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I'm out of ideas for news-titles

Discussion in 'Pyra News' started by EvilDragon, Sep 5, 2017.

  1. PCXT

    PCXT Active Member

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    About problems with excess RAM and performance: Do we still have RAM access like in DOS era when there was a 64K memory window to see 4MB of upper RAM and software had to switch banks back and forth all time?

    About 2 vs 4GB I think it depends on how the machine will be used. Everyone has some workflows, they have different requirements. For me 2GB is sufficient in 80% cases, 20% is virtualization and graphics processing I do on 8GB machine, in which I used more than 5GB two times.
    P.S. Take Wirth's law into account.
     
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  2. levi

    levi Still fresh, damnit!

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    There's no 640k limit to consider with ARM chips - they were first fabricated in about 1986 when 1MB computers were top end, but reasonably common. I think there's a 32-bit limit of 4GB per process, but it's relatively easy these days to split data across processes if you need to. Plus it probably goes away in ARMv8 AArch64 with its 64-bit registers which I think would give us a per-process limit of 16 exabytes, which should keep us going for a while.
     
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  3. Grench

    Grench Forum Addict!

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    Your 8GB machine probably has significantly more CPU power than the Pyra as well. Balancing RAM/CPU is good. I also do a fair amount of virtualization. From a desktop/server perspective this is running independent images of Linux/Windows OS installs. It's fantastic - one robust machine becomes a dozen less robust virtual machines.

    On the Pyra, though, virtualization looks more like maybe running an Android or Linux ARM instance or two that sit inactive or low power when not in use then use more CPU when in the foreground. It isn't a VM server environment - or at least it shouldn't be. Could it be? Maybe - but that gets a bit silly to do to a mobile handheld.

    I would love to have multiple Android VMs running on a Pyra. I dream/envision each to get about 500MB of RAM and 75% of a CPU core - and to go to <5% of a CPU core when not in the foreground. Pipe dream maybe, but it would be fun.

    No, I'm not on a crusade against 4GB. If it works, great. BUT if it doesn't work with 4GB it is not the end of the world. It simply means 2GB Pyras with a bit better battery life and not being able to have a gazillion things cached to RAM and sitting static while burning battery life pointlessly refreshing RAM that is storing data instead of being -used-.
     
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  4. directive0

    directive0 Very Active Member

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    Seems reasonable.
     
  5. pyrat

    pyrat Member

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    I still want a 4GB Pyra, but maybe people would be interested in any differences in heat and CPU throttling between 4GB and 2GB with comparable loads ? I don't know how large the difference may be, but 4GB take more power and that must mean more heat and that should make the CPU leave 1,5GHz earlier. I don't know if this may be compared already or it may be affected by something that still has to be optimized. Who knows if even when 4GB works someone may prefer 2GB not because battery lasts somewhat longer but because the CPU might run faster on average because of a little less heat on its PCB?
     
  6. Grench

    Grench Forum Addict!

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    Heat from the RAM would only be a small bit of the heat generated by the SoC board if the CPU is running at 100%.

    Power usage by the RAM is pretty much the same whether it is in active use or with the screen off & CPU idle. The RAM has to keep refreshing even when the unit is in your pocket. So, the more RAM the less 'standby' time the unit would have. There are other bits that have to remain powered up too - so it isn't a direct ramp.

    Keep in mind that the Pyra uses DDR and not an LPDDR type. Nature of the SoC.

    A good estimate that someone else came up with long ago in Pyra boards time:
    If the Pyra with 2GB of RAM can last ~10 hours of active use, a Pyra with 4GB of RAM under equal workload would last ~8.5-9 hours of active use.
    A corollary:
    If the Pyra with 2GB of RAM being refreshed can hang out in standby mode for ~100 hours, a Pyra with 4GB of RAM being refreshed can hang out in standby mode for ~70-80 hours.

    Those are rough, back of envelope numbers, likely all wrong quantitatively, but should be roughly right(ish) in direction and (rough) magnitude.
     
  7. Eight Bit

    Eight Bit Advanced Member

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    And what about a 4GB unit booted in 2GB mode? <hides>
     
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  8. Grench

    Grench Forum Addict!

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    The world will implode into a pair of ducks standing on a pair of docks.
     
