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Comment Re:dd (Score 1) 295

What about seek times in a low-RPM, high-capacity drive?

I have two 3.5" drives in my desktop. One is a Western Digital 250GB 7200 RPM ATA/133 drive from 2005, the other is a Western Digital 5400 1TB 5400 RPM "green" SATA 3.0gbps drive from around 2011.

The 5400 RPM drive is nice and fast for big files, but lord help you if you install a game on it. Load times are easily twice as long for a big AAA game like Crysis.

I checked and both drives have three platters. Is this what's killing my 5400 RPM drive?

Comment The End-Game (Score 3, Interesting) 398

Here's what I want to know about Bitcoin: What happens when the last bitcoin is mined? I think there's a max of 21 million bitcoins, and currently about half that many have been mined and are in people's hands.

If bitcoin continues long enough to reach the end-game, wouldn't it create a deflationary spiral?

Comment Re:That's what they said about Apple, but now.... (Score 1) 70

Apple is one of the most popular brands ever and that's because it re-invented itself. Dell has a shot at re-branding itself with the right leadership.

I think you're right on the money there. Apple re-invented itself; Dell will re-brand itself.

When Apple was in a slump it transformed from a computer company locked in a race to the bottom - fighting beige-box Mac clones with beige boxes of their own - into a design company that produces its own ecosystem of high-margin computers and online services (iTunes store, iOS / OS X app stores). Apple acknowledges this; "Apple Computer" is now just "Apple", officially.

I don't own a Macbook, and I don't want one, but I can totally understand why they're selling like hotcakes: elegant and sturdy design, luxury status, vertical integration of hardware / software / internet services, and now retina displays... the list goes on. Love them or hate them, but Apple's computers stand out.

Dell, on the other hand? They're still making cheap generic beige boxes, except these days they're "piano black". I'm sure that's exactly what their corporate/government customers want, but the question then is, "How do you re-invent yourself when your customers just want blade servers, cheap desktops, and on-site service plans?" Dell already does those things well.

I'm guessing that Dell's idea of "re-inventing itself" will be to buy Alienware again, or to imitate Apple. Hopefully, they'll try something none of us thought of and prove me wrong in the process.

Comment Re:Another outbreak of common sense! (Score 1) 984

I live in a school zone that had a bad speeding problem.

Odds are you live in an area with a bad school zone problem. Or at least, you do if your city is anything like mine. In my area, school zones have a 25 mph speed limit ... ALL HOURS ALL DAYS. Kids are only crossing those streets for 2 hours a day max, and they have crossing guards to boot.

Comment Re:Sequel revenue server rental revenue (Score 1) 129

Wow... why would one need to rent a server? Doesn't anyone remember the golden age of gaming when online games came with server software pre-installed? For instance, most of the Quake servers were on gamers' machines. Pay for running a server? Maybe I'm just old but that sounds insane to me.

Monthly server costs can be pretty cheap, and for some games, you really do need a business-class server for smooth netplay. For example, I used to play a lot of Battlefield 2 - that's a game supporting up to 64 players (and that game only really came into its own with that many people playing). A lot of BF2 clans would have monthly membership dues to pay for server costs - I almost joined a couple of them, and they only wanted $8 per month from me. Considering that I played that game a good 100 hours a month back in 2006, it seemed like a pretty reasonable deal. However, I stopped playing that game when I realized my borderline obsession with it was screwing up my grades in school.

I saw the same thing back when AlterIW was offering a dedicated server alternative to the TERRIBLE matchmaking system in Modern Warfare 2.

Comment Pills (Score 1) 283

I can get the equivalent of 100 cups of strong coffee for $3.87 at Walmart. The pills even have a vague banana-lemon flavor to them. Someone tell me - can you even buy ONE cup of coffee at starbucks for that price?

I like the way coffee tastes, and I think it's good for sipping slowly on a lazy Sunday afternoon. But it also burns the hell out of my stomach if I forget to pre-dose with tums and it's expensive and brewing it is annoying.

It's funny how conflicted most people are about their (socially acceptable) psychoactive drug use. When I tell people that I have a hard time getting out of bed without popping 100mg of caffeine stored on my nightstand and waiting 20 minutes for it to kick in, they gape at me in horror. These same people will stumble out into the kitchen with a murderous gaze and slump in front of the the coffee maker, brooding, until it's done brewing.

If you're gonna do drugs, just do drugs. Caffeine pills are cheap and can be cut down to provide perfect control over dosage (very good for tapering off a caffeine addiction).

