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Pushing up memory and core speeds on video hardware has consequences, not all of them readily apparent. Your clock-cooked Radeon may sneer at Skyrim on max settings, but those same speeds can make your computer crash and burn when playing Witcher II. This and other inconsistencies mean you need to go beyond FRAPS and your favorite game when looking at overclocked GPU stability. Hardware manufacturer MSI, creators of Afterburner, have conjured up a way to make your overachieving videocard sweat for a change. It’s a benchmark called Kombustor, and it’s aptly named.
Kombustor’s fur test is anything but soft on your GPU.
Kombustor is based on Furmark, a stress test famous in the enthusiast community for frying videocards alive in its quest to probe GPUs’ outer limits. MSI dials back the pain a bit, but augments that product’s burn-in features with expanded benchmarking capabilities, support for DirectX, linkages to Afterburner for test-and-tune sessions and a whole lot more objects, scenes and settings to look at while it all gets done.
Looks are a big part of what makes Kombustor a pleasure to use. It only weighs in at 14MB, but it manages to look better than anything short of Unigine’s 235MB Heaven, not to mention 3DMark’s gigabyte-sized suites. The program presents you with a system GPU readout that reports temperature, load and power levels in real time. Below that information, four buttons give you access to various benchmark and stability tests, as well as general software settings. Don’t let the small, simple display fool you; there’s a lot to play with here.
Tessy Spheres is one of Kombustor’s nicer-looking benchmarks.
The 3D Test tab alone sports half a dozen visually distinct benchmarks, each stressing a different API feature set. The GPU burn-in tab is equally feature-rich, with provisions for several variants of DirectX and OpenGL, and a choice of flashy objects to pick from.
The PhysX tests have fewer options but run longer, and provide more diverse scripts with plenty of fireworks to keep things interesting. The result is a reasonably accurate picture of capability, especially cooling capacity. The results aren’t as comprehensive as larger suites, but they are reliable and revealing nevertheless.
MSI promotes Kombustor’s integration with Afterburneras a one-stop tweaking solution for FPS-obsessed gamers, and it’s a pretty good pitch. The concept here is that you overclock with Afterburner and then immediately test with Kombustor, which is available via a button on Afterburner’s interface. In reality, the benefits over less-integrated solutions are slight (is it really that hard to run two programs side by side?), but Kombustor is a good enough utility that this still seems like a feature.
Kombustor is more dependent on drivers than most benchmarks, and different driver versions can swing results wildly in one direction or the other. This puts some limits on it as a hardware reference tool, but makes Kombustor quite useful for study of driver code performance. Unstable or crippled builds pop into sharp relief, halving their frame rates over previous versions or other cards with lesser hardware. This is quite valuable information, especially since so many of the tests feature OpenGL.
Kombustor’s user interface is simple, but plenty of power hides behind those four buttons.
All this adds up to a nice, if not primary, testing and benchmarking package for hardware enthusiasts. Kombustor won’t be the first tool out of the box, but you will wonder how you got along without it.
Note: The “Try it for free” button on the Product Information page takes you to the vendor’s site, where you can download the latest version of the software.
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Today, we’ll show you how to undervolt your Nvidia or AMD graphics card. Best of all, it’s free and fun to do! You can watch the video below to see the process in action, or follow our step-by-step directions below.Step 1: What you’ll need
Let’s gather the necessary tools for the job. We know the GPU shortage is rough, but you’ll need an Nvidia or AMD ‘Unobtanium’ GPU for this to work. Older generation graphics cards work fine too, but your mileage may vary. A GPU that’s already heavily overclocked from the factory may require more work to reach a sweet spot as opposed to a reference or founders edition that’s closer to stock settings.
Many of the same principles will apply to both Nvidia and AMD GPUs, but they differ slightly in the most effective applications as we’ll see here:
MSI Afterburner, et al: This free utility tool will allow you to do all the tinkering on the GPU and monitor the vitals. This is recommended more for Nvidia GPUs. You can further supplement with HW Info64, which lets you monitor GPU Junction Memory temperatures on the RTX 3000’s VRAM. You’ll also want to download AMD’s Adrenaline Radeon Software if you’re running an AMD GPU, as it has great easy to use tools for this.
