Archive for the ‘Computers’ Category

New PC Guts

Sunday, September 4th, 2011

Late last week the replacement guts for my desktop machine arrived and I began, with the help of a friend, to assemble it. The install went rather smoothly though there were a few hiccups here and there. But, that’s to be expected on any build.

The specs are as follows:

CPU: Intel i5 2500 – It’s a quad core running at stock settings, 3.3 Ghz (3.7 Ghz turbo boost)
Memory: 16 GB of G.SKILL Ripjaws Series DDR3 1333 (PC3 10666) memory
Motherboard: MSI P67S-C43 (B3)
Videocard: EVGA Geforce GTX 260 (Core 216) with 896 MB memory
OS: Windows 7 Home Premium (64-Bit)

I was amazed at how quickly Windows 7 installed on this machine and it chews through everything that I’ve thrown at it. It’s a good feeling

Still there are two issues that will need to be remedied going forward.

First, the system seems to run a little hot. I was hitting a CPU temp of 80C in Prime95 at full load. I stopped the tests when I hit that. Intel recommends an operating temp of no more than TCase temp of 72.6C. While I am aware there is a lot of debate/confusion regarding exactly what the TCase temp refers to, I’d rather not ever see those temps under normal operations. I’ve got about 2 weeks until the thermal grease finally settles in and that should lower the overall operating speed. I don’t plan to over clock the system so I was hoping the stock fan would be good enough. If not, I’ll save up my pennies to by an aftermarket cooler.

Secondly, since the fan on the old CPU was going it put off a lot of noise it masked the fact that my hard drive is making some rather disturbing squealing noises. Not clicking, squealing… ugh. So, I’m planning to order a replacement this weekend. I’ve found a good deal on a Western Digital Caviar Black 500 Gbps hard. Once this arrive I’ll reinstall the OS and really get the machine up and running with all my programs. I can’t wait!

I have done some testing on videogames and I’ve been really impressed with the performance. I’m getting around 75 fps in both Dragon Age: Origins and the new Deus Ex game with Vsync enabled at a resolution of 1028 x 1024. The temps during these games have never gone about 65C which I’ve been relieved to see.

Well, that’s enough ‘bragging’ on the computer for this fine Sunday morning… The Wifey is still sleeping so I actually can’t play on the PC yet. Hmmm… maybe I can convince her to move the bed to the living room so this won’t be an issue again…

Happy As A Pig In Mud!

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

It’s been awhile since I’ve had such a positive few days. I hope that giving voice to it won’t cause me to jinx it. However, I’ve done plenty of bitching so I think it’s probably time to share some good things.

As I’ve mentioned before, I found a degree program that would provide a good path for where I’d like to take my career. While I can’t financially enroll in the program yet, I plan on using its curriculum as a road map to help focus my creative endeavors. The Wifey seems to be 100% behind this and that helps a great deal.

Once I decided that this is the way I wanted to go things started to sorta take on a life of their own.

First, I came into possession of a lot of used computer hardware. Thanks again to all those that have donated to the cause!

The Wifey brought home two old Dell computers which I gutted and recombined. As a result we now have PC that will be used as a networked media share. Also, since it’ll be hooked up to our HD TV, we’ll also be able to watch internet based movies and shows on it.

A friend of mine, who was rather appalled at our outdated systems, offered an old PC he had sitting in a closet. All he needed was a case. So, I gutted the Wifey’s desktop (NO MERCY!). The Wifey now has a desktop that won’t choke on her beloved Civilization 4.

Secondly, we had something of a financial windfall this weekend. I won’t go into much detail, the Wifey hates when I talk about our finances publically, but if we plan and budget wisely it should help us along for the next few months. It couldn’t have come at a better time.

Third, since we can now afford to, I’ve ordered parts to replace my ailing motherboard. I’m getting an Intel i5 2500 quad core processor, 16 gigs of memory, a new MSI motherboard and Windows 7 Home. These items, coupled with a used EVGA Nvidia GTX 260 (Core 216) video card I got from a friend, should result in a pretty good system to start along my new ‘dream career path’. The parts should arrive later this week.

On top of all this goodness, I’ve been gifted a copy of Adobe Creative Suite 3 Premium. While it’s a bit dated, it should give me plenty of ability to explore the programs within it, such as Adobe Flash and Photoshop.

I am as happy as a pig in mud.

Bad Motherboard Bad!

Friday, July 29th, 2011

So, yesterday I got a new video card from a friend. Not sure if I mentioned this via blog post yet or not but it’s 5:45am so I’m a little fuzzy. I was pretty damn excited. It’s already an obsolete model but it actually provides double the performance of my current card!

Anyhow, had a little issue getting it installed into the system. The card itself is HUGE and I had to shift internal components around a bit and rework the cabling system. I expected that so it wasn’t a big deal.

First issue appeared as soon as I powered up. The monitors took a little longer than expected to get signal so the system came up just after the bios POST. Again, not a big deal. I figured it had something to do with the bios and video card talking to one another.

Got into Windows Vista and had to work with a slew of driver issues. You would think that going from one Nvidia card to another wouldn’t be a big deal, especially considering that they use one standard set of drivers. Grrr… Well, took care of that too. Again, something I was aware of going into it.

Upon reboot I still had a little lag in video but nothing like I had from cold boot. Set that concern aside for the time being. Equated it with just a nuisance.

