CustomPC reports that VIA is calling it quits in the motherboard chipset business, and will focus on making x86 processors.
They quote VIA’s vice president of corporate marketing in Taiwan, Richard Brown, as saying, “One of the main reasons we originally moved into the x86 processor business was because we believed that ultimately the third party chipset market would disappear, and we would need to have the capability to provide a complete platform.” He adds, ‘That has indeed come to pass,’ and said, ‘Intel provides the vast majority of chipsets for its processors and, following its purchase of ATI, AMD is also moving very quickly in the same direction.’
This comes after Nvidia said that they were not offering a native chipset for Bloomfield (now Core i7) processors, and SLI would be available in the form of the nForce 200 chip, similar to the Skulltrail implementation with the nForce 100.
VIA was always popular with the enthusiast on a budget crowd, which shot up with their Apollo P4X266 chipset. The P4X266 brought DDR memory support to the Pentium 4 and went ahead without a license from Intel to do so.
This seems to highlight a trend that the industry no longer needs third party chipset manufacturers, with AMD now offering it’s own chipsets for it’s own CPUs, just as Intel has done for a long time. It would seem logical that CPU manufacturers would be in the best position to offer chipsets that would squeeze the most out of their respective CPUs, but without a multitude of third party manufacturers, I can’t help but wonder who will keep them honest in doing so, and not allow the field to stagnate.
It's a super-sized Patch Tuesday this month, and here's what to expect Windows Update to be sending you in the next day or so (if not already). Follow the links if you prefer to install the updates immediately.
Critical updates include:
A fix for a remote code execution vulnerability in Windows Image Color Management affects users running Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, and Windows 2000 SP4 (Windows Vista users can breathe easy on this one).
A fix for a sextet of vulnerabilities in Internet Explorer 5.01, 6, and 7 affects users of Windows 2000 SP4, Windows XP SP2 and SP3, Windows Server 2003, Windows Vista, and Windows Server 2008.
A fix for a remote code execution vulnerability in the ActiveX control for Microsoft Access's snapshot viewer affects Office 2000 SP3, Office XP SP3, and Office 2003 SP2 and SP3 (Office 2007 users, you ducked this one).
Purchasing software and other digital content online is not only be convenient, it can also make fiscal sense when there's no sales tax involved. That's been the case for some time now, but according to DailyTech, the free ride may be rapidly coming to an end.
With a $130 billion digital market going untaxed, the temptation for some states to cash in may be too great to pass up, even if the idea of taxing downloads doesn't pass muster at the national level. Indiana, South Dakota, and Utah are the most recent states to sign digital download taxes into law, bringing the count up to 9 states altogether in 2008, and 17 in all. But are taxes the answer?
Several online entities have begun lobbying against the taxes, claiming that this differentiation is vital to their business. As Steve Delbiano from NetChoice - which is composed of Ebay, AOL, Yahoo, and others - explains it, "With global warming and a world that's running out of oil, the last thing governments should do is add taxes on something that uses no oil and produces no carbon. A digital download is the greenest way to buy music, movies, and software, since it requires no driving to the store, no delivery vans, and no plastics or packaging."
What's your stance? Do states have a moral and legal right to tax digital downloads, or should the internet tax moratorium trump individual state desires?
Today, I finally got around to checking out the latest Futurama movie, "Beast with a Billion Backs." It was great, but aside from Pac-Man chess, had nothing to do with gaming. However, an awesome little bonus feature -- cut-together scenes from the disappointingly awful Futurama videogame -- did.
What really struck me about the "game," though, was its meticulous (and oftentimes hilarious) need to explain every gaming cliche in the book. See, the game itself was a trite licensed platformer, but its story went the extra mile toward making that a-okay. Additional lives, level restarts, and other gaming tropes made perfect sense within Futurama's twisted logic. But while I applaud Groening, Cohen, and co. for their creativity, I think story in gaming can do so much more.
Right now, we're sort of in an awkward teenage phase -- just beginning to shrug off the shackles of other media forms. Only now are we collectively realizing that our medium is unique, so our stories have shifted to convey that fact. Whether it's Futurama's wacky antics, Bioshock's "Would you kindly?" or other games taking sly digs at each cliche they so willfully employ, we've come to realize what our medium is, but we haven't even begun to break ground on gaming's well of potential.
So, my question to you: What topics would you like to see gaming explore? What stories need to be told? Are there any games out there that you think could very well be the next step forward for story in gaming?
This edition of the Roundup features, among other things, details on a story that could be one of this year's greatest. Additionally, you'll find an article about casuals becoming hardcores, and another about why I'm stupid for using the terms "casuals" and "hardcores." Jump past the break for more.
Intel's Core processor lineup (the parts formerly known as Nehalem) are a stone's throw away from release, and in preparation of the launch, Intel is cutting prices on a pair of existing chips and adding a few more to its lineup.
The price cuts affect two of Intel's higher end offerings, with the Core 2 Quad Q9550 (2.83GHz) and Xeon X3360 both dropping a generous 40 percent from $530 to $316. The new price points represent 1,000 tray units, so expect to pay slightly more through your favorite online vendor.
New models will also find their way into the lineup, including the Core 2 Quad Q9650 (3.0GHz) and Core 2 Quad Q9400 (2.66GHz) priced at $530 and $266 respectively. A trifecta of new Xeons will also make their way into the lineup: Xeon X3370 (3.0GHz) priced at $530, X3333 (2.66GHz) priced at $266, and the E3120 (3.16GHz) priced at $188.
