Author Topic: Got meself some upgrades!  (Read 4787 times)

Spectere

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Got meself some upgrades!
« on: August 11, 2010, 06:53:41 PM »
Woo hoo, I'm upgrading my system!

The processor that I picked out is the Core i7 930 (2.8 GHz, quad-core, with hyperthreading; a.k.a. awesome) because it's the only QPI-supporting model that isn't hellishly expensive ($290 seems like a lot for a CPU, but it pales in comparison to $550 for the next highest model!).

I decided to wave g'bye to Asus for the time being, setting with a Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD3R motherboard for $210.  It's the most that I've ever spent on a motherboard, but it's probably the biggest jump that I've ever made in terms of specifications.  Not only does it support the new SATA 6Gb/s standard for two of its SATA channels, but it also had double the SATA 3Gb/s ports that my current board does (meaning that upgrading to a Blu-Ray drive wouldn't require me to axe a hard drive) while keeping a PATA channel available (so that my current DVD+-RW drives won't go the way of the bin), has a couple of USB 3.0 ports, two eSATA ports, and even two FireWire ports (one 4-pin port and one 6-pin port) so I won't have to worry about finding my 6-pin to 4-pin cable if I want to use my camcorder.  All in all, it's probably the beefiest motherboard I've ever ordered.  Considering the number of positive experiences I've had with Gigabyte's boards, I don't think I'll be disappointed.

Finally, I went with a triple channel set of Corsair XMS3 DDR3 RAM (3 x 2GB).  I decided to move away from performance RAM and just go with something that will do the job well.  Plus, I didn't want to have to deal with RAM that was designed for voltages over the standard DDR3 spec, since I heard that Intel's memory controller doesn't care much for that, so I figured safer was better.  The potential of frying my processor just to use higher voltage RAM doesn't appeal to me at all.

So, there you have it.  $650 for a pretty nice upgrade.  I'm also going to be selling my old hardware after I get the new stuff installed if anyone is interested.

Edit: Looks like the i7 that I picked is going to offer me about twice the potential performance that my C2Q currently is (partially from its hyperthreading support, I'd imagine, but it does appear to be considerably more efficient than the Core 2 series is in general).  CPUs nowadays are bloody amazing.
« Last Edit: August 13, 2010, 07:21:36 PM by Spectere »
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Bobbias

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Re: Got meself some upgrades!
« Reply #1 on: August 16, 2010, 01:36:26 PM »
I so want an i7 :/ I've been using AMD for the last while (since I moved away from the POS P3 system I had ages ago), but they've been kinda disappointing lately, as far as performance goes.

/envy
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Spectere

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Re: Got meself some upgrades!
« Reply #2 on: August 16, 2010, 10:10:23 PM »
INSTALLED.

The motherboard is definitely better than anything I've used before.  It pretty much has features for its features' features, about a zillion hook-ups, and it just feels less like a cheap board than most of the ones I've used.  The SATA cables went into the board with a nice *click*, the PCI-E ports have a very accessible lock switch that both holds the card well and doesn't feel like it's going to snap off, the memory snapped in smoothly yet firmly so that the modules are firmly in the board but not impossible to remove, and the CPU lever is just intense.  That processor ain't going nowhere.

It also has a bunch of nifty whiz-bang features, like a CMOS reset switch conveniently located in the back and a redundant BIOS (the latter isn't exactly new, or rocket science, but it's still a nice-to-have that I never had).  It also has about a bazillion connectors.  In addition to the two FireWire ports and eight USB ports available on the back, it also has an on-board FireWire header and three on-board USB headers for front connections.  Yikes.

Anyhoo, now that it's up and running, here's the results from the CPU test in 3DMark Vantage:

Code: [Select]
System Specs
============
Old
---
Asus P5N-D Motherboard (nForce 750i)
Intel Core 2 Quad Q9300 (2.5 GHz)
2 x 2GB Corsair XMS2 DHX RAM (4-4-4-12)
ATI Radeon HD 5830 - 1GB GDDR5 (256-bit)

New
---
GIGABYTE GA-X58A-UD3R (Intel X58)
Intel Core i7 930 (2.8GHz)
3 x 2GB Corsair XMS3 (9-9-9-24)
ATI Radeon HD 5830 - 1GB GDDR5 (256-bit)

3DMark Vantage Benchmarks (only CPU tests were performed)
=========================================================
Old: 9178
New: 18384

Yikes.  So I basically doubled my processing power and graphical performance in the last two months.

Probably the most disappointing thing are the results of the Windows Performance Assessment.  I mean, Vista's implementation was flawed at the upper-end, but it was still a pretty solid way of rating computers and it's a great shame that more developers didn't take advantage of it.

Windows 7's implementation, however, is a complete and utter joke.  Despite a massive increase in graphical prowess, the score for my GPU only jumped from 6.9 to 7.6.  And, even curiouser, despite this CPU whooping the shit out of my last one in every way, shape, and form, the CPU score only went from 7.2 to 7.5.

