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Author Topic: PCs Get Set to Scream in 2007  (Read 7093 times)

Offline chip!

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PCs Get Set to Scream in 2007
« on: January 05, 2007, 07:43:01 am »
By Bruce Gain
http://www.wired.com/news/technology/0,72411-0.html?tw=rss.index

Flash-memory-aided hard drives and software that harnesses the full power of multi-core CPUs will make PCs speedier and more convenient in 2007.

Next-gen computers will boot up and load applications more quickly as speedy flash memory helps alleviate the bottleneck caused by the slower rotations of a traditional hard disk's components.

"You take all of that stuff from the hard drive and put it in high-speed memory, and the applications just pop," said Rob Enderle, principal analyst for the Enderle Group, who is testing a hybrid flash/hard-drive memory system from an undisclosed manufacturer. "Not only does the system come up faster, but the applications within the system come up a lot faster."

An Intel platform code-named Robson takes advantage of the flash-memory boost. Meanwhile, manufacturers including Asus, Fujitsu, Samsung and SanDisk will continue to work on flash-memory-based, hard-disk applications.

Flash memory's efficiency could also increase laptop battery life and shave time off the "very agonizing seconds" that pass as PCs awake from hibernation mode, said Mike Trainor, chief mobile technology evangelist for Intel. Such advances should increase demand for portable machines and further the demise of the desktop as the mainstream PC form factor.

"At some point, most folks are going to realize that they don't really need a desktop computer while laptops continue to drop in price," Enderle said.

For gamers, the flash-memory assist should mean shorter waits when games start or when changing levels.

"Gamers are going to love it," Trainor said.

At the same time, wide-scale rollout of quad-core CPU platforms by Intel and Advanced Micro Devices -- coupled, at last, with multithreaded applications designed to tap the technology's powerful parallelism -- will put more raw computing horsepower at PC users' fingertips.

For gamers, multithreaded code taking advantage of the new hardware could improve particle effects, so a game character's hand, for example, might be able to swipe away smoke. Characters could also be much smarter and craftier, as increased processing power boosts their artificial intelligence. Virtual opponents might start running when they perceive they are about to be blasted instead of staring blankly off into space, for instance, and the number of characters with which a gamer can interact in a scene should grow.

Quad-core technology "will have good benefits near-term and huge benefits over the next several generations," wrote Gabe Newell, co-founder of software developer Valve, in an e-mail.

Intel's Kentsfield quad-core platform could offer 60 times as much horsepower for boosting characters' brainpower, wrote Newell, although "you wouldn't actually do this because there are lots of other useful things to use those cores for."

Other advances coming down the pike in 2007:
Wireless Power

Wireless capabilities will become more powerful for traditional ethernet 802.11 Wi-Fi antennas and access points, as well as for cellular networks. 2007 should see wide-scale rollout of 3G networks for PC broadband access and possibly the finalization of the new 802.11n Wi-Fi standard.

An Intel chipset for laptops and portable devices will accommodate high-speed 802.11n and the wide-range broadband WiMax signals that service provider Sprint Nextel plans to offer. And semiconductor startup Amimon claims its wireless interface, which the company says is a different version of 802.11n, will enable manufacturers to offer antennas that enable wireless streaming at rates up to 1.5 Gbps of HDTV content from a PC to TVs with HDTV-quality resolutions that 802.11n cannot offer.

While it is already feasible to stream AVI video files from one PC to another over a Wi-Fi network, and watch them on a TV set connected to the second PC, vendors claim DVDs, HDTV and other high-def content will work just as easily this way in the near future. Wi-Fi networks remain finicky and unstable since their introduction to consumers several years ago, however, and it remains to be seen how well these new technologies will work.
Mini Auxiliary Laptop Screens

Manufacturers will add small second screens to laptops, utilizing Microsoft's SideShow platform to let users get e-mail, addresses and other information without firing up their machines. Redmond claims Windows Vista will allow painless setup, and expects SideShow to show up in keyboards, remotes and cell phones.
40-inch PC LCD Screens

Monster LCD monitors up to 40 inches wide will likely become readily available in vendors' product mixes before the year is out, with widescreen panels remaining all the rage. Per-inch panel prices will also continue to drop.
Dawn of DirectX 10

Microsoft's DirectX 10 application programming interface in Windows Vista should reach consumers in 2007. Geared toward games and other graphics applications, DirectX 10 is expected to not only boost game performance compared to DirectX 9 but to improve interfaces for applications like Photoshop.
  -  https://convivea.com  -   And...  boom goes the dynamite.

Offline chip!

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Re: PCs Get Set to Scream in 2007
« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2007, 07:46:29 am »
I find most of this interesting, even if there is not necessarily any 'new' information here, it is a good summary of what we're looking at come 2007 and computers.


One thing that stuck out to me was the last line, DX10 will help "improve interfaces for applications like Photoshop". What surprised me here was that it says "interfaces". I'm not much of an expert on DX10 but does anyone know what thats about? 2 of my housemates are graphic design majors that spend most of their time with Photoshop on a Mac, but only because they say the interface is better. Will we finally see a balance or more equal platform for graphic "development" through the interfaces of Photoshop on a Mac and on Vista?
  -  https://convivea.com  -   And...  boom goes the dynamite.

Offline TheNightWatchman

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Re: PCs Get Set to Scream in 2007
« Reply #2 on: January 05, 2007, 01:45:16 pm »
Awesome stuff. By the end of the year I'll need a computer that will have dual graphics cards, and buy two more LCD monitors, a quad core would be nice too. Yay video editing away!

Offline Quantum

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Re: PCs Get Set to Scream in 2007
« Reply #3 on: January 06, 2007, 02:53:21 pm »
1st generation quad core is a bit rubbish. Native quad core should be awesome though.

I don't know how DX10 will improve on interfaces, but I've read quite a long article about it and am much excited. Vista will offer a lot new for developers, so I'm looking forward to that as well, I know the Khronos Group have announced that OpenGL will be natively supported on Vista and OpenGL will actually handle Vista interface while using less system resources than Direct3D. AMD should release their new core, the K8L some time towards the end of 2007, there's much anticipation about that and a lot of expectation it will outperform the conroe core, the offering between AMD and Intel then will be truly superb.

But unfortunately from what I hear, 1st generation hybrid hard drives won't actually provide any real life performance benefits, probably worth waiting till 2nd generation stuff.
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Offline TheNightWatchman

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Re: PCs Get Set to Scream in 2007
« Reply #4 on: January 06, 2007, 06:26:47 pm »
What's a "hybrid hard drive"?

Offline Quantum

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Re: PCs Get Set to Scream in 2007
« Reply #5 on: January 06, 2007, 10:25:54 pm »
What's a "hybrid hard drive"?

It's where it both uses a solid state memory (namely to start off with NAND Flash) and the traditional platter memory, the idea is to put very frequently used files, like the boot up of windows, on to the solid state memory as it is faster and uses less power.
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Re: PCs Get Set to Scream in 2007
« Reply #6 on: March 24, 2007, 02:22:53 am »
Since i'm a hardcore gamer lol i'm really impressed on the speed changes and the graphic capabilities especially in the gaming department...
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