Feb 1
Vista Tuning
posted by: Player0 in computering on 02 1st, 2009 | | No Comments »

It will be a week before my new hard drives arrive so I’m giving Vista Home 32 bit a brutal shakedown on this laptop.  It honestly seems to run faster and better than Vista x64 on my Q9450.  I still think I’m going to throw XP Pro on it but with some clever tweaking of Tasks and Services I got Vista’s footprint down to under 650M.  A slight help but still a bit heavy when you only have 2048M to play with and need to run some very memory heavy games.

I’m trying to find out just how viable Vista is.  There are a bunch of people these days who think you should just suck it up and use Vista.  However, my experience with Vista 64 on my gaming rig is that it really makes the system less responsive.  It uses too much memory and 3-4G is really optimal.  But drivers are just really unstable or non existent for Vista 64.

Just what on Earth makes Vista worth it then?  I couldn’t ever really see any noticeable difference in DirectX 10 games.  Yeah, I do like some of the UI things a bit but… at the end of the day XP is just faster.  But Vista 32 isn’t nearly so bad.  It’s just a lot more responsive and the benchmarks seem just fine.  It seems to want less memory.

In other news I have some more thoughts on the m17.  The speakers are too quiet.  This is a common complaint of mine with many laptops.  They just never seem to be loud enough.  Using some special software I have been able to determine that the GPUs and CPU run about 50c degrees while idling in Vista.  This is while using my Belkin lap cooler.  So the laptop is still breathing just fine.  It just runs hot.  With two GPUs this probably isn’t surprising.

The heat doesn’t bother me though since I use the lap cooler anyway.  Yes, I have tried to overclock the FSB.  But the CPU multipliers seem to drop when I do that.  I need to do a little more reading on overclocking without affecting speedstep or whatever other power management features are coming in to play.

Jan 27
The next sweet spot…
posted by: Player0 in computering, gaming on 01 27th, 2008 | | No Comments »

If like me you were an early adopter of Core 2 Duo then you probably still have that old E6400 or E6600 rotting on your 975X, P35 or X38 chipset. And, truth be told, there isn’t anything shabby about this what so ever. There’s really very little you can’t do with these processors even now about 1-2 years after hitting the mainstream.

But your friends are now sporting 1333MHz or quad-core CPUs and getting a lot better performance in modern games based on UT3 or Crysis or CoD4. Physics is getting heavier and heavier in every game released and this still needs a beefy CPU for performance even if you have an 8800 GPU of some sort.

If you can stand to wait a little longer than the Q9450 is the answer for you. This is a Yorkfield core with 2×6M L2 cache (for a total of 12M), an 8x multiplier on a 1333MHz bus, and four 45nm cores running at 2666MHz each. I’m not currently sure what price it will fetch but it will run in the $300-$500 range. So finally an affordable version of the Intel top end processors which also support 12M L2 and 1333MHz FSB.

Is it absolutely worth upgrading from an E6600 or Q6600 or E3450 to this processor? That really depends on the rest of your system. I have the Asus Maximus Formula, an X38 board, some good RAM, and an 8800 Ultra. I’ve been playing the newer games and notice that CPU does start lacking sometimes so it seems like the next upgrade I’d need to make. If you need to upgrade your board or RAM to take full advantage of the Q9450 then you might want to wait until DDR3 becomes a bit more affordable before jumping in to a new processor. And certainly if you have an older video card then that should be your first upgrade since it’d yield the best gaming results for you. GPUs are always the most important for gaming.

Of course if you don’t do any serious PC gaming then you really don’t need any of this stuff. Even five year old hardware is fast enough to do anything else you need.