Sunday, October 10, 2010

ig33ku: Hardware Review - Acer T231H Multi-Touch LCD

My review of Acer's multi-touch screen LCD.

ig33ku's Hardware Review - Acer Aspire One D255

It's been ages since I did a video......... I know I am a slag so here is a video from of the AAO D255 which Acer has kindly lend to me.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

ig33ku's: Hardware Review - Acer Aspire M3300-655X7

Attempting to do a little more professional video with scripts at the expense of the Acer Aspire M3300-655X7.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Review: Acer Aspire M3300-655X7

Acer kindly sent me their new Acer Aspire M3300-655X7 system with the new six core CPU from AMD. Incidentally, the first consumer PC with the new AMD CPU that is available in Malaysia.

I know a lot of you are now salivating at the thought of the six cores burning away but let’s quickly go over the whole system for a bit. The M3300 is dressed in a black casing with a blue LED power button on top and has 4 USB ports and a Microphone and Headphone jack for easy access. Also, on top is a compartment where you can spare cables, CDs or anything to your heart’s content.

The sides have nothing but ventilation holes and product stickers so let’s pop over to the rear. At the back there are two VGA and HDMI ports provided by both the onboard graphic chip of the 780G chipset and of course, the ATI HD 5570. There is also a DVI port on the HD 5570. In addition to the USB ports on the top of the case there are an additional 6 more USB ports at the back and 1 Firewire port. Other interesting ports are the 7.1 speaker jacks and the Optical Audio port (S/PDIF).

First thing most of you will ask is how it is as a gaming machine. The M3300 is targeted as a mainstream PC system that does video encoding and editing, photo editing and basic gaming. Let me put away a lot of misconceptions about gaming and multi-core CPUs which Intel is mostly to blame for.

Almost all new games released are just barely starting to use dual core CPUs. Almost none can use a quad core CPU much less six core CPU. For that reason AMD’s six core 1055T has a trick up its sleeve; Turbo Core. What Turbo Core does is that it puts three of the six cores to 800MHz and bumps up to 500MHz the remaining cores. Therefore, instead of six 2.8GHz cores of which your most likely uses only two, you now have three running up to 3.3GHz while the other three are powered down to save power and heat.

All the processing power for your game’s graphic lies solely with the graphic chip. So a good graphic card and average CPU will always win out on an average graphic card and good CPU system.

So to test the gaming prospects of the M3300 I threw in 3DMark Vantage, Heaven Benchmark 2.1 and Metro 2033. 3DMark Vantage is a synthetic benchmark so don’t expect much info in real life application. The M3300 scored P3857 with a CPU score of 14325 and a Graphics score of 3101. The closest official score to the M3300 is an Intel system with an E6600 CPU and an ATI HD 2900XT. It scored P3859 with a CPU score of 5565 and Graphic score of 3501. Remember that the HD 2900XT was the high end card of the 2000 series.

The Heaven Benchmark 2.1 is a DirectX 11 benchmark and since the M3300 has a DirectX 11 card in it I thought I test out how accurate this benchmark is when I play Metro 2033 later. The M3300 manages an average of 8.5 FPS (Frames Per Second) and scores 214 points on 1920x1080 resolution with all details set high and Tessellation set to normal. Tessellation is one of the biggest features for DirectX 11 where 3D object are rendered with more realistic surfaces and requires quite a bit of graphic power.

Finally, we get to Metro 2033 for the graphic benchmarking. Metro 2033 is a First Person Shooter post-apocalyptic game set in Russia. It can be played in both DirectX 10 and DirectX 11. As you can guess I will be using DirectX 11. On full details at 1920x1080 resolution, Metro 2033 plays around 6-7 FPS. If you were to drop the details from high to normal you will get 8-9 FPS.

For testing the overall system performance I turned to PCMark Vantage which the M3300 scored 6301. Checking the Futuremark site I found an Intel system scoring the same overall score. It had an Intel Core 2 Quad Processor Q9550 with 4GB of RAM and a ATI HD 4850. When looking at the individual test scores the AMD 1055T out performs the Intel Q9550 in some and loses in others.

