http://asawicki.info/ Programming, graphics, games, media, C++, Windows, Internet and more...
Entries for tag "hardware", ordered from most recent. Entry count: 19.
How to Boost Your RAM to Declared 3000 MHz?
I recently upgraded some components of my desktop PC. I was suprised to discover that RAM doesn't work with declared speed of 3000 MHz. Here is the solution I've found to this problem.
Back in the days of DOS I can remember having to set up everything manually, like selecting IRQ number and DMA channel to make sound working in games. But today, in the era of Plug&Play, assembling a computer is easy and everything works automatically. Almost everything...
Although I found that both my new motherboard (Gigabyte GA-Z170-HD3P) and RAM modules (Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4, 32GB(2x16GB), 3000MHz, CL15 (CMK32GX4M2B3000C15)) support 3000 MHz frequency, it worked on 2133 MHz. Motherboard specification says: "Support for DDR4 3466(O.C.) /3400(O.C.) /3333(O.C.) /3300(O.C.) /3200(O.C.) /3000(O.C.) /2800(O.C.) /2666(O.C.) /2400(O.C.) /2133 MHz memory modules", while specification of the memory has "3000MHz" even in its title. What happened? Motherboard spec calling all the frequencies higher than 2133 "OC" (like in "overclocking") gave me some clue that it is not standard.
After few minutes of searching on Google, I've learn about a thing called XMP (Extreme Memory Profile). It's an extension to SPD (Serial Presence Detect) - a protocol used by RAM modules to report to the motherboard what parameters do they support. I then checked in the specs that my motherboard, as well as my memory support XMP 2.0.
So what I finally did was:
That's all! Fortunately I didn't need to manually set any frequency, timings or voltage of my Skylake processor, memory or any other components, like overclockers do. With all the other settings left to default "Auto", the computer still works stable and RAM now runs with 3000 MHz frequency.
By the way: Please don't be worried when you see only half of this frequency in HWiNFO64 tool as "Memory - Current Memory Clock". All in all we are talking about DDR here, which means "Double Data Rate", so the real frequency is just that, but data is transferred on both rising and falling edge of the clock signal.
Warning! It turned out that enabling XMP on my machine makes it working very unstable. Firefox, The Witcher 3 and basically all memory-intensive applications crashed randomly. So if you experience similar issues, you better disable XMP or, if you know any better solution, please post a comment about it.
Good Buy: ADATA DashDrive Elite UE700 128GB USB3.0
When I was browsing online shop, I was shocked to see that the market of USB flash memory sticks ("pendrives") changed so much recently. I have many pendrives that I was given or won as a prize somewhere, mostly 2-8 GB. My biggest pendrive was 32 GB that I bought several years ago for a very occasional price, as for that time period. Now I can see that the most reasonable choice (for money that I want to spend on a pendrive) is 128 GB!
So I started searching for a model to buy. Sure pendrive is not so complex as a laptop or a car - it's just a small accessory, but anyway I wanted to make a good choice, so I decided to look for following criteria:
Finally I found this one and I bought it for myself, as well as for my family as Christmas present: ADATA DashDrive Elite UE700 128GB USB3.0.
I'm quite happy with it. Transfers that I actually measured by writing and then reading one big file from/to SSD disk are: 110 MB/s write, 181 MB/s read, which is enough to write a 2 GB file in just 18 seconds and read it in 11 seconds.
(This article is not sponsored. It's just my personal recommendation.)
Important Update 2015-06-04: I have two of these pendrives and after half year of using them (not very much - mostly for backup and moving files between computers, once every few days) they both started showing errors and losing files! So eventually I do not recomment this model!!!
What do we have from benchmarks?
There was this case some time ago about some graphics vendors cheating in Futuremark benchmark (see this). They basically detected this particular application and raised frequency to increase performance and gain higher score. So some devices have been delisted from the Best Mobile Devices list for cheating and they published this document: Benchmark Rules and Guidelines.
My first thought was: Good, they just want everyone to play fair. But then I read the rules again, especially this one: "The platform may not replace or remove any portion of the requested work even if the change would result in the same output." and I said: Wait, what? Isn't it a generic definition of every optimization? If a developer writes 2+2 in GLSL and the platform just uses 4, is it cheating because it removed requested work (addition in this case) even if result is the same?
