Thursday, June 28, 2012

Activate Windows 8 using a telephone

Note: If you are wondering why there are 7-digit groups instead of 6-digit groups in the product ID, go to the bottom of the post and reason the Issues section.

If you are a sad Windows 8 (Release Preview or RTM) user who cannot connect to the Internet because your work place does not allow you to, you would think that you could do it via the phone. It works as it should in Windows 7, but there is not proper “interface” to do it in Release Preview. It must be because this is still not a finished product. The "use phone" option is grayed out. Activator would try to connect to the Internet and give up after a while.
Edit: 2012/10/05

The RTM build now shows the option to activate via phone in Activation section of the Settings page. Not sure whether this is only if you cannot connect to the internet though.

But you don't have to worry because there is a workaround.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Jail breaking the iPhone 4S (and others) on firmware ver. 5.1.1 using Absinthe 2.0

Few weeks ago, I saw this cool video.
100 Reasons to JailBreak your iPhone [2012]
After watching the video, I felt I was missing a lot by not JailBreaking my iPhone 4S . Absinthe 2.0 was released few days later, which made JailBreaking 5.1.1 possible. (I never intended to JailBreak iPhone 4S, but I wanted to unlock it. I found out that GeveyUltraS supported 5.1.1, so that was why I had mine updated to 5.1.1. I also have a GeveyUltraS on the way.)

Corsair SP2200 speakers - crackling noise and a possible fix

This is not the first time this has happened. This is the 3rd time. Somehow it self-healed the first two times. It has started to give the same issues once again.

These are the known facts:

1. The crackling noise mostly comes from the left speaker

2. It has nothing to do with the input audio signal to the speaker. The problem is there even when the speakers are disconnected from the PC.

3. People on the internet are saying that it got fixed by replacing the power supply of the speakers. Hence, the “power supply” crackling.

Check out the Newegg customer reviews here. Most people are experiencing the same issue.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Budget gaming rig 2012-June(estimated price: $750)

Previously we talked about two great gaming rigs at price points of $1000 and $1500. Mind you these prices were without the peripheral devices, such as the monitor, keyboard, mouse, speakers and headset. So, you will have to add at least another $250~$500 to get your whole system done.

Today, let’s look at a rig proposed at a sweet $750 price point. Most people (read: most gamers) should be able afford a PC at this price point. Otherwise, you should just forget about proper gaming.
This list goes as this.

Component Suggestion Price (US$)
CPU Intel Core i3 2100 109.99
CPU Cooler Stock Intel Cooler 0.00
Motherboard BIOSTAR TZ77B 89.99
RAM G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 46.99
Video Card GeForce GTX 560 Ti ZOTAC AMP! Edition 209.99
Sound Card Integrated Realtek ALC892 Audio 0.00
Hard Drives OCZ Agility 3 60GB 64.99
Samsung HD204UI 2TB 119.99
Case Zalman Z9 49.99
Power Supply CORSAIR Builder Series CX500 59.99
Total 751.92

So, after cutting this and that, I managed to get a decent rig at $750 price point.

3DMark11 score got a boost with the new nVidia 304.48 beta drivers on GTX670 2GB

Following is what I got with the 301.42 WHQL drivers at GPU base clock of 1100MHz, memory at 3450MHz

Score: P9613 3DMarks

Graphics Score: 9719

Physics Score: 10459

Combined Score: 7995

I had to drop the overclock to 1093MHz, 3400MHz because it was unstable in Crysis 2 (yes, Crysis 2 seems to be the most stressful game out of ones I tested.)

This is the score with the new 304.48 beta drivers.

Score: P9793 3DMarks

Graphics Score: 9960

Physics Score: 10246

Combined Score: 8216

Free performance is always appreciated. :D

SSD Pricing dropping like crazy!

I bought my current Kingston Hyper-X 120GB SSD about 7 months ago, and it cost me JPY16,980 back then. It was still a good deal, considering the price per GB, because I spend over JPY 11k for one of my Vertex 2 50GB SSDs another year back, which was a good deal back then!

The current prices are way crazy! You can get a 240/256GB SSD for the same price I paid for my 120GB drive. And it is only 7 months. So for the first time ever, 240/256GB drives are affordable. They are still not cheap, by any means. Hard drives, even with the recent price hicks, still nail the SSDs when it comes to cost per GB – by about 10 times! So you cannot really forget them virtually in any PC build.

Eg: OCZ Agility 3 240GB – JPY16,409 as of 2012/06/23 on Amazon JPN

Here’s where the price per GB stands as of today

SSD prices 2012 June Cost per GB

Source: The TechReport

Note that 120GB/240GB is where the biggest price cuts are at.

Still, I really like the way things are going. 1TB SSD dream can’t be that far away, right? I expect 1TB SSDs will be affordable at least by the year 2015. :)

Friday, June 22, 2012

Mid-range gaming rig 2012-June(estimated price: $1000)

In the previous post, I discussed about a decent gaming PC but when we calculated the price, it was a bit on the expensive side. So I thought of recommending some alternatives to the cut cost. This is what I come up with.

List of alternatives

CPU: Intel Core i5 3450 ($199.99: $30 saving)

Since all the none-K models have a locked multiplier, which maxes out at 37 with the Core i5 3450, you won’t be able to break the 4GHz mark. But with some luck and testing, you might be able to reach 4GHz if your CPU can handle a decent BCLK overclock. You need 108MHz BLCK for 4GHz, which is not impossible, but improbable. But you should be able to get to 106MHz-ish BLCK, because IvyBridge isn’t as restrictive as Sandybridge was. All in all, you will be able to get close to 4GHz with this chip, which is only 10-15% slower than the 3570K @4.4GHz.

