Wednesday, September 5, 2007


For anyone that is actually still subscribed to this blog... lol you know I've taken a bit of a vacation.

Here are a few updates!

When I built this machine last year I had expected that I would be upgrading to two 8 core processors. This unfortunately has not happened due to AMD seriously slipping on their delivery schedule for the Phenom line. At the moment it looks as if there is going to be a serious wait for those of us who wish to take advantage of 8 cores. I'm really disappointed by these turn of events. So much for the 4x4 becoming a "platform". More information about the release schedule is available here. I think I'm tempted to wait for the FX-91 to launch. I can't really see the benefits of taking a step back in MHz. Of course, clock is not everything but...

When I make the move to 8 cores it will be time for a disk upgrade as well. One of the issues that the current machine faces is that a large number of processes causes excessive I/O and effectively limits the capacity of the machine. Vista indicates a ling queue length. A good example of this is running 3 or four virtual machines in addition to "normal" development tasks. I've been exploring options. At the moment, out and deep come to mind. I'm thinking about adding another array and possibly trying a 3 disk RAID 0 to see if there is better performance. I'm not convinced that will alleviate queing issues though so it might be worth test (how?).

The drivers for the 8800 are now WHQL, there have not been too many issues with it. Upgrading using NVidia's package has been easy. I would not recommend using Windows update to upgrade the NVidia drivers, especially the storage drivers as I have had issues in the past. There is a new board package for the 680a although I'm really not too interested in "upgrading" anything that has to do with the RAID array. As they say "If it ain't broke don't fix it".

Performance monitoring still does not work correctly and I have no idea why.

The recently reported bug involving decreased network performance while playing audio under Vista affects this machine. It's really bad too. When transfering Multi-GB virtual machine images over the network I can get 107 MB/s peak and appx. 90 MB/s average between another Dell server with a RAID 0 array. The same transfer with audio playing will reduce the transfer speed to appx. 16 MB/s average. Terrible.

Overall the system continues to run well and continue to meet and exceed the demands that I place on it.

I'm still on the fence if I will move to the AMD chipset. We'll see if they are able to provide a compelling reason to make a move. Although, it looks like the 680a is largely dead. NVidia has already released a new version of the 680i chipset with more features. To be fair I'm not sure what they could add to the 680a besides SLI drivers that work!


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