- Windows XP Service Pack 2 Release Candidate 2 impressions
With SP2 for WinXP just around the corner, many of you are still no doubt very interested in what sort of improvements/enhancements it will bring (alongside the horde of bug fixes and security patches). "amd_man2003" of our own Tt forums has been taking plenty of informative notes and screen dumps of his experiences with the latest release candidate, then kindly compiling it all into a nice tidy review for us. Definitely well worth checking out folks!
Today I will be giving all of you my impressions of Windows XP SP2 as well as the benefits and new features added to Windows XP with this new Service Pack.
The network release of SP2 comes in at 264mb, much bigger than the 133mb of the SP1a network install. Included amongst all the updates is a revamped firewall, pop-up blocking for Internet Explorer, wireless network setup, and a SecurityCenter which keeps you protected and combines all the security options into a small easy to use GUI.
- ATI Releases "4.9 BETA" Doom III Optimized Catalysts
ATI have been working very hard at optimizing their OpenGL driver code since recent benchmarks indicated nVidia's cards to be the superior choice for new blockbuster, Doom III. Although the official 4.8 Catalysts are still due to be released, ATI are planning to finalise a significantly more optimized OpenGL version by the time the official 4.9's hit in early to mid september, which should help level the platform between the two gfx giants. In the meantime, work in progess looks to be going quite well, with an early BETA release being dished out that already gives ATI users (particularly of the new-gen x800 range) a noticable performance improvement for Doom3. If you've been blasting away with this kickass new title and you're running ATI, try these out! If interested, there's also a discussion on these over at Rage3D.
Oh, and it's also been mentioned that Instancing support has been added within these too, something that Far Cry's 1.2 patch took advantage of. Now, if only UBISoft would hurry up and re-release a more stable version of it.
"The Catalyst 4.9 beta drivers are a sneak peak into future drivers that ATI is continuously working on. They were released mainly for the OpenGL component update, targeting improved Doom3 performance. Having said that, newer generations of hardware will get the most benefit from this driver (X800* series). While I haven't done specific benchmarks, X800 users can see performance increase of 5~30%, depending on the level and the system/hardware type. Regretfully, older hardware, such as 9700's and even 9800's will not get as much benefit. And if paired with a slower system (or with less memory) might see +/- performance improvements.
We are working very hard to get future drivers out that will add quite a bit to the performance of these.
Remember that these are Beta drivers, and so are unsupported. If you want stability and good speed, please stick with the release drivers. Cat 4.8 has not been skipped, and should arrive soon."