Heaven Benchmark: This is a free benchmark that can help you get real time feedback from your GPU settings.
Your Favorite Game: Don’t forget to do tests prior to undervolting, so you can see the improvements. Keep an eye on temperature and clock speeds. Take note of the stock specifications of your GPU as well as those by the manufacturer, so that you know if you’re hitting the numbers when undervolting.
Radeon RX 6600 Swft 210
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Best Prices Today:Step 2: Pre-Flight Tests
Open up MSI Afterburner and get acquainted with the different sliders and GPU data readouts. Here you’ll find temperatures, power limits, memory clock, and core clock speeds. Yours may have a different visual skin.
Run a Heaven Benchmark Pre-Test: We’re running a test on a stock Nvidia EVGA 3090 FTW3 Ultra using the Heaven Benchmark Extreme preset so we can see improvements afterwards. Out of the box boost, core clock will average around 1800Mhz for this GPU with temperatures around 83c and then hitting 86C after 30 minutes in an open chassis. The GPU will also downclock itself to under 1800MHz when temperatures are high by 15hz increments. Fans are at 83% to 86%, audible, but they’re not alarmingly loud. Memory speeds are stable at about 9751Mhz. Our stock Heaven score below is 7,350 or 291.8 FPS. We’ll compare this to our undervolted numbers soon.
Stock test with the Heaven benchmark.
Nvidia 3090 EVGA FTW3 Ultra stock, Heaven Benchmark Extreme:
Temperature: 83c to 86c after 30 minutes
Clock speeds: 1800MHz with occasional downclocking
Fans: 83% to 86%
Heaven Benchmark Extreme Score: 7,350 with a 291.8 FPSStep 3: Curve Editor
The curve editor: This will be the trickiest part of the process, but it gets easier afterwards. In MSI Afterburner, you’ll want to hit ‘control+F’ on your keyboard to open the curve editor. We’re looking at the GPU Core clock MHz frequency on the left (Y Axis) column, and the GPU Voltage on the bottom (X Axis) row.
Frequency and Voltage: For our GPU, we see that 1800MHz is the core boost clock. If we find that on the curve editor, it will fall right around 975 volts with stock out of the box settings. Your GPU will vary, even if it’s the same model, so be sure to check stats for your particular one.
You’ll want to drag it first to 1800MHz, and you can start at the 975V as a starting point. (Your numbers will differ depending on GPU) After hitting the check mark in Afterburner, the line should be straight after your selected frequency and voltage.
These are the basics of the process, but keep in mind the curve editor can be slightly tenacious with how it lines the frequencies up. You may have to do a little bit of tinkering to get it where you’d like.
I usually find that placing every point under your target frequency by holding CTRL and dragging down, followed by raising just the target frequency at your desired voltage will line up nicely after hitting the check mark in Afterburner.Step 4: Test, Adjust, and Test some more
Now the real fun begins. Using Heaven Benchmark, you can test various curve points for frequency and voltage. Heaven will typically crash if you’ve gone too far. If it keeps running, continue to test in your favorite games before determining if it’s a stable undervolt.
Test 1: After our initial stock 1800MHz and 975v starting point, we dropped the voltage down to 875v and slightly increased the frequency to 1815MHz. Here is the extreme preset result in Heaven Benchmark:
Clock speed: 1815MHz and automatically clocked higher to 1830MHz
Fan speed: 82%
Heaven Benchmark score: 7,433 with an FPS of 295.1
The above is a notable improvement in performance numbers, as well as moderately better thermals and noise. Let’s take it a step further and find some good efficiency.
Test 2: Let’s target 1815MHz again and see how the GPU responds at a lower 800v.
Clock Speed: 1800MHz Average
Fan Speed: 74%
Heaven Benchmark Score: 7341 With a FPS of 291.4
The results for 800v at 1815MHz were close to stock and thermally much better. Fans dropped from 86% to 74% and temperature dropped from 86c to 74c while maintaining the stock core clock speeds. Our score decreased slightly from 7350 to 7341 and FPS from 291.8 to 291.4, but this can be increased with some further tuning.