That makes absolutely no sense.  If anything, the ratings should have been made more granular -- like Vista -- and simply went up higher.  Apparently, the difference between 3.0-5.0 is about the same as the difference from 6.5-6.6.

Not to mention that pretty much the only way that you're going to get the hard drive test to go up is by buying a solid state drive and plugging it into a 6GB/s SATA port.  I don't exactly know what the test criteria for that is, but I have yet to see a system go above 5.9.  Considering it rates the entire system based on the lowest component, you could have a solid gaming machine that scores a 5.9 simply because the builder didn't have half a grand to blow on an undersized, yet shockingly speedy, hard drive.

Considering all of the good things that Windows 7 has, the fact that a good, slightly flawed system was made to be complete shit is just awful.

In other news, since ad blocking for Google Chrome is maturing to the point of being able to stop ads from downloading, I decided to switch to Google Chrome until Firefox catches up to everyone else.  I've used it exclusively at work for several months now and it's amazing how far it's come.  Switching to it for my home use was the next logical step, I suppose.

Edit: OHHHH MAAAHHH GAAWWWWD I finally have a desktop computer that can go into and out of sleep without dying.  PRAISE THE LAWD! :o
« Last Edit: August 17, 2010, 01:17:24 AM by Spectere »
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Bobbias

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Re: Got meself some upgrades!
« Reply #3 on: August 17, 2010, 11:55:46 AM »
Awesome, and yeh, I agree that Win7's evaulation is stupid.

As far as chrome goes, I've been on the dev chanel practically since they started releasing it, and man, I love that browser. The only thing I'm not a huge fan of is the amount of memory that thing eats when you have a lot of tabs open. Suyre, they do tend to unload old, unused stuff (hence why switching to an old-ass tab might take a while before it's rendered), but that doesn't help nearly enough. Plus, I hate switching to an old-ass tab and waiting for it to dig up all that stuff.

But yeah, aside from that, I'm really enjoying chrome.
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Re: Got meself some upgrades!
« Reply #4 on: August 17, 2010, 07:03:47 PM »
Yeah, Chrome is a little memory addicted, but I've got 6GB to fill up now. :)  I've also found its crash protection to be second to none.  I don't think I've ever seen Chrome completely crash.  Ever.  Process isolation = good.

I'm definitely done with Firefox for a while, though.  Seriously, the only thing it beats in performance is IE8 and it's changed less from 2.0 to 4.0 than IE has in the same timeframe.  About the only thing that I think is keeping people on the platform are their amazing advertising campaigns and their rich extension support.  Aside from that, I don't think it really has a whole lot going for it.  It's been playing catch-up ever since Apple made KHTML not suck (oh wait, KHTML still sucks...what I meant was, "since Apple made KHTML into the non-sucky thing called WebKit").  Mozilla finally has plugin isolation to prevent the entire browser from succumbing to Flash deaths; something that Chrome has had since its inception.  Everyone bashes Internet Explorer, but Internet Explorer 8 does a better job keeping tabs separate from one another and plugin crashes isolated (it uses the Chrome concept, actually, though it takes far less memory).

Not to mention that Firefox is the only browse whose porn mode forces all of the regular windows closed.  I love how I can go Incognito in Chrome or fire up InPrivate in IE8 and still keep my regular windows open.  That just makes far more sense.

So, I dunno.  I think Firefox is pretty much where IE was at the turn of the decade.  Stagnant, moving along at a snail's pace.  IE9 is making incredible process with the speed of its rendering and JavaScript engines, not to mention the accuracy of its rendering (its Acid3 score keeps flying up, for one, and its support for newer technologies is certainly blossoming quickly).  I wouldn't be surprised if IE9 turned out to be serious competition for FF4 considering how complacent the Mozilla team seems to be getting.

But anyway, </rant> for now.
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Bobbias

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Re: Got meself some upgrades!
« Reply #5 on: August 17, 2010, 10:44:23 PM »
Heh, yeah, I have to agree. The thing I find about IE8 right now though is that when you click the new tab button (or just use ctrl+t) and try to switch to the tab before it's finished loading it's blank tab page (which takes too long as it is) it lags like ass till it does load that page. The hell's up with that? (And I'm not joking, the college I go to just got a bunch of brand new systems with Core2 Duos running at 3 GHz and STILL lags like a fucker when I try to do that.) Chrome is perfectly fine with letting me switch to my tabs ASAP.

But yeah, despite eating up a fair bit of ram, and doing what seems to be a bad job at saving ram by unloading old tabs, Chrome is easily my favourite browser. Even the Dev releases have been fairly stable.

