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About mumpo

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  1. Recommend me a good 2.1 speaker set

    I recently got Logitech Z-4 speakers. I have no complaints about their sound quality, although I have only tried them with an old budget sound blaster and my new onboard audio so far. They have plenty of power for a computer speaker setup; I run them at about 1/6-1/3 of their max volume typically. The (wired) remote has a convenient headphone jack, among other things. Overall I am very happy with them. My Dad has a 2.0 Altec Lansing set that came with a Gateway computer that he got a bit over a decade ago and they still sound very good for things that don't need a subwoofer. I don't personally know if their new stuff is still up to the same standards though.
  2. Building a Gaming PC on the cheap

    Note: I wrote a bit too much perhaps; skim to the linked and bolded parts if you just want the highlights. Case: Get anything that is cheap and seems like it should work; fancy cases are only useful if you need heavy-duty cooling, an extra quiet system, or you intend to tinker with it on a regular basis. Brick-and-mortar may be cheaper due to high shipping costs. Power supply: You don't need a high wattage one, but get a good brand. Many are not reliable and/or cause instability by supplying noisy power at incorrect voltages. Corsair, Silverstone, PC Power and Cooling, Thermaltake, and Enermax all make reliable units. Get a ~400W unit with the right connectors for your system. Motherboard: Choose carefully and don't be too cheap as a good motherboard is key to system stability. Check customer reviews ( has lots) and the manufacturer's website to make sure you understand what problems and compatibility issues come with your board. For cheap AMD boards, I recommend a Gigabyte or Asus board based on the AMD 770 or 780 northbridge and the SB700 southbridge. Board size (full ATX vs micro ATX) effects primarily how many expansion slots are on the board; a full ATX board will usually have 7, while a micro ATX board will have 4. However what matters is how many a board has of each kind; count how many slots you need of each kind (PCI, PCI-E X1, PCI-E X4/8/16). Board size also determines what kind of case you need; some cases only accept the smaller micro ATX size. CPU: An Athlon 64 X2 5000+ should work well; I believe Athlon X2 performance scales pretty much linearly with clock speed (GHz), so don't bother paying 30% more for a 10% clock speed bump or whatever. Athlon 64 chips are slower than their Intel counterparts per GHz for gaming, however for the same money you can get an Athlon chip that is clocked significantly higher, so on the low end it comes down in AMD's favor at the moment. As a rough rule of thumb, a 65nm Intel Core 2 based chip is equal to an AMD Athlon X2 at 1.2x of its clock rate: Intel Core 2 @ 2.2GHz = Athlon X2 @ 2.6GHz. For higher end chips, AMD just doesn't make anything as fast as Intel's pricier stuff at the moment (for gaming). AMD is coming out with 45nm 4-core chips soon which are supposed to be more competitive, so if you need to upgrade your new AMD system later you should have a viable option. GPU: For ATI an HD4670, HD4830, or HD4850 would be good. For Nvidia an 8800GS, 9600GSO, 9600GT, or 8800GT=9800GT would be good. Order in both lists is cheapest to most powerful. The HD4670s have the special advantage that they do not require extra power beyond what the motherboard can supply them through the slot, which may let you skimp on the power supply a bit more. As far as ATI vs NVIDIA goes right now, ATI is a bit ahead performance wise. NVIDIA currently has better drivers, however the ATI windows drivers are good these days and ATI has been taking aggressive measures to improve their Linux driver quality for the future. Hard drive: Your pick looks good. There are no gotcha's that I am aware of for hard drives smaller than 750GB currently. Just get one with the newer SATA, rather than PATA/IDE interface. Optical drives: Spend the extra $5 to get a Retail, rather than OEM, copy. Retail includes a "free" copy of Nero and Power DVD generally. Without them (or equivalents) you will have a hard time burning discs and watching movies on your drive. Stand alone copies of the software cost a lot more. Also check the customer reviews on somewhere like to make sure the model you get handles slightly damaged or dirty disks respectably; some newer drives are very finicky about this. RAM: Make sure to get the right kind. Most modern motherboards (including the AMD 770/780 boards I was suggesting) take DDR2 RAM. DDR2 RAM can have different required voltages. For DDR2, get 1.8V RAM for simplicity; it will work in any DDR2 motherboard and generates the least heat as well. It doesn't really cost extra unless you are trying to get very fast or dense sticks; just check the specs. Also be aware that a significant portion of RAM shipped is defective; be sure to run the memory test on your Ubuntu CD for at least one pass before you do anything else with the system. Kingston makes reliable, cheap RAM. This kit should be ideal for almost any DDR2-based system. Cooling: The sort of parts we have been talking about do not require much extra cooling beyond the stock heat sinks and fans. Get a case with at least a fan or two, and try to avoid covering them with cables completely during installation. Also make sure your power supply has a fan (which will also help blow hot air out of the case). You should not have any problems unless you plan to overclock.
  3. Quote:Original post by openglJunkie Why did you include the letter 'b' at the end of the binary notation? I never understood what the purpose of the '0X...' accomplished in representing hex. I read that this was the C++ way of representing hex, but it never explained why. The 0x prefix tells you the number is in hexadecimal. The b postfix tells you the number is in binary. Why is this important? Because a sequence of digits which represents a valid binary number, such as 10, could also represent a different decimal or hexadecimal number: 10 (binary) == 2 (decimal) 10 (decimal) == 10 (decimal) 10 (hexadecimal) == 16 (decimal) In the same way, a number that happened to use only digits 0-9 in hexadecimal could be mistaken for decimal: 25 (decimal) == 25 (decimal) 25 (hexadecimal) == 37 (decimal) Hence we write 10b == 2 10 == 10 0x10 == 16 25 == 25 0x25 == 37
  4. Left 4 Dead Again

