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Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Graphics Cards, Shows and Expos | June 8, 2012 - 06:09 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: video, unreal engine 4, E3 12, E3
Epic has released as much of their GDC demo as they are able to in an effort to end E3 2012 with a bang. They have included a second video to walk through the engine for developers to enjoy. We will explain to the masses why it is awesome.
Before we go any further -- the video you have been waiting months to see.
Be prepared for a particle-filled generation.
As was the case with Intel’s sand-to-CPU video -- the demo is pleasing but the supplementary info is the prize.
Epic released a 10 minute developer walkthrough to highlight the most important features of Unreal Engine 4. You can see it below and read on to see what that all means.
Yes, Unrealscript did not make it to Unreal Engine 4.
The first major feature of the engine is real-time dynamic global illumination and glossy specular reflection. Traditional video game graphics only considers the first bounce of light from a source -- if that bounce does not reach the player camera then it does not exist. Global illumination allows objects to be lit not just by light sources but also by light bouncing from neighboring objects.
It has been very popular to calculate how light interacts with objects ahead of time for the last generation as well as a portion of the generation prior to that. With those methods you are able to soften the shadows cast by light and make the scene feel much more naturally lit. The problem arises when anything in the scene moves or changes as obviously happens in a video game.
Unreal Engine 4 has the ability to calculate Global Illumination in real time. Dynamic lights such as muzzle flashes or flames are able to not just illuminate the area around them but also induce that area around it to light each other.
Also, static sources such as moonlight shining in the window against the floor can bounce from the floor and slightly lighten the walls with a bluish tint without being calculated ahead of time. Developers can try lighting effects without waiting for sometimes hours to see the results. This also means that what would have been once a pre-computed lit scene with nothing moving can now be destroyed and still remain properly lit. And now the moon can even move if the designer wants.
Specular material on the gold statue
Diffuse material on the gold statue, notice how the floor lighting from the statue desaturates and changes.
In this scene we see how light can reflect against a statue and influence the objects around it. A specular material has a much smoother and more mirror-like surface than a diffuse material which tends to scatter light in all directions. If you were to shine a laser against a mirror the beam would bounce and you would not see it unless you were in the reflected path whereas if you shine the laser against the wall you would see a dot regardless of how you look at it. This is because the wall, like a projector screen, is like trillions of microscopic mirrors all pointed in different directions which each take a tiny fraction of the light and sends it in a different direction.
In Unreal Engine 4, this effect means that a shiny surface will not only glare if you look at it but also light the objects around it differently than a diffuse surface. You can see that effect against the floor.
Subject: Editorial | June 5, 2012 - 12:27 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: deal of the day
17.3" Dell XPS 17 Core i7-2670QM 2.2GHz Quad-core Laptop w/8GB RAM, dual 500GB Hard Drives, Backlit Keyboard, 3GB GeForce GT 555M graphics and 9-cell battery for $950 with free shipping (normally $1,663 - use coupon code on LogicBuy)
15.6" Dell XPS 15z Ultra-thin Core i5-2450M 2.5GHz Laptop w/8GB RAM, 750GB HDD, Backlit Keyboard & 1GB GeForce GT 525M for $850 with free shipping (normally $1,174 - use coupon code on LogicBuy)
14" Dell XPS 14z Core i5-2450M 2.5GHz Dual-core Ultra-thin Laptop w/8GB RAM, 750GB 7200RPM HDD & Adobe Elements 9 Bundle for $750 with free shipping (normally $939 - use coupon code on LogicBuy)
14" Dell Inspiron 14z Core i3-2350M 2.3GHz Dual-core thin & light Laptop w/4GB RAM, 500GB HDD, Aluminum body & Adobe Elements 9 Bundle for $430 with free shipping (normally $599.99 - use coupon code on LogicBuy)
Just released ENVY Ultrabook
13.3" HP ENVY Spectre XT 13t-2000 Core i5-3317U 1.7GHz Dual-core "Ivy Bridge" Ultrabook w/4GB RAM, 128GB SSD, Backlit Keyboard, 2-year warranty & Adobe Elements 10 Bundle for $949.99 with free shipping (normally $1000 - use coupon code on LogicBuy)
