EVGA offers a sneak peek at NVIDIA's next dual-GPU monster Print E-mail
Written by Hanners   
Friday, 07 January 2011 08:44

NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 580 currently rules the performance rule quite comfortable, but is that fact enough for NVIDIA?  Of course not, which is why there seems to be an as-yet unannounced dual-GPU graphics board created by EVGA kicking around the CES show floor.

EVGA wouldn't give us many details about the card in question, but they did say it's a future dual-GPU product. Given that EVGA is an exclusive Nvidia partner, that essentially confirms something we've half expected for some time now: a dual-GPU, SLI-on-a-stick video card must be on the way, presumably as a member of the GeForce GTX 500 series.

As you can see, there are three DVI outputs on the card, made possible by the presence of two GPU display engines. This card should be capable of driving three monitors and allowing games to run across them all at once via Surround Gaming, Nvidia's answer to AMD's Eyefinity.

This is a decidedly high-end product. The card is relatively long and sports a pair of eight-pin auxiliary power connectors, suggesting that a beefy PSU will be needed in order just to run one of these babies.

The Tech Report has more details, and a handful of images of this mystery board.

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The Games of 2011 Print E-mail
Written by Hanners   
Friday, 07 January 2011 08:39

Now that a new year is well and truly upon us, just what games do we have to look forward to in 2011?  bit-tech has a run-down of some of the big hitters.

There’s so much to be excited about when it comes to Portal 2 that, to be honest, it’s hard to know where to start. Not only is Valve’s sequel set to be longer and more complex than the original by far – hence the standalone release – but it will also feature a boatload of new modes.

The biggest and most interesting of these is undoubtedly the new co-operative mode, which allows two players to work through an entirely new set of levels together. Rather than being just a thoughtful extra, the co-op campaign will expand on the story of the singleplayer sequences too, and features two new characters; robotic drones named Atlas and P-body.

The singleplayer portion, however, is all about the continuing story of Portal’s enigmatic protagonist, Chell. Somehow preserved or revived for hundreds of years, Chell awakens to find herself in an unfamiliar area of the Aperture Science labs, which is overrun with decay, but still under the control of GlaDOS.

Check out the full article over here.

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NVIDIA Tegra 2 phone and Project Denver announced Print E-mail
Written by Hanners   
Thursday, 06 January 2011 08:41

We've known (or at least assumed) that NVIDIA are branching out into designing a CPU for some time now, with rumours swirling about them attempting to get an x86 license and the like.  Well, the cat is now well and truly out of the bag, with the company yesterday unveiling "Project Denver" - an ARM-based NVIDIA CPU.

Huang described the Project Denver processor as a "fully custom" ARM-compatible CPU. Although Nvidia partnered with ARM and used ARM's ISA, we get the sense that the processor microarchiteture itself may be one of Nvidia's own making, with a higher end target in terms of performance (and presumably also power consumption) than existing ARM-compatible CPUs. We have almost no additional details on this CPU at present, but we can now see quite clearly the outlines of how Nvidia intends to use its chip design prowess to compete with Intel and AMD.

By virtue of its ARM compatibility, the Project Denver processor should be capable of running a range of popular operating systems out of the gate, including Google's Android and Apple's iOS. In addition, Huang hinted strongly that his news might be related to a possible announcement coming soon from Microsoft about a version of Windows tailored for ARM-compatible processors. Huang also pointed out that developers should be able to take advantage of the tools and development environments of the existing ARM ecosystems when developing applications for Nvidia's new CPU.

The Tech Report has the full story.

As well as Project Denver, NVIDIA also had some interesting news regarding their Tegra 2 SoC and what we should be expecting to see it utilised within in 2011.

The basis of this generation of "Super Phones" which NVIDIA is pushing is the Tegra 2.  It is a dual core ARM Cortex A9 based processor with NVIDIA graphics technology fused to the SOC.  NVIDIA did not cover the specifics of the processor to any significant degree, but we do know that the CPU portion does run around 1 GHz, while the graphics likely is around 200 MHz.

