IDF 2011: Knights Ferry Shown 8-Deep Running Ray Tracing

Subject: Graphics Cards, Processors, Shows and Expos | September 15, 2011 - 03:17 PM |
Tagged: ray tracing, knights ferry, idf 2011, idf

Very few things impress like a collection of 256 processor cores in a box.  But that is exactly what we saw on our last visit to the floor at the Intel Developer Forum this year when I stopped by to visit friend-of-the-site Daniel Pohl to discuss updates to the ray tracing research he has been doing for many years now.  This is what he showed us:

rt01.jpg

What you see there is a dual-Xeon server running a set of 8 (!!) Knights Ferry many-core processor discrete cards.  Each card holds a chip with 32 Intel Architecture cores running at 1.2 GHz on it and each core can handle 4 threads for a total of 1024 threads in flight at any given time!  Keep in mind these are all modified x86 cores with support for 16-bit wide vector processing so they are pumping through a LOT of FLOPS.  Pohl did note that only 31-32 of the cores are actually doing ray tracing at any given time though as they reserve a couple for scheduling tasks, operating system interaction, etc.

rt02.jpg

Each of the the eight cards in the system is using a pair of 6-pin PCIe power connectors and they are jammed in there pretty tight.  Pohl noted this was the only case they could find that would fit 8 dual-slot add-in cards into it so I'll take a note of that for when I build my own system around them.  Of course there are no display outputs on the Knights Ferry cards as they were never really turned into GPUs in the traditional sense.  They are essentially development and research for exascale computing and HPC workloads for servers though the plan is to bring the power to consumers eventually.

rt03.jpg

To run the demo the Knights Ferry ray tracing server was communicating over a Gigabit Ethernet connection to this workstation that was running game processing, interaction processing and more and passed off data about the movements of the camera and objects in the ray traced world to the server.  The eight Knights Ferry cards then render the frame, the Xeon CPUs compress the image (8:1 using a standard Direct 3D format) and send the data across the network.  All of this happens in real time with basically no latency issues when compared to direct PC gaming. 

rt04.jpg

While the ray tracing game engine projects might seem a little less exciting since the demise of Larrabee, Pohl and his team have been spending a lot of time on learning how to take advantage of the x86 cores available.  The Wolfenstein demo we have seen in past events has been improved to add things like HDR lighting, anti-aliasing and more.

rt05.jpg

Though these features have obviously been around in rasterization based solutions for quite a long time, the demo was meant to showcase the fact that ray tracing doesn't inherently have difficulty performing those kinds of tasks as long as the processing power is there and alotted to it. 

rt06.jpg

I am glad to see the ray tracing research continuing at Intel as I think that in the long-term future, that is the route that gaming and other graphics-based applications will be rendering.  And I am not alone - id Software founder and Doom/Quake creator John Carmack agreed in a recent interview we held with him

Source: PCPer

IDF 2011: Intel Many Integrated Core (MIC) Knights Corner

Subject: Processors, Shows and Expos | September 15, 2011 - 10:54 AM |
Tagged: idf, idf 2011, knights ferry, knights corner, mic, terascale

During Justin Rattner's closing keynote at the Intel Developer Forum he discussed the pending changes to the Many Integrated Core Architectures (MIC) that we previously knew as the Terascale projects.  While we have heard about the Knights Ferry component for some time, and it was basically used a software development platform for Intel's many-core initiative. 

02.jpg

Impressive to see at this stage, the upcoming Knights Corner product will actually be built on the new 22nm tri-gate transistors and with more than 50 cores.  They haven't posted more details on what exactly ">50" refers to but it does mean that Intel continues to progress down this path and is going to be pushing the terascale computing projects into the future. 

Rattner also indicated that not all of the cores on the many-core projects have to be identical and we will soon see designs that combine more than the x86 processors to make for truly heterogeneous computing platforms. 

03.jpg

Research into the program continues including things like stacked and shared memory, new communications protocols like optical interconnects, etc.  We are just as eager to see the fruits of this research as we were for its application to gaming and graphics that eventually failed.

