NVIDIA have been pumping out some regular drivers, which is a nice change of pace for the company and today we have the release of the GeForce 304.79 beta drivers. These new drivers have a special inclusion in the form of the March-announced TXAA. TXAA is said to smooth more aliased edges than MSAA, all while significantly reducing temporal aliasing.
But, what titles support TXAA? Funcom MMORPG, The Secret World, does, which launched today in North American and Europe. NVIDIA has promised a future in-depth look at TXAA in The Secret World, but for now, they've offered a launch-day interview with Funcom's CTO and lead designer instead. TXAA is only supported by the GEFORCE GTX 600-series of GPUs, if you didn't know.
As with all the other driver releases, the new GeForce 304.79 beta brings with it new, or updated SLI profiles for The Secret World, End of Nations, Nexuiz, Ghost Recon Future Soldier, Tornado Force and Tribes: Ascend. There are various bug fixes, such as fixing the compatibility issues that plagued the GTX 400 and GTX 500 series of GPUs in Civilization V, flickering or missing mouse cursor with hardware cursor enabled, PCs to reboot instead of shutting down, and a black screen after driver installation.
You can download the GeForce 304.79 beta drivers here.
avast! anti-virus invited TweakTown, along with a few other journalists, out to Prague, Czech Republic to meet the staff and check out the headquarters of the world's largest free anti-virus software company. The headquarters is really nondescript as the avast! software team is actually quite tiny considering just how many users they have. The headquarters occupies six floors in a business office shared with other companies. From the outside, all that is visible is the avast! logo on the top.
We were led upstairs to the 8th floor. Into a meeting room we went where we were greeted with refreshments, the CEO of avast!, and Milos Korenko, the Marketing Director at avast!. CEO Vincent Steckler welcomed the 9 of us to Prague and avast!'s headquarters and gave us a brief presentation about the company and some interesting, and quite frankly surprising, statistics about the use of avast!
avast! has had 161 million active and protected computers in the last 30 days. While they have over 200 million registrations, they only count computers who receive updates in a 30 day period in order to be more accurate. Considering there are around 700 million consumer PCs worldwide, avast! protects a large portion of them. Furthermore, avast! basically spends nothing on advertising. The reason they don't is because they don't have the need. Two-thirds of new users come from word-of-mouth referrals.
If you're one of those lucky people with a Retina-powered Apple MacBook Pro, VLC 2.0.2 is now available providing an enhanced experience on Retina-powered displays.
Another good feature is that annoying font caching requirement has been eliminated in the update, meaning you won't need to wait for the cache to finish before a video starts, finally! "Video output improvements" are present for those on PowerPC Macs with ATI Radeon 7500/9200, NVIDIA GeForce FX 5200 Ultra, or Intel GMA 950.
There are other improvements and fixes in VLC 2.0.2, but the Windows 64-bit package currently has no official ETA. There is an experimental Windows 64-bit VLC installer, but for those who like that "official" stamp placed on their software, you'll have to wait that little bit longer.
You can grab VLC 2.0.2 here.
It looks as though Microsoft are sprinkling some magic fairy dust over their upcoming office suite software, Office 2013. The latest suite will sport new icons to represent each particular program, as well as including the ability of built-in PDF editing.
Two icons for Office 2013 has popped up on liveside.net, and should be a window (geddit?) into the new icon styling in Office 2013. As you can see from the above picture, the Excel icon has an "X" on it, and the OneNote has a "N" on it, which should show us that we should expect the letter to correspond to the program, which means Publisher should have a "P" on it, Outlook with an "O", etc.
Next up is the built-in PDF editing, MS Office 2013 has it all built-in, and all that you need to do before editing a PDF is locating the file, opening it, and that's it. The public beta release of MS Office 2013 is expected in the coming weeks, and we'll post about it when it hits.
AMD have finally released a new WHQL-certified driver, 12.6 WHQL. Not only that, but they've released the 12.7 beta, too. Catalyst 12.6 WHQL sports a bunch of stability optimizations, whereas 12.7 beta concentrates on performance optimizations, as well as the stability.
