dcomic 526


So last week was actually an anniversary I didn’t know about ’til just now. It’s been two years since Colette started doing server duty; the first time I reference such a thing is in Episode d155. The IP URL obviously doesn’t work anymore; I switched Colette over to our ATT line way back when Comcast said it was going to impose their 250GB cap on whatever service we have (don’t really know if they ever did it or not), so she’s been on a dynamic IP for a year now. The ATT line isn’t as fast, but it works, and that’s good enough.

Theoretically, it should also be Motoko’s second year too, but I’m pretty sure I was running my old P4 box back then. Motoko probably doesn’t attain her current state until… well I dunno… January 2008, maybe?

Colette actually has a pretty checkered history, and I didn’t know about it too recently. In her original state (Abit AN7 & Athlon XP 3200+), I think she was bought by a certain Mr. Spirtos I knew quite well (too well maybe) in elementary school, and some of high school. Sadly, he’s moved to Chicago these days. At any rate, it must have been a very high-end configuration back then; I’m pretty sure the 3200+ was like $500 at launch, and everyone knew that Athlons were better than Northwood P4s. But going on…

Somewhere along the way – it must have been 2005 or 2006, Colette got “donated” to the Pinewood robotics team because we intended to use her for CAD work (which we never did because it really was impractical for a small school like us). I’m pretty sure Mr. Spirtos intended to get her back at some point, but after the season finished, she either went home with team captain Mr. Wang or the great Generalachoo. At any rate, when the 2006-2007 robotics season started – I don’t remember the exact circumstances, but it musta been something stupid like CAD again – she changed hands again.

This time it was to me. I don’t know how much of the original kit I got (it was probably just the board, processor, and heatsink by now), but it wasn’t much. It’s interesting because in the present, the only part the current Colette shares with the original Colette is the AN7 motherboard; every single other part has changed, right down to some of the jumpers on said motherboard. Hell, even between now and when I got Colette from Generalachoo, all the parts have changed. I’m really surprised I didn’t write about this; I do mention that I’ve owned a custom desktop in d136, but that’s really it it seems.

You know, while we’re here, let’s talk about overclocking, cuz that’s what I tried on Colette shortly after I put her together, and I’m also surprised I didn’t write about it. The Athlon XP 3200+ doesn’t really have any OC headroom, though. I had to put an obscene (relatively) amount of additional voltage onto the CPU core to get, oh, 200 extra MHz from the chip, and really an unnoticeable amount of extra performance. Rule of thumb is that you need at least 10% more clockspeed to notice; 200MHz was like 8%. Kind of a fail.

The 2500+ I’m currently using could probably do 20 to 25% given a reasonable voltage bump, but by the time I got that chip, I didn’t care anymore. I mean, I’m at least 75% a laptop user, and one with pretty vanilla usage patterns (internet, video, music, etc); I don’t need a lot of juice from a laptop. I’m way, way more concerned about low noise, low heat, low weight, long battery life, and so on. Performance wise, I just want something that’ll do HD video with an SSD, and I’m set. Most dual-core chips made in the last couple years will do the trick, there’s no need to squeeze every last extra MHz out of the system.

But where’s the fun in that. Overclocking is also about getting the most out of a given piece of hardware, and who doesn’t want the best value possible?

Whereas the Athlon XP doesn’t have much OC headroom, the E2140 has a ton of it. The E2140 is pretty much Intel’s slowest dual-core processor, but 100% overclocks aren’t totally uncommon. In fact, you can get a decent overclock pretty much on the stock voltage of the chip. When I first got my EP35-DS3R (man what a clunky name) and E2140, I just raised the FSB to 1333MHz, and it ran with that. Nothing else needed. That takes the clock speed from 1600MHz to 2666MHz; a 66% increase!

