Benchmarking specialist Futuremark has announced the features of its upcoming PCMark 8 suite, which will add for the first time features to monitor power consumption and battery life of tested devices.
Developed in partnership with the company's Benchmark Development Programme members - including AMD, Intel, Microsoft, Nvidia, Microsoft and others - PC Mark 8 is claimed to take the company's general-purpose benchmarking suite to new heights by offering testers the chance to estimate battery lifespan on laptop computers, or power efficiency of desktop machines. Users can either view battery usage on a per-test basis - useful for getting to the nitty-gritty of precisely what component is responsible for excess power draw - or use a loop mode to exhaust the battery entirely and receive an accurate total-usage time. Impressively, the software also include the facility to interface with external power measurement devices for more accurate and detailed results - although this is unlikely to be a feature of the free Basic Edition.
As with previous releases, PCMark 8 is to be based on common usage scenarios including gaming, web browsing, video chat and photo editing. Now, however, Futuremark has added extra tests to its Advanced and Professional Edition versions thanks to partners Adobe and Microsoft, promising to introduce testing using scripted versions of the popular productivity apps from the two companies - meaning tests involving the actual Microsoft Office and Adobe Photoshop engines are almost certain to appear in the paid-for releases.
Another new feature of PCMark 8 is improved storage testing, again thanks to Futuremark's partnership with storage companies including HGST, SanDisk, Seagate and Western Digital. The new storage testing is more aware of solid-state drives and hybrid hard drives - devices which combine spinning-rust mass-storage components with small high-performance solid-state cache areas - for more accurate results.
'We believe that this open process of close cooperation with industry experts is the only way to create accurate and impartial benchmarks that measure performance fairly,' claimed a Futuremark spokesperson of the company's upcoming benchmark release and the effect its Benchmark Development Programme has ad thereon. 'Having high-level access to the industry's leaders also ensures that our benchmarks are not only relevant for today's hardware, but remain relevant year after year.'
The company has stated that it hopes to release the PCMark 8 benchmark on Steam, but has not yet reached an agreement with Valve, and that users upgrading from PCMark 7 will likely find a discount offer when the software launches towards the end of this quarter. As usual, several editions will be available from the free Basic Edition - which will not include the Adobe- and Microsoft-powered productivity tests - to the top-end Professional Edition. Pricing has yet to be confirmed, but is likely to sit near PCMark 7's level of $40 for the Advanced Edition and $995 for the Professional Edition.