The crisp chill of fall brings change to the seasons and a never ending string of corporate rebranding. AMD is next on the block and rumored to be revising its product roadmap to increase the indentifying model numbers on its upcoming processors from four to five digits. The Phenom X3 and X4 branding will remain, but according to industry sources quoted by Tom’s Hardware, this will also change the AMD product roadmap in some interesting ways. It appears as though AMD is planning to release the Phenom 20550 and 20350 at 3.0 and 2.8 GHZ respectively with a DDR2 memory controller and will be backwards compatible with socket AM2+. This will give users of the previous platform another upgrade path before being forced to replace both motherboard and RAM. Both processors are expected to make a Q4 2008 release but have yet to be confirmed by AMD. All other upcoming processors will likely require DDR3 memory and the new socket AM3.
Do you know the difference between a 9800 GTX and GTX+? How about an 8800 GTS 1st and 2nd generation? Well if you’re confused don’t worry, your not alone. Now finally after many years of dazzling and confusing customers, Nvidia is looking to make some permanent changes to help deal with the dizzying array of identifiers. The company is hoping that by years end it will have better control over card’s surnames in an attempt to give users a clear idea of the performance they can expect. Using this approach the GTX term would be reserved for the highest-end gaming cards with GS and GT being reserved for mainstream boards. Last but not least, gamers on a budget will be able to choose from a clearly labeled G series. This is clearly a follow up to the Radeon’s addition of the HD line and with any luck will help users figure out what kind of performance they can expect from a given card without scouring the web for comparisons. Rumor has it the 9400 GT will also be rebranded as the G100, and the 9500 GT through 9800 GT will become the GT120 to GT150 series.
I think you’ll agree these changes are long overdue.
There’s no secret that GPUs have some extreme muscle behind them, and a team of researchers at Michigan Technological University are harnessing this power to better understand the most complicated of real-life systems.
The project, lead by Roshan D’Souza is supercharging agent-based modeling, a powerful and computationally massive forecasting technique, with the goal of modeling complex biological systems such as the human immune response to the tuberculosis bacterium.
Mikola Lysenko, the computer science student that wrote the software demonstrated the ability of the program. A demo showing an impressive swarm of bright green immune cells surrounding and containing yellow tuberculosis bacterium was the product of millions of real-time calculations. D’Souza claims “I've been asked if we ran this on a supercomputer or if it's a movie.”
D’Souza’s only real concern is being able to do more with the technology, “We can do it much bigger,” he says. He hopes to model how a tuberculosis bacterium infection could spread from the lung to a patient’s lymphatic system, blood and vital organs.
Agent-based modeling is something that will be used to revolutionize medical research. Dr. Gary An, a surgeon specializing in trauma and critical care at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine is pioneering its use. He’s doing so by modeling another matter of life and death, sepsis. These infections, which consist of billions of agents (including cells and bacteria), have had too complex of a model to map – until now.
While admittedly most of us will need our own supercomputer to decipher the medical jargon used to simply describe the actions of the GPU powered agent-based modeling, there’s no doubt that the results will be astonishing. And it appears that they’re not the only ones taking advantage of this supreme power.
According to a recent study conducted at the University of Leigh in Bethlehem, PA, chances are good that if you email, you’re a liar. The study, which involved 48 MBA students, consisted of giving them $89 to divide between themselves and an unknown party. Their only means of communication allowed were either email or pen-and-paper.
The study found that the students that communicated using email lied about the amount of money they had to split a whopping 92% of the time. On average the emailers gave only $29 and reported only a $56 pot. Those using pen and paper scored a bit better, but not by much. They lied only 64% of the time.
Those conducting the test say “There is a growing concern in the workplace over e-mail communications, and it comes down to trust. You're not afforded the luxury of seeing non-verbal and behavioral cues over e-mail. And in an organizational context, that leaves a lot of room for misinterpretation and, as we saw in our study, intentional deception.”
Another similar test was conducted with 69 full-time MBA students. This test showed results that the more familiar those emailing with each other are, the less deceptive the lies. “But they would still lie, regardless of how well they identified with each other,” the study said
It looks like Hulu’s reign as the undisputed king of high quality online video is about to come to an end, as Universal Music Group is planning to launch a “Hulu-like” video portal. UMG’s project would offer professionally produced music videos from artists such as The Killers, Mariah Carey, Kanye West and Amy Winehouse as well as original programming.
Doug Morris, chairman and CEO of Universal is leading the charge for this new service, which has the potential to generate more revenue from music videos and offer artists a new and polished platform to show off their talents. Right now, YouTube is the leading site to view music videos online, since all four of the major labels (Warner Music Group, EMI, Sony BMG and Universal Music Group) have licensed content to the site.
