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After you have recovered a little from your New Year's Celebration You might want to head over to Theo Valich's Blog.
He has a very interesting read on the direction computer and peripheral companies are headed. He penned this as a sort of response to a Blog entry by Rahul Sood from Voodoo HP. Sood declaims (in his blog entry) that the high-end PC is dead while pitching Voodo's upcoming Blackbird 003 which is a small and neat little device.
Read Theo's article here.
Read Sood's Blog entry here.
Last night, I was preparing myself for departure into the world of dreams for couple of hours, when I got the nod that good friend Rahul Sood of Voodoo HP fame posted something interesting on his blog. I ventured to his site and read a good written article that delivers a fine and solid message. Wrong one, I am afraid.
Based on his article, which speaks about the death of high-end PC computers (neatly, some years after Rahul sold his own boutique PC manufacturer to HP for a large sum of dead presidents), the world is going to evolve into small and neat things. And that is a nice pitch to launch a product like the upcoming Blackbird 003, as insinuated in a follow-up post.
And this is where it hit me. The perception of human species is that we're an exclusive kind. One cannot co-exist with another, starting in kindergartens, throughout school, rivalry between brothers/sisters in a family or nations - does not matter, we all think of ourselves as God/Allah/Manitou-given right to exterminate the opponent because "we're better". However, when we look at the world in general, we see that everything is inclusive, even our position in the food chain. We cannot be different, because we would belong to a different position in the food chain, not on top of it. We are predators (Orca the killer whale is also a mammal, so don't pull that argument that we're cute as dolphins), we take all the best qualities, them being good or bad, and use them for our own interests. However, we do not cancel each other out. It is the competition that drives us to the best or worst of our potentials, and it does not matter who comes second, it is the matter of who makes the best product, that being your performance in a family, or a company.
BFG Tech has let us know it plans to showcase its first full system at CES early next year. This isn't your typical high-powered gaming system, either. BFG has gone all out with an innovative touch screen LCD interface along with maintainance-free liquid cooling and unprecedented in-home setup and maintainance servicing.
The new BFG rig is a high-performance gaming/home theater system that offers a refined, sophisticated appearance while still providing true enthusiast-level performance.
You will be able to see BFG's new system on display at the MGM Grand, beginning Thursday 01/08 through Saturday 01/10.
This past week or so, we asked our readers which game they would be playing these holidays.
We had a total of 2999 votes and again the results were not super conclusive. Even though it had a late start, it turns out 483 of our readers can't wait to kick back and play Fallout 3. Second place goes to Call of Duty: World at War with a close 411 votes. Third goes to Left 4 Dead and forth goes to Far Cry 2 - the full results can be found here.
In our latest poll, we want to know your thoughts on the proposed Australian government plans to filter the Internet of Australian citizens and residents.
Please go here to vote!
Pro Vs. GI Joe and Activision are are teaming up with the USO to allow troop stationed at Camp Virginia in Kuwait a chance to play Call of Duty World at War online against the players on the Cleveland Browns football team.
The event will also have live links for family members of the troops to watch and share in the event.
Read the Press Release here.
Troops stationed overseas will test their skills today in one of this year's hottest new video games from Activision, Call of Duty®: World at War. Pro vs. GI Joe, the USO, and the Cleveland Browns are teaming up with Activision Publishing, Inc. (Nasdaq: ATVI) for a series of online matches featuring the newest installment of the blockbuster Call of Duty® series against numerous troops stationed at Camp Virginia in Kuwait. Participating troops will also link-up via webcam and members of their families will be on-hand to share in the moment.
Smoothcreations are rather busy of late. Today they've just released yet another gaming system, this time it is a small form factor gaming PC desktop called "LANShark". And when they say small form factor, it is really just a small mid-size ATX case and not Shuttle XPC-like small.
It gets the usual hand painted Smoothcreations funky paint job with a menacing scary face on the side to show you mean business at your next LAN party.
LANShark is designed to be an affordable gaming system starting at around $1300 USD for the entry level version and while we didn't get any pricing details for the pro and extreme versions, we are pretty sure they'll cost a bomb.
The extreme version of the LANShark gets you among other unmentioned items, a pair of PowerColor 4870X2 H20 Special Edition graphics cards in Crossfire configuration. You can find more pictures and the press release, over here.
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.