Ubisoft has confirmed that Watch Dogs will arrive on November 19th in North America and November 22nd in Europe. The game is been confirmed for the Xbox 360, Xbox Next, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PC, and Wii U. The release date for the PlayStation 4 version is expected to coincide with the release date of the PlayStation 4 console, so depending on its release date, the release of the PS4 version could be adjusted. (This apparently applies to the Xbox Next, as well.)
We are also being told that the PS3 version of the game will include an additional 60 minutes of exclusive game play. We are not sure if this game play will also be available for those that purchase the PS4 version, but we suspect that it will.
Four special edition versions of the game will be offered. It is not yet clear whether or not they will offer each of these special editions for each of the platforms. More details are expected to follow in the days ahead, but these look like some very nice special editions of the game, with some very nice extras being thrown in.
According to PC Advisor the prototype of a client-side architecture that would replace the Web browser with a much more secure virtualized environment has been developed by Microsoft. Dubbed Embassies, the technology would have applications run in low-level, native-code containers that would use Internet addresses for all external communications with applications.
In a paper presented this month at the USENIX Symposium on Networked System Design and Implementation Microsoft researchers said Microsoft is trying to solve is the insecurity of today’s browsers, brought on by their complexity. In the 1990s, when browsers were introduced, the software was mostly responsible for formatting Web pages that were text, links and simple graphics.
Modern browsers have many more application programming interfaces (APIs) that are used for far more complicated tasks, such as video, animation and 3D graphics. This high level of complexity has brought a never-ending string of vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit.
Embassies is Microsoft’s attempt to present a simpler alternative than the browser which can be a lot more secure. The architecture has a simple execution environment that would use only 30 functions in interacting with the client’s execution interface (CEI). Displaying content would essentially be a screencast from the container to the user’s screen.
Developers would be responsible for packaging their own libraries with their applications. If malicious code gets in, the container would prevent it from infecting the computer. Of course the downside of this is that developers of web applications are often terrible at security and for the system to work, these guys have to be on the ball.
Personal computer sales plummeted by 14 percent in the first three months of the year, the biggest decline in two decades of keeping records, as tablets continue to market share. Buyers appear to be avoiding Microsoft Corp’s new Windows 8 system, according to a leading tech tracking firm.
The huge drop over a year ago, the steepest since International Data Corp started publishing sales numbers in 1994, mark a new milestone in the apparent decline of the age of the PC as computing goes mobile via tablets and smartphones.
That marked the lowest level since the middle of 2009, according to competing data tracker Gartner Inc, which published its own figures showing an 11 percent decline on the same day.
Both firms blamed the sales drop on fading sales of netbooks, the small laptops that have been rendered obsolete by tablets, and more consumer spending going toward smartphones.
“Consumers are migrating content consumption from PCs to other connected devices, such as tablets and smartphones,” said Mikako Kitagawa, an analyst at Gartner. “Even emerging markets, where PC penetration is low, are not expected to be a strong growth area for PC vendors.”
Microsoft’s new Windows 8 actually deterred potential PC buyers, IDC said, as users felt they could not afford touch-screen models required to make the most of Windows 8, even though the system runs equally well on standard PCs and laptops.
“People think they have to have touch, and they go look at the price points for these touch machines, and they are above where they want to be and they say, ‘I guess I’ll wait,’” said Bob O’Donnell, an analyst at IDC.
O’Donnell said other users were simply uncomfortable with the new Windows system, which dispensed with the familiar start menu and uses colorful ’tiles’ to represent applications.
New Microsoft operating systems usually boost PC sales, but the lukewarm reception for Windows 8 will likely mean an even greater drop in the market this year, said Jay Chou, senior research analyst with the IDC unit that tracks PC sales.
“Users are finding Windows 8 to offer a compromised experience that doesn’t excel either as a new mobile interface or in a classic desktop interface,” he said. “As a result, many users find a decline in the traditional PC experience without gaining much from new features like touch. The result is that many consumers are worried about upgrading to Windows 8, to say nothing of business users who are still just getting into Windows 7.”
Among manufacturers, Hewlett-Packard Co saw a 24 percent decline in sales in the quarter, but narrowly held on to its title of No. 1 global PC supplier, with 15.7 percent market share. Fast-growing rival Lenovo Group managed to keep sales flat and is now just behind HP with a 15.3 percent global share.
Dell Inc, roiled by plans to go private, along with rivals Acer Inc and Asustek, all saw double-digit declines in PC sales.