Recently, after installing Windows 7, I took the time to tweak this setup a little more. I was able to take the voltage down a full 0.1v (that’s like 8% when the stock voltage is 1.3v) with the 66% overclock, indicating that the chip could probably hit 3GHz if I raised that voltage a little. But it’s really not that important, and I think 2.66GHz with a small undervolt is a good power/performance balance. At the very least you’re riding that fine value line where a little bit more clock speed or a little bit less voltage will cause system instability. I know because I tried. I was down another couple millivolts at first, but it didn’t pass a 24hr run of prime95, so I had to push it up a bit.

And then I found out my memory actually had some OC headroom as well! I got 1066MHz from nominal 800MHz memory, and I didn’t have to touch the timings or the voltage. Memory bandwidth really doesn’t do much for performance, but really, what the heck. If someone gives you five dollars, are you going to take it or ask if it’s fake? (I’m trying to quote that one comic page here, but I don’t think that was it)

Ok, that’s that for today.

J261 – A Story from 24HCD; Another Story from 24HCD

[11/9/2009] On time for once! Gasp!

Except it’s cutting into my sleep. I’ve gotten tired of waking up tired, so I decided to sleep at reasonable hours … hasn’t happened yet (orz). On Sunday I woke up after having not gotten much sleep at all, and was pretty alert; today I woke up after having gotten more sleep than over the weekend, but I was still really tired. Not sure why; I woke up at the same time both days (I was late for class today, nyoro~n).

Anyway, both of these exchanges happened during 24-hour Comic Day. The one in the foreground in the left comic (a 2koma?) is Ali, and the one with the small stripe of white hair is Jenn (both previously mentioned here). For some reason, apparently none of the three of us can hear properly or something, so we tend to mishear what the others are saying. Also, it seems like we naturally speak in a 4koma beat (Ali more so than Jenn and me). You’ll probably see more of our exchanges as 4koma soon.

Anyway, off to recover some sleep now. Gnight~!

J260 – SOS-dan Paperweight

[11/7/2009] So, late again … I had a thermodynamics test this week … and I forgot my calculator …

Let’s talk about something else!

So, this was a paperweight I made in one of my classes, “Design and Manufacturing II” (It says “Design and Manufacturing II”, but it’s more like this class is “Manufacturing” and “Design and Manufacturing I” was “Design”. This happens a lot in the Mechanical Engineering department; a lot of classes are named “A and B I” and “A and B II”, but what actually happens is that “A and B I” winds up being only “A” and “A and B II” winds up being only “B”. I had heard that the classes used to be named that way, but they wanted to make it more clear which classes were paired, so they gave them more descriptive but less accurate names.). The paperweight was machined from a 3-inch diameter 5/8-inch thick aluminum blank. The inscription on the paperweight is a reference to The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, a well-known series of light novels and anime. For those of you with access to machine tools and wanting to make your own version of the paperweight, a dimensioned drawing is supplied here.

An amusing other feature of the paperweight is that there’s a small bump in the center of the back of the paperweight, so if you put it on a flat surface and spin it it’ll go for a while…

Anyway, that’s all for this week. Also, happy CRN 8th Anniversary~!

dcomic 524


So J and I had a couple of discussions about space battles and whatnot given BKS/Confederate League technology this summer. I was making him recall some of the decisions we made, and then I decided that I should take an entry to talk about some BKS technology and battleships.

The power source of all BKS/CL ships is plain old nuclear fusion. I think we assume that antimatter just isn’t available/produceable in significant quantities to make antimatter powerplants practical. Founder reactors in the early stages of BKS history can do “higher order” fusion (that’s a page taken out of Larry Niven’s works), but this technology is lost before the BKS Civil War. The government now keeps a tight grip on all these early reactors and they are generally only used in military ships.

Hyperdrives allow ships to travel one lightyear in three days (Niven’s figure again). Ships in hyperspace don’t cast a “shadow” in real space, but masses in real space will cast a “shadow” in hyperspace. This is important because ships in real space can’t detect masses in hyperspace, while ships in hyperspace can detect masses in real space. This in turn is important because ships that venture too close to large masses in hyperspace can be lost in hyperspace.

