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  1.  

    UPDATE: I've edited this blog too many times because I always think I'm done, but then another idea comes up. *sigh* But I should be done now.

     

    With AMD's semi-recent announcement of their server processors using the so-called "Chiplet" design, I thought it'd be a good idea to talk about how this could affect other processor types. People have pointed to GPUs being the next logical step, but I've been hesitant to jump on that and this blog is to discuss why.

     

    An Explanation: What is the Chiplet Design?

    To understand the chiplet design, it's useful to understand how many processors are designed today. Typically they're designed using the so-called monolithic approach, where everything about the processor is built onto a single piece of silicon. The following is an example of a quad core design:

    monolithic.png.df6be7e1611c1a156c6fb01ad52d2127.png

     

    Everything going to the processor has to go through an I/O section of the chip. Primarily this handles talking to main memory, but modern processors also have other I/O built in like PCI Express lanes or display compositors (the GPU would be considered a separate thing). From there, it goes through a typically much faster inter-processor bus where the processor's cores talk among each other and through the I/O.

     

    What the chiplet design does is separate the cores and I/O section into different chips.

    chiplet-1.png.e5ec85f9c1a2548adb615b8a1786e63a.png

    The advantage here is that one part of the processor as a whole can break, but the entire processor doesn't have to be thrown away. But it doesn't stop here. As long as the I/O section can support more and more processor core chiplets, then you can expand it out however many you want. Or something like this:

    chiplet-2.thumb.png.161a0ad41a8dd81f35a95c1723c1e713.png

    This is obviously a great design. You need more cores? Just throw on another chiplet!

     

    So what's the problem here with GPUs adopting this? It's the expectations of what each processor is designed to take care of. Their core designs reflect that.

     

    A Comparison Between a CPU Core and a GPU Core

    At the heart of a processing unit of any sort is the "core", which I will define as a processing unit containing a memory interface, a "front-end" containing an instruction decoder and scheduler, and a "back-end" containing the execution units. A CPU core tends to have a complicated front-end and a back-end with a smaller number of execution units, while a GPU tends to have a simpler or smaller front-end with a much larger back-end. To put it visually:

     

    589px-zen_block_diagram_svg.png.b999eb6befd3b86f30f2c0c26d77fe35.png

    Block Diagram of an AMD Zen 1 CPU Core

     

    FijiBlockDiagram.thumb.png.3174f5eb137c96b162a37c754067bfc4.png

    Block Diagram of an AMD Fiji GPU Core. Each "ACE" is a Front-End Unit and Each "Shader Engine" is a Back-End Unit

     

    They are designed this way because of the tasks they're expected to complete. A CPU is expected to perform a randomized set of instructions in the best way it can from various tasks with a small amount of data. A GPU is expected to perform a smaller number of instructions, specifically built and ordered, on a large amount of data.

     

    From the previous section about chiplet design, you might be thinking to yourself: "Well can't the Fiji GPU core have the stuff on the left side (HBM + MC) and the right side (Multimedia Accelerators, Eyefinity, CrossFire XDMA, DMA, PCIe Bus Interface) separated into its own chip?" Well let's take a look at what the Fiji GPU die looks like (taken from https://www.guru3d.com/news-story/amd-radeon-r9-fiji-die-shot-photo.html)

     

     

    amd-fiji-die.jpg.ea5224b6aa0a7a73a4052a68b892bfae.jpg

     

    The big part in the middle are all of the ACEs, the Graphics Command Processor, and the Shader Engines from the block diagram. This takes up roughly, if guessing, 72% of the die itself. Not only that, aside from everything on the right side in the block diagram, this GPU core still needs everything from the left side, or all of the HBM and MC parts. Something needs to feed the main bit of the GPU with data and this is a hungry GPU! To put in another way, a two-chiplet design would very similar to the two GPU, single card designs of many years ago, like the R9 Fury Pro Duo:

    cd5a1c7d_RadeonProDuoBareD_StraightOn_4c_5inch.jpeg.a1bba427a7eb974fdea29610b1cf28a6.jpeg

    But Wouldn't Going to 7nm Solve This Issue?

    While it's tempting to think that smaller nodes means smaller sized dies, the thing is with GPUs, adding more execution units increases its performance because the work it solves is what is known as embarrassingly parallel, or it's trivial to split the work up into more units. It's more pixels per second to crunch. This isn't the case with the CPU, where instructions are almost never guaranteed to be orderly and predictable, the basic ingredient for parallel tasks. So while adding more transistors per CPU core hasn't always been viable, it has been for GPUs and so the average die size of a GPU hasn't gone down as transistors get smaller:

    gpu-sizes.png.b76991635203374e6577dde60dd26754.png

    Transistor count, die size, and fabrication process for the highest-end GPU of a generation for AMD GPUs (Data sourced from Wikipedia)

     

    Since AMD has had weird moments, let's take a look at its competitor, NVIDIA:

    gpu-sizes-nvidia.png.9674b77f607b412d4c86d8872641c756.png

    Transistor count, die size, and fabrication process for the highest-end* GPU of a generation for NVIDIA GPUs (Data sourced from Wikipedia)

     

    Notes:

    • G92 is considered it's own generation due to being in two video card series
    • GTX 280 and GTX 285 were included due to being the same GPU but with a die shrink
    • TITANs were not included since the Ti version is more recognizable and are the same GPU

     

    But the trend is the same: the average die size for the GPUs has remained fairly level.

     

    Unfortunately transistor count for processors isn't straight-forward like it is for GPUs. Over the years, processors have integrated more and more things into it. So we can't even compare say an AMD Bulldozer transistor count to an AMD Ryzen transistor count due to Ryzen integrating more features like extra PCIe lanes, the entirety of what used to be "Northbridge", among other things. However, with that in mind, it's still nice to see some data to see where overall things have gotten:

    cpu-sizes.png.071d123c31f7518e7379132c098a8f70.png

    Transistor count, die size, and fabrication process for various processors (Data from Wikipedia)

     

    One just has to keep in mind that at various points, processors started to integrate more features that aren't related to the front-end, back-end, or memory interface, so processors from that point on may actually have a lower transistor count and thus die-size.

     

    How about separating the front-end from the back end?

    This is a problem because the front-end needs to know how to allocate its resources, which is the back end. This introduces latency due to the increased distance and overhead because of the constant need to figure out what exactly is going on. To put it in another way, is it more efficient to have your immediate supervisor in a building across town or in the same building as you work in? Plus the front-end doesn't take up a lot of space on the GPU anyway.

     

    What About Making Smaller GPUs?

    So instead of making large GPUs with a ton of execution units, why not build smaller GPUs and use those as the chiplets? As an example, let's take NVIDIA's GTX 1080:

    gtx1080.thumb.png.4f860d6436a2f60791a7a75f93527571.png

     

    Compare this to the GTX 1050/1050 Ti (left) and the GT 1030 (right):

    gtx1050.thumb.png.ce571f7d9802945dba065223e28f79d9.png   gt1030.png.61fc0a83549de770e495de0fe61c5218.png

     

    With this, you could take away the memory and PCI Express controllers and move them to an I/O chip, and just duplicate the rest as many times as you want. Except now you have SLI, which has its problems that need to be addressed.

     

    The Problem with Multi-GPU Rendering

    The idea of multi-GPU rendering is simple: break up the work equally and have each GPU work on the scene. If it's "embarrassingly" easy to break up the rendering task, wouldn't this be a good idea? Well, it depends on what's really being worked on. For example, let's take this scene:

    ffxiv_10052018_131044.jpg.f166f8428b4d76d84d756da0c54c0924.jpg

    Approximate difficulty to render this scene: Green = Easy, Yellow = Medium, Red = Hard

     

    The areas are color coded more or less to approximate the "difficulty" of rendering it. How would you divide this up evenly so that every GPU has an equal workload? Let's say we have four GPU chiplets.

     

    • Obviously splitting this scene up into quadrants won't work because one of the chiplets will be burdened by the large amount of red in the top right while another will be sitting around doing nothing at all taking care of the top left. And because you can't composite the entire image without everything being done, the GPU taking care of the top right portion will be the bottleneck.
    • Another option may be to have each chiplet in succession work on a frame. Though this may be an issue with more chiplets as you can't exactly render ahead too far and this sort of rendering is what causes microstuttering in multi-GPU systems.
    • Lastly, we could have the chiplets render the entire scene at a reduced resolution, but offset a bit. Or divvy this entire scene by say alternating pixels. This could potentially minimize an imbalance of workload, but someone still has to composite the final image and there could be a lot of data passing back and forth between the chiplets, possibly increasing bandwidth requirements more than necessary.

    This is also not including another aspect that GPUs have taken on lately: general compute tasks. And then there's the question of VR, which is sensitive to latency.

     

    Ultimately the problem with graphics rendering is that it's time sensitive. Whereas tasks for CPUs often have the luxury of "it's done when it's done" and the pieces of data they're working on are independent from beginning to end, graphics rendering doesn't enjoy the same luxuries. Graphics rendering is "the sooner you get it done, the better" and "everyone's writing to the same frame buffer"

     

    What about DirectX 12 and Vulkan's multi-GPU support?

    With the advent of DirectX 12 and (possibly) Vulkan adding effective multi-GPU support, we may be able overcome the issues described above. However, that requires developer support and not everyone's on board with either API. You may want them to be, but a lot of game developers would probably rather worry more on getting their game done than optimizing it for performance, sadly to say.

     

    Plus it would present issues for backwards compatibility. Up until this point, we've had games designed around the idea of a single GPU and only sometimes more than one. And while some games may perform well enough on multiple GPUs, many others won't, and running those older games on a chiplet design may result in terrible performance. You could relieve this issue perhaps by using tools like NVIDIA Inspector to create a custom SLI profile. But to do this for every game would get old fast. Technology is supposed to help make our lives better, and that certainly won't.

     

    But who knows? Maybe We'll Get Something Yet

    Only time will tell though if this design will work with GPUs, but I'm not entirely hopeful given the issues.

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    Arika S
    Latest Entry

    Hi all.

     

    Bet you didn't know this place existed

     

    So I've decided to run an ongoing AMA for no real reason than to let others find out more about me and I feel like I need to open up a bit more in life, and since i spend so much time here, might as well start here. It's hopefully a way to deal with my shyness RL by letting others "as me anything" and help me build confidence, plus i still have some form of anonymity so i'm more likely to share things here that i wouldn't with people work with, are friends with RL Etc. So in effect you're kind of helping me :)

     

    There's three ways you can do this. 

    1. Send me a PM here on the forums if you don't mind the question(s) being attributed to you
    2. If you would prefer to remain anonymous with your question(s), you can send an email to Arika.ama@gmail.com.
    3. Leave it as a comment at the bottom of this entry. Obviously other people will be able to see your question

     

    I will endeavor to respond to every question as accurately as possible without revealing too much about my identity as I still intend to keep a disconnect between real life and online.

     

    Some questions may be unanswered depending on what was asked, ie too personal. If such a question is received, i will still respond, but just saying that it will not be answered.

     

    So you can ask my Anything, but not everything will receive an answer.


    Appropriate questions and answers will be put on this blog. Unless otherwise specified, I will not indicate who asked the question i will just list it and the answer. You can ask as many questions as you like.


    ~Arika

     

     


    Questions and Answers will be listed below.

     

    ------------------

    The Basics

     

    Name: Erica S (that's all you're getting)
    Age: 27 (At time of posting)
    Gender: Female
    Nationality: Australian

     

     

    Answered Questions:

     

    Do you have any pets?: I have 1 cat, and she is a brat, but i love her.

     

    What is your favorite video game genre and how has it impacted your life? Has it taught you a valuable lesson or skill?: Definitely Simulation, and maybe as weird as it sounds, the one that has impacted me the most was Eurotruck Simulator 2. I have a much greater respect for trucks on the road while i'm driving. I used to hate driving around or behind them, but now i understand them a bit more.

     

    What brought you to this forum, and what keeps you here compared to other forum?It started when i was researching what laptop to purchase. But I do this thing where i research too much and the longer it lakes the less likely i am to pick something and just go with it. So i wanted to get other people's opinions instead of just reading reviews and the manufacturer support forums. I never intended to stick around, but the longer i stayed the more i started learning about different things regarding technology. Plus there's some good people on this forum so i decided to stick around, and 3000 posts later, here i am :

     

    What’s your occupation ?: My official Job title is "Senior Team Member" which is generic as hell. I work at a fairly large financial institution in a "call centre" department that is specifically for supporting the rest of our staff, mainly the branches, but sometimes we deal with other departments. Basically if the branch doesn't know a process, policy, requirements, guidelines etc, they will generally call us. We're basically Google within our organisation if you could call them up to ask questions and steal less of your information. We don't deal directly with customers.

     

    Biggest fear besides social contact: As cliché as it might be; Death. It's just the uncertainly of it, not the event. How will it happen? When will it happen? What will happen to the loved ones I leave behind? (this being the main one).

     

    You go to the docs, not feeling well. Doc says stage 4 lymph cancer and gives you three months to live. What do you do with the remaining time?how dark. I would probably freak out for the first couple of days, but i would try not to change too much. most people would say "go traveling" or "do <expensive thing>" but i would save as much money as possible so it can all go to my partner after i pass. there isn't really anything that i would say "i have to experience X before i die". i would prepare everything i can so there's nothing my loved ones have to worry about finalising after it. last thing i want to do is give them things that will prolong their mourning.

     

    What's your favourite colour?Depends on the context. But generally it's Blue or Purple

     

    Do you want to pursue your current career, or blow a hole in the side of the dreary office building in which you are imprisoned, hide for a decade, then return to conquer all civilization and impose a new world order?: Honestly, it's probably my co-workers that are the reason I'm staying in the role i'm in. we have a great team and I don't think i'd have the kind of connections I currently do if i went off to do something else. Some days i do wish i could just get up and leave because i deal with a lot of stupid people everyday. But ultimately it's a fairly easy job, laid back enough that i don't get TOO stressed and the pay makes me happy :D

     

  2. I have failed traditional weight loss. Mostly as others due to lack of motivation and commitment. Diet is not horrible, but not great. I never took the initiative to learn to cook as a kid, even though my mom cooked constantly. So when college came around and I was free reign, I didn't take care of myself. It's taken years of mistakes to learn to manage myself better, but damage is done. 

