IslandGamers-Technology And Gaming Info

June 27, 2007

Intel – Update for Intel Processors

Filed under: Intel, PC, Windows VISTA — Ramajay @ 3:23 pm

Microsoft has released a ‘microcode reliability’ update for intel processors for all it’s operating systems.

We have no idea what this update addresses at this time, but you should probably download and install it asap.

Get it here

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June 20, 2007

Vista – Microsoft Alters Vista After Google Complaint

Filed under: Windows VISTA — Ramajay @ 12:27 pm

Most readers would know that we jumped off the Vista bandwagon early on after experiencing driver issues and general instability with our typical computer use and devices such as mobile phones. Now don’t construe that as an indictment against the OS, it just didn’t fit our needs at the time.

One feature of Vista which we appreciated,though, was the integrated Search feature which allowed us to pull up files, emails, documents virtually any data store when searching for information. This feature was placed very neatly in the Windows Start Menu and we found it worked great.

Enter Google. Google also promotes an integrated search, Google Search, which syncs with Outlook and various web browsers. Apparently, when Google Search was installed on Vista machines, the machines slowed to a crawl since the processors (or processor, not everyone has dual core yet do they? ūüėČ ) had to handle the indexing routines of both the internal Vista search AND Google Search as well. I never encountered this particular problem with Vista, since I never thought to install Google Search given that I was satisfied with what was included with Vista. Apparently, though, Google had a big problem with this and filed a complaint!

Microsoft has now agreed as part of the settlement of this complaint to alter how Vista handles Indexing and to provide choices for the Search feature between the provided Vista search, Google Search, or some other Search provider.

Of course I haven’t seen the reason why a user could not simply disable the integrated Windows Search, I would assume that indexing etc. could be switched off just as it can be in Windows XP.

At any rate, Microsoft felt that it should make alterations rather than risk angering the States or the US DOJ!

Read more on the changes here

June 4, 2007

PC Games – User Stats, less than 2% DX10 Capable.

Filed under: PC, PC Games, Windows VISTA — Ramajay @ 7:54 am

I’ve taken an interest in the whole DirectX 10 phenomeneon which is supposed to usher in a new era of PC Gaming in the very near future. The games that we’ve seen previews of show graphical improvements over DirectX 9, but nothing thus far that is so incredible when put next to DX9 content as to make DX10 seem like a necessity. The differences between DX8 and DX9 were phenomenal, but DX9 and DX10’s differences seem to be incremental thus far at best. Additionally my understanding of early Windows Vista reviews suggested that the Unified Shader approach should allow for faster framerates as the GPUs will be used far more efficiently. Early benchmarks between DX9 and DX10 versions of demos on the market now have not shown this to be true. DX9 and DX10 framerates are comparable.

Valve has released their own recent statistics which show that actually just over 1% of gamers that play Steam titles  (about 325,386 gamers in all) are Direct X 10 compatible. In fact the majority of Steam gamers are running on Geforce 6600 and 7600 graphics cards, which represents the midrange to lowend of the graphics card market.

Among gamers only about 5% of Steam users have made the Vista upgrade. The fact that not only are there not many DX10 card owners, but not many people seem to own the OS that enables DX10 either raises a question mark as to how this technology is really going to revolutionise the PC Gaming sector as advertised.

Admittedly,¬†it¬†is¬†still¬†quite¬†early¬†in¬†Vista’s¬†lifecycle,¬†and¬†Nvidia’s¬†DX10¬†capable¬†cards¬†have¬†been¬†on¬†the¬†market¬†for¬†just about¬†6¬†months¬†so¬†far. Valve’s statistics are interesting though, for developers who choose to release ‘Vista Only’ titles or who consider chopping the lowend to midrange from their playable specs in future titles.

Check the full Valve statistics here 

June 1, 2007

PC Games – First DirectX 10 Title is Company of Heroes patch 1.7

Filed under: PC Games, Windows VISTA — Ramajay @ 12:34 pm

Company of Heroes has released a patch that updates the game to take advantage of DirectX 10.

So what can gamers expect of the ‘new’ DirectX 10 update?

Not much:

DX10 Features

  • Edges of particles are softened where intersecting 3D objects.
  • Thousands of additional ‚Äėlitter‚Äô objects in the world.
  • Improved user control over anti aliasing settings.
  • Alpha to coverage anti aliasing to improve quality of alpha test objects such as shrubs.
  • Lighting quality has improved by moving all calculations per pixel.
  • More precise point light calculations.
  • Point lights can now cast shadows.
  • 3D short grass on the terrain.
  • Vertical refresh synchronization is enabled by default to improve visual quality by preventing tearing of the display image, use ‘-novsync’ to disable.
  • Hardware PCF for improved shadow quality.”

Whee. So we get better eyecandy. And more ‘litter’ objects. No notes about improved framerate though. We hope to get some reviews that show comparisons between the versions, as well as benchmarks from the DX9 and DX10 versions soon.

April 8, 2007

PC Games- Test Drive Unlimited, Rise Of The Console Ports.

