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Treyarch says Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 Doesn't Need a New Engine to Advance Graphics

Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 doesn't need a brand new game engine to improve the graphics over previous games in the series, Treyarch has insisted. Black Ops 2 is built using the latest, most advanced version of the engine that Call of Duty developers have used to build the first-person shooter series since 2005's Call of Duty 2: a heavily modified version of the id Tech 3 engine. Some fans have called on Activision to invest in a brand new graphics engine in order to spruce up Call of Duty's visuals. But Treyarch chief Mark Lamia said continuing to upgrade the current engine was enough to meet the development team's design goals. "People always ask me, 'Is this a new engine?' he told One of Swords. "I liken it to people who live in an older house that has been remodelled. Just because you're remodelling the house and it will look new or it will have a new kitchen, you don't tear out the foundation, or break out some of the framing. You might even go as hardcore as replacing the plumbing, and we will do that sort of thing, as an analogy. It's a gross simplification, but it's one way to say that. There's a lot of good still in that foundation that you wouldn't get rid of, and we don't. We look to advance in the areas that support our game design.

"Engines, each time they get touched, they change. The creators alter them; they don't modify what they don't need to, and then they alter what they need to. You can't make a competitive product if you're not upgrading that engine along the way." He added: "I think the whole thing about a new engine... sometimes that's a great buzzword. Well, I have a new graphics engine - is that a new engine? Where does it start and stop? Elements of the code, you can trace back for a very, very long time... but whole parts of the code are entirely new. Two areas we did focus on for this game were the graphics and the lighting - a pretty significant amount of work is going into that."When Activision announced Black Ops 2 earlier this month it promised a "visual overhaul", with graphical upgrades a mix of "tech and technique". In a demo to press played on an Xbox 360 build of the game, an unpopulated level set on Socotra Island in Yemen showed HDR lighting, bounce lighting, self-shadowing and a new texture technique called reveal mapping - all running at 60 frames per second.

GIGABYTE Unveils GeForce GTX 690 Graphics Cards

GIGABYTE Technology Co. LTD, a leading manufacturer of motherboards and graphics cards, is pleased to introduce the world's fastest graphics cards - GV-N690D5-4GD-B. It combines the innovative new GeForce architecture with raw dual-GPU power to provide truly game-changing performance. GV-N690D5-4GD-B utilizes the latest 28nm fabrication process, GDDR5 memory and 3072 CUDA cores, and supports Microsoft DirectX 11, and PCI-Express 3.0.

It not only improves the processing ability but provides gamers a faster, smoother and richer gaming experience. Supporting NVIDIA 3D Vision Surround, 3D Vision, PhysX, and 3-way SLI, GV-N690D5-4GD-B guarantees an ultimate extreme experience. Equipped with the innovative Kepler GPU Dynamic Clocking technology, GV-N690D5-4GD-B has different clock rate - Base clock and Boost Clock. Boost clock dynamically adjusts clock speeds to bring out the best performance.

KFA2 Launches New GeForce GTX 680 Graphics Cards

KFA2, Galaxy's European brand, launched two new GeForce GTX 680 graphics card models today, the GTX 680 EX OC Series, and the GTX 680 Limited Edition OC. The two are essentially re-brands of Galaxy GTX 680 GC and Galaxy GTX 680 Hall of Fame, respectively. Pictured below, the GTX 680 EX OC will be available in 2 GB and 4 GB variants, will pack clock speeds of 1110 MHz (core base), 1176 MHz (core boost), and 6.00 GHz memory; and will utilize an in-house design dual-fan cooling solution.

The GTX 680 Limited Edition OC, as its name suggests, will be available in limited quantities. It will utilize a unique white-colored PCB, and a triple-fan cooling solution that Galaxy and KFA2 have used on some of their most premium graphics cards, in the past. This card packs stellar factory-overclocked speeds of 1202 MHz (core base), 1267 MHz (core boost), and 6.00 GHz memory. It packs 2 GB of memory. Unlike what the picture shows, this card, according to KFA2, will include a display output layout of two dual-link DVI, and one each of HDMI and DisplayPort.

