IslandGamers-Technology And Gaming Info

May 19, 2007

Nvidia- New XP Forceware Drivers Released May 17th 2007

Filed under: Nvidia, PC — Ramajay @ 8:23 am

ForceWare Release 158
Version: 158.22
Release Date: May 17, 2007
WHQL Certified

Windows XP:

32 Bit Version

64 Bit Version

May 14, 2007

ATI- Radeon HD 2900XT Reviews On Net.

Filed under: AMD, ATI, Nvidia, PC Games — Ramajay @ 9:01 am

The results from the reviews are as described in our earlier post here. The card is a disappointment to those hoping for a frame rate monster and does not compete in the high-end with Nvidia’s 8800GTX card based on pure gaming performance.

The summary from various reviews is that the card performs about the same as the Nvidia 8800GTS in most games. The 2900XT ,however, draws an alarming 200W of power under load and ATI/AMD recommends a 550W powersupply at minimum and a 750W power supply if you are thinking of a crossfire solution. The card is longer than the GTS and in addition to this immense power draw it requires a large cooler which one review site described as a mini A/C unit. The 2900XT has been reported to idle at around 70c and peak at 84c when under load during a 3DMark2006 benchmark.

Nvidia now owns the high-end, and we did not see an offering from ATI that matched the performance improvements of the old 9700 series of graphics cards which totally eclipsed Nvidia FX series for an entire generation all the way up to the X800 XT cards vs Nvidia’s 5900 Fxs.

The 2900XT does offer the usual great image quality from ATI, with some new modes such as HQ Anisotropic rendering and CSAA modes faring quite well in image quality testing. The card also delivers HD right out the box which allows you to view 1080P HD content with just a 10-15% impact on your CPU as the entire decoding process is managed on the graphics card itself. Potential buyers also need to take into account that these cards come standard with High Def HDMI connectors which provides HDCP immediately, with sound. ATI also arranged a bundle deal with Valve to give you some free Steam titles due to be released: HL2:Episode 2, Portal and Team Fortress.

The 2900XT is priced at around US$399.00.

ATI is looking a bit better in the low to midrange market, with the 2600 and 2400 series of cards sipping power and providing some good performance, although we have yet to see these cards benchmarked and on the market. Consumers will actually have to wait till around July for the 2600 and 2400 to hit store shelves.

From a pure performance perspective, Enthusiast gamers will go for the 8800GTX when Frames per second is king. Those people looking to watch their pockets and who view HD content on their PCs may opt for the ATI solution as they weigh the noise factor and power supply issues.

Check the reviews for yourself here:

May 6, 2007

ATI – R600 X2900XTX a Disappointment

Filed under: ATI, Nvidia, PC, PC Games — Ramajay @ 6:24 pm

DailyTech has performed an initial benchmark test with Retail drivers of the X2900XT and XTX graphics card from ATI. If readers recall, this card utilises ATI’s new R600 chip and has been delayed several times supposedly to allow ATI to release a full lineup of DirectX10 cards to the market at the same time.

Nvidia released the high end 8800GTX and GTS series late last year, and has now introduced midrange entries to market.

Some analysts touted that the R600 would definitely trump the 8800GTX’s performance figures and far outclass Nvidia’s DX10 offerings.

The actual benchmark performance does not eclipse Nvidia’s top end 8800GTX card, however, and instead ATI’s flagship top -of -the -line offering competes directly with the 8800GTS, the next step down from the 8800GTX.

In Company of Heroes, the 8800GTX pushed 80fps while ATI 2900XTX managed to deliver 53.2fps at the widescreen gaming resolution of 1920×1200. Eldersrolls IV:Oblivion showed the 8800GTX similarly outperforming the ATI XTX card by 23.3 fps with the GTX pushing 98.4fps and the XTX 75.1fps.

Things don’t look good for ATI at this point with regard competing with Nvidia in the DX10 market. The balance has swung once more over to Nvidia with regard to best performing card after their FX series debacle. The company has also never given up the marketing lead and prospective buyers are still far more likely to see an Nvidia advertisement online or in a game rather than the ATI brand.

This coupled with the fact that ATI will not be able to boast even similar performance to the Nvidia card and it makes it very difficult for them to compete, unless they attempt to differentiate themselves based on quality, or better HD television output.

We’ll let you know more about this battle between the Graphics Card giants as it unfolds!

