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News of the day

  • Asus announces the P7F7-E SuperComputer
  • OpenGL 3.3 and 4.0 on the way
  • Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium HD
  • Phenom II X6 news
  • New AMD drivers for ATI FirePro
  • K0 Stepping for 32nm Intel CPUs
  • Boxes of GTX480/470s!
  • Archives

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     Asus announces the P7F7-E SuperComputer
      Posted on 12/03/2010 at 21:01 by Benoit - source: PC World
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    Presented at CeBIT, Asus has just announced a high-end motherboard, designed for work stations. While the P7F7-E WS SuperComputer uses a standard LGA1156 socket, the chipset is an Intel 3450, which means you can combine it with Xeon 3400s as well as traditional Pentiums, Core i3s, i5s and i7s.

    The Intel 3450 is part of the same family as the Intel series 5 chipsets but in addition supports technologies designed for the pro world such as remote management (Intel AMT), data encrytion (Intel AT) or remote PC assist technology (Intel RPAT).

    The presence of 6 slots of RAM confirms this, giving a maximum capacity of 16 GB. USB 3 and SATA 6 Gbps support is included as is double Gigabit LAN. Note the two firewire ports, in spite of the fact that this port is slowly falling into disuse.

    The pro side of the card is however relative when it comes to the most demanding users. There are four 16x PCI-Express ports (at 16/8x-16/8x-8x-8x) due to the NF200 and compatibility with the Quad CrossFireX and the 3-way SLI.

    No price has yet been given for this new arrival in the SuperComputer range. The usefulness of such a card in LGA1156 is however questionable with the most demanding users going for LGA1366 and its compatibility with 32nm hexacores.

     OpenGL 3.3 and 4.0 on the way
      Posted on 12/03/2010 at 20:40 by Damien
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    Open GLThe Khronos Group used the Game Developer Conference in San Francisco to launch two new versions of OpenGL. The first, version 3.3 is a minor update of 3.2, which dates from last summer. Among the innovations are support for FP10 surfaces and decoupling of textures from texturing parameters (type of filtering etc.) whose number is limited. This means you can now use each set of parameters to access numerous different textures and remove a limitation at this level, just as DirectX 10.0 did 3 years ago. OpenGL 3.3 therefore allows a sort of refining of equivalence to DirectX 10 in terms of the features supported.

    OpenGL 4.0 is a more significant development aimed at the DirectX 11 generation of GPU. It introduces tessellation support with two new types of shaders, the tessellation control shader (equivalent to the hull shader in DirectX) and the tessellation evaluation shader (equivalent to the domain shader in DirectX). Numerous little improvements have been introduced: blending, antialiasing and transform feedback (equivalent to stream output) gain in flexibility, new texture formats come online… Overall the idea is to mirror DirectX 11. With one difference: in contrast to the last version of DirectX, OpenGL 4.0 supports double precision (FP64) shaders.

    If the GeForce GTX 400s and the Radeon HD 5800s and 5900s can support OpenGL 4.0 no problem, this puts a question mark over the Radeon HD 5700s and down, which don’t support double precision, as well as for derivatives of the GF100, for which double precsion support is in the balance. Will these cards offer OpenGL 4.0 support? If they do, it means that double precision support is optional in OpenGL 4.0 or that it can be emulated where there’s no native support.

    Note also that the Khronos Group has happily reviewed its numbering of versions of GLSL, the OpenGL shading language. For more clarity the version for OpenGL 3.3 is 3.30.6 and the version for OpenGL 4.0, 4.00.8. Previously version 1.50.11 of GLSL was used with OpenGL 3.2. Given that the version for OpenGL 3.3 is continuing to evolve alongside the version for OpenGL 4.0, this clarification should avoid confusion between the different branches.

    For more details, full documentation is available here.

     Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium HD
      Posted on 12/03/2010 at 17:01 by Marc - source: Creative
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    The Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium HD should arrive in shops this month. Announced in January, this PCI-Express x1 format card uses a new generation X-Fi Xtreme Fidelity co-processor.

    Note the 122dB signal-to-noise ratio, against 109 dB for the previous generation, as well as the replaceable Op-amp allowing users to customise the card’s analogue outs (like on the Auzentech X-Fi Bravura).

