AMD Catalyst 14.4 RC released!

AMD has now officially released the Release Candidate (RC) version of the Catalyst 14.4 drivers that I have posted few days ago.

Feature Highlights of The AMD Catalyst 14.4 Release Candidate Driver for Windows

    • Support for the AMD Radeon™ R9 295X
    • CrossFire™ fixes enhancements:
      • Crysis 3 – frame pacing improvements
      • Far Cry 3 – 3 and 4 GPU performance improvements at high quality settings, high resolution settings
      • Anno 2070 – Improved CrossFire scaling up to 34%
      • Titanfall – Resolved in game flickering with CrossFire enabled
      • Metro Last Light – Improved Crossfire scaling up to 10%
      • Eyefinity 3×1 (with three 4K panels) no longer cuts off portions of the application
      • Stuttering has been improved in certain applications when selecting mid-Eyefinity resolutions with V-sync Enabled
    • Full support for OpenGL 4.4
      • OpenGL 4.4 supports the following extensions:
        • ARB_buffer_storage
        • ARB_enhanced_layouts
        • ARB_query_buffer_object
        • ARB_clear_texture
        • ARB_texture_mirror_clamp_to_edge
        • ARB_texture_stencil8
        • ARB_vertex_type_10f_11f_11f_rev
        • ARB_multi_bind
        • ARB_bindless_texture
        • ARB_spare_texture
        • ARB_seamless_cubemap_per_texture
        • ARB_indirect_parameters
        • ARB_compute_variable_group_size
        • ARB_shader_draw_parameters
        • ARB_shader_group_vote
    • Mantle beta driver improvements:
      • BattleField 4: Performance slowdown is no longer seen when performing a task switch/Alt-tab
      • BattleField 4: Fuzzy images when playing in rotated SLS resolution with an A10 Kaveri system

Known Issues  

    • System will TDR or BSOD when encoding with Power Director 11
    • Driver installation might result in a black screen when installing on a Dual AMD Radeon R9 295X configuration under Windows 8.1 on specific platforms (see below).   The issue can be overcome by rebooting the PC; upon reboot the display driver will be installed.  The remaining Catalyst components can then be installed.
    • ASUS Crosshair V Formula-Z (990FX)
    • ASUS Maximus VI Extreme (Z87
    • ASUS Rampage IV Extreme (X79)


avast! Protection Tweaks

I’ve launched a new sub-page for avast! Antivirus configuration tweaks which provide the least intrusive experience with maximum protection and performance. If you just want antivirus to silently sit in the corner of your desktop and do its job when malware is detected, then you’ll love it. All the animations, information pop ups and sounds are interesting at first, but over time, they do get a bit annoying (at least they did for me). My configuration file takes care about that and much more.

Access the sub-page on the link below or through the right side Pages panel…

Tweak Firefox 29 with some old goodies

Like I’ve said in the Australis Dilemis post few days ago, I don’t mind changes in GUI for as long as they are good ones. And I actually like the new Australis interface. Yes, it does look too much like Chrome and I don’t like that at all, but it’s still functional. However, I just had to get few of the old things back where they belong.

Move bookmark star back to URL bar…
If you hate the placement of the new quick bookmark star, fear no more! You can move it back into the URL bar again.

Star-Button In Urlbar add-on:

Sidebar auto show/hide…
Since moving star button back into URL bar removes the new combo star/bookmark button, I found this one as a nice alternative, which would be useful either way. You just move the mouse to the left side of the screen and bookmarks sidebar pops up. It’s really useful if you have bunch of Unsorted bookmarks that you access quite often.

Sidebar auto show/hide add-on:

Move RSS feed button back to URL bar…
They’ve moved RSS feed button out of the URL bar long ago, but for those who missed that change and want the RSS button back in the URL bar, here is the add-on for that.

RSS icon in URL bar add-on:

Be able to close the last open tab…
This was also changed long ago, but for those who want it this way (better way imo), here is the add-on which also has few settings. It gives you ability to close the last open tab and instantly gets replaced by an empty one. Without this add-on, you have to manually open a new tab and close old one, because when only one tab is open, it doesn’t have the “X” button to close it. It will have it with this add-on.

Last Tab Close Button add-on:

This is it for now, the must have add-ons that I need to work comfortably with my browser. Though I wish Firefox left all this as an option instead of just removing them all together whether you like it or not. It sucks to install 5 extra new add-ons every time they decide to make radical changes to the GUI. It’s stupid and I’m shocked they haven’t learned anything from the mistakes Microsoft made with Windows 8 and they are now slowly patching it back to give users some of the Windows 7 menu features back, but still. Why complicate things and force users to use add-ons if there was no need for that. Make new changes and leave old as an optional setting. This way everyone wins.

OSRAM Diadem Chrome comparison

As much as I like fiddling with computers, I also love cars. I’m not a turbo Jedi just yet (fiddling with engine, mostly because of moronic homologation rules in my country), but I do all the styling myself. Mostly subtle stuff like full interior LED replacement, LED parking/side lights, LED license plate illumination etc.

Today’s afternoon project was replacement of all standard orange indicator bulbs with OSRAM Diadem Chrome.

 photo DiademChrome_zps5dd28798.jpg

Diadem Chrome promises stylish silver light internals instead of orange ones. Some also refer to it as “fried egg effect”. Can it deliver? I think it can and it did. Check the side by side comparison photos before and after replacement. These are from my car, because I couldn’t find any real good ones on the internet when I was deciding for these bulbs.

 photo DiademChrome_1_zps8cb8676b.jpg  photo DiademChrome_2_zps65b9eb01.jpg  photo DiademChrome_3_zps7116dba3.jpg

 photo DiademChrome_5_zps90d2d921.jpg  photo DiademChrome_6_zps9e48f480.jpg  photo DiademChrome_4_zps1c0db1d4.jpg

Looks pretty good in my opinion. The mini styling project cost me a tad over 40€ and like half an hour of work :) I’m very happy with the results :)

Windows time synchronization bugged

After using service to sync my watches to accurate time, I’ve noticed that my system time was totally off. And by totally, I mean over 20 seconds on laptop and over 12 seconds off on desktop PC. For systems connected to internet 24/7 it’s an unacceptable difference compared to atomic time. And after I couldn’t get the bloody thing fixed no matter what I tried (all Windows servers crap out and are dead for days now) I had to try radical stuff. And so I came around an app called NetTime.

Running this app instantly synced my time correctly. Wtf!? And while the app is really nice and also free, I didn’t want to run extra app just to sync bloody time. Tried NetTime sync servers within Windows clock and guess what, these servers worked just fine. Synced my time correctly in under 3 seconds.

NetTime time synchronization servers:

If you’re having problems (like me) with default Windows time sync servers, use one of the above (you can use either, it doesn’t matter for as long as it works).

I don’t know why these are the only servers that work, couldn’t get ANY other to work.

Secure DNS servers

I was sure this has been already posted on my blog, but I guess I was wrong (or was it my old blog). Anyway, here they are, listed again. Most widely known and used DNS servers that can be used as alternative to the DNS servers provided by your ISP. In general, most users don’t really need to use these, but those who want extra security in a form of blocking websites that are serving malware or host phishing sites along with DNS poisoning defense, these alternative DNS servers can be useful. Some (like Norton ConnectSafe also offer blocking of porn, but you have to visit their webpage for those IP addresses, I’m only listing the antimalware/antiphishing one). Instructions to use each are also provided on their webpages if you don’t know how to set them up.

Open DNS

Google DNS

Norton ConnectSafe DNS

Comodo Secure DNS

Neustar DNS Advantage