Try to imagine where 3D gaming would be today if not for the graphics processing unit, or GPU. Without it, you wouldn't be tredging through the jungles of Crysis in all its visual splendor, nor would you be fending off endless hordes of fast-moving zombies at high resolutions. For that to happen, it takes a highly specialized chip designed for parallel processing to pull off the kinds of games you see today, the same ones that wouldn't be possible on a CPU alone. Going forward, GPU makers will try to extend the reliance on videocards to also include physics processing, video encoding/decoding, and other tasks that where once handled by the CPU.
It's pretty amazing when you think about how far graphics technology has come. To help you do that, we're going to take a look back at every major GPU release since the infancy of 3D graphics. Join us as we travel back in time and relive releases like 3dfx's Voodoo3 and S3's ViRGE lineup. This is one nostalgiac ride you don't want to miss!
Biostar's second Core-i7 compatible motherboard, the TPower X58A, is now available for sale, and here's why the company believes you should look at upgrading to the platform, price be damned.
"Although Intel X58 chipset based motherboard is sold at a relatively higher price in the market, Biostar still has an excellent reputation for TPower series, in which TPower X58 and TPower I45 are very popular with a lot of power users," Biostar writes in its press release.
Alrighty then. But quirky marketing aside, the revised TPower X58A does come with some enthusiast features, such as adopting an overclocker-friendly 12+2 power phase design (12-phase CPU and 2-phase memory), Ferrite core chokes, all Japananese manufactured solid capacitors, support for up to 24GB of DDR3-1333/1600/2000, three PCI-E 2.0 x16 slots, eSATA support, and a 'Rapid Debug 3' POST LED display to help you figure out which device(s) might be failing.
It's worth noting that Biostar has made a major push in the past 12 months to shed its reputation as a budget option and compete at the high end, snagging overclocking and frontside bus world records along the way.
Not only is there still a market for DDR2 modules, but there are even new products still coming down the pipeline. Take for example OCZ's just-announced Blade and Platinum Series Low Voltage kits, which the company says have been qualified to excel at low voltages.
"Though enthusiasts are known for applying increased voltage to modules in order to obtain higher performance, our newest modules offer exceptional speeds at lower voltages improving overall performance and stability," commented Eugene Chang, Vice President of Product Management at the OCZ Technology Group.
The new series comes in 4GB kits with speeds ranging from DDR2-1066 to DDR2-1200. Regardless of stock frequency, each kit comes rated at 5-5-5-18 latency timings and consumes just 1.8V. Giving the stock frequency ceiling, 1.8V is pretty impressive when you consider some enthusiast kits have required up to an uncomfortable 2.3V.
Acer, who sits as the global market share leader in the netbook category with a 30.5 percent share of the pie (1.8 million units shipped), has just released an 11.6-inch netbook it believes is just what you're looking for.
"We predict that the larger display and keyboard will be a game-changer for mobile consumers looking to take it to the next level with the ultimate mobile device," said Sumit Agnihotry, vice president of product management for Acer America.
The new AO751h sports a full size keyboard and is "thinner than previous generations" at 1-inch high. Acer says it will be available in several configurations, with a baseline model boasting an Intel Atom Z520 processor (1.22GHz, 490MHz frontside bus, 512KB L2 cache), 1GB of DDR2-533 memory, a 160GB hard drive, integrated Intel GMA950 graphics, built-in media card reader, three USB 2.0 ports, and Windows XP Home with SP3.
As configured above, the AO751h carries and MSRP of $350, or $380 with a 6-cell battery.
Just in case you were worried that Intel wasn’t committed to it’s heavily delayed Larrabee platform, a 12 million dollar investment in a new Visual Computing Institute should help convince you otherwise. Located at Saarland University in Saarbrücken, Germany, this is the largest joint project ever formed between Intel and a European university. The institute will help Intel explore advanced graphical computing technologies, which includes everything from more realistic gaming, to advanced 3D user interfaces.
The primary focus of the research will be applied to Intel’s terascalling program. This will help them better understand how they can apply Larrabees unique multi x86 core architecture to achieve sustainable performance increases over modern day GPU’s. Larrabee has been delayed until some unknown date in 2010, presumably because it hasn’t yet achieved the type of performance gains they were hoping for against Nvidia & AMD.