Released today, the X230 ThinkPad carries 15% off coupon for only 1 day. It's likely this promotion won't return for weeks
12.5" Lenovo ThinkPad X230 Core i5-3210M 2.5GHz Dual-core "Ivy Bridge" Ultra-portable Laptop w/4GB RAM, 320GB HDD for $832 with free shipping (normally $979 - use coupon code on LogicBuy)
Dell Vostro 470 Core i5-3450 3.1GHz Quad-core "Ivy Bridge" Desktop w/4GB RAM, 500GB HDD, Wireless-N & Bluetooth for $549 with free shipping (normally $679 - use coupon code on LogicBuy)
Alienware X51 Core i7-3770 3.4GHz Quad-core "Ivy Bridge" mini Gaming PC w/8GB RAM, 1TB HDD, 1GB GeForce GTX 555, Diablo 3 (PC) & 20% off Alienware accessories for $1,049 with free shipping (normally $1,149 - use coupon code on LogicBuy)
23" Dell Inspiron One 2320 Core i7-2600S 2.8GHz Quad-core All-in-one Touchscreen PC w/8GB RAM, 2TB HDD, 1GB GeForce GT 525M & Wireless Keyboard + Mouse for $980 with free shipping (normally $1,300 - use coupon code on LogicBuy)
Logitech C920 HD Pro Webcam for $75 with free shipping (normally $99)
HP LaserJet Pro CP1025nw Color Printer for $160 with free shipping (normally $230 - use coupon code on LogicBuy)
Bethesda Hunted Demons Forge (PC) for $8 with free shipping (normally $14).
Star Wars: The Old Republic (PC) for $20 (normally $30).
Personal Portables & Peripherals:
Nike+ SportWatch GPS + $20 Gift Card for $170 with free shipping (normally $199).
Subject: Editorial | June 4, 2012 - 03:30 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: deal of the day
One of the most frequent questions we get on the PC Perspective Podcast and This Week in Computer Hardware is what component of their PCs a user should be looking to upgrade. No matter what configuration they mention to us, one of the first things that crosses my mind is the monitor.
You would likely be surprised how many users are still using lower resolution and smaller screens - the Valve Hardware Survey tells us that 27% of gamers are using either 1366x768 or 1280x1024 resolutions on their primary screens!
If you are one of those people or are maybe looking for a step up to a larger display, you might be interested in today's deal, a 27-in Planar PX2710MW 1080p LCD monitor.
You can grab this display through LogicBuy and Dell for $209 using the coupon code on the LogicBuy.com site.
This same monitor is available on Amazon.com for $269 (with great reviews as well!) giving this deal from LogicBuy a lot more credibility!
Subject: Editorial | June 1, 2012 - 11:35 AM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: deal of the day
PC Perspective has partnered with LogicBuy.com to bring our readers a collection of deals and coupons for computers, laptops and other miscellaneous technology products on a near daily basis. If you have any thoughts on the deals or the process, feel free to leave them in our comments section!
17.3" Dell XPS 17 Core i7-2670QM 2.2GHz Quad-core Laptop w/8GB RAM, dual 500GB Hard Drives, Backlit Keyboard, 3GB GeForce GT 555M graphics and 9-cell battery for $1000 with free shipping (normally $1,663)
15.6" Dell XPS 15z Core i7 2.8GHz Ultra-thin Laptop w/8GB RAM, 1080p LCD, 256GB SSD for $1,300 with free shipping (normally $1,600 - use coupon code on LogicBuy)
13.3" Lenovo IdeaPad U300e Core i5 1.6GHz Ultrabook w/4GB RAM, 750GB HDD + 32GB SSD for $849 with free shipping (normally $1,249 - use coupon code on LogicBuy)
13.3" Dell Vostro V131 Core i5-2450M 2.5GHz thin, Aluminum body Ultra-portable w/4GB RAM, 320GB HDD, Backlit Keyboard for $539 with free shipping (normally $759 - use coupon code on LogicBuy)
11.6" HP dm1z-4100 Dual-core AMD Fusion Laptop w/4GB RAM, 320GB HDD for $345 with free shipping (normally $400 - use coupon code on LogicBuy)
23" HP TouchSmart 520-1140t Core i3-2120 3.3GHz Dual-core All-in-one Multi-touch PC w/6GB RAM, 1TB HDD for $750 with free shipping (normally $950 - use coupon code on LogicBuy)
Two (2) 23" Dell Professional P2312H 1080p LED-backit LCD Monitors w/ 3-year Advanced Exchange Warranty & Array Table Stand for $550 with free shipping (normally $665 - use coupon code on LogicBuy)
15.6" Targus Meridian II Roller Laptop Case for $60 with free shipping (normally $106 - use coupon code on LogicBuy)
55" Panasonic VIERA TC-L55ET5 3D 1080p 120hz LED HDTV + Panasonic SCBTT195 Home Theater System Bundle for $1,650 with free shipping (normally $2,200 - use coupon code on logic buy)
Personal Portables & Peripherals
10.1MP Canon EOS Rebel XS DSLR Camera (Refurbished) w/ 18-55mm IS Lens Bundle for $300 with $16 shipping (normally $450 - use coupon code on logic buy)
GyroBall Hand Exerciser for $50 (normally $80).
