Friday, May 31, 2013

So it is really the fault of SoftBank'a crappy 3G speeds!!!

Today I went to the SoftBank shop in the ground floor of my office building to see if the extremely slow network speeds that I've been experiencing on my iPhone 4S are caused by a problem with then handset or a problem with the 3G connection. What I did was simple. 

1. Compare the performance between 3G on my handset and LTE on the iPhone 5. 
2. Next compare the performance between 3G on my handset and 3G on the iPhone 5. 

I browsed a few websites and tried to stream YouTube videos as the actual tests. I didn't try to measure the performance quantitatively. I cannot do that there. I just got a feeling to how much of a performance difference there was. 

As expected, the iPhone 5 flew with LTE. It was an awesome experience. But with 3G, it was barely faster my iPhone 4S. The difference would account  to the overall improved processing power of the iPhone 5. The 3G performance was still as crappy as on my iPhone 4S. YouTube videos still waited to be buffered all the time. That hardly happened with LTE. But it wasn't completely without any waits. Still it was a 100 times better experience.

So I concluded that the problem is not with my handset (hardware or software), but is with SoftBank's crappy 3G network. I cannot wait for the iPhone 5S or whatever that is coming out next. That is my chance to get LTE. I won't upgrade to the iPhone 5, not when the new version is right around the corner. That would be completely insane. 

But I have one worry. What if the quality of LTE drops with increase in user base? Because we all know that 3G is very fast, it's probably the congestion that is making it no better than dial-up. Let's hope not. I've not looked into the technicalities of LTE so I don't know if that can happen or of it can, how soon. I just hope that won't happen anytime soon, at least not before I leave Japan for good.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Dust busting!

So I'm finally set for cleaning up the inside of the PC chassis. I will also be reseating the HSF while I'm at it. All this was because of this post. I’m not sure if the cooler itself is the culprit, so this is to check that. If I manage to drop the max delta temps of the CPU to 50C after reseating and cleanup up, then I would keep the current cooler. Else, I might have to look for a new cooler.

But first things first. I have to start from the outside. From the things that I can see. So I decided to clean up the fan filters for the intake fans of the case. There were little dust on the first front fan filters. But there was a lot of dust on the bottom ones. A LOT!

IMG_1591 IMG_1590

The one on the left is the filter for the intake of the PSU fan. The one on the right is the filter for the two 180mm air penetrator fans.

I washed them up and fitted back and ran Prime95 for 20 minutes. Well, I didn't really see a noticeable drop in temps, but who cares? At least I feel it is running cooler now. That's what matters. What your mind feels is what matters.

I was planning to do the full clean up job today, but it got late. Maybe in the weekend. At least the PC won't suffocate during that time.

Surface Pro arriving in Japan

Microsoft (MSFT) took their sweet time with Surface Pro, even when it was first released in USA. It came 3 more than 3 months later to the market. It is finally coming to Japanese market.

If they released it 3 months ago when it first came out in USA, I would have bought one. The price would have been cheaper too because the Japanese Yen was stronger. Now it is almost unaffordable.

The price is ¥100,000 ($1000) for the 128GB model and ¥120,000 ($1200) for the 256GB model. Yes, that's right. There is a 256GB model. The 64GB model is no more. GOOD! It was a joke to begin with. Only 20 odd GB free space? Are you kidding me?
 
On top of that, MSFT is giving away Office 2013 for free. FREE! That's not bad at all. But I wonder why they are doing that. Office is their number one productivity suite. Something just does not feel right.
 
They are also bringing some type/touch covers with fancy new designs. (Note: You have to buy them separately. Duh!)
 
They can do all these cool stuff, but they are not going to win my love this time round. I'm set on my current tablet for another couple of years I guess. They think we pluck money from trees?
 
Besides, I don't see why anyone would want to buy this AT THIS TIME anyways. One would assume that the new Haswell CPU based tablets are right around the corner. IMO, people should wait for those. Surface Pro eats battery life. Haswell CPUs will probably rectify that a bit. Heck, it doesn't have to be a Surface. I'm sure few makers would bring new Haswell based tablets soon. Nobody would want the Surface Pro then.
 
I'll probably look at a Broadwell based tablet as my next tablet. But even Haswell will be few times faster than my current Clovertrail based DELL Latitude Essentials tablet. Oh well. Everyone has to live with what they've done in the past.
 
