Subject: General Tech | March 27, 2013 - 11:01 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: Internet, hc-pbgf, fiber, data transmission
Transmitting data over optical fiber is one of the fastest methods available, and researchers at the University of Southampton have managed to dial up the speed even further.
Being optical in nature, light is used to transmit data over fiber. The speed of light through a vacuum is 299,792,458 meters per second, but traditional fiber is not nearly that fast due to light traveling approximately 31% slower (206,856,796.02 m/s) through silica glass than a vacuum.
The new fiber employs a hollow design that allows light to travel through air rather than glass while still allowing the cable to bend and twist around corners. The new fiber has been dubbed Hollow Core Photonic Bandgap Fiber, or HC-PBGF, and allows light to travel up to about 298,893,080.63 m/s (~99.7% the speed of light). Currently, the HC-PBGF fiber is still in the experimental phase, but it could have big implications for data centers and HPC server clusters that depend on high bandwidth, low latency connections between individual nodes.
Just how fast is the new HC-PBGF? According to ExtremeTech, a researcher told the site that the new fiber has a total cable throughput of 73.7 Tbps. It transmits 3 modes of 96 channels of 256 Gbps each using a combination of wave division multiplexing and mode division multiplexing. The fiber is 160nm and is noticeably faster than traditional fiber. Additionally, the HC-PBGF has a data loss of 3.5 dB/km which makes it a useful candidate for short runs between nodes or rows of racks, but not yet suitable for longer runs. HC-PBGF will not be blanketing your neighborhood anytime soon, but the research may lead to new optical networking technologies used in the next supercomputer or cloud service, for example.
The full paper can be found here, along with more details over at Ars Technica. Unfortunately, the full paper is behind a paywall but it may be worth seeing your school or work can give you access should you be interested in drilling into the details of the experimental hollow fiber,.
Subject: General Tech, Shows and Expos | March 27, 2013 - 08:51 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Intel, GDC 13, GDC
GDC 2013 is where the industry comes together to talk about the technology itself. Intel was there, and of course the big blue just had to unveil developments to help them in the PC gaming space. Two new major rendering extensions and updated developer tools debut. And, if you are not a developer, encode your movies with handbrake quicker!
First up is PixelSync, a DirectX extension for Intel HD Graphics. PixelSync is designed to be used with smoke, hair, and other effects which require blending translucent geometry. With this extension, objects do not need to be sorted before compositing.
Next up is InstantAccess. This DirectX extension allows CPU and integrated GPUs to access the same physical memory. What interests me most about InstantAccess is the ability for developers to write GPU-based applications which can quickly access the same memory as its CPU counterpart. Should the integrated GPU be visible alongside discrete GPUs, this could allow the integrated graphics to help offload GPGPU tasks such as physics while the CPU and discrete GPU handle the more important tasks.
Also updated is their Graphics Performance Analyzers toolset. If you are interested in performance optimization on your software, be sure to check those out.
And for the more general public... Handbrake is now set up to take advantage of Quick Sync Video. Given the popularity of Handbrake, this is quite a big deal for anyone wishing to transcode video using popular and free encoders.
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | March 27, 2013 - 08:16 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: sky graphics, sky 900, RapidFire, radeon sky, pc gaming, GDC, cloud gaming, ciinow, amd
AMD is making a new push into cloud gaming with a new series of Radeon graphics cards called Sky. The new cards feature a (mysterious) technology called "RapidFire" that allegedly provides "highly efficient and responsive game streaming" from servers to your various computing devices (tablets, PCs, Smart TVs) over the Internet. At this year's Games Developers Conference (GDC), the company announced that it is working with a number of existing cloud gaming companies to provide hardware and drivers to reduce latency.
