Test your PC out for gaming capabilities with 3DMark Vantage

Gaming seems to be the stuff right now.

If you’re a serious PC advocate, whether on a Mac, a PC or a Linux box, you’re most likely doing some kind of gaming. This is one of the reasons why I really like tools like 3DMark Vantage. It’s a graphics benchmarking tool for Windows.

3DMark Vantage is the industry standard benchmark tool for DirectX 11-based gaming PCs. It includes two graphics tests, two CPU tests and six feature tests. 3DMark Vantage is one of the best ways to consistently and reliably test DirectX 11 with real world, game-like loads.

The Basic Edition is free.  The Professional Edition unlocks all of the app’s features including custom testing options, unlimited test runs and priority customer support. A commercial license enables you to use the benchmark for business purposes, including testing for performance, standards compliance and stability.  For research and development including component evaluation, burn-in testing and competitor analysis and for promotional use including trade shows, consumer events, overclocking competitions and other sales and marketing activities, 3DMark Vantage is a must have tool.

The app’s benchmark presets offer a convenient way of scaling the load to provide relevant results for all levels of hardware. These settings represent more advanced levels of visual quality, and a score is produced when running the tool when completed. That score is calculated differently for each preset, and scores are not comparable across different presets.

download 3DMark Vantage

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10 apps to tune-up you PC for the best gaming experience

There are two major steps to create your perfect gaming experience. First of all you have to buy a PC with a suitable hardware configuration to meet all the necessary requirements. In case of gaming, this rig can cost you thousands of dollars, but you won’t get the best results if you don’t install and use the right applications that will improve you system.

So the second step to take is to configure your PC by installing all the necessary software that will maintain and improve the performances of your computer. So here are ten apps to choose from:

Your video card is the most important tool while playing, so you should keep it up to date by installing the latest drivers. Many users have asked why is it so necessary to always track and install tha latest versions. In general every new version brings improvements and fixes bugs, but the major reason is that each new version comes with an updated games library that includes all the necessary tweaks for the latest major titles. The good part here is that there are only two major types of video cards, the ones with NVIDIA (download NVIDIA Forceware Driver) chip and the ones with ATI chip (download AMD ATI Catalyst Drivers).

Installing and uninstalling games can cause your system to become clumsy. Caches get full, drives get fragmented, registries get littered with orphaned entries. The only solution is to install and use any type of tune-up utility. I recommend Tune Up Utilities 2011 or Windows Winset. Both are all-in-one system utilities to optimize, clean up, maintain and speed up your computer.

 

Besides the tune-up utilities, you need also a harddisk manager that can perform all kinds of tasks to maintain, repair and even partition your local HDD. An ALL-IN-ONE partition solution and disk management for 32 bit and 64 bit systems would be EASEUS Partition Master 9. With the free edition of Partition Master 9 you can safely merge different partitions without data loss on the same physical disk. It comes also with the ability to wipe data on unallocated space. This option is very useful when you want to get rid of sensitive data.

Your gaming experience should also be secure. Playing all kinds of online games demands some trusty antiviruses and firewalls. I recommend AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition, avast! Antivirus Free or Avira AntiVir Personal Edition, all three with good results and light hardware requirements. Some of them have even a game mode through which, the application reduces its processes when running a game.

 

Installing and running your games from their discs will cause your optical unity and even the disc to wear. So why not copy them on your local disk and run them from there. This can be easily done by using the Virtual Clone Drive that can emulate and run ISO’s of your games with ease. The application is small, simple in functionality and easy to use. Another alternative is the popular Daemon Tools Lite that can emulate also MDF’s and cue-bin files.

Every hard-core gamer uses the Fraps application. Fraps is a universal Windows application that can perform several tasks while playing. It can show how many Frames Per Second (FPS) you are getting from your game, can take a screenshot with the push of a key, and can capture audio and video up to 2560×1600 with custom frame rates from 1 to 120 frames per second!. Fraps can be used with games using DirectX or OpenGL graphic technology.

