May 25, 2007

Hard Disk Running Too Hot?

A Google research study revealed something about the hard disk temperature. While a lot of PC users are trying to keep their hard disk as cool as possible, the study showed exactly the opposite. The rate of hard disk failure increases especially in low temperature, below 30c. Only disks which are older than 3 years behave as expected. However, failure rate only increased when temperature went to about 45c and above. So meaning to say, hard disk cooling systems for home user like us, are basically unnecessary. Research also showed that pleasant temperature should be around 40c.
This is one of the most extensive tests in the IT industry. Google collected and analysed about 100,000 hard disks, included PATA and SATA models capacity range from 80GB to 400GB which majority of home users purchase, from its own data processing centre over the period of nine months.
So now we all know how to take good care of our hard disks.

Asus EN8800GTS 320MB

Just about a couple of weeks ago, I started to play "Rainbow Six: Vegas". With my E4300 running at 2.9GHz paired with further-overclocked 7300GT Sonic, the game play was lagged even though I have put the video setting to low and medium in 1024x768 res. So I started to think of a higher end GPU. After went through some forumers opinions and research, I finally put my order on an Asus EN8800GTS 320MB with my IT supplier. Some might ask why don't top up few hundred bucks and get a GTX. Well, my screen is only 22" and I'm not a full-time/hardcore gamer, nor I've that kind of budget at the moment. So...maybe next time.

Anyway, below are some pictures:

The packaging is nice, and the box is big. With the carrying handle on top of it, you sure can attract some envy eyes when carrying this baby out from the shop.

Inside the box you get a quick installation manual, some driver CDs, 3DMark06, cables, adapter, a nice black CD wallet, and of course - GAMES! WTCC & GHOST RECON:ADVANCED WARFIGHTER.

Not the biggest size GPU on the market but it's quite impressive (NO! That cigarette is not bundled with this toy!). Ghost Recon picture on the heat sink cover but too bad you won't be able to see it after attach to your mobo, unless you are using BTX casing with a top window panel.

Make sure you have nothing attached to the next PCI slot, it takes up two slot spaces. Hot air is push out through the rear vent, unlike some other brands design which just make the hot air circulate inside the PC case.

After installation and everything, I tried it out with 3DMark05 just to see how far it can go. I scored 5587 with my previous setup and this baby hit 13646, and 8370 on 3DMark06! On top of that, it runs a little bit hot. My overclocked 7300GT Sonic ran full load at around 63c and this toy idles at that reading. So make sure your PC case has good air flow system if you are going to have this in your rig.

Now I'm going to Mexico to spank some bad dude ass! Until then...

May 21, 2007

Internet Security Practices

When I was in IT line last time, I actually have quite a number of customers coming in asking for help in "virus-fighting". I even get question like "my P4 quite powerful mah, why still can infected by virus leh?". So the fact is that there are actually people who think that a computer with powerful processor will not get infected by computer virus, and believe me, there are still PC users out there who don't know what is computer virus.

No matter how powerful your PC is, it's extremely vulnerable if you don't practice Internet security, especially when countless of computer virus attacks, malwares, computer hoaxes, and phishing scams are reported almost everyday. So, how do we actually practice Internet security?

Below are some points taken from
  1. Use an Internet security solution that combines antivirus, firewall, intrusion detection, and vulnerability management for maximum protection against malicious code and other threats.
  2. Ensure that security patches are up-to-date and that they are applied to all vulnerable applications in a timely manner.
  3. Ensure that passwords are a mix of letters and numbers. Do not use dictionary words. Change passwords often.
  4. Never view, open, or execute any email attachment unless the attachment is expected and the purpose of the attachment is known.
  5. Keep virus definitions updated regularly. By deploying the latest virus definitions, consumers can protect their computers against the latest viruses known to be spreading “in the wild.”
  6. Check to see if your PC or Macintosh® system is vulnerable to threats by using Symantec Security Check at:
  7. All computer users need to know how to recognize computer hoaxes and phishing scams. Hoaxes typically include a bogus email warning to “send this to everyone you know” and/or improper technical jargon that is intended to frighten or mislead users. Phishing scams appear to come from a legitimate organization and entice users to enter credit card or other confidential information into forms on a Web site designed to look like that of the legitimate organization. You should never disclose confidential information without confirming that the request is legitimate.
  8. Both spyware and adware can be automatically installed on a computer along with file-sharing programs, free downloads, and freeware and shareware versions of software, or by clicking on links and/or attachments in email messages, or via instant messaging clients. Therefore, you should be informed and selective about what you install on your computer.
  9. Don’t just click those “Yes, I accept” buttons on end-user licensing agreements (EULAs). Some spyware and adware applications can be installed after you accept the EULA, or as a consequence of that acceptance. Read EULAs carefully to examine what they mean in terms of privacy. The agreement should clearly explain what the product is doing and provide a way to uninstall it.
  10. Beware of programs that flash ads in the user interface. Many spyware programs track how users respond to these ads, and their presence is a red flag. When you see ads in a program’s user interface, you may be looking at a piece of spyware. Don’t click on ads that appear unexpectedly in your browser window. Instead, close the window immediately.

May 8, 2007

AC Freezer Pro 7

Just when I have received my PSU yesterday, a postman honked at my gate this morning. My AC Freezer Pro 7 is finally here after 19 days of delivery, all the way from

Well protected.

Looks good.

Inside the box...

Compare with stock Intel unit.

