Google Chrome browser nearly out of Beta
NetGear readies media hub with 1080p, 500GB
NETGEAR hopes to lead the increasingly crowded networked media hub field with a new flagship, the company tells Wired. The Digital Entertainer Elite or EVA9150 will focus on brute hardware superiority to compete against rivals such as the Apple TV and will be one of the few in the category to play 1080p video. Appropriately, it will also carry a 500GB hard drive in an accessible bay that lets owners upgrade themselves if the storage is lacking.
Significantly, however, NETGEAR has declined to tie the Elite directly to any paid online video services and is instead relying on transfers from locally networked PCs to load commercial content. Free Internet content is available from Flickr for still images and YouTube for videos. Expansion and networking haven't been completely revealed but should include USB, component or HDMI for video, and at least Wi-Fi for its data link.
The new Digital Entertainer isn't due to start shipping until the early portion of 2009 and will cost $400 due to its feature set.
Logitech announces new G13 Advanced Gameboard
15 second Mafia 2 Spike VGA Trailer
AMD says PhysX will die if it remains a closed and proprietary standard
Author: Tim Smalley
Published: 11th December 2008
Godfrey Cheng, Director of Technical Marketing in AMD's Graphics Product Group, has said that PhysX will die if it remains a closed and proprietary standard.
"There is no plan for closed and proprietary standards like PhysX," said Cheng. "As we have emphasised with our support for OpenCL and DX11, closed and proprietary standards will die."
This was part of AMD's response to our questions about EA's and 2K's decision to adopt PhysX across all of their worldwide studios earlier this week.
When asked what impact major publishers adopting PhysX across all of their studios would have on the PC gaming industry as a whole, Cheng responded by saying:
"We cannot provide comments on our competitor's business model except that it is awfully hard to sustain support by monetary incentives. The product itself must be competitive. We view Havok technologies and products to be the leaders in physics simulation and this is why we are working with them. Games developers share this view. We will also invest in technologies and partnerships beyond Havok that enhances gameplay."
It's interesting that Cheng says game developers share the view that Havok is the market leader in physics simulation - does that mean both Electronic Arts and 2K Games adopted PhysX against their development studios' wishes? Cheng pointed out that "People need to scrutinize various announcements on what is being "licensed". Is it to replace the whole physics simulation / tool stack within a game or within the whole studio? Is it for a specific physics simulation product or just a couple of titles? Remember PhysX also has game physics libraries in addition to its new GPU based products.
"An agreement to support PhysX may be for a limited portfolio of features. If you recall, Ageia had tremendous difficulty giving away its technologies and products for free whereas Havok could charge licensing fees. The quality of Havok's product and support hasn't changed nor has the preference by the developers for Havok. Games developers and studios are always interested in NRE and co-marketing deals which may be the catalyst for recent PhysX announcements."
So, what about the promise of GPU-accelerated Havok Physics on ATI Radeon graphics cards? It's still coming apparently and Cheng said that "[AMD] will provide more clarity to our work once more milestones have been achieved between AMD and Havok."
"Our guidance was end of this year or early next year but, first and foremost, it will be driven by the milestones that we hit. To put some context behind GPU based physics acceleration, it is really just at the beginning. Like 3D back in the early 1990s. Our competition has made some aggressive claims about support for GPU physics acceleration by the end of this year. I.e. Support in many titles....but we can count the titles on one hand or just one or two fingers," added Cheng.
"It should be noted that title support for GPU accelerated physics simulation is NOT the end game. The end game is having GPU physics as an integral part of game play and not just eye candy. If it is optional eye candy, GPU physics will not gain traction. The titles we have seen today with shattering glass and cloth waving in the wind is not integral to game play and the impact on the game's experience is minimal. We are looking for ways to integrate GPU physics better into game play. Or even things like AI instead of focusing on eye candy / effects physics."
Cheng's final words make a lot of sense and I find myself agreeing with him. We said something similar when Nvidia announced that the PC version of Mirror's Edge was delayed because of the PhysX implementation which, following a brief hands-on preview last week, does nothing but add some additional eye candy. None of it influences the actual gameplay experience.
