xsistor

Archive for the ‘Overclocking & Tweaking’ Category

PC build for playing Rift: Planes of Telara on Ultra Settings

In Computer Hardware, Electronics, Gaming, MMO, Overclocking & Tweaking, RPG on February 12, 2011 at 5:28 am

Update: As some have expressed qualms about going Intel with the recent Field-Effect Transistor biasing issue (potentially affecting SATA 3GB/s on some Sandybridge), I have included an alternative AMD/ATI option.

Introduction
Meet the…

RIFTER 2500 TITANIUM

computer to play Rift

Rifter 2500 Ti (Titanium)

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Buying a PC with The Coolness Factor: How would you spend £1599 (or $2628)?

In Computer Hardware, Electronics, Gaming, Overclocking & Tweaking on July 25, 2009 at 1:14 am

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The Story: How the Xsistor® CoolRig™ 1000 was Born

I know I promised to do an ultra low-cost system build with my next one, but this one’s popped up and I just have to do it, and now.

My ex-girlfriend got her  second year electrical engineering results today. She had some really brilliant grades — first class honours. Naturally she was thrilled, except her Intel ex-work buddy was in a particularly gloaty mood and was on about this awesome new system he was getting. Standing in stark contrast to her own aging Toshiba  laptop stood the The HP TouchSmart IQ820, a truly mean piece of hardware. Not something her positively miserly, aging relic of a contraption could compete with. While she was elated at her grades she lamented that she would not be getting something better until she was done with university.

HP TouchSmart IQ820 Desktop PC

HP TouchSmart IQ820 Desktop PC - Click her to view the product page

She sent me the link asking what I thought of it… Not much.

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Building a Low Cost Enthusiast Desktop PC System For Under £550

In Computer Hardware, Electronics, Gaming, Overclocking & Tweaking on July 23, 2009 at 3:57 am

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Requirements

Let’s take a look at how we’d ‘spec’ a system designed to meet the needs of enthusiasts while also keeping costs low:

1) Decent performance in processor-intensive tasks such as video editing/encoding/decoding and other hyperthreaded software

2) Gaming performance at moderate resolutions such as 1680×1050

3) Potential for overclocking

4) Upgradability

The Budget

We want this to be a mid-range system of sorts. I plan to do a really low-cost budget performance/gaming rig for something like £350-£400 soon, but for this system let’s choose more of a mid-range budget. Something in the region of £500-£600 should be fine, so let’s settle on £550, give or take. The average laptop is atleast £500-£600 and we want a system that far outstrips even a high-end laptop in performance.

Guru3D.com showing the use of AMD's Overdrive utility for easy overclocking

Guru3D.com showing the use of AMD's Overdrive utility for easy overclocking

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Building a Custom Cutting Edge PC System for Under £900 or $1250

In Computer Hardware, Electronics, Gaming, Overclocking & Tweaking on July 20, 2009 at 2:14 am

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Requirements

I’ve been asked by a few friends to lay out the specification for a high-end future-proof PC on a reasonable budget. So let’s kick this article off by broadly specifying our goals. To sum it up: We want a PC that does everything, does it well, and doesn’t cost crazy amounts of money!

These goals can only be met by a very high-end rig:

1.) Play HD movies in Blu-ray format on a HDTV or HD LCD Monitor at ‘Full HD’ (1920×1080 resolution)

2.) Handle all the latest games at high resolutions (1680×1050, 1920×1200 and 2048×1152)

3.) Handle video editing, encoding, decoding tasks efficiently

4.) 2D Graphics/Art/texturing – Adobe Photoshop CS4 and related tools should run ‘fast’

5.) Support for 3D modelling using software such as Maya, 3D studio max, and real-time rendering in games development work

6.) Science Simulation/Engineering CAD: should run Solidworks, Matlab, AutoCAD, and other engineering software efficiently

7.) Stanford Research Institute – Folding@Home. Lots of people are getting into the craze, potentially helping fight disease by ‘lending’ computer-time on their systems. The designed system should have these capabilities

8.) Future-proofing/Upgradability- There is really no such thing as future-proofing when it comes to technology. The evolution of technology is not a straight-line deal. Instead, the industry loves to keep taking right-angle turns every year or two just so they can throw customers off trail. But let’s see what we can do. NVidia’s Geforce GT300 and ATi’s Radeon HD 5000 series of 40nm and 32nm graphics cards are coming out soon. We’d like the system to be able to handle these. The system should have options for dual or triple GPU support in the form of SLI or Crossfire. Use of newer, rather than an older platform is recommended.