Also, yay for C:\Redacted\chrome.exe --app=http://mail.google.com/mail/ and C:\Redacted\chrome.exe --incognito shortcuts :P
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Spectere

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Re: Got meself some upgrades!
« Reply #6 on: August 17, 2010, 11:14:51 PM »
IE8 never really lagged much for me on any of my computers, even my Pentium M laptop.  I use it fairly regularly to watch South Park and stuff, since most online TV sites require it (or they might as well, at least).  Then again, the only add-ons that I have installed are Adobe Flash and Silverlight, so that's probably why it's comes up fairly fast.  Schools usually have custom ActiveX controls (or Java, at the very least) for school-related sites, so that might be where some of the slowdown is coming from.

There is definitely more lag with it than there is on Chrome and Firefox, but I suspect that's just because of the nature of the browser.  Basically, the tab spawns a new process, which has to initialize the web browser ActiveX control, which has to initialize all of the add-ons again, yadda yadda.  My biggest annoyance is that if you're too quick and enter a URL before the tab is completely spawned, it'll send the navigation request to the tab that you were previously on.  On the bright side, at least that basically proves that the interface is completely separate from the actual browser process.

I do like how you can control most of Chrome's functionality through the command line.  That said, I really like how pinned tabs actually persist between browser sessions.  I'm not sure what the difference between pinned tabs and the "app" thingie that you're calling (or are they the same thing?) but they're definitely done better than they are in Firefox 4 (granted, that's just a beta, but their "app tabs" feature is so woefully incomplete and lame that they should have #ifdef'd it away rather than releasing it in a public beta).
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Re: Got meself some upgrades!
« Reply #7 on: August 18, 2010, 01:14:27 AM »
The app argument Spawns a tabless window with no UI at all. It's for creating shortcuts to websites that act as standalone applications (useful for Gmail).



I don't think the school has much extra stuff, actually. I haven't checked out what extra ActiveX controls they might have, but none of their sites have anything special on them. Even the special stuff (https://sis-ssb.georgianc.on.ca/GEOR/twbkwbis.P_GenMenu?name=homepage) don't use much javascript.
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Re: Got meself some upgrades!
« Reply #8 on: August 18, 2010, 07:49:34 PM »
Ah, nifty!  Yeah, I can see how that would be useful.

I think I still would prefer pinned tabs, personally.  I've attached a picture of how I currently have my browser set up (don't have any FTP client set up on here, and my host doesn't like the command line FTP client for some reason).

My only real wish is that the icons changed a bit more when a new item comes in.  Right now, the icon throbs slightly (grows larger, then shrinks to normal size) but you have to be actively watching it to see anything new come in.  If they took on a yellow glow or something like that when the titlebar changed that would make them a lot more useful.  Even so, it's far better than opening up full tabs just to check Google Reader or something like that.
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Re: Got meself some upgrades!
« Reply #9 on: August 18, 2010, 11:26:48 PM »
I've never actually used pinned tabs before, lol.
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Re: Got meself some upgrades!
« Reply #10 on: August 19, 2010, 12:23:56 AM »
I'd give them a go.  Apparently, they never used to persist between browser sessions, but now they do.  I also like how you can pin the download manager (since it's just a standard tab) so that it can be easily accessible without having its own stupid little window that gets lost underneath everything else.

I'm kind of shitpicking on Firefox right now, but it's really amazing how much the little things build up and annoy you after you use something that's better. :)
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Re: Got meself some upgrades!
« Reply #11 on: August 19, 2010, 01:31:39 AM »
Agreed. First time I opened chrome I was like "I... Didn't have to wait for anything to load?" Then I was like "Fuck, this shit is fast, why isn't FF this fast?". Then I realized how awesome the tabs were and was like "Fuck firefox, I don't need extensions."
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Re: Got meself some upgrades!
« Reply #12 on: August 19, 2010, 03:55:09 PM »
lawl, pretty much.  The AdBlock extension for Chrome seems to be about as good as the one for Firefox, too (it should, it uses the same filter lists after all) so I didn't see any point clinging to the 'fox.

It's kind of ironic how the reason that I switched from IE to Firefox is because Firefox was considerably better and IE was stagnating.  Now, the reason I'm switching from Firefox to Chrome is because Chrome is significantly better and Firefox is stagnating (to the point where IE is quickly catching up).
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Re: Got meself some upgrades!
« Reply #13 on: August 25, 2010, 01:00:05 PM »
I love how google bitch slapped mozilla with it.. and its not like they're revamping their whole approach (yet?).. As soon as I even heard about what chrome had to offer, I'd start fixing firefox to follow down that path, and hopefully along the way with some ingenuity, would come up with  a)better way to do it or b)a different feature that is fasntastable.

If IE is close enough to be following in Chrome's footsteps, what the hell are they working on on the dev team over on firefox?! A ball-scratching extension?? cause I already have one of those 
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Re: Got meself some upgrades!
« Reply #14 on: August 25, 2010, 01:59:46 PM »
I think Google just has more pull in the open source crowd than Mozilla does at this point.
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