However, it still remains to be seen when we're actually going to see Havok Physics running on Radeon GPUs - we get the feeling that Intel is holding the aces back until Larrabee hits the scene. All we're hearing at the moment are buzzwords like OpenCL and DirectX 11 Compute - but they're not here today and Radeon owners are expected to play a waiting game.[/QUOTE]
Download - Rivatuner 2.21 released
Rivatuner has been updated towards version 2.21 This release has a small number of updates yet mainly is a hotfix for a Grand Theft Auto 4 missing texture issue for some GeForce owners in combo with this tool. Obviously support has been added as well as (ForceWare) GeForce drivers 180.60, 180.70 and 180.84 are supported and AMD ATI Catalyst 8.12 driver support has been added as well. Please check out the changelist.
RivaTuner is a complete powerful tweaking environment, providing you everything you may need to tune NVIDIA GPU based display adapters. The widest driver-level Direct3D / OpenGL and system tuning options, flexible profiling system allowing to make custom settings on per-application basis, both driver-level and low-level hardware access modes, unique diagnostic and real-time hardware monitoring features and exclusive power user oriented tools like built-in registry editor and patch script engine make RivaTuner's feature set absolutely unmatched. RivaTuner supports all NVIDIA display adapters starting from Riva TNT family up to the latest GeForce series and widest range of NVIDIA drivers starting from the oldest Detonator 2.08 up to the newest ForceWare drivers family. In addition to complete NVIDIA hardware support, RivaTuner also provides support for display adapters based upon newer ATI graphics processors. All RivaTuner's features besides driver-level tuning options are also available on supported ATI hardware.
For novice users, we have a guide to help you through Rivatuner and setup fan speeds and overclocks on your graphics card. This guide will hopefully help you understand how to use the features that Rivatuner provides.
- FOURCC INTZ and RAWZ formats are no longer forcibly disabled on GeForce 6 and newer display adapters when closing the 'Textures' tab in Direct3D tweaks dialog. Please take a note that these formats are required for proper GTA IV functionality, so if you experience problems with missing textures in this game on NVIDIA GeForce 6 and newer display adapters then please try to open the 'Textures' tab and press the 'Defaults' button.
- Fixed 'Restore after suspended mode' option in low-level fan control tab, corrupted in the previous release due to multi-GPU related core changes.
- Updated databases for Detonator and ForceWare drivers. Added databases for ForceWare 180.60, 180.70 and 180.84.
- Added Catalyst 8.12 driver family detection.
- Added 'Enable FOURCC INTZ surfaces' and 'Enable FOURCC RAWZ surfaces' options to the 'Textures' tab of the Direct3D tweaks dialog.
- 'Restore after suspended mode' option in low-level fan control tab is multi-GPU oriented now. Now the option affects all display adapters in the system instead of currently selected display adapter only.
- 'Allow separate 2D/3D clock frequency adjustment' option is no longer provided when enabling driver-level hardware overclocking. The option is now hidden to reduce the amount of false bugreports posted by the beginners trying to disable 2D/3D clock frequncy then claiming that the hardware stays at extremely low boot clocks. Power users can still control this option via AllowMaxPerf registry entry.
- Extended list of detectable supported FOURCC formats in 'IDirect3D9 HAL adapter formats' diagnostic report category.
OCZ NIA - Neural Impulse Actuator review [Guru3D]
We all know that when really bad things happen to people with a head injury, in the hospital they use an EEG (Electroencephalogram) to check your brain activity. There are several wave lengths that can be monitored, precisely. Brainwave-reading (EEG) technology is now swiftly emerging onto the video game scene, adding a new dimension to our gaming experience.
OCZ has developed a product called NIA - The Neural Impulse Actuator. OCZ's NIA utilizes a headband to capture readings from your head. You can think of it as a brain controlled mouse or joystick. This kit resembles a pair of what looks like headphones, with a single electrode contacting the user
Top selling PC Games week ending 29 November
There's a lot of shifting on the PC games sales this week. This is the NPD chart detailing the best selling PC games in the USA for the week ending November 29. Blizzard's MMO expansion pack World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King still hit the number one spot for the week, which proves that Blizzard fans still want their game no matter what the price. What a great deal that is for sure.
BioShock is actually back in the top 4 thanks to it's 11 USD sales price.