A list of changes and resolved issues with Catalyst 12.6 WHQL:
- AMD Radeon HD 7900, AMD Radeon HD 7800 Tri-CrossFire configurations + Eyefinity no longer results in a BSOD when launching a DirectX application
- AMD Radeon HD 7900, AMD Radeon HD 7800 Eyefinity/Multiple Display configurations no longer results in a BSOD when using desktop applications
- AMD Catalyst 12.6 includes some additional fixes(not found in the AMD Catalyst 12.6 Beta) for the AMD Radeon HD 7900, AMD Radeon HD 7800, and AMD Radeon HD 7700 graphics cards for issues related to the GPU hanging when the system goes to sleep. Please ensure that your System BIOS is up to date. Some occurrences of this issue may be related to outdated System BIOS.
- Resolves CrossFire scaling issues seen in AMD Catalyst 12.4 with Elder Scrolls: Skyrim CrossFire
- AMD Catalyst Control Center - Overdrive page is no longer intermittently missing
- AMD Catalyst Control Center - GPU Activity gauge is no longer missing
- AMD Radeon HD 7900 CrossFire Configuration - no longer results in system hang after cinematic in Call Of Duty: Black Ops
Music discovery and streaming service, Spotify, has a source close to them claiming that they are the second largest revenue generator for major music labels. Last month saw 23 million people use the service, and the only one to topple Spotify right now is Apple's iTunes, according to the Business Insider.
Business Insider estimates that iTunes paid around $3.2 billion to record labels last year, so with Spotify in second place we can only imagine the figure they're shelling out to record labels is much lower than the behemoth that is Apple, but being second place is nothing to scoff at, either. Considering that the service only launched in the US last year.
Sean Parker, founder of Napster and early investor in Spotify says that if the service continues to grow at the current rate, they should overtake iTunes with regards to contributions to artists in under two years. Spotify is currently in the process of raising $220 million based on a $4 billion valuation, which includes $100 million from Goldman Sachs.
Futuremark have just thrown a HD trailer up onto YouTube of their upcoming 3DMark for Windows. Previously, the working title for the upcoming benchmark was 3DMark for Windows 8, but Futuremark have since renamed it.
The next 3DMark for Windows also steps onto the plate as the world's first unified graphics benchmark, allowing testing of DirectX 9, 10 and 11-capable hardware through the DirectX 11 API. The new 3DMark for Windows is also compatible with Windows Vista, Windows 7 and the upcoming Windows 8.
Not long to go now, folks! We've reached out to Futuremark about whether 3DMark for Windows will support multi-monitors, but there's no news on this yet. I for one, really hope we see multi-monitor support in 3DMark.
LG have released 'Quick Voice' for their Android phones in Korea, as competition against Apple's voice assistant, Siri, and Samsung's S Voice. Quick Voice will arrive in various Optimus family handsets such as the Vu and LTE II.
Quick Voice brings natural voice recognition to commonly used functions such as searching, setting up appointments or looking at videos on YouTube. For Korean users, you can even take a look at dates on the lunar calendar, it's that clued-up.
There's no word yet whether Quick Voice will jump the pond and arrive in any other country, but I don't see why LG would do such a thing as stop a new feature from jumping to other countries, and phones.
Skype have just announced a new feature for voice calls, 'Conversation Ads'. Conversation ads will allow users without Skype Credit or subscriptions to make Skype-to-Skype audio calls with the Windows client, but will now experience ad images displayed in their call windows.
Skype pushes this in a weird way, by saying that the new feature is a way to get customers to engage in "meaningful conversations about brands in a highly engaging environment". Gotta love marketing speak. Skype will target the ads using non-personally identifiable demographic information on the users involved in the calls, including location, gender, and age. Users do however have the option to opt out of these targeted ads, but will experience non-targeted ads.
Skype's new Conversation Ads are available in 55 countries and they have assured users that call quality will not change. Skype's Creative Acceptance Policy states that ads cannot expand beyond a 300x250 rectangle and cannot be larger than 40k. They will arrive in GIFs, Flash files and JPEGs. Animations have a time limit: 30 seconds, and can only loop three times while displayed.
We've finally got some WHQL-certified drivers from NVIDIA for Windows 8 Release Preview. The company released a beta version earlier this week and promised a four to eight-day window for the WHQL-approved version, and here we are.
