Adobe Flash 10 delivers GPU acceleration
Adobe has released the next major version of the multimedia plugin. Adobe's Flash Player 10 is available from this page for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux - including Ubuntu 7 and 8. Tom Barclay, senior product marketing manager, Platform Business Unit, Adobe Systems, said Adobe Flash Player 10 delivers enhancements and new features such as new support for custom filters and effects, native 3-D transformation and animation, advanced audio processing, and GPU hardware acceleration. In addition, the new release builds on Adobe's expertise with text to deliver a new text engine that provides interactive designers and developers with more text layout options and better creative control.
The guys over at TR gave the new plug-in a shot, and while it didn't see a huge difference in CPU usage on a Core 2 Duo E6400, maximizing YouTube videos did feel noticeably snappier. Disabling hardware acceleration through the plug-in settings somehow didn't affect that, however. After investigating the matter, they found this blog post written on May 16 by Adobe software engineer Tinic Uro. In the post, Uro says web developers actually have to enable GPU acceleration manually in the code. Stranger yet, the new GPU-accelerated modes can supposedly slow down content, because "the software rasterizer in the Flash Player can optimize a lot of cases the GPU cannot optimize." So much for that. With that said, I just installed and tried something with lots of vectoring and it doesn't seem to do anything :-)
More info on Far Cry 2 DRM
A hot topic recently are the viral like DRM protections software houses insert into games. Ubisoft has confirmed that the PC its open-world shooter Far Cry 2, will use a slightly different configuration of the SecuROM DRM technology found in Spore and Crysis Warhead.
- You have 5 activations on 3 separate PCs.
- Uninstalling the game "refunds" an activation. This process is called "revoke", so as long as you complete proper uninstall you will be able to install the game an unlimited number of times on 3 systems.
- You can upgrade your computer as many time as you want (using our revoke system)
- Ubisoft is committed to the support of our games, and additional activations can be provided.
- Ubisoft is committed to the long term support of our games: you'll always be able to play Far Cry 2.
Overall, I think this is a reasonably fair compromize. Not great, but definitely the gamers can work with and get used to.
Imperium Romanum 2 for PC
Some new images of Imperium Romanum , the upcoming city-building game where players are governor of a province and must build and maintain a thriving and prosperous settlement. The game takes place during the reign of the Roman Empire and players build Roman towers, gates, and bridges using a new currency with which to do so.
Judging from the graphics alone, I'm starting to really like this game, check out the link for some more eye-candy, that is growing to become a cool game.
Build, reign and defend!
Download ATI Catalyst 8.10 WHQL Vista and XP
ATI just released new Catalyst 8.10 drivers today, available for Windows XP and Vista.
Highlights of the Catalyst 8.10 Windows release include:
- Unreal Tournament 3: Performance increases of up to 15% are seen when using the ATI Radeon
Download GeForce 178.24 WHQL ForceWare XP and Vista
NVIDIA just released an updated ForceWare driver. It's build 178.24 and carries WHQL certification, meaning it received two thumbs up from microsoft.
New in Version 178.24:
- Adds support for newly-released GeForce 9-series motherboard GPUs.
- Includes several application compatibility fixes. Please read the release documentation for more details.
Release 178 Highlights:
- WHQL-certified driver for GeForce 6-series, 7-series, 8-series, 9-series, and 200-series GPUs.
- Adds support for GeForce 9800 GTX+, 9800 GT, 9500 GT, and 9400 GT GPUs.
- Adds support for NVIDIA PhysX acceleration on all GeForce 8-series, 9-series and 200-series GPUs with a minimum of 256MB dedicated graphics memory (this driver package installs NVIDIA PhysX System Software v8.09.04).
- Experience GPU PhysX acceleration in several full games and demos today by downloading the GeForce Power Pack.
- Adds support for 2-way and 3-way NVIDIA SLI technology with GeForce GTX 200-series GPUs on Intel
NVIDIA GF9300 (ECS GF9300TA) mainboard review [Guru3D]
We'll see integrated IGPs more and more in the years to come, and mark my words... we feel that this trend is becoming normalized in the mainstream market. We peek at a GF9300 mainboard, the model tested comes from the fine folks at ECS, and as always... they were quick enough to send us their "Black Edition" model, a product series that is doing so very well in the EU and USA thanks to it's nice design and additional features. Have a peek, let it sink in that you are looking at a product costing roughly 99-109 USD.
Check out this full guru3D review right here.
Corsair CX400W power supply
The CX400W has a single +12V rail with a max. current of 30A and is rated up to 400W continuous power output at 40
XFX nForce 750i SLI gets 'officializored'
I just figured, that's a cool word, 'officializored'. Wozers, that took them a while ... but XFX claims (self-proclaimed) it has released the "mother" you've always wanted: the nForce 750i SLI motherboard. Here's the PR:
"Our motherboard delivers performance straight out of the box, for the ultimate gaming experience. And, the 750i SLI comes with exceptional game support and bar none the fastest multi-GPU gaming platform available in the performance category.
