Power users who want to take advantage of RAID are typically stuck between a rock and a hard place: their motherboard’s integrated RAID (the quality of which can vary wildly between chipsets) and expensive discrete controllers. HighPoint’s RocketRAID 2640x4 attempts to bridge the gap by offering better-than-onboard performance at a price much lower than fancier discrete cards.
As expected, the RocketRAID 2640x4, which has four SAS/SATA 3Gb/s ports but no onboard processor or memory, performed better than our test bed motherboard’s onboard RAID controller but couldn’t match the performance of the $450 Adaptec 5405, which boasts an onboard 1.2GHz processor and 256MB DDR2 cache.
Setting up the RocketRAID 2640x4 is simple: Drop in the card, hook up the drives, power up your computer, and hit Ctrl+H during boot. HighPoint’s BIOS makes creating and maintaining RAID a snap, and its Windows drivers are easy to install from the included disc.
I bought an E6850 because I’d read how easy it is to overclock. I followed the instructions in your article about overclocking Intel CPUs and I can’t get an extra 10MHz out of mine before it locks up! I’m running the CPU on an Asus Striker Extreme, with 2GB of Corsair Dominator RAM, a Raptor 150GB HD, an 8800 GTX, an Enermax 850W PSU, Win XP SP3, etc. The CPU and GPU are water cooled and run at about 40 C under load.
Each time I raise the front-side bus speed in the BIOS it boots fine and runs for about two minutes before locking up. I tried unlinking the RAM; still no luck. Everything is running at stock settings, but I want to be able to OC the proc.
The surge suppressor is one of the unsung heroes of the computer world. Often valued more for its ability to multiply one electrical receptacle into many than for its role as protector of all things electronic, the surge suppressor is your first line of defense against transient power surges that can damage or destroy sensitive components inside your PC. Let’s take a look at how they work.
Before we tackle the concept of surge suppression, we should first understand what exactly a surge is. In the United States, electrical energy flows through standard household wiring at an average rate of 120 volts. Because the system used is alternating current, the voltage level of every AC cycle reaches a peak value that’s roughly 1.414 times higher than 120 volts. A surge occurs when the voltage level suddenly rises significantly higher than that. A lightning strike on a power line, for instance, will cause a transient spike in the electrical power entering your house. Problems with your utility company’s equipment (anything from a downed power line to a defective transformer) can also cause power surges.
Appliances and other electrically powered devices inside your home, however, are much more common causes of power surges. Any device that requires a large amount of energy to switch on or off—examples include refrigerators, vacuum cleaners, and air conditioners—can disrupt the flow of voltage through your home’s electrical wiring. Surges such as these don’t pack as much destructive power as a lightning strike, but they can cause as much damage, instantly or over time.
Some gamers treat the mere idea of microtransactions with contempt.
“Pshaw!” they snort, “like I’d pay real money to buy horse armor in Oblivion….” And then they usually trail off into a semi-coherent rant about their rights as gamers and greedy corporate pigs.
But microtransactions—which allow you to spend a few dollars on things to enhance a game, such as extra weapons or spells—are here to stay, and gamers just need to come to terms with that.
My little epiphany came when I took my son to the local Games Workshop store for some Warhammer love. There, spread out before me on shelves crammed with figures, books, paints, and all the rest of the paraphernalia of the hobby, was the world of microtransactions writ large.
On the surface, OWC’s Mercury Pro Blu-ray external drive could seem appealing. The cabinet is attractive and sturdy; it offers FireWire 400, FireWire 800, USB 2.0, and eSATA interfaces—including all the requisite cables; and it holds a Pioneer BDR-203 drive, which is rated at 8x for BD-R writes—the highest rating available—and 16x for DVD+/-R. Yet, after using the device, we’re unimpressed.
We first tried to test the drive with the eSATA interface but it failed to work with any of our test beds, which use the nForce 680i SLI chipset. It was recognized by motherboards using Intel’s P45 and X58 chipsets as well as those boards’ auxiliary Marvell controllers. However, we benchmarked using USB 2.0 on our standard test bed for continuity.
Trademark has been a way for creators to indicate the source of their work for hundreds of years. It makes sense—one of the reasons I don’t buy that email-pitched V1agra is that I’m not sure I can trust Pf1zer. Trademark is in the same class of property rights that give us copyrights and patents.
No one else can call their drug Viagra, it’s Pfizer’s property. Recently, trademark law has been used to get domain squatters off common brand names, which I like when it really pertains to domain squatters and feel weird about when it targets the unfortunately named Viagra family’s website.
Colleen Bell is an Austin roller derby girl who skates under the name Crackerjack, a word that means expert, but is more fun to say. She’s trying to trademark her handle for inclusion in an upcoming video game featuring roller derby girls, presumably beating the crap out of each other. Fun!
In a rare example of limb-crawling, Intel’s technical marketing manager recently made 10 predictions for the next 10 years. But he didn’t crawl very far. Most predictions were boring references to long-standing development projects at Intel and elsewhere.
“Realistic computer-generated images.” (Hey, Intel, we’ve already got that.) “New classes of portable devices with 10 times more battery life.” (Who else saw that coming?) “Personal Internet devices will be truly personal.” (Like I’ve been saying for years.) “Low-cost silicon photonics for faster, more reliable data transmission.” (Intel and many others have been working on that technology forever.)
Nevertheless, two predictions are interesting. The boldest was “Malware will become a thing of the past.” The idea is that microprocessors will incorporate security features to stop malicious software from attacking the operating system and application software. It’ll be like a Roach Motel for malware—bugs crawl in, but they won’t crawl out.
There’s really nothing worse than an otherwise wonderful product with one fatal flaw that brings its whole score down. The Razer Mamba is a wonderful wireless gaming mouse, with an absolutely devastating power problem.
For the Mamba, Razer tweaked the kick-ass shape of the now-classic DeathAdder design—perfect for palm-grip mousers—to sneak in a pair of sensitivity adjustment buttons. The changes paid off: The Mamba is eminently comfortable for long-term gaming sessions, and the sensitivity buttons fix our only complaint with the DeathAdder, which offered imprecise on-the-fly sensitivity adjustments using the mouse wheel.
Hiper may not be well-known in the States, but in Europe it’s big in the power supply and chassis markets. Now, Hiper is branching into the American market and has brought at least one solid contender to the great case race.
The Hiper Osiris is a midtower ATX case constructed of 6063-T5 aluminum alloy, which makes it very sturdy. The top, clip-on front panel, and side panels are all finished in black brushed aluminum, which looks quite fine. Frankly, we’d expect a little less heft from an all-aluminum chassis, but the beast clocks in at more than 18 pounds. On the other hand, it’s certainly not going to break on you.
Inside, the Osiris is finished in black, except for the unpainted motherboard backplate, which takes up only the space required for an ATX motherboard, leaving plenty of room for cable routing and tie-downs (with the included Velcro straps). The Osiris includes three 12cm fans—front, top, and rear. PCI slot covers are of the flimsy snap-off variety, but Hiper includes several ventilated replacement covers—a nice touch.
After 15 years of building and upgrading PCs, I’ve made some awesome upgrades to my own PCs. These hardware updates either opened the doors to exciting new functionality, or served as force multipliers, greatly increasing my rig’s performance in one fell swoop. Best of all, a killer upgrade can even revitalize a tired old rig.
Now, there’s a subtle difference between upgrades and a complete system overhaul, but for my purposes, an upgrade is anything you can do without reinstalling Windows. Here’s my definitive list of My All-Time Top Five Greatest PC Upgrades: