If you haven't heard, ATI's HD 4870 kicks some serious gaming ass. Nvidia's received the message loud and clear, so the company's gone back to the drawing board and now plans to release a revised version of its GTX 260 videocard. The tweaked GTX 260 pushes the number of stream shaders from 192 up to 216, expected to result in a 5-10 percent performance increase. To prevent confusion in the market place with existing GTX 260s, speculation suggests the new card may carry a 'Gold' moniker.
This isn't the first time in recent memory that Nvidia has revised an existing SKU, with the company earlier this summer shrinking the 9800 GTX's core from 65nm to 55nm and boosting clockspeeds, which resulted in the 9800 GTX+. But this time around, DigiTimes reports graphics card makers are voicing concerns that the Gold release will leave them with an oversupply of original GTX 260 cards that no one wants. Whether those fears prove founded or not depends on how Nvidia plans to price the new release, which so far has not yet been announced.
The job of a whistleblower is a dangerous one, and Robert Delaware has paid the price for speaking out against Microsoft. The contracted game tester had worked closely with the Xbox line, and particularly Bungie Studios since early 2005. For those who haven’t been following the story, Delaware’s testimonial was the basis for an article that made headlines last week regarding Xbox 360 hardware failures at launch. In the VentureBeat article, Delaware detailed the known quality issues with the 360 and that management ignored multiple warnings in order to gain an advantage over the not yet released Playstation 3. Legally Microsoft was within its rights to fire Delaware for his unauthorized interview, but he remains defiant. Delaware claims to have been aware of the possible ramifications but was willing to take the risk. Upon termination Delaware was also warned by an HR representative that he faces possible lawsuits from both Microsoft and the company who contracted him out. The Interview conducted by VentureBeat’s Dean Takahashi remains unconfirmed by Microsoft and in response had only this to say: "This topic has already been covered extensively in the media. This new story repeats old information, and contains rumors and innuendo from anonymous sources, attempting to create a new sensational angle, and is highly irresponsible.”
Did Robert Delaware do the right thing? Or was he just looking for publicity?
Even though many managers find the sly social networking habits of their employees detrimental to their organization’s output, a new survey has revealed that a considerable number of bosses screen social networking sites before hiring people. Twenty two percent of bosses value social networking profiles of job applicants as much as their résumés, a survey conducted by CareerBuilder.com revealed. The figure has shot by a 100% from 11% in 2006. And 34% of those managers that scrutinize social networking profile of candidates have the audacity to even drop candidates based on their profiles. The survey sampled the opinion of 3,169 managers. So rush to put your online house in order, your future boss might just land uninvited.
The Zune, just like every other Microsoft product is a very functional and feature rich device. Unfortunately, it simply lacks the cool factor that seems to come bundled with every iPod ever shipped. Despite the intense struggles it has faced however, it seems pretty clear at this point that Microsoft is ready to stay the course and is content to scrap it out for the number two position. At least, this is the impression Joe Belfiore gave CNET News in a tell all interview on the future of the Zune. In the interview Belfiore recants his dream of a future where media flows seamlessly from Zune to Xbox or even a Mediaroom IPTV. On the subject of a Zune phone, Belifore didn’t have much to say other “stay tuned”. It’s hard to read much into that, but clearly it’s a lucrative market that could really help push the brand forward if executed properly. For those who haven’t been following the lineup, Microsoft just recently released new Zune hardware. They include a 120 GB hard drive based player to compete with the iPod classic, and an 8 GB flash drive based device to take on the iPod Nano. Both have been priced aggressively to compete with Apple going into the holiday season and in many ways are still a better value. From the interview it also seems apparent that Microsoft will continue to push hard on the value of the Zune as a social experience. Zune owners have the option of sharing playlists with friends and can even create profiles so everyone on the web will always know your favorite songs. The interview doesn’t reveal any new information, but presumably Microsoft must be carefully looking at devices such as the iPhone and iPod Touch. Both represent products they can’t currently compete with under their current lineup.
The current sea of web browsers is awash in promises, but what makes Firefox better then Internet Explorer? And is Google’s Chrome really any faster or better at rendering web pages then Safari? Neowin.net was looking to answer this very question when it authored an excellent roundup of browser rendering engines. The report helps to break down which browsers and applications make use of each of the four most prominent technologies: Trident (Microsoft), Gecko (Mozilla), Webkit (Apple/Google), and Presto(Opera). While both Trident and Presto are both closed source projects, Gecko and Webkit remain open source and are likely to be the basis of any future browsers entering the market. It is an excellent reference for users looking to switch browsers and is a reminder that we should pay attention more to the underlying engine being used then the name of the browser itself. Market share of the various engines is a very telling indicator of general compatibility on the web. It will also help you the next time a Mac head goes on rant over how much better Safari is than Chrome. You now have the tools you need to put him in his place.
