MP10 Weeping Hollows — So much loots

•May 16, 2013 • Leave a Comment

For anyone that thinks that nothing substantial has changed in Diablo 3, this video shows otherwise. Cleared a lot of mobs and there are plenty still walking around and there is a few inventories worth of loot just in this one area.

Computer Modding Stage 1

•January 18, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Untitled Document

Computer Modding Stage 1

First, I would like to say you can also read this at http://www.modena135.com. This is my first stage in my current plan to upgrade, mod, and ‘trick out’ my computer.  I started by doing a little general dust removal.  I then removed my old Thermaltake V1 AX CPU Cooler CL-P0508 heatsink and fan unit, pulled out my CPU and removed the old thermal compound that was on the top of the CPU.  This Thermaltake was by no means a slouch of a cooling option providing a marked improvement over the stock Intel cooler that came with the CPU itself.  This Thermaltake cooler is pretty much on par for what one would expect to find installed in an overclocker’s or enthusiast’s computer.

Next I upgraded the way in which I will be attaching my heatsink to the computer/CPU.  There are a number of "normal" ways to attach a heatsink — basically if one is not purchasing a separate item to attach one’s heatsink and just using the items that are included with your heatsink or CPU, then one is not attaching the heatsink in the most optimal way. Which is fine. There is no real need to use a special mounting apparatus unless one is specifically trying to get the absolute lowest CPU temps that one can get. I purchased a Thermalright LGA1366 Bolt-Thru Kit (LGA1366 is my CPU socket, this is the most extreme enthusiast socket specification that Intel makes, which easily eclipses anything AMD offers). To install this, I removed my motherboard, attached a large black base on the backside of the motherboard and attached two metal pieces ont the front on the motherboard.

My third step was to remove the two green 80mm exhaust fans from my system, one of which was only running at about 66% of its optimal output. I left the working green fan out of the computer and will be using it in another stage of my modding and upgrading. I then cut the actual fan apparatus out of the dying green fan leaving just the external frame of the fan (the LEDs were also removed from the fan frame). I attached the green frame to an 80mm to 120mm fan converter (which was something I did not know even existed until a few months ago). Next, a Yate Loon 120mm x 25mm fan was attached to the converter. The Yate Loon fan was my best find for the month of November; in my never ending search for the best PC components on the market, I stumbled upon this rather cheap fan (about $7 which is cheaper than most any other 120mm UV and LED fan on the market). I got the high speed version of the fan (which had an H in the item number) which is listed to have Max Air Flow of 88 CFM – 88 CFM puts this fan in the top 10% for fans of this size however it is significantly quieter than any fan with a higher CFM or a comparable CFM and is 40-350% cheaper. The real kicker is this; it has been benchmarked to show that it actually has a CFM of well over 100, which makes it just about the best 120mm fan on the market. Finally, I attached the whole apparatus that I assembled to lower of the two 80mm exhaust fan spots.

Moving ahead, I applied Tuniq TX-3 thermal compound to my CPU. Ok, TX-3 (I will keep this brief), this is the best thermal compound on the market, hands down. It had the lowest rise over ambient temperature when benchmarked against all other thermal compounds plus you just apply it, install your components and that is it. Many of the other compounds out there, EVEN the popular Arctic Silver, require that you do a burn in period of up to 2 days! I also used a new technique to apply the compound. Normally I used either a baseball card Toploader or a piece of hard credit card shaped plastic covered in a zip-lock bag or saran wrap to spread the thermal compound. Spreading the TX-3 was taking me a long time as it has the consistency of peanut butter (one should always spread one’s compound, the technique of just putting a dot or strip and letting it spread itself after putting the heatsink and CPU together is not fail-proof). At this point I had my mom in the room to assist with the next step which was to hold the heatsink in place while I bolted it down. Seeing that the spreading of the thermal compound was a tedious process, she suggested putting the zip lock bag actually around my finger itself and to spread the compound with my finger. It worked like a charm and I will be using and recommending this technique in the future.

Finally I bolted on the new Cogage True Spirit heatsink to the CPU with two spring loaded screws. Another Yate Loon fan (exactly the same as the one mentioned before) was attached to the front of the heatsink with two UV 9 inch zip ties. Stage 1 is complete!