Introducing the NVIDIA GeForce 302.80 drivers for desktop users running Windows 8 Release Preview. It's also been noted that these new drivers work on Windows 7, but as always, this is at your own risk. If you want to smash up these Windows 8-based drivers, let us know how you go.
You can expect more Windows 8-based testing once I heal from my Computex wounds, I broke my wrist pretty badly when I was over there. Feel free to send me donations of warm soup, hardware samples, warm hugs and money. I kid, I kid, but once I'm better, expect more original and new content from me, and more of us here at TweakTown (Trace, I'm looking at you buddy! International high-five).
Earlier this morning, Microsoft announced that they are rolling out a new advertising product to Skype for Windows. The new ad product is designed to monetize the free users of Skype, but will need to hit the right people. As such, Microsoft needs to know a little bit more about its users so that the ads can hit the right people.
This is why the stats released by Microsoft today make sense. They aren't just showing off, but instead they are releasing relevant information that can be used for advertising purposes. The ads that Microsoft are adding are silent, non-expanding ads and will only be shown to users who don't have subscriptions or Skype Credits and are using Skype for Windows.
Now, onto the statistics:
Unique Users: 41,016,000
Time Spent: 0h 13m
46.3% are Male
53.7% are Female
16.5% are 18-24
37.6% are 18-34
65.8% are 18-49
21.1% are 25-34
58.5% are 25-54
Computex 2012 - Patriot had Wildfire Pro back on display at Computex 2012. This time we saw a working model, unlike at CES where a mock up was on display. Wildfire Pro brings back 28% over provisioning, just like many very expensive SandForce based enterprise SSDs. The catch is, Wildfire Pro isn't going to cost more than a standard Wildfire with 7% over provisioning.
Over the last year, we've read several reports and white papers about data centers using consumer SSDs since they offer very good performance and the pricing is very attractive. The Wildfire Pro is a good fit for those already entertaining the idea of low cost, high performance solid-state drives in their critical environments.
The 28% over provisioning will give the enterprise a consumer product that is closer to the specs of the enterprise class SandForce 2500 based drives.
Computex 2012 - Wow, we didn't expect to see this, but here it is. 3DMark for Windows 8, as it's called at this stage of development. The test was running at a screen resolution of 1280 x 720 with an AA sample count of 1. What you are seeing here is by no means a finished product at all.
As we walked around the Nangang Computex hall yesterday we managed to get some very exclusive eyes-on time with 3DMark for Windows 8 running on an MSI system. The system to be exact is an Intel Core i7-3960K, Big Bang-XPower II motherboard and two MSI GTX 680 Lightning video cards in SLI.
We told some of our friends last night and some questioned the relevance of a new 3DMark for Windows 8 considering at least at this stage that the new Microsoft OS will ship with DirectX 11. We don't know much more about the next 3DMark than you do based on what we can see in the video above, but it's very cool to see none the less.
Watch the video above and there are some screenshots in the gallery.
Our Download of the Day is FinalWire's AIDA64 v2.50.
FinalWire have released the latest version of AIDA64, version 2.50. The latest version brings some new features and improvements, such as:
- Speech API information
- SensorPanel graphs and gauges
- Intel 330 and OCZ Vertex 4 SSD support
- GPU details for nVIDIA GeForce 600 Series
You can download FinalWire AIDA64 v2.50 here.
Our Download of the Day is Fraps 3.5.3.
Fraps is a great tool for not only benchmarking, but frame rate monitoring. It's the perfect overlay for your gaming. The update to version 3.5.3 brings the following changelog:
- Fixed micro-stutter in recorded video after temporary framerate drop
- Fixed missing video frames in some games after rendering paused
- Fixed bug causing error message on startup for some users
You can download Fraps 3.5.3 here.
The Chronic-Dev Team have announced that around 1.1 million people have downloaded their software to jailbreak their iOS-based device using the latest version of the Greenpois0n Absinthe 2.0 hack.
Considering that it was launched for iOS 5.1.1 just last Friday, with 211,401 new iPad users included. The remaining users are made up of devices powered by Apple's A4 and A5 processors, with the only device yet to receive the hack is the iPad 2 using the 32nm version of the A5 processor.