When it comes down to it, the Acer Aspire M3300-655X7 accomplishes what it was set out to do; a mainstream budget six core system targeted at first time users and gamers. Slap on a 24” LCD and you are good to go with fast High Definition video encoding and editing as the six cores are really put to use. And probably that’s what the M3300 is meant to do.

If you want to do a little photo editing you may want to opt for more RAM and as for gaming well you may need to jiggle that piggy bank and get yourself a better graphic card from ATI. But as a starter system you really can’t go wrong with this number.

Acer Aspire M3300-655X7




AMD Phenom II X6 1055T (2.8GHz with Turbo Core)
Windows 7 Home Premium
AMD 780G Chipset
2GB DDR3 (Max 8GB)
ATI HD 5570 1GB DDR3
HD Audio with 3rd Generation Dolby Home Theatre & S/PDIF
DVD SuperMultiplus Writer
40 in 1 Card Reader
Gigabyte Ethernet
USB Keyboard, Mouse and Speakers
1 Year Local Limited Warranty

Our verdict: 4
Physical design: 4
Documentation: 3
User friendliness: 4
Performance: 3 1/2
Value for money: 4 1/2

Monday, May 31, 2010

ig33ku's: Quickie Video - Solder it, save it.

A quick mindless talk about trying to save a few bucks by soldering new capasitors on your graphic card.

Friday, May 28, 2010

ig33ku's: Unboxing and Quick Review - USB 3.0 Expansion Card

Unboxing and testing out a USB 3.0 expansion card and dock I bought from

You can check out the link here if you are in Malaysia and want to buy it.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Microsoft Security Essentials 11/5/2010

My second test of the newly 'upgraded' updated Microsoft Security Essentials.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

ig33ku's: Hardware Review - Logitech G500 Part 2

Part 2 of my Logitech G500 review.

ig33ku's: Hardware Review - Logitech G500 Part 1

Part 1 of the Logitech G500 review.

ig33ku's: Unboxing Video - Logitech G500

Logitech G500 unboxing and quick comparison to the older G5 1st gen mouse I have.

PS The wind sound is my fan which has been clean up and now blows strong even on the lowest setting. Yes, I will put a sponge foam on the mic to buffer the air from it in my later videos.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

ig33ku's: Hardware Review - EFO Wireless Keyboard/Touch Pad

Wireless keyboard from EFO, sponsored kindly by William Ch'ng of WS DOT Trading

ig33ku's: Unboxing Video - EFO Wireless Keyboard/Touch Pad

Unboxing of a good, cheap and decent wireless keyboard with a touch pad.

Monday, April 19, 2010

ig33ku's "not" video reviw(?) - Mobile Phone Telescope

A scope I bought for my HTC Touch2 for shits and giggles. Note: Zooming is done by my Touch2's zoom.

ig33ku's: Unboxing Video - Mobile Phone Telescope

Me ripping apart the packaging to see the stuff inside.

Monday, March 1, 2010

ig33ku's: Power Usage Test - Intel D510MO System.

Power usage test without an optical drive. The seagate should draw 14w during PCMark and about 21w during startup/boot.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

ig33k's: D510MO 1080p and game test.

Testing the Atom D510MO on several 1080p files and Soulstorm.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

ig33ku's: Unboxing - Intel D510MO

Just unboxing the D510MO with I exchanged with a D410PT.

ig33ku's: Hardware Preview - Intel D410PT

Just doing some quick testing since I bought the wrong board. Hopefully the seller will replace it with no or small charge (not counting the balance owed) for the Intel D510MO which was what I need now since that's the board they have with mini-pcie.

Friday, February 5, 2010

ig33ku: Guide - How to oil your PC fan.

A quick vid for oiling your fans as I remember some people asking me how to do it (RL).

