Holy high core count, Batman, Microsoft's upcoming Windows Server 2008 R2, the second revision to the server OS released last year, will support up to 256 logical cores. Logical processors equate to the number of physical processors times the number of cores and threads per core, so 256 logical cores translates into 64 dual-core processors with two threads per core, or 32 quad-core chips with two threads per core.
The new release, which will be based on Windows 7 code-base and contain a good bit of Vista DNA, manages to scale as high as it does by breaking the dispatcher lock in Windows. The dispatcher lock isn't a big issue for systems with up to 8 cores, but as the core-count goes up, Windows threads end up waiting for the dispatcher lock to green-light the cores. To get around this, two more wait states have been added to replace the global dispatcher lock of old so that those threads are no longer stuck waiting. Mark Russinovich, Technical Fellow in Microsoft's Core OS division, details the process in a 45-minute video interview on Microsoft's Chanel 9 website.
Intel's Core i7 release hasn't just changed the processor game, it's also ushered in a new era of memory choices. Up until Core i7, power users found themselves pondering whether to slap a 2GB or 4GB kit of RAM into their system, but that was before triple-channel memory. Now the choice (for upgraders and new builders) comes down to 3GB or 6GB, and Corsair looks to shed some light on the decision by performing some in-house benchmarking.
The tests, which were performed using an Asus P6T Deluxe motherboard, Core i7-965 Extreme Edition CPU, two Nvidia 280 GTX videocards in SLI, and two Seagate 320GB 7200.10 hard drives in a RAID 0 array, heavily favored the 6GB kit. Corsair's results were sometimes significant, with the minimum frame rate in World of Conflict jumping by 50 percent when upgrading from 3GB to 6GB, and netting over a 3-fold increase in Crysis Warhead. Even game loading times saw a boost.
"The analysis shows that 3GB of system memory is insufficient to run modern games, such as Warhammer Online and Crysis Warhead, resulting in poor performance," Corsair wrote (PDF). "The lack of memory when using 3GB of RAM results in increased hard disk drive access, sometimes called thrashing. This causes in-game stuttering, which reduces the minimum frame rate."
This isn't the first time Corsair has released internal benchmarks. Previously, the memory maker found that upgrading from 2GB to 4GB provided "significant performance benefits." This time around, Corsair says "the message to enthusiasts who are looking to build a Core i7 system for gaming is clear - installing 6GB of memory will provide significantly higher frame rates and a considerably smoother gaming experience."
Thoughts on Corsair's testing methodology or results? Hit the jump and let us know.
This week marks a double whammy for PC I/O standards. With the USB Promotor Group announcing the final 1.0 version of the USB 3.0 standard, it has paved the way for the PCMCIA trade association to finalize its ExpressCard 2.0 standard, which it has done today.
"ExpressCard technology is closely tied to the PCI Express(r) and USB specifications, and the 2.0 release of our standard takes full advantage of recent advancements in both interface technologies," said Brad Saunders, chairman, PCMCIA. "Now that the new SuperSpeed USB specification is ready, PCMCIA can move forward to finalize the ExpressCard 2.0 release and make it available to members in early 2009."
Saunders went on to say that new products capable of taking advantage of the new standard will materialize in 2010. ExpressCard 2.0 gives the spec a considerable speed boost by supporting transfer rates up to 10 times faster than ExpressCard 1.2. The new 2.0 standard is also backwards compatible with products compliant with any previous standard.
We’ve relished the movies about it. We’ve daydreamed about it happening in our own lives. We’ve even drawn up detailed plans for how to survive the admittedly unlikely event of a zombie apocalypse (answer: barricade ourselves in the local Costco). There’s just something so tantalizingly thrilling about the prospect of fighting for survival in an undead-infested world.
Left 4 Dead, Valve Software’s new multiplayer first-person shooter, delivers that awesomely terrifying experience to us. Abandoned metropolises, a ragtag band of hapless strangers, and an endless horde of infected humans—all the staples of a nail-biting George A. Romero zombie epic—are present and accounted for in this ambitious cooperative adventure. But how does this game hold up to our obsessive zombie fantasies? We busted a few thousand undead skulls to find out.
Fallout 3 -- looks about right. Next up, Spore -- no Nancy Drews here. And then we have... Nancy Drew: The Haunting of Castle Malloy? In third place? We're double face-palming (separately, and with disappointment -- not like Macaulay Culkin), especially considering who crossed the finish line huffing-and-puffing behind Ms. Killjoy.
Just take a look at the full list of NPD Group's top 20 best-selling games of October.