    The reason I'm writing this is two fold. 

    1. If I expose it to criticism, I have to face it head on. I will be dealing with it, thinking about it, seeing reactions if any. Also it will help me keep up with it in general.

    2. I've seen many talk about trying to lose weight and I want to share my experience and hope it helps others

     

    The Current Situation:

    I'm currently 325 lbs and 6' 2.5". I eat far too much meat, cheese and bread, and barely any veggies and fruits. While my height means I'm not too round looking, it is noticeable and between rashes and chaffing and belt imprints, I am feeling the effects. I have 4 kids and don't feel like I can play with them as much as I should.

     

    The Goal:

    Ideally I want to get back to 200, but I'd settle for 220. Breaking the goal down, my first goal is to get under 300, then work from there to 275, and so on.

     

    The Methodology:

    I get bored EASILY. running on a treadmill is very tough to be motivated with. I don't have a lot of time and I have 4 kids at home. Pretty much everything will have to be in house. My current approach is using Beat Saber VR and other vr games whenever I get a rift come tax return. Along with eating healthy, lots of water, and a little pedal that goes under the desk (as soon as I actually remember to take it to work), I hope I can start losing weight slowly but steadily.

    I will try to post the number daily, but I might just do it weekly. I will be describing any significant choices I've made and how things effect me. I don't know if anyone will be reading all this nonsense, but I want to give as much information as possible.

     

    The Conclusion:

    *the thought of doing exercise and being motivated and eating healthy gave Jtalk4456 a stroke*

    The End XD

    Cya tomorrow

    (Don't do drugs, kids!)

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    this totally isn't an idea i stole from rorznz and arika s

     

    ok so basically you guys ask me a question and i'll answer it

    if i don't answer your question chances are i don't feel comfortable answering (i'll only ignore very personal questions)

     

    some info:

    my name is sam

    i'm british

    i like computers

     

  3. Soo to make this more clear, the rants to do with my experiance on multiple places for buying and selling. These include Ebay, LTT classified thread and Facebook/ Direct messeging.

     

    Buying:

    So as a buyer their are things expected of ya, being able to purchase the product, be intrested in the product and be able to communicate with the seller if needed.

     

    As being a buyer on Ebay three times now (positive n Negative) and a buyer here on the LTT forums i tend to be understanding, 

     

    Ebay- first purchase was two monitors going for £55 total, a steal right? Well it was a complicated one. It never arrived the currior never arrived at our door yet it was signed for? I went around my estate and to the area that a GPS would take you to if following it asking if they have recieved a large package sent to this address. Sadly no. Contacted the Seller who said he will contact the currior on this and try to find out. Done what he could so just told me to request the refund and all that would happen is i pay the return fee £12.50 total (could be how he got money without sending an actual package who knows) but lo and behold the same delivery company is seen coming bacl into my estate and stopping infront of one of the houses a retrieving packages.

     

    So this turned out negative as this could have been a fault on the delivery service, lies from neaghbours or just a none existant package.

     

    Purchase other products on ebay (wifi card and GPU) both came with no issue bar the GPU having a coil whine under load (never mentioned in listing). 

     

    LTT Forum:

    So cant say much here dealt with the same person each time who was willing enough to low prices down if reasonable and would keep me up to date on the status of the items along with being a good seller and seeing if they had any other products i would be interested in.

     

    All came in good condition and no hassle what so ever bar name of reciever due to goin to a uni accomodation that wont give parcels to a sibling if it not addressed to them.

     

    Selling:

     

    I have sold two thing that required postage & packaging

     

    One being a halloween costume and the other being a Ps2 bundle.

     

    Halloween costume was odd it got bought, sent and recieved without a single word from the buyer. Bear in mind this is with me informing them on whem it would be posted, and when it was posted so they could expect it soon.

     

    Now the PS2 how ever is a whole different story, bought, sent and recieved with contact to the buyer.

    Answering queries and when they should recieve it.

     

    Item was posted on ebay with everything checked. Controller, Buzzers, Mic, games, eye toy and console. 

     

    Listed with what all was working. (Bar a game that i dunno why i listed)

     

    Got contacted by the buyer that the product was recieved and that some of the games where not reading. 

     

    I responded saying that it could be a problem with the reader lense and suggested cleaning the lense or doing a reset of the disc reader lense with a link to a guide. (Console never had this done before so could have resolved the read disc error)

     

    Got back saying they didnt want to make it worse (assuming they never opened the console or cleaned the lense) and requested a refund.

     

    So before i decided to request the refund i asked for the info of all the discs that where not reading, image of which one are reading and proof. 

     

    Got a response saying that one set of the buzzers aren't working along with the discs.

     

    And later then got a response saying what discs where not working, that a set of buzzers aint working, a usb isnt working and that i had the eye toy pluged into the none working usb port (no photos had any additions plugged in during the listing) and questioned why a guitar hero mic was in it and not a kareoke mic that i had listed (was added at a later date with no cost increase) but thought due to it being a guitar hero mic they thought thatw as the fault with it. 

     

    Now i could he wrong and the console deteriorated during the original post and the purchase of the item.

     

    So it felt off as the refund request came in saying it was not working as hoped and discs not reading or taking long loading times. Then came the response of oh this is not working and then the list of faults along with a fault that i never had with the console since it use and that was the disc tray getting stuck. I have had many consoles, xbox 1(like the first one) the PS2 , xbox 360 and the xbox one. Ony the 360 was the one with disc tray issues.

     

    So ya, currently not havin positive effects with ebay. Anyway if i get it returned and the device isnt working as it left, addditions have been changed or games been swapped out.

     

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    Lately I've been working on a light temporal sampling algorithm that might be able to avoid some aliasing by adjusting the sampling rate. I usually do things like this strictly in MatLab, because it makes it overwhelmingly easy to build and run these kind of simulations, and then explore the results in potentially interactive graphs. But there are a few problems with that approach:

    1. The MatLab IDE is overwhelmingly slow to startup and to compile and run programs on every machine I have ever run it on.
    2. MatLab, while somewhat popular in certain fields, is rather esoteric in that I couldn't share my code widely and expect people to readily understand what it does.
    3. MatLab is rather expensive, at $149 USD initial cost for the "Home" version, $45 USD for additional "toolboxes" (which are just libraries), and a $100 USD yearly fee if you want updates.

     

    So I set out to find a cheaper alternative, with a much wider user base, that includes similar tools and libraries, and is built on a widely known language. Of course, I turned to Python. Problems with the open source community having multiple, disjoint, and sometimes incompatible solutions to the same problems aside, I happened to stumble upon Anaconda and it's repository, an IDE called Spyder (which openly seeks to be similar to MatLab), a group of visualization libraries organized under the PyViz group, and a light and fast IDE for quick experiments; VS Code.

    Well, after retouching my Python skills after years of neglect (version 3.6 was on the horizon the last time I used Python), I installed VS Code and started working on some personal project. Today, while installing Conda to get ready to set up a full environment to replace MatLab, I started reading through their repository listings. In their table of libraries, they have a column for "License". So, after years of refusing to care about license agreements, I did what any person who's waiting on something to install would do: I started reading.

    The BSD 3-clause license

     

    The license, which has the text:

    Spoiler

    Copyright <YEAR> <COPYRIGHT HOLDER>

     

    Redistribution and use in source and binary forms, with or without modification, are permitted provided that the following conditions are met:

     

    1. Redistributions of source code must retain the above copyright notice, this list of conditions and the following disclaimer.

    2. Redistributions in binary form must reproduce the above copyright notice, this list of conditions and the following disclaimer in the documentation and/or other materials provided with the distribution.

    3. Neither the name of the copyright holder nor the names of its contributors may be used to endorse or promote products derived from this software without specific prior written permission.

     

    THIS SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED BY THE COPYRIGHT HOLDERS AND CONTRIBUTORS "AS IS" AND ANY EXPRESS OR IMPLIED WARRANTIES, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE ARE DISCLAIMED. IN NO EVENT SHALL THE COPYRIGHT HOLDER OR CONTRIBUTORS BE LIABLE FOR ANY DIRECT, INDIRECT, INCIDENTAL, SPECIAL, EXEMPLARY, OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES (INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, PROCUREMENT OF SUBSTITUTE GOODS OR SERVICES; LOSS OF USE, DATA, OR PROFITS; OR BUSINESS INTERRUPTION) HOWEVER CAUSED AND ON ANY THEORY OF LIABILITY, WHETHER IN CONTRACT, STRICT LIABILITY, OR TORT (INCLUDING NEGLIGENCE OR OTHERWISE) ARISING IN ANY WAY OUT OF THE USE OF THIS SOFTWARE, EVEN IF ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGE.

    Is a rather common open source license agreement which would allow users of the product to freely distribute it provided that some conditions are met:

    1. Any distribution of source code must also share your license
    2. Any distribution of an executable must also contain the BSD 3-clause.
    3. You cannot claim that the creators of the product endorse your product.

     

    Well, I have a few gripes with this. And some of these gripes are common across many licenses. I'm not sure of the best way to go about stating them, so I'll just list them below.

    1. If you want your code to be actually useful, don't demand that users of your library maintain a list of license agreements for what's presumably sharable software.
    2. The second clause is ambiguous. Does it mean "Your binaries must contain metadata that describes this license", or does it mean that, upon running the executable, a reasonable attempt has been made to inform the user that they are using the product under this license? That ambiguity alone is enough to merit it's own gripe.
      1. If the first, what is the point? Very few people go around downloading executables and then reading the binary files associated with them. This is a useless requirement.
      2. If the latter, that's just conceited. If you expect someone who uses your code in their product to go around advertising you, you will surely be saddened when you find that no useful products use your code.
    3. The third clause is kind of a weird one. Clauses one and two are all about how you are required to give the creators of the software credit in your application. But the third clause is all about how the creators of the software don't want anything to do with your application. Presumably, what this actually means is "If your product is popular and agreed with, I want to be tied to it. But if, on the other hand, your product is a matter of public contention, I would like to be able to distance myself from it."

     

    Which brings me to the major point of this post:

    Sharable software shouldn't be restricted in use. Don't force your users into some ethical contract hidden behind notions of "freely sharing" useful applications.

    For your reference, this is, in my opinion, the only useful license to use on projects that you wish to be usable by others. It is a modified version of the MIT License:

    Quote

    Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person obtaining a copy of this software and associated documentation files (the "Software"), to deal in the Software without restriction, including without limitation the rights to use, copy, modify, merge, publish, distribute, sublicense, and/or sell copies of the Software.

     

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    AluminiumTech
    Latest Entry

    Hi, 

    I've decided to make an AMA in a blog. If you've followed me on LTT for a while you might have known the blogs space exists as I've made blogs in the past :P.

     

    I'm going with a very similar format to  @Arika S except with some minor differences.

     

    I'll post Questions asked and the answers here. 

     

    I will try my best to answer questions that don't reveal too much about my identity although I may not answer some questions if they are too personal.  I will be including a list of questions here if I decide I won't answer them.

     

    You can PM me questions, leave a comment below, leave a question on my profile, or send me a message on Discord (I'm AluminiumTech#4980 on Discord) and I'll include it here. I won't be revealing who asked each question.

     

    You can ask as many questions as you'd like.

    - AluminiumTech

     

    Basic info about me:

    Height: 6'4

    Name: Alastair (That's all you're getting)

    Gender: Male

     

    Questions and Answers:

     

    Question: how are ya doin?

    Answer: I'm doing okay. Thanks for asking. :P

    you've slowed down recently. but there was a time when most of the news subforum was threads created by you. how did you come across so many news stories? do you actively look for them to post here or just stumble into them while just browsing?

    Question: What keeps you engaged and interested in information technology? 

    Answer: For quite a while I've found technology to be really cool although I've not always been super interested in technology. I love to understand how things work and I find new technology really exciting. I also really like to create things and technology enables that.

     

    Question: you've slowed down recently. but there was a time when most of the news subforum was threads created by you. how did you come across so many news stories? do you actively look for them to post here or just stumble into them while just browsing?

    Answer: A lot of it was myself actively looking for in news stories although some of them were just me stumbling upon something whilst browsing and then making a tech news post. Actively looking isn't a bad idea if you want to make a lot of tech news posts but sometimes you have to decide which posts are worth posting because you don't have time to post all the ones you see and also you need to decide what websites to look at when actively checking and check them every so often. I'd say for people on LTT wanting to post frequently in tech news then a mix of both is a good choice.

     

    Questions I won't answer:

    Question: social security and mothers maiden name?

  4. I was gonna do a status update but this started getting sorta long, so...

     

    After watching Paul's review of the case which went into much more detail than other reviews I've seen so far, I drew a strikingly large amount of similarities between this and the Define R6/S2 cases from Fractal (some of my personal favorite cases) with some notable differences. The P600S is basically the Evolv X with (different (IMO better) exterior paneling. Some stats were taken from the Evolv X spec page since the P600S doesnt have an official one yet.

