Author Archives: Daveeeeeeeeee
Game Review: Overlord II -It’s cool to be bad
It’s an evil game, like its evil predecessor: Overlord.
Everyone in the world, at the start of the game, are happy and living peaceful lives. Except you.
This game is inspired (clearly) by the Ancient Romans. The Empire is prevailing (the Empire are the ‘good’ guys) and, as usual, ridding the land of evil guys and magic. The land is filled with Inquisitors and putting to death all who have things related to magic.
The story line reveals that the previous Overlord had a son. Before the Overlord could go get his son (for something I don’t know), he is taken away to the town of Nordberg. The player takes the role of this descendant of evil and plays from a third person perspective. In Overlord I, some people said that the guy wasn’t evil enough, and sometimes you had to help and support some villages you wanted to conquer. Game creators took this in and addressed the issue completely. This time, your a real, evil bastard. You are given two schools of evil: domination and annnihilation. To dominate is to conquer the land and enslave the population, while the annihilation method, as you may have guessed (correctly), allows you to walk in and kill everything and everyone.
However this fun takes off some time after you start the game. At the start you’re actually controlling the character when he was a child. He is bullied by the other ‘normal’ kids and the adults think he’s always high on sugar. He’s about to be given up to the Inquisition before being rescued by the previous Overlord’s minions. The Overlord had died and the minions have found you, luckily. They pretty much listen to whatever you do and are the most loyal subjects ever to you throughout the course of the game. The minions already take orders from you, so you can make them go kill those bullies and trash their homes. You then leave this town, but word has got out and the Empire is now after you.
The army is on its way. There’s a catapult outside aimed at Nordberg, which is meant to be taken over by you. You’re obviously meant to use it against the Empire’s army but if you’re such an evil bastard, the developers let you trebuchet the village for no reason. Finally, you face the army. Being a Roman inspired game, the disciplined soldiers will take formation and attack. Physics are great in this game, and it’s fun seeing your character and his minions destroy everything. Eventually, you order your minions to kill the now scattered and weakened soldiers.
You and minions get mounts. Each different mount fits each different type of minions. Mounts include wolves, fire-breathing salamanders and giant green spiders.
You also get champions, special and stronger minions. If they die, and you desperately want them back, you can be an evil bastard (again) and sacrifice a bunch of lower minions for his revival.
Overlord II has had a number of improvements, engine tweaks and much more features. Not to mention that you can be heaps and heaps more evil to anything.
Oh yea, you can bludgeon cute animals such as seals.
Tech Update: The Land Of Graphics
The latest news from NVIDIA involves the release of their latest graphics card and the soon-to-be-released new core.
NVIDIA has just released the GeForce GTX 275, which is like a trimmed down GTX 285 and is the equivalent of a single GPU concealed in the Dual-GPU Card, the GTX 295. NVIDIA released this to battle and counter ATI’s card, the Radeon 4890. This card fills the gap between the GTX 260+ and the 285. It has 240 stream processors and a 448-bit memory bus width; its core is clocked at 633MHz; its memory clocked at 2268 MHz DDR and its shaders at 1404MHz. It contains a GT200 core, like all currently released modern-day cards.
The 275 and the 4890 are very similar in performance but the 275 is a bit more expensive than the 4890 currently.
Leaked information says that NVIDIA is releasing a new core: the GT300. I’m not completely confident about the current specifics, but it’s probably similar to what it will be.
The GT300’s structure will be completely different unlike the GT200’s, whose architecture was similar to the GT100 but just updated and a bit better. It also moves from the SIMD to the MIMDstructure.
SIMD stands for Single Instruction Multiple Data and is currently used by both ATI and NVIDIA companies. MMID stands for Multiple Instruction Multiple Data (as you may have probably guessed) and is completely different to the GT200, making it quite revolutionary. The major difference is that it makes your GPU being able to perform tasks which previously had to be performed by your CPU, making it more versatile.
No one really knows the core frequency yet, and probably won’t until NVIDIA actually releases news on the GT300, but tech experts believe that it should nearly double performance (which is pretty spectacular). It’ll probably have up to 512 shader cores in groups of 32 and be built on a 40nm process. It’s also said that it’s going to supporty DirectX 11. I’m really excited about this new core!
