Goodnight Q6600

by fwhagen Thu, 18 July 2019

And so, the build I did in 2008, was finally shutdown for the last time today.  At it's heart was an Intel Core 2 Quad Q-6600 Step 0 processor.  I have seen many places call it one of the best CPUs ever made, and I can't argue that.  It was a beast when I built it, and I called it so.  Named it Mars, in homage to my favorite UNIX workstation in my earlier career.  And the motherboard!  The venerable Asus Maximus Formula, first of its line, was the first truly modern, enthusiast board I ever used.  The max RAM of 8GB used to be amazing!!

This system gave me great experiences in gaming, productivity, video transcoding, and so much more.  It ran everything.  I even ran virtual machines in it for awhile.  Several video cards passed through it over the years, and it took every one of them.  It didn't really handle the Radeon R9 290 completely in early 2015, but I was already planning it's successor, and bought the card early to play DirectX 12 games.  By October 2015, I had built Longsword, my nearly no-holds-barred, post-divorce, mid-life-crisis (?) workstation, and I stopped using the beast, now called Mars8, daily.  I passed it down to my son, then 9.  Mars8 soldiered on though, through Modded Minecraft, Roblox, Lego Worlds, Terraria, and even TF2, as the boy's gaming needs were not real high yet. 

But for my son's 13th birthday this year, I lined up another new build.  This week, we put it together.  Or rather, he did, with my guidance.  (It was a Ryzen based gaming build.  Not very interesting, really, but games well.  So I won't post the build notes for it.)  And now, he is playing games online with his friends right now, and my poor old machine is cast aside, although with affection, and will probably never be powered on again.  So goodbye to a great machine that lasted over 11 years.  


Filed Under: System

Deploying Old MVC3 WebApps to Old 2008R2 WebServers

by fwhagen Wed, 04 October 2017

I just spent way too much time moving an Intranet webapp from one server to another for a client.  The publish was easy enough, and everything worked on the server, but I could not access it from a remote workstation.  It uses Windows Authentication for security and customized views, but I kept getting the annoying "401.1 - Unauthorized: Access is denied due to invalid credentials" error from IIS.  I tried a bunch of things, many very weird from the Internet.  Then happened on the following post from StackExchange:

How can I check if my IIS site is using NTLM or Kerberos?


I simply flipped NTLM to the top of the Providers list, and it worked perfectly.  (Ger there by dbl-clicking the Authentication icon in IIS Manager for the site.)

I should probably do that for the Default Web Site (top) layer for all my servers.  Make my life easier, until I forget again.  I should probably post that.....



Filed Under: .NET | System | Work

Ultimate PC Build 2015

by fwhagen Tue, 13 October 2015

Intel-Core-i7 The time has finally come to rebuild The Beast.  I built it back in early 2008 and did it’s final upgrades a few months later.  It ended up with 8GB RAM and an SSD, and could run nearly everything.  But with no more room to grow and the divorce finally over having put this off two more years, the time had come to go big.  I had a couple goals in mind for this machine.  First, I wanted to build something to last and to do so without compromise.  Second, since DirectX 12 has the potential to revolutionize gaming once again with multi-core support, I wanted a video card that supports that as well as FreeSync are a must.  And more RAM goes without saying.

Claymore_CpuZ_thumb2 For this workstation, I started with an i7-5820K.  This is the smaller of the 2 Haswell Extreme CPUs, other than the insanely priced 8-core top.  It’s is a 6-core Hyperthreaded monster, running at 3.3GHz, with no GPU to interfere with heat or power.  It needs a specialized 2011-v3 socket with the x99 chipset and the new DDR4 RAM controller, which I gave 32GB to chew on.  It runs like a demon.  The 2 greatest upgrades from my previous system, beside the CPU itself and 4x RAM, are a full SATA III bus and native USB3 support.  USB3 finally gives me speed on the flash drives and other devices that I have acquired finally, and SATA III makes the Samsung 850 Pro simply amazing.  Windows 10 boot times from the end of post to login are less than 10 seconds.  It is crazy!

