Future Frostbite Engine Based Games Will Require 64-bit OSes

Subject: General Tech | June 3, 2012 - 02:40 AM |
Tagged: gaming, frostbite, ea, bf3, 64-bit

Last month, Johan Andersson posted on twitter a tweet that stated future Frostbite engine based games in 2013 would require a 64-bit operating system. The full tweet is shown in the image below. He suggested that it would be a good idea to upgrade to Windows 8, though it is difficult to judge sarcasm in text (hehe). That bit led to a big explosion of tweets as the Internet revolted against what they thought would be required: an x64 version of Windows 8. Mr. Andersson later clarified that any recent x64 version of Windows would be fine.

bf3_tweet.jpg

You can see the tweet on Twitter here.

The Windows 8 suggestion aside, I was very excited about the news that 64-bit Windows would be required. Currently, games are developed with both x64 and x86 versions in mind, which means that games are shackled by the limitations of the x86 (32 bit) operating system. As an example, Sins of a Solar Empire is a game that generally runs great from beginning to mid-game on large maps, but as players build up fleets of ships and have a lot of data to keep track of, the game starts to run out of memory and starts to chug–even when running the game on a 64-bit operating system. The CPU and GPU are not fully utilized, it is a RAM limitation as reported by a number of users and a situation I have found myself in numerous times as well.

32-bit operating systems (and I’m being general here) have a hard limit of about 4GB of RAM, from which the GPU, other expansion devices, and overhead steal a chunk of address space that the OS cannot use even if there is physically 4GB of RAM DIMMS in the system. With 2GB GPUs being common, that leaves a system running 32-bit OSes with 2GB of addressable system memory. From that, the OS can allocate programs, caching, and other system tasks to that 2GB of total available RAM. Modern games can easily hit 2GB or more of RAM usage, but on 32-bit systems they are severely restricted in how much they can use.

By requiring a 64-bit operating system, developers can focus on producing games that can make full use of RAM on modern systems. RTS and other strategy games are going to benefit the most, but even shooters like Battlefield (4?) will run smoother by being able to store as much data in RAM as possible without those pesky restrictions of 32-bit systems. Unfortunately, the upcoming Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion game will still suffer from RAM issues (though it is said to be managed better than previous releases) as it is being developed around the possibility of running on 32 or 64-bit OSes. Here’s hoping that the next SoaSE game will require 64-bit OSes just like Frostbite engine games will.

The best part, aside from performance benefits of course, is that the majority of gamers will not have to do anything when these games come out as they are already running a 64-bit version of Windows. Even OEMs have started loading x64 versions on pre-built systems in the last couple years (since Windows 7 and RAM became so cheap). Most gamers will be able to jump right in and enjoy the benefits immediately because gamers are inherently required to have at least somewhat recent hardware to play the latest games.

In the end, requiring 64-bit operating systems is a good thing, and hopefully more developers will follow in DICE’s footsteps. By freeing themselves from the limitations of 32-bit systems, they can focus on using gamers’ hardware to the fullest–at least until games start using more than 8TB of RAM (which would require a new version of Windows anyway as Win 7 x64 (Ultimate/Pro) can only address 192GB).

Source:

DirecTV Prepping Ultra-HDTV

Subject: General Tech | June 2, 2012 - 02:41 AM |
Tagged: tv, satellite, hdtv, direcTV

US Satellite TV provider DirecTV is upgrading its network and is preparing to deploy Ultra-HDTV services in the future. They are planning to offer both 4K and 8K direct to home streams of TV programming once their users have moved off of Ku band satellites and to Ka band, which the ITU World Radiocommunications Conference in Geneva has named the future carrier of U-HDTV streams.

According to the Advanced Television website, DirecTV is planning for a future transition to Ultra HDTV. Earlier this year, we covered a news article about a Panasonic plasma television that can display 8K images. It was developed in cooperation with Japanese TV broadcaster NHK, and it seems like North American providers are also looking towards these future standards.

DirecTV’s Senior Vice President of R&D and Space and Communications Philip Goswitz has stated that in four to five years, the service provider will likely end it’s Ku-band satellite transmissions as they are currently migrating DirecTV's customers to Ka-band services which has much more bandwidth (currently used for HDTV transmission) than Ku-band. In addition, the company is working on deploying Reverse Band Direct Broadcast Satellite (DBS) services.