New Intel Media SDK Supports Blu-ray 3D, Open CL on 3rd Gen Intel Core Processors

Intel released Intel Media SDK 2012 R2, now supporting Blu-ray MVC, stereoscopic (two-view) video. The new SDK also includes an Open CL sample, allowing developers to make the most of resources available on Intel platforms by supporting the newly released Intel SDK for OpenCL Applications 2012 on both Intel processors and Intel HD Graphics.

Providing developers with a simple API to create media applications using Intel Quick Sync Video, the SDK can enable hardware acceleration to significantly speed up media conversion on 3rd generation Intel Core processors. Developers can download a free copy of Intel Media SDK 2012 R2 here.

AMD A10-4600M Performance Revealed in Infographic

AMD revealed performance numbers of its key product for mainstream notebooks, the A10-4600M, in an infographic for the Korean market. Besides detailing the part, it reveals some performance numbers. To begin with, A10-4600M is based on the 32 nm "Trinity" silicon with all its components enabled. It has four x86-64 cores spread across two "Piledriver" architecture modules, 4 MB of total cache (2x 2 MB), CPU clock speeds of 2.30 GHz (3.00 GHz TurboCore), and integrated Radeon HD 7660G graphics that has 384 VLIW4 stream processors, and GPU core speed of 685 MHz. The chip integrates a PCI-Express 2.0 root complex, and dual-channel DDR3-1600 MHz integrated memory controller.

Moving on to performance numbers, and as expected, the infographic doesn't touch comparative CPU performance with a barge-pole. Instead the focus is on graphics performance, with an emphasis on Dual GPU feature, where the integrated graphics can work in tandem with a discrete GPU of the same class, resulting in up to 75% performance increase. Based on data from this infographic, and its own testing data of other notebooks, NordicHardware compiled relative performance of the IGP and Dual Graphics setup involving the A10-4600M and Radeon HD 7670M discrete GPU.

Source: NordicHardware.se

Dell Revolutionizes Design and Performance with New Line of Precision Workstations

Dell’s newly redesigned portfolio of Dell Precision tower workstations announced today delivers superb performance, accessibility and best-in-class¹ chassis design to help creative and design professionals deliver results faster. Dell engineered its tower workstations to enable engineering, product design, animation, and other graphics and compute intensive professionals increased productivity and minimized downtime so they can focus on their innovations.

From creating the 854 stereo 3D VFX shots featured in the award-winning movie “Hugo” to designing unique architectural spaces to analyzing seismic data to accelerate exploration of natural reserves, companies around the world rely on Dell Precision workstations to design and deliver superb results fast.

ELSA Rolls Out its Gladiac GeForce GTX 680 Graphics Card, Finally

Japanese company ELSA, which specializes in NVIDIA-powered graphics cards, known more for selling Quadro professional graphics, finally unveiled its Gladiac GeForce GTX 680 graphics card. This launch comes nearly 15 days after NVIDIA unveiled the new GPU, and even as Japanese PC enthusiasts queued up outside stores at midnight to get their GTX 680 graphics cards sold by other AIC partners (NVIDIA NDA went up at midnight March 23, in Japan).

ELSA's Gladiac GeForce GTX 680 brings just the NVIDIA-reference design card to the table. It even sticks to NVIDIA's reference clock speeds of 1006/1056/1502 MHz (core-base/core-boost/memory-actual). Making use of a 28 nm GK104 GPU based on the "Kepler" architecture, the GeForce GTX 680 packs 1536 CUDA cores, and 2 GB of GDDR5 memory across a 256-bit wide memory interface, with 192 GB/s memory bandwidth. ELSA GeForce GTX 680 goes for 64,800 JPY (US $787.4), while graphics cards from other AIC vendors are typically priced around 57,000 JPY in the Akihabara shopping district.

