News Posts matching "UWP"

Return to Keyword Browsing

Several Gen11 GPU Variants Referenced in Latest Intel Drivers

The latest version of Intel Graphics drivers which introduce the company's latest UWP-based Graphics Command Center app, hide another secret in their INF. The file has pointers to dozens of variants and implementations of the company's next-generation Gen11 integrated graphics architecture, which we detailed in a recent article. Intel will implement Gen11 on two key processor microarchitectures, "Ice Lake" and "Lakefield," although later down the line, the graphics technology could trickle down to low-power Pentium Silver and Celeron SoC lines, too, with chips based on the "Elkhart Lake" silicon.

There are 13 variants of Gen11 on "Ice Lake," carved using execution unit (EU) count, and LP (low-power) aggressive power management. The mainstream desktop processors based on "Ice Lake," which are least restrained in power-management, get the most powerful variants of Gen11 under the Iris Plus brand. Iris Plus Graphics 950 is the most powerful implementation, with all 64 EUs enabled, and the highest GPU clock speeds. This variant could feature on Core i7 and Core i9 brands derived from "Ice Lake." Next up, is the Iris Plus Graphics 940, with the same EU count, but likely lower clock speeds, which could feature across the vast lineup of Core i5 SKUs. The Iris Plus 930 comes in two trims based on EU count, of 64 and 48, and could likely be spread across the Core i3 lineup. Lastly, there's the Iris Plus 920 with 32 EUs, which could be found in Pentium Gold SKUs. There are various SKUs branded "UHD Graphics Gen11 LP," with EU counts ranging from 32 to 64.

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)

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.

Denuvo 5.6, Used in Both Metro Exodus and Far Cry New Dawn, Cracked in Five Days; UWP for Crackdown 3 Bypassed

New game releases with newly-revamped Denuvo protection, and new cracked versions of those games - all in less than five days after release. For now, only Metro Exodus is cracked, though the fact that Far Cry New Dawn makes use of the same version does little to inspire confidence in its continued resistance. The tale is becoming older and older, and the question in most anyone's mind is whether there is actually any financial incentive for developers/publishers to go after Denuvo's protections against cheaper option, because it seems that Denuvo is failing to guarantee even that brief time-window that is always brought about when it comes to new game releases.

Most Denuvo-protected games have been cracked in less than a week after release, and things haven't been improving for some time now. Whether or not it makes sense to keep a team of software engineers working on such a product is also a question that would be well-posed to Denuvo. But not only Denuvo and its DRM solutions are falling short, since it seems that Microsoft's own UWP-protected Crackdown 3, which finally released after a very early 2015 reveal, has also been cracked.

NVIDIA Releases GeForce 418.81 WHQL Software

NVIDIA today released GeForce 418.81 WHQL software. The drivers add support for mobile versions of GeForce RTX 20-series GPUs. The desktop version adds optimization for 3DMark Port Royal benchmark, in addition to its DLSS (deep learning supersampling) AA setting. The drivers add or improve NVIDIA SLI support for "Anthem," "Assetto Corsa Competizione," "Battlefleet Gothic: Armada 2," "Life is strange Season 2," "NBA 2K19," and "Space Hulk Tactics." CUDA version 10 is included with these drivers.

Among the issues fixed are HDR not being enabled by default in Gamestream when an HDR display is connected to the client and PC. 3D performance and frame-rate overlays accidentally appearing on Twitter UWP app is fixed. Random flickering in games with G-Sync enabled is fixed. Also fixed is a strange issue in which when a G-Sync display (one with NVIDIA G-Sync hardware) is hotplugged, and a G-Sync Compatible (read: VESA Adaptive Sync) display is connected, the right half of the G-Sync display goes blank. Grab the drivers from the link below.
DOWNLOAD: NVIDIA GeForce 418.81 WHQL

ChromeOS-competitor Windows Lite to Feature a Reimagined UI, Chucks "Metro" Live Tiles

Windows Lite is a new upcoming PC operating system by Microsoft designed as a competitor to Google's ChromeOS, and being designed for machines with extremely slim hardware specifications. The OS could also target devices that work as "edge computers," with much of their processing being performed over the cloud. ChromeOS beats the bloated Windows 10 in one key department - a lightweight and uncluttered user-interface. This is the area where much of Microsoft's design efforts lie - UI elements and graphics that are lightweight not just on memory, but also Internet bandwidth, if the device is streaming a remote session (a la Citrix). Below is a concept by UX designer Jay Machalani.

