As many of you will be aware we've always been huge fans of the Lavalys benchmark suite 'Everest'. It's a very comprehensive identification and benchmarking tool that is invaluable in testing the underlying performance of your PC.
It's been a staple of the OC3D benchmarking suite for pretty much as long as we've been reviewing both for its ease of use and for the incredible speed in which updates are provided for the cutting edge, usually unreleased, hardware we have on the test bench.
Besides its more regular use as a benchmarking suite, it has such incredible hardware recognition abilities that it's also an invaluable tool for those of us who are the default "fix my computer" guy amongst our family and friends. We all have experienced turning up to fix a computer that is both old and owned by someone so computer illiterate they haven't a clue what lurks within their beige box. A quick run of the portable Everest and details were swiftly forthcoming.
It was with horror then that we learnt that Lavalys was to be broken up and Everest would be no more.
However this was only a very temporary cardiac arrest as we quickly got word that the geniuses behind it had merely returned to whence they came.
Back in the mid to late 1990s a freeware diagnostic utility appeared by the name of AIDA, which then quickly became AIDA32. So fantastic was this as a diagnostic tool that in 2004 the people behind it were snapped up by Lavalys and AIDA32 became rebranded as Everest. Such is the coding prowess of the team behind it they also developed the Corsair Memory Dashboard which monitored the Corsair Xpert memory modules.
Returning to the present day with Lavalys in tatters the core engineers returned to their beginnings and Everest has transformed back into AIDA, although as AIDA64 under the banner of FinalWire Ltd. With the coding gurus having their own publishing arm the future of AIDA64 is now secure.
Time for Tamas Miklos, managing director of FinalWire.
After the splitting up of Lavalys, we at FinalWire are happy to continue our efforts of delivering a dependable monitoring software to our faithful users. Since the introduction of our first diagnostic utility ASMDEMO in 1995, we have built a passionate community of hobby users, hardware enthusiasts, and professional overclockers. Using the valuable feedback we have collected from them in the past few years, we have created a software for the new decade of 64-bit multi-core systems.
Let's see how the new version compares shall we.
Under the Hood
One of the things we always worry about when a piece of software gets updated is a needless change to the UI. Anyone suffering with the new Windows Live Messenger is nodding right now.
Thankfully FinalWire have rightfully kept AIDA64 looking identical to its predecessor. Everything is exactly where we are used to finding it, although as we'll see on the next page there are plenty of changes to make the upgrade worthwhile.
There are two main ways to navigate AIDA64. You can either use the collapsing tabs in the left pane, or the icons in the right one. Choice is always important.
The Motherboard section is one of the most important and information rich sections of the entire program. The Display menu has a lot of options too although it obviously doesn't test gaming performance as robustly as dedicated packages. Then again it isn't designed to.
Without question most of your time will be spent in the final option, benchmarking. Every new release sees improvements to the algorithms used in the benchmark testing and, most importantly, AIDA64 has an entirely new benchmark too.
So What's New?
Thanks to the comprehensive 'at a glance' nature of the AIDA64 display many of the new elements we can show you in a single screenshot.
Firstly we have the new CPU benchmark itself. CPU Hash is a cryptographic benchmark that tests the hash value calculation performance.
Secondly you can see that the results page is greatly trimmed in comparison to the rather bloated old Everest. No longer are we comparing our i7s and 1090Ts to P200MMX CPUs. Although there are still more than enough results to get a good feel for where things stand in the great scheme of things.
Finally the Stability Test which was previously hidden under the tools menu has been brought down to the toolbar itself just to the left of the report button.
Alongside this many of the underlying tests have been greatly optimised and all the benchmarks have been ported to 64-bit as befits the AIDA64 moniker. Alongside improvements to the FPU Fractal calculations the other major improvements are to be seen in the zLib testing.
Here is a comparison of the final version of Everest against AIDA64. Run back to back on the same machine. As you can see when FinalWire say it's been optimised, they really mean it.
Just in case that isn't enough for you the final really big change is vastly improved support for Solid State Drives, with the capability to identify both the controller and the NAND modules. Disk Health via SMART is also supported for Indilinx, Intel, JMicron, Samsung and the new SandForce controllers.
A year ago when I moved from news-hound to reviewer for OC3D my first review was of the newly released Everest v5. It's quite apropos that todays review is the the latest version, rebranded and upgraded.
At first glance you could be forgiven for thinking very little has changed. FinalWire have wisely kept a familiar interface so that long-term users can knuckle down straight away without being baffled on how to get things how they used to be.
As anyone who regularly uses an application or utility will attest it doesn't take very long at all for you to become comfortable with the interface and the slightest change can have a big effect upon the smoothness of your work-flow. Without question when it comes to a great interface the adage that if it isn't broken you shouldn't fix it holds as true today as it ever has. Many companies (hello Microsoft) could learn a great deal about leaving well alone and so FinalWire deserve great credit for keeping things stable.
That isn't to say for one moment that the under-the-hood side of AIDA64 isn't a great improvement upon the program from which it's derived.
The addition of a cryptographic benchmark in these modern times where nearly every program has some encryption going on somewhere is a welcome addition. Also very welcome are the many optimisations in the performance of the benchmarks themselves. They take less time to perform and produce, as we saw with the zLib test, a much higher result too.
With the prevalence of SSDs in the marketplace the larger focus upon them is also highly desirable and as welcome as finding £50 in the pocket of your winter coat.
So as you can see AIDA64 is bursting at the seams with usefulness and is an absolutely essential purchase if you have even a passing interest in PC Hardware.
FinalWire are also being extraordinarily generous with their pricing until the 20th of October too. Normally the Extreme Edition is available for $40, but to celebrate the release it's currently available at half price. $19.99 for a regularly updated, insanely useful program is a steal. Just in case you've only just splashed out on a copy of Everest and are now gnashing your teeth, FinalWire are also temporarily offering a free upgrade to AIDA64.
To make your life even easier OC3D Downloads has just gone live, just so happens you can download many of your favorate applications including AIDA64 from your favorite review site!
AIDA64 Direct Download
If a program can be judged upon its ability to do what you want with the minimum of fuss, then AIDA64 is truly the gold standard and easily wins the Overclock3D Gold award.
Thanks to FinalWire for providing AIDA64 for todays review. Discuss in our forums.