The Cogage is simply an amazing heatsink. It outperforms pretty much everything there is on the market and is a third of the price of it’s closet competitors. With the Yate Loon fan attached there is no better heatsink or fan out there, it even outperforms many of the liquid cooling options. If you want to read more about the this and see some of the benchmarks, check THIS out. Actually I should say that it is the best LGA1366 air cooler on the market, but since the LGA1366 is the fastest and most demanding socket on the market, it is by default the fastest on the market. Also, check out this review by jonnyguru; my cooler is similar to the Thermalright Ultra-120 although, as indicated in the first review, my Cogage outperforms the Ultra-120 (Jonnyguru is my first stop for anything computer related, they are basically Tom’s Hardware on speed. This is not a diss to Tom’s, I still use that site daily. My main reason for choosing Jonny over Tom is simply that Jonny is now what Tom used to be back in 2001. When I started college in 2000, I always refered to Tom’s when doing anything computer wise as they were an enthusiast first source. They have slowly become more mainstream over the years and I now would label them as a source for mainstream users and your weekend warrior PC tuners. Jonny’s gives a better set of reviews and scores for a true PC enthusiast, I would not recommend their results to mom and dad or to someone that just likes to turn up one’s front side bus and use a Windows based tuner to up one’s GPU clock. Downside to Jonny’s is that they only cover a hanful of components and do not review as may products as Tom’s; they really do something special for what they do cover though, just check out any power supply review, you will be impressed.)

Side note: I heatshrinked and sleeved the cabling on the new fans. This allows the cords to be a bit more ‘tidy’ and gives them a UV glow.

I benchmarked my computer before and after this stage of modifications. Before doing these modifications, at startup followed by allowing my computer to sit idle for three minutes at stock speeds on my CPU, GPU and RAM, my CPU temps were in the range of 43-46°C and got up to 56°C during startup; system temps were 40-48°C; GPU temp 70°C; and hard drives temps ranged from 33-39°C.

The results of this stage of modifications blew my mind. I was expecting a moderate decrease in CPU temp, a slight system temp decrease and basically no change in GPU and HD temp. These modifications way over performed my wildest expectations! The results at startup followed by allowing my computer to sit idle for three minutes at stock speeds on my CPU, GPU and RAM were as follows: my CPU temps were in the range of 29-33°C and got up to 36ºC during startup; system temps were 30-33ºC; GPU temp 59ºC; and hard drive temps ranged from 30-34ºC. WOW!

So I did a quick 5 minute stress test on the new setup. I used 64-bit Prime95 (the most intense way to stress one’s CPU, hits all your cores pushing and keeping them at 100% for the entirety of the test; nothing else can make your CPU run as hard as Prime 95). The results: CPU temps ranged from 43-50ºC with two of the cores hitting 54ºC at the onset of the test before dropping back to 49-50ºC; system temps ranged from 32-44ºC; GPU temp 57-58ºC; and hard drives temps ranged from 30-33ºC. These temps were recorded near the end of the five minute test (while the test was still going). I was speechless. I have never on any blog or site seen such low CPU temps while running Prime95 (not that these were uniquely low temps, just I have not seen such low temps). The temps during the test still were basically under the temps while the computer was at idle before the upgrade. This test had all eight of my cores at 100% for five solid minutes while idle means less than 5% on all the eight cores with an average usage across the eight cores of 3%. I do not even have words for this, it is just insane. Also, the GPU and HD temps continued to drop! I mean, this test does not push the GPU at all and is very minimal on the HD’s but normally one would expect a slight increase due to the system itself increasing in temperature. Not the case here; as the fans started spinning faster due to the cores hitting 100% usage, the rest of the system continued to cool down.

Click this sentence to see a screenshot!

I cannot wait to get started on my next stage of mods and upgrades. I have a ton of parts already on hand for my future mods and upgrades; got to start thinking of what will be in stage 2.

Cost: The Cogage True Spirit cost $39, the Bolt-Thru kit was $9, the TX-3 thermal compound was $9 (and I accidently wasted what was left of it so I am counting the whole syringe of it towards the overall price although I actually used only a fraction of it), heatshrink and sleeving material was $0.50, the two Yate Loon fans were $14 total and the 80mm to 120mm fan converter was $7. I should be able to sell my old heatsink/fan on eBay for $45 (that is after shipping, eBay fees and Paypal fees). That gives me a grand total of $33.50, which is pretty cheap and if you consider the results, it was a steal.

Tech for December 10, 2009

•December 12, 2009 • Leave a Comment

IBM SSDs

IBM has pulled the firmware that was most likely causing their SSDs to brick.  The old firmware ended in an ‘A’ and the new firmware ends in ‘D’.  So far everyone has been having success with the newest firmware.

Tech for December 8, 2009

•December 9, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Apple buys Lala

Yesterday, December 7th, Apple purchased the online streaming music company Lala.  In short, Lala allows you to upload a list of your music collection and allows you to play those songs anywhere you have internet access.  A feature that stands out about Lala is the ability to pay 10 cents to ‘rent’ a song (the first listen is free) that is added to your music locker and then can be played anywhere.