Source: PCPer

IDF 2011: Live Blog of Keynotes, Technical Discussions

Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Processors, Chipsets, Systems, Storage, Mobile, Shows and Expos | September 15, 2011 - 09:15 AM |
Tagged: live blog, Intel, idf 2011, idf

PC Perspective is all over the 2011 Intel Developer Forum and we'll be covering it LIVE here all week.  Expect to hear news about Ivy Bridge, Sandy Bridge-E, SSDs, X79 chipsets, 22nm tri-gate transistors and more!  We will have specific news posts about the major topics but if you want to keep up with our information to the minute, then you'll want to migrate to this page throughout Tuesday, Wednesay and Thursday morning.  

You can also hit up http://www.pcper.com/category/tags/idf to see all of the posts relating to and coming from IDF this week!

Feel free to leave comments for me on what exactly you want to know and I will do my best to address your questions as the day progresses. 

Source: PCPer

IDF 2011: New Ivy Bridge Details from Mooly Eden Keynote

Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Processors, Shows and Expos | September 14, 2011 - 10:25 AM |
Tagged: mooly eden, Ivy Bridge, idf 2011, idf

Today is day 2 at the Intel Developer Forum and with the first keynote out of the way, we can share a few short details about Ivy Bridge that we didn't know before.  First, the transistor count is 1.48 billion - a hefty jump over Sandy Bridge that had less than 1 billion.

m05.jpg

There was also mention of a new power management feature that will allow interrupts from other hardware devices to go to other cores than Core0, which it had ALWAYS done in the past. This means that it can route it to a core that is already awake and doing some work and not wake up a sleeping core unless necessary.

We also saw the Ivy Bridge processor running the HAWX 2 benchmark, now with support for DX11.

m12.jpg

If you look at the die image at the top of this post, you will also notice that it appears more of the die has been assigned to graphics performance than was allocated to it on Sandy Bridge.  Remember that on AMD's Llano about 50% of the die dedicated to stream processors; it would appear that by adding support for DX11, nearly doubling performance and including required support for things like DirectCompute, Intel was forced to follow suit to some degree. 

Mooly laughed at press taking pictures of the die as he had purposely modified the image to hide some of the details or distort them to prevent precise measurements.  Still, it looks like about 33% of the new Ivy Bridge processor is dedicated to graphics and media.  This is good news for consumers, but potentially very bad news for the discrete GPU market in notebooks and low end PCs.

Finally, Mooly Eden ended with a brief look at future Ultrabooks that will be based on the Ivy Bridge processor.

m13.jpg

If you thought the current generation of Ultrabooks was sexy (as I do) then you will really like what is coming up next.

Source: PCPer

NVIDIA to host the first Battlefield 3 tournament at PAX Prime

Subject: Shows and Expos | August 24, 2011 - 10:17 AM |
Tagged: PAX, nvidia, contest

SANTA CLARA, Calif.—August 24, 2011—NVIDIA Corporation announced the first Battlefield 3 tournament in the US will be held this weekend at PAX Prime in Seattle, WA.

Gamers who visit NVIDIA at PAX Prime this weekend will have a chance to play Battlefield 3—this year’s most anticipated PC gaming title—on MAINGEAR PCs powered by NVIDIA GeForce GTX 580 GPUs in SLI. Gamers can polish their tactics in the PC Freeplay Area on Level 6 at PAX Prime before they sign up onsite for the daily 12v12 single player tournament to win some great prizes—including full PC systems, cases, power supplies, gaming mice, keyboards, and headphones, GTX 500-series GPUs and much, much more. Prizes up for grabs are worth more than $20K USD.

“GeForce owners are the most passionate gamers on the planet,” said Drew Henry, general manager of the GeForce business unit at NVIDIA. “This free tournament and the ability to win some great prizes while playing Battlefield 3, is another way for us to provide a really fun experience for PAX Prime attendees.”

Gamers at PAX Prime can also win prizes by participating in the NVIDIA “Are You My Match?” contest. Simply match the tattoo sticker from the PAX Prime show bag to a t-shirt worn by an NVIDIA staffer on the show floor, and come to Level 6 to claim a prize. Additional prizes include 3D Vision kits, PC cooling systems and a whole lot more.

Various PAX Prime prizing is being provided by Antec, ASUS, Coolermaster, CyberPower, EVGA, IBUYPOWER, Guild Wars 2, NVIDIA, NZXT, Razer, and Zotac, and others.