7091808837_8e60569bdb_b.jpg

Unfortunately, Goswitz did not state any hard numbers on when DirecTV might make the transition to Ultra-HDTV. The company did state its desire to implement it as soon as possible to keep a competitive edge over cable and IPTV (like AT&T’s Uverse) services. Some numbers being thrown around online indicate that Ultra-HDTV might be available in North America as soon as 2020, though Japan may see UHDTV signals much sooner thanks to Japanese broadcaster NHK heavily developing compression, transmission, and capture devices relating to UHDTV. NHK has managed in the past to compress a UHDTV signal to a 250 Mb/s MPEG2 stream, which is a huge feat considering the uncompressed signal is around 24 Gb/s!

Philip Goswitz was further quoted in stating "4000-line is exciting to us because of its image quality, and the potential for glasses-free 3D."

Compression and bandwidth are going to be the deciding factors in whether DirecTV and other satellite TV providers are able to deliver UHDTV signals to users’ homes. While 8K video sources are scarce themselves, 4K cameras do exist and are being used to film certain movies. 4K adoption is definitely coming–although it is still a few years out at least–and the UHDTV standard is ready to support 4K streams. Over the air and IPTV are the likely candidates for early 4K and 8K transmissions, but DirecTV seems ready dive it as soon as the compression technology, source material, and user adoption is there.

Image courtesy Chris Waits via Flickr Creative Commons

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.

Unreal-Engine-4-3.jpg

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

ASUS would like to clear the air on just who is the fastest of them all

Subject: General Tech, Motherboards | June 1, 2012 - 01:17 PM |
Tagged: asus, maximus v gene, p8z77-V deluxe, overclocking, smackdown

GBimage001.png

Earlier this week, we and several other sites reported that a Gigabyte Z77X-UD3H motherboard managed to take the Ivy Bridge i7-3770 with a single core enabled all the way to 7.03GHz and ASUS would like to know what all the fuss is about.  It seems that on January the 5th, ASUS took the i7-3770 to 7.06GHz on a P8Z77-V Deluxe which not only beats Gigabyte's overclock but did so long enough ago we needed to be reminded of it.

ASUSimage004.jpg

That was not even the best overclock that ASUS managed, the tiny Maximus V Gene could support a speed of 7.07GHz.  That speed was hit yesterday by Andre Yang and seems to demonstrate that for extreme overclockers it is ASUS' Z77 boards which you should be counting on. 

ASUS image005.png

Hopefully this little correction will start an overclocking war between the two manufacturers, as both host events for overclockers as does MSI who have not chimed in to this contest yet.  LN cooling is not for the faint of heart but it is what you need to practice in order to compete at this level.  Gigabyte does seem to have one record which does still stand, DDR3-3280 MHz is quite spectacular.

ASUS master overclocker Andre Yang has managed another benchmarking world record, once more using the Intel Z77-based ROG Maximus V GENE mATX. Utilizing a quad-core/eight threaded Intel i7-3770 Ivy Bridge processor, Andre was able to overclock the CPU to an impressive milestone frequency of 7074.7MHz, again breaking the fabled 7GHz processor threshold and overtaking the previous record of 7.06GHz ( which was previously set and held by ASUS with the P8Z77-V Deluxe ). The CPU multiplier and BCLK were set to 112.69 x 63. The Maximus V GENE had 4GB of G.Skill DDR3 RAM, clocked to 1197.8MHz. The graphics card used was an ASUS GeForce GTX 680, set to 705MHz/3004MHz. Keep in mind quad-core and eight-threaded overclocking presents a much tougher challenge than more traditional single-core and double-threaded tuning in terms of stability and consistency, making the feat even more impressive.

 

Source: ASUS

Can you spot the difference between Windows 8

Subject: General Tech | June 1, 2012 - 11:51 AM |
Tagged: win8, microsoft, release preview

The Developer Preview of Windows 8 has been around quite a while now, yesterday's release of the almost final version of Windows 8 is what is now creating the online buzz.   Visually they indistinguishable, Metrosexual lucky Charms are still your main interface with a vastly increased amount of touch interface options for those who are using a device with that capacity.  It also has an integral pop-up keyboard and a lock screen, making it incredibly similar to a smart phone.  TechReviewSource did not delve below the surface to examine the technical changes to the OS but you can be assured that there will be information forthcoming on PCPer's front page in the near future.  In the mean time take a look at some of the new interface options in TRS' article.

