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+ - Multi-Display Gaming Artifacts Shown with AMD, 4K Affected Too->

Submitted by Vigile
Vigile (99919) writes "Multi-display gaming has really found a niche in the world of high-end PC gaming, starting when AMD released Eyefinity in 2009 in three panel configurations. AMD expanded out to 6 screen options in 2010 and NVIDIA followed shortly thereafter with a similar multi-screen solution called Surround. Over the last 12 months or so GPU performance testing has gone through a sort of revolution as the move from software measurement to hardware capture measurement has taken hold. PC Perspective has done testing with this new technology on AMD Eyefinity and NVIDIA Surround configurations at 5760x1080 resolution and found there were some substantial anomalies in the AMD captures. The AMD cards exhibited dropped frames, interleaved frames (jumping back and forth between buffers) and even stepped, non-horizontal vertical sync tearing. The result is a much lower observed frame rate than software like FRAPS would indicate and these problems will also be found when using the current top end dual-head 4K PC displays since they emulate Eyefinity and Surround for setup."
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+ - Console Manufacturers Want the Impossible?

Submitted by Phopojijo
Phopojijo (1603961) writes "Consoles have not really been able to profitably scale over the last decade or so. Capital is sacrificed to gain control over their marketshare and, even with the excessive lifespan of this recent generation, cannot generate enough revenue with that control to be worth it. Have we surpassed the point where closed platforms can be profitable and will we need to settle on an industry body, such as W3C or Khronos, to fix a standard for companies to manage slices of and compete within?"
Microsoft

+ - OpenCL has a competitor: Microsoft C++ AMP->

Submitted by
Phopojijo
Phopojijo writes "Microsoft was at AMD's Fusion Developer Summit with a keynote this morning outlining Microsoft's part in the unified computing initiative. Currently your options for easily utilizing all your computing power are limited to Apple-founded OpenCL maintained by the Khronos Group. Microsoft's alternative is called C++ Accelerated Massive Parallelism (or C++ AMP). Microsoft was clear to announce that C++ AMP would be an open specification. Any interested compiler developer would be allowed to support this specification."
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Comment: How about 4x 2.5" hot swap SSD's up front? (Score 2, Interesting) 366

by AllynM (#33175220) Attached to: Creative Uses For Extra Drive Bays?

I've been using one of these for over a year. Handy for having your OS on a 4x SSD RAID. Uses only one 5.25" bay:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16816710003

Be sure to get the beefier model (with the fans) if you want to use 4x VRaptors.

Allyn Malventano
Storage Editor, PC Perspective

Comment: Re:Two quotes stick out (Score 3, Interesting) 205

by AllynM (#32795282) Attached to: The Curious Case of SSD Performance In OS X

Apple's description of the zeroing format method we used fits the description of what we wanted in terms of resetting the SSD to a clean state

Zeroing is not the same operation as TRIM. TRIM marks a block as unused, and if you read it you'll either get random data, or zeros (probably the later). Zeroing marks it as in-use, and if you read it you'll get zeros. The SSD's wear management algorithm will move the latter around as though it were real data, whereas it knows the former is "empty" so it won't bother (so the SSD will be faster). In other words, they don't seem to be using a "clean state" at all, which would explain why there's no difference.

Not only that, but writing to all free space of many SSD's will *drop* their IOPS performance since the drive now has to track *all* sectors in the LBA remap table. This is especially true with Intel drives (even the 2nd gen). Additionally, without TRIM, most drives will then continue to track all LBA's as long as used in that same Mac.

Secondly, the SSD in the Macbook Air really isn't very fast at all

A Macbook Air is just about the worst test of SSD performance, as its SATA and other busswork is run in a much reduced power mode, meaning the bottleneck is not the SSD at all. A worst-case degraded SSD in an Air will still be faster than the other bottleneck in that system.

Allyn Malventano, CTNC, USN
Storage Editor, PC Perspective

Data Storage

+ - RevoDrive PCIe SSD Tops Performance at Lower Costs->

Submitted by Vigile
Vigile (99919) writes "PCI Express-based solid state drives are not new but getting one at a price a consumer might be willing to pay IS new. OCZ's RevoDrive combines a pair of SandForce 1200 controllers behind a basic RAID controller and eventually terminates at a PCI Express x4 connection with a capacity as high as 240GB. The key to the product is not just its absurdly impressive performance that nearly matches the ioXtreme card from Fusion-io and pushes almost 500 MB/s but also its price. The RevoDrive will cost almost the same as a standard SandForce-based 2.5-in SSD making it the fastest consumer storage option for the price. PC Perspective has a full performance evaluation that compares the RevoDrive to other PCIe SSDs and 2.5-in models to give a balanced view and still comes away truly impressed with the unit."
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Data Storage