Source: Hermitage Akihabara

Matrox Adds Three New Fanless Video Wall Controller Boards to Mura MPX Series

Matrox Graphics Inc. announced today the introduction of three new fanless MuraTM MPX Series video wall controller boards that build upon the line’s revolutionary design. Mura is the first PCI Express (PCIe) x16 Gen 2 board class to feature both HD resolution inputs and outputs. The new fanless SKUs make use of the same high-performance, single-slot design with 64 Gbit/sec duplex data transfer and feature four HD outputs and either zero, two, or four HD inputs for maximum I/O flexibility. The fanless Mura boards have no moving parts, helping to further increase Matrox’s industry-leading reliability. With the ability to create quieter systems and a jump to three-year warranties, Matrox expects a relatively quick OEM adoption of these new Mura cards.

Mura boards can be scaled from just one board to create small video wall controllers to multi-board medium-sized and even very large-sized video wall controllers in order to support a wide range of applications from presentation systems in conference rooms, auditoriums, control rooms, and classrooms to collaboration systems used in surveillance and process control systems. With support for HDCP capture and output, the Mura line is also now very popular in advanced digital signage solutions.

HIS Launches HIS 7850 Fan 2 GB

Hightech Information System (HIS) today announced the launch of HIS 7850 Fan 2 GB. The card offers outstanding graphics quality and excellent cooling technology for enthusiastic users. With core and memory clocks at 860 MHz and 4800 MHz, the card ensures the highest graphics enjoyment during hardcore gaming. Equipped with HIS outstanding cooler, the card provides a quiet environment for daily tasks and movies.

The card also comes with the innovative overclocking software by HIS - iTurbo. User can control the temperature, speed and power in their hands!

EVE Online Players Can Use In-Game Currency to Pay For Graphics Cards

Joystiq is reporting that CCP Games, the developer behind EVE Online, has struck a deal with NVIDIA for players to use in-game currency -- PLEX -- to purchase GeForce 560 GTX graphics cards, which run almost $200 at retail. That's fake money for real items, folks. NVIDIA and CCP will start by selling 100 graphics cards (limit one per EVE account) to test the demand. After CCP announced its NVIDIA deal, the in-game price of PLEX jumped "significantly," CCP said. PLEX (Pilot License Extension) is an in-game currency that can be used to pay for 30-day EVE subscriptions. PLEX can be purchased with ISK, EVE's main currency that can be earned throughout the game, meaning some dedicated players end up with a free subscription each month. Now they may end up with a "free" graphics card as well.

Source: Joystiq

Embedded Graphics: Imagination Tech Supplies More GPU IP than all Others Combined

Jon Peddie Research (JPR), the industry's research and consulting firm for graphics and multimedia, announced estimated mobile devices graphics chip shipments for 2011. Mobile devices include smartphones, tablets, cameras, vehicles, and game consoles.

The market for smart mobile devices is soaring. Mobile devices are not necessarily replacing the PC, but they are outselling PCs. Increasingly mobile devices have a graphics processor and those processors are integrated in the device's system on a chip (SoC) application processor.

ASRock Intros First AMD MB Supporting Lucid Virtu Universal MVP - A75 Pro4/MVP

World's Top3 motherboard maker, ASRock Inc, presented its multidimensional products at CeBIT 2012, including a wide range of motherboard, HTPC and IPC mobo series. For AMD section, the most shining motherboard would be the A75 Pro4/MVP. This is the first AMD motherboard supporting Lucid Virtu Universal MVP™ technology in the world. It allows gamers to take advantage of this new technique and enjoy the amazing performance boost from HyperFormance and Virtual Vsync.

Sapphire Announces the HD 7750 ULTIMATE

SAPPHIRE Technology has just introduced a passively cooled card in its new HD 7700 series - the SAPPHIRE HD 7750 ULTIMATE is the first totally silent card to embody all the features of this new generation of products based on the revolutionary new graphics GCN (Graphics Core Next) architecture from AMD.