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With some further tweaks, we raised the voltage to 875v and frequency to 1890MHz. This netted us a score of 7556 at 300 FPS, but also brought temperatures to 80c and fans to 81%. Still more efficient than stock with higher performance to boot if this is the route that you’re after.
You’ll then have to decide if you want maximum performance gains, maximum efficiency gains, or a combination of both. This sweet spot will vary with each individual GPU due to the silicon lottery, however. We were happy with our first test results at 1815MHz and 875v, but the voltage can be decreased for even better thermals.
These various examples can show you how simple changes in either voltage or frequency can raise your performance up and down as well as temperatures.
The key thing here is to a sharp eye on a few vital points. Stability is the most important, followed by your other benefits.
It must be stable in Heaven Benchmark and your other games.
Watch the core clock to make sure it’s hitting the mark.
Watch thermals and power usage to make sure the improvement is realistic.
Experiment with different voltages and core clocks for best results.Undervolting AMD GPUs
If you’re running an AMD GPU, you’ll have access to the tools within the Adrenaline Radeon software.
Here we’re testing the AMD Reference RX 6800, which is custom water cooled. The stated boost frequency by AMD is typically 2105MHz, but here we’re allotted more headroom to over 2200MHz thanks to the extra cool performance.
Here, you’ll have a few options. You can manually set the voltage much like we did with the Nvidia GPUs. Experiment with just changing the voltage itself. With a drop from 1025mv to 893mv, we had a stable boost in performance. Temperatures, power draw, and noise levels were all down from stock. Benchmark numbers improved as well and that’s exactly what we like to see.
You can also use the auto undervolting feature found on the same page. Here the software will do the work for you, but it doesn’t always produce perfect results – for that you’ll have to do some custom tuning.
Improved results from undervolting
Undervolting is akin to fine art with some healthy science mixed in. The exact ingredients for your optimal sweet spot will vary based on GPU and it’s up to you to see what ultimately works best. The proof is in the proverbial pudding, however: the tests and stats above can help you gauge how successful your attempts at undervolting have been. Best of luck and get tinkering!
Editor’s note: This article was updated to add the video tutorial and update pricing.
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Parrot packed plenty of firsts into what is, coincidentally, the French company’s first high-end headphones–its first headphones, period, actually. On the outside of the right earcup, for example, is a capacitive touch panel, which controls playback on any paired device. (A microUSB charging port and 3.5-mm headphone jack are also on the right cup.) On the left are the NFC radio and 800 mAh battery (about 6 hours of playback with all the radios on). Unlike typical noise-canceling pairs, the ZiK has not two but five microphones: two inside each earcup, two on the bottom of the left, and one on the bottom of the right. A pair of decently-large 40mm Neodymium drivers handle incoming audio. With so much inside, Parrot has kept the ZiK — with its metal and leather finishes — at a reasonable 11.5 ounces.WHAT’S GOOD
The controls and sensors: Although Bluetooth pairing has gotten much easier over the last few years, it’s not perfect, so Parrot wisely decided to do something about it via a vis NFC. When I held an NFC capable device, in this case a Nexus 7, up against the left earcup, the pair of devices automatically established a Bluetooth connection. But while there’s no denying that NFC works, the ZiK will only pair this way on devices running the latest Jelly Bean Android OS. The number of devices with that OS will, thankfully, continue to grow, and Apple is rumored to have finally gotten around to adding NFC to its impending “iPhone 5.” Sans NFC, however, I had no problems pairing the ZiK to my devices the old-fashioned way.
Once I paired the ZiK with my phone (I first used a Droid Incredible and then an iPhone 4S), all the playback controls transferred to the headphones. On the right earcup, swiping forward and back changed tracks, up and down adjusted volume, and a single tap triggered play/pause. The controls are sensitive, but not so much so that they ever misread my commands; if a swipe wasn’t a nice, straight line back-to-front, as long as it was close it wouldn’t mistake it for a volume down-to-up movement. (I was concerned that reaching up to adjust the fit would result in frequent accidental track skips and pauses, but they headband kept the ZiK pretty well in place.) One of the best ideas: a pressure sensor inside the right cup senses when the headphones are on your head. Take the headphones off, and your audio pauses automatically.
