On the desktop front, quad-core processors continue to drop in price and it might not be long before dual-core chips get cast aside in the same manner single-core CPUs have been. But in the mobile world, it's another story. Dual-core computing is still where it's at and that doesn't appear to be changing in the next few months.
Citing un-named sources among mother makers, DigiTimes says Intel plans to launch five low wattage processors intended for notebooks on December 28, and only one of them is a quad-core chip. Intel's Core 2 Duo T9800 (2.93GHz, 6MB, 35W) , P9600 (2.66GHz, 6MB, 25W), T9550 (2.66GHz, 6MB, 35W), and T8700 (2.53GHz, 3MB, 25W) are set to debut to at $530, $348, $316, and $241 respectively in thousand-unit trays. Intel will also release a Core 2 Quad Q9000 (2GHz, 6MB, 45W) for $348 (also in thousand-unit trays).
At least one other processor will see a price reduction as a result of the new chips. The P8600 - Intel's current flagship Core 2 Duo CPU - will drop from $241 to $209 in January of 2009.
Nvidia's latest videocard release takes aim at the graphics professional rather than the hardcore gamer with its new Quadro CX GPU. The new card comes just in time for those planning on jumping onto Adobe's Creative Suite 4, as the Quadro CX has been designed with the suite in mind, which Nvidia claims will give uses the "ability to create rich, stunning content in a faster, smoother, and more interactive way."
The Quadro CX comes with 1.5GB of GDDR3 memory on a 384-bit memory interface capable of 76.8GB/sec of memory bandwidth. Dual Link DVI comes standard, as well as support for OpenGL 2.1, Shader Model 4.0, and DirectX 10.
The customized GPU allows Photoshop CS4 to offload real-time image rotation, zooming, and panning, as well as instantaneous view changes. But such goodies won't come cheap. MSRP has been set to $2000. Ouch!
If you're a game publisher, what do you do when one of your most anticipated titles sparks an internet backlash over its DRM scheme resulting in thousands of Amazon user 'reviews' contributing to an abysmal 1.5 star rating with mostly vile comments, a cracked copy being made available since day 1, and encouragement from some to pirate the game as a form of protest? If you're EA, you rub salt in the wound while it's still fresh.
During an Q&A session at the Dow Jones/Nielson Media and Money Conference, EA Games CEO John Riccitiello downplayed all of the above with claims that the majority of gamers aren't bothered by DRM.
"We implemented a form of DRM and it's something that 99.8 percent of users wouldn't notice," Riccitiello said. "But for the other 0.2 percent, it became an issue and a number of them launched a cabal online to protest against it."
To be fair, EA didn't cast a completely deaf ear to the outcries and increased the number of allowable activations from three to five PCs. But that makes it all the more curious why Riccitiello would seemingly taunt gamers after throwing them bone.
Do you agree with Riccitiello in that the majority of gamers wouldn't have noticed the DRM scheme had a minority not protested so loudly, or do you view this as a slap in face? Hit the jump and sound off.
A new version of Google's Chrome browser is being made available, and as the release notes indicate in all caps, the update is intended for the "Dev channel ONLY." We're not sure if that means plain folk can expect their PCs to spontaneously combust by running the updated browser, but until Chrome gets groomed with extension support, we suspect most people won't bother to find out.
The new update puts a heavy focus on plugins, not the least of which includes addressing an issue where using Flash plugins could lock up the Chrome browser and shoot CPU usage up to 100 percent. The new version also fixes plugins not playing when embedded in a third-party frame on a page, and improves support for pages with multiple plugins playing video.
Several other changes have been made, such as adding a command line switch to start the browser in incognito mode, fixing a problem with videos stopping after 1 second, adding better support for Windows Media player, and a whole bunch more.
What would you like to see Google focus on with its Chrome browser? Hit the jump and let us know.
If you develop a red or itchy rash on the side of your face that affects your cheek or ear, you may suffer from a skin allergy being called "mobile phone dermatitis," according to the British Association of Dermatologists. Unlike the brain cancer debate that typically occupies cellphone studies, the allergic reaction is based on extended physical contact with nickel surfaces.
"It is worth doctors bearing this condition in mind if they see a patient with a rash on the cheek or ear that cannot otherwise be explained," the study said.
While cellphones often come under scrutiny for various safety issues, doctors may finally have a warning worth heeding. According to the May Clinic, nickel is one of the most common causes of allergic contact dermatitis and can be found not only on mobile phones, but things like jewelry and belt buckles. Frequent texters are not immune either, as the study points out that, in theory, a rash could develop on the fingers if too much time is spent on mashing metal buttons.
