Star Wars: Battlefront Beta Graphics card VGA performance benchmark review
We showcase the Star Wars: Battlefront Beta with a graphics card VGA performance and benchmarks review. The game is to be released later this year, yet there starting at with an open beta. In this beta we have a first impression of the game, as well as the ability to have a quick peek at its performance. (article update October 9th: GTX 980 SLI results/FCAT added). You can read the article here.
Daily deals May 9 2009 - Multimedia
For the weekend update of the daily deals if figured, let's focus on some things we hardly mention in the deals section, multimedia gear.
- WD TV HD Media Receiver - first up the ever so poular WD TV HD, it is a high-definition HD media player which supports Full HD 1080p video and even Matroska x.264 :), you can spot it for $99.99 this is by far one of the mopst poular products right now. Supported video formats MPEG-4, XviD, MPEG-2, MPEG-1, WMV, MOV, AVI, H.264, MKV.
- Logitech Z-2300 2.1 Speaker System - If you are looking for a fairly nice 2.1 THX certified speaker set, we can recommend this one. 200 watts of RMS power (400 watts of peak power). We spotted it for $119.00
- Logitech Z-5500 5.1 Speaker System - This kit came down in price a lot, it's awesome for gaming and watching Dolby Digital movies on your PC. You get four sleek 62W satellites, a 69W center speaker, and a booming 188W sub, but also a reall kick ass control pod with remote that blends in with the rest of the package, lowest price spotted is $252.81
- Sennheiser PC350 Gaming Headset - For the more elite gamers under us, the PC350's circumaural earcups isolate you from intense LAN environments, shutting out chatter and fan noise from opposing gaming squads. Expensive, but the best price we found shaved it off towards $144.13 coming down from 198 USD.
That's it for this weekend, have a good one !
QNAP TS-439 Pro Turbo NAS review
NAS units are often small, do not use a lot of power, are highly configurable, offer redundancy as some models even can handle RAID internally. QNAP and their Network Attachable Units are among the most advanced available on the market today. Today we'll have a look at their the QNAP TS-439 Series Turbo NAS product.
A 4-bay NAS unit, pop in 4x 2TB drives .. and you just added 8 TB of data storage over a 1000 Gbit/s network connection. Downright handy, and very impressive.
Check out Guru3D's review right here.
SmoothCreations Announces Bulldozer Mobile Workstation
SmoothCreations released another portable desktop based on Core i7, this time named Bulldozer.
The company is looking to target two classes of consumers with this product: gamers, and graphics professionals, who will take advantage of its hardware for high-definition gaming or CAM/CAE/CAD, medical imaging, forensics, government or military use. The applications are broad thanks to the hardware, which just might come at the expense of a little portability.
- Smooth Creations launches World's First i7 Notebook with Intel i7 Quad Core and Xeon Processors; 1GB nVidia GeForce Go GTX 280M; 1.5TB of storage with RAID 0,1,5 for On-the-Road Mobile Workstation or Mobile Server use.
- The World's First workstation and server-class notebook with Intel i7 Quad Core or XEON processor; 1.5 Terabytes of storage, RAID 0/1 5 and internal 1 hour Battery!
- Smooth Creations, the world's leading developer of highly personalized, high-performance notebook PCs and energy efficient All-in-One PCs, introduced the Smooth Creations X58-i7 Mobile Workstation/Server powered by Intel's newest line of Quad Core and XEON LGA1366 processors.
- Smooth Creations X58-i7 provides workstation and server-calibre capabilities with 1.5 Terabytes of storage with three physical SATA-300 hard drives and RAID 0/1/5, super-powerful 3.2GHz Intel Core i7 Processor Extreme Edition I7-965; 3.2GHz XEON X5580 processors running at 2x 6.4GT/sec bus speed or 2.93GHz Intel Core i7 Processor I-940 running at 4.8GT/sec with 8MB L3 cache, Gigabit Ethernet port on-board, HDMI, eSATA, DVi ports, with a 17" WUXGA LCD display and full size keyboard.
- Featuring workstation-class or server-class Intel Core i7 or Xeon Processor and up to 12GB of DDR3-1366 memory, the X58-i7 also features the largest storage capacity on the market today - a whopping 1.5TB with RAID 0/1/5 - making it the perfect mobile workstation or server laptop for users who demand extra-large capacity storage and reliability for true portable server / workstation experience.