The XFX 750i SLI is the perfect way to instantly upgrade to an SLI-Ready performance system. Offering the ultimate in flexibility, the XFX 750i SLI features PCI Express 2.0 for twice the bandwidth, and is backward compatible with existing PCI Express 1.0 graphics card.
Crafted specifically for next-generation graphics card, the XFX 750i SLI also includes full overclocking capabilities for Intel Yorkfield and Wolfdale CPUs.
Other admirable traits include an NVIDIA control panel that enables you seamlessly monitor characteristics in an intuitive and customizable 3D environment; NVIDIA MediaShield
SilverStone unveils Clear CMOS
Well, I know i mentioned in my articles a lot that mainboard manufacturers should included a CMOS micro-switch on the maomnboard, but this might be taking it a step too far. Anyway, SilverStone unveiled a new product that makes it possible to clear your CMOS without having to open your case. Some enthusiast motherboards already have this functionality though.
They'll probably end up charing you 15 EUR / 20 USD for it.
SilverStone SST-CLEARCMOS is designed for the overclocking enthusiasts. When installed and mounted in corresponding chassis for external use, an overclocker no longer needs to open the computer chassis to clear CMOS. The SST-CLEARCMOS is extremely useful in offering a way to quickly clear CMOS/BIOS for recovering from failed overclocking attempts, updating BIOS, or resetting BIOS for installing new devices.
Apple's MacBook Pro packs new NVIDIA GPU
Apple unleashed and updated its MacBook and MacBook Pro laptops. The specs. Apple's MacBook Pro using NVIDIA's new 9400M GPU + chipset 1-2 punch for integrated graphics, supplemented by 9600M GT switchable discreet graphics chip for heavy lifting, and pumping out those graphics over a Mini DisplayPort connector, if you'd like to supplement the LED backlit screen.
The GeForce 9400 M has 16 parallel graphics cores and 54gflops of performance. The GeForce 9400 M is five times faster than current graphics in MacBook Pros,in the real world that translates to 6x the performance. The existing NVIDIA in the current MacBook Pro has only 55% the performance of the NVIDIA GeForce 9400 M.
As expected there's an SSD option, with drive accessible underneath the battery. The 15.4-inch base model retails for $1999, with a 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo processor, 2GB of DDR3 RAM and both GPUs. Step up to $2499 and you get a faster CPU, 4GB of RAM and a 320GB HDD. The 17-inch MacBook Pro comes in a similar configuration with a 2.6GHz processor, starting at $2799, but sans the redesign and GPU sweetness.
For the more budget minded Apple has dropped the price of its previous-gen MacBook to $999, and it's introduced a pair of next-gen MacBook models that look like smaller versions of the updated MacBook Pros (down to the black display frame and aluminum body). Priced at $1,299, the cheapest of the aluminum MacBooks features a 13.3" LED-backlit display, a 2GHz Core 2 Duo, GeForce 9400M integrated graphics, 2GB of DDR3 memory, and a 160GB hard drive. For an extra $300, you can get the pricier model with a 2.4GHz processor, 250GB hard drive, and keyboard backlighting. Oh, and an extra $700 will let you upgrade to a 128GB solid-state drive, as well.
Apple had two more surprises. For one, the MacBook Air is getting an upgrade to Nvidia GeForce 9400M integrated graphics, and Apple has tossed in a mini-DisplayPort connector for good measure. Also, the Mac maker has launched an iMac-style 24" desktop monitor with LED backlighting, a 1920x1200 resolution, built-in stereo speakers, DisplayPort connectivity, and a MagSafe power connector (for charging your MacBook). Those perks don't come cheap, though: Apple charges $899 for the display.
Photo courtesy of Engadget
Far Cry 2 and CC Red Alert PC gone gold
Ubisoft just announced that Far Cry 2, the open-world shooter, is done and dusted and off to manufacture. All versions ship on October 24 in Europe and October 21 in the US. Developed this time around by Ubisoft Montreal--the PC original was crafted by Crytek--Far Cry 2 will hit PS3 and Xbox 360 at $60, with the PC version coming in at $50. Additionally, those that pre-order the PC version through Valve's digital distribution platform Steam will receive $5 off.
There's a report PCGames.de translated from the French Ubisoft Shop suggesting the shooter sequel will use the much reviled SecuROM for copy protection
In other news, EA Command and Conquer Red Alert 3, the RTS sequel with something for everyone, has gone gold and is on schedule for its October 28 launch on PC. The promised Xbox 360 version of the alternate-history strategy game is still in the works and will take a little longer. It arrives on November 11.
