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Submission + - Microstuttering compromises performance of $1000 Radeon HD 7990 flagship (

crookedvulture writes: Slashdot's early coverage of AMD's dual-GPU Radeon HD 7990 relied on data collected with Nvidia's FCAT tools, which capture frames just before they hit the display. FCAT is great for quantifying smooth frame delivery, but it doesn't track interruptions earlier in the pipeline that can produce perceptible jitter in the game animation. Those interruptions can be measured with Fraps, correlated with FCAT data, and complemented with video samples to achieve a much deeper understanding of actual performance. Combining those tools to evaluate the 7990 reveals microstuttering that produces choppier gameplay than a single-GPU Radeon with half the theoretical horsepower (and a much lower price). AMD has prototype frame pacing software that can smooth out the stuttering in some games, but there's no timetable for its release. Right now, you're better with the $400 Radeon HD 7970 than you are with AMD's $1000 flagship.

Submission + - iPad melts charging cord, nearly combusts ( 1

EconolineCrush writes: Apple might have an answer for the iPhone 4's antenna issues, but a potential problem with the iPad could be tougher to fix. At least one user's iPad nearly combusted while the device was plugged in, melting the charging cable in the process. Similar problems prompted mass notebook battery recalls a few years ago, although this seems to be the only case of iPad-related melting reported thus far. Have any Slashdot users observed similar behavior with their iPads?

Submission + - PhysX API mired by poor optimization, x87 code (

EconolineCrush writes: Nvidia has long pushed its PhysX game physics middleware as a prime candidate for GPU acceleration. However, it seems that the company may have also taken steps to ensure that PhysX performs poorly when run on a modern CPU. Despite the fact that physics calculations lend themselves to parallel processing, games tend to implement PhysX with a single thread. PhysX also relies largely on x87 code rather than SSE instructions. The latter should run faster and make life easier for developers, and Nvidia has taken advantage of similar instructions with its console-specific PhysX implementations. But not on the PC, which smells like a willful attempt to hinder PhysX performance on anything but an Nvidia GPU.

AMD Multi-Display Tech Has Problems, Potential 138

EconolineCrush writes "While AMD's Eyefinity multi-display gaming tech is undeniably impressive at first glance, digging deeper reveals key limitations. Some games work well, others not at all, and many are simply better suited to specific screen configurations. A three-way setup looks to be ideal from a compatibility perspective, and given current LCD prices, it's really not all that expensive. But would you take that over a single high-resolution display or a giant HDTV?"

Submission + - AMD multi-display tech has problems, potential ( 2

EconolineCrush writes: While AMD's Eyefinity multi-display gaming tech is undeniably impressive at first glance, digging deeper reveals key limitations. Some games work well, others not at all, and many are simply better suited to specific screen configurations. A three-way setup looks to be ideal from a compatibility perspective, and given current LCD prices, it's really not all that expensive. But would you take one over a single high-resolution display or a giant HDTV?

Submission + - Intel goes after ARM with new Atom Z600 series (

EconolineCrush writes: Despite fueling a netbook revolution, the Atom processor has always been destined for smaller devices. Intel's pint-sized platform moves firmly into tablet and smartphone territory with the new Atom Z600 series, whose power draw has been cut dramatically. This detailed look at the "Moorestown" platform explores the extensive power-saving measures Intel employed to bring about a claimed 50X reduction in idle power draw. The article also delves into improvements to the Atom's underlying system architecture, its integrated graphics component, and its x86 CPU core. x86 compatibility looks to be the new Atom's biggest asset over competing platforms, but it remains to be seen whether that will matter as much with tablets and smartphones as it has with netbooks.

Submission + - System guide recommends five desktop PC configs

EconolineCrush writes: The Tech Report has updated its system guide, providing a comprehensive set of recommendations for desktop PCs at around $500, $850, $1400, and well over $3,000. This latest guide takes into account recent releases like Intel's six-core Core i7-980X and Nvidia's Fermi-derived GeForce GTX 400-series graphics cards. It also features a new one-off build designed to be a quiet yet powerful microATX system. Recommended reading for anyone putting together a new desktop PC.

Submission + - Nvidia's DX11 GF100 graphics processor detailed (

J. Dzhugashvili writes: While it's played up the general-purpose computing prowess of its next-gen GPU architecture, Nvidia has talked little about Fermi's graphics capabilities—so much so that some accuse Nvidia of turning its back on PC gaming. Not so, says The Tech Report in a detailed architectural overview of GF100, the first Fermi-based consumer graphics processor. Alongside a wealth of technical information, the article includes enlightening estimates and direct comparisons with AMD's Radeon HD 5870. The GF100 will be up to twice as fast as the GeForce GTX 285, the author reckons, but the gap with the Radeon HD 5870 should be "a bit more slender." Still, Nvidia may have the fastest consumer GPU ever on its hands—and far from forsaking games, Fermi has been built as a graphics processor first and foremost.

