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Saturday, 16 July 2011

NVIDIA nTeresting News - July 15, 2011

In this issue:

  • U2 rocks, and Quadro helps them roll across the country while impressing fans with their stage show.
  • PC gaming has a huge a technological edge on consoles...and the gap is getting wider. Watch out for BattleField 3.
  • Adler Planetarium is the oldest in the nation, thanks to Quadro it is also the most advanced.
  • GeForce GTX sweeps the Bit Tech Buyers Guide.
  • 3D Vision is making games more fun, and boosting review scores for developers.
  • Tegra momentum continues to zoom, now the Semiconductor of the Year is powering Toshiba Thrive tablets and Motorola Photon 4G phones. Next up, next-gen tablets from Sony.
  • Rio hit theaters faster with Quadro.
  • See the Crysis 2 mural in our Moscow office painted in time lapse.
  • Gaming is not just of kids anymore, gamers are aging.

Render and Hum with Quadro

U2 is an iconic rock band, so much so that I heard about their new tour on the Dan Patrick Sports Talk Show of all places. So when they go out on the road, they want to impress. To impress you need the best technology. For the best technology, you go to NVIDIA.

"Each laptop workstation runs on Intel Core i7 processors and NVIDIA's Quadro 5000M graphics cards with 2GB of graphics memory. For this concert, these workstations were used not only to stream live video but to overlay about 120GB of preloaded visual graphics over the live images during selected songs."

Break out your lighters.

PC Gaming: The Future is Now

There is an ongoing ‘debate' about PC Gaming vs. Console Gaming. I think it is manufactured by the media, based on my belief that gamers are gamers. I game on a laptop, a PC, a PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360 and my phone. I game on whatever platform is fun.

But PC gaming does have a technological advantage over consoles. Graphics are better, 3D is better and more plentiful, and for shooters a mouse and a keyboard are hard to beat. Eurogamer has an excellent video endorsing why the PC platform is the future. It claims BattleField 3 is going to be pivotal in changing the gaming landscape and has Epic talking about all the cool stuff you can do on a PC with tessellation, textures, and more polygons.

Another good example is the advanced physics on the PC version of in Alice: Madness Returns, via NVIDIA PhysX technology.

"On the most basic level, PhysX allows for more realistic collisions between smoke and particle effects: whether that's from the clouds puffing out from Alice's pepper grinder gun, or from the butterflies that surround her as she jumps and glides through the environment. Alice's hair in particular is outstanding; the way it is animated and how it flows and moves about in the breeze are particularly impressive - it's perhaps the most convincing hair animation we've seen in any game for a long time"

They even included a great split-screened video of the PC and console version for you to judge for yourself. They give the nod to the PC, and having NVIDIA onboard provides the best experience.

"Across all formats, there's no doubt that the PC version is the most polished of the three, regardless of whether or not you have access to the exclusive NVIDIA PhysX features."

I just wish I could have the latest Call of Duty: Black Ops map pack for my PC already. Grrrr.

Best. Planetarium. Ever.

The Adler Planetarium in Chicago is the nation's oldest planetarium. It just reopened after replacing its 40-year-old star projector. Fittingly, it now has with the world's most advanced digital theater.

"Old and busted: Grainger Sky Theater at Chicago's Adler Planetarium's 1970s Zeiss relic analog star projector. New hotness: $14 million system making it the world's highest resolution digital theater. Get ready to trip balls at your next planetarium show."

The new system projects a seamless image across a 190-degree dome at a resolution that's eight-times sharper than your local digital cinema. At 8k x 8k, it's the world's highest-resolution digital theater - bristling with 20 military-grade projectors driven by a server farm powered by 42 NVIDIA Quadro GPUs. That means star gazers get more to gaze at

"The Planetarium has used its new capabilities to offer audiences visualizations of stars being torn apart by black holes, galactic collisions, and supernovae. The new digital system is also capable of giving a much wider 'virtual tour' of the universe."

You'll find the story, HD video and photos on the NVIDIA blog here.

No date yet on the Pink Floyd laser show, but I will keep you posted.

