Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Open Source = Illegal Software v2.0 - Update

Update - Speak of the devil! In Part 1 of our comic strip on this topic is was a US news, now it has spread to the EU. Read more here where OSS is under threat in Europe. Are we psychic or what?!

In Part 2 of our Open Source = Illegal Software? (see here for Part 1), we're continuing Darth Vender's execution of his Lord's orders - which is to make OSS (Open Source Software) illegal..via...legal means.

If it comes to pass, don't say we didn't warn you!
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Saturday, March 27, 2010

NVIDIA 'Fermi' (GF100) @ GeForce 400 Series (DirectX 11) - Part 2

The original post will be too long for what we have to add now, so we're starting a new post to continue off the previously published specifications (both GPU-Z and CPU-Z as well as official NVIDIA), now adding scores and screen captures.

What Everest says about the new NVIDIA GeForce 400 (480), powered by the GF100 (Fermi) chip. It's a larger image so you can click on it to view the original size.

Windows 6x Experience Index gives the GeForce 480 a 7.9 (the maximum) for Graphics. It gave the GeForce 285 a 7.4 - see here when we tested the Hexa/6-core (Gulftown) Intel Core i7 980X processor, which we used to test this GeForce 480 as well.

So what happens when NVIDIA releases a dual-GPU version of the GeForce 480? Say the, GeForce 495, like they did with the GeForce 295, using dual GeForce 280 GPUs? Or when NVIDIA's rival, AMD, releases their ATI Radeon HD6000 Series? Looks like Microsoft needs to expand the max limit!

How does NVIDIA's PhysX fare with the 480? As you can see, it averages around 338FPS over the GeForce 285's 227 average. While the processor is different, since we tested the 285 at an earlier time before we had the HexaCore i7 980X, PhysX doesn't rely on the processor but the graphic card, which was the whole point in the first place to do physics calculation on the GPU to free up the processor to focus on the other demands the game is requesting to handle.

Futuremark's 3DMark Vantage, with a Performance preset, gives 20K!

Coming up next - videos of the 480 in action! Including the new water Tessellation you saw in the first post, but now with video of it at work! It will blow your mind away to the level of realism graphics have come to! Also, there'll be a video of the new NVIDIA OptiX real-time 3D Ray-Tracing video we showed in the first post update, as well as a video of Unigene's Heaven benchmark, which shows Tessellation at work real-time as you switch it on and off dynamically!

Yes you can click on it to enjoy the double-size original image

As usual, before we go, here's something to drool by while you wait for the next (and 3rd) post!

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Friday, March 26, 2010

NVIDIA 'Fermi' (GF100) @ GeForce 400 Series (DirectX 11) - Update 2

Update 2 - A new post has been created with all the scores and screen captures.

Update 1
- We'll be updating this post with specifications and scores as well as screen captures and videos in the following hours so stay tuned! GPU-Z & CPU-Z:

Here are the official specifications for the high-end 480 and the middle-range 470 cards:

Numbers are boring aren't they? A picture speaks a thousand words so we'll throw in something new for you to whet your appetite as well - NVIDIA's OptiX Ray-Tracing technology @ work:

Yes, you can click on it to enjoy the larger XGA (1024 x 768) real-time ray-traced 3D scene

This feature comes on GeForce 400 Series now and not just on Quadro professional workstation video cards. This means now games can start to use it! More to come! Stay tuned here!

Say hello to Fermi, a 3billion-transistor graphics processor

If the title didn't already give it away, then you know what this post is about - that's right. It's NVIDIA's DirectX 11 graphic card - the GeForce 400 Series, based on the GF100 GPU (Graphics Processing Unit), codename Fermi, after Enrico Fermi, the Italian physicist who created the first Nuclear Reactor @ Chicago, the Pile-1.

Is NVIDIA planning to nuke its rival, AMD, for their ATI Radeon DX11 card?

His work led to the development of B Reactor @ Hanford, Washington, the first Plutonium production reactor, for America's Manhattan Project, which resulted in the test of the first Atomic Bomb @ Trinity, New Mexico, America. This led to the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki @ Japan, during World War 2. So is NVIDIA planning to 'bomb' its rival, AMD?

Its rival's DX11 card was black and red, NVIDIA is going for black and green, obviously

It's rival was the first to release a DX11 card (via their acquisition of ATI), the Radeon HD5000 Series in 2009, which was supported by Windows 6.1 (Windows 7), and later in Windows 6.0 (Vista) via the Platform Update. So now NVIDIA catches up with the competition. Of course, expect its rival to counter-attack - and they will - with the HD6000 later.

