Past EED rants


Live leaderboard

Poker leaderboard

Voice of EED

Monday 3 November 2003

Guinness 2 - The Dark Beast Returneth [am]

It's one of those sad facts of life that your PC rig gets to be outdated. Like your favourite family puppy, it's not long before your rig has enjoyed a happy spriteful (arf) youth, has come out the other side of it and is now reduced to weeing incontinently against your desk leg and wagging it's usb-tail feebly unable to fetch the latest dx9 sticks thrown its way by Halo et al. In fact, it brings a nostalgic tear to my eye to recall Mugs building Guinness 1 back in the days where internet games were going to be a professional sport and every teenager in the country had two million squid of VC in their back pocket. Those were my earlier days in 't Death and I remember blogging (afore it were known as blogging) on the demise of Tequila and the rise of the new slavvering dark beast, a Lan Li Aluminium case with a throbbing 1.2athlon, 512megs of sdram and a then brand new (and awe inspiring) original Geforce 3. I think it cost me slightly less than a modest family home at the time.
Well this weekend, [EED]Lurks came round my gaff, having disrupted the entire communications systems of London and taken about two and a half hours to get (t)here and proceeded to twiddle his screwdriver unto my rig and replaced all the serious bits with updated bits. Showing that he not only talks a good game but actually has some reasonably serious hardware skillz too, he sat at the kitchen table ripping wires out hand over fist while I drank beer and said things like 'Quantum assmaster, yes' and 'Uberfloogle capacitor conversionator, yes I see'. Sometime later and with about, literally, two tweaks - The Dark Beast Returneth.
The 2.8 p4 is stiing at 3.2 with a contemptible ease and is happy as Larry under load at about 45c. The asus mobo is fast and flippin useful ('What have you just plugged in my green socket'? It said - 'headphones' I selected by way of reply 'They need to go in the red socket matey' came back the reply - how useful is that eh?). The Radeon 9800pro has got what it needs to run it and a gig of Corsair 3200 DDR400 Ram generally fetches the drinks and hands nuts round at a hell of a clip. Fast? You want 8x anti-aliasing 16x antitropicflooglemongten filtering and 1280x1024 on Max Payne 2 and it still runs like Slim through warm butter? You got it. It benchmarks at 15,500 3dMarks01 without me having bothered to clock the vid card.
I was so delighted we proceeded to go to a club night with Houmous and Di and get so trollied I'm still feeling ill from it two days later. But tonight, I shall cuddle up to the Dark Beast and feel reassured. MWU, dear readers, and indeed AHAHAHHA.


  1. Right now, P4s are the sweet spot. The price has just fallen a good whack too. The boards are stable, loaded with features and fast as hell. Cooling P4s is easy and physically mounting them is a pleasure. Building a P4 box is a pleasure, not a chore.
    Interestingly, AMD just visited me at work. Nice people they are, only about as professional as Jay's venture. Not too difficult to see why they're so firmly in second place, really. I'd like a look at Athlon 64 though, see how it shapes up. Looks good in games but shite in media encoding. Since I spend equal parts doing both, P4 was a no brainer. Oh and not being on the first-general band wagon...
    I'd still recommend a nice P4 rig right now.

  2. So, did you unlock it somehow to get 3.2G or is that FSB uppage?

  3. Just FSB. Doesn't bat an eyelid. Memory and PCI/AGP bus are asynchronous from FSB on proper Intel chipsets.

  4. May we assume then, that given you've just spent a non-trivial sum of monetary assets, that you will be attending the convocation known as 'i18' in order to show off your new found gaming leetness?

  5. Heh - madnessssss! I've now also discovered the joys of variable fanspeed control. I turned it up to high (little wooshy but it's for gamesand you've got headies on) and cranked the fsb to 240+ with the cpureading at 3.4+ ghz - a 600mhz overclock :) . Result? In excess of18,000 3dmarks01 and a cpu still at 55c and system still appears fine.Interestingly this now gives me my 'factor of 3' upgrade path that I useas my rough rule of thumb. And I still ain't OC'd the vid card!0wnerage is mine sayeth the lawyer!

