E3 12: E3 2012 starts Tuesday with pre-coverage on Monday

Subject: General Tech, Shows and Expos | June 1, 2012 - 04:35 PM |
Tagged: E3, E3 12

The 2012 Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3 2012) is taking place next week from Tuesday through to Thursday. Monday will start the week with four press conferences. Stay tuned for as much PC-centric coverage as we can feed you with over the week including expected Unreal Engine 4 news.

If you work in an electronic entertainment retailer -- prepare to be asked weird questions next week.

E3 2012 is kicking off next week and a lot of announcements are expected to come out it. We here at PC Perspective are most interested in learning more about Unreal Engine 4 which is expected to be publicly announced at the expo. We expect that there will be something else which will surprised us as well.

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You better be here next week!

Monday will kick off E3 with four press conferences:

  • Microsoft from 12:30PM EST to 2PM EST
  • EA from 4PM EST to 5PM EST
  • Ubisoft from 6PM EST to 7PM EST
  • Sony from 9PM EST to 10:30PM EST

Nintendo will take the stage the following day with a Tuesday at Noon EST conference.

Apart from Unreal Engine news I am very excited to find out what Valve has in store for E3. Valve has a private meeting room this year which they skipped for E3 2011. In E3 2010 they demonstrated Portal 2 and this year it is possible that we will see little more than DOTA 2 -- but there is always hope for something more.

What are you guys and girls hoping to see? Unreal 4? Valve cake? Beyond Good and Evil 2?

Source: PCPer

OCZ to Showcase Game-Changing Solid-State Solutions at Computex 2012

Subject: Shows and Expos | May 31, 2012 - 12:21 PM |
Tagged: thunderbolt, ssd, ocz, lightfoot, computex 2012, z-drive R4 CloudServ, SandForce 2581, PCIe SSD

OCZ will be showing off some of the same things they showed off at CES though they are much closer to release.  Lightfoot is their external Thunderbolt enclosure which will house SSDs that can utilize the extra bandwith provided by the new external transfer technology.  They will also being showing off Enterprise class PCIe SSDs, the brand new Intrepid line of SSDs and software designed to replace SANs in a network environment.  Keep an eye out for more details as Computex grows nigh.

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SAN JOSE, CA—May 31, 2012—OCZ Technology Group, Inc. (Nasdaq:OCZ), a leading provider of high-performance solid-state drives (SSDs) for computing devices and systems, will showcase the Company's latest client and enterprise storage solutions at Computex 2012 in Taipei, Taiwan June 6 through June 9 at the Taipei International Convention Center.

Continuing to demonstrate leadership in both the enterprise and consumer markets, OCZ will display a comprehensive lineup of its innovative SSD products. For high-end business, server, and OEM clients, OCZ will showcase PCI Express (PCIe) SAN acceleration and replacement solutions, and unveil the impending Intrepid 3 SATA III SSD Series based on the Everest 2 architecture. Live demos at the booth will include both the current industry-leading Z-Drive R4 CloudServ PCIe SSD that delivers over one million IOPS, and the highly anticipated Z-Drive R5 Series based on the co-developed OCZ-Marvell Kilimanjaro platform that raises the bar in performance, reliability, and endurance. OCZ will also showcase the VXL Storage Accelerator software that enables large scale deployment of a virtualized environment for businesses to eliminate the need for costly tier-1 SANs in a wide range of enterprise IT infrastructures.

For client storage, OCZ will showcase the flagship Vertex 4 SATA III SSD, along with the upcoming ‘Lightfoot’ portable SSD designed with the Intel Thunderbolt platform that excels in data transfer speeds and offers high capacity for multimedia professionals.

Unreal Engine 4 first screenshots. Wicked Sick?

Subject: General Tech, Shows and Expos | May 18, 2012 - 04:24 AM |
Tagged: E3, unreal engine 4, ue4

Epic Games has demonstrated Unreal Engine 4 behind closed doors at GDC a few months ago. First screenshots have been released from that demo although not much more has been made public about it. While not completely epic, it definitely is exciting. Unreal Engine 4 is expected to be further unveiled at or near E3 in June.

Both Wired Magazine and PC Gamer have released screenshots and articles from the Unreal Engine 4 Game Developers Conference 2012 (GDC12) demo.

Epic has been quiet about the next generation of their game development platform. Only a handful of lucky individuals were shown the demo at the GDC and those who did could not share their experience. Epic has said that they would have liked to publicly demonstrate their product, but were unable to due to non-disclosure agreements that they themselves were placed under.