GeForce GTX is Best For Gaming, Just Pick One

Bit-tech has published their July Buyer Guide for video cards and that's good news for NVIDIA, and bad news for the completion. It's a clean sweep for GeForce GTX. In every category - Affordable All-Rounder, Enthusiast Overclocker, Gaming Workhorse and Premium Player- A GeForce GTX card took the prize.

That makes it easy on consumers, just figure out your budget and spend the money on the NVIDIA GPU that matches it. You get killer performance, plus cutting edge technology like 3D Vision, SLI, and PhysX.

3D Makes it Better

What do Batman, Duke Nukem and now Chun-Li have in common? They are all now available in immersive 3D! Super Street Fighter IV Arcade Edition launched on July 4 and this popular franchise from Capcom got a 3D makeover. I have played it, and can honestly say this game looks amazing in 3D. You can check it out in the 3D Vision Photo Gallery on

Game developers are also seeing a trend in reviews; 3D Vision will boost your score.. Take Duke Nukem Forever as an example. Eurogamer gave the console version a 4.5. They boosted the score on the PC to 6, stating:

"What does surprise on the graphics side is the inclusion of the 3D Vision technology from NVIDIA, bringing a great volume and depth to the image that is very welcome."

IGN gave the console version of Resident Evil 5 a 9, and the PC version a 9.3:

"However, if you do happen to have a 120Hz monitor and you have the NVIDIA 3D vision glasses, you're definitely in for a serious treat. RE5 was designed to fully take advantage of 3D, and it doesn't disappoint, rendering Chris and Sheva in a way that provides them with the visual illusion of weight and mass as they move through their environments instead of being flat 2D images onscreen."

Tegra Thrives

Tegra 2 is making waves in Andriod-based super phones and tablets. How good? Semiconductor of the year good. Tegra 2 was awarded Semiconductor of the Year 2011 by the most respected industrial newspaper in Japan, The Semiconductor News.

Toshiba is the latest super tablet to feature the NVIDIA Tegra 2 chip.

"At a time when nearly every Android tablet on the market has the same basic specs, including a 10.1 inch, 1280 x 800 pixel display and 1 GHz NVIDIA Tegra 2 dual core processor, the Toshiba Thrive manages to stand out."

Press like it.

"Of all the Android tablets we've seen so far, the Thrive impresses thanks to its flexible media handling. This is the first tablet that makes it easy to do anything other than consume entertainment and apps."

Motorola's new Photon 4G will also feature Tegra 2.

"Just to refresh your memory, the Motorola PHOTON 4G will pack a dual-core 1GHz NVIDIA Tegra 2 processor, a 4.3″ qHD display, a rear 8-megapixel camera and a VGA front-facing camera, 16GB of onboard memory with an SDcard slot for up to an additional 32MB, world phone capabilities, Sprint ID support, and of course Sprint 4G WiMAX connectivity and Android 2.3 Gingerbread."

Sony is toting better gaming for their upcoming S1 and S2 tablets.

"Like the S1, the S2 is also PlayStation certified, and will likely make a better gaming device--the lower screen can be used for controls. Sony plans to preload several games on the device. Both devices feature cameras, dual-core NVIDIA Tegra 2 processors, and the Android Honeycomb OS. "

Rio Makers Go Quadro

To get their movie Rio in to theaters more quickly, Blue Sky Studios introduced a host of new tools into their pipeline. To get the speed and flexibility they needed, they turned to Quadro GPUs.

"With the GPU optimization of Roll, Blue Sky artists not only saved time, but also reduced the amount of storage required to view frames, since the need to process, down-res, create and store stereo pairs for viewing had been eliminated. "Without Quadro, it would have been impossible for us to review full-film-resolution HDR images in stereo in real time," continues Ayala.."

Interior Design, Time Lapsed

NVIDIA posted a cool time lapsed video of a Crysis 2-themed mural we had painted in our new Moscow office. Watch it here.

Old Guys Rule

This has been documented on the NVIDIA blog before, as I have outlined it in one of my many gaming adventures. When it comes to gaming, old guys rule. One reason may be sheer numbers.

"The Entertainment Software Association has released some interesting new statistics about the demographics of video game players. The average gamer age is 37; 18% of video game players are under 18, 53% are 18 - 49 years, and 29% are 50 years or older."

We also made up the trendy practice of using numbers in place of letters when typing. Take that K1DD135!

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