A few days ago, we reported a novel attack on Will Wright's critically acclaimed title, Spore. The game, which comes inextricably chained to a monolithic slab of DRM, provoked a sea of gamers to crash headfirst into Amazon.com's user review section. Soon, the tides receded, taking with them all but a single star from Spore's user rating. Certainly, this demonstration of gamerly ire was more meaningful than a simple Internet petition, but those brave souls have yet to receive custom apology letters from EA with realistic-looking, printed-on signatures and tear blats, so a rousing success their movement was not.
Now, Forbes sends word that indignant gamers have peeled back their kid gloves to reveal cruel hooks. Where protest failed, they hope that theft will succeed.
"By downloading this torrent, you are doing the right thing," wrote one user going by the name of "deathkitten" on the popular file-sharing site The Pirate Bay. "You are letting [Electronic Arts] know that people won't stand for their ridiculously draconian 'DRM' viruses."
"You have the power to make this the most pirated game ever, to give corporate bastards a virtual punch in the face," deathkitten added.
In addition, the most-downloaded Spore tracker brings with it "step-by-step instructions for how to disassemble the copy protections, along with a set of numerical keys for breaking the software's encryption."
And it's not just embittered hyperbole. Chief Executive Eric Garland of Big Champagne, a peer-to-peer research firm, notes that deathkitten's tactics may very well be working. "The numbers are extraordinary," Garland said. "This is a very high level of torrent activity even for an immensely popular game title."
But the question remains: Is this the right course of action?
At this week’s CTIA trade show in San Francisco, Research in Motion, developer of the BlackBerry, announced the release of its first flip-design phone. Based on the candy-bar-style Pearl, the Pearl Flip 8220 will include a 240x320 primary display, a camera, music and video capabilities, and Wi-Fi. Like the Pearl, the Pearl Flip has been designed for the consumer market. Instead of a full keyboard, the device includes two letters on each key and also has a trackball, similar to the Pearl’s. T-Mobile will be the exclusive carrier of the Pearl Flip in the United States. Although no street price or relapse date were provided at the show. It is widely expected that the Flip will be available by the holiday season.
NEC said yesterday it would join IBM and six other semiconductor companies who are focused on developing new methods of manufacturing 32nm processors. The other six include Charted Semiconductor, Freescale, Infineon Technologies, Samsung, STMicroelectronics, and Toshiba, with the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering at the University of Albany in New York also contributing.
The IBM-assembled alliance is attempting to create chips that use standard, bulk CMOS (complimentary metal oxide semiconductor) technology in the manufacturing process. Benefits of going this route include a 35 percent increase in performance over 45nm parts, while also cutting power consumption in half. The double-whammy would prove particularly attractive for mobile computing.
For its part, Intel is also working on a 32nm design. Chips built on the shrunken process are expected to debut in mid-2009. No date has been set for when IBM and its collaboration of companies will bring 32nm processors to market.
We'd all love to run a pair of 4870 X2 videocards, but for certain workstation tasks, these gaming-centric videocards would prove inappropriate. For those who put work before play, AMD today introduced two new workstation cards, one at each end of the performance spectrum.
Taking its place on the high rung, AMD's new flagship FirePro V8700 is based on the 4800 series with 800 stream processors. The company claims the V8700 is about 40 percent faster than its previous flagship offering. The card comes with 1GB of GDDR5 memory and sports a total bandwidth of 108.8 GB/s. Two DisplayPorts and a single dual-link DVI interface round out the feature-set.
On the lower end, the FirePro V3750 drops the stream processors down to 320 and comes with a more conservative (that's a nice way of saying 'much lower') 256MB of GDDR3, resulting in a bandwidth of 22.4 GB/s.
Both the V8700 and V3750 will be available sometime this quarter with an MSRP of $1,499 and $199 respectively.
If you enjoyed the first commercial starring Bill Gates and new OS pitchman Jerry Seinfeld (and judging by the comments in the accompanying news post, many of you did), then you're likely to be tickled by the latest installment, all agonizing 4 minutes of it (that's right, my PC brethren, I'm still not amused). Gates doesn't shake his tush in the latest Vista ad, but he does do the robot, or at least a 52-year-old semi-retired billionaire's version of the robot (admittedly not bad, all things considered).
The newest ad still stays mainly focused on trying to connect with current culture rather than outright attempting to whip Apple at its own game, which is to fight a battle of the OSes. But here's my beef - it's just not amusing, to me anyway. There are subtle (and some not so subtle) messages to be picked up on in both commercials, but just as I didn't find myself chuckling at the whole Shoe Circus setting, I'm equally unimpressed watching a couple of rich guys trying to coexist with the common folk (props to the spunky grandma, the sole shining star so far in this ad campaign). Taken to the extreme, as Gizmodo alludes to, the commercials' failure to live up to expectations ironically mimic the same characteristic that described Vista when it first debuted.
There's a particular line that stands out in this new commercial. After Gates and Seinfeld are caught stealing a leather giraffe, the man of the home tells the unlikely duo "I'm disappointed in the both of you." Me too.
Am I just being a hater, or are you guys and gals still digging these introductory commercials? Maybe I'm just bitter that Will Ferrell didn't end up with the role.