Just this past week, the Game Developers Conference was held in downtown San Francisco, CA. If you're unfamiliar with GDC, it is the "world's largest professionals-only game industry event." In other words, everyday gaming enthusiast can't just walk in off the street to take a look around. GDC is held every spring and is basically a forum for learning and networking for the creators of computer, console, handheld, mobile, and online games. Hundreds of companies come out to present their latest wares, preview upcoming titles, and also interview thousands of potential game developers.
Intel used GDC 2010 to announce their latest processor, the Core i7 980X Extreme Edition. Codnamed "Gulftown", it is the first 32nm, six core processor that that can process up to 12 threads through the use of HyperThreading technology. At Intel's booth, we saw several systems that were running applications enhanced for this new platform, including Sega's Napoleon Total War and Ubisoft's RUSE. We even had a chance to attend a dinner event thrown by Intel to demo the Extreme Edition processor in action, installed in Alienware's ALX system. For more information, specs, and benchmarks, check out our Core i7 980X coverage here.
GDC 2010 Video Highlights
As you would guess, game developers of all kind come out in full force for this particular event. There were hundreds of booths set up and plenty of big names were on hand to chat with attendees. While there were plenty of names we've never heard of, all of the gaming industry's big dogs were on hand. On the expo floor, we spoke with many companies, which included Intel, NVIDIA, ATI, ARM, Blizzard, Crytek, Nintendo, Ubisoft, Sony, Palm, Microsoft, and many others. Unlike CES, the majority of the booths were not designed for press coverage. Instead, we witnessed long lines of people seeking a chance to interview with these companies in order to land a spot in their respective gaming divisions. Still, there was plenty to see and we found a few hardware related topics to cover.
Hardcore Computers has been around since 2005. We've come across Reactor systems at a few events in the past couple of years, but this is the first time we actually had a chance to actually get up close and personal. Without a doubt, this system is an impressive sight and very unique. So, what's the scoop? In a nutshell, all of the Reactor's heat producing components are fully submerged in coolant which uses both natural and forced convection for circulation. The CPU, NB, GPU, and power supplies get coolant pumped directly to them while the rest of the system makes use of natural convection. All told, you get a quiet, cool, and expensive PC that if filled with the fastest parts available. The base model starts at over $5K so the target market for the system is a very elite crowd of enthusiasts. Nevertheless, we know you want to see what this baby can do so we're going to try and score one for review and evaluation in the coming weeks.
3D technology was the biggest theme at CES 2010 with almost every major company featuring new 3D-related products. A recurring criticism of 3D is the mandatory use of glasses, however, which can look rather unappealing and might get uncomfortable after awhile. That's why we were drawn to this small booth on GDC's show floor which featured a 3D monitor that did not require users to wear glasses. VisuMotion provides the answer to this problem with their extensive line of 3D products that take glass out of the equation. The monitor we saw on display was 22" with a retail price of almost $2K and is available now. We're still not totally convinced that 3D gaming is the way to go since image quality takes a hit at the expense of creating the effect, but its always interesting to see the technology take a step forward.
Six Courses in celebration of six cores
During the week, there were a myriad of meetings, lectures, and break out sessions that focused on how to make superior games on every platform imaginable. It was both exciting and impressive to see how these companies make use of the hardware and related technologies that we normally review, in an effort to provide more entertaining and realistic games. GDC 2010 drives home the realization that without faster, more powerful hardware, breakthrough advancements in applications and games wouldn't be possible. In all, it was a fantastic experience and an event we look forward to attending next year.