Nvidia graphics cards part 2: Clockspeed and core count

Many readers will probably know
that multiple CPU ‘cores’ came about
as a solution to throttling and temperature
issues when increasing the clockspeed of
a processor

Many More readers will
look confused and ask themselves
what these terms mean. Well (don’t
worry, because in this post I will
be explaining what the clock speed is,
and how agiaphical core is different
to a logical core (which is a processor
Core).
The main difference between
a graphics card and CPU is
that a GPU contsins many, many
more cores, sometimes hundreds or
even thousands. A CPU X86
generally only has between 2 and
twenty cores. Consumer devices
generally have even less. This
would appear to make the GPU
much more powerful, but because
it has so many cores, they all have
to run at lower dock speeds to
avoid temperature issues.
Another major difference is
that GPU’s don’t support features
such as virtual memory, which is a
highly mportant for almost all
operating systems.
Another major difference is
that the cache generally is
much smaller as it is shared
with many more cores than
on a CPU.
However, many projects exist
which aim to use the still far
superior computational power
of the GPU, such as the tesla.
However, until software snd
emory evolves and progresses further
you will still need one form of
X86 processor or similar.
Now, I keep mentioning
clock speed. In it’s simplest terms
it is a rough measure of the
speed of a processor. In scientific
terms, it is the frequency at
which the CPU is running.
It is also known as the clock
rate, because it is a measure
of how much electrical energy
is transferred from the beginning
of the CPU’s circuit to the
end in a given time. This is
a measure of raw computational
speed. However don’t be fooled into
thinking the clock speed is the
be-all-and-end-all. After all,
my old pc had a 1.9 GHz
processor, but my phone has
2.4 GHz. However, I know
that my PC was faster due
to things like cache and core
count.
I hope this has helped everyone,
and I will aim to put another
post up shortly.
This post was brought to go
by Xtreme Gaming solutions
Limited, a custom PC builder
in the UK.

Graphics Cards Explanation Pt 1 – nVIDIA naming conventions

When choosing your new computer, you have no doubt considered a GPU. Nowadays these are essential for even casual gamers, allowing all the pretty effects and graphics to be processed fast enough to make you competitive. But which graphics card is best, why can’t the main processor do all this, and how much money will this cost. These are all questions I would expect, and therefore, this series intends to answer them all. In todays article, I will be discussing the naming conventions of nVIDIA, and how to interpret them.

 

First off, two main companies make graphics cards, nVIDIA and AMD. As a general rule of thumb, nVIDIA makes the expensive, but much more powerful cards, whereas AMD makes the less powerful, but budget friendly graphics cards. This is a general rule of thumb only, and exceptions occur, like everything else in life.

 

Generally speaking, nVIDIA graphics cards are enthusiast grade, and therefore anything higher than a GTX 640 can run games.

 

Their naming strategy makes sense once you get to grips with it. Basically, every year nVIDIA creates a new “series” of graphics cards, and incorporates new features and new architecture into them. This new series gains a number. For instance the 600 series was the 6th series, 700 series was the 7th and so on. At the time of writing, only some of the 800 series have been released. Basically the series number indicates how up-to-date the technology is.

 

Then you get the graphics card number itself. What they do, they start off with the series number and increase the number by increments of 10 per graphics card. So, for instance, the GT 610, 620, 630, 640 and the GTX 65, 660, 670, 680 and 690. The higher the number, the more powerful the card. Finally, they then add a couple on the end, which are often extreme gaming cards with extra performance, developer cards like the original GTX TITAN, or dual GPU cards such as the GTX 690 and the TITAN Z, which contained two gpu’s on the same card. The cards above x80 will always be extreme cards, designed to showcase what the company can create in the best light. For instance the TITAN z and 780 Ti are currently designed to demonstrate 4K gaming at it’s best, whereas the previous series the GTX 690 and the original GTX TITAN were designed to demonstrate 3d gaming at it’s best (at that point 3d gaming was only just rearing it’s head).

 

Basically this is how we determine how new the product is, how powerful it is/how much horsepower it has, and how we identify the card.

