5/20/12

Specs for my once planned 2007 gaming rig

So I found some notes in a worksheet about the first "Dual CPU" computer I was going to build. I thought I was going to laugh at the performance, but actually, it's a machine I'd actually rather still have! I wonder how many fully functional Tyan boards got dumped by companies :(

One option was the Tyan Thunder S2895A2NRF (image from NewEgg)
 K8WE Dual Core Opteron DDR400 SATAII Audio GbE LAN IEEE1394a USB2.0


Specs: Dual CPU, Single/Dual Core Opteron (Socket 940) 800Mhz HT, North Bridge: NVidia 2200 and 2050 as well as an AMD8131 memory controller. 8x184 pins DDR 400 PC3200 (Total 16 Gb ECC/REG RAM). 1xPCI, 2xPCI-X 100Mhz,1xPCI-X 133Mhz and 2xPCI Express x16 for NVidia SLI. 1xATA, 4xSATA 3Gbps, RAID0+1+10.Dual Gbps ethernet ports. 4xUSB2.0

That's a "Dual CPU Dual Core|" with 16 GB and SLI support. My current board has 16GB, a single hex-core CPU and two more SATA ports. Oh, and it has DDR3 and 2xUSB3.

That is an impressive rig even by todays standards. That motherboard was from 2007. The rig would be about 2300 USD. (2007 rating). That's excluding PSU, case, mouse and keyboard! The current rig I have was about 1300 USD (2012 rating).

I was going to populate it with two Opteron 225 (Single Core, the Dual Core was too expensive), two 7900GT's and 8x1GB of DDR400 RAM. Which would probably just give me 4GB since it was probably arranged so each core was linked to a bank.

The other was a Tyan Thunder S2882UG3NR (image also from NewEgg)



It had similar specs, but the first one was slightly superior for gaming. This was more of a server board.

5/10/12

Windows 7 Command Prompt Here

So I was trying to install the trusty old CmdHereToy.exe from Windows XP, but Windows 7 would have none of that. So after a quick Google, like you just did, it's actually already built into Win 7.

The trick: Just hold the Shift-button while Right-Clicking and you get a few more options:

The usual menu
The OMG you just need to hold Shift menu

The Useful Utility Page

(Updated 14.09.2012, 05.09.2013)

File utilities:

Teracopy in action.
TeraCopy will copy your files, and also do a md5 check if you want. Integrates with Explorer too. Neat utiliy. not unlike NSIS's copy utility. Unfortunately, sometimes it does bug out when using it as a Shell-integrated copy-replacement. I recommend using this as a stand-alone app.










Locate32 in action, as you can see, it will search network drives too.
Locate32 is the file search utility you have been wanting since they took it away in Windows 7. This is like Windows XP's old file search, only vastly improved. It searches local disks and network mounts by default, but you can make any kind of setup with this program. For example, you can omit certain directories from a search, etc. Also comes in a 64 bit variant. 10/10 would search again.












TrueCrypt's interface.
TrueCrypt is one of the best encryption  packages out there. Protect your files with AES256 and just don't forget the password! Supports hidden volumes withing regular volumes.

Audio utilities

Recording & editing

Reaper for recording, has low latency, comprehensible UI and a good routing/monitoring interface. This is also the only recorder I have at the moment which actually works with my studio setup.
Audacity and CoolEdit for secondary editing. CoolEdit used to be my favourite (now Adobe Audition) but it did not play nice with my hardware this time)
Traders Little Helper + FLAC  and WAV workshop for audio traders.
winLAME - UI for the LAME mp3 codec

Musicians tools

GNU Solfege, for ear training

Playback & codecs

VLC and FooBar2000 for media playback, will probably reinstall WinAmp again purely for the fact that it is the only application I know that rewinds on pressing the arrow keys. (Vital for my guitar practice!)

flac codecs - this is what TLH uses.
OPUS codecs - A new codec

Windows Tweaking

Jumplist-Launcher will give you a custom JumpList on the Start+Menu. A jump+list is the sub+folder that a program creates on the Start-menu to for example let you access your last used files within that app. This utility will let you group and organize a custom Jumplist, to declutter your Start-menu.


