Last Week's Hot News: Oct. Week 2

More Bad Nvidia GPUs Show Up

The case of defective Nvidia GeForce 8600M GT GPUs is still an ongoing issue, now with Apple being the latest in a list of companies that are affected. Apple put an official notice on its website this week stating that on several models of its MacBook Pro line, bad GPUs could cause screens to display corrupted images or even not turn on at all.

Despite the bad news, Apple is offering users with affected notebooks free repairs. Users that have the affected notebooks can have the repairs done without charge for a full year after the first year’s warranty expires — a notable step towards good customer support.

Nvidia itself previously acknowledged the failures and set aside roughly $200 million as an upfront cost to support fixes and replacements. Although there are reports from several manufacturers that bad chips are in the wild, no confirmed numbers exists.

Read the official notice from Apple regarding affected MacBook Pros here.

Google's GeoEye Turns On

This week Google flipped the switch on its new photo snapping satellite called GeoEye, which is currently the the sat that can take the highest resolution photos of little people down on earth. The satellite is a military controlled unit but Google will use it to update its popular Maps service.

At times, Google Maps have captured unusual sightings, such as crop circles, but the trend seems to be that more and more people are creating large scale "works of art" in hopes to be captured by Google Maps.

At this time, GeoEye is updating its images of major cities around the world, with the hopes of obtaining high resolution images of other areas that were previously unavailable or low resolution. Google stated that its GeoEye is definitely not used for spying.

Check out the report about Google’s new GeoEye here.

Quantum Encryption Claims Unbreakable

Security these days plays a pivotal in keeping your information safe. Everyday people get their credit card information stolen, email addresses broken into — you name it. Even with encryption technologies becoming stronger and stronger, it’s still possible to break with a combination of cleverness and brute force.

Scientists however, have been working on what they claim to be an unbreakable encryption technology that uses principles based on quantum physics.

How it works? Well, using photons to transmit data and specialized keys, the system breaks down when there is an interceptor trying to take snapshots of said photons. Due to the laws of quantum physics, as soon as an observer measures or observes the state of a particle, the particle changes, and is no longer the same — thus producing errors.

Obviously the way quantum cryptography works is much more complex than that.

News about Microsoft’s Xbox 360 possibly getting a new external Blu-ray drive surfaced again this week. The console has long been a supporter of HD-DVD, which is now a dead format. After the high-def wars ended, Microsoft was mum about introducing a new Blu-ray drive for its console.

Despite the lack of support, most Xbox 360 owners seem to be content with their consoles, and more Xbox 360’s are still selling.

Until Microsoft really introduces a Blu-ray addon for the Xbox 360, Sony’s PlayStation 3 will still remain the best bang-for-your-buck Blu-ray player on the market — it also plays games.

Check out the possibility of an Xbox 360 Blu-ray drive here.

Ubisoft: Piracy Kills PC Gaming

According to Ubisoft Shanghai creative director Michael de Plater, the slow down in PC game releases is due to heavy piracy. De Plater claims that there’s just too much piracy in the PC world that it discourages developers and publishers from making games for the PC.

Recently, both consumers and analysts have noticed a rise in console gaming and a decline in desktop computer gaming. Regardless of the reason, computers are an integral part of people’s daily lives and will just continue to be more so.

Will PC games ever day? As long as there are PCs, then the answer is never.

Read the full report on De Plater’s complaint about PC piracy.

Overclocking RAM Could Kill 'Nehalem'

According to preliminary reports from both Intel and its motherboard partners, Core i7 (Nehalem) is extremely sensitive to operating specifications for system memory. Intel documents show that the safe threshold for system memory is roughly around 1.65v even though some motherboard manufacturers indicated 1.7 was the maximum safe setting.

Intel says that processing life can be reduced down to even just a few short days if incorrect voltage settings are applied. This may be bad news for overclockers.

Overclocking on the new Core i7 platform will be different than anything before it anyway. Intel ditched the front-side bus (FSB) for an onboard memory controller integrated into the CPU itself. It will be interesting to see how well Core i7 processors can scale once they’re on the market.

