Activision Blizzard and Acer Leave PCGA While Gamestop and Sony DADC Join
The PC Gaming Alliance (PCGA), "a nonprofit corporation promoting PC gaming worldwide, while providing an open forum where companies can cooperate to develop and promote solutions and activities that drive the PC gaming industry forward," lost two of its founding members, today.
Activision Blizzard, known for popular games like World of Warcraft and Call of Duty, and Acer, world's third largest computer manufacturer, both left the PC Gaming Alliance due to membership costs. Randy Stute, the non-profit organization's president, confirmed yesterday that Activision Blizzard and Acer both felt that they could not justify the expense in both money and staff to continue to be a member of the group.
"However Stute also confirmed that gaming retailer Gamestop has just joined the organization on the less expensive "Contributors" level of membership. At the moment Gamestop's membership is not listed on the PC Gaming Alliance's official web site. The most interesting new member, however, is Sony DADC which is the parent company for the SecuROM software solution that several PC game publishers use for their digital rights management set-ups. Stude said that Sony DADC wanted to join the PC Gaming Alliance to give their input on the organization's sub-committee on PC game piracy.
The PC Gaming Alliance now has only three game developers and/or publishers on the board (Epic Games, Capcom and Microsoft)."
AMD Phenom II X4 955 3.2GHz and 3 GHz Athlon X2
AMD is brewing up some new processors. The first is to be released next week and is the Phenom II X4 955 processor (April 23rd). This part should be a 125W TDP processor with a frequency of 3.2GHz, it will be the fastest chip in AMD's lineup.
From what we heard is that the processor will be a Black Edition CPU which means unlocked. Pricing wise in the US expect roughly $300 for the CPU and in the EU
Radeon HD 4830 with 800 Shader processors surfaced
Interesting, as you guys know the Radeon HD 4830 is an affordable graphics card from AMD based on RV770LE chip which is priced at around $89.99.
Recently some weird reports surfaced on the web. See, the product should have 640 Shader processors. Yet several buyers report a full 800 stream processors much like the Radeon HD 4850/4870 has. The AIB brands involved include Powercolor, Sapphire and Triplex.
If you are one of the lucky ones, congratulatiosn .. you got a very good deal at 90 bucks.
Check out the GPU-Z screenshot, you'll also notice the RV770 and not LE, apparantly some 4830 boards simply have the 4850 GPU embedded:
OCZ Vertex 120 GB SSD review
Now taking this course makes SSDs a little more expensive then they already are, but hear me out on this one. Technology as shown today at one stage will also reach high volume and yes... then the price will go down as well, much like we have seen with the early generation SSD drives from last year.
The result? Well, the Vertex is in many ways a stunning SSD drive that wipes the floor clean with JMicron controller based SSD drives. But sheesh... this thing is fast.
Check out this Guru3D review right here.
Microsoft Sidewinder X3 gaming mouse announced
Need a gaming mouse that fits your tight budget?, you might want to consider the Microsoft Sidewinder X3. This latest mouse from the computer company offers up fairly decent specs at a fairly decent price and sometimes, that
Pioneer BDR-2203 Blu-ray writer released
Pioneer released a brand new Blu-ray writer today, which can also burn DVDs and CDs. The BDR-2203 has the ability to write to dual-layer Blu-ray discs at speeds of up to 8X. Now, I
nHancer 2.5.0 Beta 1 download out
There's a new beta out of nHancer, which apparently addresses some important Forceware 185.xx issues.
nVidia's own control panel is not always very intuitive to use. Especially the 3D rendering settings are very cryptic and difficult to navigate. Even the new control panel introduced with the 9x.xx line of Forceware drivers isn't a real improvements for these problems. nHancer is a tool to improve the usage of these features.
But it's such a powerful and handy tool, even for the average guy. So another aspect of nHancer is to improve the handling of those profiles by adding many features that the normal control panel doesn't offer at all and improving the ones that it does offer.
Download - click here.
Download: Rivatuner GPU Monitor Gadget 2.0 Released
Version 2.0 of the GPU Monitor sidebar gadget is now available. This version adds extensive user customization options.
This application is a Vista Sidebar Gadget that uses Rivatuner's low level hardware monitor for stats. I've finally released it on Microsoft's site. If your Rivatuner install is reporting back values that you would like to see in the sidebar, then install this gadget and have it easily accessible.
Values will vary depending on the model card you have and its capabilities.
Values capable of being displayed include, but are not limited to:
- GPU Usage
- GPU Temperature
- Core and Memory Clock Speed
- Fan Speed
- Frames per Second
- AND MORE
** Add CPU, RAM, HDD and additional data with RivaTuner plugins
General options and features:
- Colors: background, border, title text, default monitor title/value/units text
- Title: customize the text and icon
- Filter to remove RivaTuner's monitors from display in the gadget
- Flyout window provides additional information from RivaTuner and WMI
- Ability to reset min/max values
You can also customize each monitor's display individually:
- Colors: use default or override title/value/units text
- Bar: specify min/max limits as well as color change limits
- Choose from 10 different display styles
- Choose from 20 different icons
- Change displayed monitor title text
- Add a separator to help group similar monitors
- Copy settings from 1 monitor to another with control over what is pasted
Read the help tab in the gadget config for explicit instructions and configuration information. We have a thread open on this tool (visited by programmer) right here.
