Gadget Finder

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Swine Flu?

Maaaaaaaaaaan....... I've gone through just about the worst week of my life! It all started with a thumping headache 2 Sunday's ago. It was so intense I thought my head was gonna explode. It then developed into fever and massive pain in the joints on Monday. On Tuesday it got even worse. While having the continuous headache, fever and pain in the joints, I started to get diorrhea and nausea. I tell you, it was the most titanic shit of my life. LOL.

With all those symptoms developing I really thought I had the Swine Flu. General advice for Swine Flu is to wait for 2 days to see if you have all the above symptoms. That's what I did. Off I went to see my family physician on Wednesday and I was diagnosed to be suffering from a stomach virus. Phewwwwww..... what relief, it was really good news despite all the pain I was in. I was really worried that I would pass on the flu to my kids if it was indeed the dreaded Swine Flu.

Even with medication I continued to suffer from diorrhea and nausea for a few more days right up to Saturday before I started feeling better. I finally felt ok yesterday but I was sooooo weak by then after not having proper food for a week. Anyway, I'm happy to be back at last as I have lotsa stuff to write about. Most importantly, I've been looking forward to reviewing the Silverstone RV02 case and also doing a shootout between the Thermalright IFX14 and Corsair H50 CPU cooling systems.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Mac Mac Mac!

I've always wanted a Mac. Problem is........ I'm a gamer at heart and the Mac is no good at it. Or else I would have bought a Mac a looooooong time ago. I'm a big fan of Apple and love everything Apple. I've got a few iPods, iPhone, 30" Apple Cinema Display and 20" Apple Cinema Display. Only thing missing is an actual Mac computer. So here it is at long last.

I found a really good deal recently and brought this beauty home. It's a Powermac G5. I know it's not the latest tech and all but it suits my purpose well. It will be used only for internet duties and picture editing. I will be setting this up as a 2nd computer at my workstation. I needed to set this up as my PC is always being stripped down for new parts installs and also parts reviews. So the new set up with the Mac will allow me to continue working while my PC is being worked on. I don't like working on the laptop as I'm so used to my huge 30" LCD. Working on the small laptop screen takes me ages with the photo editing and stuff.

While I was setting up the new workstation, I needed to upgrade the Mac with some new RAM and a bigger, faster HDD. I bought some other stuff too, while shopping for the RAM and HDD. I also just received the Swiftech H20 kit to replace my previous kit that was damaged at the recent PC Fair. While shopping, I was shocked at how cheap LCDs have become. I didn't realise just how ridiculously cheap they've become and decided that I needed a new 24" LCD simply because it was so cheap. LOL. Anyway, here's the stuff I just got.

After spending a few days refurbishing the Mac and setting up my new workstation, it's almost done. Still a lil messy and lots of work left to do with the wire management. I'm happy with it for now as the PC has already been removed and I'm still able to do my work with the Mac installed and running. Here's a pic of the messy workstation for now.

Well, I'm a happy man right now. The Powermac G5 is running like a dream and I'm still learning my way around Mac OSX but so far I'm loving it. Mac OSX Leopard really rocks! Microsoft really needs to learn a thing or two from Apple's OS. That new 24" LCD I just bought is pretty awesome too. So much LCD for so little money! I'll be doing a photo shoot and quick run through of the new LCD later on so be sure to come back and check it out if you're interested in the AOC 2434PW.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Adidas Boost

Yay! It's been a while since I had heart surgery. Doc says it's ok for me to start getting fit again. I've gained 4-5 kilos since the surgery and I'm really not happy about it. Being a former athlete who loves the outdoors and extreme sports, not being able to do all that has really been a downer.

Funny thing is, I actually went Bungy jumping a few months after my heart surgery. I really wasn't thinking at the time. My doctor gave me an earful when I told him I went bungy jumping. I wasn't even supposed to go jogging let alone something that gets the adrenaline going and the heart pumping like mad. Doc says I could have died doing the bungy jump! Oh well, I did it and survived so I guess doc did a great job. :) Here's the death defying jump that could have killed me. LOL

Anyway, back to the subject of Adidas Boost. Now that I can start getting fit again, I went out to buy myself a nice pair of jogging shoes. Being a gadget freak, normal looking shoes just won't do. I want a pair of shoes that looks high tech,looks good and performs great. So I went to the nearest Adidas shop to look around for a pair. The Adidas Boost instantly attracted me. It had a really high tech kinda look with it's energy return system. So I tried it on, felt comfy, took it home.

Here's how it looks like. The top is made of a fabric that Adidas calls air mesh. It really works and keeps the feet nice and cool. I actually felt the air coming through on every stride. Good stuff.

