Date: 23/5/2006
It's been a bit quiet lately because my whole family, including me, were sick last week. So I didn't do much programming or anything really.

This week I've fixed a number of newly reported issues and implemented some of the mail2 export back end. It now replicates a single folder of mail correctly. I just need to get it doing lots of folders, and put up some progress UI and implement Contact/Calendar replication etc and it'll be ready for going into a release.

Last night I was in somewhat of a weird mood so I dug up all the old computer parts I had and built a computer. I hadn't realised until then that I had at least one of everything, CPU, RAM, PSU, HD, Case, Video Card. But sure enough I do. So it all went in the box and I booted it and installed XP. It's my old dual Celeron 400 motherboard with my old G400 AGP card. I have 3 sticks of 256mb but I seem to only be able to get 384mb to show up at boot. It doesn't like all 3 sticks in at once. And one or 2 of the sticks is showing only half it's full size, probably because it's not fully compatible with the motherboard. While I was working on it I really didn't know what I was going to do with it once it was working. But now I realize this machine will probably run Zeta quite well. So I think I'll install that and build some of my apps just for fun.

My main dev box got an upgrade 2 weeks ago. I used to run an socket A Athlon 1.4ghz system with 512mb on an KT7-RAID board. The new system is a socket 939 Athlon 64 3000+ with 1GB of Geil dual channel RAM. It's still AGP but I can upgrade to a dual core chip down the track. My only problem is that the Xpertvision Nvidia 6200 video card is flakey as hell and I want to replace it. But I'm having a lot of trouble finding a 6600 based card with the right TV out options (I need composite [now] AND component [later]) by a brand that is somewhat trustworthy for less than $200 AUD. It's very hard trying to find out which brands of video cards are decent and which suck. But heres what I "feel" about them currently, ranked from most trusted down to least trusted:
  • BFG: high quality, hella expensive
  • XFX: high quality, more expensive
  • Leadtek: good quality, all right price
  • Gigabyte: middle of the road, average price
  • MSI: cheaper, but not great quality
  • Asus: cheaper, but not great quality
  • Sparkle: cheap + nasty
  • GALAXY: cheap + nasty
  • Albatron: cheap + nasty
  • InnoVISION: cheap + nasty
  • XpertVision: crap build quality + cheap + nasty
There might be other brands out there, but these are the ones generally stocked by local retailers. Getting something else would be more difficult and prone to problems with shipping / warrentee.

Is my gut feel on these brands right? Or am I barking mad?

Ideally I'd like to go Leadtek, but their TV out options don't work for me. Same with Gigabyte I think... undecided on whether I should try the Asus + MSI ranges. I simply cannot find the info I nead on XFX or BFG...
25/05/2006 12:35am
My Radeon x700 supports S-Video and YPbPr out of the same TV plug. I don't know who makes it, and frankly, I've never really worried about who makes my video cards since I don't go for the latest and greatest. My theory is that by the time a card reaches the price/performance sweet spot, whoever makes it will have been used to making it for so long that they'll have worked out the kinks in the manufacturing process. I can't recall ever being burned using that logic, but I can't claim that I've watched really closely.

On the RAM issue, I'm betting that your dual Celery motherboard has an Intel 440BX chipset, and I know that chipset only supports "low density" ram. Put a stick of the newer "high density" ram in there, and it'll recognize as being half of it's total capacity. Also, I'm led to understand that if your motherboard runs at 100MHz, then certain (cheaper) sticks of 133MHz ram won't run at all.
25/05/2006 1:08am
Last night I got it to post with 2 sticks of 256, giving 512mb of ram. I think the 3rd stick is high density like you say. I ran memtestx86 overnight and nary a problem. So I'll install Zeta tonight, now that I've aquired a power cable to run the thing at the same time as my main PC.

I just wish the HD wasn't so noisy and slow. The rest of the system is pretty kick ass for a 10(?) year old box.
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