To obtain more information about NVIDIA and Battlefield 3 at PAX Prime, please visit http://www.nvidia.com/object/pax-prime.html. For more information on PAX Prime, please visit http://prime.paxsite.com/

bf3PAX.jpg

Source: NVIDIA

Antec announces collaboration with NCsoft in conjunction with PAX

Subject: Shows and Expos | August 24, 2011 - 07:10 AM |
Tagged: antec, PAX, penny arcade, contest

Antec, Inc., the global leader in high-performance computer components and accessories for the gaming, PC upgrade and Do-It-Yourself markets, announced today its official relationship with video game developer & publisher NCsoft Corporation and its subsequent activity at PAX (Penny Arcade Expo) Prime 2011.

Antec will commence its relationship with NCsoft by opening an online boutique which, in the coming weeks, will let consumers purchase enclosures featuring custom NCsoft artwork from the City of Heroes, Guild Wars, Aion and future franchises.

Antec and NCsoft will team up at PAX Prime August 26th through August 28th, 2011 in Seattle, WA. Antec’s booth will be the only locale on the show floor where attendees can demo NCsoft’s upcoming City of Heroes Freedom.

Antec will also showcase an enclosures gallery with custom NCsoft artwork as a preview for what attendees can eventually order online. One of these select cases, equipped with hardware from Intel, Zotac, Kingston and Seagate, will be raffled off as a complete gaming PC.

“NCsoft is pleased to team up with Antec to bring our visual imagery from our award-winning line up of MMORPGs to their fans,” said Steve Levy, Global Director, Publishing, at NCsoft. “This is a great collaboration that will allow Antec’s customers to select a high performance PC enclosure and create a work of art that they will be proud to display.”

“We’re excited to kick off this new venture with NCsoft and invite our fans to give more personality to their PCs,” said Matthew Bosma, Director of Sales at Antec. “It has been great working with NCsoft and we’re looking forward to showing off their beautiful artwork to our fans and their fans, too.”

This year marks Antec’s fourth consecutive appearance at PAX Prime, and together with NCsoft, Antec promises to make its most exciting appearance at PAX yet.

Attendees can expect to see the latest Antec products including the upcoming SOLO II enclosure, which presents the uncompromising balance of Quiet Computing and performance.

Antec will also be demoing the soundscience rockus 3D | 2.1 speaker system in a sound-insulated room within the booth. Attendees will have the pleasure of experiencing the rockus’s capabilities in Kinect Fruit Ninja.

Join Antec at the Washington State Convention Center from August 26th through August 28th, 2011 to experience the latest Antec product lineup and exciting activities. For more information visit www.antec.com/pax2011 or follow the official Antec Facebook page for event updates at www.facebook.com/AntecInc.

antecPAX.jpg

Source: Antec

Battlefield 3: This is what the PC players will be enjoying

Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Shows and Expos | August 19, 2011 - 06:06 PM |
Tagged: gamescom, battlefield 3

DICE was at Gamescom in Germany showing off an assortment of new Battlefield 3 details through their booth and a short keynote speech. The vast majority of the keynote consisted of the two speakers playing Battlefield 3 co-op on the console. Aside from the live co-op demo there was a trailer from a more classic Battlefield map inhabited with 64 players and fighter aircraft. Check it out below, preferably in high resolution and fullscreen. You can then check out the unofficial BF3Blog for the complete weapon list with claymores and mortar launchers.

So Call of Duty was leaving a bar and the pub server asked, “Gotta jet?”

It was also recently revealed that Battlefield 3 would be locked to 30 frames per second on the consoles which drew fire from Activision who runs their game at 60 FPS. Their claim was that the added framerate is required to have a more responsive experience. Unfortunately as our previous article reporting on Mozilla’s stance on responsiveness shows: it is not as simple as 33.3ms versus 16.7ms latencies. Even under the assumption that the framerate is at its maximum you cannot tell the exact duration between input and TV draw without the use of a high-speed camera looking at both player-controller and monitor. Many frames could go by without even looking at the input loop and all the other dependent code on parallel out-of-sync threads that finally alter the state of the threads that draws what you should see. Be careful what you read folks; while yes, higher framerate gives the higher potential for lower latency between press and draw it is not necessarily the case. All of that said we will be on the PC which has its own set of methodologies for how to handle multi-process (there are still latencies inherent with any multiprocess game, but with different limits) and thus this is entirely irrelevant to us, but still a good learning experience regardless.

