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625 results for memory
New 60GB Xbox 360 announced, cheaper 20GB version in Gaming
Microsoft has announced that it willbe producing a new $349 60GB Xbox 360, and the 20 GB version that itwill slowly replace will be cut in price in the US to $299.
AlthoughUK price changes have not been published, the arrival of a new 60GBversion – giving users much more memory for things like movies,trailers and Xbox Live Arcade games – is in keeping with Microsoft'spush into downloadable content.
"We know consumers need moreand more space to store the amazing digital content Xbox 360 offers,and we're giving it to them at no extra charge," said Albert Penello,Xbox director of product management at Microsoft.
"No onedevice offers the depth and breadth of entertainment that Xbox 360 candeliver, and now you'll have three times the storage to manage all thatgreat content."
What does it mean for UK?
The20GB version of the Xbox 360 – normally known as the Pro – currentsells for £199.99, and it seems likely that the news 60GB version willretail for the same price when it hits UK shelves.
This meansthat the older 20GB version will be given a price reduction, althoughit remains to be seen how close that will be to the Arcade version(with a much smaller storage capacity) which is currently priced at£159.99.
Microsoft's support of the now-failed HD DVD drive has meant a shift of focus onto downloadable HD (and SD) content.
Thesuccess of Xbox Live Marketplace has buoyed the console, and the offerof extra storage to boost these services makes a good deal of sense.


Prices for all other models remain unchanged, so that’s $279(£141/€176) for the Arcade (that’s the one with a 256MB memory card)and $449 (£226/€283) for the Elite – the flagship model with anintegrated 120GB HDD.
Although the leaked email said the new machine would be called thePro, Microsoft’s official announcement of the 60GB model didn’t use anysuch uplifting title.
The bad news is that – at least for the time being – the 60GB Xbox360 will only appear in the US and Canada when it goes on sale nextmonth.
Posted by Editorial Team Mon Jul 14, 2008 1:08 pm
GAME.co.uk Lists the 100 Greatest Games.. gets it WRONG! in Gaming
It's a List made by gamers with a short memory.
Call of Duty 4, Gears of War and Halo 3 in the TOP 10!??!?! Was this list compiled by a 10 year old?

http://www.game.co.uk/greatestgames/

Clearly just a marketing thing

Halflife 2 is only number 9 yet it is one of the most highly played games - CounterStrike is number 53? and the Sims only 52?? With Wii Sports at 51?

How can
Grand Theft Auto IV appear at number 4?
Assassings creed shouldnt even be on there and how can you miss SimCity?

AH, this confirms it:

The kid who won a 1,000,000 reward poinds voted KillZone 2 because...


Quote:

"Killzone for mewas the greatest game of all time because it was the first FPS I everbought and it had the right kind of story.


Here's youre link:
http://www.game.co.uk/greatestgames/
Posted by Editorial Team Mon Jul 14, 2008 10:24 am
Build a DX10 rig for under £176 in Hardware, Internet, Networking, Comms and Security
We like big explosions, the bigger the better, in fact.
Wealso like smoke effects, water ripples, dappled lighting filteringthrough jungle canopies and creeping up silently behind people, beforemurdering them with our bare hands. But enough about our weekendpastimes…
What we really like are the fantastic visuals that DX10 gaming offers.
If you listen to most people, they will tell you that you need a quad-core, DDR3, triple-SLI setup to play Crysis. The sort of setup that requires you to remortgage your house to own. These people are wrong, and we're going to show you why.
We'vepreviously demonstrated how to build a DX10 setup for just under £300,a not unreasonable amount that should be within the reach of mostpeople. But what if you just blew all your money on a sordid weekend inAmsterdam, and you've resorted to scrambling under the sofa for loosechange? Would you believe us if we told you that it's possible to builda DX10-capable rig for well under £200? Well, it's true.
Ofcourse you can't connect it to a 22-inch wide screen monitor withoutthe frame rates plummetting, but if you're on that tight a budget, abig monitor is probably the least of your concerns.
Wheneveryou work to such a tight budget, something has to give and this projectwill be no exception. We need to prioritise in certain areas, whileothers can be largely ignored.
Yes, a case is important to stopyour gear being an untidy heap of electronics on the floor, but reallyyou just need a metal box to screw things onto. Optical drives are dirtcheap, and with memory stick capacities being what they are, hardlyanyone burns DVDs, so we only need a DVD ROM.
It also means noquad-core and no SLI. But dual-core chips are surprisingly cheap, andwe'll see just how well a budget DX10 card performs. Don't forget thatif you have any parts available from an existing PC, such as cases anddrives, you can reuse them and put the money towards a higher-end CPUor graphics card.