The die itself is quite a bit smaller than a US dime, which makes it quite small.  It is 50X more power efficient than a full PC when it comes to energy consumption for most workloads.  It obviously cannot run as fast as a full desktop machine, but that is not the point of the product.  The primary objective is to provide the necessary performance to allow a wide range of applications run in a mobile environment, without the user feeling like the experience is sluggish and unpleasant.

The first expected Super Phone that we should see powered by Tegra 2 is the LG Optimus 2X.  If there truly is a super phone, this is a pretty good example.  It can output 1080p video to HDMI, decode HD video very effectively, play 3D games developed for the Android marketplace without a problem, and multi-task like a current desktop PC can.  The phone has a very nice screen, and also features an 8 MP camera on the back.   There were 10 applications running in the background of this demo, and performance was never an issue.

PC Perspective have the details, as well as more on Project Denver.

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OCZ demos Vertex 3 Pro Print E-mail
Written by Hanners   
Thursday, 06 January 2011 08:28

Given the success of its first-generation SSD controller, the possibilities of Sandforce's SF-2000 part is undeniably mouth-watering - now we've been granted a first (albeit very brief) look at what it's capable of courtesy of a sneak peek at OCZ's forthcoming Vertex 3 Pro part.

SandForce is promising a single enterprise level drive that can deliver 500MB/s sequential reads and writes (for highly compressible data), and up to 60K IOPS for 4KB random reads and writes. That’s not an evolutionary improvement, that’s more than a doubling of what most of the competition can do today. Even compared to existing SandForce drives it’s a huge increase in performance. But as I’ve heard many times before, anyone can put out a promising PDF.

Today at CES, OCZ previewed its first SF-2000 based drives: the Vertex 3 Pro and Vertex 3 EX. Both are based on SandForce’s SF-2582 controller, the highest end offering in the SF-2000 family. The drives won’t see the light of day for months (sometime in Q2) and what OCZ is showing today is very, *very* early silicon and hardware. The drives are using 32nm Toshiba toggle-mode NAND (effectively DDR NAND), however OCZ will go to market with 25nm Intel NAND when the drive is ready.

Anandtech has more information and a few quick benchmarks.

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AMD launches Mobility Radeon HD 6000 series Print E-mail
Written by Hanners   
Wednesday, 05 January 2011 08:55

Intel might be stealing a lot of the attention around CES time, but AMD have certainly been busy as well - not only have we seen some new desktop CPUs and the first Fusion APUs, but the firm has also launched a new family of mobile GPUs to throw into the mix as well.  Just what does the Mobility Radeon HD 6000 series consist of?

AMD have put details of their AMD Radeon HD 6000M range online, a series of products designed for use in mobility products.

The range extends from a single SIMD equipped HD 6300M through 6400M, 6500M, 6600M & 6700M, 6800M and 6900M.

All the GPU's are based on ATI's Terascale 2 technology, improved as seen in the 'Barts' architecture used for the Radeon HD 6800 series. All the chips support DirectX 11, OpenGL 4.1 and OpenCL 1.1, with the requisite drivers. UVD 3 support is a mixed bag; some have it, some don't. This is because the 6300M, 6500M and 6800M are rebrands of the Radeon Mobility HD 5400, 5700 and 5800.

The speeds and feeds bounce around a little, with the top of the range 6900M appearing very similar to a Radeon HD 6850 - once again, AMD are using their second tier desktop part as the top mobility part; no Mobility Cayman this time. Hopefully people won't be surprised by Radeon HD 6900M performance being so different from Radeon HD 6970 performance, despite the same numerical marketing number.

The story comes from Rage 3D.

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AMD Fusion APU era begins with E- and C-series APUs Print E-mail
Written by Hanners   
Wednesday, 05 January 2011 08:44

After years of talking about it and sneak previews, AMD's first Fusion APUs have now been officially launched at CES in Las Vegas.

