Futuremark Releases Major Update for PCMark 8

Futuremark released a new major update to the popular benchmarking application PCMark 8 that accommodates the latest changes in Adobe After Effects and provides better support for NVMe SSDs. This is a major update that will affect scores, which also means that results from this version shouldn’t be compared to older versions of the software. The new version is PCMark 8 v2.6.512 and it is ready now.

While the changes to Adobe After Effects and NVMe support provides better scores thanks to optimizations, the Home, Creative, and Work benchmark scores are not affected and can be compared to previous versions without trouble. Changing the scores dramatically, like it happened in this case, is never something good. But it is something that can be necessary to do at times, seeing how our technology evolves.

“Whenever possible, we avoid making workload changes that affect scores. But occasionally there are post-launch changes in 3rd party applications that affect our tests. Or new technologies appear that we could not have predicted when developing the benchmark.”

The latest version of Adobe After Effects CC no longer supports output to compressed Windows Media Video, which was the format that previously was used for the tests. As a result, Futuremark had to change the test to output to uncompressed AVI format instead. The better NVMe support will provide better scores on those drives in most cases, but the change won’t affect other types of drives.

Change Log

Adobe Applications benchmark

  • Adobe Applications benchmark has been updated to version 2.0. Scores should not be compared with earlier versions.
  • The After Effects test output has been changed to uncompressed AVI format as the latest version of Adobe After Effects CC no longer supports output to compressed Windows Media Video format.
  • Use Compatibility mode to compare scores with historical result data. This also requires an older version of After Effects that supports Windows Media Video.

Storage benchmark

  • The Storage and Expanded Storage benchmarks have been updated to version 2.0. Scores should not be compared with earlier versions.
  • The tests now provide better support for NVMe drives. Scores from NVMe drives will improve in some cases. The faster the drive, the bigger the difference. Other types of drive are unaffected.

Improved

  • General stability and error handling have been improved.
  • SystemInfo module updated to 4.41 for improved hardware compatibility.

Fixed

  • Video Chat test now works even when there is no audio device in the system.
  • Fixed a bug that could cause PCMark 8 to crash when the SystemInfo module failed.
  • Fixed several issues found on non-English language Windows installations.

Professional Edition only

  • Command line now offers temp path selection.
  • XML output now shows battery life in minutes not seconds for more intuitive results.

As always you can find the full information about the entire benchmark application on the official website or download your own version. If you already have the app installed, then it should prompt you with an update notification next time that you run it.

Great Deals on Benchmark Software in Steam Summer Sale

The Steam Summer Sale, or any steam sale for that matter, is mostly known for the games. That is pretty much a given, but it is not the only thing you can pick up for a bargain. There is also quite a bit of software on Steam, most of it for game developing and benchmarking.

Two of the most popular benchmark apps are on sale now and you can get a copy of 3DMark Advanced Edition for just $9.99 instead of the usual $24.99 or you can get a copy of PCMark 8 Advanced Edition for $9.99 instead of the usual $49.99. Those are 60% and 80% savings, so if you want these apps, then now is the time.

We use both apps for our reviews here at eTeknix, and we like them. 3DMark Advanced Edition is known for its Fire Strike benchmarks that can bring even the most advanced rig to its knees. It works with DirectX 11 and DirectX 12 as well as Mantle. It also has the Ice Storm Extreme test for tablets and much more.

Where 3DMark focuses its power on the graphical aspect, PCMark 8 Advanced Edition focuses on work performance. You can use it to run different benchmarks, measure battery life on your tablet or notebook, test the speed of your SSD or HDD with real world performance tests as well as in-depth hardware monitoring.

You can find both 3DMark Advanced Edition and PCMark 8 Advanced Edition in Steam for just $9.99 during this year’s Steam Summer Sale.

3DMark Advanced Edition

  • Includes all benchmarks and feature tests.
  • Run Fire Strike Ultra, the world’s first 4K Ultra HD benchmark.
  • Test multi-GPU systems with Fire Strike Extreme.
  • Compare DirectX 12, DirectX 11 and Mantle with the API Overhead feature test.
  • Test tablets with Ice Storm Extreme and Ice Storm Unlimited.
  • Explore your PC’s limits with custom settings.
  • Use benchmark looping for stability testing.
  • Get in-depth hardware monitoring graphs.
  • Automatically save your results offline.