Apple Inc was not immune from the decline, as some sales of its own Macs appeared to be displaced by iPads. Its U.S. PC sales fell 7.5 percent in the quarter, but it held on to its spot as No. 3 U.S. PC manufacturer, behind HP and Dell.
Bernstein has discovered cracks in TLS and SSL when they’re combined with another encryption scheme known as RC4. The system invented in 1987 is one of the most popular and most widely recommended mechanisms for protecting traffic on banking, email, and other private sites.
Kenny Paterson, a professor at Royal Holloway, University of London who worked with Bernstein said it was known that RC4 is weak in all kinds of ways. But until now no one has been able to put it all together to break TLS. RC4, invented by legendary cryptographer Ron Rivest for the security firm RSA, uses a key value to generate a stream of seemingly random numbers that can be combined with bits in a message to scramble them in ways that only someone with access to the same key value can unscramble.
Its weakness is that the stream of random numbers isn’t as random as it looks. If you feed the same message through the encryption scheme again and again, the cryptographers could find enough non-random “biases” occur in the scrambled data. While it does take a gigantic number of identical messages the attack in its current form takes close to 32 hours to perform. It is still worthwhile in some cases.
There have been more than enough leaks dealing with Richland, AMD’s successor to the Trinity powered Virgo platform, and we even had a chance to see some leaks regarding its successor, codenamed Kaveri. As you may already know, Richland is planned to last through 2013 and it is clear that this is very important chip for AMD.
Based on the Piledriver architecture and built using 32nm technology, Richland will feature an integrated GPU that will be upgraded to Radeon HD 8000 series, a generation ahead of Trinity. As you know, there has been a lot of leaks regarding the Richland parts and the quad-core A10-6800K with Radeon HD 8670D graphics is expected to pack quite a punch. Best of all, Richland will still use the same FM2 socket.
According to our sources, the NDA will be lifted on 12th of March, 8am EST, and we are sure that we will see at least a couple of reviews as well as some additional info regarding the price and the availability date.
Following the recent tease, AMD has detailed its new TressFX technology aimed to create much more realistic hair in games. The new technology will debut in Tomb Raider 2013, making the hair of Lara Croft impressively more realistic.
According to the AMD blog that explains TressFX, it uses DirectCompute to unlock the processing capabilities of GCN architecture and is based on AMD’s previous work on Order Independent Transparency (OIT), a method that makes use of Per-Pixel Linked-List (PPLL) data structures to manage rendering complexity and memory usage. The new TressFX for Hair has been developed in collaboration between AMD and Crystal Dynamic in order to bring quite an improvement to hair rendering and physics.
The blog post additionaly explains that DirectCompute is utilized to perform real-time physics simulations of TressFX Hair and treats each strand of hair as a chain with dozens of links thus allowing realistic influence of elements like gravity, wind and movement to Lara’s hair. Each strand is also given a collision detection which ensures that strands will not pass through each other or any other solid surface.
According to what we can see from the blog post, AMD recommends the GCN-based AMD Radeon HD 7000 series as a particularly well equipped graphics card series for this type of task but did not exclude other GPUs either.
In any case, the effects on the hair certainly look impressive and we surely look forward to see what else can AMD pull off with this same TressFX technology and how open-source will it actually be.
AMD has released its Firepro R5000 graphics card that has video over IP capabilities.
AMD typically promotes its workstation class Firepro cards using CAD/CAM software, however this time the company is relying on remote viewing as the big selling point for its latest workstation graphics card. AMD’s Firepro R5000 has a GPU that uses its Graphics Core Next (GCN) architecture and Teradici PC video over IP technology to send graphics output over the network.
AMD used its Pitcarin GPU coupled to 2GB of GDDR5 memory in the Firepro R5000. However it isn’t AMD’s GPU that is the big selling point of the Firepro R5000 but rather Teradici’s Tera2240 chip that encrypts display output before sending it out on the network, while supporting up to 60fps (frames per second).
AMD’s Firepro R5000 is intended to be used in render farms, with each final image being sent over an IP network to the end host, and the firm claims that the technology can be used in education, financial and media environments.
The Firepro R5000 is a single slot graphics card that has two mini Displayport outputs that can drive two 2500×1600 displays, however it can also drive a further four remote displays at 1920×1200 resolution by sending data over its RJ45 Ethernet port.
Both AMD and Teradici talked up the low configuration overheads of the Firepro R5000.
It looks like AMD has changed its mind about 8000 series graphics, part of the Solar System range of products are slowly showing up in the market.
