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World’s first 4K Ultra HD benchmark – available now

World’s first 4K Ultra HD benchmark – available now The buzz around 4K gaming continues to grow, but can the latest hardware really deliver? And are the extra pixels worth the extra cost? Lately, we are being asked the same questions again and again: Should I buy a 4K monitor for my current PC setup? What hardware do I need to play games at 4K Ultra HD resolution? To answer those questions, we’ve created Fire Strike Ultra, the world’s first 4K Ultra HD benchmark, available now and ready to use in the latest version of 3DMark. Run Fire Strike Ultra on your existing PC to answer the first question. Fire Strike Ultra renders the test content at 3840 x 2160 (4K Ultra HD) before scaling the output to your PC’s display resolution. This means you don’t need a 4K monitor to run Fire Strike Ultra, though you will need a GPU with at least 3 GB of dedicated memory. For the second question, you can help your readers understand whether new hardware delivers on the 4K promise by testing it with Fire Strike Ultra. And while it’s always been possible to run 4K tests with custom settings in 3DMark, using a dedicated 4K test will provide a common reference point for all your reviews. Your readers will also be able to search for and compare Fire Strike Ultra scores for different hardware configurations on our website. To say that Fire Strike Ultra is demanding is putting it mildly. Most people know that 4K Ultra HD is four times larger than 1080p, bu...



Windows 10 Logo

The Hardware Hound Presents: Windows 10, A Gamer’s Perspective

The rumors have been floating around for some time but we finally have a preview version of Windows 9….I mean 10….Windows 10! Maybe skipping a number doesn’t make a ton of sense, but let’s face it: Windows 10 is way better than calling the iWatch the Apple Watch! The real mystery isn’t a number, but whether Windows 10 is going to be worth it and the greater mystery is whether you should risk installing the preview on your system, particularly if you don’t have one to spare. Thankfully, the Hardware Hound is crazy enough to try it out (on my main system none-the-less), and I’m ready to give you some highlights to help you decide whether you want to make the plunge or not. The good news is, it looks like Microsoft is heading in the right direction so far! Let’s begin with the painful part of any operating system and that’s the installation, which, really wasn’t that painful! Having been an habitual reformatter most of my life, I was used to popping the CD in the drive (after a several hour ISO download), clicking on the upgrade tab instead of the advanced tab, and being told that I needed to load Windows and run the CD from there. So I did that, and roughly 15 minutes later, Windows 8.1 was upgraded to 10 with all my settings in tow. I also ran a fresh install on a spare workstation I had with an i5 CPU and once again, the install was quick and painless as far as OSes go. Also, I typically hate doing upgrades and hi...



ADATA Releases SSD Firmware Update

ADATA Releases SSD Firmware Update New Firmware 5.8.2 Offers Enhanced Stability Taipei, Taiwan – Oct. 9, 2014 – ADATA® Technology, a leading manufacturer of high-performance DRAM modules and NAND Flash application products, has released a firmware update v5.8.2 for the following solid state drives (SSD) equipped with SandForce 2200 series controllers: SX910/SX900/SP900/S510. The new firmware improves overall SSD stability and SSD reliability after unsafe power cycling. Purchasers who wish to update their SSD firmware should go to: http://www.adata-group.com/index.php?action=ss_main&page=ss_content_driver&lan=en, select the corresponding SSD product, and then download the compressed Firmware 5.8.2 file and extract it. Then locate the executable file ADATA_SF_FieldUpdater and run it as administrator.  About ADATA ADATA Technology Co., Ltd., one of the world’s largest vendors of DRAM Modules and USB Flash Drives, provides complete memory solutions, including memory cards, solid state drives, and portable hard drives. ADATA products are internationally recognized by Germany’s iF Design Award, red dot Award, CES Best of Innovations Award, Japan’s Good Design Award, Best Choice of Computex Award, and Taiwan Excellence Gold Award. The company’s slogan of Love, Life, Dreams, embodies the ADATA brand and the role of innovative memory products in the human pursuit of universally cherished ideas. For more information, please visit www.adata.com.



