Remember Pentium?

posted in: Technology News | 0

intel_logo.pngI remember the days when the word Pentium was the cream of the crop for Intel. Now it sits along side the Celeron as budget CPUs for low cost machines. I didn’t even give the Intel Pentium lineup a glance since the introduction of the Intel Core series of CPUs.

But now, 20 years later, Intel decided to celebrate that classic name with the Intel Pentium G3258. This chip is supposed to be cheap and highly overclockable. It’s also not entirely crippled either.

My first CPU was Cyrix. I had no idea what its frequency was because I didn’t keep it for long. It was quickly exchanged for an Intel Pentium 120 MHz. I think I managed to overclock that to 133 MHz. I didn’t make substantial overclocking gains until I owned the Pentium III 866MHz and several Pentium IV chips.

Oh the memories.

Nowadays, I barely overclock CPUs. I just rely on Intel touted “Turbo Boost” options. I’m not against it, it’s just that most games are not CPU limited, so I focus on overclocking GPUs these days.

I still boot into BIOS/EFI interfaces to check out overclocking options though. I appreciate the advancements we have made. No more DIP switches and no more ambiguous BIOS options to toy with. Now everything is documented and so easy to pull off, your mother can probably overclock.

 

Checkpoint: Haswell Edition

posted in: Editorials & Features | 0

checkpoint-haswell-edition

Reviews of Intel’s 4th generation Core are out and for they are revolutionary as per usual. I’ve stopped caring about large double digit improvements on desktop CPUs since Sandy Bridge’s introduction. It was then that I noticed CPUs were not the primary limiting factor for games; the GPUs are usually the weaker links.

I’m far more concerned with features and power consumption. The lack of overclocking potential doesn’t bother me. I don’t even want the “K” series of chips because they lack features like VT-d which will be invaluable in a virtualization environment. I am planning this Haswell PC becoming my new home server in like 5 year’s time.

A handful of the major computer parts retailers are accepting pre-orders but their prices have inflated over the MSRP by several dollars. I don’t appreciate this kind of gouging. I’m also interested in the Intel Core i5 4670S which is proving difficult to locate early on. Is it not available through retail channels? I may have to settle with the regular Core i5 4670.

Waiting will also give me time to look into the latest mITX motherboards based on Intel’s brand new 8 series chipsets. I hear the first revisions have USB 3.0 issues which should be addressed in July. The issues are not show stoppers but why put up with a known fault?

A few blemishes during this launch but it hasn’t stopped me from wanting to build a new PC around Haswell.

I wrapped up Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon. A review of it should be up by midweek. I’m nearing the end of God of War: Ascension as well. Both games have underwhelmed me in different ways but I feel Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon was far more grating on me.

I started Fire Emblem: Awakening. So far, so good.

 

 

Checkpoint: Overclocking Edition

posted in: Editorials & Features | 0

checkpoint-overclocking-edition

I’ve overclocked my CPU and/or GPU since my first ever computer. Pushing an Intel Core 2 Duo E6400 from 2.13 GHz all the way to 3.2 GHz was a very nice bonus. That was my last major overclock. After I acquired my Intel Core i5 750, I decided it wasn’t worth pushing for GHz since most games didn’t take advantage of it and I wasn’t willing to lose the dynamic varying of clockspeed and voltage that came with a “stock” processor.

I looked into “dynamic overclocking” a couple of years ago but the initial clockspeeds I set it at were not stable and I didn’t want to sink anymore time subjecting my brand new PC to Prime95 tests. Bored and curious I performed another search and found this wonderful “Efficiency” article from Tom’s Hardware. Apparently I was close the last time around.

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HP TouchPad 32GB Impressions

posted in: Gadget Impressions | 0

hp-logoMy brother ordered a HP TouchPad 32GB for $149.99 off HP.ca last month. We had to wait a bit, but it finally arrived on Tuesday.

Obviously for $149.99, it’s not a bad tablet. It has its share of issues (that I’ll get into later), but the bottom line is that I wouldn’t have any regrets if I purchased one for myself.

Where did they hide the speed?

There’s a 1.2 GHz dual core CPU and 1GB of RAM in this tablet, but you wouldn’t know that from using it. Everything is slow. From the UI transitions, to the loading and even the response when typing. WebOS’ performance is spotty at best and terrible at its worst.

We had to tweak it and overclock it just to get it to a respectable level. If only there’s more we can do to get it iOS speeds.

Browsing is respectable

The web browser reminds me of a desktop browser which is the best compliment you can give a “mobile” device. I’m not directed to mobile sites and Flash works. In fact, it works surprisingly well on sites like YouTube. 720p video actually runs smoothly on the TouchPad unlike with that Dell Mini 9 netbook that I had.

The downsides? Performance and an overly aggressive cache system which requires me to manually refresh pages to get the latest site.

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