test http://www.maximumpc.com/taxonomy/term/3016/ en Does Refresh Rate Matter? http://www.maximumpc.com/refresh_rate_2013 <!--paging_filter--><h3>We pit a 60Hz refresh rate panel against a 144Hz refresh rate panel to see if hype over the higher spec is warranted</h3> <p>We all know how the game is played when it comes to selling tech products. Six cores are better than four, two GPUs are better than one, and 1GHz is better than 500MHz. Besides the underlying pixel technology, monitors have really only been sold on either size or resolution—until now. In the last few years, manufacturers have begun marketing panels with more than double the refresh rate of a standard LCD panel. Rather than the 60Hz refresh rate that LCDs have been stuck with since, well, forever, these new monitors push the refresh rate to 120Hz and even 144Hz. A high <strong>refresh rate</strong> promises smoother scrolling and less blur in games, but these qualities may not be for everyone.</p> <p><a class="thickbox" style="text-align: center;" href="/files/u152332/screenshot_small_0.jpg"><img src="/files/u152332/screenshot_small.jpg" width="620" height="388" /></a></p> <p>Doubling the frame rate in The Hobbit from 24fps to 48fps, for example, is widely blamed for giving the movie its odd look that turned off many viewers. (While refresh rate and frame rate aren’t completely synonymous, they effectively produce the same result on the PC.) Is the same true of content on a high-refresh-rate PC monitor? To find out whether people prefer the effect of a high refresh rate or the familiar 60Hz experience, we set up two identical PCs, with a 60Hz panel hooked up to one and a 144Hz panel hooked up to the other, and tasked a handful of gamers, editors, and other test subjects to pick their pixel-pushing poison.</p> <h3>The Testing Methodology</h3> <p><strong>It’s said that humans perceive reality at about 66 frames per second. Would watching a movie or game at more than double that hurt or help the experience?</strong></p> <p>For our tests, we built two nearly identical X79-based machines. Each was outfitted with a stock 3.6GHz Core i7-3820, 8GB of DDR3/1600, an OCZ Vertex 3 SSD, and a GeForce GTX 580 card. Each machine was loaded with a clean install of Windows 8 and the identical Nvidia drivers were installed on both. We say “nearly identical” because the motherboards in our two boxes did differ. One featured an Asus P9X79 WS and the other an Asus Sabertooth X79 motherboard.</p> <h4>The Contenders</h4> <p>Representing the high-refresh-rate camp was <a title="asus" href="http://www.maximumpc.com/tags/asus" target="_blank">Asus</a>’s new 24-inch <a title="VG248QE" href="http://www.asus.com/Monitors_Projectors/VG248QE/" target="_blank">VG248QE</a>. This is the first monitor to bring a 144Hz refresh rate to a consumer panel. The monitor is commonly found for $300 but one reputable e-tailer had the panel listed for $265. The 1920x1080 VG248QE is LED-backlit and has a rated 1ms gray-to-gray response time and features an antiglare surface. The panel supports Nvidia’s 3D Vision 2 but does not ship with an emitter or 3D glasses, to keep the price low. In fact, the VG248QE is one of two high-refresh-rate monitors Asus sells without 3D emitters, to appease gamers who want higher refresh rates but don’t necessarily want to play in 3D. As a gaming panel, the VG248QE also features the company’s “GamePlus” feature that will display a crosshair on the screen to circumvent (ahem, cheat) games that forego crosshairs when set to hardcore mode. Another mode displays a game timer for MMO players doing timed raids, and RTS gamers running on a clock. The VG248QE is a TN panel, so folks with high-color-accuracy needs should probably pass it up for IPS-like technology.</p> <p>Representing the standard 60Hz field was an <a title="VN247" href="http://www.asus.com/Commercial_Monitors_Projectors/VN247H/" target="_blank">Asus VN247</a>. We considered pitting the 144Hz panel against a 60Hz IPS panel, since the prices are similar, but in the end we decided that gamers would be more interested in TN, given that tech’s faster response time. The VN247 measures 24 inches and also features antiglare coating. It has a 1ms gray-to-gray response time and is rated at 250 nits. The 144Hz-rated VG248QE has a 350 nit rating, so we adjusted the brightness accordingly. Both were set to their “theater” preset, which we found to be fairly comparable upon visual inspection.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u152332/ugly_small_0.jpg"><img src="/files/u152332/ugly_small.jpg" alt="It’s not attractive, but by covering the bezels of both monitors, we could guard against bias. " width="620" height="413" /></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>It’s not attractive, but by covering the bezels of both monitors, we could guard against bias. </strong></p> <p>Since even the bezel of a monitor can influence people during image-quality tests, we used cardboard to cover both bezels of the panels, as well as the PCs themselves (since we used different cases for each). We also used identical keyboards, mice, and mouse pads for each machine, and audio was disabled on both, since, as we know, a monitor with better sound can be perceived as “looking” better.</p> <h4>The Tests</h4> <p>For our tests, we used three videos: The first was a 720p resolution video of an editor’s commute across the Bay Bridge, shot at 120fps with a GoPro Hero3 Black. The second video was a FRAPS-recorded session of Left 4 Dead 2 running on a different 120Hz panel with VSync enabled, which locked the video down to 120fps. The third video was a 1080p high-definition MKV file at 24fps. This movie should have no bearing, as its way below the refresh rates of both panels, but we wanted to see how our test subjects would react to it. We believed the videos would be the most difficult part of our test, but we wanted to see what people’s eyes preferred.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u152332/goprovid_small_0.jpg"><img src="/files/u152332/goprovid_small.jpg" alt="We used a GoPro Hero3 Black to record 720p video at 120fps for our tests." width="620" height="388" /></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>We used a GoPro Hero3 Black to record 720p video at 120fps for our tests.</strong></p> <p>For gaming, we used two Source Engine titles: Left 4 Dead 2 and Portal 2. We decided on them because they would comfortably exceed the refresh rate of both panels with the GeForce GTX 580 GPU in our systems.</p> <p>For our final two tests, we asked the test subjects to scroll a web page as they would in real life and to move a window around the screen in their typical fashion.</p> <h4>The Instructions</h4> <p>All of our test subjects were given the same instructions to weigh the smoothness of each monitor first and foremost. Subjects were also instructed to try to ignore color saturation, black levels, contrast, or color temperature when picking the experience they preferred. The tester was careful not to suggest one panel over the other or to make approving or disapproving statements. Finally, all of the testing was conducted in a sealed and darkened room, away from prying ears and eyes.</p> <p><em>Click the next page to read about the suprising results.</em></p> <hr /> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h3 style="text-align: left;">The Surprising Results</h3> <p style="text-align: left;"><strong>Our staff overwhelmingly preferred the 144Hz panel but our test subjects didn’t always agree</strong></p> <p style="text-align: left;">Before we get too far, we’ll say that our preference is for the 144Hz or 120Hz panels. The overall smoothness, although unfamiliar at first, is something we quickly got used to. If we had to choose between a 60Hz TN panel and a 120/144Hz panel, the choice would be easy. The actual blind-test subjects, however, didn’t see things quite as cut-and-dried.</p> <h4 style="text-align: left;">The Console Gamer</h4> <p style="text-align: left;">Our first test subject is a software and hardware reviewer at a major console games magazine. As we expected, the video portion of our test was the most challenging and our subject had no preference in either of the high-frame-rate videos, but she preferred the 60Hz panel for the 24fps material.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a class="thickbox" href="/files/u152332/scroll_small_0.png"><img src="/files/u152332/scroll_small.png" alt="We wanted to know whether scrolling a web page looks better at 144Hz. " width="620" height="388" /></a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>We wanted to know whether scrolling a web page looks better at 144Hz.</strong></p> <p style="text-align: left;">As we moved onto gaming, she quickly latched onto the 144Hz panel, even saying the 60Hz panel is “tiring my eyes out,” and “Owww, it’s hard on my eyes.” Moving on to what we thought was the easiest section, she surprised us by having no preference with the scrolling-web-page test. And in a further surprise to us, she picked the 60Hz panel in the moving-window portion because the text stayed sharper.</p> <h4 style="text-align: left;">The Salesman</h4> <p style="text-align: left;">The second subject is a salesman who’s also a gamer and PC enthusiast. He preferred the 120fps GoPro video on the 144Hz panel, saying, “This is more realistic.” He had no preference in our high-frame-rate FRAPS video, and also preferred the 24fps material on the 60Hz panel. Interestingly, the subject felt Left 4 Dead 2 “felt smoother” on the 60Hz panel but then in Portal 2 preferred the 144Hz panel. In our scrolling and window-moving tests, he preferred the 144Hz panel.</p> <h4 style="text-align: left;">The Gearhead</h4> <p style="text-align: left;">Our third subject is a hardware editor with a leading PC magazine. He was familiar with our challenge so we tried to throw him off by telling him we had swapped the monitor positions. He still picked the 144Hz panel for all of the tests save one: the HD source material at 24fps, which he said looked better on the 60Hz panel. Color us cynical, but we suspect some confirmation bias at play, as his picks didn’t actually mesh with others.