If your graphics card doesn't support DirectX 10 or 10.1, don't worry about it, Microsoft has your back. The resourceful programmers at Redmond are working on a new component called WARP10 (Windows Advanced Rasterization Platform) to be included in Windows 7, which essentially ports DX10 duties to the CPU.
The upshot is that everyone will have access to DX10 eye candy even if the hardware doesn't support it. Minimum requirements for WARP10 are the same as they are for Vista - an 800MHz processor and 512MB of RAM. So if you have the hardware to run Windows 7, then in theory, you should be able to enable advanced effects regardless of your videocard.
"Our primary goal during WARP10 development was to produce a rasterizer that met or exceeded all the precision and conformance requirements of the Direct3D 10 and 10.1 specifications," writes Andy Glaister, Principal Development Lead of Microsoft Desktop and Graphics Technologies. "We wanted to do this while achieving a high level or reliability and stability. If this rasterizer was going to be used as a fallback for when hardware was not functioning, it’s important that it worked in all scenarios, configurations and different types of machines."
Hit the jump to find out how WARP10 compares to integrated graphics.
Forget about chocolate, flowers, or diamonds, because the real buying decision come Valentine's Day will be what processor to indulge in. It's no stretch to say the entire tech world will remain infatuated with Intel's Core i7 platform by the time February rolls around, but Intel won't be the only one trying to woo consumers. According to DigiTimes, motherboard manufacturers are busy preparing for a sextuplet of 45nm quad-core AM3-based CPUs from AMD in February.
Phenom II X4 710 (2.6GHz, 6MB L3 cache)
Phenom II X4 720 (2.8GHz, 6MB L3 cache)
Phenom II X4 805 (2.5GHz, 4MB L3 cache)
Phenom II X4 810 (2.6GHz, 4MB L3 cache)
Phenom II X4 910 (2.6GHz, 6MB L3 cache)
Phenom II X4 925 (2.8GHz, 6MB L3 cache)
The same sources that have been whispering sweet-somethings to DigiTimes also say that AMD will follow up it's busy February release schedule with more 45nm CPUs in April, but they won't be Phenom parts. Instead, look for Athlon-branded chips without the shared L3 cache. Additionally, the chip maker plans to release the quad-core Athlon X4 600 family and tri-core Athlon X3 family at the same time. And if you can wait until June, sources say AMD will introduce it's 45nm dual-core Athlon X2 200 series.
It’s pretty clear MSI is serious about Netbooks and updates to the platform have been coming in pretty steadily since its introduction back in July, but they aren’t done yet. According to Liliputing MSI is adding two new models to its fleet, the U110 and U115. While the U110 is more of a traditional design, the U115 promises to change things up a bit. Instead of asking customers to choose between the speed & reliability of an SSD, and the large storage capacities offered by traditional hard drives, the U115 will feature a new “hybrid storage” system. This feature will allow MSI to store the operating system on an SSD, and will augment the storage a built in hard drive.
With this approach they are hoping to appeal to a broader audience who are looking for a dependable and responsive experience on the OS side, while still satisfying the digital packrats who need a bit of extra mobile storage. The SSD’s will come in 8,16, and 32 GB capacities. And the hard drives will range from 80 to a maximum of 160 GB, currently the maximum for Windows XP on netbooks. Both new models will feature the familiar 10 inch, 1024x600 pixel display, 802.11b/g/draft-n WiFi, Bluetooth, and a 4 in 1 card reader.
Analysts have been speculating for almost a year now on the future of netbooks, and if this new category of ultra mobile PCs would ever threaten sales of their larger form factor brethren. Intel’s Vice President of sales and marketing Stu Pann has weighed in on the issue, and he states in no uncertain terms, netbooks will never replace laptops. According to Pann "If you've ever used a Netbook and used a 10-inch screen size--it's fine for an hour. It's not something you're going to use day in and day out."
Maximum PC readers have spoken out in the comments, and the forums with similar concerns, but somehow it seems a bit more shocking to hear it from Intel itself. Many have questioned the reason for Intel’s statement given that they seem to be denouncing a market for which they are almost single handed responsible for creating. Then again, Intel is pretty much free to say anything it wants given that competition from VIA is slowly fading away and AMD isn’t even interested in competing. AMD has openly criticized the form factor and has made it clear that they don’t see a future in netbooks. According to AMD netbook return rates are disproportionately high as disappointed consumers come to grips with the hype not living up to reality. So what do you think of ultra portables? Will the dual core models make a difference?
It's only a matter of time before someone comes up with a Fatal1ty brand energy drink (if it hasn't been done already), but in the meantime, Jonathan Wendel continues to have his gaming moniker marketed on more PC components, the latest being a line of power supplies by OCZ.