9.) Overclocking and tweaking – the system should provide headroom for enthusiasts

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Insane Frame Rates on Low-End Hardware in Company of Heroes & Other Games

In Computer Hardware, Gaming, Overclocking & Tweaking, RPG, RTS on July 17, 2009 at 6:19 pm

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Necessity and Desperation

If necessity is the mother of invention then desperation is its great grandmother. I remember my first computer very well: an 80386 DX @ 40 Mhz with a 170MB Hard Disk, 2MB of RAM and a whopping 1MB SVGA Trident graphics card. We didn’t know it at the time but ‘Prof Computers’, the retailer who sold us the system, had loaded up the PC with old unreliable parts. What a bunch of charlatans and thieves! So naturally that computer would constantly break down and we’d have to take it in for service regularly.

Insane FPS! This is on an 8600M GT with High Models, Quality and Textures

Insane FPS! This is on an 8600M GT with High Models, Quality and Textures

They barely kept the system running through its warranty and as soon as that was over the system just decided to quit for good. And so my brother and I would often joke about what we believed ought to be their motto – “Prof – We keep it running.” All things considered I loved that computer to bits. It had a 7-segment LED display on the front of the case  with a Turbo button. At the default setting the 7-segment display would read 40 in bright green, but pressing the turbo button would slow down the system to 20Mhz. There was a massive Power button marked 1 and 0, a hard reset button and, get this – a lock for a computer key. Yup, as many who’ve used old systems would rememeber, most of them came with a key that you could use to lock the system. Booting up with the system locked would lead to an error message during the POST.

Growing up, I wasn’t much for gaming. Most of my time was spent programming in BASIC, Pascal and running innovative MS DOS scripts. Some of my favourites were processing command-line parameters in the form of “%1”, “%2”, … “%n”, and of course the ultimate single line command which would typically read something like:

for %t in (file1.ex1 file2.ex2 file3.ex4 somefile.exe another.dat makeEmUp.bat gorilla.bas nibbles.bas autoexec.bat config.sys)  do if not exist a:\somedir\%t copy %t ..\

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Bang for the Buck (or Quid) with Laptop Hardware

In Overclocking & Tweaking on July 17, 2009 at 6:09 pm

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DISCLAIMER: THE AUTHOR WILL NOT BE LIABLE FOR ANY DAMAGE ARISING OUT OF THE USE OR MISUSE OF THIS INFORMATION. ALWAYS EXERCISE CAUTION WHEN TWEAKING OR OVERCLOCKING HARDWARE. THIS INFORMATION IS STRICTLY FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES. THERE ARE RISKS INVOLVED WITH OVERCLOCKING. DO SO AT YOUR OWN RISK.

At this point in time, I have three laptops. How did this happen?! I was always a desktop person, but in the last three years it seems I somehow… lost… my way. Now I’m kicking myself wondering why I kept buying more laptops. Surely any old laptop would have served my portability needs. The last two Dell and HP-Compaq systems that I paid £750 and £500 for (respectively) would have been money better spent on a desktop. But that was when I moved around a lot and another laptop made sense to me… at the time.

So here it is, my most powerful machine… Rather crap for gaming. While i’m planning to get myself a real juiced-up desktop soon, I thought it would be fun to start squeezing this baby for all it’s worth.

A £750 Dell XPS M1530 ... Let's open 'er up

A £750 Dell XPS M1530 ... Let's open 'er up

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