OBSIDIANLAKE

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Archive for the ‘hardware’ Category

How to make OCZ memory run better, joke

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First of all, this post should more completely have been entitled “How to make OCZ top performance memory run better by setting it at lower performance than the specs”.

ocztitanium Yesterday night I had a “revelation”. The new hard drive I have added to my computer several days ago supports AHCI and NCQ, but my chipset (Intel 82801, ICH9 family) doesn’t. Fortunately ASUS added an extra AHCI SATAII controller to the main board which provides one ATA interface and two SATA ports, one being the eSATA. It is the JMicron 20360 controller. I powered off and unplugged my PC, switched the hard-drive to the AHCI port, put everything back and booted up. Upon booting up, I was left scared like a chicken. I started wondering what I have done wrong. The monitor wasn’t powering up, there were no beeps coming out of the PC Speaker, hard drives weren’t busy…

I tried clearing the BIOS. It didn’t work. Very disappointed and heart-broken I started taking everything out and putting it back in one by one to test each component. Then I got to install just one of the DDR2 DIMMs and it finally booted up. Since yesterday I have been reading the OCZ forums for help regarding this issue. I learned a great deal of information about how they advertise their memory products but I am not sure I like what I found out. Pretty much you have to find out yourself the right configuration for your memory if you want it to work and last. This thread explains it.

My luck was that the system would boot up with just one module and that way I got inside the BIOS, upped the voltage on the DRAM to the maximum that they advertise (2.35v, for my 2 x Titanium Alpha VX2, P/N: OCZ2TA1000VX21G), set the timings to CAS 4-4-4-15 also as advertised and then test the RAM. If memtest worked then I would drop the voltage a notch and test again until I could find the best setting.

Bad news is that nothing worked at the max DDR2-1000. In the end I set it up as DDR2-800 with CAS 4-4-4-15 and DRAM voltage at 1.90v. Bandwidth as reported by memtest: 4234 MB/s. I tried other settings that worked but that didn’t provide any performance improvements (more bandwidth), for example: DDR2-1000, CAS 5-5-5-15, 2.10v.

I could have tried going for CAS 3-3-3-15 at the current DDR2-800 and slightly more voltage but I noticed the DIMMs heating up somewhat when they were run at 2.20v – 2.35v and I rather they last longer than give slightly better performance.

UPDATE – December 11, 2008 at 15:14 pm: I’m very annoyed. Two nights in a row since I posted this, my memory stopped working again. I did the same thing, remove the module that was causing the problem, booted, increased the voltage even more, shutdown, insert back the module, boot again and it worked for the day but not the next day. Very weird so I took it to the vendor I bought it from and they tested it and their PC didn’t boot. I will be expecting a replacement in 2 weeks tops. :-/

UPDATE – February 6, 2009 at 22:31 pm: I had the memory in warranty service for a month and it came back as non-faulty. It seems there are other factors that interfere, like good, stable and powerful power source unit, supporting (@native) motherboard…

I’m running both sticks at DDR2-1002 at the moment. Been running like that since end of January. Except, not at 4-4-4-15 as they are advertised but as 5-5-5-15. It’s stable as tested with memtest86+, one pass. Voltage for me is 2.2v to be stable. Other motherboards may need different settings (as power regulators differ in quality/stability, also depends on your PSU; good mobo and bad PSU can be a nuisance).

Written by brokenthorn

December 8, 2008 at 21:19

Posted in blogging, hardware

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Multiple audio outputs in MPD

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Today a Sound Blaster Live 5.1 PCI audio board dropped onto my lap. Don’t ask me how that happened because the only thing that matters to me now is how I will use this now in conjuction with my onboard Realtek ALC883 (on a Intel HDA bus). I now have 7.1 and 5.1 sound cards. The most amazing thing I could do with that setup is to run 14 speakers(!!). Not amazing? Well, only if you don’t use your computer as a playback system for live concerts (or small “parties” in my case, even weddings :P) or something like that. What I can do now is to playback a track on “stage speakers” (or two tracks, or three!) while I listen to another track on my headphones just like a DJ! and I think I can also record from multiple inputs (all 5.1?) because ALSA installs the card as 3 devices, ADC Capture/Standard PCM Playback, Multichannel Capture/PT Playback and just Multichannel Playback. That would be just awesome for such a cheap sound card. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by brokenthorn

November 29, 2008 at 21:22

Posted in hardware, Linux, music

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What is so special about Lenovo laptops?

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If that’s the question you are going to ask me when you finish reading this, I should answer it now: I’ve never seen higher quality for the price – 1k bucks in my case – in any laptop I’ve had so far. I’ve had Fujitsu-Siemens, Toshiba models, worked with Acer, Asus models, got a feeling of Vaio laptops and I’ve also used an IBM ThinkPad a very long time ago. Getting this Lenovo reminded me of the old ThinkPad and I realized there’s nothing compared to it. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by brokenthorn

February 9, 2008 at 23:08

Posted in hardware

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New LCD: ASUS VW202S

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I couldn’t get the one I ordered. It seemed like they were out of that item but I got another. It was much more expensive than the Samsung I wanted, but I figured I ain’t gonna find anything cheaper. Low offers always seem to pass me by or end right when I wake up to them. So I got an ASUS VW202S.