Trailer: EA Dead Space Ships
Set five hundred years in the future, Dead Space follows the story of Isaac Clarke, a normal systems engineer, who is sent with a small repair team to restore communications aboard an immense mining ship, the USG Ishimura. Once onboard the vessel, Isaac discovers that the crew has unearthed an ancient and malevolent alien presence far beneath the planet's surface and brought it onboard. It's a living nightmare onboard the Ishimura, which has turned into a floating bloodbath, as the crew has been unspeakably mutilated and infected by an ancient alien scourge. Clarke's repair mission becomes one of survival as he fights not just to save himself, but to return the artifact to the planet at any cost.As the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions of Dead Space ship out to stores today, with the PC version following next week, publisher EA has issued a new trailer:
Introducing Windows 7
In case you where wondering what the 'official' name for the follow up of Windows Vista (developed under codename Windows 7) is. well the final decision has been made, Windows 7 is going to be called .. *drum-roll* .. Windows 7. Ah well, clean and simple, I kind of liked the codename anyway.
Hi there, Mike Nash here.
For me, one of the most exciting times in the release of a new product is right before we show it to the world for the first time. And that time is right now.
In a few weeks we are going to be talking about the details of this release at the PDC and at WinHEC. We will be sharing a pre-beta "developer only release" with attendees of both shows and giving them the first broad in-depth look at what we've been up to. I can't wait for them to see it.
And, as you probably know, since we began development of the next version of the Windows client operating system we have been referring to it by a codename, "Windows 7." But now is a good time to announce that we've decided to officially call the next version of Windows, "Windows 7."
While I know there have been a few cases at Microsoft when the codename of a product was used for the final release, I am pretty sure that this is a first for Windows. You might wonder about the decision.
The decision to use the name Windows 7 is about simplicity. Over the years, we have taken different approaches to naming Windows. We've used version numbers like Windows 3.11, or dates like Windows 98, or "aspirational" monikers like Windows XP or Windows Vista. And since we do not ship new versions of Windows every year, using a date did not make sense. Likewise, coming up with an all-new "aspirational" name does not do justice to what we are trying to achieve, which is to stay firmly rooted in our aspirations for Windows Vista, while evolving and refining the substantial investments in platform technology in Windows Vista into the next generation of Windows.
Simply put, this is the seventh release of Windows, so therefore "Windows 7" just makes sense.
Download - HOC Crysis Warhead Benchmark v1.1.1
The HOC Crysis Warhead Benchmark is a very hard opponent against the synthetic benchmark. Many usefull options, many tweaks, many lost FPS... this tool has now been updated towards version 1.1.1
Crysis Warhead updates and refines the gameplay of the original game through a sidestory plot involving Psycho, one of previous protagonist Nomad's allies. The game is a parallel story that follows Sergeant Michael "Psycho" Sykes, a character from the original Crysis, as he faces his own trials and challenges on the other side of the island during the time period of the first game. It features new fully customizable weapons, vehicles and enemies, along with new multiplayer content. It also showcases a new, enhanced and optimized version of CryEngine 2 and is the first game developed by Crytek's Budapest studio.
- 32/64 bit Windows XP / VISTA
- The latest drivers for your graphics card
- Source: DVD or STEAM
Download click here.
StarCraft 2 to be a trilogy ?!
A lot of news has been pouring out of BlizzCon and now Blizzard is taking their StarCraft franchise to the next level. Their long-awaited game, StarCraft 2 will be a trilogy rather than one game.
StarCraft 2 will include three single-player games of which each can be played on an individual basis with an overarching story connecting them together. There will be one game for each race.
The first is Terran: Wings of Liberty and will follow Jim Raynor for non-linear gameplay. The second is Zerg: Heart of the Swarm. The last in the trilogy will be Protoss: Legacy of the Void. Each game will feature between 26-30 missions and the campaigns will feel like epic stories in and of themselves. No cliffhangers this time around, either. That is, each game will be a full product on its own.
AMD: DOJ ends probe on GPU price fixing
Late last week, the US Department of Justice officially told chipmaker AMD it has ended its antitrust investigation into the company's pricing and marketing practices and will not take any action, AMD announced on Monday. The subpoenas were issued at the end of 2006 for AMD and ATI Technologies, which was purchased by AMD earlier that year, as well as competitor NVIDIA. As the top two add-in graphics chipmakers were producing products similar in performance and pricing, industry analysts believed the two were involved in collusion and price fixing practices.
AMD got into the graphics card business in October of 2006 by purchasing Canadian ATI Technologies for $5.4 billion. At the time, ATI and NVIDIA each held about 25 percent of the graphics card market for electronic devices and have since been the top two firms offering add-in video, with Intel and other firms usually supplying only integrated graphics.
Trailer: Call of Duty: World at War
Brothers in Arms - Hells Highway VGA performance review [Guru3D]
Today a VGA performance test on Brothers in Arms - Hells Highway. Hells Highway is based on the Unreal III engine which allows some pretty decent graphics but more importantly, it'll be playable for a very wide scope of graphics cards, which we'll show you.
The game tells the story of Operation Market Garden in the country yours truly lives in the Netherlands aka Holland. It's about the besieged journey from Eindhoven to Arnhem where tremendous battles where fought.
Exactly that road, Highway 69; the road from Eindhoven to Arnhem was later nicknamed: Hell's Highway.
Check out the VGA performance review right here.