The Windows Lite desktop looks familiar, with a taskbar and app buttons, and a Start menu, but one that's been redesigned without live tiles, but a simple list of icons. At this point it's unclear just how far Microsoft intends to go with the lightweight OS concept without cannibalizing sales of Windows 10 Home. The OS definitely features UWP, and from the looks of the screenshot doing rounds, also appears to support legacy Win32 apps, however, Microsoft has in the past restricted functionality of its cheapest OS products so as to not kill pricier Windows versions. Microsoft is innovating two brand new Windows user-interfaces for launches through 2019-2020, codenamed "Polaris" and "Andromeda."

Could Microsoft and Steam be Looking Into Enabling Crossplay Between Services?

Crossplay has become an interesting point of contention for the industry, with some very popular games and companies advocating for a unified, non-fractured player audience enjoying their games across different media consumption screens, and even gaming platforms. Microsoft has been pushing this kind of capability for some time now, launching their Xbox Play Anywhere initiative which aims to bring PC, Xbox (or both) gamers to parity - acquiring a game on one platform equals having it on both, with all game data being synced.

A new update in the Steam beta update code explicitly refers to Xbox, with an "Xbox_pairwise_id" being present, which could point towards exploration of a future feature. Microsoft adding keyboard and mouse support to their Xbox consoles, news of a new streaming-based console for Microsoft's xCloud efforts, and Steam already offering controller support are some of the little details that could make this a winning bet for both companies.

PSA: "NVIDIA Installer cannot continue" on Windows October 2018 Update and How To Fix It

For those doing a fresh install of Microsoft's latest Windows 10 operating system (version 1809 October 2018 Update), you may encounter an issue with NVIDIA graphics drivers. Namely, a message may pop up when you install the graphics driver, telling you "The standard NVIDIA graphics driver is not compatible with this version of Windows". The issue is caused by the operating system automatically installing the GeForce 398.36 DCH graphics driver through Windows Update, immediately after first log-on. DCH drivers are also known as "Universal Windows Driver", "UWD", "DCHU", and "Declarative, Componentized, Hardware Support App", and leverage the Windows UWP platform for driver control panels while promising simpler updates and maintainability.

If networking is available during the Windows 10 installation, the operating system will automatically look for a graphics driver on Windows Update, which is a good thing, as it simplifies the setup process for the majority of users. At this point, everything will appear to be fine, however, once you attempt to update from that driver to the newest version from NVIDIA's driver download page, the error will appear. This is highly frustrating for some users, who have been reporting the issue on several online forums, including NVIDIA's own, with little attention paid thus far from their developers. We encountered the problem ourselves today, during the setup of our 2019 SSD review benchmarking install and got motivated to investigate this further.

Intel Introduces Universal Windows Drivers (UWD) Compliant Software

Microsoft is changing the way that hardware drivers work on the Universal Windows Platform (UWP), Windows 10 (and later), and Microsoft Windows Server 2019 (and later). Hardware running on these operating systems can use Windows Modern Drivers (also known as Universal Windows Drivers - UWDs). Note that Microsoft requires the use of Windows Modern Drivers for Windows 10 1809 (RS5) and later. Intel will begin distributing Windows Modern Drivers for its products beginning in November 2018.

As of November 2018, any driver updates for Intel products on these operating systems will be the Windows Modern Drivers. After a driver has been updated to a Windows Modern Driver, it's possible to roll back to a legacy driver. However, rolling back isn't recommended as it involves a complex process that could result in system instability. This system instability is especially pertinent to graphics drivers. You can find more information on this subject.

DOWNLOAD: Intel UWD-compliant Graphics Driver for Windows 10 v25.20.100.6444

Microsoft and Razer Collaborating on New Gaming Keyboards and Mice for Xbox

Microsoft has been in and out of the PC gaming peripherals business with its Sidewinder family, and is heavily invested in gaming with the Xbox console and its ecosystem. The company is looking to expand the functionality of the console to bring more PC-like input to the console for certain game genres that cannot be played well with a gamepad or an Xbox controller. RTS games, for example, require rapid, high-precision pointing, and dozens of macros quickly accessible via a keyboard. Microsoft seems to have decided that it's time Xbox has proper keyboard+mouse input, and so it's collaborating with Razer to design new peripherals.

