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+ - Intel Integrated Iris Pro Graphics Closes The Performance Gap Vs. AMD->

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid (1002251) writes "Over the years, Intel's integrated graphics engine in their Core series processor haven't exactly been known to be very robust. Before Intel's Haswell series processors arrived, it could be argued that Intel integrated graphics weren't good for much more than some video rendering and maybe some low resolution, entry-level gaming at best. However, with Intel's recent Haswell release with Iris Pro 5200 Graphics on board, the company appears to have dramatically closed the gaming and graphics performance gap between their solutions and competitive integrated solutions from AMD and even entry level discrete graphics performance. In the benchmarks with the new Gigabyte BRIX Pro small form factor system, Intel's Core i7-4770R with Iris Pro 5200 Graphics on board, is actually able to maintain very playable frame rates in recent DX11 titles, right up to 1080p resolution, even with a bit of AA turned on. It will be interesting to see what Intel's follow-on Broadwell chip can do at 14nm. If Intel can maintain consistent driver updates the future looks bright for Intel integrated graphics."
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+ - NVIDIA Unveils Next Gen Pascal GPU With Stacked 3D DRAM And GeForce GTX Titan Z

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid (1002251) writes "NVIDIA's 2014 GTC (GPU Technology Conference) kicked off today in San Jose California, with NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang offering up a healthy dose of new information on next generation NVIDIA GPU technologies. Two new NVIDIA innovations will be employed in their next-gen GPU technology, now know by its code named "Pascal." First, there's a new serial interconnect known as NVLink for GPU-to-CPU and GPU-to-GPU communication. Though details were sparse, apparently NVLink is a serial interconnect that employs differential signaling with embedded clock and it allows for unified memory architectures and eventually cache coherency. It's similar to PCI Express in terms of command set and programming model but NVLink will offer a massive 5 — 12X boost in bandwidth up to 80GB/sec. The second technology to power NVIDIA's forthcoming Pascal GPU is 3D stacked DRAM technology.The technique employs through-silicon vias that allow the ability to stack DRAM die on top of each other and thus provide much more density in the same PCB footprint for the DRAM package. Jen-Hsun also used his opening keynote to show off NVIDIA's most powerful graphics card to date, the absolutely monstrous GeForce GTX Titan Z. The upcoming GeForce GTX Titan Z is powered by a pair of GK110 GPUs, the same chips that power the GeForce GTX Titan Black and GTX 780 Ti. All told, the card features 5,760 CUDA cores (2,880 per GPU) and 12GB of frame buffer memory—6GB per GPU. NVIDIA also said that the Titan Z's GPUs are tuned to run at the same clock speed, and feature dynamic power balancing so neither GPU creates a performance bottleneck."

+ - NVIDIA Unveils Lineup of GeForce 800M Series Mobile GPUs, Many With Maxwell->

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid (1002251) writes "The power efficiency of NVIDA's Maxwell architecture make it ideal for mobile applications, so today's announcement by NVIDIA of a new top-to-bottom line-up of mobile GPUs—most of them featuring the Maxwell architecture—should come as no surprise. Though a couple of Kepler and even Fermi-based GPUs still exist in NVIDIA's new line-up, the heart of the product stack leverages Maxwell. The entry-level parts in the GeForce 800M series consist of the GeForce GT 820M, 830M, and 840M. The 820M is a Fermi-based GPU, but the 830M and 840M are new chips that leverage Maxwell. The meat of the GeForce GTX 800M series consist of Kepler-based GPUs, though Maxwell is employed in the more mainstream parts. NVIDIA is claiming the GeForce GTX 880M will be fastest mobile GPU available, but the entire GTX line-up will offer significantly higher performance then any integrated graphics solution. The GeForce GTX 860M and 850M are essentially identical to the desktop GeForce GTX 750 Ti, save for different frequencies and memory configurations. There are a number of notebooks featuring NVIDIA's GeForce 800M series GPUs coming down the pipeline from companies like Alienware, Asus, Gigabyte, Lenovo, MSI and Razer, though others are sure the follow suit. Some of the machines will be available immediately."
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+ - Intel Debuts Merrifield and Moorefield Designs at MWC->