Read more about the possibility of damaging Core i7 processors by overclocking memory here.

Do Driver Upgrades Really Help?

This week, we bring you a report on an investigation to find out whether or not performance improvement figures released by manufacturers like AMD and Nvidia are true for driver upgrades. Most of the times, companies claim anywhere from 10-percent to 15-percent in performance boost per driver release. And as many know, there are many driver releases per product within a year.

If this is the case, within one year, you would nearly double the performance of the product you purchased a year earlier. Could this really happen?

The stance between AMD and Nvidia graphics drivers? AMD drivers shows far less gains than those released by Nvidia for similar products. Of course, it’s usually good to be running the latest driver release — at the very least to squash bugs.

Check out our benchmarks here in the report.

Best Video Cards for Your Money!

This week Tom’s Hardware also brings you a report on the latest graphics cards from both the AMD/ATI camp and the Nvidia camp. We let both companies deal with each of their issues (AMD’s splitting; Nvidia’s fixing flawed chips), and put the latest graphics cards against each other to find out not only which one’s fastest, but which cards serve you best for your money.

We compare cards ranging from Nvidia’s GeForce 9600 GSO to AMD’s Radeon HD 4870 X2. We go through the prices of each card as well as where they stand in games and real world performance.

Read the full benchmarks here to find out which cards are the best for the money.

  • jaragon13
    Well of course mac offers that,it's the only god damn thing they're going on.
    Secondly,they charge 2x the price for pure profit,surely some of that can be invested in those who actually give a crap,maybe they just think their computers are old and they invest 6,000 dollars into a new dell or mac laptop.
  • cruiseoveride
    Console gamers, please!!! learn how to copy a disc. Its not hard you know. You can buy DVD replicators that dont even need a PC to do the job. If you dont copy games, you mess with the balance of the ecosystem. We need to level the field of profitability, otherwise gaming on the PC will only be a relic of the late 19th century.

    Please console gamers!
  • timaahhh
    You do realize even if console gamers pirated games in the same volume of PC games developers would still make more money selling console games due to the increased volume.
  • Haha...late 19th century? Like pinball, you mean? Pretty sure PC gaming started around 100 years after that...
  • cruiseoveride
    timaahhhYou do realize even if console gamers pirated games in the same volume of PC games developers would still make more money selling console games due to the increased volume.You do realise volume has no correlation to profitability when piracy is in the mix?
  • Tindytim
    cruiseoverideConsole gamers, please!!! learn how to copy a disc. Its not hard you know. You can buy DVD replicators that dont even need a PC to do the job.
    1. Pirating console games isn't that easy.
    2. PC developers should be using more services like Steam, because it's much more difficult to crack , or create a cracked version of , a Steam game than using a few apps, a mod chip, and a DVD burner.
  • I think everyone just needs to release their games via Steam. That's how I purchase most of my games. Especially the ones that have the limited activation them like Bioshock and Crysis Warhead. The system works great, and has worked great ever since it was released with Half-Life 2 nearly 3 years ago.
  • Thurin
    Will PC games ever day? As long as there are PCs, then the answer is never.

    don't you mean DIE here ? :P And as for the piracy killing the pc gaming industry ?

    Offer more demos of the games that are being released and piracy will decline...

    Plus there is no extreme difference in the amount of sales, as most software pirates only pirate to try a game and if they like it a lot end up buying it anyway.

    Steps to avoid piracy:

    1 make a GOOD game
    2 make a demo or trial available to the public
    3 lower game retail prices

    especially step three will rapidly exterminate piracy as if a game would cost 10 or 20 bucks instead of 50-100 people would not mind buying the occasional crappy game as it only set them back 10-20 bucks...

    my two cents ...
  • Why doesn't anyone put 2 and 2 together? PC Gaming's decline is not because of piracy IMO. It's because of a large increase in console gaming. That with World of Warcraft thrown in. MMOs are now sucking up more and more time from single player games. I guess the trend is... if you can't seem to make a game good enough to deter people from WoW or consoles then blame piracy.
  • cruiseoveride
    8 core CPUs, Teraflop GPUs, i think we'll just emulate the PS3 soon.