Messages cannot be sent through hyperspace. You need a ship, and at 3 days to the lightyear, it can take months for news to travel across the empire. Else, you’ve got lightspeed communication via radio, etc.

Most BKS ships are made of some sort of superstrong, lightweight carbon-based material. I’m assuming this material can’t be welded or something, which explains the multitude of rivets we find on a lot of BKS craft.

Anti-gravity technology is available and very efficient. Steam-electric barges can easily generate enough power levitate themselves and propel themselves forward. I would think that the technology isn’t too expensive either.

Particle shield technology is also available. It can be made to conform to the shape of a ship, and takes the energy from moving particles and coverts that energy into heat. Space battles are thus largely about dumping heat from your shield generators really really fast. I’d assume that electro-magnetic shield technology is also available, but we haven’t decided on anything concrete in that department (that I can remember).

So there are exactly 130 super-heavy battleships built between BKS 1770 (start of empire) and CL 2251 (confederate present). These are divided into five classes, Symphonia, Ultima, Dogma, Enigma, and Enigma II. 82 are still in existence in 2251 and 22 of these are operational.

Alright, enough of that.

This weekend I took the plunge and moved Motoko to Windows 7. It’s the $29.99 version you can get if you’re a student with a .edu email. If you have multiple .edu email accounts, you can get multiples of ’em! The Home Premium version is advertised, but you can get Professional if you click the right options. You can also gete 32bit and 64bit versions; I’ve opted for the 32bit version since I’m not running more than 4GB of memory and I actually don’t know if any of my stuff (like Transport Tycoon) will work on 64bit. I need professional as I need Remote Desktop as RDC is the best thing since sliced bread.

I wasn’t planning on making any jumps to 7 until general support for good old XP became nonexistant (like how I finally couldn’t find Win98 drivers for my 500m in 2004 XD), but I changed my mind. For one, the $30 offer only lasts another month or so. Second, Motoko for one has kinda been in a licensing snafu that I’d like to amend, and this really is the perfect oppourtunity. Furthermore, friend of mine in Ohio (who also has an E6400 and a C2D desktop… FOR THE WIN) has been using Win7 for months now and has not had a problem. On the other hand, a certain Mr. Tsui bought a Vista laptop near launch (late 2006?) and has had nothing but problems, even after SP1.

So I bought my key from MS and built an AIO image and loaded it on a DVDRW, waited a while and all that good stuff. I’d already installed Win7 on some old Dell D600s and D610s, so I kinda knew what to expect, but there were a couple things that still blew me away. Setup was seriously like less than thirty minutes from the time I put in my disk to the time it loaded my desktop; seriously XP can take up to an hour on some machines. And then. And THEN. I put in my wireless driver for my cheapo wifi card, ran Windows update, and WHAT DO YOU KNOW, it took care of the rest of my drivers! I only had to install [i]one[/i] driver, and that may have been because I didn’t have an Internet connection before installing my wifi stuff. That’s fairly impressive, considering I’ve got this antiquated, obscure TV tuner as well as a fairly obscure GPU.

Also surprising was that it enabled aero without me having to mess with it. My GPU only has 64MB of memory, which is definitely grounds for it to complain… but it doesn’t. Remote Desktop connection is also backwards compatible as a client AND server. Then there’s the fact that all my applications worked right out of the box as well. We’re talking OpenCanvas 1 (2003), Paint Shop Pro 7 (2001), MS Word 97 (1997), Transport Tycoon (1995)… and I think the rest of my apps are all probably fairly recent. But still, quite an accomplishment, Microsoft. Everything just worked. I was able to crash a Win7 installation on a D600 by not setting the wifi to automatically connect and logging in via RDC, but that’s another story.

Anyway, obligatory new desktop shot:

And probably a little more on Win7 and shit next week.