Fallout: New Vegas preview Print E-mail
Written by Hanners   
Friday, 08 October 2010 09:40

More Fallout sounds like it can only be a good thing, but what is New Vegas going to bring to the world as introduced in Fallout 3.

The story this time takes place from the viewpoint of a courier who gets kidnapped by raiders, shot and then thrown into a shallow grave on his way to delivering an important parcel. The courier gets saved from certain death by a robot called Victor and is nursed back to full health. At this point you enter the character creation screen, choosing various skill tags for your courier, such as strong bartering skills, before setting off into New Vegas to find out the whereabouts of the package and who’s behind your attempted assassination.

Fallout: New Vegas runs on exactly the same game engine as Fallout 3 so it looks very similar in structure and should play much in the same way as its predecessor. The narrative driven, objective-based gameplay largely revolves around combat as you come face to face with various factions and various super mutants intent on causing you harm. Using a vast array of weaponry and special attacks, New Vegas is largelyl about customising and equipping your character with the best tools for the job, while learning the strengths and weaknesses of your equipment and your enemy and building your avatar up into a powerful, killing machine.

HEXUS has a full preview.

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SandForce unveils next-gen SSD controllers Print E-mail
Written by Hanners   
Thursday, 07 October 2010 13:23

After information about Intel's next-generation Solid State drives leaked during the past week, now we know a little more about what rivals Sandforce are planning to follow up from their hugely successful SF-1000 parts.

The SF-2000-series raises the bar in almost every respect - a pretty impressive feat considering the SF-1000 controllers are already industry leaders. Read and write speeds will go up to 500MB/s while sustained random read/write performance gets a boost to 60,000 IOPS.

To keep up with this blistering speed the new controllers will also support SATA 6Gbps, giving drives plenty of room to breathe. Unfortunately the maximum capacity is still limited to 512GB, though this won't be a problem for the vast majority of prospective purchasers. In addition, they will be compatible with the latest 20nm-class flash memory.

Being targeted initially at industrial users, these SF-2000 chips have a few additional special features. These include various SAS enhancements, support for enterprise-MLC as well as SLC and MLC memory, an advanced ECC engine and selectable multi-banded 256/128-bit AES encryption.

HEXUS has all the details.

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An inconvenient truth: game prices have come down with time Print E-mail
Written by Hanners   
Thursday, 07 October 2010 10:51

Aren't games so expensive these days?  Actually, in real terms their prices haven't risen as far as you thought.

"Yes, some N64 games retailed for as high as $80, but it was also the high end of a 60 to 80 dollar range," he told Ars. "Retailers had more flexibility with pricing back then—though they've consistently maintained that the Suggested Retail Price was/is just a guide. Adjusted for inflation, we're generally paying less now than we have historically. But to be fair, DLC isn't factored in." He also points out all the different ways that we can now access games: you can buy a game used, rent a game, or play certain online games for free. There are multiple ways to sell your old console games, and the competition in the market causes prices to fall quickly.

It goes back further than N64 generation, however. You can find scans of Sears catalogs that put the price of NES games around $30 to $50 each. At current prices that's $50 to $80. This was in 1990, well into the system's life.

Arstechnica investigates in full.

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AMD not for sale says CEO Print E-mail
Written by Hanners   
Thursday, 07 October 2010 08:07

The rumours around AMD being bought keep on swirling, but it's not going to happen says their CEO Dirk Meyer.  Although they will still listen to any good offers...

Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) is not for sale, however the chip maker will listen to interesting proposals, its chief executive said when asked about Oracle's recent interest in the sector.

"AMD is not for sale, but we are happy to listen to any proposal which is in the interest to our shareholders," Chief Executive Dirk Meyer told an industry conference in Barcelona on Wednesday.

Larry Ellison, chief executive of Oracle, said last month his firm is keen to make more acquisitions to bolster its technology and a microchip company could be a good fit.

Reuters have the full story.

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NVIDIA enters retail with direct sales at Best Buy Print E-mail
Written by Hanners   
Wednesday, 06 October 2010 07:41

Is now a good time for NVIDIA to start selling graphics boards directly to customers, even if it is currently limited to Best Buy in the US?  It certainly seems like an odd decision...

Last week we found out through several good sources that NVIDIA is supposed to launch direct sale video cards with Best Buy on its next product refresh cycle which is October 10th. It seems that not everything works out like it should at Best Buy when it comes to moving in inventory, a lesson to be learned about retail, as the cards went on sale a bit earlier than intended.

When we explained to NVIDIA that we purchased NVIDIA video cards from Best Buy on Monday the 4th, NVIDIA explained that it "did not expect that." It seems that a least a few Best Buy stores in North America have been selling the cards before the "official" date. We asked for an official statement in writing about NVIDIA entering retail directly and it took NVIDIA two hours to supply us with that. Here is NVIDIA's complete reply to HardOCP about it entering the retail market direct.