       
Case and PSU
Ifyou want a well-designed case, with plenty of fans, numerous ports andplenty of upgradability, then it's easily possible to spend more thanour entire budget on such a beast.
Likewise, if you want a 1KwPSU that supports the likes of SLI, then it's going to cost a fairamount of cash. At the other end of the spectrum is the all-in-one caseand PSU deal. We found one for just £26, which includes a 400W PSU.
Thismay not sound like a lot of power, but it's more than enough to run oursetup. When spending such a small amount of money on a case, you'dexpect it to be quite horrific, but it's surprisingly well featured. Ithas a matt-black finish, which helps on the looks front, and the frontpanel has USB and audio ports.
Most of the internals can befitted without the need for a screwdriver, and it even has a lockingside panel. Sure, it isn't the best-looking or quietest case we've everseen, but for this sort of money, we're not complaining.
The result?
As the most basic DX10 card available from NVIDIA, it comes as no surprise that the performance of the 8400 is not the best.
However,at £20 it still does pretty well, as long as you keep the resolutionrealistic. Okay, not everyone wants to play at 800x600, or even1024x768, but then you shouldn't be so cheap, should you?
Surprisingly, Crysis gave some of the best results, although BioShock achieves the best framerates of all. Using the Optimal settings button, Crysisdid set all the detail level to low, but the results still lookedpretty good. However, if you're going to be realistic about playingDirectX10 games, then you are going to have to find a little more moneyin your budget.
Hooking the 9600GT up to our budget CPU workedabsolute miracles, and at around £70 extra is an absolute steal. Notonly could we turn the detail right up, but we could run a higherresolution and still get twice the frame rates of the 8400GS.
Surprisingly,adding a high-end quadcore CPU doesn't give much of an increase, witheither the 8400 or 9600GT. In conjunction with the 8400Gs, the Phemom9550 does give you some extra fps over the Athlon X2 4400+, but withwhen it comes to the 9600GT, the difference over the 4400+ setup ismarginal.
So, if you want the best performance, and can spend alittle extra, buying the 9600GT is the logical choice. You know itmakes sense.
Posted by Editorial Team Tue Jul 08, 2008 7:47 am
Exposed Windows Minesweeper actually cheats in Microsoft / Windows
I wrote a very simple program to read Minesweeper's memory anddisplay a grid showing where the bombs are. I used OllyDbg fordisassembly and reversing and CheatEngine for quickly finding knownvalues in memory.
During this process, I found out that Minesweeper CHEATS, onlyspawns about half the bombs, and moves bombs mid-game. (Sometimes towhere you are clicking, sometimes it will move a bomb that you clickon.) Regardless, I consider this project a success.
During this process, I found that Minesweeper will sometimes assist youand move bombs away from where you are clicking on. Originally, Ithought that Minesweeper was only "spawning" about half of the bombs,but as it turns out I misunderstood the way minefield was representedin memory and all bombs are generated at the beginning of the game and not first click or any later clicks.
My error was in thinking that minefield was stored in a 2-dimensional array (ie: minefield[x][y] = FLAGS) where max(x) (and max(y)) are the size of the grid (ie: 9x9 on Beginner) but as xumiiz on Reddit pointed out:

His program is buggy. It's not reading the grid incorrectly - it's a constant width of 32 bytes, but a window from thetop left is taken for the actual size of the playing field.
So, first bugfix to his source:
  for(DWORD grid_loc = 0; grid_loc < grid_height * grid_width; grid_loc++) {
should be:
  for(DWORD grid_loc = 0; grid_loc < grid_height * 32; grid_loc += ((grid_loc%32)==(grid_width-1))?(32-grid_width+1):1) {
And:
    if((grid_loc % grid_width) == (grid_width - 1))
should be changed to:
    if((grid_loc % 32) == (grid_width - 1))
With these fixes, it reads all the bombs properly.

And also this comment from Anonymous:

Sorry but your program is reading the grid incorrectly.Minesweeper uses a grid with a fixed width of 32 bytes and the playingfield is takena s a window of that grid from the top left. e.g.beginner mode uses bytes 0 to 8 and skips bytes 9 to 31 per every 32byte row.* Fixing the program to read based on that patten shows thatMinesweeper only moves the mine if it happens to be the first squareyou click on. Apart from that, all mines are randomly placed at thestart of the game.
(* Actually it would use bytes 0 to 10, where bytes 0 and 10 are0x10 which is to indicate the border of the mine field, and bytes 1 to9 are the actual squares. but that's not really relevant to theanalysis if you're just &ing with 0x80 to find bombs.)

