Dputiger writes: It has been almost two years since AMD launched the FirePro W9000 and kicked off a heated battle in the workstation GPU wars with NVIDIA. AMD recently released the powerful FirePro W9100, however, a new card based on the same Hawaii-class GPU as the desktop R9 290X, but aimed at the professional workstation market. The W9100’s GPU features 2,816 stream processors, and the card boasts 320GB/s of memory bandwidth, and six mini-DisplayPorts, all of which support DP1.2 and 4K output. The W9100 carries more RAM than any other AMD GPU as well, a whopping 16GB of GDDR5 on a single card. Even NVIDIA's top-end Quadro K6000 tops out at 12GB, which means AMD sits in a class by itself in this area. In terms of performance, this review shows that the FirePro W9100 doesn’t always outshine its competition, but its price/performance ratio keep it firmly in the running. But if AMD continues to improve its product mix and overall software support, it should close the gap even more in the pro GPU market in the next 18-24 months.
Dputiger writes: Since Nvidia debuted its GameWorks libraries there's been allegations that they unfairly disadvantaged AMD users or prevented developers from optimizing code. We've taken these questions to developers themselves and asked them to weigh in on how games get optimized, why Nvidia built this program, and whether its an attempt to harm AMD customers.
Dputiger writes: Nvidia's GameWorks program has been marketed as an extension of The Way It's Meant To Be Played that gives developers access to Nvidia-created libraries for implementing advanced DX11 functions. Unfortunately, those libraries are closed — which means neither the developer, AMD, or Intel can optimize their own drivers for running a GameWorks game. GameWorks is already used in titles like Arkham Origins and Assassin's Creed IV — which means Nvidia now controls how its competitors' perform in those titles.
Dputiger writes: When AMD announced the FX-9590 this past summer, it was an obvious move to win back support from enthusiasts. With a 4.7GHz base clock and 5GHz Turbo, can the AMD CPU challenge Intel in high-end gaming with either the brand-new R9 290X or the older dual-GPU Radeon HD 7990?
Dputiger writes: It's been a decade since AMD's Athlon 64 FX-51 debuted — and launched the 64-bit x86 extensions that power the desktop and laptop world today. After a year of being bludgeoned by the P4, AMD roared back with a vengeance, kicking off a brief golden age for its own products, and seizing significant market share in desktops and servers.
Dputiger writes: Microsoft has unveiled both the Surface 2 and Surface 2 Pro, updating the former with a Tegra 4 processor and the latter with a new Haswell chip. Among the additional improvements are a more comfortable kickstand with two height settings, 1080p displays for both devices, USB 3.0 support, better battery life, and a higher resolution camera. Pricing for the 32GB Surface without a Touch or Type Cover is set at $449
Dputiger writes: Given the recent emphasis on mobile computing and the difficulty of scaling large cores, it's easy to think that enthusiast computing is dead. Easy — but not necessarily true. There are multiple ways to attack the problem of continued scaling, including new semiconductor materials, specialized co-processor units that implement software applications in silicon, and enhanced cooling techniques to reduce on-die hot spots.
Dputiger writes: Tor Mail, Lavabit, and Silent Circle all killed their email services in the past week, leaving something of a service gap for users concerned with privacy protections. Other popular products, like Hushmail, have a history of turning over data when asked. Extremetech discusses two EU-based alternatives, as well as the reasons for not using email for private communications — it's too difficult to secure.
Dputiger writes: Imagination Technologies is mostly known for its mobile GPU products, but the company owns a specialized raytracing vendor as well. The Caustic R2500 is the first high-end dedicated ray tracing unit to ship and it offers much higher performance than typical software solutions for a relatively cheap (by workstation standards) price.
Dputiger writes: The H.265 / HEVC (High Efficiency Video Codec) promises to deliver equal or better quality than H.264 at substantial bandwidth savings, but so far, there's been no way to confirm the projected results. This article examines the performance of an early alpha version of the open source x265 encoder against x264, and while it's very early days for the new standard, it delivers some substantial bandwidth savings. Source code should be available later today at x265.org.
Dputiger writes: In the wake of activist Aaron Swartz's suicide, MIT launched an investigation into the circumstances that led to his initial arrest and felony charges. It's now clear that the move was nothing but a face-saving gesture. Moments before the court-ordered release of Swartz's Secret Service file under the Freedom of Information Act, MIT intervened asking the judge to block the release. Supposedly this is to protect the identities of MIT staff who might be harassed — but government policy is to redact such information already.
Dputiger writes: AMD has announced that it's launching a new FX processor with a 225W TDP and a 4.7GHz base clock / 5GHz Turbo speed. We decided to see how an overclocked FX-8350 would compare if set to the same clock speeds courtesy of a phase-change cryo cooler. The performance gains are significant in some areas, but this is definitely an uphill battle.
Dputiger writes: AMD has held a huge advantage in Bitcoin hashing performance for years, even against top-end Nvidia cards like the GTX Titan. This article examines the performance difference between the two companies, tests a new, CUDA-optimized kernel, and discusses why even the GTX Titan can barely beat AMD's $149 HD 7790. It's not just core counts — AMD's underlying GPU architecture has several advantages over Nvidia in this area.
Dputiger writes: Nvidia's latest GTX Titan puts a renewed focus on multi-monitor gaming, but how does it compare against other cards at half the price? Field of view adjustments, the impact of bezels, and single-card performance at multiple detail levels are all covered, as is the price of multi-screen setups.
Dputiger writes: The MegaUpload debacle, growing concerns over user privacy when using cloud services, and the hack against Wired contributor Mat Honan all point to a growing need for a cloud user's bill of rights.
This article proposes such a bill and discusses five current events that illustrate the need for increased protections. My goal was to balance a user's right to access personal data and understand how that data is used against the fair needs of companies that provide cloud services and the government's ability to conduct legal investigations.