"NVIDIA and Best Buy are working together to offer PC customers the opportunity to experience firsthand the latest in PC technologies right inside Best Buy stores. As part of this broad initiative, NVIDIA is supplying to Best Buy specific GeForce models built and supported by NVIDIA. These products will only be available at Best Buy and will complement GeForce products from our partners. We will provide more details on this next week."

[H]ard|OCP have more thoughts and details.

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Intel's 3rd generation X25-M SSD specifications revealed Print E-mail
Written by Hanners   
Wednesday, 06 October 2010 07:31

We've been eagerly waiting for more information about Intel's next generation SSDs for a little while now, and at last we have it - twice the capacity for the same price as current generation Intel drives could make for a very tempting proposition indeed.

Internally it’s called the Postville Refresh (the X25-M G2 carried the Postville codename), but externally it carries the same X25-M brand we’ve seen since 2008. The new drive uses 25nm IMFT Flash, which means we should get roughly twice the capacity at the same price. While Intel is sampling 25nm MLC NAND today it's unclear whether or not we'll see drives available this year. I've heard that there's still a lot of tuning that needs to be done on the 25nm process before we get to production quality NAND. The third generation drives will be available somewhere in the Q4 2010 - Q1 2011 timeframe in capacities ranging from 40GB (X25-V) all the way up to 600GB.

Anandtech has the full story.

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Duke Nukem Forever live demo now online Print E-mail
Written by Hanners   
Monday, 04 October 2010 16:08

Do you still care about Duke Nukem Forever?  Then you'd better watch this...

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Elite Bastards retro review: Streets of Rage 2 Print E-mail
Written by Hanners   
Sunday, 03 October 2010 13:20

It's retro review time again, and this week Layden checks out another classic in the form of Streets of Rage 2.

Hard day at work? Need a game to help thrash out that built-up anger? Then this is just the game for you! Streets of Rage 2 follows on from the first game, in terms of plot and gameplay style. Evil crimelord, Mr X, is free again. He has captured Alex from the first game, so Axel enlists the help of Max, Blaze and Skate in order to effect a rescue and clean the streets once again. What follows is a side-scrolling beat-em-up game in the vein of Final Fight.

The player assumes the role of one of the four characters. A second player can also join the fun. The player(s) then traverse each of the 8 levels (usually travelling left to right), fighting against the hoards of bad-guys. The player's specific combat moves vary depending on the character chosen. However any character is able to pick up any weapons found lying around. These take the form of knives, a pipe and a katana.

Elite Bastards retro review: Streets of Rage 2

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F1 2010 review Print E-mail
Written by Hanners   
Friday, 01 October 2010 09:46

As we've just been discussing this title in our forum, what better time to post a review of Codemasters' take on the fast-paced world of Formula One.

Once you've done all this, the logical next step is to get out onto the track and hurl your flimsy metal shell-on-wheels either into a wall or over the finish line in triumph. As you'd expect, the driving engine is robust and, to veterans of Codies racers, familiar. At the easiest difficulty level there are numerous driving assists to help you fail at spinning off the track, such as an ideal driving line, braking help and traction control assistance (perhaps the most useful of the three), plus the usual automatic or manual gears options.

As you get better, you'll be able to turn these off and face more challenging (read: quicker) AI racers, and you also get less of the now-obligatory Flashbacks, which have been around since GRID. These, for the uninitiated, are second chance opportunities to go back in time a few seconds, so spinning into the gravel on the last corner of the race doesn't necessarily mean you've screwed up your chances of winning. Hit F12 when the instant replay starts and there, you've got another go! Brilliant and still indispensable, regardless of how good you think you are.

bit-tech has the full review.

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Civilization 5 tech interview Print E-mail
Written by Hanners   
Thursday, 30 September 2010 09:22

Although a lot of people have been looking forward to Civilization 5 purely in gameplay terms (and quite rightly so too), there are also plenty of interesting things to consider about the game from a graphical and technical perspective.  One of the game's developers, graphics lead Dan Baker, explains further.

Civilization V, as far as we know, is the first fully threaded DX11 game.

Unfortunately, because no other games have used this feature yet, neither Nvidia nor AMD have publically released threaded drivers, so users may not experience all the benefits just yet. We decided to keep threading enabled for Civilization V, however, because we are continuing to work closely with Nvidia and AMD on their support for multi-threading. We expect publically available threaded drivers shortly.

The internal architecture of the Civilization V graphics engine, however, is heavily multi-threaded and users will see multi-processor benefits even with drivers that are not threaded (including DX9). We have developed a series of configurable benchmark modes that we use internally for measuring our threading ability. These are fully described in the readme file. After some discussion, we decided to expose these internal tests on the released version so, if the users view the readme file, they will see that there are detailed instructions of these benchmark modes.

There are many notable improvements with the DX11 version of the game over the DX9 version of the game. Also, don't forget that the DX11 version includes all the DX10 features, so it has 2 generations of hardware features.

Read the full interview with Dan at PC Games Hardware.

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