AusGamers have a full free download of Warmonger: Operation Downtown Destruction. Available now for free download, Warmonger pushes the limits of destruction technology where game environments can be shaped and manipulated by players at will. Taking full advantage of AGEIA’s PhysX card combined with Epic Games’ Unreal Engine 3 (UE3), the powerful game mechanics combine high performance action and stunning fluid and cloth effects that reflect the cutting edge of gaming visuals and physics today. Apparently a PhysX card isn't required but if you've got one there's extra bells and whistles etc.
AMD seems to have cancelled Quad FX, more or less. The short answer is that while there are still engineering resources focused on future platform offerings that build off Quad FX, the current energy and effort has gone into programs and product initiatives like “Spider” and AMD has discontinued future planning and development of its eight-core enthusiast platform at this time.
In fact, AMD are not even in the top 10 chip manufacturers anymore, according to iSuppli Corp. "Relative to Intel, there's a little bit of a pick up from Q1, but you couldn't say there's real momentum," said Ford. I really hope AMD turn themselves around soon, we don't want a market with Intel having completely free reign and no competition.
Yahoo and Adobe are teaming up to put ads into PDFs. Josh Jacobs, Yahoo's vice president of publisher solutions, said that while the program is now limited to text, pay-per-click ads, it might be expanded to include other formats, such as graphical and rich media. Hmm, presumably superior free viewers like Foxit Reader won't be affected.
Dan is all about the saving. Why, you might innocently wonder, do so many computer games have lousy save/load features? You know the sort of thing. Save files are all 500 megabytes. Or they're not that big, but saving takes forever. Or saving's fast, but loading takes an age, unless you're close to the start of a level.
HWLogic have an interview with NVIDIA. Not known for resting on their laurels, NVIDIA recently made waves with the release of the 8800GT videocard. HardwareLogic sits down the company responsible for this spunky GPU and discuss NVIDIA's outlook on everything from AMD to physics processing, and even Lindsay Lohan!
There's apparently a new free expansion for EvE Online on the way. The release of the Trinity expansion fortifies EVE Online's position at the forefront of three-dimensional game graphics, creating a breath-taking cinematic experience during actual gameplay. In order to achieve its visual goals, CCP developed a new graphics engine, architected for Shader Model 3.0 and above. YouGamers have the hardware requirements listed here.
PlusCorp and EYO Win PCA Awards
(link) Thursday, 29-November-2007 01:09:28 (GMT +10) - by Agg
It's certainly been a rollercoaster couple of months for PlusCorp. As I mentioned about a month ago they closed down and placed the business into the hands of voluntary administrators. However, that process is now more or less complete. The business has been bought by another company and will continue to trade under the PlusCorp name. Ex-owner Nigel, who has always been the connection between PlusCorp and OCAU, will continue to be involved with PlusCorp and is very keen to continue supporting OCAU. So that's all good news.
Meanwhile of course PC Authority's Reliability and Service Awards 2007 were presented recently. You might remember that last year OCAU's sponsors dominated the awards and it seems this year has been no different. Despite their last-minute dramas PlusCorp managed to win the overall award of "Best Online Retailer". Fellow OCAU Major Sponsor EYO were a "Highly Commended" runner-up. Congratulations to them both!
HWZone have a 10-course GeForce 8800GT Feast. Doing our part to keep the buzz alive, we have taken ten GeForce 8800 GT cards and put them through our benchmarks to help you decide which is the one for you.
DriverHeaven meanwhile compared three video cards as well: XFX Geforce 8800 GT 512MB XXX, Sapphire HD 3870 512MB and Asus EAH 3870 512 MB. Our review will be covering comparisons between the 8800GT XXX, 3870, 2900 XT and stock 8800 GT using the latest games and high definition movies.
Tech-Report updated their system guide for November. The past few months have seen the release of a deluge of new PC components that offer solid value for the average enthusiast's PC—not just the high-end stuff with elaborate, snaking heatpipes and outrageous price tags, but truly affordable hardware with next-generation performance.
PC-Perspective looked at the UT3 PhysX Mod in detail. The basic idea behind the PhysX mod to the UT3 is that it allows much of level to be destroyed based on the users actions: ala firing a gun at a wall blows it up.
Digit-Life cover choosing an AM2 motherboard for a mid-range machine. To uncover the full potential of the newest quad-core AMD Phenom X4 and FX processors one should install these into Socket AM2+ boards based on AMD 790FX, 790X and 770 chipsets. However, the new processors can be installed into Socket AM2 boards as well.
LegitReviews looked at tight timings for DDR3 memory. When LR first looked at various DDR3 memory modules back in July they were running 1333MHz and had timings that ranged from 7-7-7-20 to 9-9-9-24, which didn't sound too impressive to enthusiasts. We were recently testing some new memory kits from Corsair Memory and was able to reach 4-4-4-12 timings at 1333MHz and even higher! The days of saying DDR3 can't do tight timings is long gone.
Citrix (who make remote-access solutions) reckon that 23% of Americans are working from anywhere, not just a traditional workplace, thanks Craig. More people are performing at least part of their jobs from virtually anywhere, at any hour of the day, thanks to technology that allows them to “take their office with them” wherever they go.
ITWire are reporting that WinXP SP3 brings a speed boost, which may hurt Vista uptake. As for the speed of Vista SP1, we’ll see what the test results are when it is finally released, but for XP users, the upcoming SP3 looks like being the must-have update of the year.
Crymod have a Benchmarking Tool for Crysis available. The tool provides a robust front end to benchmarking Crysis. Provides ability to queue up many runs and will provide detailed results for each test as well as an overall summary with accurate averages. The first and foremost goals were simplicity and reliability in the tool and in the benchmark scores. Works with retail and demo.
Timbot spotted a driving simulator from Toyota who hope to eliminate traffic deaths, and a Humvee simulator that probably hopes to do the opposite. This 360-degree ultra-high-definition military simulator allows you to drive a Humvee and fire real weapons with absolute precision, including machine guns and rocket launchers, anywhere you want.
On a similar note, JC sent in this Renault safety ad which dramatically (and quite artfully) shows off their impact protection.
