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ATI Catalyst 9.11 WHQL Released

AMD published its near-monthly installment of the ATI Catalyst Software Suite, which provides essential drivers for the company's ATI Radeon graphics processors, AMD 7-series chipset IGPs, ATI multimedia products, and the AMD FireStream GPGPU processors. Version 9.11 announced today, comes with the same hardware support base as the older version, includes two new features, and carries the usual application-specific fixes.

New features include GPU Acceleration of H.264 video content using Adobe Flash Player 10.1 Beta, and High Quality downscaling for video transcoding MSE. The release of ATI Catalyst, according to AMD, supports the new Hardware Acceleration features of Adobe Flash Player 10.1 Beta for video encoded in the H.264 format. Adobe Flash Player 10.1 Beta introduces hardware-based H.264 video decoding to deliver smooth video playback, reduce system resource utilization, and preserve battery life. Hardware acceleration is supported on all existing Radeon HD 5000 and HD 4000 series graphics processors. The release of ATI Catalyst includes an enhancement for the ATI Video converter for users transcoding high quality interlaced content (1920x1080i @60i videos) down to small resolution progressive content (320x240 @30p - iPod videos as an example), by maintaining high visual quality when down-scaling by a significant amount and converting interlaced video content to progressive. For a list of minor issues fixed in the release, refer to the Release Notes document.

DOWNLOAD: ATI Catalyst 9.11 WHQL for Windows 7/Vista 32-bit | Windows 7/Vista 64-bit | Windows XP 32-bit | Windows XP 64-bit

New NVIDIA GPU-Accelerated Plugins Dramatically Boost Performance for Adobe CS4 Users

Professional videographers face continuous pressure to deliver high quality work under tight deadlines. To ease that burden and enable greater levels of creativity, NVIDIA today announced the availability of GPU-accelerated plug-in solutions for Adobe Creative Suite 4 (CS4) users, optimized to run on a wide range of NVIDIA Quadro graphics solutions.

NVIDIA is offering exclusive discounts of up to 50 percent on plug-ins from Elemental Technologies, Boris FX, Red Giant Software and proDAD when purchased at NVIDIA.com.

Among the plug-ins being offered is the NVIDIA CUDA architecture-based Elemental Accelerator 2.0 for Windows from Elemental Technologies (MSRP $499 discounted to $249). By leveraging the CUDA parallel computing architecture, this new plug-in offloads H.264 video encoding to the Quadro GPU, enabling Adobe Premiere Pro CS4 users to experience a performance increase of up to 11X when compared to CPU-only video encoders. Now available on a range of Quadro GPUs, Elemental Accelerator 2.0 supports the creation of Blu-ray DVDs and web content using Flash. In addition, NVIDIA and Elemental Technologies are bringing accelerated H.264 video encoding capabilities to Mac Pro users for the first time with the new Elemental Accelerator 1.2 for Mac OS X running on the Quadro FX 4800 for Mac.

ASUS Delivers Easy yet Exciting Entertainment with HD Home Entertainment Solutions

ASUS, the leading provider of integrated Home Entertainment PC solutions, today unveiled an innovative suite of entertainment solutions for home users. Slim, stunningly beautiful, and incorporating the latest standards in dynamic home entertainment, the solutions include the ultra-slim ASUS LS and MS Series monitors, the versatile ASUS 24T1E TV Monitor that receives both analog and digital TV signals, the convenient ASUS O!Play HDP-R1 HD Media Player that supports a wide array of media formats, the aurally superior ASUS Xonar Essence ST audio card which minimizes jitters for clearer and crisper audio output, and the highly portable ASUS External Slim Blu-ray Optical Disk Drives for high quality, high definition entertainment on the go.

Adobe and NVIDIA Initiate GPU Acceleration for Flash Player

NVIDIA and Adobe Systems Incorporated announced that they are collaborating as part of the Open Screen Project to optimize and enable Adobe Flash Player, a key component of the Adobe Flash Platform, to leverage GPU video and graphics acceleration on a wide range of mobile Internet devices, including netbooks, tablets, mobile phones and other on-the-go media devices.
Adobe Flash Player will be accelerated across the range of NVIDIA processors, including NVIDIA Tegra, enabling users to enjoy uncompromised Web browsing, full H.264 video playback and rich, consistent Flash technology based content any time, any place and on any platform.