</p> <h4 style="text-align: left;">The Tech Editor</h4> <p style="text-align: left;">Our next subject is a long-time hardware and tech editor. He immediately picked our 120fps GoPro video on the 144Hz panel and had no preference for our FRAPS video.</p> <p style="text-align: left;">And, like the others, picked the 60Hz panel for the 24fps HD movie.</p> <p style="text-align: left;">In games, however, he had no preference in Left 4 Dead 2 and actually preferred Portal 2 on the 60Hz panel, saying, “It just looks sharper to me.” He also preferred the 60Hz panel for both our scrolling test and moving-window test, echoing our first test subject’s reasons: sharper text, albeit at an admittedly lower frame rate.</p> <h4><span style="font-size: 1em;">The PC Gamer</span></h4> <div class="module orange-module article-module"> <div class="module orange-module article-module"> <div class="module-content"> <div class="module-text full"> <div class="spec-table orange"> <p>Our fifth subject, a junior games editor, chose the smooth rims of the wheels in our GoPro video at 144Hz versus the strobing on the 60Hz panel, had no preference on our FRAPS video, and like all others, picked the 60Hz panel for the 24fps material.</p> <p>In games, he first picked the 60Hz panel saying, “This one definitely feels smoother,” but then reversed his preference in Portal 2, saying, “[The 60Hz] is definitely smoother, but I’m liking Portal 2 on [the 144Hz panel].” However, he described the differences between the two monitors in Portal 2 as “miniscule.” He also picked the 60Hz panel for both the scrolling and window-movement tests, saying it was “smoother” for both.<em>&nbsp;</em></p> <h4>The IT Guy<em>&nbsp;</em></h4> <p>An IT guy served as our next subject. He had no preference whatsoever in any of our video tests or when playing Left 4 Dead 2. But he thought the 144Hz panel had a slight advantage in Portal 2. In our scrolling and window-moving tests, he picked the 144Hz panel for both, saying the panel was “snappier.”</p> <h4>Games Editor</h4> <p>We included a second gaming editor for his “bionic-like” LASIK-corrected eyesight. However, he bucked our expectations by choosing the 60Hz panel in both our GoPro video and in the HD movie, believing the 60Hz panel was “sharper.” In our L4D2 test, he picked the 60Hz panel even though he said he thought the 144Hz panel was actually “smoother.” When we got to Portal 2 though, he uttered, “uh oh” and “oh, dear,” as he realized which panel was actually 144Hz, which is the one he preferred in that test. He said the scrolling and window-moving tests were both smoother on the 144Hz panel, but that he didn’t care about those factors very much.</p> <h4>The Video Producer</h4> <p>A self-proclaimed video nerd, this subject immediately keyed in on the differences between the panels. He picked the 144Hz panel for the GoPro video, calling it more “realistic” (albeit “wigging” to his eyes), but preferred the 60Hz panel for the FRAPS video and had no preference for the 24fps material. In gaming, he could tell the difference between the two monitors but actually chose the 60Hz panel because the motion blur felt more “comfortable” to his eyes. “This is like an old shoe,” he said, even though intellectually he knew the other one was faster. He thought that scrolling on the 144Hz panel made it seem like the web page was on “grease” and, though off-putting, he said he thought he could get used to it. “If you said I could take one home right now, I would take the high-refresh-rate monitor.”</p> <h3 style="text-align: left;">The Refresh-Rate Results</h3> <p style="text-align: left;"><strong>Don’t blink. To find out if high refresh rates are worth it, we tasked eight people to take our blind taste test</strong></p> <div class="module orange-module article-module"> <div class="module orange-module article-module"> <div class="module-content"> <div class="module-text full"> <div class="spec-table orange"> <table style="width: 620px; height: 265px;" border="0"> <thead></thead> <tbody> <tr> <td>Subject</td> <td>1</td> <td>2</td> <td>3</td> <td>4</td> <td>5</td> <td>6</td> <td>7</td> <td>8</td> <td>Winner</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="item">Occupation</td> <td class="item-dark">Console Games Editor</td> <td>Salesman</td> <td>Hardware Editor</td> <td>Tech Editor</td> <td>Games Editor</td> <td>I.T. Guy</td> <td>Games Editor</td> <td>Video Producer / Writer</td> <td>&nbsp;</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Glasses</td> <td>No</td> <td>Yes</td> <td>No</td> <td>Yes</td> <td>No</td> <td>No</td> <td>Bionic</td> <td>Yes</td> <td>&nbsp;</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="item">Age / Sex</td> <td class="item-dark">31 / Female</td> <td>32 / Male</td> <td>34 / Male</td> <td>46 / Male</td> <td>23 / Male</td> <td>45 / Male</td> <td>38 / Male</td> <td>37 / Male</td> <td>&nbsp;</td> </tr> <tr> <td>GoPro Hero3 Video 120fps&nbsp;</td> <td>Neither</td> <td>144Hz</td> <td>144Hz</td> <td>144Hz</td> <td>144Hz</td> <td>Neither</td> <td>60Hz</td> <td>144Hz</td> <td>144Hz</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Left 4 Dead 2 FRAPS Video 120fps&nbsp;</td> <td>Neither</td> <td>Neither</td> <td>144Hz</td> <td>Neither</td> <td>60Hz</td> <td>Neither</td> <td>Neither</td> <td>60Hz</td> <td>60Hz</td> </tr> <tr> <td>HD MKV Video 24fps</td> <td>60Hz</td> <td>60Hz</td> <td>60Hz</td> <td>60Hz</td> <td>60Hz</td> <td>Neither</td> <td>60Hz</td> <td>Neither</td> <td>60Hz</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Left 4 Dead 2</td> <td>144Hz</td> <td>60Hz</td> <td>144Hz</td> <td>Neither</td> <td>60Hz</td> <td>Neither</td> <td>60Hz</td> <td>60Hz</td> <td>60Hz</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Portal 2&nbsp;</td> <td>144Hz</td> <td>144Hz</td> <td>144Hz</td> <td>60Hz</td> <td>144Hz</td> <td>144Hz</td> <td>144Hz</td> <td>60Hz</td> <td>144Hz</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Scrolling Test&nbsp;</td> <td>60Hz</td> <td>144Hz</td> <td>144Hz</td> <td>60Hz</td> <td>Neither</td> <td>144Hz</td> <td>Neither</td> <td>144Hz</td> <td>144Hz</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Window Moving Test</td> <td>60Hz</td> <td>144Hz</td> <td>144Hz</td> <td>60Hz</td> <td>Neither</td> <td>144Hz</td> <td>144Hz</td> <td>144Hz</td> <td>144Hz</td> </tr> </tbody> </table> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <h4>The Upshot</h4> <p>When we tallied up the results, it was a closer contest than we expected. Rather than 144Hz being the clear-choice technology, in many instances our subjects preferred the 60Hz “look,” even if they couldn’t always articulate exactly why they liked it more.</p> <p>Display expert Dr. Ray Soneira said some of our results are not surprising. Video tests are particularly challenging when you’re trying to display video at frame rates that don’t divide into the refresh rate of the monitor. This creates artifacts that hurt the experience. More puzzling to us is why the 144Hz panel was the preference with Portal 2 but not with Left 4 Dead 2 (which is based on the same game engine). One theory is that L4D2 takes on a too-smooth, “plastic-y” look (more so than Portal 2) when seen at high refresh rates, and that puts people off.</p> <p>Still, we’re going to call this a win for 144Hz—but only by a hair. Our testing shows that it’s certainly not the clear-cut, no-doubt-about-it choice for everyone.</p> <h3>The Sky’s the Limit</h3> <p><strong>Or why Asus says we may actually see higher-than-144Hz panels </strong></p> <p>Despite the somewhat mixed results in our blind taste test, it’s pretty clear to us that higher-refresh-rate panels offer a real advantage for gamers. We spoke with Asus’s David Wung to get the skinny on high-refresh-rate monitors.</p> <p><strong>Q: </strong>What is the limitation in getting 120Hz/144Hz refresh rates in IPS/PVA panels rather than TN?</p> <p><strong>A:</strong> Two main factors affect whether the panel can support 120Hz/144Hz—ignoring the scaler requirements and other issues. The first is the timing controller, or T-Con for short. It’s the IC package that controls the timing frequency transmitted to the panel. The second is the graphics card supporting the proper timing for 120Hz/144Hz operation, which is no longer a problem [so there’s really no reason the technology won’t be found in other panel types].</p> <p><strong>Q:</strong> Why is Asus the sole producer of 144Hz panels today?</p> <p><strong>A:</strong> The primary reason is that Asus has a very close professional relationship with the leading panel suppliers and graphics card vendors. At times, we often receive exclusive collaboration from our partners due to our ability to engineer, produce, and market these premium products in volume. Our LCD team also works extensively with our in-house VGA team, which guarantees that the 144Hz panels work seamlessly with a variety of GPU products.</p> <p><strong>Q:</strong> Are people buying these monitors primarily for gaming?</p> <p><strong>A: </strong>It depends, but most of time, we think so. In some cases, people also can sense the benefit while watching video on a panel with 144Hz support. We have noticed an incredible rise in popularity of the 120Hz, and now 144Hz panels, in gaming over the past two years, but now we are also seeing a similar rise in other environments like media playback and digital content creation, since the higher refresh rates allow a smoother overall image display.</p> <p><strong>Q:</strong> What exactly is the special sauce in making 120/144Hz panels? Is it only cherry-picked panels that can hit the speeds?</p> <p><strong>A:</strong> Not at all. Unlike with CPUs, as long as we can successfully develop the T-Con [monitor timing controller] and can get the support from graphic cards, then the panels can hit the speeds we need them to hit.