- World Of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King Expansion Pack (Activision Blizzard) - $38
- The Sims 2 Double Deluxe - Electronic Arts - $14
- Spore - Electronic Arts - $47
- Bioshock - 2K Games ( Take 2) - $11
- The Sims 2 Deluxe - Electronic Arts - $6
- Left 4 Dead - Electronic Arts - $46
- Call Of Duty: World At War - (Activision Blizzard) - $50
- Assassin's Creed: Director's Cut Edition - Ubisoft - $11
- World Of Warcraft: Battle Chest - (Activision Blizzard) - $25
- The Sims 2 Apartment Life Expansion Pack - Electronic Arts- $20
Microsoft fixes 28 flaws - 6 critical
MS08-070: Critical - Titled "Vulnerabilities in Visual Basic 6.0 Runtime Extended Files (ActiveX Controls) Could Allow Remote Code Execution (932349)", this bulletin affects the Microsoft Visual Basic 6.0 Runtime Extended Files; all supported editions of Microsoft Visual Studio .Net 2002, Microsoft Visual Studio .Net 2003, Microsoft Visual FoxPro 8.0, Microsoft Visual FoxPro 9.0, Microsoft Office Project 2003, and Microsoft Office Project 2007.
MS08-071: Critical - Titled "Vulnerabilities in GDI Could Allow Remote Code Execution (956802)", this bulletin is rated critical for all supported editions of Microsoft Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, Windows Vista, and Windows Server 2008. Microsoft says "exploitation of either of these vulnerabilities could allow remote code execution if a user opens a specially crafted WMF image file. An attacker who successfully exploited these vulnerabilities could take complete control of an affected system. An attacker could then install programs; view, change, or delete data; or create new accounts with full user rights.
MS08-072: Critical - Titled "Vulnerabilities in Microsoft Office Word Could Allow Remote Code Execution (957173)," this bulletin is rated critical for supported editions of Microsoft Office Word 2000 and Microsoft Office Outlook 2007. For supported editions of Microsoft Office Word 2002, Microsoft Office Word 2003, Microsoft Office Word 2007, Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack, Microsoft Office Word Viewer 2003, Microsoft Works 8, Microsoft Office 2004 for Mac, Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac, and Open XML File Format Converter for Mac, this security update is rated important. Microsoft says this bulletin resolves "eight privately reported vulnerabilities in Microsoft Office Word and Microsoft Office Outlook that could allow remote code execution if a user opens a specially crafted Word or Rich Text Format (RTF) file. An attacker who successfully exploited these vulnerabilities could take complete control of an affected system. An attacker could then install programs; view, change, or delete data; or create new accounts with full user rights."
MS08-073: Critical - Titled "Cumulative Security Update for Internet Explorer (958215)", this bulletin is rated critical for Internet Explorer 5.01 and Internet Explorer 6 Service Pack 1, running on Microsoft Windows 2000; Internet Explorer 6 running on Windows XP; and Internet Explorer 7. For Internet Explorer 6 running on Windows Server 2003, this security update is rated "moderate." Microsoft says the vulnerabilities could allow remote code execution if a user views a specially crafted Web page using Internet Explorer.
MS08-074: Critical - Titled "Vulnerabilities in Microsoft Office Excel Could Allow Remote Code Execution (959070)." This bulletin is rated critical for all supported editions of Microsoft Office Excel 2000. For all supported editions of Microsoft Office Excel 2002, Microsoft Office Excel 2003, Microsoft Office Excel Viewer 2003, Microsoft Office Excel 2007, Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack, Microsoft Office Excel Viewer, Microsoft Office 2004 for Mac, Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac, and Open XML File Format Converter for Mac, this security update is rated important. For Internet Explorer 6 running on Windows Server 2003, this security update is rated moderate. Microsoft says if a user opens a specially crafted Excel file an attacker could exploit these vulnerabilities and take complete control of an affected system.
MS08-075: Critical - Titled "Vulnerabilities in Windows Search Could Allow Remote Code Execution (959349)" This bulletin is rated critical for all supported editions of Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008. Microsoft says that "these vulnerabilities could allow remote code execution if a user opens and saves a specially crafted saved-search file within Windows Explorer or if a user clicks a specially crafted search URL. An attacker who successfully exploited these vulnerabilities could take complete control of an affected system."