 

That is the end of the nVIDIA article. But shortly I will be releasing an article explaining more advanced concepts such as the architecture, cores, clock speed and more. Plus I will also be doing a similar guide to this one for AMD, identifying their naming conventions.

 

This article was brought to you by Xtreme Gaming Solutions Limited, a custom PC builder in the UK. We allow users to configure their dream PC online, purchase it and get it delivered straight to your door. For more information, visit www.xtreme-gaming-solutions.co.uk

7 Great Myths of IT and Computing

Thanks to the age of the internet, sharing information has become commonplace. And with this also comes the myths, where people can share faulty information. Anyone can share faulty information, and sometimes this information will make itself into a myth, as it is passed from one person to another. And IT is one of the worst for mythical facts. I am here today to share 7 great facts of IT and computing, that turn out to be myths.

 

  1. “Android is an open source operating system”

 

This is one of the most popular myths in existence, and in an age of smartphones and mobile Operating Systems, it has spread like wildfire.

 

Although the Android OS is technically an Open-Source project, only the previous stable version is released to the public. The work going on for all new projects is done normally by google, who have used their financial muscle to basically control the project. Therefore, Android is not completely open-source, as a community does not work on new versions. Instead a team of Google engineers and software developers do this ‘in-house’.

 

  1. “Incognito mode (and alternatives) makes you anonymous”

 

The fact that Incognito mode makes you anonymous means only that people viewing you history from your device cannot see what you have viewed. Your Internet Service Provider, Network Manager and even a WebMaster can see that you have visited. Even I can see that you have visited my blog and read this, even if you do activate incognito mode. The only possible way of doing this is to pretend to be someone else, like using a VPN or proxy. But that is another article altogether.

 

  1. “BitTorrent is illegal”

This is simply untrue. Period. The fact that someone uses a torrent client to download illegal or pirated material is illegal, but just having Bittorrent on your system is not. Bittorrent can be used to download almost anything nowadays, not just illegal material. Many game mods and even open-source software is downloadable via a torrent client such as Bittorrent.

 

  1. “Mobile phones give you cancer”

Many studies have found that although mobile phones haven’t been around long enough to assess long-term effects, the results of studies so far haven’t demonstrated that the use of mobile phones causes brain tumours or any other type of cancer.

 

  1. “Airport scanners will wipe your hard disk”

This is a hangover from the days of camera film, when putting your bag through an airport X-ray machine often meant no more pretty photos. Flash storage ended that issue, and you can rest assured your laptop is safe too. X-ray machines primarily use electromagnetic energy, unlike the magnetic energy of the walk-through metal detectors, so your tech kit is fine on the conveyor belt with your keys and wallet. Even the handful of early scare stories about the Kindle’s E Ink display being damaged have proved to be unfounded as time has gone on.

  1. “Plugging your phone in every night will kill the battery”

This may have been good advice back in the days of nickel-cadmium batteries, but modern lithium-ion and lithium-polymer batteries don’t suffer any harm from being left charging for long periods. In fact, it’s better to keep them plugged in than to leave them to run down: repeatedly allowing a lithium battery to discharge to a low level before topping it up will shorten its life.

  1. “Mobile phones interfere with plane equipment”

It can’t practically be proven that mobile phones don’t interfere with aircraft equipment, in much the same way it can’t be proven that God doesn’t exist. We can, however, be confident that if the aviation industry thought phones actively endangered aircraft, they’d rely on more than eagle-eyed cabin crew to prohibit use.

Aviation authorities ban the use of mobiles on planes because the levels of electromagnetic interference from such devices can exceed the susceptibility levels of onboard equipment, especially in older aircraft. While most modern phones and modern planes operate together without conflict, certifying each and every handset would be an administrative nightmare, hence the much simpler blanket ban. That said, airlines such as Emirates and Virgin Atlantic are now fitting picocells in their modern fleets to allow passengers to make calls and send text messages.

 

 

 

Steam Box Beta Competition

In case you haven’t heard of the new Steam Box, let me first explain what it is. It is a Linux based device, which allows you to play all of your PC games bought on Steam. Now everyone is debating why we would want one, and how much it will costs and ….., you get the idea. But we at Xtreme Gaming Solutions decided to just point out that the Steam Box will be free to 300 people, if you manage to win yourself a place in the Beta program.

