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Is Windows 8 worth it?

Windows 8 is great!

Back to Windows 7!

What is windows 8?

Posted by Christo [PCD]
Votes: 130
Previous polls


Friday 19 June 2009
NVIDIA Announces Five New Notebook GPUs Built on 40nm Process
Christo [PCD] , Friday 19 June 2009 - 20:55:16 //

Now it's up to the laptop OEMs to decide if they want them

NVIDIA has announced five new GPUs for the lucrative notebook PC market. The GTS 260M, GTS 250M, GT 240M, GT 230M and G210M are built on TSMC's 40nm process, leading to lower power consumption and heat produced. Lower production costs are also possible once the manufacturing line has matured and yields improve.

Archrival ATI announced the Radeon HD 4860 and 4830 in March, making them the first 40nm mobile GPU chips. The firm also launched Radeon HD 4770 video cards at the end of April. Those cards use ATI's RV740 GPU, making them the first desktop chips to be built on a 40nm process by TSMC.

In a bid to catch up to its competitor, NVIDIA has designed the new chips based on the GT200 architecture to support DirectX 10.1 and Shader Model 4.1. DirectX 10.1 is an important feature going forward as it is the foundation for DirectX 11, which was designed as a superset of DirectX 10.1. DirectX 11 support will be very important, as many game developers are looking to support it due to the huge public demand for Windows 7.

The new chips are also notable for being the first from NVIDIA to support GDDR5, which are almost twice as efficient as the older GDDR3 at the same memory bit width. ATI has been using GDDR5 since the introduction of the Radeon 4870 in the summer, and has plans to expand its use to lower cost products as well.

Interestingly, the chips are packaged as MXM 3 modules, using the standardized interconnect to the PCI Express bus. The standard length, width, and electrical pinout of MXM 3 means that notebooks using these chips may be removable, and can be upgraded when higher performing GPUs are available. However, this will be up to the individual OEMs.

NVIDIA's nomenclature for its mobile GPU parts is fairly simple. Chips prefaced with "G" are mainstream value parts, "GT" chips are for the mainstream performance market, "GTS" chips are high performance parts, and "GTX" cards are enthusiast level (AKA pricey).

The new mobile chips will avoid the rebranding controversy surrounding the GTX 260M and GTX280M mobile GPUs, which are essentially GeForce 9800 GTX+ chips.

Pricing and availability were not provided by NVIDIA. However, these chips will be sold almost exclusively to notebook OEMs, and designs are already underway for the back-to-school season in the third quarter.

[Submitted by Christo [PCD]]

1 1245437648 NVIDIA

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Friday 12 June 2009
Apple Announces iPhone 3G S, $99 8GB iPhone 3G, Updated MacBook Pros
Christo [PCD] , Friday 12 June 2009 - 19:54:27 //

Apple announces its third generation iPhone and some MacBook Pro updates

There has been tremendous buzz surrounding the follow-up to Apple’s hugely successful iPhone 3G. While the original iPhone put Apple on the map in the world of smartphones, it was the iPhone 3G’s lower price of entry and enhanced features/speed which put the smartphone over the top (and brought AT&T a wealth of new wireless subscribers). Together, there have been over 40 million iPhones and iPod touches sold around the world according to Apple.

Today at the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco, Apple introduced its third generation iPhone: the iPhone 3G S (the “S? stands for Speed). The latest iPhone confirms most of the rumors that have been swirling around for the past few months.

The iPhone 3G S is available in capacities of 16GB and 32GB – both will be available in black and white. The phone also features a new 3MP camera (now capable of recording 30 fps video) on the back of the device. The iPhone 3G S also has the ability to edit videos directly on the device.

In addition, the new iPhone 3G S promises better battery life (see image to the right) despite the increased processing power. Speaking of processing power, Apple brags about 2x to 3.6x speed performance improvements over a wide range of apps.

Another new addition to the iPhone 3G S is the increase in data transfer speeds from 3.6Mbps to 7.2Mbps HSDPA. AT&T already announced plans to beef up its data networks to handle the faster transfer speeds.

Voice dialing is also coming to the iPhone 3G S – something that most other phones have already had for years. However, the voice commands also extend to other aspects of the iPhone 3GS like “previous track?, “play album? or “play songs by The Killers? within the Music app.

Other new hardware features include a built-in digital compass, Nike+ support, and hardware encryption.

As you may have already surmised, the iPhone 3G S is sporting OS 3.0 which was announced way back in March. IPhone OS 3.0 brings a wealth of new features including long-requested support for copy and paste, MMS, turn-by-turn directions, voice memo recording, Spotlight search, landscape email/notes/messaging, 3G tethering (via Bluetooth or USB), stereo Bluetooth (A2DP), peer-to-peer Bluetooth connectivity, and more. IPhone OS 3.0 will be available to download on June 17 (free for iPhone users, $9.95 for iPod touch users).

