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AMD Releases Catalyst 13.2 Beta Targeting Crysis 3 MP Beta, Frame Latency Issues

Hot on the heels of NVIDIA's GeForce 313.95 Beta drivers, AMD launched Catalyst 13.2 Beta, targeting EA's release of Crysis 3 multiplayer open-beta. The driver improves performance by up to 15 percent, but in highly specific scenarios, vaguely put by AMD as "in high MSAA cases." There is no general performance improvement announced, but that future Catalyst releases could address performance. Catalyst 13.2 Beta also addresses frame latency issues related to three titles, TES5: Skyrim, Boderlands 2, and Guild Wars 2. Single GPU performance for Devil May Cry is improved by up to 50 percent. CrossFire systems running Crysis 2 could see a 10 percent performance improvement. Lastly, a texture-flickering issue seen with DirectX 9.0c applications is resolved.

DOWNLOAD: AMD Catalyst 13.2 Beta

AMD Catalyst 12.8 WHQL Software Suite Released

AMD released the first WHQL-signed Catalyst drivers since June. Catalyst 12.8 WHQL is the first unified Catalyst driver certified for Windows 8, its release follows the RTM version of the operating system being available to enterprise and industry customers, ahead of the October 26 consumer retail launch. The driver introduces target-independent rasterization (TIR), an efficient new Direct3D rendering path. The driver also works to improve GPU power consumption. A suite of Windows 8-exclusive features, including native stereo 3D support and unified video API are included. Catalyst 12.8 WHQL also introduces performance-improvements specific to games, including up to 25% performance increase in Elder Scrolls: Skyrim, 10% in Dirt 3, 6% in Batman: Arkham City, and 3% in Battlefield 3. Several game-specific bugs were patched.

DOWNLOAD: AMD Catalyst 12.8 WHQL for Windows Vista, 7 and 8 (64-bit), Windows Vista, 7 and 8 (32-bit), Windows XP (32-bit), Windows XP (64-bit)

The change-log follows.

GeForce GT 640M Benchmarked

On the sidelines of GeForce GTX 680, NVIDIA is working on a fast, cheap, and energy-efficient performance GPU for notebooks, and it's already scoring design wins by the bunches, with notebook manufacturers. PC Perspective got its hands on an Acer Aspire M3 notebook equipped with this chip, and pitted it against notebooks equipped with AMD Radeon HD 6990M, Radeon HD 6720G2, and NVIDIA's own GeForce GT 555M. Intel HD 3000 graphics was also thrown into the cage, for science.

All game tests were run at 1366x768 pixels resolution. With 3DMark 06 and DOW 2: Retribution, the GT 640M seemed to be lagging behind the GT 555M, but managed to edge past it, with 3DMark 11, and Battlefield 3. Five of the most popular, current game titles, Battlefield 3, The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim, Deus Ex: Human Revolution, and Batman: Arkham City, were found to be playable at the said resolution, with average frame-rates well over 35 FPS. Find more results at the source.

Source: PCPerspective

Portal 2 Bags GDC Honors, Skyrim GOTY, Battlefield 3 Beats Crysis 2 at Technology

Portal 2 and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim won big at the Game Developers Choice. Bethesda's smash-hit title bagged the coveted "Game of the Year" (GOTY) title, while Portal 2 bagged three top honors, winning "Best Narrative", "Best Game Design", and "Best Audio".

The year 2011 also saw the raising of the technology bar with two new game engines, CryEngine 3 from Crytek, and Frostbite 2 from EA-DICE. The two were implemented in flagship titles, Crysis 2 and Battlefield 3, respectively; both of which were published by EA. In the end, Battlefield 3 won "Best Technology". "Best Visual Arts", however, went to Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception.



A list of top honors follows.

SKYRIM and Fallout 3 Conceptual Artist Adam Adamowicz Has Passed.

Yesterday the creative mind behind SKYRIM and Fallout 3, Adam Adamowicz fell in his battle with cancer. Mr. Adamowicz was the lead artist behind the entire artistic concept of the two modern day gaming masterpieces Fallout 3 and SKYRIM, giving those worlds life and personality. Everything from coin operated fallout shelters to dragons atop snowy peaks was first visualized and created in the mind of Adam Adamowicz.

Skyrim PC beta patch 1.4 now on Steam

Today Shacknews is reporting a new beta patch available on Steam. This is what they had to say, "Covering its back and yours, Bethesda recommends that you only install the patch if you're affected by issues fixed in the patch, and that you backed up your saved games before installing the beta. If you're still ploughing ahead with it, here's what to do:

1. Log into Steam
2. Click on Steam in the upper menu
3. Select Settings
4. Under the Account tab, go to the Beta Participation section and select Change.
5. A drop down menu will appear. Select Skyrim Beta.
6. Select OK.

