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NVIDIA Releases GeForce 185.66 BETA Drivers

The day after releasing the GeForce 182.50 WHQL drivers, NVIDIA has also released a GeForce BETA driver with version 185.66, for both Windows Vista and XP.

New in Release 185.66:
  • Adds support for the new GeForce GTX 275 GPU.
  • Adds support for Ambient Occlusion – the newest NVIDIA Control Panel feature to offer enhanced 3D gaming realism exclusively to GeForce GPUs. (Vista Only)
  • Adds support for CUDA 2.2 for improved performance in GPU Computing applications. See nvidia.com/cuda for more details.
  • Accelerates performance in several 3D applications. The following are examples of improvements measured with Release 185 drivers vs. Release 182 drivers (results will vary depending on your GPU, system configuration, and game settings):
    - Up to 11% performance increase in Call of Duty: World at War - Up to 5% performance increase Company of Heroes: Opposing Fronts
    - Up to 22% performance increase Crysis: Warhead with antialiasing enabled
    - Up to 11% performance increase in Fallout 3 with antialiasing enabled
    - Up to 14% performance increase in Far Cry 2
    - Up to 45% performance increase in Mirror’s Edge with antialiasing enabled
  • Supports GeForce Plus Power Pack #3. Download these FREE PhysX and CUDA applications now!
  • Numerous bug fixes. Refer to the release documentation notes.
DOWNLOAD: GeForce 185.66 BETA for Windows XP 32-bit | Windows XP 64-bit | Windows Vista 32-bit | Windows Vista 64-bit
UPDATE: The day following the release of the 185.65 BETA drivers this article originally covered, NVIDIA removed the driver links and updated the BETA to 185.66, this article has therefore been updated accordingly.

NVIDIA Releases GeForce 182.50 WHQL Drivers

NVIDIA today released its GeForce 182.50 driver suite for Windows XP and Windows Vista. This release comes at a time when the company released the GeForce GTX 275 accelerator, making it obvious the driver extends support to it. While the driver doesn't aim bring in application-specific enhancements, it does fix numerous bugs, which invariably may improve product quality. It brings in single-GPU and SLI optimizations for seveal upcoming game titles. For a complete list of changes, refer to the Release Notes documents for Windows XP and Windows Vista.

DOWNLOAD:GeForce 182.50 WHQL for Windows XP 32-bit | Windows XP 64-bit | Windows Vista 32-bit | Windows Vista 64-bit

AMD Announces ATI FirePro V7750, Delivers Blazing Application Performance

AMD today announced the availability of the ATI FirePro V7750 graphics accelerator for the high-end market, ideally suited for graphics professionals working in engineering, digital content creation and scientific fields. These professionals need a 3D graphics accelerator that can quickly handle large models and shader-intensive applications, while delivering accurate color reproduction and superior visual quality. The ATI FirePro V7750 delivers features that matter most to these users at $899 MSRP.

“Creating astounding visuals for movies is a tremendous challenge – it has to look absolutely perfect, but time is always of the essence,” said Jabbar Raisani, visual effects expert, Troublemaker Studios. “The ATI FirePro V7750 graphics accelerator helps me achieve flawless effects fast by speeding up rendering so I can focus on creating content rather than waiting for it. I need stable and robust performance graphics hardware to get the job done quickly and the ATI FirePro V7750 is the perfect solution.”

ATI Catalyst 9.3 Released

AMD today released the latest version of their ATI video driver, Catalyst 9.3. The key addition with this release is official support for Windows 7, in the form of a unified graphics driver for Windows 7 and Windows Vista. As part of supporting Windows 7, Catalyst 9.3 supports WDDM (Windows Display Driver Model) 1.1 for all ATI Radeon HD 4000, HD 3000 and HD 2000 series of graphics cards. According to AMD, "this new WDDM 1.1 support utilizes DirectX 10 rather than DirectX 9 and can cut down your GPU memory usage by half when opening up multiple windows thereby enabling increased performance."

AMD have said the driver brings performance benefits in several cases where framerates are CPU limited and using ATI Stream technology, owners of the ATI Radeon HD 4000 Series, ATI Radeon HD 3000 Series, and ATI Radeon HD 2000 Series of graphics accelerators will see a performance boost in their Folding@Home scores when running the latest Folding@Home client. AMD only documented one performance improvement in the release notes:
  • Lost Planet: Colonies gains up to 20% on 4800 series products, and up to 50% on 4600, 4500 and 4300 series products
DOWNLOAD: ATI Catalyst version 9.3 for Windows XP/Vista/7 (32/64-bit versions)Source: AMD Game!

