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Happy 2007
Date: January 20th, 2007 by SiD3WiNDR
Categories: Work

Yes indeed, after a long silence caused primarily by lots of work at the office, preparing and doing the move, I’m back… and I had a list of things I wanted to blog (even though some are like old now, but anyways, expect some more posts again! 🙂

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Date: December 17th, 2006 by SiD3WiNDR
Categories: Work

Lots of moving these days… On one hand I’ve moved all my Brussels server and network equipment from InterXion Zaventem to Versatel Nossegem. Only 2km away, but it took a lot of time (about 14 hours!) to get everything removed, packed, moved to new location, built up, tested again… Phew, that was a lot of work. Thanks to Jorne for some help I could surely use. 🙂 Coming home around 4am isn’t that great if you have to get up at 8 again… 😮

On the other hand my employer is moving from one place to another (within Leuven). This takes a lot of planning, and it’s also an opportunity to upgrade some of the infrastructure. Moving day is getting close and so much still needs to be done… It’ll be a few long days to get everything working as planned. Internet, electricity, cabling, furniture, airco, racks, patching… It all takes time, and lots of it. On top of that we’re getting new firewalls, a whole bunch of 48-port managed gigabit ethernet switches, new racks, new UPS, thermometers, a new DS3 internet connection (+4x ISDN backup), a completely new VoIP PBX & phones, etc. Challenge deluxe! Hopefully everything will be in complete working order after D-day weekend 😉 Expect to find me grumpy and stressed starting 11-Jan-2007. 😛

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So this is why we buy Dell…
Date: May 3rd, 2006 by SiD3WiNDR
Categories: Hardware, Work

A client at work needed a super powerful machine for demo purposes. Dell couldn’t really give it to us (especially since we needed in an as-small-as-possible case), so we decided to build it ourselves. This is probably one of the most powerful machines out there (without overclocking, just standard hardware):

  •  AMD Athlon FX-60 (Dual core, 64-bit, 2600MHz)
  • 2x 2x1GB (Dual Channel Set) OCZ DDR400 with golden heatspreaders
  • Geforce 7900GTX with 512MB Video RAM
  • Gigabyte something-something mainboard with nForce 430 chipset
  • 2x Western Digital Raptor X 150GB in RAID0

The system is running a 32-bit Windows however. 3DMark hovered around the 10300 points mark, HD Tach reported 120MB/sec average throughput, 6% CPU utilization for the disks and I/O bursts of up to 215MB/sec. Not bad, eh? All this will be placed in a Silverstone SG01 case, but it hasn’t arrived yet – we needed to test the hard- and software beforehand, so it’s all layed out on a table near my desk… Surely has attracted a lot of visitors, and everone passing by needed to know some more. Geeks and hardware…

But not all is that well.. The RAID controller drivers need to be on a floppy for the XP setup to recognize the controller… but

  • We didn’t have a working floppy drive. I dug up 2 old ones from the serverroom storage but neither did the job.
  • Gigabyte packed the wrong drivers on their CD for the RAID controller. So we needed to get them from the ‘net.
  • Once the "Windows kernel" part of the setup is loaded, Windows no longer sees a USB floppy drive anymore, so can’t get the drivers
  • Slipstreaming the NVidia drivers into the XP setup CD is quite difficult, in fact we wasted 7 CD’s on it and did not completely succeed.

I went home in the evening and we installed from my One And Only Working Floppy Drive+Cable Combination(tm). A few bluescreens later (Thank you, BIOS-graphics-booster overclock-thingamajig option set to Enabled) we got the thing working… finally. Caused a LOT of frustration.

We also bought an Adaptec SATA RAID controller for it, which plugged into the PCI bus. PCI bus means it’ll be capped to 133MB/sec (or thereabouts) with no way of bursting over it… Which was indeed the case. Same average throughput, but no bursting at all. Pity there wasn’t a PCI-X or PCIe x8 slot on the board (MicroATX..) or an Areca controller would really have kicked some major ass. I must note slipstreaming the Adaptec drivers into the XP cd went without ANY problem, and XP installed first time. Thumbs up Adaptec! 

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