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3:04 PM on 02.15.2008

GeForce 8 GPUs will gain PhysX processing, world domination soon to follow!



We all knew when Nvidia announced their plans to buy Ageia that we would see on-board physics processing video cards very soon, but I don't think anyone but Nvidia employees expected it would come this soon. Answering reporter's questions, Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang has made some very interesting comments that pertain not only to future cards, but also the current 8 series that is running in many computers right now.

Nvidia is, at this very moment, in the process of encoding the PhysX software into Nvidia's very own CUDA. While that probably means nothing to the normal user, CUDA is Nvida's programming interface that was made for developers, allowing for custom made general purpose applications. The great part about CUDA is that it has already been implemented in all of the 8 Series cards.

So what does that mean for your average 8 series card user? That with only a small software download, all 8 series cards will be able to do PhysX processing with their current GPUs. This also means that with a little programming and bandwidth, Nvidia will be able to put PhysX capability in more computers in one day, than Ageia was able too in it's entire career.

Even more promising is that our current GPUs (graphics processor on video cards) and PPUs (physics processor on PhysX cards) and nearly identical in design and in their calculations (both are calculated using floating point number matrices). This means that there is every chance that current gen cards will have no problem doing both graphical and physics processing.

Strait from the horses mouth...

"We're working toward the physics-engine-to-CUDA port as we speak. And we intend to throw a lot of resources at it. You know, I wouldn't be surprised if it helps our GPU sales even in advance of [the port's completion]. The reason is, [it's] just gonna be a software download. Every single GPU that is CUDA-enabled will be able to run the physics engine when it comes. . . . Every one of our GeForce 8-series GPUs runs CUDA."

Even more intriguing to me, and the other SLI users out there who's second card sits mostly useless is what he had to say next...

Our expectation is that this is gonna encourage people to buy even better GPUs. It might—and probably will—encourage people to buy a second GPU for their SLI slot.

Finally, maybe my second 8800 will actually have some real use, this can't come soon enough in my books.

From TechReport   read


3:16 PM on 01.05.2008

Can There Ever Be A Winner?!

So, most of you have probably already read Sterling's post on how the PS3 could be uber, as I did just a little while ago. It's a great post, and along with the news of Warner Bros going BR exclusive, and the HD-DVD camp bailing on CES, it got me thinking about how the PS3 may actually have a chance this year at turning their sales around.



Let's pretend for a moment it's today, next year. So it's the beginning of January 2009, and Sony has just kicked some real ass over the holiday season. Let's say Sony has sold (to customers) 12 million units in one year, helped by all the AAA 2008 releases. M$ has sold around 18 million total, but there are major problems, the 360 is still selling poorly in Japan, the “red-ring” fiasco has spurned new buyers, and the sales are really slowing down.

With the release of Home, it's very own achievements, and a “fee-driven,” heavily updated PSN Network, the PS3 takes over the 360's early lead and sells like crazy. The 360's sales continue to decline each year, and the Wii just continues to sell (~$125 MSRP by then). We end up with sales that look something like this...


Ignore the ???? for now, but you smart people may already know where I'm going with this...

So, now lets pretend it's two years from now, the beginning of 2010. Sony has taken a major lead on Microsoft to the point of no return for the 360. Sony's “long-term, 10-year” plan is working, and the console is really starting to hit it's stride at the half-way mark. It's all looking up for Sony, with everything finally starting to go their way.

All the way up to this point, I've let it play out like a PS3 fanboy's greatest wet dream, but anyone who thinks Microsoft will go the way of SEGA has no clue of the tenacity that the big M attacks a market with. As soon as the PS3 starts to get into it's real swing of sales, Microsoft will drop the bomb...

On November 15, 2001; the original Xbox was launched, marking Microsoft's entrance into the console world of gaming...


Four years and 7 days later the 360 was born. Skimming a year off of the normal 5-year turnaround on consoles, Microsoft jumped the gun (and mauled Sony) by releasing the as soon as they could. Using this advantage they took the console world by storm, and managed to make itself the only “Next-Gen” console for an entire year.


Now, imagine what will happen 3-4 years from now when Microsoft follows the same course and announces the Xbox 1080, taking full advantage of all the new effects and the new ultra resolution textures. Those “????” in the graph can easily be 1080, and could easily sell millions it's first year as (yet again) the only “next-gen” console. DX10 will have been finalized and should be streamlined at that point allowing for some amazing “real life” blur effects (as we've started to see in Crysis and such), and HDTV's will be prevalent meaning everyone can take advantage. With a few years of hardware advancing, the 1080 could easily pummel the “cell and BR” just by using more current technology.

