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.

Intel Skylake i7-6700K Benchmarks Leaked

Another batch of Skylake benchmarks have leaked out a little under a month before the expected launch. This time we have the Intel i7-6700K on an ECS Z170-Claymore paired with 16GB of 2133Mhz DRR4, 128GB SSD and a GTX970. For comparison an i7-4790K on an MSI Z97A Gaming 6 with 8GB of 1600Mhz DDR3 with the same GPU and SSD. Both systems used the stock Intel heatsink with the copper core.

PCMark 8, 3DMark, Cinebench R15, and Sandra 2015 were tested with the 6700K coming first in the images with the 4790K following. As you can see Skylake trades blows with Haswell in PCMark 8, only managing to pull ahead significantly in the Home test. In the two Firestrike tests, Haswell manages to pull ahead but Skylake manages wins in Cloud Gate and Sky Diver.

Cinebench R15 shows a win for Skylake with a notable improvement in multicore efficiency. OpenGL shows a big jump due to the improved iGPU on Skylake. For Sandra 2015, the red line is Haswell and blue for Skylake. The two trade blows in the arithmetic test, but Skylake pulls ahead in multimedia, cryptography and memory bandwidth. The final two are expected given additional instruction support for cryptography and DDR4 with Skylake.

As we pretty much expected, Skylake is a minor bump in terms of IPC gains, being able to pull ahead of Haswell despite being clocked lower. One can’t forget that the extra bandwidth offered by DDR4 might be giving a boost to Skylake so those with 2133Mhz DDR3  Haswell might see fewer gains. Drivers for the motherboard are still in beta, but not too much is likely to change in that field. These benchmarks serve to confirm the general trend shown by previous leaks and the hardware looks set for a much leaked August launch.

Thank you TechBang for providing us this information

Gigabyte BRIX GB-BXi5H-5200 Review

Introduction


Today we are taking a look at Gigabyte’s Intel i5 5200U powered BRIX. Gigabyte has an impressive array of BRIX models that come in at all different performance levels with many CPU options and even options with discrete GPUs. The small form factor computer business has been exploding the last few years due in part with parts shrinking and their abilities skyrocketing. Many people have been buying small form factor units deciding to use them as business or daily workstations due to the low power consumption, helping to lower costs. Others love these small boxes for use as home theater PCs (HTPCs) since they can be tucked out of the way and will generally not be heard over ambient sound in the home theater. The specs for this BRIX look promising for use in both situations so let’s take a closer look and see just how well it would perform in these tasks.

Specifications
  • Name: Gigabyte BRIX GB-BXi5H-5200
  • CPU: Intel i5 5200U (2C/4T, 2.2 GHz w/ 2.7 GHz Max Turbo, 14nm, 15W)
  • RAM: User Supplied – We tested with Crucial Ballistix 2x4GB DDR3-1600 9-9-9-24 1T 1.35v 
  • SSD: User Supplied – Crucial MX200 SSD 250GB
  • GPU: Integrated – Intel® HD Graphics 5500
  • LAN: Realtek RTL8111G 10/100/1000/Gigabit Base T
  • WLAN: 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Built-in Bluetooth V4.0
  • I/O: 4x USB3.0, 1x HDMI, 1x Mini isplayPort, Headphone-out, Microphone in, RJ-45/GbE LAN
  • OS: Supplied Barebones, Windows 10 preview used in this review
  • Warranty: 1 Year
  • Price: $364.99

Retail Packaging

Printed materials and hardware that the BRIX comes with. You will get a power adapter and power cord to hook up the BRIX as well as all the screws that you will need to mount your SSD or HDD and use the VESA mount if you wish. The DVD and printed materials are toss away materials in my opinion since the most up to date drivers and materials can be downloaded from the support website.

CPU-Z

GPU-Z

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 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

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.