Archive for the 'upgrade' Category

Quadcore indifference.

March 27, 2008

Well the new quadcore chips are out. NewEgg has the new Intel Q9300, Q9450 and the screaming QX9770. If you recall, I was very excited about these chips a few weeks ago. But things change. I built a quadcore machine and I am now using it upstairs. It is attached to my HDTV. It’s terrific. For the first time, I can watch the HD home movies that I’ve shot over the years easily. Is it as fast as the new chips? No, but it is fast enough for now.

Two factors have affected my chip interest level. I bought a new laptop and I effectively stopped playing games. The laptop alone can handle 90% of my computing needs. It is nothing short of awesome. Inevitably, I will return to gaming. But for now, I have all the computer horsepower I need for whatever I need.

As a side benefit, I have a computer project for my parents to keep me busy. I also want to redo one of my file servers. Eventually, I want to build a third file server to act as a backup for my main file server. These projects will take me through the summer but they do not require heavy iron By the time I am ready to build at a new flagship machine, six core and perhaps even eight core chips will be available.

Right now, in this house, I am supporting more computers than any one human can use. I certainly prefer it that way.

Building a Quad Core Q6600 machine.

March 1, 2008

Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 Quad-Core Processor, 2.40 GHz, 8M L2 Cache, LGA 775
On Thursday I went to Microcenter to buy the external monitor for my damaged laptop. Microcenter was having a sale on Q6600 processors. I could not resist. The thought was that I would use the chip, memory, motherboard power supply and chip fan to build a new video server.

When I got home I realized that the video card from the old video server would not work in the new computer. So I decided to buy a fairly decent video card for the quad core machine to replace my current flagship machine. The goal has always been to have two really fast machines. I have been waiting for the new Penryn chips to come out. I figured though that I could spend a little money now and still have enough money to build an even faster flagship machine later.

Silly boy. I ended up spending way more than I wanted to.

I did however get to spend last night building a new machine. Even a casual reader of this blog knows that I enjoy building computers so yesterday was very special. This is not to say that it was easy. I had hoped to overclock it. I bought a special fan to help keep the chip cool. However, had I had a great deal of difficulty installing the fan. Ultimately I ended up using the stock fan.

While the new machine started on post, after I loaded XP I had many problems. I stayed up until past midnight but I didn’t figure out what was wrong until this morning. I traced it down to a piece of software that was causing the machine to be unstable.

That is why I enjoy building computers. You never know what types of challenges will arise I enjoy the finished product as well. For example I’m using NaturallySpeaking 9 to write this blog. The new machine runs this program faster than any machine I’ve ever used previously. That being said, the overclocked dual dual core machine I built almost two years ago is still comparable to the new machine. It is no longer 4 GHz, but even at 3.2 GHz, it’s not too shabby.

Then again I have not been able to overclock this machine because I had to use the stock cooler. I may try again at a later date to overclock it. However, right now, I don’t have time. I haven’t been playing with the new computer much today as I have been busy working.

I now also have a philosophical quandary. In my home office, I now have two powerful computers. There are two other not so powerful computers (and my daughters two computers). The quandary is this: I don’t need another computer. I realize that my hobby is not about need, it’s about want. However, even I have my limits. As I sit here today, I have no idea what I would do with two quad core machines and an overclocked dual core in addition to all my other computers. Not building another computer solves the budget problem. If I don’t build the new flagship machine I was planning on, then the current spending spree wasn’t for naught.

I could still use a laptop. Maybe I should start saving for that.

Thaed’s Home Network Upgrade Adventure.

December 30, 2007


Having a RAID 5 file server on a gigabit network for all the computers in my house has been a dream of mine for a long time. In this video, I show you what I’m switching too and some of the issues that I ran into as I completed the upgrade.

The video is sadly dark and practically unwatchable. This does not prevent me from putting it on YouTube. The fact of the matter is that if you want to shoot good video (you know, with lighting) then you have to plan and prepare for that. It means work. It also helps to write what you’re going to say instead of pointing a camera and just talking. I did not put any work into this and, well, it shows. Nonetheless, I suspect that computer geeks like me might enjoy it for what it is.

Finally, I learned something from this that’s not in the video. Plugging in gigabit switches and routers doesn’t give you gigabit transfer speeds out of the box. Windows, Linux and FreeNAS require substantial tweaking before you notice any improvements. This tweaking is not trivial and I’m still working on it.