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About politbureau

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    Rock Machine
  • Birthday 10/13/1978

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    Ottawa, Ontario
  1. Beautiful. Love the color scheme. The white tubing seems very de rigeur these days. Cheers
  2. An aside as this thread is essentially closed... I have both the D14 and the 10X Extreme, and I'd actually say that latter is the better of the two. They're about equal to install, but the Zalman wins out on ergos due to it's smaller footprint and the fact that it will essentially fit any board/ram combination. The D14 did not fit with my old Tridents, which is why I bought the 10X - and then of course my RAM died, and I bought regular height Mushkins. Go figure. On the exact same system, same clocks, same TIM (Noctua), etc, etc, the Zalman is about equal at idle - maybe a degree warmer owing to the automatic fan control, but it's 3-4 degrees cooler at load, with a noticeably better average temp across all cores. And that's with an extra P12 fan on the Noctua (3 fans total). At idle they're both inaudible over my GTXs, but at load the Zalman is definitely a few dB louder. It's not irritating, and frankly the only time my system is at load it's either running LinX for stability testing or it's gaming - and then the GTX fans spin up and drown out both coolers anyway. That said, the Zalman is a lot cheaper - $30 less here in Canada
  3. Def getting the EVGA 3X SLI or the new FTW3 (if avail within the week). Massive rebates on the 3X SLI (758-TR) right now, and can get it for $189 + tax. Cheers
  4. Thanks HN - 16/8/8 is fine too, honestly, but a single slot isn't gonna cut it... I'd really like the Classified for the extra PCIe slot to run my X-Fi Titanium, but it's just not gonna happen at my budget, I'm pretty sure. Two problems with the Dell - firstly, it won't run at anything above 200MHz bclk or the CPU at 4GHz. For some reason it just shuts down.. 201 x 12 doesn't fly, but 200x20 does. Also, if I set bclk to anything above 190 with Turbo enabled, the 21x mutli kicks in and pushes the CPU above 4GHz and again - shut down. It's like Dell built in a wall just to piss me off. The real issue however is that the mobo does NOT support D0 chips properly. It sets the QPI and Uncore mutlipliers to 24x by default, and there is no way to adjust them (QPI can be adjusted to 18x manually, but that puts uncore:qpi at 9:12...). Plus the 730x is EOL now, so there is ZERO chance of a BIOS upgrade
  5. Finally looking to upgrade the mobo in my trusty Dell 730X, as it just doesn't have the juice to push my new 'golden' D0 chip... :down2: I most certainly need something that will support Tri-SLI (as spec'd in my sig), and be powerful enough to OC my 920 to 4.2GHz and beyond. I'm fine with 16/16/8 setups, but I've seen a few 16/16/4 that I'd rather stay away from. I'd like to keep price in the lower/mid range - around C$200-250 (about the same in USD), without sacrificing too much. I don't need dual gigabit connections or anything else - I have a seperate rig for 'work,' so this is gaming only... I'm hoping it also be compatible with my Noctua D14, but that's not a deal breaker. I've been looking closely at the EVGA SLI LE (757), as I've had nothing but luck with EVGA in the past, but not sure if there are other reasonably priced options that will go the distance. Thoughts appreciated! Looking to buy in the next week Cheers
  6. Based on advice given, I've gone for the Gene II. Found it 'open box' and unused in a local shop for C$179, so couldn't pass it up. Looking for some RAM now (ugh, suggestions), and will update how it goes. Thanks for the help!
  7. Just when you think you start to understand something... ..Some pissant decides to 'help you out.' Well it came down to the Gene II, which I had found for ~C$200, or the better-layed-out EVGA SLI LE. I had *just* about come to a decision, when... ...another friend offered to swap my i7 920 D0 for a sealed i7 860. "Cheaper mobos," he said. "Better overclocking," he said. "Check it out online," he said. "&!(@^# %!(*@ &@^#," I said. Is this true? What does this mean for SLI/gaming performance? ... help ...