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I think that guy needs some thixomolded magnesium alloy. He seems to be running a little hot.

Either he’ll cool down, or produce a beautiful white bloom.

(Screenshot Credit: PC Gamer)

Wired claims that Epic will unveil the rest of Unreal Engine 4 in June which likely means that it will occur on or around the E3 press conference.

It is thus easy to speculate that whatever gagged Epic will likely be unveiled at E3 too.

The major hook of the demo was that it was running in the editor and not in a baked game executable. This means that developers will have a much easier time creating their game and will also have to spend much less time preparing to work. About the only concrete tidbit in the article is that Unreal Engine 4 will not have baked lighting. Unreal Engine 4 will likely use a technology similar to Battlefield 3 where global illumination is calculated at runtime -- nearly a must for properly lit destructibility.

Both sources have their own set of screenshots. Check out both Wired and PC Gamer so you do not miss any pixels.

Source: PC Gamer
Author:
Manufacturer: NVIDIA

NVIDIA puts its head in the clouds

Today at the 2012 NVIDIA GPU Technology Conference (GTC), NVIDIA took the wraps off a new cloud gaming technology that promises to reduce latency and improve the quality of streaming gaming using the power of NVIDIA GPUs.  Dubbed GeForce GRID, NVIDIA is offering the technology to online services like Gaikai and OTOY.  

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The goal of GRID is to bring the promise of "console quality" gaming to every device a user has.  The term "console quality" is kind of important here as NVIDIA is trying desperately to not upset all the PC gamers that purchase high-margin GeForce products.  The goal of GRID is pretty simple though and should be seen as an evolution of the online streaming gaming that we have covered in the past–like OnLive.  Being able to play high quality games on your TV, your computer, your tablet or even your phone without the need for high-performance and power hungry graphics processors through streaming services is what many believe the future of gaming is all about. 

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GRID starts with the Kepler GPU - what NVIDIA is now dubbing the first "cloud GPU" - that has the capability to virtualize graphics processing while being power efficient.  The inclusion of a hardware fixed-function video encoder is important as well as it will aid in the process of compressing images that are delivered over the Internet by the streaming gaming service. 

 

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This diagram shows us how the Kepler GPU handles and accelerates the processing required for online gaming services.  On the server side, the necessary process for an image to find its way to the user is more than just a simple render to a frame buffer.  In current cloud gaming scenarios the frame buffer would have to be copied to the main system memory, compressed on the CPU and then sent via the network connection.  With NVIDIA's GRID technology that capture and compression happens on the GPU memory and thus can be on its way to the gamer faster.

The results are H.264 streams that are compressed quickly and efficiently to be sent out over the network and return to the end user on whatever device they are using. 

Continue reading our editorial on the new NVIDIA GeForce GRID cloud gaming technology!!

NVIDIA Introduces World's First Virtualized GPU, Accelerating Graphics for Cloud Computing

Subject: Shows and Expos | May 15, 2012 - 04:12 PM |
Tagged: NVIDIA VGX, nvidia, GTC 2012, virtual graphics, virtual machine

One of the more interesting announcements so far at the GTC has been NVIDIA's wholehearted leap into desktop virtualization with NVIDIA VGX series of add on cards.  Not really a graphics card and more specialized than the Tesla, GPU VDI will give you a GPU accelerated virtual machine.  If you are wondering why you would need that consider a VM which can handle an Aero desktop and stream live HD video where the processing power comes not from the CPU but from a virtual GPU.  They've partnered it with Hypervisor which can integrate with existing VM platforms to provide virtual GPU control as well as another piece of software which allows you to pick and choose what graphics resources your users get.

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SAN JOSE, Calif.—GPU Technology Conference—May 15, 2012—NVIDIA today unveiled the NVIDIA VGX platform, which enables IT departments to deliver a virtualized desktop with the graphics and GPU computing performance of a PC or workstation to employees using any connected device.

With the NVIDIA VGX platform in the data center, employees can now access a true cloud PC from any device – thin client, laptop, tablet or smartphone – regardless of its operating system, and enjoy a responsive experience for the full spectrum of applications previously only available on an office PC.

NVIDIA VGX enables knowledge workers for the first time to access a GPU-accelerated desktop similar to a traditional local PC. The platform’s manageability options and ultra-low latency remote display capabilities extend this convenience to those using 3D design and simulation tools, which had previously been too intensive for a virtualized desktop.

