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Poll

Is Windows 8 worth it?


Windows 8 is great!

Back to Windows 7!

What is windows 8?



Posted by Christo [PCD]
Votes: 109
Previous polls

Monday 13 February 2006
NVIDIA Responds to ATI X1900 Launch With Internal Presentation
Christo [PCD] , Monday 13 February 2006 - 08:20:19 //

X1900

Our good friends at Techpowerup.com have an interesting document floating around with some fairly harsh words for ATI. The document doesn't contain any corporate watermarks, cover page or even a date, unfortunately. On the other hand, NVIDIA has been known to release similar looking presentations to distributors and system builders.

The bulk of the presentation centers around the failure of CrossFire versus SLI, although with the negative press on availability of the GeForce 7800GTX 512 we would be hard pressed to really call many of the points illustrated in the document a "victory."

The last line of the document hints that a new flagship GPU and Quad SLI are coming soon. NVIDIA generally does not comment on future products in these types of documents, further hurting the credibility of the presentation in our opinion.

X1900Launch

Further reading from TechPowerUp!

[Submitted by Kcarrim]


Sunday 12 February 2006
Intel Quad Core in Early 2007
Christo [PCD] , Sunday 12 February 2006 - 14:45:31 //

Let he who is without multiple cores cast the first stone

Last week at ISSCC, Intel was showing off private demonstrations of its quad core 65nm Xeon processors. The chips, dubbed Tigerton and Clovertown, are multi-core versions of Intel's upcoming Conroe and Merom architecture. Roadmaps from Intel have already revealed Merom will feature a 4MB L2 cache, 14 stage 4-issue pipeline and operate on just under 45W for two cores. There was no mention of clock speed, or even if all four cores were functional on the CPUs, but the demonstration did include a PC running on the processors. As to why there are two codenames for quad core CPUs, Intel representatives hinted to us that the layouts of the cores are different between the two CPUs.

Intel also mentioned that the architecture used on these new processors scales well past 32 cores per chip. As of now, the architecture is still unnamed but Intel has announced the new brand-wide architecture will get a name at the Intel Developer Forum a few weeks from now.

More details about the new chips here. AMD has separately announced that quad core Opteron processors will be available in 2007. AMD typically demonstrates new chipsets and processors during IDF offsite.


Quadcore

The dual core "Conroe" CPU features two cores on the same die. "Tigerton" and "Clovertown" may feature four cores independantly or on the same die.
[Submitted by Kcarrim]


Saturday 11 February 2006
AGEIA PhysX Physics Processing Unit Preview
Bulvey[PCD] , Saturday 11 February 2006 - 10:33:14 //

A Need for a PPU?

Introduction

Several months ago, a small start up company by the name of AGEIA brought a new term into the lexicon of PC gaming enthusiasts. A new product was outlined with promises of being "the next big thing" for gamers and developers alike to bring about a world of realism like we have never seen before. We all first heard about the PPU, or Physics Processor Unit, and its first form, the AGEIA PhysX processor.

AGEIA was founded in 2002 with investors such as Bank of America and even TSMC, one of the largest semiconductor manufacturers in the world. AGEIA as a company is a fabless semiconductor company, just like NVIDIA, meaning they must outsource their chips production to one of the several manufacturers across the world. With TSMC being big investors in AGEIA, it doesn't take a lot of thought to think of what foundry they might be going to for their PPUs.

I have had several meetings with representatives of AGEIA, and each time the presentation has started with a single quote from their CEO and Founder, Manju Hegde: "Our vision is the creation of real-time physical simulation processors, which transform consumer experience." A simple statement that comes with very large implications to their technology and its future. I will evaluate at the end of this article how closely I see Manju's dream coming into reality, if at all.

Who needs a Physics processor?

According to AGEIA, you do! And of course game developers as well. AGEIA quotes Valve CEO and Half-Life 2 developer, Gabe Newell with: "It wouldn't be the same game without physics. The interesting aspect of physics is to drive gameplay, not flop around corpses." Other game developers I have talked to agree that physics is an integral part of nearly all future and current game designs, not just the first person shooter genre.

And any gamer that has played HL2 would tell you that the additional physics in the game really does add significantly to the gameplay. No longer are you as limited as you once were with what you could use to kill zombies or to destroy the random wood blocking doorways. But what AGEIA is hoping game developers will be able to do with their hardware is much more than simply allowing you to use certain items, instead they want you to be able to use ANY items to destroy any other item. This makes things much, much more difficult for both developers and current harwdare.

The PhysX PPU Card

Before we get into more of what AGEIA has planned for PhysX enabled games, let's take a look at the actual hardware that the PPU will come on.

The only currently announced supplier of a PhysX product is Asus, and in fact AGEIA claims that Asus will be the heavily favored vendor in terms of unit market share. All of the currently available developer cards are produced by Asus in the package you can see below.

Asus-based AGEIA PhysX PPU Card

The product is set to be available to add-in card users and system integraters starting in Q4 of this year; hopefully we'll see them (and software using them) ready in time for the holiday buying season.

