We haven't heard much out of the benchmark gurus over at Futuremark in recent months, but the company has barged into headlines this week with two announcements. First up, the Finnish group has announced a new testing utility for mobile machines. More specifically, Powermark offers a new way to measure the autonomy of your Windows 7 notebooks, tablets and other battery-powered systems. The application is said to be designed for professional lab environments and offers various customizable usage scenarios.

futuremark powermark windows 3dmark

"Battery life is critical to delivering a positive user experience. Powermark helps PC industry OEMs and their suppliers strike a balance between performance and power consumption by providing a consistent, accurate and reliable testing and measurement tool created with Futuremark's deep experience in quality benchmarking software," explains CEO Jukka Mäkinen. Unfortunately for everyday users, Powermark isn't available in a free package. The "Professional Edition" includes 10 activations and is being sold for $200.

Accompanying that release, Futuremark has slipped out a new update for 3DMark 11, a 3D benchmarking suite that launched last December with support for DirectX 11 features including tessellation, compute shaders and multi-threading. The latest version (1.0.3) offers additional compatibility with current and future processors and graphics chips, improved error handling and messages, a manual GPU selection option in the Help tab, as well as a new "More" tab with info about Futuremark's other testing software.

A part of the improved compatibility stems from an update to the SystemInfo module, which has received an updated CPUID SDK, new security measures against benchmark result file tampering and better system scanning components to resolve reported compatibility issues. You can grab the free Basic Edition of 3DMark 11 from our download section. If you need more control over the testing profiles, you'll have to spring for the $20 Advanced Edition (speaking of which, its activation now requires an online key verification).