Today at the Consumer Electronics Show, AMD (NYSE: AMD) launched a new class of accelerated processor that combines more compute capabilities than any processor in the history of computing. The AMD Fusion Family of Accelerated Processing Units (APUs) incorporate – in a single die design – multi-core CPU (x86) technology, a powerful DirectX®11-capable discrete-level graphics and parallel processing engine, a dedicated high-definition video acceleration block, and a high-speed bus that speeds data across the differing types of processor cores within the design. New generations of desktop, notebook and HD netbooks are now available based on AMD Fusion APUs at affordable price points. Tablets and embedded designs based on AMD Fusion APUs are expected be available later in Q1 2011. The new range of products features include stutter-free HD video playback, breakthroughs in computational horsepower to handle the most demanding applications,ii DirectX 11-capable graphics and all-day battery life.

AMD expects leading manufacturers Acer, Asus, Dell, Fujitsu, HP, Lenovo, MSI, Samsung, Sony and Toshiba to announce plans to deliver AMD Fusion APU-based systems at very compelling value and mainstream price points.

PC Perspective has AMD's press release in full, while bit-tech has taken a look at some of the first, mini-ITX, motherboards to support these parts:

First up is Gigabyte's GA-E350N-USB3 board. Much like the Atom-based mini-ITX boards of yesterday, the GA-E350N-USB3 integrates the E-350 APU onto the actual PCB itself. This is because there is simply no socket option available from AMD.

The board's colour scheme follows Gigabyte's traditional blue styling, although the heatsink for the APU and Hudson 'M1' southbridge is a deep silver, much like the heatsinks on Gigabyte's recent P55 and P67-based hardware. Gigabyte explained that it could passively cool the board, but many users don't understand that passive fins still need space to form a convection cycle in order to cool correctly. As such, sticking the board in a tiny mini-ITX case would obstruct the needs of the passive cooling system. Basically, you'll need a fan unless you have plenty of case airflow.

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Micron unveils bigger, faster C400 SSD Print E-mail
Written by Hanners   
Wednesday, 05 January 2011 08:32

Micron's RealSSD C300 parts proved to be as popular as they were impressive specification-wise, so what's next from the company?  The C400 series of SSDs, of course.

Earlier today, before the onslaught of consumer tech goodness that is CES 2011, our man Mat Miranda had a chance to catch up with Micron representatives at the Storage Vision 2011 conference that is taking place before the big show opens in sunny Las Vegas.  Micron it appears is readying their next generation of SSDs to follow-up their very successful RealSSD C300 line-up.  The new top-end model in the family will be named, you guessed it, C400 and in the event you were feeling really clairvoyant, you might also guess that Micron is rolling out SSDs that are bigger and faster versus the previous generation.  Enough with our keen sense of the obvious though.  We'll let Justin from Micron tell you all about their new blisteringly quick SSD technology.

Make sure you stick it out through the marketing pitch to the 1:18 mark where Justin gets down and dirty with a demo of the C400's blinding speed.  415MB/sec read throughput with 260MB/sec for writes; what's not to love about that?

You can find all of the details at Hot Hardware.

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AMD Phenom II X4 840 and X4 975 Black Edition processors launched Print E-mail
Written by Hanners   
Tuesday, 04 January 2011 08:49
With the launch of an entire new architecture yesterday Intel have naturally stolen the headlines as we move into 2011, but that hasn't stopped AMD from responding by launching a couple of new quad-core CPUs of their own, in the form of the Phenom II X4 840 and X4 975 Black Edition.  Do they have much to offer at their respective price points?  Check out the reviews below.

- Benchmark Reviews (Phenom II X4 840)
- Benchmark Reveiws (Phenom II X4 975 Black Edition)
- Hardware Canucks
- Hardware Heaven
- Kit Guru
- Pure Overclock
- Tweak Town
Intel "Sandy Bridge" platform reviews Print E-mail
Written by Hanners   
Monday, 03 January 2011 10:57
What better way to start a new year than with a new CPU architecture from Intel, and all of the related goodies that come with it?  That's exactly what we can enjoy today thanks to the launch of the company's much hyped "Sandy Bridge" platform, which introduces new CPUs, motherboards and integrated graphics to dissect and analyse.  How well does this set Intel up for 2011?  Take a look via the slew of links below.