  8. So tough call then - all three boards get great reviews and are essentially the same price. Features are tough to compare as well. The ASUS' boards have full 16x PCIe slots, while the EVGA has the most slots available with 2 GFX cards installed. 6-phase on the EVGA, 8-phase on both ASUS' boards... The other advantage to the ATX designs, as I see it, is being able to run the graphics cards in the two furthest slots - which will go a long way to keeping my GTX295s cool. The Gene performs great at the bleeding edge, but I'm not benchmarking, and likely won't be pushing the system much beyond 3.8 or 4.0, since that's where my other i7 hits the graphics bandwidth/CPU performance wall with 99% of games. I think I'd rather have upgradeability and expansion vs flashy LCDs and bleeding edge performance. I must be getting old... Other opinions? Anyone with any of these boards?
  9. Damian, thanks for the reply. The ECS is actually still $200 here in Canada, which puts it pretty close to some of the other solutions. I could get the ASUS P6T for $250 - not sure how it compares to the other options. As for MSI and Gigabyte, I'm a HUGE fan of GB from the UD3P models, but the UD3R-SLI seems to be discontinued and there aren't any others within my price range. It seems like you have to be a clairvoyant to figure these things out. From my basic searching, the cheapest SLI boards I can find are: AsRock X58 Extreme $200 (ATX) MSI X58M $200 (mATX) EVGA SLI LE $230 (ATX) ASUS Rampage II Gene $230 (mATX) ASUS P6T $250 (ATX) All things being equal, I'd like an ATX for the expansion possibilities, so it looks like I've got the AsRock, EVGA and ASUS. Thoughts?
  10. Hey all, Been awhile since I've been on - had some other stuff to do over the summer... Need a quick rec on a motherboard. Bought a cheap-cheap i7 920 D0 here from a mate who is leaving the country, and want to get it into a socket ASAP. I'm pretty far out of the game and haven't kept up with the mobo scene, and trying to wade through the reviews from so far behind is a challenge for my 31yo brain. My only def need is 2-card SLI and maximum overclockability/stability. I'd like to keep price under C$250 (~USD$230) or less (cheaper the better) to keep the GF happy (and be able to pay the mortgage). Any help is appreciated! Cheers
  11. Update to my mini-review... Couple questions via PM I thought I'd respond to here. Fan noise is basically non-existant, even under full overclock. The system supports monitoring and fan speed control, and when I jack it up to maximum, it's still barely noticeable. Compared to my Studio, it's a hell of a lot quieter when both are set to max. I'd give it a 9/10 in this regard. Boot up speed is roughly 32 seconds on Vista HP, but I have disabled almost everything to make it run mean and lean. Shut down time is a fast 12 seconds on average, so very good. The Backlight it quite good, and reasonably uniform. Being spoiled by the Studio's 1080p LED display makes me a bit jaded, but I'd give it a solid 7.5/10. The matte screen tends to downplay differences in backlight uniformity as well. Viewing angles are quite good, with no issues for my GF when she is sitting next to me. Horizontal angles are better than vertical, but I don't find I need to adjust the angle of the LCD as I sit in a chair - and slouch, for example - like I do with some other laptops I've used. IMHO.... The minimum comfortable backlight brightness for indoor daytime viewing is 70%, though 60% is alright if you are trying to maximize battery life. 80% is what I would consider ideal, and 100% is sometimes too bright indoors under regular/lower lighting. Outdoors 90-100% is pretty much neccessary, though I am typically happy with 80% unless I am in direct sunlight or there is a lot of glare. Weight is somewhat porky for a netbook. 3.3lbs, which approaches a full laptop. Realisticalyl tho, the small size still makes it portable, and I think the weight makes it feel solid. Hard drive is a 160GB 5400rpm Seagate Momentus 5400.5, so it has 3.0GB/s SATA, NCQ, 8MB cache and G-Force protection (whatever that means). I upgraded to 2GB of OCZ 800MHz 5-5-5-15 (OCZ2M8002G). Stock RAM was non-name with Hynix chips. USB is 2.0 on every port. All the ports feel very solid and robust, by the way. RAM and HDD are VERY VERY easy to change. Remove the backplate (2 screws), then slide out the RAM, or remove 3 more screws to get at the HDD. And doing so does NOT void the warranty WiFi power and reception is good. Actually VERY good. Speedtest-ing using WiFi-N on my network using a D-Link DGL-4500 