Big in the news this week were the driver issues surrounding the launch of ID’s Rage, and speculation about AMD’s upcoming FX CPUs. Luckily for almost everyone involved most of the issues with Rage have been resolved and we’ll know about FX soon enough.
The Catalyst 11.9 drivers came out this week; in addition to these drivers AMD released the catalyst 11.10 preview drivers. The 11.9 drivers offer a few small performance improvements and WHQL certification. Despite this, the 11.10 Preview drivers are still more interesting due to a number performance enhancements for the newly released Battlefield 3 beta. Nvidia also released a new beta driver set specifically for the Battlefield 3 Beta. It looks like we get our choice of preview and beta drivers this week, if only this happened every week.
Tom’s Hardware took a detailed look at 3D support this week in a review of AMD’s HD3D and Nvidia’s 3D Vision. It was a pretty in depth review, and showed that a number of games worked perfectly with these 3D solutions. Unfortunately it also showed that many games do not have usable 3D support and that both 3D solutions are not what one might call fully baked.
Cord Kruse of Inside Mac Games interviewed Chris Bentley of AMD on the subject of graphics support on the Mac platform. It seems that Apple and AMD work closely together to get their products ready for launch. The performance improvements that AMD and Apple implemented for games like Portal are truly an excellent example of effective cooperation between software and hardware vendors. It’s worth a read if you like success stories from big companies.
Anton Shilov of Xbitlabs did a quick interview with AMD’s John Taylor this week and got his opinion on Intel’s Ultrabooks. Essentially AMD doesn’t see Ultrabooks as that interesting of a category, but thinks that it’s well positioned to compete in that market with its Llano and Brazos offerings. Mr. Taylor also called out some of Intel’s promises, like Ultrabook startup times, as standard benefits of transitioning to the Windows 8 OS rather than as unique features of Ultrabooks.
Please note the lack of news on Bulldozer… :P
Anand reviewed Intel’s 710 branded SSD and found that while it didn’t move the performance bar any farther forward it did increase capacity and bring down the cost per gigabyte considerably. The 710 directly replaces the X25-E and as such is aimed squarely at the hearts of enterprise users. One of the most interest things about the 710 was Anand’s discovery that his review sample sported 320 GBs of NAND but only made 200GBs of that space accessible to the user. Based on his calculations about 41 percent of the available space on the device is set aside as space area. That is some truly serious redundancy.
Some of the folks at Intel took the time to sit down with Helena Stone of Chip Chick to explain the Ultrabook concept. By her understanding Intel is presenting Ultrabooks as the natural evolution of the computing device. In addition to that Intel told her that they developed Ultrabooks from “ethnographic and social research”. There’s a whole lot of spin there, but hopefully Intel did do a bit of homework before it committed itself to this Ultrabook concept.
It appears that Nvidia’s hard at work bringing up the drivers for some new releases. Both the 610M and GT 630M parts were mentioned in its last update. It’s hard to say whether or not these are re-brands of older chips or the product names for some of the new chips coming off of TSMC’s 28nm process. But chances are we’ll know by the end of the quarter.
Valve’s Gabe Newell has raised an interesting point about the current state of the gaming industry saying most games are priced too high. Newell came to this conclusion after comparing sales of its games at different price points through its digital distribution client steam. He’s got some really strong data to back up his claims and hopefully we’ll see more developers reduce the price of their games based on his findings.S|A