There's a new robot in Japan that seems to be moving us closer to "companion" machines. Twendy-One, named as a 21st century edition of a previous robot, Wendy, has soft hands and fingers that gently grip, enough strength to support humans as they sit up and stand, and supple movements that respond to human touch. It can pick up a loaf of bread without crushing it, serve toast and help lift people out of bed.
We haven't heard of RAMBUS in a long time, but apparently they're still out there and are aiming for Terabyte-per-second memory bandwidth. Rather than simply increasing the clock speed of memory to achieve higher output, Rambus looks to boost bandwidth with a 32X data rate.
From Carlos: Google has plans for renewable energy to be cheaper than coal. ... "Our goal is to produce one gigawatt of renewable energy capacity that is cheaper than coal. We are optimistic this can be done in years, not decades," Larry Page, Google's co-founder and president of products, said in a statement. But how about 1.21 jiggawatts!?
Here on OCAU we love our computer mods, and this mod of a PC inside a piano definitely pushes the boundaries of what people can convert into computers. Thanks for sending that in Steve. :)
If you're someone that buys motherboards and CPUs as gifts, then Techgage have a guide posted up on their site to help you find the best one at the right price.
The guys over at Bit-tech have a chat about the new Intel X48 chipset, that supports groovy stuff like DDR3 and PCI-Express 2.0.
Phoronix have a Newbies guide to RandR 1.2 posted up on their site. Check it out here.
Via Arena show us around the Infill G4 Car PC. Beauty meets car PC brains at the SEMA car show in Vegas. Gone are the days of hiding wires from the front dash all the way to a PC in the boot of your car and navigating Windows Media center with a wireless mouse on your lap. The Infill G4 car PC with StreeDeck software gives PCs for cars style and function all the way.
How's this for a speed bump? Would definitely fix up soccer mums that think their car is designed to drive over roundabouts, over kerbs and speed up for speed bumps.
There appears to be a lot of futuristic stuff floating about lately in the news, this being another one. We present some of the outstanding recent developments in the field of user experience design. Most techniques may seem very futuristic, but they are reality. And in fact, they are extremely impressive.
IBM have conjured up and are patenting a 'terrific' idea of putting ads on DVD rentals. Yes, ads that can't even be fast forwarded, unless you pay the extra and get the ad-free DVD rental. More info here, thanks for sending that in Craig!
From IntelInside: In South Korea a Boot Camp is run for young people who are not battling alcohol or drugs, but rather an addiction to cyberspace. Full article here, on NYTimes.
Bit-tech has obtained some exclusive photos of the final designs of MSI's new HydroGen waterblock that will be offered as a limited edition on some of its next generation Intel X48 boards.
Also from the guys over at Bit-Tech: DeviceVM, the maker of the Splashtop software which features embedded Linux "fast boot" products like the one used on the Asus P5E3 Deluxe WiFi-AP @n has been released under GPL. We had a chat with both Asus and DeviceVM to find out where the two companies expect the software to go now that it's an open platform. Read the whole article, here.
Phoronix have posted up the results to their 2007 Linux Graphics Survey. For the past month we had been running the 2007 Linux Graphics Survey at Phoronix where we polled users to find out what display hardware they use, what their driver choice(s) are, and their other preferences as it pertains to Linux desktop users on the visual front.
Time to update your CPU-Z if you haven't done so already. Version 1.42 has been released, offering Wolfdale/Yorkfield/Penryn CPU support, and improving the support of some of the AMD chips as well.
This is pretty cool, Craig sent in this video about these new human robotic exoskeletons that some crazy robotics company in the states (Raytheon) have designed. I want one!
And if your Monday evening is as boring as mine, you will probably find this article sent in by metamorphosis amusing as well. 30 Strangest Animal Mating Habits. Everything from exploding testicles to prehensile penises!
Interesting Forum Threads
(link) Monday, 26-November-2007 10:10:07 (GMT +10) - by Agg
AGEIA have released an extreme physics mod pack for UT3. AGEIA PhysX owners will get the unique opportunity to tear up Unreal Tournament 3 through some exclusive and revolutionary new features never before seen in PC games! Bit-Tech have posted their thoughts here, and meanwhile, AMD may buy AGEIA if the price is right.
Engadget have been hands-on with the Optimus Maximus OLED keyboard. We've gotta say we're pretty impressed, the build seems as solid as a rock, the screens are crazy bright and all the glossy keys catch the light just right.
Dan ponders what alternatives to Gigabyte's i-RAM exist. Gigabyte's i-RAM Solid State Drive is more than TWO YEARS old now, but it still doesn't seem to have any competition. That may explain why the price hasn't bloody dropped, either.
Digit-Life looked at some inexpensive AMD CPU coolers. The market of budget coolers for AMD processors is still saturated despite growing manufacturing costs, high competition, price erosion, and serious pressure from boxed CPUs. Thus it's time to review some new products, namely 16 coolers from ASUS, Foxconn, GlacialTech, Thermaltake, and Titan.
From Statts: The Classic Adelaide is regarded as one of the greatest road rallies for classic and marque cars in the world. It runs through the hills surrounding Adelaide and includes a twilight Prologue event in the streets of Adelaide (GP/Clipsal 500 circuit). It runs from 21-25 of November. Lots of great pics so far in the thread, with plenty more coming over the weekend!
Quite a few people are grumpy about the price of COD4 on Steam almost doubling overnight, info here and here. Still - it means that for exactly the same digital download, we're being slugged nearly twice the price of the Americans.
Meanwhile, from CeeJay: Psyconauts, one of the best games EVER, in my opinion, is FREE to play on Gametap until the end of the year. Hmm, you have to download some player thingy it seems.
An update to this thread reminded me about Amazon's Kindle e-book reader. I'm surprised there hasn't been more coverage about this. It was released earlier this month and sold out in a day or so. Despite its mid-80's Macintosh appearance it boasts a fairly funky "as sharp as printed text" screen technology and has wireless support for subscribing to newspapers and web browsing as well as more traditional e-book reading. I don't imagine the special features will work outside the USA yet, but it'll be interesting to see what the hackers manage to wring out of this Linux-powered gadget.
Remember to keep an eye on our Sponsor Specials Forum if you're shopping around for a good deal. In there our many sponsors have threads featuring TV tuners, MP3 players, CPUs, external HDD's, energy drinks, motherboards, CPU coolers, headphones, speakers etc. Check 'em out!
