Snooping through Haswell's graphics code

Subject: General Tech | March 22, 2012 - 01:44 PM |
Tagged: valleyview, shark bay, PowerVR, Ivy Bridge, haswell GT3, haswell, atom

Phoronix has been investigating the open source driver code which was recently released, designed to power Intel's Haswell chips.  The news is not as good as some had hoped; there were rumours that a Gen8 Haswell GT3 IGP would appear in Haswell but according to the hardware IDs that were found in the code that is not going to be true.  Instead you are looking at refined Gen7 Haswell GT1 and GT2 IGPs and so will be an improvement over Ivy Bridge but not a completely new chip.  Check out the rest of the secrets revealed by the code here.

intel_shark_bay_haswell_leak_5-580x432.jpg

"While Intel's Ivy Bridge launch is imminent, and I'm still digging through information concerning today's Intel Valleyview code drop that brings Ivy Bridge graphics to their next-generation Atom as they do away with PowerVR graphics for their SoCs, more graphics driver code to enable Haswell support has landed this evening."

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Source: Phoronix

Antec Releases 1000 Watt Platinum Pro Power Supply

Subject: General Tech | March 21, 2012 - 11:40 PM |
Tagged: PSU, power supply, antec, 80 Plus Platinum

Popular case and power supply manufacturer Antec recently released a new PSU, or Power Supply Unit, that represents the first 1,000 watt PSU to be certified by 80+ for Platinum efficiency. The new Antec High Current Pro 1000 Platinum is rated to deliver 1000 watts of power, features four +12 volt rails at 40 A per rail, and a modular cable design.

HCP-1000Platinum_q.jpg

The PSU uses Japanese capacitors to deliver 40 A of DC output with low ripple and noise. In addition, it uses a modular cable design with dark colored cables to aid in cable management. Currently the PSU supports the following connectors.

  • 1 x 20+4 Pin ATX
  • 1 x 8 Pin 12V EPS
  • 6 x 6+2 Pin PCI-E
  • 9 x SATA
  • 6 x Molex
  • 1 x Floppy
  • 1 x 4+4 Pin ATX/EPS

With regards to the 80 Plus (80+) Platinum rating, the new Antec PSU means that it is capable of delivering a minimum efficiency of 89 % at 20 to 100 percent load. At it's best, the PSU can run as efficiently as 94%. Global Marketing Director at Antec Mafalda Cogliani stated that "we designed a highly versatile, practical cabling to maximize cable management options and pushed High Current Pro to Platinum-certified efficiency to create a PSU package unrivaled by competitors at this wattage class."

Output Rating +3.3V +5V +12V(1) +12V(2) +12V(3) +12V(4) -12V +5Vsb
Min 0A 0A 0A 0A 0A 0A 0A 0A
Max 25A 25A 40A 40A 40A 40A 0.5A 3A
                 

Antec's High Current Pro Platinum is now on sale at Newegg, NCIX.com, and several other major retailers in the United States and Canada. Europe will be getting the HCP-1000 Platinum on April 9th. The power supply carries an MSRP of $269.95, and features a seven year warranty. More information is available on this product page.

Source: Antec

... and here's Newegg with a GTX 680 leak

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | March 21, 2012 - 09:51 PM |
Tagged: pelly wants revenge, nvidia, leak, gtx 680, fermi, 28nm

Not to be outdone by NCIX, NewEgg also managed to jump the gun on the GTX 680 earlier today. The screengrab that was sent tp Bright Side of News shows their pricing of the soon to be released GTX 680 with models ranging from $500 to $535.  The specs are there for all to see, a GPU running at 1.006GHz, Shader clock of 2.012GHz, effective memory of 6.008GHz and 1536 Stream Processors.  Contrast that with the last GTX 580 that Josh reviewed which had a 782 MHz core, 1.564GHz shader, memory at 4.008GHz and 512 SPs and you can see it is a big step up!

Oh_Newegg.jpg

If you visit NewEgg now you will be greeted with a different result, a page describing the GTX 680's various features and a Buy Now button which unfortunately doesn't work at this moment.  That is a situtation which obviously cannot last as NewEgg would not have put it up.  Of course the realization that you can pick up a pair of GTX 570's for the same price might just mean some recalculations will be in order once we see the performance of the actual card.

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Wing Commander Saga; a rebuild by fans for fans

Subject: General Tech | March 21, 2012 - 04:04 PM |
Tagged: gaming, wing commander, mod

There is some incredible news for those of you who have purchased old Wing Commander games from GOG, as well as those of you who've though about it but prefer the memories of the game they've already formed.  A group of modders has taken the engine behind FreeSpace 2 and created Wing Commander Saga, which spans a time period from just before the beginning of Wing Commander 3 and takes you through to the end of the Terran-Kilrathi War.  On top of the vastly improved graphics and features like autopilot are dozens of cinematics throughout the game, thousands of lines of original dialog and large scale fleet battles.  Do not despair if this is the first you are hearing about it for the release date is tomorrow!   Check out Wing Commander Saga: The Darkest Dawn here.