Leadtek WinFast HPVC1100 Becomes First External SpursEngine-based Video Encoder

Leadtek has been toying with the idea of bringing Toshiba's SpursEngine HD video encoder to the masses. The company earlier unveiled one of the first consumer add-on cards to sell this technology, and now has an external video encoder unit called Leadtek WinFast HPVC1100. The device connects to a host PC using PCI-Express cabling. It weighs 194x45x90 mm, and 0.7 kg (1.54 lbs).

SpursEngine is a video encoding concept originally conceived by Toshiba, which uses a modified CELL Broadband Engine chip to handle HD video on some of its premium laptops. It is said to accelerate PEG4-AVC/H.264, MPEG-2 video encoding, although performance figures are yet to surface. The SpursEngine processor makes use of 128 MB of Rambus XDR memory. The pricing and availability for HPVC1100 are yet to be known.

Source: Akihabara News

MSI Introduces MS-9A08 Industrial Platform

Micro-Star International (MSI), the top motherboard and netbook makers worldwide, has developed the powerful embedded system MS-9A08 by Industrial Platform Service Department (IPS). MSI MS-9A08 support Intel Core 2 Extreme, Core 2 Quad, Core 2 Duo, and it is designed with Intel GM45 Chipset and great for applications like digital signage, Kiosk, gaming, and thin client to satisfied high performance request.

MSI debut MS-9A08 with GM45+ICH9M-E chipset to support Intel’s latest 45nm Core 2 processor, the most powerful processing core with mighty performance and advanced power-saving mechanism which help to save the earth. Besides, it adapts new generation Intel GM45 north-bridge chip which integrated with Intel GMAX4500 HD graphics core to boost 1.7 times 3D performance, its fully support to Microsoft DirectX 10 ensure visual effects and gaming compatibility. Further more, the ClearVideo technology inside MS-9A08 fully supports Blu-Ray video playback, and smoothen multiple video formats’ encoding and decoding, including MPEG2, H.264 and VC1 via hardware acceleration.

VIA Delivers Stunning Hi-Def Video and DX10.1 to Pico-ITXe

VIA Technologies, Inc, a leading innovator of power efficient x86 processor platforms, today announced the first expansion HD module for the VIA EPIA-P710, the VIA P710-HD. Featuring the powerful 4300E embedded graphics processor from S3 Graphics, this first Pico-I/O module for stackable Pico-ITXe boards delivers Hi-Def video playback and advanced graphics in an extremely low power, compact form factor.

With multiple display support including dual DVI and HDMI, the VIA P710-HD module opens up a new realm of possibilities to system integrators of multimedia intensive embedded applications. Sophisticated digital signage, arcade gaming, kiosk and POI applications can now take advantage of multiple digital display configurations and cutting edge Hi-Def playback of resolutions up to and beyond 1080p.

New VIA VX855 Media System Processor Brings Power-Efficiency to 1080p HD Playback

VIA Technologies, Inc, a leading innovator of power efficient x86 processor platforms, today announced the VIA VX855 Media System Processor (MSP) – an ultra power efficient, all-in-one chipset that addresses the key performance and entertainment requirements of today’s small form factor and mobile PC systems.

Increasingly, content is being filmed in high-definition (HD), with movies, TV shows and sporting events taking advantage of the smooth playback, extraordinary picture clarity, and brilliant colors that HD video offers. However, until now the high bit-rates associated with quality HD video have posed a real challenge to the processing capabilities of power efficient PC systems such as those found in small form factor and mobile devices.

S3 Graphics Officially Introduces Chrome 540 GTX, The World's Most Connected HD Card

S3 Graphics today announced the latest addition to its power-efficient Chrome 500 Series graphics processor family, with the unveiling of an 850MHz clocked GDDR3 based Chrome 540 GTX. Today's users can convert an ordinary PC into a Hi-Def entertainment powerhouse for Dual-Stream Blu-ray and HD videos, using the newly defined DisplayPort digital interface, HDMI and Dual-Link DVI for seamless connectivity to the latest digital monitors and HDTVs.

Today's multimedia enthusiasts require extra GPU horsepower to perform high-quality HD video decoding, image post-processing, and stunning color enhancement when displaying the latest HD content on Blu-ray or streaming video-on-demand. With the Chrome 540 GTX, you now have the power to bring every movie experience to life, and enjoy bonus footage through Picture-in-Picture, all while enjoying 8 channels of high fidelity audio with the S3 Graphics built-in Dolby 7.1 digital surround sound processor.

