For those who play PC games (and please count me in), the most expensive and necessary investment has always been the graphics card (also known as the GPU, graphics processing unit). High-end cards, from either ATI or nVidia, can cost $500 and up. That's not even factoring in the case, cooling system, power supply, etc., which also have to be equally high-end to support the increasingly large and power-hungry graphics cards. And there seems to be no end to all this. Or is there?
AMD released its long-awaited Barcelona server chip today while Intel upped its earning forecast, underscoring the importance of AMD's latest release. AMD has lost ground in the server market since Intel launched its Core architecture, and things are even more one-sided with desktops and laptops with Intel's Core 2 Duo processors dominating the scene. While AMD has stated it will role out Barcelona chips for desktops under the Phenom name in December, it released new Opteron server chips today based on its native quad-core architecture.
Unlike Intel's quad-core Xeon parts, which simply package together two dual-core processors, … Read more
Crave presents the week's laptop news, in digest form.
It was a big week for laptop components. Intel officially announced its second mobile Core 2 Extreme processor, the 2.8GHz Core 2 Extreme X7900. Rumors flew about new Intel processors for both the Santa Rosa and yet-to-be-released Montevina platforms, and our News.com team posted additional processor-related stories from the Hot Chips conference at Stanford University. News broke that both Toshiba and Samsung are pushing for massive laptop storage, with Toshiba's hard drives reaching 320GB in size. And Seagate announced that it, like, totally wants to release a … Read more
From Bavaria here's a new, "ruggedized" military-spec notebook PC with a keyboard that converts to a touch-screen, tablet PC in seconds by flipping the display 180 degrees and pressing down.
The magnesium alloy housing (4.85 pounds with battery) is completely sealed making it splash-proof, according to Acturion Datasys. (Even the integrated speaker is waterproof.) Since there are no fans, processor heat is distributed directly to the housing, which doubles as radiator.
Unless you're a hardcore gamer type, you've probably never heard of Ageia and their PhysX processor. This add-on card for your desktop PC works with certain supported games to provide additional processing power for in-game physics, leading to bigger explosions, more interactive environments, etc.
Of course, there are only a handful of games that support PhysX (Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2, and Unreal Tournament 3 are the only notable ones that come to mind), and game developers aren't exactly lining up to create extra content for a proprietary physics system that very few consumers will ever be … Read more
Power Downloader has been around long enough to know that young people tend to go through phases in their lives. Particularly in college, when young people are trying to figure out what path they want to take and what kind of individual they want to be, a certain degree of experimentation is expected. When Power's niece, Kitty Kilobyte, recently stated in an e-mail that she would no longer use any software from a huge corporation, Power smiled knowingly to himself and continued to read on. Kitty said one of the programs she needed was a full-featured word processor for her next year at school, but it had to be unique like she is--a program unlike what everybody uses at school.
In Power Downloader's many trips through the Download.com software library, he's found plenty of unique software apps; from the strange and wonderful to the just plain weird. But it wasn't enough to just grab the weirdest word processor available for Kitty; he had to find one that was both unique and useful.… Read more
These days, most new PCs have dual-core central processors (CPU). That's one chip with two complete microprocessors on it, both sharing one path to memory and peripherals.
If you have a high-end gaming PC or a workstation, you might have one or two processor chips with four cores each. An eight-core PC is a very powerful machine--in real terms, up to eight times faster than the best desktop PCs you could get in 2004. For many years, PC performance doubled roughly every 18 months; multicore technology has produced annual doubling for three years now.
But that's not really … Read more
Intel on Tuesday is scheduled to release the source code to a development tool for writing applications to run on multicore chips.
The company released Threading Building Blocks last August, a C++ template designed to simplify the job of writing applications that take advantage of processors with multiple cores, or processing units.
During the last year, Intel found that customers and potential customers wanted greater platform support and assurances that the toolset would be around for a long time, said James Reinders, the director of Intel's software development products.
Mobile gaming just got sweeter: today, Intel announced the Core 2 Extreme X7800, its first laptop CPU under the Extreme Edition brand. The 2.6GHz dual-core processor features 4MB of L2 cache and an 800MHz front-side bus, making it the highest-end chip in Intel's mobile lineup. Of greater interest to gamers, though, is the fact that the chip's overspeed protection has been removed, meaning laptop manufacturers and users will be able to overclock the X7800 for even more performance (Intel, of course, denies any responsibility for the consequences of overclocking).
Ever since Intel showed off its 80-core prototype processor, people have asked "Why 80 cores?"
There's actually nothing magic about the number, according to Jerry Bautista, co-director of the Tera-scale Computing Research Program at Intel, and others. Intel wanted to make a chip that could perform 1 trillion floating-point operations per second, known as a teraflop. And 80 cores did the trick. The chip does not contain x86 processing cores, the kind of cores inside Intel's PC chips, but cores optimized for floating-point (or decimal) math.
Other sources at the company pointed out that 80 cores … Read more