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Tech For Everyone #3: AMD Ryzen Mixtape 🎵

Tech For Everyone
Tech For Everyone #3: AMD Ryzen Mixtape 🎵
By Jason Evangelho • Issue #3 • View online
Hello! Make yourself a hot coffee and pull up a comfy chair for a one-two punch of news that will have AMD fans roaring with applause.
After that, a “Top Tweet” that will have you drooling, another that will have you exclaiming “I had no idea!” and yet another that will tug on your nostalgia for cassettes…

🎵 THANKS FOR ALL THE MIXTAPES, LOU ❤️
This leads us to a somber opening note before we dive into the Ryzen goodness.
Lou Ottens, the father of the cassette, passed away this week at 94. The longtime Philips engineer was directly responsible for making music truly portable, something that was unheard of in 1963.
If you ever sat patiently by the radio for the DJ to play your favorite song so you could tape it (STOP TALKING OVER THE INTRO DAMMIT), you have Ottens to thank for that.
If you ever poured your undying love for music or a special someone into the perfectly sequenced mixtape, you have Ottens to thank for that.
Some of my cassette tape memories
  • The first song I recorded off the radio: “Take On Me” by A-Ha
  • The first cassette I ever purchased with my own money: “Skyscraper” by David Lee Roth
  • The only cassette I’d EVER use for a mixtape: Maxell XL-II
  • The two tapes I wore out: “Sticks and Stones” by the 77s, and “Appetite for Destruction” by Guns ‘N’ Roses (I had the original cover artwork, not this watered-down version. My parents were not thrilled…)
  • The coolest Walkman I ever owned: that yellow waterproof one by Sony
  • Number of tapes “eaten” by my old Panasonic dual-deck boombox: too many, my friends. Too many.
*Sigh*
It feels like the right time to watch this:
Cassette: A Documentary Mixtape - Official Trailer on Vimeo
Cassette: A Documentary Mixtape - Official Trailer on Vimeo
💻 SYSTEM76 RYZENS UP WITH THE PANGOLIN
Back in November 2020, Colorado-based Linux hardware company and Pop OS developer System76 promised that an AMD laptop was being prepped. Good thing too, because every time I talked about one of their Intel offerings like the Oryx Pro or Lemur Pro, the majority of your responses were basically “Cool, but Ryzen WHEN?”
Ryzen right NOW, friends. Right this minute.
The System76 Pangolin
The System76 Pangolin
There’s a good reason for the delay: my understanding (I’m still seeking clarity on this) is that engineer Jeremy Soller has been working diligently on a version of Coreboot for Renoir. System76 wanted to trim that BIOS bloat from its AMD laptops, too. This would result in fewer proprietary blobs, and significantly faster boot and resume-from-standby times.
(Curiously, there’s no mention of Coreboot in the marketing material for Pangolin. I’ve reached out to System76 PR to get some clarification on that front.)
*UPDATE: NO COREBOOT AT THIS TIME
So today, the System76 Pangolin is released into the wild, packing up to an 8-core Ryzen 7 4700U and an integrated 7-core Radeon RX Vega Graphics solution.
The Pangolin is available to order now and starts at $849.
Some standout details: System76 says the Pangolin is the lightest of its 15-inch laptops, weighing in at 3.65 pounds. It can also be equipped with up to 64GB of RAM and plenty of NVMe storage.
Here are the crucial Pangolin tech specs:
Operating System: Pop!_OS 20.10 (64-bit), Pop!_OS 20.04 LTS (64-bit), or Ubuntu 20.04 LTS (64-bit)
Processor: AMD Ryzen 5 4500U: 2.3 up to 4.0 GHz - 6 Cores - 6 Threads OR AMD Ryzen 7 4700U: 2.0 up to 4.1 GHz - 8 Cores - 8 Threads
Display: 15.6″ 1920×1080 FHD, Matte Finish
Graphics: AMD Radeon Graphics
Memory: Up to 64 GB DDR4 @ 3200 MHz
Storage: 1 x M.2 SSD (SATA or PCIe NVMe). Up to 2TB total.
Expansion1× USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A, 1 × USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C, 2× USB 2.0 Type-A, MicroSD Card Reader
One final thing you’ll appreciate: Due to the ongoing chip shortage situation and presumably high demand, System76 will not ship provide review units of the Pangolin to press. Instead, it will devote every unit to paying customers for the time being.
Gaming on AMD Renoir "Ryzen 7 4700U" in 8 Games
Gaming on AMD Renoir "Ryzen 7 4700U" in 8 Games
And if you’re wondering if the Ryzen 7 4700U can game, oh yea it can game. Here’s some gameplay of it in action. Damn, APUs have come a long way!
PUGET: RYZEN FROM THE GRAVE
Meanwhile, this peripheral story I stumbled across helps illustrate the growing appetite consumers have for all things Ryzen.
Puget Systems is a boutique PC builder that reluctantly dropped AMD CPUs from its lineup in 2015 after dwindling sales. Technician William George explained the decision in detail in this December 2015 blog post.
Here’s a visual from that post that speaks volumes:
Flatlined.
Flatlined.
In that same 2015 blog post, George also said this, rather prophetically:
“[…] if AMD comes out with a new generation of processors that turn the tide again, as they did in the early 2000s, things could change. I hope for their sake, and for that of competition (which is always good for end-users), that they do. Only time will tell, though.”
Time has done just that.
This week, William George returned to Puget’s virtual pages to share a completely different visual: one that shows AMD overtaking Intel:
“In just one year, AMD went from being used in less than 10% of the systems we built to over 50% - quite a comeback!” exclaims George.
I’d love to see a similar comeback story for the Radeon graphics house, because the story isn’t as bright for Team Red. My friend Joel at ExtremeTech reports that while the overall market saw healthy growth in 2020, AMD’s share of the discrete GPU market dropped 9 percent.
Hmm, that reminds me, we’ll be talking about some new Radeon hardware soon 😏
🦜 TOP TWEETS
Whether they’re humorous, educational, or just brutally honest, these tweets hit me in the feels. And this first one? I had no idea! Linux fans will get it…
Jason says: Does the top front of this exceptionally sexy PC case look like an X-Wing cockpit to anyone else?
Jason says: Rest in peace, Lou. Thanks for the mixtapes and the memories…
Oh goddamnit, Elon…
Elon Musk
I’m selling this song about NFTs as an NFT https://t.co/B4EZLlesPx
🙀 NFTs WTF!?
Joke or not, that slammin’ track will probably sell for millions.
It’s probably time for us to have a conversation about NFTs. You may love them. You may hate them. You may not have the first clue about them. But I believe they’re here to stay, and we need to start unpacking things together.
I have a few ideas how we might utilize NFTs for good, especially once the environmental impact of NFTs goes away (which it will).
🕹 RETRO GAMING HEAVEN INCOMING?
I recently wrote this 2-part guide on getting started with RetroPi on a Raspberry Pi 4/400, which prompted the developers of Recalbox to reach out about their own retro gaming OS.
And now I have an ODroid Go Super with Recalbox installed, and I’m a fan so far. It does so many things right! If you’re interested in some coverage, let me know…
And if you enjoy this newsletter, please share it with a friend who might also enjoy it. Then you can talk about it together and make fun of me.
Talk soon, yea? Until next time, take care, and take care of each other.
~Jason
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Jason Evangelho

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