Download: click here
US Congressman Wants to Ban Download Caps
As a result of Time Warner Cable's plan to charge its customers by the gigabyte in Rochester, New York, congressman Eric Massa "called TWC's proposal to switch its 8.4 million cable broadband customers to metered internet billing an "outrageous plan to tax the American people."
Critics say usage caps will cost users more and hurt innovation on the net - especially in new video services, as subscribers begin to calorie-count their internet usage. TWC's new tiered pricing structure for its Roadrunner internet service starts at $15 for a plan that allows 1 GB a month with an overage charge of $2 per GB. (A GB of data equals about three hours of online video from Hulu.com and about half of a rented standard definition movie.) The company says bandwidth hogs need to pay their fair share and maintain that if the company doesn't get enough money to build new infrastructure, "internet brownouts" will be inevitable.
In a conference call with reporters Tuesday, Massa dismissed those arguments, describing TWC as a greedy, unregulated monopoly providing a utility service. His yet-to-be-introduced bill would seek to increase competition among broadband providers and regulate monopolies, he said, though he declined to give specifics."
Particularly interesting is the fact that "Time Warner Cable's 2008 annual report shows its high-speed data costs actually declined by 12 percent to $146 million. Meanwhile its subscriber count increased by more than 10 percent to 8.4 million, and high-speed data revenues climbed to more than $4 billion.
"Congress must investigate these anti-competitive practices before they become a nationwide problem." Timothy Karr, a campaign director at the consumer advocate group FreePress, said last week.
A Massa spokesman said the text of the bill would be ready late in the week." [via Wired]
OCZ launches DDR3 modules for AMD Socket AM3
Memory maker OCZ has introduced four new DDR3 memory kits for AMD Socket AM3 systems:
- OCZ PC3-12800 Platinum AMD Edition Low Voltage (2x2GB) 7-7-7-24 @ 1.65v
- OCZ PC3-12800 Gold AMD Edition Low Voltage (2x2GB) 8-8-8-24 @ 1.65v
- OCZ PC3-10666 Platinum Low Voltage AMD Edition (2x2GB) 7-7-7-20 @ 1.65v
- OCZ PC3-10666 Gold AMD Edition Low Voltage (2x2GB) 9-9-9-20 @ 1.65v
Intel Larrabee to be huge and expensive
Bright Side of News reports the Larrabee wafer that Pat Gelsinger showed off at the Intel Developer Forum in Beijing last week contains 64 Larrabee dies, each measuring around 600 square millimeters.
Intel's parallel computing chip is massive and it is guessed at that Larrabee has between 1.65 billion and 1.75 billion transistors, if correct that's about 300 million more than NVIDIA's GT200 GPU.
According to some sources, first Larrabee chips will be built using 45nm High-K Hafnium-loving process with a move to 32nm a year after. Now, if Bloomfield die [Core i7] is 263mm2 in size and is consisted out of 731 million transistors, that means that Larrabee's 600mm2 die would end somewhere in the 1.65-1.75B transistor range.
If you're not impressed at the specs of this chip, with its 12 P55C-based cores + Vector units, think again. ATI is testing 40nm manufacturing with RV740, a $99 chip featuring 826 million transistors. Intel's "test" has more than double that. However, the entrance into the world of cGPU or GPGPU won't be that easy. From the hardware side, ATI is currently shipping 959M parts  and 1.92B with their dual-GPU cards [4850X2/4870X2], nVidia ships 1.4B part for almost a year now [GTX260/275/280/285], or 2.8 billion transistor part if you count their dual-GPU part - GeForce GTX295 [via BSN].
Instinct NVIDIA Technology demo uses CUDA (video)
NVIDIA published a video of an Instinct Technology technology demo which uses NVIDIA CUDA to accelerate in-game AI effects.
The demo shows 1024 planes, each using 10 different steering mechanisms to portray realistic avoidance and flocking. Check it out.
Mainstream Support for Office 2003 and Windows XP Ends
Although Windows XP and Office 2003 extended support only ends in 2014, meaning that Microsoft is going to release critical security fixes until then, its mainstream support of XP and Office 2003 ends today, on 14/04/2009. Non-security related problems with both softwares are only being fixed by paying Microsoft through an extended support contract. The free live support and warranty support ends today, while the free maintenance gets limited to security fixes.
The Microsoft Support Lifecycle (MSL) policy states that: "Extended Support includes paid support (support that is charged on an hourly basis or per incident), security update support at no additional cost, and paid hotfix support. To receive hotfix support, an Extended Hotfix Support contract must be purchased within the first 90 days following the end of the Mainstream Support phase. Microsoft will not accept requests for warranty support, design changes, or new features during the Extended Support phase."
