If you've been thinking about upgrading to Nvidia's GeForce GTX 260 videocard, you may want to hold off for a few weeks. According to Chinese site Expreview, Nvidia will release a new 55nm-based GTX 260 along with a 55nm GTX 295 (GTX 260 GX2) in January 2009. And if history tells us anything, Nvidia tends to do well with core revisions (G92-based 8800GT, for example). Expreview posted several pics of the revised GTX 260, which it claims were sent in from Zotac.
In addition to a die shrink, the new GTX 260, or at least Zotac's version, looks to be built with a 10-layer PCB design rather than 14 layers as found on current GTX 260/280 videocards, Expreview says. The new revision also upgrades its 3+2 phase power modules to 4+2 phase.
Other specs look to remain the same, such as the number of stream processors (216) and core and memory frequencies. This means you might not see a leap in stock performance, but in theory, the power consumption, heat output, and overclocking potential should all be improved.
No word yet on projected pricing, which could either sweeten or spoil the whole deal.
In case you haven't noticed, multi-core processing has taken hold and the race is on to cram more cores onto a single die. But assuming developers can keep up, at some point, chip manufacturers are going to have address a potential major problem that could make adding more cores a useless endeavor. More specifically, a "memory wall" looms large in the not too distant future that, as Jon Stokes from ArsTechnica puts it, could make more than 16 cores pointless.
The problem stems from memory bandwidth not being able to keep pace with faster processors, whether those speed bumps come from a faster frequency or more cores. Put simply, memory is creating a bottleneck and can't feed the processor fast enough, a problem that has existed for some time. Intel and AMD have been able to mask the problem by adding more cache, but doing so doesn't overcome the memory wall, which looks poised to really rear its ugly head as more cores are piled on to new chip packages.
"Engineers at Sandia National Laboratories, in New Mexico, have simulated future high-performance computers containing the 8-core, 16‑core, and 32-core microprocessors that chip makers say are the future of the industry," writes Samuel K. Moore at IEEE Spectrum Online. "The results are distressing. Because of limited memory bandwidth and memory-management schemes that are poorly suited to supercomputers, the performance of these machines would level off or even decline with more cores."
Hit the jump to find out what solutions are being proposed.
Advertising Age (via Cnet) reports that Microsoft and rapper Common are teaming up with ad agency Crispin Porter & Bogusky to put classic Microsoft imagery from the '80s and modern remixes on T-shirts. Yes, the line will be called "Softwear by Microsoft."
The first two designs unveiled bring back memories of MS-DOS (if you've forgotten all the DOS you ever learned, be sure to see our 50 Skills Every Real Geek Should Have article for a refresher) and the days when MicroSoft was two words. You can see more designs, including Common's remixes, at the Softwear by Microsoft website.
So, how about it, Redmond fanboys (and fangirls)? Are you going to embrace your roots, or do these designs make you hit your reset button? Join us after the jump for your chance to sound off.
Wikipedia clearly is among the most innocuous websites and one can not imagine it being blocked by a child pornography filtering mechanism. However, the improbable has just occurred in the UK. The whole problem began when an image of a Scorpions album prompted Internet Watch Foundation’s Cleanfeed child pornography filtering system - used by many of the leading UK ISPs - to block the particular page.
Consequently, all traffic to Wikipedia from ISPs that deploy Cleanfeed beagn to be routed through transparent proxies – one proxy per ISP. Even if a single user is barred from editing by Wikipedia’s anti-vandalism system, all other users using the same proxy suffer exactly in the same fashion as most UK-based Wikipedia users are sharing a handful of IP addresses.
You can track the problem as it unfolds on this Wikipedia page dedicated to it. The IWF has stated on its website that the particular page was reported through its online reporting mechanism. After it was found unsuitable for minors, the page was “added to the list provided to ISPs and other companies in the online sector to protect their customers from inadvertent exposure to a potentially illegal indecent image of a child.”
Google has delivered its riposte to Precursor LLC, which accused the search giant of using 21 times more internet bandwidth than it pays for in its maiden research study of U.S. Consumer Internet Usage and Cost. Richard Whitt, Google’s Washington Telecom Counsel derided Scott Cleland, the author of Precursor’s contentious report, for what it calls “payola punditry.”
He questioned the neutrality of the report given the fact Cleland’s anti-Net neutrality group – effectively against Google - is funded by telecom and cable companies. He expressly made it clear that he believes that the report was at the behest of Cleland’s paymasters.
Whitt even hung a question mark against the accuracy of the calculations upon which Cleland based his diatribe against the search giant. "Mr. Cleland's calculations about YouTube's impact are similarly flawed. Here he confuses "market share" with 'traffic share.' YouTube's share of video traffic is decidedly smaller than its market share. And typical YouTube traffic takes up far less bandwidth than downloading or streaming a movie."