But if any of you is interested in buying this, click here.
 
image

A huge pile of tmp files and CCleaner to the rescue

I've been working on a tool to measure the performance of print jobs and one little bug in it completely destroyed my day at work, but Luckily I had CCleaner to help me fix the problem. The concept of the tool is simple, but because I have to use multithreading it's gotten pretty complex, revision over revision.

The objective of the tool is simple. Whenever we make a substantial modification to the source of the renderer, we have to test for any degradation in performance. We have a bunch of XPS files and we simply use the AddJob method of the PrintQueue API to send the XPS data to the printer. This was a simple tool which was developed in the ancient days. So we add job after job to the printer and measure how long it takes to finish each print job. There was a separate tool that automatically dumped the start time and the finish time of the print job. (Did you think we measured it using a stopwatch?) Obviously we have to do this few time for each XPS file and take the average. It is such time waste.
 
The tool I wrote does this automatically. I just have to install the printer driver, load the data and bang. So easy. A lot of time saving.
 
There were some issues though. One of them was, sometimes the PrintFilterPipelineService, which is the process the print job is managed by, since Vista days, sometimes skips the print the job without doing anything if a new job is sent soon after the previous one finished.  I've noticed this on my Athlon X2 4200+ rig, but not on the Core i7 2600 rig or the common test rig with Core i5 750. Anyways, the solution was to kill that process after every print job.
 
That worked fine until I had to measure the performance of a large amount of XPS files last week. I could actually finish the performance test alright, but the next day when I booted into Windows in the morning, the desktop didn't respond to my inputs for about 10 minutes!!! The problem didn't go away even after a multiple reboots. When I checked the Resource Monitor, I noticed that the Print Spooler service was doing a lot of I/O. When I stopped the Print Spooler service, the stalling stopped. But I need the Print Spooler service running. After a little bit of snooping around, I found the problem.
 

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Something is wrong with my Zalman CNPS9900MAX-B CPU cooler!!!

I love silent computers. IMO, loud PCs are PCs with bad build quality. Hence, I’ve removed most of the fans that used to reside in the case, and further have lowered the RPM of the fans below 1000RPM. Well, right now, the loudest fan in the PC is the PSU fan when I’m not gaming, which of course isn’t controlled by me. When gaming, fan on the video card ramps up its RPM, making its presence very noticeable. Scythe Kaze Master Ace fan controller is the hero of the show.
 
The CPU cooler (Zalman CNPS9900MAX-B) is very loud when the fans is running at full speed. The stock RPM is 1700RPM and that’s insanely loud. So much for CNPS title! CNPS stands for “Computer Noise Prevention System”.
 
The CNPS9900MAX-B is not the best cooler out there. (Check Tim Logan’s review)The Thermalright Silver Arrow, for example, is much better. But there were few reasons for choosing this cooler.
  1. It didn't intervene with absurdly tall RAM sinks on my Corsair Vengeance sticks. Finding a decent cooler that passed this criteria was very hard. But now I think that I should have removed those RAM sinks (apparently, you can do that quite easily.) and bought a bigger cooler back then.
  2. The cooling performance wasn't really bad. It was up there with the best air coolers, only 5C or so behind the best of the best. It was definitely in the 85th percentile. 
  3. It looked nice. The fan was illuminated in blue. That’s what the letter B at the end means. And it didn't look overly large (but that was a misjudgment. It is a HUGE cooler, and unfortunately, most of it is air. The surface area of the cooler isn't THAT large.
So, the cooler is loud, and since I had the fan controller, I didn't really care about the noise back then. I have dropped the RPM of the fan to the point that the noise of it gets drowned under the ambient noise. That magic point lies just over 1000RPM. But at 1000RPM, the CPU temps increase by a little over 5C compared to 1700RPM. That’s not a big deal, if it was doing fine at 1700RPM in the first place. It does not!

Friday, May 17, 2013

(Rant) Screw this Nambu line!

Today I came to get the 8:31 train bound for Kawasaki and the retardedly over-secure gate system screws me over once again. If I got aboard that train, I could have reported to work by 9am. Looks like I'm gonna miss it. 

This is what happened. The Nambu line, which this railway line is called, splits the town in two. There is only one entrance to the station, and for people living on one side has to cross the railway line to get there. And we happen to live on that side. There is no overhead bridge to cross the railway line. So we can only cross the line when the gates are open. 


