March 2007


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Hyperion becomes Hyperdrive

For those who may have been wondering, I did get all the gear from NewEgg last Friday, and spent Sunday rebuilding the rig. The Full Monty:

Proc: AMD Athlon 64 X2 4400+ Brisbane 2.3GHz (stock cooler)
Mobo: GIGABYTE GA-M59SLI-S5 w/ NVIDIA nForce 590 chipset
RAM: Kingston 2GB (2 x 1GB) DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 667 (PC2 5300)
HDD: 2ea Seagate 100GB SATA drives (from Hyperion)
Optical: 2 ea LITE-ON 20X DVD+/-R IDE Burner with LightScribe
Video: EVGA GeForce 7900GS 256MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express

Cue “6 Million Dollar Man” theme.

The results:
I had some trouble with the Windows install. Big shock, I know. Using a known good install disk, there were about 20 file copy failures in the initial process. I couldn’t for the life of me figure out WTF, so I went ahead and let the install finish, ignoring anything that wouldn’t copy. Once it had installed and booted, I went back and used the msconfig / expand function to pull those files off the disk and into the file system. I may have missed one somewhere, however, as I can’t get the rear speakers in the sound to work. Not a critical issue, but it’s gonna annoy me eventually. And I also somehow lost the right to a USB mouse, since any mouse will now only work when plugged into a PS/2-USB adapter. (USB keyboard works fine.)

Everything else seems to be ok for now, so I’m going to leave it be.

Performance: Rocks. Flat-out, this is the quietest computer I’ve used since a Commodore VIC20 back in the 7th grade. If I really stress it, the CPU fan will spin up a bit, but otherwise this thing runs at minimum rpms and near silent. Same with the video card. In fact, it may have only been the eVGA’s fan spinning up, I haven’t run Speedfan to figure it out yet.

Video performance has been sweet. DarkStar One runs glassily smooth at maximum resolution and effects, even during a 10-bad-guy furball in an asteroid field. The same goes for X3: The Reunion, which I could finally now play, if the damn thing didn’t bore me silly. The only bummer so far in the gaming aspect is just that: Mechwarrior doesn’t support widescreen aspect ratios, so everything is short and wide. I tried to configure the card and monitor to not stretch, but it won’t work. Maybe I’ll get lucky and someone other than M$ will pick up the license from FASA.

Hint. Hint. Hint.

So. It’s faster, but how much? Unknown. I never ran any real benchmarks on the old rig, so I only have anecdotal evidence – and really not even that until I run something like a DVD encode on it. Hyperion was pretty damn fast itself, so it’s hard to see at this point. If video game graphics peformance is an accurate benchmark, I’d say I got a 20% – 30% increase overall.

In any case, it makes me happy :)

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