Then, I got hit with the stupid Windows Activiation Verification thing. Spent about 20 minutes on the phone a Microsoft bot verifying that I actually own the OS… Problem solved… for now.

Windows loaded again and I found that I got static from the sound system when I moved my mouse along some windows. I recently put an old Soundblaster card in the system to see if it was better than the on-board audio. But, I’ve known that Soundblaster products are prone to this interference. Reseated video card in other PCI-E slot and the interference went away. Might just end up taking the card out after everything is said and done.

Having to reseat the video meant I had to plug in the HD and DVD-rom into some SATA connectors I’ve never used. Didn’t have an issue on boot but entered into the BIOS to make sure everything was working.

Main menu = check

Some other extended menus = check

Power managment = fuck…

Well, that’s what the garbled text on some of the menu items translated to immediately in my head.

Searched interwebs for possible cause/solution. Most believe this points to motherboard failure. But some troubleshooting & exploration were warranted.

Corrupt BIOS? I flashed the system in hopes it would rebuild the CMOS and other BIOS data. Flash successful. But corruption still occurs. In fact it spread to one or more settings in other various menus. I’m sure of this because I was looking at another setting which previously read “PCI Reset” and now reads ‘$#@ Reset’ (well not exactly but you know what I mean)

Could it be the new video card drawing too much juice? Tried the older card. BIOS still showing corruption… gah.

Last ditch effort, I removed the system battery in hopes that would clear the data. Did that last night before going to bed. Woke up about a half an hour ago, put it back in. The Wifey is still in bed so I haven’t had a chance to plug in the system and check the BIOS.. though I’m not optimistic.

The conclusion to all of this, at least I believe so at this point, is that my motherboard is failing. I had planned on spending about $250 on Windows 7 and some more memory for the system but this throws a serious wrench into the situation. No point in upgrading a system that is failing.

The shitty thing is that I can’t take the money I was looking at setting aside and use it to replace the motherboard. I’d also have to replace the CPU and memory modules. Not to mention I’d still have to purchase another OS since the Vista version I have is OEM…

Sigh.. which basically means I’ll have to get the system up and running enough to backup the information I have on the hard drive. No other system in the house has a SATA interface which is easily accessible. That should solve the issue of loosing data. I can always put more important stuff on an external.

I can still use the system for day to day stuff, though I’ll have to be aware that it could completely fail to boot at any time. Which means, I’m pretty much stuck depending on this olde laptop… which is also on it’s last legs…

Well, at least the $250 can go toward household bills…

Rambling Power

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

So, my little corner of the bedroom, which I lovingly refer to as my office, is now straightened up. That’s one less area that we’ll have to make appropriately clean before the management companies ‘inspector’ comes on Friday.

I suppose tha sounds a little ominous but it’s really not. The condo above us had an issue with their AC unit’s ‘hosey’ parts. Due to this water has been gathering in the ceiling above our utility closet. Long story short, I asked that the entire room be inspected for water damage and mold. We’ll see if any such thing is found on Friday.

In a related note, it looks like I’ve stumbled upon a new videocard for the PC tomorrow. One of my techie friends got himself an upgrade and is handing it down to me. Another friend referred to this as ‘computer karma’ I might have to pretend I came up with that myself. 😛

Regardless, the bounty might continue since the Wifey has said I should be able to get Windows 7 and a memory upgrade for my B’day. It may not be an entire new system but leaving behind Vista (32-bit at at that) should result in a perceptible advance in power.

Have I mentioned that I like power?

I need more power…

Well, I think this is enough blabbing. I’m gonna finish folding some clothes and then play some Fallout 3: New Vegas.

I need more power!

Saturday – Saturday – Saturday

Saturday, August 14th, 2010

It’s halfway through the Wifey’s walkabout. I haven’t posted in a day or so cause I’ve been busy with life LOL.

The latter part of the week has been pretty lackluster. Not great, but not bad. Been having to spend a little money on things that I didn’t intend on having to worry about though 🙁 Which means a lot more home cooking for me. And, if you’ve ever had my home cooking, you know that’s a pretty harsh experience.

First, my headphones have decided to be a bit spastic in letting the sound flow freely through them. So, since their toast, I’ve been looking around the house for others. Most everything else we have are ear buds of one form or another. I hate ear buds. For some reason wearing them makes me a little sick to my stomach. Now, I’m on the hunt to find some ear clips that have the headphones cover the ear. We’ll see what I can get. I’ve budgeted $15 so I’ll be a hunt.

Secondly, my PC has been acting up. It’s been making this god-awful whuuuuurrrriing sound. (Yes, just like that.) It’s been happening intermittently and I couldn’t get it to repeat itself. So, thinking it was the front fan making the noise at high RPM, and since it’s the original 5 year old one, I ran down to Best Buy and got another one. Put that in last night. Seemed to have done the trick. The fan is a little louder than stock but has more airflow so I was expecting that.

This morning the damn noise was back, tilted the case to remove the side so I could hear better, sound got way worse. I’ve realized that it’s the DVD-Rom. We’ve had issues with it making a horrible noise when full bore, along with some read issues. Alas, now, just sitting there idle, you can hear the disc spinning. Crap. So, off to New Egg I went. I think Wifey would be proud. 🙂 $25 later (and with free shipping), I got myself a new one and didn’t break my budget.

Hopefully that will be the end of my electronic woes.

Ah, time to have lunch!

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