Join us as we look back at the storied history of multi-GPU cards
The Voodoo-line of graphics cards might be long gone, but their impact is still felt today. They ushered in a new era of consumer PCs with relatively powerful video cards that could power the ultra demanding games of yesteryear like Quake and Unreal. It all started with the 3Dfx Voodoo2 and has continued on with modern cards like the Titan Z and R9 295X2.
It's a rare occasion that we see a high profile new laptop release on a Sunday, but you won't hear any complaining from me. The new HP Envy 14 has officially gone up for sale as of today, and it strikes an interesting balance between style and performance. The all-aluminum chassis design clearly stole a few styling cues from the Macbook Pro family, but HP has added enough additional details to make it stand out from the crowd.
The base model carries a starting price of $1,099.99 and comes loaded with a Core i3-370M, 1GB ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5650, 4GB of RAM, and a 320GB HDD. Given that the machine also includes HDMI, mini-Display Port, and Gigabit Ethernet as standard options, it appears to be a halfway decent price/performance proposition.
Those in search of a bit more horsepower can step all the way up to a Core i7-840Q with 8GB of DDR3, but don't be surprised when the final tab shatters the $2,000 barrier. We can't give this one our official seal of approval until we get it in for testing, but if it's anything like the last Envy we reviewed, we are in for a treat.
After HP acquired high-end PC maker Voodoo, everyone expected to see a lot of their products coming out of HP. That didn’t happen. Dell has kept the Alienware brand highly visible, and they were acquired around the same time. Voodoo’s Rahul Sood has posted an update to his blog to tell everyone just what happened to the venerable maker of really expensive PCs.
According to Sood, Voodoo still exists, and the long silence was something of a transitional period to get the company completely integrated with HP. “Voodoo, as you all know, was to be integrated into the larger business units so we could take some of our ideas and products to a much larger audience,” Sood wrote in his blog.
Indeed, the HP Envy 13 and 15 are good examples of the effects Voodoo has had on HP. Sood explained that the “Voodoo DNA” branding was removed from the laptops because Voodoo didn’t technically design them, HP did. He pointed out that HPs designs have changed dramatically in the last 3 years largely because of Voodoo. The Voodoo founder said the company was changing from a manufacturer, into “something beyond”. The take away seems to be that you’ll probably see some Voodoo branding in the future, but their main goal is to advance HP products as a whole.
If the Voodoo Envy was HP's answer to Apple's Macbook Air, than the just-announced Envy 13 and 15 laptops are diect responses to Apple's Macbook Pro lineup. Sacrificing edgy styling and ridiculously-thin dimensions (seriously, who cares anymore?), the new Envys are built more for performance to meet the demands of the high-end market. These are definitely not underpowered thin-and-lights -- the 13.1-inch model packs a 1.86GHz Core 2 Duo, 3GB of DDR3 memory, and an ATI Radeon HD 4330 discrete graphics card. The 15-inch model is even more powerful. And both support an innovative battery slice add-on for prolonged use.
Read on for our full impressions of both laptops and a large gallery of hands-on photos!
When the words “gaming” and “desktop” come to mind, we often associate the words “pricey” and “unaffordable” with them. HP hopes to change that mindset with the launch of their new series of low cost gaming computers. At CES this week, HP will be showcasing not only an inexpensive line of gaming PCs but also a new line of affordable and ultra-light notebooks.
The Firebird desktops will come equipped with a Core 2 Quad, 4GB of DDR2 memory, and dual GeForce 9800 video cards. These desktops will be utilizing energy saving components, usually found in notebooks, to lower power consumption. HP claims the power usage by these desktops will not exceed 350 watts, which is impressive considering your average GeForce 9800 card can consume almost 250 watts under load on their own. With a price tag starting at $1800, consumers will be happy to know they’re saving money both at the register and on their energy bill.
The 3.8 pound HP Pavilion DV2 is said to be less than an inch thick while sporting the new AMD Neo processor, a 12.1 inch screen, 500 gigabyte hard drive, and an ATI Mobility Radeon 3410. The DV2 is said to hit stores this March with a price tag between the $600 and $800 range.
So you thought 3DFX was dead and gone? Well, you're right. The graphics company largely responsible for ushering in 3D gaming bit the dust nearly a decade ago when Nvidia devoured the company and announced it would not support 3DFX products. But that hasn't stopped others from stepping in to fill the void left by 3DFX's demise and its once mighty Voodoo videocard lineup.
For those of you still getting your old school game on, 3dfxzone.it has released new drivers covering a variety of vintage GPUs. Models supported by the SFFT 1.5 driver release include:
We don't imagine too many Voodoo owners are concerned with running Vista, but for the sake of full disclosure, the new drivers support Windows 2000/XP 32-bit and XP 64-bit.
Buyers who can't wait to unbox their swank Envy 133 notebook might find themselves taking pause for the occasion. And to ensure they do, Voodoo's Raul Sood plans to give the high-end laptop the white-glove treatment. Inside the box (which Sood likens to one you'd get from shopping at a Tiffany & Co.) the Envy will come wrapped in a microfiber polish sleeve stamped with the company's logo. Underneath, an assortment of accessories includes:
Voodoo Aura power connect with an additional removable cable (should the original fray over time)
HDMI to VGA Presentation Adapter
ESata optical drive with hideaway cable
Sood also includes a few more close-up shots of the carbon fiber Envy in his package-pimping blog, which show a pre-production engineering sample. Shipping Envys will trade the red logo for one in silver and chrome. You can order one now, and if HP Live Chat operator iCrzyMonkey isn't flinging poo, expect it to ship in August, bodacious box and all.
Label us Luddites for resisting Windows Vista, but there’s no arguing
the point that the new OS currently offers very little you can’t get
faster with Windows XP. That goes double for games, which is why we’re
baffled by HP’s decision to run Vista Ultimate on the groundbreaking
Blackbird 002 gaming rig it sent us.