But Cleland is standing his ground. He described the report as a “transparent attempt to estimate something of significance.”
The holidays are shaping up to be happy for gamers on a mainstream budget. According to X-Bit Labs, AMD said it had reduced the price of its ATI Radeon HD 4870 videocard and that at least one online vendor will be selling the 512MB model for $199.
"The price of the ATI Radeon HD 4870 is dropping and we expect that the 512MB and 1GB boards should be available on Newegg today for around $199 and $239 respectively, offering an even more compelling value," a spokesperson for ATI/AMD said.
A cursory glance on Newegg backs the spokesperson's claim (not that we ever doubted him) with two 512MB models -- Sapphire and HIS -- already marked down to the promised price point, and even less if you want to try your hand at the mail-in-rebate game. The 1GB models haven't yet dropped quite as low, not before MIR anyway (we were right to be skeptical).
This year has been a good one for PC gamers as AMD and Nvidia have repeatedly cut prices and taken other measures, such as die shrinks (Nvidia) and giving graphics partners the green light to overclock (AMD), to try and one up each other.
Late last week Team Group launched 3GB (3x1GB) and 6GB (3x2GB) capacity kits in DDR3-1333, DDR3-1600, and DDR3-1866 form. Team Group wasn't the first to offer tri-channel memory kits for Intel's new Core i7 platform, but for the time being, the company is claiming it has the "market-fastest" modules around
DDR3-1333, 7-7-7-21-2T, 1.5V-1.6V
DDR3-1600, 8-8-8-24-2T, 1.65V
DDR3-1866, 9-9-9-24-2T, 1.65V
It's worth noting that at least one other memory company offers tri-channel memory rated at DDR3-1866. Corsair's high frequency kit lists the same latency timings and voltage requirement as Team Group's does, but this doesn't necessarily contradict the company's 'market-fastest' claim. Team Group's Xtreem DDR3-1866 memory does qualify as the highest frequency kits yet available, they're just not alone at the top.
Team Group, a company not as widely known in casual circles as some of the more commonly marketed brands, often targets the overclocking crowd. The company touts an extensive binning process on its high performance RAM, requiring that all modules pass a 24-hour burn-in test on "major overclocking motherboards from Asus and Gigabyte."
So much for boasting the 'market-fastest' tri-channel kit. That distinction belongs to Kingston, who's tri-channel DDR3-2000 kit was released on October 29, 2008.
Nvidia's nZone website has posted download links to new beta videocard drivers, version 180.84, for both Vista and XP. Little information has been given about the new drivers, other than that they're intended to improve gameplay with Rockstar's new Grand Theft Auto IV videogame.
"Nvidia recommends that you update your system with the following GeForce v180.84 driver for the best experiences on Grand Theft Auto IV," nZone writes.
Users who have installed and played GTA IV on the PC have complained of varying issues, including missing textures and intermittent crashes. GTA IV's support page lists several troubleshooting steps, one of which recommends users download the newest drivers with a link to the nZone page containing the beta release. However, no specific bug fixes or performance issues have been identified with the new drivers, so it might be hard to tell what difference they're making.
As always, take proper precautions whenever experimenting with pre-release code. As Nvidia discloses regarding beta drivers, they "may include significant issues." When you're ready to take the leap:
Last week several Xbox 360 and Roku set-top box owners complained of loss of quality and irritating delays when firing up a movie through Netflix's streaming download service. At the time, the glitch had Netflix stumped, but now it appears Netflix has identified the problem and fixed whatever was causing the issue.
"This was a temporary issue that we believe we have resolved," Netflix wrote on its blog site. "Working with our content distribution partners and key carriers, we made some specific changes that should restore everyone's experience to where it was before - high quality streaming."
However, there might still be work to do. Netflix posted its update on Friday, December 5th, but users throughout the weekend were still reporting lingering issues in the comments section.
Respected Open Source advocate, and CEO of Collaborative Software Stuart Cohen warns that the business model behind open source software companies is broken. And that the nature of these businesses will need to evolve in order to survive. In his article he explains how the traditional model in which companies would freely offer software, and make a living off the support is coming to an end. An end which is likely to be accelerated by the economic slowdown. He cautions open source designers to view the software as more of a means to an end.
As part of his argument, he claims the real value of open source software companies will come from those who can find ways to add value with supporting add-ons and applications. He uses Red Hat as an example of a company that adds significant value to the Linux kernel, and couldn’t survive on support alone. “Open-Soure code is generally great code, not requiring much support”. According to Cohen the true power of the open source community will be realized through the spirit of collaboration. “While the open-source business model may be broken, the concepts behind open source will continue to bring new value to customers and strong returns to software company stakeholders”.
So do you think the harsh economic climate will hurt or inspire the open source community? Hit the jump and let us know what you think.