PCMark 8 update adds quick test option

PCMark 8 update adds quick test option We released a minor update for PCMark 8 today that adds a much requested feature. By default, PCMark 8 runs each test workload three times, using the average to calculate the overall score. We’ve found that this is the best way to smooth out any variance introduced by operating system factors outside of the benchmark itself. Repeating each test three times, however, does mean that it can take a long time to complete a benchmark run. We know that when troubleshooting or trying to improve performance it would be helpful to run a shorter test that completes in less time. This update introduces a new command line option to PCMark 8 Professional Edition that allows you to set the number of passes for each test. Set –pass=1 for a quick test running each workload just once. Or set –pass to a higher number to repeat each test multiple times for highly accurate benchmark results. You can read the complete release notes for this update below. PCMark 8 will prompt you to install the update, or you can download the latest version here: http://www.futuremark.com/downloads/pcmark8.zip (2.9 GB) P.S. If you test Android smart phones and tablets regularly you might like to join our PCMark for Android press preview program. It’s your chance to try our new PCMark for Android benchmark before its public launch later this month. Find out more and sign up here: http://www.futuremark.com/benchmarks/pcmark-android PCMark 8 v2.2.282 Th...



DirectX 12

DirectX 12 a Big Deal for AMD CPUs?

Back in 2011, AMD made a bold statement with the release of the FX-8150. Their premise was that single core performance was holding the industry back and that it was time to start trading in single core performance for the more advanced multi-threading performamce. That totally blew up in their face. The end result was a CPU that only out performed the previous gen chip (the Phenom II X6 1100T) in multi-threading benchmarks while suffering a hit in the single-threaded arena. Meanwhile, gaming as well as a vast amount of common applications continued to predominantly use single threads and INTEL garnered the massive lead they have today. But what if AMD was right all along and only jumped the gun a few years too soon? PC & Tech Authority had an interview with Crytek, a major game developer, and the resulting discussion shed some very interesting details on what DirectX 12 could mean for the future of multi-threaded performance. The most interesting statement from Crytek was the fact that Microsoft has been “really keen on listening to developers.” The reason why is that developers are the ones who want to utilize more resources from the CPU by having more multi-threaded support. According to Crytek, the main concern not only to them, but also other developers, is improving throughput from the CPU. They explain that for many years now, the best way to move forward is to go massively parallel. There’s more to the picture than just this one piece, but it ...



AIDA64 v4.60 is released

FinalWire Rolls Out AIDA64 v4.60   Enhanced Support for LCD and VFD Screens BUDAPEST, Hungary – July 30, 2014 – Today FinalWire has announced the immediate availability of AIDA64 v4.60. As is known, the popular PC diagnostic utility can provide detailed information about both the hardware and software environment of individual PCs or a network of computers. All four editions of the portfolio have been updated to the new version, including the award-winning PC diagnostic and benchmarking tool, AIDA64 Extreme, as well as the company’s flagship IT asset management solution for business customers, AIDA64 Business. The new release comes with support for a wider range of external LCD and VFD displays, including alphanumeric, monochrome and color panels, on which AIDA64 can directly display temperatures, voltages and fan speeds as well as other system information. The July update also introduces support for the latest and upcoming processor and graphics technologies and storage devices. “While working on the latest release, we focused on providing our users more opportunity to monitor sensor values on external displays. We also paid special attention to implementing functions requested by our business customers: among other things we have added such smaller but important options to the feature set as support for embedded XSL style sheets in XML reports and SSL encrypted SMTP. For example, this latter option can ensure that the software sends inventory reports...



