Mar 13
Microcenter Goodies
posted by: Player0 in computering on 03 13th, 2009 | | No Comments »

I continued the buying spree, I mean, doing my part for the economy.  Microcenter is evil.  Their prices are usually competitive enough to warrant not buying online.  Their sale items are usually great deals.  And sometimes I really like just being able to look at products in meat space.  Instant gratification and all that, even if I have to deal with dreaded sales tax.  I’d rather pay my 5% to UPS than the state I think.

I went in for a new RAID controller.  I’m using a Highpoint 1740 right now.  It’s a PCI 4 port SATAII RAID5 controller that works quite well and has Linux support.  I’m happy with it and it even supports online capacity expansion.  I have this second x16 PCIe port staring at me though so I wanted to get a x4 or x8 PCIe version of the HighPoint card.  Maybe even one with 8 ports.  The Highpoint 2310 looks like what I want.  Microcenter didn’t have this or anything close unfortunately.  I did end up buying the 2300 model there.  It’s essentially the same thing as the 1740 but only PCIe x1 which means it probably won’t be any faster or better than the 1740 I already own.  PCI is 1Gbps and PCIe x1 is 5Gbps.  But for the same price I can get the 20Gbps one so… I’m going to take it back and order the 2310 from NewEgg.  Or the 8 port 2320 maybe.  So hard to decide…

And I would like some faster throughput.  I’m using RAID5 which has ugly write speeds but stripe like read speeds.  And I bought another 1TB Western Digital 5400RPM “Green” drive.  So I’ll have four of those on the array and that will certainly be more data than a PCI slot can deliver.

I bought two 1TB drives actually.  I needed another for a USB enclosure because the 250Gb drives I have in them now are very old, dying, and are not large enough to easily back up the data I need to back up.  These 5400RPM drives run much cooler and are a great fit for an external enclosure.  Plus I can use eSATA with my P5Q3.

Against seemingly better advice, I’ve decided against just running with software only RAID even though my new motherboard has more SATA ports than I can count.  I really don’t like setting up RAID in Linux and any performance gain I can get out of a decent controller card is ideal.  Plus I like the thought of taking these drives and controller out of this computer and installing them in any other computer and not having to mess around with it too much to make it work.

The last waste of money, I mean, economic stimulus was the BFG 9600GT.  I absolutely needed a PCIe video card (even though I have a perfectly good PCI Nvidia 6200).  BFG has a nice warranty and with the rate of failure I seem to have for video cards that’s okay fine with me.  I needed to go Nvidia since it has better Linux support.  And heh, better Windows support for that matter.  Also if I run any Cuda apps, such as F@H GPU client, the 9600’s moderate speed will work nicely even though I won’t be gaming on this card.

So I have quite a bit to do this weekend.  I’m just waiting for my backups to finish so I can throw the new kit in.

Jan 31
SSD Research
posted by: Player0 in computering on 01 31st, 2009 | | No Comments »

It’s just not the right time to buy SSDs right now.  If you’re an early adopter or have money to burn than have at it.  There are a few reasons for this.  First off, the technology costs are going to come down dramatically.  These drives should end up being much cheaper to produce than standard mechanical hard drives.  They’ll probably follow a curve similar to Moore’s Law.

The software isn’t there just yet either.  Windows can have problem installing on SSDs.  Particularly the cheaper ones with MLC technology.  The SLC ones have better write performance and longevity but less capacity and huge price tags.  The write times are just terrible and can cause the OS to lock up now and again.  Better software and caching options will fix these issues.

I don’t need epic performance on my laptop.  The reliability would be nice but not $500 nice.  But in the spirit of getting GOOD performance I did order a couple of these Western Digital 7200RPM 16m cache drives.  This should give me disk performance comparible to normal workstations and for a much more affordable cost.

SSDs will become the thing to do as soon as they become mainstream and the costs drop significantly.  This new laptop may see them eventually.

Feb 17
Photoshop & Depth of Field
posted by: Player0 in projects on 02 17th, 2008 | | No Comments »

Because why not take fancy pictures once in a while?

WD Caviar GP 1TB & HPT RocketRaid 1740