Microsoft already shared the implementation plans of bringing keyboard+mouse input to the Xbox platform, with game developers earlier this year, so they could either retrofit their released titles, or develop future titles with it (and work on ports of popular RTS games that are exclusive to the PC). This includes two new APIs for the console - "Windows.Input.Devices" and "Windows.UI.Core.CoreWindow," which brings a semblance of the UWP to the console. It also proposed new multi-player matchmaking rules to ensure players with keyboards+mice don't get into lobbies with players that have controllers, and end up with an advantage in genres such as FPS. Razer's Xbox peripherals could be both cost-effective keyboards and mice sold separately from each other; or contraptions such as the Razer Turret, which combine a keyboard, mouse, and mousepad into a single, living room-friendly, wireless device that you can put on your lap. Since UWP on the Xbox also paves the way for certain non-gaming apps, one can expect Razer to bring Synapse and Chroma to the platform.

Windows 10 UWP Protection Kicks the Bucket

2018 has been an exciting year for the Warez scene so far. First, Italian group CPY circumvented Ubisoft's deadly triple protection (Uplay, Denuvo, and VMProtect) that was present in Assassin's Creed Origins. And now, the word on the street is that CODEX has successfully cracked Microsoft's Universal Windows Platform (UWP) protection found in Zoo Tycoon Ultimate Animal Collection. Unlike Denuvo's unimpressive track record for protecting games for a few months, UWP actually did a stellar job in keeping multiple Microsoft games safe for over a year. So, what's Microsoft's secret winning formula? Stick as many layers of DRM into the game as humanly possible. According to CODEX's NFO file, Zoo Tycoon Ultimate Animal Collection had as many as five different DRMs (MSStore, UWP, EAppX, XBLive, and Arxan) which made the game a pain in the neck to crack. At this moment, it's unknown whether other Microsoft titles like Forza Motorsport 7 or Gears of War 4 possess the same number of protection layers. But now that CODEX has initiated the domino effect, we'll find out soon enough.

Microsoft Ends Windows 10 S as Standalone Product, Integrates With Ecosystem

Well, that didn't take long. Microsoft's Windows 10 S push as a "lite, free" version of its Windows 10 OS that would be available for education environments free of charge has been thoroughly abandoned as a standalone product. instead, Microsoft is now looking to integrate it into existing Windows 10 versions (Home and Pro) as a sort of sleeping, to-be-activated "S Mode" which has access to updates, but only has the same features as Windows 10 S currently does - the most important, limiting of which is that the OS only runs UWP (Universal windows Platform) apps. Thus, this mode will basically limit the Operating System to a version which, according to Microsoft, enables better security and a more friendly environment for the typical usage scenarios of such lite operating systems.

Naturally, Microsoft will still offer users the chance to upgrade to full Windows versions within S Mode - at a price. Moving from Windows 10 Home S to regular Windows Home will be free, but Pro S users who want to switch to the full version of Windows 10 Pro will have to pay $49. There will be Pro S commercial versions for Value, Entry, and Small Tablet models, but not Core+ and Workstations. There has been no official word from Microsoft on these software changes, though these will likely take place on the next partner pricing change announcement hailing form the Redmond company.

Your PC Will Soon be Able to Become Local Server for Halo 5: Guardians

Microsoft has announced that a Windows UWP app will soon enable your PC to become a local server for your Halo 5: Guardians local LAN parties. this announcement comes ahead of its November 2nd release of the "Overtime" content and fix drop for Halo 5: Guardians that brings with it a plethora of fixes and 4K support for its latest XBOX One X console.

Dubbed the "Halo 5: Guardians Local Server" app, the piece of software will be available for download through the Windows store, turning your computer into a local server so XBOX One consoles in the same network can experience "easy, low-latency Halo 5: Guardians multiplayer matches." The app will also bring support for custom games loading on your server, including those created on your PC through Halo 5: Forge, which arrived on Windows 10 PCs last year. The Local Server app "provides a method for tournament organizers to set up their own events in a scenario that mirrors the environment used for professional matches. With these new options, you can create a local server similar to those used for the Halo Championship Series events, providing an ideal proving ground for everything from professional and amateur competitive teams to friendly tournaments."

Microsoft to Roll-out Anti-cheating Tech with Windows 10 Fall Creators Update

With its upcoming "Fall Creators Update" for Windows 10, Microsoft is preparing to roll out its own game anti-cheating platform, under two new technologies, TruePlay and Game Monitor. TruePlay provides a "new set of tools to combat cheating within their PC games," according to Microsoft. This is similar to VAC (Valve Anti-Cheating). From the looks of it, the TruePlay API is limited to games built for the UWP (Universal Windows Platform), such as recent additions to the Forza franchise. Game Monitor is another side of this coin. When enabled, the operating system shares system information with games to weed out cheating tools such as aimbots. Enabling it could soon become a requirement of certain online multiplayer games.