As expected, pricing for the new 16GB and 32GB iPhone 3G S will mirror the prices of the current 8GB and 16GB iPhone 3Gs: $199 and $299 respectively. To make things even more interesting, Apple is also discounting the price of the iPhone 3G (8GB model) to $99 to further expand its user base -- the new price is effective today. The iPhone 3G S will be available June 17.

Apple also announced updates to its MacBook Pro lineup. The new 15? MacBook Pro is available with up to 3.06GHz dual core processor, 8GB of RAM, and up to a 500GB HDD (or 256GB SSD). It features a 7-hour runtime with its built-in battery. Interestingly, Apple has finally stepped into modern times by equipping the 15" MacBook Pro with a Secure Digital (SD) slot.

The base system will retail for $1,699 with a 2.53GHz processor and integrated NVIDIA GeForce 9400M graphics, and ramp up quickly from there (with higher-tier models getting discrete NVIDIA GeForce 9600M GT graphics).

The 13" aluminum MacBook was also updated to include an integrated battery, SD slot, and Firewire 800 -- it is also now called a MacBook Pro. The base $1,199 system comes with 2GB of memory, a 2.26GHz processor, GeForce 9400M graphics, and a 160GB HDD. Stepping up to a 2.53GHz processor, 4GB of RAM, and a 250GB HDD will set you back $1,499. The new 13" MacBook Pro also has battery life of up to 7 hours.

The other big addition is with the updated MacBook Air. The machine now retails for $1,499 in its base configuration (1.86GHz Core 2 Duo, 2GB, 9400M, 120GB HDD) and $1,799 with a 2.13GHz Core 2 Duo processor, 9400M, and a 128GB SSD.

All of the new MacBooks are available to purchase today.

[Submitted by Christo [PCD]]

1 1244829098 Apple

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Thursday 11 June 2009
ATI Shipping Radeon HD 4890 1GHz Factory Overclocked Video Cards
Christo [PCD] , Thursday 11 June 2009 - 21:39:48 //

AMD wants to put more pressure on NVIDIA's GTX 275

When ATI, the graphics division of AMD, first launched the Radeon HD 4890 video card at the beginning of April, we noted that the RV790 core it uses had a few tweaks in it. It is a respin of the original RV770 silicon, with retrained and rearchitectured power paths for greater power efficiency. We also noted that ATI engineers also used decoupling capacitors in a decap ring to increase signal integrity.

This enabled ATI to boost the core clock to 850MHz, up 100MHz from the Radeon HD 4870, but several reviewers were already overclocking the board up close to 1GHz using stock cooling for an additional performance boost.

Now, ATI and its Add-In Board partners are shipping factory overclocked graphics cards set at 1GHz, the first to break the 1GHz barrier using standard air cooling solutions. This enables the GPU to achieve 1.6 TeraFLOPs, a large jump over the 1.35 TeraFLOPs of the stock Radeon 4890. The GDDR5 memory may also be clocked higher, depending on the board partner.

The RV790 dies are tested after production at TSMC, and binned based on ATI's series of quality assurance tests. The highest performing chips are set at 1GHz for use in the new cards. AMD does warn that "damage caused by overclocking AMD’s GPUs above factory-set overclocking is not covered by AMD’s product warranty, even when such overclocking is enabled via AMD software".

Interestingly, AMD was the first to ship 1GHz CPUs back in March of 2000. It was the mighty Athlon built on a 0.25 micron process that bested the Pentium III.

Although most games will see a boost in performance, games using DirectX 10.1 such as S.T.A.L.K.E.R: Clear Sky and Tom Clancy’s H.A.W.X. should see an additional boost due to optimizations already present in the hardware.

General purpose GPU-accelerated Stream applications such as video transcoding and post processing should also see a jump in performance, as will OpenCL applications.

Radeon HD 4890 1GHz cards announced or shipping:

ASUS EAH4890 Formula
PowerColor PCS++ HD4890
Sapphire HD 4890 Atomic Edition
XFX’s ATI Radeon HD 4890 Black Edition

[Submitted by Christo [PCD]]

1 1244749135 ATI Sh

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Wednesday 10 June 2009
OCZ Launches Agility Series; Cheapest SSDs Using Indilinx Controller
Christo [PCD] , Wednesday 10 June 2009 - 16:38:43 //

OCZ's Agility series of SSDs will supplant Apex and Core V2 in their mainstream segment

OCZ Technology has been extremely successful with their Vertex series of Solid State Drives. Other companies have tried to emulate its good fortune, but have had to compete with lower prices. The key to OCZ's success has been the Barefoot NAND flash controller from a little known Korean company named Indilinx. It offers superb random write speed that was otherwise unavailable at that price point.

