Building a new PC

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

So I spec’ed out a new PC to fit into the case+power supply I bought from Iain:

CPU: Intel Core i7 920
    $310 (NewEgg.ca)/ $310 (CanadaComputers.com)
Motherboard: ASUS P6TD Deluxe
    $320 / $315
Memory: OCZ Platinum 12GB (6 x 2GB) DDR3 1333 MHz OCZ3P1333LV12GS
    $264.50 / $320
Disk: 1.5TB Western Digital Caviar Green WD15EADS
    $115 / $115
Optical drive: Pioneer BDR-205BKS 12x Blu-Ray Burner
    $233.50 / $240 (203BKS)
OS: Windows 7 Professional 64-bit – OEM
    $155 / $160

Total cost, before taxes etc

NewEgg.ca: $1,398
Canada Computers: $1,460

Iain points out I haven’t looked at a video card yet.
I replied that with the speed at which prices of video cards change, I will wait until the last minute and get two mid-level cards to run in SLI, preferably DirectX 11 cards.
If I had to get them now, they might be MSI GeForce GTX 260s.
Iain prefers the much higher-end Radeon HD 5870 1GB, of which there aren’t any right now it seems. :-)

Mac: use a Windows ATi Radeon 4870 in your Mac Pro

Monday, March 16th, 2009

The price for Windows 4870 cards is substantially lower than Apple’s.
The Canada Apple Store currently
lists one for $420,
whereas
Canada Computers has one for $210.
In
this MacRumors forum thread
people are discussing how to do this and what the pitfalls are.

Basically, download and flash the ROM from
RapidShare.

One person said:

I just tried it on my Sapphire HD4870 (the 1st gen one, based on
ATI’s ref design).

I flashed using freedos and the following command line:
atiflash.exe -p -fs -fp 0 4870.rom
note: -fs and -fp are used to ignore SSID and P/N mismatches

And it works!

EFI driver is initialized correctly, (I don’t have the leaked MacOSX
drivers for this card, so I can’t tell if this one works too), and
bootcamp stil works (currently writing from GNU/Linux on my 2006 Mac
Pro).

Only problem is : only one output is active, no dual-head, it seems
(at least using ATI’s linux driver)

I should note that doing this seems to make the analog output (SVGA) not work. DVI is fine, though one person reported the “top” port as only going up to 1024×768.

Be careful out there. Read the thread for info on which cards work, and what possible side effects there are.

YMMV.

Reid

First DisplayPort card shipped

Tuesday, April 1st, 2008

FireGL V7700

AMD has shipped
the first DisplayPort video card, the ATi FireGL V7700.

DisplayPort
is a new video connector that is supposed to replace DVI (which SVGA).
It allows for HD resolution and will be expanded to handle audio as well.

Sounds like HDMI to me..

CPU Energy Usage

Friday, February 1st, 2008

XBitLabs
is running a very interesting
article
comparing several of the latest CPUs from Intel and AMD.

Performance per Watt

The most interesting charts for me were the one above and below,
which show the CPUs’ energy efficiency

Power usage

PC Gamer Guitar Hero III Un-review

Sunday, January 13th, 2008

Guitar Hero III

PC-Gamer Jan 2008 gave Guitar Hero III a low rating because of “low frame rates”.
Let me be the first to tell you this is not fair.
They review Crysis in the same magazine, and that game requires serious horsepower and a new graphics card.
If they had actually tried Guitar Hero III on the same system, they would get results like I do for both games on my now 2 year old AMD dual core 4200+ with the latest Saphire ATI 3870 chipset HD video card.
It’s all in the video card.

I will be the first to admit that Intel was the place to be for the last 2 years, however I do not buy computers *that* frequently.
I plan to upgrade soon, but not before some serious comparisons (as opposed to ridiculous speculation) come out between Intel and new AMD technology.

Anyway more to the point, with the latest video card, Guitar Hero III’s game play is amazing and the graphics are great.
Yep, Crysis is good too.
Sorry to break the news to you, but unless you’re in nVidia 8800 or ATI 3800 chip territory, you’ve got crap.
Now upgrade and buy some games to wow yourself on your 1920×1080 flat-panel TV.
Actually, a $500 Samsung 245BW 24″ 1920×1200 monitor works just fine.

One other little thing, the games utilize 5.1 sound, so be sure to grab a $70 logitech X560 or better set of speakers.
(I’ve had something like that for many years, actually).