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Posts Tagged ‘ASUS’

Over the last couple of weeks I have seen an increasing number of posts on the Web bashing Windows 7 for ‘excessive’ memory usage.

That has surprised me. I have not seen that in the 4.5 months I have been using Windows 7 Professional, daily, without a single days off, most days for at least 12 hours. But, I will admit up front that my rig is rather atypical given that it has 12GB DDDR3 memory. I also have an ASUS GTX260 video card with 896MG.

I don’t check memory usage that often — if at all. I do have the CPU & Memory Usage gadget on the top right corner of my right-hand side monitor. [Yes, I have a dual monitor configuration]. But, I do not see the gadget because I have a FireFox instance that takes up 99.5% of that 24″ screen. Since these complaints about Windows 7 memory, I have been looking at my memory usage.

Most times I am between 21% and 23%. Call that 2.76GB.

Right now, to check memory usage, I have open: 2 instances of FireFox 3.6.2 (with 14 open tabs), Media Player, Word 2007, PowerPoint 2007, Excel 2007 and Adobe Acrobat Professional 9.3.2. Memory usage per the gadget is 24%.

I could be wrong, but I am kind of sure that my relatively low and realistic memory usage has a LOT to do with my Virtual Memory setting. Three weeks into using Windows 7, I went in and manually changed the Virtual Memory allocations for this system. Though I have 12GB, I set my VM to 4GB. Read the post — please. I think 4GB VM is THE sweet spot for Windows 7.

So here are my two suggestions for ‘tuning’ Windows 7 memory usage:

  1. I really do not think you can run Windows 7 effectively with less than 2GB of memory. Ideally it should be 3GB. Above that is gravy. 12GB just says that you got a 0% APR for all your hardware for a year  from newegg.com
  2. Please go in an look at your VM settings. Do not turn VM off [i.e., specify 0GB]. Try 4GB. Let me know. I have a feeling that you will be pleasantly surprised.

Good luck.

Cheers

Anura Guruge

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My assertion that there will be some attractive ‘open box’ deals on Windows 7 PCs after Christmas is indeed coming to pass. That was a fairly easy and obvious call. I think I heard the other day, on CNBC, that 17% of Christmas gifts are returned.

Got an email from tigerdirect.com with this deal. This is similar to the Asus box from BestBuy, for $650, that I had talked about on December 28. The tigerdirect.com comes with Vista. So you will need to spend $109.99 to upgrade it to 64-bit Windows 7 Home Premium 6 or $149.99 for Windows 7 Professional. With Home Premium that would come to $630 for a what will be a rather powerful, nifty looking box with a relatively decent nVidia GeForce GT2200 graphics card.

If you are looking for an ‘All-in-One’ with Windows 7 Professional … check this out at tigerdirect.com for $680. ‘All-in-One’ are cool. Definitely eliminate clutter and cables and gives you, in effect, a genuine hybrid between a laptop and a desktop.

They also have other relative interesting options such as this SYX Venture H420i ITX Desktop PC 19″ LCD Bundle for $550 or this Systemax Venture VX for $340. I am sure that they will both perform fine for non-gaming use, though I think that both of them, at 2GB, is a tad light on memory. But you could get another gig or two for under a $100. Also check out the refurbished machines.

Newegg.com, from what I can see, do not have any refurbished desktops running Windows 7. But they do have some fairly decent refurbished HPs, with 8GB and AMD quad-cores, for around $430. So you could upgrade to Windows 7 and still be under $550.

Talking of refurbished Vista boxes, that would make fine Windows 7 rigs, check out this Asus, with 6GB, from Best Buy for $330. They also have a refurbished HP, with 8GB and a 20″ LCD, for $400.

I also happened to see some interesting deals at overstock.com. So if you are in the market for a Windows 7 machine, it is indeed a buyers-market. Enjoy. Indulge.

Cheers.

Anura Guruge
www.guruge.com

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Following my post on the power-packed, 8GB ASUS, with Windows 7 Home Premium, being offered by Best Buy for a compelling $650, I was alerted this afternoon to two other very tempting Windows 7 deals from Best Buy.

