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Everything posted by odeen

  1. If you're not set on the MX200 only, Tigerdirect has PNY CS2111 for $270 shipped after $30 rebate: http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=9640808&CatId=5300 Subtract from that any credit card bonus rewards you might have (Discover Deals has permanent 5% bonus cashback at TigerDirect, Bank of America credit cards sometimes have 10%), and you end up a lot lower than your $300 threshold.
  2. Hello! One of my optidrives is a Lite-on 52x24x52 IDE CDRW. I was using it to install XP on a machine a while ago, and I noticed how slooooow it went. To check whether I was going nuts or not, I tried installing Windows off the other drive in the system, a Benq 16x DVD-RW drive, and the process went much faster. I tested both drives using Nero CD/DVD Speed, with surprising results. The drive tested FINE for transfer rate (rotation speed stays the same as reading speed grows smoothly, just how a full-CAV drive should behave) The drive tested fine for burning (again, full CAV) However, seek times are about 800ms for 1/3 seek, and over 1000ms for full disk seeks. Also, the CPU utilization reaches about 50% (Pentium 4 2.0ghz) at 8x speed. Has anyone ever had this problem, with a Lite-On CDRW or another drive? Is it just a matter of a lens being dirty, or could it be mechanical or electrical damage? I realize that CDRW's are a dime a dozen nowadays, but I don't like breaking things, and I don't like throwing something out if I can fix it. Any opinions and help will be much appreciated
  3. I tried a few different disks, and access times are very high for all of them. I've fixed a Plextor 8/20 with a "derailed" head, and I've cleaned out an Aopen in which a cracked CD exploded, so I figure I can't hurt things too badly if I do take it apart.
  4. Hello! I'd like a recommendation for a quiet DVD drive. I've had a Pioneer DVD-106S for a while and, aside from choking FAR more on damaged CD's (locking up Windows Explorer) than, say, my Lite-On CD burner (which causes an error popup and ejects the disc), I've been very happy with its performance and lack of noise. However, with my new case (Antec P160) featuring "stealth" drive faceplates, I need to get a tray-loading drive. I can't imagine anything is worse about the new Pioneer model, but, at the same time, I've been VERY impressed with how inaudible a Samsung SD-616 was in a client's machine. My requirements: Quiet when spinning Good quality, fast DAE Fast when reading CDR's and CDRW's High-speed DVD ripping ability a minor plus (I do not yet have a DVD burner) Ability to cope with damaged CD's also a small plus - I can use my Lite-on CD burner for those damaged CD's if need be. Availability of region-free firmware a small plus The Pioneer I've had a good experience with, but it's a discontinued product. One of my local resellers (WWW.SVC.COM) has the SD-816 for $27 + tax. Should I get the Samsung, the Pioneer for a few dollars more (Hypermicro - $40), or something else entirely? Thanks, Alex