PCMark 8 Advanced Edition

  • Includes all performance benchmarks.
  • Measure the battery life of your tablet or notebook.
  • Test your SSDs and HDDs with the Storage test.
  • Run individual workloads to fine-tune your system.
  • In-depth hardware monitoring graphs.
  • Automatically save your results offline.

Futuremark Begins Development of VR Benchmark ‘VRMark’

It’s no secret that VR gaming is taking off in a big way, with Oculus, Vive and many others all pushing their new hardware in one form or another. However, one major issue still holds a lot of gamers back when it comes to VR; hardware requirements. If you’re eager to find out just how VR-capable your rig is, you’ll want to benchmark it, which is where benchmarking specialists Futuremark come in.

VRMark has just been announced by Futuremark, which will use a combination of software and hardware to measure VR system performance, testing aspects such as latency and accuracy. While the benchmark is still in development, Futuremark are aiming to release the tool this year, so there’s no doubt we can expect a sneaky video of it in action in the not too distant future.

“There are already more than a dozen different head-mounted displays for VR at various stages of completion. Analysts forecast that VR will reach 10.8 million users by the end of 2016. But delivering a great VR experience relies on overcoming significant performance challenges,” said Jukka Mäkinen, Managing Director at Futuremark. “With VRMark, we’re aiming to help everyone, from industry engineers and press reviewers to the end user at home, discover the best performing VR technology.”

“UL believes that the blossoming VR industry will greatly benefit from a dedicated VR benchmark developed by a neutral 3rd party,” said Sajeev Jesudas, President, Consumer Business Unit at UL. “VRMark is the first component of a comprehensive VR offering from UL that will also include the development of new standards and certification programs to protect the health, safety and well-being of VR users.”

I’m really looking forward to testing this new benchmark out, and its great news for consumers, especially if it helps identify hardware that it suitable for VR gaming.

AMD Reveals DirectX 12 Performance Stats in 3DMark Benchmark

Futuremark has released a new update for 3DMark that adds 3DMark API Overhead benchmark. It didn’t take long for AMD to get straight into showing its performance stats for the Radeon R9 290X graphics and the FX-8370 octa-core CPU scaling.

Futuremark has added draw calls on different APIs in its Overhead benchmark, having it support DirectX 11, DirectX 12 and Mantle on a single system. While AMD was keen on showing its performance on Mantle as well as the other APIs, it eventually followed Futuremark’s notes in not comparing GPUs from different vendors and stuck with only DirectX 11 and DirectX 12 performance statistics on the Radeon R9 290X and R7 260X.

DirectX 12 looks like it will also have a certain impact on multi-threaded CPU performance scaling, having the FX-8370 CPU managing to get DirecX 12 to scale with six cores compared to the limed two cores of the DirectX 11 API.

Though AMD’s statistics look very promising, these are still just benchmark results and real-world performance is usually something completely different. Even so, DirectX 12 and games powered by the latter API should be available by the end of the year.

Thank you Fudzilla for providing us with this information

3DMark Update Adds Ultra HD Benchmark

Ultra high-definition gaming is the next big thing and something that is starting to become available to the boarder gaming community. The last generation of GPUs made this a possibility with multi GPU setups. The new line of Nvidia GTX 980 cards are breaking records everywhere and moved us another step closer. This is coupled with the fact that 4k monitors are starting to become affordable for the average enthusiast; UHD gaming is closer than ever before.

So far there haven’t been any dedicated benchmark tests for this high-resolution, something that had to be changed. Futuremark has created the world’s first 4k Ultra HD benchmark with the Fire Strike Ultra test. Firestrike Ultra renders the test-content at 3840 x 2160 pixels before scaling the output to your PC’s display resolution. This means you don’t have to own a 4k monitor to test if your hardware configuration can pull such a high-resolution or if you need to upgrade. The test requires a GPU with at least 3GB dedicated memory and either the Advanced or Professional Edition of the software.

People were eager to test their hardware and the current score-leader had an Intel Core i7-5960X CPU with a quad-SLI of GTX 980s for his 12,016 score. The best AMD GPU score was achieved with an Intel Core i7-3970X and a quad-crossfire setup of R9 290X graphics cards, scoring 11,274 for a third place in the rankings.