We got an idea that at some point in the latter part of 2013 there will be some new Sea Islands based graphics line from AMD. What we refer to as the HD 8000 series will come at some point, but AMD can actually end up branding some of these new parts as HD 7000 series products as well.
We were more interested in the big picture, when and whether we will see an entirely new generation in 2014, let’s call it 9000 series for now. Multiple sources have told us that AMD will stick with discrete graphics for the foreseeable future. In 2014, we should see the new HSA generation as well as a steady roadmap for the future beyond 2014.
Remember, AMD still makes quite a bit of money on graphics. It doesn’t makes a lot, but it doesn’t build GPUs at a loss either. Its graphics integrated in CPUs, APUs if you will, also help AMD sell more cores and this is why AMD will stick with making new graphics cores in the future. Technology developed for high-end discrete graphics will trickle down to APUs over time.
Winning all three consoles, including the already launched Nintendo Wii U as well as the soon to launch Xbox 720 (next) and Playstation, 4 will definitely help AMD to perform even better in the future and build closer relations with developers.
Nvidia will have someone to fight in this market and AMD will continue to make discrete graphics cards, as well as notebook chips. Both companies will fight for as much market share as they possibly can and analysts who claim either of them is about to ditch the discrete market is dead wrong.
MSI’s Geforce GTX 680 Lightning-L graphics card has showed up in Japan and it is possible that we will it in other markets as well.
Apparently not much has been changed compared to the original GTX 680 Lightning, as the PCB and feature set look about the same. The only thing that is different are the clocks. Set at 1019MHz and 1084MHz for base and boost GPU, they are somewhat lower. For comparison, the original GTX 680 Lightning worked at 1100MHz for base and 1176MHz for Boost GPU clock.
The new Lightning is still cooled by MSI’s Twin Frozr IV GPU and it comes with 2GB of GDDR5 memory clocked at 6008MHz. With the same feature set it is expected that this SKU will have a rather decent amount of overclocking headroom as well, depending on the GPU below the cooler, of course.
Although it has not been officially launched, we will surely keep an eye out for it in other markets as well.
We don’t have the clocks yet, but we managed to get five names of AMD’s new desktop low power processors codenamed Kabini.
Kabini has two to four Jaguar cores, AMD Turbo Core overclocking, Radeon HD 8000 series graphics, DirectX 11.1 support, up to DDR3 1866 and comes in FT3 BGA package. The role of Kabini is to replace outdated Zacate E series of APUs.
The top of the line is X4 5110 that features HD 8310G graphics core and with its four cores it manages to stay under 25W TDP. The runner up is the X4 4410 that features the same HD 8310G graphics but much lower 15W TDP.
The third processor of this line is X2 3450 with HD 8280, slower graphics and most likely two CPU cores that operates under 15W TDP. The first three processors are starting production in the latter part of Q1 2013, but the official launch is expected in June, most likely at Computex in late May or early June 2013.
The last two Kabinis to launch are named E1 3310 and E1 2210. They look like the direct replacement for existing Brazos 2.0 E2 2000 and E2 1500 processors. The E1 3310 has HD 8240G graphics and 15W TDP.
The last part on the Kabini desktop APU list is the E1 2210 and we don’t even have the TDP details about this part.
The only additional thing we can tell about this CPU is that production ready samples are expected in March 2013 and shortly after we can expect the start of volume production. Both Kabini E series processors are expected to launch in June 2013.
While some people are packing in smoking, AMD thinks it is a good idea to pack in releasing new graphics cards, at least for a year or so.
AMD marketing manager Robert Hallock told Megagames that the company has no intentions to release Radeon HD 8000 series cards for the foreseeable future.
“The HD 7000 Series will remain our primary focus for quite some time,” he said.
When pressed he said that AMD and its partners are happy with the HD 7000 Series, and it will continue to be its emphasis in the channel for the foreseeable future. There had been some rumours that an HD 8000 Series was being developed. However AMD has never confirmed it and so far there has been no proof that any were ready to show up.
Hallock’s comments lend credibility to rumours that the HD 8000 family won’t be out before Q4 2013.
Although it was detailed back in August last year, AMD has just now officially released its new “affordable” Vishera based FX-4130 quad-core socket AM3+ CPU.
The new CPU is part of AMD’s 4100-series and is based on Vishera core design with four Piledriver cores. It works at 3.8GHz base clock and can “turbo” up to 3.9GHz. It packs 4MB of L2 and 4MB of L3 cache and has a 125W TDP.
According to the slide over at Xbitlabs.com, the FX-4130 replaces the FX-4100 with the same US $101 price but should provide between 3 and 9 percent more performance.
