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Homeworld Cataclysm released
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 Gameguru Mania News - Jul,09 2006 - tech 
Sunday Reading-Vista Interface for Glass-Less Users - tech
(hx) 06:30 AM EDT - Jul,09 2006 - Post a comment / read (6)
 Gameguru Mania News - Jul,07 2006 - tech
Friday Tech Reading - Microsoft's iPod killer? - tech
(hx) 07:00 AM EDT - Jul,07 2006 - Post a comment / read (5)
 Gameguru Mania News - Jul,06 2006 - tech
TechNews RoundUp - G80 has 32 pixel pipes - tech
(hx) 07:41 AM EDT - Jul,06 2006 - Post a comment / read (2)
 Gameguru Mania News - Jul,04 2006 - tech
ATI on the possibilities of DirectX 10 - tech
(hx) 06:24 PM EDT - Jul,04 2006 - Post a comment / read (4)
Although Vista isn't going to be available in retail until at least January 2007, the major graphics cards vendors such as ATI, NVIDIA and S3 naturally already have their responses to DirectX 10 very much planned out. However, thus far it's been ATI that have made by far the most noise regarding this next release of DirectX, as they seemed determined to leverage what they clearly feel is their advantage (both architecturally and regarding their experience) in this upcoming arena. Here's a brief evaluation of what ATI's Richard Huddy told to the press:
If there's one buzzword you'll be hearing a lot about as ATI's DirectX 10 hardware nears release, unified shading will probably be it. Of course, this won't be the first time we've seen an architecture using unified shaders, as of course ATI have already leveraged such a design to good effect on the 'Xenos' GPU used in Microsoft's Xbox 360, a point they are keen to point out as evidence that they know what they're doing when it comes to this stuff.

So, what are unified shaders all about? As a principle, it's actually pretty simple. Take a look 'inside' a current PC graphics architecture, be it from NVIDIA and ATI, and you'll find very distinct units within it, two of which you should already be somewhat familiar with in the form of vertex and pixel shaders. To quickly clarify the functionality of these units, vertex shaders deal with the manipulation of geometry in a scene by way of small sets of instructions telling the shader units what to do to particular vertices, while pixel shaders also accept instructions, but instead apply this code to pixels rather than vertices.
And here's a conclusion:.
While the shift from DirectX 9 to 10 isn't going to be as large as that from 8.1 to 9, it's still enough to get the 3D hardware geek juices flowing at least somewhat, and is another incremental step on the way to truly realistic and immersive in-game 3D environments. As ever, the biggest question is when we'll be seeing the new functionality of DirectX 10 put to good use? These things take time for developers to get to grips with and integrate into games, so doubtless it'll be a year after the APIs release at least before we start to see what could be called 'true' DirectX 10 content. The uptake of new functionality, the use of geometry shaders in particular, will also be dependant on the speed of first-generation hardware at processing these effects of course - In the aforementioned example, I've already heard rumours of poor performance from one IHVs DirectX 10 part, which suggests that we might not see geometry shaders used 'in anger' for quite some time. As ever, time will tell.

As far as unified shaders go, moving to this kind of architecture certainly seems to be more a case of 'when' rather than 'if' on the part of all the graphics vendors, but it seems that as things stand, ATI are leading the way in this sense. Will this give them an advantage? Again, we'll have to wait and see.
BTW: Happy Fourth of July / Independence Day to all of my American readers! :)
 Gameguru Mania News - Jul,03 2006 - tech
Monday Tech Reading-Nanotube Lubricated HDDs - tech
(hx) 09:03 PM EDT - Jul,03 2006 - Post a comment
SoundBlaster X-Fi Driver v2.09.0001 (July 2006) - tech
(hx) 11:55 AM EDT - Jul,03 2006 - Post a comment / read (1)
Creative Labs has finally released a production quality driver update v2.09.0001 (direct link ~ 41.92 MB) for its X-Fi XtremeMusic, Platinum and Fatal1ty lineups. The driver release address some (but not all) issues with crackling, corrects a number of issues with popular games and adds full support for OpenAL 1.1. Game Fixes:
For Prey
Resolves the issue of the computer not responding

