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Christmas Special: The PC Technology of 2011

Welcome to the TechPowerUp 2011 PC technology Christmas special. We hope that you will enjoy reading it while tucking into your turkey, Christmas presents and a little too much wine... In this article, we go through the technology of 2011 that has had the most significance, the most impact and was generally the most talked about. It's not necessarily the best tech of 2011 which is the most significant though, since lemons can be just as significant as the ground-breakers in how they fail to deliver - and the backlash that goes with it.

January: Intel Sandy Bridge i5 & i7

Released on January 9th, the new Intel Core i5 & i7 processors were based on Intel's second generation Core architecture built on a 32 nm production process (HEXUS review). They included an IGP (Integrated Graphics Processor) physically on the same piece of silicon along with HyperThreading. These new dual and quad core processors soundly beat all previous generations of Intel processors in terms of processing performance, heat, power use, features and left AMD in the dust. Therefore, Intel badly needed some competition from AMD and unless you have been living under a rock, you will know how that turned out in October with the launch of Bulldozer. Sandy Bridge was a sound win and is generally considered to be the only architecture worth considering at this point. The i5-2500K is currently at the sweet spot of price/performance. It comes at a stock speed of 3.3 GHz, but typically overclocks to an amazing 4.5 - 5 GHz with a decent air cooler and without too much difficulty in getting there. Models in the budget i3 range were released at various times later. See this Wikipedia article for details.

Duke Nukem Forever Gets Second, More Promising, DLC Upgrade

Duke Nukem Forever Gets Second, More Promising DLC Upgrade

Yes, everyone's favourite game they like to hate has received its second dose of DLC goodness. The first one was a bit of a ho-hum looking Hail to the Icons Parody Pack, but this second one, The Doctor Who Cloned Me, looks more promising, as it includes a "full new single player campaign", it's set in Area 51 (you know, where all the aliens live) features an evil would-be world dominator (how original) Dr Proton, new weapon types, new enemy types, bosses, more achievements and new interactive items. It also includes four new multiplayer maps. In short, if you liked DNF, then you'll likely enjoy this expansion pack, which costs $9.99. Teaser video follows the jump.

Bulldozer Beats Politicians As The Biggest Fail

On our front page, we placed a poll in mid-September, ahead of AMD FX Processor family launch (based on the "Bulldozer" architecture). Based on the most plausible specifications and the hype surrounding the products at the time, we had a hunch that neither Bulldozer nor Sandy Bridge-E will meet our readers' expectations. AMD FX Processor family turned out to be a Duke Nukem Forever, clogged in the pipeline for too long (since 2007, as a matter of fact), when it came out, it made a mockery of itself. It's barely faster than its previous generation.

Sandy Bridge-E promised to be a pin-up processor platform that's eons faster than its predecessor, its specs-sheets warranted its hype. As it turns out, although they're the fastest processors, they aren't much faster than previous-generation Westmere six-core chips at multi-threaded applications, and aren't much faster than Sandy Bridge LGA1155 Core i7 processors at gaming and serial loads. We set out to find out which would turn out to be a bigger "fail" (failure, in internet jargon). To stuff the poll up with more options, we experimented with the idea of placing a seemingly-unbeatable poll option "Our Politicians", just to see if either of the two could fail so hard, that politicians end up better. The myth that politicians always win at a failing contest is busted, at least in this case.

NVIDIA Makes SLI Support on AMD Platform Official with New BETA GeForce Driver

NVIDIA today released its latest version of the GeForce software suite, version 275.50 BETA. With this release, NVIDIA enables SLI support on AMD socket AM3+ platform. The driver enables SLI multi-GPU technology certified AMD 990FX, AMD 990X, and AMD 970 motherboards. Keep in mind, not every AMD 9-series chipset-based motherboard will run SLI, only certified ones, just like not every Intel 5-series and 6-series chipset based motherboard features SLI. Look for the SLI logo when buying the motherboard.

Besides this major change, GeForce 275.50 improves 3D Vision performance on Duke Nukem Forever. It adds new 3D Vision profiles for Duke Nukem Forever Demo, Mars benchmark, Rise of the Immortals, and Rusty Hearts. 3D Vision profile for Alice: Madness Returns is improved. This is a BETA release, use of which is not covered by product warranties. SLI support on AMD, and all features in this release will be carried forward by future WHQL-signed driver releases.


NVIDIA Gives Notebook Gamers New Levels of Power, Portability With GeForce GTX 560M

NVIDIA today unveiled the first gaming notebook graphics processing unit (GPU) in its award-winning GeForce 500M Series of notebook GPUs. The GeForce GTX 560M graphics processor hits the "sweet spot" for gaming notebooks by delivering a no-compromise gaming experience at full 1080p resolution in the hottest new DirectX 11 titles. For the first time, leading OEMs will also be offering GeForce GTX gaming GPUs with NVIDIA Optimus technology.

"The GeForce GTX 560M and NVIDIA Optimus mean gamers get 50 frames per second in Duke Nukem Forever and five hours of battery life in Microsoft Office," said Rene Haas, general manager of notebook products at NVIDIA. "That's real power and real portability." Available only with NVIDIA GPUs, NVIDIA Optimus technology enables extra-long battery life by automatically switching on and off the GPU so that it runs only when needed. The smart convenience of NVIDIA Optimus technology is designed into over 80 percent of GeForce 500M Series notebooks and is used by every major notebook OEM.

