SiSoftware Sandra 2009 Interview with Adrian Silasi [Guru3D]
SiSoftware this week will release a new version of their popular application, Sandra. New in Sandra 2009, a handy system tool and analyzer, is GPU and in specific, a set Generic purpose GPU and GPU render tests. Next to that you'll also spot a test to measure framebuffer bandwidth.
Suffice that say, that's our cup of thee and therefore we wanted to fire off a small Q&A session at the lead programmer of SANDRA and Hardware Guru himself, Adrian Silasi. Topics involve SANDRA 2009, GPUs and compute API's like CUDA and CAL.
[Guru3D] With DirectX 11 slowly surfacing on that cyber horizon one fixed function in the pipeline will be Compute Shaders. Do you think CUDA and CAL will become a thing of the past once Microsoft opens up Compute Shaders through their API ?
[Adrian] On the Windows platform, judging by the past, it is highly likely that DirectX 11 will dominate, as supporting a single API is far better than supporting many vendor specific APIs. It is a pity DirectX 11 is not ready now; hopefully it will be out by the time other vendors (Intel, etc.) join the fray.
To read the entire interview - click here.
Trailer: New Fallout 3
ForceWare 177.98 XP and Vista
There's a new ForceWare driver available on the web (thanks laptopvideo2go) with revision build 177.98.
This driver is available for both Windows XP 32- and 64-bit versions and Windows Vista in 32-bit. This driver set is commonly distributed on many websites and it is receiving pretty good feedback. Bare in mind this to be considered a beta driver, use it at your own risk. NVIDIA does not officially support them.
There are several discussion open on these drivers in the Guru3D NVIDIA driver forums, check them here. Driver wise, pretty much any GeForce graphics card build in the last 3 years is supported. We have virus & pest checked these drivers and they are scanned as clean. If you decide to give these a try, please post your feedback in this Forceware 177.98 discussion thread.
This driver has a broad support for many GeForce graphics cards and definitely is the latest build available.
Steam - All id Games 50% Off, Clear Sky Delayed
I noticed on ggmania that this weekend's special deal on Steam offers up a great deal for id Software fans. Every id Software title on Steam is now 50% off! Word is: "This weekend only on Steam, id Software games are 50% off. This includes the id Super Pack for only $34.99 (over $200 worth of games). Or take 50% off individual titles such as Doom, Quake, Wolfenstein, Commander Keen, Heretic, and Hexen. Offer ends Monday, September 8."
In other Steam related news, S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky is now officially delayed. This news comes just hours before the game was officially set to be released on the digital distribution platform, and days after news that retail stores would also suffer a delay. The new countdown places the release on the 15th of this month. If it's any consolation, gamers can now pre-purchase the game from Steam for $35.99. This price is a limited time offer, with the regular price being $39.99.
Eagle Consus I-Series SATA to USB review [Guru3D]
Face it, the internet opened up a can of options, and with the increasing bandwidth we get for downloading, we face storage issues. Games, movies and music we need HD space for. Next to that we like to be portable, take along games or music to friends and relatives, though institutions like the RIAA, BSA and what not don't like it, it's the reality of the era we life in.
Here in the EU, decent external storage solution here costs like 60 maybe even 80 EUR easily. Which is over a hundred USD. So when the company Eagle contacted me and asked if I wanted to look at some of their devices the first thing I did was look at their pricing ... and I was shocked (in a good manner).
We have a review right here.
Intel 6-core Xeon to arrive September 16th
This multi-thread awareness will also be helped by the 16MB of Level 2 cache, which serves as the most for any x86-based Intel chip and is shared between all the cores.
Intel hasn't announced any clock speeds for the Xeon 7400 series but will likely keep to its earlier patterns and target the six-core processor at high-end workstations and servers where a large number of parallel tasks is essential. The design is the last new Penryn-era processor and will be followed later in the fall by the Core i7 (formerly Nehalem) architecture for future Xeon chips.
Leaked Documents Show 45nm AMD Phenoms early 2009
More and more details are surfacing confirming the rumor that AMD is hard at work on releasing their 45-nm based processors. A new leaked document from CHW shows that December should see the start of production of the new Phenom quad-core X4 chips with 45nm architecture, rated at 3.0GHz and 2.8GHz while using up 125W of power, though shipment is delayed until January 8.
