This time of year isn't just about upcoming hardware and technologies, there's also software to show off. Just ask EVGA, who uploaded a pic of an upcoming GPU benchmarking and stress testing utility.
There aren't a whole lot of details surrounding the new tool, mainly because it's still in development. But from what little the company did divulge, we know the utility will be able to integrate with EVGA Precision for a potent software bundle that would include benchmarking and overclocking tools, a voltage tuner, temp monitor, and a stress test all into one tidy package.
Looking longer term, EVGA plans to incorporate multi-GPU support, a first for an Nvidia-based app when it comes to SLI stress testing. So when you can expect it?
It will be "coming soon to an EVGA card near you," says Jacob Freeman from EVGA.
How much battery life does your laptop or netbook have? I don't know. I bet you don't know either. Or, at the very least, you're probably relying on a manufacturer's statement as to just how much computing time you can get on a fully charged battery. But as you well know, your battery life can vary depending on how you use your laptop: If you're rocking the brightness at maximum, keeping an active Wi-Fi on at all times, and burning your CPU at full-blast, you're going to run through your available power far faster than if your laptop was doing little-to-nothing.
Sure, you can hover your mouse over the battery icon of your Windows taskbar to estimate just how much juice is left in the pitcher. But if you want a more comprehensive analysis of how your portable PC will perform at full-blast under whatever conditions you've set up, you'll need to turn to a third-party utility for the full breakdown.
And as it just so happens, I have the perfect piece of freeware in mind: Imtec Battery Mark. Click the jump to find out more about this awesome laptop battery tester!
I'm sure many readers of Maximum PC--this one included--have jumped onboard the Google DNS ship, lured either by promises of increased speed versus one's own DNS server or a simple fascination at anything Google does. Fair, at least with the latter. Because it would be erroneous to just switch over to an alternate DNS server without any kind of assessment that what you're doing is actually the best-case scenario for your home or office setup.
That said, it's important to first give props to Google for delivering a DNS service that appears to be free of any kind of takeovers or unexpected redirects. Just try hand-pounding your keyboard after clicking on your browser's address board, then hit enter. If the resulting "fasdfljsajdf.com" isn't actually a Web site, you'll notice how... nothing happens, save for the standard "what are you doing?" error page (depending on your browser of choice). That's a bit different than OpenDNS, which routes you over to one of its own landing pages--oddly, a rebranded version of Yahoo! search--that's stacked with advertising related to whatever it is you mistyped. Weak.
Redirects aside, it's important to know exactly what you're getting into when you start fussing around with going a step beyond your ISP's default DNS servers. Like a tangible product review, you should really assess what you're gaining and losing through the use of either OpenDNS or Google DNS from both a performance and features standpoint.
After the jump, I'll share my own personal results with using both Google DNS and OpenDNS, and show you exactly how you can figure out the best-case scenario for your own browsing needs!
What's the first I did upon hearing the numbers for ATI's new HD Radeon 5870 graphics card? I scrambled for benchmarks, because that's the one thing an announcement and subsequent review of a smokin' new piece of hardware can do for a rabid enthusiast: inspire.
It's been a while since I've actually sat down and crunched the numbers for my killer custom PC (that's killer as in legendary, not NICs). I'm not lazy. Rather, I don't have access to the expensive system benchmarks that magazines and Web sites typically use to analyze the all the new hardware that comes out. I don't have all-in-one benchmarks like PCMark Vantage, GPU-punishing titles like Crysis, and--worst of all--preconfigured demo runs for any number of titles that would help ensure the validity and repeatability of the delivered scores.
In short, I have nothing. You might not have nothing, but odds are good that you are similarly ill-equipped to benchmark your graphics card (and any tweaks or modifications you make) in the style of a professional review. Nothing... until now.
This week's freeware roundup will show you five different games that you can use to punish your poor graphics card into frames-per-second submission. They might cost a grand total of zero dollars, but these tests are repeatable and easy to use--the perfect combination of characteristics for aspiring benchmarkers who might not want to get their hands dirty, but still want some kind of way to determine exactly how powerful their graphics card really is.
Happy day-after-Firefox-release day. If you're one of the 3.2 million Americans to download the latest release of the browser as of this column's writing, congratulations. You, like your peers, have recognized the value of upgrading to faster and better technology products! If that sounds weird, that's the point. It should. According to Net Applications, around twenty percent of users (out of a survey sample of around 160 million people) still use an older version of a Web browser, be it Internet Explorer 6, Firefox 2, or either Safari 3.1 or 3.2. You are not among them; I salute thee.