  5. If I recall correctly, technology that can pause burns (i.e. prevent buffer underruns) puts some sort of a "gap" into the track. The gap is corrected for by the reader's error correction circuitry, you basically end up with a (very slightly) damaged CD or DVD. Assuming perfectly elastic, spherical cows, i.e. there will be NO further damage done to the DVD, you'll probably be okay. But, at the spot of buffer underrun, where the protection kicked in, you end up with compromised error correction capability. If any more damage occurs at that spot, you probably won't be able to recover your data. Therefore, anything that reduces the chances of a buffer underrun is good by me. If your PC chokes for .2 seconds, it's good to have that buffer. I actually wish I could permanently disable buffer underrun protection so that I know that a CD I burn is done at reference quality, without these weakly error-corrected spots.
  6. I'm batting 0-for-2 on Hitachi 7K250's. One developed a bad sector. I lost one file and RMA'ed the drive. The new drive has the the warranty period ending right around the time of the original drive. The other lost the file system. $400 in data recovery later, I did have my files back. The drive passed DFT, but doing a 'zero drive' function failed every time. What's worse is that the replacement drive is a "serviceable used part" and the warranty period is several months shorter than the drive it replaced. I will have to yell at Hitachi for this. Both drives touted 3-year warranties on the original retail boxes, but both only had 1 year warranties when I checked the warranty status. I had to call to get the warranty period updated. My friend's old-ish Travelstar 20GN failed. My other friend's 60gb 80GN, only a few months old, also failed recently in his Dell laptop. He got a Fujitsu as a replacement. This is MUCH worse than the multitude of Maxtors, WD's and Seagates I go through as I buy and sell parts and build computers. Unless Hitachi is willing to do something special to earn my bisiness, these will be the last drives I purchase from them. Hopefully, the 7200RPM laptop drives from other manufacturers are as speedy as the 7K60 and more reliable than Hitachi's have been for me so far.
  7. Intel Centrino, incidentally, does NOT have chipset-level wireless. Centrino means you have a Pentium M chip (Banias or Dothian), a supporting 855-series chipset, and either a Pro/2100 or Pro/2200BG mini-PCI wireless card. Operating word: Mini-PCI The southbridge on my "Centrino" Gateway M505X is an ICH4M, which seems to be a low-voltage version of ye olde ICH4 (6 USB 2.0 ports / built-in 10/100, etc). My M505X used to display the blue/pink heart-shaped Centrino logo every bootup until I took the Pro/2100 out and put in a Dell Truemobile 1400, which is a Broadcom-based 802.11G card. The logo on bootup switched to the blue/yellow "Pentium M" So, by switching a user-removable component, I de-centrinized my laptop. As far as the subject at hand goes.. Does the ICH6 still have a 10/100 MAC built-in? I couldn't care less about GBE, but I feel that having chipset-level networking that doesn't go through a general-purpose bus is more efficient - lower latencies, less potential for hardware conflicts, etc. I think it's a waste implementing external PCI or PCI-E chips when all you need is a PHY for basic networking capabilities.
  8. The Raptor already comes with a PATA-SATA converter chip built in, similar to the one on the Kingwin adapter. Internally, it's a PATA drive. However, it's not available in PATA, only PATA-converted-to-SATA. In order to utilize it, you need either built-in SATA on the motherboard, or a PCI SATA card, such as that Promise. The converter you linked to makes an existing PATA hard drive into SATA, it doesn't make a SATA hard drive into a PATA drive.
  9. odeen