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  9. Dark Pulse

    Dark Pulse Retreaux

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    Simple: The counter-example is that the device supports up to 8 GB of RAM. Full stop.

    This isn't "the device can't support it and we're trying to hack it to do such." This isn't some kind of weird OS screwing that they have to do to make it support the device. If the device supports 8 GB of RAM - and it DOES - then it supports 8 GB of RAM. Period.

    It's up to the OS HOW that RAM is used - the device gets no control over it, because all it can do is say "Hey, I can keep track of this many bytes." The operating system is the one who actually tells it what bytes to keep track of. The fact is, it's supported by both the device itself, and Debian, so you can't just keep going "anything more than 2 GB is a waste" because both of those both support more than 2 GB of RAM! You're not going to sit there and tell me all modern Linux desktop PCs only have 2 GB of RAM and never any higher, are you?

    I also presented you two examples (conveniently ignored here, I noted) where TI had, on their own wiki, development boards with 4 GB of RAM!

    You cannot cherry-pick statements and use one person as sole and incontrovertible proof that it's impossible. You cannot go "Well @TrashyMG couldn't get it to 2 GB, so anything more than that is pointless." We don't even have a working 4 GB unit yet aside from one, so how the hell COULD you know that it's pointless? You can't! You don't have a working 4 GB Pyra devboard, so until someone does and can test it out, let's not prematurely sing the funeral dirge.

    The OS supports more than 4 GB of RAM, and the device itself does as well. Maybe it's pointless to you, but I'm damn well sure someone out there who bought a 4 GB Pyra will find a way to use more than 2 GB of the device's RAM - it's just a matter of time. How one person uses it is not how every person will use it, and simply put, 1100 people is a better sample size than one.

    Regardless of OS, RAM is RAM. It holds some kind of data for rapid-retrieval usage. RAM that's sitting empty is wasted RAM, so most OSes try to use as much of that RAM as possible - whether it's actively holding data or merely a quick cache.

    Is the guy who just wants to play some emulators or homebrew going to even whiff at that 4 GB? Of course not, they'll probably have enough at 2 GB.

    But the people who might want to play Minecraft, for example, could benefit, or those who try to compile huge projects from source code. notaz may also do more of his static recompilations, and those could certainly begin eating up memory of their own, especially when we get into early-2000s level stuff. By 2004-2005 it wasn't unheard of for a PC-quality game to chew a gig of RAM all on its own. (I remember UT2004 doing about 750-900 MB.)

    Not quite, as the "best" one actually is the mobile edition that has extra functionality and a markedly higher price point. The difference between 2 GB and 4 GB of RAM being only about 30 Euros is what made lots of people go "Ehh, why not?"

    Nobody is going into this thinking 4 GB of RAM is a massive spec upgrade. Hell, the sorts of people that are interested in the Pyra - much less willing to plonk down a sizable chunk of change to buy one - know damn well that doubling the RAM isn't going to make it run twice as fast, twice as powerful, or any of that.

    They know all they're getting is double the RAM. Same processor, same GPU, same overall innards.

    It just may make it a little less clunky if they do push past where a 2 GB unit would have to begin swapping to pagefile, and it may, however, be somewhat more futureproof, unless ED does a new CPU board where this OMAP5 just completely gets its ass whooped.

    I wonder what you'll be saying then. Hopefully not "We don't need this 8 GB of RAM."

    And that, obviously, is what you designed them to do. But that is exactly my point - they are better at some specific things. You wouldn't build a workstation if all you needed was a general internet-capable device, because you can go and buy a smartphone or a cheap PC for about the same price and there's your ticket.

    Theoretically any computer can run any program it's capable of understanding and running (i.e; no trying to run EXEs on Linux or SOs on Windows). Some are simply better at some aspects of it than others, and when it comes to mobile devices, the priority tends to be power consumption first, cooling second, processing capability a distant third.

    Trying to claim that it "can't be a 100% device" if it has 4 GB of RAM is just ridiculous. All that's changing is the RAM amount, not the processing capability, speed, or so on. If anything, having more RAM will make it SUPERIOR in terms of processing capability, because if you're building workstation-level systems as you claim you are, you know damn well that in the end, it does come down to specs - and you're not going to sell me on that the Pyra is somehow "less" capable in its 4 GB form than its 2 GB one.

