Thursday, February 07, 2008

Click, Click like you've never clicked before... cheap ba$tards. There are some websites in need, and when you click, animals and people and probably other categories of mammals get fed.

Really. Snopes said it's true. You know Rob verifies the best he can.

So click here and here and (hit the banners to give on both pages after the jump) then check out snopes.

And you know, some people's feelings wouldn't get hurt if perhaps some other people were to click ads here and there on someone's blog.

Not namin' any names or sayin' you have to, I'm just sayin's all. In other news, people like you to buy things so they can make money.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Don't Try This at Work

That is, if you want to get any work done. If you've got hours to waste, be my guest.

Dark Tower Defense.

Minutes to learn, and a loooooo(you get the idea)ooong time to get good at. For a challenges, don't read the hints and put your military strategy to the test.

Play version 1.5

theroblog scoreboard:

Sunday, February 03, 2008

World of Warcraft Geforce 7050 on PC onboard video vs GMA 950 on Macbook Core 2 Duo Vs Geforce 6200 LE 128 Meg PCI Express vs 7200 GS vs G31...on PC

3/11/2020: I never got around to doing FPS tests, but the 7200GS was better than the 7050, especially since you can overclock it. I hit 710mhz on the RAM and it was stable. the system memory is only 667mhz, so if you are using DDR2 800 with a 7050, you might be close. The GPU seemed to be bottlenecked by the card's RAM, as increasing the core frequency didn't do much. It also probably generated a lot more heat, so I didn't bother as it was only a few fps. It's there if you want it.

I replaced the 7200GS with a 9800GT (big jump!) which is now bottlenecked I believe by my Celeron 430 at 2.4 ghz. It's a single core CPU, so, yeah.

Updated 2/27/09:

I installed a Biostar G31-M7 TE board with DDR2 800 dual channel and a GMA 3100 / G31 chipset. The chip is a Core 2 Duo E5200, at 2.5ghz stock. Windows XP Service Pack 3.

It is better than any of the chipsets below, and I think better than a dedicated 7200GS with turbocache. Even overclocking the 7200GS to a 715mhz RAM freq is slower than the GMA 3100. For instance, the snowfall on the login screen to World of Warcraft is much smoother than the 7200GS. A bit Apples to Oranges as the 7200GS is running on a Vista machine.

In short, with every graphics detail dialed down, you can get 20+ FPS around the mailbox and auction house in Stormwind.

Two big things that will kill your framerate: FSAA (anti-aliasing) and enabling the 'Reduce input lag'. It's surprising how much not enabling that will improve your framerate. Try both. To see your framerate on screen press Ctrl-R while playing WoW.

I use 24 bit color 1x Antialiasing most of the time.

I got the E5200 CPU and Biostar G31-M7 TE board and 4 gigs Corsair XMS2 DDR2 800 RAM at Fry's for $100 before tax and after rebates. So far, very stable and ok for low end gaming.

I got a 350W power supply and decent case for $30 at Microcenter.

--end Feb 2009 update--

I swapped the RAM in the ECS board for DDR2 800 and the results are good! At 1024x768 in World of Warcraft, it's quite easy to get over 20 FPS with 2x 24 bit antialiasing turned on, high res textures, and long distance drawing. Since it's shared memory, we just upped the bandwidth 20%.

Also, I got that board, CPU and fan brand new for $80. Dirt cheap but IMHO decent WoW gaming.

The BIG thing that slows down framerates is turning the Smooth Mouse option on. To the tune of about 10fps which is HUGE with a low end chip like this.

Now there's an interesting shootout. And ought to yield some interesting Google hits.

Here's the systems:

Macbook Core 2 Duo
1.83 ghz
2 gig RAM DDR2 667 (2x1gig sticks)
Running WoW in Mac OS, not in Parallels (though that might yield better results?)

ECS 7050M-M motherboard
1.9 ghz Dual Core Athlon X2 BE-2300 (45w power consumption)
Geforce 7050 onboard graphics or 6200 LE PCI Express
2 gig RAM DDR2 667mhz (2x1gig sticks)
BIOS reports using 256MB shared memory for the Geforce 7050

For the 6200LE, we just put that in the PC and only used the VGA port and did not enable the DVI port.

Pretty even systems wouldn't you say?

The test:

Pretty simple. Stand in front of the Moon Well in Auberdine in World of Warcraft and check the FPS. Same view angle, character does not move, zoomed all the way out.

The Setup

Under video options in WoW:

LOD on, World detail maxed, 24x 24 bit 1x multisample (because this is all the Macbook will do and 16bit looks like an old dot matrix printer), Full screen glow off (The 'stoner' view is not attractive to me), Smooth mouse off, 1024x768 res, Vert sync and triple buffering on for the PC, not an option on the Mac.

Macbook: 8fps
PC with Geforce 7050 onboard video: 17fps
PC with 6200LE (after installing a later set of drivers, sue me): 12 fps

With 'get me as much speed as I can' settings:

Same resolution, LOD enabled, hardware cursor enabled, same 24x24x1 antialiasing (again, because that's the only one the Mac will support), all world details on lowest setting:

Macbook: 23-24fps
PC with 7050 onboard video: (with triple buffering on): 34fps
PC with 6200 LE: 32-34fps

So what have we proved?

1. The Macbook is playable but a cheap PC will yield a lot better performance.

2. The 6200LE is pretty sucky, but I thought it'd be better than onboard.

3. The Geforce 7050 being better is somewhat surprising at first, but the 6200LE was introduced in 2005, and the 7050 almost 2.5 years later. So it makes sense once you think about it, but, onboard with shared memory vs. offboard with shared and dedicated memory was a bit of a surprise. The fact that they are close given the different years of introduction yet different architectures makes sense I suppose.

Coming up:
Can one be overclocked to beat the other?

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