Category Archives: Computer Hardware

Intel/McAfee Targets Embedded, Mobile Security

Intel explains why it acquired McAfee in a conference call to Wall Street investors.

Just two weeks after Intel finalized its acquisition of McAfee, the processor giant explained its reasoning for dumping nearly $8 billion USD into the purchase during a conference call with Wall Street analysts. Essentially the company plans to integrate McAfee’s security technology into processors for embedded devices. There are also plans to provide cloud-based security services for mobile devices.

Renee James, an Intel senior vice president and general manager of the Software and Services group, went into greater detail, explaining that Intel wants to build security management capabilities directly into hardware. This would allow mobile and other devices to communicate in real time with cloud-based security services. “The services will provide up-to-date protection for the devices including detecting and blocking malware, authenticating users, and verifying IP addresses and Websites,” James said.

Dave DeWalt, president of the now-wholly-owned but independent McAfee subsidiary, told Wall Street analysts that its security capabilities and visibility will be extended down to embedded devices including laptops, smartphones and tablets. This is especially important given that said devices could be used to access enterprise networks by hackers.

McAfee is also working with the Wind River subsidiary to integrate its security into Wind River’s OS for embedded devices within ATMs, network gateways and other applications. DeWalt added that Intel could even develop embedded computers for printers, televisions and cars with McAfee’s security solutions baked right in.

According to DeWalt, Intel doesn’t want to just provide security as a layer on top of the operating system. Instead, the company wants to push the services “down below” on future Intel chips. This will supposedly help speed up and improve McAfee software performance. “The further you move security down the stack, the more visibility of the architecture you get,” DeWalt said.

So why did Intel choose McAfee? Renee James said that Intel needed both security software and a complete service platform in order to build up its security business. Doing so from scratch would have taken up too much time and tons of cash to replicate the services McAfee had already established. Those include McAfee’s popular security software and a security service cloud it had been working on for the last five years.

To learn more, eWeek covered the entire conference call here.

Crysis 2 Maximum Graphics Edition Unboxing

It’ll help you play Crysis 2.

ZoomYes, being able to play Crysis is still a good thing. Now that Crysis 2 is out, however, it may be time for another upgrade. For those looking for an all-in-one package to get into Crysis 2 into their PCs, the answer could be found in the Maximum Graphics Edition.

We don’t have one on hand, but given that it’s a special GeForce GTX 560 Ti bundled with a t-shirt and the game, it’s only natural that Nvidia has one to unbox and show all of us.

Check it out in the video below:

Crysis 2 Maximum Graphics Edition Unboxing

AMD: DirectX Comments Taken Out of Context

AMD is performing damage control, announcing its full support for DirectX after last week’s interview with Richard Huddy.

Just over a week after AMD’s worldwide developer relations manager of its GPU division, Richard Huddy,  spoke out against DirectX and other APIs, the company now says that it supports DirectX and that the previous comments were taken out of context and exaggerated. While that may be true, Huddy’s latest interview with CRN— along with senior director of ISV relations at AMD Neal Robison–also comes across as damage control.

“The [Bit-tech] interview started off being about OpenGL, and the way APIs are developed,” Huddy said. “Obviously there’s pressure from Microsoft on hardware vendors to develop DirectX in a variety of ways. We spend a great deal of time getting feedback from game developers in the early phase of our hardware development, for products that are two or three years away from going to market.”

The previous interview claimed that developers want the API to “go away,” that it’s getting in the way of creating some truly amazing graphics. Huddy himself was even quoted saying that developers have admitted this in conversations. But in this latest interview, he said that only a handful of high-end gaming developers were looking to bypass DirectX and code directly to hardware.

“It’s not something most developers want,” he said. “If you held a vote among developers, they would go for DirectX or OpenGL, because it’s a great platform. It’s hard to crash a machine with Direct X, as there’s lots of protection to make sure the game isn’t taking down the machine, which is certainly rare especially compared to ten or fifteen years ago. Stability is the reason why you wouldn’t want to move away from Direct X, and differentiation is why you might want to.”

“We saw some of the chaos before DirectX coalesced the industry,” Robison added. “In the past there were all kinds of APIs developers had to worry about.”

Later on in the interview, Huddy revealed that there’s a division starting to take place in the gaming industry: those that want to stick with DirectX and other APIs, and those that want to move on in another direction. He even provided an example, saying that developers like DICE have highly-tuned, efficient rendering machines that rely on DirectX. Then there are developers like Crytek who literally sell hardware because they seemingly develop for technologies in the future, and could actually bypass an API.

“Many people are still shipping DirectX 9 games, which is still a perfectly reasonable way to go,” Huddy admitted. “As hardware vendors we want to keep bringing out new hardware that produces something visually exciting. We want to be able to innovate. In the feedback we’re getting, some say ‘move on from Direct X’ and some say ‘DX is absolutely the right place to play.'”

He also said that the comment about developers wanting the API to “go away” shouldn’t be taken literally. Instead, APIs and middleware need to be innovative and adapt with evolving software code as well as GPU hardware, essentially taking “a different form.”

Unlike the first interview, Huddy’s follow-up to the Bit-Tech interview is rather lengthy. To get the full four-page dose, head here.