Here’s the configuration:

Case Fractal Design Define R5 Titanium
PSU CORSAIR RM Series RM750 750W
Motherboard ASRock X99 Extreme6 LGA 2011-v3 Intel X99 Intel Motherboard
CPU Intel Core i7-5820K Haswell-E 6-Core 3.3 GHz Desktop Processor
Memory CORSAIR Vengeance LPX 32GB (4 x 8GB) 288-Pin DDR4 SDRAM DDR4 2400 - Black Model
Cooler Zalman LQ-320 Water/Liquid CPU Cooler 120MM
Video Card SAPPHIRE Radeon R9 290 4GB 512-Bit GDDR5 Tri-X OC Version Video Card
SSD Existing Samsung 840 Pro 256GB SATA III Solid State Drive
Monitor ASUS MG279Q Black 27" 144 Hz WQHD 2560X1440 IPS Panel, Free-Sync Monitor

R5 My second case from Fractal Design is even better than the one I used on the server.  I was originally planning to put everything from this build into my old Antec P182, but the video card was a bit too long.  I solved that short term by pulling the drive cage out, but then I couldn’t mount all the drives I wanted to put in it.  And the PSU was too big.  Meanwhile, since I was going to rebuild Mars into a system for my son, I tried to mount the old motherboard in my old server case.  It didn’t fit at all.  So to solve all the above, I simply bought the Fractal Design R5 Titanium Edition.  As much as I loved the R4, this one is even better.  Even though there is no problem with the video card, I removed the center drive cage for better airflow.  In fact, all the cages can be removed, if desired.  There are fan mounts all over this box too.  And a cool tray to mount 2 SSDs behind the motherboard for even more space.  The entire case is lined with heavy sound absorbing material, so it is very quiet too.  Even the front door panel is reversible, so I can put it on either side of my desk comfortably.  It is a truly awesome case.  I am very pleased with it..

The Corsair RM series PSUs are really a fantastic technology.  The fan that they put in it, which is the full width of the unit, remains off as long as it is not under much load.  So it is normally completely silent.  With 750 Watts, I don’t think I will run out of room, even if I lose my mind and go CrossFire in the future.  You cannot go wrong with these units. 

X99 Extreme6(M1)The ASRock Extreme motherboards are very well designed and the UEFI bios is a pleasure to work with.  My first ASRock was for my dedicated MediaPC and I was surprised by how nice it was, so much so that I put one in my server too.  Even then, I was leaning toward an Asus ROG board for this build.  But after a lot of research, there were just a few more compelling reasons to go with the Extreme6 series for X99 to support the Haswell-E processor.  And I am not sorry.  LOTS of USB connectors, LOTS of fan connectors, 10 SATA III ports, a nice layout, blue trim, and the awesome UEFI configuration make it a great choice.  Go to the website to see all the stuff it has and can do.  The X99 chipset requires DDR4 memory, which was still a bit pricey when I put all this together, but the motherboard will support up to 128GB RAM.  That should be plenty of room to grow.  I started with 32GB for now.  Like the ROG boards, the E6 has easy overclock settings, which I will discuss more below.

The processor, is very exciting.  An i7-5820K Haswell-E 6-core HyperThreading monster.  I could have waited a few months for the new Skylake chips, but Haswell was a really good upgrade and available at the time I was.  The Haswell-E chips come in 2 tiers:  the insane $1k+ 8-core model and the 2 sub-$500 6-core models.  The main difference between the more reasonably priced 5830K and 5820K are the number of PCI lanes available, which is mainly a concern only to SLI users.  I doubt I will ever use 3 GPUs at once, so I’m good with the lower model.  Six cores is pretty cool, and HyperThreading makes 12 threads in TaskManager.  Multithreaded applications are finally becoming more mainstream, even in the gaming industry, so having the additional cores is only going to future-proof these models even more.  And the “K” means it is unlocked.  Stock-clocked at 3.3GHz, this CPU should easily go much higher.  But only with really good cooling.  In fact, this was a large worry to me with the specs when I was putting it together, but I think I have solved that.  I haven’t done much toward pushing the clocks up yet, but so far it is good.  REALLY good.  I am currently running at 4.2GHz with no issues at all.  SpeedStep ensures that we will not be running at high rates most of the time anyway, so power draw is not bad most of the time.