Want to try it out yourself? All you need is a Mac, Windows or Linux machine. Back up your device first, as always, as the hack will erase your device and its content when launching the jailbreak.
Our Download of the Day is Dropbox 1.4.7.
Not much has changed since the previous version of Dropbox, but this is TweakTown after all. Tweaking is what we do, living on the bleeding edge of software revisions, also, the number being higher is better, right?
The full changelog is very short, just a single change for version 1.4.7:
- Add missing translations.
You can get Dropbox 1.4.7 here.
Our Download of the Day is CCleaner 3.19.1721.
CCleaner has been updated to version 3.19.1721, and with it has the following change log:
- Added option to skip User Account Control (UAC) warning.
- Added support for Firefox 13.0 beta.
- Moved Thunderbird to be cleaned separately.
- Improved Aurora History cleaning.
- Improved Google Chrome Saved Passwords cleaning.
- Improved Scheduled Tasks detection.
- Improved Uninstaller Installation Date on XP.
- Added cleaning for BitDefender.
- Improved detection for Malwarebytes Anti-Malware, VLC Media Player and Avast! Antivirus 6.
- Minor bug fixes.
You can download CCleaner 3.19.1721 here.
Our Deal of the Day is Trend Micro Titanium Maximum Security 2012 for 3 PCs for FREE after Rebate!
Protect your PC for free! Get the Trend Micro Titanium Maximum Security 2012 (3-user license) for FREE after rebate with free shipping! NewEgg is even bundling it with a 4GB Kingston DataTraveler G3 USB 2.0 Flash Drive! Trend Micro Titanium Maximum Security provides maximum protection for everything you do online. It's your all-in-one security solution for protecting you, your devices and your data. Titanium uses cloud technology to proactively stop viruses and spyware before they reach your computer, so it won't slow you down.
Get it from NewEgg:
$60 mail-in rebate expires 05/30/2012.
Our Download of the Day is Wireshark 1.6.8.
Wireshark is the world's foremost network protocol analyzer, and is the de facto standard across many industries and educational institutions.
The full change log for version 1.6.8:
# The following bugs have been fixed:
* User-Password - PAP decoding passwords longer than 16 bytes.
* The MSISDN is not seen correctly in GTP packet.
* Wireshark doesn't calculate the right IPv4 destination using source routing options when bad options precede them.
* BOOTP dissector issue with DHCP option 82 - suboption 9.
* MPLS dissector in 1.6.7 and 1.7.1 misdecodes some MPLS CW packets.
* ANSI MAP infinite loop.
* HCIEVT infinite loop.
* Wireshark doesn't decode NFSv4.1 operations.
* LTP infinite loop.
* Wrong values in DNS CERT RR.
* Megaco parser problem with LF in header.
* OPC UA bytestring node id decoding is wrong.
# Updated Protocol Support
* ANSI MAP, ASF, BACapp, Bluetooth HCI, DHCP, DIAMETER, DNS, GTP, IEEE 802.11, IEEE 802.3, IPv4, LTP, Megaco, MPLS, NFS, OPC UA, RADIUS
# New and Updated Capture File Support
* 5View, CSIDS, pcap, pcap-ng
You can download Wireshark 1.6.8 here.
GeForce 301.42 WHQL drivers are here, provides 4-way SLI support to the GTX 670, and lots, lots more
NVIDIA have just released some new drivers to the public, and what makes these stand out from the other R300 series of drivers is that these are the first WHQL-certified drivers from the R300 family of drivers. NVIDIA have baked plenty of improvements, and features into the R300 series of drivers.
The GeForce 301.42 WHQL does contain some nuggets of gold, such as improving support for the GTX 600 Series of cards. We're looking at the inclusion of GEFORCE GTX 670 4-way SLI support, and a bunch of HDTV displays getting a dded support, as well as the usual single- and multi-GPU bugs being squished. New and/or improved SLI and 3D Vision profiles have arrived, for new games such as Max Payne 3, Dirt: Showdown, Sniper Elite V2, and Street Fighter X Tekken.
For more information on the GeForce 301.42 WHQL drivers, check out NVIDIA's page.