The specs we currently have on the card are as follows:

*
125 million transistors
*
182 mm^2 die size
*
130 nm process technology from TSMC
*
20 watts power consumption
*
128 MB of GDDR3 memory

From these specs we can get quite a bit of information. First, the 125M transistor count is quite large for an add-on card and the die size is actually fairly big too no doubt because of the .13 micron process. You can see in the picture that this requires an active cooling system in its current form, meaning more noise from your case. The 20 watt power consumption requires the card to have a 4-pin Molex power connector on the card (you can see it on the upper right of the image). The amount and speed of the memory on the card might suprise some of you as well, as many of you are still running on GPUs with 128 MB of memory! The PhysX PPU uses the local buffer to store a current state of the world, and as applications grow in their use of physics and complexity, the additional memory will be very useful.

The image of this card shows both PCI and PCI Express support on the same card, though we are told by AGEIA that this won't be a retail feature but it is included on the developer cards for their testing purposes only. The first release of the PPU cards are going to be in PCI form with PCI Express versions coming in 2006 when the additional bandwidth or demand requires.

The currently expected MSRP for a card like this: $249 to $299. Yep, you read that right. Be prepared in the years to come to add another $200+ part to your system for optimal gaming experience. A chip this size and this complex isn't going to come cheap, at least not in its current form.
So what can a PPU do for you?

As you can probably guess by what I have shown you above, simply having the NovodeX engine in the game isn't going to bring about any of the gameplay revolutions the AGEIA staff would want you to see. After all, a game developer that implements the NovodeX engine today, or even this year, knows that very few if any gamers will have a PPU in their system and has to then develop the game for the lowest common denominator (LCD). That means that any physics that is required for their game has to be simple enough to be run on a mid-level processor efficiently. PPU owners will only see an increase in performance in this case, but how much of an increase is a complete unknown for now.

What AGEIA and even game developers envision a PPU will enable for a gamer is a world with physics unlike anything we have seen in a real time game before. We are talking about thousands of rigid bodies, real flowing water, hair simulation, avalanches of rock, clothing simulations and more. Even more impressive is the idea of a universal collision detection system that allows you to interact with absolutely ANYTHING in a game world. All of it calculated in real time with nothing scripted in the game engine.
[Submitted by Bulvey]


Friday 10 February 2006
More SLI Laptop Details Unveiled
Christo [PCD] , Friday 10 February 2006 - 08:43:04 //

With a $5,000 USD price tag, the Clevo SLI notebook will rival virtually all desktop setups - let alone notebook designs

Shortly after WidowPC's announcement of an SLI notebook, we sent a few emails out to our Taiwanese counterparts to track down the manufacturer of origin for the upcoming SLI notebook.



An employee from Clevo Computer Company, who wishes to be unnamed, indicated to us that Clevo is the OEM for the upcoming SLI notebooks. WidowPC will not be the only manufacturer carrying SLI notebooks, and that the specifications for the computer are actually much better than originally listed on the WidowPC site before they were removed. Our insider claims, "The image for the [notebook] is not correct, we have not disclosed those graphics yet."



However, we were able to get a quick rundown of some of the specifications of the laptop:



* Turion ML/MT CPU
* nForce4 core logic, including gigabit Ethernet
* 19" WXGA+ 1680x1050 LCD display
* Dual GeForce G70M "Ultra" 256MB graphics
* 8 Channel Surround Sound, 4 embedded speakers
* MiniPCI expansion

The document with the specifications stressed that the G70M is not just a GeForce 7800 Go, but an "Ultra" version of the product with 256MB of memory per card. The presentation also indicates that the dual graphic cards do not work over the MXM laptop interface -- NVIDIA demonstrated a dual MXM laptop at CES 2006 several weeks ago.



Weighing just over 15 pounds, the laptop and its variants will really act as desktop replacement computers rather than laptops at all. With an 18" by 13" footprint, the Clevo notebook is not exactly something you would lug around to class either.



Expect to see the Clevo SLI notebook from several manufacturers after the March 3rd embargo, including Alienware, Eurocom, Falcon NW and Voodoo PC for approximately $5,000 USD.
[Submitted by Kcarrim]


Thursday 09 February 2006
WidowPC Announces the Development of the World's First SLI Notebook
Christo [PCD] , Thursday 09 February 2006 - 08:53:52 //

The Sting 919 will feature an AMD processor, 19" screen and dual 7800 GPUs

The people at WidowPC are looking to take notebook gaming to the next level. They have announced their development of an SLI notebook computer powered by a mobile AMD processor.

Final specs are still being ironed out, but the AMD processor is set in stone as is a 19? screen and two GeForce Go 7800 mobile GPUs in an SLI configuration. Those looking for the ultimate in mobile performance need to look no further than this monster. And it surely will be a monster considering the large screen and the space needed to cool the flaming beast.

Somehow the word has gotten out that WidowPC is developing SLI laptops with 19" fast response displays. The rumors are true. It's hard to keep the lid on something this big. Now, we're finally allowed to release some information. This is pretty general data, but it's all we're allowed to release at this time. The SLI laptops are still in development and we don't want to release specific info about the laptops components and then have to change it due to development issues.

More here.


Slilaptop


[Submitted by Kcarrim]


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