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How to Install Amd Catalyst Beta Drivers on Windows Vista

Sunday, December 15, 2013 0

It seems with the latest AMD WHQL Catalyst 13.9 Drivers and the newer AMD Catalyst Beta Drivers, it seems AMD has quietly dropped support for Windows Vista. They have either dropped support, or have moved it to legacy status. Their has been no offical comment on the matter from AMD. However, no mention of Windows Vista has been on any release since Catalyst 13.4.

Furthermore, when trying to install the Catalyst 13.9 or the latest Catalyst beta driver on Windows Vista, it will result in installing Catalyst Control Center, but it won't install or list any driversin the driver installation program. Luckily, there is an easy workaround.

Follow the Instructions below, and we will install AMD Catalyst 13.11 Beta 9.5 on Windows Vista SP2 x64. :)

Beware of Cryptolocker Malware

Saturday, October 26, 2013 0


 What is Cryptolocker?


It seems a new breed of ransomware is making its rounds around the Internet. Its called Cryptolocker. This new variant/ransomware is particularly damaging because it encrypts the files on your PC such as Word Documents, Pictures, Spreadsheets, etc with very strong encryption which makes it nearly impossible to recover your files. What makes it worse, is that once infected Cryptolocker will not only encrypt files on your hard drive, but it will also scan for any mapped Network drives, Samba/Windows Shares, and if it has access will encrypt files on those as well.

From the Bleeping Computer Cryptolocker FAQ:

CryptoLocker will then begin to scan all physical or mapped network drives on your computer for files with the following extensions: *.odt, *.ods, *.odp, *.odm, *.odc, *.odb, *.doc, *.docx, *.docm, *.wps, *.xls, *.xlsx, *.xlsm, *.xlsb, *.xlk, *.ppt, *.pptx, *.pptm, *.mdb, *.accdb, *.pst, *.dwg, *.dxf, *.dxg, *.wpd, *.rtf, *.wb2, *.mdf, *.dbf, *.psd, *.pdd, *.pdf, *.eps, *.ai, *.indd, *.cdr, *.jpg, *.jpe, img_*.jpg, *.dng, *.3fr, *.arw, *.srf, *.sr2, *.bay, *.crw, *.cr2, *.dcr, *.kdc, *.erf, *.mef, *.mrw, *.nef, *.nrw, *.orf, *.raf, *.raw, *.rwl, *.rw2, *.r3d, *.ptx, *.pef, *.srw, *.x3f, *.der, *.cer, *.crt, *.pem, *.pfx, *.p12, *.p7b, *.p7c. When it finds a files that matches one of these types,it will encrypt the file using the public encryption key and add the full path to the file and the filename as a value under the HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\CryptoLocker\Files Registry key.

The FX 8320....my journey into under-volting an 8 core CPU

Saturday, August 10, 2013 1

I have had my FX-8320 for a little over a month, but I couldn't help but notice how hot in general these things run. Even though I am using the stock cooler, and the chip has never surpassed the 61c core temp danger zone, it has came close a few times. I couldn't for the life of me believe that the stock cooler for this chip was "that bad".

I just thought these chips ran a little on the hotside in general, and as long as you don't exceed 61c on the core and 70c on the socket temp, then everything was ok. That is true, but I had an idea to try a little experiment. I thought, lets see what the stock voltage is on these things, and see if we can lower that in any significant way and see what we get.

According to CPU World, the FX 8320 has the following Boosted Pstates (Voltage at Turbo Core Clocks)

#1: 4000 MHz, 1.425V
#2: 3700 MHz, 1.4125V

The Stock Voltage at 3.5 GHz is anywhere between 1.3375 to 1.3875v depending on the motherboard and manufacturer. On my Biostar TA 970 v5  the default Vcore was set at 1.3375 volts.

Now with this information in mind, I set out on my under-volting journey.


Positive vs Negative Pressure PC Case Cooling

Thursday, August 1, 2013 0



Positive VS Negative pressure.....this is a debate that has raged among PC system builders for a very long time, and a debate not easily answered. Today, I will "Attempt" to answer this question. Attempt being the key word here.

Before we dive into this discussion, I just want to point out that positive and negative pressure is a term that gets thrown around a lot in discussions,  but most computer cases you find today on the market for gamers have so many holes, vents, and meshes on then that positive or negative pressure is not the most accurate way to describe them.

When speaking of Positive Pressure and Negative Pressure,  I am referring to the following:

How to Disable Hybrid Boot in Windows 8

Thursday, July 18, 2013 0


I have noticed Windows 8 machines seem to be prone to hang at shutdown. While this isn't the case for all Windows 8 systems, its more common then one would think. I believe it more hardware related then software. Simply put a driver or some other piece of software for your motherboard, RAID controller, etc just isn't working right with Hybrid Boot. The good news? Its a very easy fix.