EVGA Readies Duke's Fully Loaded Package Graphics Card Bundle

Duke Nukem seems to be attracting as much attention from his swarm of male fans as the school uniform-clad strippers from the game. This fandom is building up obscene levels of hype with the various collectors' edition bundles available on the web, on pre-order, that give a variety of Duke Nukem memorabilia along with a copy of Duke Nukem Forever, a game that has been in production for 14 years. Some of the gamers who are going to play the game hadn't even graduated from Fisher Price when the last Duke game came out.

EVGA wants to be one of those to come out with (no pun intended) a bundle of their own, called "Duke's Fully Loaded Package". As a top-tier graphics card vendor, its bundle includes - you guessed it - a graphics card that handles the game well, in this case, a specially-branded GeForce GTX 560 1 GB clocked at 810/1620/4008 MHz (core/CUDA cores/memory), apart from a copy of Duke Nukem Forever (PC), memorabilia that includes "The History, Legacy and Legend of Duke Nukem Forever" artbook, Duke Nukem Forever mousepad, a "radioactive" belt-buckle, and a specially designed package. Those craving for Duke's fully-loaded package (again, no pun intended) from EVGA, can pre-order it from here.

GeForce GTX 560 Confirmed for 17th May

NVIDIA confirmed its latest performance GPU, the GeForce GTX 560 (not to be confused with GTX 560 Ti), for launch on May 17, 2011. staff put up a new video on YouTube that displayed the card itself (looks very similar to to GTX 460), and run a few upcoming games on it, including the much anticipated Duke Nukem Forever, Alice: Madness Returns, and Rift.

NVIDIA claims that the new card should be able to handle most DirectX 11 games at 1080p resolution. In the Duke Nukem Forever run, the 3DVision features of the GTX 560 were shown. On Alice: Madness Returns, a variety of NVIDIA PhysX effects were shown, mostly particle and fluid dynamics. Lastly, the anticipated MMO Rift was able to run at 1080p with very high frame-rates and low GPU temperatures. Based on the GF114 GPU, the GTX 560 features 336 CUDA cores, 1 GB of GDDR5 memory over a 256-bit wide memory interface.

Check out the video for some cool in-game footage.

3DRealms Denies Any Rumor of a Duke Nukem Forever Release Within 2008

As Neoseeker puts it, "even 3D Realms didn't believe" the latest rumors of an upcoming Duke Nukem Forever release. For those of you who don't know, there was a rumor going around that 3DRealms was planning on sending out a retail version of Duke Nukem Forever within 2008. While geeks and true fans of the series had warm smiles on their faces, alarm bells went off at 3DRealms HQ. 3DRealms was very quick in eliminating false hope, and says, with a hint of disgust, that Duke Nukem Forever is still on the "when it's done" release timeframe. While there are still a lot of months left in 2008, it's very unlikely that we're going to see any hint of Duke Nukem Forever for quite some time. Release platforms have not been announced or finalized.

Duke Nukem Forever Trailer Released

Possibly the most delayed video game in history, Duke Nukem Forever, has just had a new trailer released – over six years since the last one. The video is about a minute long, and according to George Broussard of 3D Realms, the company developing the game, it was originally created internally as a festive treat. Broussard said:
"The release is still 'when it's done,' but you can expect more frequent media releases and we're not changing engines again and we have considerable work behind us. It's basically a restart as the tech changed and we've been on this version of the game since 2004 or so. The released media up to this point are no longer relevant other than for curiosity purposes.
The trailer for the game, which began development in 1997, can be viewed here.

3DRealms president confesses Duke Nukem Forever is an industry joke

Scott Miller, the founder of Apogee, and a co-owner of 3Drealms, has some interesting words to say about Duke Nukem Forever. For everyone that has been waiting extremely patiently for Duke Nukem Forever, it is my extreme displeasure to inform you that they effectively declared that the past 10 years of development have been wasted. The actual quote from Mr.Miller himself:
Our fault is that we set the bar too high, and we tried too hard to make the game to beat all games. In the last 18 months we’ve taken a much more realistic look at the project, we’ve hired a truckload of experienced help, and I personally believe we are now on the right track…finally.
In short, Mr.Miller admits that 3DRealms was working too hard on Duke Nukem Forever, and is now setting much more realistic goals for the Duke Nukem Forever project. Maybe we'll start seeing beta's/products for Duke Nukem Forever this year. Or maybe we won't...time will tell.

Possible Duke Nukem Forever screenshot

Duke Nukem Forever is one of those games that everyone really wants to see, but then doesn't come out. 3D Realms has been working on the game for over a decade, and we haven't seen anything out of it...until now. To remind everyone that Duke Nukem Forever really is in development and going somewhere, 3D Realms president George Broussard randomly and without warning posted a tiny screenshot on Shacknews. According to George, the picture is a (shrunken) real time in-game screenshot.

Vaporware '06, Duke Nukem wins again.

Everyones favorite game Duke Nukem Forever wins Vaporware '06, the king of Vaporware returns!
Wired wrote a nice list of the Vaporest(?) Vaporware of 2006, programs and hardware that should have been but are not.
  1. Duke Nukem Forever
  2. TiVoToGo for Mac
  3. Skype for Symbian
  4. Spore
  5. SED Televisions
  6. Airbus 380
  7. Gran Turismo 4 Mobile
  8. The "IPod Killer"
  9. Stalker: Shadow of Chernobyl
  10. Optimus-103 Keyboard
An impressive list of nice stuff to have, most of them should be available once hell freezes over.
For full details on these wannahaves follow the linky.
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