At this month’s GDC AMD and Havok teamed up to show off the latest advances in their development of OpenCL, a new programming language that will allow physics processing to swap from the CPU to GPU on the fly.
The concept behind OpenCL is simple; it’s a system that will allow the load from physics processing to shift from different pieces of hardware on the fly. For example, if a gamer has a high end GPU but a slower processor, OpenCL can detect this and move a bulk (if not all) of the physics processing to the GPU, alleviating some of the stress from the CPU. And this system works vice versa, for slower GPUs but high end CPUs.
What’s even better is that OpenCL will work across all platforms. While PhysX currently only works with Nvidia GPU’s, OpenCL will work with AMD and Intel processors, as well as Nvidia and ATI GPUs. So, no more concerns about compatibility!
Sadly, at GDC the demo that was on display was only on an individual piece of hardware, the switch between CPU to GPU wasn’t shown. AMD was clear to state that their demo was only a proof-of-concept, and that the development process is still ongoing.
Nvidia is said to be eying a stake in VIA Technologies. VIA, which manufactures x86-based CPUs, is planning to sell 300 million new shares through private placement. Sources have revealed Nvidia and VIA are holding parleys. However, there is no official word on the names of those interested in buying a stake in VIA. According to Taiwanese website Digitimes, the price of the new shares will range between $0.27 and $.35. Intel has plans of invading Nvidia’s turf with its yet-to-be-released Larrabee GPU. Therefore, a stake in VIA might help Nvidia keep the scales even.
Asustek is now busy sprucing up its Eee PC range. The wafer-thin Fold/Unfold notebook, the dual touchscreen Flipbook and voice-controlled Eee PCs are some of the most innovative products on its release calender.
An optical disk drive (ODD) may be pale in comparison to all the scintillating stuff just mentioned, but it is still a big deal for netbooks to have one.
The E1004DN was showcased at CES 2009. It happens to be the first Eee netbook equipped with an ODD. Apart from the DVD drive, it will feature a 10” display, an Intel Atom N280 processor, 1GB RAM and a 120GB HDD.
Does the placement of the mouse laser matter? Japan-based Elecom seems to think so and has come up with a new mouse the company claims is "like you're holding a pen."
Dubbed the Scope Node Mouse, the new rodent places the 1600 DPI laser off-center so that it sits to left, just like the tip of a pen would sit. The beneift of doing so, says Elecom, is greater accuracy.
"The Scope Node is also characterized by its laser sensor position aligned to that of the pen tip, so that the sensor's high-resolution performance (1,600 dpi) can be accurately represented on the screen," Elecom wrote in a press release. "In short, you can use 'a PC monitor and a mouse' just like 'a piece of paper and a pen' because you can use the mouse just 'like you're holding a pen!' for writing or drawing.
Other than the off-center laser, the Scope Node retains the same general shape of a conventional mouse, albeit a bit futuristic looking. It comes with three buttons, "optimal weight balance," and a higher recognition rate than that of a conventional LED optical mouse, the company claims.
The Scope Node is available in Japan for ¥6,300, or about $64 USD.
It's been rumored that Cisco would move into making its own blade servers, and that rumor turned into a reality last week when the company accounced its Unified Computing effort. A bevy of press releases related to the effort were released by Cisco last Monday, which has the company aiming to unify components of the data center into a single footprint and cut both ownership and operating costs.
The company's new Nehalem-based blade servers have been in design and development for two years and spells bad news for HP, who Cisco has dead in its sights.
"We're going to compete with HP," said Padmasree Warrior, Cisco CTO. "I don't want to sugarcoat that. There is bound to be change in the landscape of who you compete with and who you partner with."
Cisco's blade launch includes partners like BMC, EMC, VMWare, and Microsoft.
Western Digital’s WD TV HD Media Player is missing two components commonly found in digital media players: a display and storage. What the device does have is two USB ports, HDMI and composite video outputs, digital and analog audio outputs, and the ability to play almost any digital media.