Comment Re:Free Hardware (Score 1) 380

I pay about $0.09 / kWhr on average (depends how much I use per month). I once did the math on this and found that the power savings from upgrading my old hardware (overclocked core 2 quad pushing about 140W, 150W graphics card, multiple hard drives, several fans) to a modern sandy/ivy bridge system with an 80+ psu would take a few years (maybe 4?) to pay for itself in savings. That's a fairly long time in the computing world. When people ask me about buying a new computer to save on electricity, I generally advise them not to unless they're concerned about CO2 emissions from the local coal plant or if they're still on an Intel HeatBurst platform.

I live in Iowa, so your mileage may vary - I seem to recall reading that Germany averaged the equivalent of $0.20 / kWhr (!) a year or two ago.

As for your comment on cpu/psu fans getting less efficient, I feel I should share my secret: mesh filters on all air intakes on the case, plus semi-annual cleaning of dust on fan blades and heatsink fins with computer duster. This works wonders; I have fans nearing their 6th birthday in my PC and they're just fine, and I never see any big dust bunnies in there. Before I figured this out, my previous computer's fans were moaning and groaning all the time.

Comment Re:Keep 'em Coming (Score 1) 128

I don't think they have them on the consumer level graphics cards. It turned out that the consumer graphics cards were better for our needs since they had more and faster texture sampling units.

I recently bought a Radeon HD 7850 2GB card that I'm pretty sure has ECC. Cost was $200. It's pretty cool - if you overclock the memory too high, the card doesn't start crashing your games or anything, it just doesn't run any faster.

To my knowledge, all graphics cards with GDDR5 memory have ECC.

Comment Mods Are Better (Score 1) 83

This BFG edition is a JOKE compared to the mods (100% made by volunteer work) I've been playing lately. I've seen volunteer effort replace almost ALL the textures with HD textures (very nicely done, looks like professional quality), add in bloom/HDR, add in parallax occlusion mapping (high-end computers only!), add in new monsters, and probably more I'm forgetting. Just get a $10 or $5 copy of the Doom 3 from 2004 and get some of these FREE mods, and the game will look so good you'll think it was made in 2010 or 2011 and it's TOTALLY worth playing it again with them installed. And if you're a pussyshit who plays with the room lights turned on and you don't understand the word "atmosphere", then YES, you can get a mod to tape a flashlight to your gun. A short list of the best mods (Note: these mods can be a son of a bitch to install, especially if you want more than one. I'd advise you just get the mod from the bottom-most URL if you want a painless experience):

Perfected Doom 3 (adds HDR bloom and other effects)

Wulfen (High-Def) Texture Pack (lots of HD textures and parallax maps for them)

HD Mod (e-z to install compilation of many other high-def mods)

Comment Re:Why do you need that transition effect? (Score 2) 553

Is your life that devoid of meaning that it needs the soothing animation effect to make it tolerable? It is like people who complain about a tearing effect when they move a window around... who the fuck cares? I select a window, drag it to where I want it and I want it done as fast possible and not as nice as possible.

Well, the tearing effect in particular bothers me because oftentimes I like to read the contents of a window while I am moving it. I think a window manager with functionality as the #1 priority should try as hard as possible to never obscure the contents of a window.

I know what you mean about desktop eye candy slowing things down... it's one of the reasons I made the switch from Mac OS X to Windows 7 a few years ago; Windows is more responsive, even with the unnecessary "aero" bullhooey enabled. Linux isn't really an option for me because I run an ATI (er, sorry, AMD) graphics card, and I hear that combination is a rarefied circle of hell.

Comment Re:Elon Musk made a blog post about all this (Score 1) 510

What do you find "crappy" about the Ford GT's interior? I thought it looked kinda nice, if a little bit plastic-y and vulgar.

The current-generation Corvettes are more interesting to me, though. They don't look as good as the Ford GT on the outside, but I think that's because Chevy let their engineers decide EVERYTHING about that car. It is the only honest-to-god sports car I know of where the design team thought that COST was an important aspect of engineering.

Yes, the interior is cheap chevy parts-bin crap, but it's easier to live with when you know you've got a car that can overtake cars like Ferrari F430s and F360s, Zondas, and Gallardos, all for about $30,000 to $40,000 for one in like-new condition.

Comment Re:How about idle?? (Score 1) 259

war4peace:
I was in your exact position a few months ago. My Core 2 Duo E4300 wasn't cutting it for new games like Crysis 2 or LA Noire even though I had it overclocked +66% to 3000Mhz, fairly close to the same performance as your E6750. So I decided it was time for an upgrade, and I set out looking for the cheapest CPU that could handle any modern game at around 40 fps or more.