Apple purchased this company most likely for several reasons.  They now have the group of engineers that worked at Lala working for them.  They can also make the leap to a cloud music source – Lala will most likely me made into an app by Apple for the iPhone that would bring streaming music of your songs (your iTunes library) plus all your rented songs anywhere you have internet or cell service.  It would also be a lot more feasible to fill up an iPod with 10 cent songs as opposed to $1+ songs.

Check out Lala here.

World of Warcraft – Patch 3.3

World of Warcraft Patch 3.3 (called Fall of the Lich King) was released today.  This patch introduces the new Icecrown Citadel raid as well as the 5 man instances in Frozen Wing.  Another big feature of this patch is the Cross-Realm Dungeon Finder which is found under the User Interface menu.  Many enhancements have been set in place to help speed up the leveling process for lower level characters.

There are a ton of changes in this patch, go check it out here.

Microsoft drops Windows 7 Family Pack Deal

Microsoft, on December 4th, stopped offering their Windows 7 Family Pack Deal.  This deal was for 2 DVD’s (1 for 32-bit and 1 for 64-bit) in a retail box that allowed you to install up to three copies of Windows 7 Home Premium on three computers.  The cost was $150 (and could be easily be found for $140), which was a huge savings.

The deal that I took advantage of was The Ultimate Steal.  This offer allows a student with a valid and current .edu email address (select colleges only) to purchase three different Microsoft products at 75-91% off of retail price.  Those software titles and prices are Microsoft Office Ultimate 2007 for $59.95, Microsoft Office Visio Professional 2007 for $55.95, and Windows 7 Professional (32-bit or 64-bit) for $29.99.  I purchased the Windows 7 Pro 64-bit and paid $29.99 plus I opted to include the physical media (they mailed me a DVD) of Win7 Pro as well.  This brought the total to $42.99.

Check out The Ultimate Steal here.

Windows 7 Tip – Notification Area

The notification area is the part of your system bar that is at the very right near your clock.  There is a way to tweak this area although it is not very obvious at first.  What you need to do is to go to the start menu and type “notification area” in the box at the bottom.  This will launch a window that will allow you to choose if you want to display certain programs and systems icons or not.  It is a pretty handy trick, especially if you install a lot of programs that add an icon to the notification area.  Below is a screenshot of what this window looks like.

Screenshot of the Notification Area window

Random Tech 1

•December 8, 2009 • Leave a Comment

First and foremost – It is a Woot Off!! www.woot.com

So I have decided to use my blog a little more often and to put some of my random Twitter update info (which is also posted at Facebook) here.  Basically I can go into a little more depth than 140/160 characters and might keep my Twitter/Facebook posts to a more modest amount through the day.

IBM SSD’s are Bricking

It is pretty commonly known in the computer nerd world that for normal IDE and SATA drives, Seagate drives ‘brick’ more often than the other big manufacturers of hard drives (my personal favorite maker of hard drives is Western Digital, for many reasons).  To ‘brick’ basically means to become totally useless and provide no other service than to be used as a brick or a paper weight.

Recently, a new type of hard drive has been released called an SSD – Solid State drive.  An SSD is a hard drive that is similar to a piece of flash memory (like an SD card for a camera).  An SSD, unlike IDE or SATA HD’s, essentially have no moving parts.  SSD’s are starting to become increasingly popular in lightweight applications such as laptops and notebooks (the new Google Chrome OS will only be factory installed on netbooks that use SSDs).  A key feature of SSDs is their quickness in their read and write speeds.  A drawback is that they are still too pricey to be used by consumers.

Why this story is important – In case you are in the market for an SSD or if you will be in the coming months, I would warn you to stay away from IBM SSDs.  They are bricking at a very high rate; some sites indicating a bad drive occurring as high as 1 in 8 drives.  That is a lot of money to waste on something that could just completely fail when there are many other options out there.

Furthermore, this is not even really about the money.  Although you would not be using an SSD as a drive on which you would be storing your pictures, movies, music or important documents (SSDs would be a boot drive where you would have your OS, applications, and games installed and NOT for mass storage), the average user has a week to 2 week backlog for ‘archiving’ their files.  That is, the amount of time the average user takes to move new pictures, media, etc. to a storage drive from their boot drive is about 10 days.  If your SSD drive bricks (or any type of drive for that matter) you would essentially lose everything you had on that drive.  That could definitely out way the lost money factor.  And in closing, no amount of warranty on said drive can ever bring back those files.  This is why I could not care less about a hard drive warranty, if it fails, and I lose everything, the last thing I am going to worry about is getting another hard drive and really, do I really want to replace a failed hard drive with another identical drive?

