What's up at the GTC? Check out this BOXX!

Subject: General Tech | May 14, 2012 - 03:31 PM |
Tagged: tesla, quadro, nvidia, maximus, GTC 2012, BOXX

There are many professional level products to be seen at this years GPU Technology Conference, one of the more impressive being NVIDIA Maximus technology. That takes the power of a Quadro and couples it with the new Tesla GPUs for impressive live rendering and CAD applications.  These products are not for gamers more for game designers and graphical artists, but the technology its self is still something to keep your eyes on. 

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One of the vendors you will see is BOXX, with several different lines of computers are designed to 3ds Max, CATIA V6 Live Rendering, SolidWorks and other professional level HPC applications.  With a NVIDIA Quadro 6000 6 GB, a Tesla 2075 6 GB and a 240GB SSD for cache and programs you will be rendering like never before.

Ryan will be at the GTC so keep an eye on the page for news from that show when it begins in the middle of this week.  NVIDIA's Maximus technology is sure to feature in some of these stories but do keep in mind this is the GTC and not the GDC so new game previews are unlikely though new benchmark software and proof of concept game engines might be.

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"3DBOXX workstations featuring NVIDIA Maximus technology combine the visualization and interactive design capability of NVIDIA Quadro GPUs with the high-performance computing power of NVIDIA Tesla C2075 GPUs into a single system."

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Source: BOXX

Buy a Windows 7 PC and upgrade to 8 Pro for... something.

Subject: General Tech, Systems | May 14, 2012 - 03:34 AM |
Tagged: windows 8, Windows 7

Microsoft is expected to announce their upgrade promotion for users to purchase a Windows 7 PC after early June and move up to Windows 8 when it is released. Unlike past promotions, such as Office 2010 and Windows 7, it is expected that you will have the option to be bumped to the Pro level SKU -- but not for free. While this does not rule out the potential for a free upgrade to Windows 8 Home, Mary-Jo Foley of CNET seems to have not heard that from her sources.

People constantly mock computers for having a very quick apparent turnaround time.

There tends to be a desire in consumers to put off purchasing new equipment. Users know that patience will very often yield more for the same cost. Software is no different which is why Microsoft and others offer initiatives to allow users to upgrade to impending releases with the purchase of the current version.

But wait, if you order now -- you can order later!

On or around June 2nd, Microsoft is expected to unveil their upgrade program for users who will purchase a Windows 7 machine. According to Mary-Jo Foley of CNET and her sources, this time you will be able to upgrade your Windows 7 machine to Windows 8 Pro. This upgrade will not be free but is expected to be under a hundred dollars according to leaked promotional content. Targeting June is designed to prevent sales of Windows 7 PCs dropping off for back to school.

The upgrade to Windows 8 Pro makes sense as it allows the addition of Windows Media Center and other features that were available in the lower end versions of Windows 7. I think you could imagine what a user would feel like if they updated their operating system and lost features that they could not even add back in to their “upgraded” version.

Of course the better option would likely have been to rethink removing features if they feel as though vanilla Windows 8 is not an apples-to-apples comparison to Windows 7 Home Premium.

Source: CNET

Micron also looks to buy Elpida

Subject: General Tech, Memory, Mobile | May 12, 2012 - 06:10 PM |
Tagged: micron, Elpida

Micron Technologies has confirmed that they are in talks to purchase Elpida Memory. Despite Toshiba pulling out of the race, the deal would have a rumored value of 2.51 Billion dollars. This deal would move Micron into the second largest DRAM producer, behind Samsung, with a 25 percent market share globally.

Elpida Memory, Inc. has been having troubles as a company for a couple of years.

Elpida was established as a company from its parent companies, NEC and Hitachi, in 1999 and took its current name the next year. Elpida has been delisted from the Tokyo Stock Exchange in late March, a month after filing for Bankruptcy.

Multiple companies have come and gone in talks to purchase Elpida. Toshiba and SK hynix have somewhat recently pulled out of negotiations as the American TPG Capital LP and the Chinese Hony Capital shared a bid for the manufacturer.