"These high-performance power supplies were co-developed with the expertise of Johnathan “Fatal1ty” Wendel, 12-time World champion, to meet the specific needs of fellow gamers," OCZ wrote in a press release. "OCZ Fatal1ty Professional Series PSUs feature incredible performance to power the latest graphics cards and hard drives."
The new 'co-developed' Fatal1ty power supplies will come in three configurations to start with, including a non-modular 400W, modular 550W, and non-modular 700W unit with a single +12V rail. All three power supplies are 80-plus certified and sport a red-LED 120mm fan. The 550W and 700W units also boast SLI-certification.
The PSUs are backed by 5-year (700W) and 3-year warranties (400W and 550W). No word yet on pricing or availability.
Intel and their memory-producing partner, Micron, have recently started mass-producing the first of their 34nm NAND flash memory. The smaller chips allow the two companies behind them to make single chip layers with 4GB of storage. This paves the way for two layer stacks that can hold as many as 64GB.
This new and improved flash memory is currently being aimed at portable electronics such as cell phones or MP3 players. What’s even better, is the possibility of a substantial increase in size of solid-state drives! And it shouldn’t be too far off, either. Thanks to their speedy manufacturing they’re currently looking to implement the first wave of chips in early 2009.
It’s expected that one of the first companies to take advantage of the tiny chips is Apple, who has been stuck at a 32GB storage ceiling on the popular iPhone and iPod touch.
It’s hard to believe in the iTunes era of blink-and-you-miss-them CD rips, but in the mid-90s, ripping a CD was a time-consuming process, fraught with peril. Ripping a single disc to 128kbps MP3 could take 8 hours on a 200MHz Pentium! Fast forward a decade, with faster hardware and better software and CD ripping is so mainstream your mom does it.
Ripping DVDs and transcoding the video stored within into more efficient formats involves an order of magnitude more scary math than ripping audio CDs. A machine that will rip the latest Miley Cyrus CD in moments could take hours to extract and convert your copy of AVP to an iPod-friendly format. However, with the right software, a quad-core equipped PC, and a little know-how, you can cut your disc rip time from hours to 20 or 30 minutes. There are still plenty of tricks and traps for first-time rippers, but we’ll show you the basics, then walk you through the secrets of ripping power users everywhere.
However, the first thing you need to decide is simple: what player are you ripping your discs for? Are you ripping for a portable player, like the PSP or iPhone? Would you rather stream to device in your living room, like the Xbox 360, PS3, or Popcorn Hour? Are you simply interested in making an archival-quality DVD rips, in case you lose your collection? More likely, you’re probably looking for a combination of all three of these things. We’ll show you how to rip your DVD to a file suitable for streaming that consumes a fraction of the disk space of a DVD but maintains full video and audio quality. Then you can take that file, and convert it for whatever other devices you might have, like a PSP or an iPod. For the purposes of this story, we're going to focus on DVD rips. Getting ahold of unencrypted high-defintion video legally is still pretty tricky. We'll update with Blu-ray ripping info as ripping Blu-ray gets easier.
“Personal” and “supercomputer” aren’t words that would usually appear side by side, unless you’re a mastermind at Nvidia. With the announcement of their latest machine, the Tesla Personal Supercomputer, they’re looking to bring what was normally thought of as gigantic, to the small time.
The Tesla only costs 1/100th of what a normal supercomputer cluster would cost, and only takes up a small fraction of the space. Thanks to heterogeneous computing, the process of CPUs acting in tandem with GPUs, it all fits right into a desktop form factor.
It’s reported that the Tesla is based off of Nvidia’s CUDA architecture, making it possible for the system to be programmed in the C language. 960 cores can be working side by side inside the system, and it’s claimed that these systems are already in use at MIT, Cambridge and other environments.
How much will your own personal supercomputer run you? An admittedly reasonable 10 large. Hey, 960 cores is a bargain at that rate.
Just this week Asus announced their brand new Eee Top desktop computer, which is meant to directly complete with Apple’s juggernaut, the iMac.
The Eee Top is a fancy take on desktop computing, that features a 15.6-inch touch screen, 1.6GHz Intel Atom CPU, 1GB DDR RAM, a 160GB 5,400RPM hard drive (boo!), a 1.3-megapixel webcam, and built-in WiFi. The price point is set at about $580 USD, but sadly the machine is only available in Taiwan. The rest of us will have to wait!
Though, the wait will be worthwhile, because if 15.6 inches sounds like it’ll be to small for you, Asus has a 20 and 22-inch version slated for release in June.
Zombies. The best weapons to use against them. Where to hide from them. Is zombie middle management a good career path? We tackle these important isues--and all the latest tech news!--in this week's podcast. Join the podcast gang as we answer your tech questions, take a trip to the Lab, and get another dose of Gordon Mah Ung's Rant of the Week!
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