Q4 2009 looks bright for Microsoft, ATi, and DX11 Gaming

Sean Kalinich | Business, Financial & Legal | Aug 31, 2009 10:33 AM CDT

The future looks bright for ATi, Microsoft and DX11. Windows 7 is receiving some of the best press that MS has received in the last 5-7 years. This is a great comeback after the technical press and bloggers condemned Windows Vista before it even hit the shelves. Of course this has all changed.

DX11 is taking off much faster than DX10 did and we have even seen some game developers postpone games to recode their engines to take advantage of the new DX. We know of roughly 4 games that should be DX11 and available at the time that Windows 7 Launches.

Two of these titles Grid and DiRT are popular games that should help to bolster sales of Windows 7 for gaming. But on the opposite side we have ATi already showing off DX11 hardware and with highly anticipated titles (like Grid and DiRT). Meanwhile nVidia might show off DX11 capable hardware in September. ATi has already promised DX11 hardware on the shelves for the Windows 7 Launch.

Continue reading: Q4 2009 looks bright for Microsoft, ATi, and DX11 Gaming (full post)

Apple following MS and Linux with OSX 10.6

Sean Kalinich | Software & Apps | Aug 31, 2009 9:56 AM CDT

Over the next month or two you will be reading (unless you choose not to) a lot of articles explaining why Snow Leopard is an amazing leap forward.

However what you won't be reading is the same thing that is mysteriously absent from many iPhone OS reviews. This omission is the truth about how far behind Apple really is in terms of technology.

While yes Snow Leopard represents a good step forward and does bring many new features and performance improvements to the Mac, it is still not up to par with your average Windows or Linux install for technology.

Continue reading: Apple following MS and Linux with OSX 10.6 (full post)

GIGABYTE Launches Super OverClock Series GPUs

Sean Kalinich | Tweaking & Overclocking | Aug 28, 2009 11:37 AM CDT

Gigabyte has some new GPU technology coming out. This new tech will fall under the name of their Super Overclock line. The Super Overclock line will feature a number of improvements that will make these cards perform faster and more stable than any other.

The first new tech up at the plate is something called GPU Gauntlet Sorting. This is not looking for a glove but is actually a system to "cherry pick" GPUs to get the best performance out of each one.

Only GPUs they have gone through testing to see what the maximum OC they can take is they are then run through a series of benchmarks from FutureMark (3D Mark Vantage). The reason for this is to ensure they can operate under stress. Then GIGABYTE tests the GPUs switching power. This is to make sure that the board is able to provide clean and consistent power as needed.

Continue reading: GIGABYTE Launches Super OverClock Series GPUs (full post)

Apple Denies battey at fault in exploding iPhones

Sean Kalinich | Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Aug 28, 2009 9:42 AM CDT

Ok, I just had to write something about this one. We all have read that France is holding Apple accountable for the issue with the 12 or so exploding iPhones.

Well Apple apparently is saying that there is no problem; there are no issues with the batteries overheating...nope nothing at all. They instead blame something they refer to as "External Pressure".

I have to wonder if we will see an advisory about how tight you can hold the iPhone soon. After all they released a ridiculous advisory about operating temperatures. That piece of CYA work pretty much told you to stay inside with your iPhone with the AC on High.

Continue reading: Apple Denies battey at fault in exploding iPhones (full post)

gScreen planning a dual screen 15.4-inch laptop

Sean Kalinich | Laptops | Aug 28, 2009 8:22 AM CDT

If you have never heard of the company gScreen you are not alone. I had never heard of them either before this morning. But they are going to be in my head for a long time to come.

gScreen is coming out with a dual screen laptop. This is not like Lenovo's where they tacked on a small 10-inch screen to one side. No this is a full dual screen notebook.

And they did not scrimp on power either. According to the specifications this book 15.4-inch book will have some healthy power under the hood.

Continue reading: gScreen planning a dual screen 15.4-inch laptop (full post)

TKIP WPA cracked in 60 Seconds

Sean Kalinich | Hacking, Security & Privacy | Aug 27, 2009 9:47 PM CDT

Wow this one sort of sent a chill down my spine until I remembered that my home network is protected by WPA-2 enterprise with a RADIUS server, 4096-bit certificates, (machine and user) and a bunch of tin foil hats and black radar repelling spray paint.