The source of this program is available here: (This is the original and still requires an update, my code will be fixed soon.)
http://www.room641a.net/files/projects/minehack/minehack.cpp
Sample program output:
Minehack - Reverse Engineering and Coding by Sub <sub@room641a.net&gt;
---
Fairly simple program to display already-placed bombs in minesweeper.
---
PID: 2836
Height: 9
Width: 9
---
[ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ]
[ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ]
[ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ]
[ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ]
[ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ]
[ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ]
[ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ]
[ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ]
[ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ]
And now, probably the most important comment block of my entire program (I have updated this information here to be current, but the source file still needs updated):
/* Did you know?
*
* Minesweeper stores its minefield in an array char-sized (1 byte) multi-dimensional array. Each byte
* in memory corresponds to a specific location on the grid. It appears to use
* simple bit masks. (This section needs updating, but the information below is current.)
*
* 0x10 "Border" - Appears to mark the beginning of a row, which means my offset is off by +1
* 0x40 Button has been pressed already
* 0x80 Bomb is in place. These can move mid-game if clicked on
* Bit-wise OR with:
* 0x00 The square is exposed
* 0x0X X is 1-8 -- # on square (number of mines neighboring this square)
* 0x0D Square is marked with question mark
* 0x0E Square is marked with flag
* 0x0F Blank squares are all 0x0F
*
* AND THEN THERE'S 0xCC WHICH MEANS YOU CLICKED A DAMN BOMB AND LOST!
*/
Posted by Editorial Team Fri Jul 04, 2008 6:05 am
AMD's dual-GPU Radeon HD 4870 X2 less than a month away in Hardware, Internet, Networking, Comms and Security
The 4870 X2, like its predecessor, the 3870 X2, essentially sports apair of GPUs, each with its own memory bank, and operatingco-operatively using AMD's CrossFire technology.
No wonder then that the 4870 X2 has two 4870 'RV770' graphics chips and 2GB of GDDR 5 memory - 1GB per GPU.
Reports citing Taiwanese graphics card suppliers say the X2 will bepriced at around $499 (£251/€314) when it goes on sale around themiddle of next month.
Posted by Editorial Team Fri Jul 04, 2008 6:02 am
AMD with three new Phenom CPUs at opposite ends of market in Hardware, Internet, Networking, Comms and Security
The raw specs are 140W TDP for the 9950 at 2.6GHz and 65W for the 9350e at2.0GHz and 9150e at 1.8GHz. The prices are $235, $195 and $175 respectively, andthe sharp-eyed among you will notice that the 9950 costs exactly what the 9850does. That is because in a week, on July 7, the 9850 will drop to $205. Bothwill remain 'Black', but the 9950 will be blacker because, before the end of theyear, the 9850 will fade from black, and go back to a locked part.
You have to wonder why AMD is bothering to lock Phenoms at all, with theBlack parts selling at effectively no premium, why not just let people have fun.Anything AMD can do to foster the enthusiast market at this point is probably agood thing, and if you don't have the raw speed, play up the features.
In any case, the interesting part of the bunch is the 9350e. It isn't a barnburner, but for media center boxes, coupled with a 780G board, or better yet a790GX, it could be a pretty solid media/casual gaming rig. This part fills ahole in the market, there aren't any sub 95W Intel quads out there formainstream consumer use, but there could be quite easily if the 9350e is a hit.
In any case, hardcore gamers will probably turn up their noses at the lowclock speeds in the -e parts, but as long as you are not trying to eke out thelast FPS, these parts would make a dandy low-noise desktop.
So, how did they do? Using the same exact setup as the we did with theoriginal780G review, the numbers lined up quite well. To recap, that is a GigabyteGA-MA78GM-2SH mobo, Corsair DDR2 1066 memory and a PC Power and Cooling/OCZSilencer 750W PSU. Power draw was measured at the wall with an Extech True RMSPower Analyser. The same caveat as last time needs to be said, the PSU isunderworked and far less efficient that it would be if we were pulling 500+ W,so knock about 20+ per cent off the wall power to get power used by the boarditself.
We ran our usual power draw test, 3DMark06 under XP SP3 patched to current asof June 28. Just for fun, we threw in the 4850e and the X4 9600 from the lasttest, as well as the 8750 X3. So now you can compare a K8, X3, X4 B2 and a X4 -ein terms of power. It looks like this.

The raw numbers
The lowest idle number is of course the 4850e, and it beats the quads byalmost 20W, the really odd part is the greater than 20W gap from there to the8750 X3. Lose one core, gain 20W? Binning problem, or binning opportunity? Thedual core 4850e also takes the bottom of the loaded power charts, and there is abig 33W gap to the 9350e. From there, the 8750 and 9600 are almost on top ofeach other.
Performance is about where you would expect it to be, the 4850e taking up thebottom with sub-1200 scores, and the others right on top of each other at1540+/-2. A quick overclock of the 9600 to 2.8GHz barely moved the score, so3DMark06 looks pretty GPU bound here.
In the end, with the new parts are priced pretty low, but won't challengeIntel for supremacy. For the high end 9950, you gain 100MHz for a few watts somake sure your mobo can handle the extra. In a week, it will not cost you anymore than a 9850, so you might want to hold off for a few days.
The 9350e and the 9150e look to be solid and inexpensive workhorses for theHTPC/SFF/quiet office PC set. You give up 200MHz for 30W, not a bad trade. Theyare solidly mid-range parts that won't stun any gamers, but they plug gaps inthe market, and do so quite nicely.
Posted by Editorial Team Tue Jul 01, 2008 7:15 am
I'm confused please respond in Hardware, Internet, Networking, Comms and Security
Because this isn't a mandatory question I'll keep it short.

But basically what I've been seeing lately is Nvidia and ATI are almost just about equal in performance.  But I'm so confused as to what is ATI doing wrong that is so ineffective?  For example, Most Nvidia cards have a 600/1700MHz clock speed (core/memory) and no more than 128 streaming processors.  ATI's competitive cards are more like 800/2000MHz with 240 streaming processors.