AMD is working with Otoy, G-Cluster, Ubitus, and CiiNow. CiiNow in particular was heavily discussed by AMD, and can reportedly provide lower latency than cloud gaming competitor Gaikai. AMD Sky is, in many ways, similar in scope to NVIDIA's GRID technology which was announced last year and shown off at GTC last week. Obviously, that has given NVIDIA a head start, but it is difficult to say how AMD's technology will stack up as the company is not yet providing any specifics. Joystiq was able to obtain information on the high-end Radeon Sky graphics card, however (that's something at least...). The Sky 900 reportedly features 3,584 stream processors, 6GB of GDDR5 RAM, and 480 GB/s of bandwidth. Further, AMD has indicated that the new Radeon Sky cards will be based on the company's Graphics Core Next architecture.
|Sky 900||Radeon 7970|
I think it is safe to assume that the Sky cards will be sold to other cloud gaming companies. They will not be consumer cards, and AMD is not going to get into the cloud gaming business itself. Beyond that, AMD's Sky cloud gaming initiative is still a mystery. Hopefully more details will filter out between now and the AMD Fusion Developer Summit this summer.
Subject: General Tech | March 27, 2013 - 02:42 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: gaming, bioshock infinite
After the long wait, BioShock: Infinite is here, not as a sequel but carrying forward some of the atmosphere of the first two out of the water and into the clouds. The reviews are positive, both in terms of game play and story line, as you can see by Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN's preview of the game here. That particular article is spoiler free, not revealing any secrets that those following the release already know, but you can also venture into spoiler territory if you wish as they have already published some feedback about subplots they would have liked to see fleshed out more. For those jsut about to start playing they offer some tweaks to improve your experience, including the all important FOV hack, as well as a Konami-ish code to unlock sadistic mode immediately.
"BioShock: Infinite is a new first-person shooter from Irrational, creators of BioShock, System Shock 2 and SWAT 4. It’s set on a flying city in 1912, where racism and religious fundamentalism dictate society. You’re up there, wielding guns and magic, to bring someone the girl and wipe away the debt. Here’s what I thought, spoiler-free."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- BioShock Infinite review: In the sky, Lord, in the sky @ Ars Technica
- A Look at Duke Nukem 3D Megaton Edition @ Techgage
- WARFACE Puts Its War In Your Face @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Tripwire’s Rising Storm Whips Up A Trailer @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Age Of Wonders III First Footage @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- First Look: Space Hulk @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
Subject: General Tech | March 27, 2013 - 01:21 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: gpu, history, get off my lawn
TechSpot has jsut published an article looking at the history of the GPU over the past decades, from the first NTSC capable cards, through the golden 3DFX years straight through to the modern GPGPU. There have been a lot of standards over the years such as MDA, CGA and EGA as well as different interfaces like ISA, the graphic card specific AGP to our current PCIe standard. The first article in this four part series takes us from 1976 through to 1995 and the birth of the Voodoo series of accelerators. Read on to bring back memories or perhaps to encounter some of this history for the first time.
"The evolution of the modern graphics processor begins with the introduction of the first 3D add-in cards in 1995, followed by the widespread adoption of the 32-bit operating systems and the affordable personal computer. While 3D graphics turned a fairly dull PC industry into a light and magic show, they owe their existence to generations of innovative endeavour. Over the next few weeks we'll be taking an extensive look at the history of the GPU, going from the early days of 3D consumer graphics, to the 3Dfx Voodoo game-changer, the industry's consolidation at the turn of the century, and today's modern GPGPU."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- The Do-It-Yourself All-In-One Computer Standard from Intel @ Hardware Secrets
- What is Windows Blue? @ TechReviewSource
- Mozilla Firefox OS on Dreamfone video demo @ The Inquirer
- Google Keep hands-on @ The Inquirer
- Whoops! Tiny bug in NetBSD 6.0 code ruins SSH crypto keys @ The Register
Subject: General Tech | March 27, 2013 - 12:47 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: vengeance 2000, corsair, gaming headset, dolby, audio
Corsair is offering a way to add even more to their Vengeance 2000 wireless gaming headset. They have a brushed aluminum headband, 50mm drivers and microfiber earcups, plus have the benefit of being completely wireless but now they can also support two new Dolby features thanks to a driver update. Get more from your headset for free from Corsair, or pick up a pair for $100 if you are in the market for new headphones.
