Archive for January, 2008

Snopes pushing adware

Monday, January 28th, 2008

It's amazing how quickly a reputable company will sell out their loyal users.  The latest company to put the dollar ahead of, well, decency, is the popular urban legends site Snopes.

Snopes shame

Sunbelt Blog has the details:

That ad, “Do you want to block Junk Emails?” is for a Zango product — adware (VirusTotal report here). And by running this ad, Snopes, which is highly reputable, is providing an implied endorsement of the product.

...

In other words, Snopes is pushing adware because it makes them money. And I believe it’s a lot of money.

And that’s not an urban legend. It’s shameful.

Snopes is outta my favorites list.

Which is the best graphics card – HD 3870 or 8800GT?

Thursday, January 24th, 2008

Question:  Which is the best graphics card - an ATi Radeon HD 3870 with 512MB of RAM or an nVIDIA 8800GT with 512MB of RAM?

Both are excellent graphics cards and pretty much equally matched in terms of power.  However, since most games aren't only dependent on the graphics card but also the driver, you tend to find that the ATi card will be better for some games while other games will work best on the nVIDIA card.  Overall though, the nVIDIA card is the overall winner.

However, bear in mind that the 3870 is a little cheaper than the 8800GT so this might sway you.  The 3870 also takes up two slots in a PC so it might obscure another slot, but it runs cooler and generally quieter than the nVIDIA card.

Hope that helps!

Microsoft patch improves SLI/CrossFire performance

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2008

Are you finding that you aren't getting the performance that you'd hoped from your SLI/CrossFire setup?  Are you finding that gaming performance and benchmarks aren't up to scratch?  Are you running Windows Vista?

If you answered "Yes" to these questions then Microsoft have a patch that might be of interest to you.  Knowledge base article 945149 links to a patch for Vista 32-bit and 64-bit.  The symptoms are somewhat ambiguous and unless you know what LDA is you could be fooled into thinking that this doesn't apply (just think of LDA as a generic name for nVIDIA's SLI and ATi's CrossFire).

In some scenarios, games and benchmarks perform more poorly than expected on a Windows Vista-based computer. This issue occurs when the games and the benchmarks use multiple display adapters in a Linked Display Adapter (LDA) configuration.

There's also a brief description of the cause of the problem:

A graphics processing unit (GPU) or part of a GPU link may incur a small scheduling latency on a new Direct Memory Access (DMA) packet. This is true if the DMA packet is submitted to the GPU that has previously run out of work and if another GPU in the linked configuration is very busy. In some scenarios, significant starvation of one or more GPUs in the linked configuration reduces the expected performance of an application.

If you're a gamer or performance addict then you can download the 32-bit patch from here and the 64-bit patch from here.

I've downloaded and installed the patch and it seems to work fine and although I've not benchmarked performance does seem better.  However, read the following warning before installing:

A supported hotfix is now available from Microsoft. However, this hotfix is intended to correct only the problem that is described in this article. Apply this hotfix only to systems that are experiencing this specific problem. This hotfix might receive additional testing. Therefore, if you are not severely affected by this problem, we recommend that you wait for the next service pack that contains this hotfix.

MacSweeper – Rogue cleaning tool for the Mac

Tuesday, January 15th, 2008

Mac users beware.  F-Secure have discovered the first rogue cleaning tool for the Mac.  Called MacSweeper this tool claims to find privacy violations on your system (bad cookies, adult content, that sort of thing) and offers to remove it - for a fee.  The catch is that the "privacy violations" are fake.

MacSweeper

MacSweeper

30 minutes and three reboots later, Vista SP1 Build 17128 installed

Friday, January 11th, 2008

I've just surfaced from an SP1 build 17128 install frenzy.  I've installed it on a few system and so far, no problems. 

As Vista SP1 edges closer to being released, what we can expect from the final release is now becoming clearer.  One thing that's now clear is that the upgrade will take between 30 minutes to well over an hour.  On very fast quad-core systems the fastest upgrade I managed was a shade under 30 minutes.  I can only imagine that if you're going to SP1-ifying low spec systems that the process could take well over an hour - maybe even two. 

Another point is reboots - SP1 currently reboots your system three times. 

Roll on the final release ...