Integrating the VGX platform into the corporate network also enables enterprise IT departments to address the complex challenges of “BYOD” – employees bringing their own computing device to work. It delivers a remote desktop to these devices, providing users the same access they have on their desktop terminal. At the same time, it helps reduce overall IT spend, improve data security and minimize data center complexity.

“NVIDIA VGX represents a new era in desktop virtualization,” said Jeff Brown, general manager of the Professional Solutions Group at NVIDIA. “It delivers an experience nearly indistinguishable from a full desktop while substantially lowering the cost of a virtualized PC.”

The NVIDIA VGX platform is part of a series of announcements NVIDIA is making today at the GPU Technology Conference (GTC), all of which can be accessed in the GTC online press room.

The VGX platform addresses key challenges faced by global enterprises, which are under constant pressure both to control operating costs and to use IT as a competitive edge that allows their workforces to achieve greater productivity and deliver new products faster. Delivering virtualized desktops can also minimize the security risks inherent in sharing critical data and intellectual property with an increasingly internationalized workforce.

NVIDIA VGX is based on three key technology breakthroughs:

  • NVIDIA VGX Boards. These are designed for hosting large numbers of users in an energy-efficient way. The first NVIDA VGX board is configured with four GPUs and 16 GB of memory, and fits into the industry-standard PCI Express interface in servers. ·
  • NVIDIA VGX GPU Hypervisor. This software layer integrates into commercial hypervisors, such as the Citrix XenServer, enabling virtualization of the GPU.
  • NVIDIA User Selectable Machines (USMs). This manageability option allows enterprises to configure the graphics capabilities delivered to individual users in the network, based on their demands. Capabilities range from true PC experiences available with the NVIDIA standard USM to enhanced professional 3D design and engineering experiences with NVIDIA Quadro or NVIDIA NVS GPUs.

The NVIDIA VGX platform enables up to 100 users to be served from a single server powered by one VGX board, dramatically improving user density on a single server compared with traditional virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) solutions. It sharply reduces such issues as latency, sluggish interaction and limited application support, all of which are associated with traditional VDI solutions.

With the NVIDIA VGX platform, IT departments can serve every user in the organization – from knowledge workers to designers – with true PC-like interactive desktops and applications.

NVIDIA VGX Boards
NVIDIA VGX boards are the world’s first GPU boards designed for data centers. The initial NVIDIA VGX board features four GPUs, each with 192 NVIDIA CUDA architecture cores and 4 GB of frame buffer. Designed to be passively cooled, the board fits within existing server-based platforms.

The boards benefit from a range of advancements, including hardware virtualization, which enables many users who are running hosted virtual desktops to share a single GPU and enjoy a rich, interactive graphics experience; support for low-latency remote display, which greatly reduces the lag currently experienced by users; and, redesigned shader technology to deliver higher power efficiency.

NVIDIA VGX GPU Hypervisor
The NVIDIA VGX GPU Hypervisor is a software layer that integrates into a commercial hypervisor, enabling access to virtualized GPU resources. This allows multiple users to share common hardware and ensure virtual machines running on a single server have protected access to critical resources. As a result, a single server can now economically support a higher density of users, while providing native graphics and GPU computing performance.

This new technology is being integrated by leading virtualization companies, such as Citrix, to add full hardware graphics acceleration to their full range of VDI products.

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NVIDIA User Selectable Machines
NVIDIA USMs allow the NVIDIA VGX platform to deliver the advanced experience of professional GPUs to those requiring them across an enterprise. This enables IT departments to easily support multiple types of users from a single server.

USMs allow better utilization of hardware resources, with the flexibility to configure and deploy new users’ desktops based on changing enterprise needs. This is particularly valuable for companies providing infrastructure as a service, as they can repurpose GPU-accelerated servers to meet changing demand throughout the day, week or season.

Source: NVIDIA

NVIDIA Pioneers New Standard for High Performance Computing with Tesla GPUs

Subject: Shows and Expos | May 15, 2012 - 03:43 PM |
Tagged: tesla, nvidia, GTC 2012, kepler, CUDA

SAN JOSE, Calif.—GPU Technology Conference—May 15, 2012—NVIDIA today unveiled a new family of Tesla GPUs based on the revolutionary NVIDIA Kepler GPU computing architecture, which makes GPU-accelerated computing easier and more accessible for a broader range of high performance computing (HPC) scientific and technical applications.