     

     

    Case Comparison
    Feature Define R6 Define S2  Eclipse P600S Notes
    MSRP $150 $150 $150 Price in USD
    Motherboard Max Size E-ATX E-ATX E-ATX  
    360mm rad support Y Y Y  
    420mm rad support Y Y Y Top for Define, Front for P600S
    140mm Rad Variant Motherboard Clearance 35mm 35mm 50mm Max Height of RAM/Mobo heatsinks
    before interference with RAD occurs
    Foam for Silence Y Y Y  
    Side ventilation For airflow Y Y Y  
    Front Openable for Best airflow Y N Y  
    3.5" HDD Support 6 (up to 11) (2) 3 4 (10) (#) is max possible config,
    R6 Optional max is 2
    Dedicated SSD Support 2 (4) 2 (4) 3 (#) is max possible config
    Type A ports (3.0), (2.0) 2, 2 2, 2 2, 0  
    3.1 gen 2 Type C Y Y Y Define series with specific SKU or addon
    Black, Gray, White Color Options Y Y Y  
    5.25" Legacy Bay Y N N  
    Hinged  Side Doors N N Y  
    Fan Hub Incuded Y Y Y  
    Top panel Removable for Airflow Y Y Y  
    Vertical GPU Bracket Included N N Y  
    Vertical GPU Cable Included N N N  
    GPU Anti-Sag Bracket Included N N Y Mounts in rear PCI-E tabs
    mITX dual config support N N Y Not included by default
    Custom Watercool Fill Port Y Y Y Located on top radiator bracket,
    removable
    Custom Watercool Drain Port N N Y Access requires front panel removed
    Good cable management Y Y Y  
    PSU bracket for easy install Y Y Y  
    Full length dust filter (front access) Y Y N  
    PSU Showoff Cutout N N Y Subjective Aesthetic
    Dedicated Reservoir mount N Y N  
    Optional Pump Mount Y Y Y  
    140mm Fans Included 3 3 3  
    Top Panel Air Cover  N N Y For unused air fan/RAD locations

     

    I could have easily gone in further like how both fan controllers can do 4 pwm and 3 DC voltage control, but at this point it's pretty clear that the cases trade blow for blow upon many of the categories. Many of the included accessories were welcome including the included Vertical GPU bracket (I'm not sure if only first party cables will work with this though) and Anti Sag Bracket. We have to praise Phanteks here from learning from their past mistake of making too much of the $200+ case "DLC" (Not including SSD trays? Vert GPU Bracket?)

     

    RGB Not included. Not Sorry.

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  5. Let's start with the most basic of questions when it comes to programming a computer: What is a computer? It seems a silly question for a device we take for granted but it's important to understand what it is if you want to program for one.

     

    To put simply, a computer is a calculating machine. That's it. Its sole purpose is to compute things. A computer need not be electronic either, as there were mechanical calculating machines such as Charles Babbage's Analytical Engine, with even programmable machines around as early as the 19th century. Before the advent of fast calculating machines that we're used to, there were actually teams of people called computers to produce math tables. And much like electronic computers of today, human computers were simply given a set of instructions and were not allowed to deviate from them.

     

    While I won't go into a deep dive into the history of machine computers, even with the advent of fully electronic, then fully digital computers (analog computers were a thing!), the computer's job for a while was primarily to handle computation. Everything from military artillery tables, accounting information, to even predicting who would win the 1952 US presidential election. Eventually this evolved into allowing computers to control machines, instead of showing a value to a human and having them control the machine itself. This was mostly useful in aerospace where many minute inputs in a small period time could often correct either an airplane or spacecraft better than a human could based on feel. But as computers became more powerful, eventually it grew to controlling more things, until finally we have our modern, electronic, digital computer.

  6. A few personal projects I've been working on, mainly just putting together a load of useful functions in python along with the netmiko library to pull specific data from Cisco IOS devices (mainly ISRs and Catalyst, not been designed for Nexus, ASAs, other vendors yet etc..)

     

    I've mainly been testing some open source IPAM solutions such as netbox and PHPIPAM to see if I can do some neat little tricks and I've created a few things for both solutions on the side of my job because I want to expand my programming knowledge (have been doing a lot of python + c# lately)

     

    Here is a basic example to connect to a cisco switch, pull the data into a kind of JSON format to be used when creating a new vlan using Netbox's API + python API module. (Beware, I'm also using a module that I have on github over at https://github.com/BSpendlove/BCPTools (follow the readme to install the library and use some of the basic functions I use in this netbox example)

     

    from pprint import pprint
    from netbox import NetBox
    from BCPTools.BCPTFunctions import bcp_create_session
    from BCPTools.BCPTFunctions import bcp_show_vlans
    
    #Cisco Switch connection details for Netmiko/BCPTools
    
    conn = {
        'device_type': 'cisco_ios',
        'ip': '192.168.1.109',
        'username': 'hume',
        'password': 'cisco',
        'secret': 'cisco'
    }
    
    ##---------------------- NETBOX API Login details ------------------------------##
    myToken = 'mytoken123mytoken123mytoken123mytoken123'
    api_login = NetBox(host='192.168.1.9', port=80, use_ssl=False, auth_token=myToken)
    ##------------------------------------------------------------------------------##
    
    class bcp_vlan_functions(object):
    	def create_vlan_group(self, netbox, name, slug, checkExists=True):
    		if checkExists == True:
    
    			vlan_group = netbox.ipam.get_vlan_groups(name=name)
    
    			if not vlan_group:
    				results = netbox.ipam.create_vlan_group(name=name, slug=slug)
    				return results
    
    			if name in vlan_group[0]['name']:
    				print(name.lower() + " has already been configured as a VLAN Group... checkExist must be False if you would like to create a duplicate VLAN Group...")
    				print("Local Database ID for vlan group: {0} is {1}\n".format(name,str(vlan_group[0]['id'])))
    
    			else:
    				results = netbox.ipam.create_vlan_group(name=name,slug=slug)
    				return results
    
    		else:
    			print("Create vlan function without simple duplication...\n")
    			results = netbox.ipam.create_vlan_group(name=name,slug=slug)
    			return results
    
    	def create_vlan(self, netbox, name, vlanid, groupid):
    		vlan_check = netbox.ipam.get_vlans(name=name)
    
    		if not vlan_check:
    			results = netbox.ipam.create_vlan(vlan_name=name,vid=vlanid,group=groupid)
    			print("VLAN{0} ({1}) has been created...\n".format(vlanid, name))
    			return results
    
    		if name in vlan_check[0]['name']:
    			if not vlan_check[0]['group']:
    				print("VLAN{0} exists in the Netbox Database although is not registered with VLAN Group: {1}... Have not performed any action...\n".format(vlanid, groupid))
    				#netbox.ipam.create_vlan(vlan_name=name,vid=vlanid,group=groupid)
    			elif groupid ==  vlan_check[0]['group']['id']:
    				print("VLAN{0} ({1}) is already configured in VLAN Group: {2}\n".format(vlanid, name, vlan_check[0]['group']['name']))
    
    	def get_vlan_group(self, netbox, vlanname):
    		#Try to use either id or name to filter through VLAN groups, obviously ID is better if you have duplicate vlan group names, but with some common practice, you shouldn't configure 2 sites with the same 'VLAN group name'!!!
    		return netbox.ipam.get_vlan_groups(name=vlanname)
    
    	def save_vlans_to_netbox(self, netbox, groupname):
    		session = bcp_create_session(conn)
    		vlans = bcp_show_vlans(session)
    
    		vlangroup = self.get_vlan_group(netbox, groupname)
    
    		if not vlangroup:
    			print("VLAN Group {0} can not be found...".format(groupname))
    		else:
    			vlangroupid = vlangroup[0]['id']
    
    			for vlan in vlans:
    				self.create_vlan(netbox, vlan['name'], vlan['vlan_id'],vlangroupid)
    
    bcp_vlan_functions().create_vlan_group(api_login,"PYTHON-TEST-NETBOX","python-test-netbox")
    bcp_vlan_functions().save_vlans_to_netbox(api_login, "PYTHON-TEST-NETBOX")

    For example, I have a switch at 192.168.1.109 with the following as the 'show vlan' output:

    W17BS-SW01#show vlan
    
    VLAN Name                             Status    Ports
    ---- -------------------------------- --------- -------------------------------
    1    default                          active    Fa1/0/1, Fa1/0/2, Fa1/0/3
                                                    Fa1/0/4, Fa1/0/6, Fa1/0/7
                                                    Fa1/0/8, Fa1/0/9, Fa1/0/10
                                                    Fa1/0/11, Fa1/0/12, Fa1/0/13
                                                    Fa1/0/14, Fa1/0/15, Fa1/0/16
                                                    Fa1/0/17, Fa1/0/18, Fa1/0/19
                                                    Fa1/0/20, Fa1/0/21, Fa1/0/22
                                                    Fa1/0/23, Fa1/0/24, Gi1/0/1
                                                    Gi1/0/2
    10   IT                               active    Fa1/0/5
    20   ACCOUNTS                         active
    30   SALES                            active
    40   HR                               active
    50   INTERNAL                         active
    100  CAMERAS                          active
    101  GUEST-WIFI                       active
    

    I've amended some interfaces to go in the other vlans so now my function from my BCPTools library on github will return this data as:

    Spoiler

    show vlan - filtered with textfsm logic (regex filtering etc... on a template)

     

    and now from the Netbox point of view:

    image.png.9952fd7d62b4fb8e36c2d79553845d99.png

    after running the netbox function I've created to pull the vlans from a cisco switch, and then use the API to create these vlans in the VLAN group called 'Python-test-netbox':

    (virtualenvironment) brandon@ubuntu:~/brandon_scripts/NETBOX_API_EXAMPLES$ python3 netbox_cisco_switch_vlans.py
    python-test-netbox has already been configured as a VLAN Group... checkExist must be False if you would like to create a duplicate VLAN Group...
    Local Database ID for vlan group: PYTHON-TEST-NETBOX is 7
    
    VLAN1 (default) has been created...
    VLAN10 (IT) has been created...
    VLAN20 (ACCOUNTS) has been created...
    VLAN30 (SALES) has been created...
    VLAN40 (HR) has been created...
    VLAN50 (INTERNAL) has been created...
    VLAN100 (CAMERAS) has been created...
    VLAN101 (GUEST-WIFI) has been created...
    VLAN1002 (fddi-default) has been created...
    VLAN1003 (token-ring-default) has been created...
    VLAN1004 (fddinet-default) has been created...
    VLAN1005 (trnet-default) has been created...
    

    (obviously filtering out VLAN1 and 1002-1005 would be best but this is a just a quick dirty function to show some basics with python automation and networking/inventory purposes)

     

    image.png.3b82ac837e9e0084ec753975a895fb19.png

  7. VegetableStu
    Latest Entry

    I can't think straight today (dumped a page worth of text after going on a tangent on EFI and eGPUs) so I'll just start straight with how to install Windows, OSX, and have one more partition.

     

    Normally it's pretty straightforward to add partitions (not sure why would anyone need to slice a disk into quarters these days with a regular windows PC), but when it comes to Bootcamp's default method of installing windows, partitioning becomes tricky because Windows Disk Management would say that this Master Boot Record disk has run out of partitions and can not add any more. Which it's technically correct despite only having 2 usable partitions out of the theoretical limit of 4 partitions.

     

    Spoilerbox for what I think is going on:

    Spoiler

    I'm going to do my best of making sense of what's explained on the internet here because I'm no computer scientist, so any mistakes in interpretation here are mine alone

     

    disk partition theory is surprisingly hard to research for me o_o especially when it comes to what exactly is in a "GPT Protective" Primary Partition and what makes a Hybrid-MBR partition different from regular GPT (with MBR headers inside by default). The quick summary of the limits of the partition tables:

     

    • Master Boot Record:
      • Maximum of 4 Primary Partitions under Windows' definitions
      • One of the Primary Partitions can be split into multiple logical partitions (that behaves like any regular volume on the user's end)
      • Maximum Capacity of 2.19TB
    • GUID Partition Table (or GPT):
      • Maximum of 128 Primary Partitions (but why would you--)
      • Maximum Capacity of 9.4ZB (roughly 9,400,000,000 TB) (but how would you--)
      • interesting thing is that the header includes an MBR header of the first 4 Primary Partitions

     

    Each OS has a "System Partition" before the actual OS Partition (the C: in Windows and the Macintosh HD for OSX). This is usually not visible from frontend file managers (e.g. File Explorer and Finder)

     

    From https://www.rodsbooks.com/gdisk/booting.html

    Quote

    BIOS-based computers, whether they use MBR or GPT, rely on a boot loader in the first sector of the disk to help get the computer booted. In fact, the first 440 bytes of the MBR data structure are devoted to this boot loader. DOS and Windows place a very simplistic boot loader in this space. Other OSes and third-party utilities enable placing more sophisticated boot loaders in the MBR, although these boot loaders usually rely on multiple stages—the boot loader code loads a secondary boot loader that's located elsewhere, and that boot loader may even load a third stage. In principle, these boot loaders can work just fine when the MBR is in fact a GPT protective MBR. In practice, the boot loader needs to be GPT-aware in order to work. The GRUB 2 boot loader, when used on a GPT disk, works best when you to have a BIOS Boot Partition (GPT fdisk code EF02) on the disk. Most boot loaders, including the patched versions of GRUB Legacy (version 0.97) that include GPT support, don't require a BIOS Boot Partition. If you do need it, the BIOS Boot Partition can be quite small—sometimes as small as 32 KiB, although I've seen reports that some configurations require more space than this—sometimes over 1 MiB. If you align your partitions to 1 MiB boundaries, 1 or 2 MiB is the logical size.

     

    From Microsoft's page about partitioning guidelines on GPT: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/302873/frequently-asked-questions-about-the-guid-partitioning-table-disk-arch

    Quote

    Windows partition requirements:

     

    System partition

    The device must contain a system partition. On GPT drives, this is known as the EFI System Partition, or the ESP. This partition is usually stored on the primary hard drive. The device boots to this partition.

    The minimum size of this partition is 100 MB, and must be formatted using the FAT32 file format.

    This partition is managed by the operating system, and should not contain any other files, including Windows RE tools.

    (...)

    eZp6EWsh.png

    (second row adapted from the internet, but should represent the defaults of a normal windows PC)

     

    When the system starts booting to an OS, the first thing it looks for is not the OS, but this system partition.

     

    How Bootcamp furbishes two OSes, however, is kinda stubborn. Especially when the MBPs earlier than 2013 only gives a Legacy BIOS environment to non-OSX OSes, which only supports booting from MBR disks.

     

    7cYmFEah.png

    And just like that, MBR's 4 Partition Limit reached

    (Pics are from two different screenshots from the internet, but ignoring the capacity numbers this is what it actually is, in terms of what both OSes see)

     

    So when it first boots, it goes to the EFI bootloader meant for OSX (which is more visible when the Mac is booting with Option held down)

    macos-sierra-startup-disk.png

    then to the one meant for Windows.