Fremont, California — March 27, 2013 — Corsair, a worldwide designer and supplier of high-performance components to the PC gaming hardware market, today announced the release of a free software driver update which adds Dolby Headphone 2.0 and Dolby Pro Logic IIx to the Vengeance 2000 wireless gaming headset. The addition of Dolby Headphone to the Vengeance 2000 improves both surround sound quality and game compatibility. The software driver is immediately available for download www.corsair.com.
Vengeance 2000 Wireless 7.1 Gaming Headset: Untethered gaming with amazing audio fidelity
The Vengeance 2000 7.1 Wireless gaming headset uses rock-solid 2.4GHz wireless that frees and untangles gamers with battery life up to ten hours and a range up to 40 feet. Whether it’s a 5.1 or 7.1 audio source, the headset’s optimized HRTF positional audio technology gives gamers an edge with precise information about the location of opponents. The Vengeance 2000 also features custom-engineered 50mm drivers and careful acoustic tuning for audiophile-grade sound with superior clarity and tight bass response. For immersive audio and hours-long comfort the Vengeance 2000 employs circumaural, micro-fiber memory foam earpads and a padded headband. The high-sensitivity, noise-cancelling microphone increases effective team play. The headset comes with a Micro-USB charge cable that can also provide power if the battery runs low.
Dolby Headphone 2.0 and Dolby Pro Logic IIx
Dolby Headphone is a revolutionary signal processing technology that delivers up to 7.1-channel surround sound over headphones for richer, more spacious headphone audio. Dolby Pro Logic IIx processes native stereo- and 5.1-channel material to produce 6.1 or 7.1 output channels.
The new Vengeance 2000 software driver is available for download on the Vengeance 2000 product page on Corsair.com.
Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Shows and Expos | March 27, 2013 - 03:25 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: battlefield, battlefield 4, GDC, GDC 13
Battlefield 4 is coming, that has been known with Medal of Honor: Warfighter's release and its promise of beta access, but the gameplay trailer is already here. Clocking in at just over 17 minutes, "Fishing in Baku" looks amazing from a technical standpoint.
The video has been embed below. A little not safe for work due to language and amputation.
Now that you finished gawking, we have gameplay to discuss. I cannot help but be disappointed with the campaign direction. Surely, the story was in planning prior to the release of Battlefield 3. Still, it seems to face the same generic-character problem which struck the last campaign.
In Battlefield 3, I really could not recognize many characters apart from the lead which made their deaths more confusing than upsetting. Normally when we claim a character is identifiable, we mean that we can relate to them. In this case, when I say the characters were not identifiable, I seriously mean that I probably could not pick them out in a police lineup.
Then again, the leaked promotional image for Battlefield 4 seems to show Blackburn at the helm. I guess there is some hope. Slim hope, which the trailer does not contribute to. I mean even the end narration capped how pointless the character interactions were. All this in spite of EA's proclaiming YouTube description of this being human, dramatic, and believable.
Oh well, it went boom good.
Subject: General Tech | March 27, 2013 - 12:06 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: Xi3, valve, Steam Box, piston, pc gaming, gaming
It may or may not be Valve's Steam Box, but Xi3 is the closest thing to a small form factor PC gaming console running Steam on the radar so far. The Xi3 PISTON is now up for pre-order with an intended holiday 2013 launch.
The PISTON starts at $899 and increases in price from there depending on the amount of internal storage included. Basic specifications of the Piston include an AMD APU (likely the A10-4600M) clocked at 2.3GHz (3.2GHz turbo), Radeon 7660G processor graphics (384 shaders), 8GB of DDR3 RAM, and a 128GB solid state drive. For an extra $340, Xi3 will swap in a 256GB SSD, and for $750 the company will include a 512GB option. Of course, that would bring the price of the living room TV up to $1649, which is far from cheap.
