Try not to look smug as you reach around and pat yourself on the back if you're the type of user who, come hell or high water, absolutely refuses to touch new driver and software updates with a 10-foot pole until they've been tested downloaded by others and verified to work. Also get ready to welcome a few more to your ranks after AMD's Catalyst 11.6 driver caused some systems kick it old school with a blue screen of death.
Remember all the hoopla leading up to Nvidia's Fermi launch? We were teased with leaked photos, benchmarks, and several delays due to reported defects. Nvidia eventually ironed out whatever bugs it needed to in order to get Fermi to market in the form of a GTX 480, a fast videocard with a group of stream processors disabled. It also ran hot and a little bit loud, ultimately leading us to declare the the GTX 580 "the real Fermi" (see our review here). We're expecting a much smoother rollout to Fermi's successor, though it appears delays are still part of the game.
AMD's launch of two Llano A-series desktop APUs yesterday comes a little over two weeks after the CPU/GPU maker made available its Catalyst 11.6 driver package. For whatever reason, AMD chose not to bake in support for its then soon-to-be-released A8-3850 and A6-3650 APUs, but don't despair, there's a hotfix available if you plan on running one of these chips.
AMD isn't letting a silly little thing like market share ruin its summer. Rather than hide under a rock from failing to make a dent in Intel's stranglehold on the chip market, even after the initial Sandy Bridge snafu, AMD has come out swinging this month with its Llano A-series accelerated processing units (APUs). Earlier this month saw the launch of AMD's mobile Llano chips, and now the Santa Clara chip maker is announcing the availability of two Llano A-series APUs for the desktop.
It didn't take long for boutique system builder AVADirect to start offering Nvidia's new flagship mobile GPU -- GeForce GTX 580M -- to select notebooks earmarked for gamers, including the 15.6-inch Clevo P150HM, 17.3-inch P170HM, and 17.3-inch X7200. AVADirect points out that since the GTX 580M is based off of the same MXM module as the previous 400M series, virtually any notebook that supported the last generation of mobile GPUs can be easily upgraded to Nvidia's new top-flight chip.
Here's the thing about gaming on a laptop. In almost every case, the GPU isn't upgradeable, so if you plan on using your notebook to frag your friends, you better invest in a laptop with the fastest GPU you can afford. And if you're looking for the fastest mobile GPU on the planet, Nvidia claims its new GeForce GTX 580M with up to 384 CUDA cores and up to 2GB of 256-bit GDDR5 memory is it.
Let's go ahead and address the green elephant in the room wearing an Nvidia toga. The Quadro 5010M mobile graphics solution carries a hefty price tag, and in return offers a hefty feature-set for those more concerned with AutoCAD and 3ds Max than they are with Crysis and Mass Effect 3. It's Nvidia's flagship mobile GPU with 384 CUDA cores and 4GB of GDDR5 memory, and AVADirect's now offering it as a GPU option with its Cleveo X7200 notebook.
Don't expect Microsoft to endorse WebGL (Web-based Graphics Library), the Khronos Group's cross-platform, low-level 3D graphics API for the web. Though it's supported in Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome, and will be coming to future versions of Apple Safari and Opera, Microsoft is refusing to support WebGL in its current form because several security risks make it harmful, the Redmond software giant said.
What do you know about 3D technology? Could you describe antialiasing? Can you define a Z-Buffer? How about a Phong shader? If you need a little refresher course on the ins and outs of 3d rendering, you're in luck* because we've got a a whitepaper for you!
*Note: If you're looking for information on bump maps, pixel shaders or tesselation, you are actually out of luck, because this whitepaper was written in 1997. Close enough!
Nvidia just recently announced the launch of its GeForce GTX 560M graphic chip for notebooks, a GPU the company claims is capable of pulling 50 frames per second in Duke Nukem Forever. But the 560M isn't the end of the road for Nvidia's 500M series, nor is it the fastest mobile graphics chip in Nvidia's stable. That distinction still belongs to the GTX 485M, at least until later this summer when Nvidia drops its 580M into the mobile mix.