Most observers agree that the graphics processing unit (GPU) is gaining on the central processing unit (CPU) as the single most important piece of silicon inside the PC. "When you start looking at a PC today, the (central) processor means less and less," according to Jim McGregor, an analyst at In-Stat. The GPU is simply becoming a better way for PC makers to differentiate in a landscape dominated … Read more
Nvidia CEO and co-founder Jen-Hsun Huang let rip with a diatribe against Intel at Nvidia's financial analyst day on Thursday. Huang cited frustration with recent Intel comments stating that discrete graphics cards will become "unnecessary."
Because Intel, the world's largest chipmaker, includes integrated-graphics silicon in most of its chipsets the company has become the world's largest supplier of graphics chips. Its upcoming Nehalem processors will move the graphics from the chipset onto the same piece of silicon as the main processor. A design that is expected to result in vastly better performance.
(Note: A contrarian … Read more
AMD's processor business has been in the dumps for well over a year. But a resumption of quad-core shipments and a reduction in its workforce, though painful, may signal a turnaround.
Before we get to the good news, let's first consider a draconian scenario for Advanced Micro Devices. As the chipmaker was announcing Monday that it would lay off 1,650 employees later this year, the stock was hovering just above $6, down from the mid-$20s a year ago and about $40 two years ago. If things do not improve, the company may split in two, according … Read more
There's a good piece by Saul Hansell over on The New York Times' "Bits" blog.
Hansell describes how Comcast is being criticized for low picture quality on certain broadcasts. That's interesting, especially in light of the contention between Comcast and DirecTV on this very issue, but it isn't the most important point in Hansell's post.
Hansell goes on to give a reasonable explanation of the basic issues involved, and mentions the likely future of cable TV: digital video distributed over Internet-like network switches. Instead of always sending every TV channel to every house, a … Read more
AMD has lost the CPU benchmark war to Intel--for now. But there's another--possibly more important--fight brewing in GPUs. Here, AMD is in the thick of it.
First the bad news. The Phenom X4 processor reviews that followed the Thursday announcement made it clear that AMD will not catch Intel anytime soon. Though some reviews were couched in vaguely optimistic language such as "AMD is back in the game," the bottom-line benchmarks don't lie.
"This $235 CPU (X4 9850) comes in only $10 less than Intel's comparable quad-core chip, but with noticeably slower performance on … Read more
Even the mightiest graphics boards bow to Crysis. And Nvidia's newest dual-graphics board is no exception.
First some background. Crysis is a science fiction computer game developed by Germany-based Crytek and published by Electronic Arts. "Crysis is visually stunning, packed with intelligent, thrilling gameplay, and easily one of the greatest shooters ever made," according to GameSpot (which is owned by CNET Networks). For hardware reviewers, it's the ultimate gaming test of a graphics card.
Though so far the reviews of Nvidia's GeForce 9800 GX2 are positive ("The GeForce 9800 GX2 is an absolute powerhouse, … Read more
During a February earnings conference call, Jen-Hsun Huang, president and CEO of Nvidia, repeated one thing over and over: graphics are in and the central processor is out. There is some truth to this. And Intel's plans for future silicon technology address this head on.
Pat Gelsinger, general manager of the digital enterprise group at Intel, spelled out Intel's strategies for future graphics technology on Monday. He addressed the higher-octane technology that will be built into future "Nehalem" processors and the highly sophisticated "Larrabee" chips that will be offered as "discrete" or … Read more
I posted the general outline of my problems with a DirecTV upgrade a few days ago. Now for some of the details.
When DirecTV called me in February to talk me into upgrading my hardware, I had three pieces of equipment in operation: a dish antenna configured to receive signals from DirecTV's three older satellites, an RCA DTC100 HD receiver in my bedroom, and a Hughes HR10-250 HD TiVo DVR (digital video recorder) in my living room.
DirecTV made a simple offer: if I simply said "yes," they'd send out a professional installer with a new … Read more
DirecTV is in the middle of a long-planned upgrade to new satellite broadcast technology. The company has launched new satellites that use MPEG-4 video compression to carry an ever-increasing number of HDTV stations, both local and national.
I've been a DirecTV subscriber for many years. In fact, I signed up in 2000 because I wanted to take a look at the then-new RCA DTC100 HD receiver. I didn't even have an HDTV, but I did have a high-quality 21" CRT computer monitor that the DTC100 could drive. It wasn't good for large audiences, but for one … Read more
AMD is announcing its future Puma mobile technology yet again. This time at CeBit.
To be fair to AMD, spokesman Scott Carroll said this Tuesday: "No, it hasn't been launched and won't be launched until Q2." And he added: "Today at CeBit we unveiled our first working demo of a Puma platform and demonstrated its graphics capabilities vs. our existing … Read more