Happy New Years!
OK, so it is the 3rd, but I'm sure that will be OK.
So Aiden makes some cute little faces. Like these.
Anyway, that was on the 31st. We stayed up til about 1am New Years Eve/Day, but only with the help of a fussy kid. Didn't really do much of anything exciting. Did rent a few movies, but otherwise very mellow.
On the 1st Aunt Kay and Uncle Rog stopped by on their way through. We updated them on the pass and checked out a few pics of the pass and then I got a picture of Pi with Auntie Kay.
In other wonderful news, I have decided to go ahead with a new machine. Based on a 3.06GHz Pentium 4, an AOpen mobo (which, yes, they love SIS and I usually advocate the VIA chipsets but I'm sure it'll work out, plus VIA hasn't done much in the Intel markets yet), ATI Radeon 9700 Pro and a 3 drive RAID 0 array (Maxtor DiamondMax Plus 9s connected to a HighPoint RocketRAID 404, yes I debated RAID 5, and maybe next time Ė RAID 5 would require a different card like the Promise SX6000, AND YES this is all ATA stuff not SCSI). All of the parts have arrived minus the Koolance case Ė yes, I'm going to do some low end water cooling to help with the noise in my otherwise rather noisy office. For now, I don't intend to overclock anything, yet. Of course, going with DDR400 is sorta in that realm since it isn't an official standard yet.
The funkiest part of the whole thing is the cooler that comes in the retail box for the Pentium 4 - it weighs 488g or 1lb 1oz. It's kinda on the huge side. A 70mm fan on top of an aluminum (I'm guessing on that part) set of fins that with a copper plate at the bottom. I remember in the old days we didn't cool the processor at all (no heat sinks, nothing). The biggest thermal issue was the power supply. Of course, that all predates the 486 (which is 5 "naming" cycles ago since there are sometimes pretty substantial big differences within just one name - take the 423 pin Pentium 4 verses this 478 pin one I just got - corewise there are substantial differences (1.55V core vs 1.75V core, hyper-threading, almost 2x the heat, etc, but they all share the same name)).
3 Months Old
Aiden turned 3 months on Monday. He is getting so big. On Thursday he weighed 15 lbs and is 24 inches long. I measured him here at home since he didnít need a three-month checkup. Iím going to try to weigh and measure every month around the 30th. He has started wearing 6 months clothes and will soon outgrow all of his 3-6 month sleepers. The sleepers are first since they have feet.
He is getting better at rolling over and Iím of course showing him off so he gets more practice that way. I think in another month he will be able to roll from back to tummy although it may take longer since he doesnít like to be on his tummy very much.
Itís time again to update everyone on Aidenís weight and progress. On Thursday the 9th he weighed 15 lbs 1 oz. So he has slowed down on gaining weight at least for a little while. Once we get him down for the night he sleeps around 8 hours. The only thing now is getting him down. Iím trying to learn about putting him down at night by reading books and talking to people. We hope to find a system that works by the end of the month.
Richard has had a cold now for about a week. So far Aiden and I have managed not to get it, I hope that it stays that way.
Nerdy stuff warning!!!
Well, the bleeding edge hurts. All I really wanted was a board I could water cool that would have 8x AGP and support HyperThreading. The 8xAGP is for the Radeon 9700. The HyperThreading is for the 3.06GHz Pentium 4. What I got was neither. But, for a $90 motherboard, what was I expecting, huh?
The 8x AGP slot has issues. Actually, until I patched the BIOS, the 9700 actually wouldn't work with this motherboard under XP. Top that off with the fact that while the Sis 648 (or whatever) Northbridge chip will support HT (under very limited circumstances and from the looks of their site only stepping B* of the processor Ė FYI, I have a C1 stepping) the motherboard actually doesn't support HT at all!!! Why? I don't know. AOpen did successfully tweak something on several of their other boards that were already released to support HT, but nothing on the Sis chips (all the tweaks were Intel 845 chips Ė meaning 4x AGP again). Grrr.
Right now, there isn't a board out there that actually supports both 8x and HT (well, there are boards out, but none that are actually available Ė as in place an order and watch what happens - OK, so Gigabyte has a board that is semi-available, but weird).
The water cooling is definitely working out. The processor is in the low 40's under load (compare that to my current processor which is in the mid-high 40s if I type or turn it on and without the 120mm fan I stuck in here can get into the low 70s which is the max temp Ė I'm sure the GeForce 3 Ti500 right next to it is no help since it is hot anyway - Dungeon Siege is the ultimate for bringing out the best in these temps). My hotter air cooled system is AT LEAST 2x-3x as noisy as the water cooled one. If I ever get really bored, like I win the lottery or someone calls and says take 2 weeks off and do whatever you want, I'll probably get rambunctious and find a way to create a water cooling system for the 5 other machines in my office. Of course, I say that now while I still have no leaks on anything! Hmm, well, maybe I would, kinda depends.
The "representative only" board that I looked at on the web of this AOpen board had the usual customary hold down holes and everything for the Northbridge heat sink. In the one that showed up, one of the holes is substantially interfered with by the processor's HUGE heat sink area. So they taped it to the board (thermal tape under the heat sink, not like scotch tape on top of it or anything). At first, I tied a water cooled chip cooler to this (yes, using little tie downs on top of it Ė It felt a little ghetto, but it worked great). Then, the tape didn't hold so the whole thing came off. I have thermal adhesive (which is an epoxy and can't be removed) on its way so I'll epoxy the heat sink to the board and cool that (NO this is not the most efficient way to do things, but I don't intend to keep this board either).