The issues that still remain with YouTube are that they only see ad revenue from 3 percent of their videos, whereas Hulu is able to get ad revenue from 100 percent of their videos. This is because advertisers are more likely to put their advertising dollars into a brand that is well established, instead of user-generated content.
It should be mentioned that UMG will soon be talking with YouTube about renewing its licenses to display their content, since their current deal is up at the end of the year. However, we don't anticipate UMG pulling out of Youtube since they are reportedly happy with the promotional benefits provided to them by YouTube.
So who knows? Perhaps all of this is idle talk, or it is a legitimate venture in the works. Chances are good that we’ll find out more about this once the renewal talks have taken place.
California residents are already banned from holding cell phones while driving, and starting January 1, 2009, sunny state motorists will officially be disallowed to text message while driving. A first violation will result in a $20 fine, with each subsequent offense costing $50.
"Banning electronic text messaging while driving will keep drivers' hands on the wheel and their eyes on the road, making our roadways a safer place for all Californians," said California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
It remains to be seen how much effect the new ban will have on text messaging motorists, but it should come as no surprise if a high number tickets get written. According to Tom Marshall, a spokesman for the California Highway Patrol, there have already been 19,753 citations issued for holding cell phones since the law went into effect on July 1, 2008, less than three months ago.
Earlier this week, it came to light that Diamond Multimedia had shipped some defective videocards, and one rumor estimated the number of bad parts might be as high as 20,000, but Diamond Multimedia claims that number is greatly exaggerated. In fact, Bruce Zaman, a spokesman for Diamond Multimedia, said that only 188 videocards based on ATI's Radeon 3800 series were found to be faulty, and that the problem, which stemmed from inappropriate resistors, has been resolved.
So where did the estimate of 20,000 bad parts come from? Diamond Multimedia claims it was the result of false information being spread by one of its former employees who became intent on creating bad publicity for the company, and that the ex-employee in question was a former engineer among those responsible for the bad parts to begin with.
“The source of this article, after agreeing in writing and verbally to not denigrate their employment with Diamond or divulge any company data or proprietary information such as sources, customers and internal procedures did exactly that,” Mr. Zaman stated."
Whatever the real number of bad parts, it appears Alienware has jumped ship for good. This too holds a conspiracy theory twist, as Zaman claims Alienware's decision to end its relationship was because the company received "tainted data from [its] engineer," and that Alienware was further put off by the time it took the engineer to fix the problem.
Has there ever been a better time than right now to be a PC enthusiast? Due to oversupply, RAM remains dirt cheap, and pricing wars between Nvidia and ATI in the graphics sector, and Intel and AMD on the processor front have made it so you can build a killer rig on a manageable budget. Could motherboards be next?
If there is to be a price war among motherboard vendors, you can count Gigabyte out of the battle. Richard Ma, VP of Gigabyte, says his company has no plans to cut motherboard pricing in response Asus' recent adjustments, fearing that such a move would force Asus' hand to lower prices even more. Instead, Ma says his company's strategy will be to focus on improving quality, an area he claims is of primary concern to those who purchase mid-range and high-end motherboards.
Motherboard shipments, while still meeting Gigabyte's goal of 20 million units, haven't met the company's expectations the past two months, in part because of the new price competition. However, September sales have been kinder to Gigabyte, and Ma expects October and November to be even better with Core i7 CPUs and the X58 chipset on the horizon.
Is Gigabyte making a mistake by not dropping prices? Hit the jump and let us know.
A year ago most of us were bracing for a long, drawn out battle between Blu-ray and HD-DVD, but we all know how that turned out. What we don't know, at least not yet, is what impact digital distribution will have as the nation's broadband continues to improve. Michael Bay, the man who directed Transformers and then voiced his outrage over Paramount's decision to abandon Blu-ray, claimed in late 2007 that Microsoft wanted both formats to fail, and was even actively trying to sabotage the high definition format war, all so it could reap the rewards when digital downloads take over.
Hit the jump to see why some think Blu-ray and digital downloads are both here to stay.
S3 Graphics, now a joint venture with VIA Technologies, will look to capitalize on the mini-notebook frenzy with a triple play of low wattage videocards under its Chrome 400 Ultra Low Power (ULP) mobile GPU series. The Chrome 430 ULP, 435 ULP, and 440 ULP all support DirectX 10.1, potentially making them competitive alternatives to ATI's line of GPUs. The company's ChromotionHD technology also comes as part of the package, allowing for high definition playback without stressing the CPU. S3 also says its new GPUs will process sophisticated algorithms and power control mechanisms to extend battery life.
On the lowest end, the 430 ULP sips less than 7 watts. While specifics weren't given for the two higher models, S3 claims the 435 ULP and 440 ULP will outperform competitor products by over 40 and 60 percent respectively.
S3 says its mobile graphics are available now, but didn't mention any notebook OEM customers other than Fujitsu.