Of RipJaws and Eden

Previously, I’ve told you guys about my GeForce upgrade on my media centre. The performance boost was, well, kind of okay, but at last I felt it was time for an overall upgrade on the system. I’ ve got this AMD Phenom II X6 1090T Black Edition in my PC that I usually use for some work on photos and on the other hand it’s simply a machine I use to manage my mails, websites and these kind of things.

It finally turns out that the processor plugged into this machine gets a little bored so I’ll do an exchange and my AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition moves from my media centre to this working machine. Both system still run on the AMD 7xx chipset and the media centre will now get the upgrade to the AMD 990FX chipset in form of an Gigabyte GA-990FXA-UD7 board.

I’ll put 16GB DDR3 12800 G.Skill RipJaw modules on this system, so that I finally do not have to suffer on a memory bottleneck. I personally think that this is a good foundation for my EVGA GeForce GTX 560ti 448 Cores Classified. I was able to get a performance increase on games like “Batman Arkham City” but the overall system performance became pretty bad during the last year and a half so it’s time to make an upgrade and most importantly get a fresh and new installment of Windows 7.

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I’ve exchanged graphics and sound card drivers a lot in the past and I also had to struggle with several hardware and software issues that also caused new bugs, if you know what I’m saying.

Anyhow, I don’t expect a performance boost of 200 per cent but I’m certain that the overall system performance and feel of smoothness will increase and a lot of crashes and bugs will get fixed with this new setup.

In preparation for this did I also give the new XBMC version (called “Eden”) a try, which is currently out as a beta release. I was a little disappointed. I did a fresh installment and imported my old library to get everything as clean as I could. The movie library did not work as expected. I was missing movie posters. I wasn’t able to get movie information. The new skin itself is not a thing I’m going to be friend with because all the items are drawn much smaller and it looks like as if there’s something missing on the GUI.

I also tried several video add-ons and most of them did not work properly as well. To summarize, this is still a beta version and it does not represent the final product, but I will wait for a long time until I’ll finally do the update from “Dharma” to “Eden”. I’m fine and comfortable with my current media centre software. So why changing a good and running system?

I hope I can get everything done within the next 5-7 days and I’ll keep you informed.

We are 4-48

When you want to have something exclusive, you have to use some exclusive methods to get it. Nvidia announced that they put out a new graphics card which will be settled in the upper mid-range segment. It’s called GeForce GTX 560ti 448 and is basically not a 560, it’s a 570 with a few cuts on the shader units.

Whatever the case, I want this bloody card. And secondly, I want this bloody card by EVGA. And last but not least I want the “Classified” edition with improved cooling design and two more phase units to beat the shit out of every game with some monster overclocking. Well, until now, I’m just waiting. I had the standard version of the 560ti 448 but I wasn’t very happy with it.

The performance is okay and slightly improved in comparison to my GeForce GTX 560ti, but it was too loud. Not too loud for a common system, but too loud for my media centre. 1,500rpms in idle mode were too much and the card went back to sender.

So, here I am, waiting and waiting for the “Classified” edition. I ordered this card at three different resellers to get some special assurance that at least ONE reseller will get this card and send it to me. The person who’s dignified.

DiRT 3 graphic issues

Some you may remember the post according the graphic issues I had running DiRT 3 in split-screen mode. The solution posted in this post was wrong. The cause for the weird shadow and also the over exposure weren’t Fraps. The issue appears while having “Ambient occlusion” on switch “High”

When you switch to “low” or “ultra” the errors in split-screen mode disappear. Of course will the ultra setting cause a performance decrease, especially on entry and midrange systems. Consider lowering the shadow details if you want to keep ambient occlusion on ultra settings. It could make a difference of almost 15 – 20 per cent if you’re running the game in 1920×1080.

DiRT 3 shadow errors [SOLVED]

Since the latest update of “Dirt 3” the shadows in split screen mode are a little weird, not to say totally wrong. I’ve added an example picture to show you guys the graphics error. The problem occurs on two different systems. One with moderate graphics setting with a GeForce GTX 560ti and on one system with ultra-settings with a GeForce GTX 580. There are no special settings made inside the driver menu or other weird stuff. I’m also not noticing any other graphic issues in other games.