Desktop Air Purifier for $185 (normally $300 - use coupon code on LogicBuy).
Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Processors | May 30, 2012 - 06:42 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Intel, fab
Intel has released an animated video and supplementary PDF document to explain how Intel CPUs are manufactured. The video is more “cute” than anything else although the document is surprisingly really well explained for the average interested person. If you have ever wanted to know how a processor was physically produced then I highly recommend taking about a half of an hour to watch the video and read the text.
If you have ever wondered how CPUs came to be from raw sand -- prepare to get learned.
Intel has published a video and accompanied information document which explains their process almost step by step. The video itself will not teach you too much as it was designed to illustrate the information in the online pamphlet.
Not shown is the poor sandy bridges that got smelted for your enjoyment.
Rest in got
My background in education is a large part of the reason why I am excited by this video. The accompanied document is really well explained, goes into just the right amount of detail, and does so very honestly. The authors did not shy away from declaring that they do not produce their own wafers nor did they sugarcoat that each die even on the same wafer could perform differently or possibly not at all.
You should do yourself a favor and check it out.
Subject: Editorial | May 25, 2012 - 06:52 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
It has been a while since last we visited the PC Perspective Forums on the front page but that does not imply that nothing has happened. There are still problems to be solved with Operating Systems, ancient system BIOS upgrades and the ever popular driver questions to be answered. You can learn about IvyBridge motherboards or finagling your second wireless router to behave as a WAP. Drop by the Leaderboard Forum where you can discuss not only my picks for the Hardware Leaderboard but also any other PC builds you might be considering.
If your concerns are more specific then move on from the more general Forums to get help, be it recommendations about ASRock Z77 boards or maybe you have a Phenom II you want to overclock and enable extra cores on. Pop by the Graphics Forum and discuss AMD's new Catalyst release as well as the new schedule or get right to the heart of the system with the Processor and the Overclocking Forums.
Our BOINC and Folding@Home teams are always looking for new members and new debaters in The Lightning Round are welcome to hope into the fray. Those who like swap meets will love The Trading Post and for those of you just looking for a little high weirdness can hit the Off Topic Forum to create their own or witness ours in the latest PC Perspective Podcast!
Subject: Editorial, General Tech | May 20, 2012 - 04:03 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: windows 8, Aero
Paul Thurrott reports that Microsoft will dump Aero Glass in lieu of a more flat user interface for Windows 8. How far is Microsoft willing to distance itself from the desktop market to entice a foothold in the mobile space?
Remember that image I did with a turd on a desktop workstation a few days ago?
Microsoft has killed their glass-based design which they established almost a decade ago with the Longhorn technical preview.
Windows 8 Release Preview is set to release within the next two weeks and will contain Aero Glass as its desktop chrome. The shift to the flat layout will occur before release of the full version. It is still unclear whether users will be able to see it hands-on before they are expected to own it.
The ironic part is that is probably a glass aquarium.
You may be wondering why I claim this as an offense against the desktop. Later in his article Paul gives his prediction into why Aero Glass shattered -- since Microsoft did not directly say so themselves. Aero is not the most difficult interface for a computer to render but it does require a steady amount more computation than a flat layout. Transparency, blur, and other effects take up computation power -- hence why Windows harasses you to turn off Aero if your framerate dips in a game -- and that computation power translates to battery life.
Remember when Aero was touted as a driving reason to in-place upgrade to Vista Home Premium?
I guess Microsoft believes that they do not want their tablet customers to feel like second-rate citizens. At least we know that they will be willing to throw it all away and do it over yet again. At this point that should be the most clear above anything else.
Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Graphics Cards, Processors | May 19, 2012 - 04:52 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: ultrabook, trinity, cloud computing, cloud, amd
Bloomberg Businessweek reports AMD CEO Rory Read claims that his company will produce chips which are suited for consumer needs and not to crunch larger and larger bundles of information. They also like eating Intel’s bacon -- the question: is it from a pig or a turkey?
Read believes there is “enough processing power on every laptop on the planet today”.
The argument revolves around the shift to the cloud, as usual. It is very alluring to shift focus from the instrument to the data itself. More enticing: discussing how the instruments change to suit that need; this is especially true if you develop instruments and yearn to shift anyway.
Don’t question the bacon…
AMD has been trusting that their processors will be good enough and their products will differentiate in other ways such as with graphics capabilities which they claim will be more important for cloud services. AMD hopes that their newer laptops will steal some bacon from Intel and their ultrabook initiative.
The main problem with the cloud is that it is mostly something that people feel that they want rather than actually do. They believe they want their content controlled by a company for them until it becomes inaccessible temporarily or permanently. They believe they want their information accessible in online services but then freak out about the privacy implications of it.
The public appeal of the cloud is that it lets you feel as though you can focus on the content rather than the medium. The problem is that you do not have fewer distractions from your content -- just different ones -- and they rear their head once or twice in isolation of each other. You experience a privacy concern here and an incompatibility or licensing issue there. For some problems and for some people it makes more sense to control your own data. It will continue to be important to serve that market.
And if crunching ends up being necessary for the future it looks like Intel will be a little lonely at the top.
Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Storage | May 17, 2012 - 05:05 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: podcast, aftershow
After the normally scheduled podcast recorded last night, the PC Perspective staff hung around in the chat room to talk with our fans and readers about various random hardware topics. Rather than just throw that data away, we decided to save it and post the video here as a sort of "aftershow" for those of you that want a bit more PCPer in your life.
Subject: Editorial | May 10, 2012 - 03:56 PM | Ken Addison
Tagged: Vertex 4, podcast, nvidia, Ivy Bridge, Intel, gtx690, g75v, amd, 690
PC Perspective Podcast #201 - 05/10/2012
Join us this week as we talk about our GTX 690 review, ASUS G75V Ivy Bridge Notebook review, a Vertex 4 update and more!
The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!
- iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the iTunes Store
- RSS - Subscribe through your regular
- MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file
Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, and Allyn Malvantano
- 1-888-38-PCPER or email@example.com
- http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
- Win a Netgear R6300 802.11ac router!!
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 690 Review - Dual GK104 Kepler Greatness
- ASUS G75V Review: Gaming Goes Ivy
- Greater than 20 Percent of Malware Articles Miss the Point
- Trinity Improvements Include Updated Piledriver Cores and VLIW4 GPUs
- More Leaks Emerge on NVIDIA’s Kepler Based GTX 670 GPU
- Ready for Diablo III? Not with Catalyst 12.4 you're not.
- Corsair Launches Air Series of High Airflow and High Static Pressure Fans
- Steam Allows Remote Installation of Games
- OCZ Updates Vertex 4 Enthusiasts to 1.4 Release Candidate Firmware
- Windows Media Center To Be A Pro Only Feature In Windows 8
- Good news from TSMC for NVIDIA and you
- Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
- 1-888-38-PCPER or firstname.lastname@example.org
- http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
Subject: Editorial, General Tech | May 8, 2012 - 12:39 AM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: netgear, giveaway, contest, broadcom, 802.11ac
Broadcom and Netgear came to PC Perspective recently to discuss some upcoming products based on the new 802.11ac protocol, a new technology that will enable a minimum of 1 Gigabit wireless networking in the 5 GHz spectrum.
While we are learning about the new products that the two companies are partnering on, they offered up a few prizes for our readers: one of three new Netgear R6300 dual-band, 802.11ac routers!!
While not on the market yet, these routers will offer some impressive new features including:
The NETGEAR R6300 WiFi Router delivers next generation WiFi at Gigabit speeds. It offers the ultimate mobility for WiFi devices with speeds up to 3x faster than 802.11n.
Compatible with next generation WiFi devices and backward compatible with 802.11 a/b/g and n devices, it enables HD streaming throughout your home. The R6300 with simultaneous dual band WiFi technology offers speeds up to 450+1300‡ Mbps† and avoids interference, ensuring top WiFi speeds and reliable connections. This makes it ideal for larger homes with multiple devices. In addition, four Gigabit Ethernet ports offer ultra-fast wired connections. Wirelessly access and share USB hard drive and USB printer using the two USB 2.0 ports.