AMD has just released the RV740, which only comes with their latest card: the Radeon 4770. It is to counter the 9800 GT. It has 60 shader cores running at 850MHz, 512MB of GDDR5 RAM at 3200MHz but has a skinny memory bus of 128-bit, but the 4770 is still a monster. It has a 6-pin power connector and its core is a 40nm process.
Other than its new core size, the 4770 is most easily compared to the Radeon 4830. They both have the same number of stream processors but the 4770 runs it at a higher frequency. However, the 4770’s slim 128-bit memory bus can be countered by its super fast GDDR5 RAM. The 4770 is only a bit more expensive than the 9800 GT, maybe $15 more.
The 4770 still performs very well, and it beats the 4830 in tests for frame rates and is only about slower than the 4850. It also outperforms the 9800 GT just slightly.
Optimizing Firefox Speed
There are several ways to make Firefox run faster. It’s all done by tweaking. I’ll be giving you a list of different tweaks, which will all count for something. Please note that I’ve done all of this on Windows XP Professional OS, and it may have different effects on other OSs.
This is the most popular way to make Firefox’s pages load faster, and no doubt you’ll come across this when you Google how to make Firefox faster.
- In the Firefox browser, type about:config.
- You’ll get something asking you to be careful. Click the thing which is I’ll be careful, I promise!
- You’ll find a filter bar. Type network.http.pipelining under the preference name column.
- You’ll normally find the default value of this to be false. Double click it and change it to True.
Effect: For most (at least the ones I’ve all seen) websites, you’ll notice a http:// before the address. This is for something called the HTTP 1.1 , a protocol, this is so that you can send numerous requests before your computer actually receives them. It’s also known as pipelining. Pipelining can reduce page loading times over connections, but not all servers support it, which is why it will have no effect for some websites. For this to work, you need pipelining to be enabled.
2. In the filter bar, type network.http.proxy.pipelining and its value to True.
Effect: Pipelining does not work when you are using a proxy. This is why you need to change this value to True, so that it is enabled if you are using a proxy.
3. Now type in network.http.pipelining.maxrequests. Right click and go to Modify. The default value is 4, change it to 8.
Effect: This determines the maximum requests your computer can send out at once. 8 is the maximum, so don’t change it to 100000 thinking you can send that much requests out.
4. Go to the normal about:config page, right click in the blank space and choose New/Boolean. Name this network.http.pipelining.firstrequest and accept. Then set its value to true.
Effect: This tweak isn’t normally recommended, but it hasn’t screwed my FF up in any way. It’s meant to aid in making your page load faster.
5. Now this time, right click and choose New/Integer . Name it nglayout.initialpaint.delay then accept. Then set its value to 0.
Effect: The initialpaint.delay is the length of time (in milliseconds) after the server response before the browser begins to paint, or create, the page.
6. Make another Boolean and call it content.notify.ontimer and set its value to true.
Effect: Normally, a page would load when each part of it has fully been downloaded. Instead with this, it will make FF display whatever has been downloaded and thus, reducing page load time.
7. Again, create a Boolean value and call it content.interrupt.parsing and set the value to False.
Effect: This determines whether an application will “interrupt” a page being parsed so that it can react to the UI. Setting to false is so that the parsing cannot be interrupted, and the app will be unresponsive until all parsing has been completed.
There is another tweak for Windows XP and Vista users (except Windows XP Home Edition). This can be used for Internet Explorer and Firefox, or any other web browsing program. You’ll find this commonly over the internet.
- Go to Start
- Go to Run
- Type in gpedit.msc
- Expand the Local Computer Policy branch.
- Expand the Administrative Templates branch.
- Expand the Network branch.
- Open up the QoS Packet Scheduler.
- Double click the limit reservable bandwidth setting.
- Check the enabled item.
10. Change the limit to 0.
11. Close and restart your computer.
This has your computer connect to your Internet faster as it has no limits to how fast you can connect to it.
Any questions, suggestions or comments, please leave one!
-Guide was requested by Seb aKa Sandi
Overclocking NVidia Cards
Seeing as it is Exploitation Week, I guess I’d better do something. Considering that all my posts have been about tech, I guess I’m going to write for it and about something ‘techy’ for Expo Week. I’m going to write about overclocking your hardware. Today, I’m only going to talk about NVIDIA cards though, seeing as I don’t have much time.
I guess I’ll talk about and try teach the beginners how to overclock your graphics processor card (GPU).