The 8x AGP didn't work for squat with XP (as I mentioned) before updating the BIOS. However, ATI really doesn't want to let the card go to 8x its little testy interface crud keeps resetting it to 4x (annoying). I haven't decided what to do there. Of course, there are several articles out saying 8x AGP doesn't provide squat for improvement over 4x AGP (in synthetic tests or actual games).
On the HT stuff. No support. Hahahahahaha. Ooooh, there is love here. Actually, that's a little frustrating, but at least I know I'll have something to put on eBay soon. Hahahahaha.
So, now I'm waiting for the Intel 7205 based boards to become more available. Gigabyte has one that has some weird funky add on power thingy. Probably avoid this one, but I can't say for sure yet. Asus has a P4G8X, but either people don't actually have it or they will ship it in a week (seems to be an East Coast variation on we don't have it Ė usually they also end up saying "our supplier screwed us, sorry"). Soyo & Abit both have a couple Intel 845PE based boards that are available (however, that means they are 4x AGP). So, I'm holding out!
The one additional issue in this whole thing, the plexiglas window on the side of the case (which I don't really care about since no one will be able to see in there anyway as it'll be under my desk) was popped out when it arrived. Thinking it wasn't a big deal I tried and tried and tried and tried to get it back in. Finally just called Koolance and sent that part back to them to pop in (they are closer physically than XOxide where I ordered it). Should be here next week. So, the total on this whole saga is it will probably be another week before I have my big machine up, assuming availability of 7205 based boards doesn't change and I still hold out for 8x AGP (even in contradiction to information that it holds little to no performance improvement - we aren't talking 10% or anything we are talking parts of a percent).
In baby news, Aiden is making a lot more noises now. He seems to be moderately interested in talking to you if you talk to him. It's quite amusing. And yes, I've been sick and that sucks, but I'm mostly over it so this next week should be cool (especially if I can make my system work the way I want).
Sorry now pics, and nothing interesting if you aren't a little nerdy, but I'm sure I'll get something up here for the rest of you soon. :)
Mom and Dad's night out
Richard and I went out by ourselves for the first time Saturday night. When we were taking birthing classes Tosca talked about how it was important to have time alone from the baby. At the time this sounded like a good idea, but once Aiden got here it was a different story. Richard had been mentioning going out for about a month. So when Mom decided to come over and stay the night I thought itís a perfect time to try date night. This would be the first time Aiden was with out one of us since he was born. We decided to go to a movie and I gave in to the Star Trek one. Before we got to the freeway I was in tears. I really donít know why, because I trust my Mom fully and Aiden adores her. So Richard offered to turn around but I knew I had to do this at some time. We did decided on the way to town a movie was too long and would be a waste of money, since I would not enjoy it and would want to leave early. So we went to Vinnieís but they were packed so we settled for the bar in Red Robin. On the way to Red Robin I called Mom to tell her about the change of plans (alright I called to check in). Everything was fine and I could hear Aiden in the background cooing. So we get to Red Robin and Iím still teary eyed (and since we go there all the time) people kept coming up saying hi and mentioning no baby. Things got better and we ate (with no tears) and tried to enjoy ourselves. We stopped off at Dairy Queen and then came home. My goal was to be gone for two hours but I only made it 1 hour and 43 minutes. Richard mentioned we could drive around for the remaining time but I didnít want Momís Dilly Bar to melt (alright another excuse I wanted to see Aiden). When we got home everything was fine and Mom had even done some dishes while Aiden took his short evening nap. We will try date night next month and hopefully no tears. Iím so glad I can work at home.
This week at Momís group Aiden weighed 15 lbs 4 ozs. He is still teething and is starting to hold things. This week he could put his fish (fisher) teething toy in his mouth by himself.
Things have been a little busy around here as of late. I finally finished the computer. I ended up with the AOpen board (which doesnít support HT, but does support 8x AGP and DDR Ė yes, I have a thing against RAMBUS and I hope it dies soon). Iím sure I can wait 4-5 months and just get a different mobo and take care of the HT thing. Granite Bay boards (Intelís 7205 chipset) which supports 8x AGP, HT and DDR should be out soon, but I think Iíll wait for them to have a few revisions. I went a whole VIA P4PB fiasco. Nice review of it at hardOCP, but no way I can get it to work with XP!!! Iíll just wait. Yesterday, I finished the thermal transfer insulate stuff on the hard drives, which was a little trippy putting goop on the bottom of a hard drive, but it is officially done. There are a few ďghettoĒ modifications Ė like the tie down that holds a 40mm fan on the northbridge. I did that because although I used Arctic Silver epoxy to place the heat sink it just doesnít put up with much. So, one more fan Ė pretty sad, I went with water cooling to remove the fans and now I have 8 in this machine (3 80mm for the radiator, 2 in the power supply, 2 in the back of the case and 1 on the Northbridge). Yes, I can remove a bunch of those.
We got in a new thermal CD printer with an autoloader. That was fun (new toys sometimes amuse me a little too much). The artwork was a little bit of a pain, but it is all set up now and we can hopefully find some time to make beautiful artwork for the CDs.
In other news, the super bowl sucked. Hahaha. We were going to go to Mindyís momís house for a party out there, but she fell and broke her ankle. I drank a beer to help with her speedy recovery. Hope it helps.
On the upside, Joey came out and played with Aiden and his toys. That kid is pretty funny. I should have taken some pictures, but I forgot, oops.
Anyway, hereís some pics of Pi:
Yep, my office is a mess as of late, but check out the Scooby Doo phone. That'll scare the crap out of you when you hook it up to the business line!!! Hahahahaha.