    Super Monkeys Created

    I, for one, welcome our new simian overlords.
  10. Hi there! You may remember me from discussions having to do with onboard audio, and from a mini-discussion I started regarding multidrive firewire enclosures. For those of you who care, I ended up something that looks like this for $60 shipped, slightly pre-owned. Sees my two 250gb drives just fine Now, I have another issue. I would like to take my 574gb of storage (1x74gb + 2x250gb) and back it up to the 500gb of storage I have in the little box. The problem is that the drives are not "linked" together (i.e. JBOD or RAID), they show up as two extra drive letters. I'm looking for decent (free or low-cost hopefully too) software that can compress and back up files and is capable of spanning the backup over two drive letters. Naturally, it should also be able to see updates to my files and add/delete files in the backup set to mirror the files on my main drives. I'm not trying to get any versioning control, etc - if I change or nuke a file, chances are I won't need it 3 months later. Basically, if one/any/all of my drives go south, or get data corruption or a virus, I'd like to be able to get the files from my backup. Nothing more The way I see it, I'll power the box on once every week or so, let it run overnight to update the backups, so the drives will not sit idle too long to "seize up" nor will they be overworked or worn out. 500 gig tape drives are a little cost-prohibitive
  11. Yeah, the problem is that I don't think RAR is geared for that kind of operation (i.e. scan disk for files, delete from backup files that are now missing, and update backup with files that have changed / been added). RAR gave me an estimate of 68 hours to compress 250 gigs of stuff, and taking that long to update the backup set every time is not cool. Plus, I'd like for the archive to be split by the program itself, which would enable recovery from a boot disk, without the need of NT being installed to access the "advanced" partitions.
  12. Hi there! Just spent some money for data recovery on one of my 250-giggers. The file system went mildly bezerk, and I had neither the software, the expertise, nor the steady hands required to do the recovery myself. Still, with text documents I had there from the early 90's, it was worth it just for my own happiness. However, I'd like to actually BACK UP my data from now on. With the recent rebates and price cuts on 250-gig PATA drives, I would like to take a pair of them, stick them into a dual drive 1394 enclosure, and, once every few days, sync them to my main rig. So, I'd like to hear some recommendations. It seems like Fry's and SVC.com seem to only carry single-drive boxes with external power supplies and no fans, or noisy 40mm fans. I'd like a SINGLE bigger box, with its own internal PSU and an 80mm or 92mm fan if possible. The box will NOT stay on all the time - I will power it on once every few days, update the backed up files, and turn it off. This is to minimize the risk of damage by a virus infecting my main computer, or an errant power surge. So, here's what I'd like: Room for two 3.5" drives 80mm or 92mm cooling fan Ideally 2 IDE channels, instead of a master/slave on 1 channel NTFS support (don't know if this is a function of the chipset or not) As compact as possible w/o needing an external power brick Support for 48-bit LBA Compatible with either the Firewire port on my Sound Blaster Audigy II ZS, or the Texas Instruments firewire chipset on my Abit IC7. Or, ideally, both 6-pin plug in the back. I have a 6-pin to 6-pin firewire cable already. Assuming all of the above conditions CAN be met, I'd like to meet them as inexpensively as possible. Thank you for any recommendations! -Alex
  13. Honestly, I can't comment. As far as I understand, the sound quality of the ALC850 is the same as the ALC650 and ALC655 - lousy. The only worthwhile use for that codec is to provide a physical layer interface to a digital output. If you can live with lousy sound quality (i.e. you have cheap speakers) there's no reason to upgrade. If you want high sound quality, get a Via Envy series card, if you want almost as good sound quality AND excellent gaming capabilities, get an Audigy2 ZS. Hercules sound cards with Cirrus Logic CS4624 are good budget alternatives for gaming, but give ground both to cheap Via Envy cards in raw sound quality and to Audigy series in 3d audio performance.
  14. Actually, they use ALC850 or similar codecs. The 850 series supports 7.1 analog output instead of "measly" 5.1 channel. The nForce2 MCP-T motherboards STILL require a chip to do analog/digital and digital/analog conversion, and ALL boards seem to utilize the ALC650 codec chip (because the Soundstorm engine is "only" capable of up to 5.1 output). Correspondingly, while the features, CPU utilization and compatibility offered by the "digital" part of the "solution" is fantastic, the analog output quality sucks. Lots of hiss, no low end, etc. Software audio chips do not have onboard mixers. Therefore, anything from hearing a windows make a "ding" noise or AIM play its chime when someone IM's you while you have an MP3 playing will require your CPU to "add" up the sounds together. Rendering of 3d audio for gaming ALSO requires your CPU's attention. Some of the simpler PCI audio solutions, such as the Via Envy series of chips and the CMedia 8738 have onboard mixers but no 3d audio renderers. More advanced sound cards, ranging from the Sound Blaster Live! and Audigy series, Turtle Beach Santa Cruz and Hercules sound cards (powered by Cirrus Logic 4630 and 4624 chips) and even the venerable Aureal-based boards such as the Diamond Monstersound MX300, as well as Soundstorm present on the nVidia MCP-T southbridge all have onboard mixers AND 3d audio renderers of various quality and feature levels.
  15. odeen