     

    (also if anyone's wondering whether the first "EFI System Partition" is considered a (Primary) partition:

    OdKGrRm.png

    (yes)

    I've briefly heard of bootloader editing or generating tools, but those are meant for Linux and getting those to work without spoiling the rest is out of my time scope (at the time)

     

    In the direction to force a fix, there are extended partitioning alternatives on MBR, with its Extended Partition and Logical Volumes and whatnot, but OSX (or maybe even GPT-booted Windows?) will not be able to see those "subdivided" partitions if they're on the same disk.

     

    RJLHi0Yh.png

    ... not exactly sure of my interpretation here.

    (Left: OSX can't see the Logical partitions on the MBR; Right: Windows can't see the partitions after the 4th primary partition)

    (a later revision of this writeup would include screenshots of Disk Management and Disk Utility, but I don't think I'll be doing this anytime soon ,_,)

     

    All being said, whatever is being dealt with here, with the term Hybrid-MBR, is considered to be a hack-on-a-hack that, in worst cases, will cause data loss when any system tries to adjust the partition tables without being aware, especially when it involves Logical partitions in the MBR part.

     

    (and here's a rant from the guy who did the GPT fdisk tool: https://www.rodsbooks.com/gdisk/hybrid.html )

     

    So adding a partition for both OSes to be able to access within the single disk in the MBP seems impossible without needing to resort to another disk somehow. But there's a workaround.

     

     

    This is all about the oldest (and plebbiest) MBP to support Mojave (it's a 15" Mid-2012 non-retina), so anything else I can't guarantee that this will help

    (2011 versions could just follow through up to the point of not being able to upgrade to Mojave;

    newer versions after Late-2013 doesn't have to deal with this nonsense)

     

     

    Goal:

    K9jD7IKh.png

    Actually mine this time.

     

    Is this safe? Kinda.

     

    Are there issues? the exFAT partition has had the whole partition go "you need to format this partition before using" in Windows and "this is a RAW partition" in OSX between OSX version upgrades (none since El Capitan though), but this is fixable when running checkdisk in windows on the exFAT drive, so it's not exactly a problem

     

    How reliable is this? I've been on this setup since about 2013(?). With the above caveat, I'd say it's done good for a secondary system.

     

    can something be done about the 128MB holes? I think so? I had to do the partitioning from OSX Lion Recovery (because I forgot to make a Mojave USB install stick) so maybe it might be different when the exFAT disk is partitioned from Disk Management instead?

     

    -------------

    Prerequisites:

    • Windows 7 DVD (path of least resistance here. not going to deal with USB 3 drivers)
    • (Save this to a USB stick) Windows Bootcamp 5.x drivers from here: https://support.apple.com/kb/DL1720?locale=en_US
      https://support.apple.com/HT205016
    • any OSX version already installed, or a Bootable USB installer of the current OSX version if starting from a blank disk
      (internet recovery returns Lion, but it's still doable. just that I'll be installing 
      • side note: if OSX in on an APFS partition due to it being High Sierra or above (Space Sierra), the volume would not be readable in Windows as Apple has not released an APFS partition driver for windows yet (unlike Apple HFS where they do provide a read-only driver in the Bootcamp Installer).
    • A Time Machine Backup or a copy of the OSX volume elsewhere. Better safe than sorry

    For maxing out the OSes:

    • THE LATEST VERSION of the Windows 10 Installer (DVD or just the installer file. we'd be running this in windows anyway)
      get the ISO or whatnot from the Media Creation Tool.
      https://www.microsoft.com/software-download/windows10
      • Don't use an old installer because (from using a 2016-based installer) I've encountered Feature Update failing and messing up the Windows bootloader
      • This assumes you have already activated Windows 7. The Windows 10 installer will ask for a W10 key if it's not activated, unless you have one...
        The reason for not installing from a boot disk/disc is because this MBP does not present the internal disk as an MBR disk for W10 installers, and only does so for a W7 installation environment. Yes it's this kind of old.
    • (Save this to a USB stick) Windows Bootcamp 6.0 drivers from OSX Mojave
      (driver 6.0 is only downloadable through the assistant on Mojave. I tried in High Sierra and the Apple servers refused my connection ,_,)
      start Bootcamp Assistant and go straight to Actions > Download
      NJjeZ.png

     

    Steps for installing Windows 10 is via Windows 7 (I'll explain on the way), so if I were to already have a windows 7 install, I'd still HAVE to run the W10 installer while in W7.

     

    I'll adapt the log from the point when everything started falling into their proper place, but anything I found prior to that I'll add on the way.

    Quote

    For quick reference:

    • If Windows 7 is already installed (and you're looking to upgrade to Windows 10, do not wipe or uninstall W7. Start the W10 installer while in windows.
    • There are multiple ways of going about depending on whether OSX is already installed ("out of the box") or starting from a clean disk. I'll summarise afterwards (with related steps referenced back)

     

    Step 0

    Quote
    • Plan the amount of space for each volume (Windows, exFAT partition, OSX) to roughly occupy before starting.
      (it won't be exact, especially when both OSes present space numbers differently)
      For clarity:
      • Windows volume space: A
      • Storage Partition space: B
      • OSX volume space: C
    • Get Bootcamp Driver 6.0, which currently is only downloadable from Mojave's Boot Camp Assistant. That's for Windows 10
      • I actually got in right at the start before the ensuing mess (you'll see in these indented bullet points)
      • also my first attempt was in High Sierra before upgrading. server refused to download ._.
    • Get Bootcamp Driver 5.1.5621 from here. That's for Windows 7
      https://support.apple.com/kb/DL1720?locale=en_US
      https://support.apple.com/HT205016
      • this isn't exactly necessary, but if you're using the DVD drive for W10 (or just want to use W7) this would be needed
    • Boot into OSX to see if the space it currently occupies can fit in a smaller volume after partitioning
      • It's more or less empty for me since this isn't my house-station (wait, homebase), so this's for the few who use it as one

     

    Step 1

    Quote
    • Power on and hold Command-R untill the Apple logo appears. This will start OSX Recovery.
    • Start Disk Utility from the list of options
    • Split the partitions in 2. match the filesystem of the main OSX disk (shouldn't need to change the filesystem actually)
      Don't apply changes yet, there's a bit more to do
      • If you're working in High Sierra or Mojave, the physical disk hierarchy might be hidden by default. find the View button above the list of volumes and Show All Devices
      • If you're doing this for an APFS partition, it'll ask if you'd like to Partition or quickly add a volume. select Partition and make sure you see the full Pie Chart afterwards
      • If you're doing this on El Capitan and earlier for a HFS+ partition, lucky you ,_,
    • Adjust the second partition to be the target size of the partition (C)
      • Optional step for convenience: rename this volume to something different from the original one. Changing volume names is simple while in OSX
    • Apply!
    • Shut Down. Power on and hold the Option key untill the boot menu appears.
      figure out which was the second one and boot.
      • remember the renaming thing?
    • Check if we're booted from the second volume. Open Disk Utility and see if the second volume's mount point's the root of the system
      GvwCrAZh.png
      (Mount point should just be a / )
      • otherwise, reboot and select the other one
      • or go to System Preferences > Startup Disk and select the right one to restart off
        macos-sierra-system-startup-select.png
      • ... wait actually you could do this while in OSX recovery earlier, so...
    • Check if everything in this partition checks out. if it does, next step!

     

    Step 2

    for OSX Partition C

    Quote
    • Go back to Disk Utility. Partition the first disk into two. Both will be of the FAT32 format
      The partition order should be: Windows FAT32 A , Storage partition FAT32  B , OSX Partition C
      Definitely rename the windows partition to something. Otherwise the Windows installer will give partitions with no names. choosing the wrong one from there would be pretty inconvenient ._. 
      • THIS WILL ERASE WHATEVER'S INSIDE THE FIRST PARTITION. CHECK IF STUFF PARTITION C CHECKS OUT BEFORE GOING TO THIS STEP
      • This is more or less the final form/ratio/spacing/partitioning/whatever of the whole thing, so make peace with this step because this is more or less the setup we'll be living with the rest of the MBP's use life
    • Restart normally. Just as a final check. If Partition C boots properly, this is all for the OSX partition
      • small garden path tangent: I wiped the entire thing (i.e. started from a blank disk) and initially had a Time Machine Backup to recover to. Turns out Mojave's time machine implementation doesn't store a recovery tool to boot off, so I had to go the long way at the end to reinstall Lion first then Mojave, then restore from the time machine ,_,

     

    Step 3

    for Windows Partition A

    Quote

     

    • Power off. Have the Windows 7 DVD ready
    • Power on and hold option. Once the boot menu appears, insert the W7 installer DVD.
      two additional disc options will appear. DO NOT CLICK EFI BOOT. Boot off the other one labeled Windows
    • Follow the instructions normally. Enter the OS key
      • Reminder: the Windows 10 upgrade assumes for the case that Windows 7 is Activated
    • At the disk selection page, select Partition A (or the first obvious large chunk, or the "BOOTCAMP" partition) and click format. This will convert it to an NTFS partition
      • By the way, the W7 installer is seeing an "MBR" disk, but that's the MBP in a legacy BIOS environment
      • There's a whole lot of history of trying to get W7 to work on a Mac EFI ("1.0") environment, but personally I'm pretty far away from these deep low-level hacks and not many seem to have gotten it to work on the MBP I have.
      • Ditto W10, but that's more or less obsolete now
    • Let the installer run.
      It'll restart once so prepare to catch the moment it restarts to remove the DVD
    • Hold Option first to get to boot menu. Then long press the eject key untill the DVD ejects. Then boot Windows
      • for reference: to remove the DVD as the first thing, hold down the eject button on power up untill the MBP spits it out
      • I've had installs where it read from the DVD instead of the half-finished disk, so it restarted the install process again, LOL
      • (just exit the installer and remember to remove the DVD on power up, if that happens)

     

     

     

    After booting to the Windows 7 desktop proper, plug in the Bootcamp driver (the 5.x one) and install it. This is more or less it for using it for Windows 7

    (one more step though: boot to OSX and "Erase" Partition B to exFAT. Then it's done.)

    (and windows update)

     

     

    Step 4

    This is for installing Windows 10 in this loadout. If you have a sane 2-partition 2-OS deal (installed by Bootcamp Assistant's way), run the installer in Windows 7.

    Quote

     

    • Boot to Windows 7. Have the Bootcamp 6.0 driver USB stick ready
      • remember boot menu
    • Copy over the Windows 10 installer. Or insert the Windows 10 DVD
      • If using the DVD, install the bootcamp 5.x driver first
      • my earlier attempts to install Windows 10 were pretty frustrating. First I used an old OEM DVD (2016?) to install it. it was kinda unstable (especially so in the EFI install), and attempts to leap to the most recent feature update (the November 2018 one. Yes it's October 2018 but really) corrupted the windows side of the bootloader ,_,
      • Then I tried doing away with the EFI nonsense and head straight to the Nov-- October update installer. Windows found a GPT disk instead of an MBR one (despite NOT being booted to the EFI installer).
        Made the mistake of wiping it before realising what it was because now the OSX internet recovery installer found an MBR disk and couldn't install ,_,
      • so yeah, that's why. the W10 installer isn't given a proper legacy BIOS environment for the storage part, so installing W10 clean without that roundabout part would be pretty frustrating
    • Run the installer. It'll check if W7 is already activated
      • If W7 just had a fresh install and it's already having a valid key while the installer says it "needs an activated OS" and is asking for a key, quit the installer and find System properties (Control panel > System). click activate online and it should be done
      • Can't help with other methods
    • Follow though. It'll say the 650M might have issues with W10. install anyway.
    • Once it's on the W10 desktop, insert the USB stick and install bootcamp 6.0 drivers

     

    Step 5

    The cleanup, for Storage Partition B

    Quote
    • Test booting to both OSes
    • While in OSX, go ahead and format/erase Partition B to exFAT in Disk Utility
      • I had to install OSX at this part (because earlier above). if done properly OSX recovery will still be able to see an GPT disk and install on it.
      • Also don't use Lion to recover from a Time Machine backup made from a later version of OSX. Definitely not an APFS-formatted one ,_,

     

    And that should be it.

     

    image summary:

    Spoiler

    AbVTRdx.png

     

     

     

    Now after all these mess: how about Linux distros?

    Unfortunately I don't dabble as much in that area to make educated guesses about the partition orders, which is especially frustrating given that OSX seem to not need to have the System Partition next to itself. If the distro can handle Apple's hardware-based EFI handoffs, then the hybrid MBR thing isn't necessary

     

    -------------

     

    There are alternatives to installing an extra partition while in the limits of an MBR partition table. Mostly just avoiding the problem at all, like switching out the DVD drive with a 2.5" disk adapter, or just plain using a USB disk (or a bone-big (micro)SD card (adapter) with an outline shorter than a regular SD card). But the idea of having nothing dangling while still keeping a DVD drive (not used as much today but moreso when I got it) and a quick inbetween partition to move files between OSes (there's only 2 USB3 ports by the way, so losing one to a USB disk would be pretty limited)

     

    there's also subsystem programs like Parallels but realistically that's a yearly recurring thing

     

    -------------

     

    I'm trying to not phrase this as a tutorial but more of a museum piece. Partially because (as mentioned earlier) all this applies to the last Macs that predate UEFI 2.0 and always presented Windows installs with a BIOS-MBR restriction, that's allowed to run macOS Mojave. And once this falls off there's no modern Macs that would really have to deal with this nonsense.

     

    Also because I only recently got to figuring out how to get Windows 10 onto it. Maybe in UEFI, but alas that's not possible. And then afterward I had to rediscover how to go about doing this again.

     

    so yeah. possibly pointless, but here it is.

     

    -------------

    PS: if anyone's looking to match the trackpad direction: look into this link

    https://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows_10-other_settings/reverse-the-scroll-of-mouse/334669c3-8a45-4600-830a-8df628d7415e

    there shouldn't be a need to make new registry DWORDS. there were two that appeared for me, that had both FlipFlopWheel and FlipFlopHScroll off the bat. change both keys from 0 to 1 and restart (if it didn't work, reverse and try the other device)

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    For nothing my Iphone XS Max wouldn't charge, I tried multiple different lighting chargers and even wireless charging but still nothing.