The SAPPHIRE HD 7750 ULTIMATE is the first card in this generation to use a passive heatpipe and heatsink cooler to deliver totally silent cooling, and increased reliability as it has no mechanical moving parts. It shares all the features of the HD 7700 series and the highly acclaimed GCN graphics processing architecture making it ideal for HTPCs and any general purpose PC where operational noise needs to be kept to a minimum.

Jon Peddie Research: Graphics Add-in Board Shipments Down 6.5% in Q4

Jon Peddie Research (JPR), the industry's research and consulting firm for graphics and multimedia, announced estimated graphics Add-in Board (AIB) shipments and sales' market share for Q4'11. The JPR AIB Report tracks computer graphics boards, which carry discrete graphics chips. They are used in desktop PCs, workstations, servers, and some other devices such as scientific instruments. They may be sold as after-market products directly to customers or they may be factory installed. In all cases, they represent the higher-end of the graphics industry as discrete chips rather than integrated processors.

Overall shipments of graphics AIBs for the quarter came in above the last quarter at 16.1 million units compared to 17.2 million for Q3'11.

The evolution of the graphics market has resulted in two camps - suppliers of graphics AIBs: those which carry NVIDIA graphics chips and those which carry AMD chips. NVIDIA GPU-based boards increased by 3.7% from Q3 while AMD-based boards decreased 3.6% for the same period. Sales of AIB products have been directly impacted by the rise in economic growth in the BRIC countries, and in particular in China where there is a strong preference for discrete graphics AIBs.

Jon Peddie Research Reports Q4 Graphics Shipments

Jon Peddie Research (JPR), the industry's research and consulting firm for graphics and multimedia, announced estimated graphics chip shipments and suppliers' market share for Q4'11.

We found that shipments during the fourth quarter of 2011 behaved according to past years with regard to seasonality, the new seasonality that has developed since the economic crash of 2008. Prior to that shift, Q4 was a seasonally up quarter, since 2008 it's been a seasonally low to down quarter—and this year it was down the most since 2008. A lot of it was blamed on the floods in Thailand, but general economic malaise still permeates the industry.

MAINGEAR Adds AMD Radeon HD 7700 Series Graphics Options to Its Desktops

MAINGEAR, an award-winning PC system builder of custom desktops, notebooks, and workstations, now offers PC enthusiasts the AMD Radeon HD 7750 and HD 7770 graphics solutions in their award-winning desktop systems.

MAINGEAR will offer the option of choosing AMD Radeon HD 7700 series cards, which is AMD's latest mainstream variant of their 7000 series GPUs, on their desktops. The new AMD Radeon HD 7700 series graphics cards offer the world's most advance graphics with the industry's very first 28 nm GPU design at an affordable price point.

Similar to the AMD Radeon HD 7900 series, the AMD Radeon HD 7770 also offers 1 GB GDDR5 video memory, 1 DVI, 2 mini-display ports, and 1 HDMI output, as well as superior performance with dual card configurations thanks to AMD CrossFire technology. The AMD Radeon HD 7750 sports a single slot design, sips a mere 55W, and supports 1 DVI, 1 HDMI, and 1 DisplayPort output. Both the AMD Radeon HD 7900 and 7700 series graphics supports DirectX 11 and with AMD Eyefinity, and gamers and creative professionals can enjoy support for up to 6 displays for immersive entertainment and enhanced productivity.

AMD 2012 CPU Roadmap Unveils FX-X300 and A10 Series

AMD is pushing on with a desktop product lineup that's leveraging its Piledriver CPU and Graphics CoreNext GPU architectures in 2012. Apparently, the company will have a faster product development cycle to catch up with Intel's "Tick-Tock", as revealed in a roadmap slide scored by DonanimHaber. The current product lineup will remain unchanged in the first quarter of 2012. Then in the second quarter, AMD will launch a few more socket AM3+ FX-8000, FX-6000, and FX-4000 series eight, six, and four-core processors; along with the much talked about "Trinity" accelerated processing unit.

