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Unigine Returns with Two New GPU Benchmark Apps

A little later this week, Unigine Corp. will be announcing two new GPU benchmark apps, the Valley 1.0, and Heaven 4.0. The two apps are cross-platform, in that they support both Windows and Linux (x86/x64). On Windows, the two can max out feature-sets of the latest DirectX 11.x APIs, while on Linux, the two take advantage of the latest OpenGL 4.x. Valley uses an entirely new test scene that's a beautiful springtime depiction of a valley. Distant snow-capped peaks, a treeline, and dense foliage, the scene's got it all, coupled with lighting, and depth of field effects. Definitely something we'd like our GPUs to trip on.

Moving on, Unigine's second benchmark suite for the season is Heaven 4.0, while builds on the current Heaven 3.0 benchmark. It adds SSDO (scene-space dimensional occlusion), improved lens flare, a rendered starscape at night time, GPU temperature and clock monitoring, improved multi-GPU detection, and various bug fixes. The two should be released some time around Thursday (14/02).

Source: Phoronix

AMD Powers Superior Windows 8 Experience Across More Than 125 PC Designs

AMD today announced its collaboration with Microsoft Corp. for more than 125 Windows 8-based PC designs from leading OEMs including ASUS, Dell, Fujitsu, HP, Lenovo, Samsung, Sony, Toshiba and more. With a hardware accelerated user interface, Microsoft and AMD have collaborated to design Windows 8 to unlock the high performance graphics capabilities found in AMD accelerated processing units (APUs) and discrete AMD Radeon graphics processing units (GPUs) to deliver the best HD video, gaming and app experience consumers want with the always on, always connected, touch-driven interface with great battery life they need.

"There is a lot of exciting innovation happening in the marketplace today -- from the new Windows 8 graphics-accelerated user interface and apps, to ultraportable and sleek hardware designs -- and AMD's CPU, GPU and APU technology designed for Windows 8 helps enable a no-compromise solution," said Stefan Kinnestrand, director of Product Management, Windows Division at Microsoft.

GTX 680 Generally Faster Than HD 7970: New Benchmarks

For skeptics who refuse to believe randomly-sourced bar-graphs of the GeForce GTX 680 that are starved of pictures, here is the first set of benchmarks run by a third-party (neither NVIDIA nor one of its AIC partners). This [p]reviewer from HKEPC has pictures to back his benchmarks. The GeForce GTX 680 was pitted against a Radeon HD 7970, and a previous-generation GeForce GTX 580. The test-bed consisted of an extreme-cooled Intel Core i7-3960X Extreme Edition processor (running at stock frequency), ASUS Rampage IV Extreme motherboard, 8 GB (4x 2 GB) GeIL EVO 2 DDR3-2200 MHz quad-channel memory, Corsair AX1200W PSU, and Windows 7 x64.

Benchmarks included 3DMark 11 (performance preset), Battlefield 3, Batman: Arkham City, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, Lost Planet 2, and Unigine Heaven (version not mentioned, could be 1). All tests were run at a constant resolution of 1920x1080, with 8x MSAA on some tests (mentioned in the graphs).



More graphs follow.

Mouse Computer Announces Trio of High-End Desktops with Intel SSD 520

Major Japanese OEM Mouse Computer announced a trio of high-end desktop PCs that are built specifically around Intel's SSD 520 solid-state drives, launched a little earlier this week. These include the MDV-ASG8310B-SSD, the MDV-ASG8250B, and the MDV-AGG9320S-SSD. The MDV-ASG8310B-SSD and MDV-ASG8250B are both driven by Intel Core i7-2700K processor, based on Intel Z68 motherboard, with 8 GB (2x 4 GB) memory; while the former features NVIDIA GeForce GTX 550 Ti graphics, the latter has GeForce GTX 560. The MDV-AGG9320S-SSD is driven by six-core Intel Core i7-3930K processor, with 16 GB (4x 4 GB) memory, and GeForce GTX 570 graphics.

All three are built into the same chassis, featuring the same 23-inch full-HD display and peripherals. All three feature Intel's newly-launched SSD 520 solid-state drive with 120 GB capacity, the SSD is configured to hold the OS and program files, while all three further feature a slower 1 TB hard drive that handles documents and storage. DVD-RW, gigabit Ethernet, and Windows 7 Home Premium x64 make for the rest of the commonalities. The MDV-ASG8310B-SSD is priced at 99,750 JPY (US $1,300); the MDV-ASG8250B at 109,830 JPY ($1,432); and the MDV-AGG9320S-SSD at 159,600 JPY ($2,081).

Source: Hermitage Akihabara

AMD Opteron 6200 Series Processor Family Wins the Linley Group Analysts' Choice Award

AMD (NYSE: AMD) today announced that its AMD Opteron 6200 Series processor family, based on the new “Bulldozer” architecture, was chosen as the winner of The Linley Group’s first annual Analysts’ Choice Awards. The awards recognize the top processor products of 2011 in several major categories including embedded, mobile, PC, server, design IP and related technology. To choose each winner, the Linley Group’s team of technology analysts focused on merits of the leading products that began shipping between January 1, 2011 and December 31, 2011.

“Our analysts are deeply familiar with processor products and technology, having conducted extensive research in order to deliver the firm’s popular publications and reports,” said Linley Gwennap, founder and principal analyst at The Linley Group. “We chose the winners on the basis of their performance, power, features and cost as appropriate for their target applications.”