Governments Choose PCMark Benchmarks to Specify PC Performance

European Commission and Three National Governments Choose PCMark Benchmarks to Specify PC Performance in High Volume Tenders European Commision, France, Northern Ireland, and Brazil turn to Futuremark benchmarks for impartial performance comparisons HELSINKI, FINLAND – July 7, 2014 – Futuremark announced today that its PCMark benchmarking software has been chosen by the European Commission Directorate-General for Informatics (DIGIT) to specify the minimum required performance for over 100,000 PCs to be supplied to more than 50 European Union organisations. PCMark has also been incorporated into the tendering, procurement and purchasing departments of the governments of France, Northern Ireland, and Brazil. PCMark is a complete benchmarking solution for business, enterprise, government, and other professional users. PCMark provides procurement departments, supply chain managers, and IT departments with accurate and impartial benchmarks for specifying and comparing the performance of Windows PCs, notebooks, and tablets. PCMark is developed in close cooperation with the world’s leading technology companies including AMD, Compal, Condusiv Technologies, Dell, HGST, HP, Intel, Lenovo, Microsoft, Quanta Computer, SanDisk Corporation, Seagate Technology, and Western Digital Corporation. Developer Futuremark is an independently owned company developing benchmarking software to a strict code of neutrality. European Union The Directorate-General for Informatics (DIGIT) defines ...



New 3DMark Sky Diver benchmark available today, from 13:00 UTC

New 3DMark Sky Diver benchmark available today, from 13:00 UTC Hot on the heels of all the hardware announcements at Computex, our new 3DMark Sky Diver benchmark test is ready to download and use today, from 13:00 UTC. http://www.futuremark.com/3dmark    Please read the important note from NVIDIA below about driver compatibility.  Every single 3DMark user – more than a million and counting – will get Sky Diver as a free update. For new users, Sky Diver is unlocked and ready to use in all editions of 3DMark. And for a limited time, you can buy 3DMark Advanced Edition, which includes more tests, custom settings and other features, from Steam for only $9.99 (60% off). http://store.steampowered.com/app/223850/ Sky Diver is a new DirectX 11 benchmark test for gaming laptops and mid-range PCs. It’s ideal for testing mainstream graphics cards, mobile GPUs, integrated graphics and other systems that cannot achieve double-digit frame rates in the more demanding Fire Strike test.  Together, Sky Diver and Fire Strike let you test the full range of DirectX 11 graphics hardware. Fire Strike is equivalent to testing a system with a modern DirectX 11 game on ultra-high settings. Sky Diver is more like running a game on normal settings. As a general guide: If a system scores less than 2800 in Fire Strike you should run Sky Diver. If a system scores more than 12000 in Sky Diver, you should run Fire Strike. Please note that Sky Diver and Fire Strike scores are not dire...



Futuremark Announces 3DMark Sky Diver Benchmark

Futuremark Announces 3DMark Sky Diver Benchmark Trailer shows new test for DirectX 11 gaming laptops and mid-range PCs   HELSINKI, FINLAND – May 28, 2014 – Futuremark today announced 3DMark Sky Diver, a new DirectX 11 benchmark test for gaming laptops and mid-range PCs. 3DMark Sky Diver is the ideal test for benchmarking systems with mainstream DirectX 11 graphics cards, mobile GPUs, or integrated graphics. A preview trailer for the new benchmark shows a wingsuited woman skydiving into a mysterious, uncharted location. The scene is brought to life with tessellation, particles and advanced post-processing effects. Sky Diver will be shown in full at Computex from June 3-7, or find out more on the Futuremark website: http://www.futuremark.com/3dmark Screenshots: http://www.futuremark.com/benchmarks/3dmark#skydiver  Jukka Mäkinen, Futuremark CEO said,  “Some people think that 3DMark is only for high-end hardware and extreme overclocking. Yet millions of PC gamers rely on 3DMark to choose systems that best balance performance, efficiency and affordability. 3DMark Sky Diver complements our other tests by providing the ideal benchmark for gaming laptops and mainstream PCs.” 3DMark – The Gamer’s Benchmark for all your hardware 3DMark is the only benchmark that offers a range of tests for different classes of hardware: Fire Strike, for high performance gaming PCs (DirectX 11, feature level 11) Sky Diver, for gaming laptops and mid-range PCs (DirectX ...