The thing is, when a train comes from Kawasaki (A) direction, even though the crossing is past the station, the gates close and we have to wait for about 2 minutes till the train leaves the station and then actually you can cross the line. It is not that bad when the train comes from the Tachikawa (B) direction because the station is past the crossing. So when the train passes the crossing, the gates open. 

So today, I came to the crossing at around 8:27am. There was a train coming from Kawasaki direction and it hadn't even arrived at the station when I got to the crossing. I don't know where the trigger point is located, but it is pretty fast away from the station. The train arrives at the station few seconds later. Then I had to wait till everyone got off the train and for the train to leave the station. We were all good up to now, because the train I was supposed to take was still far away. But just a split second before the gates opened (because the train bound for Tachikawa left the station), the train bound for Kawasaki reached the gate-close-trigger point. Goddammit! So I missed the train!!!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Haswell dream shattered even before the release? Haswell is a flop?

Yesterday I came across a very disturbing news. A Chinese site had posted benchmark scores of the flagship Intel Core i7 4770K (@stock as well as at @4.5GHz) and the results were pretty bad. They were comparing it with the flagship model from the 3rd generation, namely the Core i7 3770K. They were not just posting the scores. They were also showing the screenshots of CPU-Z, AIDA and other benchmark programs. 

Let's be honest now. Nobody likes those Chinese sites. They are ugly, plus, nobody can read them. Google translate can do a decent job, but still the quality of content in those sites are BAD. Luckily, Xbitlabs recently extracted those results and posted on their website. Check it out by linking on the following link.
Web-Site Publishes Fully-Fledged Intel Core i7-4770K “Haswell” Review 

The following is an extract of the results posted on that site.


That really sucks! The only thing that might sound interesting is the last test, but that is all due to the better iGPU in Haswell. It has nothing to do with the CPU raw power.

But we knew that the performance improvement from the CPU side was not going to be fantastic. Intel was mostly concerned about two things. Improving the power efficiency (for tablets and ultrabooks) and improving the performance of the integrated graphics potion (for non-enthusiast crowd). They seems to have done that alright.

But we expected a bigger than a single digit percentage boost, did we not? In some tests, Haswell is even slower than its predecessor. That's unacceptable. The instructions per clock (or IPC) hasn't improved much, from even SandyBridge. For example, the 4770K@4.5GHz does 1M Super Pi calculations in 8.018s and my 2600K at same clocks does it in 8.344s. Just a mere 4% improvement at the same clocks. That's almost no architectural change IMO. No idea what those Intel engineers were doing for more than a year.

However, what every geek was waiting to see was how well the Haswell CPU overclocked compared to the previous generations. There were leaked overclocking results showing the CPU running at 6GHz with just 1.2V and 7GHz with a whopping 2.56V. It is possible that CPU-Z wasn't reporting the correct amount of Voltage because the Voltage Regulator Modules (VRMs) are moved from the motherboard on to the CPU itself. Anyways, 6GHz @1.2V seems like it can even do that on air, right? IvyBridge could do OK with 1.2V when it comes to the temperature. There is no need to doubt that would not be the case with Haswell because Intel did not change the process node from 22nm. 

But what that Chinese website reports is very troubling. They are saying that their 4770K CPU @4.5GHz could not complete Cinebench test because the internal temperature of the internals rose up too rapidly that their water cooler couldn't keep up with that rate, and ultimately crashing the PC. We don't really know if this is true or if they applied too much voltage to the CPU that it overheated too fast or if the reason for crash was something completely unrelated to it being a Haswell CPU. 4.5GHz seems to low to require a water cooler and that water cooler too being insufficient. Besides, this was a engineering sample. I don't think there would be significant difference between the retail product and this, but we shall see.

The CPUs are coming out in early June so it's only one month to go before we see the real things in action. But so far, things are not looking great for the enthusiast desktop user. If these results are true, I'll probably stick with my trusty Sandybridge CPU. Heck, I might even consider the IvyBridge-E platform to upgrade to. While I'm not happy that I won't be able to waste some of my hard earned cash this time round if Haswell turns out to be crap, I'm glad that this might actually give AMD a fighting chance when the Steamroller comes out later this year. (AFAIK, it's coming out in September so not so far away from now.)

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

So the new iPhone isn't coming any time soon?

First there were rumors that the new iPhone (iPhone 5S possibly) was going to be introduced at WWDC '13, but seems like the enthusiasm has gone down. Looks like it won't be coming before summer after all. People are now saying that it is coming in Fall. WWDC would be for iOS 7 and maybe Haswell based products (MacBooks and iMacs). So unexciting!!!