Let’s say that you have captured a video sequence with the help of Fraps. How can you edit it and upload it on your beloved social network? Install and use Camtasia Studio from Techsmith. It is more than a simple screen recorder. It is more of a virtual studio that can generate sophisticated, effective screencasts faster, easier, and with more consistency than other similar products.  Camtasia Studio 7 comes with the 32-bit and 64-bit TSCC codec which can export your recording files to a wider range of 3rd party applications, and keep the high-quality look you love.

You may believe me or not, but some games require additional video codecs to be installed. Otherwise the users won’t be able to watch the cinematic videos. The best solution that works in most cases is to install the DivX Plus Codec Pack. The Pack includes everything you need to play DivX or MKV files in third-party applications. In case you own a DXVA capable graphics card, with DivX you can smoothly play high definition videos on it, which means no more blocky videos or dropped frames.

Online games demand a voice communication tool in order give orders to your team or control a raid. With TeamSpeak 3 all these can become reality. TeamSpeak is a VOIP application suitable for voice communication via the Internet. TeamSpeak is created on a platform that offers a client-server architecture where client and server software is clearly separated. This means that the server product runs as a dedicated server, rather than peer-to-peer. In this way the TeamSpeak server software is literally capable of handling thousands of simultaneous clients or users.

If you consider that your rig is ready to enter into the gaming universe, maybe you want to become a member of a community that shares the same passion and plays the same games as you. Welcome to Garena, sign up and join millions of gamers around the world and play your favourite titles together with them. And it’s all free! Garena features also an online service and provides direct support for games like League of Legends or Heroes of Newerth.

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SAPPHIRE Brings Back HD 5850 and HD 5830 with Xtreme Editions

Sapphire Radeon HD 5830

Hailed as the most exciting development in graphics for several generations, the original SAPPHIRE HD 5800 series not only included the fastest single GPU available, but was also the first family of video cards in the world to support the advanced graphical features of Microsoft DirectX 11 and multi-monitor displays in Eyefinity mode. Now it’s back – with the exciting new SAPPHIRE HD 5800 series Xtreme Editions!

Two models will be available from April 2011 – the SAPPHIRE HD 5850 Xtreme and the SAPPHIRE HD 5830 Xtreme. Both will represent spectacular value for money – and support all the latest games and applications.

With a 150GB/s memory interface to 1GB of the latest GDDR5 memory, and a GPU architecture with a total of 1440 stream processors and 72 texture units, the new SAPPHIRE HD 5850 Xtreme speeds through older DirectX10.1, DirectX 10 and DirectX 9.0 games and applications – as well as delivering stunning levels of performance, detail, transparency and lighting effects in the latest DX11 games and applications.

Not far behind is the SAPPHIRE HD 5830 Xtreme Edition with its 1120 stream processors and 56 texture units. With its core clocks of 800MHz and 1GB of DDR5 memory with speeds of 1000MHz (4GHz effective), it represents a breakthrough in value for money for the gamer.

Both cards feature new SAPPHIRE original cooler designs, and optimised voltage regulation, which together with clock and memory speeds can be adjusted with the SAPPHIRE TriXX overclocking tool (free for users to download) to enhance performance. Both cards offer support for all the advanced graphical features of Microsoft DirectX 11 and deliver spectacular video clarity, speed and visual effects.

The SAPPHIRE HD 5800 series has an on board hardware UVD (Unified Video decoder) considerably reducing CPU load and delivering smooth decoding of Blu-ray™ and HD content for both VC-1 and H.264 codecs, as well as Mpeg files. In the SAPPHIRE HD 5800 series the UVD can simultaneously decode two 1080p HD video streams and is able to display HD video in high quality with Windows Aero mode enabled. HDMI capability is compliant with HDMI 1.3a and supports Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio.

In addition to spectacular image clarity, speed and visual effects, the SAPPHIRE HD 5800 Xtreme series supports the multi-monitor mode known as Eyefinity. This allows a single GPU to display a choice of images over an array of several monitors and to treat them as a single layer surface – or as one large display area.

The SAPPHIRE HD 5800 series is supported by AMD’s DirectX 11 WHQL certified graphics driver which delivers support for all of the key DirectX 11 level features required for new gaming experiences and acceleration of next generation high performance applications.

The SAPPHIRE HD 5850 and HD 5830 Xtreme Editions are shipping from April 2011.

