When Nvidia unveiled its G200 GPU, we were immediately drawn to the shiny, speedy GeForce GTX 280. Why wouldn’t we be? With high core and memory clocks and 240 stream processors to churn through the toughest shaders, it was sexy and fast. We were less excited about the 260, which sported 192 stream processors and slower clocks speeds but cost about $100 less than the 280 (at the time). Since then, ATI has released its R700-based Radeon 4870, which outperforms the original 260 but costs the same amount.
And that’s where the Core 216 edition of the 260 GTX comes in. With the same stock clock speeds but 24 more shader processors than the original, the new version of the 260 GTX delivers comparable performance to the 4870 at a similar price. The speeds and feeds are about the same as the original 260’s, although EVGA clocked this card’s core at 626MHz (up from 576MHz stock) and includes 896MB of GDDR3 running on a 448-bit bus at 1053MHz (stock is 999MHz).
The 4870 X2 outperformed the previous single-card performance champ in most of our benchmarks, delivering playable frame rates at 1920x1200 and 2560x1600 in nearly every game we tested. Naturally, the exception remains Crysis, which, at its highest quality settings, punishes nearly every system we’ve tested. We’re slightly concerned about the accuracy of our Crysis benchmarks; the ATI card seemed to render far-off textures at a higher resolution than the Nvidia card.
As always with high-end cards, if you’re running a low-resolution display—pretty much anything below 1920x1200—you won’t be able to harness the full power of this card. At lower resolutions, the 4870 X2 performs exactly the same as the single-GPU 4870. For anyone running a high-res panel, the X2 truly kicks ass.
MSI has been moving into the notebook market in a big way over the past few years, with forays into business and gaming notebooks, and, this summer, netbooks, with the Wind U100. We have to say, we’re impressed.
Asus’s Eee PC kick-started the netbook craze and remains the brand most associated with the category. Early iterations were praised for their low-cost Linux-based architecture, but lately Asus has ratcheted up its product line to compete with higher-end netbooks, like the HP Mini-Note 2133 (http://tinyurl.com/5lu4un). The 901 runs on Intel’s Atom architecture at 1.6GHz and has 1GB of DDR2 RAM clocked at 533MHz.
In many ways, the Acer Aspire One is like the little sibling of MSI’s Wind. Besides sporting the same Intel Atom N270 processor running at 1.6GHz, 1GB of RAM, and Intel GMA 950 integrated graphics, the two netbooks share a similar look and feel.
We know, you just got your rig right where you want it, complete with a primo CPU, a kick-ass videocard config, and seemingly limitless storage. So forgive us if we dangle the temptation of better, faster hardware in front of your face. We’re just doing our job. Over the last few weeks, we’ve been grilling our industry contacts for news of what computing delights await power users in the months and years to come. And delightful the future is: CPUs with eight cores, GPUs that run games as a pastime, mobos with both SLI and CrossFire support, and hard drives so large your data will feel puny and inadequate. And that’s just part of it.
Look at it this way: Our 2009 technology preview gives you advance warning about the hardware that will soon occupy your dreams, so you can start saving your pennies and plotting your next upgrade path today.
With outsourced support now the de facto standard in the IT and ISP industries, do-it-yourself computer repair has gone from being an optional luxury to an outright necessity. You might feel hopeless and abandoned the first time your network connection gives out, but don’t fret just yet. Given the right direction, even the greenest of users can fix a number of common network errors. We’re going to give you all the tools you need to become your own network tech support.
You might be skeptical, but LAN/WAN troubleshooting isn’t all that difficult. Upgrades are easy and cheap—if required at all—and the analysis process is brief and painless, even if you’ve never wired a Cat5 cable or run a command line ipconfig. Even better, many of the steps and instructions are identical in Vista and XP, which goes a long way toward easing the troubleshooting transition, should you switch from one OS to the other.
While sometimes a call to your ISP is unavoidable, when you do have to do it, at least you’ll brandish the knowledge to blaze through all the low-level BS and head straight to a speedy resolution. Don’t let the Internet and networking companies bully you any longer—it’s time to stand up and take matters into your own hands.
Read on to find out how to optimize your internet experience!
Fifty square kilometers of African terrain. That’s how much open space you have to accomplish Far Cry 2’s primary objective: Kill the weapons dealer known as the Jackal, who has been supplying both sides of a bloody civil war in the game’s fictional setting. If the sheer size of the game world sounds daunting, just consider the fact that it’s densely occupied with dozens of towns, numerous encampments, and a whole population of NPC characters (potential allies and enemies alike). Far Cry 2’s expansive environment is undoubtedly its most notable asset, but what’s really impressive is that the game is filled with enough compelling action to actually make use of it.
Spore lets you take an extremely high-concept journey from a single-cell life form swimming through the seas to a continent-spanning superpower to the overlord of a galactic empire. Over the course of about five hours, you shepherd your critter through four introductory stages; then you leave for space.
Can a computer exist without hardware? It can if it’s a virtual machine. A virtual machine is software that’s capable of executing programs as if it were a physical machine—it’s a computer within a computer. Virtual machines can be divided into two broad categories: process virtual machines and system virtual machines.
A process virtual machine is limited to running a single program. A system virtual machine, on the other hand, enables one computer to behave like two or more computers by sharing the host hardware’s resources. A system virtual machine consists entirely of software, but an operating system and the applications running on that OS see a CPU, memory, storage, a network interface card, and all the other components that would exist in a physical computer. For the remainder of this discussion, we’ll use the term “virtual machine” to refer to a system virtual machine.
Software running on a virtual machine is limited to the resources and abstract hardware that the virtual machine provides. Since a virtual machine can provide a complete instruction set architecture (ISA, a definition of all the data types, registers, address modes, external input/output, and other programming elements that a given collection of hardware is capable of working with), a virtual machine can simulate hardware that might not even exist in the physical world.
Using virtual machines, a computer can run several iterations of an operating system—or even several different operating systems—with each OS isolated from and oblivious to the existence of the others. The only requirement is that each operating system must be capable of supporting the underlying hardware. And, of course, there must be enough resources (memory, hard disk space, CPU cycles, and so on) to support everything. You could use a virtual machine to run Linux on top of Windows, for instance, or you could run two versions of Windows and use one as a sandbox for testing software you wouldn’t trust on a “real” machine.