Asus is here in full force at CES, showing off their vast selection of netbooks and notebooks. We darted straight to the systems that featured the most updates to existing lineups, including the 1000HE, S121, and 101H tablet. We also got our hands on Asus's newly announced W90Vp gigantic gaming laptop. 18.4 inches comes close to Dell and HP's record of 20.1 inches in their previous lap crushers, and is still too unwieldy, in our opinion. Still, we admire the effort and can't help but be awed by the alleged 15000+ 3DMark 2006 score in this "portable" beast.
With competition from Gateway and HP, affordable gaming boxes are becoming all the rage and Dell has every intention of participating. The OEM has just launched the XPS 625, a sub-$1000 desktop with a modest spec sheet.
Dell, a longtime lover of Intel, turns to AMD this time around. The affair breathes hot and heavy with AMD's Dragon platform, including configuration options of the fresh out of the oven Phenom II X4 940 Black Edition processor (3.0GHz), dual ATI Radeon HD 4850 graphics cards, up to 8GB of memory, a10K RMP hard drive (interestingly this can only be added as an "additional hard drive"), and Windows Vista 64-bit. Dell says the entire system is overclockable through AMD's performance tuning software, and as just configured, it's all going to cost a shade over $2000.
To keep things under a grand, the XPS 625's base configuration consists of an AMD Athlon X2 5600+ Black Edition processor (2.9GHz), 2GB of DDR2-800 RAM, 500GB hard drive, ATI Radeon 4670 videocard, DVD burner, and Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit.
After the thrashing Intel doled out with its Core 2 and now Core i7 platforms, one might accuse AMD of having its head in the clouds for the past couple of years. Now AMD really is looking to the cloud, but not the way you probably imagined. The struggling chip maker announced at CES a plan to shake up the "deployment, development, and delivery of HD content" by building a massively-parallel supercomputer that will give home to the "AMD Fusion Render Cloud."
"Seven out of 10 of the world’s fastest machines, including the fastest two computers on the planet, are powered by AMD hardware,” said Dirk Meyer, AMD President and CEO. "Today, AMD is pleased to announce a new kind of supercomputer unlike any other ever built. It is being designed to break the one petaFLOPS barrier, and to process a million compute threads across more than 1,000 graphics processors. We anticipate it to be the fastest graphics supercomputer ever."
AMD says its scalable graphics supercomputer will make it possible for content providers to deliver videogames, computer apps, and any other graphically intensive application through the Cloud to mobile devices with a web browser, and without sucking the battery life out of the units since both the movie and gaming chores will be rendered server-side.
Looking at the hardware, AMD says its Fusion Render Cloud will include AMD parts (duh) like the newly minted Phenom II processors, AMD 790 chipsets, and ATI Radeon 4870 GPUs.
Do you see this as being a game changer for AMD, or game over for a company with enough on its plate already? Hit the jump and sound off!
The wait’s nearly over, but it’s not going down without a fight. Today, developer Relic confirmed that Warhammer 40k: Dawn of War II, its long-awaited RTS sequel, will take back the tabletop on February 23. However, should your need to… er, what were we saying? Sorry, we got distracted by some wicked-awesome Dawn of War II screenshots and realized that we’d really like to play the game before its relea...
On January 28, Relic will finally let its armor-clad, gun-toting progeny wander outside its baby-pen for a quick open beta. Even better, those who purchased the final Dawn of War expansion, Soulstorm, can expect beta access on January 21.
The beta will give players a chance to poke and prod all four of the game’s races across five multiplayer maps. Steam and Games for Windows Live are teaming up to put on this peep show, with Steam providing the downloads and GFW the matchmaking.
So then, we’re just going to sleep for the next 456 hours, because we’re not into the whole waiting thing. You, er, probably won’t even notice.
Microsoft’s CES keynote was, as expected, light on megaton gaming news, but a somewhat small – though undeniably interesting -- gem did manage to escape from Microsoft’s warchest. Titled Kodu, this easy-to-use game-creation tool is operated with only the Xbox 360 controller. However, based on a demonstration given during the keynote, Kodu could very well relegate games like LittleBigPlanet to the musty back corner of the toy box. Said MPC’s own Will Smith upon viewing the demo:
“The kid doing the Kodu demo (Sparrow) is hardcore with the radial menus. I forget how awesome they are if they're fast enough that you can actually use them. She was using the radial menus to adjust items in her game world. These are incredibly deep radial menus, compared to other apps. This is a pretty impressive tool, and she's controlling it entirely using the Xbox controller. There are lots of little games in the world.”