"Any old-school PC gamer worth his salt has spent some time dogfighting in space in Wing Commander, or at least is familiar with the series that first took flight in 1990. Heck, even Mark Hamill (better known as Luke Skywalker) lent his voice acting talents to the third installment, Wing Commander III: Heart of the Tiger. If you have fond memories of flying through space in the 1990s, you'll be happy to know that fans of the franchise are nearly finished with a massive followup."

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Source: MaximumPC

Good things come in interesting packages; IBM's new chip substrate

Subject: General Tech | March 21, 2012 - 01:14 PM |
Tagged: IBM, power 7+, interposer, packaging

In the typically bass ackwards way of technology, an interposer actually acts as an interface for electrical signals to be routed or spread as opposed to something which acts as a barrier between two objectsToday SemiAccurate's camera caught a picture of an engineering sample of IBM's Power 7+ chip which, according to them, represents a huge step forward in a direction only IBM is going in.  That interposer allows a huge amount of bandwidth between the four cores on the larger chip below, without specifications it is hard to say how much but it is quite possibly be more effective than either Intel or AMD's current solutions.  As SemiAccurate points out, the interposer is just begging to be filled with cache memory.

SA_IBM_Power_7_plus.jpg

"Every once in a while, a company will do something really unexpected, like IBM’s laying down the law in packaging last week. Yes, they showed off a chip, two actually, that does things no one else is even talking about doing."

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Source: SemiAccurate

Psst ... Hey buddy. Ya wanna see the GTX 680 under my jacket?

Subject: General Tech | March 20, 2012 - 11:26 PM |
Tagged: pelly, nvidia, leak, gtx 680, fermi, 28nm

The gang over at Tweaktown managed to get pictures of a retail Gigabyte GTX 680, which is not only better than candid snaps from Las Vegas making it to the web, it also solidifies a few facts.  For instance, as you can see below there are two 6-pin PCIe power connectors which pegs the maximum supplimental power that this card can draw at 150W.  That is a big difference from the two 8-pin PCIe connectors that could deliver up to 275 to a GTX 580; NVIDIA has obviously made a huge step forward in power savings with the move to 28nm regardless of any design or manufacturing problems they may have had to overcome to deliver this card to retailers.  

TT_23087_02_pictures_of_a_retail_gtx_680_have_been_leaked.png

Tweaktown didn't stop there either GPU fans; it seems that the online\brick and mortar computer chain NCIX made a little mistake and let the GTX 680 appear on their wishlist app.  Both an EVGA and an MSI model of the GTX 680 could be added to your wishlist ... for the price of $578.20 USD plus delivery.  That same retailer currently sells HD 7970's for between $564.99 USD to $619.99.  If only there had been some leaked benchmarks which might indicate which way AMD might have to adjust their pricing.

TT_23087_01_pictures_of_a_retail_gtx_680_have_been_leaked.png

Lucas is so going to sue you!

Source: Tweaktown

PC-exclusive Sim City engine demoed. The peasants approve.

Subject: General Tech | March 20, 2012 - 08:51 PM |
Tagged: Sim City

Sim City will arrive in 2013 only on PC, with some level of mod support, and some level of awesome.

The new Sim City was officially unveiled a couple of weeks ago at Game Developers Conference accompanied by a teaser trailer. Apparently Will Wright, the original creator of Sim City, will not be involved with the project. A second video was released yesterday which outlines the simulation rules which govern gameplay. It is worth your time to see.

Looks like they have the Wright idea...

It appears as though Maxis has spent the majority of their development focus with their GlassBox engine on the interactions between aspects of the city. Buildings such as fire stations can be upgraded and resources such as coal and water are finite. It is up to you to not just manage your city, but have it properly laid out.

Towards the end of the GDC teaser, it was hinted that your city would neighbor others. While the game would be functional as a single player experience, within multiplayer your city influences its neighbors. Beware the trade winds.

The game will only be available on Microsoft Windows and will include some level of mod support. Employees at Maxis have claimed that they will use the same mod package format as The Sims and SimCity 4. It appears as though EA might be taking another stab at a pure PC title. I hope they do it well, and it serves them well.