GLOBALFOUNDRIES Announces Lineup for Second Annual Global Technology Conference

Subject: Shows and Expos | August 11, 2011 - 03:30 PM |
Tagged: GLOBALFOUNDRIES, GTC 2011

Milpitas, Calif. – August 11, 2011 – GLOBALFOUNDRIES today announced the agenda for its second annual Global Technology Conference (GTC) on Tuesday, August 30 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, Calif. GTC 2011 will be a seminal opportunity to learn about the vision and strategy of the new GLOBALFOUNDRIES leadership team, in addition to featuring executives and technologists from throughout the semiconductor ecosystem.

“In the past two months, I have spent a great deal of time working with and listening to our customers,” said Ajit Manocha, chief executive officer of GLOBALFOUNDRIES. “They are critical to our success, and we are committed to delivering the innovation and technology solutions that they are demanding from the foundry industry. We are excited to take this opportunity to update our customers, partners and the rest of the ecosystem on the business momentum we’ve achieved since GTC 2010 and particularly over the last few months.”

GTC 2011 will feature a keynote address by Manocha and presentations from other members of the GLOBALFOUNDRIES executive leadership as well as management and technical teams. The conference also will include a highlight from the previous year’s event—a panel discussion among senior executives in the EDA/IP ecosystem examining industry trends and challenges in leading-edge design enablement. Moderated by Mojy Chian, GLOBALFOUNDRIES senior vice president of design enablement, the panel will feature the following participants:

  • Warren East, chief executive officer, ARM
  • Lip-Bu Tan, president and chief executive officer, Cadence Design Systems
  • Aart de Geus, chairman of the board and chief executive officer, Synopsys
  • Robert Hum, vice president and general manager, Deep Submicron Division, Mentor Graphics

“At last year’s inaugural GTC event, we received a tremendous response from the industry as we outlined our plans to change the foundry landscape and revive competition at the leading edge,” said Jim Kupec, senior vice president of sales and marketing at GLOBALFOUNDRIES. “We have made a great deal of progress and overcome significant challenges to become the only foundry in volume production of leading-edge High-k Metal Gate (HKMG) technology. We look forward to sharing our successes and demonstrating our continued commitment to bringing a differentiated model to the foundry industry.”

In addition, GLOBALFOUNDRIES will present “Leading in Innovation” awards to customers and partners who are working with the company on products ranging from 0.35um non-volatile to 130nm and 65nm RFCMOS, and leading-edge 28nm technologies for processors and high-speed, low-power analog solutions. These awards epitomize the GTC 2011 theme of driving product innovation through true collaboration between GLOBALFOUNDRIES and its ecosystem partners on leading edge and mainstream CMOS technologies, as well as solutions for high voltage, embedded non-volatile memories, RF, analog, and MEMS.

GTC 2011 is expected to draw more than 1,500 people from around the world, including broad participation from key customers, suppliers, partners, industry analysts and media as well as the GLOBALFOUNDRIES leadership team. The Santa Clara event will kick off a series of GTC 2011 “Road Show” events to be held at other strategic international venues including:

  • September 14, Hsinchu, Taiwan
  • September 16, Shanghai, China
  • October 27, Tokyo, Japan

Each regional event features members of the GLOBALSOLUTIONSTM ecosystem of partners exhibiting proven, differentiated solutions in design enablement, mask services, assembly and test for the consumer, communications, computing and automotive sectors.

GTC_Header_2011.jpg

Please visit the following Web site for details on the agenda, keynotes, exhibitions, demos and other features of the event: http://www.globalfoundries.com/gtc2011/.

PC Perspective Hardware Workshop Video

Subject: Editorial, Shows and Expos | August 10, 2011 - 04:14 PM |
Tagged: workshop, video, quakecon, pcper

If you weren't at Quakecon 2011 last weekend and didn't get a chance to watch our live stream of the event, you can still catch it right here.  What did we do at 3rd Annual PC Perspective Hardware Workshop?  We gave out a TON of hardware and prizes thanks to our many sponsors (listing here) and also showed off some great case mods, some new technology including a 5 display capable Galaxy graphics card and of course, a demo from NVIDIA's own Tom Petersen.

Again, a HUGE thanks goes out to our sponsors for helping out with the event, providing interesting things to show off and prizes for all the gamers.  We had a blast as did the 1100+ attendees and 2000+ viewers live online that day!! A big thanks specifically goes out to Corsair, NVIDIA and OCZ for exceptional help getting it all together!