</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> http://www.maximumpc.com/refresh_rate_2013#comments May 2013 2013 120hz 144Hz 60Hz display FPS frame rate maximum pc monitor refresh rate resolution test Games News Features Wed, 07 Aug 2013 23:19:21 +0000 Gordon Mah Ung 25952 at http://www.maximumpc.com Maximum PC's Geek Quiz 2013 http://www.maximumpc.com/article/features/maximum_pcs_geek_quiz_2013 <!--paging_filter--><h3><a title="Maximum PC geek quiz" href="http://www.maximumpc.com/geekquiz" target="_blank"><img src="/files/u154082/maxpcgeekquiz.jpg" alt="geek quiz" title="geek quiz" width="250" height="123" style="float: right;" /></a>Update: Annoying Quiz Timer Removed!</h3> <p>Since time began, the fittest of any species have found ways to test their mettle in the fiery cauldron of competition. First there was the Olympics, then Jeopardy, and finally – the <strong><a title="Maximum PC Geek Quiz" href="http://www.maximumpc.com/geekquiz" target="_blank">Maximum PC Geek Quiz</a></strong>. Though you are probably cracking your knuckles, keep in mind that we've designed this timed quiz, not to entertain you, but to destroy you. Yes, those are fighting words. And yes, we mean it. Don't worry – we've made this a fair fight by mixing softballs with knees-to-the-groin-region, so if you're a regular reader of Maximum PC, and don't go running off to your Google mommy, you should come out the other end of this a better man, woman, or child.&nbsp;</p> <p><em><strong>Note:</strong> We have listened to your feedback and have removed the pesky timer on the quiz! Now you'll be able to enjoy the test at your own pace. To take it a step further, we encourage you to discuss the questions and answers in the comments below!</em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/article/features/maximum_pcs_geek_quiz_2013#comments 2013 challenge computer gadgets geez quiz maximum pc nerd test Features Thu, 11 Jul 2013 18:09:02 +0000 The Maximum PC Staff 25618 at http://www.maximumpc.com Maximum PC Benchmarks Explained http://www.maximumpc.com/article/features/breaking_our_new_benchmarks2012 <!--paging_filter--><h3 style="text-align: justify;">How to benchmark like a pro</h3> <p style="text-align: justify;">There’s a joke in the hardware community that the only thing a performance computer is good for is running <strong>benchmarks</strong>. This dis at benchmarking suggests that such performance measures are pointless.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u152332/140401057_small_3.jpg" width="412" height="355" style="text-align: center;" /></p> <p style="text-align: justify;">We disagree. We honestly think that benchmarks keep the hardware world honest. They give you a real metric with which to measure one piece of hardware against another, or one system against another. Yes, there are times when politics get injected into benchmarks and they can be misapplied, cooked, or even cheated on. But think of what the world would be like without benchmarks. A vendor could make claims that his gadget is faster than the competitor’s. An Internet declaration claiming a PowerPC Mac was 10 times faster than a Pentium II would stand as truth. A good benchmark run well and analyzed correctly can tell you more about a piece of hardware than any marketing flyer.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Since Maximum PC’s system benchmarks haven’t been updated since the last decade, we’re rolling out newer, more punishing tests that push today’s hardware. We’re also using real-world workloads such as gigapixel imaging and multiple 1080p streams to closely match what people are doing today.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">With new benchmarks also comes a new zero-point system to give you a reference point for how today’s fastest PCs perform. And after we’ve given you a tour of our official system tests, we’ll point you to some benchmarks you can run at home on your own rig.</p> <h3 style="text-align: justify;">Introducing Our New Zero-Point</h3> <p style="text-align: justify;"><strong>We didn’t need benchmarks to tell us our Nehalem-based test bed was dragging ass</strong></p> <p style="text-align: justify;">If we tell you how fast some new $5,000 PC is, it doesn’t mean much without a reference point. That’s why we build standard zero-point PCs to compare machines to. It’s hard to believe, but our previous zero-point is now several generations old. It’s still serviceable for many folks, but when it’s meant to be our measuring stick for some of the fastest production computers in the world, it better have some chutzpah.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">In choosing our parts, we spent some time pondering whether to go LGA1155 or LGA2011. Quad-core or hexa-core? Single GPU or dual? In the end, we decided that more cores still matter, so Intel’s Core i7-3930K would be the basis of our new ZP. Yes, it’s based on the older Sandy Bridge microarchitecture, but it still has plenty of speed, and LGA2011 gives us an upgrade path to Ivy Bridge-E and perhaps an eight-core chip in the future. The 3930K is stock-clocked at 3.2GHz with Turbo Boost to 3.8GHz. We decided to override the stock clock and run it at 3.8GHz full time, with Turbo taking it to 3.9GHz.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u152332/guts_1135_small.jpg" width="418" height="392" /><br /><strong><br />A hexa-core CPU and top-of-the-line GPU give us a good baseline against which to judge new systems.</strong></p> <p style="text-align: justify;">For storage, we are finally unshackled from SATA 3Gb/s speeds with the X79 chipset, via an Asus Sabertooth X79 board. A 120GB <a title="OCZ agility" href="http://www.maximumpc.com/article/%5Bprimary-term%5D/ocz_agility_3_240gb_review" target="_blank">OCZ Agility 3</a> gives us zesty SATA 6Gb/s reads and writes and has enough capacity to handle our benchmarks. For graphics, we’ve long used a single‑card dual-GPU and we continue that trend with Nvidia’s benchmark- and wallet-busting <a title="GeForce GTX 690" href="http://www.maximumpc.com/article/features/geforce_gtx_690_nvidias_dual-kepler_videocard_benchmarked" target="_blank">GeForce GTX 690</a>. It’s basically the equivalent of two <a title="GTX 680" href="http://www.maximumpc.com/article/%5Bprimary-term%5D/evga_geforce_gtx_680_review" target="_blank">GTX 680</a> cards—in performance and cost. The rest of the build is essentially borrowed from the $2,100 Tax Refund PC in our May 2012 issue and includes 8GB of 2GB DDR3/1600 in quad-channel mode, a 2TB <a title="WD Caviar Green" href="http://www.maximumpc.com/article/news/%5Btitle-raw%5D_0" target="_blank">WD Caviar Green</a> drive, an 850W Corsair HX850 PSU, and an <a title="NZXT Phantom 410" href="http://www.maximumpc.com/article/%5Bprimary-term%5D/nzxt_phantom_410_gunmetal_edition_review" target="_blank">NZXT Phantom 410</a> case and <a title="havik cooler" href="http://www.maximumpc.com/article/%5Bprimary-term%5D/nzxt_havik_120_review" target="_blank">Havik heatsink</a>.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">To create our benchmarks, this wasn’t the only hardware we used. Additional testing was also done using a stock Core i7-3770K and GeForce GTX 580 card. We also tested our benchmarks using an OCZ Revo 3 X2 card to see how much of an impact I/O would have on the individual tests. It was negligible.</p> <div class="module orange-module article-module"> <div class="module orange-module article-module"><span class="module-name">Specifications</span><br /> <div class="module-content"> <div class="module-text full"> <div class="spec-table orange"> <table style="height: 246px; width: 620px;" border="0"> <thead> <tr style="text-align: left;"> <th class="head-empty" style="padding: 8px 12px !important;"></th> <th class="head-light" style="padding: 8px 12px !important;">Old</th> <th style="padding: 8px 12px !important;" align="left">New</th> </tr> </thead> <tbody> <tr align="left"> <td class="item" style="text-align: left;">CPU</td> <td class="item-dark">2.66GHz Core i7-920 (at 3.5GHz)</td> <td>3.2GHz Core i7-3930K (at 3.8GHz)</td> </tr> <tr align="left"> <td>Cooler</td> <td>Thermalright Ultra-120 </td> <td>NZXT Havik 120</td> </tr> <tr align="left"> <td class="item">Motherboard</td> <td class="item-dark">Gigabyte X58</td> <td>Asus X79 Sabertooth </td> </tr> <tr> <td>RAM</td> <td>6GB DDR3/1750 in tri-channel mode</td> <td>8GB DDR3/1600 in quad-channel mode</td> </tr> <tr> <td>GPU</td> <td>AMD Radeon HD 5970</td> <td>Nvidia GeForce GTX 690</td> </tr> <tr> <td>SSD</td> <td>160GB Intel X25-M</td> <td>120GB OCZ Agility 3</td> </tr> <tr> <td>HDD</td> <td>1TB WD Caviar Black</td> <td>2TB WD Caviar Green</td> </tr> <tr> <td>PSU</td> <td>Corsair TX850</td> <td>Corsair HX850</td> </tr> </tbody> </table> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <p><span style="font-weight: normal;"><em>Click the next page to read about our new benchmark tests</em></span></p> <h3 style="text-align: justify;"> <hr /></h3> <h3 style="text-align: justify;">Meet the New Benchmarks</h3> <p style="text-align: justify;"><strong>We chose our tests with an eye toward real-world workloads</strong></p> <p><strong>ADOBE PREMIERE PRO CS6</strong></p> <p>We’ve been envious of the Mercury Playback engine since Adobe introduced it in Premiere Pro CS5. In <a title="Premiere Pro" href="http://www.adobe.com/products/premiere.html" target="_blank">Premiere Pro CS6</a>, Adobe has tucked in even more enhancements to make it probably one of the fastest, if not the fastest, nonlinear editor on the planet. That presented a few problems for us, though: Do we render using the wickedly fast GPU or the CPU? Using the GPU could cut our times by several factors, but not all machines support the GPU encoding. In the end, our problem was solved for us, as the GTX 690 is not currently supported by the Mercury Playback engine, so it’s CPU all the way. That doesn’t mean the benchmark is a wimp. We find the multithreading in CS6 to be impressive. All 12 threads on our Core i7-3930K are hammered during the export. For the workload, we take 1080p video previously shot on a Canon EOS 5D Mark II, add transitions and moving picture-in-picture frames with additional 1080p footage, and export it to H.264 formatted for Blu-ray. The six cores in our 3930K pay dividends, as our render took about 33 minutes. A stock Ivy Bridge setup took about 53 minutes.