Sniper noticed that the Eee PC will be available in Australia soon, with ASUS having named Myer as their outlet here. According to Asus, the company is selling a Eee PC, which a customised version of the Xandros Linux distribution, every six seconds, which equates to about 100,000 a week.
W.G.A.F sent in this 4x 1000GB hard drive roundup on TomsHardware, focussing on the new Samsung drive. With the advent of Samsung's latest product family, the Spinpoint F1, the quartet of Hitachi, Samsung, Seagate and Western Digital is once again complete.
IGN interviewed Graham from Auran, an Australian game developer working on an FPS/MMO called Fury. As well as talking about the past, Graham looked to the future, mentioning a few new strategies currently being worked on that should boost enjoyment of the game, and maybe see us getting some servers a bit closer to home.
Bit-Tech have posted their thoughts about the Phenom launch. On the whole then, I think you should be able to gather that I’ve not been particularly impressed with the launch of Phenom thus far, but I think that there’s definitely still time for AMD to redeem itself in the enthusiast crowd as the chip, and more importantly the technology behind the chip, matures.
PenStarSys have their thoughts up as well, but they're a bit more light-hearted. So how does Meatloaf have anything to do with AMD? I’m not entirely sure yet, but I think I can connect the dots by the time I finish writing this article.
From IntelInside: In a recent meeting in Chile, Spain’s King Juan Carlos asked Venezuela president Chavzez to shut up (¿por qué no te callas?). The spat was caught by TV cameras and is something of a YouTube sensation. The King's outburst has become a ringtone hit across Spain, downloaded by an estimated 500,000 people and generating a reported 1.5m euros ($2m).
Another Asian country may be joining the space race (following recent efforts by China and Japan): South Korea has plans to launch a lunar orbiter by 2020, thanks Mindy. The country's science ministry has announced a space 'road map', pledging to develop a rocket capable of the lunar mission within the next decade, at a cost of more than $4 billion.
The bad news for AMD is that Intel have sucker-punched the Phenom launch, by sending out samples of their own QX9770 quad-core CPU to be unveiled on the same day. This is a chip that Intel admit won't be available until Q1 2008 and will be priced well above Phenom, but it's a pretty clear show of strength to try and crash AMD's party. This is a Penryn CPU and almost identical to the QX9650 that Chainbolt covered in his article here. The differences are a 3.2GHz core speed and a 1600MHz FSB.
I think Anandtech summed it up best: Intel plays dirty. But then again, why shouldn't they? Discussion in this thread in our Intel Hardware forum.
AMD's Phenom and Spider
(link) Tuesday, 20-November-2007 07:34:25 (GMT +10) - by Agg
AMD took the wraps off their Spider platform recently. This is based around their quad-core Phenom processors and also includes chipset and GPU products. The platform can deliver upgradeability and customization for scalable enthusiast performance, leading-edge performance and bandwidth to deliver next-generation HD experiences, and industry-leading platform performance-per-watt for flexibility and headroom.
The AMD Phenom quad-core processor is the most advanced AMD desktop PC processor, commanding four natively integrated processor cores to break system bandwidth barriers and turbo-charge performance. Enhanced features include AMD CoolCore™ technology, support for a split power plane motherboard design and the ability to set independent core frequencies.
A few people pointed out that there's an Australian "Top Gear" on the way. Australia is the first country in the world to secure the rights to make a local version of the show, which mixes performance cars with comedy and celebrities. It seems forum-goers aren't too confident of its success, though.
iiNet may be returning to its earlier "iiBorg" days, looking to acquire smaller ISPs again, thanks Sniper. He added: "Over the ten years to 2006 we acquired and integrated 31 ISP’s across Australia and New Zealand."
An MSN Messenger trojan is spreading rapidly. The malware is being introduced by MSN Messenger files posing as pictures, mostly seeming to come from known acquaintances.
Here's another cool steampunk laptop. This may look like a Victorian music box, but inside this intricately hand-crafted wooden case lives a Hewlett-Packard ZT1000 laptop that runs both Windows XP and Ubuntu Linux.
The Hubble Space Telescope is keeping an eye on an astronomical mystery. At the end of October, Nobel Intent reported on a surprising astronomical event; periodic comet Holmes (17P) brightened over one million-fold over the course of a single day.
PureOC took a walk around the eGames & Entertainment Expo in Melbourne last weekend. The eGames expo provides a platform for manufacturers, game developers and publishers, to launch, showcase and market products in the digital entertainment industry.
SecureComputing consider how to kill deleted data for good, thanks Craig. I borrowed the camera before the wedding, removed the SD card from the camera, ran a file-recovery application and retrieved all the shots he had deleted.
Chainbolt has taken a detailed look at Intel's Penryn processor family, concentrating on the QX9650 CPU. These are lead-free quad-core CPUs based on the 45nm "Yorkfield" architecture, with 2x6MB L2 cache, SSE4 and a swathe of other features and tweaks. This 5-page article has plenty of benchmarks, power considerations and overclocking:
There's an unpatched Firefox exploit which can make your Gmail vulnerable, thanks Timbot. The vulnerability, which is still in the wild some 10 days after its discovery on gnucitizen.org, allows hackers to access Google accounts, including Gmail, with cross-site scripting attacks.
An Abu Dhabi firm has taken an 8.1% stake in AMD. AMD plans to use the cash to invest in "research, product innovations and manufacturing excellence." The Business Review reports that some of the funds will be channeled into a $3.2 billion USD chip plant on the Luther Forest Technology Campus in Malta, NY.
A few people sent word that there's free Krispy Kreme donuts on offer for registered votes the day after the election. Krispy Kreme will invite voters to make a gold coin donation to The Salvation Army Youth Services on Sunday 25 November as part of the Free Krispy Kremes for Australia Policy.
Check out this intricate carved wooden PC on a (very slow) Russian site. Not really to my taste but you can appreciate the effort that's gone into it.
Google may be gearing up to bid billions on a part of the wireless spectrum. Of course, the plans for the 700MHz spectrum may be far beyond a simple mobile handset -- due to the ability of the frequency to travel long distances with relatively little power, it could be used to provide rural areas with broadband Internet access.