Microsoft Ordered to Pay $388 Million in Lost Patent Case
Uniloc Inc., founded in 2003 and headquartered in Irvine, California, won its patent law dispute after six years of legal skirmishes and a trial starting in March, in a federal court in Rhode Island. Microsoft was ordered to pay $388 million in damages, since the jury found that Microsoft "infringed Uniloc's patent on software that generates unique identities for licensed users and prevents unauthorized use or copying of programs."
"Uniloc USA and its Singapore-based parent originally filed suit against Microsoft in 2003, claiming that Microsoft infringed its patent with security software it was using to prevent unlicensed use of its Windows XP operating system and parts of its Office suite of products. (...) The damages award is one of the largest on record in patent law disputes."
Microsoft responded by saying that they will appeal the verdict: "We believe that we do not infringe, that the patent is invalid and that this award of damages is legally and factually unsupported," said a Microsoft spokesman. "We will ask the court to overturn the verdict."
New SandForce SSD Controller SF-1000 Revealed
Quietly working on a new SSD controller for the past three years, SandForce announced a new family of solid-state disk (SSD) processors, the SF-1000, today. According to the company based in Saratoga, California, this new technology is supposed to "address the inherent endurance, reliability, and data retention issues associated with NAND flash memory, making it possible to build SSDs that deliver unprecedented performance over the life of the drive with orders-of-magnitude higher reliability than enterprise-class HDDs (Hard Disk Drives)."
"The SF-1000 SSD Processor Family promises to address key NAND flash issues allowing MLC flash technologies to be reliably used in broad based, mission critical storage environments," said Mike Desens, Vice President for System Design, IBM.
SandForce claims that this new controller can improve MLC sequential read/writes to 250MB/sec., while it's new firmware DuraWrite, supposedly extends "flash rated endurance by 80x or more when compared to standard controllers."
Another part of its new technology is called RAISE "(Redundant Array of Independent Silicon Elements), which delivers an orders-of-magnitude improvement in drive reliability versus today
DFI preps new Blood Iron P45 motherboard
DFI is working on a new P45 board that is touted to be pretty overclockable and best of all, very affordable too as VR-zone reports. DFI called it Blood Iron (BI) P45-T2RS Elite which is an update to the current P45-T2RS board with a revised PCB layout and a different LAN chip. It comes with one PCIe x16 slot and 3 PCIe x1 slots instead of 2 PCIe x16 slots and 2 PCIe x1 slots to reduce cost so you can't run Crossfire on this board now. It is said to be achieved FSB above 600MHz easily and mass production will start next week.
Other specs include Core 2 Quad and Duo processors support, 800/1066/1333MHz FSB support, 4 x DDRII DIMM up to max 8GB, DDR2 667/800/1066 DIMMs, 1 IDE, 6 SATAII 3Gbs ports, 12 USB2.0 ports, Realtek ALC885 for 8CH HD audio, 1 GbE LAN by JMC250, EZ-On and EZ-Touch switches for power switch and reset switch, and a Software Debug LED. The BIOS supports voltage tweakings on Vdimm, Vnb, Vcore, Vsb, VHT, 1MHz FSB tuning, adjustable CPU Multiplier. Also according to DFI, the issue of automatic shutdown while overclocking is now fixed so when you tried to change the CPU FSB or memory ratio, the system will not power off by itself.
Over 97 percent of all e-mails are spam says Mircosoft
A security report by Microsoft claims more than 97 percent of all e-mails are spam, and that the global ratio of infected PCs is around 8.6 for every 1,000 uninfected machines. Another observation is that hackers are increasingly targeting flaws in Office and PDF documents.
Paul Woods, a senior analyst at security firm Message Labs, is surprised by Microsoft's findings. Woods says their own analysis shows that around 81 percent of all e-mail traffic is spam.
Microsoft said people should not panic about the high levels of unwanted e-mail.
Cliff Evans, head of security and privacy for Microsoft in the UK, told BBC News: "The good news is that the majority of that never hits your inbox although some will get through."
Ed Gibson, chief cyber security advisor at Microsoft, said the rise in spam was due to traditional organised crime figures moving away from exploiting software vulnerabilities and "targeting the weak link that is you and me".
"With higher capacity broadband and better OS (operating systems), and higher power computers it is easier now to send out billions of spams. Three or four years ago the capacity wasn't there."
Thermaltake V14AX Core i7 ready
The Thermaltake V14AX is suitable for socket-1366/775/AM2(+) (and thus also for AM3) systems and is built with a copper base. The heatpipes have a diameter of 6 millimeters and 98 aluminum fins. In between there is a 140 mm fan.
The fan of the Thermaltake cooler works with revolutions between 1,000 and 1,600 RPM and comes with a blue LED. The dimension of the V14AX is 171 x 161 x 100 millimeter (W x H x D). The pricing for the CPU cooler Thermaltake V14AX is 59 US dollar.