Xbox 360 getting exclusive Crysis 2 multi-player demo Print E-mail
Written by Hanners   
Monday, 24 January 2011 08:59

No love for us PC gamers by the looks of it then - a bit disappointing, especially when you pair it with the news that id Software's RAGE also most likely won't be getting a demo of any kind.

Electronic Arts and Microsoft have announced that Xbox 360 gamers can look forward to an exclusive Crysis 2 demo this January 25th.

The Crysis 2 demo will be multiplayer only, featuring one map - called Skyline - and two game modes. The first, Crash Site, has two teams earning points by protecting crashed alien ships. The other mode is basically team deathmatch.

The multiplayer demo will open on January 25th, though EA hasn't yet specified when or if the demo will end.

bit-tech has the story.

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Galaxy GeForce GTX 460 1GB WHDI Edition review Print E-mail
Written by Hanners   
Monday, 24 January 2011 08:52

The possibilities of having a wireless graphics card are quite mouth-watering, for certain subsets of PC users in particular, but does it actually work well in practice?  PC Perspective take a look at the first WHDI graphics card to hit the market from Galaxy.

If any of you are familiar with what Sonos has done with audio and what Apple is attempting to do for audio/video with AirPlay, then the idea of WHDI is pretty simple to grasp at first even though it has many more facets and complexities to it.  WHDI is an open standard that has been accepted by Hitachi, LG, Motorola, Samsung, Sharp and Sony - some huge names in the consumer electronics space.  Adopting WHDI doesn't preclude the use of any OTHER standards, so the battle will continue to rage on which, if any, will really dominate.

From a technical perspective the WHDI standard operates in many ways just like the 802.11n standard by running on the 5 GHz frequency range and occupies bandwidth of 20 MHz or 40 MHz.  Because the 5 GHz spectrum has about 15-30 channels available for use with 802.11n or WHDI, the chips are intelligent enough to change channels to avoid conflict.  Past the use of the same spectrum, WHDI is quite unique in how it handles data.  While current video streaming over the 802.11n wireless standard CAN work, it treats all data in the same way and gives no priority to different types of information.  WHDI, on the other, sets up what are called "video modems" which are capable of handling completely uncompressed video signals of up to 3 Gbps (!!) and streaming at near zero latency.

Read the full review right here.

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AMD Radeon HD 6990 sighted Print E-mail
Written by Hanners   
Monday, 24 January 2011 08:49

Truth be told you probably don't need the power of two Radeon HD 6970 parts (or thereabouts) in a single graphics board, but regardless AMD will soon be happy to sell you just such an offering.

The HD 6990 consists of two Cayman chips. On first glimpse, appears to be just as long as the HD 5970, but noticeably thicker. The power connector area does appear to be a bit different, though nothing can be concluded from such a low resolution picture. The "Batmobile" design is once again dropped in favour of the design used in the HD 6800/6900 series cards released thus far.

One of the characteristics of previous AMD reference dual-GPU cards had been that the two GPUs are relatively close together, and covered by a single heatsink. However, the two Cayman chips on the HD 6990 pictured are located on two opposite ends of the PCB. This could indicate two separate heatsinks for the two GPUs. The same idea has been executed on non-reference designs such as the Asus ARES, with better thermal results than the reference design.

VR-Zone has the full story, and a couple of images.

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Duke Nukem Forever has a release date Print E-mail
Written by Hanners   
Friday, 21 January 2011 15:36

Yes, really... it honestly does... stop looking at me like that...

"Somehow the guys at Game Informer magazine discovered Duke Nukem Forever's launch date before I did," joked Randy Pitchford, president of Gearbox Software and executive producer of Duke Nukem Forever. "But I cannot imagine any better video game news source team than Game Informer to reveal the moment of truth for the most inconceivable, incorrigible and inspiring turn around story in the history of the video game industry – the coming of Duke Nukem Forever on May 3, 2011."

“The moment fans all over the world have been waiting for is almost here,” says Christoph Hartmann, president of 2K. “May 3, 2011 marks Duke’s return as he unleashes his brash and brutally honest wit on the world. His return is going to be epic and one that will make video gaming history!”

May 3 is the North American release date. May 6 is worldwide.

Game Informer brings the life-changing news, while a new trailer is also now available:

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The PC Gaming Alliance Interview Print E-mail
Written by Hanners   
Friday, 21 January 2011 09:04

It's been a while since we heard anything from the PC Gaming Alliance, but with a new president just what is this association up to at present when it comes to promoting and extolling the virtues of PC gaming?

bit-tech: Let's start off with some straightforward questions about the purpose of the PGCA, and the way it works. In your opinion, why do we need the PCGA?

Matt Ployhar: Non-profit organisations such as the PCGA typically form to fill a void or gap. Precedents such as the ESRB or Khronos were formed to provide an entity that allowed companies to participate and come together, in as neutral a setting as possible, in order to guide, push or pull something in the ecosystem forward.

The desire of most, but not all, members of the PCGA has been two-fold. The first was for the PCGA to be a champion for the PC gaming ecosystem, and the second was to create a body of research to counter the 'PC gaming is dying' FUD and propaganda. So to really answer your question, the 'need' aspect really varies depending on whether you're into PC gaming or not.

Check out the full interview at bit-tech.

