Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Back with the green team for the 2nd time: nVidia Geforce GTX670 2GB.

CrossfireAfter getting fed up with all the issues with Crossfire, I decided to ditch the 1GB HD6950 cards that I had, and go back to a single GPU setup. But first, here is a list of issues that I experienced with &the Crossfire setup.
 
Crossfire woes
 
Gaming:
  1. Microstuttering: I was getting a respectable 60fps or more most of the times in games, but it wasn't smooth. I only got to see the difference, when I disabled crossfire just to check. 40fps with a single HD6950 was smoother than 60fps.
  2. Driver issues: Multiple times I got flickering issues with BF3 and the only way to go back was to reinstall windows and not install 12.4 drivers. When I disabled Crossfire, it went away. I don't know about you, but for me, disabling crossfire does not seem like a solution.
  3. Negative scaling: When I tried Skyrim for the first time, there was negative crossfire scaling. The only way to fix it was to wait for ATI to release a proper driver and disable Crossfire in the meantime. There is a possibility that you will not be able to experience the latest games the way they are meant to be, until a patched driver is released. That's no good!

Monday, May 21, 2012

ASRock Z68 Extreme4 Virtu issues resolved

ASRock released a new beta UEFI (L2.05) that fixed the broken Virtu support.

It is back to the way it should be. It does not install itself as a trial version.

image

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Now why can’t they bring Virtu support to mainstream apps? At least to Handbrake?

Friday, May 18, 2012

Silencing the PC (Part1)

too many fansMotherboards these days come with all sort of fancy fan controls. Asus Z77 series motherboards have a very intelligent and cool design. Others too have some sort of control.

But ASRock definitely has to improve in that regard. The fan control on my Z68 Extreme4 must be the worst among the current mainstream boards. It does have a lot of fan headers (6 of them) buy not all of them can be controlled via bios (my bad, UEFI) or their AXTU software. The best you can do is, set a value manually and if some temperature threshold is reached, it would run at max speed. Though the funny thing is that it is pretty much same as Asus' design (because ASRock is Asus in a way) but Asus' software does the trick.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Overclocking the Intel Core i7 2600K with ASRock Z68 Extreme4

BX80623I72600KThere are few important things to know about overclocking your Sandybridge CPU.
 

BCLK:

Unlike the previous generation CPUs, with Sandybridge CPUs you don't have two parameters to change  when increasing the clock speed.
Clock speed = BCLK x Multiplier
Sandybridge CPUs have a default BCLK of 100MHz. You cannot increase it more than few MHz before the system becomes unstable. Some chips are capable of 103MHz or more, but most chip + motherboard
combinations don't like going above 100MHz at all. So the easier way to overclock your SB CPU is by increasing the multiplier. For that, you need to buy an unlocked CPU - denoted by the letter K at the end of the model name (e.g. 2600K)
 

Lucid Virtu broken with L2.03 beta UEFI for ASRock Z68 Extreme4 (non Gen3)

Remember that in the previous post I mentioned that ASRock pulled out the *new* L2.02 beta UEFI from their website? Few days later, they released the L2.03 beta UEFI. Of course, I didn't think twice and upgraded. (Who did you think I was?? XD)

Everything is fine after the update, except for one little thing. They somehow broke the Lucid Virtu License with it. Just because you have a Z68 motherboard, you cannot install the Lucid Virtu software. The motherboard has to have a license to use it. I think it is there in the UEFI microcode. So when you install the Lucid Virtu software, it will check if the motherboard has the license to use it, and it will install fine. If not, it will install as a 30-day trial. That's exactly what is happening with this UEFI update. I even reinstalled Windows to see if it was something else. No, other people also have reported the problem. Oh well! I wish I didn't have to reinstall Windows.

As usual, the latest version that lists on Lucid's website is newer than the one listed on ASRock's website. So naturally, you would download the one on Lucid's website (currently, version 114 is the latest. ASRock
lists only version 112). When I tried to install it, it mentioned that this is a 30-day trial. When I install the one on ASRock's website, it would not show that message. But when you go into the ABOUT page in Virtu Control Panel, it would list it as a 30-day trial. Bummer!

This is what it is like now

Virtu_Control_Panel-2012-05-09_00.10.00
This is what it should be like (see it is not a trial)

d71ae0c5

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