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    CadenBritton27
    Latest Entry

    is this the place i go to enter a video for the building pc videos?

  8. RorzNZ
    Latest Entry

    Always wanted to do an AMA. Am impatient so will do so now. 

     

    Just as in Arika.S' AMA, 3 ways to ask a question:

    1) PM me on here

    2) E-mail me at rorznz@gmail.com

    3) Post as a reply to this Blog entry

     

    All questions are welcome. 

     

    Basics:

    Height; 6'2

    Weight; 85 but trying to lose. 

    Age; 22

    Wherabouts; NZ

     

    Cheers, Rory.

  9. For a long time, there has existed a strange anomaly in the gaming community: The unbalanced and blind perception of Bethesda / ZeniMax as being a 'good-person' developer and publisher. This perception has been held by many of the companies' fans despite all the while the company keeps doing things that contradict that perception. In many ways, Bethesda / ZeniMax have been games industry leaders in scummy, disrespectful, and exploitative lawsuit-happy practices, going back for more than a decade, showing them to be one of the most arrogant and uncontrollably greedy companies in gaming.

     

    So, here is a sobering look at many of Bethesda / ZeniMax' unscrupulous practices and events going back to the companies' earlier years.

     

     

    1.

    The company known today as Bethesda and ZeniMax was formed through some betrayal and back-stabbing.

     

    Julian Le Fay, generally considered the creator of the Elder Scrolls series, directed the first three Elder Scrolls games, Arena, Daggerfall, and Battlespire, and expected to continue working on the series he created with the next game, TES: Morrowind. But, he was sidelined from the project and consequently left the company.

     

    Bethesda's founder, Christopher Weaver, was forced out of his own company after he put up lots of his own money to save the company.

     

    Watch 23:54 - 25:30 in this video for details about those departures:

     

     

    2.

    $2.50 horse armour DLC for Oblivion: This is the historical origin of and precedence for all other nickle-and-diming exploitative DLC practices that have since screwed gamers over. Bethesda was the first pioneer of exploitative and greedy DLC practices. After Bethesda had then gotten public expectations for DLC, a then-new and non-established concept, set at their absolute rock-bottom, many other publishers followed and expanded upon Bethesda's lead with their own exploitative DLC practices.

     

     

    3.

    Bethesda sued Mojang over the use of "Scrolls" as a game title, even after Mojang already volunteered to give up the Scrolls title, and then settled out of court because it became pretty clear that Bethesda was likely going to lose the case.

     

    Notch Offered to Give Up "Scrolls" Trademark, Bethesda Sued Anyway

    Bethesda And Mojang Settle 'Scrolls' Lawsuit

     

     

    4.

    Bethesda intentionally destroyed developer of 2012's Prey 2, Human Head, by starving the studio of resources to force it into a corner where Human Head would feel like they had to sell the studio to Bethesda for a far-below-value price in order to survive. Human Head did not give in to Bethesda, and as a result of having no income from Prey 2 after having spent its resources making Prey 2, couldn't afford to make another big-title game:

     

     

    It has taken from then until now for Human Head to recover enough financially to be able to make a new big-title game. Human Head's first big-title game since 2006's Prey will be Rune: Ragnarok, and I'm guessing that it will release next year.

     

     

    5.

    Bethesda reportedly did the same thing to Arkane Studios

     

    BethesdashostileacquisitionofArkane.png.2e2bdb32db021175b12f4dc921f13dad.png

     

     

    6.

    Suing Facebook and Oculus for $4 billion, trying to get ownership over Oculus technology, while outright losing their original case. The jury awarded $500 million in damages to ZeniMax over breach of NDA, copyright infringement, and false-designation, but all of ZeniMax' original and core claims against Facebook and Oculus were found to be invalid by the court.

     

    ZeniMax awarded $500 million judgment in Oculus lawsuit

     

    Facebook and Oculus are appealing the $500 million verdict: Oculus Vows Appeal of $500 Million Verdict, ZeniMax Threatens Injunction

     

    John Carmack has given a public defence of himself, while suggesting that ZeniMax are liars. He said that ‘The Internet Would Have Viciously Mocked The Analysis’ in the $500 million verdict.

     

    On further appeal, the $500 million verdict was subsequently reduced to $250 million, and then Facebook and ZeniMax settled out of court.

     

     

    7.

    Suing Samsung as an extension of their lawsuit against Facebook and Oculus.

     

    ZeniMax sues Samsung over VR technology in Gear goggles

     

     

    8.

    Suing developer of Kickstarter project "Prey for the Gods" over having the word Prey in their title. The developer opted to simply modify their game's name to "Praey for the Gods" rather than to deal with Bethesda's frivolous lawsuit.

     

    Prey for the Gods changes name to avoid fight with Bethesda's Prey

     

     

    9.

    Turning community mods into a capitalist venture with paid mods and opening their own Bethesda games digital distribution storefront to continue to pursue paid mods after Valve backtracked on having them sold through Steam following public backlash.

     

     

    10.

    If you criticize Bethesda too much on their forums, expect to be banned. The Bethesda forums are like a daycare-centre for toddlers because of draconian moderation. Partial lobotomy and Bethesda fanboyism is required for entrance and staying there.

     

     

    11.

    In a clear violation of the law, Bethesda tried to pretend that it was the law and could stop people from reselling their own game properties and dictate whether a person could list their own unopened games as "new" when reselling them.

     

    Bethesda tried to pull this stunt despite the US Supreme Court and the Court of Justice of the EU both having definitively ruled that people may resell their copyrighted goods without needing any permission from the copyright holder. Bethesda purporting to prohibit people from listing their unopened games a "new" condition would be an instance of the copyright-holder denying the game owner permission to resell that game-owner's own game, and would therefore be a violation of the US Supreme Court and the EU's Court of Justice rulings:

    US Supreme Court Rules People May Resell Copyrighted Goods Without Copyright-Holder's Permission - US Software Association Has a Fit

     

    EU Court Says, Yes, You Can Resell Your Software, Even If The Software Company Says You Can't

     

     

     

    12.

    A whole lot about Fallout '76, which is a dated asset-flip game too buggy for some people to even play:

     

    - The $200 USD Power Armour edition that screwed buyers of it over when Bethesda pulled a bait-and-switch with the advertised canvas bag that was replaced in the actual released product with what basically looks like a crumpled-up garbage bag with no resemblance to the advertised bag.

     

    - The blunt brush-off from Bethesda support admitting that they did pull a bait-and-switch with the canvas bag, and further stated they simply aren't going to do anything about it. Bethesda later apologized for the curtness of the earlier Bethesda support's reply, yet didn't apologize for and didn't offer to fixe what the actual issue was, which is the bait-and-switch of the advertised canvas bag.

     

    - The crap design of the game, which MSRP'd at $60 USD yet plays like a $20 early-access title at its release.

     

    - Refusing to refund the game for people who couldn't play it because it was too broken.

     

    - Completely ludicrous and offensive micro-transaction fees such as charging $18 USD for a single power armour skin just to add some blue-coloured paint to it. Coming from the inventor of nickle-and-diming exploitative and egregiously-priced DLC, though, perhaps nobody should be surprised by this - though they certainly ought to be outraged.

     

    - Insulting upset Power Armour edition purchasers further by offering them a pathetic 500 Atoms ($5 USD) in-game currency for micro-transactions, when that can basically only buy one hairdo model, or two facial tattoos.

     

    - Turning previously-free character customization content from Fallout 4 into nickle-and-diming paid content in Fallout '76

     

     

    Because of all the scandals surrounding Fallout '76, Bethesda has come under investigation for bad business practices.

     

     

    13.

    All-around really bad, just completely mindless game-design, met with low production quality values including what perhaps bugs me the most about Bethesda games: the pisspoor, unintentionally-cringy loopy writing, and the banal quest design - which, in some cases, is also combined with mishandling of lore such as for the Fallout series which Bethesda acquired from Interplay in 2007. And then there is the notorious dumbing-down of their games which I find has resulted in there being hardly anything meaningful left to do in them anymore.

     

    I think it's a reasonable argument to make, to say that Bethesda Games Studios games have traditionally often displayed the lowest production quality values out of the whole AAA games business - in writing, animations, voice-acting, quest design, character models...

     

     

    The Blistering Stupidity of Fallout 3 - a five-part analysis

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Some final thoughts

     

    There might some additional information about other ZeniMax / Bethesda lawsuits in this article: A brief history of Bethesda’s many legal tangles

     

    So, when talking scummy and greedy publishers, I think both history and the present show that ZeniMax / Bethesda is not only ranked up there at the top along with all the worst of publishers in the history of the games industry (whether people think of EA, ActiVision, Ubisoft, Nintendo, or any other publisher), but that Bethesda has even done and is still doing a lot of stuff that's worse than stuff we think of other big publishers as evil for doing. People just haven't been tuning into it.

     

    Bethesda is basically the software developer equivalent of a patent troll: They acquire big idea game IPs from non-Bethesda talent (including TES, since the series creator was separated from it and then left the compnay), and then milk them while progressively squeezing the life out of them as they're dumbed-down closer to oblivion with each successive release.

     

    For all these reasons, I think it's important and very long overdue that people start practising serious cautiousness and discretion when thinking about what Bethesda represents. Through so many years of unbalanced and blind-eye-turning praise, Bethesda fans have enabled and encouraged Bethesda to think of themselves as a lot better and more entitled than they really are by letting everything all go to Bethesda's heads despite Bethesda not really having done things to deserve their historically-positive reputation. And now, Bethesda no longer even cares to simply try to appear be reasonable and decent for the sake of their own reputation.

  10. These are the Final ranks, awards and such will be announced by @palespartan 

     