FAN-LQ-320.1_LGI am still surprised I went liquid cooled, but I was very concerned with the thermal needs of the Haswell-E processor.  I had read that it takes a lot of cooling to keep it under control, even though it has a lower thermal rating than the Core2Quad.  All of the air-cooled solutions I found were simply ridiculous.  There were huge and loud.  So big, in fact, I am concerned with the stresses on the motherboard when mounted vertically.  So I went with a closed-system liquid cooler.  I have always been very happy with Zalman coolers, and have used many of them.  They are efficient, quiet, and mostly good looking.  Even though I also liked the competing Corsair offering, I went with this unit because of the high quality piping, the attractive cooler block, and the versatile mounting capabilities of the radiator.  And I am truly amazed by its performance.  There was a little gurgling sound initially, but that has gone away.  The fans, one on either side in a push/pull configuration, are pretty quiet, with the louder one on the inside of the case.  And so I tested it, in a closed case, under normal operating conditions.  Initial impression:  WOW.  Over-clocking the CPU up to 4.2 did not raise the temperature at idle at all.  It stayed right around 38C, as expected.  Running a full Prime95 heat run, albeit only for a few minutes at this time, raised the temp up to 72C, which is tolerable.  My Q6600 ran much hotter than that.  But the amazing thing about this cooler was how quickly it moves the heat.  As soon as I stopped Prime95, the temperature moved down to 48C at the very next click of the monitoring software.  25C in under a second!?  While I do realize that this is a bad test, the total temperature of the CPU, the case, and especially the water block and radiator had not stabilized, that is an incredible result in my mind.  I am very impressed.  One note about the mounting, the 2011-v3 socket makes installing these things a dream now.  The support is built right into the socket mount:  No need for a backplate, special screws, the dumb twist-locks from before, or anything flimsy or complicated.  

11227-14_R9_290_TRI-X_OC_4GBGDDR5_DP_HDMI_2DVI_PCIE_C03_635596913599268740To complete the build, I bought the biggest and most expensive video card I have ever purchased.  The Sapphire R9 290 Tri-X is enormous; but with 3 large fans, it has to be.  The Radeon R9 290 was once the top of the heap in ATI video, though the 390 quickly replaced it, and now the Fury is available.  But the 290 is still a very capable device.  It supports DirectX 12, Mantle, and FreeSync.  All technologies I am very interested in.  And I really like all of Sapphire’s cards I have had, going all the way back to the HD lines.  I have not really stretched it’s legs yet, but man it plays Minecraft well!  (I kid!  But really, 1440p res with ultra shaders is amazing.)  It does handle Witcher3 beautifully and heavily modified Skyrim as well.

And then I decided I needed a new monitor as well, because, why not.  Yes, this build has gotten out of hand.  27” FreeSync capable WQHD 1440p 144Hz IPS monitor for coding and playing beautiful games.  A fantastic Open-Box buy on NewEgg.  But be sure to look for the recommended settings to really dial it in.  It is like looking at the sun out of the box.  Freesync seems to work fine, but it’s really kind of hard to tell.  Of course, the bast part is that I have not seen any stutter or tearing at all since hooking it up.  There is just one downside, which is the DisplayPort connector.  First off, they are hard to find and too damn expensive.  Secondly, they are an intelligent connector, so when the monitor goes to sleep, it tends to wake up the PC, which then wakes the monitor.  It took me a little while to tune that cycle out of the system.  But it really looks nice.