S3 Graphics Quietly Slips In Chrome 540 GTX

S3 Graphics made a quiet addition to its lineup with the Chrome 540 GTX graphics card. Spotted first on the GStore by TechConnect Magazine, the new graphics card made it to the company's store without the company even announcing it, or assigning a product page on the company website. From what the card's specifications on GStore and its tiny picture tell, this card builds on the basic architecture of its predecessor the Chrome 530 GT, by increases in clock-speeds and expanding connectivity options.

The Chrome 540 GTX features a core clock speed of 800 MHz, its memory is clocked at 850 MHz. The card uses a 64-bit wide GDDR3 memory interface that holds 256 MB of memory. It is compliant with the latest graphics standards: DirectX 10.1 and OpenGL 3.0, and uses a PCI-Express 2.0 x16 interface. Compliance aside, the accelerator is built mainly for HD video acceleration and multi-head display. The Chromotion 2.0 technology is said to provide hardware-acceleration for Blu-ray, H.264 and VC-1 video standards. It uses a full-height PCB to hold three connectors on-board: DVI-D, HDMI and DisplayPort. The card is HDCP-capable and has an integrated audio controller that is routed to the connectors. The Chrome 540 GTX is available at the GStore for US $69.95.

Source: TechConnect Magazine

DivX 7 Standard Announced

DivX marked the introduction and rise to popularity of high-quality video compression standards based around H.264 and MPEG-4. DivX played an important role in propagating MPEG-4 derived standard as licences to not only PC video players but also to DTH TV, and importantly consumer video players with the introduction of DivX CD/DVDs where generic data-CDs holding the .avi files of the actual video could be played back just like standard VCDs and DVDs.

DivX Inc. announced its seventh installment of the DivX software. Based on the H.264 video compression standard DivX 7 offers playback and creation of compressed video at resolutions of up to HD 1080p. DivX software is available free (for playback and consumption of content based on the DivX and generic MPEG-4 CODECs, while a premium Pro version allows content creation by providing conversion tools. "The release of DivX 7 for Windows marks a true milestone for digital video users everywhere," said Kevin Hell, CEO of DivX, Inc. "Eight years ago, the first DivX video software helped create the market for high-quality video on the PC. We then worked with a global ecosystem of licensees to extend that support beyond the PC to a variety of devices so that consumers all over the world could enjoy their videos anytime and anywhere."Source: DivX

AMD RS880 Details Trickle in

AMD processors finally get to address DDR3 memory on the new AM3 socket. Compatible processors under the Phenom II and Athlon X3, X4 banners that come in AM3 socket packages, will run initially on updated AMD 7-series chipset variants, and later be succeeded by the the company's RD890 and RS880 chipset cores. HKEPC compiled some information on the RS880 core logic. The "RS" prefix for AMD GPG chipsets mark the presence of integrated graphics. Based on the performance efficiency of the RSx80 dice, they're branded into the mainstream RSx80 product (eg: RS780 for AMD 780G), RSx80C for a value product (eg: RS780C for AMD 740G) and a high-end RSx80D (eg: in AMD 790GX).

The RS880 will use feature-set refresh, though will embed a rather dated RV620-class graphics processor. The IGP will have DirectX 10.1 API compliance. Specifications-wise it is identical to the RS780, both sport 40 stream processors, 8 texture address and 4 texture filtering units, though the core speed on the RS880 is expected to be significantly higher. The feature-set refresh, as stated earlier, includes support for Universal Video Decoder 2 (UVD-2), in addition to 100% hardware acceleration for VC-1, H.264 and MPEG-2 bitstream decoding. Also provided is video dynamic-contrast. The IGP supports HDMI with audio routing, and DisplayPort. The chipset will be released in Q3 2009. Like the current RS780, the RS880 will be manufactured on the 55nm node of TSMC. It will be used on motherboards with companion SB710 or SB800 southbridge chips.

Source: HKEPC

Adobe Flash Player Update Brings H.264 Video Support

Adobe has now rolled out the Flash Player 9 Update 3 software previously nicknamed Moviestar. This update includes H.264 standard video support and High Efficiency AAC (HE-AAC) audio capabilities in addition to bringing hardware accelerated and multi-core enhanced full-screen video playback for high-resolution viewing across well-known OSes and browsers. The new flash update can be downloaded from this page.Source: TechConnect Magazine
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