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Or buy us and be #2 : D

Micron has just recently announced that they would place a bid for Elpida which, if completed, would push Micron past Hynix into the second largest DRAM producer by market share. Micron also seems to be interested in purchasing Elpida to access its mobile technology. While the actual bid is not public knowledge, it has been rumored to be worth around 2.51 billion dollars.

It may also be possible that none of the above deals would go through. Reuters reports that a group of debt holders for Elpida might push for their own plan if they feel that none of the current deals would suffice.

Source: Reuters

Hard to make a profit when no one can find Kepler cards for sale, NVIDIA

Subject: General Tech | May 11, 2012 - 11:38 AM |
Tagged: sales, Q2, nvidia, kepler

NVIDIA made $925m this quarter down from the $1,002m they made 12 months ago and profit is even dimmer with profits falling from $137m to a hair over $60m.  This marks the third year NVIDIA's Q1 revenue has been less than in the previous year and that is going to deeply trouble investors.  Even if GTX680s and 690s had flooded the market and were sitting on store shelves hoping that someone would come along and buy them that would not have helped sales in the first quarter, though if Kepler had been released early and in great quantities NVIDIA might have turned this distressing trend around. 

Q2 could be peachy, three models of GTX670 are still available at NewEgg after the initial sales and if the GTX680's production can be ramped up without much in the way of associated costs we could see some nice financials in the summer.  After all they do have the best cards on the market right now. Hit up The Inquirer for more.

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"Nvidia is on a high after a successful Kepler GPU launch but its financials paint a very different picture. The firm's first quarter of its 2013 fiscal year yielded revenue of $924.9m, just under four per cent lower than the same period a year previously, however its net income took a beating as profits fell by 55 per cent to $60.4m."

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Source: The Inquirer

Dell is bringing Ivy Bridge to the server room

Subject: General Tech | May 10, 2012 - 12:34 PM |
Tagged: xeon e3, Ivy Bridge, E3-1200 v2, dell, 22nm

Dell's microserver family is undergoing a major change right now as their 5000 series is moving to the new generation of chips from Intel.  The current C5000 and C5125 uses Athlon II X2 and X4 and Phenom II X2 chips based on the customers preferences and will continue to do so for the near future but the C5220 will be using the not quite yet released yet Xeon E3-1200 v2.  That Ivy Bridge chip means that Dell expects to be selling 17W and 45W versions of the C5220 which gives Intel a nice lead in power efficiency and processing density.  As more new Xeons come out you will see models requiring more power and thus less physical servers in a rack.  Dell expects to fit a dozen of the lower powered models into a full rack mount chassis and eight of the higher wattage models.  Check out the specifics as well as hints as to the other members of the Ivy Bridge contingent of the Xeon family at The Register.

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"Dell's PowerEdge server line is once again trying to get out in front of Intel, announcing that its PowerEdge-C family of microservers are revved up with the new Ivy Bridge Xeon E3 processors, which the chip giant is launching soon."

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Source: The Register

Stressing out GPUs with a DX9 game; is the Witcher 2 the new Crysis?

Subject: General Tech | May 9, 2012 - 03:09 PM |
Tagged: gaming, witcher 2

[H]ard|OCP overheard that The Witcher 2 underwent a large update, to the tune of 10GB or so, which gave them an opportunity to pit the newest GPUs from NVIDIA and AMD against a game which has a reputation for being hard on graphics card.  The Radeon HD 7970 and GeForce GTX 680 both struggled equally at 2560x1600 on this game, which is quite impressive for a year old game.  The most demanding feature of the game is UberSampling, which incorporates Antialiasing and Anisotropic Filtering and can bring even these powerful graphics cards to their knees.  When it was enabled [H] saw frame rates reduced to 20fps or lower, something that the old standby Crysis just cannot do.  You can argue that a DX9 game lacks many of the optimizations of DX10 and 11 which help the performance of these cards but it would seem that as far as testing the raw graphics power of a card,

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"The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings just underwent a major update. The Enhanced Edition offers a new zone, more quests, more cinematics, and several bug fixes. This DX9 game has the reputation of being one of the most demanding and stressful games on modern video cards. We put this theory to the test."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

