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News and Ramblings covering Advanced Micro Devices


I am really trying ... - - November 26

... to like Ati, but they make it DAMN HARD ON ME.

Tonight I installed a replacement fan on my Athlon XP. Nothing wrong with the Akasa Silver Mountain I had been using, other than it makes the noise of a starting jet. So I went and hurt and plunked down the money for a Swiftech 462A which is VERY low noise thanks to the 80mm fan on top of the mother of all heatsinks.

Putting the machine back together, I boot up and end up on a black screen right before Windows 2000 is supposed to go into high-res mode. Oh well, we knew that already, didn't we? Our friend the ATi driver is at it again.

Only this time there was no way to coerce it into working again. I deinstalled everything ATi, killed all ati* files I could get my hands on and did a clean install with the latest version available (3286). Nothing. No image as soon as you leave VGA mode.

I mean, is it that hard, Ati? How about hiring some coders instead of employing students to do that work? You know guys, I really TRY to like your stuff. I like the features, the performance too and I want to use this video card.

But as it is I will no longer recommend your crap to anyone and I apologize to each and everyone who I told to get one in the past. Do yourself a favour and buy Nvidia, it is a little more expensive but it won't get you close to a stroke.

Radeon 8500 revisited - - November 16

Looks like I spent too much praise too soon. I am still encountering some troubles with the new Radeon drivers under Win2k. That includes an occasional game freeze (just locks up) and the inability of the drivers to convince Windows to use a refresh above 60Hz. I am resorting to PowerStrip for the latter job, but that's really a hack I should not be forced to employ.

I also think the motherboard, MSI K7T266 Pro2-RU, has some BIOS issues left to fix. I find it impossible to properly reboot with just use of the reset button, it always requires a hard shutdown with the power button to get everything reinitialized fully.

Radeon 8500 and Win2k - - November 14

I had some troubles getting the Radeon 8500 to work with Windows 2000 on the new system. It's a clean install, VIA 4-in-1 v.4.34, DirectX 8.0a, hardware as listed below.

The issue seems to have been on the driver side from the Radeon. I would get a black screen right when it kicks in to switch to SVGA resolution. The latest beta driver available from ATi's website (version 3486 I think) is fixing the issue, however. It also provides for Antialiasing settings, although they were available in the earlier drivers as well (but I think didn't quite work yet, even though I saw the typical AA-blurring along edges).

I will stress test and install more software on the Win2k system and if I find it stable, the Win98SE will go out of the window. Good riddance :)

Upgrade cycle complete - - October 30

What started out with a new CPU and then a graphic card has been completed today. I am now running an Athlon XP 1600+ on an MSI K7T266 Pro2-RU (KT266A with USB 2.0 and Promise RAID controller) with 2*256 MB of Infineon PC2100 CL2 DDR-SDRAM.

Graphic card is the Radeon 8500, with which I am quite happy now, especially considering that I have my (first) LCD-screen back in action (plus the replacement LCD I bought knowing quite well how customer service works in Germany and the old 17 inch CRT I had in use already), so now I can work with some nice desktop size loving.

ATi Radeon 8500 - - October 24

I now spent 2 days with the Radeon 8500 in my Athlon XP-system and I am now quite satisfied all around. I had a major issue with Everquest on the first day which frustrated me quite badly, but I was able to resolve it, in part by tweaking the .ini settings of the Everquest settings. There still is a problem with alpha filtering in some zones, but that is not hampering my ability to play. I am quite pleased that I can have the clip plane on maximum, run 4x antialiasing and still see no stuttering running around zones with lots of trees (read: tons of overdraw) - that is exactly how I want it and no other card provided me with this experience so far.

I got several people asking me "Why didn't you just buy a GeForce 3 (Ti 200/500)?". That question I can answer this way:

  • less heat output resulting in less noise in an already loud environment
  • DirectX 8.1 compliance (GF3 only is 8.0 compliant)
  • mature dual-screen support (Nvidia's TwinView still strikes me as an "also-ran" feature)
  • great DVD-player output with filtering (always been a strength of Ati cards since the Rage 128)
  • price - it is quite frankly much cheaper than a comparable Nvidia card, I wouldn't have bought either if it was $50 more expensive

Athlon XP - - October 21

I picked up an Athlon XP 1600+ (1.4 GHz) Friday and replaced my aging Duron 800 with it on an ASUS A7V133. Unfortunately the heatsink I ordered wasn't available yet, so I am running it at 1050 MHz instead of 1400. It does perform well, however and I feel faster already.

The board's BIOS, however, requires some more work. If I as much as dare try to switch the multiplier, the machine goes down to the point where I have to switch the Duron back in to see any recovery. CMOS erasing does not suffice. That is rather poor work from ASUS. I expect for them to do better in a new version that they should be putting out soon.

I also don't like that they just smack the CPU name on the screen but don't say anything about the clock it is running at. If I was to overclock the chip I'd like to be informed of what the motherboard feeds the CPU with. On another note, has to update their client, the one I run doesn't recognize the Athlon XP yet.

Do these people get paid? - - October 16

After reading this NY Times article earlier I wonder whether the representatives and senators in the US actually get paid for their work.

