Archive for the ‘Upgrade’ Category


Upgrading my PC

July 4, 2009

Every 12 to 18 months i go thru the process of upgrading the motherboard and CPU. For a small cost I get a performance upgrade. Depending I my needs and what I have changed since the last upgrade there may also be an upgrade in memory, graphics card and HDD. In the last upgrade I did all this plus installed a bigger power supply. I have been using the same Antec case for the last 3 years. Its big and give me plenty of room to move.

The specs before my upgrade were

  • O/S – Vista Ultimate (64 bit)
  • Processor – Intel Core 2 Duo – 6600 @ 2.40GHz
  • Memory – 3GB
  • Video – Nvidia GeForce 8600GT – 512mb
  • HDD – 1 x 120GB SATA (Primary) – 1 x 500GB SATA  – 1 x 1TB SATA
  • DVD/CD Combo reader/writer
  • Memory Card reader
  • Monitors – 21″ Samsung 215tw(1680 x 1050) – 24″ Dell (1920 x 1200)
  • Keyboard & mouse – Logitech MX3200 wireless
  • Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS
  • Altec Lanseng 621 Speakers

The specs after the upgrade are (new parts in bold)

  • O/S – Vista Ultimate  SP2 (64bit)
  • Processor – Intel Quad Core Q8300 2.5 GHz
  • Motherboard – MSI P45 Neo3
  • Memory – 8GB DDR2
  • Video 9800GT – 512mb
  • HDD – 1 x 150GB 10,000rpm (Primary) 2 x 1TB SATA (1 of the TB drives is new)
  • DVD/CD Combo reader/writer changed from IDE unit to SATA unit
  • Memory Card reader
  • Monitors – 21″ Samsung 215tw(1680 x 1050) – 24″ Dell (1920 x 1200)
  • Keyboard & mouse – Logitech Wave 2.4 /  Logitech MX1100 Mouse  both wireless
  • Altec Lanseng 621 Speakers
  • Power Supply -OCZ StealthXStream 500W SLI


It runs nicely and scores 5.9 in all categories on the Windows Experience Index. The fast primary makes program opening very snappy. One of the TB drives is a “Green” drive and there is a 1-2 second delay before the drive spins up. Not a major issue but I wouldn’t use one as a primary.

A majority of the parts where sourced online or from a local contact. For online I can recommend PC Case Gear.  Great prices and great service.

My next upgrade may or may not be to Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit. The pricing of Windows 7 upgrades (I want to do 3 other machines as well as this one) is on the high side. I was running Windows 7 RC on my HTPC (built between main PC upgrades) and really liked it but I have not had any issues with Vista on any of the 3 PCs that run it (one older one runs XP – this will upgraded later this year) and with the pricing on 7 I find it hard to justify the OS upgrade. It will be a wait and see on the OS upgrade.


Windows 7 Beta – early impressions

January 13, 2009
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I downloaded the beta of Windows 7 on the weekend and installed it in a virtual PC. There was no issues there the install was smooth and straight forward. So far its been pretty good and certainly very stable and cant be that far off of being fully cooked.

Now a couple of things that I don’t like.

01 –  Windows Media Player 12 – no podcast support still and I couldn’t find the media player toolbar that shows when I minimize it as it does with Vista/XP with media player 11.  There is no excuse for this and I can only hope this will be rectified before the final release.

02 – the second is the new taskbar. I gave it a chance but I prefer the way I use the Taskbar and Quick launch bar combo in vista and XP. With windows seven it appears to a combination of the taskbar and the quick launch that feels like a step backwards to me. To see what is running it is not always obvious because the indicators on the taskbar are so subtle. With some programs if I want to launch a second instance I cant click on the taskbar that just max or minimizes the currently running instance. I have to go thru the menu to launch a second instance.

this is how I work with the taskbar / quick lauch bar in Vista/XP. I can see what is running easily and can launch new instances quickly and with one click.

whereas the Windows 7 bar looks like this.Capture
Here you can see firefox running but when you have a few apps running it can be harder to pick.

At this stage I wouldn’t be looking at upgrading from Vista straight away. The taskbar feels like a step back and like Microsoft is trying to emulate the Apple dock which am not a fan of either. It just feels like its half complete and as a result is half as useful

Update: I have learnt of the centre mouse button press to launch a new instance. In someways this is even worse when in Visual Studio and FireFox I middle click to close tabs


It’s the little things

April 23, 2008

The more I use technology the more I have come to the conclusion that its the little things that cause the most frustration.

As I previously blogged I am using a copy of Visual Studio 2008 Pro after upgrading from 2005 (well not really upgraded I still have 2005 installed as well). While 2008 is a sound product there are a couple of little things that are absolutely frustrating.

1 – absolute positioning of controls.  Labels (in particular) and some other controls cannot be positioned absolutely without editing the source code. Ok for 1 or 2 but an absolute pain in the ass. Microsoft say this will be fixed with service pack 1 but then give no indication of when seemingly brushing it off as a minor thing. Well for me its not it made me stop using 2008 and revert back to 2005 for web development.

