Archive for March 17th, 2005

Thunderbird 1.0.1 Canceled

Things don’t look too rosy for the Mozilla stuff. It seems that most engineers left AOL and now they have real resource problems…

I was thinking of moving to Thunderbird from OE, on my new PC, but I knew that TBird has some serious bugs in it so that was keeping me back. Now, I read that development is slowing down.

I will stay with OE. I am actually very happy with it. I like how it works, I am used to it, using it now for almost 6 years.

Firefox is better than IE though, they have done a great job in it for v1.0. It uses more memory than IE and its UI is slower, but hey, I got 1 GB now and 3 GHz.

Blame the manufacturer

JBQ came back from work and had a look at the monitor and he could see the “halo” on the fonts too, a visual artifact that was not there before with my other graphics cards.

However, I was probably too harsh on ATi (which was a surprise for me seeing the card performing like that on 1600×1200 when the card itself can serve easily 2048×1536 at 85 Hz).

So, the blame must go to the taiwanese/chinese/whatever maker who *manufactured* the card, not to the ATi themselves (who only provided the reference design). You see, the card is obviously using cheap filters for the analog stuff. Cheap filters can create these “moire/halo” effects on a monitor, EVEN if the actual chipset/ramdac is able to deliver crystal clear picture. So, BE CAREFUL from who you buy graphics cards! Make sure you buy them from well known brands who don’t use cheap-ass electronics to create their cards.

The rest of the blame has to go to DELL, who contracted that company and did not properly tested the product and didn’t see the bad 2D visual performance that card has on high refresh rates on high resolutions. I understand that DELL wants to sell more LCDs instead of CRTs, but point of the matter is, web designers and raster graphics artists are more likely to configure the DELL machine the way I did it, because the card is not a cheap-ass SiS/S3/Intel onboard card (so it can deliver faster/better 2D graphics) and because they don’t need the fast 3D support, the X300 is a perfect choice for graphics/web designers. Too bad for DELL, these designers are MORE LIKELY to have high resolution CRT monitors instead of digital LCDs (properly configured CRTs always deliver more accurate colors than most LCDs).

In other words, this kind of card is more likely to be picked up by people like me who don’t want super-fast 3D, but they do need good quality 2D. And this is exactly where the card *fails* when it’s used with an analog CRT monitor. DELL should have thought of that and properly test the product…

We decided to write to DELL and explain the situation and tell them why this card should stop selling via DELL. Of course, if DELL can ask the manufacturer of the card to use better filters, the problem is *very likely* to go away, in which case the card offer should stay as is, part of the DELL machines. Then, I don’t think anyone would have a problem.

In any case, we are going for the Samsung Syncmaster 213T LCD. The monitor can be used vertically so here’s how I think I will be using my new PC: The first monitor, the DELL LCD 1280×1024 (analog) will run Outlook Express, Trillian and Winamp. The Samsung LCD monitor (1200×1600) will be used vertically, with Firefox maximized. It’s really nice to have documents (web pages are documents) on a vertical 3:4 screen. It’s gonna rock! I will post a picture of my setup when I have it ready in 1-2 weeks.

More on the ATi stuff

My JBQ suggested that I don’t buy a new graphics card but instead get another monitor, one that doesn’t stress the analog part of the card that much (because it would be digital instead of analog and it would run below 75 Hz, as it’s an LCD). So, he suggested the Samsung 213T which is a DVI LCD running at 1600×1200. We should be able to get it for about $750. That will be a few hundrend dollars more than the GeForce (Dell Support suggested to us to go for the high-end GeForce 6800 Ultra if we wanted better… 2D quality), but it’s a better long term investment, as none of us run 3D games anymore, so getting such an expensive card just for 2D is kinda stupid. So, we are going the new-monitor route…

It’s just so laughable how ATi thinks:

1. Let’s make a cheap PCI Express card.

2. Let’s make it slower, to make it clear that this is not a super 3D card.

3. Let’s remove a few other things too in order to make it even cheaper.

This is where they missteped. You see, this card is a good purchase for people who don’t play heavy 3D games. What do users that don’t play 3D games use? TWO-DEE for Christ’s sake! And instead of making the card STRONG in this domain (exactly because the purchasers of this card wouldn’t necessarily be 3D gamers), they fucked it up and made the analog part of the card shitty, using cheap filters that fuzzy the quality in high refresh rates.

Idiots. >:(

As part of OSNews I have some high-profile ATi email addresses on my address book, I am seriously thinking of sending them a ‘good’ email about it and tell that if they don’t get their shit together I will write about it on osnews. Someone might think “hey, you are over-using your power through osnews to make damage to ATi”, but you know what, it’s also my responsibility to let my readers know about the “gotcha” of this product that costs real money. This is a product that delivers WORSE than other five year old products in the specific domain of the 2D quality. It is NOT something that someone would expect from a next generation product. People buy “PCI Express” (and AGPs back when PCI was big) because they EXPECT such defficiencies to not be present in year 2005 (they are easy to fix really, you just need to use better electronics).

Honestly, that was a big blow for me coming from ATi. It’s just not right.