Google Goggle

A new application fresh from the Google Labs, Google Goggle.  It is basically a way to search the web using images and pictures.  It is definitely worth a look, check it out here.

Another bit of Google news:

Google also just released a new type of search called ‘real-time search’.  When you do a Google search, it will now also search current Facebook, Myspace and Twitter posts as well as fresh answers from Yahoo! Answers and fresh news articles.  This is similar to what Bing is trying to accomplish.

GrooveShark (thanks to Ashley Miller for this story)

This is an internet streaming music site.  It is similar to Pandora (which I love) with some features of Finetune mixed in.  I have only used it briefly as it was just shown to be this evening by my sister.  You can create and save playlists of almost any song you can imagine; your list will be saved for future logins.  There is also a feature of finding new music through their ‘People’ option – more or less finding people who have similar songs on their lists as you do and then recommending to you songs they have that you don’t have on your list.  I plan to revisit this for a more thorough review in the near future after I have used it a little more.  Give it a try here.

Social Media Flash Games

I am going to keep this rather short as the details about this are just now starting to flesh out and this is just my prediction here.  Games on social media sites (Facebook, MySpace, Hi5, etc.) are going to start to come under some fire.  These games, like games by Zygna (Farmville, Yoville, Café World), Mafia Wars, Mobster, etc. allow you to pay real money to get more in-game ‘credits’.  These credits allow you to purchase fancier items and level up faster as well as many other things.  However most people do not want to pay for this in-game stuff.  Thus companies like Zygna have partnered with companies that allow you to sign up for free and trial subscriptions of things like Blockbuster, IQ tests to you mobile phone, horoscopes, etc. to get more in-game credit.  However, the fine, and I mean very fine print on many of these free/trial offers allow the third-party companies to start charging upwards of $10 a month for whatever service you sign up for, without your knowledge of it.  I just have a feeling that either Facebook or a class action suit is going to put a stop to this type of in-game currency purchase very soon.

Intuit

Intuit, the online personal finance site, has pretty much fully killed off its online Intuit site and moved everything to Mint.com.  I have been a Mint fan from very early on.  It is a very easy to use and simple way to track your personal finances.  It is good for beginners as well as those who have spent years tracking their finances.  They are still regularly adding new features, banks and services.  Mint is completely free; check them out here.  Get the iPhone app here.

Blount Force Trauma

•September 5, 2009 • Leave a Comment

In case you missed it, the college football game that kicked off this season ended with a bang or shall I say, a punch!

Blount_Punch

Oregon (#16) traveled to play Boise State (#14) Thursday evening in what should have been a great game to start the season and the game itself was a good game.  Boise State clearly outplayed the Ducks but it was far from a blowout; Boise St. won with a score of 19-8.

One of Oregon’s better players, running back LeGarrette Blount, entered the game as a 1,000 yard rusher after his first season with the team and high hopes of being selected in the first few rounds of the NFL draft (ensuring himself probably a million dollars, if not way more, in signing bonuses plus a lucrative contract over several years).  Blount now is sitting somewhere no longer a 1,000 yard rusher and will be looking for a miracle to even be signed as a free agent sometime after the NFL draft (and being paid the league minimum for a 1 year contract with no signing bonuses).

Why?  Well there are two parts to that question.  First, he was held to -5 yards rushing on the day dropping him from 1,002 career yards to 997 career yards.  Second, that was his last college football game ever (and maybe last football game at either the college or NFL level).  It was his last game due to his after-game rage that he went into.

After the game as Blount walked by Boise State’s Byron Hout, Hout said some words to taunt or heckle Blount.  Well it worked; just as a Boise St. coach stepped in between Hout and Blount, Blount came racing back and sucker punched Hout, dropping him instantly.  Blount then went on to chasing after some fans and then still continued to fight and  pull away from several police tried as they tried to hold him back and escort him to the locker room.  Basically, he went on a Hulk style rage for 2-3 minutes on live television and sucker punched an opponent, took swings at his own players and at fans, and fought with police officers.

Blount’s punishment was a season long suspension.  If you think it seems a little harsh, you might want to watch the video of it.

If you are interested in more on this story, check out these 3 articles; http://bit.ly/A0HgN, http://bit.ly/2pAh13, and http://bit.ly/sDLXn.

Just a side note:  In my post about the preseason rankings, I used the USA Today rankings as the AP Top 25 rankings were not available.  I will now be using the AP Top 25 rankings for all of my college football related posts until the BCS rankings are available.

CPU Math!

•September 5, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Thought this would just be a fun little math problem that incorporates CPU clock speeds.  Hope you enjoy!  (and if you do like it let me know with a post!)

I will update this post, beneath the question (poll) itself, with the correct answer in a few days.