Our utilities update report is a list of updates for Mac utilities that have been released in the past week. Though a utility can be any tool that helps you perform a routine task (including image manipulation and synchronization), our focus in this column is on bringing you those tools that help in troubleshooting Mac hardware and software problems. This week we have had updates to a couple of maintenance tools, a few process management tools, a number of filesystem and file management tools, and a benchmarking suite.
Both Intel and AMD, the two main companies that make the vast majority of computer processors, have new platforms for 2011. AMD's Fusion and Intel's second-generation Core i-series (formerly code-named Sandy Bridge) share a common goal: to package improved integrated graphics on the chipset that work much better than the previous generation, making it possible to play better games and stream more HD content without the need for a dedicated video card.
For most people, computers with integrated graphics are the default, because they cost less. Unless you're a serious tech enthusiast, you don't want to … Read more
One of our goals here in CNET Labs is to keep PC benchmark testing current. This does not come without its challenges. One good example of the process is our recent work on a new Photoshop CS5 benchmark.
First, a little background. We are sometimes asked why we don't use off-the-shelf benchmark apps such as 3DMark or Sysmark. These software packages are popular benchmarking tools, but they're synthetic benchmarks, in that they represent performance in a series of proprietary tasks, not commonly used consumer software. Those kinds of tests certainly have value--for example, we currently use Cinebench 11.… Read more
Facebook has released a benchmark designed to help developers test just how powerful desktop and mobile browsers are at running a new generation of games built with a new generation of Web standards.
The result is faster-loading pages, more powerful Web applications, and another round in the browser performance competition with Microsoft's Internet Explorer, Mozilla's Firefox, Apple's Safari, and Opera.
Our utilities update report is a list of updates for Mac utilities that have been released in the past week. Though a utility can be any tool that helps you perform a routine task (including image manipulation and synchronization), our focus in this column is to bring you those tools that help in troubleshooting Mac hardware and software problems. This week there are updates for maintenance and benchmarking utilities, as well as a couple of filesystem utilities.
Pentax has leaped to a commanding lead over many rivals when it comes to image sensor performance with its latest high-end SLR, the K-5.
That is a notable sixth-place ranking of all the cameras on DxO Labs' list, especially because the top 5 cameras are pro models costing thousands of dollars more than the K-5. The result came, in large measure, from the K-5 sensor's excellent dynamic range, a measure of its ability to capture details in both bright and dark areas of an image.
The K-5's Sony-built sensor spans a notable range of 14.1 exposure values at ISO 80, trouncing direct rivals such as the 11.7 of Canon's 7D and 12.2 of Nikon's older D300s. That score is all the more notable given that the K-5 even outscores some cameras with larger full-frame sensors.
However, it's clear that there is plenty of new competition coming. Nikon's new D7000, for example, has a dynamic range of 13.9 and largely matches the K-5 through much of its ISO range. Notably, the sensor in Nikon's cheaper D7000 scores 80 on DxO's tests. Those tests, it should be noted, only measure the sensor, not countless other important camera details such as price, autofocus, lens and accessory selection, durability, performance, and user interface.
Pentax's 16.3-megapixel, $1,600 flagship camera also will face a new range of full-frame rivals for those willing to pay a significantly higher price. Canon's 5D Mark II, Nikon's D700, and Sony's A850 are relatively elderly, and it will be a surprise if their successors don't feature sensors with compelling, new image quality at their heart.
For those who want to go farther up the product pecking order, Pentax has a different answer than full-frame SLRs, whose sensors are the size of a frame of 35mm film from the the bygone days of analog cameras. Instead, Pentax is selling its medium-format 645D camera, initially in Japan but also in Europe and the United States by the end of the year. Its sensor measures 44x33mm, compared with 36x24mm for full-frame sensors and 23.7x15.7mm for Pentax's K-5. Larger sensors have greater light-gathering abilities, helping in particular in low-light situations, but cost much more to manufacture and require bulkier lenses and camera bodies.… Read more
Our utilities update report is a list of updates for Mac utilities that have been released in the past week. Though a utility can be any tool that helps you perform a routine task (including image manipulation and synchronization), our focus in this column is to bring you those tools that help in troubleshooting Mac hardware and software problems. This week there are updates for a couple of maintenance and data management and recovery utilities, as well as a partition manager and a reusable benchmarking suite.
It began innocently enough--a promotional blog post about Microsoft's newest version of Internet Explorer 9. But in less than a week, it became an illustration of just how rapidly misinformation moves through a hot and increasingly important corner of the software market.
The browser market was already competitive a year ago, but the arrival of IE9, currently in beta testing, has added even more energy to the competition. That's because Microsoft has placed support for a host of modern Web technologies front and center, transforming IE from a drag on the Internet into an ally in developers' efforts … Read more