    As far as making the zombies harder to kill on higher difficulties goes... I'm pretty sure they didn't, really, except for the tank and the witch. The regular zombies and the lesser specials go down quite easily even on expert. The difference is that they hit a lot harder, so you MUST take pretty much every single one down before they can touch you. This, combined with the game's enforcement of team work, says to me that the game is intended for perfectionists. I enjoy trying to conquer the same levels many times because of the high level of focus and skill that is required to survive on expert. Advanced is not nearly as difficult, but it is still challenging enough that I feel a sense of accomplishment when I play a good round; even though advanced rounds usually go fairly smoothly (unless my team is awful), the game still manages to at least provide the illusion that I beat the odds by surviving. All that said, I doubt I would play co-op that much if I didn't have a lot of free time. Versus for the survivors takes the whole thing to another level; with a full up game of non-noobs you have to add a *minimum* of one difficulty step to understand how hard it is in co-op terms; normal versus >= advanced co-op, etc. Expert versus is insanely difficult; I don't think I've ever seen more than one person survive to the end of a level on it, and that very rarely. For the infected, versus is basically sanctioned griefing. People joke a lot in co-op about how the AI director is out to get them; as an infected in versus, your job is to make the game as frustrating as possible for the survivors. That can be a lot of fun. The one caveat about versus is that it is really only at its best when you have at least six people who at least kind of know what they are doing and are actually trying, and a half-decent server. My experience with versus has been that while it is a tremendous amount of fun with a good group and a good server that stays the whole time, the match-making system rarely delivers that. The biggest problem is that most people only stay for three rounds or something, in a game with ten, so the teams are constantly changing very noticeably.
  5. New machine, should I use Vista 64?

    I have been using Vista Ultimate 64-bit since it came out. I had quite a bit of trouble finding decent drivers for it for about the first year, but it's fine now. I have two main complaints with it. One is that it makes installing programs a longer and more annoying process due to the ~3 user account control and compatibility warning pop-ups I have to deal with every time I install something that was designed for an older version of Windows. This is an issue with any version of Vista, though, I believe. The other issue, which is 64-bit specific, is that 64-bit Vista drops support for legacy 16-bit programs and installers. (16-bit=DOS, Win 3.x, and some Win 9x era programs) While I doubt there are too many non-business users who care about being able to run random old DOS programs, it is fairly lame for gamers as there are many excellent old games that are 16-bit. There are emulators and the like. However, that will not help with 32-bit Windows programs that use a 16-bit installer (a surprisingly common situation for programs of a certain vintage). I also have yet to succeed in actually getting a DOS emulator to work on Vista 64, although I really haven't tried very hard. As for your hardware, it looks good. A few things to consider, though: - The performance difference between 1066 FSB and 1333 FSB is minimal in most situations. However, the Q9000 series processors use a minor update of the architecture used in the Q6000 series, so depending on what you are doing you may see a 10% per clock performance increase with an otherwise equivalent Q9000 processor. The Q9000s are also built on a smaller fabrication process, so they burn a bit less power and run a bit cooler at equivalent settings, as well. I would also point out that you can save about $90 over either of the options you mentioned by getting a Q6600, which is only about 10% slower. Alternately, only $60 more would get you a Q9550 which in my opinion is the current sweet spot for very high-end processors, at least if you go by's pricing. - If you intend to overclock your CPU, be aware that some people have had issues with hard drive corruption or other problems when overclocking on recent nVidia chipsets. I have heard anecdotal evidence that the 750i is better in this respect, but if you want to play it safe, get an Intel chipset if you plan to overclock. You can get similar graphics performance to your purposed SLI setup on an Intel board with a GTX 260, HD4870, or a 9800GX2. - The lifespan of a 9800 GTX is uncertain, as they may be effected by the recently discovered nVidia GPU manufacturing error. This issue has been leading to very high failure rates in some nVidia cards. It is not yet clear how big of a problem it is for desktop cards, however there are claims that the problem effects all nVidia GPUs made using their 80nm or 65nm processes (i.e., almost all 8000, 9000, and GTX series cards). Consider getting a 9800 GTX+, which is manufactured on a 55nm process, and might possibly be unaffected because of it. The 9800 GTX+ is also a bit faster than the regular 9800 GTX, and can sometimes be found for the same price, after rebate, as a decent 9800 GTX. AMD/ATI cards would obviously also be unaffected.
  6. Quote:Original post by Codeka I mean, greed is a rational emotion - fear is irrational. Huh? How, exactly, is greed inherently more rational than fear?
  7. Time for a new GPU - need suggestions

