I used to say that any good hardware needs at least some decent software.
In today’s Windows OS environment, there are way too many applications that continously work for nothing.
Practically, if the more stuff you install, the more ‘spam processing’ you will get. Most of the apps now-days have their own auto-update which is run as a service or via registry/start-up.
IT professionals are aware that in addition to the permanent presence in a system, those updates can have undesired effects like making other apps not working, making the system crash or even infect a system with viruses, even if the update comes from a very large corporation. It happened before and it will happen again.
Therefore, the less things that do what they want whenever they want you have, the better chances of a stabile operating system.
I will not go into details about solutions to all of this spam. This is another topic. Instead I will talk today about an application that is good for a lot of things and it’s worth having it around.
I do discard and disable myself anything that tries to auto-update in favor of installing what and when I consider it necessary, but there is one app that I just let it there 100% alive. It’s called Raptr and it comes from the software division of AMD.
The app is a centralization tool that has a lot of practical advantages. Its initial purpose seems to be gaming related, but it goes way beyond that.
One of the things it does pretty good is the video card drivers update. It allows you to instantly update your video drivers as soon as released and for the more ‘experimental’ types, it allows also auto-update to beta drivers.
Users can also choose to skip updates. It does not choke down your throat ever version, like most update systems do. So you have a choice, which is very important.
Raptr contains a games library. It can detect most PC games and when it does, for some of them it offers recommended GFx game settings designed to work as best as possible on your current hardware.
This is not just a theory, it actually works exceptionally well. For example, on my old but very powerful Radeon 5870, the latest Call of Duty game is working flawlessly at maxed-out settings while BF 4 was shuttering and was unplayable even with low settings tested, which did not suppose to happen.
Well, using the recommended settings from Raptr, guess what, it works fine with most settings high. in fact, there was only one setting that was causing the problems, and Raptr helped identify it.
Those recommended settings are actually suggested by the players community, which is very good, as the community has time for more practical testing than all dev teams in the world combined.
If by any chance auto-detection does not see your games, you can manually add them to the library and everything will still work.
As a good gaming tool, it’s usable while playing something. By a key combo, you can summon Raptr and so many things, from taking a screen-shot to live-streaming your game-play.
And this live streaming actually works way better than expected and better then video-recording tools like FRAPS, that does have big performance issues, specially on systems that have no high performance hard drive setups (RAID 0, SSDs or a combo of these).
Another thing that Raptr can do is centralize various stuff starting with steam and ending with a lot of messenger-like clients like Yahoo, MSN, etc. By assimilating client information about them, you can have all messenger systems in one and even more, games used by clients like steam are automatically added to your library.
I’m not sure it works for every client made by every big company since those are so many currently, but then again it may, if not now, in time.
Anyway, it’s way better to have one interface with every contact from every client, instead of a dozen of messenger and/or other clients running.
Some more things worth mentioning are the free-2-play tab, that can suggest you some cost-less games and the community link-up, where you can get in contact and have a lot of good debates. You can also watch steamed media and recordings from others.
A final thing that surprises nicely is the reward system. For using Raptr you get reward point that you can later use to win various prizes starting with insignificant things and ending with top of the line video cards.
Therefore, overall, I will rate this application with 9.5/10. There are some little bugs to be removed and improvements to be made, but nothing is perfect. In Windows world, everything is broken. It’s just a matter of how much.
There may be more things to be said, but enough for today. Explore it and you will probably discover a lot of good stuff yourself.