TRS_336445-windows-8-touch-keyboard.jpg

"This is an early look at Windows 8 Release Preview, Build 8400, installed on a slick and slim Samsung Series 9 ultrabook. Our take on the latest publicly available version of the next Microsoft operating system follows, but at the outset you should realize one thing: In appearance, it's nearly identical to the Consumer Preview released late last February."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Gigabyte Launches Ultra Portable Notebook Lineup

Subject: General Tech, Mobile | June 1, 2012 - 10:24 AM |
Tagged: x11, ultrabook, u2442, u2440, notebook, gigabyte

Gigabyte, a company mostly known for its motherboard manufacturing, has announced a new lineup of small and lightweight notebooks. Among the new systems are the X11, U2442, and U2440 notebooks. Running Windows 7 and powered by Intel’s latest Ivy Bridge processors, the ultra-portables pack plenty of power.

Gigabyte X11.jpg

The X11 is an ultra-lightweight 11.6” notebook at 975 grams and .3cm at it’s thinnest point (1.65cm at its thickest point). Constructed of carbon fiber, it was built using a woven diamond technique that resulted in it being lightweight while maintaining rigidity. It is powered by an Intel Ivy Bridge processor and 128GB SSD. It further comes with USB 3.0 and Bluethooth 4.0 connections. A 16:9 LED backlit display connected via an aluminum hinge is another feature of this laptop. Intel’s Rapid Start and Anti-Theft technologies and a Smart Recovery system are also built in.

Gigabyte U2442.jpg

For those that require dedicated graphics, Gigabyte has also launched a 14” notebook with NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M or GT 640M graphics cards. The U2442 weighs in at 1.57kg and ranges in thickness from 18.5-21mm. The computer also uses Intel’s Ivy Bridge processors, but the larger form factor has allowed Gigabyte to give the notebook a dual vent design for the GPU and CPU respectively. It also comes with a 1600x900 LED backlit display, backlit keyboard, and THX TruStudio Pro audio technology. The U2442 notebook further has a 128GB mSATA SSD paired with a 750GB hard drive as well as WiFi, USB 3.0, Bluetooth 4.0, and HDMI 1.4 connectivity. The “Champagne Gold” colored cover has a brushed aluminum texture that looks nice as well. No carbon fiber here, but it does look to be all aluminum.

Gigabyte U2440.jpg

Finally, the U2440 is designed to be less powerful–but more portable–than the U2442. This 14” notebook comes with an Intel Ivy Bridge processor, NVIDIA GeForce 630M graphics card, optical disc drive, 1TB mechanical hard drive, and a mSATA slot for SSD upgrades. The system has taken a downgrade on display resolution versus the U2442 with only 1366x768 pixels. It supports up to 8GB of DDR3 memory, 802.11n WiFi, and a 1.3 megapixel webcam. Further, the U2440 has 1 USB 3.0 port, two USB 2.0 ports, VGA, HDMI, RJ45, microphone input, and headphone output ports. The U2440 comes in a dark gray colored chassis with a brushed aluminum texture on the notebook lid.

As far as pricing and availability, the X11 carbon fiber notebook will be available in July with street prices ranging from $999 to $1299 USD. The U2442 will also retail for between $999 and $1299 USD, but it will be available sooner–towards the middle of June. The U2440 isn’t as light as the X11, or as powerful as the U2442 but it has both of those systems beat on price. The U2440 will have street pricing that starts at $699 USD before tax and will be available for purchase at the end of June.

They seem like interesting systems, and they look nice as well. What do you guys think of the Gigabyte notebooks?

Source: Gigabyte

Bethesda Reveals The Elder Scrolls V Skyrim: Dawnguard Trailer

Subject: General Tech | May 31, 2012 - 05:39 PM |
Tagged: skyrim, bethesda, trailer, video, canwehavethisnow?

Today, Bethesda released the trailer for the upcoming expansion for The Elder Scrolls V Skyrim, titled Dawnguard. 

I want this - now.  But Xbox 360 users will get it first.  I don't like Xbox Skyrim gamers anymore.

That is all.

Source: YouTube

Podcast #204 - ioSafe soloPRO and Synology DiskStation 212+, NVIDIA news, the OCZ Agility 4 and more!