Good news from TSMC for NVIDIA and you

Subject: General Tech | May 9, 2012 - 02:28 PM |
Tagged: TSMC, 28nm, nvidia

In the seemingly never ending saga of TSMC, NVIDIA and the mysteriously lacking supply of 28nm GPUs on the market is another update from DigiTimes.  TSMC is going to give priority to NVIDIA on their production lines, though if TSMC is still at 95% capacity that may not mean a great increase in capacity.  This doesn't refute the rumours that NVIDIA is shopping around for a new supplier for their chips nor that they may be revamping the mask they use for the chips but it does imply that TSMC does not want to lose NVIDIA's business and might have some capacity to spare for them.

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"Since Nvidia has been unsatisfied with TSMC's 28nm process, while the company has also not refuted rumors that the company may cooperate with Samsung Electronics or Globalfoundries, TSMC, to sooth Nvidia, has put the GPU maker on its supply priority, allowing Nvidia to be able to release its 28nm GPUs on schedule in May and June."

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Source: DigiTimes

ZOTAC announces ZOTAC GeForce GTX 680 AMP! Edition and ZOTAC GeForce GTX 680 4G

Subject: General Tech | May 8, 2012 - 05:32 PM |
Tagged: zotac, AMP!, 4gb gtx 680, 4GB, factory overclocked, gtx 680

The AMP! is back from Zotac and don't let the base clock fool you into thinking that is the only advantage, it is the extra boost capability that really makes this card special.  On the other hand if it is your buffer that is causing you to suffer the 4GB GTX 680 might be a little slower but it can power 4 monitors and has enough GDDR5 to make sure it does so smoothly.


HONG KONG – May 2, 2012 – ZOTAC International, a global innovator and channel manufacturer of graphics cards, mainboards and mini-PCs, today unveils the amplified ZOTAC GeForce GTX 680 AMP! Edition and high-resolution dominating ZOTAC GeForce GTX 680 4GB graphics cards for the most demanding gamers and enthusiasts.

Catered to gamers that require that extra performance kick in the most demanding gaming situations, the ZOTAC GeForce GTX 680 AMP! Edition harnesses the untapped power of the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680 graphics processor to maximize frame rates in the latest visually stunning Microsoft DirectX 11-enabled games. Extreme high-definition and triple-display gamers can opt for the ZOTAC GeForce GTX 680 4GB which doubles the amount of video memory for that extra bit of smoothness at resolutions above 2560x1600, including 4K and 3840x1080.

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AMP! Edition

The new ZOTAC GeForce GTX 680 AMP! Edition and GeForce GTX 680 4GB usher in a new era of visual computing that pushes details and pixel density for unbelievably clear and crisp graphics,” said Carsten Berger, marketing director, ZOTAC International. “The cards deliver world-class performance and are the fastest single GPU graphics cards available this generation too.“

Quad-display output capabilities enables the ZOTAC GeForce GTX 680 AMP! Edition and GeForce GTX 680 4GB to simultaneously power four independent displays in desktop mode at resolutions beyond 2560x1600, including new and upcoming 4K resolution displays. NVIDIA 3D Vision Surround technology joins three 2D or 3D displays together to render a massive wide display for superior immersion and enhanced field of view when gaming with the ZOTAC GeForce GTX 680 AMP! Edition and GeForce GTX 680 4GB.

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4GB Edition

The ZOTAC Assassin’s Creed 3-Game Pack is bundled with the two cards to let gamers take advantage of the newfound graphics power right out of the box. Assassin’s Creed I, II and Revelations takes gamers through an epic historical journey with beautiful graphics, captivating storylines and immersive gameplay.

It’s time to play with the ZOTAC GeForce GTX 680 AMP! Edition and GeForce GTX 680 4GB!