using High Gain antenna' 50' feet from the router was within 2% +/- of my Dell and Lenovo. So quite exceptional really. Bluetooth is 2.0/EDR and supports H2DP. I can get stereo music using my Sony bluetooth music receiver through my UE SF5EB's, although CPU usage jumps about 4-6% when using bluetooth. Stereo range is not as good as my Dell Desktop, and starts breaking up around 12 feet. Optimal listening distance is probably within 6-8 feet before quality starts to degrade. On standard mono voice/skype calls range is a much more usable 20 feet or so without much noticable quality difference. Trackpad speed is OK when the multi-touch support is on, but improves to great with it off. I imagine the overhead for the driver to 'look for' multi touch gestures is quite high, so there is some lag when these features are on. I 'downgraded' to the stock Vista driver which gives me standard programming, touch to click, scrolling, etc and there is zero lag. Battery life update - after some initial breaking in, I figured I'd retest the battery and provide some hard figures. I've got 5 basic profiles setup that I switch back and forth between, as follows. Ultra - 2.0GHz CPU, 800MHz RAM, 100% Backlight. I only use this plugged in. Fast - 1.75GHz CPU, 700MHz RAM, 80% Backlight. I bump up to this when I want a quick boost while mobile. Base - 1.66GHz CPU, 667MHz RAM, 80% Backlight. Stock settings Lite - 1.25GHz CPU, 500MHz RAM, 70% Backlight. My typical profile at work - when it is just sitting next to me unplugged. Min - 1.00GHz CPU, 400MHz RAM, 60% Backlight. When I really want to stretch the battery (like in the car on roadtrips). Thats it. Average-ish runtimes that I've noted after using the system for a few weeks. This is based on average usage (60-75%), with Wifi ON. Ultra - 6:00 Fast - 7:00 Base - 7:35 Lite - 8:10 Min - 8:45 Enjoy! Cheers
  12. Love my 1000HE. Keyboard is great, multitasking is a snap, and it overclocks! I posted some comments one directory up if you're interested in taking a look. Plus the price will be way cheaper than the Dell Mini's and far less than a tablet of any kind. Cheerio
  13. Assuming you already have a monitor and peripherals, you could easily configure an i7 system under $2k from Dell. I can vouch for Linux support on the XPS 730x, as I have a quad boot system (see sig) that I run Ubuntu, Vista, XP and OSX on without any issues whatsoever. I just configured this XPS 730x on Dell.com.... i7 920 6GB DDR3 750GB HDD X-Fi Titanium 19-in-1 Media card Reader w/ Bluetooth ATI 4850 Home Premium 64-bit Etc For $1999. Pretty good deal!
  14. Hey all, just wanted to post some positive feedback about my recent netbook purchase. I had a few stackable coupons for Staples.ca that were about to expire, so I figured I might as well dive in and see what all this netbook fuss was about. So I did my research, and it turns out that the only netbook staples carries also happens to be one of THE netbooks to have. Score. So after plonking down CDN$385 + tax, I have a shiny blue netbook in hand. The good news: it's a hell of a lot better than expected. I have a Dell Studio laptop and a Lenovo Thinkpad, and never thought that another laptop would ever make me happy. I had become used to sturdy keyboards, flexless screens and chassis', short depth keys and excellent trackpads. The Asus has almost all these features (minus some minor screen flex), and the keyboard and trackpad are really quite excellent to boot. Plus you really can't beat the battery life. 7+ hours on a single charge gives "portable" a whole new (real) meaning. Screen quality is good for a netbook/laptop (I'd give it a 7.5/10, which is saying a lot since I have the Studio laptop with 1080p LED screen, which I would rate a 9/10), and the screen is matte finished, which isn't the best for crisp, high-contrast picture viewing, but excellent for real world out-and-about functionality. The build quality is good, a solid 8/10, with minimal chassis flex (it is a small chassis, afterall) and only a slight amount of screen flex, that I am happy to say does not cause the LCD to distort. There are some minor plastic edges on the back, where it's obvious the edge of the mold was, but nothing horrible. The keyboard is simply superb, and better than any netbook I've played with to date. Normal keys like shift, enter, space, etc, are logically layed out and oriented, with minimal missed typing issues and almost no wrist fatigue. The keys are matte finished with a nice feel, though not as nice as some others with metal keys. However the press depth and positive