FinalWire Introduces AIDA64 v4.50

FinalWire Introduces AIDA64 v4.50 GPGPU AES-256 Benchmark and Extended Mantle Diagnostics Budapest, Hungary – May 28, 2014 Today FinalWire has announced the immediate availability of AIDA64 v4.50. All four editions of the popular system information software have been updated to the new version, including the award-winning PC diagnostics and benchmarking tool, AIDA64 Extreme, as well as the company’s flagship IT asset management solution for business customers, AIDA64 Business. The new AIDA64 release introduces a multi-threaded OpenCL GPGPU AES-256 benchmark to measure cryptographic processing performance of modern graphics processors and APUs. It also provides extended Mantle API diagnostics for the latest AMD Radeon graphics accelerators, and supports the latest video adapters and storage devices. “Besides our regular updates supporting the latest technologies and innovations, the core AIDA64 features are key to our customers. We could also feel the turbulence caused by the end of support for Microsoft Windows XP as AIDA64 is widely used by system administrators to take a precise hardware and software inventory of PCs connected to their network. With AIDA64, you can get accurate data from even thousands of computers in a few seconds, and then you can easily identify machines running outdated or unsupported software, which greatly helps the IT staff estimate upgrade volume and costs”, said Tamas Miklos, CEO and lead developer at FinalWire. New features & im...



Apacer extends to cloud and mobile fields and shows off innovative applications at COMPUTEX TAIPEI 2014

Apacer extends to cloud and mobile fields and shows off innovative applications at COMPUTEX TAIPEI 2014 Three experience scenarios offering the best user experience!  May 28th, 2014, Taipei, Taiwan—Asia and Taiwan’s biggest technology industry event, Computex Taipei 2014, will take place from June 3rd to June 7th.More than 130 thousand people are expected to visit. The world’s leading memory brand Apacer (TAIEX 8271) will continue to extend its brand’s commitment “Access the best” and offer optimized user experiences through its “Access the best experience” philosophy. It will offer corporate customers and consumers three important experiences from a user standpoint: Best Solution & Service, Best Gaming Performance, and Best Smart Life. Apacer will show its unique products and applications at Computex Taipei 2014. The applications cover a wide range of fields, including embedded, overclocking, cloud, mobile, and end devices.Additionally, Apacer will display their fruitful results in the cloud and mobile applications. Strategic deployment in the fields of the cloud and mobile, significantly expanding business scope The popularity of cloud applications and mobile devices hasaccelerated the development of networking and smart lifestyles. Apacer,keeping pace with global industry trends,is continued focus on its existing business, additionally developing potential cloud and mobile markets, and providing users with complete and di...



Microsoft uses 3DMark to show DirectX 12 benefits

Microsoft shared the first public details of DirectX 12 at GDC yesterday. And I’m delighted that they chose 3DMark 11 to demonstrate the advantages of the new API. In their words, “3DMark [11] on Direct3D 11 uses multi-threading extensively, however due to a combination of runtime and driver overhead, there is still significant idle time on each core. After porting the benchmark to use Direct3D 12, we see two major improvements – a 50% improvement in CPU utilization, and better distribution of work among threads.” The chart shows the time 3DMark 11 spends in each thread in DirectX 11 (top) and DirectX 12 (bottom). This MSDN blog post explains how the efficiencies in DirectX 12 are achieved: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/directx/archive/2014/03/20/directx-12.aspx A new 3DMark test for DirectX 12 With DirectX 12 game developers will be able to create richer scenes with more objects by better utilizing modern GPU hardware. DirectX 12 also introduces a set of new rendering features that will dramatically improve the efficiency of algorithms such as order-independent transparency, collision detection, and geometry culling. I’m excited to announce that we are creating a new 3DMark benchmark that will demonstrate and test the full capabilities of DirectX 12.



