News Posts matching #Microsoft Store

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AMD RDNA2 Graphics Architecture Features AV1 Decode Hardware-Acceleration

AMD's RDNA2 graphics architecture features hardware-accelerated decoding of the AV1 video format, according to a Microsoft blog announcing the format's integration with Windows 10. The blog mentions the three latest graphics architectures among those that support accelerated decoding of the format—Intel Gen12 Iris Xe, NVIDIA RTX 30-series "Ampere," and AMD RX 6000-series "RDNA2." The AV1 format is being actively promoted by major hardware vendors to online streaming content providers, as it offers 50% better compression than the prevalent H.264 (translating into that much bandwidth savings), and 20% better compression than VP9. You don't need these GPUs to use AV1, anyone can use it with Windows 10 (version 1909 or later), by installing the AV1 Video Extension from the Microsoft Store. The codec will use software (CPU) decode in the absence of hardware acceleration.

Microsoft Announces Overhauled Microsoft Store on Xbox

Microsoft has recently announced a completely rebuilt store for Xbox One. The new Microsoft Store on Xbox has been designed to be run twice as fast as before with launch times of under two seconds. The store has gained a new navigation system which makes it easier to find specific content along with a revamped search feature that offers more filter options. The wish list and checkout features have been updated to increase transparency and help keep track of game pricing. The new store also incorporates advanced safety features which ensure potentially inappropriate content is hidden for child and content restricted accounts. The new Microsoft Store on Xbox will be progressively rolling out to Xbox Insiders starting August 5 before a complete rollout this fall.

Microsoft Moves to Permanently Close Physical Shops

Microsoft has decided to revamp their customer interaction priorities. The company has recently announced they will be closing off all Microsoft physical stores and doubling down on its digital storefronts - the company is looking to start offering new services such as one-on-one videochats, where customers can converse with Microsoft employees when making a purchase - effectively digitizing one of the salient aspects of brick-and-mortar stores. Stores which have been closed since March this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The decision rolls back o Microsoft's continued work on deploying physical spaces where its products can be admired, touched, and tested by prospective buyers. It looked like Microsoft was looking to recreate the Apple Store experience - adding a more premium, more personal touch to their products. However, physical stores are both more expensive to upkeep and vulnerable to more liabilities than digital-only storefronts, and it seems Microsoft has decided the stores just weren't cutting, whether financially or in brand image. No mention on layoffs was made by Microsoft in the announcement, so it seems that most of these workers will be moving on to other endeavors inside the company - likely some of them to the aforementioned 1:1 digital shop customer service. Just another step in an increasingly digital world. The closing of Microsoft Store physical locations will result in a pre-tax charge of approximately $450M, or $0.05 per share, to be recorded in the current quarter ending June 30, 2020.

Microsoft Announces new Widgets for Xbox Game Bar on PC

As part of the Inside Xbox event which was held yesterday, Microsoft revealed the addition of several new third party widgets for the Xbox Game Bar from the likes of Razer, XSplit and Intel. Several more companies are also in talks with Microsoft to add apps to Xbox Game Bar, this follows the successful release of a Spotify integration earlier.

Since we introduced Xbox Game Bar, we've continually evolved it in partnership with you: our community. From simple video capture, to quick access to audio settings, to seamless listening with Spotify, to providing an FPS counter, we've kept PC Gamers at the center of everything we do. This philosophy is the driving force behind the updates we're announcing today.

TechPowerUp Releases NVCleanstall 1.3.0

TechPowerUp today released the latest update to NVCleanstall, our lightweight utility that lets you heavily customize your NVIDIA GeForce software installation, letting you choose not to install a lot more components than what NVIDIA's installer allows. You can disable installation of components you probably don't need, such as telemetry. Version 1.3.0 introduces the ability to install the NVIDIA Control Panel app from Microsoft Store without needing to log-in with a Microsoft account, for the DCH version of GeForce Software. This is particularly useful for those using the DCH version of GeForce software without wanting to log into Microsoft Store.

TechPowerUp NVCleanstall Version 1.3.0 also introduces a tweak that makes the driver use message-signaled interrupts (MSI). We have reorganized the user interface to move a large selection of advanced tweaks to their own page. As part of the driver customization process, you can make advanced tweaks in this page, or move on to building your custom driver package. We've also added the ability for you to drag-and-drop downloaded driver files onto NVCleanstall for them to be used as installer source. Lastly, we fixed background driver update check not getting disabled when its checkbox is unchecked. Grab NVCleanstall from the link below.

DOWNLOAD: TechPowerUp NVCleanstall 1.3.0
The change-log follows.