 

To quote Steam word for word: “This year we’re shipping just 300 of these boxes to Steam users, free of charge, for testing.”. So, no pressure, but hurry up and enter the competition if you want to try it for free. Good Luck!

 

Check it out here: http://store.steampowered.com/livingroom/SteamMachines/

Why buy a custom PC

Many people believe, that the world of computers is so confusing. Others believe it is so easy. And yet more others are unsure where they stand. So, you may ask, finding a buying experience for both markets must be next to impossible, right? Well, you may find you are wrong there.

 

My name is Alexander Straker. I have recently begun offering custom laptops, to be configured however you want, from the comfort of your own PC. But what has come to my attention is that although many people are aware of the ability to configure your system online, a lot of people are either intimidated by all the options, or confused as to why this is better. And even more people don’t know we even exist. Well, good news, for I am here to enlighten you!

 

The computer business was one of the first to be advertised on the internet, with a great many ecommerce stores still being dedicated to selling computers, even now. Even more companies offer computers among their other products, like supermarkets and places like Argos. Often, people are attracted by the extremely low price, or dazzled by brand they are buying from. Those that do purchase from a custom computer builder often are delighted by the service, the value, and the vast range of customisation options. So why don’t people do this more? Well, that is what I am going to tell you here and now. The pro’s and con’s of the computer market, along with my personal advice for securing your own custom system at really good value.

 

So, first off I guess are the pro’s. I myself am a big fan of custom PC’s, having experienced the benefits of them quite often over the years. Primarily they offer value. They cannot compete at rock bottom prices (like supermarkets offer). Instead of this, they tend to offer a much better performance to price ratio. For instance, you may get a whole laptop for £300 at a supermarket. However, it will contain the cheapest components at the lowest end of the market. On the other hand, look up the ladder a little and you many find something much more expensive, for instance the HP Pavilion 15-e051sa Notebook, which at the time of writing costs exactly £500 from Tesco direct. You can of course find the exact specifications online, but I will just run through the basic specs below:

CPU: Intel® Core™ i3-3110M

Operating System: Microsoft Windows® 8 Home edition 64 bit

RAM: 6GB

Screen size: 15.6 Inch

 

Now, obviously better deals may exist, but from my experience, this is about average for this price range.

 

Now, would you believe me, if I was to tell you I could not only upgrade the processor and RAM, but also provide a graphics card, for approximately the same price? No, I thought you wouldn’t, but I can. As can a lot of custom pc providers. Do see my point? Not only this, but once you get past the nvidia 650m or 750m, you can rarely get a laptop unless you go to a large provider direct (e.g. Dell), who can be classed as custom providers in their own right.

 

This allows the gamer to, well, game. Very few standard providers of laptops, or even desktops can offer the value, nor can they offer the immense range that companies like mine can provide.

 

So why do customers even bother to buy off them, you ask? Well, it all has to do with familiarity. You have a choice when buying a PC, like with everything in life. You can buy a laptop from a well advertised brand, who has stores everywhere, who have adverts everywhere, who everyone is aware of… you get the idea. Or, you could buy from a small company, who doesn’t advertise on TV, or national newspapers because they can’t afford it, they only operate online..you get the idea again?

 

It is all to do with the marketing. We simply cannot compete with the big brands, so we limit ourselves to targeting customers the big brands don’t cater for. That is the only reason.

 

Now, I don’t want to make this a marketing pitch, but next time you are in the market for a PC or laptop, I implore you to instead of going straight to PC world, look online. Look at places like my website (xtreme-gaming-solutions.co.uk), pcspecialist.co.uk, gentechpc.com, because they can provide the best value in their price range. And because we don’t have a one-answer fits all support line, we can all provide you with the best after sales advice and assistance.

 

I hope I have done everyone some service out of this, not least you, the consumer. I felt that the word needed to get out, as very few people are aware of these services. And should you not want to wait for delivery, almost all local repair services provide the same service, should you contact them.

 

Thanks very much for reading. This post was brought to you by Xtreme Gaming Solutions Limited, a supplier of high end gaming systems and components in the UK (xtreme-gaming-solutions.co.uk).