</p> <p><strong>GIGAPAN STITCH.EFX 2.0</strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u152332/epic_pro_small_0.jpg" width="566" height="672" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>The GigaPan Epic Pro uses a motor to pan your DSLR to create gigapixel images.</strong></p> <p>New to our stable is <a title="stich.efx" href="http://www.gigapan.com/cms/shop/software/gigapan-stitch-efx" target="_blank">Stitch.Efx 2.0</a>. Let’s face it, applying a sepia filter and scratch effects can be done on a $50 smartphone. Since PCs are about going big, we went as big as we could get. We used a motorized GigaPan Epic Pro head, a Canon EOS 7D, and a 300mm lens with 1.4x teleconverter to shoot a panorama of 287 images totaling 1.63GB. Using Stitch.Efx we stitch the shots into a single continuous 1.1 gigapixel panorama. Yes, that’s 1.1 billion pixels, or 1,100 megapixels. (That might sound like a lot, but it’s nowhere near the current record of 272 gigapixels—also shot with an Epic Pro head and 7D.)</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u152332/stitch_small.jpg" width="620" height="360" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Stitch.Efx is one-third single-threaded and two-thirds multithreaded. We use it to stitch together 1.6GB of JPEGs into one single 1.1-billion-pixel image.</strong></p> <p>About the first third of the process, where the app aligns the images, is single-threaded and sensitive to clock and microarchitecture. Ivy Bridge cores give the Sandy Bridge cores a good run for the money in this section, but in the blend section it’s all about the cores and this is where we see SB’s greater number of cores pull ahead of the Ivy Bridge chip. As we stitched “only” 287 images together, it’s mostly a CPU test, but we can say the process created no fewer than 24,339 files during the stitch, so small-file read and write performance should matter. With its mix of single- and multithreaded performance, Stitch.Efx2.0 is a good representation of today’s software.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>TECHARP X264 HD 5.0</strong></p> <p>Since our Premiere Pro CS6 test actually features MainConcept’s popular encoding engine, we cast about for another publicly available encoding test and found one in the newly released <a title="x264 HD 5.0" href="http://www.techarp.com/showarticle.aspx?artno=520" target="_blank">x264 HD 5.0</a>. Created by tech website <a title="techarp.com" href="http://www.techarp.com/" target="_blank">TechARP.com</a>, the test uses the x264 library to encode a 1080p video stream multiple times. The benchmark is multithreaded and loves cores. It performs two passes, with the second pass compressing the compressed material even further to save space. We run in 64-bit mode and report the average frame rate for the second pass. In our testing, the hexa-core Core i7 smashes the newer Core i7 Ivy Bridge in the nose by a significant margin. We’ve found that encoders can be sensitive to memory bandwidth, so we reconfigured our machine from quad-channel to dual-channel mode (using larger DIMMs so the total amount of RAM would remain the same) and found a negligible difference.</p> <p><strong>PROSHOW PRODUCER 5.0</strong></p> <p>Favored by professional photographers, <a title="prowshow" href="http://www.photodex.com/proshow5" target="_blank">ProShow Producer</a> 5.0 is a popular slideshow creator that we’ve long used as a benchmark. For our new benchmarks, we update to the latest version of the app, which adds GPU acceleration, but only for video playback. When we started using ProShow Producer five years ago, it was one of the few apps that could push quad-core chips to their limit. Unfortunately, the app seems to top out with four cores, but that’s fine. We intentionally picked ProShow Producer 5.0 knowing full well that it doesn’t scale with cores. Like Stitch.Efx 2.0, we wanted something that’s closer to most apps in performance instead of simply scaling as you add more cores. Why pick something that won’t push an eight-core chip to its limits? The sad truth is that the vast majority of apps can’t exploit the threads.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u152332/proshow_small.jpg" width="620" height="388" /></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><strong>BATMAN: ARKHAM CITY</strong></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><a title="Batman Arkham City review" href="http://www.maximumpc.com/article/%5Bprimary-term%5D/batman_arkham_city_review" target="_blank">Arkham City</a> is based on a heavily modified version of the Unreal Engine 3 and adds the latest DX11 bells and whistles. We run the test at 2560x1600 with 8x AA, tessellation on High, and detail on Extreme. Why not use some of the more advanced AA settings available from Nvidia or AMD? Since this test will be used on systems, it can be difficult to compare a proprietary antialiasing technique from one vendor against another vendor that doesn’t support it. Even at 8x AA and everything cranked up, the GeForce GTX 690 makes mincemeat of the benchmark.</p> <p><strong>FUTUREMARK 3DMARK 11</strong></p> <p>Our last benchmark is Futuremark’s <a title="3dmark 11" href="http://www.3dmark.com/3dmark11/" target="_blank">3DMark 11</a>. We normally eschew synthetic benchmarks in favor of real-world benchmarks, but we have relied on the various iterations of 3DMark over the years. We’re choosing it here because it scales well with multiple GPUs, and this version doesn’t seem to represent the typical game of political football between rival graphics companies that previous versions have. For our test, we run the default benchmark for the Extreme preset.</p> <div class="module orange-module article-module"><span class="module-name">Benchmarks</span><br /> <div class="module-content"> <div class="module-text full"> <div class="spec-table orange"> <table style="width: 627px; height: 270px;" border="0"> <thead> <tr> <th class="head-empty"> </th> <th class="head-light">Zero <br />point</th> <th></th> </tr> </thead> <tbody> <tr> <td class="item">Premiere Pro CS6 (sec)</td> <td class="item-dark">2,000</td> <td>3,067 (-35%)</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Stitch.Efx 2.0 (sec)</td> <td>831</td> <td>893 (-7%)</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="item">ProShow Producer 5.0 (sec)</td> <td class="item-dark">1,446</td> <td>1,522 (-5%)</td> </tr> <tr> <td>x264 HD 5.0 (fps)</td> <td>21.1</td> <td>14.3 (-32%)</td> </tr> <tr> <td>Batman: Arkham City (fps)</td> <td>76</td> <td>21 (-72%)</td> </tr> <tr> <td class="item">3DMark 11</td> <td class="item-dark">X5,847.0</td> <td>X2,115 (-64%)</td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <p><em>For comparison, we ran our benchmarks on a stock quad-core 3.5GHz Core i7-3770K on an MSI Z77A-GD65, with 8GB of RAM, a GeForce GTX 580, a WD Raptor 150 drive, and 64-bit Windows 7.</em></p> <p><em><strong>Click the next page to read how you can benchmark like an expert!</strong></em></p> </div> </div> </div> </div> <h3> <hr /></h3> <h3>How to Benchmark like an Expert</h3> <p><strong>Lessons from the Lab that you can apply to your own testing methods</strong></p> <p>Our last benchmark is Futuremark’s 3DMark 11. We normally eschew synthetic benchmarks in favor of real-world benchmarks, but we have relied on the various iterations of 3DMark over the years. We’re choosing it here because it scales well with multiple GPUs, and this version doesn’t seem to represent the typical game of political football between rival graphics companies that previous versions have. For our test, we run the default benchmark for the Extreme preset.</p> <p><strong>THE FUNDAMENTALS</strong></p> <p>Before you begin your benchmarking, there are a few basic rules that every techie has learned through blood, sweat, and tears. First, record all your settings. From bclock, to RAM timing, to GPU clocks, drivers, and BIOS settings, you should keep a written record that you can refer back to. Second, you’re human and make mistakes. If the result from B outrageously exceeds A, assume you made a mistake and retest. Third, double-check your system. Are you in the correct SATA port? Is the RAM fully inserted and in the correct memory mode? Is the CPU overheating and throttling? Fourth, triple-check your settings. Yeah, this is the second tip again, but more often than not, user error is the cause of errors in tests. Finally, benchmarking doesn’t have to cost money. Here are a few free and reliable benchmarks and how to interpret their results.</p> <p><strong>MAXON CINEBENCH 11.5</strong></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u152332/cinebench_small.jpg" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>Cinebench 11.5 is best used as a pure CPU-performance benchmark and applications outside of that should be carefully weighed.</strong></p> <p><a title="Cinebench 11.5" href="http://www.maxon.net/products/cinebench/overview.html" target="_blank">Cinebench 11.5</a> is a great test of pure CPU performance. The benchmark is based on Maxon’s Cinema 4D rendering engine and is heavily multithreaded. The test also features an OpenGL rating. So what’s the catch? Cinebench’s rendering test is best used to test CPU performance only. As a system level test, any variances you see between system A and system B will be due to the CPU and not the hard drive, SSD, or memory bandwidth. It’s virtually worthless to try to use it as, say, a motherboard test using the same chip, because any variances will be due to how much the vendor tweaks the board’s bclock settings. OpenGL also has little value for mainstream users, as very few games even use OpenGL anymore. <a href="http://www.maxon.net/">www.maxon.net.