CPU Cooler: Stock Intel cooler ($0: $34.99 saving)

You can try the stock cooler for now, but if it is getting too hot, go with the original Hyper 212 Evo cooler because it is pretty much there at the top when it comes to delivering the most bang for the buck.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Gaming rig recommendation 2012/June (without breaking a *big* bank: $1500 price point)

Since I cannot get all the good stuff every time they get released, I thought of posting about what I thought was a great gaming rig setup every three months or so. This is not the greatest rig out there, but the aim is to build a very capable, balanced PC without breaking the bank. Well, we do not go for the cheapest stuff around, but the aim is to build something that would last a couple of years without upgrading anything, or just the video card.

So here goes the recommendation:

Component Suggestion Price (US$)
CPU Intel Core i5 3570K @4.4GHz 229.99
CPU Cooler Coolermaster Hyper 212 Evo 34.99
Motherboard Asrock Z77 Extreme4 134.99
RAM Corsair Vengeance LP 1.35V 8GB DDR3 54.99
Video Card Gigabyte GTX670 2GB with Windforce3 cooler 399.99
Sound Card Asus Xonar DX (PCI-E) 71.99
Hard Drives Samsung 830 series 128GB SSD 129.99
Samsung HD204UI 2TB 119.99
Case Corsair Carbide 500R 139.99
Power Supply beQuiet Dark Power Pro 10 550W 143.99
Total 1460.90
Display 24” (will update with a model soon)
Mouse Logitech G500
Mouse Pad Razor Sphex
Keyboard Logitech G510
Headset (will update with a model soon)
Speakers Corsair SP2200 2.1
Webcam Logitech C920

Why this and that?


I5 IBIntel IvyBridge CPU is the best option right now. You can get a cheaper AMD CPU or an older Sandybridge CPU but with all the new features an IvyBridge CPU offers such as low power consumption, faster HD graphics (hitch you can use for blistering fast video encoding), PCI-E 3.0, native USB3.0 support, IvyBridge seems the logical choice. You can get a Sandybridge-E system, but that would break the bank and won't offer much for our current build. Who needs all those PCI-E lanes when you are going with only one graphics card? You also lose the HD graphics, unless you get a hex core CPU, there aren't many reasons to get one of these enthusiast CPUs.

Will the 212 Hyper suffice? I heard IvyBridge runs pretty hot.

CM_Hyper_212_EVO_01-500x374Well, I don't see spending $50 more 5% more performance. Even the most expensive water cooler would I Lu get you to around 4.8GHz. If you can get to within 10% of that with the 212 Hyper, I would stop at 4.4GHz with no hesitation. IvyBridge should be fine with that cooler at 4.4GHz.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

nVidia releases the long waited driver that fixes GTX600 series microstuttering madness - GeForce 304.48 Beta Drivers

nvidiaThe web was infested with the stuttering issues the GTX600 cards were getting when Adaptive V-Sync was turned on (some were getting problems with even the regular V-Sync). I too experienced it when I tried Crysis 2 with my brand new GTX670. It was unbelievably stuttery. Much worse than what you would get from multiGPU setups. You were literally getting pauses of few milliseconds.

Here’s what they are talking about:

GTX 680 VSync Stuttering Issue Mass Effect 3
GTX 680 VSync Stuttering Issue Skyrim
GTX 680 Vsync stutter Rage

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Gentle Typhoon D1225C12B7AP-29 (with the KÜHLER 620) – there is nothing Gentle about that airflow NOR noise

sy-1050-2Ever since I bought the fan controller, I had been considering buying the Gentle Typhoon AP29 fan for the Antec KÜHLER 620 radiator. The fan I was using, the Scythe Kama Flow 2 1900RPM model, was reasonably quieter and slightly underperforming compared to the stock Antec fan. But I wanted to see if I could improve the KÜHLER 620’s performance by adding a high speed fan. Tests performed at SilentPCReview was showing that the KÜHLER 620 was only 1C warmer than the 920 if same fans were used. KÜHLER 920 has two fans and  those fans ran at a very high RPM (hence intolerable noise at full blast). So my idea was to buy fans that were on par or better than the stock 920 fans.

I started with one AP29 fan. The noise rating meant that the AP29 was only 3dB louder than the Kama Flow 2. That means, a single AP29 should be as loud as two Kama Flow 2’s. (+3dB means doubling noise, in case you were wondering)

Saturday, June 16, 2012

How to shutdown Windows 8 Release Preview

Microsoft has made trivial things so hard to do with their new iteration of Windows. One such thing is Shutdown/Reboot Windows.


How to shutdown the normal way

This is the normal way of doing it in Windows 8. You make use of the Charms. (BTW, they are not “Charming” to me at all)

You can bring up the corresponding Charm using two methods.

Method 1:

Press: Windows key + i

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Silencing the PC (part 2)

First of all, if you haven’t already, read the part 1 here.

So I decided to buy a fan controller, no thanks to the amount of fans I have installed in the PC and no thanks to the crappy fan controller on the ASRock Z68 Extreme4 (non-gen3) motherboard.

Whom did I turn to? Scythe. They have the cheapest accessories in Japan, because Scythe is a Japanese brand. But which model? I had a tight budget, so I could not go with fancy touch screen control stuff. (I don’t think Scythe made such models, but if they did, it would be outta my budget.)

I went with the Scythe Kaze Master Ace. I bought it off Amazon for JPY3,437 which was reasonable for a 6-channel fan controller. Sure, it doesn’t have PWM support, but I don’t have any PWN fans anyways so no big deal.


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