Most of the time on this site I write about coding, or moan about trains, but there's more to me than that - sometimes I like to play with hardware too!
That's not entirely true. No one likes to play with hardware, but they do generally like the results as long as all goes well. This week promises to be a bit of a hardware/networking week. I've just ripped out my twin SLI'ed 7800 GTs to replace them with a single Asus GeForce 8800 GTS, 320MB, DDR3, PCIe-16, TV out, DVI, HDTV, SLI ready etc. It's funny to think that 2 7800's in SLI were so incredibly awesome a while back, but that they can now be replaced by a single card which easily outperforms them both. Funnier to think that I could easily add a second one into the mix later if needed.
When I say 'a single card', I mean that in the sense that it's a single card which takes up 2 slots - the second space is taken by it's exhaust port, which seems like a good idea given the heat output of these things, however interestingly after running some pretty high demand games on the thing, the fan wasn't really going very loudly, nor could I feel much air being expelled. I heard the thing self test when it powered up, so I know it's connected, so I'm just assuming the heatsink kicks ass. So far I've only played a bit of C&C3 (which seems a lot smoother - especially when the screen is overrun with hordes of my Mammoth tanks), and run 3dmark. My 3dmark score is pretty respectable, however you can see that it's now my CPU which is starting to let me down:
A 64bit Dual Core 3800+ processor and it's the bottleneck. We live in interesting times indeed.
The next piece of fun should arrive tomorrow, when my new disk turns up - Western Digital Raptor WD1500ADFD Hard Disk Drive, 150GB, 10000rpm, 16384KB Cache. I got sick of reading about 10k rpm drives and decided to buy one to see if I could notice a difference. The only thing now is that I want a proper comparison, so I'm debating ghosting my existing Windows install across to the new drive in order to compare apples with apples before reformatting and rebuilding. A lot of extra work, especially considering the new drive is smaller than my existing drive, but it'd be interesting for the sake of an accurate comparison. I'm very curious to see if the Raptor is as noticable as some people say it should be.
Finally, this weekend sees the replacement of my old faithful DSL Router. Old Blue was bought from Dick Smith electronics, about 5 years ago, and she's served me well. However lately she's had a few lockups, plus I'm not sure about her Xbox live compatiability. Old Blue's replacement is a Cisco 857, which should be a fairly fitting replacement. The 857 has a lot of nice inbuilt features, including decent VPN support, although the thought of grappling with IOS in order to make simple configuration changes isn't something I'm looking forward to. As part of that upgrade, the incredbly knowledgeable Ben will also be performing his magic on my FreeBSD box, performing some updates and bringing it into line with his new recommended caching standards, as well as installing my new Linksys WRT54GL router with full Radius security. Once the Linksys gets flashed with linux it'll be the only Linux device to ever hit my network.. (I'm excluding FreeBSD, because it's so awesome when it's setup right, plus it just sits there running at 300 days + uptime, rebooting only for powercuts).
Everyone needs someone like me in their circle of friends, Without people like me, there would be a reduced supply of excellent second hand hardware on the market. So really, I do it all for you, in a show of selflessness. I'm good like that.