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid (1002251) writes "Intel is announcing its new tablet and smartphone designs this week at Mobile World Congress, alongside a major push to drive adoption of its 28nm XMM 7160 and XMM 7260 modem technology. It's been two years since Intel launched its first serious Atom-based smartphone platform, codenamed Medfield. The chips that will power these efforts are the Z34 and Z35 families, known as Merrifield and Moorefield, respectively. The new Merrifield core will use a 4G-capable XMM 7160 modem, a 1080p camera capable of 60 FPS capture, and the same Bay Trail CPU that was previously released. While it lacks Hyper-Threading, the addition of out-of-order processing means that the dual-core Bay Trail will be significantly faster than the older, in-order Atom parts. Merrifield also uses a PowerVR GPU core based on Series 6 (codenamed "Rogue"). This new GPU core is substantially more powerful than the older cores Intel used in the past and contains four separate compute clusters. Historically, Intel's tablets and smartphones have targeted "acceptable" graphics rather than fielding anything genuinely first rate, but that may change in 2014."
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+ - You Can't Make This Up: 'Goat Simulator' A Real Game Available For Pre-Order->

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid (1002251) writes "For the record, Goat Simulator was never meant to be a real game. It was just a silly bit of code that spilled out of the brains of the game developer staff at Coffee Stain Studios. But then the Internet caught a glimpse of the rough simulator and viewers unanimously agreed that this had to happen. And so it has. Goat Simulator is exactly as it sounds — you're a goat and you run around doing naughty goat-like things. Judging by the trailer, you also have the ability to defy physics for more goat mayhem than you thought possible. We're talking giant leaps off of trampolines with some crazy acrobatics. When it comes down to it, though, the real fun is wreaking havoc on humans."
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+ - AMD's Mantle API Benchmarked With Battlefield 4 Versus DirectX->

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid (1002251) writes "AMD has been working on a new set of drivers which enable their Mantle API and a number of other features as well. AMD's Catalyst 14.1 betas are the first publicly available drivers from AMD that support Mantle, AMD’s “close to the metal” API that lets developers wring additional performance from systems equipped with GCN-based GPUs. The new drivers also add support for the HSA-related features introduced with the recently released Kaveri APU, and will reportedly fix the frame pacing issues associated with Radeon HD 7000 series CrossFire configurations as well. With the first round of benchmark numbers from Battlefield 4, Mantle has a significant impact on performance. On the GPU-bound A10-7850K, when tested with its on-processor Radeon R7 graphics, BF4’s performance increased roughly 10%. Pop in a powerful discrete GPU, however, and the gains are much larger. When the A10-7850K was paired to a Radeon R9 290X, utilizing Mantle resulted in a 28% increase in performance over DirectX. Performing the same test with that Radeon R9 290X installed in the Core i3-4330-based system showed Mantle outperforming DirectX by about 13%. Gaming conditions and systems that are CPU as well as GPU-limited seem to benefit the most, as evidenced by the huge gains seen in Star Swarm benchmarks. What’s also clear is that Microsoft hasn’t done enough to optimize graphics performance on the PC. DirectX has evolved greatly over the years and has enabled developers to create some fantastic looking games. But with overheard so high, there’s too much performance being sacrificed, likely for no good reason."
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+ - Big Cable Tries To Outlaw Google Fiber, AT&T Attacks Net Neutrality->

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid (1002251) writes "Two events in the telecommunications and cable world this week have highlighted why, exactly, we need net neutrality and stronger protections for consumer rights. First, on the cable side of the business, Time Warner Cable, Cox, Eagle Communications, and Comcast have collectively introduced a bill into the Kansas legislature that prevents any city from rolling out any broadband infrastructure unless said area is completely cut off from the grid. It would bar the use of eminent domain for the purpose of providing better service to a city's citizens. And not incidentally, it makes Google Fiber effectively illegal. The bill would outlaw public/private partnerships, open access approaches, and the partnership that brought Google Fiber to Kansas City. It doesn't have a single sponsor, but was proposed by John Federico, president of the Kansas Cable Telecommunications Association. Meanwhile, AT&T has been quietly assembling a patent portfolio for itself that simultaneously attacks net neutrality and consumer rights. The company applied for a patent titled "Prevention Of Bandwidth Abuse Of A Communications System" in October 2012. The abstract reads, in part: "A user of a communications network is prevented from consuming an excessive amount of channel bandwidth by restricting use of the channel in accordance with the type of data being downloaded to the user. The user is provided an initial number of credits. As the user consumes the credits, the data being downloaded is checked to determine if is permissible or non-permissible.""
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+ - AMD Catalyst Driver To Enable Mantle, Fix Frame Pacing, Support HSA For Kaveri->