+ - Some SSDs could get 20% capacity boost for free->

Submitted by Vigile
Vigile (99919) writes "After impressing the storage world with raw speed, certain models of Sandforce-based SSDs may be able to get a free upgrade in capacity of about 20%. OCZ has worked with the SSD controller vendor to tweak the firmware in such a way to permit less overprovisioning on the flash memory without incurring a drop in performance. PC Perspective has tested one such prototype drive that has the exact same design but is provisioned at 120GB rather than 100GB all with a firmware update. Even better, OCZ claims that users of their Sandforce-based drives will likely be able to upgrade their own drives soon as well."
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+ - New AMD 6-core CPUs Finally Compete with Intel->

Submitted by Vigile
Vigile (99919) writes "AMD has been having a difficult time in the last year or so keeping up with Intel on the consumer CPU front. While the Phenom processors have been decent, since the introduction of Intel's Core i5 and Core i7 lineup of parts AMD has never really had a chance in the performance segment. They are hoping to change that with the release of the Phenom II X6 1090T processor, a 6-core CPU that will sell for about $285. Compare that to the 6-core offering from Intel: the Core i7-980X that retails for $999 or above. No, the 1090T won't run as fast in the benchmarks as the i7-980X but it does do well in media encoding tests and is one of the best available CPUs for performance/watt and performance/dollar. Add to that mixture the new Turbo Core Technology that automatically takes the 3.2 GHz part up to 3.6 GHz when three or fewer cores are loaded, and the AMD 1090T is the best competition Intel has seen in some time."
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AMD

+ - FirePro V8800 Offers Top Performance, 4 Displays->

Submitted by Vigile
Vigile (99919) writes "Workstation class graphics cards have always been expensive and the new AMD FirePro V8800 is no exception with an estimated street price of $1499 that puts it in line with previous high-end professional releases. For that price you get a 40nm GPU running at 825 MHz with 2GB of GDDR5 memory along with support for up to four discrete displays, OpenGL 4.0, DX11 and more. This GPU is basically the same as the one used in the Radeon HD 5800-series of cards and brings the FirePro line well ahead of the top NVIDIA Quadro offerings in terms of performance. PC Perspective pits the new FirePro V8800 against the previous generation from AMD, the V8700, as well as the Quadro FX 4800 card that sells in the identical price bracket."
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Data Storage

+ - New VelociRaptor HDD Returns to take on SSDs->

Submitted by Vigile
Vigile (99919) writes "While solid state drives, including those from Western Digital itself, continue to be the star of storage technology today, platter-based traditional hard drives still remain the device of choice for most storage. Before there were SSDs, enthusiasts and PC gamers depended on the Western Digital VelociRaptor brand to keep their computers fast and the brand is back with a new 600GB SATA 6Gb/s model released today. Although seek, noise and power ratings remain nearly identical to the previous model there is a nice boost in transfer rates over other standard hard drives. As for price, the new VelociRaptor's cost per GB makes it a better deal than previous iterations though it remains well behind the ratio of any of the tested 2TB hard drives."
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Comment: Article is exaggerating things just a tad... (Score 4, Interesting) 223

by AllynM (#31669094) Attached to: Self-Destructing USB Stick

I saw a self-destructed sample of this unit at CES in January. It did not self destruct from an opening attempt, as opening those is quite easy. The drive is enclosed by a simple clear plastic shell (not epoxy filled). The 'destruction' was caused by presumably supplying voltage in excess of the USB spec. You could literally pry the plastic off of the USB drive with the included knife, and it would work just fine (sans enclosure).

Also, it would be nice if PCWorld at would at least get the name of these things correct:
http://www.swissarmy.com/multitools/Pages/Category.aspx?category=presentation+pro&

Perhaps the USB-only part is dubbed 'Secure', but you won't ask for that name when you want to buy one.

Allyn Malventano
Storage Editor, PC Perspective

Graphics

+ - NVIDIA GTX 480 and 470 GPUs are fast, really hot->

Submitted by Vigile
Vigile (99919) writes "Finally overcoming delay after delay, the highly anticipated Fermi architecture is revealed in its consumer form as the new GeForce GTX 480 and 470 graphics cards. Based on a mammoth 3.2 billion transistor piece of silicon, these new graphics cards are proving right out of the gate to be incredible performers when compared to the best of AMD's single-GPU lineup. These cards mark NVIDIA's entrance into the world of DX11 and also introduce a multi-monitor gaming competitor called NVIDIA Surround that will also support 120 Hz 3D-ready gaming displays. While their gaming performance is high, unfortunately so is the power consumption. The GTX 480 uses as much as 137 watts of additional power compared to the Radeon HD 5870 and even uses more power than the dual-GPU card from AMD, the 5970. The PC Perspective review even has some multi-card SLI numbers and the power results there are even higher!"
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