- Smooth Creations X58-i7 supports most of 64-bit operating systems available on the market for XP Pro 64-bit, Vista 64-bit or Microsoft Server 2008 and Red Hat.
The Bulldozer laptop features a nice 17-inch screen with a native resolution of 1900x1200 pixels.
As stated it is powered up by Core i7 (models 940 or 965 XE) or Xeon X5580 processor and comes with up to 16 GG. Its pricing is yet announced.
Check out more at Smooth Creations.
NVIDIA posts first quarter loss of $201.3 million
NVIDIA announced its first quarter 2009 financial results, the company saw its revenue decline 42 percent year-over-year to $664.2 million and recorded a GAAP net loss of $201.3 million, although $140.2 million of this is a non-recurring charge related to a cash tender offer to purchase employee stock options.
The good news is revenue grew 38 percent sequentially from Q4 2008 and that inventory decreased from 144 to 64 days. Furthermore, the graphics chip maker also beat Wall Street expectations, as analysts were betting on a loss of 11 cents per share on a revenue of $514.7 million.
For the first quarter of 2009, revenue was $664.2 million compared with $1.2 billion for the first quarter of 2008, a decrease of 42 percent.
During the first quarter of 2009, NVIDIA recorded a non-recurring charge of $140.2 million in connection with a previously announced cash tender offer to purchase employee stock options. This charge represents stock-based compensation expense associated with the stock options that were tendered, plus associated payroll taxes and professional fees.
NVIDIA's results for the first quarter of 2009, computed in accordance with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP), included a net loss of $201.3 million, or $0.37 per share. Non-GAAP net loss for the first quarter of 2009, which excludes recurring stock-based compensation charges, the non-recurring charge related to the tender offer, and the associated tax impact of these items, was $46.7 million, or $0.09 per share.
"We made good progress managing expenses and significantly reducing inventory, while continuing to invest in our growth strategies," said Jen-Hsun Huang, president and CEO of NVIDIA. "The GPU is ever-more central to our computing experience. There is a rapidly growing number of applications that rely on the GPU, and the industry is gearing up to launch the next generation operating systems that adopt GPU computing."
Intel attempts to cut Atom supply to Chinese knockoff netbook makers
Trading Markets wrote Intel is going to implement rigid monitoring over the supply of its Atom processors in China, to prevent that knockoff netbook manufacturers get their hands on the processor.
The global chip maker will not accept orders for Atom processors from the hundreds of local knockoff netbook producers in the future. Normal computer manufacturers will procure Atom processors from local agencies only.
Besides, those Taiwan computer manufacturers with large Atom stockpiles will be tracked, in case that they would resell the processors to the mainland knockoff makers. And Intel has established a perfect monitoring system to enforce the processor supply mechanism.
Intel's Rock Star Ads
If you haven't done so, check out Intel's new Rock Star ad, definiely worth the 30 seconds you need to watch it;)
Intel CPU Virtualization confusion undermining Windows 7 XP Mode
The widespread Windows 7 RC release has meant many users attention turned to the OS' recently-announced Windows XP Mode, only to discover what Microsoft had warned from the start: many processors won't support it.
It is simple: XP Mode requires hardware-assisted virtualization, which means the CPU must support either Intel VT or AMD-V technology, and the motherboard BIOS must have it enabled.
What many Intel users are discovering now is that their CPUs - even high-speed processors still on sale now - don't support Intel VT, and as such XP Mode can't be used. The issue appears to be one of marketing and product differentiation, with Intel disabling VT support on certain processors in its ranges so that it can hit various price-points. That means price, clock speed and number of cores isn't a sign of whether VT is enabled: high-spec dual-core CPUs can have VT support, while low-spec quad-core CPUs do not, and if the buyer is busy balancing price versus performance they may not realize what's omitted.
ZDNet's Ed Bott has put together a list of which Intel processors currently support VT, but be warned, Intel are about to change things up again. Here it is.
Trailer: Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising
A new Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising trailer reveals that Codemasters's tactical shooter and battlefield simulator has been delayed slightly, back from summer to fall.
Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising is a tactical military simulation game for Xbox 360, PS3 and PC designed to realistically represent modern infantry combat. While no exact release date has been given, the official website states it will be released in Summer 2009 while the most recent trailer lists Autumn 2009
Codemasters explains the delay is to "balance the player experience throughout the game."
Download NVIDIA releases Forceware 185.85 WHQL
New in Release 185 drivers:
- Adds support for the new GeForce GTX 275 GPU.