Submission + - $199 Intel Core i5 packs punch at bargain price ( 1

An anonymous reader writes: Today, Intel is bringing its quad-core, eight-thread 'Nehalem' architecture to the mainstream with three new processors: the Core i5-750, Core i7-860, and Core i7-870. These CPUs start at just $199, and they fit inside new motherboards featuring Intel's also-new P55 Express chipset. (P55 boards should be quite affordable, too, with prices starting below $150.) For the low-down on the new hardware, you should check out The Tech Report, which has published thorough reviews of the new Lynnfield chips, the P55 chipset, and three different P55 motherboards designed to accommodate them. The results are surprising: despite the lower CPU and platform prices, Lynnfield can match or outdo the original Core i7-900 series, not to mention older Core 2 Quads and (unfortunately for AMD) the fastest Phenom IIs. More surprising still, Lynnfield systems have extremely low idle power utilization, well below that of even current dual-core CPUs.

Submission + - Windows 7: Should desktop users buy into the hype? ( 4

J. Dzhugashvili writes: We've all seen blog posts hyping up Windows 7, often with cut-and-pasted MS screenshots and feature descriptions. But what's it like to sit down and use the operating system on a desktop PC? Do new features deserve the hype? Do they work as advertised? The folks at The Tech Report have been using the final version of Windows 7 since shortly after its release to manufacturing, and they've posted an article that tries to answer those questions. A number of improvements, like the updated Backup and Restore functionality and Remote Desktop Direct3D support, have slipped through the blogosphere's radar. On the flip side, those who migrate from Vista shouldn't expect flawless compatibility or performance from the new additions. HomeGroup, for instance, interfaces in bizarre ways with the regular File Sharing interface, and Device Stage doesn't do much yet. The article also breaks down the different Windows 7 editions and explains why Home Premium now looks like a better choice for most users.

Submission + - AMD's Phenom II 965: 3.4GHz, 140 Watts, $245 (

AnInkle writes: At a time when power consumption is a top concern and most applications are rarely constrained by the CPU, AMD bolsters it's lineup by releasing a new top-end 140-watt TDP rated processor. The Phenom II X4 965 clocks in at 3.4GHz and debuts at about the same price as Intel's Core 2 Quad Q9550, indicating it's not intended to steal the performance crown. Nevertheless, this processor could further enhance AMD's competitiveness across the middle of the market, where even most performance-minded shoppers make their selections. Check out The Tech Report's benchmarks and analysis for the scoop, including a careful look at total system power use and those oh-so-much-fun scatter graphs, which illustrate the value proposition among 21 processors from both teams.

Submission + - Desktop CPU round-up spans 26 processors

theraindog writes: The number of different CPU models available from AMD and Intel is daunting to say the least. The Tech Report's latest CPU review makes some sense of the mess, exploring the performance and power consumption characteristics of more than two dozen desktop processors between the $999 Core i7-975 and more affordable sub-$100 chips. TR also highlights the value proposition offered by each CPU on its own and as a part of the total cost of a system. The resulting scatter plots nicely illustrate which CPUs deliver the best performance per dollar.

Submission + - AMD's six-core Istanbul Opterons reviewed

EconolineCrush writes: AMD's latest "Istanbul" Opterons add two cores per socket, for a grand total of six. Despite the extra cores, these new chips reside within the same power envelope as existing quad-core Opterons, and they're drop-in compatible with current systems. The Tech Report has an in-depth review of the new chips, comparing their performance and power efficiency with that of Intel's Nehalem-based Xeons. Istanbul fares surprisingly well, particularly when one considers its performance-power ratio with highly parallelized workloads.

Submission + - How much should you spend on a graphics card? 4

theraindog writes: "High-end graphics cards get all the glory, but most folks have a difficult time justifying $300 or more for a single PC component. But what if you could get reasonable performance in all the latest games from a budget card costing as little as $70? With game developers targeting the relatively modest hardware available in current consoles and trickle-down bringing cutting-edge features down to budget price points, today's low-end graphics cards are more capable than ever. To find out which one offers the best value proposition, The Tech Report has rounded up eight graphics cards between $70 and $170, comparing their game performance, Blu-ray playback acceleration, noise levels, and power consumption, with interesting results."
Hardware Hacking

Submission + - Build a loaded gaming PC for less than $1K (

An anonymous reader writes: The Tech Report has squeezed thousands of man-hours of experience into a new and improved system guide. Among the guide's four sample PCs is a mouth-watering $965 build that balances excellent CPU performance (via an Intel Core 2 Duo E8400) with screaming-fast graphics (using AMD's new Radeon HD 4850)—not to mention a surprisingly balanced set of complementary parts, including 4GB of fast DDR2 memory and an Antec Sonata enclosure. If you're shopping for a new PC, look no further.

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