Tuesday, January 23, 2007

5 Things About Me

Responding to Marc's post.

1. 2006 ended with me being a first time dad!
2. I've lived longer in my current area then anywhere else in my life.
3. My first computer was a Commodore 64 and I had a IBM-AT 6Mhz (not the 8MHz)
4. One of the biggest "wow" computer moments that I always remember is the first time I heard sound through the Soundblaster card.
5. In my freshman year of college, my roommate and I continued the tradition of throwing an end-of-year party in our dorm room because we had the smallest room in the whole dorm.

beagle on fedora

Today I noticed my hard drive spinning a lot and so I did a "top" to see what was running. A process called beagle-build-in was the highest resource consuming task and a "ps auxfw" showed that it was started by a daily cron job called beagle-crawl-system. Beagle is a Mono-based desktop search engine so I guess what this is doing is to index files on the system, but the thing is that I had not enabled Beagle on my service so I'm not sure why Fedora kept this daily cron job...

NVidia 7600 AGP

My new FXF NVIDIA GeForce 7600 GT 256MB DDR3 (PV-T73A-UDF3) card came last night to replace the burned-out MSI Ti4800 (Ti4600-TD8X) card. Because my motherboard is still AGP, I had to get an AGP card instead of the newer PCI-E and there are fewer and fewer AGP options out there especially if you're looking for dual-DVI connections. There seems to be more ATI cards that sports dual-dvi, but they tend to cost a lot more and I've always liked Nvidia cards.

This is definitely a no frills package that came in a small box with the card, manual, CD, s-video cable, power splitter cable and a DVI-VGA converter. The installation was easy, but don't expect to get help from the manual which just said insert the card into the AGP slot. It didn't even take up half a page. Later on, I found that on the CD there were some PDF documents that offered a little more details but only because it included some diagrams.

After putting in the card, I turned on the machine and saw... nothing. The GPU fan was running but I realize that the power cable from the PSU (the card recommends 350W) wasn't connected properly to the back of the card so it wasn't getting enough juice to turn on. Once I reconnected the cable, everything worked fine. I downloaded the latest drivers from Nvidia and a reboot later I configured everything as I wanted and the monitors looked very nice with both going to DVI.

Overall, the card is nice. The AGP version was more expensive then the PCI-E version but it was still cheaper then upgrading the whole machine. The card is actually smaller then my previous card and I didn't notice it being any louder. The latest version of CPU magazine did an article on AGP card and this one got the best review and performance, but is about $30 more then the average price but given that this will hopefully be my last video card for this machine and I want it to last I figure the investment was good.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

MS hotfix for HT and dual-core

This is slightly old (although the latest version is new), but MS has a hotfix designed to improve the performance and compatibility of those running multi-core processors or HT-enabled processors:


I haven't tried it myself, but figure I note it here so I can find it late.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Dead video card

Last night I suddenly smelled burning plastic. After looking through the house, it turned out that the fan on one of the video cards (MSI Ti4800) stopped working and the heat of the card melted the fan and surrounding plastic. Not being a heavy PC video gamer these days, I don't buy the super fast video card that could melt a glacier, but I guess most cards these days will generate a decent amount of heat as to require at least a heat sink or fan. What was interesting is that the video card still worked although probably not for much longer, but I still took it out of the computer and put it in the garage because it smelled really bad.

Since no video card essentially means no computer, I figured that I should find one fast, but as I'm not a gamer I haven't been following the latest in video card technology. Although I've heard a lot of good things recently about ATI cards, I've been a long time user of Nvidia so I started there. The Ti4800 is no longer made so I'd have to upgrade to a newer GPU and this time I decided I really want one that has dual DVI connectors instead of a 1 DVI and 1 Analog, and since the motherboard is still an AGP mother board, I needed to find an AGP version of the card.

A few generations of GPU has passed me by since I bought the 4800 with the latest-and-greatest being the 8xxx series, but those cards are in the $400+ category and way beyond what I want to spend for an old system. At first I thought that the older 6xxx series such as the XFX GeForce 6600XT would fit my needs exactly as it has dual DVI, AGP and is relatively cheap.

However, the shocker came as I read the various comments that the XT requires a 500W power supply!?! I thought, "is this the norm these days?" Looking around some more, I settled on the XFX Geforce 7600GT which got very good reviews and being that it's no longer the top-of-the-line from Nvidia the price isn't at a premium. However, because I had to get the AGP version, it was about $50 more then the PCI-E version. While the 6600XT seemed to require a powerful PSU and the XFX version seemed to be a fairly large card, the 7600GT is less power hungry and is suppose to be more a regular sized card. I'm now waiting for it to arrive and I'll provide more details of my experience with it.

Hopefully this will be the last upgrade for the computer until the whole system is upgraded.

Monday, January 8, 2007


If things looks a bit wierd (i.e. the header doesn't have rounded corners), please clear your cache and reload the page.