feeling is superb, as is the minimal (or non-existant) keyboard flex. All the other doo-dads work as intended, and the webcam, speakers and microphone are happily above par for a net/note-book. Using skype over wifi in my living room, the other party never complains about audio or picture quality. Stock performance is good, though I have little to benchmark it against as a netbook. I was impressed however, that load times were snappy and general responsiveness was excellent as long as you only had a few programs running. I'm happy to report that multi-tasking is great despite the underpowered specs, with little to no bogging (really!) when opening mulitple IE windows, receiving MSN alerts and running open office all simultaneously. At one point I had Open Office, MSN, Googletalk, IE with 3 tabs and VLC player (playing SD video stuff) all running at the same time, as was able to ALT-TAB back and forth without perceivable lag or redraw issues. Fingerprinty-ness is bad, but not AS bad as my glossy Red Studio. Mad props to Lenovo for the fingerprint-proof-ed-ness of the thinkpad's matte black magnesium cover. Asus includes XP and Vista drivers on the included CD, which installs automatically. Unlike some bundled apps, the ASUS proggies are actually moderately useful, particularly when trying to optimize for power savings or performance. SHE actually lets you overclock the system to 1.75 without much effort (though the N280 will go higher, as noted below). Note that the stock install of XP is hard locked NOT to recognize more than 1GB of RAM, hence my upgrade to Vista. Vista runs just as fast or faster than XP (via readyboost and after disabling uneeded services and apps), and I can honestly say I like it MORE than XP on the netbook, as the experience is just incrementally better. I also went from roughly 6.25h +/- under XP to over 7h every time doing the same typical tasks, so I'm not sure if that's a fluke or a happy byproduct. My current config after much tweaking includes a stripped down and vLite-ed install of Vista Home Premium, and an upgrade to 2GB of 800MHz DDR2. I also purchased a fast 4GB SD card for ReadyBoost duty, which I am happy to report makes a VERY noticeable difference when teamed with 2GB of RAM and a relatively slow 5400RPM HDD. I also installed SetFSB and the "AutoSetFSB" program that allows automated launching at bootup. So yes, it's overclocked! I run at 2.0GHz even with RAM at 800MHz 5-5-5-15, which makes for a noticeably snappier environment than the stock 1.66GHz/667MHz config. Battery life in this configuration is about 1h less than the stock configuration (roughly 5.5-6.5h), which I think is a great tradeoff, considering I never go for that long w/o access to a plug! I also set up 2 underclocked profiles, which allow me to maximize battery life (if I ever need to...) Running underclocked at 1.33GHz/533MHz, I get just under 8h, probably closer to 7.5h realistically, but I can get over 8h with the system running at 1.00GHz/400MHz with the screen at medium-low and using the wifi sparingly. Though what use that is, I have no idea 720p video content from my desktop runs flawlessly provided you don't do too much multitasking. I get no lag or choppiness when running MSN, 1/2 IE windows and 720p divx video all at the same time, though CPU usage remains quite high (>70%) all the time. Haven't tried gaming, as I think gaming on a netbook (solitaire excluded!) is a pointless waste of time and eyesight. Questions are welcome!
  15. Pioneer and Onkyo units (at least at the low-mid end and certainly the models mentioned above) use a relatively cheap, off-the-shelf SOC linear scaler which produces rather unpleasant side effects. Pioneer in particular tends to soften HD material quite noticeably, while the Onkyo scalers tend to introduce minor posterization and softening as well. The chip used by Denon in the 1709 is a 10-bit unit that produces better results than either of the comparable units from Onkyo and Pioneer, but only by a small margin. The scaler used in the 1909 is a Faroudja FLI2310 that produces far and away superior results for upconversion, and preserves picture quality of 1080p pass-thru material. The Pioneer VSX-1019 uses a Faroudja scaler as well, though I am unsure of the model. My guess is that it uses the FLI2301 (at that price point) which is a slightly lower spec unit, but of roughly comparable quality. If you really want to see pseudo-HD results from an upscaler, the Silicon Optix Realta is a beaut Entry price? $5k+
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