This is the so called energy return system. Adidas calls it "Boost". It's some kinda special plastic that absorbs shock really well while being able to return energy into the next stride. Because it's hollow, it also saves weight and keeps the shoe light.

Look carefully through the Boost system and you'll see the extra cushioning in the center section. That blue thing in the middle is injection molded EVA foam. The upper part of the Boost system is a nice heel cup for good support too.

Rear view of the shoe.

The sole is made of adiWEAR. It's a hard wearing rubber formulation unique to Adidas. I sure hope that adiWEAR does it's job as I'm gonna really use this shoe to the max on my journey back to full fitness. Hopefully it will last at least 6 months of jogging every other day. Being so expensive, it bloody well last 6 months. LOL.

How does the shoe perform? Well, I really have no idea as I only lasted 30 minutes on my 1st jogging session 2 days back. I'm still recovering from sore legs and muscles now. Being inactive sure takes it's toll. I guess I'll hafta take it slow and easy now. I'm sure I'll appreciate my Adidas Boost when I get back into my regular jogging routine.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Fixing Dark Knight for KL PC Fair

Here's the work staring at me for Saturday morning. I had to make sure everything was nice and dry, install it all back, check that it all works properly and have it transported back to the PC Fair in the evening. Pheeeeeeeeeew. That's a whole lotta work for 1 day eh?

Water block unit and rams removed for drying overnight.

Now that the water cooling system is out of commission, I had to turn to my trusty Thermalright IFX14 to save the day.

I decided to do some mambo jumbo and turn into a black IFX14 to match the Dark theme.

Voila! A special edition black IFX14. Hehe. Don't try this at home ya. There's a whole lot of preparation work involved. Simply spraying it on is gonna result in lotsa paint peeling off later on. Wanna know how it's done? I can tell you but then I'd hafta kill you after that. Let's just say it's my secret recipe. Hehehe.

I can't use the HR10 backside cooler in the Raven 1. There's no space to fit in in. Soooooooo..... let's just chop it off. Again, I don't recommend anyone to do this. Chopping up a rm300 cooler is not for the faint hearted. LOL

Ready with the cutterrrrrrr...........

GO GO GO. Chop Chop Chop

Off with it's head!

After the beheading, I proceeded to install the backplate and then the IFX14 back onto the mobo. Here it is sitting pretty on the mobo ready for testing to see if everything survived the Amazonian flood yesterday.

10, 9, 8.......3, 2, 1 BOOOOOOOT!

Phewwwwww, thank the god of electronics that everything survived the Amazonian flood.

Time for everything to go back into the Raven for 1 last boot to make sure everything works fine and it's back to the PC Fair we goooooooo.

Everything worked fine and Dark Knight got back to the PC Fair at about 5pm on Saturday. I didn't even have time to go get some stuff for myself. I was too tired on Saturday. So I went home after making sure everything was good at the Silverstone booth. My gadget shopping would have to be postponed to Sunday. :)

KL PC Fair August 2009

Wow! The recently concluded PC Fair has got to be the most hectic weekend I've had in recent memory. I didn't get to sleep for 48 hours! I had spent a few days prior to the Pc Fair preparing my PC called Project Dark Knight for the Silverstone booth.

Everything was done in time and Dark Knight was delivered to the Silverstone booth on Friday. I arrived at the booth at about 1pm. Took a quick look inside the case to make sure the water cooling system was ok and survived the transportation. Everything looked good with no leaks, I then plugged it in and turned on the PC.

Here's Project Dark Knight at the booth before it started leaking.

Lo and behold it sprang a leak a few minutes after booting up the rig. :( The visual checks didn't show any leaks because there was no water pressure from the pump. The pump in my kit is a Swiftech MCP350 and that pump is known for it's high pressure. I took a look inside and found that the leak was from the Apogee Drive block and pump unit. It was leaking from the corners of the block where the CPU socket mounts are located. Arghhhhhhhhhh! Looks like it didn't survive the transportation after all. I quickly turned off the PC and wiped up all the coolant with lotsa paper towels. I was hoping that with the pump switched off, it would stop leaking so that I could leave the PC there for show until Sunday night when the PC Fair ends. It wouldn't stop leaking though. It kept dripping coolant onto my RAMs that were located right below the CPU socket. :( After a few hours of trying, I decided to take the rig home. Such a dissapointing end to the day. I know the block was ok before arriving at the fair as it is my daily use rig and it was running fine right up to the time I unplugged everything and packed it for transportation.

