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Charlie Demerjian: Intel used unoptimized Windows 11 build to downplay AMD performance
by Sayan Sen
At its Innovation event yesterday (or earlier today depending on where you live), Intel launched its 12th gen desktop CPU lineup dubbed Alder Lake-S based on the Alder Lake performance hybrid architecture. A total of six SKUs, all unlocked, were unveiled at the event with more of the lineup launching later. The processors and their features are given below:
The company also launched the accompanying 600-series chipset for LGA 1700 socket motherboards. For now, only the flagship Z690 chipset was unveiled. The 600-series chipset and Alder Lake will support both DDR5 and DDR4 memory. An overview of Z690 features is given below:
Some performance claims were also made by Intel for Alder Lake-S and one of the slides, which had already leaked earlier, shows the flagship Core i9-12900K SKU beating the Ryzen 9 5950X by up to 30% at gaming.
At the bottom of the image, Intel states that the performance comparisons were made in Windows 11 Pro but the particular build of the OS used hasn't been mentioned.
Charlie Demerjian, from the fellow publication SemiAccurate, alleges here that Intel used an earlier Windows 11 build which had issues on AMD's Zen-based CPUs related to L3 cache latency. The problem started with the Windows 11 GA version and was apparently made worse with the Patch Tuesday update. The bug has since been fixed with a later build 22000.282 and the patch has been confirmed to work flawlessly by AIDA64.
Currently, there is no way to validate or invalidate the accusation as Intel's Performance Index page does not list its 12th gen Alder Lake-S CPUs yet, even though the firm has linked to the page in the slide's footnotes.
For those unaware, on the Performance Index page, Intel provides detailed descriptions of the internal performance claims it makes with hardware specifications and this information also contains the Windows Build number. At the moment only the last-gen Rocket Lake information is listed:
CapFrameX, however, claims that the performance hindrance Demerjian brings up is actually not the fault of Intel at all. Apparently, the latest AMD chipset driver version 3.10.08.506 is what is causing this loss in framerates when compared to an older driver. Interestingly, the new chipset driver is supposedly a fix for another Windows 11 issue that was causing problems related to proper core prioritization (CPPC2).
Well, whatever be the truth, the jury is still out on this one. Hopefully, though, things will begin to clear up once Intel updates its Performance Index page with Alder Lake-S data and third-party reviewers begin posting reviews of the platform.
By Usama Jawad96
Microsoft is forcibly installing the PC Health Check app on Windows 10 PCs
by Usama Jawad
Windows 11 started rolling out almost a month ago, but since it is being distributed in a staggered manner, not everyone has it yet. Microsoft also offers a PC Health Check app that users can download to find out whether their machine is eligible for the new OS, which is important given the strict system requirements.
While the PC Health Check app was initially released in tandem with Windows 11's system requirements, it also offers diagnostics data across other areas such as battery, storage, and startup time. Now, it appears that Microsoft is forcibly installing the software on Windows 10 machines.
Bleeping Computer reports that KB5005463, which became available a few days ago, installs this application during an OS update. Microsoft has confirmed this via its dedicated page for the update too and noted that people who install the app will have important app updates installed automatically when they open PC Health Check, and that there is no way to disable this.
Obviously, no one likes to have software force-installed on their machine, so there has been public outcry on social media platforms too. The good thing is that users can uninstall PC Health Check via Windows Settings, but the bad thing is that it reportedly reinstalls in subsequent OS updates. Bleeping Computer has highlighted a couple of workarounds to prevent the reinstall of the app, but since it involves making edits to the Registry, proceed at your own risk.
All in all, PC Health Check is a fairly lightweight app (11.5MB on our machine) that does not consume resources when it's closed, so it's not hugely problematic to have the app installed on your PC. That said, the forced installation does remind of the debate surrounding the Get Windows 10 app.
AdDuplex data suggests Windows 11 is already on 5% of PCs
by Paul Hill
AdDuplex has released its Windows data for the month of October and it reveals that Windows 11 has already been installed on 5.1% of computers running Windows 10 or Windows 11. It also said that 90% of Windows 10/11 PCs are now on versions of Windows released in either 2020 or 2021 which means users are likely up-to-date on security patches and are experiencing the latest features Windows has to offer.
