Microsoft's newer, slimmer Xbox 360 250GB console is fast becoming old news, except that up until now, the software giant hasn't been particularly willing to detail the system-on-a-chip (SoC) that powers the device.
Details of the SoC were unveiled at the Hot Chips symposium yesterday, and it was there that Microsoft showed off the inner workings of the 45nm part produced by IBM and GlobalFoundries. Even if you're not a console gamer, you have to appreciate that this is essentially the first mass-market, desktop chip to squeeze a CPU, GPU, memory, and I/O logic onto a single unit.
Microsoft's new SoC boasts 372 million transistors, which would have been much more impressive five years ago when the Xbox 360 first debuted. The 45nm chip realizes a more than 60 percent power savings over the original 90nm chip from 2005 and measures 50 percent smaller.
One interesting thing about the new design is the inclusion of a "FSB Replacement" block. IBM/GlobalFoundries could have just connected the GPU and GPU with a low-latency internal connection, but doing so would have made the new Xbox 360 faster than previous versions. The FSB Replacement block actually adds latency to the mix and introduces a performance hit to keep the new model from outpacing older versions.
Users can no longer accuse Amazon's Kindle of being nothing more than a stuffy eBook reader too good for gaming. The Kindle Development Kit (KDK) launched earlier this year ensured it was only a matter of time before we saw some other apps for the Kindle. like the two games that have just been released.
Both titles are simple word puzzles (you weren't really expecting Quake, were you?), starting with Every Word, a world scramble game. Users are shown six or seven scrambled letters and are challenged to come up with as many words as possible. Think of it as Scrabble Lite.
The other game is Shuffled Row, which tasks users will seeing how many words they can make from 60 lettered tiles. Tiles are added to your row one at a time, giving you a constant pool of fresh letters to work with. You can think of this one as, um, Scrabble Lite as well.
Simple? Sure, and they're also both free. It's also the just the beginning of more to come, and we suspect at some point we'll see some paid games show up, as developers get a 70 percent cut of the revenue.
Like that scene in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom where the Thuggee high priest, Mola Ram, rips the dude's heart out, Razer has gone in and removed the guts from its Lachesis gaming mouse, only it wasn't as part of any voodoo ritual. Instead, Razer went and equipped the revamped Lachesis with a new 5600dpi, 3.5G laser sensor, as well as a customizable multi-color LED lighting system.
"The all new Razer Lachesis is about giving gamers more personal choice and customizable options," said Robert Krakoff, president, Razer USA. "With a multi-color LED for customizable color and a built-in variable dpi, the Razer Lachesis gives gamers everything they need for this three-year fan favorite."
Other than the upgraded laser sensor and LED light show, the Lachesis is just as you remember it, including the ambidextrous design, nine programmable buttons, and 1000Hz Ultrapolling, among other recycled features.
The rebuilt Lachesis will ship later this month for $80.
Word all over the Web is that on September 29, 2010, Nintendo will finally reveal pricing details for its upcoming 3DS handheld gaming console, and also give it a release date. Or at least that's what everyone is reporting from all corners of cyber space. We did a little digging and it appears the source of this inside info is someone inside Bloomberg's Japan operations, who claims to have heard the news during a phone interview with Mr. Yasushi Hiroshi Minagawa, a Nintendo spokesman.
The big selling point of the 3DS is that it will produce glasses-free 3D visuals using some type of parallax barrier display technology. Other features include a motion sensor, a gyroscope that willl likely be used to adjust perspective in 3D landscapes, tilt-sensitive gameplay, and a persistent Wi-Fi connection capable of downloading games in the background.
While it looks like we'll have to wait until late September to find out exactly when the 3DS is coming, speculation has the release date pegged for sometime in the first quarter of 2011.
Driving two monitors is easy enough with most modern videocards; in fact, late-model AMD Radeon HD cards can drive three (although one must be equipped with DisplayPort). Accell’s UltraAV multi-monitor adapters allow you to connect three displays to a single DisplayPort source. The model we examined supports three single-link DVI monitors using a single DisplayPort source; the company offers a second SKU that supports three DisplayPort monitors from a single DisplayPort. Both suffer from the same limitations: Reliance on DisplayPort on the host side, and maximum resolution of 3840x1024 (supporting three 1280x1024 displays).
Acer, the second biggest PC vendor on the planet, is taking its aggressively styled Predator gaming PC line north of the border with the introduction of the AG7750-E2112.
"Designed to conquer and destroy, the Aspire Predator boasts a rugged, intimidating chassis as well as super power and speed," said Susan Hu, retail desktop product management for Acer Canada. "It's a smoking hot gaming rig delivering eye-popping graphics and dynamic audio for a jaw dropping experience that will fire up even hard core gamers. Plus, plenty of room for future upgrades will assist gamers in their quest to reign supreme in the new world order."
