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Hardware 21 - The Coffee Incident

Posted on 1st Apr 2011 at 11:59 by Podcast with 17 comments

Podcast
This week's podcast finds Harry, Paul and Clive having a good chat about what's current in the PC hardware world.

At the top of the list is Nvidia's new graphics card, the GeForce GTX 590 3GB. The card crams two whole GPUs onto a single PCB, and its performance is great. As we discuss in the podcast, though, it's really the driver support that will make it either a classic or a flash in the pan.

Also discussed is the Intel Core i7-990X and the way in which the CPU market has changed; six months ago we would have recommended the 990X, but it's almost irrelevant now.

Finally, we also had a chance to comment on some of the news stories from the past couple of weeks. First up is the rumour that Intel’s Ivy Bridge CPU refresh will bring PCI-E 3.0 support with it and what that means for you. We also dissect the news that OCZ has recently bought Indilinx, and what effect that’s likely to have on other SSD manufacturers.

Hardware 21 - The Coffee Incident

As always, we've also set up our weekly competition too, the lucky winner of which will walk away with a Mionix Propus 380 mousepad. This sleek mouse mat will provide the perfect tracking surface, whichever mouse you choose to use.

As ever, the bit-tech hardware podcast features music by Brad Sucks, and was recorded on Shure microphones. You can download the podcast direct, listen in-browser or subscribe through iTunes using the links below. Also, be sure to let us know your thoughts about the discussion in the forums.

17 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
BrightCandle 1st April 2011, 14:03 Quote
I still have driver issues with the 5970. Performance has been either great or terrible depending on the game. I have games that on initial launch played great and now have problems with crossfire. So I concur that these dual core crossfire/sli cards are fraught with real problems and that ATI did drop the ball on the drivers after the initial release. I have also found eyefinity performance at 5760x1200 too be regularly too low to be usable except on rather poor graphics settings.
GiantKiwi 1st April 2011, 15:18 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrightCandle
I still have driver issues with the 5970. Performance has been either great or terrible depending on the game. I have games that on initial launch played great and now have problems with crossfire. So I concur that these dual core crossfire/sli cards are fraught with real problems and that ATI did drop the ball on the drivers after the initial release. I have also found eyefinity performance at 5760x1200 too be regularly too low to be usable except on rather poor graphics settings.

Thats rather odd, I used to run most games at 6048x1080 (bezel correction) fine on a 1gb 5750 - dirt 2 on highest settings apart from AA/AF, BFBC2 on max w/o AA/AF, crysis again was a different story, but who actually used that for anything other than a benchmark tbh :P
Canon 1st April 2011, 16:38 Quote
Levels a little low this episode anyone else? I have to say it's the first time it has been an issue for me, I have had my ears to my speakers a couple of times now.
Ljs 1st April 2011, 17:36 Quote
About 1/4 of the way through it now and yes, is a little low. Struggling to hear it from laptop speakers...
Material 1st April 2011, 18:13 Quote
Yeah, I tried something a little different this week regarding levels but I don't think it's worked as well as the previous method. Apologies, things should be back to normal next week.
Canon 1st April 2011, 21:13 Quote
It's really great that Harry isn't drawing blood from my ears now though, I guess it's tough to find that balance.
Ph4ZeD 1st April 2011, 21:34 Quote
Good lord, a Bit-Tech/CPC cast praising multi-GPU *and* multi-monitor setups? Whats next, cheeseburgers eating people?
Deders 1st April 2011, 21:48 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Material
Yeah, I tried something a little different this week regarding levels but I don't think it's worked as well as the previous method. Apologies, things should be back to normal next week.

Could run the wav through an audio compressor in something like soundforge to balance out the loud and quiet bits before encoding it to MP3.
Material 1st April 2011, 23:31 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Canon
I guess it's tough to find that balance.

You have no idea....
Material 1st April 2011, 23:34 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Deders
Could run the wav through an audio compressor in something like soundforge to balance out the loud and quiet bits before encoding it to MP3.

I've played with compressing it on the recommendation from chaps in the forum but it seems to give the final product a strange echoy quality that is all a bit weird.