    Okay, so then like I said above - you know it comes down to specs. If you don't have enough memory to do a certain calculation, you've got to split the work up into multiple segments, which takes more computational processing time, memory processing time, and so on than if you have enough memory to just lay it all out in one chunk into RAM.

    So how is Pyra harmed by having a supposedly "useless" 4 GB spec compared to a 2 GB one again? Because all I can see is that you're mad that it's holding up 2 GB units from being made.

    Would you even be complaining about this as much as you are if the 4 GB RAM was just as ready-to-go as the 2 GB one? I somehow doubt it.

    Which, obviously, is what the bulk of it will be - a cache, especially in Linux where stuff tends to run leaner and meaner than Windows.

    That analogy of yours is pretty ridiculous, since Pyra isn't exactly "hauling" cooling that never gets used - whether it's 2 GB or 4 GB, the main difference is maybe a miniscule increase in power consumption due to the extra RAM chip (and that itself is moot if it's one 4 GB chip - then it's down to basically statistically insignificant amounts of difference).

    Plus, if you know computers as well as you say you do, you know in the computer world, too much of something is almost always better than too little. A cooler made to dissipate a 130W TDP CPU but that can work fine on this 95W TDP CPU isn't "wasted" cooling - it's simply extra headroom, and if anything, might let you push the CPU that much higher than normal. Yes, if you want maximum efficiency, you get one made to cool up to 95W and possibly save some coin, but then you lose out on potentially being able to push things harder, because the 95W cooler is at its design limit but the 130W cooler has headroom to spare. That's precisely the difference between 2 GB and 4 GB of RAM here - 4 GB is simply more headroom.

    Unless your hardware is made for a very fixed, very set, single purpose, going for the lowest possible spec risks it being obsolete and almost useless. A good example with the Pandora is how little on-board flash they had - you literally almost needed an SD card to do just about anything with it, and while that's not a huge problem, it also introduces a point of failure - if you somehow lose the SD card, you lose pretty much everything but the OS. Pyra's 32 GB of onboard storage is a much nicer option this go-around - it's thus far more robust, and even very USEABLE, whether you have an SD card or not.

    The analogy also fails because, again, RAM is made to be utilized, and not only that, the more RAM a device has, the more it will use. As good as @TrashyMG has with his video, one of the first things he says is "the 2 GB of memory on the OMAP5 Devboard." It ends with 1.5 GB out of 2 GB used.

    Any smart OS is going to try hard to keep at least a chunk of its maximum memory free/accessible. My PC at this moment is using about half its RAM (8.3 GB out of 16), and about half its total pagefile (15.9 GB out of 32). Obviously if this were limited to 2 GB, it'd still function fine, but it'd need to swap like all hell and back (especially as it's Windows).

    Basically, you can toot your horn about how that "4 GB won't ever be used" all you want. Until I see a fully-functioning 4 GB unit still only using 1.5 GB of memory itself, though, regardless of any sort of possible combination of things thrown at it, and never venturing close to using over 2 GB, your view is misguided at best, and downright incorrect at worst. I'd imagine using Pyra as a Minecraft Server would quite quickly kill that 4 GB of RAM - much less two.

    Time will tell which of us is right or wrong, but I'm pretty convinced that you're guilty of celebrating what you think is the winning home run you just blasted out of the ballpark with your bat - but then running off the field without touching all four bases.
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2017
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  10. dracmas

    dracmas Still Fresh

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    Funny you mention Minecraft issues with ram. I've gone to devs of Minetest and shown that I've really had to tone down on mods just to scrape under the limit they placed in their coding. I could easily see myself using 3gigs of RAM with another free just to make the game still playable without stuttering if it were possible. That's only because of the hard coded limits. It's fine since they're upping the limit in the future though. Do I really need all the mods? No, but it definitely makes it more enjoyable being played and as long as the extra ram is being offered I'd be an idiot to pass it up.

    I sometimes also play M.U.G.E.N which is a fighting engine with community created characters. With all the characters you can add as well as music and everything else I can see that eating away at the RAM rather fast. There's well over a thousand characters you can add just to give an idea of it. I have 3 DVDs alone just storing MUGEN games. It'd be a bit of work adding them manually to one game but I have no doubt it would crash just trying to run it with everything added.