NVIDIA GeForce Driver Version 182.06 WHQL Released

Just over a week since we covered the release of the 182.05 BETA driver, NVIDIA have now released a WHQL with version number 182.06. The driver has been released for both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows XP and Vista and is for GeForce 6, 7, 8, 9, and 200-series desktop GPUs.

New in Release 182.06:
  • Recommended for the best experience in F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin.
  • Boosts performance in numerous 3D applications. The following are some examples of improvements measured with Release 182.06 WHQL drivers vs. Release 181.22 WHQL drivers (results will vary depending on your GPU, system configuration, and game settings):
  • Up to 8% performance increase in Fallout 3 at high resolution and AA.
  • Up to 10% performance increase in F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin.
  • Up to 9% performance increase in Half-Life 2 at high resolution with AA.
  • Up to 11% performance increase in Left 4 Dead at high resolution with AA.
  • Up to 10% performance increase in Race Driver: GRID at high resolution and AA.
  • Includes full support for OpenGL 3.0 on GeForce 8-series, 9-series, and 200-series GPUs.
  • Automatically installs the new PhysX System Software version 9.09.0203.
  • Additional information on specific bug fixes can be found in the release documentation notes.
DOWNLOAD NVIDIA Forceware 182.06 WHQL for Windows XP 32-bit | Windows Vista 32-bit | Windows XP 64-bit | Windows Vista 64-bit

AMD Releases ATI Catalyst 9.1 Driver Suite

AMD today released its timely update to the ATI Catalyst system drivers package that provides drivers driver support for ATI Radeon graphics accelerators, AMD 7-series chipset with integrated graphics. The drivers are effictive for Windows XP, Windows Vista and Linux operating systems.

The new release expands the feature-set of the ATI Catalyst, along with a set of fixes as described in the release notes (PDF). The fixes mostly revolve around Catalyst Control Center and the video acceleration features of the driver. To begin with, the new driver provides full OpenGL 3.0 support, including a few new GL extensions. The release also favours Linux by providing support for Hybrid CrossFireX. More importantly, the Linux version of the driver, provides MultiView support, that enables using independent display-heads on setups with multiple ATI GPUs. It is supported by any combination of ATI Radeon GPUs, Radeon HD 2000 series and later.

DOWNLOAD: ATI Catalyst 9.1 for Windows XP (32bit) | Windows XP (64bit) | Windows Vista (32bit) | Windows Vista (64bit)

NVIDIA Releases Forceware 181.22 WHQL GeForce Driver Suite

NVIDIA made its latest GeForce driver suite official, version 181.22 WHQL. The driver comes nearly a week after its introduction as a beta. It reportedly brings in PhysX optimizations specific to Mirror's Edge. Attempting not to be merely a vehicle for PhysX system software version 9.09.0010, the driver promises certain fixes specific to Windows XP that include an SLI profile for STALKER: Clear Sky and Windows Vista-specific fixes that include an SLI profile for STALKER: Clear Sky benchmark, along with some stability issues being addressed for Fallout 3 and the GeForce GTX 295 accelerator, where only one of the two GPUs on the card was being recognized as CUDA/PhysX-supportive in some cases. Head over to NVIDIA's driver page for the downloads.

DOWNLOAD NVIDIA Forceware 181.22 WHQL for Windows XP 32-bit | Windows Vista 32-bit | Windows XP 64-bit | Windows Vista 64-bit

Forceware 185.20 Beta Leaked

In the wake of the new year, NVIDIA's GeForce Forceware drivers have surfaced. While being in a beta stage the 185.20 Forceware provide support for NVIDIA's upcoming products namely the GeForce GTX 295 and GeForce GTX 285. It also introduces ambient occlusion as a standard feature-set to enhance lighting effects, and reflections impacting on the realism. All other GPUs GeForce 6 Series onward are supported as usual. The driver is dated for 12-26-2008. The package includes PhysX system software version 8.11.18. Drivers for both 64-bit and 32-bit versions of Windows Vista and Windows XP can be downloaded from the links below. Be cautioned the drivers are unsigned beta versions, the use of which isn't covered by any warranty.

