AMD have released their Catalyst 11.11 driver today, with it bringing Adobe Flash Player 11 support which enables the full support of the GPU accelerated Stage 3D API and Stage 3D applications. It is supported on the AMD Radeon HD Series of GPUs, A-Series and E-Series APUs.
Highlights of the Linux-based 11.11 driver are, support for OpenSUSE 12.1 early look support and seamless GPU compute support. The AMD Accelerated Parallel Processing (APP) OpenCL runtime is now enabled by default within the AMD Catalyst driver for Linux. Applications that leverage OpenCL for GPU-based compute tasks will now automatically benefit from the significant performance boost that this provides.
The driver also includes support for the latest CrossfireX profiles, which include Battlefield 3, Global Ops - Commando Libya and Driver: San Fransisco.
Wow. It was 10 years ago today that Microsoft unleashed the Xbox onto the gaming world. 100,000 units were shipped to retailers in the first week after its launch, and 1.5 million were sold before the end of 2001. This made the Xbox the best-selling video game console launch on record, and quite the achievement [unlocked?] for Microsoft. The picture below shows Edward Glucksman, where Bill Gates hands over the very first Xbox video game system to him.
10 years later, Microsoft have quite the collection of additions to the Xbox brand such as the current Xbox 360, Xbox LIVE and Kinect for 360. Xbox LIVE boasts 35 million members worldwide who spend 2.1 billion hours per month on the service. Kinect for 360 set a Guinness World Record for the fastest-selling consumer electronic device, selling 8 million in just 60 days.
I still personally remember the original Xbox, Halo looked stunning. Absolutely stunning. Project Gotham Racing saw me pouring unlimited amounts of hours into it. Since then, Microsoft seem to have concentrated more on their Xbox products than PC, which is disappointing for PC owners, but great for console gamers. Let's hope we don't have to wait 3 - 4 more years for another Xbox, launch one next year, Microsoft. We all need the push for games.
We've had some truly amazing games over the last few months, and Skyrim is definitely one of the creme of the crop. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim has sold over 3.4 million copies at retail in its first 2 days on sale. Keep in mind that this is without the inclusion of digital sales (Steam, etc).
This is an increase of over 600-percent on top of what Oblivion sold, with an opening of just 490,000 copies. Skyrim is set to outsell Oblivion in mere weeks. 59-percent of units sold were on the Xbox 360 (over 2 million copies) and 27-percent were on the PS3. The PC? Just 14-percent, again, without digital sales included.
NVIDIA have just announced that the Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC) is developing a new hybrid supercomputer that, for the first time, uses energy-efficient, low-power NVIDIA Tegra ARM VCPUs, together with high-performance NVIDIA CUDA GPUs. BSC is in the planning stages and hopes to roll out the new ARM-based supercomputer, with a near-term goal of demonstrating two to five times improvement in energy efficiency compared with today's most efficient systems.
BSC's ultimate research goal is to establish exascale-level performance while using 15 to 30 times less power than current supercomputer architectures. This so-called EU Mont-Blanc Project will explore next-generation HPC architectures and develop a portfolio of exascale applications that run efficiently on these kinds of energy-efficient, embedded mobile technologies.
As ARM gains more support around the world with ARM-based initiatives, NVIDIA have also announced plans to develop a new hardware and software development kit. NVIDIA's new kit, with hardware developed by SECO, will sport a quad-core NVIDIA Tegra 3 ARM CPU accelerated by a discrete NVIDIA GPU.
It seems every few months there's some news about RIM, BlackBerry are dying, BlackBerry are returning... well, now we have the first-ever photo of the next set of BlackBerry devices, which will sport RIM's new BBX operating system.
The phone in the above picture is the BlackBerry "London", and should have a June 2012 release. The phone sports a TI OMAP dual-core 1.5GHz CPU, 1GB of RAM, 16GB of on-board storage, an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera, 2-megapixel front-facing camera and is reportedly "thinner than the iPhone 4" and roughly the same size as Samsung's Galaxy S II.
Currently, ASUS' original Transformer tablet goes for around $400. But, a Best Buy Black Friday advertisement shows that the 10.1-inch, Tegra 2-powered tablet will hit $249.99. But, this deal will only apply to people who will want to wait in line, and even more so, 10 units will be allocated per store.
Transformer Prime is hitting early next month, but for $249.99, it is hard to miss if you're currently Tablet-less. Best Buy Black Friday sales are pretty ruthless, so if you do go, I suggest levelling up your real life character to sustain more damage, and maybe resistance to stomping.
I use a Transformer tablet myself and love it. For $249.99 it just makes it even better value for money... but for those who want to stay on the bleeding edge, the Transformer Prime isn't too far away...
One thing that really irks me with Windows (and even OS X) is updating and the requirement of restarting. I've never understood how operating systems have come this far with everything happening behind the scenes, yet it requires user intervention to do simple things like "when would you like to restart, I've just done updates, come on!".
Microsoft are working on this for Windows 8, which will see Windows Update consolidate all the restarts in a month, synchronizing with the monthly security release. This means that your PC will only restart when security updates are installed and actually require a restart. Security updates are released in a single batch on the second Tuesday of every month, where this will keep the system secure, in a timely manner, reduces restarts and makes restarts more predictable.
ASUS may have announced their Tegra 3 first, Eee Pad Transformer Prime, but that was last week. This week, we have Lenovo preparing to enter the battlefield with a 10.1-inch tablet that will include NVIDIA's seriously awesome Tegra 3 SoC, and it will also sport Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.
The tablet doesn't have a name yet, but it will feature 2GB of 1,600MHz (!) DDR3 RAM, a standard USB host socket covered by a pop-out flap, a rear-facing camera with an unknown resolution with an LED flash, a "Special Fusion-Skin Body" and a fingerprint scanner on the backside that apparently doubles as an optional joystick. Lenovo, way to go!
The device is expected to splash down before the end of the year, but its unclear whether this will be the launch window in the company's home of China, or elsewhere.
In the developmental stages, DICE had intentions of making Battlefield 3 a contendor in the e-Sports community. What happened? Origin and Battlelog happened, that's what. Battlelog is good, it allows you to support clans through "Platoons", which organizes squads, but its far from perfect.
There could be a future where Battlelog allows you to schedule events, formally and publicly challenge other platoons to a match or tournament, which would show up on the Battlefeed. If DICE introduced the Battlerecorder, that would be another huge tick in the e-Sports book of awesomeness. Spectator mode would also be a huge addition, allowing people to sit in on a live match being played.
Now, if I had to fly somewhere in the world to do a story, it would be Google X. Most large enterprises like Google have something similar, Apple has reportedly had their room where Steve Jobs would tinker with unreleased, or fantasy products, but Google X... wow.
Only a handful of people even know where this secret facility is located, and even less is known about the lab itself, or the people involved. Google will no doubt be working on some super secret and mind-blowing creations and concepts behind its closed, air-locked, arm-guarded doors. The New York Times reports that when Google employees were asked about the project, very few knew anything at all about it.