Games with TruePlay run in a "protected" (read: sandboxed) process, which mitigates a class of common cheating tools, as the game's real PID is never exposed to other processes. A separate Windows process will be on constant lookout for behaviors and manipulations that are common in cheating scenarios. Data (read: telemetry) of this process will be shared with game developers after determining that cheating could have occurred. The "Fall Creators Update" for Windows 10 is likely to be released before December.

The King is Dead; Long Live the King - MS Paint's Announced Demise

To be fair, the writing was already on the wall, in a way. It was so when Microsoft announced the introduction of a UWP app called Paint 3D. Paint 3D, which supplants Paint in a number of ways, is like the 1984-introduced app's big brother. It's meaner, faster, and thinks history is all its own. But that's fine.

So yes, Paint is dying. The prognosis: death by deprecation. Paint is being put on a "deprecated" list (which means "not in active development and might be removed in future releases" for Windows 10's latest update, the Fall Creators Update, which means that it's somewhat like Schrödinger's cat: it's in a limbo of life and death. It's not really dead, no; but at the same time, it really kind of is. "Whether you're an artist or just want to try out some doodles-Paint 3D makes it easy to unleash your creativity and bring your ideas to life. Classic Paint has been reimagined, with an updated look and feel and a ton of new brushes and tools. And now, create in every dimension. Make 2D masterpieces or 3D models that you can play with from all angles," Microsoft explains. And that's all well and good; but where is my nostalgia-factor? A small sentence lends hope to the Paint defenders out there, where Microsoft says "Paint will be available through the Windows Store." Alas, even so, it seems tales of Paint's demise weren't greatly exaggerated...

NVIDIA GeForce 384 Series Driver Removes Need for New CPUs for 4K Netflix

NVIDIA's GeForce 384 series drivers seem to have quite a few secrets, beginning with DirectX 12 API support on 5-plus year old GeForce "Fermi" GPUs, and now 4K Ultra HD support for Netflix UWP app without the need of new-generation CPUs (namely Intel "Kaby Lake," AMD "Summit Ridge," and AMD "Bristol Ridge."). The new-generation CPUs feature a host of hardware-level DRM features which the Netflix app needs to playback 4K Ultra HD content. The new GeForce 384 series drivers let you circumvent that requirement.

Reddit user aethervisor discovered that the Windows Store (UWP platform) app of Netflix could play back content at full 4K Ultra HD resolution on their machine with an older CPU and GeForce GTX 1080 graphics. New-generation CPUs had become a requirement for this to happen, besides the latest Windows 10 version, an HDCP 2.2-compliant 4K display (and no active secondary displays that don't satisfy HDCP 2.2), a powerful enough GPU, and either the UWP app or the Netflix website on Microsoft's Edge web-browser. NVIDIA struck down a big requirement that opens up Netflix 4K to a much wider user-base.

Original Xbox Game Phantom Dust Re-Releases Today - Available for Free

The original Xbox's Phantum Dust was an original, striking game, which carved itself a cult following for its original gameplay. The re-release has had a troubled development, being downgraded from full remake towards a remaster of sorts, though Microsoft says the game's assets will scale up with your system up to 4K resolution. One interesting tidbit regarding this re-release is that the original game's source-code was apparently nowhere to be found, and Microsoft thus had to reverse engineer the engine so as to be able to carry this re-release torch forward. Interesting that Microsoft would go to all this work for a game it is now releasing for free. Looks like the Redmond company really is looking out after its image in gamers' eyes.

The game is now available for the Xbox One and Windows 10 platforms, through Microsoft's UWP. This might sour the release for some of you, but why not give it a go? It's free, and it's kind of a throwback Tuesday - and the game is only 3.4 GB in size, so you won't have to be staring at Microsoft's storefront for that long. Phantom Dust is an Xbox Play Anywhere title (with cross-play between Windows 10 and Xbox One,) complete with progression syncing and roaming in-app purchases (so, Microsoft is looking to recoup some of the investment made on bringing this game back from the dead.) The game's ability system revolves around deck building mechanics, with each card representing a different skill in your character's load-out, which you can customize as you see fit.

