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Intel is pulling out all the stops to get its Larrabee GPUs inside Microsoft's next-gen Xbox (Xbox 720) or another console, according to The Inquirer citing unnamed sources.
As rumours go this doesn't sound too off the mark. MS needs a graphics chip for the Xbox 720, and Intel, along with NVIDIA and AMD, will have suitable parts available. The bigger surprise would be that MS refused to even hear Intel's sales pitch.
But the Inq has gone further to say that Intel is doing everything it can to table an deal MS can't refuse, going so far as offering to do the engineering work on thermal design (hopefully ensuring we won't ever see a repeat of the RROD nightmare), and is even prepared to hand over the rights so that MS can get the chip manufactured at any fab it chooses.
This would give MS a significant advantage in the next-gen console war as it would allow the console maker to book as much fab capacity as it wanted ensuring there is never a shortage of consoles on shop shelves; or it could shop around for the cheapest fab deal, meaning lower production costs and the ability to undercut Sony and Nintendo in the event of a price war.
Overall a deal like this would be very attractive and it's unlikely either NV or AMD would be able to match it. So what's in it for Intel?
The main motivation behind all this for Intel is developer support. The PC graphics card installed base is dominated by NV with around 60% and AMD with 30% (according to the Valve Hardware Survey), and it's just basic economics that games developers will devote most of their resources to design and test their new titles on these two families of cards.
Unless Intel is prepared to put up cash to make it easy and/or worthwhile for developers to spend time writing a Larrabee code-path for their games with a program similar to NV's TWIMTBP, it's going to take a while before games optimised for Larrabee start appearing. At the same time it's going to be hard to recommend gamers rush out to spend their hard earned money on a Larrabee card if there isn't software to take advantage of it. Chicken and egg.
Intel getting Larrabee inside the Xbox 720, or one of the other next-gen consoles, would change this situation. Some developers my not be too happy about having to learn the peculiarities of the new hardware platform, but that won't stop them (see the reaction to the PS3 as an example) because the potential return on investment is much greater in the console market. The promise of being able to port those games over to the PC would be extra icing on the cake.
Overall this news sounds pretty good for gamers. If Larrabee doesn't get in at least one next gen-console, it's going to take a while before we see games that really take advantage of the new hardware except for a few Intel-backed titles. On the other hand, if this deal goes down, it could mean cheaper consoles, more competition in the PC graphics card market, and more games for the PC, even if they are mostly console ports at first.
In other news, Microsoft has announced price cuts for the Xbox 360 in the US market. Effective tomorrow (Sept 5), an Xbox Arcade bundle will set you back $199 USD (cheaper than the Nintendo Wii), the standard package with hard drive, headset etc. will cost $299, and the Elite bundle can be had for $399.
Toshiba has today taken the covers off its very impressive high-end 17-inch widescreen Qosmio X300 gaming notebook. It's a beast!
It is so high-end in fact that Tosh reckon it will PWNS the Gaming Battlefield. It does so with the help of a fast Intel Core 2 Duo processor T9400 which operates at 2.53GHz, 4GB DDR3 (2GB+2GB) operating at 1066MHz and NVIDIA GeForce 9800M GTX with 1GB GDDR3 running at 800MHz.
It comes with Windows Vista Ultimate 32-bit installed on its 200GB 7,200 RPM SATA master drive and it even includes a second 320GB 5,400 RPM SATA hard drive for storage. Its lovely 17-inch widescreen display uses WSXGA+ TruBrite technology for a maximum resolution of 1680 x 1050. It comes with enough connectors to sink a battleship, DVD burner, card reader, 5x harman/kardon speakers with sub woofer and a whole lot more.
For the full specifications and press release, head on over here to read more about this beast of a system! It is said to be available now at a recommended retail price of a scary $3,999 AUD including GST, with $200 AUD cash back, from selected retailers.
OCZ continues to dip its nose in new business with the release of its Dominatrix laser gaming mouse.
