Archive for April, 2012
Maingear gave us a quick nudge to say something was coming. Now it can reveal that — alongside Intel’s third-generation processors inside all of its desktops and laptops — it’s further updated two of its tower models. The F131 ($1,049), the middleweight option, now houses the same vertical heat-dissipating design found on Maingear’s Shift model, alongside hot-swappable storage. It’s followed by the Potenza ($899), the company’s “mini-ITX gaming solution.” It’s 45 percent smaller than the F131 with the same heat dissipation design, but still capable of squeezing in NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX 680 and support for a liquid cooling setup on the side. Phew. So pick your size, pick your processor and hit up the source for all the custom desktop options.
SOURCE via Maingear
Blizzard’s community manager “Bashiok” claims on Twitter that the number of concurrent users playing the Diablo 3 beta over the weekend peaked at 300,000 gamers. The total number of users test-driving the highly-anticipated Diablo sequel is currently unknown, but Bashiok said it was “a lot.”
The purpose of the beta weekend was to see how the servers could handle the load all at once. Given that fans have waited since 2000′s Diablo 2 for another installment, it’s only natural to assume that every single fan was waiting for the doors to swing open on Friday, especially those who didn’t make it into the closed beta. Just imagine a mad crowd waiting for the doors to open on Black Friday, and you’ll understand why Blizzard wants to be fully prepared for May 15.
“Every time we tried to log in this weekend and failed, we were doing our part to help Blizzard,”Forbes reports, describing its difficulties in loggin into the game and staying connected during the flood of anxious gamers. “This would help explain why their response to all inquiries was “keep trying.” They wanted people to copy/paste their passwords every four seconds and try to log in. That’s exactly the sort of ‘stress’ they need to test.”
“Shortly after the beta opened up on Friday, fans were greeted with login errors – particularly server full errors,” GameZone states. “Error 37 was the most frequent as servers reached their capacity. According to Blizzard, ‘this was likely due to us lowering the concurrency cap to address an issue or error.’”
The public beta reportedly contained the same content seen in the closed beta: access to the five characters, and a portion of Act I which concludes by defeating the Skeleton King. The difference was that it only allowed characters to level up to 13. But like the closed beta testers, all characters will be killed off once the actual retail version goes live on May 15. Bummer, we know.
With the beta weekend now over, does that mean the Diablo 3 Starter Edition was more than a mistaken beta client? Probably not. As reported last week, those who downloaded and played the leaked client was asked to purchase the full game. What’s possible is that Blizzard provided the Starter Edition to beta testers for the weekend stress test, but turned off the nag screen and activated other limitations like level caps and more.
That said, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the actual Starter Edition launch before the full version goes retail in order to see how the servers handle the load over a longer period. Yet Blizzard didn’t take that route with StarCraft 2, so we may have to wait until May 15 before he get a taste of Diablo 3 again. Let’s hope not.
Ever wondered if you could control your house’s climate, security, and appliances — along with your PCs and peripherals — using Microsoft software? That day may soon dawn, as its Research arm has started testing its home automation software, called HomeOS, in twelve domiciles over the past few months. The budding system views smartphones, printers and air conditioners as network peripherals, controlled by a dedicated gateway computer. The project even has a handful of apps in play, which perform functions like energy monitoring, remote surveillance and face-recognition. This growing list of applications, available through a portal called “HomeStore”, will allow users to easily expand their system’s capabilities. So how does it all work out in the real world? Head past the break, and let Redmond’s research team give you the skinny.
SOURCE via Microsoft
Filed earlier this year as an extension of the existing patent 7,634,637, Nvidia has applied for a patent that describes a hierarchical processor array. The idea is that there are two or three tiers of processing cores with dedicated functions that alleviates a problem in core design that results in increasingly wide and ineffective graphics rendering pipelines.
Those pipelines include various shaders, such as a vertex shader unit, a geometry shader, a pixel shader, among others, and each of these shaders are getting wider at every level of parallel execution hardware. Nvidia says that “each massively parallel stage in a stage-by-stage pipeline tends to provide little granularity of control of portions of each parallel stage”, each “massively parallel stage becomes unwieldy and prohibitively time-consuming to design”. Additionally, “the level of utilization may decrease, as the massively parallel stage struggles during operation to find sufficiently wide units of work to fully occupy the data path.”
To keep parallelization efficient, the company describes a processor with multiple levels of processing hierarchies with “multiple classes of graphics operations being associated with a different stage of graphics processing.” However, each level would also include at least one module that is capable of processing all graphics functions. There would also be one top-level component that is able to distribute certain classes of work to lower level classes of processors. The patent specifically mentions a third-level class in the processor hierarchy that would be reserved for general purpose computations, as well as “at least one” specialized graphics function module that “is capable of performing a class of graphics operations carried out based on frame buffer data for scan out to a display.”
According to the patent application, the resulting core design is “advantageously configured to execute a large number of threads in parallel, where the term ‘thread’ refers to an instance of a particular program executing on a particular set of input data.” For example, a thread would refer to the execution of a single vertex in the shader program or individual pixel being processed by the pixel shader.
Besides greater processing efficiency, the document states that a hierarchical structure of multithreaded core array also enables a faster design of “derivative chip designs.” Faster GPUs could be built simply by “adding additional components at one or more of the levels of the hierarchy”.
April 30th, 2012
It’s taken a bit longer than we expected, but following Apple’s acquisition of app search engine Chomp, the Android option has now been cut out from its homepage. We’re now left with the choice between iPhone and iPad categories, alongside existing shortcuts for popular freebies and apps on sale, in a few efforts to cut through Cupertino’s 600,000-strong app selection. Hit up the source to give it a run for yourself.
SOURCE via TUAW
G.Skill is offering DDR3 memory kits for Intel’s Ivy bridge processors and Z77 platform. Released as TridentX series memory kits, the devices are available in 2400 MHz, 2600 MHz, 2666 MHz and 2800 MHz versions. The company says that the 2800 MHz kit has been overclocked to 3320 MHz, while the 2666 MHz kit has reached 2933 MHz.
According to the manufacturer, the TridentX memory ships with a removable top fin heat spreader to provide more flexibility when enthusiasts want to use the memory with other memory cooling systems.
The new TridentX memory is offered in 8 GB, 16 GB and 32 GB kits. pricing has not been released.
SOURCE via G.Skill