Meanwhile, the 15W AMD Athlon 2650e
Video: First Seinfeld Microsoft ad aired
Last night Microsoft aired its first of the widely reported Jerry Seinfeld ads, meant to restore awareness of Windows and improve Vista's poor reputation. The one minute, thirty-second segment conspicuously avoids any direct descriptions of Windows or attacks against rivals such as Apple; instead, it focuses on a chance meeting between Seinfeld and former Microsoft chief Bill Gates at a shoe store with a comedic conversation reminiscent of Seinfeld's own routines and TV show.
The only mention of Windows appears near the end of the segment, when Seinfeld asks if Microsoft is working on something to make computers "moist and chewy" and the Windows logo promptly appears.
The ad marks the effective start of Microsoft's claimed "edgy" ad campaign, which would see Seinfeld alone paid $10 million for multiple spots and the total campaign's online and offline promotions costing as much as $300 million. Company officials have acknowledged that the TV effort in particular is designed to counter Apple ads which use a similar, two-man comedy routine format that has been partly credited for helping the Mac maker's reputation [macnn]
Samsung: Blu-ray has only 5 years left
Samsung has said that it sees the Blu-ray format only lasting a further 5 years before it is replaced by another format or technology.
"I think it [Blu-ray] has 5 years left, I certainly wouldn't give it 10", Andy Griffiths, director of consumer electronics at Samsung UK told Pocket-lint in an interview.
Hoping to capitalise before it's too late, Griffiths believes that 2008 is the format's year.
"It's going to be huge", he told Pocket-lint. "We are heavily back-ordered at the moment."
Citing online rental sites like LoveFilm's adoption of Blu-ray titles, the move to offer cheaper players and a now clear path to adoption following the Blu-ray HD DVD battle, Griffith says the format will be a winner, although not for long.
Instead Samsung is putting its faith in its OLED technology. The new technology, which is "ready to rock", is being held back at the moment due to high manufacturing costs.
"We will launch the OLED technology when it's at a price that will be appealing to the consumer, unfortunately that's not yet."
Griffiths, citing 2010 as a possible date for your calendar, told us he believes that when the technology becomes mainstream it will replace LCD.
"It's gonna be big, but at the moment it's a great story, not commercial, product."
Samsung previewed two OLED screen televisions at IFA in Berlin earlier in the month, out-manoeuvring Sony to be the largest models on show at the show.
Coming in 14- and 31-inch models, the screens that are incredibly thin, produce vivid contrasts and colours.
Sony settled for second place with a 9- and 27-inch models, but it wasn't the only area that Samsung claimed a "world's first" over their Far East rivals.
The company has recently announced it's partnered with Yahoo to offer widgets on its internet connected televisions as it tries to turn the television into an information hub of the home rather than the PC.
"The content has to be relevant, but once it is it will make the TV more than a TV", said Griffiths.
So where next? Griffiths is clearly thinking about the future citing more focus on rolling out LED backlighting in the range as well as improving the quality of the offering.
But it seems the Olympics is on the man and the company's minds.
"In 2012 we will be in a true HD world. Everything from your television to your camcorder will be offering you pictures in high-definition, and we plan to offer you that HD world from all angles."
With 4 years to go, the prospect sounds exciting, but by then Blu-ray will be, if Samsung are to be believed, on its last legs.
Now we've already show you a couple of Pure trailers before, and admitedly I kinda like the game. Not exactly for PC at the moment, yet a playable demo for Pure on Xbox LIVE Marketplace and PlayStation Network was reelased.
Pure takes quad racing to a new level, featuring massive jumps and spectacular airborne tricks in memorable, photo-realistic settings all over the globe. The 1.3GB demo takes place on the Italy - Mount Garda track, one of 35 tracks in the game. Players must mix speed and tricks to complete the three-lap race against 15 AI competitors. The demo also includes a brief tutorial on a qualifying track to get players up to speed on the game controls.
Trailer: The Godfather 2 Teaser
Godfather .. what a great name for a nickname eh ? Electronic Arts has just released a new teaser trailer for The Godfather 2 (PC, PS3, Xbox 360).
After being promoted by Michael Corleone to Don of New York, players expand to new cities, as they build up their families through extorting businesses, monopolizing illegal crime rings and defeating new families in an effort to become the most powerful mob family in America. To help players manage their empire, The Godfather II introduces "The Don's View" - an innovative strategy meta-game that allows players to oversee the entire world as they grow the family business. Using the Don's View, players will be able to build, defend and expand their crime rings, while keeping an eye on the movements and plans of the rival families. Players will also learn to master the business of organized crime by building a family of Made Men, hiring crew, handing out orders, and promoting their best men up the ranks.