Well, if iOS 7 is going to have a hugely revamped UI, that would be fine. I actually like stuff with big learning curves, given that they will eventually become easier to use. But right now, I want more speed out of my phone. I doubt iOS 7 will bring any performance improvements. Apple has never done that. The performance has gone down with every update, according to my experience. My iPhone 4S has gotten very slow. Sometimes when I open Twitter, it takes 10 seconds to load. So is Facebook. It could be due to the slowness of the Internet connection because most of these apps look to sync through the Internet at launch. SoftBank could be the culprit. 

But I think it is not just the Internet connection that is causing these problems. Today on my way to work, the phone literally got stuck in the app switcher pane and the phone didn't respond to anything for more than 30 seconds. The podcast was playing in the background. No idea what happened there. I'm sure people will be quick to blame on the JailBreak, and it possible was the culprit. But I don't give a damn. I need the JailBreak. 

The battery also dies pretty quickly.  But that happens when I try to browse the Internet from my workplace. The signal strength is pretty bad there. Most of the days, I have to charge the phone at work, otherwise I wouldn't have enough battery to get me through the boring commute back home. I'm writing this post during my lunch break and I already had to plug the phone in to charge the battery. One thing that I have noticed is that is I leave home with a full charge, or I managed to charge the battery for 100% the previous night, the rate of battery drainage is lower than if left home with, say, 80% battery. I don't know if the problem is with the battery or with the software. Maybe it could be that Apple hates me for being a Windows user.

I have also deleted almost all the jailbreak tweaks that I was using because I thought it would make things better. I still have to keep the JailBreak because I want to get rid of the camera shutter sound. (In case you didn't know, Japanese iPhones don't lose the shutter sound when the phone is put into manner mode.) The shutter sound comes up even when you take a screenshot. That's irritating.

But yes, we come to an important point in our discussion. If I buy a new iPhone, I won't be able to JailBreak it. Wouldn't that be a deal breaker? Well, speed is my number 1 requirement. More than just the processing speed, I need LTE. I'm so fed up by the slowness of 3G (of SoftBank). I'm not sure how much of a speed I would get when I use the phone at the workplace, because that's where I am most of the day when I'm not at home, but it still felt faster when I checked the speeds of his iPhone 5. 

All in all, time are bad. For one, the Japanese yen is not doing great against the US$. The Intel Haswell products are not performing up to the hype. And now this. Guess I will have to put all my efforts into buying a DSLR. And that's the least interesting item on the list. :(

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Updating Windows 8 on office PC

At work, usually there are two PCs for each engineer. One is for development and the other one for documentation. Naturally, the document PC is an old PC that is running Windows XP. But I have an Athlon X2 4400 based PC as my document PC. Couple of weeks ago, I installed Windows 8 on it.

I work inside a lab which doesn’t have internet connectivity. We have, however, a secured connection to our client (I would not disclose who this is) and through this we can even use Windows Update. But they haven’t still updated whatever they are doing to support Windows 8. So, Windows Update doesn’t work with Windows 8.

But nothing is lost. We have common PCs at work that can be used to access the internet. I went to one of them and downloaded the tool called WSUS Offline Update. You don’t have to install that tool. Extract the zip file you download, and just run UpdateGenerator.exe.

This is the main screen of WSUS Offline Update.

image

I selected Windows 8 from the options and also specified it to create an ISO file. After that it was seamless. It went and fetch all the necessary updates and created an ISO file for me.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

If I'm upgrading to Haswell, I'm going to stick with ASRock

I'm hoping to upgrade to Haswell at launch if the pricing is right. The CPU is definitely going to be the Core i7 4770K but what about the motherboard? I've been using the ASRock Z68 Extreme4 for (almost) two years and ASRock have done some incredible things to this motherboard.

First, they upgraded the UI of UEFI to match the more modern looking one that came out with the motherboards based on the Intel 7-series chipsets. Then they brought few of the features in that UEFI to the previous generation. (check my post about them adding Ultra Fast Boot to my ASRock Z68 Extreme4 board). Asus never did that, because according to them the Z68 chipset isn't capable of that feature.
 
