When Windows Vista launched back in January 2007, the 64-bit edition was clearly not ready for primetime. The driver and compatibility issues that mired the early days of the OS were even worse on the 64-bit side, and for most users Vista x64 was completely crippled or in some cases, wouldn’t install at all. Hardware manufacturers struggled to release stable device drivers but because 32-bit and 64-bit editions both required radically different drivers, Vista x64 just wasn’t a priority. Coming up on two years later, 32-bit Vista’s issues seem to have calmed down, but what about Vista x64? Well according to Microsoft, usage of the niche OS is on the rise, but is it finally ready for prime time?
Click the jump to learn all about Vista 64 and what you need to know before you consider switching.
Here’s the second part of our exclusive QuakeCon interview with John Carmack. In the first part of our conversation, Carmack discussed his hopes for Quake Live and the id Software’s new gaming direction in Rage. This time around, he gets more into the heady technical stuff with his thoughts on Nvidia’s CUDA, physics accelerators, general purpose computing, and ATI’s rumored Fusion technology. Here’s a snippet:
John Carmack – I was well known as not being a supporter of the PhysX accelerators. It’s always felt like a gimmicky plan with people setting up a company to be acquired. For years, the tack has been what do you do with any time Intel delivers something more with processors and more cores? It’s never really proven out right and there’re a lot of reasons for it.
For one thing you can’t scale AI and physics in general with your gameplay, while with graphics, you could scale. Without scaling, you can’t design a game that requires fancy AI and then turn off the fancy AI for the low end systems because practically that’s not possible. Similarly for physics, if it’s anything other than eye candy, you also can’t scale. If the building is going to fall down you need to know whether you’re going to be able to get past it on the high end or the low end.
John Carmack may be the face of id Software, but he’s definitely not the only person working on Rage or the next Doom. We spoke with Robert Duffy, id’s Programming Director, and Matt Hooper, Rage’s Lead Designer, about their upcoming shooter. The conversation delves into topics ranging from art design to multiplayer modes, and touches on the challenges of developing on both console and PC hardware. Here’s a snippet:
MaxPC: With the combination of driving and fps gameplay, what’s fun and exciting that we should look forward to that we haven’t seen before in games? Matt Hooper: The thing you haven’t seen is really the mix. We’re still id software and we’re still making this intense, action shooter game. Those moment to moment, finely crafted action sequences – running around with the coolest weapons and shooting guys – that’s still there. We invented that and we’re still going to do that really well. Just around the office everyone likes a lot of cool games. What we did was pull in these different elements that don’t detract from the action but add this little bit of flavor, and the vehicles are a part of that. The vehicles are almost an extension of your FPS avatar – you’re “running” around with a vehicle. It has armor on it, it carries a cool weapon, you fire that weapon, and the other car blows up in a cool satisfying explosion. It’s not as far removed as you would probably initially think. It all feels really good together.
It’s the worst kept secret in the industry: Intel’s next-generation Penryn killer, codenamed Nehalem is just around the corner. We’ve been seeing leaked benchmarks based on early silicon for months, and Nehalem’s Wikipedia page is already packed with unconfirmed specifications. All indications – and this is with more optimizations to come, mind you – is that Nehalem may be a bad mother worthy of having Isaac Hayes pound out a theme song for it.
OK, we get it. It’s going to be fast, but just how difficult is it to build a Nehalem rig? What are the catches? Will the new motherboard and socket require some silly new BTX form factor? To find out, we convinced one of our hardware contacts (who’ll remain unnamed) to let us into its lab so we could finally get our hands on the new chip. There, we were provided with the desktop version of Nehalem – called Bloomfield – and an Intel D58XSO “Smackover” board.
Read on to see how we built the Nehalem rig, and what surprises we encountered along the way!