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid (1002251) writes "AMD has a new set of drivers coming in a couple of days that are poised to resolve a number of longstanding issues and enable a handful of new features as well, most notably support for Mantle. AMD's new Catalyst 14.1 beta driver is going to be the first publicly available driver from AMD that will support Mantle, AMD’s “close to the metal” API that will let developers wring additional performance from GCN-based GPUs. However, the new drivers will also add support for the HSA-related features introduced with the recently released Kaveri APU, and will reportedly fix the frame pacing issues associated with Radeon HD 7000 series CrossFire configurations. A patch for Battlefield 4 is due to arrive soon as well and AMD is claiming performance gains in excess of 40 percent in CPU limited scenarios but smaller gains in GPU-limited conditions, with average gains of 11 — 13 percent over all."
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+ - Computer Scientists Invents Game-Developing Computer AI->

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid (1002251) writes "Over the past few years, short game writing "jams" have become a popular way to bring developers together in a conference with a single overarching theme. These competitions are typically 24-48 hours long and involve a great deal of caffeine, frantic coding, and creative design. The 28th Ludum Dare conference from held from December 13 — 16 of this past year was one such game jam — but in this case, it had an unusual participant: Angelina. Angelina is a computer AI designed by Mike Cook of Goldsmiths, London University. His long-term goal is to discover whether an AI can complete tasks that are generally perceived as creative. The long-term goal is to create an AI that can "design meaningful, intelligent and enjoyable games completely autonomously." Angelina's entry into Ludum Dare, dubbed "To That Sect," is a simple 3D title that looks like it hails from the Wolfenstein era. Angelina's initial game is simple, but in reality Angelina is an AI that can understand the use of metaphor and build thematically appropriate content, which is pretty impressive. As future versions of the AI improve, the end result could be an artificial intelligence that "understands" human storytelling in a way no species on Earth can match."
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+ - AMD Announces Radeon R7 260, Affordable DX11 GPU For $109->

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid (1002251) writes "AMD is closing out the year with yet another new GPU announcement, though this one isn’t quite like the last few. AMD wants to bring its GCN architecture, Mantle support, and TrueAudio engine down to ever lower price points, with a new member of the Radeon R7 family, dubbed the Radeon R7 260. The Radeon R7 260 offers peak compute performance of 1.54TFLOPs and memory bandwidth of 96GB/s with 768 stream processors, a 1GHz engine clock and 1GB of GDDR5 at 6Gbps. Performance-wise, the card performs at about the same level or somewhat lower than a Radeon HD 7790 and markedly lower than the higher-end Radeon R7 260X and GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost. The Radeon R7 260’s power consumption, however, is the lowest of the bunch, which will probably appeal to some. AMD has noted that all of its board partners will be offering custom Radeon R7 260 cards when they hit store shelves in a few weeks."
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+ - Xbox One Review Shows Microsoft Offers Much More Than Just Gaming->

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid (1002251) writes "Microsoft has lifted the embargo on full reviews of the Xbox One and it's clear the system is more than just a game console. Of course, the Xbox One plays games—really well, actually. With its updated hardware, more refined controllers, new Kinect sensor, and strong developer support, the Xbox One is an excellent gaming platform. However, Microsoft’s incorporation of a hypervisor that allows the Xbox One to run the Xbox OS and Windows 8 kernel simultaneously opens up a world of additional possibilities. Essentially, you’ve got a device that’s equally as adept at running a cutting-edge game as it is playing back HD video, browsing the web, or video conferencing. The Xbox One's specifications read like a mainstream game PC. At the heart of the Xbox One is an AMD-built, semi-custom APU, featuring 8 "Jaguar" x86-64 CPU cores clocked at up to 1.75GHz and a GCN-based GPU with 768 stream processors, clocked at 853MHz. The APU also features a 32MB eSRAM cache. The APU is paired to 8GB of DDR3-2133 memory and the storage subsystem features 8GB of flash, a 500GB hard disk drive for game installs and bulk storage, and slot-loading Blu-Ray drive. The Xbox One also sports USB 3.0 supports, Gigabit Ethernet, dual-band 2.4GHz + 5GHz 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, and a dedicated audio off-load processor. Xbox One games that are being shown thus far were expectedly a mix of bold and bland. The hottest titles like Ryse: Son of Rome, Forza Motorsport 5, Dead Rising 3, and Killer Instinct are likely to sell a ton of consoles. They simply look good, play well and will provide lots of fun. Ryse and Forza in particular look impressive."
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+ - NVIDIA Announces Tesla K40 GPU Accelerator and IBM Partnership In Supercomputing->