Dual-Linked DVI ports as usual, and HDMI has been dumped for DisplayPort instead. Checkout the quad heat-pipes!

Just like it's rival, you WILL need an 8-pin power connector from your PSU, in addition of the usual 6-pin. However, the good news if your PSU doesn't have 8-pin (not for the processor via the board version), you can also make do with a dual 4-pin Molex adapter which some graphic cards bundle. As for PSU Wattage, a 500W will do - unless you're running a RAID array, etc.

No, it isn't a photo of the ocean - it's a 3D real-time image

Anyway, in order to whet your appetite, here's a shot of what the new card can do with its Tessellation (which NVIDIA claims to be better than its rival due to its scaleable feature which it claims its rival lacks). Until then, enjoy the shots of NVIDIA's flagship desktop hardware!

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TM's UniFi - HSBB via FTTH - Update 2

Update 2 - TM has lowered it's Streamyx 4Mbps to RM130 from RM140 monthly.

Update 1
- Some people are unaware LASER is safe as long you're not viewing it. More below.

That's a lot of acronyms - let's break it down.

For those who don't know, Telekom Malaysia launched yesterday Malaysia's first FTTH (Fibre To The Home) service, called UniFi, which is a form of HSBB (High Speed BroadBand).

This uses LASER (Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation) via optical cables as opposed to the current wired Internet connection, using DSL via copper telephone wires. Of course there's wireless Internet access but let's skip that as we're talking about wired for now.

This is how data is transmitted inside optical fibre cables - via a LASER bouncing light inside

While only available in 4 selected areas in the Klang Valley at the moment (Bangsar, Shah Alam, Subang Jaya, TTDI - Taman Tun Doctor Ismail), it will soon spread to other parts of the country, depending on the area's development and it's contribution to the country which will make it have a need for Internet access beyond the current broadband service, known as Streamyx, which has a limit of 4Mbps, which uses DSL mentioned earlier.

UniFi starts at 5Mbps, and goes up to 20Mbps for homes, with higher speeds for business. It's priced at RM150 per month for 5Meg, with RM200 for 10Mbps, and RM250 for 20Mbps for homes. This has resulted in the 4Mbps Streamyx to drop from its original price of RM160 to RM140 - UPDATE - NOW DROPPED TO RM130! Of course there are are lower speeds of Streamyx like 2Mbps and 1Mbps and lower.

You'll know when an area has FTTH when you see the LASER warning symbol. Inside these boxes are LASER transmission which will be dangerous to view as it's more powerful that LASER pointers.

HOWEVER - you do NOT have to worry that these boxes (or UniFi cables) are bad for your health as the LASER is INSIDE and NOT outside. In fact, the LASER is terminated OUTSIDE your home and doesn't even ENTER your home - hence the term - Fibre To The Home (FTTH) - NOT Fibre IN The Home. Fibre is used to carry the LASER optical signals from the Telekom Exchange to OUTSIDE homes.

You get more radiation from using your cellular mobile phone next to your brain where powerful radio waves are transmitted, or even from watching TV too much!

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Thursday, March 25, 2010

6-core (HexaCore) Intel Core i7 "Gulftown" Scores - Update

Update : 6-core i7 'Gulftown' 980X LGA1366 Everest Processor Cache benchmark:

As mentioned in our previous post here, we'll be running some benchmarks to give you the performance numbers of Intel's latest flagship desktop processor, the 6-core (HexaCore) Core i7 'Gulftown' LGA1366 processor. So without further ado - here are the scores we got running on the same Intel X58 board (with updated BIOS of course!) - Wow, we actually did something we said! :)

6 cores x HT (Hyper-Threading) = 12 'processors'

Told you it's still called an i7 (albeit an Extreme Edition version), and not the i9 as we hoped!

Level 1 and 2 Caches are x6 obviously - but the 6cores also share a unified 12MB Level 3 Cache

See, told you it'll still work on the same old X58 board - you just need to update the BIOS

On an idle x64 (64-bit) Windows 6.1 (Win7) desktop, the HexaCore runs @ 65 degrees Celsius using a Thermalright U120E-RT LGA1366 processor cooler:

So what does Windows 6x (Vista = Windows 6.0, Win7 = Windows 6.1) Experience Index say about the 6core i7? Well apparently when coupled with a GeForce 285 GTX and 6GB of memory, the slowest hardware component will be an SSD (Solid State Drive) - believe it or not!