The fastest "Trinity" APUs will get a new brand identifier, the A10-5000 series. These APUs will pack next-generation "Piledriver" modular cores and Radeon HD 7600D series graphics. Around this time, AMD will also launch the Brazos 2.0 low-power APU for netbooks, nettops, and embedded computing devices. Brazos 2.0 will get the E2-1000 series branding. The big change is reserved for the third quarter of 2012, when AMD launches the successor of its less-than-lucky AMD FX "Bulldozer" processor family.

AMD Introduces the FirePro V3900 Professional Graphics Card

AMD today launched the AMD FirePro V3900, which enables best-in-class workstation experiences at an entry-level price point. By leveraging AMD's latest graphics features, including AMD Eyefinity technology, the AMD FirePro V3900 provides up to 95% better application performance than the competition. The AMD FirePro V3900 will be available in select workstation systems today and will be sold for USD$119 MSRP at select online resellers.

"The AMD FirePro V3900 is the most powerful entry-level professional graphics card on the market today," says Sandeep Gupte, general manager of Professional Graphics, AMD. "Armed with advanced multi-display capability of AMD Eyefinity technology, extensive certifications for professional applications and blazing fast performance, it offers best-in-class value for our technical and business customers."

Mouse Computer Launches New Desktops with 23-inch IPS Displays

Japanese company Mouse Computer announced two new desktop PC models featuring the latest hardware and Iiyama ProLite X2377HDS-B IPS LED-backlit LCD display. The 23-inch IPS display provides 1920 x 1080 resolution with a response time of 5 ms. The first of the two desktops featuring it is the LM-iS615B-P23S, and the other is LM-i735X-P23S (pictured in this order below).

The LM-iS615B-P23S features a micro-ATX slim-tower measuring 100 x 393 x 364 mm (WxDxH). It is driven by Intel Core i5-2500 processor, with 8 GB dual-channel DDR3-1333 memory. It lacks discrete graphics, and relies on the embedded Intel HD 3000 graphics. Storage is care of a 500 GB 7200 RPM HDD and DVD-RW drive. It is powered by a 300W PSU. Windows 7 Home Premium x64 is the OS of choice.

Intel Tapping Into Entry-Level Workstation Graphics With HD P3000 Series

While its processor-integrated graphics solutions may not be a match for those from NVIDIA and AMD in terms of client applications such as gaming, Intel thinks it has a shot at the entry-level workstation graphics segment, dominated by the likes of NVIDIA Quadro FX 580 and AMD FirePro V3800 series. Workstation GPUs differ from consumer ones as they are accompanied by more API features, are certified by professional 3D modelling software, and are designed to minimize rendering errors since these renders go on to take shape as millions of dollars worth skyscrapers, for example.

Intel thinks that after the performance success of SNA, it has achieved an acceptable level of performance with its integrated graphics design to take it professional. It is doing so by creating workstation-variants of the "Sandy Bridge" and future "Ivy Bridge" silicons in the Xeon E3-1200 series, and giving their integrated graphics increased functionality. The result is a variant of Intel's HD graphics 3000 series, called Intel HD Graphics P3000 series (P denoting professional). Intel is applying for certification by 3D modeling software developers (it's important, because engineers look for these certifications before picking their hardware). The status of its certification with various vendors is detailed in the first slide below.

Anno 2070's Draconian DRM: Ubisoft Loosens Restrictions. Slightly

Last week we brought you news of Ubisoft's hard three machine activation limit on Anno 2070 and how it scuppered a review by Guru3D when they swapped out graphics cards. Guru3D's post then went viral on the web and it appears that this has put sufficient pressure or 'heat' on Ubisoft to relax the restrictions just a tiny bit, since they weren't going to use any more Ubisoft games for benchmarks. So what have they done? Allowed an unlimited number of graphics card swaps. That's it, everything else stays the same, so if other components such as the CPU, motherboard etc are changed, then one will still run into this frustrating brick wall and have to get in touch with customer support to reset the activations.