Japan's lunar orbiter has returned some more cool footage, this time a view of Earth-rise and Earth-set. The KAGUYA successfully shot high-definition images of the Earth-rise showing an impressive image of the blue Earth which was the only floating object in pitch-dark space. These are the world's first high-definition earth images taken from about 380,000 km away from the earth in space.
Xbit tested thirty 250GB hard drives. HDDs with a storage capacity of 250 gigabytes currently have the most optimal price/performance ratio. Hmm, not sure if that's still true in the Australian market.
Scott spotted this smudge-free computer screen on the way. LG Philips LCD said the thin-film transistor liquid crystal display (TFT-LCD) panel allows easy removal of dust, smudges, fingerprints and even permanent ink.
Georgia Tech researches have worked out a user interface that uses blowing. Stop sniggering. Once installed, users can puff on either side of the screen in order to scroll left / right, icons can be selected depending on the fierceness of the puff and games could integrate the technology in to add another level of interactivity. Sure, until you get all light-headed and wobbly.
Valve have released their latest hardware survey results, which gives an interesting snapshot of gamer PCs. Interesting that the 2nd most common resolution is still 1024 x 768.
TechARP have info on AMD's Spider platform, while Phoronix say there's another GPU documentation release from them soon. Their first batch of documentation covered the basics for the RV630 and M56 GPUs and was released freely to the public without any Non-Disclosure Agreement!
Anandtech cover the new 65nm Xbox360 update. A move to 65nm would undoubtedly reduce power consumption, potentially make the console quieter and obviously make it cheaper to produce. With the Xbox 360 there's also another side effect that many surmised would result from a move to 65nm: increased reliability.
A few people are reporting in this thread that they've seen the Google Maps "street view" vehicle around Australia, so perhaps we'll have our very own privacy concerns soon. ;)
The Australian guy arrested for uploading the Simpsons movie to the internet after recording it in a cinema with his mobile phone has been fined $1000 AUD. His lawyer, Ken Stewart, told the court Duarte had twice tried to upload the film onto the internet after he had seen it on July 26, but thought he had been unsuccessful.
Futurelooks consider how video games can actually make you fitter nowadays. Here are five areas or trends where we have experienced the merging of video games and exercise.
HWSecrets cover nVIDIA's Tesla, their general purpose GPU computing technology. These "video cards" feature GeForce 8800 GPUs but they do not produce video: they are targeted to be used as CPUs, processing programs. In this article we will tell you everything you need to know about Tesla, including a lot of pictures of Tesla solutions.
MadShrimps had fun overclocking a GeForce 8600 GT. In this article we focus on squeezing every extra frame from a Geforce 8600 GT video card, applying volt modifications and extreme cooling to scale the performance to the maximum.
Digit-Life have an article about GeForce G8x performance in modern games. Unfortunately, our plans never got to the first base - G80's hardware performance counters didn't work with some shader units disabled. So we decided not to trash our test results and use them in a brief comparative analysis of performance and some other parameters of modern 3D games.
Bit-Tech have a Penta PC mod. Our hard-rocking modder, Wolverine, is back - this time with a whole new style. He's headed to us with a wall-mounted HTPC that's 1kg of components, 10kg of acrylic and 100kg of awesome detail cuts. So step in and check it out!
The "Colossus" code-breaking machine from WWII will race a modern computer in breaking Nazi codes soon. The finished Colossus is to be pitted against a contemporary general-purpose PC in a code-breaking race. The raw fodder for the race is a set of messages encrypted using Nazi ciphers and transmitted by amateur radio enthusiasts in Germany.
Today's timewaster is from elementalelf, it's a reaction time tester where you avoid being shot in the head. :)
AMD's ATI Radeon HD 3800
(link) Thursday, 15-November-2007 05:40:38 (GMT +10) - by Agg
AMD unveiled their ATI Radeon HD 3800 Series GPUs today. As the world’s first series of graphics processors to deliver Microsoft’s DirectX® 10.1 support, 55nm process technology and tri and quad multi-GPU support with ATI CrossFireX™, the ATI Radeon HD 3800 series ushers in a new era of enthusiast gaming performance at mainstream price points.
Turns out that Australia and NZ got Crysis three days before the USA and Europe. Despite some folks' expectations to the contrary, Crysis reportedly features an immersive storyline as well as very solid, open-ended, and fun gameplay. "Crysis is about the gameplay. It's about being put in the middle of a dense jungle, being given an objective, and being told, 'Get there however you want.'" IGN have a review too.
Tweaktown wonder if 3G mobile internet will work on a 300km/h train. It only claims to work at up to around 150km/h, which is faster than most situations where this device would be used. What happens though when we fire it up on Taiwan’s new High Speed Rail trains which burn their engines at up to 300km/h?"
They also have a four-way thermal interface material roundup. Today we have two more products to add to the list of those who want your TIM dollars, A.I. Technologies and Tuniq (a subsidiary of Sunbeam). Both have TIM products that are making the same bold claims we have already been hearing, so it is time for a little direct comparison.
From Phil: It seems that Autopatcher is back in Beta with a Beta release available. Also, one of the posts mentions a similar product which from my initial testing appears to be as good if not better. Called ‘Offline Update’ – have to find the English translations on the site, but so far so good.
Sniper spotted this cool exploded iPod sculpture, where the iPod still works. The bubbles happened during a mistake on my last pour, but a lot of people have now told me they like the serendipitous addition.
Dymocks are embracing ebooks. Digital touch screen kiosks have been installed in the Dymocks flagship store at 428 George Street in Sydney to market the ebook range and teach customers how to download them. Within months people will be able to walk into the store with a memory card and buy ebooks directly from the kiosk. Meanwhile, here's 20 places to get some public domain ebooks, free and legal, to see if you like the idea.
Cameron reckons the PS3 will be getting DivX support soon. "We are excited to work with Sony Computer Entertainment to bring DivX to PS3," said Kevin Hell, CEO of DivX, Inc. More info here.
HWZone have a Barcelona vs Clovertown vs Harpertown showdown. Barcelona was supposed to redeem AMD of all its woes in the highly competitive CPU industry. So where does this much hyped CPU stand today amongst the Intel Xeon (Clovertown) machines and that of the upcoming 45nm Intel Xeon (Harpertown) based machines? We reveal it all in this three-way showdown article.
