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The gorilla not yet in the room

The gorilla not yet in the room

Amid all the E3 talk we expect next week about physics acceleration, Quad SLI graphics, Intel's new Conroe chips, and next-gen games, the overarching story for PC gaming at E3 is Windows Vista, or the lack thereof. It's not so much the new OS's aero glass effects we're waiting for, but DirectX 10, the new multimedia instruction set that will only come with Vista that's supposed to open up great possibilities for better-performing 3D graphics and in general even more immersive PC gaming. Unfortunately, Vista has been plagued by delay rumors, so until we hear a concrete date, gamers, game developers, and hardware manufacturers will have to settle for a mantra many longtime PC gamers are used to: When it's done.

While we don't expect to walk out of E3 with a firm Vista release date, we do think we'll see previews of highly anticipated technologies. For one, we expect we'll be hearing plenty about Intel's new Conroe chips. Early tests show it whipping AMD's butt. And if you remember the early breakthrough days of 3D graphics cards, you'll remember the feeling that PC gaming had evolved. We're in those times right now for accelerated physics. If you still haven't checked out Ageia's PhysX demo videos, we recommend you give them a try. We hope the show will turn up more concrete evidence that physics is the future. System builders who have more behind-the-scenes access than we do report that Unreal Tournament 2007 will be a real showcase for this exciting new tech. Stay tuned, and we'll report back on all the gaming excitement we can find.