Steam will now restart. After Steam restarts, Skyrim will be updated to the Beta version currently available.

The beta patch adds an option for Skyrim's Steam Workshop, a portal which will allow mod makers to upload their creations directly to Steam, but the Workshop won't work it and the mod Creation Kit actually launch later this month."

A list of changes can be found here.Source: ShackNews

Xbox 360 Most Popular Games Of 2011

Microsoft has revealed the top 20 most popular games played on the Xbox 360 in 2011 based on numbers of unique users logged into Xbox LIVE (Silver and Gold members). Note that this gives a different result to the total playtime for a particular game, which has not been disclosed here. Unsurprisingly, the Call of Duty series dominates the chart, but what is sure to irk CoD detractors, but make fans very happy, is that a massive five of those positions are taken up by CoD – that's 25% of the rankings. Even CoD4: Modern Warfare which was released way back in 2007 sits at a very respectable number 14. However, top games Battlefield 3 and Skyrim did very well nonetheless, sitting at five and six respectively, with only Halo beating them at number 4. Can you guess which CoD game hit the top spot before looking at the chart?

The Most Pirated Games of 2011

Today Kotaku is reporting the top 5 games pirated for major platforms this year according to TorrentFreak. As usual the PC platform is the most guilty almost doubling in pirated copies then its competitors.

Some of the titles listed are not surprising but the lack of a certain title filled with dragon slaying is. Why Skyrim didn't make the top five is anyone's guess. Either Steam is in fact the most user friendly DRM or people just love Skyrim. Either way this is just a small glimpse into the world of pirated software.

Top Five Pirated PC Games

1. Crysis 2 (3,920,000) (March 2011)
2. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (3,650,000) (November 2011)
3. Battlefield 3 (3,510,000) (October 2011)
4. FIFA 12 (3,390,000) (September 2011)
5. Portal 2 (3,240,000) (April 2011)Source: Kotaku

Christmas Special: The PC Technology of 2011

Welcome to the TechPowerUp 2011 PC technology Christmas special. We hope that you will enjoy reading it while tucking into your turkey, Christmas presents and a little too much wine... In this article, we go through the technology of 2011 that has had the most significance, the most impact and was generally the most talked about. It's not necessarily the best tech of 2011 which is the most significant though, since lemons can be just as significant as the ground-breakers in how they fail to deliver - and the backlash that goes with it.

January: Intel Sandy Bridge i5 & i7

Released on January 9th, the new Intel Core i5 & i7 processors were based on Intel's second generation Core architecture built on a 32 nm production process (HEXUS review). They included an IGP (Integrated Graphics Processor) physically on the same piece of silicon along with HyperThreading. These new dual and quad core processors soundly beat all previous generations of Intel processors in terms of processing performance, heat, power use, features and left AMD in the dust. Therefore, Intel badly needed some competition from AMD and unless you have been living under a rock, you will know how that turned out in October with the launch of Bulldozer. Sandy Bridge was a sound win and is generally considered to be the only architecture worth considering at this point. The i5-2500K is currently at the sweet spot of price/performance. It comes at a stock speed of 3.3 GHz, but typically overclocks to an amazing 4.5 - 5 GHz with a decent air cooler and without too much difficulty in getting there. Models in the budget i3 range were released at various times later. See this Wikipedia article for details.

Skyrim becomes 'Fastest Selling Title in Steam’s History'

It should come as no surprise that Skyrim would be a popular game for the PC platform. However not many people would have ever guessed it would surpass Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 in PC sales. On Thursday that became a fact as Jason Holtman, Director of Business Development at Valve Corporation confirmed to IndustryGamers in a candid interview. He is quoted as saying,
“Skyrim is the fastest selling title in Steam's history,” said Jason Holtman, Director of Business Development at Valve Corporation. “Bethesda’s commitment to and understanding of the PC as a gaming platform shows in the great review scores, spectacular launch, and continued high player numbers that Skyrim has received. We are delighted that Bethesda chose to use Steamworks to support Skyrim both at retail and digitally.”
Considering the Call of Duty franchise has been a SteamWorks distributed game for the PC since Modern Warfare 2, it says a lot for Skyrim's popularity on the platform. As a matter of fact, one could say Call of Duty was on its way to being the best selling game ever on the PC......until it took an arrow to the knee.

Source: IndustryGamers
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