Before I get fully into it, I must warn you that not all GPUs are good for overclocking. Some just simply aren’t powerful enough. If you want my advice on overclocking, you’d try get something in the NVIDIA GeForce 8000 series, 9000 series or any GTX. If you’re an ATI user, you can always just match up something close to NVIDIA’s with Google.
However, most cards under the 8000 series can overclock. But chances are you’ll screw the card up. The other problem is that you’re going to need a good cooling system.
Double Headed Monsters
You thought the ATI Radeon 4870 X2 is was the max? Wrong. The GeForce GTX 296 now claims title of most powerful video card. Thing is about these cards is that they’re both dual GPUs in one card.
Surprisingly (for me), this isn’t a very new and revolutionary idea. Ten years ago there was a three GPU video card (the VooDoo 2), but it doesn’t outperform single GPUs of nowadays.
What do they do and what is this stuff? Videocard designers such as NVidia and ATI basically strap two GPUs together when you’ve made about the strongest GPU you can, which improves the performance. This doesn’t necessarily mean double the power. The dual GPUs are meant to work together to improve performance, like cells in organisms do.
It’s a big advantage for us, gamers. You can have one GPU core do a secondary task when you’re gaming such as anti-aliasing while the other does the major job. These cards have to be clocked slower than, for example, a GTX 280 or 285. This is to keep the heat under control, unless you want to burn a hole in your computer.
When you take these cards apart, you’ll find that it’s comprised of small mini-cores (or stream processors). So, the logical thing to do is to shove more and more together, which is when the annoying heat, size and space issues drop in.
The latest card is the GTX 295 and arguably the strongest.
It’s practically two beefed up GTX 260s in SLI. It’s overthrown the Radeon 4870 X2. The GTX 295 runs dual 576Mhz cores and an epic 1896 of GDD3 RAM. It’s also moved into 55nm fabrication processing so that heat and power levels are reduced.
The GTX 295 chucks in a lot more frames than your average gamer’s card would in high powered games such as Crysis.
If you want the top performance and you have a lot of money, then it’s worth getting this kid. In fact, if you’re that rich you might even want to buy two of these and enable them in Quad SLI for epic, extreme (but kinda unnecessary) performance.
SLI and Crossfire
SLI stands for Scalable Link Interface and is when you have your NVIDIA cards teamed up onto one motherboard. Crossfire is practically the same thing, but a few minor differences and is used by ATI.
Dual GPU videocards incorporate the SLI or Crossfire chipset onto the board, allowing both cores to communicate with the motherboard as a single unit. Thus each GPU gets is fair share of the load.
SLI uses SPR (Scalable Link Interface) or AFR (Alternate Frame Rendering), which ensures each GPU has an equal job to process and do. SFR splits the screen horizontally which feeds each section to a separate GPU while AFR speaks for itself (rendering alternate frames…).
CrossFire (by ATI) competes with SLI. Crossfire uses SuperTiling, SFR (Scissor Frame Rendering) and AFR (Alternate Frame Rendering). Yeah, SFR and AFR are the same basically. However, SuperTiling works by separating each frame into a number of small tiles, alternately sending a tile to each GPU before recombining the rendered frame.
Single Headed Fiends
Having dual video cards isn’t always the best choice because it uses a lot of electricity. That’s where the latest single headed fiends come in. They may still consume a lot of power, but compared to the doubles, they don’t really.
The leading single GPU video card is the NVIDIA GTX 285. Its stock specs has 240 processor cores, its graphics clock up to 648MHz, processor clock up to 1476 MHz and contains a memory clock of 1242MHz with 1 GB of GDD3 RAM. This GPU is basically a beefed up GTX 280. The 285 is also a bit of a power saver but still showing up its results, the card also only needs 6-pin PCI Express power feeds instead of 8. However if you slap two in SLI, it’s still going to be pretty power hungry and you’re going to need a pretty high quality PSU.
The GT200B GPU sits in the 285’s heart which is nearly similar to the 280’s GT200. Only performing slightly better than the 280 in some scenarios, the 285 still is top fastest, single GPU.
These specs are also for the stock 285. If you buy them from brands such as XFX, Asus, Zotac, etc. you’ll find it’s overclocked or better in some way.
NVidia’s recent released of the 295 and 285 put them ahead in the market by far. AMD is finally fighting back, tweaking its 4870’s core to the brand new 4890. Performance put the 4890 not too far behind the 285 in performance. The 4890 has a stock core of 850 MHz and the RAM runs at 3900MHz. I’m not sure, but I think it has 1GB of GDDR5 memory.
