Date: 29/1/2006||After years of tinkering with making my PC quiet I think I'm finally on the verge of actually acheiving an almost silent PC. Recently I installed a Zalman fanless northbridge chipset heatsink because the little 40mm chipset fan was making disturbing noises like the bearings were failing and the PC was still far too noisy. And over the last few days I've been getting a number of load related system freezes. So I thought I'll pull the cover off and trouble shoot.
Over the years I've been picking up super quiet fans like the Pabst 8412NGL (12db) which I'm using on the CPU and the SilenX 120mm (14db) on the case. And I never really saw the point and the system wasn't much quieter. So finally I figured that I could test the system components in isolation to see how noisy each was. So I pulled all the fans (bar the CPU) and HD power cables and powered up. Silence. System booted... wow! Ok... so I worked my way around the system pluging each device back in one at a time and lo and behold one of the hard disks was making 90% of the noise. So it's out and the system is finally almost silent. The fans I bought are actually very good.
My remaining issue is that under load the Pabst fan doesn't push enough air to cool the CPU and it overheats and hangs. So I'm schemeing up plans to beef up the CPU fan with either a temperature sensitive unit or maybe some ducting to adapt one of the 120mm SilenX fans to the 70mm copper heat sink. The SilenX fan pushs twice the air the Pabst fan does.
If only I'd been lateral minded enough to use my code optimisation skillz sooner *sigh*
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|Mpeg2 Non-Destructive Editing Workflow|
Date: 27/1/2006||I am in the process of editing out duplicate scenes in 6+ hours of DVD format MPEG2 files. Joy!
And at the moment the workflow consists of:
This seams to provide excellent results but it is somewhat time consuming. Is there a better way to delete scenes in MPEG2 without re-encoding any video? (No shareware or warez please)
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Date: 21/1/2006||Let it be known henceforth that the memory bitmap code in Lgi doth draw
upon thine Quartz 2d contexts in wonderous colour.
And late on the Saturday evening, fret saw it was good and went henceforth unto his rest.
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|DirectShow Filter Graphs|
Date: 12/1/2006||I'm trying to write a directshow filter graph that will convert a dvd-ms file into a normal AVI with standard compression filters (like XviD and Mp3).
I seems to get all the filters hooked up right but then when I "Run" the graph nothing happens... it just sits there in the running state not doing anything. The CPU is idle and the output file is either 0kb or a few hundred K. Same thing happens in the DX8.1 graphedit application.
As a side issue I can't figure out how to bring up the codec filter's settings dialog.
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|Review: XpertVision nVidia 6200 256mb AGP|
The first area I tried was the 3d performance so I downloaded some current game demos and fired them up. 3d performance was reasonable, but I'm not going to benchmark anything, as I don't have an array of cards to test against. And thats not the point of this review. However I did find that some games, notably Doom 3 had lots of texture corruption and shearing issues. Which I found annoying. Less demanding games seemed to run fine, e.g. Counter Strike has no issues. I don't however do a lot of gaming so it doesn't really worry me.
2D performance is fine, I get a sharp picture with both the analogue and digital outputs. For everyday browsing and so on it's as good as more expensive cards. However for the first few months I had the card it would occasionally cease functioning by turning the screen blank, well almost blank... if you turn the monitor bightness all the way up you can faintly see a distorted view of the desktop. I made a video of this here. You can fix it on the fly by changing video modes, and everything returns the normal. After thinking about this I wondered whether heat build up could be a contributing factor, so I openned up my case and ripped out the PCI card right next to the AGP slot (leaving it open to the outside) and turned the case fans up a bit. This improved the air flow around the card and as far as I can tell the problem hasn't re-occured since then. So the price you pay for "noiseless" operation is that you need to be air flow aware. Make sure it gets plenty of cool air or it'll flake out.
One of the must have features for me was the TV out. I specifically wanted a TV that supported composite video for the short term, which my TV is limited to, but also supported component video. So that when I upgrade our TV to a component system I don't need to get a new video card. The ExpertVision 6200 supports all 3 video formats; Composite, S-Video and Component video via a breakout cable that plugs into the card between the DVI connector and the VGA dsub connector. The breakout cable however has seating issues and it's quite hard to get it to connect pins in the cable to the sockets in the card securely. I often have to fiddle with it to get my TV out to work after moving the PC. It's just a build quality issue, but it's annoying enough to mention. So far I can only test the composite output, and it's quality is only fair. Everytime I use it I need to adjust the brightness and contrast on the TV to suit. The picture isn't quite as clear as my old G400, but because the video processor is so much more capable the frame rate is far steadier. I think the G400 struggled to scale some video for output due to lack of processing power. The EV6200 however scales the video fine, however to my eye the output is a little less sharp and the colours a little more washed out. A marginal differece but present none the less. By default the TV out acts as a 2nd monitor in XP. Which is fine if thats what you want, but most people want the overlay window used by media players to map to the TV when active. By default the nVidia drivers don't do this. However there is a somewhat obscure option that lets you set this up. It took me a long time to figure this option out, in fact my friend ended up showing it to me.
All in all it's an alright card.
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Date: 5/1/2006||So with the time off over Christmas / New Year I got down to some hard core Mac porting work. I've taken the null port I finished in December and started implementing things. One night I spent 2+ hours reading the documentation just trying to decide what types to use for things like Threads, Windows/Views, Fonts, Menuitems etc. This morning I got the test app to start, detect system fonts, create the fonts, open a window, with the right position and title bar, and then go into the event loop, then shutdown cleanly. Nice!
Next on the list is implementing the in memory bitmap object, so that the image loader doesn't bitch and moan during startup when trying to create the toolbar. Then I'll try and get the drawing model and controls hooked up so that something appears in the window. I might get to a point in the next week or so where I can actually take a screenshot of the progress.
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