The sound and the app: Out of the box, the audio on the ZiK is good, but there’s plenty you can do to improve it. Without touching the EQ, bass was far too heavy, and without active noise cancellation (ANC) on, most songs sounded muddy and distant. The first time you pair the ZiK, though, you’re prompted to download Parrot’s app (currently Android and iOS), which unlocks the audio potential of the otherwise dull-sounding cans.
The first thing I did was investigate the equalizer, which was puzzlingly preset to “Club” mode (clearly they do not understand the life of a science/tech writer. Parrot says this was a mistake and it should’ve been set to “User” by default); I cycled through some other presets and then just decided to tweak the levels manually with the on-screen sliders. Problem one, solved. Next up, turning on the ANC; ahhhhhhhh, much better. With the noise-canceling mics and processor working at full steam, my music (mostly rock and indie alternative) sounded great–ANC doesn’t completely block outside noise, but it’s a huge help, almost like dunking your head underwater to mute noise. I turned ANC back off in a quiet corner of my apartment, and tracks quickly faded away again–you’re meant to use it, I suppose. I decided to just leave ANC on. Problem two, solved.
Once that was all taken care of, I was quite pleased with how the ZiK sounded. Detail in tracks came through well, and the signal was clear — especially for a Bluetooth pair, which have so often been plagued by crappy compression and erratic signals.
Using the Parrot ZiKWHAT’S BAD THE PRICE
At $400, Parrot is chasing the high-end set here–audiophiles are notorious for spending huge amounts of money on gear, but the ZiK might be better for merely outrageously rich folks.THE VERDICT
It’s hard to say exactly who would buy a pair of these. With some features targeted directly at mobile users and others squarely at audiophiles, its place in the market is hard to decipher. Still, you could do a lot worse for the price–competing headphones from Sennheiser or Grado may have more audiophile cred, but they don’t have nearly the featureset (nor strength in design). The ZiK provides a virtual kitchen sink of flashy features, that, for the most part, add up to something at least worth a listen.
Robert Triggs / Android Authority
The Google Pixel 7 and the Pixel 7 Pro are undeniably attractive devices. Google has a record of producing high-end hardware at relatively affordable prices, and the latest smartphone flagships from the tech giant are among the best Android phones on the market. But why would you pay full price if you can get a considerable discount with a Pixel 7 trade-in deal?
We’ll look at how much you can save by swapping out the old device (that you probably won’t need anymore) and how you’d go about it.
Depending on the retailer and the device you have to switch up, you can get the Pixel 7 for free with a trade-in, although it may also involve committing to a service contract. Find out your options below.
This is how much you can save when you trade in your old phone for a Pixel 7
How to trade in your old device for a Pixel 7
This is how much you can save when you trade in your old phone for a Pixel 7
Rita El Khoury / Android Authority
There are a number of network operators and retail outlets that offer savings when you trade in your old device for the Pixel 7. The discount you can earn almost always depends on the make and model of the phone you’re trading in and its condition, so we can’t outline every permutation here. The table below summarizes the maximum trade-in values for which you can qualify and any other requirements.
In the case of both Amazon and Best Buy, the trade-in values don’t relate specifically to the Pixel 7. These are the amounts you can get in the form of a gift card for trading in your old device. It’s essentially selling your old phone for store credit, which you can then put towards the Pixel 7 if you’re so inclined.
If you’re adding a new line of service with Verizon, you can get a free Pixel 7 without even trading in your old device. But you will need to commit to a lengthy service contract. The same is true of AT&T, although the Pixel 7 is a reduced cost of $10 per month on their network rather than being free.
How to trade in your old device for a Pixel 7
Robert Triggs / Android Authority
The trade-in process for every retailer will be a little different, but they all tend to follow the same steps.