If there’s someone out there knowing how to get rid of this problem or how to solve this issue, please feel free to contact me via inv4d3r [at] bloodreaver.com

[Update:]

I’ve found the cause for this problem and was able to fix it. The reason for this issue is very simple – Fraps. For some reason does Fraps and DiRT3 no longer work well together in splitscreen mode, so I quit Fraps before actually starting DiRT3. That’s it, nothing special.

It’s dead and will not move no more

After having pushed several of my graphics cards to their limits and beyond I have to announce a death in the family. My Geforce GTX 570 died after some burn-in tests with FurMark. I was able to run 3DMark 11 a couple of times, but the card finally suffered the big heat and decided to simply turn off. Actually, one voltage transformer decided to burn out and the card wasn’t functional anymore. This happened because of several reasons. First of all, I think that the core voltage wasn’t set to high, because 1.152V is actually a value a GTX 570 should be able to handle.

I personally think that the overall heat, even in the water circle, was a to high. Around 50°C of pure water warmth is something that brings every circular flow assisted system on its knees. Anyhow, the whole system was boiling and cooking and my graphics card said “No, I’m leaving here”

Like I said before, I know that the GTX 570 is capable of handling the previously mentioned core voltage. I guess the used components were like manufactured on a Monday and deserved to die. After giving condolences and mumbling some last words to her, I decided it’s time to switch to something really, really fucking bad and ordered a Geforce GTX 580. Firstly, I ordered the wrong one. A Good Edition by Gainward with the main problem that the PCB differs from the original one. That’s a giant problem for me, because I use a waterblock that is designed for the common Fermi 570/580 design. The card is going back to sender and I finally ordered a card by EVGA.

I decided to take the Superclocked model, which is for what I believe, the card with the better single components on it. I had to pay a higher price, but that’s okay. EVGA offers some great terms of warranty and is in my opinion the new high end manufacturer. I was a fan of XFX for a long time, but they do not build Nvidia cards anymore, which is sad, because they put out some absolutely great products. I also liked Gainward a lot, but the price for their cards compared to the service afterwards is nothing in comparison to EVGA. You could say, EVGA is the real shit for every Nvidia fanboy.

At this very moment, my gaming rig is finished like 70 per cent and hopefully up and running within the next two days. I also hope that it will work, because I had some serious space issues with the retention module for the waterblock. Screws and kind of things like that touch the backplate. This IS serious, man. All fingers crossed for my work on electric isolation.

Ah, push it! Push it real good…!

Like I said in my previous blog entry, I’m going to upgrade my gaming rig. As a show of gratitude for my old system I just had to push the last bit of power out of it. I’m currently using two graphics cards in this system that are also going to be in the new system. It’s mainly a replacement of motherboard, RAM and CPU. Graphics card #1 is a Geforce GTX 570 by Point of View and it’s a charged model, which means it’s already overclocked by factory defaults. Stock clocks are 810MHz for the core and 1980MHz for the memory.

Graphics card #2 is a Geforce 9800 GT Green Edition by XFX, which is pretty common without any overclocks. Anyhow, the fan design looks pretty nice on this card. Stock clocks are 550MHz for the core and 700MHz for the memory.

I was able to push the Geforce GTX 570 up to a 880MHz core clock which is pretty good, if you consider that the stock core is actually 725MHz on a completely non-overclocked graphics card. The Geforce 9800 GT received no more than a fifty MHz overclock to the core and no overclock to the memory. So far so good, but I wasn’t very happy with these results and I also wasn’t very satisfied with the fact that all these overclocks happened in software only by using the MSI Afterburner.

After some research I finally found a version of NiBiTor that was able to actually handle my BIOS files that I read out with GPU-Z. The Geforce 9800 GT was pretty to modify. I was able to set the core-, shader- and memory-clock on the “main-page” of the program and I slightly adjusted the core voltage to 1.05V to get a little “insurance” on the core.