Radeon HD 7950 Launch Pulled Into January, GCN-Based MGPUs in Q2

Originally slated for 9th January, and reportedly delayed to February, AMD's second high-end graphics card based on the Tahiti silicon, the Radeon HD 7950 will make it for a late-January launch, sources within add-in board (AIB) partners told DigiTimes. Previous reports mentioned that Radeon HD 7950, when it is launched, will be accompanied with market-availability. In related news, while all Radeon HD 7000M mobile GPUs launched by AMD so far are rebrands from previous generations, it does have designs of 28 nm mobile GPUs based on its new Graphics CoreNext (GCN) architecture in the pipeline, which will take up Radeon HD 7900M/7800M/7700M series, which will be launched in Q2, 2012.

Source: DigiTimes

Anno 2070's Draconian DRM: Guru3D's Graphics Card Review Killed Off

Anno 2070's Draconian DRM: Guru3D's Graphics Card Review Killed Off (UPDATED)

Hilbert Hagedoorn of well-known PC tech review site guru3d.com recently bought a copy of Ubisoft's Anno 2070 and wanted to use it in one of his graphics card reviews. However, he became badly unstuck. This game comes on the Steam platform and the store page states: "3rd-party DRM: Solidshield Tages SAS 3 machine activation limit". Unfortunately for Guru3D, they found out exactly what this means, which resulted in just one performance graph, an aborted review, an unplayable game – and bad publicity for Ubisoft once again. They have published an article about their experience, pledging not to use their titles again because of this DRM.

Creative ZiiLabs Announces 100 Core CPU

ZiiLABS, a pioneering media processor and platforms company (a wholly-owned subsidiary of Creative Technology Ltd), today unveiled its ground-breaking 100-core ZMS-40 StemCell Media processor optimized for Android. The ZMS-40 combines 96 of ZiiLABS' StemCell media processing cores with four 1.5GHz ARM Cortex-A9 CPUs to deliver stunning multi-tasking application and media processing performance.

By doubling the number of StemCell Media processors compared to the previous ZMS-20, the ZMS-40 delivers twice the peak media performance, while running the larger array at lower clock speeds to achieve the same performance leads to greater energy efficiency and a reduction in power consumption of up to 50 percent. With 2X the performance and 2X the power efficiency, the ZMS-40 delivers ground-breaking media capabilities to handheld devices such as tablets, including ultra-high-resolution H.264 HP decoding of up to 3840x1080 for true 1080p 3D stereo, a rich and interactive desktop browsing experience, 2560x1600 (WQXGA) display resolution support, higher-quality video encoding and immersive OpenGL ES graphics and future support for High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC).

Gigabyte Radeon HD 7970 Custom-Design Graphics Card Pictured

Here is the first picture of a non-reference design Radeon HD 7970 graphics card. Made by Gigabyte, the GV-R797OC-3GD is a factory-overclocked graphics card, which makes use of a custom Ultra Durable VGA+ PCB by the company, and a custom-design triple-fan WindForce cooler. Its Ultra Durable VGA+ PCB makes use of 2 oz copper layer for better electrical stability and heat distribution, ferrite-core chokes, low RDS (on) MOSFETs, hand-picked high-performance GDDR5 memory chips, etc.

The cooler makes use of a combination of heatsinks and aluminum fin arrays to which heat from the GPU, memory, and VRM is fed by copper heat-pipes, and ventilated by three fans. Gigabyte also has a reference-design graphics card, which uses a reference-design cooling assembly, and most likely also a reference design PCB, except that it's colored red. It's not likely that red color PCB will be standard among AIB-branded retail cards, because the HIS and MSI cards pictured by OCUK recently, were found to have black-colored ones. There's no word of the pricing or clock speeds.

Source: HardwareLuxx.de
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