Source: Youtube

Windows 8 To Be Released "Around October"

Subject: General Tech | March 20, 2012 - 02:08 PM |
Tagged: windows on arm, windows 8, microsoft, arm

The Windows 8 Consumer Preview has been out for a few weeks now, and despite the controversy around the new interface it does seem to be coming along nicely as far as development and bug testing is concerned. While the Windows On ARM has received much less attention and Microsoft has publicly released very little about it, we can only assume that the company is working hard on getting it up and running on upcoming ARM tablets.

There have been several reports on release time frames, and the general consensus for the Windows 8 release will be Q4 2012 at the latest. Alternatively, if Bloomberg's sources "with knowledge of the schedule" are to be believed, the public will be getting both Intel and ARM versions of Windows 8 a bit earlier than expected. Specifically, Microsoft has chosen their upcoming operating system to "go on sale around October." Microsoft will also be releasing more specific dates during an event for its hardware partners in April.

WinSetup13.PNG

Apparently, Microsoft has been rather strict with device makers in regards to hardware configurations allowed for launch devices that are to be powered by the Windows on ARM version of Windows 8. Of the ARM launch devices, only three of them will be tablets. Steven Sinofsky, president of the Windows business, has stated that both the ARM and Intel/AMD versions of Windows 8 will be released at the same time, and that “I wouldn’t be saying it’s a goal if I didn’t think we could do it.” Microsoft restricting the designs is likely the reason they are able to get WoA out of the door at the same time as the tried and true x86 and x64 versions.

More information on Windows 8 can be found around the site:

Source: Bloomberg

TSMC's 28nm process is going to be around for the long haul

Subject: General Tech | March 20, 2012 - 01:12 PM |
Tagged: TSMC, nvidia, amd, southern islands, kepler, 28nm, maxwell, llano

TSMC's 28nm process has been in the news for a long time, sometimes this was a good thing but more often it was not.  Back in May of 2009 the first announcements of TSMC's brand new 28nm process hit the news with major production slated to start in early 2010.  That didn't happen on time, much to several companies dismay as Josh unhappily discussed towards the end of 2010.  This set a trend for TSMC's 28nm process for a while, for instance AMD did not quite meet their promise of readily available 28nm GPUs in 2011, though a late December launch for the HD7970 did meet the spirit of the agreement.  The delays and issues on TSMC's 28nm lines had a variety of causes, perhaps one of the worst being TSMC's overly optimistic attitude about their production capabilities especially when AMD had a surprise for them.  Add to that the long line of woes during the development and production of NVIDIA's 28nm Kepler GPU as well as the recent shutdown of the production line, and you can see why TSMC's 28nm process has spent a lot of time being maligned in the news.  It almost makes you forget about the 40nm process woes, but that is ancient news.

All that effort is not going to waste as DigiTimes reports that TSMC is planning on expanding their 28nm capacity this year and expects that process to account for 10% of their 2012 revenue.  The next question on most peoples minds is the progress on TSMC's 22nm process which in 2010 they announced would be ready by Q3 2012, something which NVIDIA's Maxwell team is probably anticipating with great anxiety.

TSMC.jpg

"With current capacity for 28nm processes filled up, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) is likely to expand the leading-edge process capacity later in 2012, according to industry sources.

TSMC reportedly is running at full capacity at its 12-inch fabs due to strong orders for 28nm as well as 40nm and 65nm designs. In order to avoid orders to rivals such as United Microelectronics (UMC) and Samsung Electronics, TSMC will have to speed up the pace of its leading-edge capacity expansion in particular its 28nm capacity, the sources said."

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Source: DigiTimes
Author:
Subject: General Tech
Manufacturer: Cerwin-Vega

Introduction and Features

It's not very often that I get to use and enjoy a review item while working on the actual review, but that's exactly what I'm doing as I sit here listening to my favorite music. The new Cerwin-Vega! XD3 Powered Desktop Speakers have been designed to optimize sound quality while keeping the enclosures small and providing easy integration with your PC and other desktop accessories at an affordable price. The XD3 desktop speakers incorporate ¾" silk dome tweeters, 3" woofers, high-quality cross-overs, and a 15W per channel internal amplifier in solid wood (MDF) enclosures.

2-XD3-lg.jpg

XD3 Powered Desktop Speakers Key Features:

• The perfect companion for your computer and/or media player
• Compact size without "compact" sound
• Rich and natural sound of a real wood enclosure
• Two-Way speaker: ¾" Tweeter and 3" Woofer
• 15 Watts per channel amplifier with built-in crossovers
• Front panel Aux. in and Headphone out
• Ported enclosure and Vega-Bass help increase bass response
• Magnetically shielded to prevent interference
• Appearance matches laptops and LCD monitors
• Perfect for music, gaming and media production

Continue reading our review of the Cerwin-Vega XD3 Powered Desktop Speakers!!