  • Size: 20.1 inch
  • Contrast: 2000:1
  • Response: 5 ms
  • Point size: 0.258 mm
  • Native resolution: 1680×1050
  • Luminance: 300 cd/mp
  • Visible angle: 160°/160°

You can find a lot of images of the LCD using Google if you want.

The LCD has a great response time. No more visible ghosting like the SONY SDM-S93 used to have. It has 5 built in presets for viewing mode: Scenery, Standard, Theater, Game and Nigh View Mode. While the other seem to introduce some digital vibrance, enhanced sharpness and contrast to the image, the Standard Mode seems to reproduce the best colour feeling for me.

Game mode introduces too much sharpness so text doesn’t look ok with it. Night View Mode enhances colors and whites so greys might look too light. Scenery Mode has a medium level of sharpness and deep colours. Theater Mode seems the most bearable even for reading and gaming.

Any of the modes push up the brightness of the LCD close to the maximum and I must say that the brightness level is very good on this LCD.
It has a wide viewing angle, though looking from the sides slightly reduces brightness as well as from the bottom. Looking from the top is ok up to an angle.

My model only has a VGA input and a stereo jack for the top speakers. I like how the speakers were designed. They’re not inserted on the front of the LCD like most others have. Instead they are built on the top, right under the heat dissipation grating. They don’t reproduce too much bass but mid and high frequencies are very good. The power is also acceptable for an office room.

All in all I think it’s a good LCD for the price, though I’ve heard better of the Samsung I wanted. The other view modes don’t seem too useful so as long as it’s in Standard Mode, it’s great.

I got it for about $330 converted from local currency. If you think your LCD has to be worth it to pay that much money, get something else. 😛 (Just kidding!)

Written by brokenthorn

January 24, 2008 at 12:00

Posted in hardware

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New PC

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Yes! I got a new computer! I’m really happy about this. I got to build it by myself using parts that I bought. It’s the first computer I’ve built from the ground up and not in the process of upgrading one. I have to say that everything went smoothly. It ran smoothly too, after I installed Ubuntu on it. 😀

I will give you the specifications now:

Motherboard: ASUS P5K with Intel P35 chipset
CPU: Intel(R) Core(TM)2 Duo CPU E6550 @ 2.33GHz (64bit dual-core, vme, 1333MHz FSB)
RAM: 1024 MB x 1 OCZ DDRII @ 1000MHz
GPU: ASUS G70 (NVIDIA GeForce 7300GT 64bit 256 MB PCI Express, SLI ready)
HDD: 250GB Western  Digital SATAII
CASE: G-ALANTIC with G-ALANTIC PSU 450W

Now I will have to wait for the new LCD on Tuesday. 🙂

P.S. – Don’t think I forgot about learning for my exams. No. I will start Monday.

Written by brokenthorn

January 20, 2008 at 22:33

Posted in hardware, life

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New Catalyst driver from AMD

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Written by brokenthorn

October 15, 2007 at 18:59

Posted in hardware, Linux

Reset high speed USB device ???

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I purchased a USB hard drive enclosure for a hard drive I got out of an Amilo D7850 laptop that burnt (yeah!). For a while I was having problems transferring files to and from the device on both Ubuntu (Feisty and Gutsy kernels) on my PC and Windows on my brother’s PC. On Ubuntu, system logs kept showing this:

[29017.102134] usb 5-1: reset high speed USB device using ehci_hcd and address 3
[29048.437287] usb 5-1: reset high speed USB device using ehci_hcd and address 3
[29079.392993] usb 5-1: reset high speed USB device using ehci_hcd and address 3
[29110.312749] usb 5-1: reset high speed USB device using ehci_hcd and address 3
[29141.132651] usb 5-1: reset high speed USB device using ehci_hcd and address 3

At first I thought the device wasn’t getting enough power from the USB port, but it comes with a Y cable so you can give it power from two USB ports, but it still resets.

I didn’t really use it that much so I gave up on troubleshooting it and searching the web, until today. I really needed it for backup, so I once again searched the web.

The fix in my case was just to remove the USB2.0 module from the kernel:
sudo rmmod ehci-hcd
I have an Intel chipset based motherboard, if you have something else, it might be uhci-hcd, but then again that chipset might not have this problem.
Next, the USB1.1 module kicks in and your drive should get automounted and working OK, albeit at only ~1MB/s.

Now how do you disable USB2.0 on Widows? 😉

Written by brokenthorn

September 30, 2007 at 19:52

Posted in hardware, Linux, Windows