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MSI announces GeForce GTX 560 Ti HAWK

Leading international graphics card and motherboard maker MSI adds to the global legend of its Hawk series with the new N560GTX-Ti Hawk graphics card. The all new N560GTX-Ti Hawk is equipped with the latest Twin Frozr III dual fan cooling design, featuring MSI’s exclusive Propeller Blade technology that delivers 20% more airflow than conventional fans and reduces GPU temperature by up to a staggering 17 degrees. The 8+1 phase PWM design also doubles the power for GPU, which, combined with Triple Overvoltage technology, further improves the overclocking potential of the N560GTX-Ti Hawk. With its graphics card cooling, power, high overclocking potential and stability, the N560GTX-Ti Hawk stands out on top among the industry’s GeForce GTX 560 Ti based graphics cards. MSI’s N560GTX-Ti sports a 950MHz core clockspeed and 1GB of GDDR5 memory clocked at 4200MHz on a 256-bit bus.

Key Features:

Propeller Blade on Twin Frozr III
- The special blade design generates 20% more airflow covering wider area for the better heat dissipation.
- 17? cooler than reference design.

Triple Overvoltage by Afterburner
- World’s first GTX 560 Ti graphics card supporting voltage adjustment of GPU/Memory/PLL.
- The performance can be boosted 31% up!!

Military Class II Components
- SFC (Super Ferrite Choke) has higher current for better overclocking ability.
- Hi-C CAP for GPU provides more precise voltage.
- All Solid CAPs have longer lifespan.

8+1 Phase PWM Design
- 8+1 Phase PWM design provides double current output power to GPU for better overclocking power capability.

For more information, please take a look here.

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Club 3D Announces Radeon HD 6790 CoolStream Edition Graphics Card

Radeon HD 6790 CoolStream Edition

Radeon HD 6790 CoolStream Edition

Club 3D B.V. announces the introduction of the Radeon HD 6790 CoolStream Edition video card based on the Barts SE chipset, AMD’ second generation DirectX 11. The new Club 3D Radeon HD 6790 1 GB GDDR5 video card features now the AMD HD3D technology which allows you to play your favorite games in full stereo 3D with a single video card (up to 6 monitors) and enjoy with EyeSpeed technology the latest 3D Blu-ray movies.

The new card comes equipped with CoolStream Cooling Technology to run your hottest titles without compromising performance. CoolStream features high performance heatpipes and a unique fan blade design to increase performance for your gaming and multimedia experience.

Features

•Second generation Microsoft DirectX 11 support
•PCI Express 2.1 x16 bus interface
•”Eye-Definition” graphics
•AMD Eyefinity multi-display technology
•AMD EyeSpeed visual acceleration
•UVD 3 dedicated video playback accelerator
•AMD Accelerated Parallel Processing technology
•DirectCompute 11
•OpenCL Support
•AMD HD3D technology
•Blu-ray 3D support
•AMD CrossfireX multi-GPU technology
•Integrated HDMI 1.4a with support for stereoscopic 3D
•Integrated HD audio controller· AMD PowerPlay power management technology

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HIS launches 6790 IceQ X 1GB GDDR5

HIS veils HIS 6790 IceQ X 1GB GDDR5, loading with HIS performance-leading cooling technology and silent configuration, the new model designs for our most demanding gamers to experience a truly outstanding performance and spectacular image quality.

HIS 6790 IceQ X accelerates advanced PC gaming by running at 840MHz core clock and 4,200MHz memory clock. What’s more? The new model equips with stunning array of advanced technologies, such as AMD Eyefinity technology, AMD’s second-generation of DirectX 11-ready graphics, and AMD EyeSpeed technology. The combined configuration delivers dramatic visual and gaming experience, making it the ultimate solution for performance gamers.

Main Specs:

Cooler GPU Core Clock Memory Clock Memory Size Memory Type Memory Interface Interface
IceQ X 6790 840 MHz 4200 MHz 1024 MB GDDR5 256 bit PCI Express x16 (PCI Express 2.1)

For more info, please visit the product page.

