No Built-In Blu-Ray Playback In Windows 7
Steven Sinofsky, senior vice president for the Windows and Windows Live Engineering Group, wrote in an email that Microsoft's upcoming operating system, Windows 7, will not have native Blu-Ray playback support. Despite that, you will be able to burn Blu-Ray discs as an integrated feature though.
This means that you still will be required to buy dedicated software like Power DVD, for example, to watch Blu-Ray movies in Windows 7. On the other hand, OEMs and Blu-Ray drive makers will be able to extend the Windows Media Center, in order to support Blu-Ray playback by means of a codec.
"Blu-Ray support will be provided by PC makers or BRD drive makers. We have new extensibility in media center for those that provide BRD playback to support integrated playback. We do have support for burning BRD data discs," Sinofsky wrote.
ECS shows AMD 880G chipset - A880GM-M board
Though ECS has no presence on CeBIT they did announce a couple of things on-line. Among them, to much surprise, the first AMD 880G chipset based motherboards. The board comes with a pair of beefy chipset and MOSFET coolers, being an AM3 board supporting DDR3-1333 memory instead of DDR2/AM2/AM2+.
AMD 880G chipset will form part of the AMD Live! "Pisces" platform.AMD 880G will feature a integrated Radeon HD 3450 (RV620) DX10.1 graphics core, DDR3 support, HyperTransport 3.0, Universal Video Decoder 2 (UVD 2), Hybrid Crossfire with a discrete Radeon HD 3450 graphics core through a PCIe 2.0 x16 slot, Display Port/HDMI/DVI/SurroundView support. AMD 880G will be paired up with SB710 Southbridge offering 12 USB ports and 6 SATA ports.
AMD is also touting much on their new OverDrive 3.0 that support AM3 platforms featuring Smart Control that boost clocks on demand, Application Specific Profiles that optimise system settings upon application detection and Hardware Monitoring support with fan control.
Download: HWiNFO32 v2.38 released
HWiNFO32 is a professional hardware information and diagnostic tools supporting latest components, industry technologies and standards. Both tools are targeted to recognize and extract the most possible amount of information about computer's hardware which makes them suitable for users searching for driver updates, computer manufactures, system integrators and technical experts too.
- Fixed reporting of temperatures for ADT7473 sensor on nVidia GPUs.
- Added preserving of sensor settings.
- Added preliminary Jasper Forest support.
- Fixed Poulsbo memory timings.
- Enhanced memory timings for some chipsets.
- Added preliminary Nuvoton W83795G/ADG HW monitor support.
- Updated reporting of PCI Express slots in system.
- Changed reporting of QDF only for ES and SSPEC for Productions parts when possible.
- Improved identification of Yorkfield and Wolfdale-DP reduced-TDP CPUs and Penryn SFF platforms.
- Several other minor updates and bugfixes.
HWInfo can be downloaded from this page.
Radeon HD 4650 512MB iSilence4 review | test
Sometimes very entertaining products can be the cheapest ones around. Especially for graphics cards this rule applies very often. In the high-end segment you need to have luck to tweak and overclock or pay a premium price for customizations. In the lower-end and budget products we often see the most wicked stuff that is very tweakable and versatile.
Today we review such a product. For 60 bucks you can pick up a HIS Radeon HD 4650 512MB iSilence4, it comes completely passively cooled thanks to a Zalman cooler. Not exactly a gamers dream .. but for HTPC users its just really affordable stuff.
You can click here to read this review.
Numark to ship NS7 DJ controller
Numark has announced that its high-end DJ controller, the NS7, will ship worldwide beginning March 24th. The system was designed in collaboration with software-developer Serato Audio Research to works with the ITCH software interface. NS7 features two seven-inch motorized platter controls, each built from aluminum and offering adjustable torque settings. Genuine vinyl records with 45RPM adapters are placed on the slipmats.
A DJ mixer is located between the decks, offering replaceable, digtal VCA crossfaders and line faders along with a variety of rubberized knobs, switches and buttons. Over 100 LEDs and 100 individual controls are available, providing full interaction capabilities with ITCH, while an integrated notebook stand can be used to mount the computer and hold it above the table.
Each deck offers a Serato-style loop section for creating manual and automatic loops, along with an automatic BPM analyzer. Controls include doubling, halving and shift, among others.