With the next generation boards, they are (rumored to) bringing in some cool features.
1. Integrated 802.11ac on selected models
2. Semi liquid proof design to prevent those catastrophes from potential spills from the liquid coolers - this is good, because I might go back to a AIO water cooler after all.
3. Enhanced integrated audio using Realtek ALC1150 codec which they call Pure Sound- I hope I don't have to deal with my Creative card anymore. I'll probably sell it if I cannot make out a difference in audio quality. I'm no audiophile.
4. HDMI input which is useful if you are capturing video.
 
Plus, they are usually cheaper than the products from the tier-1 manufacturers like Asus and Gigabyte.
 
But there is one problem. To get all the benefits, you have to settle for a Extreme6-ac model at least. It won't be cheap though. It would probably not $200 mark. That would suck, because I don't want to spend that much on the motherboard. That would mean I would be paying well over $500 just for the CPU and the motherboard.
 
But we'll see how things work out. I won't be getting the first iteration of products because of the USB3.0 issue they'll be carrying.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

How much host writes does Windows 8 Fast Start feature use?

Windows 8 has a cool feature called Fast Start. When you enable it from Power Options dialog, it uses the hiberfile.sys to save part of the running state when you shutdown. So when you boot into Windows, it loads that part it saved to the hiberfile.sys directly to memory, instead of doing the full blown loading process. Like you expected, shutting down takes some time because it has to save whatever it needs to the disk before switching the power off.

At first, I thought this Fast Start feature saved only a small amount of information to the disk. But it turns out, it saves a considerable amount of information to the disk. I checked this by monitoring the amount of host writes to my SSD.

Previously I monitored the amount of host writes as at 27th of March to be 0.8GB. Then today (7th of May) I measured it to be 1TB. That’s roughly 200GB (it could be more or less depending on how Samsung Magician software rounds it off) in a span of 40 days. During that time, I only installed Octave and VMware Player to the SSD. It would have totaled to about 500MB. Maybe give another 10GB for temp files, browser cache, mail cache, Windows updates, driver updates and few other not-so-important things. Surely, it all wouldn’t take up 10GB. That’s all. The rest of it has to be those writes related to the Fast Start feature. So it’s roughly 5GB/day.

2013-05-07_23-48-28

And I don’t even turn off my PC that often. On weekdays, I would do it twice. On weekends, only once. Restarts don’t count because then it does not save the state. So in total, it would come to about 70 shutdowns. OK, call it 100. Doesn’t matter how much it saves per shutdown. What matters is how much it saves per day. In total, that’s about 5GB per day. That’s a lot!!! That’s a lot of SSD wear and tear.

So, what I’m going to do is, I’m going to disable Fast Start and monitor for month and see how things progress. Since I haven’t done a properly controlled test, you can always argue these results are not valid. But it’s for your SSD’s own safety. Disable Fast Start if you value your SSD. Heck, you are only saving a couple of seconds of boot time. You can always use Standby. :)

Saturday, May 4, 2013

To upgrade to Haswell from Sandybridge or not! That’s the question.

With Intel’s Haswell release being right around the corner, the upgrade itch is crawling back into me. I currently use a Intel Core i7 2600K CPU and ASRock Z68 Extreme4 motherboard (i.e. Sandybridge) in my PC and they are quite capable even in the demanding tasks. The CPU is overclocked to 4.5GHz, which makes it way faster than the current (3rd) generation flagship CPU in every task. Probably, it would remain the same when Haswell CPUs come out as well, because the rate of increase in performance with each new generation of CPUs has dropped to single digit percentage numbers in the last few years. If the rumors are true, Haswell won’t be any different (this, this and this). If you checked that last link, you will see that most of the performance improvements come from the GPU side. I don’t care about that because I would always be using a discreet graphics card. (But knowing that Handbrake would get QuickSync support in the future, makes things a bit more interesting.) All in all, my CPU at 4.5GHz would still own the flagship member from Haswell at stock – at least in most benchmarks.

But the question remains, why am I even considering upgrading to Haswell? That’s because Haswell itself will overclock and once overclocked, it would leave my current overclocked CPU in the dust. If the rumors are true, you might be able to hit 6GHz with proper cooling with a Haswell CPU. That would make it about 50% faster than my current CPU. No concrete information is available about the overclockability of Haswell CPUs so I cannot really make a decision until the official reviews are out. But I am hopeful. We’ll find all about it in a month.

Haswell is not only about performance. It is also about power efficiency. Haswell CPUs will be able to do more work with less power. And the idle power usage seems to have dropped by 10 times. This is not anymore a rumor, but it seems that most of the crappy CPUs won’t be able to deliver the low currents required for Haswell CPUs when at idle. We always looked at how the PSU copes with high power demands and never at how the PSU copes with low power demands. Seems that crappy PSUs cannot deliver low power “stably”. That would probably give BSODs. I checked on Intel’s website and seems like my PSU is supported after all (Corsair 75-001311 aka 850TX). So I don’t need to change the PSU. But even if I had to, I wouldn’t be to displeased about it because I get to buy a PSU with modular cables and also something more efficient that the one I have.

Intel Haswell Box ArtBut, an important question remains: how important is power efficiency improvements in a desktop environment? Not so much, right, because there are so many other things that would be using up the power. The video card is the biggest culprit. Then there is RAM, hard drives, audio card and fan.

Then there is this USB issue with the early chips. With the buggy chips, when your PC goes into standby and you have a storage device plugged into USB3.0 ports, you will have to disconnect and reconnect the device to make it work after you resume from standby. It’s a nasty bug, but it is fixed in the latest chips. But the bug fixed chips won’t make it to the first motherboards. Rumor is that it would take about a month before the bug fixed versions of the motherboards hit the market. I would definitely wait for that.

When Haswell CPUs go on sale in Japan, the second hand market value of my current CPU and the motherboard would drop. I don’t know by how much, but it will definitely drop. I will have to evaluate the situation against those figures. I don’t want to receive only 1/3 the price of what I’m paying for the Haswell upgrade when I sell my current CPU and motherboard. That just doesn’t seem right.

All of these have to align, if I am to go ahead with the upgrade. The CPU has to overclock well; the bug fixed motherboards have to hit the market; I need to get something valuable from selling off my old stuff. I’m mostly concerned about the latter. Because even right now, I’m getting only about JPY 22,000 if I sell my CPU and mobo. :(

One important thing I forgot to mention. I currently use the Zalman CNPS9900MAX-B air cooler, and it is not the best out there, especially because it is so loud when the fans are running at full speed. I might upgrade this cooler to something decent with the Haswell upgrade. All depends on the overclockability. Too bad this case doesn’t support most of the hot (not literally) coolers out there. :(

Finally, let me list up the reasons for the upgrade.

  • 50% performance improvement over my current gear – when overclocked
  • Reduced overall power consumption
  • Better Windows 8 compatible hardware (motherboard site perhaps)
  • I only have to upgrade the CPU and the motherboard. (unless speed of RAM makes a difference; I only have ones running at 1600MHz)
  • Native USB 3.0 support (IvyBridge brought this to the table, but I don’t have an IvyBridge rig, do I?)
  • PCI-E 3.0 support. (Again, IvyBridge brought this to the table, but I don’t have an IvyBridge rig, do I? Besides, I already have a PCI-E 3.0 graphics card.)

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Pixel Clock overclocking without a GeForce Titan?

NVidia’s GeForce Titan brought the single GPU performance to a new level. So did the single GPU price. But they were not the only things it brought to the table. There were some fancy features, and one of them was Pixel Clock Overclocking.

We all know that most displays these days run at a native resolution of 60Hz. While 60Hz is enough for most things, you can actually get some benefit out of displays running at a refresh rate higher than 60Hz in some specific use cases. One such use case is gaming. If you have a graphics card with enough juice to give more than 60FPS, your frame animations will be more fluid on a display that runs at a higher refresh rate.

120Hz displays are becoming more and more common place – among gamers at least – because of this reason. I haven’t actually used a 120Hz display, but most people speak so highly of the improvement after the upgrade. Sure, you need a GPU capable of pushing those frames past 60FPS to get any advantage. These displays were primarily made for 3D because the actual refresh rate halves when you use 3D. But you don't have to use 3D to get the benefits of a 120Hz display.

By overclocking your display’s Pixel Clock, you can raise the refresh rate beyond the stock refresh rate. This not only applies to 60Hz displays, but 120Hz displays as well. Just with standard CPU and GPU overclocking, how much you can increase the refresh depends on luck. You won’t get the same results between two identical displays. You have to find out what your display is capable of, on your own.

While Pixel Clock Overclocking is a feature that’s officially supported only on the Titan, you can use EVGA’s PrecisionX utility to enable it with any GeForce 600 series graphics card.

Here's how you do it.

PrecisionX Main Window

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PrecisionX Settings Page (first tab)

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Pixel Clock OC settings

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