Tags Posts tagged with "Performance"

Performance

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TuneUp Utilities 2012

Every move you take on your computer adds to its workload. Downloading, uninstalling, browsing, moving, deleting. All these activities leave a trail of worthless data getting in the way of computing processes. Optimization applications can help erase the trails while keeping your machine clean, lean and mean.

TuneUp Utilities 2012 Functions

However, optimization apps can be dangerous for the everyday computer user. Some require careful decision-making before cleaning up because deleted files can mess up the registry or be something you need. Although you can do many of the cleaning activities yourself, they’re time consuming because you have to locate them in different places on your computer.

TuneUp Utilities 2012 brings everything together in one user-friendly interface. It also includes Economy and Turbo modes. Economy is for optimizing battery life and power consumption on laptops, so you can compute longer. Turbo speeds performance. Standard mode is how your computer performs without any adjustments.

The well-organized and clean TuneUp Utilities interface has five components:

  • Status & recommendations: Optimize performance for hardware, software, Internet and visual effects, fix problems and change settings for undoing TuneUp Utilities changes.
  • Optimize system: Disable programs not in use, remove unnecessary programs from startup, uninstall apps, managing Economy and Turbo modes and running individual maintenance tasks.
  • Gain disk space:  Delete unneeded files, remove old backups, turn off unwanted Windows features, find the largest data files and delete data so it can’t be restored.
  • Fix problems: Are icons showing up weird or is the taskbar invisible? Get help with fixing common programs, check hard disk for errors and restore deleted files. TuneUp Utilities has a detailed version of Windows Task Manager, the window that opens when you press Ctrl+Alt+Delete.
  • Customize Windows: Microsoft adds fancier features to Windows’ interface with every release. The older window interface was blocky, bland and hard on the eyes. The new looks cooler, but sacrifices performance and system resources. With TuneUp Utilities, you can find a happy medium between Windows performance and good looks.

TuneUp Utilities 2012

Some apps like Adobe Reader quick launch, iTunesHelper and QuickBooks default to start up so they load faster or automatically check for updates. The apps may load faster, but they affect performance even if you rarely use them. It’s easy to find where to disable startup programs in TuneUp Utilities and it also provides more information than System Configuration Utility’s Startup options tab does. Besides, we always forget how to open it. (Click Start, Run and enter “msconfig.”)

You can also disable programs that you want to keep, but only enable them when you run the program. For example, QuickBooks Pro runs a process whenever Windows boots. Disabling the app turns off the process until you actually run QuickBooks. After closing QuickBooks, TuneUp Utilities 2012 turns it off.

To see how TuneUp Utilities 2012 affects performance, we use PC Mark, AppTimer and good old-fashioned manual tracking of program load times. The answer to the big question is no. The app doesn’t improve PC performance. The results are minimal despite our best efforts to replicate all tests before and after running TuneUp Utilities 2012. This isn’t a surprise because this is often the case with most optimization apps.

While we notice little performance improvements from running TuneUp Utilities 2012, its simplicity in providing access to all optimization features saves time and cuts clutter. It also makes solid recommendations for cleanup, an area of weakness with some optimization apps. Always take care when using any optimization software in checking recommendations before accepting them.

Have you used TuneUp Utilities or other computer optimization software? How did it work out for your computer? What do you like and don’t like about it?

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Windows 7There’s much anticipation for Microsoft’s next operating system release, Windows 7. Enthusiasts are still speculating on the official launch date, and as of writing, there is no official word from Microsoft. Below is a list of new features that enthusiasts can look forward to enjoying, most of which are confirmed in the current pre-release version that is nearly at a "feature-complete" state.

User interface Features

User interface features affect nearly every user.  While it is not the most important part of an OS, user interface features often go a long way towards the impression of an OS, and will likely draw many comparisons to other Microsoft operating systems.  Windows 7 comes with a stylish end-user interface. You can expect icons to respond with quick animated movements, which is done to enhance the user experience. So far, compliments for the speed and ease of use of the user interface have been dominant for the new OS.