April 19, 2007

Nvidia – 8800 Ultra Just A Higher Clocked 8800GTX

Filed under: Nvidia — Ramajay @ 6:45 am

Information seen around the net suggests that the 8800 Ultra graphics card is not two 8800GTXs on one board, it is actually just a higher clocked 8800GTX. Nvidia expects about a 10% to 15% improvement in performance with the 8800 Ultra over the GTX. It will cost about 68% more than the 8800GTX as it is expected to retail for US$999.00 . 68% increase in price, for 10% more performance.

yay.

At this point it seems manufacturers are viewing the high end enthusiast market with contempt, believing that the consumers who belong to this segment are so shallow that they will pay 68% more for an item simply to be thought of as ‘elite’. In essence with this 8800Ultra and Intel QX6800 announcement we have entered the realm of “Luxury” class computer equipment, but without the increased quality and reliability of true luxury items such as Rado, Rolex, or Mercedes Benz.

April 10, 2007

Nvidia – MidRange 8800 cards due out in about 10 days.

Filed under: Nvidia, PC — Ramajay @ 7:06 am

Nvidia should release new cards in about 10 days, around April 17th 2007.

GeForce 8600 GTS — 256 MB GDDR3, 675 MHz core clock, 1000 MHz memory clock
GeForce 8600 GT — 256 MB GDDR3, 540 MHz core clock, 700 MHz memory clock
GeForce 8500 GT — 128 to 256 MB DDR2 or GDDR3, 450 MHz core clock, 700 MHz memory clock

The performance of the 8600GT appears to be slightly worse than the X1950 Pro and XT in preliminary benchmarks at high resolutions.

Nvidia – New Geforce 8800 Ultra on May 1st

Filed under: Nvidia — Ramajay @ 6:42 am

Nvidia is supposed to introduce a new graphics card, the 8800 Ultra on May 1st. There are no details on the card, but a US$999.00 price tag seems to suggest that this may be two 8800 cards on one board. This will probably open the way for Quad 8800 equipped machines having two 8800Ultra cards (at a whopping US$2000.00).

Now if Nvidia can just fix it’s graphics drivers all this may be a reason to doubt the impending dominance of ATI’s R600 cards ;).

April 8, 2007

PC Games- Test Drive Unlimited – SLI Trick

Filed under: Nvidia, PC Games — Ramajay @ 2:39 pm

You can enable SLI in Test Drive Unlimited by copying the profile for Gothic 2. This game profile works well with TDU and allows you to gain significant Frames Per Second with SLI activated in this game. You can either enable profile modification etc. using the Coolbits method, or the simple method is to Copy the TestDriveUnlimited.exe file and then paste it, and rename the copy to gothic2.exe .

If you do NOT see any framerate increase with SLI using this method then there is a driver conflict on your machine and you should try uninstalling your Nvidia Graphics Drivers from the Control Panel, reboot and then use Regedit to search for any Nvidia Graphics driver remnants in your registry. Remove anything you find (NOT your motherboard registry entries or drivers if you have an Nvidia motherboard, if you don’t think you would know the difference then forget it 😉 ) including utilities like nHancer, Ntune, Powerstrip etc. that could be causing registry conflicts.

Reboot, reinstall your Nvidia drivers (download the latest to be sure you have the most uptodate and uncorrupted copy on your machine) and then try the gothic2.exe trick again.
Should work just fine.

With  two 7800GTs at High Detail and HDR Off you can expect to get about 40fps on average.

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.

2004_pcie_002.gif

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 🙂

February 25, 2007

PC Games- Nvidia posts Optimal Flight Simulator X Graphics Settings

Filed under: Nvidia, PC Games — Ramajay @ 6:58 am

Nivida has begun a series posting optimal graphics settings for various Nvidia Graphics cards in a few games.

I found it to be fairly useful at adjusting the notoriously resource hungry Flight Simulator X title.

Find the FSX specs here

They also have settings for Dark Messiah, Battlefield 2142 and  Roboblitz.

February 7, 2007

Nvidia – Users get together to sue Nvidia

Filed under: Nvidia, Windows VISTA — Ramajay @ 5:38 pm

Apparently users are fed up with Nvidia’s poor Vista drivers and their non – functioning Nvidia 8800 graphics cards. ATI seems to be getting its act together with regards to their Vista drivers, but Nvidia is still trailing far behind.

Users want a public apology as well as a firm release date for compliant drivers. Nvidia had this to say:
"Over the coming weeks NVIDIA and our partners, along with the industry will continue to update Windows Vista drivers to ensure maximum performance on 3D applications and add feature support." --Director of PR for Nvidia, Derek Perez

In other words, it’ll be ready when its ready ;-).

Check the Nvidia Class Action website out for more details.

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