I just found out that the fn+z combination (which mutes all sound) has a nice little added feature. Normally, if you mute the sound and you had the volume really high in the first place, when you unmute, it comes back really loudly all at once and could potentially blow your speakers (especially external speakers) and not to mention hurt your ears. Well, unmuting causes the sound to fade back in over a short time span, which I think it an excellent method for doing so.
Well everyone, hyperthreading is here! :-) Wow, so much to write about, lol. I received word from PCTorque that the HT bios update would be available last night, so I got my homework finished by 2 AM and then downloaded the HT bios update and got to work :-) I flashed my bios as per PCTorque's directions. But, I did NOT want to have to do a format and reinstall. Definitely not on top of my list. There are just too many programs I have installed and too much to worry about on a weeknight. It takes a full day to properly do a format and reinstall, lol. At least it does when you have as many things set up on your computer as I do (and I'm sure many people have even more). So, I wanted to see if a simple repair install would do the trick. A windows XP repair install is like a semi-reinstall... I will explain it in detail for anyone who wants to know more about it before they go through with it.
In order to do a repair install, you go through the same exact method that you would a fresh install up to a point. You get to the part where it shows you the partitions on your hard drive... Here, it has sensed that there is a previous installation of WindowsXP, and it will show it to you. Setup will ask you if you want to format that drive/partition and do a fresh install of windows... If you were doing that, then you'd hit enter or whatever it is that makes that happen (the directions are written on the screen at that point in the setup). If you want to repair install, you can simply hit "R" instead. This option is also written on the screen during setup. DO NOT choose the option that says something like "Repair a previous installation of Windows" that comes up earlier in the setup program... That will take you to a DOS prompt and basically allows you to manually copy files from the cd to repair damaged or lost windows files. That won't help here, lol. After you hit R, it will go through the standard windows setup stuff. It'll ask you for the location of some drivers at some point (because this isn't a format and reinstall... windows already has a list of what hardware you use, so it is smart enough to try and install that hardware during the actual repair install). Just point it to whichever drivers you want to use (I just use the drivers cd... it is ok to eject the XP cd at that point and put in the drivers cd and point the setup program to the right driver). After this, it'll finish the installation and go into Windows. Now for the bad news...
A repair install essentially replaces all of the windows files with the original files from the cd... with the exception of config files for your preferences and the system registry (all of the programs you installed before will still be there and will still be installed, etc). What does this mean? It means that you need to install all of the windows updates, service packs, directx updates (ie: dx9), and drivers. But, it's a lot less work than reinstalling all of your programs and then customizing windows to how you like it... Also, keep in mind that if you changed settings on the page file, they get reverted back to default. Other than that, I'm pretty sure it keeps all settings. Now, why do I say you need to reinstall drivers? Well... Windows installs the drivers during the install, but they're not the best ones, and they are not always installed right. For example... without service pack 1, USB2 doesn't work. So, you HAVE to install service pack 1 before you install the USB drivers. Just follow the directions I wrote at the beginning of the review for installing drivers, and you should be fine. I did it last night in no time. Remember also that Intel Application Accelerator constitutes a driver... so you need to reinstall that as well. So, to summarize the things you need to do in a list in no particular order (remember, follow the order I gave at the beginning of this review):
-directx9 if you want it
-drivers (all); including Intel Application Accelerator
-page file setup
So, that's pretty much that as far as I can remember. If there's anything else, post, and if I remember anything else I'll post it of course. :-) Now on to what I saw after this install :-)
Hyperthreading added a spiffy new thing to the task mananger (what you see when you hit ctrl alt del). If you hit ctrl alt del and click the performance tab, the CPU usage history will show two separate charts side by side, one for each "processor" under HT. This is how you can check that HT is enabled.
Is there a noticeable difference? Well... There are definitely noticeable differences... For example, things happen in different orders now... :-) Lol, what does that mean? Well, as an example, take the log in to windows. Before HT, when I logged on, I'd type in my password, hit enter, and then the desktop would come up and then the sound would play... Well, with HT, once I hit enter, the desktop comes up and the sound plays... AT THE SAME TIME. In other words, two threads were processed at once. Now, yeah, that's not a big benefit, lol, I merely include it as an example of the little things you might notice. I am going to do a dvd rip later tonight to see if HT offers any significant differences as well.
I took the 8887 around to class with me today as usual. I was afraid about battery life, lol, because HT sucks more juice. Well, I took notes on it in biology and it was set to Laptop/Notebook (or whatever that one is called) and it ran great, but I remembered that on Max Battery I had trouble with video, so I went to the power options and changed it to max battery and opened a video (no, I don't normally do these things during class, lol, it only took a second cuz I'm on a beast of a computer and I still payed close attention to lecture :-)). The video ran perfectly on Max Battery, so I left it at that. I was glad to see that I no longer had that problem. To sum up the battery life, it lasted about 2:10 total with general usage... This means note taking for 40 minutes or so, other typing, some movie watching, some benchmark running, some music, but mainly typing with the screen set to shut off after 1 minute of inactivity (the screen sucks juice like no other). I was pleasantly surprised at this. I had brightness set to minimum... I will do a battery benchmark with a dvd movie next time the battery is charged. I'll have it on max battery of course, but the benchmarks didn't indicate any underclocking (as before), so I don't know what all goes on with that, lol. Maybe Sager changed the clocking on battery power? I'll keep looking into it.
Anyways, as far as benchmarks, my results were similar to those of PCTorque. It never failed. I did have one interesting problem, though. One of the benchmarks wouldn't start until the fan came on?? And so my results for that particular one are skewed to include the time that the processor wasn't really doing the benchmark. I dunno what caused that, lol. I'll have to try it a few more times and see what's up. My sandra version may just be out of date :-) I tried 3dmark, got a similar score to what I had before, so I don't think it's built to use HT... It would be cool to see a version of it that does take advantage of HT for the CPU tests :-)
Now for the really noticeable difference (the only one that I've had time to experience thus far). Everyone knows that I love Battlefield 1942... Well, I'm usually the server on it, and I indicated before on this review that when I set it with 64 players and I'm the server, I get pretty low fps... Well, I loaded up one with the same settings and apparently HT splits the processes for the server and the processes for me as I game :-) I can play without slowage! With 64 computer players!! It's so sweet! Before I got 10 to 20 fps, now I get 30 to 40, and this is while I'm running around in a huge group of guys... I couldn't see it chop up! :-) So, I am happy as can be. More to come as I learn more. Next up will be a dvd battery benchmark and a dvd rip to see how that fares. THis weekend will have more in store if I can think of more stuff to do and if I get any requests. Everyone have a great day!