  6. I've been crawling through Google search results trying to find out why Windows XP was unable to install on a clean common spec machine. I found that its not unusual for it to hang on some Athlon 1.3/GF3 systems (and others), although no-one could identify the cause and the required fix.
    A bit more digging found something called the loop error aka the NV loop. I'd not heard of it before, and I'm wide open broadside for a flame from Lurks if I'm wrong, but... could this be an up-sum of all the classic AMD-related system problems?
    Were my random crashes in RS despite a stable OS caused by the power drain/fluctuations on my 350w PSU? If I've had a lame PSU all along, why doesn't something beep on the mobo? Or do NV cards suck more power than other graphics cards in their category? Or, is it that the VIA chipset is just pants? If VIA arena say it proves its not a chipset issue, why is this not on an Intel community site? At the end of the day, if you don't want to put up with these things, you spend your best monies and/or you buy off-the-shelf.
    P4 with quality RAM and high-end PSU next time then. Short of taking off and nuking crap hardware from orbit, it's the only way to be sure.

  7. I've had it where XP wouldn't install on some hardware before. Rare but it happens. Easiest thing to do would be to install using another vid card? I've got a shedload lying around if you wanna try that.
    The issue you describe called a loop error, just sounds to me like what Microsoft has applied a generic error name to a graphics card failure. Why it fails could be loads of things, crashed GPU, AGP lockup (common on Athlon systems) and stuff like that. 350W PSU should be plenty for a lowly Athlon 1.3 and a GeForce 3.
    However you can run into troubles having a graphics card of that vintage which tries to draw too much power through the AGP rather than using an external power connector now favored by the modern hungry cards. If that's a problem, likely the GPU will crash and hand as you describe and also likely a bigger PSU wont help.
    I must also say, I had random problems of all sorts of descriptions with an Athlon and a Geforce 3 ti500. I suspected power delivered via AGP as well. Problems went away completely with a new graphics card.
    I hear what you're saying about spending your money on a system which is guaranteed to work but, I've found most of the time you can identify the problem. This is why I've gone off the AMD platform because a lot of the time it's just plain unstable and you can't really do anything to fix it. Or sometimes you can, or you're lucky. Where as Intel stuff just tends to work.
    There's a lot to be said for having your mobo chipset made by the same guys that are making the CPU. There shouldn't be, necessarily, but that just seems to be the way it as after taking a sample over several years.
    P4s just dropped in price too. A decent i865 board and, say, a P4 2.4GHz wont cost you much money now either...

  8. I can't reinstall XP on my system because of the video card (gf4 ti4200). It does the text bit, then when it gets to the graphically bit, it just goes blank and appears to have locked up. I have to plug in an old gf1 card to install.

  9. Mmm the machines I had it on were some GF2 MX thinggies which wouldn't install with XP. Stinkeh.

  10. More on the loop error: swapped out RAM, swapped out IDE devices, removed PCI cards, swapped GF3 for a GF1, all with aggressive and safe BIOS configs. The only elements I couldn't change were the MSI KT266Pro and the 1.3GHz TBird. Ho hum indeed, VIA.
    Leaves me with a few options: [1] New Am-spec P4 (not going to happen any time soon) [2] Install 98 then install XP on top [3] upgrade 2k to XP (would rather not) [4] when back online, see if the XP installer on the CD fixes itself with Winupdate ;/

  11. So this still wont install XP and that's the big problem right? Don't upgrade. Upgrade bad. Just borrow a vid card off me. Also, you could try install that lovely XP Corp ISO which has SP1 applied. I had luck installing that when the first edition legit one wouldn't install.

  12. Or get one of us to install xp on a hdd for you, and bung it in your pc.

  13. Just bought my ninja upgrade too. Went for a similar spec, same asus mobo and p4 800, got me a matched pair of corsair cas 3 3200 ram from for peanuts, which is fucking leet. In fact, bought the lot from ebuyer and saved a stack over the Scam price.