Subject: General Tech | May 31, 2012 - 03:53 PM |
Tagged: video, synology, ssd, podcast, ocz, nvidia, iosafe, diskstation, agility4

PC Perspective Podcast #204 - 05/31/2012

Join us this week as we talk about the ioSafe soloPRO and Synology DiskStation 212+, NVIDIA news, the OCZ Agility 4 and more!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath, and Allyn Malvantano

Program length: 1:10:29

Program Schedule:

  1. 0:00:30 Introduction
  2. 0:00:50 Random Sound Card Discussion
  3. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  4. http://pcper.com/podcast
  5. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  6. 0:06:30 Take the PC Perspective Survey, win prizes!!
  7. 0:08:40 ioSafe SoloPRO and Synology DiskStation 212+ Review - Disaster-proof Networked Storage
  8. 0:18:38 Tegra 3 to see 30 devices this year, LTE support
  9. 0:20:25 NVIDIA claims GTX 680 sales outpacing GTX 580 sales
  10. 0:27:30 NVIDIA shows ASUS Zenbook Prime UX32VD
  11. 0:29:50 HP has 27,000 too many employees
  12. 0:32:00 Dell leaks Latitude 10 Windows 8 tablet
  13. 0:34:40 Dell promotes their "Copper" ARM-based servers
  14. 0:39:30 OCZ Launches Agility 4 based on Indilinx Everest 2
  15. 0:51:20 Intel shows you how to make a processor
  16. 0:54:00 Time for a GPU Stock Update?
  17. 0:57:00 Crysis 2 back on Steam? EA and Valve make up?
  18. 0:59:00 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
    1. Ryan: Corsair Vengeance 2000 Wireless headset $149
    2. Jeremy: The best way to blow $10,000
    3. Josh: Faster Internets... Worth it!  http://west.optimum.com/services/high-speed_internet/optimum_online_boost/
    4. Allyn: is lame
  19. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  20. http://pcper.com/podcast   
  21. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  22. Closing

Microsoft prepares Skype to be preinstalled on Windows 7 PCs They also ignore the latest version of Skype

Subject: General Tech, Systems | May 31, 2012 - 03:33 PM |
Tagged: skype, OEM, bloatware, crapware

Just after their $99 Signature service has been announced, Microsoft has provided OEMs with a version of Skype to be pre-installed on Windows 7 PCs. I wonder if they will take it off again if you pay them?

Just… give me a minute…

So Microsoft hates bloatware unless it is theirs. OEM partners have been paid by software vendors to provide demos of products integrated and pre-installed for the end-user. Commonly you will see a few game demos, the Kindle software, an antivirus trial, and Skype. Earlier in the month Microsoft created a service at their retail outlets to scrub computers clean of the bloat for $99.

And now that they own Skype they desire for OEMs to integrate it with Windows 7…

Skype.png

Here’s my dotted line for your Signature.

More humorous is that they will integrate Skype 5.8 rather than the newer Skype 5.9. Granted, it is unsurprising that a company would be slightly behind in versions particularly since the latest dot-release is less than two months old. Skype has been known to be slightly less desirable as you increase in version number and as such makes me crack a smirk either way. The latest release in particular has allegedly been the cause of minor glitches in recent podcasts with TWiT studios recommending rolling back to 5.8.

If anything this makes me slightly curious about Windows 8.

Source: ZDNet

Leaking low end Kepler specs

Subject: General Tech | May 31, 2012 - 01:08 PM |
Tagged: leak, nvidia, kepler, gt610, gt620, gt640

We will have to wait until the scheduled Computex release for verification but for right now Kitguru seems to have an idea of just what the lower end of NVIDIA's Kepler line will be like.  They are not sure of the connectivity options, especially the number of displays a single card can manage but as far as the size of the memory interface, clock speeds and size of the cards Kitguru seems fairly certain they are at least close to the actual specs.  Check out the whole list they published here.

geforce-gt-640-3qtr-682x342.png

"So far, nVidia’s launch of the Kepler range has gone smoothly. The only real hiccups have come with stock and the re-branding for some of the old 5xx cards into the 610 and 620. With the low and high ends sorted, focus for Bryan Del Rizzo moves to the mid-range and those pesky 7000 cards hanging out below £100. KitGuru spies hang around outside nVidia’s favourite KFC to see what can be overheard."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

 

Source: Kitguru