Dell Technologies Launches New Era of PCs and Displays with 5G, AI, and Premium Design

Dell Technologies today unveiled new products and software across its premium Latitude, XPS and displays portfolios to help people innovate, collaborate and accomplish more in the next decade. Featuring artificial intelligence (AI), 5G and innovative design, the latest Dell Technologies' PCs and displays make work and play more seamless, intelligent and enjoyable.

"The PC industry has never been more vibrant with built-in AI, 5G and the best design we've ever seen, all to help make our lives easier and more fulfilled," said Sam Burd, president of Dell Client Solutions Group. "What's exciting to me is that, with all of the cool news we'll see come out of CES next week, the PC plays a central role in helping people innovate, influence and achieve more."

Microsoft Reconsiders: No More Forced Updates in Windows 10

One of the big no-nos for some users looking to upgrade do Windows 10 was the fact that Microsoft enforced constant, 6-month update cycles independent of whether users wanted them or not. This move was done to streamline the update process and keep all users at parity when it comes to important security and feature updates that Microsoft considered relevant. However, it seems Microsoft is now abandoning this practice, which means that users that like to know exactly what is being changed in their systems - and at a time of their convenience - now have one less reason to not upgrade.

Not only will Windows no longer push updates inadvertently, now home users will also have the ability to not only pause updates, but also remove them. There's a caveat, though - you won't be able to postpone feature updates forever. As it stands, Microsoft has an 18 month "end of life" period for major Windows 10 versions, which means that after your 18 months of postponing updates are up (and all of the kinks have been ironed out), you PC will still update to the latest version. There are some other details, which I will transcribe from the Microsoft blog post for your perusal.

Maxon Offers Cinebench R20 Direct Download -Microsoft Store Not Required

Originally Cinebench R20 was released to the Microsoft Store which as you can probably guess caused a bit of negative PR for Maxon due to the benchmarks popularity within the enthusiast community. What really seemed to fuel the fire was the fact it was always freely distributed just about everywhere even here on TechPowerUp. Fast forward to the latest release and with it being locked to a digital walled garden of sorts really didn't sit too well within the community. However, it did not take long for enterprising enthusiasts to discover you could make it standalone.

This prompted Maxon to request the hosted files be taken down which generated quite the discussion within our own forums both for and against the move. Yet in the end, Maxon's reasoning behind their decision still remains a bit perplexing and with little clarity. Even more so now as the company has released there very own standalone version. Which leads us to wonder why they went about doing things in this circuitous manner in the first place. Still, this standalone release will likely be met with much more fanfare, well that is if the download link pointed to the right files. Currently, the official download page will direct users to a Mac .dmg file, which seems to be a copy and paste mistake. We figured out the correct link, it's listed below.
Download: Maxon Cinebench R20

Maxon Sends Legal Threats to PC Enthusiast Websites Hosting Portable Cinebench R20 Downloads

Maxon last week week posted its Cinebench R20 CPU benchmark. Breaking convention, the company behind rendering software such as Cinema 4D R20, did not host the installer of Cinebench R20 on its own website. Instead, the software is being exclusively distributed through Microsoft Store (for Windows) and Apple App Store (for the MacOS platform). Several reputable PC enthusiast websites such as Guru3D and us, were bombarded by comments from their readers that they didn't like having to get their Cinebench R20 copy from "walled garden DRM platforms," and instead preferred portable versions of the software. Cinebench R20 is freeware, and so with good intentions, many PC enthusiast websites decided to build portable versions of Cinebench R20 that people can just unzip and run. Maxon did not take kindly to this.

Guru3D received legal threats from Maxon to take down their download hosting of Cinebench R20 portable. Facing these threats, Guru3D took down their download and amended their news articles with links to the Microsoft DRM store. The e-mail we received politely asked us to remove the "unauthorized download" but did include a threat that the company "reserves the next legal steps." We believe this behavior by Maxon is unfair, and will alienate a section of PC enthusiasts form Cinebench. No record-seeking PC enthusiast with an LN2 bench painstakingly set up has time to plug their machine to the Internet, launch the UWP store, evade attempts to get them to log in with a Microsoft account, and fetch Cinebench R20 with versions they have no control over. They'd rather install and run their benchmarks and tools off a flash drive, with control over versions, and the ability to keep their machines offline to stabilize their overclock. Many others simply hate DRM platforms for freeware. TechPowerUp has since taken down Cinebench R20 portable from its Downloads section. You can find it on Microsoft UWP Store.

Maxon Releases Cinebench R20 Benchmark

Maxon Tuesday unveiled its Cinebench R20 benchmark designed to test CPU performance at photorealistic rendering using the company's Cinema 4D R20 technology. The benchmark runs on any PC with at least 4 GB of memory and SSE3 instruction-set support, although it can scale across any number of cores, memory, and supports exotic new instruction-sets such as AVX2. Maxon describes Cinebench R20 as using four times the memory, and eight times the CPU computational power as Cinebench R15. The benchmark implements Intel Embree ray-tracing engine. Maxon is distributing Cinebench R20 exclusively through the Microsoft Store on the Windows platform.