DOWNLOAD: NVIDIA Forceware 185.20 beta for Windows XP (32bit) | Windows Vista (32bit) | Windows XP (64bit) | Windows Vista (64bit)Sources: XFastest, TechConnect Magazine

3dfx SFFT 1.5 Driver Released

3dfx Zone has released an updated driver package for 3dfx accelerators, version 6.17.0065.0001 (SFFT 1.5), published today. The driver is based on a unified architecture, meaning the same driver would work for a whole range of 3dfx GPUs, Voodoo3 and upwards. This includes Voodoo3 2000, Voodoo3 3000 and Voodoo3 3500 cards, as well as all 3dfx VSA-100 products and so Voodoo4 4500, Voodoo5 5500 and Voodoo5 6000 cards, is on line.

This driver extends support to Windows 2000, Windows XP (both 32bit and 64bit). Apparently there isn't a Windows Vista driver, possibly due to the newer driver model. 3dfx Zone also publishes Set3Tile and Set4Tile Utilities that tweak the texture-handling capabilities of the accelerators. For more information, visit this page.

DOWNLOAD: 3dfx Zone SFFT 1.5 | Set3Tile and Set4Tile Utilities.

Microsoft Windows XP Downgrade Program Extended by Another Six Months

Windows XP, the OS that is still widely available although its Vista successor is trying to get the upper hand for more than a year, has just received another six months before going down forever. Earlier this summer, Microsoft instructed retailers to stop selling copies of Windows XP to consumers. Regardless of that customers were still able to use their lovely XP OS through a loophole that allowed them to purchase a new computer running certain version of Windows Vista and still downgrade to Windows XP for free. Originally, that option was set to expire on January 31st, 2009. Now Microsoft has extended that date by another six months, through July 31st, 2009. Recent market research shows that one third of the customers that can take advantage of the downgrade program, return to Windows XP without thinking twice. Recently Microsoft also made Windows XP licenses and support available for netbooks until 2010. With little help Windows XP could be still alive when Vista's deputy Windows 7 becomes available.Source: The Register

Pictures of Samsung's Netbook Emerge

It looks like Samsung has finally decided to take the dip into the ULPC market with the announcement of a netbook slated for October. Pictures of this unnamed netbook have emerged that shows a milky-white, slightly Apple-ish chassis with a 10.2" screen. Only the most essential keys make it to the keyboard, omitting special multimedia keys.

This netbook is said to ship with the Windows XP operating system, it is driven by a Intel Atom N270 processor with 1 GB of memory. Storage configurations could have 80 or 120 GB HDD as standard. It comes with a 6-cell battery for a rated operation time of roughly 5 hours.


Source: What Laptop

ATI Catalyst 8.8 Released, Features and Fixes in Store

AMD released the ATI Catalyst version 8.8 drivers. This driver brings in two new features among a host of bug-fixes specific to games, performance increments as such aren't indicated.

The driver suite can be downloaded here.

The two new features include new Avivo video features such as Dynamic Gamma/Contrast correction and improved video presets for ATI accelerators, Radeon HD 3000 series and upward. Another feature addition is that of the Hybrid Graphics feature being available to users of Windows XP. This technology allows pairing of the integrated graphics processor (IGP) of the AMD 780G and 780D chipsets with a Radeon HD 2400 or Radeon HD 3400 series accelerator. For a comprehensive list of fixes, please read the Release Notes.

VidaBox Presents Monolithic PicoPC

While not attempting to be a HTPC, the VidaBox PicoPC is a light-weight (quite literally) device that adds PC functionality to your HDTV. It features Windows XP Embedded OS on a ROM, it has security software embedded too. It features no moving parts, the software is on a ROM (hardwired, a-la the software that drives routers), you it ships with a Compact-Flash slot and a 2GB CF card, you can expand storage based on the capacity of the CF card. Optionally, the device can come with a 32GB SSD.

The device features two USB ports, an Ethernet port, a D-Sub for video output and line-in/out for audio. The unit is also available with 802.11b/g options. It comes with a multifunctional wireless keyboard. The device is so tiny that you could hide it behind the HDTV. For now, it's priced at a sore US$ 929 at the moment. For details, please visit the product page.