Cooler Master Limited Edition Black Label Systems now official
Cooler master now oficialorizored (great word eh ?) a special edition Cosmos CPU Cooler last week, that was just a teaser; the company has revealed the full plan of a complete Black Label Limited Edition package. With Worldwide availability of only 500 sets intended for limited production, the Black Label will include a pure black Cosmos chassis, a black Hyper Z600 CPU cooler and a black PSU power supply. Each chassis gets a unique laser-etching identity serialized from 1 to 500.
The owner of this limited edition sets will entitle to a membership of the Black Label Lounge, enjoys exclusive privileges like VIP event invitations, supports, news and interactions with club members. The Black Label Limited Edition set has a recommended price tag of $599 or 499 Euro.
Jays launches its first c-JAYS over-ear headphones
Headphone manufacturer Jays has launched the c-JAYS, its first external headphones with numerous adapters to make them compatible with a variety of popular consumer electronics. The headphones can otherwise be customized to users' tastes with three, differently-sized included foam ear cushions. The headphones feature an Elastic Multi Layer (EML), 1.6-inch (40mm) speaker diaphragm for good sound isolation with a Neodymium magnet at their core. The c-JAYS' sensitivity is rated at 99 dB at 1kHz, while frequency response ranges from 20Hz to 20kHz.
The c-JAYS are also meant to be portable, and feature a folding glass fiber-reinforced nylon construction with extendable arms and two different types of joints. A carrying case is also included. For sound delivery that is claimed to be 100 percent free of cross crystal distortions, Jays used single crystal copper wires and 3mm TPE coatings for the headphone cable. The standard cable is nearly 24 inches (60cm) long, with a near 28-inch (70cm) long extension provided as well. Jays also includes gold-plated adapter plugs that fit the original iPhone and new 3G version, as well as a large 6.3mm jack for use with home theater audio receivers.
The c-JAYS, available in black or white, are now available and priced at the equivalent of nearly $120 in the UK.
LaCie and Noctua unveil silent external RAID enclosure
LaCie and one of our favorite coolers Noctua teamed up to develop "acoustically optimized" RAID storage solutions. The LaCie 4big Quadra and LaCie 5big Network four and five-bay external storage systems feature the Noctua NF-P12 fan. According to the firms, the noise emission of these new storage units is, on average, 40 percent lower compared to their predecessors. LaCie 4big Quadra and LaCie 5big Network are available via LaCie's specialized dealer network at suggested retail prices starting at $849.
"LaCie always seeks to combine class-leading performance with design and ergonomics", said Olivier Mirloup, LaCie Hard Disk Solutions Business Unit Manager. "Offering capacities up to 6TB and 7.5TB respectively and a versatile hot-swap feature, LaCie 4big Quadra and LaCie 5big Network support seven RAID modes for optimal performance and data protection. Furthermore, we wanted our products to become the reference in terms of quietness for professional storage. That's why we've chosen Noctua's award-winning NF-P12 fan for cooling, and we are very proud of the result. It's a vast improvement."
Designed to enhance working environments, LaCie 4big Quadra and LaCie 5big Network are up to 15dB quieter than their predecessors. Thanks to the psycho-acoustically optimised Noctua NF-P12 fan with Vortex-Control Notches, the LaCie 4big Quadra and LaCie 5big Network also feature an acoustic profile that's much more pleasant to the ear, making them ideal for AV workstations and SMB offices that value the comfort of quiet working environments.
"Our NF-P12 fan is tailor-made for high-impedance applications like storage solutions and we're proud to count LaCie among our industrial partners who make use of our technologies and know-how in order to improve the acoustics of their products", says Mag. Roland Mossig, Noctua CEO. "Both LaCie and Noctua stand for premium quality products and we're confident that LaCie 4big Quadra and LaCie 5big Network mark the beginning of a long and fruitful cooperation that pushes the envelope in quiet, first class storage solutions."