And then I started thinking: What do we have from benchmarks after all? Is their importance a good thing for gamers and other customers of graphics technology? In theory, benchmarks should mimick some aspect of real applications to measure and compare how different hardware performs in this type of applications (e.g. games). But it may be that decision makers want to just see good scores in benchmarks (bosses generally like numbers and bars and graphs :) so engineers implement optimizations or even some cheats just for these benchmarks. And then media notice that, devices get delisted, benchmark creators write such rules... and gamers just want to play games.
If performance was measured just in real games, and platform vendors optimized or even cheated for a particular title, then at least we would have a better performing game. Just my personal opinion :)
Aero2 - Free Internet in Poland
Did you know that in Poland there is free access to the Internet available for everyone? It's called Aero2 and it works through 3G. To use it, all you need to do is:
2. You need to pay 20 PLN. It's a deposit and it will be returned if you return your SIM card.
3. You need to fill in the order form and send it, along with printed confirmation of transfer of your deposit and copy of your identity card, to the address shown on their website.
4. After about one month they will send you SIM card. Of course you cannot make phone calls with this card - it is only for data transfer.
5. Enter connection parameters:
Username and password: empty
IP and DNS addresses: automatic
6. You have free Internet :) It's not very fast and will disconnect you every hour, but still usable for browsing websites. I think it may be useful when you travel e.g. in train or after you move to new house and don't have new Internet connection yet. So if it's so cheap to get it, why not give it a try?
Developing Graphics Driver
Want to know what do I do at Intel? Obviously all details are secret, but generally, as a Graphics Software Engineer, I code graphics driver for our GPU. What does this software do? When you write a game these days, you usually use some game engine, but I'm sure you know that on a lower level, everything ends up as a bunch of textured 3D triangles rendered with hardware acceleration by the GPU. To render them, the engine uses one of standard graphics APIs. On Windows it can be DirectX or OpenGL, on Linux and Mac it is OpenGL, on mobile platforms it is OpenGL ES. On the other side, there are many hardware manufacturers - like NVIDIA, AMD, Intel or Imagination Technologies - that make discrete or embedded GPUs. These chips have different capabilities and instruction sets. So graphics driver is needed to translate calls to API (like IDirect3DDevice9::DrawIndexedPrimitive) and shader code to form specific to the hardware.
Want to know more? Intel recently published documentation of the GPU from the new Ivy Bridge processor - see this news. You can find this documentation on intellinuxgraphics.org website. It consists of more than 2000 pages in 17 PDF files. For example, in the last volume (Volume 4 Part 3) you can see how instructions of our programmable execution units look like. They are quite powerful :)
Vector Register Size - Diagram
It may be hard to imagine and remember what is the exact number of bits, bytes, words or floats in some piece of data, like a SIMD register. So today I've made following diagram/cheatsheet:
Here you can find its "source" in OpenOffice Draw format: Vector_register_size.odg.
Unofficial Firmware for Canon PowerShot A610
I have Canon PowerShow A610 digital camera. Today I've found a unofficial, free, powerful firmware for it, as well as other models from Canon. It's called CHDK - Canon Hacker Development Kit. Installation is quite easy and totally safe - it's enought to put the software onto SD card. On Windows this can be done with CardTricks application. The firmware adds some useful features, like:
I recommend this firmware to anyone who owns a Canon camera. Mine now looks like this:
This entry won't be about programming, but still geeky :) I've recently bought a digital clock with projector and I like:
I like to keep an eye on all important parameters of my "system". In Windows, I just install Samurize and setup my config to show graph and current value of: CPU usage, physical memory load, network download/upload, disk read/write bytes/s and system IO bytes/s.
Under Linux/Gnome, I use System Monitor panel, which does similar job.
Similarly, I like to see "parameters" of my environment in real life :) The clock shows current time, date, day of week, as well as temperature and humidity. The equaliser visible at the bottom is a history of temperature difference from previous hours. Projector displays current time on the ceiling or wall, making it visible at night.
There are many kinds of such clocks. One should pay attention to whether it is powered by batteries only, turns on the display highlighting and projector only after pressing some button, or - just like mine - has a power supply and has the highlighting and projector on all the time.