  1. The same ASUS, but now packaged with a 20″ LCD monitor and an EPSON NX110 3-in-1 multifunction printer for $760. I have always liked Epson printers. I bought my first in 2003 having carefully studied specs of Epson vs. HP. Never regretted it. Then in 2007 I got a Christmas gig as a Epson weekend warrior. I had to bone up on Epson technology and pass a number of online tests. So I was forced to learn a lot about Epsons, quickly. I was never disappointed. Selling Epson printers, at Best Buy, during the the 2007 Christmas period was, indubitably, one of the best jobs I have ever had … and I have had some plumb jobs with unlimited expense accounts, offices the size of conference rooms, company cars and first class air travel. The printers sold themselves.  I would outsell HP, Canon and Dell day-in, day-out. I really don’t think that a single Kodak got sold while I prowled the printer aisle. I would provide free counseling for those that came in to buy a Kodak, beguiled by the misguiding TV ads. they had seen. So anyway, the Epson MAKES the bundle. So for an additional $110 you are getting a 20″ LCD and an Epson 3-in-1 printer. Have a look. What do you have to lose?

  2. There is also a Gateway bundle with the same Epson 3-in-1 and a 20″ for $630. It is a dual core with 6GB. The 6 gig will compensate a bit for the lack of quad core. I have studied quad core usage on my i7. Unless you genuinely have long-duration background tasks, you are unlikely to truly make use of all four cores — concurrently. Yes, there is load balancing between the cores to keep them from getting too hot, but that is just gravy. The 6 gig will eliminate a lot of paging, especially with the browsers.

So check these out. Go play with them.

Enjoy.

Anura Guruge
www.guruge.com

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I was in town and payed a quick visit to Best Buy to see what Windows 7 related bargains they had after Christmas. The relatively small store that I went to, in Concord, NH, didn’t have any ‘open box’ returns with Windows 7. I was surprised. Maybe that is a testament to to Windows 7. People are loath to return Windows 7 boxes? We will have to watch that. Still early days.

I saw this Asus, Model CG5270-BP004, on a shelf. I had seen pictures of it before on the Web. It certainly commands your attention. I remembered that the spec were good and that my only reservation had to do with its video capabilities.

Checked the specs. Decent enough. Intel Core 2 Quad at 2.5GHz, 8GB DDR2 RAM, 1TB (7200 rpm) SATA, 10 USB etc.

As is my wont at Best Buy I spun the box around to have a look at the back. Saw an unused VGA. The display monitor was connected to a DVI. But there was another cable next to the DVI. I thought it was a USB. It was an HDMI! Why Best Buy has both DVI and HDMI to the same monitor is a mystery. I couldn’t check the actual configuration.

The machine had Best Buy’s ‘access control’ ARCHIE program installed. (ARCHIE stops customers from being able to mess up the computers on display. I basically limits the functionality available and prevents Internet access. When I have time, I can sometimes get by ARCHIE. Today, I didn’t have the time.)

I tried to find more detailed specs on it on the ASUS Web site. Around 6pm today all of their sites were down. I’ve had problems with their sites before. Just Googled this machine and found this CNET review. Decent. Actually pretty darned good.

I think, despite the 3 video connections, this thing probably can only support one monitor — unless you add a video card. The 400W power-supply should let you squeak by as long as you don’t go crazy.

But CNET confirms my initial reaction and they have the numbers. Not a bad price for what you get. So you might want to have a look at this.

Hope this helps. Cheers.

Anura Guruge
www.guruge.com

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I am getting quite fond of Core Temp 0.99.5 (and can’t wait until they come up with ver. 1.0).

I don’t use it all the time. I use it for a couple of hours at a time, displayed on my LEFT HAND monitor, so I can see how the core temps. fluctuate with the kind of tasks I am performing. What I have learned so far is that I am NOT, by any means, making this rig even breathe hard, let alone break into a sweat. I kind of knew that, when I configured it, but to actually see how little of the resources I am using is amusing. With 2 instances of FireFox 3.5, with about 14 open tabs, and Office 2007 Word going, I tend to use under 4% of CPU capacity.

Consequently, the cores stay fairly cool — counter to the misleading readings I was getting from SpeedFan. Each core appears to have its own personal temp. profile … and a quick Google confirmed that. Core #3 runs hotter than the rest, with Core #4 running the coolest. And yes, there is a 10-11F variation in temps between the cores.

What is interesting to see is how the CPU frequency and the power usage fluctuates with load. Pretty impressive how Intel throttles way back when there is no load.