The controller integrates a 24-bit digital audio interface with mic and line inputs along with headphone and system outputs. The company claims that the single USB cable carries data between the computer and controller at twice the standard MIDI rate.
The Serato NS 7 carries a retail price of $1600 and an estimated street price of $1300.
Windows Vista SP2 and Server 2008 SP2 RC Released Download
Yesterday both Windows Vista Service Pack 2 RC and Windows Server 2008 Service Pack 2 RC have been made available for public download. This build is the same one that was sent to testers last week.
For download links clickedyclick below:
Abit Closes its doors Forever
Known motherboard manufacturer ABit as expected is closing its doors forever.
Initially abit was to move into the consumer electronics market with products like digital picture frames and mobile internet devices. But then came the economic crisis. ABits parent company USI has now decided to pull abit out of the channel market entirely. Abit's marketing director Thore Welling commented:
After 20 years in the market the abit brand now bids farewell, so it's also time for me now to lock the doors of the marketing department. That's it for good now.
If this information confirms, the whole liquidation of abit should be finished in around a month.
EVGA debuts four GeForce GTS 250 cards
- GeForce GTS 250 512MB: 756MHz core, 2200MHz memory, 1836MHz shaders, $149.99
- GeForce GTS 250 512MB Superclocked: 771MHz core, 2246MHz memory, 1890MHz shaders, $159.99
- GeForce GTS 250 1GB: 756MHz core, 2200MHz memory, 1836MHz shaders, $169.99
- GeForce GTS 250 1GB Superclocked: 771MHz core, 2246MHz memory, 1890MHz shaders, $179.99
The EVGA GTS 250 graphics card delivers performance in the hottest titles of this season. Immerse yourself in full PhysX gaming and bring them to life with massively destructible environments and ultra-realistic physical interaction. Experience GPU-accelerated video processing for transcoding HD videos in minutes, and super fast image processing using Adobe CS4. SLI ready means you can combine up to three cards for a Tri-SLI configuration, and max out your game settings at ultra resolutions, now is your chance to own the most feature-full, best in class performance graphics card on the market today.
NVIDIA silently developing x86 CPU?
At the Morgan Stanley Technology Conference in San Francisco yesterday, the company revealed that it had plans to enter the x86 processor market by building a x86 compatible system-on-chip in the next two to three years.
According to Michael Hara, NVIDIA's senior vice president of investor relations and communications, the company is considering making a x86 processor in the next two or three years:
The heart of this issue is that the CPU has run its course and the soul of the PC is shifting quickly to the GPU.
If that's true, Jen-Hsun, then why bother developing an x86 CPU? The answer, of course, is that Jen-Hsun knows his comments are little more than BS. Granted, there's little indication that graphics processing will migrate back to CPU, in spite of a seeming plateau in mainstream applications' polygon and pixel demands. GPUs also fill an important role in handling video processing in a speedy and power-thrifty manner. And there's some possibility, though by no means a guarantee, that over time GPUs will take over additional functions amenable to their massively parallel processing nature, by virtue of coming-soon APIs such as OpenCL and DirectX 11. But for anyone who thinks that the GPU will obsolete the CPU or even tangibly retard its advancements in the future, I have seven words for you:
I'd like some of whatever you're smoking.
Assuming my between-the-lines reading of Hara's teasing is on track, where will Nvidia's x86 capabilities come from? While I was pulling an April Fool's joke when I 'announced' last year that Nvidia was buying AMD, the idea of Nvidia acquiring Via has been bantered about in the press for quite some time. There's a problem with that prognosis, however, and it's a biggie: Via's x86 license isn't capable of being adopted by an acquiring entity. Nvidia could try to do a straight-up x86 design, but (barring FTC pressure, which is perhaps what Nvidia's gambling on), I can't imagine a scenario in which Intel would grant its competitor a license. Emulation is also a possibility, but the track record here is spotty at best; Montalvo Systems flamed out before it ever produced its first chip, and Transmeta did little better, at least in the marketplace (in the courts, on the other hand, it fared somewhat better).
