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Comment Post on Dell's forums (Score 4, Informative) 314

Here's a post on Dell's forums describing the issue

From the link:

Some key points from the report (keep in mind this is specifically for the E6500 with the NVIDIA graphics option, but much of this likely applies to the E6400 and/or the Intel integrated graphics option):

1. The problem is NOT an overheating problem - the system simply does not overheat. It is due to premature and overly aggressive attempts at thermal control, invoked at what are NORMAL processor operating temperatures (65-80 Celsius), possibly due to faulty ACPI "passive cooling" parameter definitions and/or control methods.
2. The problem is substantially more pronounced when the system is docked.
3. The problem is aggravated somewhat by the use of dual monitors when docked as opposed to a single monitor.
4. Since the problem is all about temperature, the higher the surrounding ambient temperature in the room, the sooner and the greater the performance loss.
5. The symptoms are much more highly correlated to elevated NVIDIA GPU temperature than elevated CPU core temperatures.

Some miscellaneous corollaries:

1. Any blockage of air inlets or outlets (including, of course, dust) will aggravate the problem.
2. The reason people report shockingly high percent CPU utilization statistics when their system slows down is that the overall capacity of their processor is degraded by the throttling mechanisms. The same processes running on a CPU that is subsequently throttled necessarily will demand a higher percentage of the processor's remaining capacity.
3. The reason some folks report persistent slowness even after installing software to prevent CPU downclocking is that more than one throttling mechanism is in play here. In particular, Software-controlled Clock Modulation (also called On-Demand Clock Modulation) occurs in an almost completely invisible manner, as opposed to performance state changes (which are usually monitored by common utilities). Another often-invisible throttling mechanism is Dynamic FSB Frequency Switching (where the FSB frequency is slashed in half), though if you prevent performance state changes, that takes care of preventing this too (since it's part of state P3).
4. The reason there aren't more complaints (though many are accumulating these days) is that users who experience this problem simply have no way of knowing what the cause is and are likely to blame the wrong thing (Windows, recently installed software, cooling hardware, etc.). Untold masses may be adversely affected by this problem, but nearly all of them wouldn't know it because there's no way for them to tell. Also, the problem is at its worst only when in a docked configuration, which may not be common.
5. The reason complaints are escalating now more than before is that this is the first summer that people have had this system (in the Northern Hemisphere, anyway). I think it's safe to say that ambient temperatures are higher for most E6400/E6500 users now.
6. The problem can be substantially mitigated by pointing an external fan at the system.
7. The problem can also be mitigated by software, such as RMClock, that can override the throttling mechanisms in question, at the expense of negating all passive thermal management (though critical temperature shutdown mechanisms may remain in place).


Epic Releases Free Version of Unreal Engine 217

anomnomnomymous writes "Just a week after Unity announced its engine is now available for free to indie users, Epic Games has revealed a free version of its popular Unreal Engine technology. Called the Unreal Development Kit (UDK), it is a free edition of UE3 that allows community, modder and indie users more access to the engine's features and is available for all. Epic said game developers, students, hobbyists, researchers, creators of 3D visualizations and simulations plus digital filmmakers can all take advantage of the UDK for non-commercial use. The UDK site also offers detailed product features, technical documentation, commercial licensing terms and support resources."

NASA's Skylab $400 Littering Fine Paid By DJ 111

astroengine writes "Space Disco speaks with a Californian radio DJ about his role in raising, and paying, NASA's 30-year old littering fine levied by a Western Australian town. Skylab parts fell on Esperance in 1979, but the space agency's refusal to pay $400 has resulted in an entertaining annual grudge. Now the Barstow radio DJ is guest of honor at this weekend's 30th anniversary celebrations in Oz and the two small towns at opposite ends of the Pacific will be twinned... all because Skylab had a messy re-entry..."

Rock Band Licenses The Beatles 266

eldavojohn writes "The Wall Street Journal is reporting that MTV's Rock Band has gained the licenses to an undetermined number of songs. Details are scant, but it would be nice to see a whole game based on just the evolution of The Beatles' music. According to Reuters, this has been in the works for months. Hopefully I can finally hide my strained vocals to so many beautiful songs within the privacy of my home instead of drunk off my ass at a bar."

Microsoft Embraces AMQP Open Middleware Standard 122

AlexGr writes to tell us that Microsoft apparently has plans to embrace a little known messaging standard called AMQP (Advanced Message Queuing Protocol). Red Hat, a founding member of the AMQP working group, was very excited about the news and wrote to welcome Microsoft to the party. "Suffice it is to say that AMQP is to high-value, reliable business messaging what SMTP is to e-mail. The proprietary message oriented middleware (MOM) products on the market today like IBM's MQ or Tibco's Rendezvous fulfill the same function as AMQP. But they operate exclusively in single-vendor fashion and utterly fail to interoperate with each other. They are also — perhaps not by coincidence — burdensomely expensive. As a result their use is mostly limited to wealthy organizations such as Wall Street banks (at least the ones who are still in business) that need to exchange huge volumes of business messages very reliably and very quickly. But AMQP's supporters feel the market for such reliable messaging could be much larger if a less expensive and truly open solution became available."

Submission + - I am the bad boss!! what now?!?

Anonymous writes: I'm an IT manager since almost 2 years now and out of no-where (maybe arrogance), I decided to do a 360 feedback (using one of those websites). Employees were able to answer anonymously and, now I'm sure, didn't hold on anything on their mind. Turned out I'm not very good; pretty much very bad. As suggested, I'm one of those managers who got promoted due to "technical prowess" in my previous position. And in all honesty, although I like the job (well, before I did...), I didn't sign up for this (people who hates you and goes bad mouthing about you — not that they're not right, just that I don't want to be known like that). What should I do now? You guys saw anyone in that same position (maybe you?) and actually turned it over and became a good boss?

Submission + - HD-DVD and Blu-Ray Fully Broken

gEvil (beta) writes: According to an article at BoingBoing, the processing keys for the AACS encryption scheme used by both HD-DVD and Blu-Ray video discs have been extracted, and a crack has been released. What this means is that there is now a method to extract the copy-protected content of any HD-DVD or Blu-Ray disc out there. This is different from Muslix64's previous crack, which only extracted the volume key for each disc. This new method bypasses this step and allows anyone to extract the data without first requiring the volume key.

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