Nvidia this week has released new WHQL videocard drivers - version 178.24 - applicable for GeForce 6-, 7-, 8-, 9-, and 200-series owners. The 85MB download sports a number of improvements, including PhysX acceleration on all GeForce 8-, 9-, and 200 series GPUs with at least 256MB of graphics memory. Intel X5400XS motherboard owners can now run up to 3-way SLI with the new driver package.
Gaming looks to get a sizable boost with the new drivers as well. Nvidia claims both Call of Duty 4 and Bioshock (DX10) will see a 15 percent gain by running 178.24, while Assassin's Creed (DX10) will get an 11 percent bump on a single card setup. For those sporting 2-way SLI, World in Conflict (DX10), Enemy Territory: Quake Wars, and company of Heroes: Opposing Fronts (DX10) are said to run at least 10 percent faster.
EA has certainly taken a turn for the less-reviled as of late -- a sudden change that can be attributed to risk-taking, trouble-making CEO John Riccitiello. However, even creative greats like Picasso, De Vinci, and Batman were only human, and all humans have breaking points. For Riccitiello, that point was seemingly first-person run 'n' rebel Mirror's Edge.
"I was totally convinced that game needed to be third-person and not first-person, because I wanted to see Faith," Riccitiello said.
“I was really wrong about the third-person thing,” he continued, citing the highly anticipated title's finished form.
But even with titles like Mirror's Edge under his belt, Riccitiello's heart is clad in a business suit, and some "creative risks" -- like Tim Schafer-Jack Black collaboration Brutal Legend -- give him palpitations (the bad kind; not the blood-pumping, required-to-survive kind).
"I have seen it," Riccitiello replied when asked if EA has considered publishing Brutal Legend. "I am well aware of what the game is. It’s a very significant creative risk."
"Sometimes significant creative risks end up being some of the world’s best products. Spore was also a significant creative risk. So was The Sims. Portal, BioShock. But so was [the relatively poor-selling, high quality Tim Schafer title] Grim Fandango."
Well, that was quick. Speaking with GamesIndustry.biz, Blizzard COO Paul Sams claimed that Warhammer Online was no 18-hour raid boss. The battle's over, and the spoils of waaaagh clutter Blizzard's side of the field.
"The good news is that we've seen a significant number of people, well over half, that cited Warhammer as their reason for leaving - they've already returned," Sams said over the deafening roars of BlizzCon.
But, regardless of whether the game's a direct competitor or merely Led Zep to Blizzard's Beatles, Sams handed out Warhammer Online's participation ribbon with an air of humility -- hedging his bets on the MMO's future success.
"I think Warhammer is best positioned to succeed out of the various products that have come out thus far since World of Warcraft has come out. It seems to be a good game, certainly a great company, Mythic and Mark [Jacobs] over there and his team, they're very, very talented," he explained.
"But I think without EA they would have struggled as well, because EA fortunately for them has a lot of money and so they were able to put forward a lot of marketing dollars and were able to support the huge infrastructure that they require for these kinds of games. It's a tough road and as I said, if we had not had the benefits of the trust of our customers because of the years of delivering for them, I think that we could have been in trouble a few times. There have been big challenges and mistakes that we've made and we've been fortunate enough to get by them."
So MPC readers, who's pocketing your subscription money at the end of each month? WoW or WAR?
Dell has infused fresh life into its swanky Studio 15 notebooks. It has begun shipping Studio 15 notebooks with Intel Centrino 2 technology. The Studio 15 notebooks will be slightly more power-efficient with the introduction of the Centrino 2 platform. The basic Studio 15 model features a 2.20 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 4GB of DDR2 memory, a 320 GB 5400 RPM HDD, a ATI Mobility Radeon 3450 graphics card, a DVD burner, 802.11a/n, finger print reader and Windows Vista Home Premium. The refreshed Studio 15 range begins at $999, which is reasonable considering the fact it occupies the middle ground between ultra-portables and high-end notebooks.
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer touched upon virtually all the major issues concerning MS – from Windows 7 to Yahoo - at the Gartner Symposium ITxpo in Orlando. Unsurprisingly, he was confronted by many questions regarding Vista and Windows 7.He ardently defended Windows Vista. “The adoption rate of Vista is two times faster than XP at two years in,” Ballmer said in Vista’s defense.
However, he tacitly gave the thumbs up to enterprises that have abandoned all plans of upgrading to Vista and are already waiting for Windows 7. Regarding the possibility of a deal with Yahoo, he said that a deal would make sense for the shareholders of both the companies. The price of Yahoo’s shares shot up by 17% after Ballmer’s comment.
Ballmer believes that Google Apps has “very primitive” capabilities. He further derided Google Apps by not even acknowledging it as serious competition.