Sunday, October 30, 2011

3DMark11 results with HD6950 1GB (CrossfireX ON and OFF)

CrossfireSo far I have only been running 3DMark11 with Crossfire turned ON. All this time I was thinking that the HD5870 I had before the HD6950 (albeit overclocked) was comparable to one of the new cards. That meant, if a particular game was not support Crossfire, I would be running at the same speed as the old graphics card. To make things worst, in some of the reviews the HD5870 was a tad faster than the HD6950 because of higher clocks. (850MHz vs. 800MHz). But buying a second HD5870 for crossfire was out of the question, because the resulting performance was only comparable to a GTX580 which it the better option anyways as it is a single card and every game will perform to the fullest of its capabilities. HD6950’s scaling is impressive and it would always be faster than a single GTX580 – if crossfire was doing its thing.
Anyways, I was curious as to how much performance I would get by a single HD6950 card, so I ran 3DMark11  to find out. (Note that all are overclocked results, because that is the fair comparison. We are not comparing two cards, but two choices.)

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Battlefield 3 - thoughts

Origin, the Electronic Art’s version of Steam, let me download and install Battlefield 3 (BF3) few days before the official release date. I pre-ordered BF3 a while back, about 7 months ago in fact, when I visited Sri Lanka after the dreaded Touhoku Earthquake in Japan. I could have pre-ordered it from Japan, but there were two issues. What was available was a the Japanese version and the price was hefty. We are talking close to JPY7,000, which translates to about US$82 those days. (I believe the game is only $59.95 in the US, and you see how the conversion rates work!). If bought from Sri Lanka, I can buy it from the Indian EA Store. The price was a reasonable $20. I wouldn’t mind spending that much for a game, that might be the best game ever released on the PC.
Anyways, I pre-ordered the game for cheap, and waited for the release date to arrive. Like I said before, we were given the binaries few days early, so I installed it and tried loading the game. Oh bummer! We have to wait till the official release date to play it. Oh well, that is – fair I would say. So I waited till 25th, which was the official release date for US version. Couple of days before that, I got an email saying that I could only start playing it on the 27th. Fine, I thought. Too bad, the US jerks are getting a head start. They need that anyways. :P But just to test my luck, I tried playing the game on the 25th. They were right. It wasn’t released to me yet. Instead of giving me “wait till 27th you moron”, I got “wait till 2nd you loser. pwned!” This is not right. I got the email saying that I could play it on 27th. This is not funny. So I downloaded a crack (it cannot be illegal as I have already paid for the game, and I am not playing MP early to get an advantage) and started playing the single player campaign till they unlocked multiplayer for me.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Battlefield 3 Hyperthreading Bug (with video)

Battlefield_3_Game_CoverThe game seems to be running into problems when Intel Hyperthreading is turned ON.

I captured it in video. This is not actual game play video, because it is harder to compare the difference. This is from a cut scene, but you can clearly see it in the videos. Sorry about the crappy quality of video as well as crappy job with the actual capturing.

Hyperthreading turned ON
Hyperthreading turned OFF

Speaker problem solved - Corsair SP2200 to the rescue

But the solution was expensive. Bought a new set of speakers. Good ones this time. Corsair SP2200. They solved the weird crackling noises from the Creative’s subwoofer.
One problem though. They don’t sound very loud though. Not that I can turn up the volume but I thought it would be louder. But no problem. The problem is gone anyways. I’m happy. Wee!
Corsair-SP2200-2.1-PC-SpeakerThe quality is great too. Supports 100~240V input and also has the volume controller on the satellites. Much easier than the Creative one, which had the volume controller on the sub. Disgusting!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Crossfire, here I come. Gigabyte HD6950 1GB OC (GV-R695OC-1GD)

I decided to sell of my HD5870 and buy something big – something that fit the rest of the specs of my PC. Original plan was to ditch AMD altogether. Bye bye, red team. New trend of green tech. (ironically, NVidia cards are so power inefficient.)

Checked my options. GTX580 is the fastest single GPU card. But was the performance worth the price? A good quality GTX580, in this case an Asus Direct CU II or a MSI Twin Frozr model would set me back for more than JPY40,000. Ouch! (Looking at the current exchange rates, that is a massive investment in LKR). How much performance would I be getting? 30% on average, 50% at best, except for a couple of hardcore nVidia supported games like H.A.W.X. No good! No good at all!

Of course, there are second hand cards for as cheap as JPY30,000, but with this kind of money, I didn’t wanna take the risk. Besides, there aren’t any second hand custom PCB + custom cooler models. That might be an indication of the quality of the cards, that nobody wants to sell them back. If some people are selling off their GTX580s quite cheaply, there is a good chance that I won’t like them either.

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