Monday, February 1, 2010

A present I would REALLY LOVE TO GET.

Is the new Dell Inspiration Mini 10. This version I saw on a flyer has, get ready for this, X4500MHD graphics. OMFG. This makes tons better than any other netbooks out there. For 1299MYR it is really cheap compared to the GMA 3150. To check it out type in this E-Value Code T510149MY. Remember, if you can't find it try the Malaysian Dell site.

If anyone wants to give me this as a present I will love you long time soldier boy.

The new Atom Mobos.

Trying to get some funding so I can get hold of the new INTEL D410PT Mini-ITX Mainboard. Let's see if the GMA 3150 can deliver where the GMA 950  utterly failed. The best part is we'll try it with the single core Atom. If all else fails I'll have a good excuse to get Broadcom's HD Crystal Mini-PCIE card since the new Atom mobo's all come with a mini-PCIE socket.

The board costs 235MYR so here's hoping for some luck.

So I got bored writing up my articles.

I was getting bored writing up my reviews of Scythe and Cooler Master case for Tech&U that I decided to watch some Tekzilla. Idle hands are the devil's workshop proves true when I saw episode: tekzilla 0122 naughty. I blame Veronica for that blouse. It is all her fault for making me this way.

To all the Tekzilla fans that might stumble across this: please don't hate me. I have a very bored and sick mind.

All you ever want to know about PCs: Graphic Cards

There has not been much excitement until recently with graphic cards as they finally manage to play even the most demanding games on the highest details with decent frame rates. Just right now I throw a bunch of gamer jargon at you. Frame rates are the number frames per seconds. Just like picture frames in a movie, a game draws the most 60 frames per second on the screen. A movie only uses 24 frames per second which is the bare minimum before the film looks choppy. Games on the other hand are not like films, since the images present differently than what is captured on film the minimum comfortable frames per second for us is 30. Anything above 80 frames per second will actually have not meaning and will affect gameplay. A little more on that later.

The real actual bottleneck to your gaming pleasure is not your graphic card, RAM or CPU. No, it is really your monitor. You monitor’s maximum resolution and refresh rate (Hz) should determine the graphic card you are going to get. In that sense benchmarks by reviewers give a good indication. If your monitor resolution is 1680 x 1050 and the card you are looking plays your favourite game at 120fps on the same system specs do not expect to see 120fps on your screen. If you monitor has only 60hz then out of that 120fps it will only 60fps as 1hz is considered 1fps. This can cause screen tearing when you move a lot in the game along with some dropped frames that looks like lag. So choose carefully on just how much juice you want to squeeze out of the card and just how much you can really drink.

Another thing to remember is that the newest generation of graphics cards although more power efficient than the last will still use about 100watts of power at least when gaming. So calculate your total system requirement to see if you need to purchase a new PSU just to support your new card. You can use this PSU calculator from Thermaltake to get a general idea of what you may need.

Next you need to make sure your motherboard supports the format of the graphic card you are interested in. There are 3 main formats for graphics in use; PCI, AGP and PCI-E. As you may know PCI is the oldest and is still in use for mainly CCTV recording and other video recording activities. AGP is the old standard that has been replaced by PCI-E. PCI slots are generally white in colour while AGP slots are brown with PCI-E being less colour restricted.

Graphic cards have a huge variety of output ports that they can work on. It is surprising but there are 6 main ports for graphic cards. DVI and VGA are the current main ouputs for PCs while DisplayPort and HDMI are the newer replacements for S-Video and Composite Video for TVs. Out of these 6, DisplayPort and HDMI are the only ones that carry both audio and video out of the card with DisplayPort slowly replacing HDMI.

Like all PC devices graphic cards tend to fail in 3 years. The main cause of failure is usually heat. Fans slow down as oil evaporate or leak from momentum and heat. Heatsinks get coated in dust and oil from no maintenance and thermal paste turns into thermal dust doing its job.
Heat also affects components near the source which is usually the GPU of the graphic card. While GPU can cook at 80C to 90C happily, capacities and mosfets distaste the high heat and go boom. This causes your graphic card to become unstable and shortly stop booting.