SSDs using S3C29RBB01 controllers from Samsung such as OCZ's Summit series and Corsair's P256 are trying to challenge Vertex sales, but their higher performance also comes at a higher price point. The key to volume in the SSD market is to hit the mainstream at affordable price points with decent random write performance.

The new Agility series capitalizes on OCZ's success and experience with the Barefoot controller, pairing it with cheaper, slower performing NAND flash. The 120GB and 60GB models have a maximum read speed of 230MB/s and a maximum write speed of only 135MB/s. Sustained writes are also slower at 80MB/s, but random write speeds should be in the range of Vertex drives. All editions will come with a 64MB DRAM cache, identical to that of the Vertex series.

Pricing is unconfirmed, but preliminary information indicates it will only be slightly above the Apex series, which uses two JMicron JMF602B controller chips in concert with a RAID controller.

The source of the NAND flash memory used in the drives is unconfirmed, but the reason for the low pricing may be due to X4 (four bit per cell) Multi-Level Cell (MLC) chips. Most MLC chips used in SSDs are X2 (two bits per cell), but X3 and X4 chips recently entered into production from Toshiba and SanDisk. They could also simply be lower grade speed binned chips.

OCZ currently offers the Apex series and Core V2 series as the other entrants in its Mainstream SSD segment. The company also sells the Solid series as its sole offering in its Value segment. A new SSD using the new JMF612 controller from JMicron which uses up to 256 MB of cache and fixes the random write stuttering bug is also being evaluated.
[Submitted by Christo [PCD]]

1 1244644667 OCZ La

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Tuesday 21 April 2009
NVIDIA Files Countersuit Against Intel
Christo [PCD] , Tuesday 21 April 2009 - 19:59:54 //

Suit seeks to invalidate license agreement allowing Intel access to NVIDIA patents

Two of the most important parts of a computer are the CPU and the GPU. For a long time the, CPU was the brains of the computer where the complex calculations required by software were performed. At the same time, the GPU was where the calculations required for graphics were performed. Today the lines between those two products are becoming blurred.

Intel and NVIDIA both say that their products are the future of the computer. Intel is the largest chipmaker in the world and manufactures a line of integrated GPUs -- its future processors will even have graphics cores built-in. NVIDIA is the largest discrete GPU maker and is running software on its GPUs that traditionally ran only on the CPU, and the GPU often does it with more performance. NVIDIA has also said it is eyeing entry into the x86 CPU market as well.

NVIDIA and Intel are currently fighting in court over a suit that Intel filed alleging that a license agreement in place between the two firms does not allow NVIDIA to build chipsets that are compatible with the new integrated memory controller processors like Nehalem.

NVIDIA maintains that the license agreement allows it to make chipsets for the integrated memory controller processors and Intel is merely trying to prevent it from being competitive by trying to cast doubt on NVIDIA products in the minds of consumers.

NVIDIA has filed its own suit against Intel reports Reuters and is seeking to terminate Intel's license agreement to NVIDIA patents relating to graphics processing and 3D computing. NVIDIA says that without the license agreement it believes that Intel's line of integrated graphics processors violates NVIDIA patents.

NVIDIA says in its countersuit that Intel has manufactured the license dispute as part of a strategy to eliminate NVIDIA as a competitive threat. Intel says that the license agreement in place only allows NVIDIA to build chipsets for processors that lack an integrated memory controller.

Intel's Chuck Mulloy told Reuters, "There is a substantial disagreement between Intel and NVIDIA about their licensing rights under the agreement. We've been trying multiple times, multiple ways to find a way to settle the argument. The suit simply asks the court to interpret the agreement."

The battle between the world's largest chipmaker and the largest GPU maker is likely to heat up. Both firms believe that their products are the future of computing and that future computer systems may not need both a GPU and a CPU. NVIDIA claims that by officially denying the validity of its license agreement with Intel that Intel has breached the contract the two firms have in place.

NVIDIA said, "Having breached the contract and irreparably injured NVIDIA, Intel has lost the right to continue to enjoy the considerable benefit of its license to NVIDIA 's patent portfolio."

Prior to the suit being filed by Intel, NVIDIA had granted Intel the right to license SLI on its X58 chipset, allowing motherboards using the chipset to support both Crossfire from ATI and SLI from NVIDIA.

[Submitted by Christo [PCD]]

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