Saturday, June 21, 2008

ATI Radeon HD 4850 gets official:available immediately

Considering that we've already seen AMD's ATI Radeon HD 4850benchmarked, it's not like we really needed some official verbiage to cement our belief that the unit was real. Nevertheless, said verbiage certainly doesn't hurt, and that's precisely what's been delivered this morning. The HD 4850 is a single-slot PCIe 2.0 card featuring 512MB of DDR3 RAM, a 625MHz clock speed, 993MHz memory speed, 480 stream processors and support for CrossFireX / DirectX 10.1. We're also told that at least Diamond Multimedia's HD 4850 is available as we speak from a number of fine retailers, thus we presume everyone else's version of the card shouldn't be too far behind.

Google plans to become net-access nanny

Google is planning to release tools that let internet users know if their service provider (ISP) is tampering with their internet connection - for example by throttling access to popular bandwidth-heavy sites.

It is the latest round of the net neutrality debate. Net neutrals like Google say the the internet should be a straightforward commodity. Although you may pay more or less for access, what you get is always the same - freedom to use and access the internet as you wish, with all those potential activities being treated the same by your ISP.

In the opposite corner are those who think ISPs should be able to choose which services they support, and which they don't. For example, under this scheme an ISP could slow all traffic to pizza delivery sites except those it had commercial agreements with.

Google's planned software will let you know when that is happening, by presenting an easy-to-understand breakdown of how your connection has been performing. Exactly how has not been revealed. I'm guessing one way would be to let you know if certain applications or websites consistently perform badly on your connection, compared to Google's own data on how they usually perform.

Google is one of the most influential pro-neutrality organisations. But its as-yet-unnamed tool (Throottle, Nootral?) is unlikely to be downloaded by large numbers of people.

If Google wanted to push it to more than just principled geeks it could throw it in with Google Toolbar, which already comes bundled with other software. Adding the neutrality nanny into that mix could dramatically increase its impact.