The desktop is clearly much cleaner and better organized, and comes with docking options that are similar to the Mac’s OS.  New applications and improvements to existing applications have been added as well. For example, you will find the calculator to be much improved and more powerful. It supports real life conversions and calculations, like weight and length converters.

If you are in the habit of placing sticky notes all over your monitor and work area, you will surely welcome the new stick notes application that comes with the desktop. You can stick as many virtual notes on your desktop, and delete them as you work. Now your workstation will certainly look cleaner and more organized. You are also saving trees by using less paper!

A new version of Windows Media Center will also launch with this release. New gadgets are being integrated into the Media Center and Windows Explorer. Gadgets are standalone applications that sit on the desktop (some are hosted on another server). There are web gadgets, sidebar gadgets, and sideshow gadgets (run on external displays).

System Performance Features

Windows 7 now offers support for virtual hard disks and boasts improved performance on multi-core processors, improved boot performance, improved SSD support and performance, and improved kernel performance.  Obviously, performance is a key goal for Windows 7.  With the current pre-release version, even at an unfinished state, it appears that Microsoft is doing extremely well in achieving this goal.  The pre-release version tested is remarkably stable and offers noticeably better performance than Windows XP with the latest hardware.

If you visit the control panel, you will find that many new items are added, including Accelerators, Display Calibration Wizard, Gadgets, Recovery, Troubleshooting, and more. Windows Security Center is now known as Windows Solution Center, and it is responsible for maintaining the security of the system.

Unique Features

The touch screen feature is a new and unique feature that enables many interesting touch applications. For instance, you can have a touch app that works exactly like a keyboard. This means you can type an entire document without the use of an additional piece of hardware. You can also use this feature to play the piano or do a painting. The feature is something that has not been previously available in earlier versions of the Microsoft OS.

Other unique features include speech and hand writing recognition. Hand writing recognition technology can help convert human handwriting into digital text.

Developer Features

Developers can look forward to using a new networking API to develop SOAP based web services in native (or machine) code. There are also new features that reduce application install times. Development of installation packages is simplified in the new OS as well.
 

Recently memory giant SanDisk unveiled a method that can be used to achieve a drastic improvement in reliability and performance for SSDs by using an advanced flash file system created solely for solid state drives, called ExtremeFFS.  ExtremeFFS is a next generation, patented flash management system. With the capability of accelerating random write speeds up to 100x in existing systems, Extreme FFS will feature in SanDisk’s products in 2009. ExtremeFFS incorporates a non-blocking architecture in which all the NAND channels behave independently, enabling some to write, while others read and collect garbage. ExtremeFFS also offers intelligent learning for user patterns, and localizes data to maximize the products endurance and performance.

SanDisk ExtremeFFSSolid state drives do not have any moving components, and since their predecessors (hard drives) speed is measured in revolutions per minute, they needed a way to gauge the speed of an SSD. This fueled the creation of vRPM, virtual RPM. vRPM accurately and easily allows customers/consumers to compare SSDs to HDDs when used in PCs. It has been predicted that SSD net performance next year will be more than four times faster than current solid state drives and almost six times faster than the latest 2.5" HDDs.

In addition to virtual RPM, SanDisk also announced LDE, or Long-Term Data Endurance. LDE simplifies endurance as a useful number, which would be the first actual metric data of long term endurance. You can compare it to measuring tread wear on a tire. LDE represents the total amount of data writes allowed in the lifespan of a SSD. SanDisk believes other companies should take note and follow suit.

When it comes to LDE’s impact on SSD adoption, Greg Wong of Forward Insights said: "LDE provides OEMs a simple way to compare SSDs and determine, based on application usage patterns, which drives are suitable for a particular application. The beauty of LDE," he added, "is that it captures endurance in one single, understandable figure. A common metric is necessary to facilitate SSD adoption moving forward."

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