For that kind of money you could build a much more powerful mid tower that could actually run Steam games at 1080p with all the details cranked up. The Xi3 box will be lucky to average 30FPS at 1080p with the latest games. With that said, it is a start and I hope to see continued development of these "Steam Box-esque PCs. Hopefully once mass production, competing options, and economies of scale kick in, consumers will be able to get their hands on cheaper Steam Boxes!
If you can't wait for the official Steam Box, however, you can head over to the Xi3 website to reserve your own PISTON.
Subject: General Tech | March 26, 2013 - 11:40 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: GTC 2013, gpu analytics, gpgpu, fuzzy logix
Fuzzy Logix, a company that specializes in HPC data analytics, recently unveiled a new extension (to the Tanay Zx library) called Tanay Rx that will GPU accelerate analytic models written in R. R is a programming language commonly used by statisticians. It is reportedly relatively easy to program, but has an inherent lack of multi-threading performance and memory limitations. With Tanay Rx, Fuzzy Logix is hoping to combine the performance benefits of its Tanay Zx libraries with the simplicity of R programming. According to Fuzzy Logix, Tanay Rx is "the perfect prescription to cure performance issues with R."
Tanay Zx allowed the use of many programming languages to run models with .net, .dll, or shared object calls on the GPU, and the new Tanay Rx extension extends that functionality to statistical and analytic models run using R. Models include those data intensive tasks as matrix operations, Monte Carlo simulations, data mining, financial mathematics (equities, fixed income, and time series analysis). Fuzzy Logix claims to enable R users to run over 500 analytic models up to 10 to 100-times faster by harnessing the parallel processing power of graphics and accelerator cards such as NVIDIA's Quadro/Tesla cards, Intel's MIC, and AMD's FirePro cards.
As an example, Fuzzy Logix states that calculations for intra-day risk of equity, interest rate, and FX options amount to approximately 1 billion future scenarios can be performed in milliseconds on the GPU. While some conversions may be more intensive, certain aspects of R code can be sped-up by replacing R functions with Fuzzy Logix' own Tanay Rx functions.
As per Fuzzy Logix's website.
Industry solutions implementing Tanay Rx for the financial, healthcare, internet marketing, pharmaceutical, oil, gas, insurance, and other sectors are available now. More information on the company's approach to GPGPU analytics is available here.
Subject: General Tech, Systems | March 26, 2013 - 06:18 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: workstation, nvidia, GTC 2013, BOXX, 3dboxx 8950
Boxx Technologies recently launched a new multi-GPU workstation called the 3DBoxx 8950. It is aimed at professionals that need a fast system with beefy GPU accelerator cards that they can design and render at the same time. The 8950 is intended to be used with applications like Autodesk, Dassault, NVIDIA iray, and V-Ray (et al).
The Boxx 3DBoxx 8950 features two liquid cooled Intel Xeon Ed-2600 processors (2GHz, 16 cores, 32 threads), up to 512GB of system memory (16 DIMM slots), and seven PCI-E slots (four of which accept dual slot GPUs, the remaining three are spaced for single slot cards). A 1250W power suppy (80 PLUS Gold) powers the workstation. An example configuration would include three Tesla K20 cards and one Quadro K5000. The Tesla cards would handle the computation while the Quadro can power the multi-display ouput. The chassis has room for eight 3.5" hard drives and a single externally-accessible 5.25" drive. The 8950 workstation can be loaded with either the Windows or Linux operating system.
Rear IO on the 8950 workstation includes:
- 5 x audio jacks
- 1 x optical in/out
- 4 x USB 2.0 ports
- 1 x serial port
- 2 x RJ45 jacks, backed by Intel Gigabit NICs
The system is available now, with pricing available upon request. You can find the full list of specifications and supported hardware configurations in this spec sheet (PDF).