Windows' 6x XP Index reports the 6core as 7.7 out of 7.9, 6GB memory as 7.7 out of 7.9, GeForce 285 graphics as 7.4 out of 7.9, and SSD as 5.9 out of 7.9

So what does Futuremark's PCMark 2005 1.2 Professional say?

How about Futuremark's 3DMark Vantage 1.0.2 Professional?

Note we didn't run the 3DMV graphics test since we're just testing the 6core here

Looks good so far - let's try some non-industry standard benchmarks like Everest and Performance Test. Note the following screen captures couldn't be re-sized to fit the width of BrickTech without it being too small to read, so we've maintained it's actual captured size. Just click to see the original size.

This is Everest results, and the following 2 are Performance Test results

All these benchmarking and testing software are freely available so feel free to do comparison with your own hardware (or others) to gauge the performance of the 6core i7 compared to existing desktop processors. We'll try and update this post with comparison scores later. Really!

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Thursday, March 11, 2010

Microsoft Malaysia - TechNation - ELITE - Windows Day - Gaming @ 7

BrickGamers, BrickTech's main site, focuses on games (duh!) but when it comes to technology - since modern games leverage heavily on it - that's where BT comes in.

Recently, there was a talk held called Windows Day @ Microsoft Malaysia Headquarters @ the Petronas Twin Towers @ KLCC (Kuala Lumpur City Centre).

It was organised by the Microsoft Malaysia NGO (Non-Governmental Organisation) TechNation, under which ELITE (Extraordinary League of Information Technology Experts) is found, supporting Microsoft's infrastructure software - Windows, Office, Server, ForeFront (Security) - with events held to speak about relevant topics based on certain themes - Server Day, Security Day, Office Day, and of course, Windows Day, mentioned above. Under Windows Day, one of the focus was on Windows 7 Gaming.

The Microsoft Office PowerPoint slides for that presentation is now available to download here.

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Monday, March 8, 2010

6-core Intel Core i7 "Gulftown"

The Intel Core i7 processor is back - now with 2 more cores to make it a 6-core

We interrupt our regular *cough* BrickTech comics to bring you breaking news about Intel's new hexacore (hex=6) Core i7 (which we all thought would be called i9 to avoid confusion with the original quad-core i7, Bloomfield!) To make matters worse, there was another quad-core i7 after the original version which works with the i5 and i3, the Lynnfield. You can find out more about the 2nd-gen i7 in our previous post here. Now on with the new hex-core...

The new 6-core i7 looks the same like the 1st-gen i7 because it works on the same X58 boards

The new Gulftown 6-core i7 still works on the 1st-gen i7 boards, the X58, so your x58 with 1st-gen quad-core i7 can now be upgraded to the 3rd-gen hexa-core i7 with just a BIOS update.

If you really must look under the skirt of the new 6-core i7, well, here it is

So that's basically the good news about this new 3rd-gen i7 6-core processor! The question would be just how much more power and performance does this 6-core offer over the quad-core? For a start, since the i7 processors come with Hyper-Threading, this makes the new 6-core i7 have 12 processing threads instead, as opposed to the current quad-core i7 having 8 threads capability. In other words, the new 6-core will seem to have 12 cores of processing.

In case you're confused with all the 3 gens of i7 out there, the new Gulftown box says Six Core

We'll be running a few benchmarks to give you raw numbers so you can make the comparison for yourself, (yes, we know we STILL owe you Quadro gaming - we'll come to that when our jobs aren't killing us - start paying us and this site will turn into a full-time LEGO-tech-comic-etc.)

It's not a 1st and 2nd-gen quad-core i7 with just a dual-core inside, it's a whole new 6-core

In the meantime, here are more pictures of the new 6-core i7, as well as Intel's new cooling fan (called the DBX-B Thermal Solution) which finally uses the car radiator design (which is better than the typical top-down cooling which only heats up the board instead). It even has a switch to toggle between fast and slow!

Octo copper heat-pipes from the copper base channel thermal accumulation into the aluminium heat-sink fins which then get cooled by the cooling fan to be blown out back of the computer casing via a hopefully-installed rear cooling fan. Checkout the quad screw system to fasten it on! Just a simple twist to secure the heat-sink in place! No more messy screwdrivers!

The top of the fan sports a toggle hardware switch so you can select between P (Performance @ 1800RPM) or Q (Quiet @ 800RPM) modes - for faster cooling but nosier, or quieter but slower cooling. Nice touch Intel!

Dow Corning TC-1996 Zinc Oxide thermal paste

Last but not least, the bundled thermal compound grease to be applied between the Gulftown and the new cooling fan is Dow Corning TC-1996 Zinc Oxide (grey). You can also get it here (USD15).

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