Changelog:

  • Added Fire Strike Ultra, a new 4K Ultra HD benchmark test. You don’t need a 4K monitor to run Fire Strike Ultra, though you will need a GPU with at least 3 GB of dedicated memory.
    Improved:
  • New design for main benchmark selection screen.
  • Improved benchmark logging to assist customer support.
    Fixed:
  • 3DMark is now more robust when there is a problem identifying or monitoring the hardware in the system.
    Professional Edition:
  • You can now set command line options within .3dmdef files.
  • Minor syntax changes to the .3dmdef definition files. You may need to update your existing scripts if using automation. See Command Line Guide for details.
  • Added command line logging options.
  • Command line progress logging now includes workload names and loop numbers.
  • Removed empty log lines from command line output.

If you own the steam version it will update automatic and the standalone version will prompt with a notification and wait for your action to update. Time to test that hardware and see what it can perform!

Thank you Futuremark for providing us with these information

Image courtesy of Futuremark

3DMark Update Coming With a New Test Scenario For Mid-Range Systems

Futuremark’s 3DMark benchmarking suite is one of the biggest benchmarking suites that is out on the market for the testing and comparative positioning of gaming systems and as the outer reaches of performance grow on a near day-to-day basis, the benchmark tests that we run have to mature as well. To keep up with the growing demand of the consumer markets, Futuremark are introducing a new test environment in to their ever popular 3DMark suite. Set to be positioned between the Cloud Gate and Fire Strike scenarios for typical home setups and high performance gaming systems, Sky Diver focuses on the mid-range market, where gaming notebooks and average gaming systems cross paths, both in terms of cost and specification.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/GV5jjUQDNdw[/youtube]

Scheduled for release after Computex, where the new test environment will be on display on a number of manufacturer’s stands including Asus, Gigabyte and G.Skill, Sky Diver will be introduced into the 3DMark test suite by means of a software update, meaning there is no need to purchase and download new bits of software.

Jukka Makinen, Futuremark CEO said, “Some people think that 3DMark is only for high-end hardware and extreme overclocking. Yet millions of PC gamers rely on 3DMark to choose systems that best balance performance, efficiency and affordability. 3DMark Sky Diver complements our other tests by providing the ideal benchmark for gaming laptops and mainstream PCs.”

As and when the 3DMark update is made available, we will be introducing the additional test scenario into our review methodology, giving the most update benchmark results that we can. If you don’t already have the 3DMark test suite, head over to http://www.futuremark.com/benchmarks/3dmark , where you can find more information along with links to Futuremark’s other benchmarking suites.

Source: Press Release

Futuremark Releases The Basic and Advanced Versions Of PCMark 8

 

Futuremark has finally released the basic and advanced version of its latest PCMark 8 benchmarking engine. PCMark 8 is similar to the well-known 3DMark, having a modified UI which is reported to be touchscreen friendly. It also breaks up the benchmark into five tests, which are Home, Creative, Work, Storage, and Applications.

The Creative test is a superset of the Home and Work tests, and likewise Home is a superset of Work, but the overall scores in each category can still vary depending on the capabilities of the device being tested. Storage focuses on your storage device, and it can take a while to run on an SSD never mind waiting around for a hard drive. The Applications suite is said to require Microsoft Office 2010 or newer and Adobe Creative Cloud in order to run. Also included as part of the overall package are battery life tests for the Home, Creative, and Work suites.

The Basic edition only includes the Home, Creative, and Work benchmarks, along with the battery life tests, while the Advanced version adds the Storage and Applications suites. PCMark is likely to be the most common choice of every gamer and enthusiast for the most accurate benchmarking statistics, having following in the steps of 3DMark. The Advanced version of PCMark 8 can be bought at a price of $49,95 (or from Steam at a limited 20% off sale – $37,49), while the Basic version can be downloaded from Futuremark’s website.

Thank you Anandtech for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Futuremark

3D Mark Adds New Ice Storm Unlimited Mode And Upgrades GPU Monitoring

Futuremark has released a new update that brings a few notable changes to the benchmarking software, including a an improvement in its Benching algorythms and adding a new Ice Storm Unlimited Mode to the benchmarking options.

The update consists mostly of an algorithm update and GPU-Z Library integration that will not only allow more accurate hardware detection but will also restore clock speed and temperatures during benchmarking. Futuremark is continuously building a name for itself as a highly reliable benchmarking software and is constantly updating its software to meed the current benchmarking requirements.