As things get better with Globalfoundries and their 32nm process technology, AMD is expected to introduce new models based on cut-down versions of Vishera, according to the report.
The current $39.99 deal for a Windows 8 Pro upgrade expires in less than two weeks, on Jan. 31. At that point, higher prices similar or identical to those for Windows 7 will move into place, Microsoft spokesman Brandon LeBlanc confirmed last Friday.
An upgrade from XP, Vista or Windows 7 to Windows 8 Pro will cost $199.99 starting Feb. 1, LeBlanc said, a five-fold increase. The Windows 8 Pro Pack, which upgrades a copy of Windows 8 — the edition installed on most consumer PCs — to the more capable Windows 8 Pro, will run $99.99, a 43% jump from the promotional price of $69.99.
Microsoft will also add a new SKU to the mix that upgrades XP, Vista or Windows 7 to Windows 8, not the Pro edition. The price: $119.99.
The Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro upgrade prices are identical to the suggested list prices for Windows 7 Home Premium and Windows 7 Professional upgrades, but the Pro Pack’s $99.99 is 11% higher than what Microsoft charged for the “Anytime Upgrade” from Windows 7 Home Premium to Windows 7 Professional.
The prices were not surprising, as numerous retailers had long cited the after-discount costs for Windows 8 Pro and Pro Pack. The only real news was the availability of a Windows 8 upgrade, something that Microsoft had previously declined to confirm.
LeBlanc also noted that download and boxed copy prices were the same, a pricing practice Microsoft has used before.
In December, otherwise known as the holiday season, Steam watched Windows 8 use grow by 2.08 percent. The most popular OS on Steam, 64-bit Windows 7, dropped by 2.23 percent to 56.35 percent of the playing market.
Windows 8 64-bit, which is in fourth place behind 64-bit and 32-bit Windows 7 and 32-bit Windows XP, had 6.33 percent.
Windows 8 grew by the largest share in December, and the 32-bit and 64-bit versions of the OS are the only ranked Microsoft products to post usage growth. Apple’s OS X had gains, but small ones. For example MacOS 10.8.2 64-bit grew by 0.32 percent to a 1.81 percent share.
Ubuntu Linux, a new entrant to the ranking list, has a share of around 0.8 percent, which is made up of versions 12.10 64-bit, 12.04.1 LTS 64-bit, and 32-bit 12.04.1 LTS and 12.10.
All this might be moot, and Valve, which has claimed to be frustrated by external development in the past, could be close to announcing its expected hardware this year.
According to a report on a German website called Golem.de the firm is working on the Linux based Steambox with an eye to a release in 2013.
Valve released Steam for Linux only late last year, saying that the software was much more consumer friendly.
“Steam users have been asking us to support gaming on Linux. We’re happy to bring rich forms of entertainment and our community of users to this open, customer-friendly platform,” said Gabe Newell, president and co-founder of Valve.
This is not the sort of thing that Newell says about Microsoft’s Windows 8. In fact he called that software a “catastrophe for everyone in the PC space” in an interview with Allthingsd earlier in the year.
Back to 2013, and also expected is a significant Linux announcement from Blizzard, the firm that brought you World of Warcraft and made sitting in bedrooms cool again, and has also complained about Windows 8.
While the Apple Fanboys has been quick to write off Microsoft and its new operating system Windows 8, it appears that use of Redmond’s products is growing.
Although the use of Windows XP is shrinking, other operating systems by Microsoft are gathering steam. A few months ago Windows’ monopoly was shrinking. XP use had fallen below 40 percent market share, Windows 8 had managed to grab 1 percent of the pie. The tame Apple Press talked about it as proof that Windows was slowly dying and the company might as well sign over its assets to Apple and Google as the future was underpowered, toys which can connect to the internet. But the latest figures show that Microsoft is back in charge.
After six months of losing market share, Windows 7 and Windows 8 managed to give it a big enough boost to see a gain. The latest market share data from Net Applications shows that December 2012 shows that Windows 8 has gained 0.55 percentage points, Windows 7 gained 0.40 percentage points. The figures are expected to grow in January when all those new PCs bought over Christmas go online. It is the first time Windows 7 has passed the 45 percent mark. XP and Vista use is continuing to fall.
Over all it gained 0.29 percentage points, from 91.45 percent to 91.74 percent. This was at the expense of both OS X, which lost 0.23 percentage points, and Linux which fell 0.06 percentage points. So it looks like Apple is starting to lose market share rather than gain it, and any hope that Linux might make an appearance on the desktop are completely unlikely.