Buying AMD wouldn’t fix Microsoft’s Surface Phone CPU problem (quickly enough)

Develop its own chips. This may notĀ solve the issue of backwards compatibility, but it would give Microsoft more freedom to work through the problem. Developing chips, however, is costly, time-consuming, and not something Microsoft has much expertise in.

Source: The future of the Surface Phone is not looking good

The above article says the Surface Phone is in serious trouble because Intel killed its mobile x86 CPUs. At least one comment has suggested Microsoft should buy AMD to fix this. I disagree:

As much as I’d like MS to buy AMD, I don’t think that would solve *this particular problem.* AMD has no mobile x86 chips, & has been sucking at low power/high efficiency x86 for a while. Optimistically it would take 1 to 2 years to get an x86 SoC out of the AMD purchase, by which time UWP should (hopefully) be a sufficiently viable alternative to Win32 anyway.

A better option would be to push UWP and Centennial as hard as possible while maintaining Continuum and optimizing W10M for the Snapdragon 830.

That said, Surface tablets could use some AMD help. Adopting AMD’s APUs would fix the Surface line’s well documented GPU issues, at the expense of battery life (again, Intel rules at the latter).



The best way to block ads: AdBlock Plus vs. a custom hosts file (HostsMan)

The champ is here.

After using AdBlock Plus (ABP) for years, I decided to try a custom hosts file for ad blocking instead for a bit. Searching for “Adblock Plus vs. hosts file” produces nothing but forum posts and very few actual comparisons; this should help fix that. The central issue addressed is here is whether in-browser ad block is better that hosts file ad blocking. For this, I’ve selected the most commonly used/best of breed solution for each and compared them based on my experiences with both.

AdBlock Plus


  • High granularity: wild cards allow blocking of specific section(s) of a domain instead of the entire domain.
  • Can be enabled or disabled per site.
  • Easily accessible browser based UI.
  • Intuitive UI.
  • Can interactively block elements onscreen.
  • Very actively developed.
  • Filters updated on a daily basis.
  • Is open source.
  • Changing lists or lists subscriptions or otherwise editing rules does not disrupt internet connection.
  • Subscription change effects are seen in real time.


  • Very high RAM penalty (~35% in Win64 Firefox 36.0a1 on Windows 8.1).
  • Works only in the browser; don’t block ads elsewhere.
  • Can seriously break browser functionality.
  • Slows browser and PC down because every element URL request has to be checked against blocking rules first, which holds up everything else while that happens.



  • No RAM penalty.
  • No CPU penalty.
  • Blocks ads across the entire OS, not just the browser.
  • Don’t break browser functionality.


  • Very low granularity: can block entire domains only.
  • Can’t be enabled or disabled per site.
  • Less accessible UI than ABP.
  • Less intuitive UI than ABP.
  • Cannot interactively block elements onscreen.
  • Less actively developed than ABP.
  • Hosts files updated significantly less frequently than ABP lists.
  • Lots of false positives that break website functionality, e.g. sharing buttons and social logins can disappear.
  • Still lets quite a few ads through.
  • Is closed source.
  • Changing the hosts file can (temporarily) disrupt your internet connection.
  • Delete Entry in the hosts file editor often fails after the first use per session.


HostsMan’s main advantage is its lower resource overhead. Sadly, said lower resource usage doesn’t translate into particularly faster page loads or browser performance from a superficial user perspective, and so isn’t nearly enough to overcome its numerous other shortcomings. Ironically, some pages do seem to load slower with HostsMan than they do with ABP. The latter’s better UI and UX make it the winner.

Yes, the Intel Core i7-4770 can handle all your virtualization needs

Recently I ran into this support thread in which the OP insisted he needed an XPS 8700 to ship with the Intel Core i7-4770S as opposed to the i7-4770K due to its virtualization features. He even linked to this comparison table.

Except that’s not exactly true. The i7-4770 supports literally all of Core family’s virtualization features:

Yes, Yes, Yes, ...
Yes, Yes, Yes, …

I strongly suspect Intel’s CPU nomenclature is the source of the confusion in this case. Most people are used to product name suffixes meaning upgrades or superior feature sets, e.g. iPhone 5S, Porsche 911 Turbo S, etc. In the Core i7’s case, however, suffixes mean the opposite. The best CPU in the lineup is the 4770. Period.

This means the Dell XPS 8700 – which the OP was asking about – should be able to manage all the virtualization tricks prosumers can throw at it.