removing much of the modular armor from the HR, substantial mobility potential is unleashed. It is recommended that a few vehicles be so used in long range patrols where heavy weapons are not expected to be encountered. 2. The compressed air system connects to a pneumatic joint in the engine bay, to which air-powered tools can be attached. Current supplied tools as basic vehicle equipment include a pressure blower for cleaning air filters and the like, a pneumatic bolt-driver, a pneumatic jack, and other assorted goodies. Free expression zone: Certain members of the Ordnance design team are convinced that tracked armored trucks will never catch on, whereas others are convinced that tracks are the one true way whereas wheeled vehicles are inherently less survivable. Isolating these two groups has taken substantial development effort, as well as the classification of the term "death trap" as fightin' words.
  7. We are seeing HEAT types being replaced across the board with MPHE types and this has been the case for around 15 years or so. Using up cold war HEAT stocks notwithstanding.
  8. The LFS knows of reactive armors, and indeed the competition features them heavily. The opponents of the LFS are however also aware of these armor types. The only kinds of target against which HEAT is more useful than plain HE is thick monolithic or spaced RHA, but any such target will also most likely feature some layers of reactive armor and so HEAT will not be useful to keep around.
  9. judge's opinions: For the sake of convenience, these are posted in order of posting in the submission thread. XG-48E3 Comanche Battle-cruiser Main Battle Tank, 2247, project names "Derebus" and "Derebus-M" Brownsville Armour Engineering Systems FV601 “Cossack” VK-55.01 - Versuchsträger NK Persson Engineering Solutions and Brewing, Main Battle Tank, MBT-01, "Gigan" East Oil Company MBT-1 Monolith
  10. FROM THE FILES OF LFS ORDNANCE DEPT. - Lone Free State proprietary information - 9.18.2247 To: LFS central command CC: relevant industrial concerns @Sturgeon @Toxn @Fareastmenace @delete013 @Sten @Dominus Dolorem SUBJ: RE: candidate heavy armored truck designs Kind sirs, we apologize for the delay in responding to the technical request in your last communication on this topic. As you are no doubt aware, the LFS Ordnance dept. was set up only recently, and administrative affairs have delayed the trials and testing of the proposed vehicle designs. With the above said, enclosed are our recommendations for the selection of a new heavy armored truck for the newly formed 1st Heavy Ranger Brigade. FIRST PLACE: Brownsville Armour Engineering Systems FV601 “Cossack” LFS Ordnance was very impressed with this design, featuring a very good blend of features both for the current threat environment and for future threat environments. Congratulations, @Fareastmenace! SECOND PLACE: Persson Engineering Solutions and Brewing, Main Battle Tank, MBT-01, "Gigan" Another very impressive beast, again featuring a design focused not only on the current threat environment but on the future as well. @Sten, very well done. THIRD PLACE: East Oil Company MBT-1 Monolith An extremely large, extremely powerful beast, which while perhaps somewhat poorly tailored to the requirements of the LFS nevertheless would offer substantial performance in service. @Dominus Dolorem, good show. Detailed opinions on all designs to follow shortly.
  11. Yes. The judges are people too who do this in their free time.
  12. The judgement process is a long and arduous one. Each submission is examined at face value, details checked and verified, before being compared to the specification and its peer submissions. The judging of the current comp has however dragged on a bit longer than intended but is still most definitely happening.
  13. The game is still very alpha, and a lot of the mechanics are a bit too abstracted for my taste, but it's fun (though short).
  14. With the kind permission of Colli, I present to you the 2021 update, as well as a certain retrospective, as I fairly recently dove head-first into this topic for the first time in years. So what’s changed over the past year? In the field of GPUs, Nvidia have released their 30 series cards, to great joy and great anger, depending on who exactly you ask. There’s no question that the 30 series brings great performance gains (with the lower end currently available matching the higher end of the 20-series, for instance the 3060Ti is largely equivalent to the 2080 Super), and that the Founder’s Edition cooling solution is both affordable (being offered at MSRP and not above, unusually) and effective (the through-flow solution being fairly highly regarded). AMD, likewise, has released its 6000-series, which appears to be lagging behind Nvidia’s offerings for performance at a given cost point, excepting some of the more over-priced Nvidia cards. In terms of raw capability, Nvidia cards put more of an emphasis on ray-tracing at any given performance category over plain ol rasterization, and slightly less on shaders, and a wide array of benchmarks show a distinct advantage there, with the latest AMD offerings falling behind the last gen Nvidia ones. So where is the controversy regarding these cards? Largely in the cost, marketing, and target market. The higher end, 3090s, 6900XTs, and 3080s are marketed as gaming devices yet seem better suited to graphics workstations, and are very steeply priced. The lower end is perfectly acceptable, if you can get your hands on them. The graphics card shortage is perhaps even worse than it was last year, though that shows signs of reversing as of mid August. The extremely high demand has been driven by 2 major factors - the first, the Cryptocurrency market, which exploded over the past year, and the second being lockdown-inspired demand for high performance desktops, both for “working from home” and for lockdown entertainment. Both of those, however, are showing certain signs of abating. The Crypto market took a few major hits over the past year, after its meteoric rise. Notably, the Chinese outlawing mining both tanked the value (reducing the value of mining in the civilized world), and flooded the Asian market with used graphics cards, with knock-on effects to the rest of the world. And with the end of serious lockdowns in most of the civilized world, the demand for high end gaming-capable computers is dying off and many are available secondhand (and indeed the buyers thereof aren’t competing for the latest and greatest equipment any more). For what it’s worth, per the Steam hardware survey, the most popular of these newer cards is the 3070, followed by the 3080, then the 3060, with the 3090 falling