Possible flaw with 440,000 Sony Vaio TZ laptops
More than 200 laptop computers of Sony's Vaio TZ series, manufactured from May 2007 to July 2008, overheated, the company said. Of the cases, 83 were reported in Japan and the rest overseas. Seven people suffered light burns which were not serious, it said. Sony urged the owners of 440,000 laptop computers, which span 280 models, to come to the manufacturer for free repairs.
"The laptop computers overheat in the section connecting the display and the keyboard, as the joint section bites into a bunch of wires inside the computer," a Sony spokesman said.
Apparently there's a risk of overheating leading to "abnormal heat deformation of the enclosure"
Download: nForce Driver 19.06 - XP|Vista 32-bit WHQL
Good enws - Fujitsu Siemens released a new NFORCE Driver for the entire NVIDIA nForce motherboard series. The new revision build is version: 19.06 The bad news, it's available for 32-bit Windows XP/Vista only.
These drivers are WHQL signed 32bit nForce chipset drivers. They are part of the brandnew nForce chipset driverpacks v19.06 dated 08/13/2008, which obviously were designed for MCP79 chipsets, but they do support a lot of other chipsets too. The Vista drivers are compatible with all NF4-7 chipsets (except nForce4 Intel Edition). The included binaries are:
- Ethernet Driver (v67.86) WHQL
- SataIDE Driver (v10.3.0.39) WHQL
- RAID Driver (v10.3.0.39) WHQL
- RAIDTOOL (v10.3.0.39)
- SMBus (v4.67) WHQL
- SMU (v1.58) WHQL
- Audio Driver (v1.00.0.33) WHQL
- AwyMode driver (v.6.0.6000.107)WHQL
- Installer (v6.08)
Download - Click here
New Sony Blu-Ray players and theater systems
Sony today issues press releases informing us of their latest movie gadgets. Among the list several Blu-Ray products, the BDP-S5000ES player and two complete home theater systems, the BDV-IT1000ES and BDV-IS1000.
Among the new features the BDP-S5000ES has new "HD Reality Enhancer" and "Super Bit Mapping" technologies claimed to further sharpen and enhance picture quality. Like many of the players coming out recently, this is compatible with Profile 2.0, allowing BD Live access through an Ethernet connection. An external port allows connection with flash memory, and Sony has included a 1GB Micro Vault storage device.
The "Elevated Standard" ES series of products represents the highest levels of technology that Sony has developed. The start up time for the BDP-S5000ES is claimed to be around 6 seconds in Quick Start mode, which would be much quicker than the older models. A 14-bit HD video processor allows the HD Reality Enhancer to sharpen edges and reduce film grain, according to Sony. The new bit mapping technology is said to produce better color gradation, allowing true 14 bit color from 8 bit sources.
The audio board uses isolated analog circuitry, with construction designed to minimize reduce vibration. A low-leakage R-core transformer also reduces interference. Sony is employing technology common to audiophile level products with the ES series. Audio formats including 7.1 Dolby TrueHD, Digital Plus, DTS-HD Master Audio, and DTS-HD High Res. are all supported. Advanced Current Segment D/A converters allow compatibility with legacy decoders.
A backlit remote control allows control over this device and any Bravia Synced connected components. Shipping is scheduled for November, with a suggested price of $2,000.
The complete Blu-Ray home theater setups will be a first for Sony. The BDV-IT1000ES and BDV-IS1000 both support 5.1 channel surround, with S-Air wireless technology to communicate with the rear speakers or across rooms. The BD-IS1000 includes five small speakers the approximate size of golf balls.
The ES model allows 7.1 channel support, and features thinner speakers 3/4-inch wide and 22 inches long, driven by neodymium magnets and composite drivers. Each of the seven speakers is complimented with a 100W subwoofer. Additional bass response is delivered with a 200W dedicated subwoofer.
Both theater systems are also BD Live compatible, with "Precision Drive HD" technology to reduce wobble of damaged discs. The full range of Dolby HD audio formats are supported, and 1080p output through HDMI connections. Ports can be purchased for docking with media players including iPods.
Both home theater systems will ship somewhere in October, right in time for the silly season shopping. The BDV-IT1000ES will cost $2,000, while the BDV-IS1000 will be priced at $1,000.