There is plenty of room for growth in this configuration.  The mobo is only good for this processor line, so I will not be upgrading the CPU from this build ever.  RAM however is supported up to 128GB, so room to grow there.  I can bump it up to 64GB easily by buying another set of the sticks in it now.  The case is enormous and can take any video card as well as 5 more HDDs and another SSD.  I already have the 840 Pro from Mars, which attached to the SATA III controller is startlingly fast, as well as 2 additional WD drives, one Black model and the old Green 1TB from the old server.  But I don’t think I will be doing anything else for quite some time.  It runs really well as is.

This was a long build.  I bought the video card in July and the PSU was originally bought on sale for the server build in April.  I went way over budget due to mistakes or oversights with components.  I didn’t intend to buy a new case or monitor, and the video card was really pre-purchased.  I did reuse the SSD and primary working/data drive, a WD Black 1TB drive, from the old system, as well as all the opticals.  And my son now has a very capable Minecraft and light gaming machine out of it all.  I splurged on the CPU and memory, and the cooler was a new technology for me.  I built the system twice into different boxes, spending 8 hours the first time and 4 the second.  I had to order a number of extra cables to get the fittings just right, which delays things a bit.  But it is all done for now.  It runs quiet and deadly.  I cannot believe just how powerful it really is.  Audio and video encoding is comically fast, HD video rates are 2 and 3 times realtime.  And Windows10 looks very good on it.  I am far more than satisfied and believe I will be for quite awhile.  Continuing with my new naming scheme, I’ve named it Longsword, as it is the final evolution of all my builds and proven extremely useful.



Filed Under: System

Server Build 2015

by fwhagen Mon, 27 April 2015

intelxeonfeb3-775x437Back in February 2008, I was forced to quickly upgrade my home server due to the (very) old PII motherboard dying.  I selected a very low power Celeron as the replacement with only a couple GB of RAM because I was really only doing modest things with it; file server, web, netcast downloads, etc.  Over the years, I have found MANY more uses for it.  So I have been planning to upgrade it for a while.  A two-year long divorce proceeding and its subsequent financial beating have delayed that for quite awhile.  But I have finally been able to execute.  This time, it’s a server class Xeon processer with 16GB of memory, and room for 16GB more.

Claymore_CpuZI started with a Xeon E3-1231V3 Haswell CPU.  It’s the 4-core version of the latest architecture running at 3.4GHz.  Mounted it on an ASRock H97 Anniversary Motherboard with 16GB of G.SKILL DDR3 RAM.  I hooked it all up to a Corsair RM Series PSU and a WD Black HDD and ran it on my desk for a month.  I am very happy with the design.  This weekend, I put it all in a beautiful Fractal Design case with a WD Red series HDD for working storage.  The almost completed design is nearly silent, extremely powerful, and only pulls 48 Watts under resting load.  Resting load, by the way, includes 2 active VM servers running, 1 with Windows 2012 and the other MineOS, a Minecraft specific build of a Debian derivative Linux.

Here’s the configuration:

Case Fractal Design Define R4 Black Pearl
PSU CORSAIR RM Series RM450 450W
Motherboard ASRock H97 Anniversary LGA 1150 Intel H97 Intel Motherboard
CPU Intel Xeon E3-1231V3 Haswell 3.4GHz Server Processor
Memory G.SKILL Ares Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600
Cooler Zalman Ultra Quiet CPU Cooler CNPS90F

R4The case was better than expected.  I bought it on a whim and a NewEgg sale.  I was originally planning on reusing the old case, but my son wants a computer at my new place and I really wanted a case that can handle more storage, so I splurged.  First of all, the thing is mammoth.  It comes with 2 140mm fans and I added a third (not pictured below), and yet, has room for 2 more, plus a smaller CPU fan.  None of the fans is cramped in any way, and the spare slots are covered with sound material to not harm good airflow.  Two hard drive racks, one 3-drive and permanent and another 5-drive that is both removable and 90-degree rotatable, depending on whether you want pretty, or good cooling.  There is at least an inch of space behind the motherboard plate, with lots of cable grommets so things are very well organized.  I only have 1 cable running across the front of the board, and that because I chose to place the large high-capacity drive in the upper drive cage oriented for cooling.  The sides are very thick steel with built in sound baffling.  The already quiet system is completely silent in operation.  I am very happy with this item, even though it is a bit large.