Rome-Total-War-2-Wallpaper

Rome 2: Total War Game Review

One of my favourite series of games, the Total War series is (to me) the epitome of strategy and fun. I have been a veteran of hundreds of campaigns, across Roman Italy, Medieval England, Colonial Britain and even commanded Samurai thanks to Total War. I absolutely love all aspects of their previous games, but how does this game fare when compared to previous titles. Does this game live up to all of the hype, or does it flounder and sink below the high mark of previous Total War games. Let’s find out!

First off, Rome 2: Total War has a great tutorial. One of the problems of many of the older Total War games was the learning curse. Many of the tutorials were badly designed, or tedious, making it tough to learn the more advanced concepts. This is no longer the case. I am pleased to be able to report a brilliant tutorial, full of battles, and campaign expertise. Much Improved.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the campaign side of things. One of the strongest points of all previous Total War games was the campaign map, and the high level strategy. Unfortunately, although these features returned, they felt highly complex and cumbersome compared to previous games. I believe this is due to several new systems that are at the core of this new game. Previously, cities in Total War were managed independently, and therefore could be expanded many different ways e.g. you could dedicate to Military purposes and then change the focus to economy when the front lines moved away. This is now much harder and costlier, due to the province system.

In this new game, the province system has changed. Previously, a province contained a single city, with farms and workshops scattered around sometimes. Now, a province is a vast swathe of land, containing up to 4 different settlements/cities. When you conquer a province, you can sometimes issue an “Edict”, which can cause positive effects, such as more food, or more happiness/less unrest. This means, in order to stabilise a city in a province, you first need to destabilise it by conquering the rest of the province, in order to re-stabilize it later. This has caused me many a hiccup in my campaigns. Veterans be warned, this game is a completely different beats!

The other glaringly obvious issue is the Army/Legion system. Now, every single unit must be accompanied by a general. Now this is not a problem in previous games, as you can hire infinite generals, or leave troops garrisoning a settlement/fighting small battles without a general. Well, not anymore. You now need to use one of your highly limited number of generals to lead every single army. No more 50 small armies. You are forced to use very few armies, and this leads to many pyrrhic victories, as your opponents massive army faces off with your own. I absolutely hate this feature, and wish Creative Assembly had not doe this.

However, other than these gripes, the game remains one of the best in the business. The graphics are superb, and look amazing at the “Extreme” preset. Unfortunately, this takes an awful lot of graphical horsepower though, as my dual SLI 780m’s often struggle with this setting on large battles. But overall, graphically this game is amazing, and for a strategy game, this is high praise indeed. I personally feel this is the Battlefield 3 of the strategy genre, as the graphics are far ahead of most other games. However, don’t be put off if you don’t have the ultimate gaming rig. On Low graphics settings, this game played perfectly on my old 3rd generation i3 processor, without any form of dedicated graphics. This range of performance is highly impressive.

Also, although some of the new gameplay editions (mentioned earlier) are not very nice, the core gameplay remains highly similar, and is the best in genre to me. The blend of Real-Time-Strategy, and High-Level-Strategy is perfect, and not found in any other game. Believe me, I have tried to find similar games, and the only one that comes even slightly close is the Hegemony series.

However, it is not all plain sailing. The game suffered many crashes and issues from the outset, and although most of these have been patched, the game still suffers from stuttering, CTD’s (crashes to desktop) and similar faults every now and again. So, SAVE OFTEN!

Overall, I would award Rome 2: Total War a 4 out of 5, for being the best in niche. I would highly recommend this game, and would suggest buying it. However, if you have been put off by my issues with some of the new features, but still want the Total War experience, then please check out some of the older games such as Empire: Total War, Medieval 2: Total War, Shogun 2: Total War and even other games such as previously mentioned Hegemony.

Thanks for reading this article. It has been a pleasure writing this, and I hope I have provided people with something to think about at least. This has been brought to you by Xtreme Gaming Solutions Limited, a company building custom gaming computers and offering the widest range of high end gaming components available in the UK. Please visit our website (xtreme-gaming-solutions.co.uk) for further information.