If you're the owner of a NVIDIA GeForce graphics board and feel in need of some shiny new driver to install, then rejoice, for NVIDIA have now publicly released a beta set from their GeForce 191 series which has been around for a week or so amongst those of us with access to them. There are plenty of new features and improvements available with these drivers, from DirectCompute support for Windows 7 users through to a handful of performance improvements in new game titles.
New in Version 191.03
- Adds support for OpenGL 3.2 for GeForce 8, 9, 100, and 200-series GPUs and ION GPUs.
- Accelerates performance in several gaming applications. The following are examples of improvements measured with version 191.03 drivers vs. version 190.62 drivers (results will vary depending on your GPU, system configuration, and game settings):
- Up to 12% performance increase in ARMA 2
- Up to 8% performance increase in Batman: Arkham Asylum with GPU PhysX enabled
- Up to 50% performance increase in Call of Juarez: Blood in Bound with SLI enabled
- Up to 14% performance increase in Fallout 3 (indoor scenes) with antialiasing enabled
- Up to 10% performance increase in Far Cry 2 (DX9 version) with antialiasing enabled
- Up to 34% performance increase in Prototype with antialiasing enabled
- Adds SLI support for Darkfall, Dawn of Magic 2: Time of Shadows, Dreamkiller, Fuel, Majesty 2: The Fantasy Kingdom Sim, Need for Speed: Shift and more.
- Includes numerous bug fixes, including the following key fix (additional bug fixes can be found in the release notes on the documentation tab): For graphics cards supporting multiple clock states, 3D clocks correctly return to 2D clocks after exiting a 3D application.
- Users without US English operating systems can select their language and download the International driver here.
New in Release 190/191 Drivers
- Include support for DirectCompute with Windows 7 and GeForce 8-series or higher graphics cards.
- Installs PhysX System Software version 9.09.0814.
- Supports NVIDIA 3D Vision Discover, a complete, low cost solution to start your immersive stereoscopic 3D experience. NOTE: If you are using NVIDIA 3D Vision active shutter glasses, you must download the separate 3D Vision driver which includes the driver for the 3D Vision IR emitter.
- Supports CUDA 2.3 for improved performance in GPU Computing applications. See CUDA Zone for more details.
- Supports a new user-controlled power management setting for select GeForce 9-series and later graphics cards (only available on cards that already support more than one power state). This option allows users to set a performance level for each DirectX or OpenGL application.
You can download these new beta drivers from the links below:
Download NVIDIA Geforce beta driver 191.03 for Windows Vista/7 (32-bit)
Download NVIDIA Geforce beta driver 191.03 for Windows Vista/7 (64-bit)
Download NVIDIA Geforce beta driver 191.03 for Windows XP Home/Professional
Download NVIDIA Geforce beta driver 191.03 for Windows XP Professional x64
If you value stability when you're building a new system above all else, then this news could be music to your ears, with ASUS launching the first in their new "TUF" series of motherboards via the Intel P55 chipset-based SABERTOOTH 55i. What does it have to offer potential buyers? We'll let the official press release do the talking.
ASUS, the leader in innovative motherboard solutions, today unveiled the first motherboard in its newly-developed “TUF” (The Ultimate Force) Series, the SABERTOOTH 55i. The TUF Series is specially developed to meet the heavy computing demands of power users and perform well even under extreme conditions. Such computer enthusiasts often demand high-quality motherboard components and the most stable computing platforms. To achieve uncompromising stability, TUF Series motherboards have undergone a more stringent testing program than what most motherboard producers currently undertake. Solidly constructed and equipped with resilient components that have passed demanding military-style testing, the TUF Series triumphs over the harshest operating conditions to deliver robust performance. The debut SABERTOOTH 55i model, designed around a “Marine Cool” concept, incorporates the Intel® P55 chipset and “tough” features to give users a supremely solid and stable computing platform.
You can find ASUS' press release in full here.
There's been a lot of concern and doom-mongering surrounding NVIDIA's first DirectX 11 GT300 core in recent weeks, with talk of delays and major yield issues floating around. NVIDIA have now responded to these stories (an unusual event in itself given that companies tend never to talk about unannounced products until they're good and ready), denying that there are any issues with GT300 at present.