</a></p> <p><strong>TECHARP X264 HD 5.0</strong></p> <p>We’ve just started using TechARP’s x264 HD 5.0 benchmark, but we like it already. It gives you an easy, repeatable way to test the encoding prowess of a machine. Be advised that, like Cinebench, it seems to be almost completely compute-bound. We tested it in dual-channel mode and quad-channel mode on a hexa-core chip and found a very minor difference resulting from memory bandwidth. Testing from a single SSD to a RAIDed PCIe SSD also yielded very little difference. <a href="http://www.techarp.com/">www.techarp.com</a></p> <p><strong>UNIGINE HEAVEN 3.0</strong></p> <p>For graphics, <a title="Unigine Heaven 3" href="http://unigine.com/products/heaven/" target="_blank">Unigine’s Heaven 3.0</a> is a great way to measure tessellation performance and will push even the fastest cards. It even has a Mac version, but without tessellation. Multiple GPUs help this benchmark, which is purely focused on the GPU. Quad-core, hexa-core, low clock, or high clock hardly make a difference in this test. The free version of Futuremark’s 3DMark11 will also work—but only for the Performance preset. <a href="http://www.unigine.com/">www.unigine.com</a></p> <p><strong>CRYSTAL DISMARK 3</strong></p> <p>We’ve also been happy with <a title="crystaldiskmark" href="http://crystalmark.info/software/CrystalDiskMark/index-e.html" target="_blank">CrystalDiskMark</a>, which is easy to run and gives you a good feel for your disk subsystem’s performance. Keep in mind, one limit with the test is that the workload is limited to 4GB, so even a hybrid drive could perform like an SSD. <a href="http://www.crystalmark.info/">www.crystalmark.info</a></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/files/u152332/crystaldiskmark_small2.jpg" width="620" height="420" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong>CrystalDiskMark 3.0 is a reliable way to measure disk performance but not across an entire disk or SSD.</strong></p> <p>Folks interested in measuring their memory bandwidth should check out <a title="sisoft sandra 2012" href="http://downloads.guru3d.com/SiSoftware-Sandra-2009-(freeware-version)-download-2056.html" target="_blank">SiSoft Sandra 2012</a>. The free version offers a host of benchmarks, including a synthetic memory benchmark. Keep in mind, though, with the large-cache CPUs today, it’s very difficult to see an impact from memory bandwidth unless you are running integrated graphics.</p> <p><em>Note: This article appeared in the August 2012 issue of the magazine.</em></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/article/features/breaking_our_new_benchmarks2012#comments 2012 3dmark 11 benchmark cpu gigapan stich gpu maximum pc method overclock premiere proshow producer test Video Card August Features Fri, 08 Feb 2013 22:40:13 +0000 Gordon Mah Ung 24184 at http://www.maximumpc.com Microsoft Hails IE9 as Most Energy-Efficient Browser http://www.maximumpc.com/article/microsoft_hails_ie9_most_energy-efficient_browser <!--paging_filter--><p>The fine art of browser vendors touting their respective browsers while simultaneously deriding competing ones has been reduced to a very banal affair of late, with most vendors simply concentrating on browsing speeds and HTML5-related enhancements. Does even a single browser vendor not possess the will and imagination necessary to break this trend? Apparently, Microsoft has done just that by comparing IE9’s power consumption habits with that of other major browsers, including Safari 5, Opera 11, Chrome 10, and Firefox 4. </p> <p>According to Microsoft, the tests were conducted using some of the hardware from what it dubbed “one of the worlds most advanced PC power testing environments.” It observed power consumption patterns of the concerned browsers across different test scenarios.</p> <p>“By using an instrumented PC we’re able to measure the power usage of each PC component, including CPU, GPU, GMCH, Memory, Uncore, Hard Disk, Network, USB and many others,” the company wrote on <a href="http://blogs.msdn.com/b/ie/archive/2011/03/28/browser-power-consumption-leading-the-industry-with-internet-explorer-9.aspx">Internet Explorer’s official blog</a>. “This is a more reliable approach than measuring overall system power consumption or battery durations which both have higher variance.” </p> <p>The final test results show the impact the five browsers had on the battery life of a laptop with a standard 56 Watt hour battery. IE9 emerged victorious in the end by consuming the least amount of power, followed closely by Firefox 4, with the remaining browsers trailing far behind. <br /><img src="/files/u46168/20110328-bpcltiwie-image23.png" width="600" height="280" /></p> <p>Image Credit: Microsoft</p> http://www.maximumpc.com/article/microsoft_hails_ie9_most_energy-efficient_browser#comments chrome 10 Firefox 4 ie9 microsoft Opera power consumption Safari test News Wed, 30 Mar 2011 03:41:40 +0000 Pulkit Chandna 17880 at http://www.maximumpc.com Google Restricts Maiden Chrome OS Netbook to Employees, Testers http://www.maximumpc.com/article/news/google_restricts_maiden_chrome_os_netbook_employees_testers <!--paging_filter--><p>It was rumored last week that Google would launch the first Chrome OS-based netbook on December 7. Well, that rumor did turn out to be fairly accurate. While <a href="http://chrome.blogspot.com/2010/12/update-on-chrome-web-store-and-chrome.html">Google did unveil a Chrome OS netbook named Cr-48</a>, it isn’t meant for the mass market. </p> <p> Instead, the company has restricted the Intel Atom-based device to Google employees and those accepted into the <a href="http://www.google.com/chromeos/">Chrome OS Pilot Program</a>, implying that the Cr-48 is just a pilot device. According to the internet titan, Chrome OS is still not a finished product and that user feedback is needed to lend finishing touches to the software.</p> <p> “Some of the features of Chrome OS require new hardware, but we didn’t want to sell pre-beta computers. Instead we’re launching a pilot program where we will give test notebooks to qualified users, developers, schools and businesses. We're starting with the U.S. and will expand to other countries once we get the necessary certifications,” the Google Chrome team said in a blog post.</p> <p> The Cr-48 features a 12.1-inch screen, integrated 3G from Verizon, Wi-Fi, and a full-sized keyboard and touch pad. The pilot program will also include 100MB of free data per day for two years, with the option of additional data through paid plans starting at $9.99.&nbsp; The pilot program is currently only restricted to applicants from the United States, but will gradually be expanded to other countries. </p> <p> According to Taiwanese site <a href="http://www.digitimes.com/news/a20101208PD213.html">Digitimes</a>, the Cr-48 is being manufactured by Inventec, which has already shipped 60,000 units of the device to Google. The first mass market Chrome OS devices will be available in the first half of next year.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="../../files/u46168/cr_48_091.png" alt="" width="400" height="258" /></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/article/news/google_restricts_maiden_chrome_os_netbook_employees_testers#comments beta chrome os cloud computing cloud os cr-48 Google maximum tech operating system OS pilot program test News Wed, 08 Dec 2010 14:52:47 +0000 Pulkit Chandna 16007 at http://www.maximumpc.com Chrome Extension of the Week: Speed Tracer http://www.maximumpc.com/article/web_exclusive/chrome_extension_week_speed_tracer <!--paging_filter--><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 10]> <style> /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-qformat:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0in; mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0in; line-height:115%; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif"; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;} </style> <![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 10]> <style> /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-qformat:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0in; mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0in; line-height:115%; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif"; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;} </style> <![endif]--><p>Anyone can benchmark a Web browser. While the overall validity of any given browser test can vary, in terms of how well it actually indicates a browser's average performance, there are nevertheless a ton of different ways to approximate your browser's rendering speeds. And not only can you run these tools across different versions of a single browser--you can use the benchmarks to compare competing browsers to determine which is really the best combination of speed and features for you.</p> <p>The fun doesn't stop there, however. A new test is entering the fray that allows you to directly measure all the bits and pieces of any Web App on the, well, Web. It's Chrome-specific, as it's developed by Google itself, but the <a href="https://chrome.google.com/extensions/detail/ognampngfcbddbfemdapefohjiobgbdl">Speed Tracer</a> extension is chock-full of useful measurements for all sorts of potential stopgaps that could  impact a typical Web app: JavaScript parsing and execution,  CSS style recalculation and selector matching, DOM event handling, and network resource loading, to name a few.</p> <p>As you might expect, this extension is primarily geared toward developers--I can't envision that an average person would have much need to know just how many milliseconds it takes to load a random piece of JavaScript in any given page. However, it is kind of neat to see just how and when events are loaded. As well, an easy-to-interpret chart--the &quot;sluggishness graph&quot;--gives you a quick visual indication of when any given Web app starts grinding to a halt.</p> <p>Of course, since Google's search index now takes site speed into account when generating the prominence of a page's listing on its search results, tools like Speed Tracer have become even more important in the overall Web development picture. And if you're really hardcore, you can use this tool to compare different site iterations across a wide span of time to see just how new improvements and upgrades help or harm your favorite Web apps.