Happy Holidays from… oh crap CES. Also, it’s Microsoft’s last

Subject: General Tech, Shows and Expos | December 21, 2011 - 07:42 PM |
Tagged: microsoft, CES2012, CES

There are just a few shopping days left until the holidays, but feel comfortable knowing that whatever panic you experience will be over just in time for CES with our associated and broadcasted panic. We will be covering the expo and many of its events starting on the 8th of January for your entertainment and your education. One company that usually has a gigantic presence at CES, albeit not as reported on by us relative to other companies, is Microsoft; this year is no different -- but CES 2013

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The software giant’s presence at CES 2013: Micro… and soft.

This year's presence? Big and right next to the restrooms.

(Image from MapYourShow.com)

Microsoft is known for having a large presence at CES each year, year after year, for recent memory. Over the years, Microsoft has unveiled products such as the original Xbox, gave a release window for their Project Natal (later Kinect), and just last year demonstrated Windows running on ARM processors. Microsoft’s official statement denotes a shift from CES announcements to releasing news through social media, their website, and their retail stores for those who enter a Microsoft retail store.

After thinking about questions like these, we have decided that this coming January will be our last keynote presentation and booth at CES. We’ll continue to participate in CES as a great place to connect with partners and customers across the PC, phone and entertainment industries, but we won’t have a keynote or booth after this year because our product news milestones generally don’t align with the show’s January timing.

I, personally, would love for Apple to take Microsoft’s booth space… for the delicious layering of irony. I would then of course love for it to have been a good decision for Microsoft to pull out to screw Apple over. Everyone wins by everyone losing.

Blizzcon 2011 Day 1 Photos

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Shows and Expos | October 21, 2011 - 07:28 PM |
Tagged: wow, starcraft, nvidia, LG, diablo iii, diablo, blizzcon 2011, blizzcon, asus, antec

Hey everyone!  I am still busily collecting information at Blizzcon 2011 but I thought I would share with you some of the photos I took from the first half of the first day of the show.  If you haven't experienced Blizzcon before (and I hadn't) this is one hell of a celebration of PC gamers.  Even if you aren't a fan of StarCraft, World of Warcraft or Diablo, this is an impressive event with a main stage area seating 15,000!!!

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Check out all the photos on our Facebook page here (available to public as well!)  I'll have some coverage of the Antec, ASUS and NVIDIA booth as well later in the evening so be sure to check back.

Here are a couple more samples, but be sure you check out the link above for ALL of the the photos!!

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Watch the Top StarCraft II Pros Face Off in an Epic E-Sports Battle to the Top

Subject: Shows and Expos | September 29, 2011 - 03:35 PM |
Tagged: starcraft 2, nvidia, geforce.com

SANTA CLARA, Calif.—September 15, 2011—Calling all StarCraft II fans! NVIDIA is bringing together the e-sports community to watch the GeForce StarCraft II professional championship matches with live premier streaming video and BarCraft events scheduled for Thursday, September 29th from 6pm to 9pm PDT.

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The GeForce StarCraft 2 Pro/Am tournament is the first of its kind on GeForce.com where over 9300 players will have competed over 12 weeks to win more than $22,000 in cash and prizes. The live premier streaming video event will feature world-renowned StarCraft II shoutcasters, Husky and Day[9] of The Game Station, commentating the final three professional matches to crown the champion.

“The GeForce StarCraft II Pro/Am tournament has been a great success for us and we deeply appreciate the support of the StarCraft II players, spectators, and our sponsor ASUS,” said Drew Henry, general manager of the GeForce business unit at NVIDIA. “We’ve had over 70 professional and over 9300 amateur players compete and over seven million spectator views of the Husky and Day[9] shoutcasts to date. We applaud the StarCraft community for gathering around the GeForce StarCraft II Pro/Am tournament and making it one of the largest tournaments to date.”

NVIDIA is providing three exciting ways for StarCraft fans to enjoy the championship videos all on the same time and date:

· A live premier video will be streamed on GeForce.com as well as on www.Twitch.tv.

· For gamers in the San Francisco, California Bay Area, a live BarCraft event will be held at the Mad Dog in the Fog bar at 530 Haight Street, San Francisco, CA 94117.

· A virtual BarCraft event featuring the Xmobb technology will be hosted on GeForce.com. Xmobb enables fans to gather in a 3D theater and view their favorite videos together, while interacting via text chat and other fun features.

Stay tuned to GeForce.com for up to date information on the GSPA tournament and its September 29th finale.

Source: NVIDIA

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

Subject: Graphics Cards, Processors, Shows and Expos | September 15, 2011 - 06:17 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:

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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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. 

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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 - 01:54 PM |
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. 

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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. 

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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 - 12:15 PM |
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 - 01:25 PM |
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.

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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.

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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.

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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 - 01:17 PM |
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/

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Source: NVIDIA

Antec announces collaboration with NCsoft in conjunction with PAX

Subject: Shows and Expos | August 24, 2011 - 10:10 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.

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Source: Antec

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

Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Shows and Expos | August 19, 2011 - 09:06 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.