This is just an example off the top of my head but its about what things are like right now, so what I want to know is what is ATI doing that makes everything they have significantly slower?  Their latest card has 640 streaming pipelines, thats nuts.  Yet it just barely compete's with Nvidia's good stuff, and it sure as hell doesn't have over 320.
Posted by schmidtbag Mon Jun 30, 2008 11:01 am
The development of tennis games 1958 to 2006 and the Wii in Gaming
"Important? Tennis games?!" I hear some of you scoff. And sure,while few of us really look forward to the next iteration of Top Spinor even Virtua Tennis, the genre has played a major role in the birthand development of the videogame industry. Even now, it's often tennisgames that are pushing the frontiers of analogue sensitivity andcomplexity against the need for intuitive user-friendliness in consolecontrols.
So, while Wimbledon hots up, here's a quick run through of the keytitles, together with nostalgic YouTube footage. Grab a bowl ofstrawberries, some clotted cream and a cheeky glass of Pinot (I don't care if you're at work - get into the spirit of things) and join me on a brief amble down tennis memory lane.
Tennis for Two (1958, Oscilloscope)
Running on the oscilloscope at the Brookhaven National Laboratory andprogrammed by physicist William Higinbotham, Tea for Two was arguablythe first computer game ever made (though some point to the evenearlier project, OXO). Check out the YouTube footage!
Pong (arcade, 1972)
Al Alcorn's take on the Magnavox Odyssey Tennis game essentiallykickstarted the games industry, both in the arcades and later, on homeconsoles. The title symbolises the odd, apologist relationship gamershave with software - many claimed to be able to produce spin on theball, although this functionality was never part of the program (thedirection of the ball was affected by the area on which it struck thebat, but that was about it).
Match Point (1984, Spectrum)
Psion Software's early effort pitched featureless stickmen against eachother in a rough approximation of the Wimbledon finals. The visualswere sparse but the simulation was pretty advanced for the time -players could control the speed and direction of the ball with defttiming and after-touch. Looking back, the ball boys bear an unfortunateresemblance to Starvin Marvin from South Park. YouTube video here.
Super Tennis (1991, SNES)
Perhaps the first modern day tennis sim, featuring an array of courtsurfaces, lots of differently-skilled players and several two-playermodes. It is, however, mostly remembered for its fast, intuitive action- a sort of Tennis equivalent of Sensible World of Soccer. Thescrolling court visuals and crisp sound samples impressed gamers at thetime, too. YouTube it up!
Pete Sampras Tennis (1994, Mega Drive)
Codemasters' sleek Mega Drive effort matched Super Tennis for sheerplayability, adding some of its own eccentric features, including aCrazy Tennis mode where you could play against portly platform hero,Dizzy. Codies also introduced its J-Cart technology allowing up tofour-players to take part in doubles matches.
Virtua Tennis (1999, arcade and Dreamcast)
The defining tennis sim of the modern era. The Dreamcast original mixedintuitive controls with lovely animation to produce a simulation ofincredible depth. The World Tour mode was an inspired addition,providing a range of surreal mini-games to test different aspects ofyour game. Subsequent iterations have tweaked the formula and improvedthe visuals, but the essence of this Sega NAOMI/Dreamcast classicremains unmolested. Here's a trailer.
Wii Sports Tennis (2006, Wii)
A popular element of the revolutionary Wii Sports compilation, drawingimpressively accurate motion-sensing performance from the Wiimote.Okay, so your lack of control over the onscreen player could getannoying at times, but the fun of acting out physically extravagantshots - often at the risk of the odd patio door or Ming dynasty vase -is what this game was all about. Here is a silly Wii Tennis 'accident' movie.
Okay, so what vital tennis titles have I missed? The first person tosuggest Anna Kournikova's Smash Court Tennis will be sent to thenaughty step.
Posted by Editorial Team Mon Jun 30, 2008 6:50 am
EA complains of game review cult, but does one exist? in Business and Industry in Gaming, Media, Web, IT and Computing
Is there a kind of "cult of opinion" that controls review scores? Itsometimes seems that reviews include a laundry list of complaints aboutplay or other issues, and then the score comes out of the machinesmelling fresh. While it's hard to say conclusively that reviewers gettogether to talk about what scores to give what games, it can sometimesseem like certain titles seem to get much higher scores than the textin the reviews would suggest. EA has noticed it too, and CEO JohnRiccitiello seems frustrated at the game press; it seems EA's gamesdon't know the secret handshake to get into the club.
"EA doesn't usually get the benefit of the cult—'everybody has to rateit a hundred' thing going on—that happens sometimes even when they maynot, based on the review, have played more than the first fifteenminutes of the game. But that's a separate issue," Riccitiello said atan investor event, as reported by GamesIndustry."It used to be... [a]ll Metacritics were higher once upon a timebecause it was ten professionals rating them. Now, sort of anybody witha pen can rate them, and it ends up with a bit of a wider track sometimes."
It's true that EA tends to have to fight harder to get respect inthe industry; game writers have a long memory, and no one is happy with some of the movesthat EA has made in the past. It's not rare that, at a trade show or EAevent, I'll be comparing notes with other writers and hear things like,"I hate to say it, but GAME X looks good," or "EA has some good stuffthis year, which is a nice change." It seems like praise for EA can, attimes, be hard to come by. The company's somewhat outdated reputationof cranking out repetitive sequels and tired, licensed titles has beenhard to shake, and backhanded compliments around the free bar at gamingparties are sadly common.
It might not be sinister, but EA does have a certain reputationamong gamers and reviewers that could be hurting it in some circles. Acult? Probably not. Some bad blood about past indiscretions? Verypossible.
Posted by Editorial Team Sun Jun 29, 2008 6:44 am
Few gamers claim Grand Theft Auto 'hot coffee' cash in Business and Industry in Gaming, Media, Web, IT and Computing
$93,660 (£47,201/€59,631) can’t be much to the publisher of Grand Theft Auto. But that’s the paltry maximum amount it could've paid out so far over the infamous ‘hot coffee’ incident in GTA: San Andreas, simply because hardly anyone’s filed a claim.
To refresh your memory, ‘hot coffee’ was the name given to a sequence within GTA: San Andreas that allowed players to perform sexual acts with background characters.