    Here's Four Pounds Of Heatsink

    I have one on my Abit IC7 / P4 2.8 @ 3.72 combo. Two 2500 RPM 92mm fans - not too loud, and pretty effective cooling. I'm considering replacing it with a Thermalright Xp120, though, while I can still return the beast to Fry's
  16. Hi there! A week or two ago, I broke down and bought a WD2500JB at Fry's. The price was cheap ($250 + tax, or $270 US out the door, with $100 in two rebates). With my WD2000JB that I bought in January giving me some odd controller errors once in a while, I wanted to dump all the data to a new drive and run WD's diagnostics without worrying for my stuff. I really wanted a SATA drive to go on my ICH5R's SATA controller, but with the 2500JD OEM being $350, and the PATA version $100 less before any rebates, the choice was made for me I got the drive home and felt the top of the drive. it was smooth, whereas the 2000JB had an indentation where the center of the platters is. Does that really mean I got a "PB", or a fluid-bearing drive? Is this a common occurence (I've seen some WD1600JB boxes with the drive inside clearly being WD2000, so maybe WD does this sometimes) and is it really FDB? Question 2: If a drive causes "timeout errors" in the event log, (examples: The device, \Device\Ide\IdePort2, did not respond within the timeout period. (Event ID 9) or: The device, \Device\Scsi\hpt3xx1, is not ready for access yet. (Event ID 15) The driver detected a controller error on \Device\Harddisk0\D. (Event ID 11)) what does that mean? The former I got with the WD2000JB with a Abit Seriell2 PATA-SATA adapter on my motherboard's ICH5R SATA controller. The latter pair appeared sometimes with the WD2000JB (comprising my C and D partitions) connected via an 80-conductor cable to the Highpoint HPT372N IDE controller. Thanks for your time, Alex
  17. odeen

    Need A Good Lga775 Heatink/fan Combo!

    I have a Thermaltake Tower112 on my 2.8C @ 3.73ghz. It's originally designed for LGA775, though, so it should work even better on your chip. It mounts DUAL 92mm fans, so for non-OC-level cooling, you can get away with Vantec Stealth 20db fans. Warning: It's a) huge and fiddly to install. I had to push down on the H bracket, bending it, with a screwdriver while tightening the nuts onto the bolts that project from the back of the motherboard. Low-tech, but you can't argue with 3.73 ghz on air. I'm not aware of any other coolers specifically designed for LGA775 duty.
  18. odeen

    Better Performance

    Since the A7N8X Deluxe and A7N8X-E both have SiL 3112 SATA controllers on the PCI bus, you would be better off getting a PCI SATA controller and an Audigy ZS Check out this - $25 with free shipping, and it looks to be based on the same Silicon Image 3112 chip. The only difference is that this card has RAID capabilities disabled, but RAID on desktop is irrelevant anyways. Alternately, Promise SATA150 TX2 Plus cards give you 2 SATA and 1 PATA port for about $40.
  19. The analog audio quality should be better, but performance will be closer to the onboard solution. As far as I'm aware, the Envy24 can do hardware mixing (something Creative has been able to do since Sound Blaster Pro days), but it's equivalent to a soft-audio chip for gaming - no 3d rendering or effects can be done on the card.
  20. odeen

    Better Performance

    The Audigy ZS is excellent for gaming. However, in non-gaming situations, most onboard audio performs adequately (well, the sound quality is lousy on most motherboards, but there's no performance hit unless you're doing multichannel mixing, 3d sound rendering or effects processing) What motherboard do you currently have? nForce2-based motherboards are typically faster than other SocketA boards, but it depends on your current setup (FSB, RAM type and amount, etc) Also, look into the A7N8X Deluxe without the E. Same board, except it has chipset-level 10/100 second LAN instead of PCI-bound gigabit. It's an older product, but it performs every bit as well as the E variant, and should be cheaper I'm not a fan of gigabit LAN on the PCI bus. Theoretical 250 megabyte/second throughput device has no place on a 133megabyte/second bus.
  21. odeen

