Wondering if anybody else is experiencing the same issue.
I just downloaded version 2.63 of blender and noticed that scenes rendered using cycles seem to be a lot noisier (loads of bright speckles).
I did a quick test (100 render cycles) rendering exactly the same scene in 2.62 and 2.63 and it does seem to be the case.
Even though the same environment map is being used - the colours/lighting seems to be different (brighter in 2.63). Has anyone else experienced this - and more to the point, do you know any workarounds. In 2.62, the environment map is set to Linear colour space with a gamma of 1.5 and a strength of 5.0. In 2.63, the Linear option has gone and has been replaced with Color and Equirectangular - Gamma and strength are the same.
I have tried turning gamma and strength down in 2.63 to match the lighting of 2.62, and although I can achieve a similar lighting level - the noise remains. The other odd thing is that as the render goes on beyond 100 samples - the noise/bright speckles actually seem to get worse.