Here is to next year...or who knows...maybe even sooner...?  ;)

New Rage trailer causes an Uprising at Quakecon?

Subject: General Tech, Shows and Expos | August 6, 2011 - 03:10 PM |
Tagged: rage, quakecon, id

The most important difference about Quakecon this year is that they can finally, for the first time in years, promote an upcoming in-house title. RAGE was definitely all the rage this year as John Carmack spent the majority of his keynote discussing the technical decisions made during the game for the 360, for the PS3, and for the PC. The biggest take-away that a lead game programmer could learn from the keynote is that you should never tell the artist team when approached about design specifications, “Make beautiful stuff and we’ll figure out how to make it work.” However, for the rest of us not on iD’s programming department, we get to see what a comment like that looks like in the new RAGE trailer.

Reminded of USENET a decade ago, “Syntax Error: Asking for the best computer, money is no object.”

Something has us believing that this will be a very profitable year for Bethesda’s parent company, Zenimax. With two large games, RAGE and Elder Scrolls V, coming out this autumn from Zenimax we hopefully should see them able to reinvest and grow over the coming years. As for the game itself, I get three distinct vibes from the most recent cinematic trailer: The first is Doom 3 which is most felt in the intro as the player is loaded into the pod-like device; the second is Fallout 3 from characters interact; the third vibe I cannot pin against any given game and mostly consists of the vehicular aspect of the trailer. What does it remind our readers of? (Registration not required for commenting.)

Source: iD Software

Quakecon Steam Deals: Catch up with iD and Bethesda for $70

Subject: General Tech, Shows and Expos | August 5, 2011 - 12:44 AM |
Tagged: steam, quakecon

A lot of news is blowing up about the exciting conference happening right now called Quakercon. For those of us not lucky enough to bask in the PepsiCo subsidiary that popularized Amish oatmeal delight there is another, smaller conference going on right now called “Quakecon”. Frankly, I think they’re ripping off our wonderful breakfast food company. Still, if you cannot check out Quakercon treating us to tonnes of steamed meals – why not check out Quakecon treating us to tonnes of Steam deals!

quakecon-deals.png

Yes I realize there is no such thing as Quakercon… … yet.

In the event that you are following Quakecon and for some reason do not own many iD or Bethesda games, there is a bundle that will roll you pretty much entirely up to date for just shy of $70. The Quakecon Pack 2011 contains the following:

  • Quake III Arena
  • Quake IV
  • Wolfenstein 3D
  • The Ultimate Doom
  • Final DOOM
  • DOOM II
  • QUAKE
  • QUAKE II
  • QUAKE II Mission Pack: The Reckoning
  • QUAKE II Mission Pack: Ground Zero
  • QUAKE III: Team Arena
  • HeXen: Beyond Heretic
  • HeXen: Deathkings of the Dark Citadel
  • Heretic: Shadow of the Serpent Riders
  • Spear of Destiny
  • Return to Castle Wolfenstein
  • QUAKE Mission Pack 2: Dissolution of Eternity
  • QUAKE Mission Pack 1: Scourge of Armagon
  • DOOM 3
  • HeXen II
  • DOOM 3 Resurrection of Evil
  • Master Levels for Doom II
  • Commander Keen
  • Rogue Warrior
  • The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind® Game of the Year Edition
  • Call of Cthulhu®: Dark Corners of the Earth
  • BRINK
  • Fallout 3: Game of the Year Edition
  • Fallout: New Vegas
  • Hunted: The Demon’s Forge™
  • Fallout New Vegas: Dead Money
  • Fallout New Vegas: Honest Hearts
  • Fallout New Vegas: Old World Blues
  • The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion® Game of the Year Edition Deluxe
 
If $70 is too much for you but you have plans to pre-order Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and RAGE: doing so will knock the price of this combo pack to $40. Also, you will likely not even install a third of this pack at best, especially if you plan on putting a dent in to RAGE and Skyrim.
Source: Steam Store

QuakeCon 2011: Arrive in a clunker… leave in a beast

Subject: Shows and Expos | July 27, 2011 - 08:46 AM |
Tagged: quakecon

If you are hoping for fine cognac or fast storage you may be disappointed to find out that the Hennessey VelociRaptor 600 SC is a modified 2011 Ford F-150 Raptor SVT, but if you are into high performance automotives then you've another reason to come to QuakeCon.  There will be 100 tickets available for the draw, which you will have to win during QuakeCon, perhaps even through the CaseMod contest that PC Perspective is judging again this year!