Download: ATI Catalyst drivers 8.12 released
AMD has released the new Catalyst 8.12 display driver for Windows XP 32-bit, Windows XP 64-bit, Windows Media Center Edition, Windows Vista 32-bit and Windows Vista 64-bit. The new Catalyst 8.12 drivers, aside from performance improvements, enable ATI Stream technology. The new 8.12 ATI graphics drivers will supposedly fix problems in Grand Theft Auto IV PC, and are recommended for Prince of Persia '08. ATI Catalyst 8.12 Windows driver release include:
ATI Stream support:
With the release of ATI Catalyst 8.12 users can unlock the potential of accelerated applications enabling ATI Stream technology for millions of ATI Radeon
Super talent SSD reaches 230/170 MB per second
More news from the Solid State Drisk front today, Super Talent announced a new line of UltraDrive solid state drives (SSDs) that are twice as fast as the world
Black Friday sales drop
Despite the usual attention given to the Black Friday shopping rush, sales of home electronics actually dropped for the first time, the NPD Group says. Where sales during Thanksgiving week have typically grown significantly year over year and topped out at $2.2 billion in 2007, these sales actually dropped about 8.4 percent in 2008 to just over $2 billion for this year. The softened sales numbers are believed to stem both from less aggressive overall discounts as well as the failures of high-profile retailers, such as Circuit City and home theater-oriented outlet Tweeter.
The poor economic situation triggered by the US housing crisis is partly blamed for the decline, though researchers at NPD explain the drop as part of a fundamental shift for retailers away from depending on a single day or week of sales and more on evenly distributed sales throughout the year.
Online sales are widely believed to still be contributing to a drop in retail sales, as many in-store discounts are now either matched online or else countered by competing offers. Despite economic concerns, Apple had equal online and retail discounts that were both unexceptional versus past years and which have been matched by previous discounts from Amazon and similar online shops.
NPD also notes that some very specific categories saw an increase on Thanksgiving week, such as a 19 percent boost to the number of notebooks sold as well as an 18 percent boost to LCD TVs 30 inches and larger. Other categories like digital photo frames, GPS and plasma TVs also technically saw larger sales but failed to generate as much money as steep discounts took much of the price advantage away.
Intel, AMD and NVIDIA likely to do worse then expected this quarter
Although Intel and AMD both cut their fourth quarter 2008 revenues forecasts recently, with market demand remaining weak, market watchers believe the two CPU makers' performance may be even worse than predicted as digitimes reported.
Additionally, even though Nvidia has not yet announced any changes to its previous forecast, the company is also expected to see a worse-than-expected on-quarter revenues drop in the fourth quarter.
Intel recently reduced its fourth quarter revenues forecast to US$8.7-9.3 billion from of US$10.1-10.9 billion originally. But the market watchers estimate the amount should be even lower at only US$8.2-8.7 billion.
AMD has meanwhile adjusted its on-quarter revenues forecast to US$1.19 billion but according to the market watchers the amount will drop to US$1.05 billion.
Nvidia's on-quarter revenues decline is also expected to expand to reach 15-20% from the company's original forecast of 5% for its fiscal fourth quarter (November 2008 to January 2009), noted the market watchers.
Since all three makers are expected to see further drops in the first quarter of 2009, the makers may start another wave of workforce adjustment before the second quarter of 2009, added the market watchers.
Intel releases free Far Cry 2 bonus missions
FilePlanet is hosting two new bonus missions for Far Cry 2 PC, this is a free mission pack that was sponsored by Intel.
Mission 1: the Morrocan
This mission sends you into the most heavily guarded region of the Leboa-Sako territory. Hiding out at the old Legion fort is a Moroccan who might be able to help you locate the Jackal. Your objective is to locate him and find out what he knows.
Mission 2: the American
Your predecessor has tracked down the American informant to the Dogon village in the rocky northern ranges. Your objective: follow his trail and find out what the informant told him.
LCD prices going down hard
DigiTimes reports prices of LCD display panels are expected to drop yet another 6-9 percent this month. Panel makers expect prices will remain low for two more quarters.
Prices for LCD monitor panels have already dropped below cash cost levels and are estimated to drop even more in December by 6-9%, as LCD monitors already have a high market penetration rate and demand for desktops has been squeezed by notebooks, the sources explained.
Panel prices for mainstream size notebooks are expected to see an 8% drop in December. The 37-inch segment is expected to see the largest price drop of 10% of all TV applications for the month, compared to 6-9% declines for other TV panel segments, the sources noted.