Intel quietly cries "Me too!" about USB 3.0

Subject: General Tech | April 14, 2011 - 12:01 PM |
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It seems that about the same time that AMD was basking in the glow of full certification for their implementation of USB 3.0 on their soon to be released Hudson platform, Intel was announcing that Ivy Bridge will also natively support USB 3.0.  The problem is that we aren't expecting to see hide nor hair of Ivy Bridge for about 12 months.  Hopefully some time before then we will see ThunderBucket or LightPeak on an Intel system, even if only a copper version.  The Inquirer has the scoop over here.

 

 

"Intel's announcement that its 2012 Ivy Bridge chipsets will support USB 3.0 came on the same day that the USB Association revealed that AMD will be incorporating USB 3.0 support into A75 and A70M Fusion chipsets. The Ivy Bridge decision means that eventually Intel mainboard vendors won't have to use third party silicon to provide USB 3.0 support."

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Source: The Inquirer

PCMark 7 Release Date Announced, Preordering Begins

Subject: General Tech | April 14, 2011 - 11:22 AM |
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HELSINKI, FINLAND – APRIL 14, 2011 – Futuremark® today confirmed that PCMark® 7, a new benchmark offering complete PC performance testing for Windows 7, will be released on May 3, 2011. PCMark 7 will be available in 3 editions: the Basic Edition, a free download offering unlimited runs of the main PCMark test, the Advanced Edition which includes all 7 PC tests and the Professional Edition which unlocks all features and is the only edition licensed for commercial use. The Advanced and Professional Editions can be pre-ordered now from http://www.pcmark.com.

PCMARK 7 BASIC EDITION – Free, available from May 3, 2011

  • Free PC test offering unlimited runs of the main PCMark test suite
  • Browse, search and compare results online
  • Store one result online

PCMARK 7 ADVANCED EDITION - $39.95 – PRE-ORDER NOW

  • Includes all 7 PC tests with more than 25 individual workloads
  • Browse, search and compare results online
  • Unlimited online results storage Hide results from public view
  • Offline result management
  • Advert-free online service

PCMARK 7 PROFESSIONAL EDITION - $995.00 – PRE-ORDER NOW

  • Licensed for commercial PC system testing
  • Includes all 7 PC tests with more than 25 individual workloads
  •  Command line automation
  • Browse, search and compare results online
  •  Unlimited online results storage
  • Hide results from public view
  • Offline result management
  • Advert-free online service
  • Priority support

PCMark 7 provides a set of 7 PC tests for measuring different aspects of PC performance with a high degree of accuracy. Overall system performance is measured by the PCMark test. The Lightweight test measures the capabilities of entry level systems and mobility platforms unable to run the full PCMark test. Common use performance is measured by the Entertainment, Creativity and Productivity tests. Component performance is measured by the Computation and Storage hardware tests. The Storage test is ideal for testing SSDs and external hard drives in addition to the system drive.

This one can test SSDs.
 

PCMark 7 will be released on May 3, 2011. PCMark 7 Advanced and Professional Editions can be pre-ordered now from http://www.pcmark.com.

Source: PCMark

A PC gamer is finally reunited with Shift 2 Unleashed

Subject: General Tech | April 13, 2011 - 02:12 PM |
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Over at The Tech Report is a PC gamer with a bit of console envy, as they are a fan of racing games which is a genre that tends to be poorly implemented on the PC.  Spotting a copy of Shift 2 Unleashed for sale on Steam, at $10 less than the console version, he picked it up to try it out.  Unfortunately it was as graphically unimpressive as he feared, not ugly but certainly not able to push his hardware to the limit. However, once getting into the game he found a wide selection of cars and decently immersive gameplay.  If you are a fan of racing games it seems that Shift 2 Unleashed should be on your list of must play games.

"In his latest blog post, TR's Geoff Gasior digs into the PC version of Shift 2 Unleashed to see if it's a worthy challenger to dominant console driving sims like Forza Motorsport and Gran Turismo."

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Folding@Home on AMD GPUs takes a leap forward

Subject: General Tech | April 13, 2011 - 12:01 PM |
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The Folding@Home distributed computing program has long been able to run on GPUs, but the latest optimizations are for GPUs that support CUDA.  As CUDA is a relatively closed source architecture from NVIDIA, that leaves AMD GPU users in the cold; with long time users still using CAL/Direct3D to power their GPU Folding efforts.  According to a news story Hardware Canucks spotted, this is about to change as Stanford is working on optimizing F@H for OpenCL and the tests show almost a doubling of performance.  Do keep in mind that F@H results can change from day to day but this is definitely a good sign.

If you have not yet encountered Folding@Home or are unclear as to why people give their spare processing cycles to the project you should drop by this thread in our own Folding@Home Forum which describes many of the reasons people choose to fold.  If you feel the cause is worthy enough for you to join up, it would be a great idea to join the Folding Frogs, our own PC Perspective Folding@Home team.  You can learn all about the Folding Frogs and how to join in this thread, if you already fold and would like to jump aboard then we are Team 734.

"A few weeks ago, Stanford introduced the new Core 16 Project 11293 work units which are specifically tailored towards OpenCL-supporting AMD graphics cards. But do they bring the hoped-for increase in Folding@Home performance or is this yet another step towards disappointment?"

