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Futuremark have been busy people lately, with the announcement yesterday of their notebook battery test suite, Powermark and today, an updated version of their ever-so-popular 3DMark 11. It has now been updated to v1.0.3 and includes the following additions from the release notes:
- Bullet physics library updated to version 2.79 to improve compatibility with future CPUs and GPUs.
- For most systems containing multiple GPUs, for example integrated graphics and an additional discrete graphics card, the user can now select the GPU to be tested using a new option on the Help tab.
- Improved error handling and user messages for the most common compatibility issues.
- SystemInfo component updated to version 4.5 for improved compatibility with current and future hardware.
- New "More" tab with information about other Futuremark products and services.
AMD have released two new drivers, the AMD Catalyst 11.12 and the AMD Catalyst 12.1 Preview drivers. Highlights of the Catalyst 11.12 driver are: AMD OpenGL 4.2 production support, where it includes official support for the OpenGL 4.2 specification. Enhancements for Eyefinity are included, with support for AMD HD3D technology when using 3x1 Landscape Eyefinity display group, on supported DisplayPort 3D monitors.
Also included is AMD Vision Engine Control Center enhancements for Dual Graphics, where AMD have implemented to better facilitate the enabling and control of the Dual Graphics within the Vision Engine Control Center. Next up, we have the gem that is the AMD Catalyst 12.1 Preview, which includes multiple improvements and new features such as:
AMD HD3D technology support enhancement
· Enables support for AMD HD3D technology in conjunction with AMD CrossFireX configurations
· Delivers a new Stereo 3D mode over HDMI 1.4a connections - 1080p at 30Hz is now enabled on supported displays.
Windows 8 will of course, include an integrated music player and today we have leaked screenshots from Winunleaked. A preview of the UI has been leaked, and while the player doesn't look as advanced as a dedicated app like the Windows Media Player, but could be built into the UI with Metro, which might change things up a little bit.
The app allows access to music from a folder, device or other possible locations. It will also offer access to music through Microsoft's Windows Store, which is something new compared to Windows 7. In the app itself, when a song is being played, the mini-app shows the music's title, date and record label. Listeners can also create and save a listening queue, repeat a song, or listen to songs in a random shuffle. They can also pin their favorite songs to their start screen.
Microsoft have unveiled SkyDrive for both Windows Phone and iPhone today, with Microsoft releasing it as people are increasingly needing access to their files on-the-go. Microsoft's Mike Torres has said:
As devices proliferate, having a great experience on the Web is only one piece of a pretty complex puzzle. People are choosing where to put their files based on how portable and accessible they are across the various devices they use; therefore, it's critical that we continue to extend the SkyDrive experience to the devices you use every day.
Windows Phone's latest update, Mango, has deep integration with SkyDrive through its hubs Pictures and Office, which allows sharing of text, e-mail or IM. Users, as always, wanted more. Torres adds:
Many still want the full SkyDrive experience from Windows Phone, including tasks like browsing their entire SkyDrive, sharing links to folders or files, deleting files, and creating folders.
The company behind the infamous 3DMark benchmark suite have released "Powermark", a new battery life and power consumption test for Windows 7 notebooks, laptops, tablets and other battery powered devices.
Powermark is a professional grade benchmark designed for industrial testing of battery powered Windows 7 devices by OEMs, corporations and governments. Included with Powermark is a quite of standard tests based on productivity and entertainment use-case scenarios, as well as the ability for custom settings for bespoke testing requirements.
AMD have had quite the trouble lately with drivers, a botched RAGE driver, no CrossFire support in Battlefield 3 without micro-stuttering for most users, and Skyrim took nearly a month to get going for HD 5000-Series owners with CrossFire.
But, 2012 is a new year, and AMD have their Graphics Core Next (GCN) debuting, which is their first architectural change since the R600 (2900XT). With it, AMD have added some herbs and spices to their drivers, to not propel the new series of GPUs, but to revamp their old ones, too.
AnandTech really cover the Preview drivers well, but a rundown is that they're heavily modified, and have tonnes of new features baked in that should impress pretty much everyone. One thing most people are going to love: custom application profiles. Hooray! This new feature allows users to create new application profiles and to modify the application profiles that are distributed through drivers and CAP updates.
Our Download of the Day today is Download Accelerator Plus 18.104.22.168.
DAP is a consumer application that accelerates your downloads using SPEEDbit's patented multi-channel technology. While you download, DAP ensures your computer is using maximum bandwidth by downloading from parallel mirror sites.
Automatic Mirroring Speed Boost.
Download safer as you see what the leading security programs say about your files.
Continue broken or paused downloads
Watch previews of videos as they download.
Our Download of the Day today is Sandra Lite 2012 SP1 (18.20).
SiSoftware Sandra (the System ANalyser, Diagnostic and Reporting Assistant) is an information & diagnostic utility. It should provide most of the information (including undocumented) you need to know about your hardware, software and other devices whether hardware or software.
It works along the lines of other Windows utilities, however it tries to go beyond them and show you more of what's really going on. Giving the user the ability to draw comparisons at both a high and low-level. You can get information about the CPU, chipset, video adapter, ports, printers, sound card, memory, network, Windows internals, AGP, PCI, PCI-X, PCIe (PCI Express), database, USB, USB2, 1394/Firewire, and so on.
uTorrent have launched the paid version of their app, after a few months of teasing and announcements, it's here. Version 3 of the application includes new paid-only features, which cost $24.95 per year. The new features include an anti-virus scanner powered by BitDefender, a media player and integrated support for converting popular video file types such as MPEG4, H.264, Theora, and VP8, as well as audio formats MP3, AAC and AC-3.
The media player includes an interesting feature where it allows you to playback the video while its still downloading. This feature is included in the free version of uTorrent. The free version won't be disappearing anytime soon.
I wonder if anyone will torrent uTorrent, and use the full features - after all, isn't that what 75-percent or more of torrent users use torrents for? I'm going to go look for irony.torrent right now.
Google have today released to just U.S. residents, Google Currents. What is Google Currents? It's a magazine-like news reader where you can add your favorite content in like publications, blogs and browse, read and share that content, but with Currents, it's provided in a nice swipable magazine format.
Currents allows you to follow trending stories, where breaking stories can be followed quite easily. Personalized "trends" pulls articles, photos and videos into living editions, where its like a living magazine, at your finger tips. Currents is also designed for all devices, iOS or Android-powered smartphones and tablets.
The only issue with it, is that it's locked to the U.S. right now. If it weren't for that, I may have tested it out on my phone against my favorite content site and app, Feedly. Sob, sob, sob.