Unlike its predecessor, Cinebench R20 lacks a GPU test. The CPU test scales by the number of CPU cores and SMT units available. It consists of a tiled rendering of a studio apartment living room scene by Render Baron, which includes ray-traced elements, high resolution textures, illumination, and reflections. The number of logical processors available determines the number of rendering instances. The benchmark does indeed have a large memory footprint, and rewards HTT or SMT and high clock-speeds, as our own quick test shows. A 4-core/8-thread Core i7-7700K beats our Core i5-9400F 6-core/6-thread processor.

Update (11th March): We have removed the portable version download at Maxon's request.
DOWNLOAD: Maxon Cinebench R20 (Microsoft Store)

Square Enix Puts Final Fantasy XV Up for Pre-order and Releases Benchmark Tool

Final Fantasy XV Windows Edition will be released on March 6, but hardcore fans can pre-order the game now through Steam, Origin, or the Microsoft Store. The $49.99 price tag remains the same independent of the place of purchase. However, the preorder bonus differs hugely. Consumers who pre-order through Steam will receive the "FFXV Fashion Collection" which contains a collection of four t-shirts with different buffs for Noctis to wear. The buffs include strength enhancement, HP recovery rate acceleration, critical hit rate boost, and maximum HP increase. Microsoft Store preorders, on the other hand, come with a "FFXV Powerup pack" that provides players with a sleek Dodanuki sword which reduces enemy defense with each slash, 10 phoenix downs, and 10 elixirs. Origin seems to draw the short straw this time around. The Origin preorder bonus is the "FFXV Decal Selection" comprised of different decals to modify the cosmetics of the Regalia car.

Square Enix has graciously released a benchmark application to help future Final Fantasy XV Windows Edition players configure the game to get the best performance out of their systems. The zip file weighs around 3.37 GB and is available for download right here at TechPowerUp, or, if you don't like our servers for some unfathomable reason... from the developer's website. The benchmark only runs on 64-bit versions of Windows and requires Microsoft .NET Framework 4.6 to be present on the system. Users also need to have a graphics card that supports DirectX 11 and a monitor with a minimum resolution of 1280 x 720. Unfortunately, NVIDIA SLI and AMD Crossfire configurations are not supported at this time. The application lets users choose between the Lite, Standard, and High quality presets and resolutions from 1280 x 720, 1920 x 1080 to 3840 x 2160. The entire run takes around 6 minutes and 30 seconds. The score and performance evaluation are provided at the end of the run.

Microsoft to Introduce Telemetry Data Viewer for Windows

Remember all that talk and noise regarding Microsoft's "automagical" telemetry data collection, and how that spurred the company to create a "telemetry-less" version of its Windows 10 operating system for the Chinese market? It seems Microsoft is keen to keep giving users more information on exactly what information is gathered and when - slowly but assuredly striving for greater transparency, and looking to garner increased trust from consumers and enterprises alike.

The much awaited capability is being baked in to the next major Windows 10 release, and Microsoft is giving Windows Insiders an early preview of the Windows Diagnostic Data Viewer utility. Adding to this new utility are some changes to the Microsoft Privacy Dashboard that will enable users to see and manage more data associated with their Microsoft accounts. Available to everyone in the Microsoft Store, the Diagnostic Data Viewer is separate from the Microsoft Privacy Dashboard, and "allows you to see, search, and take action with your diagnostic data." It's not clear yet what sort of telemetry features users will be able to stop Microsoft from collecting, if any. However, at least now you'll be able to look at exactly which processes and services are collecting data form your system. The diagnostic data that will be viewable in the new utility follows.

Injustice 2 Available for $50 on Steam and Windows Store

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and DC Entertainment today announced that the top-selling and critically acclaimed videogame Injustice2 is available now for PC via Steam and the Microsoft Store. Originally developed by NetherRealm Studios, Injustice2 has been adapted for PC by QLOC and will allow PC players to experience the super-powered hit game featuring Justice League characters Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, The Flash and Cyborg, as well as other iconic DC characters such as Harley Quinn and Green Arrow.

All DLC currently available for Injustice2 on consoles (Red Hood, Sub Zero, Starfire, Black Manta, and Raiden) are available now for the PC version through the PC Injustice 2 Ultimate Edition, Injustice 2 Ultimate Pack, or Fighter Pack #1 and Fighter Pack #2. The latest Hellboy DLC, released today for PlayStation4, Xbox One X, and Xbox One, will be available at a later date.
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