I have a Corsair VX series PSU in my workstation and I have loved it.  Reasonably quiet, good efficiency, and so far extremely reliable.  So when a RM series 750W went on sale, I picked one up before I started this build.  I had the PSU, MB assembly, and boot drive running on my desk for a few weeks.  The fan on the RM750W is configured to not engage until under load, so it never did.  In other words, completely silent.  Of course, 750W is extremely overkill, so I decided to hold on to it from the rebuild of the Beast, my aging workstation, and went with a 450W model.  Still incredible.  I highly recommend these PSUs to anyone looking for one. 

WP_20150425_002The ASRock motherboard pairs very nicely with the Xeon processor.  It’s Haswell capable and supports up to 32GB RAM.  It has good overclocking support, but that is not applicable with the Xeon line at all, so I can’t say anything about that.  Great USB3 and SATAIII support.  A solid board with UEFI bios, which is also very nice.  Not exciting, but very capable.  It does look tiny in that massive case though.

The processor, however, is very exciting.  An E3 series Xeon has virtually the same architecture as the i7 Haswell line, but without the built in GPU.  For a server, I don’t need the GPU (and in fact, I will be getting the i7 Haswell-E for the Beast without the GPU also).  It has outstanding virtualization support (I already have 4 VMs running), 4 multithreaded cores, and support for insane (for 2015) amounts of RAM.  For cooling it, I used the Zalman cooler listed above that I originally bought for my MediaPC, which turned out to be a bit too large for the HTPC case.  At rest, which is not exactly idle with 2 VMs running, but not under heavy load, in the case with 2 drives and 2 fans, the whole system only draws 48 Watts.  Amazing.  I am looking forward to really taxing this CPU in days ahead. 

For the future, I will add 2 more very high capacity drives in a RAID configuration for large, redundant storage.  I am currently running a WD Black boot drive, a 1TB WD Red operational drive for active IO data like A/V transcoding, internet services, etc., and a 4TB WD Green drive for media storage on the network.  Eventually I will double the RAM to support even more VMs.  And in the long run, I’d like to get everything in a nice rack-mount chassis.  Short term, I am moving all my automation tasks, which are spread out across 3 different systems to this monster.  Maybe I can get that PSU fan to actually run!

This was a fun build that I did over a 6 week period.  It was 2 years overdue.  With the upgrade possibilities and the seriously overpowered CPU, I don’t think I will ever be executing a server build like this for myself again.  I anticipate this lasting a good ten years, since the last one, that I built with a completely different set of requirements and very limited upgrade potential, lasted 7.  I finally have a capable domain controller, VM host, file server, internet appliance, media storage, Minecraft server (Alex says: “YAY!”), automation controller, development repository, backup server, and on and on.  It’s name is Claymore.

"Scottish claymore replica (Albion Chieftain)2" by Søren Niedziella - File:Scottish claymore replica (Albion Chieftain).jpg.
Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Update 07/27/2015: I already updated the RAM to 32GB this past weekend. I ran out of memory trying to run too many VMs. And memory is pretty cheap. $90 for another pair of the above.


Filed Under: System

Use Multiple Versions of Visual Studio and Want Pinned Solutions?

by fwhagen Fri, 13 January 2012

I need to have VS2005 and VS2008 installed for support of one of my clients, and of course I use VS2010 for my own development.  And I love the pinned list of solutions that VS10 offers.   In the past, I used a folder Toolbar in the Taskbar for listing solutions for easy access, but that was a maintenance task. 

TaskbarPinIn Windows 7, you can pin the Visual Studio Version Selector to the taskbar and pin items from Recent to Pinned (or do it manually as any other Win 7 file can be).  This has enhanced my productivity for the client without cluttering my taskbar or desktop at all.  Windows 7 continues to be the most useful environment I’ve ever use. 