A lawsuit was brought against Take-Two Interactive - publisher of Grand Theft Auto,and the company later agreed to pay between $5 and $35 to anyone whohad bought the game and was offended by the scenes - which were notenabled by default, but required a special hack to activate.
But, according to Seth Lesser, lead lawyer for the plaintiffs, only2676 people have come forward to claim their cash, so far. "We can'tguess as to why now, several years later, people care or don't care.The merits of the case were clear,” Lesser said.
The irony is that the 11 law firms that brought the action againstTake-Two are said to have claimed around $1.3m (£655,000/€828,000) inlegal fees.
Posted by Editorial Team Sun Jun 29, 2008 6:39 am
RM launched its new Windows XP-based RM Asus miniBook in Hardware, Internet, Networking, Comms and Security
RM dumped the Eee name, as it feels the connotations of the letter in between of D and F with drug misuse/abuse wouldn’t fit all that well with kids and the Education market sector.

So fresh from rehab comes a 8.9-inch RM Asus Minibook for schools. The firm expects to see 50,000 units sold by the year end. This is compared to the 7-inch original model launched at the Handheld Learning Conference in London October 2007, which has sold 23,000 to date.



Specifications for the education aimed lite-laptop are exactly as the ASUSTeK 900 model itself, with this SKU shipping with 12GB SDD and a 1GB memory. When querying an Asus spokesperson at the event about which battery will be shipping with said units, we were informed that the new models will soon have the standard extended one that’s seen elsewhere in the world. Saving the local education authorities the £11.75 they are currently charging for swapping out the old one for the new.

One of the clear reasons why RM has gone down this route with Microsoft is the simple fact that most educational software is designed to run on Windows. This in turn makes it easier for schools to add their favourite curriculum software to the RM Asus Minibook.

“The Minibooks have proved a popular choice since launch and we are very excited to be expanding our range to include the Windows version. At around the £200 mark these devices mean that no pupil in the UK should be disadvantaged by not having access to the very best learning and the very best technology.” said Tim Pearson, CEO of RM

Tim let slip that he could be breaking an NDA over the following information – there’s a £25 price difference between the Linux version and the Windows XP. This came across that there’s an additional cost to customers from choosing the vole version over the penguin, but their product manager cleared this up later. The CEO was just referring to an internal cost for Asus and that’s all. RM will continue to offer the original Minibook models with Linux applied, just in case you were worried.

Although the model we saw was still Celeron based, they are planning to introduce an Intel Atom version after the summer school holidays – just in time for the Autumn school term.

The Minibook does arrive initially with Windows XP Home installed and they’re leaving it to schools to upgrade to XP Pro if needed, although they do offer factory-ordered customisation for a cost. The price for the 8.9-inch Minibook is just £285 and the reason behind the low cost, is solely down to schools not getting charged VAT (thanks Emil).
Posted by Editorial Team Mon Jun 23, 2008 5:09 pm
60GB Xbox 360 to launch at E3 in Hardware, Internet, Networking, Comms and Security
The new version of the Xbox 360could launch at the E3 games event next month in a bid to halt theprogress of Nintendo and Sony in the console wars.
According to Trusted Reviews, the new Xbox will be unveiled around 15 July, then scheduled for launch mid-August this year.
Down the Arcade
Atthe moment, this means the future is unclear for the current Premiumversions of the Xbox 360, which have just 20GB of internal memory.
It'slikely that this update will be badged as a new product, but willeventually replace the 20GB version, because the cost differencebetween the two consoles is pennies.
Jon Hicks, editor of Xbox 360: The Official Xbox Magazine says: "It's only a rumour at this point, but it's a sensible one.
"Withmore and larger content being released on Xbox Live, it makes sense forMicrosoft to offer a bundle that takes better advantage of it.
"Thereal news, however, would be if it meant the end of the hard-drive-freeArcade version. If Microsoft started selling all Xbox 360's with a harddrive as standard, it would make life easier for the game developers -but with such a huge install base already, I'd be surprised if theywent down that route."
Microsoft also has the Elite 120GBmodel, and given the push the company is giving HD downloads, we'd haveto assume this will be the one to promote for that function, as HD anda few game downloads will eat up space faster than hungry, hungryhippos.
Posted by Editorial Team Thu Jun 19, 2008 4:09 pm
Nokia N78 in Entertainment, Film and Music, Mobile devices and media
Nokia’s latest N-series "multmedia computer" bundles a 3.2-megapixelcamera, music player, satnav and maps into a sleek go-anywhere,do-it-all device. Wherever you happen to find yourself, you’ll be gladyou brought it.
The N78 is certainly a classy looking handset, and the smart touchgoes much deeper than its looks. Its sleek, gloss-black front may atfirst glance resemble the touch-sensitive minimalism of LG’s oft-copiedChocolate series, but in use, all is not as it seems.
Nokia's N78: packs in feature after feature