Download: Crysis Warhead Benchmark v1.2
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
- Change the resolution from 800
Download: Crysis Benchmark 1.5
- 32/64 bit Windows XP / VISTA
- The latest drivers for your graphics card
- The v1.2 or 1.2.1 patch
- Change the resolution from 800
EA Reevaluates Its Strategy
After a very disappointing holiday quarter in 2008, in which the company lost 641 million USD, Electronic Arts' chief operating officer, John Pleasants, made some interesting statements at the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet conference a few days ago: "The biggest thing was that we didn't make hits."
As a result of the weak economy and missing hits, EA is currently cutting down costs by reducing its work force by about 11 percent and closing 12 facilities. The question now is: did they learn from their previous mistakes, though? As mentioned, EA is planning to cut jobs in all areas, with the exception of marketing. Pleasants actually said that they are going to increase, not decrease, the money spend on marketing.
"The game-development process has evolved, so the marketing should as well," he said. "It's less about 'We have an idea, we go away for 24 months and spend USD 30 million working on a game, then put a little buzz out there and hope it works.' We need to have a dialogue with the audience, take a longer lead time and make sure we have the right mix of digital and traditional."
Besides that, EA plans to lower the number of titles they are going to release per year by about 20 percent. "You can lose your way on basic execution when you have too many games," Pleasants said.
Daily hardware deals (Mar 4 2009)
Alright you guys, time for a new update on some nice hardware deals. This week I'd like to focuss on soundcards. Though integrated motherboard solutions are okay, very understimated are the dedicated soundcards for sure.
Let's browse through some nice deals:
- Creative SB X-Fi XtremeGamer - Decent value for money, it sells at $69.99
- Asus Xonar DX Sound Card - Asus makes excellent stuff, $54.99
High end soundcards:
OCZ Demos 1 TB RAID0 Solid-State Drive
Haha .. OCZ always has a good marketing gimmick on display at exhibitions. Incredibly fun none the less. Who would of guessed that exactly OCZ will be able to achieve the unachieveble. At CeBIT the famous overclocking memory and peripherals maker has demoed Z Drive, a PCI-Express x8 connection storage device that boasts four 256 GB (MLC-equipped) solid-state drives in RAID 0 setup. In total we get 1 TB space and 256 MB of data cache.
Put this into a system with a Core i7 965 EE CPU and an ASUS P6T motherboard, get some external power for the drives, and you
ASRock Enables CrossFire on nForce 740i SLI Motherboard
Other interesting news today. Apparantly Asrock opened up Crossfire compatibility with their nForce 740 motherboards. They are demonstrating this at CeBIT. As you know, ATI and NVIDIA are not exactly keen on each other. As such, NVIDIA always has prevented to allow Crossfire setups to run with their motherboards. Currently the only chipset platform that doesn't support CrossFire is the NVIDIA nForce series.
ASRock devised a BIOS for its nForce 740i based N7AD-SLI motherboard that enables support for CrossFire. AMD's Catalyst drivers were able to detect the motherboard as a qualified platform and enable CrossFire between two installed ATI Radeon accelerators. The setup was able to show performance increments during a 3DMark06 session. ASRock is reportedly working out similar BIOS firmware for several other motherboards made by it, and wants to enable CrossFire, CrossFireX for all its nForce motherboards.
I doubt that NVIDIA will allow this and surelly is going to prevent this from happening. Photo is courtesy of hardware-aktuell.com
Thermaltake 10th anniversary chassis
One of the exhibitors at the CeBIT in Hannover is Thermealtake. Apparantly it's their 10th anniverrsary and as such they have a 10th Anniversary chassis design. You'll either hate or love it though .. there's nothing in-between that.
The Level 10 case looks well .. weird but funky. The concept is to provide housing for each component individually. The case is formed out of four separate compartments - one for the optical drives, one for the six hard drives, one for the motherboard and one for the power supply.
From the pictures we can see a lot of plastic is used, but no fans are visible. There's only one standard 120 mm (if I'm right) case fan to exhaust hot air from the motherboard chamber and that's all. We can expect more details on Thermaltake's 10th anniversary case at this year's Computex, that starts in June. The case is said to be launched then, and sell in limited quantity [via inquirer].
BTW we'll heading to CeBIT ourselves later this week and will try and snap some decent photo's.
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 200M & GTS 100M series GPUs
ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4860 & 4830: 40nm full HD
Hot on the heels of NVIDIA