All retailers recognize the inherent problem with swapping an old phone for a new one is that you are likely to want to transfer over your data to the new phone, so they have to send it to you first. For this reason, you’ll get an estimate of your old phone’s value, and you won’t receive any payment or bill credit until the retailer has received your old device and assessed it.
Here is the general process to trade in your old device for a Pixel 7:
Find the Pixel 7 at your retailer of choice.
When prompted, select the option to trade in a device.
Provide the details of the device you wish to trade in. This will usually include manufacturer, model, storage capacity, and condition. You will then be given an estimated trade-in value for your old handset.
Complete the purchase. This may involve agreeing to a service contract if buying from a network operator like Verizon or T-Mobile.
When you receive your Pixel 7, transfer any data you wish to retain from the old device to the new one. We have a guide on how to transfer data to a new phone.
Remove your SIM card from the old phone and perform a factory reset.
Send your old device to the retailer as instructed. You’re usually given 14 or 30 days from receiving your new phone to send your old one.
Await the verdict of the retailer and subsequent discount or gift card.
No matter what kind of computer, laptop, phone, or another device you are using, there might come a time when you either want (or need) to know the hardware specs. This includes things such as the processor, RAM, storage, and other key elements that make up your device.
Chromebooks are no exception to this, as the platform continues to rapidly grow, develop, and mature into a viable alternative to Windows and macOS. However, unlike Windows with its Device Specifications section, and macOS with its “About this Mac” app, it’s a little different from ChromeOS. If you want to find your Chromebook’s hardware specs, there are actually three different methods at your disposal. All three of these solutions will provide essentially everything you would want or need to know.Cog – System Info Viewer
One of the best things about using a Chromebook is that you not only have the ability to use your favorite Android apps, but you can also install Chrome Apps or Extensions. And while this might not be feasible for everyone, trying to find your Chromebook’s hardware specs is made easy thanks to Cog – System Info Viewer.
This is a free Open Source extension available for download on the Chrome Web Store. But the key here is that it lays a lot of your most important system information out in an easy-to-understand interface. With the extension installed and open, here are the different specs and pieces of information that Cog provides:
Internal / External Storage
Time until full
If you’re a bit leery of installing a “random” Chrome extension that presents your Chromebook’s hardware info, there are two main reasons why we trust Cog. For one, it was developed and created by an ex-Google employee who understood the potential desire or need to view important information. Secondly, this is an Open Source tool that is also available on Github, meaning that you can view the code yourself, fork it to make your own version, or just see the development progress. And as we mentioned previously, it’s completely free.Built-in System Overview
While we highly recommend using Cog to find your Chromebook’s hardware specs, you might not want to download and install another extension onto your device. And if you are using a Chromebook that is company-issued or provided by your school, you might not even have the option to install a third-party extension. Thankfully, there’s a way to find your Chromebook’s hardware specs, and all you need is the Chrome browser.
Open the Google Chrome app on your Chromebook.
In the address bar, type “**chrome://system”.
Press the Enter key.
If you are using this for the first time, you might be a bit overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information being displayed. This page provides almost everything there is to know if you want to find your Chromebook’s hardware specs. This includes things such as which version of ChromeOS your Chromebook is running, and much more.
But if you’re trying to find specifics, here are a few of the key terms you can search for using CTRL + F:
Processor/CPU details: cpuinfo
Memory/RAM details: meminfo or memory_spd_info
Storage and partition information: disk_usage
WiFi version: network_device
If you want to learn more about your Chromebook, you can scroll through the entire list of details and entries. While these aren’t laid out in a visually-appealing manner, then you should be able to surmise from the descriptions what each of the entries is actually for.Chromebook System Diagnostics Tool
Did you know that Google has built a system diagnostics tool into ChromeOS? It’s not as fully-fledged as viewing chrome://system, and it doesn’t look as elegant as Cog. Instead, it’s a nice middle ground that includes some additional functionality you won’t find in either of the aforementioned options.
Thankfully, the Diagnostics app is built right into ChromeOS, and here’s how you can access and use it:
Open the Settings app on your Chromebook.
