xsistor

Archive for the ‘Computer Hardware’ Category

PC build for playing Rift: Planes of Telara on Ultra Settings

In Computer Hardware, Electronics, Gaming, MMO, Overclocking & Tweaking, RPG on February 12, 2011 at 5:28 am

Update: As some have expressed qualms about going Intel with the recent Field-Effect Transistor biasing issue (potentially affecting SATA 3GB/s on some Sandybridge), I have included an alternative AMD/ATI option.

Introduction
Meet the…

RIFTER 2500 TITANIUM

computer to play Rift

Rifter 2500 Ti (Titanium)

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NVIDIA® OptiX™ Ray Tracing Engine Unveiled at SIGGRAPH 2009 – and a Different Future For Games Ray Tracing

In Computer Hardware, Electronics, Gaming on August 5, 2009 at 4:31 pm

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NVidia® OptiX™ at SIGGRAPH 2009

NVIDIA announced it’s OptiX real-time ray tracing engine at SIGGRAPH 2009, yesterday. You may recall my previous article on how GPU-based ray tracing may become the future of 3D graphics in games with the release of the GT300 family of GPUs. The fact remains, rasterised graphics ARE currently much faster than ray traced rendering, so much more powerful GPUs will be required for real-time ray tracing in games.

As David Kirk of NVIDIA put it, “Ray tracing is the technology of the future and it always will be!”

NVidia OptiX real-time ray tracing engine

NVIDIA OptiX real-time ray tracing engine

The new APIs/Engines that NVidia revealed at SIGGRAPH include additional support for applications programmers. The OptiX interactive engine is a ray tracing pipeline which will allow developers to use the C programming language in order to leverage ray tracing in their applications.

NVIDIA® OptiX™ engine for real-time ray tracing

NVIDIA® SceniX™ engine for managing 3D data and scenes

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NVidia GT300 Tapes Out, but ATI’s ‘Evergreen’ RV800 still Ahead

In Computer Hardware, Electronics on July 31, 2009 at 6:18 pm

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DirectX 11 Goodness!

The day has finally arrived. NVidia’s much-awaited GT300 sporting DirectX11 and a slew of new capabilities has finally taped out. If these chips pass the final foundry tests, they are expected to them some out of manufacturing by November 2009, but it will be be March 2010 before mass production will be in  full force. ‘GT300’, while not the official name, is what ‘everyone’ seems to be calling the new Nvidia GPU these days. NVidia has previously revealed GT300 to be a new cGPU architecture which is radically different from previous generation G200, G92 and the G80 GPUs. The new the cGPU designs further the general-purpose processing design that the last generation brought to market. cGPUs are quite literally GPUs imbued with CPU capabilities,  bringing graphics processors ever closer to their role as general-purpose computational devices. NVidia’s Adrianne must be looking very happy now… and maybe a little less creepy.

NVidia's New Mascot: Meet Adrianne, rendered in photorealistic 3D

NVidia's Mascot: Meet Adrianne, rendered in photorealistic 3D

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Resident Evil 5 Stereo 3D Benchmark Utility: Zombies Crawling Out of Your Screen

In Computer Hardware, Electronics, FPS, Gaming, Survival Horror on July 25, 2009 at 12:09 pm

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Anyone who’s been following the development of NVidia’s Geforce 3D Vision technology closely probably knows all about Left 4 Dead and the effect of 3D Zombies. Left 4 Dead happens to be one of those games that is perfect for 3D vision. Horror, twitch-action, lots of thrills, and the 3D works really well with zombies literally clawing their way out of the screen as they come for your… brainsss.

Left 4 Dead

Left 4 Dead

With Resident Evil 5 on the horizon Capcom has given assurances that the game will fully support NVidia’s stereo 3D effects allowing for the ultimate level of immersion in their survival horror shooter. They’ve even released a 580MB demo which allows users to test the stereo 3D effects in the upcoming game.

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Buying a PC with The Coolness Factor: How would you spend £1599 (or $2628)?

In Computer Hardware, Electronics, Gaming, Overclocking & Tweaking on July 25, 2009 at 1:14 am

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The Story: How the Xsistor® CoolRig™ 1000 was Born

I know I promised to do an ultra low-cost system build with my next one, but this one’s popped up and I just have to do it, and now.

My ex-girlfriend got her  second year electrical engineering results today. She had some really brilliant grades — first class honours. Naturally she was thrilled, except her Intel ex-work buddy was in a particularly gloaty mood and was on about this awesome new system he was getting. Standing in stark contrast to her own aging Toshiba  laptop stood the The HP TouchSmart IQ820, a truly mean piece of hardware. Not something her positively miserly, aging relic of a contraption could compete with. While she was elated at her grades she lamented that she would not be getting something better until she was done with university.

HP TouchSmart IQ820 Desktop PC

HP TouchSmart IQ820 Desktop PC - Click her to view the product page

She sent me the link asking what I thought of it… Not much.