1. Fallout 3 / Bethesda Softworks / $49 (Average) 2. Spore / EA Maxis / $49 (Average) 3. Nancy Drew: The Haunting of Castle Malloy / Her Interactive / $18 (Average) 4. Far Cry 2 / Ubisoft Montreal / $50 (Average) 5. Warhammer Online: Age Of Reckoning / EA Mythic / $49 (Average) 6. World Of Warcraft: Battle Chest / Blizzard Entertainment / $38 (Average) 7. The Sims 2 Apartment Life Expansion Pack / EA Maxis / $26 (Average) 8. Fallout 3 Collectors Ed / Bethesda Softworks / $79 (Average) 9. The Sims 2 Double Deluxe / EA Maxis / $25 (Average) 10. Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 / EA Los Angeles / $48 (Average) 11. World Of Warcraft / Blizzard Entertainment / $20 (Average) 12. Civilization IV: Colonization / Firaxis / $29 (Average) 13. World Of Warcraft: Burning Crusade / Blizzard Entertainment / $29 (Average) 14. Crysis: Warhead / Crytek / $30 (Average) 15. Brothers In Arms: Hell's Highway / Gearbox Software / $49 (Average) 16. Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 Premier Ed / EA Los Angeles / $65 (Average) 17. Dead Space / EA Redwood Shores / $49 (Average) 18. Spore Creature Creator / Spore Creature Creator / $10 (Average) 19. Civilization IV / Firaxis / $24 (Average) 20. The Sims 2 FreeTime Expansion Pack / EA Maxis / $25 (Average)
As per usual, this data is retail only, but we're still not too happy with you, Far Cry 2. Really, Ubisoft! At least Red Alert 3 has an excuse.
Talk about a hollow victory. You and your epic-clad, raid-running buddies wait more than a year for World of Warcraft's jam-packed new expansion, only to be within /spitting distance of its final raid bosses' lifeless bodies after a mere three days of playtime. Vacation's over, team. Back to real life.
Really, it makes us wonder why Blizzard decided to go with the bowling-ball-in-front-of-a-row-of-dominoes method when structuring its latest time-twister -- a question echoed by the guild that did the deed, TwentyFifthNovember:
"We are proud to declare that all WOTLK PVE raid content has now been cleared. This is both a moment of triumph and a cause for concern. The question in all our minds right now is if we could do this, how soon until the rest of the top guilds in the world clear all the raid content that WOTLK has to offer?"
"Did Blizzard miscalculate in the tuning of these encounters? Or is this Blizzard folding under the weight of a large casual player base that demands to be on equal footing with end-game raiders?"
Of course, this guild probably perforated WoW's new batch of glorified piñatas during the WoTLK beta, so odds are, they already knew the encounters inside-and-out before they even got their mitts on a retail copy of the game. Regardless though, that only means other guilds have the tools to pull off a similar thrashing, so we foresee a fairly large 24/7 raid converging on Blizzard's inbox in the near future.
However, before such "fans" sing "wah, wah, wah" all the way to Blizzard, we'd just like to remind them that other games do exist -- as do other, non-virtual worlds. So, you know, do something wholesome. Oh, and those strange people wandering around your house? That's your family. Enjoy.
Cry for Google, Argentina. The truth is, they never left you, but given the current legal battle over search results – they just might.
Dozens of fashion models and public figures, such as sports star Diego Maradona, are currently at war with Google over how search results are handed out. While the question as to whether or not certain search results should be censored if they contain a person’s name is answered, Argentine Judges have handed down orders to temporarily abbreviate search results.
These restraints mean that Google has to censor searches from Argentinean sites that contain the plaintiff’s names. Though, this does not apply to those of us in the United States.
Google has recently joined forces with Yahoo and other human rights groups to create the Global Network Initiative, a foundation for communications technology companies to follow in response to laws in various countries that might conflict with an Internet user’s privacy or freedom of expression. While the interest of this initiative is to provide the fullest Internet experience to everyone around the world, it is likely that they will do everything in their power to comply with local law.
Storage that uses flash memory is quite unlike the hard disk drives used to hold your computer’s data. The latter rely on speedy actuators to read and write information on spinning magnetic platters. SSDs use electrical charges to read and write the state of individual flash memory cells. An SSD’s flash memory is nonvolatile: Unlike your computer’s RAM, an SSD drive retains your data when you switch the power off. And since the handshake is electric, SSDs can access that data in a fraction of the time it takes a mechanical hard drive to do so.
Sounds ideal, right? Actually, the performance potential of SSDs needs to be weighed against some significant drawbacks. We’re going to outline the pros and cons of the technology and how it compares to traditional hard disk storage. We’re also going to put seven leading solid state drives to the test and let the benchmark numbers do the talking. At this stage in the storage race, an SSD is a big investment; we want to help you maximize your return.
Got a MySpace page? Like watching TV? Want others to know what you like to watch on TV? Then you’re in luck!
MySpace recently launched a widget that you can place directly on your profile page, aptly named, Primetime. Placing this on your page will allow you to provide all of the content from both MySpace and Hulu to the viewers of your glitter inspired profile.
While the widget does provide a snazzy built-in search, it is only available to users in the US. This likely due to licensing, but has a good chance of changing once the paperwork gets filled out (and who knows when that will be). Even still, most of the members of the social networking site won’t have any issues with that, given that 76 million of the 122 million MySpace users worldwide are within the United States.
So go! Enjoy full episodes of Family Guy and The Office! Just make sure that you let all your “friends” join in on the laughs as well.
How big a deal is Intel’s entry into the solid-state-drive game? The announcement of the company’s new X-25M SSD, and a faster version for enthusiasts, all but overshadowed details of the company’s next-generation CPU at its fall developer conference.
After testing Intel’s entry-level SSD, we can understand why. The X-25M offers the fastest read speeds we’ve ever seen from a single SSD or hard drive.
How fast? The 10,000rpm Western Digital Velociraptor (reviewed September 2008) offered sustained transfer speeds of 98MB/s. The $1,500 MemoRight MR25.2-32/64S GT from our SSD roundup (November 2008) turned in read speeds of 112MB/s. The Intel X-25M hits 206MB/s read speeds.