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Optimizing Civilization V Print E-mail
Written by Hanners   
Friday, 21 January 2011 08:48

Optimising any game to ensure that it runs as well as possible is a tough task these days, but it's one that's being made easier thanks to Intel's Graphics Performance Analyser tool - at least, it is according to Civilisation V developer Firaxis.

“When you are writing a game,” Dan Baker, graphics lead at Firaxis Games, said, “two things can potentially slow you down: the CPU or the GPU. You can’t run any faster than whichever one of those two is slowing you down. We have to use a two-prong approach and worry about what is happening on both the CPU and the GPU.”

With the addition of the new Platform View feature, Intel GPA 3.0 now provides developers with a system-level view of operations, offering a clear, visual depiction of CPU and GPU activities on the same scale. This capability, coupled with the ability to zoom down to a low-level to pinpoint performance issues, provides an extremely useful macro-level and micro-level perspective to developers. Firaxis capitalized on these features during Civ5 development to scope out large-scale problems and then address them at the code level.

Read the full article on Civilisation V and Intel's GPA at Firing Squad.

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The technology behind The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Print E-mail
Written by Hanners   
Tuesday, 18 January 2011 08:41

With the latest title in the Elder Scrolls franchise, Skyrim, also moving away from the Gamebryo engine used by Oblivion (as well as Fallout 3), Game Informer have spoken to Bethesda Softworks to get a taste of what's in the pipeline for the in-house engine that will power their newest game.

“The big things for us were to draw a lot of stuff in the distance so we have a really sophisticated level of detail, more so than what we've had in the past for how things stream in and how detail gets added to them as they get closer to the camera,” explains Bethesda Studios creative director Todd Howard.

Draw distances are great for creating those postcard-worthy landscapes, but the players eyes aren't always fixed on the horizon. To give the immediate surrounding a more believable look and feel, Bethesda increased the emphasis on the play between light and shadow on the entire world.“Because our worlds are so big all of the lighting has to be dynamic,” Howard says. “That's something we had a little bit of in the past with shadowing, but not on everything. Now we have it on everything. It just makes the whole thing a lot more believable when you're there.”

You can read the full article over here.

 
AMD's Bulldozer CPUs expected to offer 50% higher performance than Core i7 and Phenom II Print E-mail
Written by Hanners   
Monday, 17 January 2011 08:55

With Intel's Sandy Bridge codenamed architecture now in the wild, we're going to have to wait and see what kind of response AMD can muster with their own next-generation "Bulldozer" architecture.  According to some leaked document, it appears that AMD's target is a 50% performance increase over both their current high-end parts and Intel's last generation Core i7 offerings.

An AMD document obtained by Donanimhaber web-site claims that an eight-core Bulldozer microprocessor offers 50% higher performance compared to quad-core Intel Core i7-950 with HT microprocessor in games, rendering and multimedia applications. The web-sites does not specify which benchmarks were used. In fact, 50% higher performance versus a quad-core chip does not seem to be bad, especially in games that do not usually take advantage of multi-core chips.

The web-site claims that AMD compares performance of the Core i7-950 with performance of AMD Phenom II X6 1100T chip, which is considerably slower than its rival, according to performance tests conducted by X-bit labs. It is unclear whether AMD showed the model 1100T being slower or faster than the i7-950. Test settings were not revealed. Typically, AMD publishes so-called "simulated benchmark results".

X-Bit Labs have the full story.

 
Intel posts record quarterly and yearly results Print E-mail
Written by Hanners   
Monday, 17 January 2011 08:49

It's barely news to see Intel posting big profit numbers every quarter these days as their juggernaut continues to roll on inexorably, but with both their financial year and the last quarter seeing record numbers for the company I suppose we'd best mention it.

To say Intel had a good year would be quite an understatement. Admittedly, the company's 2009 results were marred by the European Commission's $1.45-billion fine and its $1.25-billion settlement with AMD. Excluding those charges, Intel says it would have posted net income of $6.6 billion in 2009. No matter how you cut it, though, $11.7 billion is quite a leap forward.

Looking at the ongoing quarter, Intel expects revenue to fall within the rather broad range of $11.1 to $11.9 million, with gross margin to equal 62-66%. As for the ongoing calendar year, Intel is predicting its gross margin will be around 63-67%.

The Tech Report has all the numbers.

 
KFA² announces cable-free graphics card Print E-mail
Written by Hanners   
Thursday, 13 January 2011 08:25

Whilst a wireless keyboard and mouse can offer some distance between your PC and where you're actually using your system from, you're still tethered to whatever monitor you're using by cables.... until now, with the introduction of this wireless, cable-free graphics board.

Galaxy sub-brand KFA² has announced a graphics card with no display outputs. Instead, the KFA2 GTX 460 WHDI uses a wireless link to send the display output from your PC to your screen – whether that’s a conventional monitor or the HD TV in your lounge.

You just need to attach the bundled receiver to the back of your chosen screen and you’re done. With a wireless keyboard and mouse, you could place your PC at the other end of the room, letting you crank up those fans without having to listen to the whirring next to you.

The ‘WHDI’ part of the card’s name comes from the fact that it uses Amimon’s wireless technology – WHDI stands for Wireless Home Digital Interface.

bit-tech has the full story as well as a picture of the card and bundle.

 
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