    Spoiler

    Rank

    Forum Name

    Points

    Week

    Month

    Day Percentage

    Week Percentage

    1

    King Poet

    11664130

    22906829

    249018046

    10.93%

    10.88%

    2

    Tomerrs

    7748558

    15753538

    225872887

    7.26%

    7.49%

    3

    jakkuh_t

    12320682

    25956389

    211812417

    11.55%

    12.33%

    4

    _Rlocke

    7920233

    15923088

    208847141

    7.42%

    7.57%

    5

    Gorgon

    3430508

    6853646

    93214375

    3.22%

    3.26%

    6

    Ben Quigley

    6098167

    12958892

    87366444

    5.72%

    6.16%

    7

    porina

    3143365

    6287530

    80461771

    2.95%

    2.99%

    8

    Cereal5

    3541162

    7213551

    75905416

    3.32%

    3.43%

    9

    Yabdat

    3744684

    7819353

    74217903

    3.51%

    3.72%

    10

    Dissitesuxba11s

    1690092

    3365302

    72961637

    1.58%

    1.60%

    11

    Palespartan

    2342281

    4344119

    60450889

    2.20%

    2.06%

    12

    DUW1G1T

    0

    0

    53657341

    0.00%

    0.00%

    13

    Invaderzim117

    1660326

    2483827

    44520560

    1.56%

    1.18%

    14

    TVwazhere

    1619869

    2900047

    39931137

    1.52%

    1.38%

    15

    D_Newb

    1411361

    2566153

    35485022

    1.32%

    1.22%

    16

    sazrocks

    1419327

    2351471

    33469645

    1.33%

    1.12%

    17

    RollinLower

    1161833

    2230189

    31033362

    1.09%

    1.06%

    18

    Stijnman

    1014481

    2026104

    29144641

    0.95%

    0.96%

    19

    Spotty

    763544

    1501815

    28651950

    0.72%

    0.71%

    20

    Powelljl

    731252

    1482601

    27551195

    0.69%

    0.70%

    21

    cheees

    1096370

    2174840

    27374135

    1.03%

    1.03%

    22

    CagedAnimalz

    0

    0

    25943485

    0.00%

    0.00%

    23

    RAS_3885

    827063

    1689243

    24732559

    0.78%

    0.80%

    24

    shp

    1033697

    2059256

    24621032

    0.97%

    0.98%

    25

    Zoravar

    1392490

    2414175

    23661786

    1.31%

    1.15%

    26

    wONKEyeYEs

    801514

    1743952

    22653528

    0.75%

    0.83%

    27

    sidas

    794513

    1587701

    22302458

    0.74%

    0.75%

    28

    SansVarnic

    747905

    1486323

    22179237

    0.70%

    0.71%

    29

    MillerPanda

    864233

    1823036

    21307692

    0.81%

    0.87%

    30

    Daber97

    726330

    1595822

    20970287

    0.68%

    0.76%

    31

    Khale

    1051560

    2162884

    20836242

    0.99%

    1.03%

    32

    Kiouri

    0

    131767

    20686546

    0.00%

    0.06%

    33

    James

    842010

    1478226

    20301684

    0.79%

    0.70%

    34

    leadeater

    0

    0

    18937719

    0.00%

    0.00%

    35

    willhemmens

    0

    0

    18802326

    0.00%

    0.00%

    36

    TimeTheCat

    803561

    1448420

    18534131

    0.75%

    0.69%

    37

    chssmstr23

    830464

    1521087

    17914328

    0.78%

    0.72%

    38

    suchamoneypit

    590550

    1190428

    17382775

    0.55%

    0.57%

    39

    imreloadin

    521742

    893334

    17292897

    0.49%

    0.42%

    40

    Faster_Speeding

    688025

    1328575

    17238644

    0.64%

    0.63%

    41

    Para Bellum

    0

    23860

    16851576

    0.00%

    0.01%

    42

    Blond

    425309

    952779

    16677253

    0.40%

    0.45%

    43

    Opencircuit74

    289504

    538973

    16196649

    0.27%

    0.26%

    44

    OJTheAviator

    660706

    1178206

    15857110

    0.62%

    0.56%

    45

    FloRolf

    0

    0

    15632184

    0.00%

    0.00%

    46

    skunkmunkey

    946885

    1749893

    14704021

    0.89%

    0.83%

    47

    Garfieldyoulazycat

    1031489

    1330680

    14615506

    0.97%

    0.63%

    48

    DildorTheDecent

    222317

    222317

    14454405

    0.21%

    0.11%

    49

    SubbyDew

    554306

    1100150

    14365798

    0.52%

    0.52%

    50

    ObscureMammal

    524055

    1250136

    14356878

    0.49%

    0.59%

    51

    Gargone77

    646931

    1218648

    14229951

    0.61%

    0.58%

    52

    JoelSalomonsson

    570457

    1168254

    13961537

    0.53%

    0.56%

    53

    Imbellis

    595695

    1043672

    13844858

    0.56%

    0.50%

    54

    Elessog

    703303

    1296747

    13622228

    0.66%

    0.62%

    55

    Metallus97

    515354

    1230408

    13426790

    0.48%

    0.58%

    56

    Wyrd

    205663

    401583

    12741165

    0.19%

    0.19%

    57

    Cyberspirit

    645833

    1257955

    12719398

    0.61%

    0.60%

    58

    Egg-Roll

    509332

    1070722

    12235226

    0.48%

    0.51%

    59

    Kiyometa

    402947

    702789

    11307760

    0.38%

    0.33%

    60

    TheRedFox

    446782

    711406

    10505324

    0.42%

    0.34%

    61

    MiggidyMike

    264347

    717181

    10119501

    0.25%

    0.34%

    62

    NMF666

    259442

    576072

    10044522

    0.24%

    0.27%

    63

    Rusted

    308912

    611655

    9682369

    0.29%

    0.29%

    64

    cTurtle98

    654639

    1061161

    9390997

    0.61%

    0.50%

    65

    sejbas

    0

    133401

    9199756

    0.00%

    0.06%

    66

    blackmage1134

    367659

    682712

    8974710

    0.34%

    0.32%

    67

    gonj

    396287

    815929

    8146093

    0.37%

    0.39%

    68

    MariusOye

    0

    0

    8124342

    0.00%

    0.00%

    69

    staffy

    0

    299794

    7971033

    0.00%

    0.14%

    70

    Wiggitywack

    0

    0

    7934093

    0.00%

    0.00%

    71

    LegendEffects

    399725

    690381

    7930398

    0.37%

    0.33%

    72

    dmynerd78

    0

    0

    7903638

    0.00%

    0.00%

    73

    Razor1320

    0

    0

    7871173

    0.00%

    0.00%

    74

    ShadowForce

    146153

    738585

    7668633

    0.14%

    0.35%

    75

    mark814

    0

    0

    7577004

    0.00%

    0.00%

    76

    Continues

    472933

    904592

    7429459

    0.44%

    0.43%

    77

    Ryan_Vickers

    368441

    368441

    7363523

    0.35%

    0.18%

    78

    Kevi

    176131

    331299

    7163725

    0.17%

    0.16%

    79

    RollTime

    0

    0

    6958320

    0.00%

    0.00%

    80

    Mattias Edeslatt

    402345

    647025

    6775651

    0.38%

    0.31%

    81

    Ishimuro

    571749

    1029015

    6642384

    0.54%

    0.49%

    82

    chupacabra

    320641

    677183

    6510343

    0.30%

    0.32%

    83

    coldhelios

    0

    0

    6420240

    0.00%

    0.00%

    84

    Ziffer777

    314917

    648330

    6368267

    0.30%

    0.31%

    85

    Lemtea

    0

    0

    6271908

    0.00%

    0.00%

    86

    Givingtnt

    307145

    563402

    5982261

    0.29%

    0.27%

    87

    Puntertje

    198025

    489336

    5775278

    0.19%

    0.23%

    88

    oskarha

    160006

    336341

    5671907

    0.15%

    0.16%

    89

    YBPT

    0

    0

    5651694

    0.00%

    0.00%

    90

    Mattyb08

    0

    0

    5513839

    0.00%

    0.00%

    91

    Capau

    0

    0

    5329839

    0.00%

    0.00%

    92

    DatOneLefty

    0

    0

    4655678

    0.00%

    0.00%

    93

    justinquedible

    57728

    169268

    4561755

    0.05%

    0.08%

    94

    TristonTwenty7

    0

    122171

    4296834

    0.00%

    0.06%

    95

    BJOHEI

    132552

    338754

    4138421

    0.12%

    0.16%

    96

    BromTeque

    727244

    758519

    4123126

    0.68%

    0.36%

    97

    Jodaka

    334324

    334324

    4054191

    0.31%

    0.16%

    98

    Mihle

    224216

    433283

    3933238

    0.21%

    0.21%

    99

    Kong7014

    20634

    22115

    3870641

    0.02%

    0.01%

    100

    Owleye_Solo

    273972

    273972

    3724775

    0.26%

    0.13%

    101

    Samnut64

    223610

    407322

    3627802

    0.21%

    0.19%

    102

    Kerradeph

    0

    0

    3521540

    0.00%

    0.00%

    103

    Ockram

    15894

    15894

    3349134

    0.01%

    0.01%

    104

    JessAveryJA

    129928

    276788

    3205952

    0.12%

    0.13%

    105

    Redzuzu

    291

    1912

    3173055

    0.00%

    0.00%

    106

    Shusky

    0

    36731

    3161491

    0.00%

    0.02%

    107

    alex73630

    10592

    17208

    3024278

    0.01%

    0.01%

    108

    Kepi2

    0

    0

    2998336

    0.00%

    0.00%

    109

    seoz

    0

    0

    2712624

    0.00%

    0.00%

    110

    speed_qweef

    180593

    335011

    2511115

    0.17%

    0.16%

    111

    vexeran

    140709

    178410

    2360827

    0.13%

    0.08%

    112

    ethawesomee

    106917

    212569

    2348482

    0.10%

    0.10%

    113

    Auerhahn

    75553

    75553

    2134583

    0.07%

    0.04%

    114

    WhisperingKnickers

    6272

    109642

    1810110

    0.01%

    0.05%

    115

    PandamanNG

    93748

    164826

    1798070

    0.09%

    0.08%

    116

    Esemes16

    0

    0

    1753959

    0.00%

    0.00%

    117

    MaxTheDog73

    80598

    90689

    1705414

    0.08%

    0.04%

    118

    2poreAIR

    62792

    128684

    1652258

    0.06%

    0.06%

    119

    Sparkznz

    0

    50884

    1554553

    0.00%

    0.02%

    120

    Diatorker

    41533

    129909

    1499110

    0.04%

    0.06%

    121

    gabrielquek92

    47787

    138123

    1384581

    0.04%

    0.07%

    122

    Zurkrem

    0

    515

    1352050

    0.00%

    0.00%

    123

    themctipers

    76757

    154533

    1312342

    0.07%

    0.07%

    124

    OrangutanG

    63435

    111422

    1246372

    0.06%

    0.05%

    125

    Scorpion9827

    19598

    43868

    1194971

    0.02%

    0.02%

    126

    kting15

    56585

    66539

    1177548

    0.05%

    0.03%

    127

    FluffyRanger

    4879

    4879

    1157708

    0.00%

    0.00%

    128

    Jake the Fake Jake

    37415

    88174

    1116077

    0.04%

    0.04%

    129

    Java

    98882

    121614

    1050038

    0.09%

    0.06%

    130

    Krosis

    15877

    29535

    991437

    0.01%

    0.01%

    131

    Reecedjc

    73327

    111791

    980233

    0.07%

    0.05%

    132

    RebelChan

    0

    11015

    866596

    0.00%

    0.01%

    133

    FakeGamerGuy

    34826

    57323

    717979

    0.03%

    0.03%

    134

    Fortekko

    22317

    32966

    686049

    0.02%

    0.02%

    135

    PoisonMusic99

    0

    4879

    644501

    0.00%

    0.00%

    136

    kelvinhall05

    27053

    28904

    643691

    0.03%

    0.01%

    137

    James76931

    0

    2200

    636646

    0.00%

    0.00%

    138

    pitoki

    0

    0

    617802

    0.00%

    0.00%

    139

    BlueCrazii

    0

    0

    602906

    0.00%

    0.00%

    140

    Fitsun

    0

    43757

    567395

    0.00%

    0.02%

    141

    zac1atak1

    116162

    191702

    566518

    0.11%

    0.09%

    142

    k-lub

    11965

    28292

    484006

    0.01%

    0.01%

    143

    Tsunoda Acreo

    3771

    12393

    386884

    0.00%

    0.01%

    144

    drthunderball

    0

    17057

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    0.00%

    0.01%

    145

    XikoCat

    3315

    3315

    322321

    0.00%

    0.00%

    146

    bugboy94

    0

    0

    319500

    0.00%

    0.00%

    147

    That_Dutch_Guy

    0

    0

    263730

    0.00%

    0.00%

    148

    FloopeyFlap

    125

    6125

    225375

    0.00%

    0.00%

    149

    Sima214

    2200

    7079

    210863

    0.00%

    0.00%

    150

    BananaInSandals

    2819

    2819

    185910

    0.00%

    0.00%

    151

    flibberdipper

    0

    0

    159628

    0.00%

    0.00%

    152

    Konrad_K

    4544

    7200

    142905

    0.00%

    0.00%

    153

    Joeysa

    0

    6013

    135225

    0.00%

    0.00%

    154

    mrbryo

    843

    5465

    103682

    0.00%

    0.00%

     

     

  11. BitFenix Alchemy Extension Cables

    In this review, I talk about the BitFenix Alchemy Extension Cables, in particular my experience with the cables and the installation process.

  12. Throughout friday of last week and this past weekend, many of you replied and told the truth about why you bought an Android phone.

     

    Today I wanted to consolidate what we learned about why people buy Android Phones and to remind people that Android is awesome and nothing Apple fanboys say can take away from that.

     

    Reasons to buy Android phones:

    * iPhones are too expensive

     

    @Sauron has stated:

    Quote

    I don't like wasting money.

     

    @LordOTaco says:

    Quote

    Price.  I'm not going over $850 for a smartphone.

     

    @Spotty explains:

    Quote

    I'm a very light user when it comes to my phone, and I always buy my phone outright and go with a pre-paid plan, so I wanted a cheaper option for the handset.

     

    @DarkEnergy states:

    Quote

    Because I don't need the latest and greatest overpriced device slightly better than last year just so I can browse reddit all day

     

    * IOS is buggy

     

    @Morgan MLGman writes:

    Quote

    I've used both iPhones and Android devices and I was tired of Apple's iOS, buggy updates and battery issues.

     

    * Customization

     

    @Drak3 explains:

    Quote

    iOS is so simplified that some aspects of it are harder to use effectively.

    The cluttered home screen is hideous.

    iOS's UI has a persistent slightly blurry look.

    iPhones have always had worse reception in Idaho, and LTE speeds are usually slower.

     

    @Bouzoo says:

    Quote

    Let's see:

    1. Far better customization to my liking. Launchers, widgets, skins, you name it. 
    2. I can buy the phone depending on my needs, and get far more in departments that matter to me, for less. 
    3. Open source - more free apps to test, if I like them I pay for them, if they have that option. Also far better community support. 
    4. Much better ROM support, per se. 
    5. Not locked so hard in one ecosystem. Google pushes their stuff, but you can mostly get away with it. So much easier to transfer file with other PCs. Just f****** drag and drop.  
    6. Chargers. I am not kidding. 
    7. Freedom to explore the literally whole phone. 

     

    @D13H4RD2L1V3 states:

    Quote

    I only have one big reason why I've been using Android for all this while, and it's a pretty big one. 

     

    The choice factor. 

     

    What do I mean? 

    • The choice of what features I want 
    • The choice of what type of phone I want
    • The choice of how I want my software UX to look like (mostly Samsung phones) 
    • The choice of whether I want an iPhone wannabee or something different. 

     

    @seon123 says:

    Quote

    But no option has all of that at a similar price point.  

     

    * Because Apple is Evil and Because Apple are dicks

     

    @WereCatf explains:

    Quote

    Because I do not like Apple's products, I do not like their way of trying really frickin' hard to lock you into their stuff only and I do not want someone telling me which apps I am allowed to use

     

    @aki adaki states:

    Quote

    I hate apple as a company, I do not support their practice. 

     

    @PCGuy_5960 says:

    Quote

    I'll tell you why I didn't buy an iPhone

     

    I fckin hate iOS and iTunes. 

     

    * Because Apple doesn't care about what you think or want - It's their way or the highway.

     

    @suicidalfranco writes:

    Quote

    I bought an Android phone because its the only type of smartphone I actually get to own...

    You can't actually own an iPhone

     

    * Because Android is Open

    @AluminiumTech writes:

    Quote

    Android AOSP is Open Source software - I fundamentally dislike proprietary software and if given the choice between something which is open source and something which is propreitary, 9 times out of 10 I would pick the open source choice if it was as good as the proprietary choice.

     

    @GoldenLag explains:

    Quote

    Overall Android was more free and open in terms of Phone selection, Roms, flavors of Android and so fourth. Iphone was nice, but it was lacking in most departments. The iphones had too much of a liniar upgrade path with no branching. Something i was dissatisfied with.