XbitLabs meanwhile have a Topower Power Supply Units Roundup. Topower is a popular manufacturer. Besides making a wide range of PSUs for such brands as Tagan, BeQuiet, Mushkin and OCZ, the company is promoting its own brand, offering boxed PSUs of varying wattage and functionality. Today we are going to review 9 solutions from Topower ranging from 500W to 800W.
HardOCP were not impressed with a recent DX10 update to Lord of the Rings Online. Like World of Warcraft and similar online games, when the patch goes live across all servers you must update the game to this new patch before you can play. Therefore this patch is mandatory if you wish to play.
Phoronix ponder the new ATI Linux drivers. It's been nearly seven months since I wrote my first article about ATI drivers and how they literally crippled my computer and my daily life. Last month, ATI had finally released their latest drivers which contains the new OpenGL component and AIGLX support. Was this release worth the amount of hype and did it solve everyone's problems? For me, simply, no.
Paul sent word that Volantis is going open source. Volantis, a specialist in making the same content work on every mobile phone, is open sourcing its server, allowing anyone to download and run their content-optimising system for free. The Mobility Server: Community Edition is initially available as a free binary, with source code to follow next year under the GPL. It's the same package used by Volantis customers around the world to modify content to suit the connecting device.
LegionHW looked at GeForce 8800 GT SLI Performance. While there are quite a number of different factors that need to be considered, such as price, operating temperatures, and noise levels, we must first establish if SLI 8800 GT graphics cards are a viable solution in terms of performance. Having tested with a total of nine games, some new and some not so new, we can now put all of this into perspective.
Dan has more letters. In this edition: Underweight D batteries, a poor projector purchase, product-shot cameras and electrocution on the open road.
DriverHeaven checked out the Visiontek 2600 XT QUAD 1GB video card. Well before you close the window, this is no ordinary 2600XT, Visiontek's new "Quad" 2600XT is basically two cards in crossfire, slapped together with a mighty 1 GB of ram! Hardware video acceleration and the ability to power four 2560x1600 monitors certainly deserves some attention, right?
Craig sent word of a self-destructing USB key. “Being encrypted, people can’t perform brute force attacks and if anyone tries to break the password it seriously does self-destruct. After ten failed attempts it will shred all the info on the flash drive and no one can retrieve the programme,” said Ross. More info here, discussion thread here.
From Bangers: Hi guys, thought the readers might like to check out this video of a hack for the Nintendo Wii that allows you to manipulate the Wii interface Minority Report style.
IBM are apparently planning a new supercomputer based on Cell processors and chips from AMD. Roadrunner, which will be delivered to the U.S. Department of Energy's Los Alamos National Laboratory in summer 2008, will be capable of performing more than a quadrillion operations, or a petaflop, when it's fully operational. IBM helped design and build the Cell chip and has been looking for ways to expand its commercial potential.
mpot and Craig both spotted this story about new hard drives shipping with trojans onboard. About 1,800 brand new 300-GB or 500-GB external hard drives made for Maxtor in Thailand were found to have trojan horse malwares pre-installed (autorun.inf and ghost.pif).
Timbot spotted an article about online poker bots. The same group at Alberta has just shown that their Polaris program is on the verge of taking down poker professionals. In the recent “Man vs. Machine” Poker Championship, Phil “The Unabomber” Laak and Ali Eslami barely beat Polaris two sessions to one (with one a virtual draw). After the tournament, Laak candidly acknowledged that “the bots are closing in.”
RE sent in a timewaster with a good cause: freerice.com, an online vocabulary game which apparently donates rice for every correct answer. 260 grains from me so far. Go go vocab! Update: there's a thread about it here.
Here's a new OpenGL benchmark: Lightsmark. Before Lightsmark, realtime global illumination was limited to small scenes, small resolutions, small speeds, specially crafted scenes with handmade optimizations. Lightsmark breaks all limits at once, running in reasonably sized scene (220000 triangles) in high resolution (1680x1050) at excellent speed (100-400fps).
Check out this cool-looking helmet that pilots of the Joint Strike Fighter will be wearing. Pilots flying the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter will have an astonishing array of technology encasing their heads - enabling them to see right through their own aircraft fuselage to the ground below. Australia will apparently be receiving up to 100 JSF's from 2013 onward.
Japan's Aerospace Exploration Agency have provided the world's first high-definition footage of the Moon. The first shooting covered from the northern area of the "Oceanus Procellarum" toward the center of the North Pole, then the second one was from the south to the north on the western side of the "Oceanus Procellarum." The moving image data acquired by the KAGUYA was received at the JAXA Usuda Deep Space Center, and processed by NHK. There's a video on the linked page.
Developing nations can now enjoy the same productivity-crippling slacking off that we do, because EA will be putting SimCity on the OLPC for free. "'SimCity' is entertainment that's unintentionally educational. Players learn to use limited resources to build and customize their cities. There are choices and consequences, but in the end, it's a creativity tool that's only limited by the player's imagination," said Steve Seabolt, vice president of global brand development for the Sims label.
Engadget had a play with Samsung's 64GB SSD. They seem to be coming along nicely, but not quite there yet. Won't be long now tho. Once we switched over from cleanroom drive tests to formatted drives running operating systems, though, the FlashSSD started to mop the floor with its platter-based counterpart. In Xbench it doubled sequential and random uncached read and write speeds over the platter drive in most cases, topping out at about 52MBps read / 32MBps write.
A Chinese submarine recently popped up in the middle of a U.S. Navy exercise, leaving them a little red-faced. One Nato figure said the effect was "as big a shock as the Russians launching Sputnik" - a reference to the Soviet Union's first orbiting satellite in 1957 which marked the start of the space age.
Microsoft have launched a licensing system for PC refurbishers, thanks Craig. Windows XP Home for Refurbished PCs and Windows XP Professional for Refurbished PCs are the two operating systems available and the PCs that are being refurbished need to have a Certificate of Authenticity.
Ambush spotted 40 free fonts over on SmashingMagazine. Some exceptional free fonts; some are even Public Domain or licensed under GNU GPL.
From LinX: In case this hasn't been posted before, I've spotted a remake of Wing Commander Privateer. Information can be found here. They have Windows, Linux and Mac Ports. This was like my favourite game the best parts of 13 years ago.. rofl. Seems to be free, too.