To press the illuminated buttons you actually press the plasticcasing inwards. The cover bends to accommodate your thumb rather thanreacting purely to your touch. It might seem like a low-techalternative, but in practice it seemed more reliable than thetouch-sensitive option, which in our experience can be a bittemperamental.
Nokia’s solution is a good combination of style and practicality.The numeric keypad is actually four raised plastic strips, with thenumbers backlit just above them. It looks lovely, but takes a bit ofgetting used to, and it has to be said that this keypad is far from thebest for rapid or prolonged texting.
The face of the phone oozes minimalist class, but strangely, theback feels like its made from low-grade material and creaks in yourhand, which detracts from the cool image. There’s another surprisehidden in the square navpad. Rubbing your thumb around the edgeactivates what Nokia calls the "navi-wheel", which moves the cursoraround the screen without the need to press the pad.
You can also do the iTrip thing with the built-in FM transmitter andbeam your music to your car radio. Incidentally, the Navi-wheel reallycomes into its own as you scroll through your music playlists, behavinglike a tiny version of Apple’s scroll wheel. Hmmm, are we sensing apattern here?
Of the few problems we encountered with this phone, there were theusual Symbian issues of running slowly when you’ve got severalapplications open at once, but it was nippy enough when we stuck todoing one or two things at a time and it was easy to switch offbackground applications using the aforementioned Applications button.

70MB of memory on board - plus a Micro SD slot for more

If the 3.6Mb/s HSDPA connection isn’t fast enough, you can alsoconnect over Wi-Fi. The usual N-series web browser is here in fulleffect, with options for viewing in landscape or portrait mode, pluszoom and the ability to flick through previously viewed pages. There’salso a PDF viewer and QuickOffice for viewing Microsoft Officedocuments, though if you want to create them you’ll have to pay for thefull Office suite.
And as a Symbian phone there are of course plenty more third-party apps available.
Battery life was pretty good, and we got a good three days ofmoderate use out of it, though heavy browsing will of course reducethis quite dramatically.
VerdictFrom its sleek, minimalist good looks to its raft of impressivelywell-integrated features, the N78 is a gorgeous little number. The3.2-megapixel camera, feature-packed music player, A-GPS and maps,quality web browser plus documents readers and email make it an idealtravelling companion for business or pleasure.
Posted by Editorial Team Thu Jun 19, 2008 4:03 pm
Evaluating your graphics card needs - Full iVirtua Guide in Hardware, Internet, Networking, Comms and Security
If you happen to have a friend or a family member who’s an expert oncomputer graphics cards, you’re in luck. Bring that person along withyou while you shop, and you’ll benefit from their experience.

If,on the other hand, you don’t have a game techno-wizard to call on—or,if you’d like to understand what you’re buying before you spend yourhard-earned cash—you’ve come to the right place. In this section, Ihelp you determine which graphics card features you need, includingimportant considerations such as video memory, the bus type, andexternal connectors.

Built-in versus add-on
Today’s PCs use two different types of graphics cards, and each has advantages and disadvantages:

Built-in cards.A graphics card in this category isn’t really a graphics adapter cardat all, because it’s actually integrated into the motherboard. Abuilt-in card doesn’t require an AGP slot or a PCI slot, so amotherboard with a built-in card can fit into a smaller case anddoesn’t take up a valuable slot. (This explains why graphics cards areoften built-in on computers that use thin workstation cases, which arecommonly called pizza box cases.) If you’re building a new PC, rememberthat a built-in graphics card is usually easier to configure than aseparate adapter—and integrated graphics cards tend to be lessexpensive than their removable counterparts. On the down side, anintegrated video card may not let you install additional video memory.

Separate adapter cards.
A graphics adapter occupies either an AGP or a PCI slot in yourcomputer. Naturally, a separate card is the choice of gamers who willbe upgrading their graphics hardware to keep up with the cutting-edge3D chipsets and visual effects in the latest video games. If yourgraphics adapter suddenly stops working and you need to replace it, aseparate graphics adapter card will ensure that you don’t have to sendback your entire motherboard for service or replacement, too.


Ifyou’re considering a graphics upgrade for your current motherboard andit has a built-in graphics card, you’re facing a brick wall (unless youcan add a daughter card, or disable the integrated card so that you canadd a PCI graphics card).

Understanding resolution and refresh rate

Askany computer power user—especially a gamer—what specifications are mostimportant in selecting a graphics card, and two figures are almostcertain to be included in the group: maximum resolution and maximumrefresh rate. In this section, I discuss both of these importantcriteria.