The NETGEAR Genie® app provides easy installation from an iPad®, tablet, computer or smartphone. It includes a personal dashboard, allowing you to manage, monitor, and repair your home network. NETGEAR customers can download the app at http://www.netgear.com/genie or from the Google Play or App Store.
All you have to do to enter this contest is submit your answer the question below and be sure to include your REAL email address so we can contact you!! The survey will run through the rest of this week (May 11th) and you can enter from all over the world! They had one simple question:
Subject: Editorial, General Tech | May 4, 2012 - 10:07 PM | Scott Michaud
The Pirate Bay has recently been blocked by a number of British ISPs but single-day traffic increased to the highest it has ever been. If there was a need for yet another example of where intuition opposes reality when it comes to content piracy, please -- let this be that so we can move on to actually solving problems.
The biggest issue with anti-piracy campaigns is that so many have opinions but so few have acknowledged facts -- even when proposing litigation.
The intuitive perception is very simple: see a quantifiable amount of what could wrongfully be considered theft and assume that sales were reduced by some factor of that value. Also, if you block access to that cesspool of theft then most of the theft will go away or move somewhere else. Both of those suggestions are fundamentally flawed statistically and have no meaning besides feeling correct.
Content companies: Do not blame piracy. Sales before sails -- think before you sink.
In reality there are many situations to show that an infringed copy has counter-intuitive effects on sales. More importantly to this story is the latter situation: blocking The Pirate Bay appears to have substantially increased their single-day audience by 12 million views. This seems to be yet another conundrum where no action would have been the optimal solution.
If you were to take away a single point from this article it should be the following:
Just because something seems right or wrong does not mean it is. You should treat intuition as nothing more than a guide for your judgment. Never let instinct disrupt your ability to understand the problems you are attempting to solve or ignore completely valid possibilities at solving them.
Objectivity really is a good virtue to embrace.
Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Graphics Cards | May 2, 2012 - 02:37 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: video, nvidia, live review, live, kepler, GTX 690, geforce
Yes, we realize it's actually a "flat bar" but that's nearly as cool to say. Either way, wouldn't you like to win one of these?
Tomorrow at 1pm EDT / 10am PDT we are going to be streaming a LIVE talk between myself and Tom Petersen centered around the GeForce GTX 690 dual-Kepler graphics card at http://pcper.com/live. We will talk about performance, power consumption, features, show demos and of course take user questions through our live chat room, twitter accounts and more.
But we also want to get your questions TODAY to help prepare for the event. If you have a burning question about the GTX 690 or the Kepler architecture and its features, leave us a comment below! (No registartion required.) Both NVIDIA's Tom Petersen and I will give you our feedback. The best question will take home an NVIDIA crowbar so you too can be prepared for the coming apocalypse!
Hurry though, we want them in tonight so we can sort and pick our favorites for the live event tomorrow. For all the details on tomorrow's show, make sure you check our post right here!!
Subject: Editorial, Graphics Cards | April 30, 2012 - 09:55 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: nvidia, video, geforce, GTX 690, live, live review
We all know the reviews are coming soon - the GeForce GTX 690 is set to be launched this Thursday. The dual-GK104 Kepler solution with the $999 price tag will likely be the highest performing graphics card on the market (and by a lot) and we are going to be discussing the launch, the technology and a lot more in our PC Perspective Live Review.
Starting Thursday, May 3rd at 1pm EDT / 10am PDT, NVIDIA's Tom Petersen will join me at our live page (http://pcper.com/live) to talk about the new graphics card, the performance and feature characteristics that go into building a high-end solution like this and take questions from the viewers.
You might have seen our original GTX 680 Live Review where Tom and I hosted a similar event - this is definitely something you won't want to miss out on!
Be sure to set your calendars and join us Thursday afternoon for the event! You can use the chat room at http://pcper.com/live to interact and ask questions or follow me on Twitter and reply to me during the show.
Subject: Editorial, General Tech | April 27, 2012 - 04:42 PM | Scott Michaud
The latest version of Blender has been released to the public officially. This version integrates, after much anticipation, BMesh and in the process reengineers how Blender handles geometry. Models are no longer constrained to triangles and quadrangles and can have any number of sides.
I do a bunch of illustration work for PC Perspective and elsewhere. Most of my work is in 2D these days although originally I worked in 3D applications almost exclusively. When occasions allows it, scarce as they are these days, I return to 3D if new projects need it or old projects get returned to.