Here's a few photos people have sent in. Firstly some unusual roads from BP:
VooDoo of course sent in this V8 BBQ:
Paul sent these with a story: They apparently had an engine fire (cause unknown so far) and lost all hydraulics and electrics on the left side. To make things worse, when they went in to do an emergency landing they got an unsafe light on the nose landing gear. The Pilot had to execute a single engine go-around on the right engine only, with the left engine still well and truly on fire. All this and airline management the world over still insist that Aircraft Mechanics and Pilots are both underworked and overpaid.
Finally Darth Kitty from RnR and an airport computer from Alex: I took this photo yesterday at Hanoi International Airport. They are still using 486s for the Flight Info boards. This one looks like its missing it's Master Boot Record.
Bit-Tech cover colour depth. Which to choose, which to choose...higher is better, right? And so we all flip to 32-bit, convinced that we're seeing the best that our computers can offer. We are...aren't we?
Apparently Microsoft pirates are targeting Australia, thanks Craig. Brian Williams, senior regional investigator at Microsoft APAC said US and Canada are also popular markets but Australia has emerged as a prime target.
Next time you sit on the couch watching MythBusters, you might be learning how to save someone's life. Australian company Beyond Productions, producer of MythBusters, said it plans to present Julian a "hero pack" in honour of his good deed.
Here's a cool new ad for Guinness. Shot in an Argentinian mountainside village, it features a game of dominoes which escalates to include suitcases, tyres, oil drums, fridges, wardrobes and cars.
AMD have a new stream processing platform. The FireStream 9170 features up to 500 GFlops, or 500 billion floating point operations per second. AMD's second generation stream processor is built with a 55 nanometer manufacturing process and consumes less than 150 watts of power. The processor is a single-card product with 2Gbytes of onboard GDDR3 memory to compute large datasets without CPU traffic.
MOS spotted this brain-hurting article about learning a new language in an hour by deconstructing it. During my thesis research at Princeton, which focused on neuroscience and unorthodox acquisition of Japanese by native English speakers, as well as when redesigning curricula for Berlitz, this neglected deconstruction step surfaced as one of the distinguishing habits of the fastest language learners.
From daztay: Here some old footage of early computers. The following is the first military defense computer, it was so advanced that it had a "display screen" which is a cross between a radar and tv.IBM on guard! 1956 also IBM 704 playing chess.
Next time you get beaten at chess, you could well be entitled to punch your opponent in the face, assuming you're playing the growing sport of "Chessboxing". "What a king hit!" "Ooh, he's got a wicked left rook." Hmm, what other good sports combinations could there be? Perhaps origami while racing an F1 car. The juggling marathon. Pole-vault table-tennis. Sadly it's alternate rounds of chess and boxing, probably to avoid getting a queen in the eye.
Tech-Hounds have a P35 motherboard roundup for your LGA775 CPU. We'd take a look at both DDR2 and DDR3 motherboards, which include the ASUS P5K3 and P5K Deluxe, Gigabyte P35T-DQ6 and P35-DS3P, MSI P35 Diamond, P35 Platinum and P35 Neo.
Craig sent word of a fake anti-spyware scam which has tricked thousands of victims. Apparently this "Russian Business Network" has gone offline but may re-appear again elsewhere, thanks Paul.
Enthusiast System Architecture
(link) Wednesday, 7-November-2007 10:07:41 (GMT +10) - by Agg
NVIDIA have announced the Enthusiast System Architecture. PC industry luminaries, including NVIDIA, Dell, HP, Alienware, Falcon Northwest, CoolerMaster, Thermaltake and others, today announced details of a new open, and royalty-free standard for the real-time monitoring and control of PC power supplies, chassis, and water-cooling systems. The Enthusiast System Architecture (ESA) specifies an information protocol that system components can use to “communicate” with each other to adjust operating parameters, and relay important system information back to the user.
A popular toy called Bindeez has been recalled around Australia because it contains a chemical that the human body turns into a drug. More info here. Chinese-made Bindeez, which won the 2007 Australian Toy of the Year award at the Melbourne Toy and Hobby fair, contains hundreds of beads which can induce seizures, drowsiness or a coma if eaten.
Lurks sent word that there's now Mac and Linux clients for EvE Online, for all your whizzing around in big spaceships fun.
YouGamers wonder how much video memory you actually need. So if you're out to buy a new graphics card, what do you do - buy the one with the most memory, the fastest memory, the latest memory type?
IGN have interviewed Tim Schafer about Brutal Legend, their upcoming metalhead console game. Not only is it coming from the brilliant mind of Tim Schafer (yes, he of Day of the Tentacle, Grim Fandango, Pyschonauts and many more) and Double Fine, but it's designed as the ultimate homage to heavy metal.
Pro-Clockers reviewed an interesting AM2 motherboard from ASRock. Today, we have the ASRock ALiveNF7G-HDready Micro ATX Motherboard on our test bench. With onboard support for dual monitors and 720p Blu-ray / HD-DVD playback, this budget motherboard is sure to make consumers take a double take when they see it on store shelves.
Phoronix report on Reside@Home, a Linux-based solution for aged care. The Reside@HOME product consists of a tabletop device (referred to as the "Reside@HOME Monitor") that is located with the care receiver and then a web-based control panel to facilitate the caregiver interaction.
ThePirateBay are working on an alternative to BitTorrent, thanks Sniper. But BitTorrent has seen some long-awaited success in working with major media companies, and as its ties with the industry grow, it might add features to discourage trading pirated materials, said Pirate Bay's co-founder, Peter Sunde.
ojk007 spotted this Crysis demo modification that seems to enable DX10-like effects under XP. After extensive digging and searching for trying to figure out a way to run dx10 on xp. I finally found a credible source that actually allows and enables you to play what looks exactly like a DirectX 10, "Very High" settings version of Crysis under XP aint that kool ;)
Matt sent in this clever VB ad, where an orchestra plays the entire VB theme on VB bottles (7.2MB MPG).
LegionHW take a look at overclocking the Intel Core 2 Duo E4600 CPU. Overclocking the E4600 to 3.0GHz is relatively easy and all we were honestly required to do was increase the FSB in the ASUS P5K-E Deluxe BIOS to 250MHz.