Directx12

Microsoft Responds to Mantle with DirectX 12

DirectX hasn’t seen an update for a very long time. PC gaming on the other hand, has seen some very interesting changes over the past years, but more significantly in recent times would be the Steam Machine and AMD’s Mantle technology. These two offer a direct competition to Microsoft so it’s no surprise that they’ve had to find a way to respond and quickly. Without going into too much of the speculation that’s already out, it seems that DirectX 12 may well be a direct response to Mantle technology. The Steam Machine obviously offers competition, but it also requires that games be designed to run for a Linux based OS and is less likely to fill the niche for work at home procedures. Mantle could be much scarier for Microsoft, because if game developers design to it, there could be very little need to upgrade to a new version of Windows while still enjoying peak performance from the latest AMD graphics cards. To modestly explain why this works, Mantle allows more graphics processing to go straight to the GPU rather than having to use the CPU as the middle man. Still run Windows 7? No big deal because you have the latest AMD drivers with Mantle software. DirectX 12 hasn’t revealed details yet, but if it tries to garner the same kind of performance that Mantle does, it will be easier for Microsoft to pin it to newer versions of Windows, forcing consumers to upgrade in order to keep peak performance out of their hardware. While this all ma...



windows-old-angle

Support Ending for XP, Microsoft Provides Free Transfer Tool

For those of you still running Windows XP, Microsoft would like for you to think about switching over to a newer Windows operating system. I know, XP still works just fine for many things, and still exceeds for some uses. However, come April 8th, Microsoft is ending their support for this iconic operating system. Soon, Microsoft plans to notify users of the operating system by pop-up on their desktop, providing users with a link to the end-of-support page. This page gives more in-depth information about what will happen on April 8th. Microsoft says the pop-ups will keep coming up on the 8th of every month after April, unless the message is disabled by the user. What is going to happen when support is dropped? Well, you will still be able to use your operating system just as you had been before, but Microsoft will not be releasing any more patches, system updates, or security updates. In a further attempt to persuade users to migrate to newer operating systems, Microsoft will be offering a free data migration tool to make your switch to Windows 7, Windows 8, or Windows 8.1 much easier. In order to provide this service to the public, Microsoft has teamed up with Laplink to produce the data migration tool named PCmover Express for Windows XP. Microsoft Senior Marketing Communications Manager, Brandon LeBlanc released this blog statement, “This tool will copy your files, music, videos, email, and user profiles and settings from your old PC to your new device, transferring a...



ASUSTOR Releases Innovative Upgrades with ADM 2.1

ASUSTOR Releases Innovative Upgrades with ADM 2.1 Unveiling a new cloud storage experience, all ASUSTOR NAS devices are upgrading to ADM 2.1. Exclusive and innovative MyArchive function allows users to use hard disks as removable storage archives; File Explorer now features thumbnail previews and seamless drag and drop file transfers between NAS and computer; New releases include a VPN Server App and streaming video download App, Takeasy along with Chrome and FireFox add-on Download Center Helper; Mobile app AiMusic streams music from the NAS to mobile devices; Newly added support for Bluetooth devices. Taipei, Taiwan, February 25th, 2014 – ASUSTOR Inc., a leading innovator and provider of network storage solutions, has announced that all of its NAS devices (2, 3 and 6 Series) will be upgrading to the ASUSTOR Data Master (ADM) 2.1 operating system. ADM 2.1 expands the core functionality of the system and includes upgrades to built-in Apps such as Storage Manager and File Explorer along with newly expanded support for Bluetooth devices. Furthermore, a number of in-house developed Apps have been added to ASUSTOR’s App lineup that are sure to please both business and home users alike. “We are very excited to be launching ADM 2.1 with special attention to feedback and suggestions we have been constantly receiving,” said Steve Huang, Product Manager at ASUSTOR. “ADM 2.1 introduces some truly unique functions developed by ASUSTOR. We hope our users will enjoy the...






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