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We have recently reviewed Shadow Defender, a light-virtualization program with a difference. SD (as it is known among fans) sandboxes whole disks/partitions and protects them against unwanted changes. All changes (including most malware infections and their effects) actually happen within the SD buffer, a virtual environment which resides in an area isolated from the real system. Upon reboot, the virtualization buffer is emptied by default and all volume changes are immediately discarded. The real volume remains untouched and Windows boots back to its normal clean state.
SD is essentially a final safety net for Windows systems. It also features a handy RAM cache, which means that you can now have a superfast virtual Windows environment running directly from RAM. When using such a RAM cache setup, your disks take no write hits, something that is very beneficial for devices like SSDs and flash sticks.
SD is a great piece of code, but threats keep evolving constantly. It is essential for SD to also keep evolving in order for it to continue to be relevant. Since October last year, I had the pleasure of exchanging ideas with Tony, the Shadow Defender developer.
Up until now, NVIDIA's PhysX technology hasn't been used in games all that well. Even today, it's still just a technology demo, and a technology acquisition by NVIDIA, but they continue to keep their heads down and work on the physics technology.
There's a new simulation using PhysX, which you can check out in the above video. The demo is the result of research by Miles Macklin and Matthias Muller. They have a paper published about it, which you can read here, with some details below:
AMD have released some new drivers, getting ready for May, with the Catalyst 13.5 Beta drivers. The new drivers support the latest dual-GPU Radeon HD 7990, so if you're fortunate to have one of those, you'll need to acquire these drivers.
The following improvements are offered up on the Radeon HD 7000 Series GPUs:
- Far Cry 3: Improves performance up to 4% with Anti-Aliasing enabled
- Shogun II: Improves performance up to 20% with 8x Anti-Aliasing enabled
- Tomb Raider: Improves performance up to 6%
- Bioshock: Improves performance up to 6%
- Borderlands 2: Improves performance up to 17%
You can grab the Catalyst 13.5 Beta drivers here.
Twitter's client built for Mac OS X has been updated with Retina support, along with several other features and improvements. This marks the first major update in almost two years. Aside from Retina display support, Twitter has added simplified photo-sharing options and support for 14 new languages.
Now Twitter is even more vibrant and detailed on the highest resolution Mac notebooks. With this update, Tweets will be clearer and sharper, creating a more vivid experience.
Twitter has also renewed its commitment to the Twitter for Mac application. Ben Sandofsky, product lead for Twitter, tweeted that he's "taking a break from iOS to work on Twitter for Mac full time." This should hopefully result in more features and improvements in the coming weeks and months.
However, a Twitter spokesperson was slightly less forthcoming: "We don't have anything specific to share in regards to future plans for the app."
Coinciding with the launch of the Radeon HD 7990, AMD has released updated Catalyst drivers, bringing the count up to 13.4. These are the first WHQL-certified drivers released by the CPU and GPU manufacturer in three months. Our resident GPU Editor and author of the driver analyses pieces will hopefully have a piece up on them soon.
The drivers bring official support for the newly released HD 7790 and HD 7990. To download the newest drivers, you can head over to AMD's driver support site.
We've seen AMD release their dual-GPU beast, the Radeon HD 7990 today, but NVIDIA don't want the spotlight to be formed directly on their competitor so they've chosen today to release a new set of drivers for their GeForce GPUs.
The GeForce 320.00 drivers arrive in beta form, and offer the usual performance improvements and bug fixes over the previous GeForce 314.22 WHQL drivers. There is some interesting support baked in, too, for the GeForce 800 series. If you have the latest GPU from NVIDIA, there's a 20% improvement for Dirt: Showdown and Tomb Raider.
A 6% to 7% improvement is offered for StarCraft II, Sniper Elite V2, Far Cry 3, F1 2012, and Metro 2033. The new GeForce 320.00 beta drivers also note "This is the GeForce Game Ready driver for Dead Island: Riptide, Neverwinter, and Star Trek". You can get the new GeForce 320.00 beta drivers here.
Most gamers know about Razer, but the news of them launching their new Comms platform might have missed their eyes and ears. Razer's Comms platform is an all-in-one communications solution, combining a VoiP client, instant messaging and IRC chat features.
All of this is wrapped into Comms, which can let players chat to their fellow gamers without having to alt-tab to another application to do so. Comms' in-game overlay seamlessly integrated with PC games, and can be used to display as a small window, or a smaller ticket that shows who is speaking at the time.
Razer have also promised an ultra-fast server infrastructure and complex audio algorithms that will reduce noise and echo cancellation in order to give gamers the most precise, crisp and clear communications with no time-outs or lag spikes.
BitTorrent Sync, a new piece of software that operates like Dropbox in that it syncs files on different systems, has been released to the general public in its unpolished Alpha form. BitTorrent Sync makes use of the BitTorrent protocol to sync files across different systems without the need for a centralized server.
The best part is that it does all of this for free. There's no need to pay for a centralized server to host your files or manage the syncing. There are some downsides to not having a central server, but for the most part, BitTorrent Sync fills a much needed gap. You can check it out at BitTorrent Labs.
Users on the Intel HD4000 GPU boat are about to get more performance. While at GDC, Intel announced a new version of their driver that will bring with it an up to 10 percent improvement in graphics performance. Also included in the new driver is support for OpenCL 1.2.
The new driver is said to have been built for Haswell processors, though the driver will also be compatible with Ivy Bridge. Different sources are reporting that it will be compatible with HD2500, though others are reporting that it won't be. The new driver will be released as early as this week.
Users can download the latest drivers from Intel's website.
Piriform have released CCleaner 4.0, which includes a bunch of new features and the usual improvements. Two new tools are available with version 4.0, the first 'Duplicate File Finder' and the second 'System and Browser Monitoring'.
CCleaner 4.0 includes improved graphics and icons, major performance increases and support for new applications. As for the two new features, here's a run down on what they can do for you:
Duplicate File Finder
You may not realize how many duplicate files are stored on your computer, taking up valuable hard drive space. CCleaner now includes a duplicate file finder tool, which can quickly find these files, and allow you to choose which ones to delete - freeing up more space on your PC than ever before!
System and Browser Monitoring
If you're a CCleaner Professional user, you can now set CCleaner to run every time you shut down your browser, or you can set it to monitor your entire system in the background and detect when to Clean based on disk space that can be saved!