Craig spotted an article on making your Linux desktop look like a Mac. This document will present the procedure to install Mac4Lin pack & tweak certain things to get that almost perfect Mac OS X like desktop.
Futurelooks have decided on their Top 10 Best Fighting Games of all time. Other people may like to get their sports fix and countless others much prefer the first-person shooter (FPS) or real time strategy (RTS) genres, but for me, there is nothing better than a fantastically executed versus fighting game. I went through a Mortal Kombat phase for a while, a long time ago.
3DGameMan's latest video review is a Xigmatek Cooler Roundup. Xigmtek’s cooler series has a lot of potential. They have some great numbers straight out of the box with near silent fans.
MadShrimps meanwhile have a much larger CPU Heatsink Roundup. In this large group test we compare over 30 CPU heatsinks with different fan speeds, giving you the data on both thermal and decibel performance. Want to upgrade your stock cooler? This roundup will help you out.
XBitlabs have a DDR3-1800 SDRAM Roundup. For our today’s roundup we managed to collect memory kits from Corsair, OCZ and Super Talent that can work at 1800MHz and higher frequencies. Let’s take a closer look at them and find out if they will be able to win this duel against DDR2 solutions.
They also checked out three Santa Rosa based notebooks in Vista. However, Centrino Duo platform has also changed dramatically since day one. In fact, Intel is currently offering the third generation of this platform already that is known under Santa Rosa codename.
TweakGuides have their Crysis Tweak Guide published. I've finally completed the Crysis Tweak Guide, and while there are no magic tweaks or quick fixes, the guide covers all the in-game settings in detail, and provides descriptions for all the major advanced command variables which allow you to customize the game to suit your needs.
IGN have a video article from when they spent a day on the range, firing the guns in COD4 in real life.
Remember to keep an eye on our Sponsor Specials Forum if you're shopping around for a good deal. In there our many sponsors have threads, currently covering video cards, CPU coolers, cases, speakers, energy drinks, mp3 players, notebooks, network storage and various other components. Check 'em out!
Quite a few guys (disappointingly no ladies) from the forums have decided to grow a moustache to help raise money for men's health. Why are we doing this?
Depression affects 1 in 6 men...Most don't seek help. Untreated depression is a leading risk factor for suicide.
Last year in Australia 18,700 men were diagnosed with prostate cancer and more than 2,900 died of prostate cancer - equivalent to the number of women who die from breast cancer annually.
Men generally live less healthy lives than women. The average life expectancy of males is 5 years less than females.
There is still time to sign up on the website so you can participate, or you can get involved in the forum thread. If all goes to plan there will be a video in that thread of somebody waxing my mo at the end of the month!
Agg edit: I'd love to be involved, but you have to start without any facial hair obviously, and facial hair is not optional in my family. :)
Interesting Forum Threads
(link) Monday, 5-November-2007 05:28:08 (GMT +10) - by Agg
There's a lot of talk about a possible strike by the Writers Guild of America. Why do we care? Well, who do you think writes the episodes of your favourite (American) TV shows? :) Some shows may even be cancelled if it's not resolved. Discussion in this thread in the TV, Movies, Radio, Music, Books, Magazines, Pamphlets, Leaflets, Live Comedy and Otter Twirling forum.
Two teams have completed a self-driving vehicle competion recently, the DARPA Urban Challenge. In the running for the $2 million first prize and $1 million second prize are Stanford University's robotic VW Passat, Virginia Tech's modified Ford Escape Hybrid, and Carnegie Mellon's autonomous Chevrolet Tahoe. These teams finished the urban challenge's three missions within the allotted six hours and without significant problems.
Here's an interesting photographic article about using a Wii Remote to correct perspective in photos. It is not its novelty that sets it apart, but the fact that it has integrated in a cheap, small device, several different sensor whose measurements can be relayed to a computer via bluetooth. Norbs made a thread about it here.
ChaosNight sent in this review of a pre-built 12-TEC cooling system in a nice SilverStone case. The Boreas itself rolls with 12 ThermoElectric Coolers (peltiers) -- three times that of CoolIT's Eliminator Cooler. Attached to the large heatsink are four fluid heat exchangers, which house the TECs. At its peak, the giant cooler pulls in 130 watts of juice... and turns you deaf, as the two attached 120 CFM fans redefine the notion of "kicking it into high gear."
Craig spotted an article on converting a Macbook keyboard from QWERTY to DVORAK. Telling anyone you've done this may place you irrevocably in the Hardcore Nerd Zone, sadly.
DriverHeaven interviewed Christopher Strasz about the upcoming MMORPG Tabula Rasa. Before we even approached content creation, we wanted to ensure that the player progression itself was rewarding. Much of this is attributed to the combat system.
Kylie Minogue is "taking on MySpace and Facebook" with the first popstar-created social network, KylieKonnect. It will make her an instant internet entrepreneur and shows the way the music industry is heading. Hmm, righto then.
From Ash: Windows Server 2008 RC1 can now be downloaded, for either a 30 day trial or a 180 day guided trial.
YouGamers ponder Proper Multicore Gaming. BioShock is working the CPU pretty hard, across all of the available cores, but The Witcher isn't; Call of Duty 4 and Crysis are pretty similar, and the Unreal Tournament 3 deathmatch with 9 bots needs lots of CPU time.
Corsair HQ Tour
(link) Sunday, 4-November-2007 17:07:52 (GMT +10) - by Agg
Dinos22 has posted a huge thread detailing Team.AU's visit to Corsair's headquarters in Fremont California. There's loads of pictures and info about how they manufacture and test their memory and PSU products etc. Very interesting!
(link) Sunday, 4-November-2007 09:46:26 (GMT +10) - by Agg
If you're a shutterbug (or want to be), check out our very busy photography areas. The main chitchat is in the Photography Forum, but there's also a Gallery for people to showcase their efforts and a Marketplace for photographic gear.
Shadowman spotted this quite cool steampunky PC which apparently spits out beer. :) Or it might just be beer-coloured cooling fluid. Though actually nobody can tell how this weird thing works.
The Space Station has been having a bit of a rough week with torn solar panels etc, but apparently a recent space walk has repaired it. If the procedure had not been successful, the array, on the left side of the station, might have had to be discarded. The loss of a solar array would have reduced the ability to produce power, possibly constraining future construction on the station.