vr600-sc-front.jpg

July 27, 2011 (Rockville, MD) – Ventrilo, the premier group voice communication program used in tournaments and multiplayer games, will once again participate in QuakeCon 2011, with the sponsorship its 4th annual “Ultimate Power Up” Sweepstakes at QuakeCon. In addition, the Company will also sponsor their newly added “Ventrilo RAGE Quick Drive” contest.

This year, one lucky attendee will drive away from QuakeCon 2011 in a brand-new 2011 Molten Orange Ford F-150 Raptor SVT, complete with the Hennessey VelociRaptor 600 SC upgrade package. Attendees will also have the chance to win their share of $10,000 cash as they compete in the “Ventrilo RAGE Quick Drive” contests held throughout the event. The 2011 Ford F-150 Raptor SVT Hennessey VelociRaptor 600 SC, valued at approximately $69,719, will be on display in the main exhibition area throughout the event.

“Once again we’d like to say a special thank you to Brian Knapp and everyone at Ventrilo for giving QuakeCon attendees the chance to drive home on Sunday with panache,” said Todd Hollenshead, president of id Software. “This brand new, 600 HP Super Cab Ford F-150 is not only 4WD, but is also supercharged for the best performance on roads or off—and in bandit infested Wastelands.”

“It is an honor to be a major sponsor of QuakeCon once again. We could not ask for a better opportunity to give back to the community that spawned the creation of Ventrilo.”said Brian Knapp, president of Flagship Industries. “The Ford F-150 Raptor SVT was specifically designed to run in the Baja 1000 desert race but can be used for every day street driving. Those wasteland bandits will never catch you when you have 600 horsepower at your disposal.”

The “Ultimate Power Up” winner will be randomly selected after the final “Ventrilo RAGE Quick Drive” contest at 9:30pm CST on Saturday, August 6th as part of the tournament finals event on the QuakeCon Dell Main Stage. A total of 100 coveted tickets for the Ford F-150 Raptor SVT Hennessey VelociRaptor 600 SC will be awarded to attendees throughout each day of the show in QuakeCon contests, random drawings, and other events.

Quakecon isn't the only party in Dallas

Subject: General Tech, Shows and Expos | July 21, 2011 - 08:35 AM |
Tagged: Texas GamExperience, amd

You still have a while to wait before the start of Quakecon in Dallas, and then even longer to wait until the PC Perspective Hardware Workshop starts of and you can act like the maddest fool around in order to win prizes.  That doesn't mean that Houston is quiet, indeed [H]ard|OCP and AMD just hosted the Texas GamExperience there this past weekend.  They posted pictures of the event, including an awe inspiring EyeFinity Experience.  Click through to see the rest of the pictures.

H_Eyefinity.jpg

"AMD and HardOCP got together this past weekend in Dallas to put together an event that was focused on giving back to the enthusiast computer hardware community that has given so much to us."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: [H]ard|OCP

PDXLAN Custom Cases Round 1

Subject: General Tech, Shows and Expos | July 16, 2011 - 03:49 PM |
Tagged: pdxlan, pdx, case mods

Yes, I am still gaming away and getting destroyed in some StarCraft II but at least we are having fun.  In between ass-whoopings I have been wandering around the BYOC looking for some interesting case mods.  Here are a few I found interesting.

 

cases01.jpg

These aren't really mods but I like the idea of bringing a BYOC stand that puts the case and computing components over the display in use, saving space on the table and moving the heat closer to the ceiling.  

 

cases02.jpg

Here is another example of the design but with a brightly lit overclocked and water cooled SLI configuration.

 

cases03.jpg

Probably my favorite for the event has been this Lego case that took about 2 years to create according to the owner.  The crane on the left is fully workable and controllable via some software running on the system.  My favorite part though: the HDD LED is routed to look like a Lego guy's welding light on the front!!

 

cases04.jpg

This Gigabyte branded case mod uses the company's new G1 Killer branded motherboards and focuses heavily on the green motif.  The skull shape reservoir really completes the ensemble.  

