Firstly, apologies dear reader, I’ve been out of the NAG loop for a while now. Simply put, life has happened to me – work piles up, I had my first real car accident, and I’ve to deal with writer’s block (seriously, it’s terrible, it eats at your soul each second that passes by when you can’t write). But here I am, hopefully with renewed vigor, so let’s see what comes out today.

I’ve been patiently watching the industry these last few weeks, and things have taken a few interesting  turns. Some things to take note of include:

Not even Brain had thought this far.

INTEL BUYING OUT MCAFFEE

This caught me by surprise. Not only does it mean that my least favorite anti-virus is linked to the industry leaders in microprocessors, but it may now mean that Mcaffee will still be in every single machine that sports a Sandy Bridge CPU and motherboard. What’s likely to come out of this deal is hardware-assisted virus protection – similar to Data Execution Prevention, Intel’s processors may actually be tasked to deal with viruses before they execute themselves onto your drives. I know many anti-virus programs already feature prevention measures such as a firewall, but it’s mainly software driven; there are Trojans capable of filling up your hard drive at ten times the speed it takes you to delete just one of them. If anything, having raw muscle behind your protection would help tremendously.

This, however, still means I’ll have to deal with Mcaffee, which is only the world’s worst consumer anti-virus. If anyone else has been paying attention to Intel lately, this is another one of their bully-the-market tactics; by partnering with Mcaffee, they can help Mcaffee to penetrate even more market share with each machine sold (perhaps there’s a free CD included, a download link somewhere, I don’t know). By muscling in with threats from other industries, they can consolidate their efforts and achieve their ultimate goal: WORLD DOMINATION.

NVIDIA GF104 IS A CRACKER

Nvidia’s Geforce GTX460 has taken the world by storm. It’s cheaper than a GTX465, it’s cooler than a GTX465, runs better than a GTX275, and retails for less than R3000. Nvidia has hit the nail in the head here by targeting the mainstream market with a GPU that, while slower than it’s rival the ATI (ahem) HD5850, manages to seem as if it offers inherently more value.

And well, it does. Nvidia can now boast Stereoscopic 3D support on all its cards, as well as a solution not unlike Eyefinity for the most immersive gaming experience imaginable. Add that to the mountains of data showing that Physx and CUDA support is a hot topic for developers and gamers, we can well see that Nvidia’s finally managed to pull out something from the hat that could work. Now they have to solidify their lineup with the low-end graphics cards, and that’s where they achieve their ultimate goal: MARKET DOMINATION.

AMD IS GOING ALL-OUT

Holy hell, AMD is on a cracker of a homerun. Their ATI brand has pulled off an astonishing win from Nvidia with the HD4000 and HD5000 series, and their HD6000 series is just in time for Christmas. ATI has, from the launch of the legendary HD3870, gone from strength to strength, and I’m proud to say I own an HD5750 and an Athlon II CPU.

But now there won’t be any DAAMIT jokes, no fanATIcs, no ATI to refer to anymore. The internet is chock-full of rumors that suggest that the HD6000 cards will be the last to feature the ATI brand. From November this year, AMD will fully consolidate its ATI brand into the company’s portfolio. ATI Radeons will now be known as AMD Radeons, and FirePro will be added to the lineup as well.

It makes sense, with Llano around the corner the company has to move to make its Fusion brand the focus of its integrated lineup. Mind you, discrete graphics cards will still take the cake, but for laptops, ultra-portables, and netbooks, the future is Fusion.

Intel already realized this years ago (rather unfortunately for AMD), and now it’s a race to see who can make the new tech work for the public, and who can profit off it first.

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