Big Smoke

'cause it's hard to see from where I'm standin'

I’ll say this about Vista

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It’s turned me into a veritable expert on computer hardware.

After the saga of getting it up and running, the crashes have finally stopped. I can’t get the thing to crash anymore, and I finally have all 8 gb (4x2gb) of RAM installed.

The mobo’s an nVidia 570A SLI, which means it’s two generations ago – back when they were making Pentium Ds – the first of the dual-cores and slightly faster (if twice as greedy in the power market*) as the following models. The thing’s set to run default at 800 clock speed on a theoretical maximum of 16gb of RAM. ‘Course, when the damn thing was made, getting 8gb to run at anything took fiddling with more power than the mobo was set to give.

As it turns out, after a week or so of this newly configured Vista machine crashing two hours into any application – usually with an error logged to nVidia’s video card drivers crashing (and I’ve used every new licensed driver / beta driver / unreleased OEM driver I could get my hands on) – and no more than half an hour on any application that makes use of DirectX 10 and/or PhysX, my first instinct was to give up and reduce from 6gb to 4gb and check to see if that made the stability better**. (8gb, when I can get it to start by fiddling with the DIMM voltage and loosening up the timing, can’t run the desktop for more than half an hour, let alone a game) Read the rest of this entry »

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  • Published: Mar 21st, 2009
  • Category: Meta
  • Comments: 1

Damn you, Microsoft

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Decided that 3.2 gb of RAM on a 32x OS wasn’t enough, so I got 4x2gb RAM and an upgrade copy of Vista Ultimate 64x so I could use it.

Things I learned since updating to Vista in the 22 hours between coming home with the DVD and being able to install programs on a relatively stable machine:

  1. Vista does not like my Plextor PX-760A DVD-RW, and won’t run either of its install DVDs from it. It does, however, like the LG budget DVD-RW in my other computer, despite it being an older model.
  2. Vista does not like my Linksys LNE100TX NIC, and will not support it. It will use a Netgear GA311 NIC, but lists it as a Realtek NIC for some undefined reason.
  3. You can’t upgrade XP Pro to Vista 64x; only to Vista 32x. Which begs the question why an upgrade copy comes with a 64x DVD.
  4. 4x2gb DDR2 RAM does not work on the default 5-5-5-15 BIOS settings and 1.8 DIMM voltage of an nForce board, despite being required to; instead preferring 6-6-6-18 2.2v. Anything less results in crashes due to underpowering. Of course, this leads to the next point:
  5. Vista computers crash more often than XP computers, most often due to overheating from constant CPU usage and RAM caching.
  6. Ironically, most programs do not utilize the extra 4.8gb of RAM I upgraded Vista for.

So between researching I/O errors, SATA controller errors, CMOS settings, BIOS settings, DIMM settings, formatting the hard drive, replacing multiple peripherals, running extensive diagnostics, updating firmware and drivers, and spending $600, I have a machine that crashes every half an hour or so. I’ve gotten it so it doesn’t just randomly blackout and restart; now it thankfully gives me a BSOD so I can tell it to restart in the middle of whatever I was doing.

I suppose I could have waited for Windows 7, but who wants a brand new OS from Microsoft? Hell, their only worthwhile OSs thus far are heavily-patched ones: 98SE and XP SP2. I feel duped.

Also, the room here is very dusty. (cough)

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