Filed under: PC Games, Windows VISTA, Xbox360 — Ramajay @ 8:43 am

Hello gentle reader, I’ve just been racing around a lovely Hawaii island in a Lamborghini! Test Drive Unlimited features amazing terrain which encompasses an entire island in Hawaii, complete with buildings, gorgeous foliage and breathtaking views of the ocean. You have an incredible assortment of luxury automobiles ranging from Ferraris to high end Concept Vehicles which have to be unlocked. Volkswagen, Lamborghini, Mercedes Benz, Ferrari,Ascari, Aston Martin, they are all here. Perhaps one manufacturer notably absent is BMW. A limited selection of the best motorcycle brands such as Triumph and Ducatti are also added for a bit of risky fun on the roads. The game supports several different types of events including the standard Race mode. There are Fastest Time races, Speed Trap, Package Delivery, Male Model Delivery, and Female Model Delivery, and Sports Car Delivery. Some of these missions have damage meters which decrease each time you run off the road or hit oncoming traffic.

(more…)

April 5, 2007

Vista – Dual Boot A Machine With Vista Already Installed

Filed under: Windows VISTA — Ramajay @ 7:45 am

Have you purchased a PC with Vista Pre-Installed, or have you boldly installed Vista yourself and chosen to ignore all warnings and wipe out your existing XP Installation? Are you now facing application compatibility issues, gaming performance issues and several of the other ‘not quite ready yet’ snafus that have been mentioned over the net?

Fear not! There is hope yet! This article describes the steps you can take to create a new partition from within Vista , install Windows XP , and then use a third party tool called VistaBootPro to have that wonderful “Previous Windows Version” entry appear at system boot up.

So you can have all the pretty eye candy you want with Vista, and then switch to XP when you want to play games at an extra 10frames per second, or do some real work ūüėČ

March 7, 2007

Vista-All Video and Audio codecs in one package!

Filed under: Blu-Ray, HD-DVD, HDTV, Windows VISTA — Ramajay @ 9:24 am

Shark007 over at MSFN forums has posted a comprehensive package containing just about all the different codecs you will ever need for watching video or listening to audio on your PC. Every Media Player, whether Microsoft Media Player or DivX Player uses Codecs to Decode video files so that you can view them on your computer. There are several instances where you may download a video file and because you lack the proper codec, or the proper version of a codec you are not able to view the file, or hear the audio. This can be quite frustrating, and hunting for these codecs isn’t a fun part of anyone’s day.

This package groups just about all the standard codecs out there into one easy to install package which will support all Media Players. The creators also made some default adjustments to most of the players so that they perform at optimum quality on most systems.

Check out the MSFN forum post for links to MajorGeeks, SoftPedia and other download sites that are carrying the installation package. It is also available for Vista 64 Bit.
The package will also work with Windows XP! ūüôā

February 22, 2007

Vista- Security protection oversold?

Filed under: Windows VISTA — Ramajay @ 3:13 am

Slashdot is running an article that points to Vista’s security features being oversold, and actually not as rock solid as Microsoft claims. A key selling point for Vista is that it is a lot more secure than Windows XP SP2 in the same corporate and consumer environments. The article mentions that generally Vista ships with much the same network services turned on by default, and with the same ability for the user to download and install malware (spyware and adware programs), only this time when they allow the products to install after being warned by the Vista OS, it’s all their fault.

This may be just a bit harsh, with a hardened kernel , address location switching and even the new UAC controls Vista does make changes that do make it more difficult to crack than Windows XP SP2. In our view, the argument can only be are the changes enough and to what level do they succeed altogether at being more secure. Vista has been out less than three months now in the consumer market, and for any practical comparison it’s still too early to tell, in our view.

Check the article here

February 10, 2007

Virtualisation Technology – DX8.1 3D Gaming arrives under Mac OS X.

Filed under: Apple, Windows VISTA — Ramajay @ 2:52 pm

Virtualisation – With Virtualisation technology, the ability to run one Operating System within another, will it matter which platform we use? Linux? Windows? Mac? If someone running Linux has access to the full capabilities of Windows, and vice versa what will dictate our consumer purchases in the future?

For some it would boil down to cost, reliability, security, performance and productivity. An organisation may choose the Mac for the promise of stability and reliability of OSX in daily work while maintain ing application accessibility via Windows.

Being an enthusiast, I can see myself having all four: Windows Vista, Windows XP,Linux and Mac OS on my machine, and switch between them as necessary depending on whichever is best for the task at hand. (Yes, I mentioned Vista and XP as a dual OS choice, Vista doesn’t replace XP at this point, it’s like a completely different system until I can get all my printers, scanners,joysticks, tuner cards and software to work on it).

Parallels on the Mac has promised full DirectX 3D Acceleration support for Windows games running within Mac OSx. VMWare has beat them to it, as this video shows.Apparently there is a ‘secret’ switch in VMWare to allow DirectX 8.1 acceleration (The games of 2001 and before). They claim that they will soon support Direct X9, which opens up titles such as Oblivion, Supreme Commander, Crysis,FEAR,Neverwinter Nights 2,Lock On Modern Air Combat etc.

Keep in mind as well that both Intel and AMD are producing processors that have built in support for Virtualisation Technology. The future of computing should be quite interesting, with the consumer having far more choice and control over their computing environment.

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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