I pretty much have garage band and audacity at my disposal.
wuyanxu 1st April 2011, 23:36 Quote
good lord, first multi-GPU, then multi-monitor. now using Mac's?

i think the world is about to end.
Material 1st April 2011, 23:47 Quote
:) everything is upside down isn't it.
thehippoz 2nd April 2011, 00:31 Quote
thought the last podcast sounded perfect..
Deders 2nd April 2011, 00:50 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Material
I've played with compressing it on the recommendation from chaps in the forum but it seems to give the final product a strange echoy quality that is all a bit weird.

I pretty much have garage band and audacity at my disposal.

There shouldn't be any kind of echo unless there is a time or even pitch based effect going on, which technically compression isn't as it deals with amplitude.

Just tried installing audacity but for some reason can't get past the first install screen, which is ok with me as it seems to want to install tool bars, Commodo even flagged it up as malware.

But I'll have a look around for a free program or even demo that should do the same thing.
runadumb 2nd April 2011, 14:51 Quote
I enjoyed the 3 screen test in custom PC as I went for it in december. For anyone thinking about it I greatly recommend it as it's excellent. Amazingly expensive though.

I got 3 Dell 2311H for £175 each. This was with a special deal I found via Hotukdeals and cashback from Quidco.
Needed a new desk, which was surprisingly hard to find, ended up ordering one from a place in Germany for £110.
Needed a new powersupply (£120 I think) and finally 2x570GTX's (£255 each), which by the way get unbelievable hot in my silverstone FT02B case. So hot in fact during our bitterly cold winter that I worry that they will overheat easily in the summer months.

You are really talking around a grand, which is kinda crazy money and doesn't work with a lot of games. Even games that are meant to support it have weird issues. An example being Mafia 2 were the screen would stretch like crazy when you exited a vehicle. Although playing the game on 3 screens was just incredible.
Mirror's edge doesn't work (even with the hack) which was gutting :( but once you try battlefield on it you will never want to play on one screen again. Outstanding.
Although AMD support doing it from one card don't even think about it. When you are gaming at these resolutions you need all the horsepower you can get and one card just doesn't cut it.

I do have to argue with the bezel correction though. It is a must in my eyes. So what if there's something hidden behind the bezels? It's visible the next twitch of a mouse. How long do you sit still enough for someone to be hiding in such a small space?
It feels more natural and the screens flow better with correction on. You are still getting what anyone would get on the main screen it's just that now you can see more on your peripheral so it isn't an issue at all. Far better than the stop-start non-bezel corrected way which just looks odd and jarring.

Finally I have to agree on the desktop being a pain. In one way it's great, I use 2 screens (left and middle) all the time now. Can't imagine how I used to make do with one screen now haha.
However now I can't maximize web pages or folders, which is the worst thing for me.
Some video players don't work right fullscreen (like the iplayer). Most would just play in the middle screen and darken out the other 2 but some just show black on all 3.
I tried lead and gold last week and it started on all 3 screens but super zoomed in and was totally unplayable. Couldn't even adjust the res in the options. This is the only game I have tried that did this. Most let you play fine on the middle.

I'm rambling in an semi-incoherent mess but all in all I love the hell out of this setup :)
wuyanxu 2nd April 2011, 19:46 Quote
so £1000 for monitor + graphics cards. plus £230 for the desk and power supply. i spent £1100 for my U2711 27inch monitor + a single fastest GPU. that is very similar amount of money.

being a lazy git, i think triple screen gaming is still a bit too early to adopt for those who don't like to tweak. i won't want to keep going into control panels and always messing about with game's INI file.

having said that , racing and flight sim should now come compatible with these setups as standard. the CPC feature just gave them so much praise, i feel ashamed to buy Dirt 3 for my single monitor.
Deders 6th April 2011, 07:41 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Material
I've played with compressing it on the recommendation from chaps in the forum but it seems to give the final product a strange echoy quality that is all a bit weird.

I pretty much have garage band and audacity at my disposal.

Apparently Garage band has a good compressor, although I don't have access to a mac to confirm or experiment with settings.

If you set a low threshold and a high ratio, then set the attack and release to their highest settings then you should achieve a 'brick wall compression' effect like they use in TV/radio adverts to make sure that every sound is at an ear catchingly high level.

The only way I can think that there might be an echo would be if it was somehow in the initial recording and them amplified by the compressor, in which case increase the threshold until sounds at the echo's amplitude are filtered out.
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