Settle down Hu, we build Dream Machines, remember? But we will admit that Acer's latest Predator barges into Canada with plenty of power, albeit for a fist full of moosebucks. Starting at $1,800 CAD (about $1,750 USD), the AG7750-E2112 comes armed with an Intel Core i7 920 processor, 9GB of DDR3 memory, Nvidia GeForce GTX 470 videocard, and a 1TB hard drive. Supplementary ammo comes in the form of 11 USB 2.0 ports, a pair of eSATA ports, two Ethernet ports, two DVI ports, HDMI, multi-card reader, lighting effects, and other odds and ends.
Interestingly, the U.S. version packs a slightly bigger punch with an Intel Core i7 930 chip and 1.5TB of hot-swappable storage. It also costs a little bit more with a starting price tag of $2,000.
The AG7750-E2112 is available now at "technology and electronics retailers" in both the U.S. and Canada.
MSI is one of a handful of companies riding the wave of affordable gaming notebooks, and the company's latest power packed laptop -- the GT660R -- has sailed into U.S. shores.
The 16-inch GT660R comes crammed with high end parts, including an Intel Core i7 740QM processor clocked at 1.73GHz, Nvidia GeForce GTX285M graphics with 1GB of dedicated memory, 6GB of DDR3 RAM, 1TB of storage (2x500GB HDDs), a Blu-ray reader that doubles as a DVD/CD burner, 720p webcam, 802.11n Wi-Fi, Gigabit LAN, Bluetooth LAN, 4-in-1 memory card reader, HDMI, eSATA/USB combo, two USB 2.0 ports, and even a pair of USB 3.0 ports.
For those who want a little more kick, the GT660R also comes equipped with MSI's TDE+ (Turbo Drive Engine+) technology, which gooses the CPU, GPU, and memory with a single touch of the Turbo hotkey resting above the chiclet style keyboard.
You can find the GT660R selling for $1,700 on both Amazon and Newegg.
Maybe Microsoft isn't losing as much money on consoles as previously thought. According to news and rumor site Fudzilla, cost improvements for the Xbox 360 Slim have the Redmond giant making more money on its console than ever before, which could result in upcoming price cuts.
"According to our sources, it is likely that Microsoft will drop the prices of both the low-end and high-end models by as much as $50 next year," Fudzilla says. "It is already being suggested that the news could come as soon as E3 next year."
What's more, Fudzilla says its sources have also indicated a two-phase price drop for the Kinect. The first is rumored to come when Microsoft drops the Adventures pack-in title, and then another closer to the holiday shopping season in 2011.
If Microsoft’s been your main Kool Aid supplier for the past few months, then the Kinect-centric future of gaming is looking bright indeed. Your piggy bank’s future, however, might not be all sunny skies and rainbows, seeing as Microsoft’s oddly named motion control camera’s sporting a price tag that may just send it squealing for the hills in terror.
For $150, you’ll nab Kinect and a copy of Kinect Adventures, a minigame collection ostensibly created to give you a quick taste of what Kinect can really do. Obviously, that price alone -- while a tad steep – isn’t anything that can’t be surmounted by a few skipped meals and some serious sofa-spelunking. However, you can pick up a Wii bundled with two games and Wii Motion Plus for only $200 – which even puts the now-confirmed 4GB Xbox Arcade/Kinect bundle’s $300 price tag to shame.
Sony’s Move motion controller, meanwhile, tipped the scales at $100, making Microsoft’s motion offering the most expensive of the three. Granted, accuracy, sensitivity, games, and time will tell who really reigns supreme, but we’re not entirely sure if we’re willing to spend $150 on a controller – even if it will let us fiddle around in menus like Tom Cruise in Minority Report. For now, consider us skeptics – although a certain upcoming lightsaber game might be able to Jedi mind trick us into playing an incredibly one-sided match of a game we like to call “Hammers” with our piggy bank.
All then attention right now is on Microsoft's revamped Xbox 360 console, which sports a sleek new design and runs both cooler and quieter. So can we also expect a redesigned Xbox 360 Arcade?
Word on the Web is that Microsoft is readying a new Xbox 360 Slim Arcade bundle that will up the storage ante to 4GB. It's not clear how that additional storage will be added, only that it won't be in the form of a hard drive. That leaves two options - increasing the embedded 512MB to 4GB, or supplementing it with a USB key.
The rumor mill also reports a small price drop could be forthcoming. New models might ship for $189 instead of $199, which isn't a whole lot of ducats, but still enticing considering the additional storage.