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Sapphire Radeon HD 6790 Graphics Card

SAPPHIRE Technology, the largest manufacturer and supplier worldwide of graphics solutions based on AMD technology has just announced a new graphics card delivering all the key features demanded by the latest games and applications – but at an exciting new price point.

The new SAPPHIRE HD 6790 shares many all the capabilities of the successful SAPPHIRE HD 6800 series, including multi-screen gaming with AMD Eyefinity, support for all the advanced graphical features of Microsoft DirectX 11 and delivering spectacular video clarity, speed and visual effects, including 3D stereoscopic displays.

The SAPPHIRE HD 6790 uses the latest AMD GPU architecture, with a total of 800 stream processors and 40 texture units delivering massively parallel computing power for graphics and other accelerated applications. Its core clock speed of 840MHz, together with a dedicated 256-bit high speed interface to 1GB of GDDR5 memory running at 1050MHz (effective 4.2Gb/s) delivers class leading performance.

Advanced hardware features include an enhanced Tesselation unit, dedicated HDR Texture compression, multi-threaded communication with system CPU cores, embedded support for DirectCompute 11 instructions, 3D stereoscopic support and HDMI 1.4a. It boasts a very modest active power consumption and, using Dynamic Power Management, the card has a super low-power idle mode.

Video, audio and 3D
Like previous generations, the SAPPHIRE HD 6790 has an on board hardware UVD (Unified Video decoder). This technology is now in its third generation, considerably reducing CPU load and delivering smooth decoding of Blu-ray and HD content for both VC-1 and H.264 codecs, as well as Mpeg files, including support for Multiple Video Coding for Blu-Ray 3D.

Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio is supported, and HDMI 1.4a compatibility provides deep colour, enhanced high resolution output for Digital Theatre applications and 3D stereoscopic support as well as 7.1 high bit-rate audio.

Eyefinity
In addition to spectacular image clarity, speed and visual effects, the SAPPHIRE HD 6790 supports the AMD multi-monitor mode known as Eyefinity. This allows a single GPU to display images as a single layer surface over an array of several monitors, opening up exciting possibilities not just for multi-screen gaming but also for productivity in business applications as well as information systems, multimedia systems and promotional displays.

The HD 6790 has two DVI, one HDMI and one DisplayPort output, allowing a wide choice of monitor configurations to be used, including AMD Eyefinity support for three screens, of which one must be DisplayPort or connected with an active adapter.

Accelerated applications
The multiple stream processors of the HD 6790 can be used to accelerate other applications such as video transcoding. The latest generation of web browsers can be GPU accelerated, and this is also supported for enhanced productivity in Microsoft Office 2010.

The SAPPHIRE HD 6790 is supported by AMD’s DirectX 11 WHQL certified graphics driver which delivers support for all of the key DirectX 11 level features required for enhanced gaming experiences as well as GPU acceleration of supported applications.

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Danger Den intros full-coverage water block for one of the world’s fastest graphics card – NVIDIA GTX 590

Danger Den is the next water cooling specialist out with a full-coverage water block for the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 590 graphics card, the Danger Den GPU-6940. The block has contact points with all heat-producing components on the obverse side of the PCB, including the two GPUs, the PCIe bridge, memory, and VRM MOSFETs. Its primary material is exposed copper, topped off with black translucent acrylic. The block weighs about 1.6 kg (3.2 lbs), and includes pre-assembled gaskets. The Danger Den GPU-6940 for the GeForce GTX 590 is priced at US $119.95.

Note: GeForce GTX 590 is  one of the fastest dual graphics card available today which also happens to be very quiet too. Below you can find some specs too. As a matter, this video card combines 1024 NVIDIA CUDA architecture cores, 3GB of GDDR5 memory, 6 billion transistors and over 2200 individual components all packed into an 11 inch dual slot card :)

Nvidia Geforce GTX 590 specs:

CUDA Cores: 1024 (512 Per GPU)
Gfx/Processor Clock: 607/1215 MHz
Memory Config 3072MB GDDR5 (1536MB Per GPU)
Memory Speed: 3414MHz
Power Connectors : 2 x 8-pin
Power : 635 Watts
SLI: 2-way
Length: 11 Inches
Thermal: Dual-Slot Fansink
Outputs: DL-DVI, DL-DVI, Mini-DP

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