New ZOTAC GeForce GTX 680 AMP! Edition & GeForce GTX 680 4GB graphics cards

  • 1536 SMX unified shaders
  • ZOTAC GeForce GTX 680 AMP!
    • Edition Engine clock: 1110 MHz (base), 1176 MHz (boost)
    • 2GB GDDR5 memory Memory clock: 6608 MHz
    • Custom Dual-Fan Cooler
  • ZOTAC GeForce GTX 680 4GB
    • Engine clock: 1006 MHz (base), 1058 MHz (boost)
    • 4GB GDDR5 memory Memory clock: 6008 MHz
  • 256-bit memory interface DVI-I, DVI-D, HDMI & DisplayPort outputs
  • PCI Express 3.0 interface
  • NVIDIA GPU Boost technology
  • NVIDIA 3D Vision Surround capable
  • NVIDIA FXAA technology
  • NVIDIA TXAA technology
  • NVIDIA SLI ready
  • NVIDIA Adaptive Vertical Sync
  • DirectX 11 technology & Shader Model 5.0
  • OpenGL 4.2 compatible
  • Hardware-accelerated Full HD video playback
  • Blu-ray 3D ready Loss-less audio bitstream capable
  • ZOTAC Assassin’s Creed 3-Game Pack included Assassin’s Creed, Assassin’s Creed II, Assassin’s Creed: Revelations
  • TrackMania 2 Canyon 3-Day Game Pass included
Source: Zotac
Manufacturer: PC Perspective
Tagged: Malware

Infectious fear is infectious

PCMag and others have released articles based on a blog post from Sophos. The original post discussed how frequently malware designed for Windows is found on Mac computers. What these articles mostly demonstrate is that we really need to understand security: what it is, and why it matters. The largest threats to security are complacency and misunderstanding; users need to grasp the problem rather than have it burried under weak analogies and illusions of software crutches.

Your data and computational ability can be very valuable to people looking to exploit it.

The point of security is not to avoid malware, nor is it to remove it if you failed to avoid it. Those actions are absolutely necessary components of security -- do those things -- but they are not the goal of security. The goal of security is to retain control of what is yours. At the same time, be a good neighbor and make it easier for others to do the same with what is theirs.

Your responsibility extends far beyond just keeping a current antivirus subscription.

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The problem goes far beyond throwing stones...

The distinction is subtle.

Your operating system is irrelevant. You could run Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, the ‘nixes, or whatever else. Every useful operating system has vulnerabilities and run vulnerable applications. The user is also very often tricked into loading untrusted code either directly or delivering it within data to a vulnerable application.

Blindly fearing malware -- such as what would happen if someone were to draw parallels to Chlamydia -- does not help you to understand it. There are reasons why malware exists; there are certain things which malware is capable of; and there are certain things which malware is not.

The single biggest threat to security is complacency. Your information is valuable and you are responsible to prevent it from being exploited.  The addition of a computer does not change the fundamental problem. Use the same caution on your computer and mobile devices as you should on the phone or in person. You would not leave your credit card information on a park bench unmonitored.

Read on to understand what malware is and what it could do.

Micron beats JEDEC to DDR4

Subject: General Tech | May 8, 2012 - 02:13 PM |
Tagged: ddr4, jedec, micron

If you are not familiar with JEDEC you might not realize why they are constantly referred to when news breaks about a new technology; if that is the case you should aquaint yourself with them.  The standard for DDR4 is almost finalized with the specific changes being that the DIMM's VDDQ must remain constant at1.2V with plans to reduce VDD and speeds of 1.6 giga transfers per second to an initial objective of 3.2 giga transfers per second.  This seems low considering DDR3-2400 can hit 2.4GT/s so when it arrives we may see speeds cross over like DDR2 did when we saw DDR3 first come onto the stage.

Micron has fabbed 30nm DDR4 chips, both DIMM and SODIMM varieties which operate at the lower voltage.  The initial speed of 4Gbit/s that The Inquirer reports on may seem conservative but for this initial run we are only looking for a proof of concept which can be refined.  Micron expects to see production swing into gear by the end of 2012 but they may not have many customers as neither AMD nor Intel have DDR4 support scheduled by that time.

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"Although JEDEC has yet to finalise the DDR4 specification, Nanya and Micron have been forging ahead designing and now fabricating 30nm 4Gbit DDR4 chips that will be part of the two firms' DDR4 product range that will include registered and low-voltage registered DIMMs and SODIMMs. According to Micron, it is already sampling DDR4 modules and expects its customers to support quick implementation in 2013."

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Source: The Inquirer