15 Second bootups for Windows 7
The Windows 7 development team says that there is a team of engineers dedicated to start up performance that has set a goal of having a 15 second or less boot time. The post goes into detail about what it takes to achieve that goal and how the team is progressing. Here's an excerpt:
" From our perspective, too few systems consistently boot fast enough and we have to do much better. Obviously the systems that are greater than 60 seconds have something we need to dramatically improve-whether these are devices, networking, or software issues. As you can see there are some systems experiencing very long boot times. One of the things we see in the PC space is this variability of performance-variability arises from the variety of choices, and also the variety of quality of components of any given PC experience. There are also some system maintenance tasks that can contribute to long boot times. If a user opts to install a large software update, the actual updating of the system may occur during the next boot. Our metrics will capture these and unfortunately they can take minutes to complete. Regardless of the cause, a big part of the work we need to do as members of the PC ecosystem is address long boot times.
Before discussing some of our Windows 7 efforts, we'd like to point out there is considerable engagement with our partners underway. In scanning dozens of systems, we've found plenty of opportunity for improvement and have made changes. Illustrating that, please consider the following data taken from a real system. As the system arrived to us, the off-the-shelf configuration had a ~45 second boot time. Performing a clean install of Vista SP1 on the same system produced a consistent ~23 second boot time. Of course, being a clean install, there were many fewer processes, services and a slightly different set of drivers (mostly the versions were different). However, we were able to take the off-the-shelf configuration and optimize it to produce a consistent boot time of ~21 seconds, ~2 seconds faster than the clean install because some driver/BIOS changes could be made in the optimized configuration. For this same system, it is worth noting the resume from sleep time is approximately 2 seconds, achieving a nearly instant on experience. We do encourage users to choose sleep as an alternative to boot.
As an example Windows 7 effort, we are working very hard on system services. We aim to dramatically reduce them in number, as well as reduce their CPU, disk and memory demands. Our perspective on this is simple; if a service is not absolutely required, it shouldn't be starting and a trigger should exist to handle rare conditions so that the service operates only then. Of course, services exist to complete user experiences, even rare ones. Consider the case where a new keyboard, mouse or tablet HW is added to the system while it was off. If this new HW isn't detected and drivers installed to make the HW work during startup, then the user may not be able to enter their credentials and log into the machine. For a given user, this may be a very rare or never encountered event. For a population of 100s of millions of users, this can happen frequently enough to warrant having mechanisms to support it. In Windows 7, we will support this scenario and many others with fewer auto start services because more comprehensive service trigger mechanisms have been created.
In terms of reading files from the disk, Windows 7 has improvements in the 'prefetching' logic and mechanisms. Prefetching was introduced way back in Windows XP. Since today's disks have differing performance characteristics, the scheduling logic has undergone some changes to keep pace and stay efficient. As an example, we are evaluating the prefetcher on today's solid state storage devices, going so far as to question if is required at all. Ultimately, analysis and performance metrics captured on an individual system will dynamically determine the extent to which we utilize the prefetcher."
Trailer: Bionic Commando Lookout
Xbox 360 Prices to be Lowered
Well, it wasn't exactly a surprize, but Microsoft has made it official: the Xbox 360 is officially going to drop to as low as $199 starting Friday, September 5 starting in the U.S.
The three currently offered SKUs will get a price drop in North America, following multiple retail leaks and a similar pricing adjustment for the Japanese market. The new MSRP for the current line up is as follows.
- Xbox 360 Arcade (No Hard Drive): $199, down from $279
- Xbox 360 Pro (60GB HDD): $299, down from $350
- Xbox 360 Elite (120GB HDD): $399, down from $449
Indeed, that makes the Xbox 360 officially the least expensive current generation console following an $80 price cut on the Arcade model.
Download: NVIDIA BIOS Editor 4.5 released (nibitor)
Johan released version 4.5 of Nibitor, the NVIDIA BIOS Editor. The application is a BIOS tweaker that supports the latest NVIDIA graphics cards, and which is updated on a regular basis. NiBiTor allows graphics card enthusiasts, or the hardcore overclockers to have full control over some advanced features and functionality found on firmware of supporting cards. Doing so users gain some extra performance, enable certain hidden features, tweak memory latencies, provide extensive information, adapt bootup settings, change fan speed options and/or get extra stability on the NVIDIA based graphics accelerators.
Changes in this Version
- Added GeForce 9800 GT (55nm) Support
- Added GeForce 9400 GT Support
- Added GeForce 9500M GS Support
- Added Suppor for dual GX2 BIOS's Backup
This new version is build upon the logic of the previous version, with some minor fixes and a redesign to support as well unknown devices in a limited way. As always for extra features, settings and support please provide us your original BIOS, so that we can use it as reference to analyze the changes and to code the approriate support of the new video card or new features accordingly.
Download - Click here.