For Quake 4 (version 1.04)
Resolves the issue of the computer not responding when the error message "Quake 4 has encountered an error and needs to close" is displayed
- Resolves the issue of mono speaker out in surround sound environments
- Allows you to hear audio from speakers when you select the OpenAL X-Fi option as the audio driver
- Allows audio channels to stream to correct speakers

For Battlefield 2
Allows the Ultra-High Audio setting in a multi-player game
- For Battlefield 2 (version 1.12)
- Allows you to hear audio from speakers when the X-Fi audio driver option is selected

For Doom 3 (version 1.3)
Allows you to hear audio from speakers when EAX 4.0 is enabled
- Resolves the "pop" issue during the Chainsaw attack sound effect sequence
- Removes "hiss" from the front left speaker
- Allows panning
- Plays the Ambient sound effects correctly

For Unreal Tournament 2004 (version 3369)
Allows you to hear audio from speakers when running in hardware OpenAL mode (the System Driver check-box is cleared)
For Unreal Tournament 2004 (version 3355)
Allows reverb in native OpenAL mode
- Allows music to play correctly during gaming in Native OpenAL mode

For Dungeon Siege (version 1.11)
Resolves the issue of the computer not responding during benchmarking
 Gameguru Mania News - Jul,01 2006 - tech
Weekend Tech Reading - ATI delays physics? - tech
(hx) 07:49 AM EDT - Jul,01 2006 - Post a comment / read (1)
 Gameguru Mania News - Jun,29 2006 - tech
TechNews RoundUp - WGA Turning Off PCs? - tech
(hx) 07:58 PM EDT - Jun,29 2006 - Post a comment / read (3)
Internet Explorer 7 Beta 3 - tech
(hx) 06:54 PM EDT - Jun,29 2006 - Post a comment / read (3)
Microsoft has released Internet Explorer 7 Beta 3 (local US mirror ~12.5MB) today for your downloading pleasure. Internet Explorer 7 Beta 3 is available for owners of Windows XP SP2, Windows XP Pro x64, Windows Server 2003 x64, Windows Server 2003 SP1 and Windows Server 2003 ia64 Edition.