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div style="text-align: center"><img src="/files/u16580/chrome_speedtracer.png" width="409" height="337" /></div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="line-height: 20px; font-family: Arial,sans-serif" class="Apple-style-span"><strong><em>Maximum PC picks one new Chrome extension as its favorite of the week each... week. Have a nifty extension that you can't live without? Twitter<span class="Apple-converted-space"> </span><a href="http://www.twitter.com/acererak">David Murphy @acererak</a><span class="Apple-converted-space"> </span>with your latest suggestions.</em></strong></span> </p> http://www.maximumpc.com/article/web_exclusive/chrome_extension_week_speed_tracer#comments app benchmark chrome extension of the week delay speed test time UI web Web Exclusive Fri, 16 Apr 2010 15:00:00 +0000 David Murphy 11970 at http://www.maximumpc.com The iPad Gets Dropped, Dunked, and Smashed http://www.maximumpc.com/article/news/ipad_gets_dropped_dunked_and_smashed <!--paging_filter--><p><img src="/files/u46173/ipadbaseball2.png" alt="iPad Baseball" title="iPad Baseball" /> </p> <p>Okay, i'm doing my best not to write about the iPad too much this weekend, but believe me its not easy. First impressions, app lists, and talk of accessories seems to have completely dominated the news cycle, but one article I stumbled upon seems to stand out from the rest. The iPad is a good looking piece of hardware, I won't deny it that, but what would it take to kill one? Well according to the guys over at <a href="http://www.pcworld.com/article/193388/apple_ipad_stress_tests.html">PCWorld</a> not much.</p> <p>Turns out spilling coffee on the screen and even a few soft bounces on carpet are more than enough to cause serious hardware failure. I'm sure most of us expect a bit more <a href="/article/news/watch_nexus_one_get_shock_tested">durability out of our mobile gadgets</a>, but hey they said it was magical not droppable right? Either way its a good reminder for new iPad owners that it is probably worth it to pony up for a protective case as one of those two scenarios are bound to happen eventually. </p> <p>The spilled coffee and dropping on carpet pretty much cover off the normal use case accidents, but if you want to check out the iPad getting submerged, dropped on concrete, and even hit with a baseball you should probably check out the rest of the video for yourself below.  </p> <p>Does the durability of iPad have you concerned? </p> <object classid="clsid:D27CDB6E-AE6D-11cf-96B8-444553540000" codebase="http://download.macromedia.com/pub/shockwave/cabs/flash/swflash.cab#version=6,0,29,0" width="640" height="385"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/-i5i3ozyPS8&amp;hl=en_US&amp;fs=1&amp;" /><param name="quality" value="high" /><param name="menu" value="false" /><param name="wmode" value="" /><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/-i5i3ozyPS8&amp;hl=en_US&amp;fs=1&amp;" wmode="" quality="high" menu="false" pluginspage="http://www.macromedia.com/go/getflashplayer" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="640" height="385"></embed></object> http://www.maximumpc.com/article/news/ipad_gets_dropped_dunked_and_smashed#comments apple iPad mobile test News Sun, 04 Apr 2010 16:41:46 +0000 Justin Kerr 11769 at http://www.maximumpc.com Download of the Week: Imtec Battery Mark http://www.maximumpc.com/article/web_exclusive/done_download_week_imtec_battery_mark <!--paging_filter--><p>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.</p> <p>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.</p> <p>And as it just so happens, I have the perfect piece of freeware in mind: Imtec Battery Mark. This program is pretty simple in its operation -- it cranks your CPU up to full bore for a set period of time while measuring how much battery goes bye-bye. If you run the fast test, you get an estimation of how much you could use your computer under such egregious settings. If you run the normal test, the estimation is a bit more accurate given the length of the recording/quasi-benchmarking process. Oh, and you can even run both tests without the CPU jacked up to maximum, in case you just want to figure out how long your laptop will last under its current conditions.</p> <p>If you really want to give your laptop or netbook the work-over, be sure to run the tests under various conditions: with the Wi-Fi on and off, with Bluetooth enabled or disabled, with your screen brightness set to different levels, et cetera. Become your own laptop power benchmarker and you'll be able to figure out exactly how much time you'll likely get under the most frequent conditions you use your system. It's as easy as that.</p> <div style="text-align: center"><img src="/files/u16580/download_imembattery.jpg" width="415" height="324" /></div> <p>If you liked this post, be sure to check out this week's freeware roundup: <a href="/article/features/freeware_files_5_apps_tweaking_your_laptop_battery-426">5 Apps for Tweaking Your Laptop Battery</a>! </p> <p><strong><em>Every Wednesday, Maximum PC picks a new free or shareware download as its favorite of the week. Have a nifty application that you can't live without? Twitter <a href="http://www.twitter.com/acererak">David Murphy @acererak</a> with your latest suggestions.</em></strong></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/article/web_exclusive/done_download_week_imtec_battery_mark#comments app battery benchmark download of the week freeware laptop Life netbook notebook test utility Web Exclusive Thu, 17 Dec 2009 01:20:19 +0000 David Murphy 9771 at http://www.maximumpc.com Murphy's Law: Do you Really Need Google? Benchmark Your DNS! http://www.maximumpc.com/article/columns/murphys_law_do_you_really_need_google_benchmark_your_dns <!--paging_filter--><p>I'm sure many readers of Maximum PC--this one included--have jumped onboard the <a href="http://code.google.com/speed/public-dns/">Google DNS</a> 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.</p> <p>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 &quot;fasdfljsajdf.com&quot; isn't actually a Web site, you'll notice how... nothing happens, save for the standard &quot;what are you doing?&quot; 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.</p> <p>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 <a href="http://www.opendns.com/">OpenDNS</a> or Google DNS from both a performance and features standpoint. </p> <div style="text-align: center"><img src="/files/u16580/daveblog_googdns.jpg" width="415" height="324" /></div> <h2>Performance</h2> <p>Some early benchmarks indicate that Google DNS delivers both a best-case and worst-case scenario for Web site lookups. Vaibhav Gadodia over at <a href="http://blog.gadodia.net/performance-comparison-of-opendns-and-google-dns/">Habitually Good</a> has run some benchmarks on Google DNS and discovered that it performs slightly worse than OpenDNS, but slightly better if you remove a few larger spikes, or DNS delays, from Google's testing. Keep in mind, however, that Gadodia is testing this setup in India, comparing the lookup times of 100 different domains to generate his performance graphs. On the whole, OpenDNS appears to offer more consistent performance than Google DNS based on the standard deviation of the scores--how far each time is, on average, from the overall average of all the times.</p> <p>I ran a few of my own benchmarks between both services to get a feel for performance based on my San Francisco Bay Area location. In the appropriately named &quot;<a href="http://www.grc.com/dns/benchmark.htm">DNS Benchmark</a>&quot; application, I received the following results:</p> <p><strong>My Comcast DNS server (Comcast, San Jose)</strong><br />Cached: 13ms<br />Uncached: 57ms<br />DotCom Lookup: 41ms</p> <p><strong>OpenDNS </strong><br />Cached: 17ms<br /> Uncached: 73ms<br /> DotCom Lookup: 118ms</p> <p><strong>GoogleDNS</strong><br /> Cached: 39ms<br /> Uncached: 111ms<br /> DotCom Lookup: 165ms </p> <p>The results are interesting. Here are some quick definitions for what the benchmark tests. The &quot;Cached&quot; result refers to queries that are answered by the server's local name cache--if you're trying to access a popular Web site, odds are good that the DNS server knows exactly where you want to go without querying other nameservers on the internet to figure out what it is you're trying to access (which would be represented by the &quot;Uncached&quot; result). DotCom lookup refers to how much time it takes the DNS server to connect to a particular site's nameserver, which then turns over the IP address of said site to the DNS server.</p> <p>Whoo. That's a lot.</p> <p>Anyway, it appears that the Comcast DNS out of San Jose, California is a bit faster for me then even Google's DNS, which ranks third in this small fraction of tested DNS services. Again, this is based on my own connection and location--results may vary for you. And, in testing for the speediest DNS server to use, you'll want to run more than one benchmark. In this case, I also launched a series of tests using the <a href="http://code.google.com/p/namebench/">Namebench</a> application just to get additional verification regarding local DNS speeds. Here's what I found:</p> <p><strong>My Comcast DNS server (Comcast, San Jose)</strong><br /> Average response time: 31.46 ms<br />Minimum response time: 0.77 ms<br />Maximum response time: 225.36 ms</p> <p><strong>OpenDNS</strong><br /> Average response time: 45.45 ms<br /> Minimum response time: 16.0 ms<br /> Maximum response time: 343.75 ms</p> <p><strong>Google DNS</strong><br /> Average response time: 98.87 ms<br /> Minimum response time: 33.87 ms<br /> Maximum response time: 2153.35 ms</p> <p>Oof. Look at that last result--that's quite a spike to deal with if Google DNS actually takes that long to pull up a site on occasion. So, given the lag between my normal DNS server and both OpenDNS and Google DNS, why would I want to switch to either of these services? In a word, features. While most of Google's DNS optimizations for security come on the back-end, OpenDNS actually allows you to set up a blocking mechanism that will physically prevent you from accidentally surfing over to sites that have been deemed security nightmares. You can set this filtering level to one of five pre-designated settings, or establish your own mix-and-match of different problematic categories you want to block out.