It's laser works up to a DPI of 2000 with switchable settings of 400/800/1600/2000 depending on your accuracy needs as well as featuring a 500Hz polling report rate. You can independently adjust both "X & Y" axes for a combined maximum of 3200 dpi for lightning fast responsiveness and fluid gameplay, according to OCZ.
There are two programmable buttons with three different modes each for game settings and internet navigation to make the mouse your own secret weapon. Much like what Logitech has done, the Dominatrix features weighting with weight cartridges up to 40 grams. There is also a four-way tilt scroll wheel added on for good measure, too.
We look forward to testing it out and posting a review on it for soon but for now more information can be found over at the OCZ product page, which is here.
Microsoft appears to be intent on continuing the revitalisation of its popular SideWinder brand by launching not just one, but two new family members today.
Engadget reports, firstly, on the SideWinder X6 which Microsoft touts as the first gaming keyboard it has created from scratch.
Redmond, WA based Microsoft has thrown caution to the wind and implemented some innovative functionality to set the X6 above its competitors.
Of most interest, would be the switchable key pad that transforms into a macro pad, boasting full programmability.
Backlighting sets the mood and tone of this premium offering and the $79.95 price tag.
The SideWinder X5 mouse harnesses a 2000 DPI laser tracking engine and, six DPI settings for maximum precision.
It, will reach stores with a price tag of $59.95.
It is no secret that Microsoft's second generation gaming console, the Xbox 360, has had more than its fair share of thermal issues since it became available, nearly 3 years ago.
Esteemed chassis purveyor, Lian Li, has come to the rescue though with its enamouring, PC-XB01 chassis, allowing end-users everywhere to indulge in not only form, but function too.
There are two prerequisites, however. Firstly, a fearless will to void the Xbox 360's warranty and, enough faith in respective DIY skills to, effectively, move the Xbox 360's components into their new, roomier, home.
The first would probably be in the reach of many true enthusiasts and, if the second is as easy for you, what rewards can you expect for your efforts?
A suave anodized, hairline brushed aluminium chassis, in a striking black colour takes care of the visuals, together with Lian Li's usual attention to detail.
The chassis itself, which can be mounted either horizontally or vertically, aims to dampen acoustics via the use of sound dampening foam and a 120mm fan solution, running at 1500 RPM.
Lian Li's feature set extends, remarkably, to pre-cut holes for the routing of water cooling pipes, should this take your fancy, whilst the spacious interior aids airflow.
Lian Li's attempt to put the Xbox 360 on ice will, according to the company, come at a price point of $149, with availability expected shortly.
NZXT has today announced an expansion to their accessories line-up with the inclusion of the new AVATAR gaming mouse, which looks to be the perfect addition to your ever growing arsenal of gaming accessories. Sporting seven buttons, 2600 DPI optical sensor and an ergonomic design for both left and right handed people, it clearly has the goods in the specifications department.
This is the first mouse that NZXT have released and hopefully we will have it in our labs soon enough to get a hands-on look at it, as with all mice the specifications of the unit is only one side of the story; how it feels and plays is the other side!
El Monte, CA - August 11th, 2008 - NZXT, a company built on realizing the dreams of gamers worldwide, is proud to announce the Avatar high performance gaming mouse. As with all of NZXT's PC accessories, Avatar is designed to provide gamers with the ultimate crafted gaming armor to emerge victorious in the gaming arena of choice. Avatar provides extreme enhancements to gameplay with the following breakthrough features...
OCZ has just expanded on their gaming peripherals lineup with the new 'Alchemy' Series. The first entry into the lineup comes in the form of a keyboard designed for gamers, dubbed the Elixir.
OCZ are excited to have yet again entered a new market segment, with a continuous effort to branch out their presence across many areas of the industry.
