This Week in Computer Hardware 117

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This Week in Computer Hardware
Episode 117


Top of the Show

  • Is it cold in Ohio? (1:00)
  • Playstation Network Outtage (1:35)
  • Samsung v. Apple Lawsuit (2:42)

Hardware News & Reviews

  • EVGA GeForce GTX 460 2WIN (3:17)
    • PC Per. Review: EVGA GeForce GTX 460 2WIN [1]
  • nVidia announces SLI on AMD Chipsets (6:26)
    • About time.
  • Back to the GTX 460 2WIN (7:55)
    • SLI Connector inclusion on the board was a 'mistake', what a disappointment.
    • Allows 'SLI' to be run on a chipset that doesn't support it (bridge chip on board).
    • $50 more expensive than 570 and $70 less than 580, but with performance closer to 580 plus nVidia Surround = Pretty compelling for a $400 budget with a multi-monitor gaming want. But, from a pure dollar perspective it is cheaper to buy two GTX 460s and run them in SLI.
  • Bluray 3D decoding acceleration on AMD Radeon 6770/6750 (12:08)
    • Not exciting.
    • Rebrand launch for 5770/5750 with only this addition.
    • Ryan's Tip: Watch for sales on 5770/5750, they are just as viable if you don't need this feature.
  • nVidia Synergy (15:03)
    • Similar to Lucid's Virtu
      • PC Per. Review: Lucid Virtu GPU Virtualization Software [2]
    • Requires a display connected to the onboard connector.
    • PC Per. News: VIDIA Synergy will offer discrete and integrated GPU support on Sandy Bridge [3]
    • Ryan's Only Question: How will multi-monitor gaming work?
  • Patrick is bummed that Alan was available when he wasn't (for TWiCH 116) (17:35)
    • Last week's episode was choc-full of storage based questions.
    • Alan also recommended a tiny electric screwdriver.
    • Noise of the screwdriver reminded Patrick of a Dremel (TM)
      • Always wear safety goggles kids!
  • Patrick Quotes Chatroom User: Twizzler commented that "I guess we have 3D gaming and they can work on that a bit, but it just seems that graphics haven't improved that much in the last few years" (19:34)
    • (Interesting short discussion follows, h264 decoding, tessellation, console advancement etc.)...
    • Console hardware is "kinda aging" Patrick feels.
  • Netflix Advertisement (22:11)
    • Movie Pick: Full Metal Jacket (1987, Rated R) [4]

E-Mail and Twitter Questions (25:06)

  • E-Mail:, Twitter: @patricknorton & @ryanshrout
  • GPU Budget Question with a twist from Anthony (25:37)
    • Wants to play Portal 2, knows his current system won't.
    • Currently uses integrated graphics.
    • Mid-High Range System on the Leaderboard would be a good start. [5]
    • Again, don't buy parts over a month or more, save your money and then buy it all at once.
    • Recommendation: Low End System would be a little low, but swap the graphics card for a GTX 560 and it should handle Portal 2, and even Battlefield 3 (although not at max setting).
  • Motherboard replacement plan from Scott via E-Mail (31:28)
    • Unlike Jack in TWiCH 115 he returned his B2 motherboard. So he is looking for a new Sandybridge motherboard. Should he stick with P67 or spend more to get one with an nForce 200 to have more PCI Express x16 slots slots for SLI? (why does Sandybridge have so few PCIe lanes?) Is there a cheaper nForce 200 motherboard coming out soon, or do the P67 motherboards have enough oomph with the two x8 PCI Express x8 slots pretending to be x16?
      • x8 lanes is plenty for just two graphics cards, but wait for the Z68 chipsets.
    • Why do we have 1155 and 1156 pin sockets other than to create confusion.
      • The 1156 (Lynfield, Clackdale) and the 1155 (Sandybridge) are different electrically, so they needed to be keyed differently in order to reduce confusion and prevent people from installing them into the wrong motherboard.
  • Working directories on SSD question from Corey Bruce (34:56)
    • Do the working directories have to be on the C partition of the SSD to maximize speed? I have all my programs on the SSD and all working directories on the 7200rpm D drive. Will video encoding be faster using the SSD as working directories. My minimal testing got almost the same frame per second regardless of where the working directories were, is this correct?
      • The testing you did answered your question: you're good to go.
      • More CPU based bottleneck than Storage based.
  • Multi-monitor question from Dave Voyle via Twitter (38:59)
    • Patrick Says: "This is awesome."
    • "I respect your opinions, what do you think of 6 monitor setups?"
    • Samsung MD230x6 Pre-build 6 montior array $3600 [6]
      • @digitalkitty mention by Patrick, for those in the know.
      • Patrick thinks they are cool, but possibly overpriced.
      • Ryan points out that this setup was used in the original demo for nVidia surround, and that it might be the only way to get these particular displays.
      • Patrick and Ryan request that Dave e-mail them with pictures, and information on if his client is happy with the setup.
  • Micro ATX question from Shawn via E-Mail (43:22)
    • Has a water cooled system that he likes taking over to his friends house to show off. However it is "beyond huge". He is considering upgrading his Phenom II 955 to an AMD 'Bulldozer' parts when they come out. What would he be giving up if he upgrades to a Micro ATX instead of a full ATX? He is most concerned about heat dissipation from the board as well as overall speed.
      • You won't be giving up anything that you don't find missing from the spec sheets. Ryan would bet on the fact that there will be plenty of 'Bulldozer' Micro ATX boards with overclocking support.
      • Request for pictures if he does go through with building the custom case around a Micro ATX board.
  • Tablet config question from David (46:37)
    • Are there going to be AMD Fusion chips in convertible PC Tablets?
      • Patrick hopes so.
      • Ryan doesn't know of any, but thinks it makes sense. "There is no reason why they can't do that." "It's a matter of integration."
  • Video editing upgrade question from Ray (51:01)
    • Doing HD video editing non-professionally with Premiere CS5, AMD Phenom II X2, Win 7 x64, 4GB Ram, and wants to invest "not a whole lot of cash" in an upgrade to make the rendering quicker. How much performance increase would a better graphics card, CPU or more memory give?
      • Ryan thinks the bottleneck is currently the CPU. Might be able to move from a dual-core to a 6 core system.
  • Response for: Looking for a NAS option from Bill (57:06)
    • Suggestion for viable alternative that he uses for a file server where he works as well as at home: Free NAS. What he finds most valuable is the ability of the operating system to spin down your drives when not in use. He highly recommends that anyone looking to setup a file server or SAN take a look at [sic] FreeNAS as a solution.
      • FreeNAS [7]
      • Patrick Loves FreeNAS, and is waiting for their pending release because of the new ZFS support.




Production Information

  • Edited by: Alex
  • Notes:
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