There are some interface tweaks, security updates and a few other minor changes in the new test build, which is available to any and all comers. The new build brings the standalone version of IE 7.0 in line with the version that was integrated into Vista Build 5456.
Internet Explorer 7 (IE7) Beta 3 has been designed to make everyday tasks easier, provide dynamic security protection and improve the development platform and manageability. End user improvements include a streamlined interface, tabbed browsing, printing advances, improved search functionality, instant feeds (RSS), dynamic security protection, and more.
 Gameguru Mania News - Jun,28 2006 - tech
TechNews RoundUp - Intel Ships Core Duo T2700 - tech
(hx) 07:18 AM EDT - Jun,28 2006 - Post a comment
  • AMD mulling a cheaper Athlon 64 X2? -  Dubbed Athlon 64 X2 3600+, the chip is said to be available now as an OEM-only part for Socket 939, but an official launch on Socket AM2 could help AMD better compete against Intel's price-slashed Pentium D lineup.
  • Intel Quietly Ships Two Special 'Yonah' CPUs -  The fastest of the two, the new Core Duo T2700 is a 2.33GHz dual-core 65nm Yonah-based CPU, specifically targeted for high end notebooks and desktop replacement (DTR) devices.
  • Samsung SyncMaster 215TW - 21in Monitor - With Vista just around the corner, youíre going to need an HDCP compliant monitor if you want to watch any protected content. Add to this the fact that HD-DVD and Blu-ray drives should be hitting the market very soon, and the need for an HDCP compliant monitor becomes even more apparent.
  • 200 Mbps Powerline Solution enables HD video and audio streaming - Netgearís new 200 Mbps Powerline HD Ethernet Adapter turns any AC electrical outlet into an HD-streaming, high-speed ethernet broadband connection, suitable for real-time high-quality video, gaming and VoIP or connecting a personal computer, digital video recorder, game console or other ethernet device to their home network.
  • Doghouse's Rover TV portable recorder/player - The Rover's available in two models that are virtually identical except for the screen: the $299 "Big Screen" model packs a 3.5-inch TFT screen with a resolution of 320 x 240, while the $349 Rover TV Wide Screen has a 4-inch TFT with a 480 x 272 resolution.
  • Casio's Exilim EX-S600D with DivX - Casio boasts the Exilim EX-S600D will be able to record an hour of video on a 1GB, though there's no mention on the quality or frame rate of the captured video.
  • HDMI 1.3 finalized, PlayStation 3 will support the new spec - According to a report over at IGN, the spec has been finalized. Among other things, once we obtain a device that supports it, we can begin to a enjoy greater depth of color and vastly superior sound, due to a tremendous increase in bandwidth and sophisticated audio codecs, not to mention a new "mini-plug". Another benefit is the 1.3 HDMI chip can "lip sync", automatically matching the sound to the video.
  • Apple Releases 10.4.7 Update - The 10.4.7 Update is recommended for all users and includes general operating system fixes, as well as specific fixes for the following applications and technologies.
  • Adobe releases Flash Player 9 - The new player has two Virtual Machines, one which can play old content and one specifically for new Flash 9 AS3 based content. According to an Adobe spokesman the new virtual machine is significantly faster, supports full runtime error reporting, and industry-standard debugging. It also includes binary socket support, allowing developers to extend the player to work with any binary protocol.
  • Western Digital gives away free software - The free software will be given to anyone who bought one of the company's disk drives from 22 March 2001, through 15 February 2006. It is part of a deal to end a class action that alleges that Western Digital told porkies to punters about how much data its computer hard drives could store. The case said that the difference meant that Western Digital's 80-gigabyte hard drive had an actual capacity of 74.4 gigabytes. To get the software, the eligible consumers must register their claims before July 16 here.
  • CustomizeGoogle - Firefox extension - CustomizeGoogle is a Firefox extension that enhances Google search results by adding extra information (like links to Yahoo, Ask Jeeves, MSN etc) and removing unwanted information (like ads and spam).
  • Vista volume license keys to be tagged and neutered - The exact details of the "new approach" to VLKs haven't been made clear, but Ward Ralston, a senior technology product manager at Microsoft, has confirmed that the company is "introducing the notion of a key management server" for Windows Vista Server.
  • Microsoft cleans up its WGA act - Microsoft issued an update to its Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) programme. The firm tweaked it so that your PC doesn't automatically report in to Seattle Central every time it reboots, like it did before. If you had auto updates set on your XP, you might never have realised this. Some people got a bit upset when they realised that, and so Microsoft relented. The Vole has even produced a page which tells you how to disable or uninstall the pilot version. 
  • WEP Cracking, the FBI Way - WEP cracking usually takes hours. Lots of hours, depending on the amount of traffic on the access point. A few months ago, two FBI agents demonstrated how they were able to crack a WEP enabled access point within a couple of minutes. 3 minutes to be exact.
  • Stop Windows Update from nagging you to restart your PC - check it out
  • Optimize Your Bittorrent Download Speed - Bittorrent can be fun, as long as you get decent speeds. Not satisfied with your current speeds? These suggestions might help to optimize your download pleasure.
  • P2P Users Beware, Your Personal Info Could Be Out There - Users of P2P file-sharing services may be sharing more than they bargained for, a former White House cybersecurity advisor has warned.
  • Three held over virus e-mail plot - The three men are alleged to have targeted UK businesses since at least 2005, and infected computers worldwide. Those arrested are a 63-year-old in Suffolk, a 28-year-old in Scotland and a 19-year-old in Finland. They are suspected of being members of an online group called M00P, delivering the viruses as attachments on unsolicited e-mails known as spam.
  • Driv-e-mocion convey your feelings - The round electronic display sticks on the back of your glass and can convey your message very effectively with a sad / happy face or text like Thank you, Back off etc.
  • Learn to shave the correct way -- avoiding razor burn etc. - This article is an interesting read providing tons of tips on proper shaving and the proper tools needed.
  • Astronomers reach out to find Einstein's waves - The Geo600 laboratory near Hanover is set to become the first to prove the existence of the waves - ripples in the fabric of space and time predicted by Albert Einsteinís general theory of relativity but never actually observed. The detector, which consists of two 600-metre arms in an L-shape in a field, has begun 18 months of continuous observations after it was refitted to make it sufficiently sensitive.
  • The Spider-Man 3 Teaser - Columbia Pictures has revealed the teaser trailer for director Sam Raimi's highly-anticipated Spider-Man 3 online! Spider-Man 3 kicks-off the summer of 2007 on May 4.
 Gameguru Mania News - Jun,26 2006 - tech
Monday Tech Reading - AMD 4x4 and Gaming - tech
(hx) 09:11 PM EDT - Jun,26 2006 - Post a comment
ATI CATALYST Drivers v6.6 - tech
(hx) 05:16 PM EDT - Jun,26 2006 - Post a comment
ATI has released a new ATI Catalyst drivers bringing them up to version 6.6.
Performance Improvements:
As with most Catalyst releases, performance has increased in various situations.
  • Far Cry performance improves 4-5%. Larger gains of up to 18.3% can be seen when using anisotropic filtering.
  • Fear performance improves as much as 8.5% on X1800 and X1900 Single card systems and as much as 14% on X1800 and X1900 Crossfire systems.
  • Splinter Cell (original) performance improves as much a 7% on X1300 and X1600 Crossfire systems.