According to a Microsoft press release, Kodu’s colorful vistas are “expressed in physical action-reaction terms, using basic concepts like vision, hearing and time to control your character’s behavior.” Sounds pretty wicked.
Kodu launches this spring on the Xbox Live Community Games Channel.
See the rest of Microsoft’s game-related announcements after the break.
Want to bring some law back to this lawless, DRM-overrun country? Here’s your chance. The Federal Trade Commission plans to devote an entire town hall meeting to the do’s and don’ts of DRM, and it’s asking for input from those who feel that digital rights management has been mismanaged.
“Digital rights management (DRM) refers to technologies typically used by hardware manufacturers, publishers, and copyright holders to attempt to control how consumers access and use media and entertainment content," the FTC explained on its official page. "Among other issues, the workshop will address the need to improve disclosures to consumers about DRM limitations."
Even better, making your voice heard is as simple as vandalizing a blank email page with one of your scandalous messages – though bombarding the FTC’s inbox with outraged anti-DRM hatemail probably isn’t the best idea.
"The Commission invites interested parties to submit requests to be panelists and to recommend other topics for discussion. The requests should be submitted electronically to email@example.com by January 30, 2009....The Commission will select panelists based on their expertise and on the need to represent a range of views."
Frankly, we’re all for this. No matter the meeting’s outcome, it’s a sign that people in positions of power – and not just keyboard warriors – are beginning to realize DRM’s invasive nature. At the very least, cries of DRM’s deviance will no longer ring ineffectively in the ears of companies like EA. DRM has finally hit the big time, and the big time’s hitting back.
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.
It’s the end of an era for videogame magazines. Electronic Gaming Monthly, Ziff Davis’ flagship multiplatform gaming magazine that began publication in 1989, is no more. Today, Ziff Davis announced the sale of its Game Group to Hearst Corporation, owner of the UGO network of websites. EGM, sadly, won’t be making the jump -- nor will the fan-favorite 1UP Show or any of the network's podcasts.
"We are extremely excited to join the UGO team," said Sam Kennedy, editorial director and creator of 1UP. "Relying on UGO's publishing platform will allow us to focus on what we do best -- creating great content and 'owning the conversation' among gamers through our unique, authentic and definitive voice and community."
Many of 1UP/EGM’s former employees, on the other hand, don’t share Kennedy’s excitement. Joystiq has the full list of lay-offs and departures – which they’ve aptly titled “Assessing the damage” – should you wish to get an up-close look at 1UP’s shattered remains.
Our best wishes go out to the many affected by this unexpected turn of events. Your smiling faces' monthly presence in our mailbox will be sorely missed. Even so, whatever you do next, we’re sure it’ll be amazing.
After a two-month brush with death (which may or may not have involved dueling a Balrog), Tribes 2 once again walks among us. However, the jetpack-heavy multiplayer shooter has cast aside its old, Sierra-shuttered servers in favor of a new robo-brain provided by an enigmatic group known as “TribesNext”.
Fortunately, TribesNext’s rule is a benevolent one, and Tribes 2 remains completely free – as it has been since 2004.
Whether you’re a death-frisbee spewing Tribes vet or simply think Left 4 Dead should fling you six feet into the air instead of six feet under, Tribes 2 is definitely a great game. Give the TribesNext beta a download here.
We've already spent some hands-on time with the G13 gamepad announced last month, but now Logitech has finally unveiled its full CES peripheral lineup with the rest of the new G-series family members. The popular G15 gaming keyboard has been completely revamped in a new G19 model, not only boasting more macro keys (the count is now up to 12 physical keys with 3 modes each) and customization options, but also a full color 320x240 GamePanel LCD display. Logitech also announced a brand new USB gaming headset, the G35. Dolby 7.1 surround-sound technology, noise-cancelling mic, convenient button locations, and voice-morphing software make this the first Logitech headset that we’re actually excited about. The $200 keyboard and $130 headset will be available in March, but we have some hands-on impressions and photos for you right now!