Epson Rolls Out Endeavor Pro 750 Gaming PC in Japan

In Japan, Epson does more than selling printing and imaging devices. It sells pre-built PCs. Its latest creation is the Endeavor Pro 750, a gaming PC based on Intel Sandy Bridge-E platform. The Endeavor Pro 750 is housed in an airy aluminum-built case. The case has two permanently-fixed handles on top, and its 3.5/2.5-inch drive bay stack can be access from the front-panel, to give it some hot-plugging capabilities. The front-panel also has two USB 3.0 ports next to audio I/O. It's the insides that are more interesting.

The Endeavor Pro 750 is driven by an Intel Core i7-3930K, though an i7-3960X Extreme Edition processor can be opted for, the CPU is cooled by a custom air-cooler. The processor sits on a custom OEM motherboard labelled Epson, but in all likelihood, it may have been built by any of the major motherboard ODMs, such as Foxconn. There are a variety of memory options, starting from 4 GB, all the way up to 32 GB, with DDR3-1600 MHz being the standard memory type. The base model ships with an AMD Radeon HD 6450 graphics card, but it can be configured all the way up to NVIDIA GeForce GTX 580. Storage options, too, are configurable, with various HDD RAID and SSD (Intel 510 series) available.

Eurocom Launches Dual Processor Phantom 4.0 Server-on-the-Go Solution

Eurocom Corporation, the world's leading developer of highly personalized, high-performance notebook PCs and energy efficient All-in-Ones has been developing a dual CPU notebook solution for years. Eurocom technicians have been testing and verifying the systems performance and quality since the beginning of 2011 and now the system is ready for shipping.

The system is called the EUROCOM Phantom 4.0 and starts at $7999. The EUROCOM Phantom 4.0 can support up to two server class processors, 6 memory slots for 48 GB of RAM via 8 GB sticks, 6 storage drives with RAID 0/1/5/10/30. The Phantom 4.0 supports multiple operating systems (Microsoft Server 2003R2 x32 or x64, Server 2008R2 x64; VMware; Red Hat; LINUX; Solaris; Windows 7)and virtualization.

New Value 13-inch Dell Adamo Variant Surfaces

After giving its price-performance ratio a huge boost in late December, Dell introduced an even newer value variant of the Adamo ultra-slim ultra-portable notebook. The company's latest offer includes a 13.4-inch Adamo priced at US $799 ($100 less than the performance variant introduced last month), and driven by Intel Core 2 Duo SU9400 (clocked at 1.40 GHz), and 2 GB of memory. The 13.4-inch screen offers 1366 x 768 pixels resolution, and the chipset embeds Intel GMA X4500 graphics. Storage is care of a 128 GB SSD. Connectivity includes WiFi and Bluetooth. Other features include a 1.3 megapixel webcam. Windows 7 Home Premium x64 comes preinstalled.

AVG Update Cripples Windows

Yesterday an update to the popular antivirus suite AVG left many users computers unable to boot. After rebooting, as requested by the AVG updater, Windows crashes while trying to load certain AVG drivers. The error message reads "STOP: c0000135 The program cannot start because %hs is missing from your computer". Since the culprit drivers load even during safe mode there is no way to boot Windows. AVG recommends using the AVG rescue disc located here. After booting from the disc users should use midnight commander to rename their AVG folder, usually located at C:program files (x86)AVG, to any other name and then booting windows normally. However, any bootable flash drive or CD with an OS that can access NTFS file systems can be used to accomplish this task. I used a bootable Ubuntu flash drive.

PGI to Develop Compiler Based on NVIDIA CUDA C Architecture for x86 Platforms

The Portland Group, a wholly-owned subsidiary of STMicroelectronics and a leading supplier of compilers for high-performance computing (HPC), today announced it is developing a CUDA C compiler targeting systems based on the industry-standard general-purpose 64- and 32-bit x86 architectures. The new PGI CUDA C compiler for x86 platforms will be demonstrated at the SC10 Supercomputing conference taking place in New Orleans, LA, November 13-15, 2010.

The NVIDIA CUDA architecture was developed to enable offloading computationally intensive kernels to massively parallel GPUs. Through function calls and language extensions, CUDA gives developers explicit control over the mapping of general-purpose computational kernels to GPUs, as well as the placement and movement of data between an x86 processor and the GPU.

NVIDIA Releases GeForce 185.68 BETA Drivers

Less than a week since they released the 185.66 BETA drivers (which in themselves superceeded the 182.50 WHQL and 185.65 BETA drivers in the space of 24 hours), NVIDIA has released yet another GeForce BETA Driver of version number 185.68. From these latest BETA releases, it seems NVIDIA has dropped support for the 8-Series graphics cards which as of now are only supported using the 182.50 WHQL driver. With the recent release of so many driver revisions from NVIDIA, it could be their answer to what EVGA were trying to do with their SLI Enhancement Patches, to keep up to date with the latest releases. This driver supports GeForce 9-series, 100-series, and 200-series desktop GPUs, the only documented change in this version over the 185.66 BETA drivers is:
  • Optimized performance for the PC game The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena
DOWNLOAD: GeForce 185.68 BETA for Windows XP 32-bit | Windows XP 64-bit | Windows Vista 32-bit | Windows Vista 64-bit

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 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

Latest Version of Windows Live Messenger Will Not Run in an x64 Environment

So, it turns out that Microsoft was developing a new version of Windows Live Messenger, released it, and is trying to get everyone on the upgrade bandwagon. While everyone running the previous/beta versions of Windows Live Messenger will be getting pretty prompts, it seems that there is a small problem. Anyone running a 64-bit operating environment, whether or not you're running XP or Vista, cannot upgrade to the latest version of Windows Live Messenger. In fact, it almost seems like Microsoft has dumped an x64 version of Windows Live Messenger altogether. The most recent version available for x64 customers is 8.1, while the current version is 8.5.Source: Neowin.net
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