This insightful data is collected from around 5,000 apps in the Windows Store which use the AdDuplex SDK v.2 or higher. This month's data was based on information from around 60,000 computers which, hopefully, means it’s representative of the wider Windows 10/11 install base.
Last month, AdDuplex revealed that Windows 11 had already been installed on 1.3% of computers that had the Microsoft Store which was interesting considering it hadn’t even been officially released at the time. Microsoft has been phasing the rollout of Windows 11 too so if you think 5% is a low figure, you need to factor in the staggered approach too. By slowly rolling out Windows 11, Microsoft can nip any issues in the bud so more people are pleased with their experience of Windows 11.
According to BleepingComputer, Microsoft is now issuing an update to Windows 10 users that installs the PC Health Check utility. This will make it easier for the firm to help users ensure their machine is compatible with Windows 11 and if it’s not, it will let them know if they can do anything to address the problem making it Windows 11 compatible.
By Abhay V
Windows 11 Dev build 22489 adds a new Your Microsoft account Settings page and more
by Abhay V
Microsoft today released Windows 11 Dev channel build 22489 that adds a new Your Microsoft account page to the Accounts section in Settings. The rollout of this new section is currently limited, meaning only a small set of users will be able to see the addition added to their build. The page allows users to view and manage Microsoft account settings such as subscriptions, orders, and more.
The firm aims to improve the feature through Online Service Experience Packs that are similar to the Windows Feature Experience Packs, allowing the company to improve select features without major OS upgrades. Unlike Feature Experience Packs that bring improvements to components of the OS, the Online Service Experience Packs are "focused on delivering improvements for a specific experience", the firm adds. These packs will be served through Windows Update and are currently being tested for the new Microsoft account page in Settings but will be used for other features in the future.
In addition to the new MSA page, there are other improvements to Settings including the splitting of the Apps & Features page into two pages, the renaming of the Connect app into "Wireless Display", and more. The firm is also bringing improvement to the DNS over HTTPS feature by adding support for Discovery of Designated Resolvers. Here is the complete list of improvements in this build:
The build also brings a long list of fixes, which is always welcome. As is the case with every build, the company is promising to bring many of these fixes to the publicly available version of Windows 11, but there is no timeline on when that will happen or which fixes will be included specifically. Here are all the fixes:
Lastly, there are a bunch of known issues, including one with the Windows Update settings page that the company says will impact how users check for updates. It is best for users to note the known issue and go ahead with installing this build, especially for those upgrading from a flavor of build 22000.
Here are all the known issues:
The firm has also made available the SDK preview for this build and NuGet packages for those interested. Additionally, the firm is also reminding users that Windows Sandbox now works with ARM64 PCs, a capability that was added last week. As usual, build 22489 should be available for Dev channel users via Windows Update.
By Usama Jawad96
Windows 11's Microsoft Store is now available for Windows 10 Insiders
by Usama Jawad
Windows 11 comes with multiple new features including a redesigned Microsoft Store. As we discussed in our Closer Look piece earlier this month, it packs a UI revamp and the ability to support all apps, regardless of their packaging technology. However, as we have known for some time now, the storefront is also coming to Windows 10, and today, the first step has been made in this direction.
Microsoft Store's Principal Architect Rudy Huyn has announced that the storefront is now available for Windows 10 Insiders in the Release Preview ring:
Looking at the responses in the thread, the update is seemingly delivered via the regular Microsoft Store update mechanism. While Huyn hasn't revealed a firm release date as of yet, he has mentioned that the development team will "make sure that the app is bug free, it will be published to all Windows 10 users a little later".
The new Microsoft Store is open to all applications, regardless of the framework or technology used to develop them. This essentially means that developers can publish Win32, .NET, UWP, Xamarin, Electron, React Native, Java, and Progressive Web Apps directly to the storefront, and will be responsible for its update mechanism.
That said, Android app support is not available via the Microsoft Store in Windows 10. The feature is currently being tested in the Windows 11 Beta Channel, and will be exclusive to that OS. If you're on the Windows 11 Beta Channel, find out how to install Android apps via the Amazon Appstore using our brief guide here.