 

games01.jpg

Finally, here is a random shot of some people lining up to play a game of "LAN Pong" involving tossing tennis balls into a bucket.  The prizes were impressive though: a pair of NVIDIA Tegra 2 powered tablets.  

Source: PCPer

PDXLAN Gears up with sponsors and gamers

Subject: Editorial, Shows and Expos | July 16, 2011 - 09:51 AM |
Tagged: sli, sapphire, pdxlan, pdx, nvidia, msi, amd

If you are a PC gaming and live near or around the Portland, OR area you are familiar with the concept of PDXLAN - one of the most popular (but still cool and underground) LAN events in the country.  The primary event is going on this weekend and I am here to both game and take a look at what the sponsors are showing off. 

pdx01.jpg

MSI has a lot of stuff going on including a look at the latest version of the Afterburner overclocking tool, the 3GB version of the GTX 580 Lightning (that Josh is currently working on a review of) and even a NVIDIA Surround based Dirt 3 sim seat.

pdx02.jpg

Gaming laptops are still taking off here in the US and MSI has a couple on display including a HUGE 18-in mode (on the right) with a keyboard that lights up with various colors of LEDs, configurable.  

pdx03.jpg

The Sapphire guys are here as well and are showing off much of what AMD for gamers including Eyefinity configurations like the very popular 5x1 portrait mode.  This is something that only AMD offers currently and in this demo we were looking at Dragon Age II.  It was definitely grabbing some attention!

pdx04.jpg

Showing that AMD's HD3D technology does indeed have legs Sapphire was showing off the new Samsung SyncMaster SA950 that has a nice external design.  I am going to spend some more time with it today to see how it performs, so check back for more!

pdx05.jpg

If you are here, you can also find me getting butt kicked at various games.  This is the machine I'll be on, a Maingear built GTX 580 SLI right with an overclocked Intel Core i7 Sandy Bridge processor and 30-in display.  I know, it sucks to be me, but someone has to sacrifice and play on it, right?

More from PDXLAN later today!

Source: PCPer

World's first 7-inch Android 3.2 tablet

Subject: General Tech, Mobile, Shows and Expos | June 21, 2011 - 03:58 PM |
Tagged: Huawei, CommunicAsia, Android 3.2

There seems to always be a trade show going on at some corner of the ellipsoid world particularly at this time of the year. Down in Singapore the CommunicAsia 2011 exhibition is on until the 24th and news is starting to trickle out about advancements in communication technology. If you were holding your breath until Android reached version 3.2 on devices you can almost finally exhale, if you are still conscious because you can at best hold your breath for like 8 minutes and Android products are not that quick to ship. Yet.

Seventh floor… going up… ... WHAMMY BAR!!!

Huawei announced on the 21st that they are releasing a 7-inch tablet based on Android’s 3.2 release. The tablet will feature a dual-core 1.2 GHz processor from Qualcomm but no mention of how much system RAM it will contain as it still allegedly depends on partners. The capacitive touchscreen will be IPS-based at a 217 PPI pixel density. After a little trigonometry: a 7-inch screen will have a resolution somewhere between 1280x720 and 1366x768 if its pixel density is 217 pixels per inch. The unit itself is capable of outputting 1080p to an external display through HDMI. There are currently no details towards a price, but Huawei stated that there are no plans for a Wifi-only version. The unit is expected to ship in the third quarter of this year.

Source: Engadget

AMD Fusion Developer Summit 2011: Live Blog

Subject: Editorial, Graphics Cards, Processors, Mobile, Shows and Expos | June 16, 2011 - 11:41 AM |
Tagged: llano, liveblog, fusion, APU, amd, AFDS

afdslogo.png

The AMD Fusion Developer Summit 2011 is set to begin at 11:30am ET / 8:30am PT and promises to bring some interesting and forward looking news about the future of AMD's APU technology.  We are going to cover the keynotes LIVE right here throughout the week so if you want to know what is happening AS IT HAPPENS, stick around!!

Source: PCPer

AMD announces new OpenCL programming tools

Subject: General Tech, Shows and Expos | June 15, 2011 - 06:14 PM |
Tagged: opencl, amd, AFDS

If you are a developer of applications which requires more performance than a CPU alone can provide then you are probably having a gleeful week. Today Microsoft announced their competitor to OpenCL and we have a large write-up about that aspect of their keynote address. If you are currently an OpenCL developer you are not left out, however, as AMD has announced new tools designed to make your life easier too.