    Designed for Windows Vista and 7, it is of course compatible with EAX 5, Alchemy and supports Dolby Digital and DTS encoding. In terms of sockets, there are TOSLINK ins and outs and a microphone in and a mini-jack headphones out. The Blaster X-Fi Titanium HD has been announced at a cost of $299.

     Phenom II X6 news
      Posted on 12/03/2010 at 15:17 by Benoit - source: ATI-Forum
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    It’s news to nobody, AMD are currently planning 6-core versions of its current Phenom II X4. Although we've known the references and TDP for some time, the information wasn’t yet official.

    An updated roadmap is now circulating on the internet and gives confirmation on these points. The Phenom II X6s (1075T, 1055T and 1035T) will appear in the second quarter. TDPs will be from 95 to 125W depending on the model. They will also have a total cache of 9MB.

    At the same time, it also seems as if a new revision of the Phenom II X4 will be coming out as well as the current Denebs. It’s very probable that these Phenom II X4 "Zosmas" will in fact be Phenom II X6s (Thubans) with two cores disactivated. This would allow GlobalFoundaries to use any non-functional Thubans that come off its production line and therefore maximise production. This “recycled” die would take the form of a Phenom II X4 960T, with a TDP of only 95W, which would seem to indicate a fairly low clock.

    The second quarter promises plenty of new product from AMD then!

     New AMD drivers for ATI FirePro
      Posted on 12/03/2010 at 12:24 by Benoit
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    While we give news on updates for general consumer NVIDIA and AMD graphics drivers, we shouldn’t forget that both manufacturers also offer a range of cards for image professionals, the Quadros and FirePros. These are based on the general consumer GPUs but are slightly modified and are, above all, more dependent on their drivers than the general consumer cards. These drivers are specifically developed for the pro cards and are optimised for certain pieces of software, whether this be in terms of gains in precision or rapidity of processing.

    AMD have just announced an update for these drivers, version 8.702. This looks as if it’s a major revision, bringing a certain number of changes allowing sifnificant performance gains. FirePro users should see a gain of 25% in CATIA and a little more than 20% with 3ds Max. Graphics designers haven’t been forgotten either with these drivers allowing you to display 10-bit images in Photoshop CS4, if the rest of your hardware (the screen notably) is compatible. Note also support for passive and stereoscopic 3D, as well as Dolby and DTS 5.1 via the DisplayPort.

    These version 8.702 drivers are available from AMD’s download page, and you can consult the list of certified software here.

     K0 Stepping for 32nm Intel CPUs
      Posted on 12/03/2010 at 10:21 by Benoit - source: TechConnect
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    Intel's 32nm CPUs are very new on the market, nevertheless Intel are planning to change the stepping in April!

    At first this is likely to affect only the Core i3-350M, before being extended to other models in the range. The processor(s) involved thus move from the current C2 stepping to the K-0 stepping, though Intel haven’t yet communicated on the changes brought by this update. K-0 processors are compatible with motherboards planned for C-2s in terms of hardware but a BIOS update is needed to get them to work.

    The K-0 version of the Core i3-350Ms should be available as of April 30.

     Boxes of GTX480/470s!
      Posted on 12/03/2010 at 09:53 by Benoit
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    Following the Core i7s made of cardboard, here we have cardboard boxes full of GeForce 470/480s! The launch date for the GTX480 will soon be on us, with the announcement expected end of March for the cards to go on sale at the beginning of April. NVIDIA’s partners are preparing themselves and products should already be ready to go on sale. The buzz machine is in overdrive, though there’s actually little to show as most of the info is under NDA.

    Rumour has it that GTX480 availability will be very limited at launch and Inno 3D has found a way of killing two birds with one stone with photos of boxes of the GTX480 released today looking as if they’ve been shot in the warehouse. You can see the Inno3D packaging as well as read that they will be throwing in a mouse pad with their GTX480. The photos are presented in such a way as to make you think that entire pallets of cards are currently being processed.

    We shouldn’t count our chickens however and it would be more prudent to stick to what we can actually see, which is to say three boxes of GTX480s and two boxes of GTX470s with nothing to say that the boxes are actually full. Moreover, there’s no photo of the card itself or any detailing of the spec.

    As we don’t have anything better however and while waiting for something more meaty to show you, here are the photos …

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    March 11, 2010
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    March 15, 2010

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