Resolution makes the graphics card
Resolutionbegins with the smallest unit displayed by your graphics card—a singledot, called a pixel. Pixels are the building blocks of every imagedisplayed on your monitor; they’re arranged in lines across yourscreen, and your graphics card controls each pixel individually forbrightness and color. For this reason, everyone expresses resolution asthe number of pixels displayed horizontally by the number of linesdisplayed vertically. For example, a resolution of 800 x 600 means thatthe monitor displays 800 pixels horizontally across the screen and 600pixels vertically.

Windows 98 still supports a minimumresolution of 640 x 480, and some games still use thisresolution—typically for big, bright graphics that don’t need a lot ofdetail, as in a casino game. However, almost all games that need finedetail—from role-playing games and strategy games to 3D first-persongames and simulations—now use resolutions of 800 x 600 or 1,024 x 768.Your desktop also benefits from a higher resolution, as you can displaymore of a larger document, Web page, image, or spreadsheet (or justmore program icons) on the screen at one time.

As you’veprobably already guessed, I would recommend that you keep your desktopset to a resolution of at least 800 x 600 (or, if your eyes don’t mind,1,024 x 768 is even better). If you can switch resolutions inside agame, you’ll probably find the resolution control in the Options orSetup screen; many games automatically set the resolution based on thespeed of your processor and the amount of video memory on your card.

The importance of the refresh rate
Whatis the refresh rate of a monitor, and why is it such a big deal forgamers? That’s a good question. But before I answer it, I need todescribe how your computer actually draws a video image on yourmonitor. (Don’t worry: I’ll try to keep this from getting boring.)

Agraphics card creates an image on your computer monitor by “painting”it with electrons—in fact, the image is emitted from a phosphorescentcoating that glows on the inside of the monitor tube. The coating glowswhen it’s hit with a stream of electrons from the electron emitter(commonly called an electron gun) at the back of the monitor; theseelectrons move across the inside surface of your monitor, one line at atime, from top to bottom.

However, while the electrons arefocused on another portion of the screen, the phosphorescent coating onthe area that’s already been painted starts to dim, and then thecoating stops glowing entirely. So the monitor must redraw the imageconstantly to keep it bright, as shown in

Asyou probably expected, the refresh rate (also called the vertical scanrate) of a graphics card-and-monitor combination refers to the numberof times per second that your computer redraws the image on themonitor. As a general rule, the higher the refresh rate, the better;although you can’t see it with your eyes, the majority of computersredraw each pixel on the monitor at least 65 times per second (giving arefresh rate of 65Hz). Resolution is also tied to refresh rate: Asresolution goes up (which uses more video memory), refresh rates willdrop accordingly.

Here’s the bad news: 65Hz isn’t enough for anyPC owner, especially gamers. A dedicated computer gamer needs a higherrefresh rate for several reasons:

A gamer can spendhours in front of a monitor, and a higher refresh rate reduceseyestrain for most people. Even though you may not be able to noticethe screen being redrawn, your eye can discern the difference between arefresh rate of 60Hz and 75Hz. The more times the screen is redrawnevery second, the more stable the image appears, and the less itbothers your eye.

Many games require higher resolutions in therange of 800 x 600 to 1,024 x 768, and higher resolutions generallylook better with a higher refresh rate.

Because an image is morestable at a higher frame rate, small details onscreen are easier todistinguish with a higher refresh rate.

A higher refresh rate reduces flicker in all of your games.


Therefore, keep these recommendations in mind when you’re shopping for a graphics card or monitor to use for gaming:

Ifyou’re shopping for a monitor, always try to find one in a local storeso that you can evaluate it with your own eyes: Specifications don’ttell the whole story. As a demonstration, run your favorite game on themonitor before you decide.

Always look for a graphics card andmonitor with a refresh rate of at least 75Hz. For most people, thehigher the refresh rate, the better the image; in fact, some expensivehigh-end graphics card-and-monitor combinations (commonly used forcomputer-aided drafting) can handle refresh rates of over 100Hz.However, I’ve met gamers and other computer owners who swear that theyprefer a lower refresh rate. Only your eye can make the decision, sotry out a monitor at 75Hz or 80Hz before you buy it.

Both yourmonitor and your graphics card must support the same refresh rate inorder for you to use it. Setting your monitor for a higher refresh ratethan recommended by the manufacturer can permanently damage it!(Windows 95 and 98 may alert you of this problem as well if you try toset your refresh rate too high.)

If your monitor and graphicscard have Windows 95 or 98 drivers, your computer can automatically setthe optimal refresh rate for your particular hardware combination. (Ofcourse, that’s “optimal” according to the manufacturer, so it may notsuit you perfectly. But at least it’s a good start.)


