Amd

Some distress with the laptop lately although my usage patterns aren’t normal so. . .

The laptop lately has been going into repair mode every time I boot it up. I have been a desktop user for a long time and so I am a little perturbed at this behavior from a seamless build when my desktop is a mishmash of parts old and new which should be more unstable. I also have some distressing news to report about Rift and the laptop. . . A vanilla install of rift doesn’t play well at all with the low clock speed of the quad core. This is obviously a single threaded game. Wow has no problems on higher settings so AMD is saved by good coding but this is not good news for anyone trying to run everyday run of the mill games.

So. . . AMD has to stop playing the efficiency game and boost the clock speeds, simple as that. This would mean larger batteries and add a significant cost to the OEM bottom line when considered with their overall strategy as a bargain brand. There is a silver lining here though, and that is the fact that ultrabooks don’t have decent graphics and require low watt processors so this processor with a little tweaking could be a dream for that segment, or even without tweaking.

Where the A-series really shines is the addition of a fully functional graphics unit, which is why I purchased the laptop in the first place instead of an i5 that was available at the time. The i5 simply didn’t have game level graphics, and was dual core instead of quad core. I wanted a laptop that could use the vreveal video editing suite since I was purchasing a video card for my desktop from AMD in the 6xxx or even 7xxx range and I didn’t want to waste my purchase. That video editing suite happens to leverage the Radeon cards in that range similarly to Cuda for nvidia.

I’m going to be spending some time tinkering with rift on the laptop to see if I can juryrig the game into spreading across all four cores. They had experimentation on multiple core implementation a few months ago and I suspect the new processor isn’t being detected properly. What gives me such a notion is that the software render of the game is smooth and the core is rated at the 66xxm performance level, so chances are there is something just not right about this herring. By the way, other than this major digression the laptop is quite nice overall for what I need it for. But for Gods sake, get the extended battery. . .

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Notes on my new 1100t system

Notes on 1100T 3.3/3.7 turbo AMD Phenom x6 on Gigabyte GA-990FXA-UD3 w/8 Gb 1600 MHz DDR3 – S. Hanifl 28/11/11 Evening edited 26/12/11.

The processor has six cores and not many apps are written to take advantage of the threads, however when multitasking such as video+ games+music+background repair the machine functions without a hiccup except with heavy HDD use. The 3.3 GHz with turbo ensures that the single threaded games operate well and I think you would need an SSD to truly capitalize on resources on the processor. The system is now GPU bound on World of Warcraft (4870 Radeon HD) which is truly remarkable given the low cost of the cpu.

The processor does not have a sufficient heat sink for the processor. I highly recommend buying a separate high end air or water cooler for it. When Rift is running the processor approaches 65 degrees, despite the processor being very tightly seated. The heatsink was difficult to install and I doubt the processor and motherboard can take much more strain… Time will tell.

In combination with a Gigabyte 990FX motherboard and Radeon HD 4870 Dark Knight the performance is flawless. The motherboard has trouble on it’s high power usb connections when plugging into a powered usb 2.0 hub. I recommend for a newer system to purchase usb 3.0 hubs and replace your current 2.0 hubs, since you will see an overall increase anyway on the 2.0 connections. This was and old hub so mileage may vary.

Until multithreaded apps become commonplace most programs are compiled for a single thread, the major benefit of buying the 1100T is the high frequency it has per core with the short term turbo boost it provides. You still need to give a process a High priority when it competes with windows for time. I recommend a dynamic process thread priority program for best results. If you are running multiple very intensive tasks there are load balancing programs for process priority that help quite a bit.

The 1100T is a good upgrade and seems to fulfill average high end user needs. Go for a bulldozer 6 or 8 core if you want to overclock extensively, this processor seems to be close to its thermal limit already @ 3.3 Ghz with the stock cooler.

The stock cooler is quite large and hefty but is problematic to attach to the board. AMD needs to slightly rework their heat sinks with slightly more clearance since I worried that I would break tyre motherboard or processor when installing it.

The AM3 socket has seen it’s time. If you want to buy a machine with good future socket support I think an A8 processor would be a better idea. Then again the 1100T can be swapped out for a Bulldozer 6 or 8 core, so there is an upgrade path already available. I expect amd to discontinue this socket since the same pin arrangement since their first dual core athlon 64.

 

The motherboard is non UEFI however does have a 990fx chipset and boosted power on some USB connections. I will conduct a test on the charge times of my Galaxy S and Galaxy Tab android devices to see if the charge time is close to a wall socket adapter. I know an older mp4 player I had managed to charge itself in twice the time it would have taken on a standard usb port. One other note, the IO shim did not install very well, I think that was my fault but from what I can see I think my box came missing the EMI shim. Gigabyte is attempting to become a top of the line provider like ASUS and so far seems to be getting close to their goal. The motherboard box was bare compared to an ASUS board but I had enough parts with everything I purchased to build the system properly nonetheless. Before buying this board make sure you have researched your parts list well, I did not but was fortunate. The manual is actually useful for a change. You have to manually gang your memory, just load the defaults and then change the setting to ganged in manual without changing any other settings to enable this setting.