We are happy to report that we were correct in our earlier predictions that the GT300 is farther along than many other sites were predicting. We hear that NVIDIA has made an official statement on the state of the GT300 yields.
It seems that the GT300 has been taped out long ago and that yields are fine. This statement comes from a senior product manager for the GT300, but we also have this from our own sources [who have been saying this all along].
So where did the rumors of sub 2% yields come from? Well according to the unnamed source it looks like AMD's Competitive Analysis team mistranslated some information that stated only 9 chips per wafer worked. This information quickly spread around the internet and became what we like to call "the repeated truth". Bear in mind that this was the same team in charge of spreading rumors that Larrabee is now in its third or fourth generation of silicon, which is direly incorrect.
Bright Side of News has the latest from the rumour mill in full. Thanks to Agarath in our forum for the link.
Video cards, CPUs and motherboards
- Intel 32nm Clarkdale and Arrandale Processor review at Hot Hardware
- ATI Radeon HD 5870 vs. HD 4890 GPU Comparison at Tweak Town
- NVIDIA disables PhysX when ATI card is present at NGO HQ
- GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 260 Super Overclock review at Tweak Town
- AMD Athlon II X4 620 Processor review at Digit Life
- AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition review at Inside HW
Cases, cooling and power supplies
- Silverstone Raven RV02 Full Tower Case Video review at Hardware Canucks
- Lian Li PC-B25F All Aluminum Mid-Tower Computer Case review at Tweak News
- Griffin PowerDuo Reserve for iPhone review at Think Computers
- Sunbeamtech Ultra-Tech Station Acrylic Case review at Pro-Clockers
- NZXT M59 review at Bjorn 3D
- Gelid Solutions GC-Extreme Thermal Compound review at Tech Xtreme
- AGF Precision HSD Case for iPhone review at OC Mod Shop
- Spire DualStar SP680S1 review at Hardware Bistro
- Gelid Solutions Wing 12 UV Blue Case Fan review at Tech Xtreme
- Kingston HyperX Fan review at Test Freaks
- Evercool HPK-10025EA Low Profile CPU Cooler review at RB Mods
Storage and memory
- Corsair P64 SSD RAID Set P64-RAID-PK1 review at Benchmark Reviews
- Intel 80 GB X25-M (50 nm) Solid State Drive review at Tech ARP
- Corsair Dominator DDR3 1600 (CDM4GX3M2A1600C8) review at Bjorn 3D
- A-DATA S805 Sport Series Flash Drive review at Metku
Systems, input and communications devices
- Asus UL30A 13.3-inch ultraportable notebook review at The Tech Report
- Razer Lycosa Gaming Keyboard review at OCaholic
- Cooler Master Storm Sentinel Advance Mouse review at Overclockers Online
- Ulti-Mat Breathe F-X3 Mousepad review at OC Mod Shop
- Cooler Master Storm Sentinel Advance Mouse review at Future Looks
- OCZ Behemoth Double-Laser Gaming Mouse review at Mad Shrimps
- Atomic Pico Bluetooth Dongle review at iGadget Life
Gaming and software
- Batman nVidia PhysX Analysis at Driver Heaven
- Nyko Wand Core Pak for Wii review at OC Mod Shop
- Brutal Legend (Xbox 360) preview at Driver Heaven
- Batman: Arkham Asylum Walkthrough at OC Mod Shop
- Linux, Linux, Linux, so what’s the big deal? at Test Freaks
- EASEUS Todo Backup 1.0 review at Test Freaks
During our analysis of AMD's new Radeon HD 5800 series architecture, and more specifically during our discussion of forthcoming DirectX 11 game titles, we mentioned S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Pripyat as amongst the first games to be available which make use of this new API. To show off what DirectX 11 is capable of, GSC Gameworld have released a handful of comparative screenshots which pit the games DirectX 10 and 11 modes against one another in terms of the title's visuals.
If you fancy checking out the entire image gallery (complete with full-sized images), then you can do so over at Firing Squad.
Despite AMD's latest graphics architecture in the form of their Radeon HD 5800 series boards only launching this week, and despite it proving nigh-on impossible to actually buy one in the UK right now, AMD are naturally already looking to press on with their current advantage over NVIDIA and launch DirectX 11 products into other market segments. At the enthusiast level, this means the launch of dual-GPU "Hemlock" codenamed parts, and there are already images and the like floating around the Internet to prove the existence of such boards in the flesh.