    I would recommend a Radeon HD 4670. They are several times more powerful than your 6800 GT, have an up-to-date feature set, and don't use much power at all; they get all they need straight from the PCI-E slot. They are also inexpensive and not effected by the manufacturing flaws present in many recent NVIDIA cards which have been causing high failure rates.
  8. Favorite Comics

    Edit: I to replace my long list with a short one: The Adventures of Dr. McNinja Girl Genius Making Fiends [Edited by - mumpo on October 6, 2008 6:17:23 PM]
  9. Advice on HD Monitors needed

    Quote:Original post by Dunge Basically you want a 24'' LCD monitor with an HD plug and a 1920X1200 resolution (so computer will have a better resolution than 1080p, but it will be available for the ps3 with a mini black bar, the difference between 16:9 and 16:10). The response time will be low for everything you check at this size, but be sure that it's at least <5ms. You can't see the difference under that anyway. But most important, and what Treb didn't mention is the contrast ratio. It's VERY important for good colors, I had a 3000:1 monitor next to a 8000:1 and the difference was amazing. Treb's link only have 3000:1 which is currently the lowest you can have, so I wouldn't buy it. Look at this monitor instead for the a lower price, a better brand (Samsung) and an amazing contrast ratio I'm sure you never seen before : Actually, the contrast ratio specifications on modern LCD displays are mostly useless. The invention of something called dynamic contrast has given marketers an excuse to list inflated ratios that are many times the actual, static contrast ratio of the display; Samsung is particularly bad in this respect. In practice, the actual contrast ratios of LCD displays are almost always between 500:1 and 1200:1. To further confuse matters, independent testing suggests that even when a static contrast ratio is specified, it is usually inflated by a varying amount. In short, ignore the contrast ratio specifications for displays; instead, go read reviews and look at floor models in person.
  10. Anti-Virus that doesn't kill performance

    ClamWin Free Antivirus is a free, open source virus scanner that has no real impact on system performance for the simple reason that it doesn't do anything unless you ask or schedule it to. It lacks the real-time protection features found in many other security programs, however if you are just interested in scanning the occasional program downloaded from the internet, it gets the job done. You can also ask it to scan currently running processes and schedule virus definition updates and full system scans with it. I've used it on a few computers and it hasn't caused me any problems. I should warn you, though, that I don't actually know how good its detection rate is.
  11. Help With Designing a New PC