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More mid-ranged 6000 family GPUs coming from AMD

Subject: General Tech | April 12, 2011 - 06:43 PM |
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If you are in the market for a mid-range GPU and don't mind waiting a week, AMD will be releasing the 6670, 6570 and 6450 next Tuesday.  You will want to exercise some caution when purchasing the cards however as this is the level of card most popular with OEM system builders and they will be receiving DDR3 based cards not GDDR5 based cards.  If a particular model claims to have more memory that others without a change in price it will most likely be using DDR3 which will be slower, though not to a snails pace. 

Thanks to DigiTimes for the scoop.

"AMD is set launch three new graphics card under its Radeon HD 6000 series - 6670, 6570 and 6450 on April 19, targeting the entry-level and mid-range markets, according to sources from graphics card makers.

The sources pointed out that AMD's recently launched Radeon HD 6790 graphics card currently has a better market impression than Nvidia's GTX 550 Ti mainly because of its friendly price; therefore, AMD is set to launch more graphics cards with low price to gain market share.

Although AMD has already released the OEM version of the three new graphics cards, the new version will adopt GDDR5 memory, instead of DDR3 memory, which is used in the OEM versions.

With its Radeon HD 6000 series product lines fully filled, AMD is already in preparation for the next generation Radeon HD 7000 series (Southern Islands) GPUs and is set to mass produce the GPU in May this year."

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Source: Digitimes

The performance growth of AMD GPUs on Linux

Subject: General Tech | April 11, 2011 - 12:51 PM |
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Phoronix set out to benchmark the changes to Ubuntu and the Linux kernel as it relates to graphical performance using AMD GPUs, specifically the ATI Mobility Radeon X1400 128MB.  The review tracks the changes from Ubuntu 9.4 to 11.4 and the 2.6.28 to 2.6.38 kernels as well as a variety of graphics drivers, both MESA and Gallium 3D.    Check out what they found in the full article.

"The open-source ATI/AMD Radeon Linux driver stack has made a lot of improvements in recent times with their Gallium3D drivers becoming mature across all generations and support for new features (such as DRI2 page-flipping) landing in the mainline code and beginning to make its way to users. The time required to bring up support for new generations has also been reduced greatly and with the Radeon HD 8000 series there should be a turning point for their open-source strategy. In this article, we are providing an updated look at the course of the open-source driver's performance for the past two years."

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Source: Phoronix

Travel back in time 52 years on this date and you can prevent COBOL

Subject: General Tech | April 8, 2011 - 06:24 PM |
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When PC Perspective Forum members get asked their opinions on powerful machines they tend to aim for the ultimate gaming machine.  That is not always the best choice for people looking at rendering machines and other tasks, as you can see here.  That type of machine belongs on a completely different battlefield and while the players will be familiar the particular needs can be very different and no less interesting than building a gaming machine.  Just ask the Folding Folks and the frogs in the BOINC forums about building servers, the Overclocking Forum is a place to go great info for the gamer; if you do take their advice you should drop by the Cases and Cooling forum as you will need some serious cooling. 

No matter what you use the computer for, an LCD three way is always sexy, just image our faces blown up that large as you watch the latest PC Perspective Podcast.

Roccat Alumic, an anodized aluminium ice rink for your mouse

Subject: General Tech | April 8, 2011 - 01:42 PM |
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While there is something to be said for the style of a leather mouse pad, but with use the edges will begin to curl up and the relatively light weight means that the pad can move around the desk on occasion.  So how about a double sided, 331x272mm aluminium mouse rink with four non-slip rubber feet, one at each corner. It won't be sliding on your desk thanks to the weight and Hardware Heaven felt it was large enough that you don't need to worry about falling off.

"Every good mouse needs a good surface to achieve optimal performance and todays review product is Roccats attempt at creating an ideal companion for high performance mice. So lets take a look at what the Roccat Alumic has to offer..."

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Lucid's Virtu gets validated

Subject: General Tech | April 8, 2011 - 12:04 PM |
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We have been talking about Lucid for quite a while, first with the bridge chip that allowed mixed vendor multi-GPU SLIFire/CrosSLI setups to work and more recently about their Virtu software that would allow a PC with SandyBridge and a discreet GPU to switch between the two on the fly depending on which was best suited for the task.  Today they received some very good news, as their virtualization software has completed the validation process and has been deemed perfectly compatible with the Radeon HD6000 family.  Check The Inquirer for more.

 

"SOFTWARE DEVELOPER Lucid has announced that its Virtu GPU virtualisation software has been validated to run on Intel's Sandy Bridge chips and AMD's Radeon HD6000 series GPUs."

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Source: The Inquirer

MSI's 890FXA-GD65, a study in the proper way to make a budget board

Subject: General Tech | April 7, 2011 - 05:32 PM |
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Many companies that aim to hit the sub-$150 market take a hacksaw to an existing board layout and pare off enough expensive components to keep the price down.  MSI took a different approach with the 890FXA-GD70, designing the board from scratch with the trimmed down features while still keeping important ones such as their Military Class components.  What they ended up with was not only a board Josh liked, it was one he could even afford to buy for himself!

"MSI has created a fine board. It certainly appears to have had a real teething process, but now the BIOS support has caught up and we are seeing a very fast and mature product on the marketplace. The current price makes this one of the more exciting AM3 motherboard out there, especially for the budget enthusiast. MSI has scored nicely with the 890FXA-GD65."

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