Archive for the ‘hardware’ Category

Now a Casual Mac User
September 18, 2008

I previously said I was unswitchable. I took a side step.

I got a great deal from a friend selling his Mac Mini G4. Still in pristine condition.

I’m using it to get acquainted with Mac OS, and to see if Objective-C/Cocoa programming is for me. 

Even if I’m into mobile dev, I’m not going into Mac for iPhone. Apple has deprecated the G4 and it cannot run the iPhone dev kit. And,  I won’t spend a crazy amount of money on an iPhone.


Hacking Tosh
March 23, 2008

I gave in. I am now trying to install the OSX86. Hackintosh. SteveOS.

I’m now trying “Kalway” 10.5.1. My best bet is the Acer 4710Z Gemstone, which is an Intel T2080, a Yonah like the original MacBook, with an Intel 943GML chipset. I was able to reach the installer application. The hard drive needs to be backed up before continuing, since OSX86 wants a dedicated drive to install on. I have a spare mobile hard drive which I could swap in, but, I don’t want to break the Acer warranty sticker since it’s still good til July 2008.

On the NForce 7050 Pro + AMD X2 3600, it doesn’t go far. But, on my newest box, based on Asus P5K-SE (P35 chipset) + Intel E8200, it also reaches the installer. But I read that the Attansic LAN card is not supported, and I don’t want to stick in a PCI card. I’d rather get it to work with virtualization, which did not work out.

I want to learn about the innards of OSX86. The tutorials, wiki pages and forums of installing Steve’s OS sure show the grungy depths of it. Stuff that the shiny Mac user doesn’t see – well, shouldn’t see. I also want to try some software development on the Mac platform.

I’m also being cheap and won’t buy a real Apple box (yet). I don’t need another computer. I won’t be able to take a MacBook on my trips, anyway

But even with the new Penryn Macs, MacBook Air, and other stuff now available, I’m over my old Mac envy.

Linux setup status
March 11, 2008

Linux setup pending problems:

  1. No CPU/system temperature from ACPI. (Ironically, hard drive temp is available but not in Windows.)
  2. Ubuntu 7.10 installer is not compatible with KVM (Kernel Virtualization). It segfaults due to the fancy splash screen. Intel VT does not support x86 real mode instructions, but AMD virtualization does.
  3. KVM in QEMU emulator mode crashes halfway in installing Ubuntu 7.10. And, it’s super slow and eats up 100% of one core.

Trying the following:

  1. Tried OpenSolaris Indiana preview – also crashes and needs QEMU. X does not start.
  2. Copying a preinstalled Ubuntu vmdk.
  3. Downloading Ubuntu Hardy Heron 8.04, which is said to have a workaround for the splash problem.

Linux hard drive temp, hibernation
March 10, 2008

Installed smartmontools on Linux. Now I have hard drive temp. 52 degrees! I guess I need a case or some mods to bring that down.

“Hibernate” needs some extra work. The machine doesn’t go back up. It’s probably the NVidia card+driver. Not that important anyway – but it would be critical on a laptop!

Mac Envy
December 12, 2006

I’m having Mac envy.

More people are using Macs locally. Learning Mac OS X has been one of my goals for a time. No opportunity yet. Mac OS is supposed to be good for Java and Rails development.

Unfortunately, the stuff I work with need Windows. (I know you can run Windows on the Mac hardware but that’s not the real thing.)

So I couldn’t use a Macbook. A Mac Mini for the house perhaps? No, the cheap models are G4 and I don’t know how long Apple will support that CPU for future Mac OS versions. I heard it’s slow. Besides, I already have a desktop PC that’s mostly idle. I am putting off my PC upgrade plans for now.

Oh well, I’ll just wait for an upgrade of my office Dell Latitude to a Core 2 Duo version.

PC Upgrade Plans
November 27, 2006

I’m planning to upgrade my old PC which is now the “family computer.” This is already four years old, but still working well. However, the Duron 1.1 Ghz can’t keep up with multitasking office use and Azureus and other P2P programs running in the background.

The Conroe platform is too expensive and needs a discrete video card for decent 3D (Intel onboard graphics doesn’t count!) And since the original is AMD, the replacement should also be AMD… perhaps.

Athlon64 Socket 940 X2 3600+ 2 Ghz – 7xxx. X-Bit labs review says it’s worth it and energy efficient too – a winner for me.

PQI DDR2-667 1GB – 5xxx. I’ve been using PQI all the time, no problems so no need to go for the real “branded” ones.

One of the GeForce 6100/6150 + nForce 4xx Micro-ATX boards with onboard GeForce 6-class video – from 4xxx. to 5xxx. This is sufficient since we only do light gaming. With this, I should be able to play Company of Heroes on the LAN! These are analog video output only, which is fine since I won’t replace the analog monitor. (Sylvania L152 15″ LCD)

Micro ATX casing, PSU, cooling. 4,000 max.

Oops almost forgot: 250 GB Seagate SATA  4,xxx. The 40GB on the old machine is already full. At 4 years old it’s still going strong,  whew!
What do you think?

In the Company of Heroes
November 22, 2006

Even with my lowly (by gamer standards) GeForce FX5500, I am able to play Company of Heroes! I have to lower the settings to the minimum, and the first campaign on the beach is terrible. My Celeron D 320 with 2×512 DDR400 is adequate.
I’m back to RTS gaming, my favorite genre. That is not saying much since I am not a serious gamer.
If I really get hooked, I am tempted to upgrade to a GeForce 7300GT. But why spend money on obsolete AGP? On the other hand, it would be too expensive to upgrade to a PCI-E platform – it could be as high as going Core Duo 2 + discrete graphics, or as low as a GeForce 6100/nForce 4x1x on AMD64 Socket AM2. However, the latter option only provides for an analog VGA output. My monitor (AOC LM725) sucks on analog.
I’ll wait until I reach a mission that can’t be played with my hardware. I’m not looking at multiplayer anyway – the other PC here has no chance of running CoH.

PC Fan Tweaks
November 6, 2006

While fixing up my hard drive partitions, I always rebooted in the middle of running the PC. So, I noticed that the CPU temperature went up to an alarming 55 degrees in the daytime. At night, it’s around 45 degrees.

I’m on a two-year old Celeron D 320 (2.4 Ghz, 256 MB L2). A Preshott Prescott. Still no serious need to upgrade. Of course sometimes I feel like overhauling the whole motherboard to a Core 2, but there’s no real need. Games? No time to play and I’ll be going out of the country more often.
Since I don’t use the PC that much, it’s OK to switch to a noisier fan. I installed the Panaflo FBA09A12H to replace the FBA09A12HL low speed/low noise fan. This sits on top of a Thermalright XP-90 heatsink.
Until this, I haven’t touched my desktop PC setup in months.

According lm-sensors under Ubuntu, the CPU sensor measures around 40 degrees. Good.

The noise level went up to “normal PC” level. Bad. At least I’ll extend the life of my processor – I think.