    Issues Resolved in Catalyst Software Suite 6.6:

  • City of Heroes: Display corruption is no longer noticed when playing the game under Windows XP with an ATI Radeon X1x00 series product.
  • Quake4: Texture corruption is no longer noticed when playing the game.
  • Age of Empires III: All the buildings and silver mines no longer shimmer at the same time when right-clicking on an object.
  • Prey demo - Graphics Performance - tech
    (hx) 12:13 PM EDT - Jun,26 2006 - Post a comment
    Last last week we finally saw the release of a playable demo of the first-person shooter Prey, with the full game expected to be released next month. Elite Bastards take a look at graphics performance in the demo of this rather impressive take on the FPS genre to see how it shapes up on a variety of different GPUs. Here's a taster:
    Certainly, it seems that if you have pretty much any current generation video card you should be able to eke decent performance out of it with all of the graphical details turned on, selecting the right resolution dependant on the performance level of the board naturally. Overall, performance is looking like it'll come in lower than what you will see on these same graphics boards in Doom 3 and Quake 4, but not to the point of making the game unplayable by any means.
    Intel Core Duo wipes floor with 8th generation CPU - tech
    (hx) 12:04 PM EDT - Jun,26 2006 - Post a comment
    The chaps over at Digit-life reviewed the Core2 Duo processors in the form of the E6400 and the E6700. The latter is a production line Core2 Duo, not an engineering sample. The processors are compared to the FX62, the FX60 and the XE 965 - the results never left any doubts! Conroe rocks!
    On the whole, we can say that the new processors from Intel turned out even more impressive than we expected. Considering that our expectations were quite high. Looking at the results, we don't want to sing the praises, congratulate Intel with the victory, laud the new core, etc. We'd rather look through the diagrams once again to understand what the world giant of CPU building has unleashed. What we'll have to live with :). Conroe and its successors are here for a long time, that's obvious. The efficiency per GHz it demonstrated is not just admirable - there is the reverse of the medal: such impressive results are not obtained easily. So we cannot expect anything cardinally new for at least three or four years. We'll see Conroes with increased clocks and probably with larger caches. There will most certainly appear more cores. But the architecture will hardly change.

