I admit that one of the criteria of buying a laptop was that is must have a dedicated graphics card because I’m do like to play a bit of Left 4 Dead. Unfortunately for me I chose one with a combo of Intel 4000 and Radeon which dynamically switches depending upon the application executed. I say unfortunately because it doesn’t work with Left 4 Dead. In my attempts to force it to work I created an Application Profile in ATI Catalyst Center (CC). Having second thoughts I decided to delete the project…BANG. CC crashed. Restarted app, rebooted, re-installed…crash, crash, crash. The solution was to into you user profile /AppData/Local/ATI/ACE and rename ACE to ACEold (or something). Happy CC again. No idea what the exact issue is, but it did the trick. I hope this helps prevent anyone else losing an hour to head-scratching.
How can you tell if your USB devices are plugged into a USB2 port?
Ok my machine is behind the times, but still it’s important to know if you’ve plugged your USB2 device into a poor USB1 port. Apart from getting a warning about ‘your device could perform faster’ how can you tell?
- First off launch ‘Device Manager’, typically found in Control Panel or if you’re Win7+ just Start->type in ‘Device Manager’
- Open the Universal Serial Bus Controllers
- Look for ‘USB2 Enhanced Host Controller’ (or better) to see what type of hubs your machine supports.
- Now open each of the ‘USB Root Hub’ nodes until you find the ones using the USB2 Enhanced Host
- Now look at the Power tab and you’ll see which devices are attached
It’s not as nice as you might like, but it’s one way to see if you are using the correct hubs, it’s also a good way to avoid putting USB1 devices onto a USB2 hub too.
Windows 7 64bit, sharing Canon printer with 32bit clients
> system do the following.
> Click Start >> Control Panel >> Hardware and Sound >> Printers
> Click on Add a printer
> Select Add a local printer
> Create a new port >> Local Port >> Click on Next
> Enter the port name for the network printer (i.e. \\Computer Name\Printer
> Select the printer from the list
> Continue until the printer is installed.
> Other operating systems
> Find the Add printer wizard and do exactly the same method as for Vista.
> With any luck your printer will already have printer drivers included with
> Vista and obtaining drivers for other operating systems if they are missing
> should not be a problem.
New graphics card
My ageing 6800GT was starting to struggle so I decided it was about time to upgrade. The current choices of cards are bewildering but I finally decided upon a 8800GT cause the price mark is pretty cheap and they provide a decent frame-rate given the fairly old system it’s going into. However, there are two problems (for me) with the 8800GT; 1. Noisy 2. Pumps heat into the inside of the box. So after a bit of a search I discovered the Gainward GeForce Bliss 8800GT 512MB Golden Sample. It’s got a bit of factory overclocking (nice), it’s a dual slot (so pumps heat outside of the box) which is fine for me since I only have one 16x slot, and it’s got it’s own cooler which makes it very quiet. Installing it was pretty easy although the dual face plate was a little deeper than normal which caused it to hit my cases face-plate holder. Luckily as I was scratch my head wondering how to solve the problem it slipped into place. So how does it run?
Under Vista 32-bit it didn’t realise what the card was until I downloaded the latest nVidia drivers, restarted and all was fine. In fact the same thing happened on my XP boot as well. So the installation was pretty easy. Performance? Well I’m not one that’s bothered about playing things with every setting switched so UT2008 and COD4 looked better, UT had more fun bits enabled and was far less Lego like. The big difference was with Clive Barker’s Jericho which was an absolute one legged dog on the 6800 but fine on 8800, in fact there is so much graphic effects going on that I found it difficult to actually see what was going on!
So for £110 I can only recommend it for someone wanting to upgrade their medium gaming rig. Plus it comes with Lara Croft Anniversary…although she normally makes my blood boil…to quote Spaced, "can’t shoot straight you big t*tted b*tch".
Kick it! | DZone it! | del.icio.us
Hard Disk noise
SATA II (SATA-2) cable
Western Digital MyBook Premium
- Ok price per GB
- Use an external (or rather non-bus) power supply so it won’t suck the juice from a laptop or (more importantly) won’t require a USB port to itself
- Understands when the host machine is on and off and acts accordingly
- Quiet to run
- Doesn’t look ugly
I plumped for the Premium rather than the Express because of it’s "Capacity Gauge" – a little coloured ring that shows how full (or not) it is. They also do a Pro but that seems more about connectivity.
So how is it? Well first impressions are pretty good. I plugged into both USB and Firewire without any problem, which is great ’cause I’ve got lots of USB devices and no Firewire so it won’t take another devices place on the hub. It’s not the fastest drive in the world and the backup software was frankly odd to use. It seems to run in one of two modes; a) All documents/pictures/music etc – it will scan all the folders on the drives you tell it b) You tell me what folder to backup. I’d really want a combination of the two but there you go. Plus it took about 5-6 hours to backup the documents I requested but only seemed to take about 30 mins to manually copy the files over. So I’ve gone back to simply copying the files I want to the drive. OK I won’t be able to do incremental backups but I’ve always been wary of those.
Is it noisy? No actually it’s pretty quiet and will shut itself down when not in use so I’m very pleased with that. It does vibrate when sitting on my desk but putting a magazine under it was enough to stop that, so that says more about the quality of my desk than the drive! It also stays pretty cool so environmentally very good.
So it’s all rosy? Not quite, the reason for me upgrading to a premium doesn’t seem to work – the capacity ring. I’ve gone through the KB and uninstalled/reinstalled but nothing has convinced it to start working. I’ve posted to WD so I’ll see what their support is like.
Over a week has passed and I’ve not received a single response from WD. So I’ve sent yet another "Question" to them. So far I’m not very impressed with their support team. I’ve also connected the MyBook to another PC and still no joy viewing the capacity.
Guess what, still no response. To be honest I’m pretty disgusted with them. Well I’ll give them another few days but so far I can’t honestly recommend buying any WD disk if this is the level of service you can expect.
Wake Up On Lan
- You first need to discover the MAC address of the network card in question. To do this I ran a command window on the target machine and entered "IPCONFIG /ALL". Note down the address of the card, it’s not the IP address but a series of hex numbers normally "-" separated.
- Ensure the machine’s BIOS is configured to accept WOL. This usually requires rebooting your machine and going into the "setup" for the BIOS. Locate your network settings and ensure that WOL is enabled. Note that on some systems you can have conflicting settings. So Wake Up from Hibernation settings often conflict, see you BIOS/Motherboard settings for more details.
- Switch your machine off and run MC-WOL from another machine.
This should work, however there are a number of gotcha’s.
- Firewalls. I only use this via a LAN or VPN so I’ve not had this problem but for sensible reasons a firewall can get in the way of your call. This is good news since you don’t want people on the internet starting your machines up.
- "Soft" and "Hard" shutdowns. This was the first time I’d come across this concept. You can shut a machine down in two different ways. For example, pressing Shutdown in Windows produces a Soft shutdown and the machine can normally be woken up. Hold the power button and switching the machine off results in a Hard shutdown and it won’t wake up. This is annoying since the reason you want to wake a machine might be because someone’s turned it off or ’cause of power cut, et al.
- Operating System settings. The BIOS changes aren’t always enough. Sometimes you have to go into Hardware Manager, select the network card and look at its settings. My cards have "Use Magic Number" or "Enable WOL". As you see there doesn’t seem to be a standard so look for something that sounds like Wake Up…not great instructions but there you go.