</p> <p>In addition, the service will fix common typos you make when entering site names (maximumcp.com instead of maximumpc.com, for example). And should you update your network's IP address with OpenDNS or use the handy application that fires off this information for you whenever you turn your computer on, you'll be able to access a wealth of statistics about your general surfing habits. Best of all, you can also set up keywords akin to Mozilla Firefox's smart keywords: Type a word into the address bar of your browser and, if you've established a connection between said word and a particular Web site, you'll go right to said Internet address. Neat, huh?</p> <p>I don't mean this to be an outright condemnation of Google DNS, nor an essay of praise for OpenDNS. If anything, you'll want to choose the DNS service that makes the most sense for your habits. Run the benchmarks, figure out how you can maximize the performance of your Web browsing, and then decide which service makes the most sense based on your need for extra features or outright speed. As Captain Planet says, the power is yours!</p> <p><strong><a href="http://www.twitter.com/acererak">David Murphy (@ Acererak)</a> is a technology journalist and former Maximum PC editor. He writes weekly columns about the wide world of open-source as well as weekly roundups of awesome, freebie software. Befriend him on Twitter, especially if you have an awesome app or game you're dying to recommend!</strong> </p> http://www.maximumpc.com/article/columns/murphys_law_do_you_really_need_google_benchmark_your_dns#comments benchmark browser Browsing Comcast DNS Google Internet ISP networking opendns test web Murphy's Law Columns Web Exclusive Mon, 07 Dec 2009 16:30:00 +0000 David Murphy 9534 at http://www.maximumpc.com Murphy's Law: Mozilla Crowdsources Open Source http://www.maximumpc.com/article/columns/murphys_law_mozilla_crowdsources_open_source <!--paging_filter--><!--[if !mso]> <style> v\:* {behavior:url(#default#VML);} o\:* {behavior:url(#default#VML);} w\:* {behavior:url(#default#VML);} .shape {behavior:url(#default#VML);} </style> <![endif]--><!--[if !mso]> <style> v\:* {behavior:url(#default#VML);} o\:* {behavior:url(#default#VML);} w\:* {behavior:url(#default#VML);} .shape {behavior:url(#default#VML);} </style> <![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> Normal 0 false false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> Normal 0 false false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 10]> <style> /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-qformat:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0in; mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0in; line-height:115%; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif"; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;} </style> <![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 10]> <style> /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-qformat:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0in; mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0in; line-height:115%; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif"; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;} </style> <![endif]--><p>It sounds like Buzzword Bingo, but a new Mozilla Labs project is applying an open-source, crowd-sourced routine to solve common Web developer issues. The program's called <a href="http://testswarm.com/">TestSwarm</a>, and I must confess, it's a novel idea for increasing a developer's ability to test out new JavaScript framework on a variety of browsers at once. And the fact that this an open-source project is cooler still: Aspiring testers can load the framework onto their own servers and set up their own test routines at will. </p> <p>TestSwarm was developed by one of the Mozilla Foundation's JavaScript Tool Developers, John Resig, to deal with <a href="http://ejohn.org/blog/javascript-testing-does-not-scale/">the scalability issues</a> that factor into JavaScript code testing. To Resig, the proper testing platform includes at least five different browsers split into 12 total versions per operating system. Although he doesn't go into this length in his example, you should triple that number to factor in the Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7 operating environments. </p> <p>Factor these (now) thirty-six tests against an average of ten test suite iterations--a minimum number of variances that Resig runs in a common jQuery testing environment. That's three hundred and sixty runs for every test you create, more if you're expanding to include OSX and Linux platforms. And did I mention that the best results tend to occur when actual human beings are behind the testing instead of some automated attempt at user interaction? Yeaaaah...</p> <p>So how did Resig address this grand problem of JavaScript testing scalability? You should know--you're a part of the solution, after all.</p> <div style="text-align: center"><img src="/files/u16580/daveblog_testswarm.jpg" width="415" height="230" /></div> <p>To a user, the TestSwarm client just simply <em>works</em>. When you load up the page, the program checks to see what browser you're using and determines whether it's one that is needed for a round of tests. If so, TestSwarm pops up a little window and asks you for your help. If you choose to enter a username and agree to join the fun, you're placed in a holding queue. The TestSwarm client checks for new tests to run on your machine over a set interval of time. If a particular test screws up, a detailed note is sent back to TestSwarm to help developers identify the root cause of the issue. They also receive <a href="http://wiki.github.com/jeresig/testswarm">a giant color-coded chart</a> that shows off the different tests and browser permutations, as well as a visual representation of tests that succeeded, succumbed to minor errors, or completely fell apart.</p> <p>As a concept, I think TestSwarm is an awesome way to go about using the power of a community to spare one poor person (or a group of people/suckers) from having to run an absurd amount of test iterations in the name of usability. It's analogous to the successful efforts one sees from the many distributed computing applications floating around the Internet. And just as there seems to be an infinite number of [subject]@home distributed programs, I would kill anywhere from three to six people to get a variant of TestSwarm themed for CSS/HTML checks. Instead of looking for faults in JavaScript runs, the client could load up a target Web page into a connected user's browser, find some way to finagle a screenshot or otherwise record the look of the page, and email that back to the original developer. Gone are the hours spent checking the look of a single page across squillions of platforms.</p> <p>It's an awesome idea--at least, I think so. But what do users get for their contributions to either TestSwarm or the now-aptly named TestMurph?</p> <p>Such is a question that invariably arises whenever I think of distributed computing applications or, really, even the open-source world in general. The two travel down similar paths in this regard. In distributed computing, you're contributing to an effort larger than yourself for (mostly) bragging rights and respect among your Internet peers. The same holds true for TestSwarm. While I don't necessarily <em>mind</em> helping some dude test out his JavaScript, am I going to open up a tab for the TestSwarm loading area every time I start a version of Firefox? Not really.</p> <p>Sure, Resig could turn TestSwarm into a downloadable application that launches browser windows during your computer's idle time. But that's a pretty hefty amount of code spread across multiple operating systems, not to mention an increased amount of steps and potential annoyances for users looking to help out. It's a catch-22 if I ever heard one: To increase TestSwarm's popularity and applicability, one has to increase the program's complexity and user interactivity. But unless TestSwarm is exposed to as many permutations of browsers, operating systems, and setups as possible, the entire point of the platform dies away.</p> <p>To his credit, Resig has opened the doors with an innovative idea for online testing that's sure to be replicated, modified, and distributed in the days to come. In fact, there's been a bit of interest in corporate versions of TestSuite, which bodes well for future TestSwarm spin-offs. I just hope that, for all his work and creativity, the single variable out of Resig's control doesn't ultimately prove to be the suite's undoing. Were there only some equally innovative way to encourage the adoption of the experiment by its chief guinea pigs--that's the real question here.</p> <p><strong><a href="http://www.twitter.com/acererak">David Murphy (@ Acererak)</a> is a technology journalist and former Maximum PC editor. He writes weekly columns about the wide world of open-source as well as weekly roundups of awesome, freebie software. Befriend him on Twitter, especially if you have an awesome app or game you're dying to recommend!</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> http://www.maximumpc.com/article/columns/murphys_law_mozilla_crowdsources_open_source#comments code computing developer distributed JavaScript labs Mozilla open-source test Columns Features Thu, 27 Aug 2009 20:30:20 +0000 David Murphy 7579 at http://www.maximumpc.com Touch Screens to Get More Smudge Resistant http://www.maximumpc.com/article/news/touch_screens_get_more_smudge_resistant <!