My Red Led Fan

The Geforce GTX 570 was a little bit more difficult, because I wasn’t just able to adjust the clocks on the main page. NiBiTor offers a sub-menu especially for Fermi CPUs and the bunch of numbers I first saw was way confusing. After a couple of minutes of asking Google I finally found a good website explaining how to adjust the clock speeds correctly and I was ready to let the editing begin. I also had to adjust the minimum and maximum voltage on the core for two simple reasons. #1 – I wanted to get a little bit more coolness in idle mode so I decided to undervolt my card a tiny little bit from 0.92V to something around 0.85V without any stability issues. #2 – I wanted to increase the maximum headroom by increasing the voltage in 3D performance mode. The defaults were around 1.062V and I decided to bring it up to 1.151V and the maximum allowed voltage was set to a value beyond 1.2V which I probably never going to use. Damage risk, you know?

I knew what my cards were able to do in the past and I did not have to experiment that much to find the stable clock values. So the final results on my cards have been the following. The Geforce 9800 GT now runs with a clock core of 725MHz and a memory clock of 900MHz. I did not wanted to push the memory to far because it simply wouldn’t make any sense. You always have to consider that this card is used for PhysX only.

The Geforce GTX 570 got a real blast. The core now runs stable on 950MHz and the memory was pushed slightly to 2150MHz. That’s an increase of 31% compared to the stock clocks given by Nvidia. 3D Mark 2011 increased by 400-500 points. The average score on factory default clocks was around 5,300-5,400 and after overclock around 5,900 points. Unfortunately wasn’t I able to kick it beyond the 6,000 point mark. I’m pretty sure I can push the final score on the new system to something between 7,000 and 7,500 points. I’ll keep you informed.

The curse of sleep

I feel so terribly bad today. It was set that I have to go to the gym today and continue training but I simply haven’t made it out of my warm, sheltering bed. I’m not sure where this tiredness actually comes from, but it’s horrible. I can never get enough sleep and I’m that kind of a guy that sleeps no longer than six hours a night, except for the weekend.

I was thinking about going to the gym this very afternoon, but I know how it’s going to be. The place will be packed as hell and all the exercise machines will be blocked by fat and ugly housewives pushing 5kg weights. I’ll try to make it out of my bed tomorrow and hit the road to training. Once again, I don’t feel very well with my whole condition. I feel fat and rusty and like I lost the last spark of power in my muscles. It has to be changed and it will be changed.

striped stockings

What else happened. Well, I’ve silenced my HTPC once again a litte bit more. I added a resistor to the fan located on the side of the chassis and I also exchanged the graphics card. Right now I’m using a Geforce GTX 560 Ti which is much quieter than the Geforce GTX 460 and offers much more power. A lot of frame rates are locked at the magic 60 mark. I’m not sure if I’m going to sell the old card our if I just put it in my fourth PC that is just standing around without any particular function.

Besides all this, well, I was off to Berlin last weekend without anything exciting to mention. It was just my father birthday that needed some celebration so I went there and celebrated. I was not going out or anything like that. I feel like I could need a night of partying again with all its benefits. Maybe somewhere in the future.

Game of the week #4/2011 – The Ball

If there’s one thing that is popular the most in the world, it’s ball games. It doesn’t matter if you like soccer, basketball or baseball, it always includes at least one ball, like the game of the week. It’s simply called “The Ball” and you may see this game as a copycat of Valve’s “Portal” but it’s definately not. Manipulation of objects using physics is one aspect of the game, but additionally do you also have to fight in this game, which is not part of “Portal”, except the automated guns that stand around. So, what are you actually doing in this game? Well, you push a giant, giant ball in front of you through levels that look like forgotten Inca or Maya places. You don’t push it just by using your bare hands, you’ve got a gun like tool, pretty similiar to the one you got in “Portal”, where you can push, or hit, the ball and you can “suck” the ball towards you from a distant area. Just imagine you play “Portal” and you also have to carry a 5 feet tall ball with you everywhere you go, this is pretty much how “The Ball” actually works.