- Adds support for CUDA 2.2 for improved performance in GPU Computing applications. See CUDA for more details.
- Expands GPU hardware acceleration for the NVIDIA Video Encoding library to GPUs with less than 32 cores. Applications using this library include CyberLink PowerDirector 7, Nero Move it 1.5, Loilo SuperLoiloScope MARS, and CyberLink MediaShow Espresso.
- Accelerates performance in several 3D applications. The following are examples of improvements measured with Release 185 drivers vs. Release 182 drivers (results will vary depending on your GPU, system configuration, and game settings):
- Up to 25% performance increase in The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena
- Up to 22% performance increase in Crysis: Warhead with antialiasing enabled
- Up to 11% performance increase in Fallout 3 with antialiasing enabled
- Up to 14% performance increase in Far Cry 2
- Up to 30% performance increase in Half-Life 2 engine games with 3-way and 4-way SLI
- Up to 45% performance increase in Mirror
ASUS prepares SUPER GTX 285 and HD 4890
It seems that ASUS is working on a new series of graphics card that will surpass clock frequencies as you know them. Over at behardware it is reported that Asus has announced the release of two new graphics cards based on the Radeon HD 4890 and the GeForce GTX 285.
By itself pretty snazzy and fast cards yet, what ASUS plans is an improved version of the stock cards, then apply better components in the hope they will function at lower temperatures. As such offering better clock frequencies.
Behardware: Asus is highlighting the use of multilayer polymer capacitors from Fujitsu, that are already used in some high-end motherboards. In particular they give an ESR that is lower than average and are therefore able to function for a long time, even at high temperatures.
POV NVIDIA ION motherboard surfaces
As you guys know the combo Intel Atom processors and the NVIDIA ION chipset (read our preview here) is going to be an interesting one, a very interesting one really. Next to a lot of mini-PC's and netbooks based on this technology, some manufacturers will also release stand-alone mITX complete with Intel 230/330 Atom processor, and all ION features.
The Dutch based Point of View is about to launch such a board and quite frankly it's looking mighty fine. If you want a simple PC for internet or just reasonably well accelerated High-def playback. This might be a very viable solution for you.
As stated the motherboard will be Intel Atom 230/330 based and have NVIDIA's MCP7A-ION chipset (same as GF9300) allowing Full HD playback. Included is a Realtek based ALC662 5.1 integrated soundcard solution with get this .. an optical output. HTPC users will love that.
You can insert a maximum of 2GB SO-DIMM memory. Also spot the 4 SATA connectors. Furthermore one PCIe x16 slot, DVI/HDMI and VGA outputs, six USB ports and a Gigabit ethernet connection.
Later on today I hope to have some prices. But if you build a simple net-PC. Pop in memory, a HDD, PSU and a chassis. And you are good to go for a fully working PC (I would recommend the dual core 330 version though).
Daily deals May 7 2009 - TB Storage
Time for a new update in daily deals. This time around a quick peek into high-volume storage. prices are going down so extremly hard on 1 TB HDDs, let's check out a few 1TB drives, for some delicious high-volume storage.
1 TB HDDs:
- Hitachi 1TB Deskstar 7K1000.B HDT721010SLA360 Hard Drive - Hitachi is doing amazing things, 1 TGB for $79.99 (hot deal!)
- Samsung Spinpoint F1 1TB Hard Drive, great dive, and among the lowest priced 1TB drive I could find at $84.99
- Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 1TB Hard Drive - Really good drives these ones and they cost $89.89
- WD Caviar Black 1TB Hard Drive - WD is my favorite, but they are also a little bit more expensive at $99.99
But that Hitachi folks, that's 8 cents per Gigabyte (!) - dang.
Nukem Developer 3D Realms Shuts Down
Duke Nukem Forever publisher Take-Two has confirmed to Shacknews that it was not funding development of the 3D Realms project.
"We can confirm that our relationship with 3D Realms for Duke Nukem Forever was a publishing arrangement, which did not include ongoing funds for development of the title," said Take-Two VP of communications Alan Lewis in a prepared statement.
"In addition, Take-Two continues to retain the publishing rights to Duke Nukem Forever," he added.
Update: Apogee Software and Deep Silver have issued a statement to Shacknews, confirming that the situation at 3D Realms has not affected the development of Frontline Games' upcoming handheld Duke Nukem Trilogy.
"Deep Silver and Apogee Software are not affected by the situation at 3D Realms," a representative for the companies told us. "Development on the Duke Nukem Trilogy is continuing as planned."
