Technology analysis of the latest gadgets, consoles, and computer architectures.

Friday, July 09, 2004


Guess that's how I feel when the government can conclude that I'm a terrorist based on what I read. I'm glad 1984 is a novel I've finally started reading, and I totally agree that the "power of its admonitions...seems to grow, not lessen, with the passage of time."

Oh, and I just love the fact that the GOP delayed the vote 20 minutes while they convinced 10 Republicans to change their vote. Fuckin' Congressional POSERS!!!

OK, I don't usually converse like this but it was the only way to convey the same feeling :(

Sunday, July 04, 2004

Heh, guess it's been a while since my last post. I've been busy with classes, work, and setting up and playing with my new computer. Moving up from a 450 MHz Pentium III, I sure do notice a difference in performance. To paint a picture, I've gone from 100% CPU when browsing the web with Opera and an average of 5 pages open and listening to music on Winamp to 25 - 50% with an average of 10 pages open on Opera and listening to music with Milkdrop. It is really nice to be able to max out settings in Unreal Tournament 2004 at 1280 x 960 and still have smooth gameplay. In response to a great bundle deal I participated in for my motherboard and CPU, I was able to save quiet a bit and still get an amazing system. There was a slight change in my original plans, but overall I am happy with this setup. The following are the final specs for those of you who are interested:

Asus K8V SE Deluxe - This motherbaord wasn't the MSI K8N I was so excited about, but it performs well. It incorporates a VIA chipset and has the typical features of today's motherbaords, including Gigabit ethernet, support for RAID and SATA, and 6 channel audio. I had a little bit of trouble with getting the Windows XP Setup to detect my Serial ATA drive, and unfortunately I cannot say that I was successful. It would not accept any of the drivers I was throwing at it (after pressing F6 for custom "SCSI" drivers); I even attempted to alter the txtsetup.oem files for both a VIA and Promise driver set I tried, but received the same error: (Will update later with the actual error message). If anyone knows what was wrong please post a comment about it. Luckily I found out why my partition clone didn't work (I was using a temporary 30 GB hard drive until I received the new one) and everything is fine now.

Athlon 64 3200+ - I was in for a surprise when I received this CPU; the 3200+ I received was actually one of the newer ones with 512 KB of cache but a 200 MHz faster CPU. I'm not sure how much of a difference this makes, and I know that most of the enthusiasts on Anandtech would be really bothered by this, but I don't really need the bragging rights associated to 1024 KB cache and I don't plan to overclock, so I am content with a 2.2 GHz 3200+. Before I found this bundle deal, I was planning on getting a 3000+ anyways, since the only difference between the two was going to be 512 KB vs. 1024 KB cache, so I'm not much for complaining.

In terms of temperature for both the MB and CPU, here are my results based on Asus Probe 2.0:

CPU: 35 C with Cool N Quiet, ~50 C running UT2k4
MB: 40 C typical, jumps to around 45 with UT2k4

I currently have a fan on top and in the back of the case. I may have to customize the case a little because the top fan has to go through two grates.

MGE G-Box 8011 - I'm afraid I didn't end up purchasing any of the cases that I mentioned on my previous post. It took me a long time but I finally got to the point when I had finally ordered everything but the case and had to make a decision. Overall, I was very happy with it. The G-Box is a very nice looking case and very solid. I love the top USB and audio ports; unfortunately, I have to add some shielding to the audio connector because there's interference from components in the case. I didn't care too much for the power supply since I purchased my own anyways, and although I didn't want anything to flashy at first, this case did not come with any LEDs, which may have to be remedied the next time I feel like like playing with the exterior. Anyways, here is a image of the case...visit the Newegg page for more.

Fortron 400W FSP400-PFN Power Supply - I looked at many reviews for midrange PSUs and came to the conclusion that this was the one to look for. It is a quiet power supply that performed very well against more expensive competitors and provided enough wattage in the +3 and +5 range for AMD CPUs...more can be read at The rail voltages for a PC with a 3200+, Asus mb, DVD burner and CD drive, and 9800 Pro are as follows:

+3.3 V : 3.312 V
+5 V : 4.999 V
+12 V : 11.584 V

The +12 V is a little low, but considering the devices I have plugged in I'm not holding anything against the was a $60 power supply after all. These voltages are stable and were recorded from the Asus Probe 2.0. The only thing the +12 V rail will limit me with at this point is overclocking, which I'm not too concerned about right now. I need to concentrate on a little more cooling first.

Other Components - My 1 GB of Kingston ValueRAM seems to be doing fine. Since it is at CAS 3.0 I may have to try overclocking it a little and see how low I can take it, but I'm not too concerned. The Serial-ATA hard drive is noticably faster; even without enough reboots for XP to optimize boot time, it has started up around 5-10 seconds faster, and load time for most applications has improved, including UT. Of course, I didn't forget to mention that I am extremely happy with my ATI 9800 Pro 128 MB, and I got an excellent deal on it. I haven't yet had a chance to mess with a high performance NVidia card, and I would love to see what kind of features the driver offers, but I will have to hold off until my next upgrade.

Hmm...4 AM again. Just a few more things to copy over and install on this computer and I can finally take down my old computer for good. I have it plugged into my other monitor and I know it's just begging for attention. Maybe I'll give it one last run soon before I wipe it clean and try to make it into a media center PC for my parents.

Happy 4th all...I'll be sure to put my game on for the celebration.