Yes, I know. The 4890’s specs are higher than the GTX 285’s. Normally, this would mean better performance but apparently this isn’t the case. When the 285 and 4890 were tested together in benchmark games such as COD5, Crysis, Far Cry 2, F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin and even some of Left 4 Dead, the 285’s results proved to be better. It chucked in a few extra frames per second, out performing the 3890. It also proved to be better in 3rd person shooters such as Devil May Cry 4, Prince of Persia and Fallout 3.
The 4890 is also big power eater, especially when you overclock it. It, like the 285, can be overclocked easily and be enabled up to Tri-SLI/3-WAY CrossFire.
As I said, the 4890 (performance wise) sits between the 285 and 260. Though NVidia is still leading the market, it’s not going to sit back and relax. This is why they’re releasing the 275, which will be able to rival the 4890.
The 275 will mainly be a trimmed down 285, but will still support the same amount of shaders (240) as the 285. If you got any comments, please leave them!
Share this Post
What’s Up With Windows 7
What’s up with Windows?
Windows 7’s (beta) installation was solid and easy, and finished within nearly an hour. One of the first things you realize is the impressive clean and pure feel. There’s also a load of new features. It also doesn’t have that annoying lag which Vista just about associates with anything. It’s also good for first time Windows users, as it is easy to use and read.
Other than that feel I just talked about and the ‘fish’ background, you’ll probably notice the taskbar at first too. It’s fatter and bigger; it also views programs a lot more easily and has quick previews. Its icons ‘sit in’ the taskbar and they look much more futuristic. Microsoft has also added in jump lists, so you can get to useful and handy info (such as recent Microsoft Word documents).
Device management has also improved measurably. You have one single screen to control hardware, instead of multiple pages. It also has a new handy feature known as HomeGroup. HomeGroup helps you set up home networks, share files and printers and connect to wireless networks. Much easier then before, and much less confusing too!
There’s also actually a lot of different types of Windows 7.
Windows 7 Starter
This is the most simplest version, but it’s unlikely you’re going to use this.
Windows 7 Home Basic
There won’t be a retail version for this, so don’t bother searching…
Windows 7 Home Premium
This is the default version and ‘normal’ version. It comes with most of the features.
Windows 7 Professional
This has everything Home Premium has, but it’s got extra booty such as presentation mode, remote desktop(s), advanced printing, backup options and data encryption.
Windows 7 Enterprise
Made for businesses… large company businesses. You’re only going to want this if you’re going to install it on a few hundred computers. Has extra stuff like booting from a virtual drive and a Bitlocker drive encryption, everything else is the same as Windows 7 Pro.
Windows 7 Ultimate
It’s got everything Enterprise has but this is a rare product, so you won’t be able to walk into a retail shop and buy one. It will be offered as an upgrade to other versions.
How will this affect gamers?
Windows 7 has been tweaked around and it’s meant to improve performance. This is good for all you Vista users, because games usually run slower under Vista than XP. Programs load faster and the lag is less than Vista’s when you have about 20 programs opened at the same time.
However, Windows 7 can’t stably run two GTX 295s in SLI (what a shame ;( ). Instead, you’ll have to run it singularly. There is only a small increase of performance. It had decent improvements in Far Cry 2, containing a few more frames per second but it didn’t have more in Crysis.
Windows 7 is also going to be used as one of the platforms for Direct X 11. There aren’t many GPUs which can run DX11 yet. It’s also going to be released on Vista (but who’s going to use Vista when there’s Windows 7?)
The extras in DX11? There’s tessellation, Computer Shading and multi-threading.
Tessellation is the process where games (or graphics) are made up of triangles. The more triangles, then the better detailed. This’ll help quality and graphics.
Multi-threading allows games to have better advantage of multiple CPU cores for video hardware, API and games.
Computer Shader allows programs to directly access the GPU shader pipeline for general computing. This’ll help game designers (for physics calculations) and a lot simpler for programmers to write software.
So what’s probably gonna happen next? All the Windows so far all have the same style and ‘architecture’ as Windows 98. Apparently, Microsoft had released some news about a new OS called Midori. We don’t know a lot about Midori yet, but it’s different to Windows (so they (always) say…). It’ll use x86 hardware but the thing is you’re not going to be able to own it! It doesn’t have an official release date yet.
Share this Post