But, Core Temp and ASUS’ PC Probe have a limitation. Unlike SpeedFan they do not monitor and report GRAPHIC CARD temp. That is frustrating. You would think ASUS’ PC Probe would do that given that I have a fairly high-end ASUS Video Card, viz. the ASUS GTX260 896MG.

Well, another quick Google told me about ASUS Smart Doctor … their software magic for ASUS video cards … which also provides video card temp. monitoring.

Downloaded it from softpedia. (Don’t ask me why you can getter newer versions of ASUS software from softpedia than ASUS. Trying to answer that is beyond my pay grade).

First thing, Smart Doctor complained that I do not have ‘ASUS Gamer OSD’ software installed. Damn right. I am no gamer and I don’t want any gaming specific software polluting my PC.

That was the beginning of the end.

Smart Doctor worked. A rather garish interface design, no doubt meant to titillate some prepubescent boy who has yet to discover all the joys of real titillation. But, SmartDoctor did tell me that my video card was running cool. Around 109F. The same range I used to see with SpeedFan.

As with SpeedFan, Core Temp and PC Probe I do not want Smart Doctor running all the time. Neither do I want it to be a start up item. Well, Smart Doctor was too much in my face — with its Dr. Who control panel. Plus, each time I started up it would complain that I didn’t have that bloody ASU Gamer OSD installed. So I uninstalled the damn thing.

I doubt my video card will run hot. If it does that would probably be because the fan stopped. So it will probably burn up anyway. Just buy another one. That is easier than having Smart Doctor yapping at me about bloody Gamer OSD. So that is that.

Cheers.

Anura Guruge
www.guruge.com

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Who or what can you trust these days? Possibly not SpeedFan 4.40’s CPU core temperature readings at least in the case of Intel i7-920s. But, I could be wrong. However, it is interesting, however, that there is a posting on MajorGeek.com alluding to the same suspicions that I harbor.

I actually emailed the creator of SpeedFan, Alfredo Milani Comparetti, this morning, using the built-in contact facility within the utility — which provides with all of the configuration data he requires.

I applaud Mr. Comparetti. I think it is a great utility and it is wonderful that he provides to the world free of charge.

I am, however, beginning to suspect that SpeedFan rather than being an unobtrusive monitor is actually responsible for SOME of the CPU core utilization and temperature increases that it is reporting!

In other words, in my opinion, it is violating the ‘first, do no harm,‘ Hippocratic Oath when it comes to PC utilities.

It is not malicious. Just unintentional.

I had SpeedFan 3.39. That actually worked better. But, when I run 3.39 on my old XP rig, it KILLS that system.

Neither 3.39 nor 4.4 causes any stability issues on Windows 7, as far as I can tell.

But, its temperature readings of my 8 cores (on the i7-920) leaves a lot to be desired.

Thinking about it today, I am NOT EVEN SURE why the heck I had SpeedFan installed on my system anyway.

I have a top-of-the-range ASUS motherboard and ASUS does provide its own PC Probe.

Getting the LATEST ASUS PC Probe wasn’t easy and you can’t get it directly from ASUS. But that is another story. Lets just say that the ASUS Web site is far from ideal. But, making good hardware is their forte.

The ASUS Probe, as shown here, can be configured to look rather cute. [The SpeedFan ‘Exotics’ display BOX is also shown — and for those that are interested in DUAL MONITORS, this is on my LEFT HAND monitor (without the Task Bar).] I don’t, actually, use it in that, i.e., ‘expanded,’ mode. That was just to give you folks a thrill.

The ASUS Probe does NOT try to show me individual core temperatures. That kind of makes sense to me. I am actually NOT SURE how SpeedFan can genuinely claim to measure separate discrete temperatures for each of the 8 cores on an i7, when 4 of those cores are kind of ‘virtual’ (or surrogate).

Anyway, I will be uninstalling SpeedFan shortly. The last thing I want on my system is a utility that gives me wrong data. Like Lewis Carroll famously said “It is better to have a watch that doesn’t work rather than one that is one minute late. At least the one that doesn’t work will show the right time twice a day while the one that is one minute late will never show the right time.”

Just goes to show. You just don’t know what you can believe.

Hope this helped.

Cheers

Anura Guruge
www.guruge.com

P.S. In case you forgot, Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. That is him. << Yes, yes. I know he had issues. But, like me he was a Brit. So that counts for something. (( smile, smile )) >>

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