There’s also a kind of Tomb Raider feeling when it comes to explore the ancient underground world. You have to solve riddles with levers, ropes and weights by using your ball and your, let us say, gravity gun. The only thing that you can’t do in this game is to build portals, but you can fight enemies with your giant ball instead. There are no shooting guns in this game, so you have to use your ball and simply roll it over your enemies. Like many games in FPS style, this one is easy to learn, but relatively hard to handle. Some riddles might take a few tries before they are finally solved, but this is just an issue at the beginning of the game, after making some ingame progress you become one with your ball. Does this sound ambiguous?

The Ball

“The Ball” uses the Unreal III engine, looks very beautiful and well designed and due to the game engine does it take advantage of a Nvidia powered rigs, because PhysX rocks. I recommend this game to everyone who loved to play “Portal”, who likes balls (ya, this is oviously ambiguous ^^ ) and to those who like to play with physics in games. It’s also a recommendation for those who loved the Tomb Raider-series and just want to try out some new ways of how to be an archeologist.

Links:

Official website

Demo download

Fitting and cooling problems

So here’s the thing, as you may know, I just got a new graphics card for my gaming system and wanted to use the old one in my media center so that I’ll be to play some of the newer games in full HD. Yes, full HD, which means 1080p at sixty frames per second. What happened is very simple, after replacing the old watercooling block with a triple fan solution the good old Geforce 260GTX just didn’t fit in the media center. It too long on the one side and it’s even too high on the other side. Drive cables are blocking the card and the HDD cage is a bit too near to the end of the card. Well, I was thinking about a solution and I’ve found several ones but none totally satisfying. I wanted to gift the card to someone (NO FUCKING WAY!!!). I wanted to just leave here systemless (NO BLOODY FUCKING WAY!!!). I wanted to replace the fan system with a smaller one or the stock cooler (FOR FUCK’S SAKE???).

Nvidia Keyvisual Geforce GTX

Now, here’s the deal. The Geforce 260GTX will be the new card in my Linux system. The Linux system will get some fine changes too though. The media center gets a brand new card, which will be a Gainward Geforce 460 GTX Golden Sample (no more stottering in the jungle stage of SFIV ^^). One HDD cage has to leave the Linux system case and the HDDs will wander to a new one (a two 5.25″ slot solution for three HDDs) so that there’s plenty of room for the oversized, mega huge Geforce 260GTX. One thing I am going to catch now is to do a complete silence modding to the case. I’ve just ordered a silencer kit for the Chieftec CS601 which will hopefully decreases the noise and the “internet experience” will become much quieter than it is now. I also hope that the temperature will not increase to drastically.

Just a side note, today’s the day where I am going to integrate my new Geforce 570GTX into the watercooling circuit of the gaming system. I’m pretty excited about the temperatures the card will have to offer after modding. Another thing, do I need to buy me a new radiator or is the old one still capable to handle the heat?

Back and new acceleration

It’s been while since writing here the last time because I was on a three week long vacation through the western part of the USA and afterwards I got caught by a flu that kept me more in bed than in front of a computer. Anyhow, I’m back to my blog and will start writing as continiously as you know it from the month before my vacation and sickness. Till now I’m not sure if I go to write down some of the experiences I made in the US or if I just leave it up to my gallery, which will be updated within the next 3-4 weeks. We will see…

I’ve made some decent changes to my gaming PC, I changed the graphic card to be exact. I exchanged the Geforce 260GTX with a brand new and just released Geforce 570GTX. Until now the card is still aircooled but will hopefully receive a waterblock within the next few days and more hopefully beforce christmas. The Geforce 570GTX rocks, that’s what I can say as a first impression and after testing some games, demos and benchmarks. The cards wasn’t impressed by games like Crysis, GTA IV and Far Cry 2 in ultra settings. The card moved like a hot knife through butter when it comes to a DX11 test with Metro 2033 and Bad Company 2. The Geforce 260GTX will now move to my media center and will get an airblock (triple fan) instead of the waterblock that is installed right now but I’ll keep the overclocked BIOS on the card because I need some more Megahertzs for Full HD gaming (especially for the jungle stage in Street Fighter IV). Until now I’m not sure if I go and replace the BIOS on the Geforce 570GTX, too. It depends on the coorporation with NiBiTor. Anyhow, the new card was a cool deal and I’m pretty sure we both will have some fun hours together in the future… Metro 2033 here I come…