Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Technical Difficulties

Who would have thought that I would run into difficulties with the USPS? Basically, I had my video card packaged up nicely and taped up. So the card's off towards EVGA's RMA reception office on December 7th. It is now December 13th, with an updated notice on the Delivery Confirmation number indicating that the package has been misrouted. So now I wonder... "How the fuck can you misroute a Priority Mail item?!" I do not know what factored into this mishap. And I am not all that happy that it happened at all. Maybe it's the season. Who knows? All I can do is just sit idly and wait... which is what I have been doing for the past several days since I want my video card back.

Some Google searches revealed that what I have been experienced may be attributed to faulty components on the video card and that the problem may not be isolated to a single company and a single series of cards. I do not know if the card I get in return will fix this definitely. But I do hope that with a few component changes in the card that the problem will go away. There are things that I cannot tolerate and that's having to deal with faulty hardware simply because I stress the card beyond its normal limit. And it's not even overclocking that is killing the card. It's simple and everyday usage as well as keeping the card in heavy load. There's nothing special about it. And I believe that this kind of scenerio can be recreated in QC labs.

I cannot speculate more than this. Without spare hardwares, I cannot run lengthy load tests to see if this is something that can happen to anyone who stress their cards as much as I could.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Of All Things...

Some time ago, I ran into a small problem that grew into a major one. It just happens to be a EVGA GeForce 7900GT card that I got a while back. It was part of their Step-Up program that I partook in to get a model bump and the latest hardware.

After a while, weird things started to happen. At first I thought it was just heat so I did a bit of maintenance on the system and evicted dust bunnies. I fired the system back up and started testing. Eventually the problem didn't go away. Instead, as I play some games and use the card more, the problem got a little worse each time. I then decided to file for a RMA, which I haven't done in a long time. Next to my 21" Viewsonic CRT monitor, I haven't filed for a RMA. So it comes as a surprise that the RMA I'll be filing for is a piece of delicate hardware that I never have trouble handling.

The replacement card came back and I started running some tests on it. One in particular caught my attention, which was Deep Freeze, a scenery test within 3DMarks06 application. The test went by without any trouble. So I thought nothing of it. Days went on by and I continued to use it. That was until recently, perhaps a week or so ago. I saw it started to happen again, that same old problem I had before. A couple of days went on by and I kept a close eye on how the hardware is handling temperatures. Strangely enough, it did not seem like it was heat-related. And I refused to change any speeds within the hardware to determine if it's that. I have paid a good sum to receive this card. And I expected it to work without flaws or malfunction for the life it is being used.

At this time, the card is on its way over to EVGA's RMA reception address, where it'll be put to the test to determine if it's deemed worthy for a replacement. Hopefully the details I have documented in this thread will convince them to send me a replacement card worthy of being put to the test. I still have yet to find the cause. But I did find all of this to be very disturbing. Browsing through other people's thread, I found that I am not alone and some people are worse off than I am, which got me to wondering just what is the common denominator here.

At this time, I am posting this through the laptop, which does not have the greatest in 3D capability nor does it have the memory to do a lot of things. However, it does what it is able to do and it's performing just fine as a temporary system. Unfortunately, it means roughly two weeks of no gaming. For the time being, I guess I can tinker around with the laptop and other operating systems. Now if these other people can send me my free Vista Business license...

Friday, August 25, 2006

Summer's come and gone

Summer's almost over. Amazing how time goes by. The kids are gearing up for school once more (or is already in session in some areas). The college-bound are about to start a new semester. And Labor Day is just days away. There are some things that're being constantly portrayed around the ol' boob-tube -- tragedies, disasters, politicians, and elections. I've been slowly getting back to viewing the national news, NBC Nightly in particular, to see what's been going on in my "absence." It seems nothing much has changed. Still the same old news about the days in Iraq, the questions about Iran, and North Korea's possible ambition or threat. There's only so much one can take as far as repeated news as well as bringing people up to date as to what is going on in the world out there.

People are dying. People are hurting. People are angry. People are confused. And people are retarded. Yes, you heard me right on that last one.

People wonder why there are turmoils centering about the middle east. I blame it all on the fact that religion plays a major role in people's ability to be so stupid in that they have to be so radical. I do not have a particular belief. But it is baffling to me that in a world where there are numerous cultures as well as religious beliefs, people would kill another in the name of their own beliefs. Even worse are those who complain about property. Land, the place people call home. Some are quite patriotic, to the point where they will simply fight to make sure that their home stays... well... their home. And what for? So that they can call themselves citizens of a particular country? Things change. Live with it.

On the political front, things are heating up so bad that it's mind-numbing. Republicans, Democratics, Liberals, all bitching and whining over who should be in office on this election. And those TV ads, those stupid ass TV ads... all they ever do is try to say that this so-and-so guy is not the one you should be voting for. It's so out of hand nowadays that it's rare that I hear of a local politican running for office that he doesn't say anything against another. He states what he want to do and what his purpose is. Sounds like the kind of guy that I'd like to vote for. But as usual, things are not always as they seem. I trust political ads as much as do crack -- none.

Tragedies -- these old wounds don't seem to go away that easily. This is especially true if you watch the news once a while. That ol' date is getting closer. And sometimes we look back to see what has changed. I think a lot has changed since then. Some for the better. Others for worse. I think the latter, personally. To elaborate, the recent events caused a particular airport to ban the carry-on of liquids. Liquids! Muther-fucking LIQUIDS. For fuck sakes, they even scrutinize against baby formula! What? Did someone snapped and gone Sam L to say "I've had it with these muther-fucking liquid on this muther-fucking plane!"? Muther... fucking... liquids.