Original story: A very reliable source close to Duke Nukem Forever developer 3D Realms today confirmed to Shacknews that the development studio has shut down.
The closure came about as a result of funding issues, our source explained, with the shut down said to affect both 3D Realms and the recently resurrected Apogee. Employees of both entities have already been let go.
Phone calls and e-mails to various 3D Realms veterans have thus far gone unanswered, with 3D Realms publishing partner Take-Two and Apogee partner Deep Silver likewise unavailable for comment. One 3D Realms spokesperson declined to comment when reached.
3D Realms was founded in 1987 by Scott Miller and George Broussard, and was best known for its Duke Nukem series of shooters starring the titular, bubblegum-lacking hero. The studio had infamously been working on Duke Nukem Forever, the next flagship franchise entry, for over 12 years.
A final push to release Duke Nukem Forever began in 2007, marked by a short teaser starring the in-game hero that was released late that year.
Core i7 940 to go end of line
Word out on the street is that the Core i7 940 will be phased out. And sure, it makes a lot of sense. First off, compared to the nicely tweakable 920 it's just too expensive.
Next to that Intel will introduce the Core i7 950 likely next month. This processor will be clocked at 3.06 GHz on a 4.8 GT/s QPI and a significantly higher bus multiplier (23 x 133 MHz). This processor will replace the Core i7 940.
Up-to September 4th Intel will take orders, with deliveries by November 5th and December 4th, respectively. In that timeframe we'll of course also see Core i5 get some daylight.
Arctic Cooling Alpine 11 Series Coolers for Socket LGA 1156
Arctic coolling has announced the new Alpine 11 series which is an Ultra Quiet Coolers for Intel's upcoming Socket 1155/1156.
The Intel Core i5 for socket 1156 is expected to be released somewhere in Q3. The design should be compatible with both the new sockets and 775 as well, this new Alpine series is definitely a nice choice for those who would like to go for a future-proof cooler with that fact in mind.
MSI working on 1000 MHz R4890 Cyclone
The fact that the Radeon HD 4890 has a GPU that can be clocked fairly high, is not a secret. MSI however is working in something rather special.
See typically the 4890 cards can be clocked at 900 MHz, 950 MHz at best really. However, MSI will be among a few AIBs making a high-end Radeon HD 4890 graphics card, with a 1.00 GHz core frequency. Fudzilla reported that the card has Hi-C CAPS, Solid State Chokes NCC PSF solid caps and of course non-reference cooler. The card should be called MSI R4890 Cyclone and we expect it to be quite an overclocker.
The new MSI HD 4890 will use Hi-C CAPS around the GPU which should enable it to have clean and stable power for the GPU, and it should imply that this one might be a very good overclocker. The rest of the known features include Solid State Chokes, also known as the anti buzz chokes, and NCC PSF solid caps.
The card will be cooled by MSI's well known SuperPipe cooler which uses 8mm heatpipes, and according to the picture which we managed to get, it will have four of these.
MAINGEAR F131 gaming PC makes a return
After being away from the scene for a fairly long time, MAINGEAR has decided to bring back their top-notch gaming PC, the F131. And this time around, the system offers the same functionality and high-class performance with a few added perks.
This system is setup with 3 ATI 4890 graphics cards in CrossFireX. You can also opt for up to 8TB of storage space since there are numerous SATA connectors. The new Domino ALC liquid cooling system is also worth noting, which is provided by CoolIT Systems.
You can have the computer itself customized as well thanks to MAINGEAR
Virgin tests 200Mbps cable Internet in UK
Virgin Media on Wednesday began an Ashford, UK trial of what it says is the fastest cable-based Internet service on Earth. Using a high-end implementation of the DOCSIS 3 cable modem standard, the carrier says it's offering 200Mbps downloads to 100 testers; the speed is faster than 160Mbps Japanese service and twice as fast as the 101Mbps Optimum Online service in the US. The bandwidth is said sustainably high enough that Virgin is testing streaming 3D and HD video online.
Tests are expected to last 6 months and are being used both to verify service quality as well as to test Virgin's options for what else it can do with the much faster Internet access. It's not specified how soon regular Virgin customers would have access to the 200Mbps tier if the trial proves successful.
DOCSIS 3 achieves the higher speeds primarily by bonding cable channels together, multiplying the theoretical bandwidth in both directions. It often requires conceding regular TV channels but is also an inexpensive upgrade for most providers.