Why elect them in the first place, a dictatorship would be cheaper and more efficient in smacking down human rights without the pretense of discussion.

It makes me very wary to come to the US again, voicing my dissent with such undemocratic activities might just brand me a terrorist suspect and end me up in confinement for as long as it pleases the authorities and no legal remedies.

It would seem to me that it only takes a couple thousand lives lost to turn a free country into a xenophobic fortress, from which death and destruction rains down on those it deems it's enemy and those around them, innocent but to weak to run.

That certainly is more than any terrorist could reasonably have hoped for when planning those attacks. What will the next terror attack on the US bring - and I am almost certain that it will happen? Road blocks at the state borders? Curfews in all major cities? Maybe a happy little pogrom against people who "look wrong"? You'd end up happier living in Afghanistan. And speaking of which .. one can only wonder how many more than those thousand lives will have to be taken in that war-ravaged far away country to satiate the bloodthirst unleashed in New York. Will you kill a terrorist in that? Maybe by accident, given that they had ample warning and are largely anonymous. Bin Laden and the devil are indeed having a good time.

Maybe, just maybe, someone in a leadership position will have the courage to stand up and demand that the cause be cured and not the symptoms. As long as people feel that they have absolutely nothing to lose, they will merrily hurl their lives in the faces of those they deem responsible for their plight. Fix that or it just won't go away.

Sorry for blowing off. This is foremost a site that deals with computer hardware, but just as it outraged me to see New York on fire it outrages me to see the US government willingly handing victory to the morally deranged.

Hammer to fall - - October 16

I can only imagine the eerie feelings of the Intel engineers in the audience when Fred Weber presented the details on the Hammer microarchitecture last night. I would assume it had something of the famous "K7 dinner" speech.

While my ability to grok the finer points of microchip design is limited, it seems that most people in-the-know feel that the Hammer is a sound and feasible high-performance design. One source I'd like to point out is Silicon Strategies.

If you take a good look at the presentation PDF, you will find that Nvidia's nForce design makes a whole lot more sense when you imagine that a Clawhammer CPU is hooked up to it in the next generation design. It becomes the natural, HyperTransport-linked extension to the CPU. I think nVidia has made yet another smart move that will secure them a good position to carry their graphics business into the future; that HyperTransport know-how they gathered on the nForce chipsets will become essential a year from now.

Athlon XP appears in stores - - October 12

Not much time to post, but I wanted to share a quick shot with your guys of the Athlon XP that is appearing in stores here. This particular one is an Athlon XP 1600+. Remarkable is the fact that the die is not marked with the clock frequency but rather the XP-Rating.

New York - - September 15

I have been thinking for days now what to write. Ideas came and went as to how to speak about the unspeakable. My mind in futility tried to wrap itself around the motives that could prompt anyone to do what these people did. My heart hurts for those who died and more so for those who are left behind and injured.

I think in the final consequence these people had no idea just how terrible it would turn out as I refuse to believe that there is no soul in any of them who wouldn't shy away from such carnage. However, they did what they did and there is an inevitability of consequences that arises from their deed.

It is without doubt that there is a great demand for bloodshed at this time. However, lust for revenge and thirst for blood is what killed so many innocent people in the first place. Shouldn't we be above such primitive reactions and only target the guilty?

I have heard many calls to bomb Kabul. Do those who ask for that know what Kabul looks like? It has seen almost 20 years of war and civil war. The Afghan people could not survive without the aid of foreign humanitarian organisations. Women are being supressed by the Taleban, they are not able to get an education and cannot leave the house without the permission of a male relative or their husbands. Are these the people you wish to sentence to death? I would hope not, otherwise you'd be a beast worse than those you wish to punish.

Military might and security measures means little against people who do not value life, theirs or those of whom they perceive their adversary. They will, as they did in the past, do in the present, kill innocent people again. What will we be doing about it? Sacrifice our own freedoms to gain the illusion of safety? Wouldn't we be getting them just what they want that way?

Don't get me wrong. I do not mind metal detectors and the inconvenience of waiting two hours before I can board a plane. After all what I get for it is incredibly cheap, fast travel. You could ride a ship for a couple days, if you feel too inconvenienced.

I do take exception however, to be a permanent suspect, subjected to supervision by cameras in public places, scanning of my data traffic on the internet and eavesdropped upon on international phone calls. I do not know what happens to the information gathered, who it will empower to what purpose at a later time. I do not trust anyone not elected by me to have it. Period.

But I disgress into the future, when the danger looms closer to the present. Without doubt, there is a strike to be expected by the US military. It is a political necessity that is unavoidable. However the consequences are very much dependent on the target and the diligence that the US government takes in hitting the right people - and only them. Nobody should be mistaken, though, that this will not solve the problem. It rather has the potential of bringing about undesireable responses like additional attacks or a full out war that could cost many more lives than those that were already lost, in countries that will have much less of a cushion to help the victims than the US does.

What is needed above all is a way to do justice. Not only those attackers, but the people from where they came. And I am not talking about bombing them to dust. Power is nothing without justice. What goes around, comes around. Think about that before you make a move.

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