     

    Thanks for participating in last week's discussion! The thread is still open:

     

  13. $500

    PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

    CPU: AMD - Ryzen 3 2200G 3.5GHz Quad-Core Processor  ($98.99 @ SuperBiiz) 
    Motherboard: Gigabyte - B450M DS3H Micro ATX AM4 Motherboard  ($59.99 @ Amazon) 
    Memory: G.Skill - Aegis 8GB (1 x 8GB) DDR4-3000 Memory  ($63.99 @ Newegg) 
    Storage: Seagate - BarraCuda 1TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive  ($44.89 @ OutletPC) 
    Video Card: PowerColor - Radeon RX 570 4GB RED DRAGON Video Card  ($164.98 @ Newegg) 
    Case: Cooler Master - MasterBox Q300L MicroATX Mini Tower Case  ($36.42 @ Amazon) 
    Power Supply: Corsair - CXM 550W 80+ Bronze Certified Semi-Modular ATX Power Supply  ($38.98 @ Newegg) 
    Total: $508.24
    Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
    Generated by PCPartPicker 2018-10-20 14:10 EDT-0400

     

    $1000

    PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

    CPU: AMD - Ryzen 5 2600 3.4GHz 6-Core Processor  ($149.99 @ Amazon) 
    CPU Cooler: ARCTIC - Freezer 33 eSports ONE (Black/White) CPU Cooler  ($31.81 @ Newegg) 
    Motherboard: MSI - B450-A PRO ATX AM4 Motherboard  ($69.99 @ B&H) 
    Memory: G.Skill - Aegis 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR4-3000 Memory  ($114.99 @ Newegg Business) 
    Storage: MyDigitalSSD - BP5e Slim 7 240GB 2.5" Solid State Drive  ($39.99 @ Amazon) 
    Storage: Seagate - Barracuda 2TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive  ($58.89 @ OutletPC) 
    Video Card: Gigabyte - GeForce GTX 1070 Ti 8GB WINDFORCE Video Card  ($359.99 @ Newegg) 
    Case: NZXT - H500 (Black) ATX Mid Tower Case  ($69.99 @ Amazon) 
    Power Supply: Corsair - TXM Gold 550W 80+ Gold Certified Semi-Modular ATX Power Supply  ($43.98 @ Newegg) 
    Total: $939.62
    Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
    Generated by PCPartPicker 2018-10-20 14:17 EDT-0400

     

    $1500

    PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

    CPU: Intel - Core i7-8700 3.2GHz 6-Core Processor  ($309.99 @ Amazon) 
    CPU Cooler: be quiet! - Dark Rock 4 CPU Cooler  ($66.99 @ SuperBiiz) 
    Motherboard: ASRock - B360 Pro4 ATX LGA1151 Motherboard  ($77.33 @ OutletPC) 
    Memory: G.Skill - Aegis 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR4-3000 Memory  ($114.99 @ Newegg Business) 
    Storage: SanDisk - Ultra 3D 250GB 2.5" Solid State Drive  ($53.99 @ Adorama) 
    Storage: Seagate - Barracuda 2TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive  ($58.89 @ OutletPC) 
    Video Card: Zotac - GeForce GTX 1080 Ti 11GB AMP Edition Video Card  ($699.99 @ B&H) 
    Case: NZXT - H500 (Black) ATX Mid Tower Case  ($69.99 @ Amazon) 
    Power Supply: Corsair - TXM Gold 550W 80+ Gold Certified Semi-Modular ATX Power Supply  ($43.98 @ Newegg) 
    Total: $1496.14
    Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
    Generated by PCPartPicker 2018-10-20 14:35 EDT-0400

     

    $2000

    PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant

    CPU: Intel - Core i7-8700K 3.7GHz 6-Core Processor  ($369.99 @ Amazon) 
    CPU Cooler: Corsair - H100i v2 70.7 CFM Liquid CPU Cooler  ($74.99 @ Newegg) 
    Motherboard: ASRock - Z370 Extreme4 ATX LGA1151 Motherboard  ($158.98 @ Newegg) 
    Memory: G.Skill - Ripjaws V Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR4-3000 Memory  ($124.99 @ Newegg) 
    Storage: Crucial - MX500 500GB 2.5" Solid State Drive  ($84.85 @ OutletPC) 
    Storage: Toshiba - X300 5TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive  ($124.98 @ Newegg Business) 
    Video Card: Gigabyte - GeForce GTX 1080 Ti 11GB AORUS Video Card  ($729.99 @ Newegg) 
    Case: Fractal Design - Meshify C Dark TG ATX Mid Tower Case  ($94.98 @ Newegg) 
    Power Supply: Corsair - RMx (2018) 850W 80+ Gold Certified Fully-Modular ATX Power Supply  ($79.99 @ Newegg) 
    Total: $1843.74
    Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
    Generated by PCPartPicker 2018-10-20 14:39 EDT-0400

     

    Questions? Ask below.

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  14.  

     

    Example 1

     

    From Microsoft's documentation Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 10 Telemetry Updates (Diagnostic Tracking).

     

    Under "Microsoft Data Management Service".

    Quote

    The Microsoft Data Management Service routes information to internal cloud storage, where it's compiled into business reports for analysis and research.

     

    Under "Collection".

    Quote

    Only those who can demonstrate a valid business need can access the telemetry info.

     

    Under "Usage".

    Quote

    However, we do share business reports with partners that include aggregated, anonymous telemetry information.

     

    Microsoft isn't its own partner. A partner means a 3rd-party. A business agreement with a 3rd-party means a profitable transaction. What Microsoft is saying, in a sterilized PR manner, is that they sell the data they collect through Windows 10 to whoever has the money to pay for it just like Facebook, Google, Amazon, Twitter, do.

     

    A key difference between Microsoft's harvesting of personal data and those other companies' harvesting of personal data, though, is that Microsoft collects data from people's personally-owned OS environments and activities that those individual Windows 10 owners host and pay for the housing, hardware, software, electricity, maintenance of, whereas the other mentioned companies collect data from online services that each of those companies hosts and pays for the housing, hardware, software, electricity, maintenance, of.

     

     

     

     

    Example 2

     

    From Microsoft's document Configure Windows diagnostic data in your organization, in the "Data use and access" section.

    Quote

    Microsoft may share business reports with OEMs and third party partners

    5b6029435c3fa_MicrosoftsharesbusinessreportswithOEMsand3rd-partypartners.PNG.c11caceffa8a827fd38f606f396b0f5f.PNG

     

     

     

    Example 3

     

    From Microsoft's "privacy statement", in the "Advertising" section.

    Quote

    Microsoft partners with third-party ad companies to help provide some of our advertising services, and we also allow other third-party ad companies to display advertisements on our sites. These third parties may place cookies on your computer and collect data about your online activities across websites or online services.

     

    5b602945600de_Microsoftpartnerswith3rd-partyadcompanies.PNG.42b40f925dccaad95e4d41a255690cf5.PNG

     

     

     

     

    Example 4

     

    From Microsoft's "privacy statement", in the "Reasons We Share Personal Data" section.

    Quote

    We may also disclose personal data as part of a corporate transaction such as a merger or sale of assets.

    5b602944918e8_Microsoftdisclosesdatainsaleofassets.PNG.f9d362b84b5d6c2a5cddc0f81b6e8ea1.PNG

     

     

    If Microsoft opts to think of the personal data that Microsoft has harvested through Windows 10 as theirs to sell (a position I think is legally indefensible and amounting to unjust enrichment), then Microsoft would count that data as their assets. And so, a "sale of assets" as a corporate transaction would describe the sale of collected personal and personally-owned (by the individual Windows 10 instance owners the data is harvested from) data for the sake of Microsoft's profit.

     

     

     

     

    Additional thoughts and resources

     

    While Microsoft claims in one case that the data they share with 3rd-party companies has been made anonymous due to aggregation, it should be noted that Microsoft does not claim the data they share is exclusively anonymous. And in some situations, such as sharing data with law enforcement (which Microsoft states they do elsewhere in the "privacy statement"), it would logically not be anonymous. So, Microsoft hasn't given a clear answer as to how much of the data that it shares is anonymous, and how much isn't, and has only offered that some data which they share has been made anonymous.

     

    It should also be remembered that Microsoft originally claimed that all of the data they collect is anonymous to begin with, but the year-long Dutch DPA investigation revealed that claim to be a lie and that all data harvested by Microsoft is attached with identifiers cataloguing it according to the person, the device, the network, and more that it came from, so that all collected data on each person can form a comprehensive virtual profile of that person:

     

     

    "It turns out that Microsoft’s operating system follows about every step you take on your computer. That results in an intrusive profile of yourself. What does that mean? Do people know about this, do they want this? Microsoft needs to give users a fair opportunity to decide about this themselves." - Wilbert Tomesen, vice-chairman of the Dutch DPA

     

    "In our full report (only available in Dutch unfortunately), we deal extensively with the points of forced install. We also explain why all the telemetry data collected by Microsoft are indeed personal data, and certainly not anonymous, regardless of the view of MS that they would only relate to the system/be 'mere' technical data." - Dutch DPA

     

     

    For more information about how data collected in Windows 10 is tagged according to the type of account that is logged into a Windows 10 session, see this post:

     

     

    An incomplete documentation of the minimum data that Microsoft harvests from all devices running a copy of Windows 10 Home or Pro as of version 1803 of Windows 10 can be viewed on Microsoft's website. Microsoft's website documentation of data that's harvested at the "Basic" setting is revealed to be incomplete when comparing the transmitted data reported by Microsoft's Diagnostic Data Viewer to the data that is documented on Microsoft's website.

     

     

    Microsoft Ad Monetization platform

    7 ways Windows 10 pushes ads at you, and how to stop them

    Windows 10 isn't an operating system, it's an advertising platform

  15. 180713-apple-macbook-pro-2018-malaysia-01.jpg.97c710018b67d6f821fbb2dc4e26c34d.jpg

    Well, that’s not so great.

     

    You might have heard that Apple recently refreshed the MacBook Pros with the new 8th-generation Intel Coffee Lake CPUs, including the top-of-the-line Core i9 8950HK. And you may have also heard that the very same configuration generates so much heat to the point where the MacBook’s chassis and cooling system could simply not handle and resulted in the CPU being unable to maintain base clocks. Obviously, this is quite a big issue and it really begs the question of why Apple decided to offer a $300 option for a better CPU when the chassis and cooling solution may not be up to snuff and can result in performance being worse than the i7 from the 8th and even 7th generation.

     

    But why exactly is fitting such a CPU in a chassis as compact as the MacBook Pro such a risky proposition? It’s a lot to do with space and heat. Let me explain;

     

    To do work, a CPU requires electrical energy, which it receives from the computer’s power supply unit. When it receives electrical energy, the CPU is then able to perform any potential given task, but it also generates heat as a byproduct. The amount of heat generated depends on factors such as workload, utilization, core count, clockspeed and TDP among others, though it is assumed that the higher-end the chip is, the more heat it will generate.

     

    Heat is a form of energy, meaning it cannot be destroyed, only transferred or converted. Heat is transferred in one of 3 ways;

     

    Conduction: Transfer through contact

    Convection: Transfer of heat through motion

    Radiation: Transfer through electromagnetic rays

     

    We’ll be focusing particularly on radiation for this one.

    bestaio-2015-email.jpg.192c1ff3f9d5c927d15e87bef1aa9a82.jpg

    Most computers utilize active cooling, which utilizes fans and heatsinks alongside heatpipes (higher end solutions use liquid or vapor chambers) to whisk heat away from the processor and uses thermal compound between the cooler and processor to improve conductivity. Some laptops also utilize passive cooling, which uses the chassis to aid in cooling. The MacBook Pro for instance, utilizes a mix of both.

     

    However, herein lies the problem with the MacBook Pro with Core i9 alongside other similarly equipped notebooks with a similar form factor like the refreshed Dell XPS15; space.

     

    While these laptops utilize active cooling, not all of that heat is conducted and whisked away by the cooling system. Some amount will be radiated throughout the chassis. Not much of an issue on big desktop replacements and actual desktops due to their large internal volume but in thin machines, there's far less space to radiate that heat, which is why some machines like the aforementioned MacBook Pro and Razer Blade Pro w/ GTX 1080 have very high surface temperatures. This also translates to higher internal temperatures which increases the potential for the CPU to throttle.

    mbp.PNG.dd8e4967cc20f9c5a043164eae8e07ef.PNG

    A double whammy for the MacBook Pro and others like the XPS15 is the choice of cooling system. To recap, the Core I9 8950HK is a high-end 6C 12T CPU which has a 2.9GHz base clock but goes up to 4.8GHz when turbo boosted on single-treaded tasks if power and temperature limits allow. The CPU has a 45W TDP but is also known to consume up to 150W of power when in its boosted state. Obviously, that's a very power-hungry CPU and that also translates into a lot of heat, hence why the CPU is usually seen in big, bulky gaming laptops (and many of those struggle to maintain turbo but can maintain base). It's not uncommon for these laptops alongside some 8750H laptops to gain upgraded cooling systems to aid in whisking heat away, such as the refreshed ASUS RoG STRIX GL line which has a significantly upgraded cooling system to accommodate the beefier CPU.

    ApplicationFrameHost_2018_05_13_12_13_57.png.fe60a74395c498cd041fbb6a178c9ab6.png

    The issue with the MacBook and XPS is that while the cooling system is (barely) adequate to handle a Kaby Lake 4C 8T Core i7 CPU without throttling below base, the cooling solution itself does not appear to have been upgraded for the 6C 12T Coffee Lake parts, especially for the 8950HK. I'm not going to make assumptions here since I probably don't know as much as the engineers who did these, but conventional wisdom would tell me that to handle a CPU that is much more powerful and generates more heat as a consequence, the cooling system should be upgraded to better handle the increased thermal load. Sadly, that doesn't appear to be the case for both the MacBook and XPS especially since the latter has had issues with VRM throttling. It's also worth noting that despite the throttling, the XPS's cooling system is better able to handle the heat load, although the VRM temperatures are still a bit of a concern.

     

    There is one outlier that we haven't talked about yet; liquid metal. In some laptops, applying liquid metal thermal paste can significantly improve temperatures to the point where throttling disappears. The reason why I haven't yet mentioned it is because these laptops are very new and haven't have had LM repasted. There is a chance that LM can improve thermals, but not much info is out there.

     

    Bottom line is this. Thin machines combined with super beefy CPUs will always run into heating issues particularly due to their limited internal volume for better cooling and extra space for heat to radiate. It's one of the reasons why I've kept saying that the whole thinness race should really end if we want these super powerful CPUs to run in laptops without a lot of compromise. The MacBook Pro is already in ultra portable territory when it comes to size and that combined with a power-hungry Core i9 and a cooling system that is unable to keep the fury in check results in a machine that just runs too hot to maintain base.

     

    I don't think an i9 should have been offered in the first place if it was found that it could have throttled to the point of being worse than a last generation product. While I'm all for increased portability, there's a balance to be had and I think Apple (and Dell plus Razer) probably tipped the portability scale a bit too far.