If Microsoft releases this console in 2010-2011 while the PS3 is still working on it's “ten-year life cycle.” Imagine all the graphics whores who spent all that time rooting for the Cell and BR, only to have a new Xbox come out and raise the bar well before Sony can even muster a response. Let's face it, we all know Sony is just finally starting to turn a profit, and won't really see “black” in the books till at least the end of this year... does anyone think after the fiasco of a launch that the PS3 had, that Sony is at all willing to develop a new system till they've sucked every ounce of life out of the PS3? Their ten-year plan isn't just a plan at this point, it's a necessity.

Presenting the Xbox 1080...


Only time will tell, no one knows what's gonna happen in this new and crazy market, but it's always fun to guess...



((EDIT = JUST as I posted this, Sterling posts "Is there an Xbox 720 in the works?" That's way to fucking weird! I am ALL KNOWING!))
  read


9:09 PM on 12.30.2007

Mr. Destructoid Goes 3D! Take A Look!

So, I recently “got a copy” of Maya Ultimate 2008 and decided to start screwing around with it. My first non-tutorial scene just happens to be the best mascot EVER! I couldn't decided off the bat what I wanted to experiment with first, but I knew it needed to be slightly easy to model. I wanted to stick with poly's for now, so I decided our boxy friend was the perfect choice.

I've only had 3 days so far with Maya, and I never used any previous versions. My only 3D rendering experience came from rendering weapons into Elder Scrolls 3. I had a lot of fun back then, so I decided to give Maya a try...

I present to you.... Mr. Destructoid (aka the green-tinted Smoking Robot) in all of his 3Dness...



Mr. D at Dusk




Mr. D at Night



Mr. D's Face Looks Cool!




These are just some renders of the scene I'm still working with. I'm in the process of finishing and rendering this into a small night/day loop that can be used with Vista's DreamScene. I'm also going to animate the lights on the face at night into another loop for DreamScene.

Considering it takes 3-5mins (depending on shadows) to render each frame, and my loop is around 240 frames.... It might be a few days before I render it all!

Let me know what you think!!!   read


1:24 PM on 12.24.2007

On Steam Now: An Amazing [Insert Belief's Holiday Here] Gift From Valve

Not sure if this was already posted or in a blog somewhere, but I just logged into Steam this morning and saw a wonderful early gift from Valve. If you don't have Steam installed, and you have a working PC, you should go here and download it now. Steam has everything from old school to new, indie to big studios, and a nice interface with decent download speeds... but thats not all...



ON STEAM NOW!!!



That's right, from December 24 (today) to January 1, EVERY GAME ON STEAM is discounted between 10-50%.







This includes one of my all time favorites...

Is 50% off on Steam right now, making it only only $9.99!!! I know many may already have it, buy for a measly $10 it's a great gift. It also can't hurt to have any of these games tagged to your online account. Which means you can download anywhere, anytime...




Also, don't forget about Steam's new gift service. I can attest that it works well, and makes it easy as pie to get your gamer friend a cheap gift for the holidays.


UPDATE ON DISCOUNTS!!!

BioShock = 25% OFF = $37.45
CoD4 = 10% OFF = $44.95
Orange Box = 25% OFF = $37.45
STALKER = 25% OFF = $22.45
ID Super Pack (From Wolfenstein 3D to Doom 3) = 25% OFF = $52.45
Company of Heroes = 25% OFF = $22.45
Two Worlds = 50% OFF = $19.95
Civ4 = 25% OFF = $29.95

Get in on that madness!   read


7:19 PM on 11.21.2007

Crysis: Could This Be The Most Over-Hyped Game Yet?!?!

Let me start out by saying I was a HUGE fan of FarCry, and to this day hold it as one of my top FPSes. I admired the open environment, and how many ways you could accomplish your objectives. Above all else, the game was beautiful, and the lush landscape with all the drawn foliage was amazing.


^^^Farcry, not Crysis

Because I was such a huge Far Cry fan, I followed the development of Crysis with bated breath. I read every release, watched every video, and blew a load with every new development.

Hell, I even built a new computer so I could play Crysis when it came out.

Then finally, November 13th came, I rushed out and got my pre-order, and installed the Holy Grail that is Crysis...

I've now spent a week with the game, and I am so disappointed I can't even begin to cover everything that has pissed me off about this game. This was supposed to be a new and better Far Cry, and all I ended up with was a Far Cry knock-off with a lame power suit with no power...

This leads me to my list of why



1) The story has no start, if you thought the "special agent on a vacation to the Isle of Dr. Moreau" (FarCry) was bad, wait until you start Crysis. There is NO BACKSTORY, and NO INTRODUCTION (save some basic military banter and names). You start in a chopper, jump out and get lost... maybe an hour later you actually get a tidbit of story line.