Filed Under: Programming | System | Work

XP Mode and MS VPN Problems

by fwhagen Thu, 12 November 2009

Windows 7 XP Mode is probably the best feature added to Windows in a long time.  I won’t go into how awesome here, but this is the compatibility measure Microsoft should have pursued years ago.  That said, the main use I have for it is to VPN into my office network. 

The client site I am working at is using normal MS VPN connections which are easy to setup and use.  Their parent company, however, insists on the Cisco VPN client, which I am loathe to install on my clean Win7 installation.  So I have both setup in XP Mode and can use them interchangeably. 

Getting the initial setup was a little tricky:  First you must shutdown the VirtualPC then switch the network setting from “Shared Network (NAT)” to a named network card.  The funny thing is, the only symptom is the connection is made but times out on authentication.  weird.

However, I ran into a problem where I could no longer get the built in Windows VPN client to connect.  It couldn’t find the address.  Then browsing stopped working, even the Cisco VPN client failed.  After 2 re-installs (of XP Mode) I finally found a post that recommends removing the Virtual PC Network Filter Driver from the NIC, rebooting and re-installing.  Like magic, everything works.  Evidently a patch to XP Mode or Virtualization knocked it out.  (I did start with the RC of XP Mode 64-bit, maybe the reason…)  The blog was the Virtual PC Guy but the instructions were for XP and Vista, not 7.  The 7 instructions are below:

1.  Click on the network icon in the tray and Open Network and Sharing Center (or from the Start menu)
2.  Click on the active connection (Mine is Local Area Connection 2)
3.  In the Properties dialog, highlight the Virtual PC Network Filter Driver and Uninstall  (I deselected IPv6 while I was there; it’s not needed yet)
4.  Click OKs back to desktop and Reboot (evidently a critical step)
5.  repeat 1 & 2 and click Install in the Properties dialog
6.  Select Service and Add; the Virtual PC Network Filter Driver should still be there, select it and click OKs out to the desktop.

Fire up XPMode VPC and you should be good to go.  I was.

UPDATE:  I am still having this problem.  I have found a reboot is usually enough to reset it, but I am still looking for a way to reset just the VPN driver without a reboot.  I've found nothing, yet....

UPDATE 2:  Microsoft seems to have issued a Windows7 x64 hotfix for this issue quietly.  I am no longer having this problem, unless the system goes to sleep mode while VPC is running.  Then it's a reboot of the physical host to reset.

UPDATE 3: Turns out, a simple disable/enable cycle on the NIC is all that is needed. Still annoying enough that I have switched completely to the free VMWare client for work-related VPN sessions.


Filed Under: System

Windows Sidebar on XP

by fwhagen Thu, 15 October 2009


Dashboard-40 One of my favorite features in Vista is the Sidebar.  I have been using precursors of it since Windows 3.11.  Anyone remember HP’s Dashboard?  I bought and used that app every day on every system I used until Windows 98.  Since then, I’ve used Konfabulator, Stardock’s DesktopX and many others.  When Microsoft came out with Vista’s sidebar, it quickly became one of my favorite features.  In fact, it remains my sole disappointment with 7 so far; it just doesn’t work quite as well.

At work, I am forced to use a 32-bit XP system.  I miss many of the sidebar elements while working.  CPU, memory and network metering are part of my dev cycle.  And there are decent enough widgets that come close.  Clocks, calendars and other items are very useful.  But the sidebar wasn’t portable to XP.