  16. This post contains an analysis of the v2 G-Sync module's features and behavior. This analysis was performed with a Dell S2417DG, but is not intended to be a review of the monitor itself.

     


    Input / Output

    This G-Sync module supports a single DisplayPort 1.2 input and a single HDMI 1.4 input. G-Sync is only supported over DisplayPort.

     

    This monitor supports up to 165 Hz at 2560×1440 through DisplayPort. The timing parameters used by this monitor can be viewed here: https://linustechtips.com/main/gallery/album/4127-dell-s2417dg-edid-and-timing-parameters/

     

    The DisplayPort EDID on this monitor reports a vertical frequency range of 30–165 Hz and a maximum bandwidth of 19.2 Gbit/s (640 Mpx/s with 8 bpc RGB color), just enough for the maximum format (2560×1440 @ 165 Hz 8 bpc RGB), which operates at a pixel rate of 635 Mpx/s, requiring 19.07 Gbit/s of bandwidth (about 88% of the 21.6 Gbit/s provided by the DisplayPort 1.2 interface).

     

    The HDMI EDID reports a vertical frequency range of 24–60 Hz, and a maximum bandwidth of 9.0 Gbit/s (300 Mpx/s with 8 bpc RGB color). This indicates support for around 83% of the 10.2 Gbit/s limit specified by the HDMI 1.4 standard. The maximum format (2560×1440 @ 60 Hz 8 bpc RGB) uses standard CVT-RB timings by default, for a pixel rate of 241.5 Mpx/s and 7.24 Gbit/s bandwidth consumed, about 80% of the monitor's reported maximum.

     

    DisplayPort Behavior

    Unfortunately, the G-Sync module carries the same behavioral flaws that other DisplayPort monitors have. When the monitor is powered down, the operating system considers the display disconnected, and will re-shuffle application windows and icons to the remaining screens. However, this particular monitor has a "Power Saving" option which, when disabled, prevents this behavior. When "Power Saving" is off, the monitor can be powered down without disconnecting from the operating system, and applications will not be moved around. I don't know whether other G-Sync monitors have a similar menu option.

     

    This behavior does not occur with DVI or HDMI (in general, but also including the HDMI port on the G-Sync module), since DVI and HDMI supply a small amount of power from the source to read the sink EDID of the connected device even when it is powered down, which allows the operating system to still recognize the display. DisplayPort does not allow power to be transmitted from source to sink, as the DP_PWR pin is only intended for use by attached devices (such as adapters). Presumably, when the "Power Saving" option on this monitor is disabled, the monitor keeps its internal control chip powered up to some extent even when the monitor is off.

     

    HDMI Limitations

    The HDMI port on the v2 G-Sync module has a flat 60 Hz limit regardless of resolution or bandwidth. While many 144 Hz monitors (particularly older ones) are limited to 60 Hz at full resolution over HDMI, this is usually due to a simple bandwidth limit of the hardware.

     

    For example, in older 1080p 144 Hz monitors like the ASUS VG248QE, the manufacturers chose to implement HDMI controllers that were only capable of up to ≈210 Mpx/s, enough for only 60 Hz at 1080p (with an absolute upper limit of around 85 Hz at 1080p if the user sets custom resolutions). 100+ Hz at 1080p over HDMI was simply not possible on these monitors. However, since it was only a matter of limited bandwidth, higher refresh rates over HDMI could at least be achieved at lower resolutions. Usually something like 720p (which has less than half as many pixels as 1080p) would be enough to get 120 Hz.

     

    However, the G-Sync module seems to have a software restriction which actually enforces a strict 60 Hz limit over HDMI at all resolutions, regardless of bandwidth. The monitor does work at up to 60 Hz at 2560×1440 over HDMI, so it supports at least that much bandwidth, but when attempting higher refresh rates at a lower resolution such as 1080p 120 Hz, 100 Hz, and even 75 Hz, it only results in a black screen despite the fact that 1080p 100 Hz and 75 Hz use less bandwidth than 1440p 60 Hz.

     

    This limitation is not due to GPU scaling as one might suspect (which would scale the image to 1440p prior to transmitting it across the cable, which would mean the transmitted video is always 1440p no matter what resolution is selected, and would therefore be subject to the monitor's maximum refresh frequency for 1440p video, which is 60 Hz when connected via HDMI). Although display-side scaling is not supported over DisplayPort for some mysterious reason, display scaling is supported over HDMI and I made sure it was set when I tested >60 Hz formats.

     

    This is an unfortunate and seemingly needless software restriction.

     


    Can AMD graphics cards run a G-Sync monitor at full refresh rate?

    There has been some concern in the past as to whether G-Sync monitors will be limited to 60 Hz when using AMD graphics cards. Unsurprisingly, there are not very many people with the means to test this, as most people with G-Sync monitors don't have AMD graphics cards laying around or vice versa, and there don't seem to be any reviewers who have seen any reason to test it either (at least to my knowledge).

     

    Fortunately, I have an AMD RX 480 on hand, so I have tested it and found that this monitor (the Dell S2417DG) works perfectly fine up to its maximum overclock of 1440p 165 Hz on AMD cards. G-Sync, of course, is not supported, but there does not appear to be any restriction requiring you to have an NVIDIA graphics card to achieve the full resolution and refresh rate of a G-Sync monitor.

    https://i.imgur.com/EIrj9jN.png

     


    G-Sync Behavior

     

    G-Sync behavior at low frame rates

    G-Sync operates from 0 Hz to the maximum refresh rate of the monitor (in this case, 0–165 Hz). Some people are under the impression that G-Sync has a "minimum range" below which it does not operate, such as 30–165 Hz. This is untrue, and comes from people incorrectly assuming that G-Sync stops operating once the framerate drops below the monitor's physical operating limits. Although monitors do have a minimum refresh frequency, usually around 24–30 Hz, G-Sync does continue to operate below the monitor's physical limit by duplicating frames. This technique is visually indistinguishable from single long frames, so there are no disadvantages caused by this behavior. Using this technique, G-Sync can operate at any framerate below the monitor's maximum refresh frequency, even at extremely low framerates.

     

    I demonstrate this on the S2417DG here, where you can see G-Sync continuing to operate at around 18.5 FPS:

     

    Does G-Sync work through a DisplayPort daisy-chain?

    No. I tested this monitor daisy-chained from a Dell U2414H. The S2417DG was recognized, and worked at up to 1440p 120 Hz (higher refresh rates are not available since it exceeds the bandwidth limitations of DP 1.2 when combined with the 1080p 60 Hz U2414H). However, it was not recognized as a G-Sync monitor, and the G-Sync (and ULMB) options were missing from the NVIDIA control panel.

     

    Does G-Sync work through a DisplayPort MST hub?

    No. I tested this monitor through an Accell K088B-004B two-port DisplayPort 1.2 MST hub. The S2417DG was recognized, and worked at up to 1440p 165 Hz. However, it was not recognized as a G-Sync monitor, and the G-Sync (and ULMB) options were missing from the NVIDIA control panel.

     


    ULMB Behavior

     

    ULMB Overview

    ULMB (Ultra-Low Motion Blur) is NVIDIA's implementation of backlight strobing built in to G-Sync monitors. Backlight strobing is a form of reducing perceived motion blur by eliminating the "sample-and-hold" behavior of LCDs. It makes the screen behave in a manner more similar to CRTs, where the image fades to black shortly after it is drawn. This changes the way that the human eye tracks motion, resulting in less perceived motion blur. Backlight strobing does reduce the maximum brightness of the monitor significantly, since the monitor only spends a fraction of the time illuminated, which reduces the total light output of the monitor.

     

    Similar to PWM brightness control, backlight strobing can cause noticeable flickering if the strobing is done at low frequencies. Usually 85 Hz is the recommended minimum for strobing, which is why 85 Hz was a standard refresh frequency in the days of CRTs, where it seems most people stop noticing flickering at or above that level.

     

    PWM brightness control does not achieve the same effect as backlight strobing because the pulses are not synchronized with the monitor's refresh operations, and PWM brightness control usually operates at a much higher frequency than backlight strobing does.

     

    NVIDIA's backlight strobing implementation, ULMB, is only available at 85 Hz, 100 Hz, and 120 Hz. It cannot be activated at other refresh frequenies. ULMB uses single strobes, so at 85 Hz refresh rate, the backlight strobes at 85 Hz, and so forth.

     

    For technical reasons, ULMB is not compatible with variable refresh technologies like G-Sync. The user must choose between either ULMB or G-Sync, they cannot be used at the same time.

     

    Relationship between ULMB Pulse Width setting and actual pulse width

    Monitors often give settings in unitless quantities. The most universal example of this is the "brightness" setting, which most monitors allow you to adjust between "0" and "100", but with no indication of what these numbers actually represent, other than arbitrary relative values.

     

    Since these settings usually go between 0 and 100, many people use the term "percent" when discussing these settings (i.e. "I set the monitor to 50% brightness"). However, some people will recognize that these numbers do not actually represent a percentage of the maximum setting, otherwise a brightness setting of "0" would leave the monitor completely dark. This being the case, a brightness setting of 50 is not actually half as bright as the 100 setting and so forth; in reality, the setting follows an arbitrary (and in some cases, non-linear) scale which differs from display to display, so it can be informative to measure the actual values of these types of settings.

     

    In this case, the subject of discussion is the ULMB pulse width setting. Naturally, the "100" setting does not equate to a 100% pulse width (which would mean no strobing at all), so I decided to measure the strobe at various settings to determine the actual pulse width, and to see how it reacts when the setting is adjusted. Since ULMB is available at three different refresh frequencies, I performed the tests on all three to see if that affected the behavior too.

     

    The ULMB Pulse Width setting does behave differently at different refresh rates; neither the pulse width nor the duty cycle remains the same. The setting is variable between "10" and "100", in increments of 1. The pulse width responds linearly to the setting, meaning that each decrease of 1 in the setting decreases the pulse width by the same amount every time. When set to 100, the pulse width is twice as long as when set to 50, and ten times as long as when set to 10.

     

    Pulse width is often represented in terms of the duty cycle, which is the pulse width as a percentage of the total period. For example, at 100 Hz a single period would be ¹⁄₁₀₀ seconds or 10 ms. A duty cycle of 20% would mean 20% of that period (2 ms) would be spent with the backlight active, and the remaining 80% (8 ms) would be spent off.

     

    Results:

    • At 120 Hz, the pulse width was configurable between 2.22% (185 µs) at pulse width setting "10", and 22.1% (1.84 ms) at pulse width setting "100".
    • At 100 Hz, the pulse width was configurable between 2.44% (244 µs) at "10", and 24.1% (2.41 ms) at "100".
    • At 85 Hz, the pulse width was configurable between 3.03% (356 µs) at "10" and 30.1% (3.55 ms) at "100".

    Actual measurements at every interval of 10 may be viewed here: https://linustechtips.com/main/gallery/album/4129-dell-s2417dg-ulmb-pulse-width-measurements/

     

    Brightness reduction when using ULMB

    Lowering the strobe duty cycle will reduce the total light output of the monitor, which reduces the overall brightness. Brightness is directly proportional to strobe duty cycle; cutting the duty cycle in half will cut the brightness in half. Since the duty cycle scales linearly with the monitor's ULMB Pulse Width setting, the brightness will also scale linearly with it.

     

    Since the monitor uses DC brightness control, it has a "100% duty cycle" when not in ULMB mode. Activating ULMB will reduce the brightness significantly from the monitor's maximum, since the duty cycle will drop to 30% or less. This is not as much of a problem as it might sound, since the monitor has a powerful backlight capable of excessively high brightness (well over 400 cd/m2), presumably for this exact reason. Even 20% of maximum brightness will be enough for most users, and most people will not have the brightness set anywhere near maximum in normal mode. The monitor also keeps separate brightness settings when switching between normal and ULMB mode.

     

    Can ULMB be used with AMD graphics cards?

    No. The ULMB settings in the monitor's internal menu are greyed out in any situation where the monitor isn't recognized as a G-Sync monitor, including when the monitor is attached to an AMD graphics card. ULMB must be enabled through the NVIDIA control panel, and the monitor will not show up in the NVIDIA control panel unless the monitor is plugged into an NVIDIA graphics card.

     

    Does ULMB work through a DisplayPort daisy-chain?

    No. I tested this monitor daisy-chained from a Dell U2414H. The S2417DG was recognized, and worked at up to 1440p 120 Hz (higher refresh rates are not available since it exceeds the bandwidth limitations of DP 1.2 when combined with the 1080p 60 Hz U2414H). However, it was not recognized as a G-Sync monitor, and the G-Sync (and ULMB) options were missing from the NVIDIA control panel. The ULMB settings were also greyed out in the monitor's internal menu.

     

    Does ULMB work through a DisplayPort MST hub?

    No. I tested this monitor through an Accell K088B-004B two-port DisplayPort 1.2 MST hub. The S2417DG was recognized, and worked at up to 1440p 165 Hz. However, it was not recognized as a G-Sync monitor, and the G-Sync (and ULMB) options were missing from the NVIDIA control panel. The ULMB settings were also greyed out in the monitor's internal menu.

     

  17. Just looked at my new shift at Amazon, and am thinking about applying to either Lowe's or Home Depot for a better shift (with possibly better pay). This would be nice, since those companies might be more flexible with shift hours than Amazon, and that would definitely help with being able to keep a job during the school year. I really would like to have stable income during the year, and leaving Amazon would kinda kill that. If I could get a higher hourly rate from a different company (higher than 12.50 USD/hour), that would also really be beneficial to any future projects I might have. So, I'm looking for a second job, that could (in time) possibly overtake my current job. Risky, but could be rewarding if I pull this off right during the Summer (non-School) months I have left. Gotta send in a few applications to see what happens if I decide to go through with this. Time to see if anyone's still hiring college students in mid-Summer...

     

    On a side-note, the GPU purchase will have to wait until I've saved enough. I get ~100 USD/per week from Amazon (after taxes and other school-based deductions). Another reason to possibly switch jobs.

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