Here today, n-gon tomorrow.
I originally started with Rhino3D when I was introduced to it for a high school shop technology class. When 3D shifted to a persistent hobby I shifted to Maya and purchased an educational license. That license has become well used for game design contests and personal art projects over the past several years.
Faced with the greater than three thousand dollar price tag of a new license of Maya -- I could buy a Wacom Cintiq 24 and another used car (minus repairs) with that -- I looked at Blender once again. I am not against paying for software which gives me value over the alternatives. The GIMP just cannot replace Photoshop for my current illustration work, try as I might, and I eventually was led to purchase one of Adobe’s Creative Suites. Maybe Blender would have a different fate?
Sorry boy, cannot play today.
After a few attempts at getting used to its interface -- I mean the man-hours must be cheaper than a license of Maya, right? -- I was about ready to give it up again. The modeling flow just did not suit my style well at all. After exercising my Google-Fu I found an experimental Blender project called BMesh and loaded one of its experimental builds. After just a short period of usage it felt more natural than Maya has felt.
I felt as though I would actually choose Blender over Maya, even if given either one for free. Best part: for one, I am.
So why do I mention this in the post proclaiming the launch of Blender 2.63? Blender 2.63 fully integrates that experimental branch into the trunk core application. BMesh is, as of this release, officially unified with Blender.
For current users of Blender, Game From Scratch has put up an article which demonstrates the benefits which BMesh can provide. If you focus on modeling predominantly, your grin should grow as the article moves on. More tools should be developed for the new geometry engine too. Keep grinning.
Admittedly, again, I do not have too much time to play in 3D lately and as such your mileage may vary. Still, I can honestly say that as of what this release’s preview builds demonstrate: the water is finally warm for 3D modelers to try Blender. Is there room for improvement? Of course, but now is a great time to give it a try.
Subject: Editorial | April 23, 2012 - 05:12 PM | Josh Walrath
Tagged: trinity, Q1, Ivy Bridge, Intel, earnings, atom, arm, amd, 2012
Guess what? Intel made money. A lot of money. This is not surprising. The results were not record breaking, but they did beat expectations. Intel had a gross revenue of $12.9 billion for the quarter, with a net income of $2.7 billion. Gross margins decreased (slightly) to 64%, but the reasons for this are pretty logical as we discover down below. Compared to Q4 2011, results are still significantly down, but this is again expected due to seasonal downturns. In Q4 they had $13.9 billion in gross revenue and $3.4 billion in net income with a gross margin of 64.5%.
Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Graphics Cards | April 23, 2012 - 09:58 AM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: nvidia, crowbar, kepler
Remember when NVIDIA updated their Facebook page with "It's Coming..." and a picture that you had little chance of learning its origin? Well the marketing team is at again, this time sending over a crowbar. No, seriously.
"For Use in Case of Zombies Or...<NVIDIA LOGO>". So either something BIG is coming later that I am going to need to open with said crowbar or maybe NVIDIA is partnering with Valve to announce Half-Life 3. That second guess is just wishful thinking, sorry.
If nothing else I guess we'll thank NVIDIA for the additional weapon for the eventual zombie apocalypse until such time as they sit fit to clue me in on the joke.
Subject: Editorial, General Tech | April 10, 2012 - 10:45 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: piracy, epic games, bulletstorm
Mike Capps of Epic Games, among many other developers and publishers, completely misses the point about piracy. No-one can control piracy, they can only control factors which influence it -- but controlling those factors is meaningless if sales are sacrificed in the process. No-one gets paid by not being pirated; people get paid by making sales.
Frequent readers of my editorials are probably well aware that I am quite vocal about many topics including piracy, the consumables model of art, censorship, and used content sales. I take a very mathematical approach to a lot of complicated topics. Unfortunately, a lot of what is considered common truths is based on fundamentally invalid statistics. It gives me a lot to write about.
Mike Capps of Epic Games was interviewed by GameSpot during PAX East and at some point in the discussion the topic floated across Bulletstorm. On the topic of its lower-than-expected sales, Capps added that the PC version was adversely affected by piracy.
Piracy gnashing its teeth?
Similar statements have been made for countless other games at countless other times. Each of those statements makes a subtle but gigantic mistake in formulating the problem: piracy is not something which does, piracy is something which is. Piracy does not affect your sales, but whatever affected piracy might also affect sales in one way or another.