Source: Electronic House

ECS G10IL Slated for September 2008

Elitegroup Computer Systems (ECS) will be releasing the G10IL sub-notebook this September, says Henry Kwan, VP of sales, ECS to Laptop Magazine in a recent interview. What makes the G10IL special is that ECS has managed to squeeze in EDGE, HSUPA, and HSPDA mobile broadband support, but will not feature support for WiMAX. This 'netbook' comes in two screen sizes, 8.5" and 10". The version most likely to enter US markets in September is the 10" model. Prices start US $399. Most likely, the $399 variant could feature a 8 GB SSD with Linups Lite 9.4 Linux. A variant with an 80 GB HDD with Windows XP is also on the cards. ECS says that the G10IL is the first netbook designed specifically for the business user, than students.

Source: Laptop Magazine

Intel Skips Windows Vista

Now that Microsoft officially confirmed support for Windows XP until year 2014, Intel has decided to skip upgrading to Windows Vista. The chip giant won't upgrade the computers of its own 80,000 employees to Microsoft’s Vista operating system, according to a person close to Intel's IT department. "This isn’t a matter of dissing Microsoft, but Intel information technology staff just found no compelling case for adopting Vista," the person said. There's no official reason for this decision, but it's quite obvious that Vista is still not mature enough to succeed Windows XP. Sad but true. Meanwhile, the next version of Windows codenamed Windows 7 is scheduled to go on sale in January 2010. By skipping Vista, Intel dooms its workers to Windows XP for at least two more years.Source: New York Times

Microsoft Further Extends Windows XP Deadline for Low-Cost PCs to 2010

Yesterday during the first day of Computex, Rob Young - a senior director of Microsoft OEM group - said that Microsoft will once more extended the deadline for selling Window XP licenses with low-cost desktops until 2010. Microsoft has been under pressure from computer makers that produce and sell UMPCs, because their machines are still not fast enough to run Vista, but are better suited for the old Windows XP OS. In April Microsoft extended its deadline for selling Windows XP licenses to June 30th. Now "nettop" makers like ASUS and their Eee PC have two more years to sell Windows XP. Microsoft is currently supplying Windows XP licenses to more than 20 OEMs including Acer, ASUSTeK, Dell, HP, MSI and others.Source: Microsoft

Microsoft Warns of IE7 lock-in with Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3)

When I first read the original story title what came to my mind were the words of one of our forum members commenting on the release of Windows XP SP3 - "I'm just waiting for the headlines tomorrow about how many problems this has created". However, after a quick read it does not sound so bad, Microsoft is just warning users updating to Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3) that they won't be able to downgrade from Internet Explorer 7 to the older IE6 without uninstalling the service pack. The warning was posted in a company blog written by the Internet Explorer development team. "If you choose to install XP SP3, Internet Explorer 7 will remain on your system after the install is complete," said Jane Maliouta, an IE program manager, in the blog entry. "Your preferences will be retained. However, you will no longer be able to uninstall IE7. If you go to Control Panel, Add/Remove Programs, the Remove option will be grayed out." In related news, Microsoft team also adviced users of the IE8 Beta 1 to uninstall it if they are attempting to install and use Windows XP SP3 in order to prevent their systems from possible future instability issues.Source: ComputerWorld

Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3) Released to Web and Windows Update

Today, Windows XP Service Pack (SP3) has officially hit the Release to Web (RTW) milestone. The third service pack for Windows XP is now available both on Windows Update and the Microsoft Download Center.
Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3) includes all previously released updates for the operating system. This update also includes a small number of new functionalities, which do not significantly change customers’ experience with the operating system. This white paper summarizes what is new in Windows XP SP3.
DOWNLOAD: Network Installation (316.4MB) | ISO CD Image File (545MB).Source: Ars Technica

Windows XP Service Pack 3 Release to Web (RTW) Delayed

Windows XP Service Pack 3 was supposed to land today for mass download, but I'm afraid this won't happen. Microsoft today explained what's the main reason behind this last moment delay:
In the last few days, we have uncovered a compatibility issue between Microsoft Dynamics Retail Management System (RMS) and both Windows XP SP3 and Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1). In order to make sure customers have the best possible experience, we have decided to delay releasing Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3) to the web. To help protect customers, we plan to put filtering in place shortly to prevent Windows Update from offering both service packs to systems running Microsoft Dynamics RMS. Once filtering is in place, we expect to release Windows XP SP3 to the web.
I suppose many of you already know about the leaked Windows XP SP3 download link, but I prefer to post only legit links here. Microsoft is working on fixing the problem and should release Windows XP SP3 to web very soon.Source: Microsoft TechNet Forums