The Elixir is a high-quality keyboard featuring the necessary features such as 10 tri-mode programmable macro keys, mode selection, a pop-up menu shortcut, and Windows® Media Players optical controller. The sleek design of the Alchemy Elixir Series will maintain your comfort throughout long gaming sessions with its membrane tactical keys made from 100% rubber-coating for no-slip comfort and ergonomic design.
The Elixir also features a USB port for added convenience, along with an extremely reliable lifestyle of 5 million cycles. The Elixir series is compatible with Windows® XP (SP2 or later) and Windows® Vista.
Sunnyvale, Calif.-July 10, 2008-OCZ Technology Group, a worldwide leader in innovative, ultra-high performance and high reliability memory and components, today announced the expansion of its gaming peripherals under a new "Alchemy" line, with the introduction of the Elixir keyboard series for highly advanced functionality in game-play. Featuring a wealth of user-friendly features combined with an ergonomic and sturdy design, the Elixir keyboard will deliver a unique combination of performance and value to gamers as they blaze through the latest PC titles.
The Alchemy line, introduced earlier this year at Computex, embodies the needs of gamers through a diverse lineup of gaming peripherals and components that will provide PC players the ultimate hardware to take on the most demanding games. The Elixir keyboard is the first product under this line, and will be the first of many gaming keyboards, mice, another other computer gaming accessories. The Alchemy line was created by OCZ in its never-ending quest to meet the demands of each segment in the enthusiast community.
TG Daily, features an account of AMD's fight to make leaps and bounds in the enthusiast sector of the market.
Sunnyvale, CA based AMD's CPU offerings, have been lagging behind Intel's Core 2 processor family which, literally, has been obliterating offerings from AMD in sheer performance stakes. With Intel in their target and by launching, what they deem as highly overclockable, yet affordable CPUs, AMD aims to match, if not exceed, their successes against NVIDIA.
On the GPU battlefield, AMD's turnaround in late 2007, with the HD 3800 series, marked the turning of the tide in price to performance ratios and this, has been heightened with the recent launch of the RV770 GPU, which has taken birth as the HD 4800 series.
Amongst information pertaining to AMD's upcoming Phenom 9950 CPU, together with 790GX and SB700/750 chipset solutions, a screenshot depicts the highly anticipated R700 graphics solution, in CrossFireX configuration, scoring X12515 in 3DMark Vantage.
The R700, featuring two RV770 GPUs and, in the CrossFireX configuration used by AMD's Austin team, utilised four GPUs in total, to achieve the 3DMark Vantage score in question. The RV770 GPUs were clocked at 778 MHz, whilst the onboard GDDR5 memory modules, were running at a sprightly 980 MHz (QDR).
By way of comparison, it is notable that three NVIDIA GTX280 solutions are required to achieve a comparable score.
With AMD making waves, it is expected that not only is the R700 heading for launch within a seven week time-frame, yet also that AMD's next CPU and chipset iterations, should see the light of day too.
Perhaps the playing field in enthusiast land is about to get that little bit more even?
At the recent Cinema 2.0 Press Event in San Francisco, California the general conscious from AMD product managers is that photo realistic gaming is still five years away. A technical demo was shown at the event that shows AMD making great strides towards what professional gamer Alyson Craghouse calls "The Pentacle of Gaming."
You can see the full sized technical demo in Shockwave form here.
NZXT has just taken the covers off its latest gaming case, Khaos.
Just when you thought the computer industry was already flooded with cases, we get another one to add into the mix. NZXT's Khaos was introduced today and it looks like yet another one to add to the potential list for your new box.
It is decked out with loads of great featuring including dual front 12cm fans with LEDs for the bling factor, very cool flappable motherboard tray for easy access and installation, triple 12cm fan bracket to cool hard drives at the front of the case, heatsink style setup at the top if 14cm to dissipate heat through the top of the case, dual PSU support and it comes on wheels for ease of transport - not that this beast would be moving around too much.
It definitely screams "Khaos" and you'll be able to get your piece of the action for $399 USD around the middle of this month.