IslandGamers-Technology And Gaming Info

March 7, 2007

ATI – Another external graphics solution called LASSO!

Filed under: ATI, HDTV, Notebooks, Nvidia, PC, PC Games — Ramajay @ 10:29 am

lasso.jpgIt seems that external graphics solutions are set to become all the rage later this year. ATI has answered ASUS’ XG Station with Lasso! They have demonstrated an ATI 1950 graphics card running outside a system and connected via PCI Express Cable to the mainboard powering the graphics of a PC. Their Lasso system is different from the ASUS XG Station in that it is not aimed primarily at video graphics, but is also meant to support GPGPU (General Purpose GPU) Processing which has already been shown to have tremendous utility in the realm of scientific calculations.

The idea behind this is to allow the user to connect one, or more external Graphics Cards to their PC to perform either full graphics processing (the most obvious implementation for gamers) or to use additional graphics cards to provide processing power for applications that support this method. You may recall that ATI and NVIDIA both planned to introduce a software API for game developers to allow them to use a second or third graphics card as a Physics Processor to provide advanced physics in games.

LASSO relies on the latest PCI-SIG spec for Cabled PCI. This ties into the fast PCI Express Bus to allow external devices direct, fast input/output access to the system. Cabled PCI is a lot faster than either USB or Firewire, and tops out at about 80GB/s , just enough for High Resolution HDTV broadcasts. You can tie cables together to increase bandwidth as well, and can go as high as the full PCI-16X (80GB/s) spec outside your computer.

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The Chart to the left shows where PCI Bandwidth taps out and the variety of services that it can accommodate based solely on its bandwidth capacity.

This opens the way for smaller, modular desktop systems where the desktop case form factor is no longer an impediment to near infinite upgrade paths. Clever design can lead to stackable form factors where your Desktop is a little cube, and you can stack additional ‘cubes’ to provide Graphics, Sound, or additional Processing Power.

One issue I can think of would be all the additional cords that would clutter your desk. Each cube will need to be connected by two cords, one for power and the other for the CablePCI cable. So if you have three of these then you now have six additional cords cluttering your computer area.

The technology opens a new paradigm for how we view our Computer systems and how system manufacturers approach Upgradeability and Value Add services. Are you ever going to purchase a Dell system with dual graphics cards when you can get a small form factor system and then purchase an SLI ‘cube’ at retail afterward perhaps at a cheaper cost? Think the iMac except you’re not plugging in an external DVD reader but instead you plug in a graphics card solution that will give you 150fps in Oblivion 🙂

March 1, 2007

Notebooks – Intel Core 2 Duo vs AMD’s Turion 64 X2

Filed under: AMD, Intel, Notebooks — Ramajay @ 7:46 am

notebook-cpu-comparison-charts.gifThe Intel Core 2 outperforms the AMD chip by a wide margin.

Intel’s Core processor family is rather dominant, and clearly offers better performance than the Turion 64 X2 family. If performance is what you’re looking for, AMD’s Turion 64 X2 is hardly an alternative. However, performance depends very much on a mobile computer’s particular configuration: memory size and speed, hard drive spindle speed and the graphics subsystem (discrete vs. shared graphics) have quite an impact on the result. Last but not least, keep processor performance in perspective: weight and battery runtime may be even more important to you anyway. In the end, we consider it very important to compare complete notebooks (and their costs) rather than focusing on CPU performance too much.”

For performance, the Intel line is the way to go at the moment for notebooks (and desktops too actually).

The Turion X2 56 is about US$263.00
The cheapest Core Duo , the T2300 is  US$241.00 and the T2500 is US$294.00.

You can see for yourself how the performance numbers  scale with the price, and it would be difficult to find a reason to purchase the AMD Turion processor, as the T2300 is cheaper and faster. Of course, overall notebook performance does depend on several factors however you would be hard pressed to find an AMD based notebook with a configuration that you could not match with an Intel processor.

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