--paging_filter--><p>Seeing touch screens get daubed with finger marks and other blemishes can be a heart-wrenching experience. Although screen overlays that help protect touch screen devices are easily available, scientists are trying to figure out ways to make touch screens more smudge resistant. They have <a href="http://www.techradar.com/news/portable-devices/chemists-probe-touchscreen-mysteries-627512">developed a test for ascertaining the efficacy of anti-smudge – and reflection – coatings found on touch screens. </a></p> <p>&quot;Surfaces are particularly important in consumer products. This work investigates how products can be modified to reduce smudging and reflections. These modifications can offer improved resistance to fingerprints, anti-reflection properties or enhanced physical resistance,” Dr Stephen Carlo said while describing the test at the 238th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society. </p> <p>Dr Carlo’s team used depth profile X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) to compare the chemistry of anti-smudge and anti-reflective coatings. Their findings could lead to touch screens that are clearer and more immune to smudge. </p> <div style="text-align: center"><img src="/files/u46168/screen-protector1.jpg" width="300" height="300" /></div> <p><em>Image Credit: Uniwell </em> </p> http://www.maximumpc.com/article/news/touch_screens_get_more_smudge_resistant#comments test touch screen News Fri, 21 Aug 2009 15:01:54 +0000 Pulkit Chandna 7499 at http://www.maximumpc.com Do You Have What it Takes to be on the Geek Squad? (Yes, You Do) http://www.maximumpc.com/article/news/do_you_have_what_it_takes_be_geek_squad_yes_you_do <!--paging_filter--><p>Commercialized PC repair services like Best Buy's Geek Squad and, when it was still around, Circuit City's Firedog are often mocked for being over priced and under qualified, the latter of which might be an unfair generalization. Or maybe not, now that we've seen <a href="http://gizmodo.com/5334205/geek-squad-test/gallery?selectedImage=1">Geek Squad's CompTIA A+ preparation exam</a>.</p> <p>The exam questions were sent in to Gizmodo from an &quot;anonymous tipster,&quot; and while some of the multiple choice answers are a bit amusing, you'd be hard pressed to find a question/answer combo that you couldn't answer correctly without too much thought. For example:</p> <p>Q: What is the most effective way to increase the performance of your PC?</p> <ul> <li>Upgrade your processor from Intel to AMD</li> <li>Tweak the registry for maximum efficiency</li> <li>Installing more RAM</li> <li>Use your PC for shorter periods during the day</li> </ul> <p>It doesn't get any more challenging than that out of the six samples Gizmodo posted. And we suddenly understand why a <a href="/article/news/oregon_news_team_finds_geek_squad_incompetent">dislodged hard drive cable was so hard to diagnose</a>.</p> <div align="center"><img src="/files/u69/Geek_Squad.png" width="405" height="256" /></div> <p><span style="font-size: xx-small"> </span><br /><span style="font-size: xx-small">Image Credit: Best Buy </span></p> http://www.maximumpc.com/article/news/do_you_have_what_it_takes_be_geek_squad_yes_you_do#comments geek squad jobs test News Tue, 11 Aug 2009 16:30:40 +0000 Paul Lilly 7365 at http://www.maximumpc.com IE8 Best at Stopping Social-Engineering Malware, Test Reports http://www.maximumpc.com/article/news/ie8_best_stopping_socialengineering_malware_test_reports <!--paging_filter--><div style="text-align: center"><img src="/files/u21826/header_ie8-champ.png" alt="IE8 beats out rivals in malware infection tests" width="410" height="188" /></div> <p>Microsoft's latest browser, Internet Explorer 8, has gotten mixed reviews from MaximumPC.com readers (see comments <a href="/article/news/its_worse_microsoft_thinks_ie8_users_downgrade_ie7#comments">here</a> and <a href="/article/news/microsoft_flips_switch_ie8#comments">here</a>), but one question that's hard for any individual user to answer about any browser is &quot;how secure is it?&quot;</p> <p>To find out, Microsoft asked <strong>NSS Labs</strong> to pit IE8 RC1 against its predecessor, IE7, as well as the following third-party browsers: Firefox 3.0.7, Safari 3.2, Chrome 1.0.154, and Opera 9.64. The objective: find out which browser did the best job at handling so-called social-engineering malware sites - the ones that try to con you into downloading malware disguised as something else (&quot;Adobe Flash update,&quot; anyone?).</p> <p><strong>ComputerWorld</strong> <a href="http://www.computerworld.com/action/article.do?command=viewArticleBasic&amp;articleId=9130342">reports</a> that IE8 did the best job of fending off attacks from 492 malware-distributing websites, blocking 69% of attacks (details <a href="http://nsslabs.com/test-reports/NSS%20Labs%20Browser%20Security%20Test%20-%20Socially%20Engineered%20Malware.pdf">here</a> [PDF link]). Here's how IE8 RC1 fared in comparison to the rest at blocking the bad guys:</p> <p>IE8 RC - 69%<br />Firefox 3.0.7 - 30%<br />Safari 3.2 - 24%<br />Chrome 1.0.154 - 16%<br />Opera 9.64 - 5%<br />IE7 - 4%</p> <p>Interestingly, <strong>ComputerWorld</strong> <a href="http://www.computerworld.com/action/article.do?command=viewArticleBasic&amp;taxonomyName=Security&amp;articleId=9130342&amp;taxonomyId=17&amp;pageNumber=2">reports</a> that Firefox, Safari, and Chrome all use Google's SafeBrowsing API, despite the big differences in success rates in stopping malware. </p> <p>Microsoft was the sole funder of the study, which has caused some commentors to <a href="http://www.infopackets.com/news/business/microsoft/2009/20090323_questionable_study_praises_ie8_malware_protection.htm">wonder </a>how accurate it could be. <a href="http://blogs.pcmag.com/securitywatch/2009/03/study_tests_browsers_against_w_1.php">See the update on <strong>PCMag</strong>'s Security Watch story</a> for a calmer re-evaluation of the funding issue, and to learn why depending upon your browser alone for protection isn't adequate.</p> <p>What's your security experience with IE8? Hit Comment and let us know.</p> http://www.maximumpc.com/article/news/ie8_best_stopping_socialengineering_malware_test_reports#comments chrome comparison firefox IE8 Internet Explorer malware microsoft NSS Labs Opera Safari Security social engineering test web browser Windows News Fri, 27 Mar 2009 22:53:07 +0000 Mark Edward Soper 5783 at http://www.maximumpc.com Windows 7 Beta Users: Testing, Testing, 1-2-3-4-5 http://www.maximumpc.com/article/news/windows_7_beta_users_testing_testing_12345 <!--paging_filter--><div style="text-align: center"><img src="/files/u21826/header-W7-Test-.png" alt="MS launching test updates to Win7 Beta on 2-24-09" width="410" height="220" /></div> <p>  </p><p><strong>Attention Windows 7 beta users</strong>, up to five (5), I said f-i-v-e <a href="http://windowsteamblog.com/blogs/windows7/archive/2009/02/19/test-updates-for-windows-7-beta-users.aspx">test updates are coming</a> via Windows Update tomorrow (February 24). These updates are strictly for testing purposes, our friends in Redmond tell us. By the way, you must install these updates<strong> manually</strong> via Windows Update - even if you run WU in Automatic mode. BTW Mark 2: these updates replace some system files with the same version that's already on your system. </p> <p>So, what's the point of running WU and selecting these updates? Mama Microsoft want to make sure it can update Windows 7 properly. Don't want to play? See the Microsoft Update Team Blog to <a href="http://blogs.technet.com/mu/archive/2009/02/19/upcoming-updates-for-windows-7-testing.aspx">learn more</a>.  </p> http://www.maximumpc.com/article/news/windows_7_beta_users_testing_testing_12345#comments beta microsoft operating system OS pre-release test Windows Windows windows 7 News Mon, 23 Feb 2009 22:57:17 +0000 Mark Edward Soper 5407 at http://www.maximumpc.com Virtual PC Your Way to Mastery of IE6, IE7, and IE8 http://www.maximumpc.com/article/news/virtual_pc_your_way_mastery_ie6_ie7_and_ie8 <!--paging_filter--><div style="text-align: center"><img src="/files/u21826/header_VPC-IE.png" alt="Microsoft rolls out new Virtual PC images for IE testing on XP and Vista" width="410" height="280" /></div> <p>Let's face it, web developers. Even if you're the most devoted fan of Firefox, Opera, or Safari, the 800-pound gorilla in the room is still Internet Explorer. Like IE or hate it, your pages had better work properly with it. Unfortunately, you can only have one version of IE running on a test PC at a time...or can you?</p> <p><a href="http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=28c97d22-6eb8-4a09-a7f7-f6c7a1f000b5&amp;DisplayLang=en">Add</a> Virtual PC 2007 SP1 to your Windows XP, Windows Vista or Windows Server 2003 or 2008 box, and <a href="http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=21eabb90-958f-4b64-b5f1-73d0a413c8ef&amp;DisplayLang=en">install your choice</a>  of Windows XP SP3+IE6, Windows XP SP3+IE7, Windows XP+IE8 Beta 2, or Windows Vista+IE7 in VHD format. Now, it's easy to find out which pages make a particular flavor of IE gag, and you can switch between IE versions running in different VMs with the click of a mouse. For more Virtual PC downloads, including release notes, click <a href="http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/results.aspx?freetext=Virtual%20PC&amp;productID=82B14654-EF9B-4403-8D0E-46CF4D29D255&amp;categoryId=&amp;period=&amp;sortCriteria=popularity&amp;nr=20&amp;DisplayLang=en">here</a>.</p> <p>These disk images work until April 2009, so you have plenty of time to work out page glitches. Not developing websites? No problem! Try them anyway. </p> http://www.maximumpc.com/article/news/virtual_pc_your_way_mastery_ie6_ie7_and_ie8#comments IE IE6 IE7 IE8 image Internet Explorer microsoft operating system test Virtual PC 2007 virtualization Windows News Mon, 05 Jan 2009 18:34:10 +0000 Mark Edward Soper 4735 at http://www.maximumpc.com