Swings and Misses in Tech – Q3 2022

Over the past few weeks, we’ve witnessed a myriad of launches and ”unlaunches” which warrant some level of concern. AMD’s Ryzen 7000 series of processors were accompanied by budget-unfriendly X670 and X670E chipset-based motherboards. While the IPC uplift provided a tangible improvement when compared to the prior generation of products in productivity workloads, gaming applications flipped the script with better performance on the single-CCD models. There are also some benchmarks where the Ryzen 7 5800X3D on the AM4 platform still provides the benefit inherent with additional cache. As Intel launched their 13th generation processors this week, the Ryzen 7000 series is now a product in search of lower pricing and budget-friendly motherboards.

Not to be outdone, nVidia stumbled with their dual GeForce RTX 4080 strategy. The fact that they’ve publicly ”unlaunched” the lower-end 12GB RAM variant provides confirmation that the tech community’s concerns were legitimate. While the RTX 4090 is the king of the benchmark stack at this point, there may be competition from AMD once aaginst when they announce their next-generation GPUs on November 3rd. Intel’s Arc A770 and A750 are finally available. Reviews have been mixed thus far. The fact that there is competition once again in the low-to-midrange markets will ultimately benefit consumers.

The biggest head scratcher this week involves Apple’s refreshed iPad lineup. The iPad 10 adds a long-desired modification to the front camera, a transition from the Lightning connector to USB-C, yet is a victim of design decisions and a non-trivial price bump. The fact that the integration between the first generation Apple Pencil and the new iPad requires an adapter due to mismatched ports is disappointing. The use of the A14 SoC is also somewhat disappointing. Considering that the iPad mini contains an A15, the iPad AIR houses a beastly M1 SoC, and the refreshed iPad Pros are now using the latest and greatest M2 SoC, the least Apple could have done would involve reducing the number of SoCs required for their product stack. A15 in the new iPad would have been a larger leap over the prior generation; this could aid in driving upgrades. At parity with the iPad mini, there would be no performance penalty at different sizes. Finally, an innovative USB-C side mount that could accommodate charging and using the second generation Apple Pencil would have been appreciated. Even if such an adapter were more than the $9 USD add-on for the Apple Pencil, it would allow customers to leverage the better experience that comes with the newer Pencil.

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