Sunday, April 27, 2014

[Rant] The clash between the Raven RV-03 case and the Corsair HX650 Gold PSU

In the previous post, I wrote about how I ended up buying the Corsair HX650 Gold PSU for my current rig. Actually, this PSU will eventually end up in a SFF build. I’m in the verge of slowly moving from my current rig to a SFF rig. Since I have no idea when I will be able make the complete translation, it ended up going in my current rig for now.

The PSU was ordered from Sofmap where the PSU was available at the cheapest price. The PSU arrived within two days and I quickly installed it.

It felt a bit harder to push it into the PSU compartment of the Silverstone Raven RV-03 case. But finally it went in. First hurdle passed. I hope I won’t have a hard time pulling it out.

Picture of the modular cables connected to the back of the PSU

Then there was the 2nd hurdle - a much more problematic than before. The orientation of the power socket at the back of the PSU seemed problematic. It was 90 degrees rotated compared to the TX850 and at first I thought the internal power cable of the case wasn’t long enough. (The following pic shows how they end up when installed inside the Raven RV-03 case. The power cable comes from the top right hand corner.)

HX650 vs TX850

But luckily it fit OK. I had to pull it with all my might though. After I plugged it in, it went back to a relaxed position. The installation was the hard part. (Later I found that there was a easier way to do it.)

Saturday, April 26, 2014

[Gadget] Ended up getting the Corsair HX650 PSU


In the previous post I talked about how I managed to get rid of my 3 year old PSU all thanks to Rakuten Auctions. Now it was time to get a new PSU.

Originally I was going to get the Silverstone Strider Plus ST60F-PS because it was only 140mm in length and was fully modular, both of which would help when building a SFF PC. Further, even though the efficiency was rated as 80Plus Silver, it was hitting Gold spec. And the price was reasonable – just under JPY10,000. But its modular cables were bulky and not flat in shape as the ones that come with some of the higher quality PSUs. According to reviews, it was a great PSU for the price and the features, but some people were saying that it stopped working after a couple of weeks and the quality of the PSU design could be better. After what happened with my Plantronics Backbeat Go 2 wireless headset, I’ve grown a bit more sensitive about these warranty issues.

Thus, I wanted to see if there were better options. My criteria was like below.

  1. 80Plus Silver or better efficiency rating
  2. 600W to 700W
  3. 160mm max length
  4. Modular or semi-modular, but the position where the cables come out matters

[Rant] Got rid of the Corsair TX850 power supply through Rakuten Auctions


Look at all those cables! That's what you get with a non-modular big PSU. That won't fit in a small form factor chassis. So I decided to replace the PSU with a modular, smaller and a more efficient PSU. How did It try to get rid of it? My newly found friend - Rakuten Auctions.

After being on exhibition for many days on the auction page, my Corsair TX850 (the original edition) power supply unit found a bidder. My original price for the PSU was JPY7,000. But since nobody bothered to bid for it for a period of a week, I dropped the starting price to JPY6,000. Even then, nobody bid for it for few days. I had lost hope.

But one day, someone did. For a moment I thought it was time to do a research on PSUs available in the Japanese market. That meant, heading over to my trusty site – Originally, I was smack bang set on the Silverstone ST60-PS PSU because of its smaller size but the price of it went up a bit making it not so appealing anymore.

I indeed did a research on power supplies, but that is for a separate article. This post is about the auction.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Plantronics Backbeat GO2 headset died...?

Few of days ago on the way back home from work, I called my wife asking if I had to bring home any grocery from the supermarket. While I was in the middle of the call, suddenly the call dropped. I thought the call got disconnected (happens very often with iPhones), but it seemed that the Bluetooth headset had been unpaired from the phone. 

I kept holding the power button of the headset, but it didn’t turn on. I thought it was weird because usually the girl's voice in the headset would have told me that the battery was about die. But I couldn't remember she telling me that the battery level even went down to medium. About 2hrs of listening time remains even after reaching medium battery levels. It seemed as if the battery just had a fatal heart attack.

As soon as I went back home, I plugged the headset to the charger. To my surprise, the charging indicator didn't light up. The LED indicator lights up in orange when the headset is being charged and changes to blue once it becomes fully charged. But it showed nothing! Seemed like the headset was dead!!

Man, that was a bad start to the Sinhala New Year. I couldn't live without the headset so I quickly emailed Dospara (the shop that I bought the headset from) about this and demanded a replacement.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

[Gadget] Bought a new Wi-Fi router–NEC Aterm PA-WG600HP


Why? Just because I wanted to get a faster router. The one I had wasn’t a dual band router. YouTube streaming performance is usually choppy on wireless devices. It must be because of the interference caused by all the microwave devices that make use of the public 2.4GHz spectrum.

I originally wanted to get a 802.11ac router. I currently don't have any devices that support the new standard. Still, I figured that the stuff that I would buy in the future will all be supporting 802.11ac - iPhones, tablets, laptops and even the PC. Remember I'm so turned up by these mini-ITX rigs and most of the mini-ITX boards come with built in Wi-Fi.