Speeders on the UK motorway system could soon have a Formula 1 inspired roadster to contend with. It'll scramble from zero to 100km/h in less than 3.0 seconds flat, and will hammer from zero to 160km/h (0-100mph) in 5.0 seconds, which is fast enough to remind you what you had for breakfast.
Qimonda is apparently sampling 512MB GDDR5 modules. One of Qimonda's early customers could be Intel, one of whose stealth projects is a GPU/CPU combo processor code-named Larabee. Engineers expect to see the first samples of this chip late next year, and although it would put Intel on a par with AMD in the graphics department, analysts are actually seeing it as an "nVidia killer." Larabee would reportedly require GDDR5. Discussion here in the Memory forum.
Time Magazine have decided on their Invention of the Year for 2007: Apple's iPhone. The thing is hard to type on. It's too slow. It's too big. It doesn't have instant messaging. It's too expensive. (Or, no, wait, it's too cheap!) It doesn't support my work e-mail. It's locked to AT&T. Steve Jobs secretly hates puppies.
Sony are crowing that the PS3's contributions have made the Folding@Home program the most powerful distributed computer in the world, according to Guinness World Records. The record was initially set on September 16, 2007 as Folding@home surpassed one petaflop(*1), a computing milestone that has never been reached before by a distributed computing network. In addition to this, the collective efforts of our users have enabled PS3 alone to reach the petaflop mark on September 23, 2007. If you have a PS3, fold for Team 24! :)
Phoronix report on a conceptual Google OS called gOS. The gOS (GreenOS) is designed to be a conceptual Google Operating System that is based upon Ubuntu 7.10 Gutsy Gibbon.
Quick news post before flying out to South Africa in the morning!
Yif's submitted a few items that might interest. A security update was released for Acrobat Reader with fears PDFs being the latest method of attack. Next, scientists have genetically modified mice to produce funky colours to trace neuron activity. Whilst these scientists appear to have created an army of superstrong mice. Finally, if you're wondering why iPODs don't have bluetooth, this article might shed some light on the topic for you.
If the report on the 6.6 billion dollar investment in the Super Hornet has tickled your interest in defence spending, check out the electro shirt, that the government has injected another 4.4 million development dollars into. The Australian Defence Department has injected $4.4 million worth of funding to further the CSIRO’s research into designing clothing which can be used as a self-recharging electrical source on the battlefield. Both are ub3r cool.
We recently had an OCAU vs. Whirlpool Team Fortress 2 battle go down and looks as though we wiped the floor with them. Details can be found in this thread. Well done guys!
ArsTechnica have posted an article regarding Telstra's adoption of the iPhone. As the iPhone slowly expands its reach, one of the big questions has been what countries it will pop up in next. One such country is Australia, where Telstra has confirmed that the company is talking to Apple about the iPhone, according to MarketWatch.
If you're in the market for an LCD monitor (and it is a good time to buy as prices continue to drop), it might be worthwhile to head over and check out XBitLabs' LCD Buyer's Guide for Fall 2007. This article was conceived to serve as a guide. Without delving into technicalities and features of each monitor I just browsed through the catalogue of currently available models, pointing out the most interesting offers.
Apparently Microsoft has "accidentally" sent out Windows Desktop Search 3.01 as a forced update which resulted in the inability to disable the service via Group Policy for businesses. A way around this has been posted by Rod Howarth for those interested.
If you've been following AMD's release of RV670, TweakTown have posted up information on AMD's Q4 graphics line up. We’ve managed to get our hands on a document which contains AMD’s plans for Q4 this year and how they position their products against Nvidia’s in the graphics card market. Clicky link to find out what's in it.
Still on AMD (well ATi) graphics, Phoronix have compared performance of ATI Open vs. Closed AIGLX. We have taken an ATI Radeon X800XL 256MB PCI-E graphics card, which is supported by both the Radeon and fglrx drivers, and have compared their Compiz performance in a few different scenarios.
And another graphics related comparison was done by TechARP who compared the performance of Crysis in 64 bit and 32 bit flavours. Before you go rushing off to buy the 64-bit version of Windows Vista though, take a look at what we found when we benchmarked the 64-bit Crysis and compared it to the performance of the 32-bit Crysis.
Those interested in the WipEout series of games for PSP might be interested in IGN's interview with Martin Audio who worked on the soundtrack. It's not enough for us to just listen to the tunes while we play - we want to find out about the people and equipment behind the tunes, and how they came to be featured on the Pulse soundtrack. With that in mind we caught up with Martin Audio
Still in gaming news, YouGamers has posted coverage of the 2007 Golden Joystick Awards, which incidentally is NOT the pr0n industry's annual awards ceremony. It's actually a gaming insustry awads event. Equally as dodgy sounding is Dan's ten-minute ring light which might appeal to the photo buffs out there. While you're over at DansData, check out his responses to some letters on hard drives as well.
David sent in a reminder that Movember '07 is currently underway. Just a note to remind all moustache lovers, male and female, that Movember is underway and aside from helping a worthy cause its an excuse for all the mushroom lifestyle IT nerds to air their well nurtured facial growth with new found pride. I'll be out of the country for most of Movember for work and usually don't bother shaving whilst over there anyhow.
If that piece of news regarding the tram on batteries didn't impress you, perhaps this effort by scientists will. Your next laptop could have a continuous power battery that lasts for 30 years without a single recharge thanks to work being funded by the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory. The breakthrough betavoltaic power cells are constructed from semiconductors and use radioisotopes as the energy source. Edit: Appears to be a hoax!
Some information on AMD's RV670 have been posted on PCPerspective. Perhaps the most surprising information from AMD about RV670 is the fact that it is going to be the first DX10.1 compliant hardware -- something the upcoming NVIDIA hardware can't claim. Many people have been debating the importance of the DX10.1 changes over DX10, and it makes sense that AMD is going to be pushing the differences while it has the edge of the other green team in that area. LegitReviews have also posted up an article about the leak, too.
Finally, some news for the Linux users out there. Nick sent in some interesting information about a bug in Ubuntu that can cause hard disk problems in laptops. Also, Phoronix have done some benchmarks on the past 12 Linux Kernels.
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