Unfortunately,there’s one problem with shopping for a card with a high refresh rate:This particular figure often isn’t mentioned! Most manufacturers don’tinclude a card’s refresh rate in their advertising, so it’s up to youto visit the company’s Web site and dig a little deeper. You’ll alsofind these benchmark figures mentioned in articles covering graphicshardware in gaming and computer magazines. Sometimes a little sleuthingcan make the difference between a good graphics-card choice and a greatchoice, so avoid the temptation to buy quickly. And turn a critical eyetoward those flashy graphics-card magazine advertisements.
Posted by Editorial Team Tue Jun 17, 2008 5:32 am
WWDC 08: 3G iPhone with GPS - £99 half price and apps in Apple
Design
Though the iPhone 3G is thinner at the edges than its predecessor, the phone measures a hair thicker (0.48 inches versus 0.46 inches) in the gut. The other measurementsare the same except that it weighs just the slightest bit less (4.7ounces versus 4.8 ounces). Otherwise, the iPhone 3G shows few cosmeticchanges from the front--same display size and resolution, and thesingle Home button sits just below the screen. We're very pleased tosee that Apple has done away with the irritating recessed headphonejack, which now is flush so that you'll be able to use any 3.5mmheadphones you like.
But turn over the iPhone 3G, and you'll see more significantchanges. A black, plastic skin replaces the current silver-aluminumback. The swap may cut the cost, but we worry about its long-termdurability. The 8GB model will come in black only, while Apple promisesthe 16GB version in back and white. The white model is a bit random--wewere expecting something in red--butcolor is a personal choice. The camera lens, volume rocker, chargerport, speaker, microphone, power button, and display locking switchshow no changes. Our News.com colleaguegot a hands-on with the new device and reports that it feels similar inthe hand to the current model, with the exception of the tapered edges.
3G
With support for three 3G bands (850, 1900, 2100) and bothUMTS and HSDPA networks, the iPhone 3G is well positioned for usinghigh-speed networks all around the world. Considering that Apple ispromising to bring the device to 70 countries, it had better be. Duringhis WWDC keynote, Jobs compared Web download speeds between the twoiPhones. On the original model, which runs on a 2.5G EDGE network, aphoto-heavy Web site loaded in 59 seconds, while the same site loadedin 21 seconds on the new device--impressive, but we take it with agrain of salt for now. After all, the demo iPhone in today's keynotewas the only iPhone in the room using AT&T's 3G network. Once amultitude of devices flood the same network, load times may change.
GPS
This is one feature that was on our original iPhone wish list.While the current iPhone location services find your position vianearby cell phone towers and satellites, the iPhone 3G uses Assisted GPS supplemented by satellites. It also offers live tacking so you canmonitor your progress as you drive (or walk) along. We're excited tosee this feature as well, as it fills in another gaping hole on theoriginal handset. You'll also find photo geotagging, but we're not sureyet whether the iPhone 3G or any third-party applications will supportturn-by-turn directions.
Third-party apps
Speaking of which, the iPhone 3G will indeed support the collection of appsavailable through the iPhone SDK--no surprise here. Apple promises toopen apps store in early July (Apple didn't release an exact date);we're guessing by July 11. Gaming apps should feature prominently; many will integrate with the phone's accelerometer.
Enterprise support
Worker bees will be pleased to know that the iPhone 3G will offer support for Microsoft Exchange Server.That will bring push e-mail, contacts and calendar, remote wipe, globalcontacts access, and auto-discovery. That's another welcome change asit puts the iPhone in the hands of a whole new class of corporate userswho now will be able to get their work e-mail on the iPhone.
Battery life
Last year Jobs said that Apple had not included3G in the first iPhone because it would have made too many compromiseswith the handset's battery life. But now it appears that Apple hassolved that problem. The iPhone 3G promises a solid 5 hours of 3G talktime, 10 hours of 2G talk time, 5 hours of 3G Internet time, 6 hours ofWi-Fi Internet time, 7 hours of video playback, 24 hours of audioplayback, and 12.5 days standby time. The audio and video times areunchanged from the original iPhone.
What else?
Since the latest iPhone will support the 2.0 software,additional new features will show up at launch and beyond, includingcontacts search, iWork document support, the capability to viewPowerPoint attachments, bulk move and delete, a scientific calculatorin landscape mode, parental controls, and support for 16 languages.You'll also be able to use a graffiti-style application for enteringcharacters in Asian languages.
What's missing?
Unfortunately, we hoped for an even largerbundle of features in this round. Apple still leaves multimediamessaging out of the mix along with voice dialing and video recording.We still don't understand why Apple can't include these basic features,many found in even the cheapest and simplest cell phones. We were alsohoping for a landscape keyboard, the capability to cut and paste, Flashsupport for the Safari Web browser, expanded memory, and additionalBluetooth profiles. Apple, you left us hanging in a big way. It's alsodisappointing to hear that the dock is now sold separately for $49, butwe suppose that helped cut the price. No, you don't needthe dock, but it's nice to have. Even the power adapter and the SIMcard removal tool that now come in the box won't make up for its loss.
Should you buy it?
If you're an iPhone fence-sitter, now'sthe time. The addition of 3G and GPS, the affordable price tag, andextra features from the iPhone 2.0 software update make the iPhone 3G aworthy prospect. Unlike the previous iPhone, which we liked andrecommended with reservations, we're much happier with what this newhandset has to offer. iPhone 3G isn't perfect, but there's a lot tolike here and we approach the device with much anticipation. We'llupdate this page with a full, rated review once we get our hands on thehardware.
Posted by Editorial Team Tue Jun 10, 2008 3:41 am
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