In fact, I almost bought an 802.11ac router but I held back the second I saw it didn't support Gigabit Ethernet. Sadly, most of the routers that were in the JPY5,000 range didn't support Gigabit Ethernet. The one I had supported Gigabit Ethernet and I'm mainly using the desktop PC which is connected through wire, so I didn't want to downgrade anything.

The only one that was worth buying was the Aterm. Sofmap was selling it at the cheapest price. Plus, I had more than 6,000 points at Sofmap. So I could get it almost without paying any cash out of my pocket.

The new router is smaller than the old one. The admin interface was almost look alike so there was no learning curve required. I just set everything as the way they were set previously and it worked fine. I also updated the firmware as there was a newer one available. That went through fine without any drama. One thing I forgot to mention was that it also has support for Windows 8/8.1. I don't know why a router has to have support from the OS because you don't need a driver for it to work as the router is connected via the network cable. Maybe that's for the media server features. I don't use that feature as I cannot plug in a big hard drive to the router via USB. It only supports FAT32. Why cannot they just support NTFS? This feature is almost a useless feature to me.

Just like the old one, the router can setup two SSIDs. But in this case, you could set two SSIDs for each bandwidth. I setup all four of them. I originally thought that only the IPhone 5S and the ASUS T100 Tablet will support the 5GHz band. But the 2011 MacBook Air did too. Only my wife's iPhone 4S is connected to the 2.4GHz band. Since there are more than enough SSIDs, I decided to pair the devices that supported the 5GHz band only with the 5GHz SSIDs. That way, they won't connect to the 2.4GHz ones if they were discovered first. There is no way to prioritize the SSIDs in iOS or Windows 8.1.

So far everything has been going well without any issues. It's not a really exciting purchase though. I haven't really compared the performance between the 2.4GHz band and the 5GHz band. Maybe I should do that when I find some spare time. Perhaps YouTube streams better on the tablet when it is connected to a 5GHz SSID. It should but I don't know if I will really will be able to see the improvements when browsing. Sure, the internal network should be fast.

Wait a minute now. What happened to the old router? Rakuten Auctions, baby!

Wi-Fi router

Friday, April 11, 2014

[Rant] My first auction experience

I still want to build a mini-ITX rig. But for that to happen, I have to sell some of the stuff that I have in my PC which cannot go into a mini-ITX system. There are mainly two such parts: the PSU and the case. I can sell the motherboard and the RAM to a shop. Shops don't take PSUs and cases unfortunately. So I have to find someone to hook them up with.

I first posted stuff on Craigslist. But that took me nowhere.

Then I signed up with eBay to sell stuff. That also was too much hassle because I'll have to ship the items overseas.

Then I turned to local auctioning services. The biggest one in Japan is Yahoo Auctions. I'm sure it is possible to sell these items without much trouble over there but there is one catch. To sell stuff, you have to subscribe to Yahoo Premium service with ¥380  monthly subscription fee. On top of that, there is still a service charge when you make a sale. That's too much.

I didn't give up. I searched for auction services that didn’t require a monthly subscription service. And I found one. Guess who? Rakuten! Their service is called Rakuten Auctions. No surprise there. They don't ask for a subscription fee. Only charge is when you make a sale. That's about 6% of the selling price. Sometimes they give back half of it even. Campaigns, campaigns everywhere. Japan must be the country of campaigns.

So I registered in the auction. Since I have never had any experience in auctioning, I wanted to start with the stuff that I really didn't want. I had three such items.

  • Zalman CNPS9900MAX-B CPU cooler because I upgraded to the Silver Arrow SB-E Extreme last year.
  • Leap Motion Controller because it was a big let down
  • Scythe Kaze Master Ace fan controller because I switched to the fan controller on the motherboard.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

[Rant] Got almost full marks for TOEIC exam


TOEIC (Test of English for International Communication), as the name suggests, is an exam to test the level of proficiency in English Language. Since been to Japan, I've sat for it there times. One might wonder why on earth I would want to sit for an English exam in Japan where English is hardly spoken. It's all about money. When we pass the exam, we get an allowance at work. Just ¥4,200 per month, but hey, it all adds up. (I've been in Japan for 4 years which means I've received almost ¥400,000 just by passing this exam.)

So why three times? The score is only valid for 2 years. So I have to redo it every 2 years.

The exam consists of only the listening and reading (grammar and comprehension) parts. No speaking - which I suck at and no writing - which I think I am good at. That's why IELTS is harder I guess. No, I haven't sat for that. It's just what I've heard. So, only two parts and they give 495 for each; 990 total. Weird scoring system, right? Who cares as long as I get my allowance. By the way, we have to get above 840 to get the full allowance.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

[Gadget] My G602 mouse is here


The G602 mouse that I only paid $29 for (OMG!) arrived day before yesterday but I hardly got any chance to play some games with it that day. But last night I did some gaming – like 15 minutes.So let me tell you my initial feelings about it.

There was one major concern. This is a wireless mouse. So input lag will be higher compared to a wired mouse. But I didn’t feel that was the case at all. The mouse was quite responsive. I didn’t feel any lag. Maybe pro gamers can feel the difference. I’m more than a casual gamer and I didn’t feel it was slow. However, I used the “Performance” mode which improves responsiveness sacrificing battery life. (Yet, the mouse supports 250hrs of non-stop gaming battery life).

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