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Today, ASUS ROG launched the first PCIe-based SSD in the world that works with either Legacy or Modern UEFI BIOS. The RAIDR Express is geared towards hardcore gamers and PC enthusiasts who demand nothing but the best performance possible for their PC. ASUS says that the new PCIe-based SSD combines the best compatibility with incredible performance and durability.
We have seen many other PCIe-based SSDs, but what makes the RAIDR Express so unique is a hardware switch that allows users to switch to either Legacy BIOS or use the more modern UEFI BIOS that is found on more modern high-end motherboards. The switching is made possible because ASUS has included dual BIOS chips on the board, something that has never been done in the SSD world until now.
The RAIDR Express features the latest-generation dual LSI SandForce controller, Toshiba-made 19nm 16K-page size multi-level cell (MLC) sync-NAND flash, 100,000 4K read/write input/output operations per second (IOPS), and 830/810 MB/s sequential read/write speeds, meaning RAIDR Express truly lives up to its name.
Today, Piriform released an update to everyone's favorite PC cleaning utility, CCleaner. The company says that they have been keeping up with the latest operating system and browser updates and have updated CCleaner to version 4.04 to meet all your system tuning needs. This update brings forth support for Windows 8.1 Preview as well as cleaning for Internet Explorer 11 and Opera 15. The company says that they have also improved the way the program cleans unwanted data from Chrome.
The improvements for cleaning Chrome include the ability to remove Flash Cookies, Channel ID cookies, and the last download location. The company also added Comodo Ice Dragon cleaning and improved the detection and cleaning of portable browsers. The professional version added improved monitoring notifications and several bug fixes as well. Finally, cleaning has been added for Sony Vegas Pro 12.0, Bing Search, Bing Finance, Bing Maps, Bing News, Bing Sports, and Bing Travel. You can update CCleaner by simply loading it up on your machine or you can head over to Source #2 and download the latest version.
It is safe to bet that any video professional, enthusiast, or even home theater junkie has heard of and most certainly used the H.264 codec which has become the de facto standard for compressing high-definition video. H.264 uses very complicated algorithms that help accelerate the decoding process, which in turn reduces energy consumption and allows for higher bit rates. Yesterday, we participated in a briefing on the new X265 and HEVC encoder project that is being tackled by a company called MulticoreWare.
The X264 encoder remains one of the leading H.264 encoders on the market and it resides under both the open source GNU GPL license as well as a commercial license which is designed for companies that wish to inject their own proprietary code without having to release it into the open source community. With Ultra HD Video beginning to flow in, H.264 was just not delivering the performance needed for high bit rate, high quality output. This is where H.265 comes in the play along with MulticoreWare.
High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC), aka H.265, is being designed to replace H.264 and the official standard was released just over a month ago. And today, MulticoreWare announced its commercial open source project around the x265 encoder. The company has released the source code for x265 and it is available for download at Source #1 below. The x265 encoder is already highly parallel and supports all of the big instruction sets including FMA3/FMA4, AVX, and AVX2.
Today, Piriform released an update to its popular defragmentation software Defraggler. The company says that this release optimizes the Analyze and the Defrag functions across all operating systems and it contains an improved context menu to better aid in serving up defrag options.
Additionally, the company has added file type and last modified date columns to the file list as well as added progress information to boot time defrag processes. Furthermore, they have improved handling of locked and read-only drives as well as improved the management of unmounted drives. Finally, additional improvements have been made to the GUI and several bugs have been fixed.
In news that isn't so surprising, Adblock have reportedly been receiving money to display ads to their paying customers through Adblock Plus. The news is coming from Hacker News, which states that Adblock Plus has an "acceptable ads" filter that allows certain content through by default.
Adblock has big companies paying for this, with the company stating that this fee is to help maintain their filter lists, which whitelists some small websites and blogs for free. But, it will charge larger companies like Google to do as they wish. This allows companies the size of Google to pay to have their ads in front of people who paid to not see ads at all.
Will this result in a company coming out and making software that completely kills ads? I think not, because ads are what makes the Internet go round, just like oil does for the world.
NVIDIA released their GeForce 320.49 drivers last week, but they arrived in beta form. This week, though, NVIDIA have released them yet again, but have donned them with the WHQL stamp of stability.
We have the usual bug fixes and performance games with a 5-10% increase in performance for Metro: Last Night, Assassin's Creed 3, Starcraft 2 and BioShock: Infinite. A bigger 17-20% jump is given to Dirt and Tomb Raider. Artifacting issues in Battlefield 3 should be fixed, and EvE Retribution and Assassins Creed 3 should also be fixed up no.
The dual-monitor problems that saw GPU's running at higher performance levels has been fixed, so has the issue with GeForce GTX 680M-based notebooks going black after enabling SLI or 3D. You can grab the GeForce 320.49 WHQL drivers here.
Well, DirectX 11.2 is coming folks, and it will be exclusive to Windows 8.1 and Xbox One. Microsoft have confirmed the news, with the new iteration of Microsoft's software including tiles resources, which will allow developers to cram more detail into our games, and much more.
DirectX 11.2 is built to use both system RAM and graphics RAM to store textures, with Microsoft's Antoine Leblond saying that the tiled resources will see DirectX 11.2-based games have much better resolution of textures displayed in-game. Leblond used a live example, showing off a demo that used 9GB of texture data that was held in system RAM compared to graphics RAM.
This is great for PC gamers, but it also means gamers will be looking at a new OS once again. Microsoft are doing it strangely, too, as they won't be offering DirectX 11.2 to Windows 8 - so it looks like Windows 8 is done and dusted for if you're a gamer. Glad I haven't made the switch yet.
Microsoft have just updated their plans and will use their extensive cloud resources to crank out Office updates quicker, increasing the update period to every three weeks.
Jeff Teper, who is the Corporate Vice President for Microsoft's Office division, has told Bloomberg "within a year, users of Internet-based versions of Office productivity software, as well as e-mail, telephony and collaboration tools, will have parts of their software refreshed weekly." Does this news help you at all? An updated Office is a better office, yes?
If you're one that lives on the bleeding edge and use an AMD Radeon GPU, you might want to check out their new drivers. AMD have just announced a specialized driver for Windows 8.1, as the new OS features an upgraded display driver model, WDDM 1.3.
GPU's based on AMD's Graphics CoreNext (GCN) architecture will be supported by Windows 8.1 over WDDM 1.3, but older VLIW4 and VLIW5-based GPU's (such as the Radeon HD 6000 series and older) will be supported through WDDM 1.2-based drivers. Windows 8.1 provides some slick new enhancements to PC graphics, such as support for Microsoft's own standardized wireless display technology; 48Hz dynamic refresh rates for video playback, V-sync interrupt optimization, video conferencing acceleration, and a new instruction to the DirectX 11.1 API named "tiled resources".
The AMD Windows 8.1 Preview Catalyst driver is in beta, so you've been warned. You can download the new drivers right here.
NVIDIA have released the GeForce 320.49 Beta drivers, which are perfect for the just-released GeForce GTX 760 GPU. The new beta drivers not only include support for NVIDIA's latest mid-range GPU, but they include a bunch of fixes that were reported with previous drivers.
These fixes include problems with image corruption and artifacting Eve Online: Retribution, Assassin's Creed III, Battlefield 3 and Call of Duty: Black Ops 2. The GeForce 320.49 Beta drivers also include, or add SLI support for a number of titles: Call of Juarez: Gunslinger, Natural Selection 2, Trackmania 2: Canyon and GRID 2.
You can download the drivers right here.