Other than heat power surges are another cause for alarm. If your graphic card is powered directly from the PSU and not from the motherboard any power surge that kills the PSU will likely take out the graphic card with the motherboard.

Although we cannot do much against power surges except getting better regulators to put in-between the PC and the wall socket we can get 3rd party coolers that provide better heat dissipation then the stock cooler that comes with the card.

The final way to kill a graphic card is a by-product of our greed/curiosity; overclocking. Just like CPUs pushing higher voltages and not cooling the card adequately either cause the card to overheat and cook GPU or/and RAM or it will quicken electromigration which shortens the card’s lifespan considerably.

That being said the graphic card is the most frequently upgrade item in a PC system and the most expansive, with that in mind when the newest hottest game does come out and you do want to play consider lowing the resolution and details a bit and see if you can live that performance. If not google your card and find out how other have overclocked it successfully and see if that sits well with you. But should all else that fail only then you should whip out the leather bag of money to fulfil your gaming needs.

All you ever want to know about PCs: Motherboards

Now that we knocked on CPUs a bit let’s go to Motherboards. Motherboards are the support structure for your whole system. Today’s Motherboards come with a lot of features as compared to five years ago. You got Gigabit LAN, onboard 7.1 sound chips, graphic chips and even rudimentary RAID for your hard drives. Additional features are BIOS overclocking options which will mostly interest those who want to overclock their CPUs. Only useful BIOS features that concern everyday users are the power saving features called Speedstep for Intel and Cool ‘N Quiet for AMD. With that enabled in the BIOS your Operating System can utilise speed and voltage throttling so that your CPU does not ran at full speed all day long. This actually has considerable savings in terms of power consumption because a standard Dual Core CPU will consume about 65W of power while higher end Dual Cores and Quad Cores will chew 100W-165W of power.

On all motherboards you should find 4-6 SATA ports for your hard drives and DVD writers, PCI-E X16 slot for your graphic card and PCI-E X1 for additional sound, LAN or TV Tuner cards. For legacy support you can still find the good old PCI slot and an IDE port for that old hard drive or DVD writer. You may be wondering why there are still Serial and Parallel ports; these are for programmers that want to program code into microprocessors.

Since, the Motherboard is the support structure of the PC it is usually the first that goes bust due to age, power surges through the power line or telephone line, overheating or short circuits. Motherboards are not built to last and the capacitors, those cylinder things you see on the Motherboard, are the first to go. They have a life expectancy of 2-3 years. Manufacturers consider this long enough as you would have upgraded your PC by then. None the less, all Motherboards have only a 1 year warranty. Capacitors do not only burst due to old age but also because of heat or power surges. Fortunately, it is an easy fix. You can buy capacitors and solder those on if you are handy with a soldering iron. Unfortunately, capacitors are not the only ones to go when your PC get a zapping. Mosfets and chipsets on the Motherboard will likely bite the dust. These are unfixable but can be substituted depending on which chipset are dead. LAN and sound are separate chips so getting a replacement card to slot in is no problem. If video is a problem then you will have to replace the Motherboard as the graphic chip is part of the Northbridge or main chipset of the Motherboard. Any damage there, no matter how little, will lead to stability issues sooner or later.

If you do face random shutdowns and hanging while just doing everyday tasks like emailing, web surfing, etc; check if your CPU or Motherboard chipset is overheating. A simple finger test of touching the heatsink for both is enough to determine this or you can download and run applications specialise in monitoring temperature readings. Normally, your Motherboard comes with these utilities but you can try SYSTEMPS or CORETEMPS.

If it is not a heat problem then you should check your capacitors to see they have become deformed or have powdery residue at their top or base. Any capacitors showing these symptoms need to be replaced. And if everything else is tip-top than you will have to take a look at the PSU preferably changing it with another one and see if your system is stable. Should you enter beeping check out PC Hell for what those beeps mean.

