Sunday, November 22, 2009


On the way home from the grocery store we were startled by a loud thud against the side of our car. At first it seemed like a minor car accident, or something fell off a truck, or someone threw something at our car. When I looked in the rear view mirror I saw what looked like several birds flapping around. When we got home and surveyed the carnage, we found confirmation that it was in fact a bird. I am pretty sure that the particular bird that hit our car did not survive.

I washed the bird remains from the car as best I could, but there were guts and feathers still stuck between the window and the car. When I lowered the window I realized to my horror that the groove that the window fits into was full of bird guts. The bird hit with such force that guts were pushed in and spread throughout the groove even though the window was closed. I had to use many q-tips to remove what was left of the bird. My wife almost threw up watching me do this.

iPod Touch on a Core i5 Computer

Holy Jeesum!

Yesterday I restored my iTunes library on my new computer, which went well. Today I thought it would be easy to sync my iPod, boy was I wrong.

When I attempted to sync my iPod, I was confronted with the following message:

iTunes could not connect to this iphone because an unknown error occurred. 0xE8000065

After a quick internet search I realized I was not alone. Apparently there are all kinds of compatibility issues with iTunes and computers with the new P55 chipset for the Core i5/i7. Thankfully Gigabyte was able to resolve the problem with a BIOS update (v. F3 for my GA-P55-UD3R). However, it was a bit of a task to finally get the BIOS updated.

I am used to updating the BIOS for Dell computers which is pretty painless, the updater is run right from within Windows. For Gigabyte there are 3 separate ways to update the BIOS! Q-Flash seemed like the recommended way, but the documentation all referred to a Floppy Drive being needed. I have not owned a computer with a Floppy drive in the last decade. I therefore tried the @Bios Application, a second method that they provide. @Bios is a Windows application to flash the BIOS, much in the way Dell works. However, this method doesn't work at all!! I tried several times. The application reports success, but each time after rebooting the BIOS version was still F2, not the newer F3. Finally I found on the internet that you can use a USB Thumb Drive with Q-Flash. Using the Thumb Drive I was finally able to flash the BIOS, and now iTunes is working with my iPod!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

New Computer: Part 2!

I have now had the new computer running for a few days, and everything is going well. With the latest technology, they now have something called XMP (Extreme Memory Profile), where if both the RAM and the Motherboard support the feature, the Motherboard can query the RAM for its potential performance and automatically adjust the frequencies. I turned this functionality on in the BIOS and it correctly updated the memory frequency to 1600 MHz, up from the default ~1300 MHz. However, after it made this adjustment, the CPU was underclocked to ~2.5 GHz. I then bumped up the multiplier a bit to x18 and it is now happily running at 2.88 GHz at about 32 degrees Celsius.

I am sure I could overclock it way more, some people are reporting upwards of 4GHz with air cooling, however I want this computer to last a long time, and I am happy with its current performance.

So far I have played Batman Arkham Asylum, and I have ripped a movie using Handbrake. Batman is friggin awesome! I am used to playing Wii games and much older computer games. I have all of the graphics settings set to the highest and it looks unbelievable compared to what I am used to. Additionally, the game story is very captivating! I also couldn't be happier with the performance of converting a DVD using Handbrake. With my old computer it would convert at around 10fps, which could take hours to convert. With this new computer it converted at over 80fps (almost an order of magnitude faster!). I can now convert a typical movie in around 30 minutes! Look at the screenshot, it shows all 4 Cores active!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

New Computer!

It has been many months since I last posted. We have had a busy summer, hopefully I will get around to posting pictures. We went to the Wild Animal Park and Legoland in San Diego, and we went to New York twice for a cousins' bridal shower and wedding! I also build two enormous Lego Star Wars sets. Unfortunately I have been stuck using my Dell Mini 9 hackintosh for the past month or so because my main computer had become pretty much unusable, which is partly responsible for my lack of posting.

However, I am happy to report that I have a new computer and my first order of business on it is this blog post! I bought my last computer at pretty much the worst time. It was the very first generation of dual core (Pentium D), which was pretty terrible. I wish I had waited for the Core line of processors.

For this new computer, I bought the parts and built it myself. Here are the specs:

Core i5-750 2.66 GHz (Quad Core)
Gigabyte GA-P55-UD3R Motherboard
4GB Corsair XMS3
Sapphire ATI Radeon 5770
Western Digital 640GB Caviar Black
Antec III Sonata Case
Cooler Master 212 Plus CPU Cooler
Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit

I spent quite a bit of time researching all of these parts. I am hoping that this computer will be a little more "future proof" than the last one. The graphics card is DirectX 11 compatible, and I went with a 64-bit Windows 7 so that I will be able to add more RAM once 4GB chips come down in price (for a total of 12GB!). It is also nice to have Windows 7, the last computer was XP Media Center Edition, I completely skipped Vista!

The build went pretty well, thankfully even though the CPU cooler is huge, it doesn't interfere with any of the other components. The only hiccup is that one of the drive covers for the case came scratched, I will e-mail Antec and hopefully they will send a replacement part. My windows experience score is mostly in the 7's, but the Hard Drive is only 5.9, which seems low because this is supposed to be a performance drive. Oh well, I will have to research it. Right now everything is at default speeds, but I may try to overclock a little bit.