Steam's hardware survey reports a +1.57% increase month-over-month in Windows 10 64-bit adoption, marking a growth trend favoring the move to DirectX 12. Presently, the major Dx12-ready titles include Rise of the Tomb Raider, Hitman, Ashes of the Singularity, and forthcoming Total War: Warhammer; you can learn about Warhammer's unique game engine technology over here.
In Steam's survey, Windows 7 is broken into just “Windows 7” and “Windows 7 64-bit,” the two totaling 41.43% of the users responding to the optional survey. The survey also breaks Windows 10 into a “64-bit” and an unspecified version, totaling 41.4% (or 40.01% for the specific 64-bit line-item).
Tabulated results are below:
5MB of storage once required 50 spinning platters and a dedicated computer, demanding a 16 square-foot area for its residence. The first hard drive wasn't particularly fast at 1200RPM and with seek latencies through the roof (imagine a header seeking between 50 platters) – but it was the most advanced storage of the time.
That device was the IBM 305 RAMAC, its converted cost was a $30,000 monthly lease, and single instruction execution required between 30ms and 50ms (IRW phases). The IBM 305 RAMAC did roughly 100,000 bits per second, or 0.0125MB/s. Today, the average 128GB microSD card costs ~$50 – one time – and executes read/write instructions at 671,000,000 bits per second, or 80MB/s. And this is one of our slowest forms of Flash storage. The microSD card is roughly the size of a fingernail (32x24x2.1mm), and filling a 16 square-foot area with them would yield terabytes upon terabytes of storage.
The 305 RAMAC was a creation of 1956. Following last week's GTC conference, we had the opportunity to see the RAMAC and other early computing creations at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California. The museum encompasses most of computing history, including the abacus, early Texas Instruments advanced calculators (like the TI-99), and previously housed a mechanical Babbage Machine computer from the 1800s. In our recent tour of the Computer History Museum, we focused on the predecessors to modern computing – the first hard drive, first supercomputers, first transistorized computers, mercury and core memory, and vacuum tube computing.
Anyone remember Games for Windows Live? It was that parasitic entanglement of PTSD-inducing software, purpose-built to drive legitimate game buyers to piracy. GFWL clung to life as an early scout SCV might – or StarCraft 2 at all, for that matter. Games for Windows Live lived a relatively short life, but each day of its existence felt like eternity spent in a quagmire haunted by the crushed souls of developers pressured into marketing deals with Microsoft, watching in abject horror as their games received lashings for interminable crashes and login bugs.
Mercifully, it was killed. Put down and leaving developers to scramble and update a few good legacy games – DiRT 3, Batman, and Street Fighter included – to work without the GFWL lifeline. Or anchor, as it were.
Good news! The Gears of War Ultimate Edition is coming to PC. Windows made this surprise announcement just today -- but for some reason this announcement comes with a little deja vu. Why does it feel so familiar?
Here’s one reason: It was almost 10 years ago… Halo 2 was finally, after three long years, coming to PC; but what we weren’t prepared for was:
The Vulkan API has completely taken over AMD's low-level Mantle application program interface, somewhat of a peer to Microsoft's DirectX 12.
It's a competitive space. Mantle tried to push the industry toward more console-like programming – and we mean that in positive ways – by getting developers “close to the metal.” Low-level APIs that bypass the insurmountable overhead of DirectX 11 are the key to unlocking the full potential of modern hardware; DirectX 12 and Vulkan both get us closer to this, primarily by shifting draw calls off the CPU and reducing bottlenecking. GPUs have grown so powerful in their parallel processing that they can assume significant workload that was once placed upon processors – this benefits gamers in particular, since the majority of our workloads are more easily pushed through the GPU.
Games for Windows Live was one of the worst things ever to happen to PC gaming – and we state that with unwavering confidence. GFWL often broke to such a degree that it'd be easier for folks who legitimately purchased games – DiRT, Batman, and plenty others – to go pirate them after the fact. Through the great mercy of our Microsoft overlords, GFWL was eventually discontinued and, through further effort by developers and communities, stripped from games within which it'd been defectively embedded.
By this measure, we'd mark any GFWL comparison as among the most gruesome within our small corner of the PC gaming world. It remains to be seen just how pervasive the new Windows Store is, found in Windows 10, but Microsoft is keen to start figuring out what its audience looks like.
Windows 10 was officially released yesterday. With Windows 10 comes DirectX12 and some other changes, such as Xbox Live for the PC. Of course, Windows 10 (and Dx12) also requires new drivers. Both AMD and nVidia have released drivers within the last week to support Windows 10. Because Windows 7 and 8.1 users can upgrade to Windows 10 for free within a year, these drivers are significant to migration as a potentially large portion of users will be shifting simultaneously.
We’ll first cover AMD’s newest 15.7.1 driver, then nVidia’s 353.62 driver.
Users on the cutting edge of Microsoft's new Windows 10 builds should likely already have build 10162, which launched on July 2. The build was Microsoft's third Windows 10 build in a single week, reinforcing the company's commitment to a nearing launch date. The OS is slated for a July 29 release.
At a GDC press event today, Intel showcased its first Iris Pro-enabled CPU on a desktop motherboard -- socketed -- alongside Dx12 updates and gameplay capture advancements. The spotlight reaffirmed Intel’s commitment to LGA-socketed CPUs for the immediate future, offering desktop users with low TDP requirements a high-powered CPU and IGP solution. Valve further emboldened its argument by pointing toward Steam’s hardware survey, which now shows Intel’s graphics solution as consuming approximately 20% of the GPU cross-section. NVIDIA holds the majority of GPU marketshare.
Long-standing giant Microsoft posted its quarter four earnings and revenue report just recently, claiming 6.6 million Xbox units (One, 360) shipped during 4Q14. The company says its remarkably high console sales volume is a large contributor to a $26.5B gross revenue, producing $5.8B net income for the software and hardware company.
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