Well, the big box’o computer stuff was sitting on my living room table when I got home last night. Long story modestly short, it was merely a mitigated disaster upgrading my computer. The SSD was DOA, neither my old motherboard or the new one would detect it, so back to Newegg for an RMA and hopefully I’ll have a working drive by the end of next week. The motherboard and CPU swap took “forever”, about 3hrs as installing the big old 120mm tower heat sink must have taken more than hour on its own and then an hour of tweaking things in the BIOS of the new board as well as trying to get the SSD detected.
To get in to technical stuff for a minute, the memory/board is causing strange things to happen. Reading an Anandtech.com review article on the board they had an issue running G.Skill branded memory in their board that shipped with the F3 version of the BIOS, but it worked fine with the F7 version of the BIOS when they upgraded it, my board shipped with the F7 version. Well the memory I have is G.Skill Sniper series DDR3 1600Mhz 9-9-9-28 1.25v low voltage memory (2x4GB). I had been running it for a couple of weeks in my old machine at 1106Mhz and 1.25V with 8-8-8-8-24 timings happy as a clam. Well if I try to use the default speed and timings of the memory and alter the voltage on iota the board hangs on boot and then gives me a “BIOS settings issue” debug screen after about 30 seconds of hanging. The only option is setting the voltage to auto, which defaults to 1.5v as well as default timings, which are 9-9-9-24 that it sets the memory to (at 1600Mhz). If I attempt to use the XMP profile, it sets the timings to the correct 9-9-9-28 and 1.25v, but then hangs on reboot.
So I am not sure if this is a BIOS version issue with G.Skill memory (or this G.Skill memory), a BIOS/Motherboard issue setting voltage to anything other than 1.5v or an issue with the memory itself running at 1600mhz and anything under 1.5v (though I literally tried 1.49v and it hung, so that seems odd that it would be a memory issue). I’ll have to see if there is a new BIOS version, flash it and see if it works. If not I guess I’ll just have to live with the higher voltage and at least try to take advantage of it by increasing memory speed or tighten up the timings a little if it’ll let me.
One thing I didn’t expect, the computer boots in to windows no problems. I guess I am used to older versions of Windows where if you changed the hardware sufficiently (like the motherboard) it would crash on boot and you’d have to do a repair with the install disk and/or reinstall. If interested in technical details, Windows uses a file call HAL.sys (I think it is .sys) that is short for Hardware Abstraction Layer that tells the OS a bunch of stuff about the hardware it is interacting with and if what is in the HAL file is substantially different from the reality, Windows will choke. Or at least it used to.
So at least I have a working computer for the next week or week and a half without having to reinstall anything.
Also the new thing is blazing fast, processor wise. In Lightroom before I’d click on RAW file and it might take 8-10s to apply the presets to the image. Now maybe 3s. Handbrake used to encode 480p sources at around 20-26FPS at very high quality settings, now it was churning out over 120FPS in the brief run I tried. Booting also seems to go a little faster and a few other things seem to load a little faster too, probably the processor being able to more easily handle drive output. I am hoping moving from an old Vertex 60GB boot/app drive that maxes out around 210MB/sec and only in the 10-20k IOPS range on reads to something that churns through 500+ MB/sec and 80k+ IOPS should make a noticeable difference in app loading and booting.
At any rate, fun electronics macro pictures to come later as well as that discussed upon workflow, backup and network topography discussion for anyone interested or needing a little primer in “photographer safe storage”.