Lenovo Joins Dell in Windows XP Professional Extension

After Dell it's now Lenovo's turn to join Microsoft's "downgrade" program and continue offering Windows XP Professional past the June 30 deadline. All customers with qualified Lenovo PCs that have Vista Business or Vista Ultimate versions can now purchase a Windows XP recovery CD until January 31, 2009. That's not the same approach used by Dell, but it's absolutely legit and will let users enjoy the good old Windows XP for quite a while. HP and Toshiba, are the other two companies that will likely take advantage of the downgrade rights provided by Microsoft.Source: Electronista

Dell to Continue Selling Windows XP Professional Beyond June 30, 2008

InfoWorld US reports that Dell will continue to sell and support Windows XP to consumers beyond the June 30 date that Microsoft reaffirmed as final sales date for Windows XP Professional. Dell will use a licensing option which Microsoft calls a "downgrade" license that allow buying a Vista Business or Vista Ultimate license and still provide Windows XP. Dell will preinstall XP Professional as a "downgrade" on a variety of desktop PCs and laptops, that include some Dell Latitude, OptiPlex, and Dell Precision systems as well as some Vostro and Dell XPS gaming systems where the downgrade will come for a small fee. The computers available with the XP option will include the Windows Vista installation DVD in the box so users can later install Vista over XP under the same license if they wish. Dell said it will utilize and support this program as long as Microsoft supports it.Source: InfoWorld

Windows XP Service Pack 3 Released to Manufacturing

Microsoft's release manager Chris Keroack posted today the following statement in the TechNet Forums, confirming the information posted by Neowin.net a few days ago:
Today we are happy to announce that Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3) has released to manufacturing (RTM). Windows XP SP3 bits are now working their way through our manufacturing channels to be available to OEM and Enterprise customers.

We are also in the final stages of preparing for release to the web (i.e. you!) on April 29th, via Windows Update and the Microsoft Download Center. Online documentation for Windows XP SP3, such as Microsoft Knowledge Base articles and the Microsoft TechNet Windows XP TechCenter, will be updated then. For customers who use Windows XP at home, Windows XP SP3 Automatic Update distribution for users at home will begin in early summer.
Source: TechNet Forums

Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3) Release Dates

The guys over at Neowin.net have managed to get their hands on the internal schedule for the release of Windows XP Service Pack 3.
  • April 14, 2008: Support is available for the release version of Service Pack 3 for Windows XP
  • April 21, 2008: Original Equipment Manufacturers, Volume License, Connect, and MSDN and TechNet subscribers
  • April 29, 2008: Microsoft Update, Windows Update, Download Center
  • June 10, 2008: Automatic Updates
Source: Neowin.net

ASUS Eee PC with Windows XP Now Available on Best Buy

ASUS' Windows XP preinstalled Eee PC has now become available on Best Buy, two days before the previous April 9th shipping date. Dubbed EEEPC4G-BK010X, and coming with two color options - Black or White (available only online), the Windows XP Eee PC have a price tag of $399.99, identical to that of the Linux Eee 4G version. Specs of EEEPC4G-BK010X are as follows: Intel Celeron M processor 900MHz, 512MB DDR2, 7" WVGA TFT-LCD widescreen display (800x480 resolution), Intel UMA graphics with up to 64MB shared video memory, 4GB SSD, built-in Web cam and microphone, and Windows XP Home Edition preinstalled.Source: Best Buy

Microsoft Extends Sales of Windows XP Home for ULPCs Until 2010

Microsoft who once extended the life period of its Windows XP operating system is now going to do it again. The company originally planned to suspend the sale of Windows XP on June 30, 2008, but the big success of all low-cost notebook offerings is forcing Microsoft to further extend the life of XP. Microsoft will now make Windows XP Home available for ultra-low-cost PCs (ULPCs) until June 30, 2010 or one year after the release of the next version of Windows. Microsoft goes on to state that it "Heard from partners and customers that they want Windows broadly available for this new class of devices, because they want the familiarity, compatibility and support only available on the Windows platform." Microsoft also acknowledged that Windows XP makes more sense than Windows Vista for these machines adding, "While Windows Vista provides many benefits, including an easier and more secure user experience, Windows XP Home provides an effective solution on these devices from a performance and cost perspective." Unfortunately, only XP Home will get a reprieve from Microsoft.Source: DailyTech
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