If you are wondering what I am so paranoid about well there is this group of scientists in Japan that have figured out how to break the WPA protocol as long as you are using the Temporal Key Integrity Protocol TKIP. If you are using the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) you are safe for now.

The problem lies in the fact that not all wireless devices support AES. Yes most new ones do but you still see a smattering of TKIP only or devices that default to auto for the encryption standard.

Continue reading: TKIP WPA cracked in 60 Seconds (full post)

ASRock Visits the TweakTown labs in Orlando, FL

Sean Kalinich | TweakTown | Aug 27, 2009 8:54 PM CDT

In our review of the ASRock X58 Extreme we had a few issues with memory; most notably with our kit of Kingston KHX160003K3/3GX. For some reason we could not get that RAM to post. Well this started a series of e-mails between ASRock and TweakTown.

We tried a different BIOS and still could not get the board to post with that kit of memory in the board. Well today an ASRock Engineer actually stopped by our lab In Orlando, FL to take a look at the board and at the setup.

This is an impressive move by a mainboard company and the first time a company engineer has actually wanted to physically see the issue. I am very used to getting a new product or trouble shooting over the phone or through e-mail but a personal visit is something altogether different.

Continue reading: ASRock Visits the TweakTown labs in Orlando, FL (full post)

BioShock 2 Sea of Dreams previewed

Sean Kalinich | Gaming | Aug 27, 2009 1:12 PM CDT

If you are a fan of BioShock then this is right up your alley. After a couple of years wait BioShock 2 is coming closer to its release. The developers of BioShock and BioShock 2 are the remnants of Looking Glass Studios. LGS was the mastermind behind the games System Shock and System Shock 2 (are you seeing a trend here?)

As with the move from System Shock to System Shock 2 BioShock 2 takes place years after the event. Unlike System Shock 2 you are returned to the scene of the original event; the City of Rapture. You take on the character of the first Big Daddy.

This time due to your status as a very powerful Big Daddy you have access to the outside of the city. This was not possible before and adds a new level to the scope of game play. The same role-playing like style exists in BioShock 2 that was pioneered in System Shock 2 is present in the new BioShock. This system has been copied by many other games including Lucas Arts and even id Software in their latest release Wolfenstein.

Continue reading: BioShock 2 Sea of Dreams previewed (full post)

Microsoft Officially Drops Price on Xbox 360 Elite

Sean Kalinich | Gaming | Aug 27, 2009 10:09 AM CDT

The rumors about Microsoft dropping the price on the Xbox 360 Elite have come true. But the secondary rumor about the Xbox 360 Pro going the way of the Dinosaur also seems to fallen through a lttle.

According to Microsoft the new pricing will put the Elite at $299.99 a full $100 cheaper than before while the Pro will drop down to $249.99. These will continue to be sold until current supply is gone and then they will be no more.

The pricing puts the Xbox 360 Elite in line with Sony's new PS3 Slim. But according to MS that was not the plan. MS says that they had the price reduction in mind for the holiday season. They have also removed the HDMI cable from the packaging saying that their research indicates most people do not use them.

Continue reading: Microsoft Officially Drops Price on Xbox 360 Elite (full post)

Battlefield's Frostbite Engine ported to DX11

Sean Kalinich | Gaming | Aug 26, 2009 2:38 PM CDT

Here is some news that we all have been waiting for. The crew over at DICE has been hard at work on the Frostbite Engine. This is the engine that is used in the Battlefield games. The current version supports up to DX10 and can be run on the XboX 360, PC, and PS3. The new version will have support for DX10.1 and DX11.

The main feature they are interested in is the highly parallel workings of the engine. It is capable of running two to eight threads. This is perfect for the i7 and represents a real multi-core advancement over past games.

The actual port of the game was not that difficult as it reportedly only took three hours to complete. You can now add Battlefield to the list of coming DX11 games. This shows a much faster adoption than DX10 did when it was at the same place. Of course there are not as many differences between DX10 and 11 as there were between DX9 and 10.

Continue reading: Battlefield's Frostbite Engine ported to DX11 (full post)