The Hemlock machine is running a Alien vs Predator tech demo, a DX11 title due out in Q1 next year sporting all the goodness of DX11 features such as character tessellation, detail tessellation on environment surfaces, High-Definition Ambient Occlusion (HDAO) etc. Although we can't predict how the actual DX11 gaming performance of AVP would pan out for Hemlock but the frame rates for the tech demo are encouraging at this point in time.
From the information we gathered, the Hemlock card is slightly longer than the Radeon HD 5870 card so it is probably around 12" long. You can expect 2 versions; Radeon HD 5870 X2 and HD 5850 X2 (marketing names yet to be confirmed). From the CCC, you can see that the card in the machine is clocked at 725MHz core and 1GHz memory and comes with 1GB GDDR5 memories so probably this is the 5850 X2 version. Note that AMD is still finalizing on the clocks and other details so nothing is confirmed at this point of time.
Yesterday, we accompanied the launch of AMD's latest graphics architecture with our own Radeon HD 5800 series technology preview, so don't miss our in-depth discussion. Otherwise, here's the rest of the latest news and reviews.
Video cards, CPUs and motherboards
- Gigabyte GA-P55-UD6 Motherboard: P55 vs X58 review at Benchmark Reviews
- Intel Core 2 Duo Processors Revisited at Digit Life
- Another Look At Intel's Lynnfield Linux Performance at Phoronix
- Jetway HA08 Combo L Socket AM2+ Motherboard review at Pro-Clockers
- EVGA X58 SLI Micro LGA1366 mATX Motherboard review at Hardware Canucks
- Asus P7P55D Deluxe review at XS Reviews
Cases. cooling and power supplies
- Evercool Transformer 4 review at RB Mods
- Gelid Solutions Silent 12 Case Fan review at Tech Xtreme
- Cooler Master Hyper N620 LGA 1366 Ready CPU Cooler review at Think Computers
- Fractal-Design Newton R2 with 800 Watt review at Hardware Overclock
- Zalman CNPS10X Extreme CPU Cooler review at Modders Inc.
- LanCool Dragon Lord PC-K62 Advanced Mid Tower Case review at Tweak Town
- GlacialTech F101 PWM Cooler review at Hardware Bistro
- Zalman CNPS9700 NT CPU Cooler review at Hardware Secrets
- Origen AE M10 review at techPowerUp
- Nexus TDD-9000 Liquid Laptop Cooler review at RB Mods
Storage and memory
- Super Talent UltraDrive ME 32GB SSD RAID review at Ninja Lane
- Seagate Barracuda XT 6 Gbps SATA 3 performance review at OCworkbench
- Kingston Technology 64GB SSDNow V+ SATA Solid State Drive review at Future Looks
- Kingston SSDNow V+ 64GB SSD review at Pure Overclock
- In Win Ammo Secure Hard Drive Enclosure review at Tweak News
- Kingston HyperX DDR3 2133MHz 4GB Kit (KHX2133C8D3T1K2/4GX) review at Bjorn 3D
- OCZ Agility Series SATA II 2.5" 60GB SSD review at Test Freaks
- OCZ Agility EX SSD 60GB (SLC) SSD review at Driver Heaven
Systems and imaging devices
- Olympus Stylus Tough-6000 Digital Camera review at Hardware Secrets
- Alienware Aurora ALX Gaming System preview at Hot Hardware
Gaming and software
- Fixing the IE8 Black Bar Bug at Hardware Secrets
- Guitar Hero 5 Multi-Platform review at Tweak Town
As part of yesterday's big Radeon HD 5800 series launch, one of the major talking points was how quickly we'd see developers take up and make use of the new DirectX 11 API that these graphics boards supports. Towards the forefront of the move towards DirectX 11 is Codemasters, and PC Games Hardware have spoken to the company's Technical Director, Bryan Marshall, about both the new interation of their EGO engine as well as DirectX 11 in more general terms.