Meet Microsoft's New Take on Windows: The Windows 10 S

The "RT" ghost is still alive in people's minds, as is particularly fluent on people's tongues whenever someone brings up Microsoft's new Windows 10 S OS. The one that limits the scope and variety of applications you can run on your own system. That forces you to go through Windows' still lackluster Store (sorry, but I've never seen such bad flow, bugs and hiccups on an app as I do in that one.)

It's only right, really - the reduced compatibility and walled-garden approach is there still, even if this one OS now isn't limited to ARM - or to x86, for that matter. This new approach now allows both UWP apps and Win32 apps which have been ported using Desktop Bridge from the store to work. However, expect Win32 apps with a native, non-ported installer to fail. Not all is bad, though: Windows has an amazing backlog for legacy hardware, software and applications, but that same legacy means it's more opened up to security vulnerabilities, and even applications which can wreak havoc on the system with excessive permissions, and unpatched issues.

Microsoft Introducing Playable Ads on its Windows Store

Windows store and its Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps have received a lukewarm response from users (to put it mildly). That said, Microsoft has been taking strides so as to lend credibility to its app store and increase awareness towards its apps, looking to garner the public's - and therefore, the developers' - attention. However, it's obvious that there is still a long way to go.

Now, Windows is looking to introduce Playable Ads on the Windows store. These aren't quite like what they sound - they aren't "playable" in the gaming sense of the word. What this is, is a renewed way for Windows users to try out the ads that Microsoft relentlessly pushes on its Windows Store, by allowing users to test apps through the Windows Store interface without having to go through the hassle of downloading them, testing them, being left wanting, and uninstalling them. With Playable Ads, users will be able to try out apps in the Windows Store interface, bypassing the need for downloads.

Microsoft Confirms Upcoming "Game Mode" on Windows 10 "Creators" Update

In a bid to improve overall gaming experience on their Windows 10 operating system, Microsoft will introduce a new feature on their next big OS update. "Game Mode" is Microsoft's take on a modern, console-like take on the CPU and GPU of any given user system, so long as they are running the as of yet upcoming "Creators" update for Windows 10.

Essentially, "Game Mode" is an optional setting which dedicates more of the available CPU and GPU resources to a given gaming application - whether on Windows' new UWP or the good-old Win32 games (though Microsoft was clear in that they expect the feature to have more of an impact on UWP games simply because "Game Mode" then has more information on the game's requirements and performance profiles). This means that less of your system's resources will be available to and used by background tasks, and should make itself visible not so much on peak frame-rates, but on a arguably more important metric: a more consistent, less "stuttery" frame-rate.

Upcoming Windows 10 Build to Feature a "Game Mode"

An upcoming build of Windows 10 operating system, build 14997, reportedly features a component ominously named "gamemode.dll." This sparked off speculation of the operating system featuring a special runlevel that's optimized for PC gaming. It's likely that in game mode, the operating system prioritizes CPU, memory, and GPU allocation to games being run, and sheds unwanted processes to free up memory.

Sources tell "Windows Central" that the game mode could allocate hardware resources to a game with the efficiency of an Xbox One console, which means only the bare minimum services needed to correctly play the game will be enabled. At this point it's unclear if the Game Mode will benefit only games built on the UWP, or even the vast Win32 ecosystem of games distributed by Steam, Origin, and UPlay.

Microsoft Out to Destroy Steam: Epic's Tim Sweeney

Tim Sweeney, a lead developer with Epic Games, behind the industry-leading Unreal game engine, once again raised concerns in a recent interview with print-magazine "Edge," that Microsoft is systematically killing digital distribution platform Steam, by deliberately eroding the reliability and longevity of the Win32 programming interface for PC versions of Windows, in favor of its UWP (universal Windows platform), through updates to the OS.

Microsoft, Sweeney argues, is carefully avoiding big changes to the way third-party software is distributed and used on Windows, but is definitely seen to be taking small strategic steps, "sneaky maneuvers," that could lead to Windows Store either monopolizing all third-party software distribution on the platform, or worse, making it the only way you can get third-party apps. The rising reliability issues affecting Steam, a Win32 API-based platform that distributes Win32 software, Sweeney claims are telltale signs of that dark future of the PC platform. Microsoft's biggest argument in favor of UWP is that software is inherently more secure, since it's sandboxed (covered in abstraction layers and virtualized by the OS) even further.
Return to Keyword Browsing