Usually a good basic rule to starting a adventure/mission in a game is to give some sort of information or purpose, Crysis does neither. While this does get you strait into the action, even the most meager story basics would have been nice.




2) After hearing how amazing this game looked, when I actually got in game, it wasn't what I was hoping for. It looks more like the original Far Cry engine, with slightly updated lighting effects, and vastly improved character models.

While the characters are some of the most detailed I think I've seen, the surroundings still suffer. There's times when I'm moving through the jungle where I swear I'm playing the original Far Cry. The mass amounts of foliage are admirable, but they are still using fairly low poly count leaf models/textures. (note: I'm running DX10 on all very high)

In my opinion the vast seas of foliage end up looking like giant piles of green jaggys, and even with AA and AS maxed, I can't help but see Far Cry in all the pixelation. The water is fantastic, but then again, Far Cry's water was almost as breath taking, and that was years ago.




3) While the first hour or so of playing with the nano suit is really cool, after the suit switching "newness" wears off, you may realize like I did, that your playing the same old first person shooter with a new interface. The suit adds some cool options to your attacks, but it has a very, very small power supply, and usually it's dry well before the fight is over, putting you right back into the same ole FPS.




4) I SWEAR this is the exact same AI as FarCry had. They still get shot in the face and turn the other way, they still get stuck trying to find you, yes... they still act like retards. There have been plenty of games recently that have made good enemy AI... (CoD4 has smart enemies) Why does it seem like I'm fighting the same retarded army then?




5) While multi-player is interesting, it doesn't feel like it has any really stand out qualities that can hold it above the waves of online shooters. With games like CoD4, Halo 3, and TF2 offering such amazing multi-player, I can't see Crysis holding onto a strong gaming community once the "newness" wears off.



After all the hype and press, I can't help but feel like they just enhanced FarCry's graphics and spit it right back out. The story is weak and slow to develop, the gameplay is nothing to write home about, and the graphics (while pretty) still show major weaknesses.




I spent over a year following Crysis...

what a waste of time.   read


6:12 AM on 10.09.2007

The First (?) TF2 Machinima... And It's Really GOOD! (Ignus Solus)

So I scrolled through the clogs and didn't see a post about this, but I worked all night so no bitching if this is a repost.

I was trolling my usual sites and came across this AMAZING TF2 machinima. It's called Ignus Solus, which is Latin and translates to "burn alone," a very apt title. It's about 8 minutes long and worth every minute of it. There's not much to say other than...

WATCH IT!



Just amazing, Valve should hire these guys and have them release stuff over Steam!   read


7:36 AM on 09.26.2007

DO NOT Install the New x64 Vista Patch!!!

Heads up to all the PC gamers out there running the Vista 64-bit edition, DO NOT INSTALL "Update for Windows Vista for x64-Based Systems" (KB933928) if your running an Nvidia (maybe others too) graphics card.

Within 5 minutes of running ANY DirectX game, Vista will crash. Not only that, but it greatly reduced game performance. Testing on Stranglehold, World in Conflict, TF2, HL:2, Metal of Airborne, Episode One and CS:S all resulted in horrible performance, and a BSOD within a few minutes.

I'm not sure how many systems this will affect, but for sure it is affecting the most recent Nvidia drivers (169.69). I have no idea when this patch will be safe to install, but I expect a new driver from Nvidia soon that will address this...

After a quick patch uninstall and restart I was back to playing everything with no problems.



  read


12:05 PM on 09.22.2007

Best TF2 Screen Shot Ever! (and a bonus)

This was so perfectly timed it's not even funny. When you get killed in TF2 it pauses for a bit, and gives you a chance to take a screen shot of your killer... sometimes to fantastic results... Both of these shots happened in near split seconds, and the game just happened to pause on em.


I present the PWNED Heavy...


Now THAT is a backstab to end all backstabs... You gotta love it...





Here's a bonus... I think he got "ahead" of himself a bit...


Anyway, I'm going to pass out so I can wake up and play a few rounds of TF2 before work... as I said before, if you haven't pre-ordered the Orange Box, DO SO NOW!   read


2:22 AM on 09.21.2007

Team Fortress 2 Is Amazing! (/w cool screens)

So I just finished building my new computer, and the first thing I did when it was done, was to start downloading TF2.

The character classes are well balanced, you need all of them to succeed, and the Uber-medic ability rocks the house!!!

I've been geeking out to TF2 for the past few days, and here are a couple "death shots" that I think represent some of the coolness of TF2.


I just got raped underwater by an invisible spy... but DAMN does he look badass!



He got me... but I think he might be in trouble now!



What is there to say... that is just awesome sauce right there!