    Mobo's With Optical Out

    No. If you want multichannel in games over one cable, the ONLY game in town is nForce2 with MCP-T southbridge (which includes soundstorm) nForce3 has no southbridge. Hence no MCP-T, hence no Soundstorm, hence no multichannel over digital cable unless you're watching a DVD.
  22. Okay, I feel that I need to chime in here. 1) Promise and Highpoint PCI ATA controllers can not handle ATAPI devices, only hard drives. The only PCI controller that can use ATAPI devices is the CMD 0649 controller, which is now sold by Silicon Image. This is not the same as Sil3112, which I have integrated on my motherboard and I have no problems with, personally. 2) Cheap PCI RAID controllers are the same on the controller level as their non-RAID counterparts. Not to say that this makes the RAID cards ATAPI-compatible, rather it means that ATA cards still won't recognize your CD-ROM drives 3) ATA33, as long as it's actual ATA33 (i.e. DMA Mode 2) is PLENTY fast enough for anything. All it means is that your actual transfer rate is capped at around 30 mb/sec. Since the drives "thrash," they are spending more time seeking (which is independent of transfer speed) than transfering large chunks of data (streaming is the only thing that benefits from STR, as outlined in the Raid0 article) If I may, I'd like to refer to the "Cheetah on 10mb/sec Fast SCSI II" article that Storagereview published years ago, where they found that there was very little performance degradation in everyday use going from an 80mb/sec to 10mb/sec interface on a 10,000 RPM drive. So, don't worry about SATA or PCI controllers, unless the motherboard controller is still bound by the 32gb hard drive size limit. If that's the case, I'd vote for the Promise Ultra100TX2 cards - I've gone through a dozen of Ultra100TX2's and Ultra133TX2's, installing them in people's machines, etc, and I haven't had a single issue with them, aside from the fact that the XP built-in drivers have the 127gb limitation. Update drivers and the drives 'magically' grow to their full size 4) Why use Socket370 processors anyway? $25 + cost of powerleap adapter is more than I've paid for used Athlon XP 1600-1800+'s ($25-$30). Cheap Socket462 boards as "commodity" parts now, as is PC2100 DDR, whereas P3-era stuff is so old as to achieve "specialty" part status. I imagine, if you wanted to put a little time into it, you could sell the P3-era gear and buy cheap Athlon XP gear without spending any extra money. With DDR being cheaper than SDRAM, you could outfit the machines with 512mb PC2100 DIMMs, for 1-1.5gb of RAM, making swap largely irrelevant. Of course it's a slightly bigger project than converting existing parts into machines.
  23. SB Live! is still being sold by a lot of electronics stores in the 'States. CompUSA and Fry's Electronics still carry the basic versions of these cards. Therefore, while the premium versions (Such as the Sound Blaster Live! Platinum, with a drive bay cover featuring a lot of additional I/O ports) are discontinued, the cards are still being manufactured. Since only Creative makes Live! cards, the current products still meet the same standards as the original cards. This isn't the case of Creative selling chips to the final board manufacturers, with various quality results - an SB Live! is an SB Live! What's there to do with a 24-bit sound card? Most of the content is still 16-bit, especially interactive content. Unless you a) consume pre-made content, such as DVD-Audio discs or create content, 16 bits is pretty much all you need. Then again, the Audigy2 ZS, when set up properly, supports 24-bit MP3 decoding. Supposed to sound a little better as MP3's are "floating point" and clipping can be reduced by going 24-bit.
  24. odeen

    Mobo's With Optical Out

    Well, there's SCSI-grade optical fiber, and there's a piece of plastic you use to connect two audio components. Only so much you can do with something that's supposed to be thin, flexible, and cheap. Even if the media was improved, the protocol has to be revised to allow for uncompressed multichannel content. There are alternatives, however. Pioneer has a line of receivers and DVD players that use Firewire to connect to each other. A Firewire-equipped Pioneer DVD player can send DVD audio or SACD data without converting it to analog to a compatible receiver. I don't know if there's a Windows driver to allow a Firewire-equipped PC to send audio data to a Firewire receiver. I imagine if there was, the resulting audio device would be software-based, which is a performance penalty, plus it would load the PCI bus with even more data (ALL rendered sound, plus firewire encapsulation penalty). No chipset has integrated firewire except, once again, nForce2.
  25. Only for Hitachi and possibly Samsung. Seagate, Maxtor and WD 8mb cache drives are all 1 year warranty now. I grabbed one of the last WD2500JB's with a 3-year, and have bought 7K250's since then. The 7K250's I had to phone into Hitachi to activate the 3-year warranty on. Bleh.