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Gigabyte GTX560 Ti SOC 1 GHz BIOS flash to 950 MHz

A while back I purchased a Gigabyte GTX560 Ti SOC “Super Overclock” that has a 1 GHz core.  This card is a monster and had amazing reviews, so I picked one up.  Unfortunately timing wasn’t great and I left for a three week business trip.  I switched to this card for lower power consumption, before letting my computer run Folding@Home for the duration I was away.

About one week into my trip I noticed that my PC stopped producing work units.  Curious, I did a bit of research and found that they changed the core required for bigadv units.  OK, so that explained my PPD drop, but not the total halt.

When I returned home, my PC was stuck at a black screen, fans/etc still whirring away.

Reboot, and it froze at the Windows logon screen.  Consistently after every reboot.  I uninstalled the video drivers in safe mode and it worked fine.  Re-install and same crashing behaviour.

I shut the PC down to go unpack and let it stir around in my mind for a bit.

When I returned, I powered on the PC and it worked no problem.  That is, until I fired up Crysis 2.  I could not get past the intro portion where you need to run through the train being filled with water.

Only after lowering the clock speeds to 950Mhz did it function properly.  This has been reported on a number of forums, and is likely the reason why Gigabyte stopped producing this 1GHz SKU.

For the last few months I had been using MSI Afterburner to manually adjust the clocks.  But now that I am trying to settle everything, I’ve finally decided to perform a BIOS edit.

This proved to be a little bit tricky, as my BIOS size is actually 62,464 bytes instead of the ones found on TechPowerUp being 65,535 bytes.

To perform the edit:

  1. Dump the BIOS using GPU-Z
  2. Grab a BIOS from TechPowerUp with the desired clock speeds and load it in NiBiTor
  3. Tools -> Fermi Clocks.  Here I am matching with the Gigabyte GTX560 Ti SC 950 Mhz version.  The numbers that changed are 1900 (core), and 2019 (no clue!)
  4. Load your BIOS dump into NiBiTor and edit the clocks.
  5. Boot to your USB and flash with nvflash
  6. Remove protection: nvflash -r
  7. Erase existing programming: nvflash –eraseeeprom
  8. Flash new BIOS: nvflash -4 -5 -6 new.rom
  9. Reboot and enjoy!
You can use this to overclock/overvolt your cards too.  I always suggest modifying your original BIOS to keep memory timings/etc intact, and only modify the clock speed and voltages.

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Hitachi 3TB Deskstar 5400 RPM

Just picked up a couple of these Hitachi 3TB Deskstar 5400RPM drives from a sale over at Newegg.ca to test.  These drives are NICE.  I have been using WD drives since they switched over to using fluid dynamic bearings (FDB).  They brought the idle noise down to something bearable.  My previous silent drive benchmark was the Seagate Barracuda IV 80GB which is one of the most quiet drives I’ve ever owned.

Up until this point, my large drive of choice has been the Western Digital 2TB Green, model WD20EADS.  I purchased a set after testing out a few drives to ensure I could set the TLER and WDIDLE parameters on the drive that make it essentially a cheap version of their RAID Edition enterprise class drives.  Their newer drives no longer support this feature so I’ve been on the lookout for something in the event I want to expand my capacity.  I’m currently at the maximum 8 drives that my ARECA ARC-1220 supports, so the only reasonable option is to move to larger capacity drives.

hitachi_3tb_a

After testing a single drive, this Hitachi 3TB 5400RPM is QUIET.  The idle noise is gentle and the seeks are unobtrusive and difficult to hear even when mounted in my Antec Easy SATA drive bay dock.  Above is a quick test showing transfer rates.  Temperature reached approximately 39 C after this test with no active cooling, and an ambient temperature of approximately 29 C (I’m cheap with my air conditioning).

I am very tempted to purchase another 8 of these to migrate my RAID volume.  The problem is, my current array of 8×2 in RAID6 is nearly full.  I would need several extra drives to complete a proper migration.  Or I could purchase a larger RAID controller.

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Intel Cougar Point Bug

In case you haven’t already heard, the 6-series chipset used on launch motherboards for their new Sandy Bridge CPUs has a bug with its SATA3 implementation.  It’s expected to cost Intel $700M to repair or replace the boards.

You can read more about the details over at Anandtech:
http://www.anandtech.com/show/4142/intel-discovers-bug-in-6series-chipset-begins-recall
http://www.anandtech.com/show/4143/the-source-of-intels-cougar-point-sata-bug

As an early adopter always on the bleeding edge, there are bound to be some kind of teething problems sooner or later.  And just my luck, when I’m deciding on a motherboard for my second i7 2600K this announcement comes out!

NCIX is proactive and seems to be sending out e-mails directly to their affected customers:

Dear xxxxx,

Thank you for your recent purchase of theAsus P8P67 Deluxe Motherboard.

Intel announced there is an issue with their P67/H67 chipsets that can cause the SATA 3.0Gb/s controller to fail over time. NCIX has put in place the following measures to ensure that our customers who have already bought standalone motherboards are appropriately cared for.

For additional information and updates on the issue, please visit our forum at the link provided below.

http://forums.ncix.com/forums/topic.php?id=2309652

Thanks,
NCIX.com Customer Care Team

At least now I have a couple of more months to decide on which mITX board to purchase!

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SYS 64738

This is the start of a long needed refresh and consolidation of all of my projects into a single location.  Some updates:

– Started a fitness routine which I hope to use this to keep a progress log
– Been taking a ton of photos with my trusty Nikon and my highlights will be posted here
– Swapped my main workstation over to a Mac

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