I was all set to buy a brand new cpu+motherboard+ram kit from newegg, but at the last minute I checked on eBay and I found it was cheaper to just get a quad-core cpu for my old socket 775 system. After all, I already had plenty of fast DDR2-800 memory and I was 100% satisfied with my Gigabyte 965P-DS3 motherboard, so why chuck them out if I can still make use of them? Instead of paying $230+ for a Sandy Bridge Core i3 2100 kit, I just bought an old Core 2 Quad Q6700 for about $125, and sold my old E4300 a week later for $25 to recoup some of the money I spent. The Q6700 is great... it's basically two E6750s glued together on one package, and at stock clocks it is about 90%-100% as fast in modern multi-threaded games as a core i3 2100, which would have cost just as much as my Q6700 for the cpu alone, never mind the new board and memory I would need. And really I probably paid a little too much for the Q6700 at $125... if you are patient I bet you can get a used Q6700 for $80-$100 off eBay or maybe Craigslist. One tip if you go the used route: make sure the cpu was just pulled out of some some boring office workstation computer from 2007. You do NOT want a cpu that once lived in some 14-year-old's gaming pc that was overclocked to the max with some $20 off-brand power supply.

The TDP for the Q6700 is 95W because it uses the dual-die 65nm "Kentsfield" design, but even so I think your Scythe heatsink (good choice on that, by the way...) should have no trouble handling 95W quietly. But if 95W still sounds like it's just too much heat for you, you might want to look into the 45nm "Yorkfield" chips, if I recall correctly they vary between 65W and 95W. Be aware, though, that not all socket 775 motherboards will support 45nm CPUs, even if you flash to the latest BIOS. You'll want to check with your motherboard vendor to make sure that your model supports 45nm chips (my Gigabyte 965P-DS3 does not support them, else I would have purchased a 45nm Q9650 with a better clock rate and more L2 cache than a Q6700).

Oh, just remembered something about the Q6700 - if you leave it at or below stock frequency (2666 Mhz), it will almost certainly tolerate a good deal of under-volting, (your motherboard almost certainly supports voltage control if you can overclock with it). In my case, stock voltage is 1.27500V, but I got it down to 1.12500V, totally stable through 72 hours of torture testing. This reduced the cpu power consumption from 95 W to 73 W, based on this wattage calculator.

Lately I've been gaming with headphones, so noise is not much of issue anymore, and I've found that I can get my Q6700 up to 3333 Mhz at 1.40000V (this is on a mediocre Thermaltake i1 heatsink) completely stable through 72 hours torture testing, temperatures between 44 C idle and 77 C full load, (last I checked, the "Kentsfield" Core 2 Quads are good to go at any overclock so long as they stay both under 1.50000V and under 80 C). At this overclocked speed, my 5-year-old Q6700 beats out a Core i3 2100 pretty handily. Overclocked, my Q6700 consumes a ton of power at 143 W (+51% more than stock power consumption), but it's getting chilly at my latitude this time of year and I could use a space heater anyway :P. Still, the +25% boost to clock speed is very noticeable when paired with my Radeon 7850 2GB, especially in cpu-heavy games like LA Noire and Deus Ex: Human Revolution. Btw, the Radeon 7850 is an unbeatable mid/mid-high range graphics card if heat/power consumption is a concern... it's noticeably faster than a GTX 560 Ti and it trades blows with a GTX 570, but it accomplishes this with a TDP of only 130W (!)... and it has double the VRAM. The MSI Twin Frozr 7850 has a particularly quiet heatsink/fan and it's also very overclocking-friendly.

One aspect of the the low to midrange Sandy Bridge / Ivy Bridge chips that shouldn't be overlooked is that the clock generator has moved from the northbridge to the cpu, meaning that YOU CAN'T OVERCLOCK THEM, not more than about +2%, not even on a deluxe $300 motherboard, at least not unless you buy a $250+ "-K" model with an unlocked multiplier (and of course, those "K" models are all top-of-the-line to begin with, faster at stock clocks than any gamer could need right now). I can't help but hate the idea of having unused performance potential in my computer... I hate it almost as much as I enjoy gaming... Looking at forum threads where people post their overclocks, I'm finding that back in 2007/2008, when Core 2 Quads just started hitting stores shelves at $800-$1000, overclockers could achieve 3600 Mhz or 3800 Mhz at around 1.40V to 1.5V on a decent air cooler like your Scythe (4000 Mhz was pretty achievable on water, too).

So long story short, if you have a decent motherboard and enough ram running at a reasonable speed, it will probably amaze you how much of an improvement you'll get just by replacing a 5-year-old CPU with an equally old CPU. People are getting rid of their old Core 2 Quads in droves, and it's a buyer's market out there.

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