It might be awhile before other popular chips in Intel's lineup see another price drop, as the company has stated its initial Nehalem parts, the Core i7, will be geared towards high-end PCs.
No one has been more critical of Nvidia then rumor and news outlet The Inquirer, who recently declared that all of the chipmaker's G84 and G86 parts are bad. The extent of the problem is still to be determined, but here's what's known so far.
A batch of bad GPUs have found their way into the wild causing an "abnormal failure rate" among certain laptop models
To deal with the problem, Nvidia said it was setting aside a one-time hit of $150 to $200 million to cover warranty and repair costs associated with the faulty mobile parts
Both HP and Dell have released a list of notebook models potentially affected by the faulty GPUs and are encouraging owners to update their BIOS as a preventive measure (the newer BIOS kicks on the cooling fan earlier than it normally would). HP has also extended their warranty for the affected models.
Nvidia has since moved on to its 9-M series GPUs, and in the process has presumably solved whatever problem affected the previous generation parts, right? Not so fast, says the The Inq. According to the rumor site, the fundamental flaw in the manufacturing process still exists, and now G92 and G94 parts are reportedly failing. The Inq claims that no less than four partners are already seeing the new chips go bad at high rates, and believes that Nvidia "is simply stonewalling everyone" about the alleged problem.
If true, another batch of parts could be disastrous for the chip maker, who continues to lose graphics market share to Intel and has seen its stock price plummet in the wake of a disappoint 8-K filing.
Is the problem bigger than Nvidia's letting on, or will it be this latest rumor that ultimately turns out to be the dud?
Not without their share of pre-release hype, AMD's 4870 X2 videocards lived up to every bit of it by obliterating the competition in this year's Dream Machine (a single 4870 X2 churned out twice as many frames as Nvidia's GTX280 in 3DMark Vantage). And they did it months before they were supposed to go public, which means there were architectural tweaks yet to be made.
The wait is over, and at long last, AMD has finally announced what it rightfully calls the world's fastest graphics card, the ATI Radeon 4870 X2. Built on a 55nm manufacturing process, the dual-GPU videocard comes with the computational muscle to deliver 2.4 teraFLOPS, and ATI can still lay claim as the only manufacturer to support DirectX 10.1 instructions. Rounding out the feature-set, the 4870 X2 ships with 2GB GDDR5, 1600 stream processors, and a 750MHz core clockspeed (reference). MSRP has been set to $549 with stock available now.
AMD also made mention of it's upcoming 4850 X2 videocard. As the name implies, this card will also be a dual-GPU solution (clocked at 625MHz), and like it's bigger brother it will come with 1600 stream processors. Instead of GDDR5, the 4850 X2 will ship with 2GB of GDDR3. Look for availability this September with an estimated sub-$400 street price.
Despite falling hard drive prices, a weakened dollar, and other economic woes, Western Digital managed to post revenue of $8.1 billion and an operating income of $1.0 billion for fiscal year 2008. That represents a full-year revenue increase of 48 percent. It gets even better for the hard drive maker, who also posted a net income of $867 million, or $3.84 per share, marking a whopping 54 percent jump from one year ago.
In the report, Western Digital says that 63 percent of Q4 revenue came from non-desktop sources, while 37 percent came from hard drives configured into desktop PCs. By contrast, those numbers sat at 46 and 54 percent respectively one year ago.
"Fiscal 2008 was an outstanding year for WD, capped off with the strong fourth-quarter financial performance," said John Coyne, president and CEO. "Our outstanding financial performance demonstrates the efficiency and effectiveness of the business model that we have built and refined over the last several years, underpinned by our industry leading cost structure."
WD's financial performance is also indicative of of the growing mobile market, in which the company shipped 11.7 million 2.5-inch mobile drives.
Last September, Dell became the first major computer maker to announce plans to go carbon neutral, saying it would do so by the end of 2008. That gives the OEM five more months to reach its self imposed deadline, but now the company is saying it has already achieved its goal.
"We're driving 'green' into every aspect of our global business," said CEO Michael Dell in a statement. "This includes setting new standards for energy efficiency and green power, delivering environmental and cost savings for customers, and aligning key growth priorities with our focus on preserving our shared Earth."
In the quest to become carbon neutral, Dell has been working with Conservation International to protect nearly 600,000 acres of tropical forestland in Madagascar that might otherwise have been destroyed, allowing the OEM to claim a half-million ton of carbon emissions savings over the next five years. Another big boost came from reducing indirect emissions from facilities energy use. Dell has upgraded light fixtures at its Texas campus, updated heating and cooling systems around the world, and installed occupancy sensors for light. By doing these things, Dell says it was able to reduce its annual carbon dioxide footprint by 20,000 tons.
Innovation. In gaming, it's a weighted word, but really, what does it even mean? Portal was "innovative" because it allowed players to slap portals onto walls and travel into their depths. But at one point, Warcraft III was declared "innovative" for mixing basic RPG elements with tried-and-true RTS gameplay. And then we have things like the Wii, which can (potentially) add brand new dimensions to the way we play games.
So, in your opinion, what actually makes something innovative? Do you think an innovative game has to blow minds and shift paradigms, or can it be something as simple as Call of Duty 4's experience system -- subtle, yet effective?
Today's Roundup sees so-called innovators both succeed and fail, with one highly unexpected title snagging an award for Interactive Innovation, while another causes its creator to drop out of the gaming industry altogether. Also, in the "And More" section: data that shows PCs beating consoles at their own game. Hit the break for the full scoop.