Since you provide the storage media, you can never fill up the WD TV. You plug the player into your TV and connect your USB drive or digital camera to the player; it then creates thumbnails for all the digital movies, photographs, and music it finds stored there. If you connect storage devices to both USB ports, the WD TV will index the contents of both drives as if they were one.
The device delivers much higher video resolution than most media players, all the way from 480i using the composite video port to 1080p using HDMI (576p, 720i, 720p, and 1080i are also supported via HDMI). The WD TV supports a host of video formats, codecs, and containers, including AVI, H.264, QuickTime, VOB, and Matroska. It does not, however, support DivX.
Palit Microsystems, who makes and markets both ATI- and Nvidia-based videocards, is rumored to be leaving the US market. With headquarters located in Hong Kong, factories in China, and branch offices located in Germany and Taipei, the videocard partner apparently has been unable to duplicate its overseas success here in the US, says news and rumor site The Inquirer.
Too bad if the rumor turns out to be true, as we were hoping to see more innovative designs from Palit. Recent releases from the company include the world's first (and so far only) custom designed GeForce GTX 285 packed with 2GB of memory, two PWM fans, and four heatpipes, and a rare three-slot dual-GPU ATI Radeon HD 4870 X2 called the Revolution 700 Deluxe.
Palit was established way back in 1988 but only recently has made a stronger push into the North American market. As of this writing, no formal announcement by the company has yet been made.
AMD’s manufacturing spin-off, Globalfoundries, has started to obtain bulk 32nm process technology so that they can begin taking orders by Q4 2009/Q1 2010. Should these plans come full circle, it would allow Gobalfoundries, and AMD, to get a solid foothold in the 32nm market, making them competitive with United Microelectronics and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing (who are both working on 32nm processes of their own).
“Globalfoundries is entering the foundry market at the right time and with the right business model to change the landscape of the industry. More importantly, we’re entering the industry with the right mindset and resources. Our investments in leading edge technology and in supporting infrastructure will ensure the success of our customers,” said Jim Kupec, Vice President of Sales and Marketing.
The first out the door with a 2TB hard drive, Western Digital takes the next logical step and also becomes the first to offer a 2TB single-drive external storage solution by upgrading its My Book line.
"The popularity among consumers of high-definition video cameras, digital photography and digital music downloads means that users are filling up their computers with massive amounts of digital content as fast as they can click 'save.' As the volume and value of users digital content grows, backing up data on multiple CDs or DVDs becomes time consuming and inconvenient. At the same time, consumers are realizing the monetary and emotional value of content and need to back up their most important files. The My Book family, with its massive 2 TB capacity allows users to backup all their data in one easy step and keep it in one easily accessible place," said Jim Welsh, senior vice president and general manager of WD's branded products and consumer electronics groups.
The 2TB capacity is available in WD's full line of My Books, including the My Book Studio Edition, My Book Home Edition, My Book Essential Edition, and My Book Mac Edition. Features, depending on model, include eSATA (Studio and Mac), Firewire 400/800 (Studio and Mac), Firewire 400 (Home), and USB 2.0 (all My Books). All models also come with a Kensington Security Slot, small footprint, and SmartPower features.
Pricing for the new 2TB My Books range from $330 to $380.
Maybe looking to steal a bit of thunder from Nvidia's upcoming GeForce GTX 275 release, there's a chance AMD will release its ATI HD 4890 on April 2nd, a week ahead of schedule, says VR-Zone. The reviews and news outlet doesn't cite any sources, but did say that both Asus and Gigabyte have already begun selling the HD 4980 in Taiwan and Hong Kong for HK$2,280 (US$297) and HK$1,999 (US$258), respectively.
As previously reported, reference specs for the RV790-based HD 4890 include 1GB of GDDR5 memory running at 3,900MHz and a core clockspeed of 850MHz. No official release date (that we know of) has been given, but if AMD does introduce the new card on April 2nd, it will have beat Nvidia to the punch by a full week if Nvidia sticks to its April 9 release date for its upcoming GeForce GTX 275. A likely scenario if, as VR-Zone claims, "their GTX 275 isn't ready yet and the clocks aren't even finalized."