Electronic Arts couldn't have predicted the unprecedented backlash from outraged gamers following Spore's release, or at least not the extent that they would take the anti-DRM crusade. Protests ran the gamut from blasting the title with thousands of negative user reviews on Amazon to not just making the game available on warez sites, but actively encouraging consumers to pirate the title. If you thought it might be awhile before SecuROM saddled another high profile release, think again.
Despite all the recent raucous, Rockstar has decided to implement the DRM scheme on GTA IV for the PC. But before you cry foul and grab the pitchforks and torches, Rockstar says its version will be much more user friendly than the one found on EA's Spore.
Hit the jump to see what makes GTA IV's DRM different than Spore's.
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.
International management consulting firm Oliver Wyman released a survey last week painting a pretty grim outlook for technology and media sales, but that didn't stop shoppers from flocking online on Black Friday. According to comScore, consumers spent $534 million online on Black Friday, November 28th, up 1 percent from last year. Total online sales were up 2 percent for the combination of Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday, beating out expectations.
"Early reports suggest that Black Friday sales in retail stores were slightly better than anticipated in this depressed retail climate, and that performance apparently extended to the online channel, which saw sales on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday combined increase 2 percent versus year ago," said comScore chairman, Gian Fulgoni. "It's probable that on Black Friday consumers responded positively to the very aggressive promotions and discounts being offered in retail stores."
Despite the 2-day sales boost, e-commerce spending for the first 28 days of November was down overall at $10.41 billion, 4 percent less than what it was in the same time frame one year ago.
Troubleshooting a dead motherboard can be enough of a pain in the backside all on its own, but once you've reached the conclusion that your board has given up the ghost, the prospect of a lengthy wait for a replacement only adds insult to injury. Asus seeks to alleviate this frustration with its new Asus Premium Service (APS) program, which offers eligible motherboard owners the option of having a replacement board cross-shipped free of charge.
"ASUS offers today’s discerning motherboard customer the widest range of choice for enthusiast platforms,” said Sales Director Timothy Lin of ASUS North America. “By combining the most stable motherboards and unique features with comprehensive customer support, we expect ASUS motherboards to remain the enthusiast’s first choice."
Initially, a pair of X58-based boards qualify for the program along with several other high end models, including the latest Republic of Gamers (ROG) mobos.The no-cost advance-RMA service is good for one year after the original purchase date and a valid credit card is required. More details can be found on Asus' APS Service Terms page.
So you thought 3DFX was dead and gone? Well, you're right. The graphics company largely responsible for ushering in 3D gaming bit the dust nearly a decade ago when Nvidia devoured the company and announced it would not support 3DFX products. But that hasn't stopped others from stepping in to fill the void left by 3DFX's demise and its once mighty Voodoo videocard lineup.
For those of you still getting your old school game on, 3dfxzone.it has released new drivers covering a variety of vintage GPUs. Models supported by the SFFT 1.5 driver release include:
We don't imagine too many Voodoo owners are concerned with running Vista, but for the sake of full disclosure, the new drivers support Windows 2000/XP 32-bit and XP 64-bit.
Microsoft and its Windows Live brand has tried everything, right down to paying users to pry market share from search juggernaut Google, but so far nothing has worked. Popular rumors have even began speculating that the Redmond based software giant may be attempting to rebrand its search service. If this turns out to be true however, will Kumo or Yahoo Live be the new brand surging out of the gate? According to The Times of London, Microsoft is in talks again with Yahoo to acquire its search business for an estimated $20 billion dollars. AOL CEO Johnathan Miller and former Fox Interactive President Ross Levinsohn are reportedly heading up the negotiations.
So far Microsoft has declined to comment on the article and certainly, there is no guarantee that even if talks are in progress, that any agreement could be reached. Presumably however, the fact that Yahoo stockholders are faced with a share price of $11.51, down from a 52 week high of $30.25 might have put them in a slightly more agreeable mood. And now that Google has backed off and Jerry Yang is stepping down as CEO, who knows what the future holds. Steve Ballmer in the past has described the prospect of a search partnership with Yahoo as “an interesting possibility” but again, it’s too early to speculate on the outcome.
Will Yahoo search really benefit Microsoft? Hit the jump and let us know what you think.
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?
One of the concerns in the transition to Core i7-based platforms was how Intel's new chips would fare with DDR3 memory exceeding 1.65V. Early reports warned that the higher voltage kits might potentially pose a risk to the processor, prompting memory makers to focus on triple-channel kits with lower voltage than their dual-channel counterparts. But voltage restrictions could become even less of a concern now that Elpida has completed its development of a 50nm process DDR3 SDRAM.
Elpida claims its new DRAM features the lowest power consumption in the industry, requiring as little as 1.2V, making them good candidates for eco-conscious server environments and data centers. The 2.5Gbps-capable chips can also operate at 1.5V and Elpida says initial applications will include high-end desktops.
Mass production of the 50nm chips is scheduled to being in Q1 2009.