Choosing the right graphic card.

Now my All You Ever Want To Know About PCs: Graphic Cards got published in the Tech&U but as usual the editing has something to be desired. So I better get it out here before you guys read the edited version.

Sunday, January 24, 2010


SemiAccurate - a good site by Charlie Demerjian, formally with The Inquirer. Lot's of rumours and speculation coupled with investigative work.

Overclockers Australia - a good new news site with a large and varied forum of all interests.

Hack A Day - mod it till it bleeds. Nothing is safe.

The Inquirer  - one of my fav news sites for rumours and sometimes news.

LowYatNet Forum - basically my fav zone for 2nd PC stuff and cheap bulk orders.

Security-Exchange - a site and forum for discussing various security topics mainly relating to Windows.

Friday, January 22, 2010

ig33ku: Video Review - Cooler Master Elite 360

A review of the case I suggest using in my Scythe Kama Speaker Bay review. My first case review too!!!!!!!!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

ig33ku: Software Test - Virus Detection & Resolution - Malwarebytes' Anti Malware

A viewer ask me to try this one. No comment.

ig33ku: Software Test - Virus Detection & Resolution - Comodo Antivirus

Using the benchmark Eicar Virus test file and a folder of nearly 6000 viruses to test Comodo antivirus on detection and resolution of threats.

ig33ku: Software Test - Virus Detection & Resolution - Avira & Microsoft Security Essentials

Using both avira and microsoft security essentials to try to remove the 5923 viruses.

ig33ku: Software Test - Virus Detection & Resolution - AVG

4nd test out of 4 Antivirus programs. Using the benchmark Eicar Virus test file and a folder of nearly 6000 viruses to test AVG on detection and resolution of threats. Test took 1 1/2 over hours so the editing looks bad cause memory leaks and not being able use my Zoom app.....

ig33ku: Software Test - Virus Detection & Resolution - Avira AntiVir

2nd test out of 4 Antivirus programs. Using the benchmark Eicar Virus test file and a folder of nearly 6000 viruses to test Avira on detection and resolution of threats.

ig33ku: Software Test - Virus Detection & Resolution - Avast

3nd test out of 4 Antivirus programs. Using the benchmark Eicar Virus test file and a folder of nearly 6000 viruses to test Avira on detection and resolution of threats.

ig33ku: Software Test - Virus Detection & Resolution - Microsoft Security Essentials

1st test out of 4 Antivirus programs. Using the benchmark Eicar Virus test file and a folder of nearly 6000 viruses to test MSE on detection and resolution of threats.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Problems with Hard Drive Docks or Enclosures?

If you notice that your HDD dock or enclosure is having problems like:

Disconnecting the USB HDD from the PC.
Powering on but USB HDD is not detected.

Then what you have is a faulty power supply. This is especially common with enclosures or docks that come with power bricks. After long term of service the cheap capacitors in the power brick blow, just like mine.

Unfortunately, I was unable to salvage/scavenge the right capacitor as it was a 16v 640 or 670uf  so I used a lower capacitor of 430uf and the dock works like a charm now. Below, are the replacement caps soldered on.

As you can see, when your dock or enclosure is acting out of whack it may not be the HDD or device itself but just only the power brick. And if you have some soldering skills and an old motherboard around you can immediately repair that sucker and give it a second life. Not to mention your wallet.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Sunday, January 10, 2010

ig33ku software testing: AVAST

Continuation of testing these security software against some dirty sites. In the end AVAST fails to detect the virus for the first site.

ig33ku software testing: AVG

Last of the quick tests for this week against some dirty sites. In the end AVAST fails to detect the virus for the first site.

ig33ku software testing: Microsoft Security Essentials Vs Avira AntiVir

Testing these security software against some dirty sites. In the end it is best to use an Antivirus program and MS Security Essentials together best results.

Friday, January 1, 2010