Alternatively, you can also open the Diagnostics app by pressing the Search button on your Chromebooks keyboard to open the App Launcher. From there, simply search for Diagnostics, hit the Enter key, and the app will open.
With the built-in Diagnostics app, you can view the following pieces of information:
Available memory remaining
You might notice that there are actually two tabs in the sidebar when using the built-in Diagnostics app. The second is simply labeled Connectivity, and gives you a more detailed look at what network you are currently connected to. This includes things such as your IP address, Signal Strength, Gateway, and more.
Ways To Resolve – “Application Has Been Blocked From Accessing Graphics Hardware” Why An Application Might Be Blocked From Accessing Graphics Hardware
Outdated or corrupt graphics driver
A Windows update has made your graphics driver incompatible
Corrupt system files are causing the issue
Your Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) has gotten stuck and isn’t responding to the request sent by your system
Too many programs running in the background
Now that you know the probable causes of “Application Has been blocked from accessing graphics hardware”, let’s move to the solutions.Ways To Fix “Application Has Been Blocked From Accessing Graphics Hardware” In Windows 10 Run SFC
1. In the Windows search bar type cmd
2. Select run as administrator from the right-hand side
4. Wait for the process to complete. This process may take some time to finishRun DISM
Once the SFC /scannow process has been completed, promptly follow that with the DISM tool. The purpose of DISM (Deployment Image Servicing and Management Tool) is to repair Windows Image.
To do that In the next line (after completion of SFC command) type, the following mentioned commands one after the other (after pressing Enter) as shown below –
DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Scanhealth (press Enter) (Let the scan complete)
DISM.exe /Online /Cleanup-image /Restorehealth (press Enter) (Let the scan complete)Update your Graphics Card Driver
As is quite evident from the title of this step, an application might be blocked from accessing graphics hardware because of outdated graphics card drivers.
Now, you can try and update the driver manually, but if you want to get the job done faster and securely, you can opt for a specialist third-party driver updater software. Advanced Driver Updater, for instance, is one of the best driver updater software available –
Why Advanced Driver Updater?
Easy to use and minimalistic interface
A huge database of drivers for all kinds of hardware components
Facility to backup and restore drivers
Schedule driver scan when you want
Exclude drivers (e.g. incompatible or unwanted drivers) that you don’t want to be scanned
How To Update Drivers Using Advanced Driver Updater
1. Download, install and launch Advanced Driver Updater
Download Advanced Driver Updater
Read Full Review of Advanced Driver Updater
2. Activate using the license key
6. Voila! Your graphics card driver is updated
Once the driver has been updated, you can again try and relaunch the application and now check, if you are still getting the message or not.Fix The Issue By Using The Registry Editor
We know that making amendments to the registry is not an easy feat. But, if nothing else seems to work, you can try modifying the registry keys could help you resolve the issue. This step intends to increase the TDR value and get better output from the GPU.
Before you proceed with the below-mentioned steps, we urge you to take a backup of your registry first.
1. Press Windows + R to open the Run dialog box
2. Type Regedit and press Enter
4. Copy and paste this path in the top area
7. Name the new value as TdrDelay
8. Change the value to 8
10. Restart your computerUpdate Windows 10
For patching several errors and for fixing several vulnerabilities, Microsoft regularly rolls out updates. So, in case you have missed an update and are facing the error, it’s high time that you fetch that update and check if you have been able to resolve the issue.
1. Press Windows + I to open the Settings
2. Select Update & Security
3. From the left-hand pane choose Windows Update
4. On the right check if there is an update available. You will be able to find this under Updates
5. If yes, fetch themUse A System Restore Point
Has this problem occurred quite recently? Maybe reverting to old restore point could help you fix the issue. For this, it is important that you have already created a System Restore point in the past. Don’t know how to do that, worry not! You can refer to this post. And, if you already have here’s how you can select a restore point –
1. In the Windows search bar, type Create a Restore Point and press Enter
4. Select Show more restore points
5. Select last restore point and hit the Next buttonWrapping Up Quick Reaction:
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