- The Sandy Bridge Review: Intel Core i7-2600K, i5-2500K and Core i3-2100 Tested at Anandtech
- Intel’s Sandy Bridge: Upheaval in the Mobile Landscape at Anandtech
- Intel Core i5-2500K Sandy Bridge CPU review at Benchmark Reviews
- Intel Core i7-2600K Sandy Bridge CPU review at Benchmark Reviews
- ASUS P8P67 LGA-1155 Motherboard review at Benchmark Reviews
- ASUS P8P67 EVO Sandy Bridge Motherboard review at Benchmark Reviews
- Intel DH67BL H67-Express Motherboard review at Benchmark Reviews
- Intel DP67BG P67-Express Motherboard review at Benchmark Reviews
- Intel Sandy Bridge review at bit-tech
- Intel Sandy Bridge: Core i5 2500K and Intel 6 Series Chipset review at Bjorn 3D
- Intel Core i7 2600K Processor & DP67BG Motherboard review at Bjorn 3D
- ASUS P67 Motherboards: P8P67 Deluxe and P8P67 Pro review at Bjorn 3D
- Intel Sandy Bridge Core i5 2500K and Core i7 2600K review at Guru 3D
- Intel Sandy Bridge Launch - i7-2600K & i5-2500K CPUs & P67 / H67 Motherboards review at Hardware Heaven
- Intel Core i7-2600K and i5-2500K Processors review at Hot Hardware
- Intel Core i7-2820QM Mobile Sandy Bridge Processor review at Hot Hardware
- Intel Core i5/i7 LGA1155 Processors review at iXBT Labs
- Intel Core i7 2600K and Core i5 2500K reviews at Kit Guru
- Sandy Bridge: Core i7 2600K and Core i5 2500K review at OCaholic
- Intel Core i7-2600K (and friends) Sandy Bridge Processor review at PC Perspective
- Intel Core i7-2820QM Mobile Sandy Bridge Performance review at PC Perspective
- Intel Sandy Bridge Core i5 2400, 2500K, and Core i7 2600K review at Pure Overclock
- ASUS P8P67 5-Way Motherboard round-up at Pure Overclock
- Intel's Sandy Bridge Revealed: Core i5-2500K & i7-2600K reviews at Tech Gage
- Intel Core i5-2500K Sandy Bridge GPU Performance at techPowerUp
- ASUS Maximus IV Extreme & Core i7 2600K - Overclocking On P67 at Tech Reaction
- Intel 'Sandy Bridge' Core processors review at The Tech Report
- Intel’s Second-Gen Core CPUs: The Sandy Bridge review at Tom's Hardware
- Intel Core i7-2600K and Core i5-2500K CPU reviews at Tweak Town
- GIGABYTE P67A-UD7 (Intel P67 Express) Motherboard review at Tweak Town
- P67 Sandy Bridge Gaming Performance Analysis at Tweak Town
Ed Vaizey calls for mandatory porn filter on all UK Internet connections Print E-mail
Written by Hanners   
Wednesday, 22 December 2010 08:29

Not content with promoting his anti-net neutrality views via the threat of legislation that would allow ISPs to charge content providers for its users to access their content, Communications Minister for the UK government Ed Vaizey continues to leave Internet users aghast with his latest proposal - to mandate that ISPs must filter out all pornography from every Internet connection in the country.  Never mind the technical and censorship issues which arise from this legislation, we must think of the children!

UK ISPs are set to meet with government officials next week to discuss plans for a mandatory pornography filter on all Internet connections - a proposal that's already been attacked from various sides.

The idea of an opt-out blacklist of pornographic content was put forward by communications minister Ed Vaizey this week in an interview with The Sunday Times. During the interview, Vaizey explained that he was looking for ISPs to 'get their acts together so we don't have to legislate.' He also added that 'we are keeping an eye on the situation and we will have a new communications bill in the next couple of years.'

The move, which the government argues is less about censorship and more about protecting children from accidentally stumbling upon adult content, would see ISPs implementing mandatory filtering of all adult content. As such, paying customers would be expected to call and request an unfiltered connection if they wanted to access blocked content; something that many would be too embarrassed to consider.

bit-tech has more on the story.

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