Nvidia has released new WHQL-certified videocard drivers for GeForce 200-series, 9-series, and 8800-series GPUs only (owners of older videocards need not apply). The approximately 73MB download enables finally brings to fruition a license agreement between Nvidia and Intel by enabling SLI on SLI-certified Intel X58-based motherboards. The new driver also supports multi-monitor support in an SLI-configuration, which previously had only been available with beta drivers. PhysX acceleration is also enabled when installing the new driver.
On the gaming front, Nvidia claims double-digit percentage performance gains in a number of titles, including a giant 80 percent boost in Lost Planet: Colonies. Far Cry 2 is the other big beneficiary with a purported 38 percent performance gain. Devil May Cry 4, Assassin's Creed, BioShock, Comapny of Heroes: Opposing Fronts, Crysis Warhead, Race Driver: GRID, and World of Conflict all receive performance gains ranging from 10 percent to 25 percent, according to Nvidia. And for you benchmarking gurus, 3DMark Vantage's performance preset should perform 10 percent better as well.
Although DVDs are quickly losing the limelight to their higher-definition Blu-Ray brethren, they’ve still got a lot going for them. They’re cheap, for one, as are DVD burners. And DVD players and drives are so ubiquitous that you know that if you burn data onto a DVD, you’ll be able to access it almost anywhere.
Plus, burning data onto a DVD is easy—there’re a dozen free programs that can do it for you without any hassle. But burning video to a disc so that you can watch it in a regular DVD player isn’t nearly so simple. If you’re willing to pony up for commercial DVD authoring software like Nero Vision, the process is pretty user-friendly, but here at Maximum PC we’re committed to showing you how to do things using free software solutions, so we’re going to explain how you can use a free and powerful (albeit slightly confusing) program called AVI2DVD to create full-featured video DVDs from your media files.
Because hackers target Microsoft's Windows operating systems more than any other OSes, one could argue that it would be only fitting for the software maker to offer its users a free security suite, and that's exactly what Microsoft intends to do. Noting the rapid increase in the prominence of malware, Microsoft says it will discontinue retails sales of it's fee-based Live OneCare subscription service by June 30, 2009 and replace it with a free security suite currently code-named "Morrow."
"Customers around the world have told us that they need comprehensive, ongoing protection from new and existing threats, and we take that concern seriously,” said Amy Barzdukas, senior director of product management for the Online Services and Windows Division at Microsoft. “This new, no-cost offering will give us the ability to protect an even greater number of consumers, especially in markets where the growth of new PC purchases is outpaced only by the growth of malware."
Morrow, which will offer protection against viruses, spyware, rootkis, Trojans, and other malware, will be built to use fewer resources, which Microsoft claims will make it well suited for both low bandwidth situations and low-power PCs. According to Microsoft, Morrow's protection will be on the same level as the company's enterprise solutions.
While that sounds like good news for Windows users, McAfee sees it as an even better opportunity for themselves and doesn't appear worried that it might lose paying customers to Morrow.
"Consumers have voted; OneCare, in its two years on the market, has achieved less than 2 percent market share," he said in an interview. "Microsoft is giving up and has defaulted to a dressed-down freeware model that does not meet consumer security needs. This is good news for McAfee."
Is McAfee underestimating Morrow? Hit the jump and give us your thoughts.
With the phrase now appended to read, "I'd rather get a root canal while playing a DRM'ed game [than date/know/look at you]," the time is right to take a stand against DRM -- and also brush the dust off a few classic games in the process. So, if you haven't already, definitely point your web browser in Good Old Games' direction. Especially now that the totally DRM-free service has added Epic's Unreal series to its ranks.
Already, Unreal Gold and Unreal Tournament: Game of the Year Edition are offering their services in exchange for low, low prices, with Unreal II: The Awakening and Unreal Tournament 2004: Editor's Choice Edition arriving "in the coming weeks."
"We know that a lot of gamers have been waiting for new deals," said GOG managing director Adam Oldakowski. "We're sure that the Unreal games will satisfy their lust for alien blood and intense multiplayer action... DRM-free, of course."
GoG also boasts games like Fallout, Gothic, and MDK, for prices ranging from $5.99-$9.99. Now go check it out! Show publishers that you'll be good boys and girls -- even without DRM's far-too-watchful eye looming heavy. If nothing else, it's a much more effective statement than complaining in our comments section (which we still encourage!).
Legitimate sport or not, professional gaming just can't seem to catch on in North America. First, the Cyberathlete Professional League wheezed out its final breath, and now, even after striking deals with BSkyB, STAR, and DirectTV, Championship Gaming Series is sitting next to its beleaguered comrade on a fluffy, DSL-connected cloud in gaming heaven.
The reason for its closure: CGS could talk a big game, but sadly lacked the credits needed to continue.
"While the concept was ahead of its time and we are extremely proud of what we’ve accomplished, it became increasingly clear as this ambitious project evolved, that profitability was too far in the future for us to sustain operations in the interim," said the CGS team in its farewell message.
"Our goal was to be ahead of the curve in the e-sports space, and we conceived of CGS as a true sports league. We invested wholeheartedly in the venture and presented viewers with a top-notch production, but the economics just didn’t add up for us at this time."
Good luck to everyone affected by this disappointing turn of events. Our prayers are with you.
MPC readers, what do you think it'll take for pro gaming to finally earn its spot next to apple pie, happy families, and football as something printed all over McDonald's bags and cups? Er, as a crucial piece of American culture, we mean.
During the press briefing for Windows 7 at Microsoft's Professional Developers Conference (PDC), corporate vice president for Windows product management Mike Nash insisted Microsoft had learned from the Vista experience.
Judging by early Windows 7 code released at PDC, the signs are that it really has....Windows 7 feels more polished than Vista, even in the preview, and performance is good.
Anderson noted the new Device Stage, BitLocker to Go, and improvements in Windows Media Player. To find out what other features Anderson likes in the next Windows, join us after the jump.
As it turns out, the number of male computer scientists far outnumber their female counterparts, putting a wrench into the plans of anyone who signed up for a Computer Science class in order to meet women - go figure! But as unsurprising as that truth may be, Ellen Spertus, an M.I.T. graduate student, was determined to find out why she sats in the minority. Spertus published her results in a 124-page page titled "Why Are There So Few Female Computer Scientists?," which was written back in 1991.
Since that time, the number of women entering the Computer Science field has decreased, despite "women having achieved broad parity with men in almost every other technical pursuit," according to The New York Times. Not only is the number declining, but The New York Times points out that many computer science departments report that less than 10 percent of the undergraduates are women. Contrast that to 25 years ago when the number was much higher, such as the 40 percent female representation at the University of Wisconsin. According to Jonathan Kane, a professor of mathematics and computer science at that same University, women were more prevalent in the computer science field over two decades ago because the male subculture of action gaming didn't yet exist.
Another theory floating around professional circles is that females are less interested in being perceived as a "nerd" or "geek," but no one knows for sure why there as been such a dramatic decline.
Have a theory of your own? Hit the jump and enlighten us.
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.
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.