Anyway.............. I took it home and proceeded to strip everything out so I can dry out all the components. I was praying hard that everything survived although I was pretty sure nothing was damaged. I use only non conductive fluid for my system which is good but as we all know, even a non conducting fluid starts to conduct after a while due to contamination in the loop. I stripped out everything and left them all in front of a table fan blasting at full speed for the whole night. I then crashed out for the night. I was totally and utterly EXHAUSTED! Anyway, I'll get on to the PC Fair report now. If you're interested to see Dark Knight being fixed for the next day's action please proceed to Page 2.

OK.......... moving on to the PC Fair. I'll be focussing on my sponsors booths only ya. Please forgive the biased coverage. Hehehe. I'll start with the Silverstone booth.

Silverstone is Custom PC magazine's favorite chassis.

I only managed to get Dark Knight back to the Silverstone booth on Saturday at about 5pm.

Tadaaaaaaaaaaaaa! The unveiling of the Silverstone RV02 also known as the Raven 2. Silverstone HQ in Taiwan has granted us Malaysian's a massive privilege. The Raven 2 has not been shown before except at the recently concluded Computex in Taiwan. I will be building my PC in this new Raven after the PC Fair.

Here are some of the other Silverstone casings at the booth.

Some of the accessories.

Moving on to the steelseries booth. Here's my favorite banner at the PC Fair.

They even have a nice PC that matches the color of the banner. A nice bright orange rig. It's an Acer Predator.

A closer look at the lovely Predator.

The steelseries mousepad section

Steelseries sound section

Next up is the Edifier speakers booth for some Boom Boom Boom. Sorry guys, I only took 2 pictures here coz the sound is just a little too loud for my liking. The Boom Boom Boom was giving me a pounding headache. LOL

Andddddddddddd............... that concludes my report on the most hectic PC Fair I've ever attended. Here's looking forward to a more serene PC Fair in the next quarter. Hehehe.

Page 2- Fixing Dark Knight

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Corsair H50 vs TRUE

I've been cracking my head over what to do with my PC cooling. I was using a Swiftech H2O Compact 120 previously and I was very happy with the performance and temperatures it provided for my overclocked Q6600. My Q6600 is only moderately overclocked to 3ghz so I don't really need a super custom water cooling set up. The Swiftech H2O Compact 120 kept my Q6600 at a very nice temperature of about 45C under full load with room temperature of about 30C. All I did was modify it to use clear vinyl 3/8" tubes and an externally mounted radiator. The Apogee Drive block has cracked though. It got damaged at the recent KL PC Fair. :( I'm pretty sad about this as I really liked the Swiftech Compact kit with the simple mods I did to it. It was a nice and simple system which kept my CPU adequately cool.

I'm now using a Thermalright IFX 14 while deciding on a new cooling system. Just in case you're wondering, the IFX 14 performs about the same as the Swiftech H20 kit. They both peak at about 45C under full load. What I really don't like is the size and noise of the IFX 14. I have to run the 120x38mm fan at full speed of 2200rpm where as the Swiftech kit was running the same fan at only about 1500rpm. The gigantic proportions of the IFX14 also creates another problem. Extremely hot Northbridge and PWM temperatures. I can't use the fans that come with my motherboard on the Northbridge and PWM heatpipe radiators because the IFX14 blocks off just about everything in there.

So I started looking around at some really nice water cooling set ups like an MCP350 with XSPC mod top, MCR 320 rad, GTZ block. That should be a really good set up with low noise and super cool temps. Then I started thinking really hard about whether I can justtify spending so much money on such a system. It's gonna cost a whole lot of money if I went ahead with that set up. The main reason is, I don't really need such a set up for a Q6600 running at only 3ghz.

Then I thought about getting a TRUE as it cools really well and it's a lot smaller than the IFX14. It should allow me to install fans on the motherboard heatpipes. Problem is that the TRUE needs even noisier fans than the IFX14 and I hate noisy PCs.

Finally, I thought about the Corsair H50 which was shown at the recent Computex. It's a nice and compact system. It will take only a few minutes to install and needs no maintenance. That's a major factor right there.... no maintenance. I hate messing about with water cooling systems due to the maintenance aspect of it. I want a reliable, simple and maintenance free water cooling system. So, should I get the Corsair H50 or a Black Edition TRUE? I've been reading up on reviews the whole night and it seems to beat the TRUE upside down and it does so with a lot less noise too.

Here's a really funny video of Corsair testing the H50 vs TRUE. H50 kicks the pants off the TRUE and they call it Brand X cooler. LOL.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Project Dark Knight: Silverstone RV01 mod

Project Dark Knight will be updated soon after the unveiling at the KL PC Fair.