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Windows 8 vs. Windows 7 Benchmarks: Microsoft's Latest OS Put to the Test

Back when Vista first arrived I remember comparing how it performed to XP and being extremely disappointed with the results. Vista was generally rough around the edges and that included drivers, so gaming and productivity applications were more often than not slower in the new OS. Microsoft's PR machine has been hard at work over the past few months, trying to explain the numerous improvements Windows 8 has received on the backend. The good news is that it shows.

For comparing Windows 7 and Windows 8 we will measure and test the performance of various aspects of the operating system including: boot up and shutdown times, file copying, encoding, browsing, gaming and some synthetic benchmarks.

The Portable Workstation Benchmark: MacBook Pro with Retina Display Review

Apple’s coveted Retina display has finally found its way to a full-size notebook courtesy of the latest MacBook Pro. In addition, there’s an entirely reworked chassis that’s nearly as thin as the MacBook Air and weighs more than a pound less than the standard Pro. Customers can also configure a Retina system with up to 16GB of RAM and 768GB of flash storage, versus a maximum of 8GB of RAM and 512GB of solid state storage on a standard Pro.

But hey, who are we kidding, the only reason that most people are going to dish over the extra cash for Apple’s latest and greatest is the 2880 x 1800 resolution goodness of the Retina display. And I’ll go ahead and let you in a little secret: it’s a thing of beauty.

Best of Graphics Cards: Gaming at 1920x1200 and 2560x1600

A powerful graphics card is likely the most expensive component in your PC if you're a gamer, but with all current and past-gen GPUs available in the range of $100 to $500, it can be tough to pick the right solution for your needs.

In an effort to narrow things down, we're about to compare today's most relevant gaming cards that sell for $200 or more, testing them in a slew of games to see how it breaks down as we look for the best graphics cards for gaming at resolutions of 1920x1200 and 2560x1600.

Max Payne 3 Performance Tested, Benchmarked

If you've been a gamer for at least a decade, then you will recognize Max Payne as the PC third-person shooter of the early 2000s. Notable for its film noir style and use of the bullet time effect (The Matrix), Max Payne's character went on to surpass anyone's expectations with several console ports, a sequel, and a feature film adaptation in 2008.

It's been hinted that Max Payne 3 will make the most of current high-end PCs, with DirectX 11 tessellation compatibility and advanced graphics options. With that in mind we test it with 25 graphics card configurations and a range of CPUs.

Diablo III Performance Tested, Benchmarked

After 11 years in the making and more setbacks than we care to count, Blizzard has finally unleashed a third installment to its cult classic dungeon crawler.

Blizzard has somewhat of a reputation for making highly scalable titles that run on virtually any gaming rigs, so that's largely what we expect from the developer's latest offering... watch us beat the hell out of Diablo III with today's finest hardware.

Tribes: Ascend Tested, Benchmarked

Considered a successor to Tribes 2, Tribes: Ascend embraces its heritage by incorporating the same fast-paced combat, tons of maps, weapons, vehicles and unique traversal mechanics.

The game is built on a modified Unreal Engine 3 and only supports DirectX 9 graphics, but the recommended specs are relatively high, calling for a GeForce GTX 560 or Radeon HD 6950 with a quad-core processor. Considering those requirements, we're hoping the game gives our test hardware a nice workout.

Mass Effect 3 Tested, Benchmarked

As you've undoubtedly heard, the third installment of BioWare's Mass Effect trilogy hit shelves last Tuesday. Being one of the year's most anticipated launches, it's no surprise to see it with an aggregate review score of over 90.

We've benchmarked Mass Effect 3 across three different resolutions with two dozen GPU configurations -- including AMD's new Radeon HD 7000 series. We'll also see how the performance scales when overclocking an eight-core FX-8150, along with benching a handful of other Intel and AMD processors.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Tested, Benchmarked

Although its popularity is undoubtedly aided by the cult-like status of the Elder Scrolls franchise, Skyrim isn't just a clone of its predecessors (we're looking at you MW3). Bethesda has made many gameplay refinements, especially to the graphics and animations -- our area of interest.

While it may not bring your PC to its knees, Skyrim promises to be the best-looking Elder Scrolls title to date with its newly developed game engine, called the "Creation Engine." As usual we have put a wide range of hardware to the test, 17 graphics cards and CPU performance comparisons await inside.

CoD: Modern Warfare 3 Tested, Benchmarked

As you've undoubtedly heard, Modern Warfare 3 launched this week and, well, what can we say? The game has reportedly sold a record 9.3 million copies in a single day.

In terms of graphical fidelity though, Infinity Ward's latest effort is about as visually appealing as its 2009 predecessor. No, I don't stutter. Unfortunately, the company has focused on optimizing the game for consoles while ignoring PC development for the last five years. If you're itching to see how your DirectX 10 or 11 GPU handles a DX9 engine, then maybe MW3 has something to offer you.

Battlefield 3 Benchmarked, GPU and CPU Performance Tested

Earlier this month we checked out the beta version of Battlefield 3 to see how it played on a range of DirectX 11 graphics cards. The results were concerning as even the latest and greatest graphics cards struggled, especially those who planned to enjoy the game in all of its visual glory.

The good news is that only one month later reviewers are finding the final game to be quite enjoyable and considerably more polished than the beta. Today we'll take a peak at what's required to play Battlefield 3 as we test a number of GPU and CPU configurations.

Hard Reset Benchmarked: Graphics & CPU Tested

Newcomer 'Flying Wild Hog' has been secretly working on an early Christmas present for PC gamers, the game is called Hard Reset. Some of you may have already heard of it, as a 1GB playable demo was released last week out of nowhere.

Hard Reset is incredibly fun to play, moreover the game looks impressive, featuring quality graphics, despite it's a DX9 only title. Let’s move on to see how we tested the game.

Deus Ex: Human Revolution Performance Test

After many years of waiting the third installment of the Deus Ex series has finally arrived, and most important of all, the game appears to be every bit as good as its predecessors.

In other good news, Deus Ex: Human Revolution could very well be a game capable of fully utilizing the power and features of today’s high-end graphics cards. Such games have become increasingly rare and with the exception of just a select few, most of the games we have run performance tests on this year have been shameful console ports that would struggle to max out a tablet PC.

Download of the Week: PCMark 7

Download of the Week: PCMark 7

After a short delay, Futuremark has delivered the next major release of its PCMark full-system benchmarking tool for Windows 7. The newest version, PCMark 7, was designed taking modern hardware into account, including solid-state drives, CPUs with integrated graphics and…

Crysis 2 GPU & CPU Performance Test

The highly anticipated sequel to Crysis is finally here. Despite the few shortcomings we didn't expect to see on the PC version, like its lack of DX11 rendering at launch, the game looks gorgeous and appears to be quite a lot of fun regardless.

Now the question that remains to be answered is how demanding Crysis 2 is on PC hardware? Can it bring the most power hungry rigs to their knees as the original game did? Today we plan to find out as we run a wide range of processors and graphics cards through the gauntlet.