Sorry Helius, I might have been misunderstood. Might only point was that you shouldn't divert money away from tokamaks until a high performing alternative is found. I fully agree with MSimon that unless Nebels WB7 is a complete catastrophy it would be well worth spending up to 20 million to find out and explore its limitations. I would be of the opinion that it is unfair to expect WB-7 to be a 'breakthrough' if your only prepared to spent 1.8 million on it.
The only argument I was putting forward was against the original subject of the thread of discrediting machines whose outperformance is greater than a machine you are proposing. I advocate the approach of pursuing many different options at the same time. Approches that have show more success obvious deserve more funding, but I think the current funding climate literally strangles approaches that are even slightly outside the box and that's certainly wrong aswell. After all we don't just need fusion, we need economic fusion.
I'm pretty sure your wrong about NIF, while the q value of heat produced/Heat absorbed will be greatly in excess of 1 (maybe even over 10) The lasers used to heat the pellet have an efficiency of about 2%, in addition to this, the mechanism of converting the heat to electricity is only about 30% efficient. This means that the plug to socket efficiency of NIF is likely to still be far below 1. Hiper is a more clever device but perhaps less likely to work, if it oes though, it may bring ICF to the borders of someday becoming commercially viable.
If NIF succeeds it won't be the end for tokamaks though, there are massive repeatability issues with laser fusion, the lasers can only fire once an hour when they need to fire 5 times a second th pellets cost thousands of dollars when they need to cost a fraction of a cent. The advantage of tokamaks is ignition really does mean ignition in that the reaction waste alpas from the last pellet of gas puff can be used to heat the fuel from next pellet to be injected, this would allow the beam to be almost turned off completely this isn't the case in laser fusion. All in all tokamaks are still considerably ahead of lasers in the production of a working powerplant. NIF won't change that, though Hiper might.
Tokamaks still have plenty of problems, without superconductors the energy into the magnets will exceed the power from the plasma. Steady state is another massive challenge aswell. Disruptions are also far more catastrophic for tokamaks than would be the case in laser fusion where they don't occur.