When I started this dev blog I put up a list of hardware I was working with and kind of what I wanted to see in the future. Now it's time to update this list with hardware I want to work with as a dev, even if some of it doesn't even exist...
First and foremost my monitor is feeling it's age. There are times now when it just gets really dark really fast and stays that way for a while making it a pain to work. Clearly it's dying but my next upgrade doesn't exist yet and so I'm trying to extend every little bit of life I can from what I have till I can get something close to what I want. In terms of a monitor that would be OLED. As opposed to LCD with an LED backlight, OLED is a new method entirely and is actually good enough to replace CRT's as research methods on images and quality. OLED is the highest point in technical superiority at this point and quite honestly can destroy an LCD of any panel type with ease. The theoretical potential refresh rate is 100,000hz aka 100khz as opposed to the theoretical maximum potential of LCD at 400hz (no k) though as we've seen input lag is usually your main problem rather than response time. The contrast and color depth are equally superior, as well as weight, size, thickness, and shock. In addition you can actually have bendable OLED displays to curve and provide new methods of viewing, and will likely give a small bonus to any 3d viewing you might want, even if it's not really a big concern for me yet. While it's true we're making substantial strides in holographics and their feedback methods they're still at least a decade away from being viable gaming methods if not longer. The technical details of this desired monitor are trivial in comparison to the main type however they are still desired so here they are: 32 inches+ in the 16:10 aspect ratio for true 4k resolution of 4096, 160hz+ refresh (shouldn't even be anything below that I would hope...) and realistically even if HDMI does manage to have proper support for 4k the inherent nature of it means I'd still want royalty free display port which was natively capable of handling 4k without revision and locks into place better, as one of the main inputs available.
Next up is the framework for this new system, a motherboard. I've been seeing many good things coming from Asus lately, their ROG series aside their efforts on TUF components, board "armor / shield" and efforts in their UEFI (replacement for BIOS, can initialize multiple system components simultaneously) have made me a fan. However as of yet they are also the only AMD based board I know of to have PCIE3, though that's likely to change in the future. By preference and for good reason I'd like to see an 8+core 5.0ghz cpu AMD based board with DDR4 memory which crucial is planning on launching supposedly as early as next month. While the CPU is already out there to my knowledge it doesn't have any kind of control implementation for DDR4, considering as of yet no processor or mobo does it definitely falls in the fantasy section at the time of writing.
On this mobo I want a thunderbolt add in card for the various accessories I happen to already have that can use thunderbolt among other reasons. It appears sound cards are re-implementing dedicated sound processing again, as well as now adding them to GPU's which makes me happy and certainly desired. At the minimum it alleviates the CPU a little, in some cases as much as 10%. The GPU I'm not very picky on, almost anything in the current R9 series is fine, or potentially the future R10 series (presumably?). This is picked primarily for their implementation of Mantle and dedicated sound processing hardware on GPU, though I understand that actually some of the R9 cards don't have that? While I would still appreciate a little more Ram on card the GCN architecture resolves this to some extent making it less of a concern. I'd most likely add an AMD fire card for workstation use in 3d max and the like, as well as a capture card for obvious uses. I'd also seriously consider a PCIE based SSD like the Asus RaidR express for it's fast initialization time ( a problem with other PCIE SSD's) and it's performance speed comparable to 2 samsung 840 evo's in raid0. Ideally there'd be enough ram to choke a horse, considering we're contemplating this imaginary system as DDR4 the double capacity would likely be as high as 16GB a stick or higher? meaning 64GB in 4 lanes or 128 on an 8 lane board. The perfect setup to make use of this is to load a system image that automatically loads to RAM (in the form of a ramdisk presumably?) and operates exclusively from there without ever needing to write to the drives aside from perhaps updating the image with minor things like updates and session information to some degree. It's just as likely in the process that most programs would be run in a virtualized environment or otherwised sandboxed to preserve that clean install feel, with exceptions to obvious necessities I use on a regular basis.
In terms of storage I'd be looking heavily at SSHD's as a primary large capacity storage given their additional cost is extremely minimal and worth every penny twice over. With perhaps as many as 4 relatively small SSD's in Raid0 for the sake of initial read spead, though to accommodate this speed we'd need either an add in raid card, or a new Sata controller that doesn't cap out at 1.5gb/s so this would be likely Sata4 (8gb/s [lies]) and given the nature of SSD's and their controllers to fully saturate a given sata connection in short order with advanced controllers this would likely be from the current 500mb/s a port/drive to 1gb/s (probably not...) which would hopefully accommodate a full 4gb/s via controller. Cumulatively I could be happy with 8TB of storage which western digital is actually apparently making available already to some extent means it could be inside a single drive, if it were an SSHD though I'd hope they expand the SSD side a bit more from the standard 8gb or 16 in WD case to something more reasonable given the enormous capacity, like 64gb.
I imagine it wouldn't be so difficult to modify a linux kernel to actually perform the OS concept above, and now in consideration take it a step further and give load priority with limitation, which is to say it loads obvious things first, holds off on programs till they're called for before loading them from the drives and have adjusting size with this concept to maximize memory use efficiently.
in terms of peripherals like keyboard and mouse there's a constantly evolving selection of items that are grabbing my attention. The key features I consistently for however are proper details of the mechanical switches used in a keyboard as well as more recently a mix of key types, programmable macros and profiles for them. Similarly on the mouse side I like having a wide range of dpi settings I can quickly change directly from the mouse itself, programmable buttons and profiles on it, and above all the mouse has to have some sense of style and flair in addition to fitting my admittedly large hands. It's also nice to have the option of switching between wired and wireless for both the mouse and keyboard though sadly that is an extremely rare feature in the "under 100$" price range.
The hardware is fairly straight forward, just a nice high end system of the near future, and the OS is actually somewhat believable under those conditions even right now without too much effort. Now we enter the real sci-fi area of implementing ideas like second screen / "glass" tech where I can hook up tablets and use them as secondary displays and methods of input for all my programs with minimal effort which in itself is somewhat do-able already though not to the extent you see on consoles. I'd want to also implement the methods of console input on pc, using a controller in substitute of a mouse and an automatic virtual keyboard for additional input with predictive text and a little style. It's not like a concept for daily regular use, but damn if it's not absolutely noticeable when you're playing a game and have to set it all aside to grab the keyboard and mouse to handle something small. Granted there are other virtual keyboards out there, and XPadder can emulate keyboard and mouse amazingly but we can all agree it pales in comparison to just the basic input methods of the 360 and ps3 let alone the new gen. Which brings me to the next addition of adding voice controls and speech to text. This is also already available and really wouldn't need much work to implement alongside the other concepts presented.
Who knows what the future holds though right? Is there something I missed? What would you change or do differently? leave a comment.