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The XDA Developers forum are at it again, with a leaked skin of the Sense 5 UI skin from HTC thanks to forum member mdeejay. The XDA Developers forum member has reportedly got a working port of the upcoming skin.
We can see from the leaked screenshots that it features a new UI that is much simpler than Sense 4+ lockscreen, which is more along the lines of the stock Android skin itself, which I personally prefer. The same widgets move over to the apps screen, where in the below image we have Sense 4+ on the left, and Sense 5 on the right.
I've stumbled across a "High-end PC Tuning Guide", which uses the ever-so-sexy Gigabyte Z77X-UD4 motherboard and various high-end components from Corsair like their Dominator RAM.
What I did notice in the video, is that they tease a new "OC" skin for CPU-z which is themed in the Gigabyte Z77X-UD4 colors of orange and black and sports an OC badge in the top right. It looks unbelievably sexy, I think mostly because I'm used to the stock skin for all these years. All I know is what I want the skin now, bad.
We've hit up our Gigabyte contacts and we've been told we should expect the skin sometime next week, as soon as it drops, we'll be sure to let you know!
AMD's first major driver release for 2013 is here in the form of the just-released AMD Catalyst 13.1 WHQL drivers. These drivers are similar to the company's 12.11 "Never Settle" driver, with the new 13.1 WHQL drivers delivering performance enhancements for a huge amount of games.
They mainly aim for the Radeon HD 7000 series GPUs, and AMD have also included some new 3D settings and profile management user interface within the Catalyst Control Center (CCC). This is on top of the performance enhancements and various fixes. From the changelog, we can expect:
- Enhanced performance in Far Cry 3 (up to 25% with 8xMSAA, SSAO enabled @ 1600p, and up to 15% with 8xMSAA, HDAO enabled @1600p) (AMD Catalyst 12.11 CAP2 must also be installed)
- Enhanced AMD CrossFire scaling performance in Call of Duty Black Ops 2
- Up to 10%-15% more performance in Battlefield 3 in most cases
- More than 20% in certain missions and sequences (Comrades)
- Up to 7% more performance in Metro 2033
- Up to 10% more performance in DiRT Showdown
- Up to 8% more performance in Sleeping Dogs
- Up to 12% more performance in Civilization V
- Up to 10% more performance in StarCraft II
- Up to 8% more performance in Sniper Elite: V2
- Up to 5% more performance in Max Payne 3
Thanks to Beats Audio's acquisition of music subscription service MOG, we should expect an iTunes-like music service to be launched from the company. Currently going under the codename of Daisy, the company announced the service on Thursday and have chosen Ian Rogers to oversee "the direction, vision and strategy for project 'Daisy' and the talented team developing the service.
Beats Audio have also announced that Trent Reznor from Nine Inch Nails fame, has been appointed Chief Creative Officer. CEO and co-founder of Beats Audio, Jimmy Iovine, has said:
What's missing from the digital music landscape is a cultural context. We need to bring an emotional connection back to the act of music discovery. With Trent and now Ian we have the right team in place to do it.
There aren't many more details to report on just yet, but we should see a late-2013 launch, and should expect it to arrive as a stand-alone company falling under Beats Electronics' umbrella.
The Chrome Beta channel has just opened for Android today, offering up version 25.0.1364.8. It acts just the same as the Beta channel for a PC, which offers up a preview of features and fixes that has already passed the development channel and is on its way to final testing before it gets baked into the final version.
It makes for the perfect way to try out new things that might still be broken, but will allow the software to function as a hole. The release offered up comes with the following bugs:
- Performance is sluggish, noticeably on Galaxy Nexus and Nexus S
- Frequent freeze on devices with specific versions of Qualcomm GPU driver
- Text autosizing may break formatting on some sites
- 164632 - Editing bookmark feature is broken
- 165244 - Text position handler jumps or disappears when moving
- 163439 - Clicking on links in yahoo.com not navigating on Nexus 7
- 166233 - Unable to submit comments on Facebook posts in desktop version of Facebook
- 165244 - Text handler jumps or disappears when moving
- 167351 - Youtube video controls are lost after returning from fullscreen video mode
- 162486 - iframe scrolling broken
If you want to hit up the Beta channel, check it out here.
Futuremark continues to tease us with a slow release of screenshots and video trailers of the upcoming 3DMark benchmark that will work on a variety of devices and operating systems. The Cloud Gate benchmark, shown in the trailer video below, is a DX10 benchmark designed for notebooks and lighter weight desktop PCs.
We recommend watching it in the native 1080p resolution offered by YouTube. The FireStrike trailer that was released a week or so ago is the DX11 benchmark destined to push gaming PCs to their knees. This will be the last we hear out of Futuremark before their Christmas break, so check out the video and wait for 2013 to see the full benchmark in action.
Adobe has updated their popular Photoshop Lightroom product to make use of the higher resolution available on Apple's new Retina screen Macs. Photoshop and Illustrator CS6 both received a similar treatment earlier this week. So what can you expect out of the new version? Not too much other than Retina Support.
- HiDPI support within the Library and Develop Modules. HiDPI provides support for Retina-enabled Macs.
- Additional raw file support for 20 cameras including the Canon EOS 6D, Nikon D600 and Olympus PEN E-PL5
- Corrections and bug fixes for issues introduced in previous versions of Lightroom.
For $149.99, you can get Lightroom from the Mac App Store, that is if you don't already own it.
It's the festive season, so over at the Android developer blog they've just unveiled version 3 of in-app purchasing. Most of this isn't for show and tell, and is back-end stuff that most people won't notice. It does include some cool new stuff:
- Streamlined code. Google says what used to take several hundred lines of code can be done in as few as 50 now.
- A more robust architecture.
- Local caching, so API calls happen faster. That means part of the legwork is being done on your phone, without the need to call into Google Play.
- And "the ability to consume managed purchases and query for product information."
Futuremark showed off a trailer for their upcoming 3DMark benchmark last week, and now they have released more screenshots, this time from the Cloud Gate test. Cloud Gate is one of the three tests included in the new 3DMark and uses a DX11 engine that is limited to Direct3D feature level 10_0 so that it can test DirectX 10.
The new test in the upcoming 3DMark appears to make extensive use of particle and lighting features, as you can certainly see above. Click the picture to see it in full 1080p quality.
The release time frame for the new version of 3DMark is looking to be in January 2013 for Windows, with Android, iOS, and Windows RT versions coming some time after that.
NVIDIA announced their "GeForce Experience" earlier this year, and have now released a beta that will allow the first 10,000 people to register to get their hands on it. After the signups have closed, NVIDIA will monitor the user feedback and take out any of the big bugs.
The GeForce Experience only supports 32 games at the moment, and just the Fermi- and Kepler-based NVIDIA GPUs. More games will be added to the supported list in the coming weeks. If you don't know what the GeForce Experience offers, it will help people who don't optimize their games for their specific hardware. Enthusiasts, like myself and I'm sure many others reading this, will sit there and optimize their graphics settings in their games to get the best performance, or quality.
Everyone is different - some people like a mix of medium/high graphics and a steady 60fps or 120fps minimum (that would be me). There are others who want the maximum eye candy, and will find no problem running at 30fps or lower. NVIDIA's software will help those who don't want to sit there adjusting sliders and settings, with the software eventually being capable of accessing NVIDIA's cloud-based supercomputers that will work out, and then download the best in-game settings for your particular PC.