Another major update is the addition of the Ice Storm Unlimited mode, which is basically the scenario used in mobile testing ”ported” to PC. The Ice Storm mode was usually used in mobiles and tablets to benchmark the same ,now however 3d Mark incorporates the PC Variant of the Ice Storm Mode. It will allow users to compare their mobile devices with their PCs giving a very realistic representation of the difference between the two platforms.

More and more mobile manufacturers claim to incorporate chips that lead to performance similar to consoles or even PCs, but now we have a tool use to see if their claims are true or not.

Thank you WCCF for providing us with this information
Images courtesy of WCCF

Futuremark Respond To Windows 8 HWBot Blanket-Ban

While HWBot have banned Windows 8 based benchmarks, which includes things like 3DMark and PCMark submissions, Futuremark is stressing that customers and businesses do not need to worry. The exploit was based on issues with the RTC or Real-Time Clock in Windows 8 and Futuremark says everyone else has no need to panic. The issue only serves to create falsified scores if you are looking to exploit benchmarks, and being able to exploit those benchmarks also is a very challenging process and serves no benefit for PC Gamers or Hardware manufacturers. In essence the program still works perfectly fine and does exactly the same thing it would do on Windows 7, it can just be exploited to give higher results.

Futuremark states that people should carry on as normal without worry:

  • Gamers can use 3DMark to test the performance of their Windows 8 systems without concern. 

  • Windows 8 systems that have been overclocked by modifying the CPU multiplier through the BIOS – whether manually or preconfigured by a reseller – are unaffected. 

  • 3DMark scores included in hardware reviews in magazines and websites are unaffected.

  • You can continue to use our Hardware Channel to compare CPUs, graphics cards and motherboards in Windows 8 systems.

Futuremark has also stated that it intends to develop a fix for the exploit so that in future it can detect “exploit” based scores and preserve the integrity of its 3DMark Hall of Fame.

Image courtesy of Futuremark

Win A £2000 DinoPC T-Rex 7990 Gaming PC With DinoPC, XFX and eTeknix!

In the past few years we have had some truly amazing giveaways at eTeknix such as our £1000 PC Specialist Gaming System giveaway in March 2013 and our Big Get Active Xmas giveaway in December 2012. Today we are raising the bar once again as we unveil to you our latest giveaway. eTeknix, in association with DinoPC and XFX, are giving away a DinoPC T-Rex 7990 pre-built gaming PC worth an amazing £2000/$3000.

The mammoth DinoPC T-Rex 7990 gaming PC represents the best of the best in terms of gaming PCs. It boasts some of the highest quality and highest performance components on the market. As part of this amazing giveaway we have reviewed this epic system so you can take a much closer look at what’s on offer – be sure to check out that review right here. Of course, what you all probably want to know by now is – how can you enter this giveaway? Below we have explained all the steps for you:

  • Step 1 – Like eTeknix on Facebook
  • Step 2 – Like DinoPC on Facebook
  • Step 3 – Like XFX Europe on Facebook
  • Step 4 – Visit the forums and post a link to your Facebook profile to finalise your entry and tell us you’ve entered
  • Optional Step 5 – Post a screenshot of your system’s performance in 3DMark’s FireStrike test in a second post to gain an additional entry!

 

You can download 3DMark’s FireStrike test here. 

If you do not wish your Facebook profile link to be displayed publicly on our Forum then please private message me (you must be logged in to the eTeknix forum for that link to work) your Facebook profile link with the following subject “DinoPC T-Rex 7990 Giveaway – Facebook Entry X” and replace X with the number of your first post on the forum thread (that is the number of your first post on that thread not the optional second post with the optional FireStrike screenshot). This way we can respect your privacy by keeping your Facebook profile hidden, but still allow you to enter. If you do not submit your Facebook profile link with that same format then your entry will not be counted.

Rules and regulations:

  • The competition is open worldwide
  • The competition ends at midnight GMT on the 9th of September 2013 and winners will be notified on Friday 13th of September 2013
  • In the event of a dispute, eTeknix staff hold the final say and no discussions will be entered into
  • Multiple entries that are invalid will result in disqualification (more details on Forum post)
  • Delivery is not in the hands of eTeknix and can take some time to arrive
  • In the event that the prize is unavailable, eTeknix reserve the right to offer an alternative of equal or greater value
  • Winner(s) will be announced on our competition winners page
  • By entering this competition, you adhere to the above rules and regulations

(Please do not post Facebook links and Screenshots in the comments below, these entries will not count, enter over on the Forum!)