We met with Lenovo this afternoon to talk about some of their upcoming products (to be revealed in the coming weeks and months), and they brought along a pre-production sample of their recently announced IdeaPad S10 netbook. We couldn’t help but resist getting some hands-on time with this tiny portable, including snapping up a dozen photos for you to enjoy. The S10 we saw was a red 9” version that will ship in international markets, while the US edition will offer a 10.2” glossy screen and come in 3 color options (red, white, or black). All variations of the S10 will run Intel’s 1.6GHz Atom processor (45nm, 533MHz FSB, 512k L2 Cache), though the best thing about the IdeaPad has to be its $399 price point.
Click through for all the high-res shots and more detailed specs.
We interviewed John Carmack back during this year's E3 when id first announced a partnership with EA to publish their next shooter, Rage. We had a chance to sit with Carmack again at this past weekend's Quakecon, where we followed up on our earlier discussion to squeeze more details out of the legendary game developer. Carmack dished out more details about their plans for Quake Live (including their high expenctations), the technology powering Rage and the next Doom, their cancelled Darkness project, and his thoughts about the current modding community.
Take a seat, grab a Mountain Dew, and click through for the full interview. You'll even find out which aspects of id Tech 5 may not be as powerful as id Tech 4!
QuakeCon keynote liveblog is starting now! We're watching a video, and Todd Hollenshead is getting everyone all cranked up about the Corvette that Ventrilo is giving away.The real news starts momentarily. Click through the jump, and make sure you're logged in to get live as we post updates.
We’ve been calling Intel’s next-generation CPU family code-named Nehalem a Penryn-killer because, sadly, AMD’s best and brightest have hardly been that. For those who haven’t sifted the sands of the Internet, and picked the brains of OEM’s and hardware vendors for every detail of Intel’s next-gen microarchitecture, here’s your quick primer on Nehalem that’ll make you big man on campus at the next geekfest.
How Many Cores?
Most Nehalem’s will be native quad-core with all four compute cores on the same physical die. Intel says that the design of Nehalem will also let the company build an eight-core version, codenamed Beckton, for servers. Intel also hasn’t ruled out the possibility of a multi-chip version so could perhaps see a double-die Beckton with 16 cores as well.
An improved version of HyperThreading will find its way into the core of Nehalem. This improved simultaneous multi-threading, or SMT, will let the OS see a quad-core chip as eight cores. Although some still debate its merit, the implementation of HT in the Pentium 4 generally added 15 percent more performance in multi-threaded applications.
Last week, we showed you which parts you would want to buy to construct a killer $2500 PC. The purpose of that machine was power computing – serious audio/video editing and high-bitrate media transcoding. We got a lot of flak about a few of our choices (most noticeably the CPU), but we stand by our picks. That PC configuration was meant for Power Users, and not hardcore gamers (though we recognize that those aren’t mutually-exclusive groups). For someone who primarily uses their PC for gaming, and won’t accept framerate dips in 120Hz games, we have different recommendations. The following components make up our ideal $2500 hardcore gaming rig (prices as listed on Newegg). If it’s not what you’d buy, we’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section!
Here’s something I noticed today while snapping up photos hundreds of cosplayers: they each have a unique pose prepared when other attendees or photojournalists ask to take their picture. It’s actually quite entertaining to watch, really. A dressed-up costumer will just be walking by, casually chatting away with their friends, and then they’ll suddenly execute a unique pose and mug for the camera if they anticipate a shutter click. I’d like to imagine that these cosplayers practice modeling their poses in front of a mirror before stepping foot in public.
But on to the kick-ass sights I saw today. Warner Brothers held a large panel to promote the upcoming Watchmen movie; director Zack Snyder brought the entire starring cast to answer questions from fans and show off never-before-seen footage. The cast really looked and sounded like they loved the material and immersed themselves into their roles. Confirmed: Patrick Wilson’s Nite Owl will indeed be balding, fat, and impotent when he’s out of costume. Matthew Goode, who plays Ozymandias, also pointed out that he played the character with the idea that Veidt was the son of Nazis.
Click the jump to see more awesome costumes, and to find out who I bumped into on the show floor today.