MINERVA: Metastasis 3 Released!

Download here, and if you use BitTorrent, please be sure to seed! That brings me to my next topic: how Comcast is messing with BitTorrent traffic! Since I tend to be at Mom’s and subsequently using my much-more-dependable DSL service, I had only been reading about it up until now. Comcast is actively spoofing reset packets to BitTorrent seeds and the peers they attempt to connect with. This means seeding is impossible. Seconds in to establishing a connection, it will be ruthlessly slaughtered by Comcast’s packets sniffers. I find it amazing that Comcast thinks it can sell you a 3MBPs connection, (which they falsely claim is consistently faster than DSL, which it’s not, you can get higher peaks but you can’t depend on them) then tell you with a straight face that you can’t use all of it.

In worse news, it would seem that overheating was not all, or perhaps part, of my server’s problem. It just stopped responding again, and needed a hard reboot. I don’t know what the problem is, but I’m hoping I can find it and fix it. That’s really too bad that I spend $50 on a case that I thought I needed for stability but I guess I didn’t. :\

EDIT: Latest torrent with an exe installer instead of a zip went up on the 2nd of October. I’m seeding the exe now. I had 500 some MB on the zip.

Server Upgrade

It was down for an hour or so for a good reason: case swap.

My old case was horribly prone to overheating. The fan mounts allowed for pathetic amounts of airflow and seemed somewhat of a joke. The only fan was that in the cheap, possibly overheating PSU. When I get this case all set up, it will have three This case has two fans, not including the PSU. The old case tended to overheat to the point the computer would stop responding around once a month. The last straw was when it did so twice in around three days. I was going to get three 90mm PCI slot fans, (and I now just realized that this mobo only seems to have 2 PCI slots >.<) but ended up just fixing the base of the problem and getting a better case. A better PSU helps too. Hooray for Vertex!

EDIT: The final fan mount isn’t fitting. I’m going to see if I can get a fan that fits.

EDIT2: Oh. It’s not a fan mount. That makes sense, then. I’m glad they let me return the fan.

Categorized as Hardware

New Graphics Card!

Wow, I need to make new categories. Everything seems to be going under “other.”

As the title suggests, I now have a new graphics card – an Nvidia GeForce 7600 GT to be precise. I ran the benchmarks and I’m in awe. What I had prior to this upgrade was the onboard pathetic excuse for a GPU – an ATI Radeon Xpress 200.

Here are the numbers, for those interested. Tests on the recommended settings are marked R, tests on the maximum settings are marked M. All tests were performed at 1024×768 resolution.


Lost Cost R: 11.52 fps

Lost Cost M: 4.75 fps

CS:S R: 16.80 fps

CS:S M: 8.11 fps

New card:

Lost Cost R: 66.67 fps

Lost Cost M: 50.43 fps

CS:S R: 116.71 fps

CS:S M: 58.98 fps

All of the tests performed at maximum settings, regardless of game or card, had artifacts which I think were missing textures. I think that means I need more RAM, but it’s not like I play with maxed settings anyway. The new card got 10.6 times better on Lost Cost maxed. The smallest multiplier was 5.8 for Lost Cost recommended.

I also inadvertently stumbled across something interesting. Prior to all my testing, I had disabled Windows’ pagefile, which is where Windows uses the hard drive as auxiliary RAM. I didn’t turn it back on when I started the test, and ran both tests on Lost Cost without the pagefile. It scored slightly higher on the recommended setting test with 13.94 fps, but then crashed on the maxed out test, near the end where the soldier blows up the door. I assume this was because I simply ran out of physical RAM and there was no place for the additional textures to go, or something. What I find interesting is that something like this would be implemented so that, while it does improve stability, it also hampers performance, which is somewhat frustrating. That’s Windows for you…

Categorized as Hardware

Cheap Computers

Are they worth it? Financially, yes. Time-wise, no.

We got a machine with a Pentium 3@498mhz with 256MB of RAM, a 10GB HD, and no operating system for $116. This was opposed to the $226 P4 Celeron @ 2.4Ghz with 512MB of RAM and XP Home. All we need this machine for is light surfing and word processing, so that’s why we went with the one that cost almost half as much.

Right off, the machine was annoying, throwing up a “1801 PCI/PNP error! No space available to shadow ROM,” when it POSTed. It annoyed me that the guy that sold it to me knew about it (I saw him test its ability to POST) but didn’t tell me. I didn’t really know what it meant, but some light Googling turned up that I had to disable the ROM shadowing, which was unchangeable with my current BIOS. :\ It wasn’t all that much trouble, as I had either the option of continuing, or entering BIOS setup, and it would continue in 5 seconds automatically. I think I might have noticed at that point that the hard drive was not detected in BIOS, but I didn’t do much about it, I’m not sure why.

I booted into Ubuntu, and it took a while to load the LiveCD thanks to the horribly slow CD drive. Don’t get me wrong, Ubuntu is great, but on this drive, it took a long time to load. What made it even worse was that once I crawled through the installer and got to the partion stage, there were no devices detected to install to. I booted into GParted to confirm, and BIOS cemented it. I assumed the drive was dead, and started trying to make a Damn Small Linux bootable USB drive to have the machine still be usable. After it failed to boot into a FAT32 USB stick, I was about to try FAT when I checked to see if the HD was indeed plugged in. Data was plugged in, but power wasn’t. I had just spent an hour or more trying to get around an undetected HD, and it was just an unplugged cable!

I booted into GParted and easily made an ext3 partition and 509mb of swap. I pulled up Ubuntu again, repartitioned to use up all the drive space, finished the other stuff, then mashed the install button and left it alone. It took a while, due to the CD drive still insisting on being slow. I could’ve taken my faster drive from my server and popped it in there, but that would mean downtime, and I’m trying to have a high uptime so I can brag about it.

The install finished after what seemed like a little over half an hour, and the machine rebooted and pulled up the OS. The sound worked right out of the box, so did the networking. My sister settled down and seemed to like it. Mission accomplished! 🙂

Categorized as Hardware