Bad, vile and meaningless: New playbox from Alan's clob

New computer

I accidentally bought a PCI Express graphics card (a fanless 6600 GT from Gigabyte), so I was faced with a choice: whether to go return it for an AGP one or upgrade the entire system.

So, err, rather than doing the sensible choice I went and bought a NF4 board with AMD64 3200+. One of those which I hope is upgradeable to A64 X2 at the point they hit the shelves.

Initial impressions are nice. The Gigabyte's K8NF-9 board was very well laid out. The power plug would accept both 20 and 24 pin ATX. There was separate slot to put the 4-wire plug, which I connected. It has both SATA and PATA channels, and the usual things.

I placed 2 GB RAM on the thing, filling all the slots and puzzled out the new AMD64 fan mounting thing. Not too hard, and the plastic lever seemed to eventually click firmly into place.

I must say that the setup gave a very solid feeling. Overall, it feels like there is some progress happening in the PC-hardware land. (It still sucks, of course, but this is still the way to go.)

The fan is too loud. I have a Venice-core CPU which expels some 30W only. Something like that might be kept happy with just a passive sink. I will buy one of those voltage adjustors to slow it down further than the board itself will.

OS

My existing 32-bit Linux (Ubuntu Breezy Badger) would run and boot without issue except one: the BusId of the new graphics card was not the same anymore. So X didn't start until I removed that configuration line.

My initial impressions were positive. The system felt somewhat snappier than on the previous XP 3000+ CPU. (That, or then the fact I've been working on slower laptop more for a couple of days.) But it definitely responded very quickly.

Doom3 ran pretty quickly. Sadly, the long loading times were not improved in either game. UT2004 ran perfectly in 1600x1200 resolution. I turned quality setting up and made both games use 1024x768. I chose 4x4 Gaussian antialiasing and 4x anisotropic filtering.

I could not make Windows to handle the change in hardware. It kept on redetecting the same drivers and rebooting spontaneously when I was trying to use it. USB or network wouldn't usually work. I am in the process of reinstalling W2K as I write.

I installed 64-bit Linux Ubuntu Hoary Hedgehog. It came up with the open source NV driver rather than the NVidia's driver. I had to change configuration a bit and also install nvidia-glx package. After about hour or so I had the system looking and feeling like it was the 32-bit version.

Due to race in the startup scripts md1 device node did not exist by the point fsck was trying to fsck it. I had to switch from MD to DM with aid of EVMS. (Change /dev/mdx -> /dev/evms/md/mdx, make root=/dev/evms/md/md0, then reinstall kernel.)