Ready for action.

Since there are already a lot of product reviews available in the Internet, I'll not going into product detail. Anyway, I believe my home office is one of the most "computer-unfriendly" environments out there - high ambient temperature all day long. So how well does this unit perform? Let's see...

My rig stays in Coolermaster Centurion 531 case, with 120mm fan for both intake and exhaust. Intake fan speed at around 1260RPM, exhaust spins at around 1740RPM, and CPU fan at 2700RPM. Room temp at around 30c. With closed panel, CPU temperature reads at 47c, System temperature rises from 39c to 41c, PWM1 temp hits 48c from 40c, and PWM3 temp hits 45c from 39c.

I believe it's due the direction which the AC Freezer fan is blowing. Compare with Intel stock unit, Intel's unit is blowing down to the motherboard and thus able to bring down the surrounding temperature more effective, while AC Freezer fan is blowing straight to the exhaust side of the case with only little flow to the motherboard.

So my conclusion, not satisfactory at the moment but since have to wait for the thermal paste to run in, so I expect a slightly lower temp reading by then. Perhaps other people carried out the tests under a more cooler environment, and thus able to have lower temp reading. Maybe I should get an air-conditioning unit for my room.

My SilverStone ST56F PSU

Most people, including myself, neglect the PSU when they upgrade their PC due to almost all new PC cases attached with one. Never before I will consider to spend few hundred bucks in an aftermarket PSU since all my past units have served me well under various operating conditions. However, not until recently when one of my friends told me that his unit, which came together with the PC case, blew up while he was busy spanking his enemies. Now I don't know what does he really mean but certainly, I won't want that to happen to my new rig especially when I have spent few thousand bucks to build it.

So after checking out users suggestions and opinions from a well known local IT forum and read some related articles from the Internet, I put my order for a SilverStone ST56F through (an IT vendor with excellent customer service). Anyway, This unit has received pretty good comments from majority of PC-enthusiasts. Total costs is RM385, including POS LAJU charges.

It's not the best PSU in the world but it sure is the best bang for buck item when talking about 560W Continuous. Go have a round in all the IT shops in Kota Kinabalu, I'm sure you can't find one that comes close to it.

Since there are already lots of detailed reviews on this item, so I'm not going to put up another one here. Anyway, below are some pictures:

Received from POS LAJU.

The box.

Inside the box.

Looks solid and beautiful.

May 6, 2007

Experience with Boulevard IT Superstore

It's grateful to see that IT stores are booming tremendously in one of the local shopping complex - Karamunsing Complex. It's said that the owner wants to turn it into a KK-Lowyat, IT center in other word. One can imagine how tough a business will become when everyone is selling similiar items. However, there are always ways to stay ahead of competitors, and one of them is by providing better customer services possible, and of course, that will depends on the manager's capability in training his sales team.

My story:
Recently I was in the mood to "light up" the interior of my PC case, with some LED fans. so after searching around in Karamunsing, I found out that Boulevard IT Superstore has some units on shelves. No label stating its LED color, so I asked a salesgirl if she can test it out for me. She looked unconfident within a second, and seeked help from her colleague. Sounds good and helpful? Well, unfortunate enough, after the salesman opened up the box and looked at the fan, he told me that it's very hard and troublesome to test the fan because it needs to be connected to the PC power supply unit... Frankly, I was shocked to hear such reason coming out from an IT shop sales person, and this really turns my shopping mood off. Perhaps in his point of view, customer means a person who spends big money...not those who just wanna buy a shitty fan?

My opinion, IT shop manager/owner should only hire people who are keen in IT. Not some low-cost-school-leavers who just want to have fun and wait for payday. Nevertheless, Boulevard IT Superstore does provide a good variety range of products. However, customers better have basic IT knowledge if want to shop there as their sales person aren't very knowledgeable in what they are selling - they can even flipped through External IDE Closure boxes trying to look for information when I enquired if they have high-end PC power supply unit...

May 2, 2007

Internet connection

Read an article in a PC mag regarding Internet connection in other countries, and realize that Malaysia's is still falling far far behind. Looking at our neighbour, Singapore, people are enjoying a higher speed connection since some times ago. Now I'm not sure about the charges, but I guess it will be an affordable one. For Hong Kong, they are running at 10M and for only HKD100+ per month (100HKD is around RM44)! I can only imagine and dream for that to come true in our country...

For ours, we have Jaring and TMNET since the 90's, and now we are only speeding at 512k up to 2mbps. Worst case is that our broadband connection is always down, not "always on" as stated by our ISP. Imagine how frustrated can it be when you are going to perform an urgent online banking transaction and you realize that the connection is down.

TMNET was promoting the RM77 1mbps connection in the recent PC Fair. The salesgirl asked me to sign up. So I asked her what for if my current connection is always down and my 512k can never hits the limit, and she told me that everything will be fine after I upgrade to 1mbps connection. Now that is a VERY RESPONSIBLE salesperson one would like to avoid as they only care about the sales commission, not providing solution! Malaysia TMNET is wasting money on such sales team and no wonder we can't be improved. One of my friends just signed up for the 1mbps package recently and it's down the day after, for whole day long. Malaysia is a boleh-land.

Perhaps our government should upgrade the service under the 9MP. I believe people don't mind to fork out a little bit extra for higher and stable Internet connection speed. If other Asia countries can do it, why can't we?

We don't brag if our results are higher, but we need to revise when we are falling far behind.