Until, that is, I found a patched/hacked version on DeviantART that seems to work very well.  Called simply Windows Sidebar, Real One, Pack, it comes bundled with the Alky for Windows library that allows it to run within XP (you don’t need to supply a Vista key when it asks, by the way).  So with a couple of useful gadgets, especially the ones from Orb2k, I can have all of my monitoring loaded in one extensible process.  Very nice, and thanks to ~joshoon of


Filed Under: System

Windows 7 + x64 + 8GB RAM + VS08 = AWESOME

by fwhagen Thu, 15 October 2009

Windows_7_Logo Well I finally bought 8GB DDR2 for The Beast.  Before I installed it, however, I went ahead and installed Windows 7, in 64-bit mode, of course.  While I was a fan of Vista, I am very impressed with 7, though I still feel it to be a better chromed version of Vista.  But the 8 gigs is awesome!  NO more memory issues, pagefile thrashing, or even a need for ReadyBoost.  And I haven’t run into a limit of Visual Studios open at one time.  Now I can finish my micro netcast receiver project….  (Ok, I probably didn’t need 8G for that.)

And the frosting?  XP Mode.  My client site has switched to Cisco VPN from whatever they were using that was MS compatible.  I hate the Cisco VPN client.  And of course, it won’t work on a 64-bit OS.  So I downloaded the RC version of XP Mode, fired it right up, installed the VPN and was connected to their network in under 5 minutes.  I’m gonna love that feature!


Filed Under: System

Quad Core: Useful or Waste?

by fwhagen Wed, 21 May 2008

There has been a lot of talk in the channels lately about the Quad Core CPUs lately.  Most of it has been along the lines regarding most applications only use 1 or 2 cores so the others sit idle.  Others say that in the future, that will change, but why spend the extra money on the purchase and in the cost of the power until then.  Essentially, expert opinion is that it is a waste of money.

I am not an expert.  I am, however, a professional developer and a experienced computer user (~30 years) that owns a Q6600 Core2Quad CPU.  My experience is that, indeed, while playing games, I probably see no performance increase over 2 cores.  Unless at the same time I am encoding video or audio, downloading something, or a myriad of other things that I do all the time.  With my last CPU, granted it was "only" a Prescott, I had to stop all other tasks, and frequently services, to play a heavy game, or to encode audio, or other high-priority tasks.  With the Q6600, I don't ever have to do that anymore.  My system will hum along, no matter how many things I have going on at once.  And to me, that is the advantage of the 4 cores.  Be realistic, how many things do you have running at the same time?

Also, I have seen many applications utilize more than one core at a time.  Almost all games I play use at least two.  Or more specifically, the ATI video driver uses more than one for itself, effectively offloading much of its performance cost to idle cores.  LAME only uses one, but I can now run up to 4 instances.  Or more to the point, I can rip and encode simultaneously, which gets high-quality CD ripping down to under 3 minutes for me.  And the H.264 video encoder I use pegs all four cores.

If the Q6600 was twice as much as the E6600 was when I bought it, I would have agreed that it was not worth it, but it was only $40 to $50 (~25%) more expensive.  And the G0 series chip only uses a bit more power (90W?), so yes, it is more expensive to run, but Vista S-states minimize that somewhat.  In my opinion, quad core CPUs are a must for the power user today.   While the benefit isn't 2X over a dual core, I believe that one day it will be.  I don't make these statements as a defense of my purchase, I made the purchase because I really believe that it is true.  The main reason I waited to upgrade my system was to delay until Intel dropped the price from the $500+ level to $279 so I could afford to buy one.

I cannot tell you how much Nehalem excites me.  I wish I could afford to get one, but there is no way that I am going to be buying a new mobo and memory any time soon.  I may buy a newer Core2Quad on the 45nm die for power and speed reasons, but the Q6600 is an incredible chip.


Filed Under: System

Windows Media Player - Black Bar on Bottom

by fwhagen Sat, 12 April 2008

I have looked this up 3 times now, so I am posting it here. 

Every once in awhile, WMP will add a black bar at the bottom of the display area.  This is not the letter-boxing of video, as it is normal in full-screen mode and also appears while playing audio files.  The bar is the Subtitle Area.  To disable, Right-Click the display area, select "Lyrics, Captions and Subtitles", and choose "Off".  It's gone.

Some key press activates it for me accidentally.  I doubt it's the default Ctrl-Shirt-C combo; that would be awfully hard to oops. Now we know.


Filed Under: System