    What can we say about the architecture looking at the test results? Conroe offers relatively low results in 3D modeling and CAD/CAE packages. Of course, its results are still excellent for its clocks. But they are less impressive than the others. So we partially confirmed the hypothesis that the classical FPU in the new core... no, it's not "bad", but it's less perfect than the other units. CPU RightMark and Adobe Photoshop CS2 also prove that. The manufacturer will probably make up for this problem with higher clocks. Especially as the clock margin is assumably large. The situation in 3D modeling and bitmap graphics can be improved by increasing the number of cores - these algorithms can be easily distributed between multiple cores.

    Excellent results are demonstrated by the new core in data archiving, web-server test, OCR, and games. Having analyzed this collection of tests, we can establish a fact that Intel did well for memory and cache operations and well as for "chaotic code" that used to stupefy the long-piped Pentium 4. In fact, the company defeated AMD on its own field with its favourite weapon.
     Gameguru Mania News - Jun,24 2006 - tech
    Weekend Tech Reading - WinFS: Drop Dead - tech
    (hx) 09:11 PM EDT - Jun,24 2006 - Post a comment
    NVidia Forceware 91.31 WHQL Drivers - tech
    (hx) 04:36 AM EDT - Jun,24 2006 - Post a comment / read (5)
    A new WHQL Forceware graphics drivers v91.31 (dated June 23, 2006 - download - Win2k/XP ~ 40.3MB) are available for download from the official NVIDIA download page. The drivers adds support for GeForce 7950 GX2 and includes the new NVIDIA Control Panel.
    Single-GPU Issues Resolved
    - NVIDIA Control Panel: SLI Antialiasing option is erroneously visible at the 3D Settings->Manage 3D Settings page. SLI AA settings are now available in the Antialiasing Settings control. Selecting SLI AA will override the predefined SLI rendering mode for applications with a profile.
    - NVIDIA Control Panel: The 3D preview image in the Adjust Image Settings with Preview page does not update when Balanced isselected on the slider.
    - NVIDIA Control Panel: The Red/Green/Blue Color settings are not saved when closing and then re-opening the panel.
    - Improved mouse performance on Oblivion.
    - GeForce 7950 GX2, NVIDIA Control Panel: 8x and 16xS antialiasing settings on application profiles are not saved when closing and reopening the control panel.
    - GeForce 7950 GX2, Windows XP Professional x64, NVIDIA Control Panel: An error message appears when opening the Adjust Image Setting with Preview page.
    - GeForce 7950 GX2, NVIDIA Control Panel: After selecting 'Alternate frame 2' from the Multi-GPU performance mode list box, the setting reverts to 'Alternate frame rendering' when reopening the panel.
    - GeForce 7900 GTX: WMV content is corrupted when played in overlay mode.
    - GeForce 7900 GT/GS: Model position graph editor response is slow in the Lightwave 8.5 Layout workbench..
    - GeForce 7800, NVIDIA Control Panel: 'Always run fan at highest speed' option in the Adjust Overclock Settings page is not accessible.
    - GeForce 7300 LE/GS: The HD file 'PBS - Omaha Zoo RR.mpg' shows corruption when played after playing an inverse telecine clip.
    - GeForce 6600 GT: 'Cannot play file' error occurs when attempting to play an MPEG file with Full-screen Video Mirror enabled under nView Clone mode.
    - GeForce 5200 FX: 709 colorspace not properly displayed on highdefinition content.
     Gameguru Mania News - Jun,23 2006 - tech
    Friday Tech Reading - Conroe E6600 8MB cache - tech
    (hx) 08:06 AM EDT - Jun,23 2006 - Post a comment / read (5)
     Gameguru Mania News - Jun,21 2006 - tech
    TechNews RoundUp - MS Plans Direct PhyxX? - tech
    (hx) 11:28 AM EDT - Jun,21 2006 - Post a comment / read (3)
     Gameguru Mania News - Jun,20 2006 - tech
    Tuesday Tech Reading - 500GHz CPU - tech
    (hx) 11:14 AM EDT - Jun,20 2006 - Post a comment
     Gameguru Mania News - Jun,19 2006 - tech
    Monday Tech Reading - MS Ending SP1 Support - tech
    (hx) 07:58 AM EDT - Jun,19 2006 - Post a comment / read (2)