Click the jump to access the contents of this article 35 percent faster.
AMD isn't happy with the way some battery claims are made, saying the reliance on a test called MobileMark 2007 doesn't yield an accurate indicator of what to expect. The problem, says Patrick Moorhead, a vice president for marketing at AMD, is that the parameters for the test include dimming the screen the just 20 percent brightness, turning off WiFi, and making sure no music, video, games, or webpages are running. Not only is the test flawed, says Moorhead, but it also favors Intel.
"Intel is advantaged in this environment because they have optimized their architecture to have bettery battery life when the computer isn't doing anything," Moorhead said.
Intel shrugged off AMD's complaint, saying if the No. 2 chip maker is so passionate about the subject, it would "encourage them to bring any new proposals or edits to the nonprofit industry consortium called BAPCo."
But is AMD out of line? Not likely. In the June issue of Maximum PC, Editor-in-Chief Will Smith discussed the topic in his Ed Word titled "Notebook Battery Life is a Trap."
"You'd think testing battery life would be straightforward, but benchmark results rarely jibe with real-world results -- in part, because there are an infinite number of potential workloads (each tapping power differently), and battery life decays over time," Smith wrote.
AMD warns that either the industry starts better regulating itself, or there's a high possibility of a consumer filing a lawsuit or the FTC stepping in.
ZDNet's Hardware 2.0 maven, Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, rose to the challenge and has put Windows 7 build 6956 up against Vista SP1, Vista RTM (the original and worst), and Windows XP SP3 in three benchmarks: boot time, Passmark Performance Test 6.1, and Cinebench R10.
Not surprisingly, Windows Vista SP1 blew the doors off its RTM ancestor, but was similarly run off the road by Windows 7, which also made Windows XP SP3 eat its dust in virtually every test. The only test in which Windows XP SP3 held off its two-generation newer rival was in the OpenGL version of the Cinebench R10 benchmark. If this performance level continues until Windows 7 sees the light of day sometime next year, Windows 7 users will be very happy, and Windows XP diehards who have resisted "Mojave" will finally upgrade.
Join us after the jump for your chance to chime in on how you rate Windows 7 versus its predecessors.
InfoWorld's Randall C. Kennedy has put Windows 7's Milestone 3 pre-beta build 6801, a freebie from last month's Microsoft Professional Developer's Conference, through a variety of benchmark tests, and isn't all that impressed:
As I reported on my Enterprise Desktop blog, the more I dug into Windows 7, the more I saw an OS that looked and felt like a slightly tweaked version of Windows Vista.
Just as slow as Vista...Just as consumer-focused as Vista...Just as confusing as Vista...
Kennedy cites these similarities:
The number of execution threads in key subsystems is almost the same in Windows 7 as in Vista
Benchmarks of Windows 7 and Vista Ultimate SP1 using the DMS Clarity Studio tools suite show almost identical results
Similar amounts of RAM are used by Windows 7 and Windows Vista
From these facts and visual similarities between Windows 7 and Vista, Kennedy concludes:
Bottom line: So far, Windows 7 looks and behaves almost exactly like Windows Vista. It performs almost exactly like Vista. And it breaks all sorts of things that used to work just fine under Vista. In other words, Microsoft's follow-up to its most unpopular OS release since Windows Me threatens to deliver zero measurable performance benefits while introducing new and potentially crippling compatibility issues.
Is Kennedy right, or is he missing a big difference between Windows 7 and its predecessor? For my take, join me after the break.
By now, everyone's aware that Intel has the fastest chips on the market, and with Nehalem getting closer to release, the chip maker's position doesn't look to change anytime soon. But what you don't know is that Intel also has the faster name. Confused? You're not the only one.
Before clarifying, let's first look at how manufacturers label their processors. Each chip contains a processor-specific character string detailing the manufacturer, make, model, and available features. The two common ones you're probably familiar with include GenuineIntel and AuthenticAMD, neither of which can be changed. That's not the case with VIA's Nano processor (CentaurHauls) and it's here where things get interesting.
Hit the jump to see what happens in PCMark05 just by changing a processor's CPUID.
This week, Dave, Gordon, and Andy talk tons about Maximum PC's self-created storage benchmark of complete awesomeness. We also preview all the sweet Game Developers Conference announcements (and rumors) for next week, and light the funeral pyre for HD-DVD. We hardly knew thee.