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid (1002251) writes "The supercomputing conference SC13 kicks off this week and Nvidia is kicking off their own event with the launch of a new GPU and a strategic partnership with IBM. Just as the GTX 780 Ti was the full consumer implementation of the GK110 GPU, the new K40 Tesla card is the supercomputing / HPC variant of the same core architecture. The K40 picks up additional clock headroom and implements the same variable clock speed threshold that has characterized Nvidia's consumer cards for the past year, for a significant overall boost in performance. The other major shift between Nvidia's previous gen K20X and the new K40 is the amount of on-board RAM. K40 packs a full 12GB and clocks it modestly higher to boot. That's important because datasets are typically limited to on-board GPU memory (at least, if you want to work with any kind of speed). Finally, IBM and Nvidia announced a partnership to combine Tesla GPUs and Power CPUs for OpenPOWER solutions. The goal is to push the new Tesla cards as workload accelerators for specific datacenter tasks. According to Nvidia's release, Tesla GPUs will ship alongside Power8 CPUs, which are currently scheduled for a mid-2014 release date. IBM's venerable architecture is expected to target a 4GHz clock speed and offer up to 12 cores with 96MB of shared L3 cache. A 12-core implementation would be capable of handling up to 96 simultaneous threads. The two should make for a potent combination."
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+ - Microsoft Announces 3D Builder 3D Printing App For Windows 8.1->

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid (1002251) writes "Microsoft really seems to be on board with the whole 3D printing thing, loading Windows 8.1 with native 3D printing capabilities and working closely with MakerBot to develop a driver for the Replicator 2 3D printer, but that’s not all apparently. Microsoft also now has an app called 3D Builder that lets users more easily set up a design for 3D printing. 3D Builder, which is available for free in the Windows Store starting today, lets users manipulate existing designs stashed in the app’s library or upload their own designs made in other applications. Features include the ability to scale, arrange, rotate, and adjust objects and even stack or push designs together to create something new."
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+ - AMD Targets Mantle To Redefine Game Development, AMD Hardware Not Required->

Submitted by MojoKid
MojoKid (1002251) writes "One of the major planks of AMD's APU13 developer conference has been an in-depth discussion of its next-generation API, Mantle. Mantle, which first debuted at the company's Hawaii GPU unveil in late September, has been billed as a high-performance alternative to DirectX 11. According to multiple sources, including Johan Anderrson from DICE, Mantle is a thin layer abstraction that sits over hardware, not an AMD-specific product. There's no reason NVIDIA couldn't use Mantle in future products and, not surprisingly, multiple speakers at the event expressed interest in seeing that happen at some point in the future. One of the issues plaguing DirectX development for years has been the fact that the API itself consumes a great deal of CPU overhead in certain scenarios. This is exacerbated if the developer launches many small batches of triangles for rendering. Every batch of draw calls consumes additional CPU power, so the goal is to group draw calls as efficiently as possible. According to AMD, you can reasonably hit 4-5K worth of draw calls in a given scenario. Really great programmers may hit as high as 10K, briefly, but even that's tiny when you consider that the PS3 and Xbox 360 can regularly field 20-30K in draw calls. With Mantle, AMD wants to close that gap and is targeting 100K draw calls per second with Mantle."
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+ - CyanogenMod Windows-based installer released, with supporting Android app

Submitted by Zanadou
Zanadou (1043400) writes "CyanogenMod today released for general availability a friendly[er]-to-use Windows-based installer that will automagically (no need to first root and/or unlock the bootloader) step users though downloading, flashing and setting up an appropriate CyanogenMod version on supported Android phones. Along with this, a "companion app" that apparently helps setup the installer is now available the Play Store, along with a newly-refreshed download page. Still no image for 'hammerhead' (Nexus 5), though."

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