I recently built an HTPC with a Gigabyte GA-MA785GM-US2H mobo and AMD Phenom X2 550 processor, with 64-bit Windows 7.
Everything runs like a top. I have the HTPC connected to my 46-inch Samsung UN46B6000 via HDMI (input 1), with only one problem: The video output displays onto the TV with black bars all around it, about an inch on each side. When viewing cable stations, watching a Blu-ray movie (via HDMI input 2), or playing Wii over the component connection, the display fills the full screen, no problem.
I’ve tried switching HDMI inputs around, using different HDMI cables, even switching from the Gigabyte motherboard’s onboard HDMI port to using a Radeon HD 4650 with HDMI out. The problem persists. No settings to adjust this are found within the ATI drivers/settings. Windows display settings are set to full 1920x1080. When connecting the HTPC to the TV via the analog connection, it does use the full screen, but the colors don’t seem as bold as with HDMI. I really would like to utilize the convenience of audio and video on one HDMI connection.
The TV itself does have “zoom” features that will stretch the picture out or make it bigger than 1080 pixels, but then it’s cutting off edges! We still use it for our Hulu viewing and day-to-day use, and everything works fine, but it’s a nuisance having those black bars around the screen.
I have been putting off building a home file server for more than two years now. I have been patiently waiting for the 2TB SATA hard drives to be surpassed by 2.5TB SATA drives, in the hopes that prices for 2TB hard drives go down to $80 per unit. Needless to say, my patience is running short. It has been more than two years now and hard drive manufacturers seem to have stalled at a 2TB capacity limit for all SATA hard drives.
What do you think is causing the stall in hard drive capacity growth? Is it this bad economy? Is it due to Windows XP’s inability to read from hard drives that exceed 2TB? I would really appreciate it if you can provide any insights on when you think this long-standing 2TB capacity limit will be broken with the introduction of 2.5TB hard drives.
Read the Doctor's advice for Ivan after the jump.
SUBMIT YOUR QUESTION Are flames shooting out of the back of your rig? First, grab a fire extinguisher and douse the flames. Once the pyrotechnic display has fizzled, email the doctor at email@example.com for advice on how to solve your technological woes.
I have an older Dell with an Intel Pentium 4 CPU. As you know, it’s not easy to track down specific hardware configurations for old Dell machines. Can you direct me to a source for info so I can find out if it’s even possible to get an updated BIOS and/or a better CPU for my PC?
Are 6Gb/s SATA ports on the newer motherboards backward compatible like USB 3.0 is with USB 2.0? I’m eventually going to purchase either an Asus Crosshair 4 Formula or a MSI 890FXA-GD70 motherboard.
I need to know if my two Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 1TB hard drives will work in these motherboards’ 6Gb/s SATA ports. I won’t be using any RAID configurations. The first drive is for Windows 7 64-bit and programs. The second is going to be for the Documents, Downloads, Music, Photos, and Videos folders.
Also, when are 6Gb/s SATA hard drives for desktop computers going to be available?
Read the Doctor's answer for Keith after the jump.
My current rig is an HP Pavilion M8530F with a Viola-GL8E motherboard. The CPU is a 2.2GHz Phenom X4 9550. The board is AM2+. I asked HP for a copy of the mainboard’s user manual hoping it could tell me what AM2+ chip I could drop in. However, I find myself even more confused. I think a 2.6GHz Phenom 9950 X4 will work even though it is a 125-watt chip and my current 9550 is a 95-watt chip.
I’d rather not spend the money only to be proven dead wrong and be stuck having to borrow my fiancée’s Vaio laptop. It may be nice, but it’s not my desktop. So far, the only change made to my rig in the two years I’ve had it was the addition of a graphics card cooler, of the intake variety. I’ve done research and the more questions I have answered, the more confused I get. If I could, I’d just buy/build a new rig, but that’s not an option. Some newer games, like BioShock 2, require AMD core speed in excess of 2.2 GHz, and mine barely meets the requirements. Even the budget upgrade article in the July 2010 issue is vague on whether I can upgrade. Doc, please steer me in the right direction, lest I crash on the rocks of inaction.
Read the Doctor's advice for Lucas after the jump.
Recently, a lot of websites have started to put little pop-up advertisements in their text. I read with my mouse, so as I follow along with my pointer I hit a word like “Film” and it pops up with a little box about local theaters. It interrupts what I am reading and is really annoying. Is there a way to turn this off? I know it’s an advertisement and a source of income but I get enough of that when I have to sit through a commercial to watch a movie trailer or get an ad page in between going to a new web page. I use Chrome as my main browser, and Firefox and IE when I have to.
Imagine yourself competing in the geekiest of all game shows, facing off against the geekiest of geeks—those characters of pop culture whose intellectual excellence you aspired to as a child and still seek to emulate in present day. Could you hang? Could you hold your own in such rarefied company, matching wits with the best of ‘em? Sadly, we can never know that, but Maximum PC’s annual Geek Quiz is a pretty good indicator of brain power in its own right. And you don’t even need to be first to the buzzer or frame your answers in question form. So what’s stopping you, smarty pants? It’s time to get your Quiz on!
Sharp-eyed Maximum PC readers who care about performance will no doubt notice that Gigabyte’s GV-N470UD-13I GTX 470 runs at stock reference speeds but achieves almost identical benchmark scores to last month’s kick-ass overclocked EVGA GTX 470. Blame it on new drivers versus old.
To be fair, the N470UD-13I isn’t exactly a stock card. While the card ships at reference clock speeds for core, shader, and memory, Gigabyte builds the board using its Ultra Durable manufacturing methods, which includes two-ounces-of-copper PCB technology, Japanese solid capacitors, high-end Samsung or Hynix GDDR5 memory, and low RDS(on) MOSFETs, which are designed to minimize switching resistance for faster capacitor charging and discharging. The PCB itself is blue, unlike many reference GTX 470 cards.