All i can say is if you have a computer capable of running TF2, go pre-order the Orange Box RIGHT NOW, and get in on this craziness!   read


3:36 PM on 09.19.2007

IT'S ALIVE!!!! MWA-HA-HA-HA!!!!

So here's my collage of pictures brought about by my recent purchase.

It took me around 4 hours... here's some of the shots...



All the parts, wow, that's a lot of shit, here we go...



Case... checked all the parts to make sure they fit... put in the motherboard supports...



Motherboard, prepping it for the Core 2 Duo...


Socket 775, no more pins! Yay for true ZIF (zero-insertion-force) sockets!



Processor and heatsink/fan combo attached...



Side by side with the OEM fan/heatsink... PWNED!



Some perspective... yes it really is that big...



About to drop in the mobo, switching out the plates...



Motherboard and CPU is in, make SURE you put a screw in every motherboard hole!!! Starting to connect the case switches and front USB/sound...



All connected up...



Putting in the 4 SATA HDDs...



Running the SATA2 cables...



Dropping in the first 8800...



What a beast!



A clean case starts with well taped cables... Electrical tape is your friend...



All together! Looks pretty good if I do say so myself! (I put the RAM in right after... easiest part!)



Ahhhh.... wind down time before the big button press...



BLAM! First press, all 4 drives light and so does the DVD Burner... A perfect score!



Mmmm... delicious Raid 5 storage... even if one drive dies, I can still boot that 1.39Tb...



All closed up and looking nice!



The side in the darkness...



The front HDD fans in the dark...



Mmmm... Me like Vista's installer! RAID support is a major win, I hated attaching a floppy just for one boot!




I posted all this on the new machine, it's running fantastic and everything is staying very cool (specifically the processor!).

I'm re-downloading Bioshock and Team Fortress 2 right now, and I just took a break from playing Metal of Honor Airborne all the way up... Perdy and holding an easy 120fps even in the massive shootouts... SLI is nasty!

Now I can't wait for Crysis...

Did you like? Drop a post!   read


3:32 PM on 09.18.2007

It's HERE!!!

So, as I blogged about last night, I just blew 2.5 large on a new PC.

Well, it's here, and as promised I'm going to be making a "making of" my new PC in pictures.



To start the whole thing out, here are some pics of my just arrived stuff!


My current PC and desk...



Old PC. Why's the side off? Let's see...



Oh yeah, the power supply fan died, so I taped a case fan to the back... IT WORKS! Hence yet another reason why I need a new PC!



Always have a good tool kit!



UPS COMETH!!!!



All the goodies laid out nice like...



Close up right side...



Close up left side...


And that's it for now. I'm going to start building this bad boy right now and will continue to snap pics throughout. Expect a write up about building a PC and how this new beast performs soon, I have Wednesday and Thursday off! Yay!   read


1:35 AM on 09.17.2007

Late Night Splurge, Just Spent $2500... Ouch!

On a new PC...

I finally broke down and did it and ordered myself a brand new PC (in pieces) from NewEgg.com. I recently got a job and all that money was burning a whole in my pocket... well not really, my current PC just isn't cutting it and when I had to drop Medal of Honor Airborne to all low I knew it was time...

Here it is, any of you fellow PC nerds let me know what you think!

Antec Nine Hundred Black Steel ATX Mid Tower (also 2 more 120mm fans for the case, that'll make 5 total in the case)

Intel Core 2 Duo E6850 Conroe 3.0GHz (and a Zalman fan/heatsink combo for it)

ASUS P5N32-E NVIDIA nForce 680i SLI

2 - EVGA 320-P2-N815-AR GeForce 8800GTS 320MB (SLI baby)

2 - Patriot Extreme Performance 2GB (2 x 1GB) DDR2 800 (4gb total)

4 - SAMSUNG SpinPoint T Series HD501LJ 500GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s (Gonna Raid 5 em for ~1.4 Tb of protected and high-speed storage)

XION Supernova 800W Power Supply (modular, with a nice 120mm fan and a pimp blue glow)

PHILIPS 20X DVD±R DVD Burner 2-Tone SATA Model

Microsoft Windows Vista 64-Bit Ultimate for System Builders (I know it still sucks, and I may stick with 64-bit XP, but I have to buy it sooner or later anyway)

Some Blue UV SATA 2 cables

A red UV cable binding kit (to run the cables all nice like)

A couple UV cold cathode lights to make all that UV shit glow

A GIANT tube of Arctic Silver 5 to re-paste all my parts before installation (will drop 10-15 Degrees C over any other thermal paste)

On a side note: this will be my first Intel powered PC since the K2... AMD just fell behind this time.

When I get all this crap in on Wednesday I may just grab my digital camera and make a nice record of the assembly, if nothing else I'll snap some pics when it's done and I'll post those on my blog.   read


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