    Stepmania I also have a few DVDs of. I wonder how that would handle the hundreds of music files I have backed up. The more music I add to my PC I notice it becomes minimally slower to load each time. I'm sure I'd reach a breaking point eventually.

    I can't say I really need the extra ram but if it's offered I'll definitely take advantage and put it to use. Fun leisure time is definitely a good reason for it since it can be a source of enjoyment if only to relieve me a bit from a hectic and stressful career.
     
  11. ible

    ible Advanced Guard Tower

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    THE REAL PROABLEM IS WHY HAVEN'T WE UPGRADED TO 256-BIT CPU YET
     
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  12. Linux-SWAT

    Linux-SWAT Advanced Member

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    And also why haven't we a miniSD slot ?
    The miniSD is so powerful, we don't even need RAM on the Pyra, so we avoid the classic trolling schemes.
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2017
  13. Kippykip

    Kippykip BFG 9000

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    Well if more ram = less battery then I'll take the 2GB anyday
     
  14. ingoreis

    ingoreis Advanced Member

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    Another Idea is to go the Opposite Way.
    Instead of downgrading from 4 to 2 GB...
    ...maybe there is a Way to use the Ram Chips for an 8 GB Cpu Board?

    Just an Idea :D

    I would be glad with 4 GB Ram working...
    ..but 2 GB Ram is good too for me in Emergency :D

    Linux can use Swap Ram when i need more Ram.
    Maybe on a very fast Usb3 Dongle then.
    It will be a much better Swap Ram then Swap Ram on the Pandora :D
     
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  15. Linux-SWAT

    Linux-SWAT Advanced Member

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    +1 for 8GB.
     
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  16. bukkit

    bukkit Member

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    That's a valid standpoint. The only problem is, consumers aren't working like that. Since consumers tend to buy the bigger numbers (compare the 2GB/4GB issue right here), marketers will advertise the biggest numbers they can make up. It isn't even as bad as advertised watts in speakers, just to give an example outside the field of computers. (And yes, there are legitimate reasons for wanting 4GB Pyras. But I'd bet 90 to 95% of users wouldn't ever feel a difference between 2GB and 4GB Pyras, and that includes me.) And you might not like it, but your focus on the "untrue" GHz numbers is sourced by the same fallacy. What people *should* care about is, are these speakers playing my music like I want it to sound? Is this device running my apps in a speed I find enjoyable? And make your decisions depending on that. Not on numbers like 1.5 or 50 GHz, because they don't mean much in themselves anyway.
    --- Double Post Merged, Sep 8, 2017, Original Post Date: Sep 8, 2017 ---
    I reported that for obscenity.

    (edited typo.)
     
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  17. Caine

    Caine Advanced Member

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    In general humans are not very good at multi-dimensional comparisons, hence we have a tendency to introduce metrics to simplify the comparisons. Businesses want to make money, they know the metrics used and many of them will do everything they can to optimize the metric (instead of the original thing they measure). So yes, most metrics you read need to be read as "under ideal circumstances in the lab, we managed to achieve this number...once".

    I recall that the Pandora was marketed with an average-case battery life instead of a best-case battery-life. In my opinion, that was a good, honest and ethical choice. I see no reason to do it differently for the CPU speed, if the CPU can only run 1.5ghz for a few seconds then it cannot sustain that speed and thus should not be marketed as such.
     
  18. ingoreis

    ingoreis Advanced Member

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    I do have no Problems to Pay more Money If EvilDragon find a Way for 8GB Ram. :D
     
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  19. TrashyMG

    TrashyMG Sarcasm Dispenser Staff Member

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    My name seems to be thrown around a lot lately.
     
  20. klapse

    klapse Central Scrutinizer

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    x86 Linux running fluxbox, Pale Moon browser with about 30 tabs, RetroArch, media player, mps-youtube, many wmdocks, irc client

    1.37GB

    Code:
                  total        used        free      shared  buff/cache   available
    Mem:        8074876     1370116      805400      205392     5899360     6349652
    Swap:       1048572        1796     1046776
    
    2GB more than enough for me.
     
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