    Your parts list looks pretty reasonable. However, here are a few tips and questions which you might find helpful: - Take a look at It is similar to tiger direct, but they have a much larger selection. They have good return policies on most items, good prices, and ship quickly. - Whatever motherboard you decide on, be sure to check RAM compatibility carefully before you order. In particular, make sure you determine whether your board takes DDR2 or DDR3 memory, and whether it accepts RAM modules with non-standard voltage requirements. Retail DDR2 modules may require anywhere from 1.8V to ~2.3V, but many modern motherboards only support the official DDR2 voltage of 1.8V. Similarly, DDR3 modules may require from 1.5V to ~2.0V, but some motherboards are only guaranteed to work with 1.5V modules. Trying to use RAM that is almost, but not quite the right thing has tripped up many a would-be amateur PC builder in recent years. If all else fails, Kingston Technology can be relied upon to sell high quality RAM of almost any kind you need. - If you are interested in overclocking, you might want to stay away from NVIDIA (nForce) motherboard chipsets, as they have had some problems with data corruption when running overclocked. - Unless you want a multi-GPU setup, (I don't recommend it) an 800 Watt power supply is overkill. A good 500W power supply is sufficient for almost all single-GPU systems, even ones with high end parts. Because you are looking at a particularly power-hungry card, upgrading to a good ~650W or so is probably wise, but you really don't need one of those monster units. Do get a good quality one, however. Corsair makes some pretty good ones right now that are reasonable priced. - You might consider getting an HD 4850 instead of a 4870; it's still ridiculously fast, but it burns less power and is usually much cheaper. Also, if you want something fancier, you might be better off getting an HD 4850 with a full 1GB of VRAM, instead of an HD 4870. The HD 4850 with extra VRAM will likely outperform an ordinary HD 4870 at very high resolutions such as 2560x1600, the native resolution of most 30" monitors. At lower resolutions, cards a generation behind the HD 4800s are sufficient in nearly all current games anyways. As a final thought, you might want to consider waiting another ~4 months or so, as Intel is releasing a major update to their product line (a new CPU architecture, Nehalem/Core i7) around that time. It is supposed to be about 30% faster at the same clock rates, and the new high-end motherboards to go along with it will support 50% higher main memory bandwidth. I think they may also be adding USB3.0 support. Whether it's actually worth buying or not, it should help drive down prices on their current stuff noticabley.
  12. Quote:Original post by Sirisian Quote:Let me know if you want me to try something else, instead. Okay try a taylor series using power of degree 9 for sine and degree 8 for cosine cos(x) = 1 - x^2/2 + x^4/24 - x^6/720 + x^8/40320 sin(x) = x - x^3/6 + x^5/120 - x^7/5040 + x^9/362880 I'm not sure what the hangup is. If it's the sin or cosine the sqrt might be able to work with those substitutions. daftasbrush, I'm looking for an approximation or anything that I can use to find the arclength of that moving vertex. A vertex will never rotate more than 180 degrees in a timestep so I picked those two equations above. (I don't need to solve for t, not sure what I was thinking. Been writing up the algorithms for a unit test. Non-rotating seems to be fine.) I ran it with the taylor series approximations. Mathematica finished thinking after a while with those, but it was unable to actually solve the integral. I suggest you focus on the method daftasbrush was kind enough to work out for you. I'll keep an eye on this thread for a bit longer, though, if you have any more ideas.
  13. Quote:Original post by Sirisian Quote:Original post by mumpo Just a quick update -- my computer is still at it. Mathematica is using about 800 MB now. I wonder if the computer can actually solve it, or if it is just going ever deeper into some infinitely recursive algorithm? Either way, I'll try to give it at least a couple more days before I give up on it. Thanks :) I can't tell you how much this is going to help me if this works. If not then substituting sine and cosine with a taylor series or something will be my next guess and just solve on a range. If it's the sin and cos that actually cause the problem. You're welcome :) . I'm not very optimistic about the current calculation ever finishing, though; I can't imagine why it would need so much memory to solve a relatively concise symbolic problem unless the answer has an infinite number of terms or it just can't do it, but won't admit it. Let me know if you want me to try something else, instead. Quote:I'm gonna find out next Tuesday where my university's cluster server is. I heard they use it for astronomy, maybe I can get someone to plug in equations. I might not have made this clear. After finding the arc length (if it exists) I need to solve it for t. So that given an arc length it returns the t value associated with that length. My calculus is quite rusty, and I never took all that much of it to begin with, but it seems to me that if my computer ever comes up with a sensible result for that integral, solving it for t shouldn't take too long.
  14. Just a quick update -- my computer is still at it. Mathematica is using about 800 MB now. I wonder if the computer can actually solve it, or if it is just going ever deeper into some infinitely recursive algorithm? Either way, I'll try to give it at least a couple more days before I give up on it.
  15. I'm taking a crack at it in Mathematica 5.2 right now. I have 4 GB of RAM and am running 64-bit Vista, so hopefully my system won't have any memory problems. My processor is a relatively tame 2.13 GHz Core 2 Duo, so who knows how long it will take. . . I'll let you know if it ever finishes (no guarantees).