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General Purpose GPU utilities: Because BINK won't satisfy this crowd.

(Logo trademark Apple Inc.)

AMD’s spectrum of enhanced tools includes:

  • gDEBuger: An OpenCL and OpenGL debugger, profiler, and memory analyzer released as a plugin for Visual Studio.
  • Parallel Path Analyzer (PPA): A tool designed to profile data transfers and kernel execution across your system.
  • Global Memory for Accelerators (GMAC) API: Lets developers use multiple devices without needing to manage multiple data buffers in both the CPU and the GPU.
  • Task Manager API: A framework to manage scheduling kernels across devices. 

These tools and utilities should make the development of software easier and allow more developers to take the risk on the new technology. The GPU has already proven itself worthy of more and more important tasks and it is only a matter of time before it is finally ubiquitous enough that it is a default component as important as the CPU itself. As an ironic aside, that should spur the adoption of PC Gaming given how many people would have sufficient hardware.

Source: AMD

AFDS11: Microsoft Announces C++ AMP, Competitor to OpenCL

Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Shows and Expos | June 15, 2011 - 02:58 PM |
Tagged: programming, microsoft, fusion, c++, amp, AFDS

During this morning's keynote at the AMD Fusion Developer Summit, Microsoft's Herb Sutter went on stage to discuss the problems and solutions involved around programming and developing for multi-processing systems and heterogeneous computing systems in particular.  While the problems are definitely something we have discussed before at PC Perspective, the new solution that was showcased was significant.

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C++ AMP (accelerated massive parallelism) was announced as a new extension to Visual Studio and the C++ programming language to help developers take advantage of the highly parallel and heterogeneous computing environments of today and the future.  The new programming model uses C++ syntax and will be available in the next version of Visual Studio with "bits of it coming later this year."  Sorry, no hard release date was given when probed.

Perhaps just as significant is the fact that Microsoft announced the C++ AMP standard would be an open specification and they are going to allow other compilers to integrated support for it.  Unlike C# then, C++ AMP has a chance to be a new dominant standard in the programming world as the need for parallel computing expands.  While OpenCL was the only option for developers that promised to allow easy utilization of ALL computing power in a computing device, C++ AMP gives users another option with the full weight of Microsoft behind it.

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To demonstrate the capability of C++ AMP Microsoft showed a rigid body simulation program that ran on multiple computers and devices from a single executable file and was able to scale in performance from 3 GLOPS on the x86 cores of Llano to 650 GFLOPS on the combined APU power and to 830 GFLOPS with a pair of discrete Radeon HD 5800 GPUs.  The same executable file was run on an AMD E-series APU powered tablet and ran at 16 GFLOPS with 16,000 particles.  This is the promise of heterogeneous programming languages and is the gateway necessary for consumers and business to truly take advantage of the processors that AMD (and other companies) are building today. 

If you want programs other than video transcoding apps to really push the promise of heterogeneous computing, then the announcement of C++ AMP is very, very big news. 

Source: PCPer

AFDS11: Upcoming Trinity APU will use VLIW4 / Cayman Architecture

Subject: Graphics Cards, Processors, Shows and Expos | June 14, 2011 - 05:06 PM |
Tagged: vliw, trinity, llano, fusion, evergreen, cayman, amd, AFDS

Well that was an interesting twist...  During a talk on the next generation of GPU technology at the AMD Fusion Developer Summit, one of the engineers was asked about Trinity, the next APU to be released in 2012 (and shown running today for the very first time).  It was offered that Trinity in fact used a VLIW4 architecture rather than the VLIW5 design found in the just released Llano A-series APU

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A shader unit from the VLIW4-based Cayman architecture

That means that Trinity APUs will ship with Cayman-based GPU technology (6900 series) rather than the Evergreen (5000 series).  While that doesn't tell us much in terms of performance simply because we have so many variables including shader counts and clocks, it does put to rest the rumor that Trinity was going to keep basically the same class of GPU technology that Llano had. 

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Trinity notebook shown for the first time today at AFDS.  Inside is an APU with Cayman-class graphics.

AMD is definitely pushing the capabilities of APUs forward and if they can stay on schedule with Trinity, Intel might find the GPU portion of its Ivy Bridge architecture well behind again.

Source: PCPer