Back To The Future

And I’m back! Back into computer geekdom. I bought a new system (old system went to my brother). I am now able to play current games with decent framerates (not that I even played current games to begin with.) I am now able to export RAW files in 25 seconds or less (and load them in 4 seconds!)

AMD Phenom II X4 965 3.4 Ghz (always been an AMD fan; was always buying mid-range until realizing my bottleneck in processing RAW was just CPU speed)
Gigabyte MA770T-UD3P (for the 3 year warranty)
Sapphire ATI Radeon HD 5770 PCI-E 1GB GDDR5
Kingston 2GB PC1333 DDR3 ValueRAM (always bought ValueRAM, and I can add more real cheap)
Kingston V Series SSDNow! 64GB Solid State Drive (the faster V+ series and brand new 40GB wasn’t out in Lowyat Plaza yet – I don’t understand why, given that it is an amazing bargain at RM450!)
Windows 7 Home Premium Retail Box (because it comes with 32-bit and 64-bit installation CDs)
LG 22x Super Multi DVD Rewriter

Going for an i7 would cost 1.5 times more for 1.5 times the power. However, I need to set a limit based on my budget instead of maxing out with a 4 CPU (16 core) 16GB RAM 4 SATA SSD RAID setup! This all just passed the RM3K mark by a little bit.

I retained the following:
1TB Western Digital 7200 RPM SATA Hard Disk Drive
A4Tech BatteryFree Mouse
A4Tech keyboard
IBM P202 20″ CRT monitor (you name me an LCD monitor which has accurate gamma and good out-of-box microtuning for under RM1000)

Windows 7 is really fun, and not just because I “loved” the Windows 7 launch party idea (hey, you get a free copy of Windows 7 Ultimate for hosting a party, why not?)

But hey, really, I am trying to learn how to mouse my way around, being a keyboard speed freak. I usually make my Windows XP look like Windows 98, so I decided to get with the times and see what Windows 7 had to offer. So I am loving the Pin to taskbar function.

I have changed the screen resolution to 800×600 to take this screenshot – every program you load, gets its icon shown in the taskbar. If you load multiple instances, they get grouped under the same icon. However if you love that program enough you can right-click on it and Pin it there. So when you close it, its shortcut will stay there (like Quick Launch.)

So in order from left to right, you can see that Firefox, WinAmp, Notepad, Photoshop CS4 and IE8 are open. You can also see that these are the programs I would most likely have, open, most of the time, and the icons remind me what I need to do on the computer anyway! Major, major productivity boost.

A very cool thing about programs that are integrated with Windows 7 is, that its progress bars show on the icon – that green bar on the IE8 icon for example is showing me how far is my Firefox 3.6 Beta going. 😀 Seriously though, I love that feature on Explorer, being able to know how long file transfers take.

Of course, not everything was rosy – when I picked up my system they had installed the 32-bit version of Windows 7 even though my system was fully supporting 64-bit. So I spent time installing the 64-bit version and discovered that ultimately, it was still Windows, and some Google work was needed (like Expanding Files stuck on 0% for a few minutes… on a SATA SSD!)

I also had a flickering menu/items bug with the Microsoft Games which I still could not resolve with the latest ATI drivers. I also had some permission issues with FretsOnFire (a reinstall would obviously help, since it’s picky about files from my old hard disk.)

Also, pinning folders isn’t directly possible; I had to use this workaround:
Workaround to Pin My Computer, Documents, Recycle Bin or Any Folders to Windows 7 TaskBar (Pin to Windows Explorer Alternative)

I ran Quake 3 /timedemo 1 with four.dm_68 in Windows 7 32-bit and got 899.5 FPS! Then I tried it in Windows 7 64-bit and got a black screen. Had to blindly type /quit in the console. Then I downloaded ioQuake3 and got 274.4 FPS.

I’m taking a leisurely drive through Need For Speed: Shift and man is it difficult! Drift is annoying as heck the way the new gameplay is. It is however amazing to see people in crowds waving flags, and the tarmac and tires getting bumpmaps!

Meanwhile RawTherapee 2.4 RC2 is zipping through with all the maximum possible corrections I use at 25 seconds export (still not as amazing as the Sony W laptop supercomputer I’ve tried) but if I disabled NR and Shadow/Highlights (they just make tacky HDR anyway) it goes down to 15 seconds on 24 megapixel RAW files from the Sony Alpha 900.

I love this article and the way it was written:
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8 thoughts on “Back To The Future

  1. dJ phuturecybersonique Post author

    hmmm! that SSD drive looks intriguing! i was looking for one when i had to rebuild my rig a couple weeks back but the ones they were selling were upwards of RM800 for the 64GB version! X( did you get yours at low yat, dude?

  2. Albert Ng Post author

    dJ phuturecybersonique: Yes I did!

    KJ: Waiting for your turn!

    Matthew: Yes it is a quad core processor. Well spotted on the typo, it’s a 1 Terabyte HDD! Egad.

  3. ShaolinTiger Post author

    I think you could use a little more RAM, especially seen as though you are using a 64bit OS you can fully harness more than 3.5GB now and it’s so cheap.

    It does help with RAW files as it tends to take quite a bit of RAM.

    Plus if you want have to Photoshop or whatever open and comfortably multi-task (and for me I tend to have about 25 firefox tabs open at minimum) so it helps a lot!

    Although Windows 7 helps a lot as it’s MUCH more efficient.


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