So if your Windows 8 PC is hanging on shutdown or just taking forever to turn off, then follow the steps below to disable Hybrid boot.
Step 1: Open Control Panel and click on Hardware and Sound.

Step 2: Click on Power Options

Step 3: Click "Choose what the Power Button Does"

Step 4: Click "Change Options that are currently Unavailable" at the top of the Window. (You will get a User Account Control prompt, click Continue. The options will not be greyed out anymore.)

Step 5: Remove the Check box from "Turn On Fast Start Up"



























Step 6: Open an Elevated Command Prompt. To do this, Simply Press the Windows Key + X. You will see a menu pop up in the lower left hand corner. Click on Command Prompt (Admin)  (Click Continue if Prompted)

Step 7: In the elevated Command Prompt type powercfg.exe /hibernate off and press enter. If all goes well, you should get a message telling you the process was successful.

Step 8: Restart the PC.

Thats it! Now your Windows 8 system should not hang on shutdown anymore!

Enable Windows 8 Hybrid Boot

If you need to reverse these steps, just follow the instructions below.

Step 1: Open an Elevated Command Prompt. To do this, Simply Press the Windows Key + X. You will see a menu pop up in the lower left hand corner. Click on Command Prompt (Admin)  (Click Continue if Prompted)

Step 2: In the Elevated Command Prompt type powercfg.exe /hibernate on and press enter. If all goes well, you should get a message telling you the process was successful.

Step 3: Open the Control Panel, then Power Options.

Step 4: Click "Choose what the Power Button Does"

Step 5: Click "Change Options that are currently Unavailable" at the top of the Window. (You will get a User Account Control prompt, click Continue. The options will not be greyed out anymore.)

Step 6: Remove the Check box from "Turn On Fast Start Up"

Step 7: Restart the PC.

Now Hybrid Boot is re-enabled.

To learn more about Hybrid Boot, see the Microsoft article titled Delivering fast boot times in Windows 8

For more information on Windows Hibernation, and how to enable or disable it, see  Microsoft KB 920730

Is Free-To-Play (F2P) Really Pay-To-Win?

Wednesday, July 17, 2013 0


I was catching up on some reading this evening, when i stumbled across a very interesting read over at Bruce Schneier's Blog. The topic in question is about the F2P(Free-To-Play) gaming model that is becoming increasingly popular. The idea became popular at 1st within the MMO community, but has spread to all sorts of other games ranging from PC games to social/mobile games. However, are these games really any better then the Pay-To-Play model?

The pay-to-play model seems to put players on equal footing for the most part. However, the F2P model seems to get the user sucked in initially by being free to download, but requires the player to use money to "buy special privileges or power-ups" in order to get an advantage and win. Schneier talks about the many tricks these games use to get their players to pony up cash for in-game items or privileges.

I have never really got into any F2P online games, but I could see where some big time money could really be made on this.  However, do we really want multi-player games where the winner is decided by who buys what? That does not sound very fun to me. I think for that reason, I will stick with either single-player games or online games that just require a subscription to play without having to buy special in-game items with real money to get edge.

I also recommend reading Gamasutra's article on this topic, its very interesting!

Xbox One Vs Playstation 4

Tuesday, July 16, 2013 0

As we all know, E3 was the exciting time when the next generation game consoles were finally unveiled. The Xbox One and the PlayStation 4. In terms of hardware horse power, the two consoles are pretty close. The PS4 has a slightly stronger GPU, but Xbox One's improved Xbox Live is probably better then Sony PSN. I think in this case, we can call that a wash.

All fanboyism aside, I would say the two consoles are pretty even. However, this doesn't seem to stop the non-stop bickering going in various online forums about how each console is better then the other. This generation, honestly, will come down to the same thing it did last generation which is your purchase(for you or your kids) will be decided by 3 things:

1. Price

2. Which Exclusive Titles your interested in.

3. Which console you (or your kids) friends have. This will determine which online service Xbox Live/PSN is going to be most beneficial to you.

Its important to not listen to the naysayers about Xbox One's DRM.

Those policies were rescinded when Microsoft found it wasn't popular with gamers. To be fair, there were some benefits to Microsoft's previous policy. See Steam and PC game eco system to understand that digital distribution may be the way forward in lowering price, and allowing more games to hit the market. However, that is the topic for another post.

In terms of DRM, both consoles are pretty much even right now. So this fall, when it comes to choosing that right game console for yourself or your kids, you can't really go wrong with either one. This generation, both the PS4 and the Xbox One look to have some very good exclusives titles at launch. So take your pick, and have fun!

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