Futuremark Unveils PCMark 8 For Windows 8 and 7

PCMark 7 has been the industry standard benchmark for testing whole systems for a while now. For reviewers like us it is very much the first port of call when measuring the overall performance of Windows based systems. Unlike 3DMark, which is totally gaming orientated, PCMark 7 offered an array of tests that cover every part of the system, that is graphics, CPU, hard drive, memory, and so on. In essence it is very similar to the likes of Passmark yet it is much more popular for its versatility and more recognised accuracy of measuring hardware performance.

Now Futuremark have finally finished PCMark 8 which will be the new standard to replace PCMark 7. Unlike what the name would suggest, PCMark 8 does support Windows 7 in addition to Windows 8.

PCMark 8 is quite unique n that it includes all the usual tests of PCMark 7 but adds a few new things like a battery life test and creativity/productivity tests based on Microsoft and Adobe applications.

With the battery life testing you can “estimate battery use from each benchmark test or use Battery Life mode to loop a test until the battery is almost empty for more accurate results”. While the new Adobe and Microsoft tests include “additional benchmark tests based on popular productivity and creativity applications”

The new PCMark 8 was developed with Acer, AMD, Condusiv Technologies, Dell, HGST, HP, Intel, Microsoft, NVIDIA, Samsung, SanDisk, Seagate and Western Digital. Futuremark have said we can expect to see a public release by the end of Q2 (June) 2013. It will be available in basic (free), business, press and professional editions.

You can find out more here.

Are there any enthusiasts out there that are excited to get their hands on a new copy of this benchmark? – I know I am.

MSI bundle new 3DMark Advanced Edition with selected motherboards and graphic cards

Futuremark have released their new 3DMark benchmark where MSI is the exclusive sponsor of the Fire Strike Demo. To sweeten the deal with selected models of motherboards and graphic cards, they are bundling 3DMark Advanced Edition worth $24.99.

Its not clear which motherboards and graphic card model/series will be having this benchmark.

MSI has also started a started a competition in HWBOT, but as one would expect in such contests irrespective of the manufacturer that this is limited to MSI motherboard (specifically with Z77 chipsets) and graphic card.

Nvidia GeForce “Titan” (and/or GTX 780) 3DMark 11 benchmark leaked

Nvidia’s next gen “Titan” Geforce card is expected to be released by the end of February and there will be cards the models GTX 780, 770 and the versions of the card with “Ti” versions set for release.

Recently in a Chinese website PC Online  a 3DMark 11 screenshot of Nvidia’s next-generation flagship model GeForce Titan or maybe GeForce GTX 780 is posted, although it should be noted that the model number is covered up.

What’s not clear is if it’s the Titan or GTX 780. According to the site, it comes with 2688 stream processors with 384 bit 6GB GDDR5 memory. With the Extreme preset, the GTX Titan is said to come with the score of 7107, but according to what WCCFTech found out by digging in other Chinese tech forums; EXPreview and RedQuasar viz. known to leak out many information, GTX 780 and Titan are most likely not the same cards.

We’ll have to wait for the official word or at the very least wait for the reviews to surface once the NDA is lifted or unless our friends in China would like to leak more information with some clarity.

Futuremark to release the new version of 3DMark Benchmark on 4th Feb

Futuremark is all set to release the new version of 3DMark on February 4th, 2013 18:00 hours UTC. There will also be a release for Android, iOS and Windows RT powered mobile hardware however there is no confirmed launch dates for it, but Futuremark assures that the release will be expected in the coming weeks rather than months.

In the meantime, Futuremark sent 2 of the screenshots of their benchmarks:

The benchmark specifically shows Firestrike run, the graph shows Power, Frequency, temperature on the GPU and CPU along with the usual FPS. The score categories are divided into combined test, physics tests, graphics tests 1 and 2, physics score, graphics score and overall score. Judging by the screenshots, there are 3 presets, cloud gate aimed towards notebooks and home pcs, Fire Strike for high performance gaming PCs and Fire Strike’s Extreme preset.

The screenshots show that the benchmark and results come in a detailed manner with the system configuration detail, including details of the GPU, processor and motherboard/Bios/OS/Resolution and the drive being used. It’s still not clear how many more tests there are in this new version of 3DMark, but looks like Fire Strike and Fire Strike extreme scores should be the ones that many hardware enthusiasts will keep an eye on.