Katrina -- still the same... only this time, the insurance companies are exploiting the very loopholes that they have created in order to ensure that they pay out as little as possible to the victims of this natural disaster. Wind damage vs water damage vs both. The disaster area is still a disaster area to me. It's just dry... I think.

Jack Thompson -- even though this is one of the last place he'll ever notice, I still say he is one fucking retarded asshole. He wants to get the game Bully early so that he can evaluate whether or not the content of the game will be potentially harmful to "kids." Dude, it's a fucking game. And the ratings will define who the game's for. If he wants to get a copy of the damn game, he ought to get in line on release day and get a copy himself. He, along with some of the political morons, need to get with the program and start thinking for once... or perhaps actually learn what the hell it's all about.

But enough ranting out of me.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Uh, woops?

Man, I almost forgot about this little bugger here... Shows how short-lived some things can be.

Where to start? Well, my hardware "upgrade" spree has kinda stalled... somewhat. The GeForce 7800GT I have will be exchanged or swapped for a newer card: a GeForce 7900GT. One of the cool and interesting things about EVGA is their Step-Up program, a program that enables buyers of EVGA products to "return" the card that they have recently purchased and used the money spent from there as credit towards a different or newer card. Granted that this may not be useful for some people. But for me, it's a good advantage as I purchased the 7800GT for about $300 shipped. And fortune smiles upon me as the 7900GT that came out shortly afterwards ended up being the same price. For the price of shipping the bugger back and for them to ship it to me, it's not too bad of a price to pay for the latest. The only drawback is that overall I end up paying more for the card than what I would have paid if I had gotten it new elsewhere. But where else am I to go when it comes to getting the latest hardware? I was faced with a difficult decision: Live with an older hardware or take advantage of the investment and get the latest generation of hardware for an additional fee.

As I wait for the queue to shorten up, I play and take advantage of the things I can do with this bad boy. Amazingly this thing can run many games without breaking a sweat. And I am anxious to see how well the new card will perform when it finally arrives. However, I'll be stuck without a video card for the duration of its transit to and from EVGA themselves. In a way, I'll be happy for it... as it gives me the opportunity for a break.

On the hobby side of things, I'll be getting some new arrivals. However, my collection has continued to grow to the point where it's getting a tad out of control. For starters, Takara, the company that manufactures the Transformers toys in Japan, has created some interesting new series of figures that is not only amazing but also small in size. The Hybrid Style series now spans two figures: Galaxy Convoy and G1 Convoy. I now have both at hand and they both remain in their boxed condition, unopened, to become a valuable collector's item. In transit at this very moment is another collector's item, Toy Dream Project's Galaxy Force Soundblaster, a black recolor/repaint of the original Galaxy Force Soundwave. One of the most attractive(?) aspect about GF Soundwave is that his design stems from the original Soundwave. The moment I first saw his design and the finished painted product, I knew it's going to be a major hit with the Japanese market and the collector's market. The name of Soundwave is just as recognizable as Starscream and Megatron for those who have remembered the old days of Transformers. Yet his design is updated for the newer generation and is thus given a very favorable and honorable tribute to the original, living up to its namesake.

For those who do not know all of the above, don't worry. Just know that all of the aforementioned figures are directly imported from Japan at prices that reflect the exchange rate at the time of purchase. It's expensive at times but personally at least I know I'm getting better products than what I probably would have gotten had Hasbro released it in America.

Last, but not least, I now run a different driver for my Xbox 360 controller. Precision is one thing. Not having a dead-zone is another. The latter is essential for many games, including flying.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Another Run - Lap 2

After about 3 hours of hardware disassembling, cleaning, and reassembling, the ol' frankenstein is back with some beefy hardware... and I do mean beefy. A new power supply to cope with future upgrades along with a new motherboard and video card makes this just as insanely great as the RADEON 9800 Pro before it. The ol' ATi card has served me well and it's a wonder that it survived this long. Then again, I do tend to take care of my hardware well enough given that I wouldn't have the cash handy to grab a new one. The card stood the test of times and gaming throughout the years, handling not only some of the newer games without fail but also the old ones with ease. Quake 3 Arena, Return to Castle Wolfenstein, Unreal Tournament 2003 and 2004, Tribes: Vengeance, Guild Wars, World of Warcraft, Flat Out, and even Battlefield 2, these titles have all ran without incident. And it's amazing that even after all these releases the card can still hold its own against the fierce brutality of today's 3D games.

Now owning a powerful GeForce 7800GT, Battlefield 2 runs the same as before, except with headroom to render higher detailed textures and visuals. Yet I found the difference to be quite minimal at best... so instead, I rendered the game at 4xAA and gave it a test run. Needless to say, the game runs amazingly well with this on. Describing it would be meaningless, as the difference is night and day. While there's little need to run such things with a first person shooter, the visual difference is definitely present. The only obstacle that prevents the game from being fully enjoyable is the heavy memory requirement just to get into the game. Many people have testified the game loading quicker and performed slightly better with 2GB of memory. Sadly, it may be the only truth right now. In some cases, 2GB of RAM may be more than just a necessity but a more probable requirement.

As I sit now typing this up, two instances of StressPrime 2004 crunches away to fully test the CPU at its "new" speed. After minor adjustments to the CPU voltage, the test is looking very promising. The first and initial run resulted in no errors after 3 hours 40 minutes. If all goes well, then the test will forever run without incident for a good 9-13 hours. After that, another series of software reinstalls as well as a system utility to ensure the tempuratures of the CPU remains at nominal level.

I'll have to do some updating to a few forum posts I've made in the past... but that'll come soon enough when the softwares are done installing.