The intuition is that sales decrease as piracy increases and vice versa. That assumption is nullified by counter-example: do not release a product. Piracy and sales, if you do not release a game, will trend in the same direction: to zero. It is now obvious that sales and piracy do not always inversely correlate.
As Mike Capps also stated in the interview, Bulletstorm had a very rough launch and lifespan on the PC. Bulletstorm required for Games for Windows Live, encrypted its settings, and did other things to earn a reputation since launch as a bad console port to the PC. Customers complained about the experience on the PC which fueled an inferno of uncertainty and doubt for potential buyers.
Being pirated is not losing a sale, but losing a customer before their purchase is.
I was personally on the fence about Bulletstorm and this negative word-of-mouth lead me to ignore the title. I did not purchase the game, I did not pirate the game; I ignored the game. Perhaps those who pirated your title did so because they were interested, became discouraged, but were not discouraged enough to avoid giving it a chance with piracy?
What I am saying is -- piracy cannot reduce your sales (it cannot do anything, it is a measurement), but perhaps whatever combination of factors reduced your sales may also have increased your piracy?
Piracy is an important measurement to consider -- but it, like sales, is just that, a measurement, nothing more. Strive to increase your sales -- keep an eye on your piracy figures to learn valuable information -- but always exclusively strive to increase your sales. It is the measurement that will pay your bills.
Subject: Editorial, General Tech | April 5, 2012 - 04:14 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: China, hack, Anonymous
China has been the target of numerous successful hacking attempts by Anonymous over the last week. Many sites were defaced and in some cases data such as accounts and e-mail addresses were compromised.
Anonymous has ramped up their activism over the last six months beyond their usual DDOSing and intrusion of US government and corporate websites. Last autumn Anonymous threatened to expose members of Mexican drug cartels although that initiative faded away without too much controversy later in the year. This year they have instead assaulted the Chinese Government.
This could get just as messy as the drug cartels.
Much of the defacing attempts broadcast, in both English as well as Chinese, messages about the Chinese Government and their practices. One such message states:
Your Government controls the Internet in your country and strives to filter what it considers a threat for it. Be careful. Use VPN for your own security. Or Tor.
The attacks have been sustained for over a week at this point. 486 compromised sites have been listed on Pastebin as of March 30th. There does not appear to have been any public response from the Chinese Government at this point.
What sticks out to me the most is how widespread the attack on Chinese online infrastructure appears to have been despite China’s traditional focus towards cyber security. Regardless of who you are, or what you have previously been capable of, you need to take security seriously as true security is extremely difficult.
Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Graphics Cards, Processors | April 4, 2012 - 04:13 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: nvidia, Intel, Knight's Corner, gpgpu
NVIDIA steals Intel’s lunch… analogy. In the process they claim that optimizing your application for Intel’s upcoming many-core hardware is not free of effort, and that effort is similar to what is required to develop on what NVIDIA already has available.
A few months ago, Intel published an article on their software blog to urge developers to look to the future without relying on the future when they design their applications. The crux of Intel’s argument states that regardless of how efficient Intel makes their processors, there is still responsibility on your part to create efficient code.
There’s always that one, in the back of the class…
NVIDIA, never a company to be afraid to make a statement, used Intel’s analogy to alert developers to optimize for many-core architectures.
The hope that unmodified HPC applications will work well on MIC with just a recompile is not really credible, nor is talking about ease of programming without consideration of performance.
There is no free lunch. Programmers will need to put in some effort to structure their applications for hybrid architectures. But that work will pay off handsomely for today’s, and especially tomorrow’s, HPC systems.
It remains to be seen how Intel MIC will perform when it eventually arrives. But why wait? Better to get ahead of the game by starting down the hybrid multicore path now.
NVIDIA thinks that Intel was correct: there would be no free lunch for developers, why not purchase a plate at NVIDIA’s table? Who knows, after the appetizer you might want to stay around.
You cannot simply allow your program to execute on Many Integrated Core (MIC) hardware and expect it to do so well. The goal is not to simply implement on new hardware -- it is to perform efficiently while utilizing the advantages of everything that is available. It will always be up to the developer to set up their application in the appropriate way.
Your advantage will be to understand the pros and cons of massive parallelism. NVIDIA, AMD, and now Intel have labored to create a variety of architectures to suit this aspiration; software developers must labor in a similar way on their end.
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