Development

Visual SVN Server, sets you up with a working SVN server out of the box. Add and name your repo, and it's ready to go. I personally use this with Eclipse's SVN plugins. This is *actually* an out-of-the box setup, some of the SVN server packs I've seen doesn't actually work :)

TortoiseSVN, the definitive GUI client for SVN operations.

Portable Application Compilations

PortableApps.com, this is a huge collection of smaller apps and games. 

WSCC, Windows System Controll Centre, a compilation by NirSoft that includes all NirSoft itilities, as well as a comprehensive wrappe of all the SysInternals utilities.

5/8/12

Computer Techie Toolbox Round-Up:

Computer Techie Toolbox Round-Up:

After about a couple of years with little work to do, I've built and refurbished a few computers in the past few months.
Again, better than MacGyver's

Dispensable spare parts
For instance, I used a Pentium 3 to boot a Phenom with a broken pin

  1. Scissors
  2. Wide plyer/wirestripper
  3. Pointed plyer
  4. Wide Philips/flat screwdrivers
  5. Magnifying glass
  6. Multitool pocketknife
  7. The screwdriver that comes with Noctua SE fans
  8. Multi-bit screwdriver

Mini screwdriver set for repairing and cleaning laptops.

Assortment of parts: (Label the boxes!)
  1. Screws, sorted!
  2. Pins
  3. USB sticks (I like to keep special purpose USB sticks separate and labeled)
  4. Flash RAM
  5. Small cables (CrossFire/SLI,molex adapters)
  6. Stickers
  7. Misc++



Toolbox:
  1. Pens
  2. CPU cooling paste
  3. Glue
  4. Tape
  5. Antistatic wristband
  6. Q-tips
  7. Other tools!

A straight fan can improve RPM

Keep your rescue and OS disks sorted!
  1. Retail Diagnostic CD's
  2. Retail Driver CD's
  3. Your own accumulated custom driver compilations
  4. Windows/Linux OS CD's
  5. Live distros
  6. Rescue distros
  7. Forensic distros













Sunsway/ST Lab PCI ATA133 2P SATA-PATA cards

Updated:  May 10th 2012

This is a PCI card that basically has two IDE ports. You can upgrade the BIOS on the card and get a Medley RAID controller feature, which will give you RAID modes 0,1 and 10.



While I was experimenting with some faulty hardware, power to one of the 4 disks in the RAID must have failed, and while the disk was not missing from the Set, per se, something had happened to it.

And lo and behold, their driver software delivers (Silicon Image Software). It rebuilt two disks that had problems. While the rebuild took place, Windows complained about a faulty hard disk presemt.

Various stages during RAID rebuild

Various stages during RAID rebuild

Good drivers !

5/4/12

RAID monster Redux


So the first build was a lot of work and shortcuts were made. Screws not fitted, no cable management, no extra cooling, etc.

The summer is coming and that means hotter indoor temperature. Better fit those extra fans now! It will surely extend the lifetime of both the disks and the computer.

I had a whole bunch of Akasa & Noctua voltage reducers to decrease the overall noise level of all the fans.

System seemd to average at around 26 degrees celsius according to Speccy. :D Room temperature is 25.1. So that's pretty decend. That machine runs 10 hardisks, a Phenom 960T, 4 GB of 1066Mhz RAM + 10 fans. It only runs a limited 64MB old Nvidia card at the moment. This rig draws about 197 watts, So the fitting of 10 fans increased the watt usage by about 10, even after ALL of then was fitted with voltage reducers.


Work in progres! 










80mm fan attached with softmounts, diagonally :)





Rear fans & PSU fan:

  1. 2x80mm rear exhausts and a stock Phenom fan
  2. 1x80mm internal intake
  3. 1x80mm external intake

Front intakes: (Both covered with dust filters.)

1x120mm Akasa (SYSFAN)
1x80mm Somethingsomething (power siphoned from molex)






Cable managemnet done!



Custom fitted 120 and 80 mm fans blwing on the
side of the lower 6 disks trough chassis holes


Finished ! With a 8mm green led outtake in front of the CPU fan.