far behind and the latest AMD cards not even making the list. The Nvidia 10 and 16 series still hold the lion’s share of the market, of course. Intel’s new foray into graphics cards, rather than just integrated graphics, may expand the market options from the current duopoly. The new line of Nvidia CPUs, if they venture into the consumer level and not just the datacenter class, will mean we’ll have 3 giants doing both CPUs and GPUs, which will hopefully only do good things on the consumer side. In the field of CPUs, Intel still holds the lead in single thread performance, but the “11th-gen” flagship performance has left much to be desired, with the i9-11900k being noticeably worse than its predecessor, the i9-10900k, in many benchmarks, as an example. Popular opinion is that they were to a certain extent rushed out to maintain Intel’s image as the market leader, even if AMD is neck to neck if not overtaking them outright by this point. In fact, the perception of being a market leader is so important, that Intel is renaming their node size technology to better compete (though as we all know the “node size” in nm doesn’t actually correspond to any actual real physical measurement, and Intel have consistently squeezed more performance out of any arbitrary self-reported number than competitors). The Ryzen 5000 series is seriously kicking Intel in the nads, with the Ryzen 9 5900X, at comparable price to the i9-11900k, offering many more cores, lower TDP, and only slightly lower clock speed, for what is a very spicy package Intel has a hard time matching. Intel’s 12th gen, which should be out any day now, may offer a worthwhile response, but then again may not. Other than for compatibility and stability reasons, it’s getting ever harder to recommend Intel, so they’ll have to step up if they want to not become the underdog themselves. Unusually, this year also brings RAM news - DDR5 is right around the corner, once again offering increased capacities at higher speeds. Available likely in late Q4 2021, along with the Intel 12th gen CPUs which are reportedly the first which will be compatible. In conclusion, it’s been quite a year, and competition is running hot. Hopefully the following year will bring more fancy new products. So, where do I see this going? Looking back 7 years, to when I was last really paying attention, we see a few interesting developments reaching their ends, and a few new ones opening up. One development which appears to be reaching its end is screen technology. We now have screens which refresh faster than the brain can actually usefully recognize (240 Hz), and screens at resolutions greater than that of the human eye (4k, 27” monitors at reasonable distance from your face). Clearly, once those two factors are combined, perhaps even in a curved wide monitor which are ever more the rage these days, there won’t be much more to be done in that field, which also implies a limit to target performance for GPUs, at least for gaming applications. Doubly so, when one considers the various “AI” techniques being introduced such as DLSS, which reduce the workload of rasterization. Unless something major comes along which requires much more processing power, while the end is far away it definitely appears to be within sight. RAM, on the other hand, appears to be getting ever faster and ever larger, with the most interesting development being, in my opinion, Intel’s Optane, which is a kind of middle ground between SSDs and RAM, with most of the attendant advantages of either. Current programs do very much like their RAM, and that’s not a trend that’s showing any signs of stopping, either. Another interesting development is the gradual reduction in number and types of cables, both from wireless communication and inductive power delivery, and by the USB standards slowly displacing everything else (other than graphics, though that too may change soon with USB4 allowing DisplayPort tunneling). This convergence has done much to address the e-waste problem, as well as the “rat’s nest” of cables of the computers of yore. Along with the cables disappearing, so too have physical data storage media, to a very large extent. Internet-based “cloud” data storage, streaming services, and the like have entirely displaced such things as the CD, to the point where not only do many computers come without, they don’t even come with the bays required to install one. This has of course resulted in external, USB-powered ones, for those occasions where you do need to read one, which do unfortunately add clutter rather than remove it. And now, whither cloud storage? Over the past few years, and the last year in particular, we’ve seen a rush to both get into the cloud business via an absurd explosion of streaming services all requiring a subscription to access their exclusive content, and to monetize existing formerly free internet services. Beyond the usual “freemium”, “free but tons of adds”, and “free but we steal all your data”, we’ve seen free services cut down significantly in favor of the paid versions, “software as a service”, and increased executive meddling in what you do on said platforms. While highly unpleasant if you are on the wrong end of things, it does once and for all answer the question of “who’s paying for all these free internet things”. But bottom line, if you’re one of those people who keeps all their data on the cloud, best ask yourself what happens when your data host decides to unperson you for wrongthink of whatever flavor, real or imagined. Doubly so if your data is also a source of income. So, how should you store your data on your own PC? The conventional wisdom of past years has been to have at least a small SSD for your OS and commonly used programs, and an HDD for the heavy lifting. In the current year, and doubly so in the near future, it appears that if you only intend on keeping around a small quantity of data, you can get away with only having an SSD, and no HDD at all. Of course, this approach isn’t fault-tolerable, and recovering data from a damaged SSD is not really possible in the same way it is from a damaged HDD. So it seems an HDD is still desirable for the near future, at least, and perhaps onwards. External HDDs are pretty cheap nowadays, and you likely have some digital media you really don’t want to lose, so getting a couple and storing one in a different building is not a bad idea. And if you’re into really long term read-only storage, for things like family photos, DVDs or Blu-Rays are pretty cheap and last basically forever, and are likely more forgiving of rough storage than the HDDs. That more or less wraps up my opinions on the topic, yours may of course vary.
  • Create New...