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The new NVIDIA Tesla K10 and K20 GPUs are computing accelerators built to handle the most complex HPC problems in the world. Designed with an intense focus on high performance and extreme power efficiency, Kepler is three times as efficient as its predecessor, the NVIDIA Fermi architecture, which itself established a new standard for parallel computing when introduced two years ago.

“Fermi was a major step forward in computing,” said Bill Dally, chief scientist and senior vice president of research at NVIDIA. “It established GPU-accelerated computing in the top tier of high performance computing and attracted hundreds of thousands of developers to the GPU computing platform. Kepler will be equally disruptive, establishing GPUs broadly into technical computing, due to their ease of use, broad applicability and efficiency.”

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The Tesla K10 and K20 GPUs were introduced at the GPU Technology Conference (GTC), as part of a series of announcements from NVIDIA, all of which can be accessed in the GTC online press room.

NVIDIA developed a set of innovative architectural technologies that make the Kepler GPUs high performing and highly energy efficient, as well as more applicable to a wider set of developers and applications. Among the major innovations are:

  • SMX Streaming Multiprocessor – The basic building block of every GPU, the SMX streaming multiprocessor was redesigned from the ground up for high performance and energy efficiency. It delivers up to three times more performance per watt than the Fermi streaming multiprocessor, making it possible to build a supercomputer that delivers one petaflop of computing performance in just 10 server racks. SMX’s energy efficiency was achieved by increasing its number of CUDA architecture cores by four times, while reducing the clock speed of each core, power-gating parts of the GPU when idle and maximizing the GPU area devoted to parallel-processing cores instead of control logic.
  • Dynamic Parallelism – This capability enables GPU threads to dynamically spawn new threads, allowing the GPU to adapt dynamically to the data. It greatly simplifies parallel programming, enabling GPU acceleration of a broader set of popular algorithms, such as adaptive mesh refinement, fast multipole methods and multigrid methods.
  • Hyper-Q – This enables multiple CPU cores to simultaneously use the CUDA architecture cores on a single Kepler GPU. This dramatically increases GPU utilization, slashing CPU idle times and advancing programmability. Hyper-Q is ideal for cluster applications that use MPI.

“We designed Kepler with an eye towards three things: performance, efficiency and accessibility,” said Jonah Alben, senior vice president of GPU Engineering and principal architect of Kepler at NVIDIA. “It represents an important milestone in GPU-accelerated computing and should foster the next wave of breakthroughs in computational research.”

NVIDIA Tesla K10 and K20 GPUs
The NVIDIA Tesla K10 GPU delivers the world’s highest throughput for signal, image and seismic processing applications. Optimized for customers in oil and gas exploration and the defense industry, a single Tesla K10 accelerator board features two GK104 Kepler GPUs that deliver an aggregate performance of 4.58 teraflops of peak single-precision floating point and 320 GB per second memory bandwidth.

The NVIDIA Tesla K20 GPU is the new flagship of the Tesla GPU product family, designed for the most computationally intensive HPC environments. Expected to be the world’s highest-performance, most energy-efficient GPU, the Tesla K20 is planned to be available in the fourth quarter of 2012.

The Tesla K20 is based on the GK110 Kepler GPU. This GPU delivers three times more double precision compared to Fermi architecture-based Tesla products and it supports the Hyper-Q and dynamic parallelism capabilities. The GK110 GPU is expected to be incorporated into the new Titan supercomputer at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee and the Blue Waters system at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

“In the two years since Fermi was launched, hybrid computing has become a widely adopted way to achieve higher performance for a number of critical HPC applications,” said Earl C. Joseph, program vice president of High-Performance Computing at IDC. “Over the next two years, we expect that GPUs will be increasingly used to provide higher performance on many applications.”

Preview of CUDA 5 Parallel Programming Platform
In addition to the Kepler architecture, NVIDIA today released a preview of the CUDA 5 parallel programming platform. Available to more than 20,000 members of NVIDIA’s GPU Computing Registered Developer program, the platform will enable developers to begin exploring ways to take advantage of the new Kepler GPUs, including dynamic parallelism.

The CUDA 5 parallel programming model is planned to be widely available in the third quarter of 2012. Developers can get access to the preview release by signing up for the GPU Computing Registered Developer program on the CUDA website.