2. – deployment projects do not add the desktop icon , start menu shortcut when you install it on the client machines. The program installs fine but you have to manually add links on the start menu and the desktop. Again not a seemingly big problem but a major league pain in the ass.

I would advise anyone to avoid using 2008 for serious development until the small but incredibly frustrating issues are sorted.

Update: I have solved the installer issue. I uninstalled Visual Studio 2005 (I will move to a virtual PC) and this process now functions as expected.

Update 2 : Missed mentioning another one of the little things in VS 2008 that annoys me. With the web designer you cant select multiple controls again VS2005 not an issue.

On a side note – I would like to look at Microsofts expression products but since I use Firefox 3 Beta 5 I cant use siverlight so I cant get any product info and I refuse to use IE.


Vista SP1 – a few days on and other stuff

February 21, 2008

Well its been a few days now with SP1 in place and so far no problems at all. 

To be honest I haven’t noticed any major/obvious changes since installing SP1  although it does feel like it boots a fraction quicker and the whole system itself just feels a bit “crisper”.

Its not the major change that SP2 was to XP and this is what basically  Microsoft have been saying all along. Most of the “you need service pack 1 ” talk has been generated by the media and by “loud” users who despite actually not using Vista apparently are experts.

I didn’t have any major issues with Vista beforehand and SP1 at this stage certainly hasn’t changed that.

The whole Windows Vista SP1 Prerequisite KB937287 issue that has  shown up recently just made me laugh. The Vista team wont release SP1 to the public because of issues with “some” drivers yet the they release a update via Windows Update that appears to have caused the type of problem they are trying to avoid by releasing SP1. Talk about shooting yourself in the foot. The whole Vista release has basically been a circus and has probably contributed more to the undeserved bad rap Vista has.


Vista Service Pack 1 – On my production PC

February 16, 2008

I have been running SP1 which I obtained from a torrent on a virtual PC for a few days without issue. Tonight I decided to install SP1 on my “Production” PC. So using a registry hack that is floating around the net( google “vista sp1 registry hack” and you should find it) I got the service pack installed via windows update.

It all went smoothly (took about 35-40 minutes) and everything is working without issue.

Vista SP1

So after the Vista team basically telling me I was to stupid to deal with the service pack at this stage I managed to do it without my brain exploding contrary what the Vista team seem to be indicating by their pathetic release schedule.

I will report on my experience with SP1 in the coming weeks and to all if you want to try it give it a go because despite what the Vista team says I am guessing most of you are more than capable of dealing with it. So go on live on the edge and take a risk or dont its your choice not the narrow minded, arrogant Vista team.

Finally to the Vista team I offer this gesture To the Vista Team


Microsoft – The Good and the Bad

January 25, 2008


The Bad – Vista Information  or lack there of.

As I have mentioned before on this blog I have had trouble getting a straight answer out of Microsoft  regarding Windows Anytime Upgrade being available in Australia. Nobody at Microsoft will give me an answer while  other than a cookie cutter answer that basically says nothing constructive. How hard can it be to give a straight normal answer ? Obviously to hard for anybody at Microsoft associated with Vista. It frustrates me no end having to deal with this bullshit  from the Vista team.  From my dealings with the Vista team/MS Support it is obvious unless you are a corporate the Vista team really care for the individual user.


The Good – Visual Studio  2005/8

When the previous version of VS (2005) was released I was keen to try it and the Standard Edition fit my bill. I was keen to try this and when to the Trial download page and every version was there for trial except standard. I contacted the VS team and was offered a free copy of VS 2005 standard which I gladly took. I ended up using the product so  I actually purchased a copy even though the version they sent me was a full version. I felt it was the right thing to do as they had gone out of their way to get me trial.

Well recently 2008 was released and again the exact same situation with the trials. Again I contacted the VS team and again they responded with a offer of a free version which I accepted again. There was no cookie cutter answers just clear concise answers to the question I asked .

To the VS team I say thank you and to the Vista team I say thank you for nothing except frustrations.


Listening to “Dont Waste my Time – Angels” (dedicated to the Vista team)


Microsoft continues to ripoff Australians

October 10, 2007

Recently I acquired a Xbox 360 and thought I would use it to stream media from my Vista Business PC. While this works fine it would be a lot better with Media Center. 

I decided to upgrade to Vista Ultimate. Windows anytime upgrade wasnt available to Australians at Vista launch date but I thought that would have been sorted by now. I was informed by a Microsoft rep that it was coming to Australia soon after launch date.

I went onto the  web and on this page

but find the link to Anytime Upgrade is dead.

I contacted Microsoft and the rep just got back to me and I was informed that Anytime Upgrade is not available to Australia. If I wanted to upgrade I could spend $AUD495 and buy the upgrade. Does Microsoft think anybody would be stupid enough to do this?. Its even more ridiculous when you consider that a Anytime Upgrade from Business to Ultimate would cost $USD139.

Reality doesnt seem to be a concept Microsoft have a full grasp on. As much as a like Vista I can see why it isnt selling when Microsoft think they can get away with BS like this.