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Building a Low Cost Enthusiast Desktop PC System For Under £550

In Computer Hardware, Electronics, Gaming, Overclocking & Tweaking on July 23, 2009 at 3:57 am

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Requirements

Let’s take a look at how we’d ‘spec’ a system designed to meet the needs of enthusiasts while also keeping costs low:

1) Decent performance in processor-intensive tasks such as video editing/encoding/decoding and other hyperthreaded software

2) Gaming performance at moderate resolutions such as 1680×1050

3) Potential for overclocking

4) Upgradability

The Budget

We want this to be a mid-range system of sorts. I plan to do a really low-cost budget performance/gaming rig for something like £350-£400 soon, but for this system let’s choose more of a mid-range budget. Something in the region of £500-£600 should be fine, so let’s settle on £550, give or take. The average laptop is atleast £500-£600 and we want a system that far outstrips even a high-end laptop in performance.

Guru3D.com showing the use of AMD's Overdrive utility for easy overclocking

Guru3D.com showing the use of AMD's Overdrive utility for easy overclocking

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Building a Custom Cutting Edge PC System for Under £900 or $1250

In Computer Hardware, Electronics, Gaming, Overclocking & Tweaking on July 20, 2009 at 2:14 am

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Requirements

I’ve been asked by a few friends to lay out the specification for a high-end future-proof PC on a reasonable budget. So let’s kick this article off by broadly specifying our goals. To sum it up: We want a PC that does everything, does it well, and doesn’t cost crazy amounts of money!

These goals can only be met by a very high-end rig:

1.) Play HD movies in Blu-ray format on a HDTV or HD LCD Monitor at ‘Full HD’ (1920×1080 resolution)

2.) Handle all the latest games at high resolutions (1680×1050, 1920×1200 and 2048×1152)

3.) Handle video editing, encoding, decoding tasks efficiently

4.) 2D Graphics/Art/texturing – Adobe Photoshop CS4 and related tools should run ‘fast’

5.) Support for 3D modelling using software such as Maya, 3D studio max, and real-time rendering in games development work

6.) Science Simulation/Engineering CAD: should run Solidworks, Matlab, AutoCAD, and other engineering software efficiently

7.) Stanford Research Institute – Folding@Home. Lots of people are getting into the craze, potentially helping fight disease by ‘lending’ computer-time on their systems. The designed system should have these capabilities

8.) Future-proofing/Upgradability- There is really no such thing as future-proofing when it comes to technology. The evolution of technology is not a straight-line deal. Instead, the industry loves to keep taking right-angle turns every year or two just so they can throw customers off trail. But let’s see what we can do. NVidia’s Geforce GT300 and ATi’s Radeon HD 5000 series of 40nm and 32nm graphics cards are coming out soon. We’d like the system to be able to handle these. The system should have options for dual or triple GPU support in the form of SLI or Crossfire. Use of newer, rather than an older platform is recommended.

9.) Overclocking and tweaking – the system should provide headroom for enthusiasts

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Insane Frame Rates on Low-End Hardware in Company of Heroes & Other Games

In Computer Hardware, Gaming, Overclocking & Tweaking, RPG, RTS on July 17, 2009 at 6:19 pm

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Necessity and Desperation

If necessity is the mother of invention then desperation is its great grandmother. I remember my first computer very well: an 80386 DX @ 40 Mhz with a 170MB Hard Disk, 2MB of RAM and a whopping 1MB SVGA Trident graphics card. We didn’t know it at the time but ‘Prof Computers’, the retailer who sold us the system, had loaded up the PC with old unreliable parts. What a bunch of charlatans and thieves! So naturally that computer would constantly break down and we’d have to take it in for service regularly.

Insane FPS! This is on an 8600M GT with High Models, Quality and Textures

Insane FPS! This is on an 8600M GT with High Models, Quality and Textures

They barely kept the system running through its warranty and as soon as that was over the system just decided to quit for good. And so my brother and I would often joke about what we believed ought to be their motto – “Prof – We keep it running.” All things considered I loved that computer to bits. It had a 7-segment LED display on the front of the case  with a Turbo button. At the default setting the 7-segment display would read 40 in bright green, but pressing the turbo button would slow down the system to 20Mhz. There was a massive Power button marked 1 and 0, a hard reset button and, get this – a lock for a computer key. Yup, as many who’ve used old systems would rememeber, most of them came with a key that you could use to lock the system. Booting up with the system locked would lead to an error message during the POST.

Growing up, I wasn’t much for gaming. Most of my time was spent programming in BASIC, Pascal and running innovative MS DOS scripts. Some of my favourites were processing command-line parameters in the form of “%1”, “%2”, … “%n”, and of course the ultimate single line command which would typically read something like:

for %t in (file1.ex1 file2.ex2 file3.ex4 somefile.exe another.dat makeEmUp.bat gorilla.bas nibbles.bas autoexec.bat config.sys)  do if not exist a:\somedir\%t copy %t ..\

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