Source: NVIDIA

NVIDIA GPU Technology Conference Keynote Live Stream

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Shows and Expos | May 15, 2012 - 10:14 AM |
Tagged: nvidia, GTC 2012, live

Are you interested in GPUs?  Maybe GPU computing or even some cloud-based GeForce announcements?  Chances are then you'll want to tune in to the NVIDIA GPU Technology Conference keynote today at 10:30am PT / 1:30pm ET.  

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NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang is expected to be on stage with three new announcements, one of which will likely be the the GK110 GPU we have all been waiting to hear about.  Another has been teased as "a new major cloud gaming technology" while the third...well I really have no idea. It should be exciting though so tune in and watch along with us!

You can catch it all at http://www.gputechconf.com/!

NAB 12: ACME Portable Machines Seahawk 100 on show floor

Subject: General Tech, Systems, Shows and Expos | April 17, 2012 - 04:55 PM |
Tagged: NAB 12, ACME

ACME Portable Machines showed off their Seahawk 100 computer on the show floor of the National Association of Broadcasters 2012 show. Multiple monitors, ruggedized, semi-portable, but slightly out of date on the hardware side.

When you think about portable computing: do you think about a laptop or a tablet? Either way you probably do not think about this product. But, should you?

Well if you did you would probably know it.

ACME Portable Machines is showing off the Seahawk 100 at NAB this week. The purpose for the device is to bring a fully functional multi-monitor computer where you need it, to plug it in, and to be assured that it will work.

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Just don't give in to the temptation to make people call you the operator...

Functionally the device is slightly out of date with an Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550S 2.83 GHz processor, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 260 video card, and 2-8 GB of RAM. If your desire is to play Starcraft 2 on the three monitors than you should have no problems, but that is not why you are purchasing this PC. If you are the type of person to visit the NAB show you probably will wish to include much more RAM than the default 2GB -- or even if you are not, 2GB is quite low nowadays.

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It's not a tumah!

Price is only available by quote, but check out their website for more information. The design definitely looks interesting for users of its niche -- professionals in the field who just cannot live without the flexibility of multiple screens.

Thanks to our friend Colleen for the heads up and photos!

Author:
Manufacturer: SXSW

Introduction, Hardware Vendors

Introduction

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This year's South by Southwest (SXSW) Trade Show brought together many small and global companies with computer hardware and information technology backgrounds as well as creative industries that produce art, music, and movies. SXSW interactive badge holders and showcased artists got an inside look at the newest innovations in mobile social media platforms and applications, open source web content management systems, professional audio/video technologies, and other multimedia products.

 

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Since I write for PC Perspective, I narrowed the focus of my trade show coverage to companies creating innovative computer hardware, PC and Mac peripherals, and other gadgets that may interest our readers. I also scoured the rest of the trade show for the best booth babes handing out swag and watching other fun, promotional events to get expo visitors to engage with companies to find out more about their products. 

To see more of our coverage of the SXSW Trade Show, continue reading!


See our video coverage of the SXSW Trade Show!
Author:

Introduction, LAN Fest, Game Demos, Future of Gaming panel

Introduction


Check out our video coverage of the SXSW Screenburn Arcade!

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The 19th Annual South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive Festival kicked off on Mar. 9 and wraps up Mar. 12 in Austin, Texas. While most of the event featured interactive workshops and panels of experts from within the web development and social media communities, I focused most of my efforts covering the SXSW Screenburn Arcade at the Palmer Event Center. This is where most of the PC and console gaming enthusiasts attending SXSW converged to watch pro gamers from the IGN Pro League battle in League of Legends, Starcraft II, and check out several game demos like Lollipop Chainsaw for the XBox 360 and Quantum Conundrum and FireFall for the PC.

 

Intel LAN Fest

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I also had the opportunity to visit the Intel-sponsored, non-profit LANFest where event visitors could jump on one of their Alienware systems and play a variety of PC games like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, Team Fortress 2, MineCraft, Half Life 2 Death Match, WArsaw, Alien Swarm, Portal, World of Tanks, and Left 4 Dead 2 . LAN participants paid a $5 donation to play, which helped raise funds that will be sent to the city of Bastrop, Texas that lost more than 400 homes because of wildfires last September. They also raffled off a new ASUS Ultrabook to raise money for the United Way non-profit organization.

To see more of our coverage of the SXSW and the ScreenBurn Arcade 2012, continue reading!!