The DX11 version is a great place to showpiece DiRT2 and show that Codemasters' technology is at the forefront of PC gaming. We think there are 3 big ticket items in DX11: Hardware Tessellation, Direct Compute 11 (Compute Shaders) and the multi-threading of the command pipeline.
So Tessellation allows us to add a lot more detail to objects such the crowds, water surfaces and moving cloth. Up to this point hardware tessellation was difficult to achieve efficiently with all the other demands going on. Direct Compute 11 allows us to really push up the fidelity of our post-processing solution, giving a higher resolution to some of the effects such as motion blur. Finally the multi-threaded capabilities have made us think a lot about our rendering pipeline and how we can optimize this. That's not easy to get right and I think that will be one of the big challenges for developers in the next few years. Of course DX11 comes with amazing new video cards that allow all this to run faster to begin with!
You can read the brief interview in full here.
Amidst all of the launches and announcements going on at the Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco, the CPU giant also unveiled their latest roadmaps for all of the various CPU markets with which they are involved.
At the extreme desktop segment, Intel will introduce the new 32nm Gulftown processor in early 2010, replacing the current Core i7 extreme processors. Gulftown will feature six processor cores, giving it an extra two cores over current offerings. The good news is, it will be compatible with current Intel X58 chipset, which means current users can easily upgrade to the latest Gulftown without the need to replace the motherboard.
Adding on to the recently released Core i5 processors (codenamed Lynnfield) would be the 32nm Clarkdale processor. Compatible with the current Intel 5 series chipset, the 32nm Clarkdale will only come with two processor cores. However, Intel claims that its performance will not be hampered by its lack of cores as benchmarks have shown. Clarkdale will also come with built-in graphics packaged together with the processor.
Hardware Zone have all of these latest roadmaps in full.
The launches really are coming thick and fast today, and the latest product family to be unveiled today comes, predictably, from Intel during today's Intel Developer Forum. The launch in question finally brings Intel's latest Core i7 architecture, and more specifically a derivative of the Lynnfield parts which use that name, to the mobile sector, under the guise of the Core i7 Mobile. A couple of sites have spent some time benchmarking the new flagship CPU of this range, the Core i7 Mobile 920XM.
Initially, Clarksfield is launching in three variants: i7-920XM, i7-820QM, and i7-720QM. The i7-920XM is an Extreme Edition processor, designed to replace the Core 2 Extreme QX9300. Like all Extreme processors, the i7-920XM carries a price tag of around $1000. If you want the latest and greatest, it's going to cost you. The i7-820QM drops performance slightly and cuts the price in half, with the i7-720QM as the "affordable" alternative. Unlike Lynnfield, all of the current Clarksfield parts have Hyper-Threading enabled. The Turbo modes are also aggressive on all of the models, but multi-core performance will definitely favor the i7-920XM.
Since the Core i7 Mobile processor integrates the memory controller and PCI Express interconnects onto the processor, there is no need for a traditional Northbridge chip. This means that the PM55 chipset acts primarily as a Southbridge chip, handling most of the device I/O. With no Northbridge chip to communicate with, the Core i7 Mobile processor doesn't need the Intel QuickPath Interconnect (QPI) that the Core i7-900 series ("Bloomfield") processors use to communicate with the chipset. Instead, the Core i7 Mobile uses the slower Direct Media Interface (DMI) interconnect to communicate with the PM55 chipset. Another major difference between the Core i7 Mobile and the Core i7 900-series, is that unlike the Core i7 900-series support for triple-channel DDR3 memory, the Core i7 Mobile instead supports just dual-channel DDR3. The Core i7 Mobile processor supports configurations of 16 PCI Express 2.0 lanes per GPU or two sets of 8 PCI Express 2.0 lanes.
Meanwhile, Driver Heaven have taken a look at an Alienware notebook which will be employing one of these new CPUs at its heart.
That changed in June when Alienware/Dell launched the M17x, their first co-developed machine. On launch day we provided a world-exclusive preview of the new machine and today it is time to take a more in-depth look at the features and performance of the latest model in the family, the M15x.
This isn’t just a more compact version of the M17x though; with the M15x Alienware is one of the first companies to introduce Intel’s Core-i7 architecture in the mobile marketplace. Back that up with an impressive graphics processor from Nvidia and the new Intel PM55 chipset and we have a very interesting and theoretically capable product.