In addition to terascalling research, Intel will also work with other hardware design labs in Barcelona, Spain, and Braunschweig, Germany to help optimize the Larrabee design. Z-buffering, clipping, and even ray tracing are all promises made by the Larrabee team, but clearly the software needed to make all this happen still requires some work.
Want more details? Click here to watch the press video.
So is Larrabee really the future? Or does this only prove Nvidia’s case that its promise is overhyped?
There's still more than seven months left in 2009 for any last minute tech flops, but barring any amendments, Time has posted its list of what it views as the 10 biggest tech failures of the last decade. Compiled in no particular order, Time kicks off the list with Microsoft Vista, pointing out the OS's "underwhelming" user satisfaction and rocky start.
Gateway comes next for its fall from being the No. 3 PC maker (in terms of market share) in the US in 2004, to being acquired by Acer in 2007 for just $710 million.
HD-DVD makes its requisite appearance on the list (we're still bitter over that one), and somewhat surprisingly, YouTube makes an appearance as well based in large part on low estimated revenues.
View the full list here, then hit the jump and tell us what you'd change.
Fujitsu this week laid a humdinger on Intel by unveiling the world's fastest CPU. The new chip is thought to be about 2.5 times faster than anything Intel has in its lineup, while also consuming two-thirds less power.
You can put any grandiose ideas of picking one up and setting new benchmarking records to rest, as the 'Venus' chip, or otherwise known as the SPARC64 VIIIfx, is designed for supercomputers. As such, Fujitsu claims the new CPU can process a mind boggling 128 billion computations per second, making Fujitsu the first Japanese firm in a decade to wear the raw CPU performance crown.
Built on a 45nm manufacturing process, Venus comes with eight cores and an integrated memory controller spread across two square centimeters. Fujitsu says it will take several years to come up with practical applications for the new chip, but that it could see use in pharmaceutical research, astronomy, weather prediction, scientific researching, and Folding@Home while running Crysis (we may have added the last two on our own).
Intel's Larrabee project might rank as one of the most anticipated technology releases in a long while, and it looks like we'll have to wait just a bit longer than originally thought. It was expected that Intel would launch its many-cored cGPU sometime in late 2009, however the chip maker is now saying it plans to launch Larrabee in 2010.
Not a whole lot of details are known about Larrabee, only that it's a x86-based discrete graphics solution built around the second generation Pentium processor technology with the P54C core. When Larrabee launches, it will come in several iterations, the lowest of which will comprise no less than 8 cores. On the higher end, look for at least 32 cores and a 2GHz or faster clockspeed.
While it all sounds impressive, Intel's Jospeh Schultz did say that it would be a "big challenge" to compete with products from Nvidia and AMD.
RAM, like water, is a commodity. And just as there’s a clear difference between putrid L.A. County tap water and water choppered in from the peaks of Mt. Everest, the quality of RAM can vary wildly. But quality is not the sole factor to consider when you’re trying to achieve optimum memory performance from your system.
These days, a user is faced with a plethora of options spanning different technologies, speeds, and capacities. We’re here to help you make heads and tails of all that so you’re prepared when you configure your next rig. Armed with a slew of RAM-based benchmarks, we set out to answer three of the hottest questions in memory today: Is DDR3 for AMD’s new AM3 Phenom II CPUs worth the expense? Should you pay for high-speed RAM or stick with the standard stuff? Finally, just how much memory is enough? We test three common amounts of RAM for Intel’s Core i7 to identify the sweet spot.
Forget about all-in-one PCs, how about an all-in-one keyboard? That's exactly what Asus was showing off during CES earlier this year, and it looks like the 2-pound Eee Keyboard PC will start shipping before July, says Engadget Chinese.
FInal specs might still change between now and when it releases, but as it stands, the Eee Keyboard will come with an Intel Atom N270 processor (1.6GHz, 533MHz frontside bus, 512KB L2 cache), a 32GB SSD, 1GB of RAM, 802.11n WiFi, Bluetooth, HDMI, stereo speakers, and a diminutive 5-inch 800x480 touchscreen display/trackpad combo.