Sunday, May 23, 2010

AMD vs. Intel

It is a good and interested article to read so I decided to share it here.

There are countless companies in the computer industry but there is only one battle that counts... AMD vs. Intel. This is a favorite topic in the forums, yet instead of blindly pledging allegiance to one CPU or the other, let's take a look behind the scenes and find out which companies processor is the best bet.

Now I should say that I'm a hardware enthusiast at heart, so for me CPU performance matters the most. I stick with gear only as long as it keeps my PC at the front of the performance curve. After that, I drop it like a rock and move onto greener pastures, regardless if it's the same brand or not. After all, what's the point of brand loyalty? AMD and Intel don't love you back, no matter how much you might sing their praises. Put another way, it's not like AMD only sells to you, or Intel has a smiling shot of your mug on every pay stub as a testament to your past processor purchases now is it?

The nice thing about being computer enthusiast is that right now both AMD and Intel platforms support a lot of cross compatible hardware. Sure the CPU and motherboards are platform specific, but you can share DDR2 memory, videocards and other peripherals easily enough. If PC speed is what you crave, you can jump from one processor platform to the next ever couple months, taking your memory, videocards, hard drives and everything else along with you.

Anyway, the point I'm trying make is this. As a hardware enthusiast you have the pick of some of the fastest computer hardware on the planet. Ignore the urge to stick with AMD or Intel out of tradition, go out there and find the best gear based on benchmarks!

So, who offers the best performance - is it AMD or Intel? I'm glad you asked, the answer is.... ...Intel. For the moment anyway, Intel's dual and quad core processors are the king of the heap. In particular, the companies Core 2 Duo/Quad processor lineup is out-pacing AMDs current Athlon64 X2/FX processor families. That may indeed change by the end of Q4'07, or it may not.

AMD is partly to blame for its current situation. Big green has not refreshed its CPU lineup since the last time PCSTATS dished the dirt on the AMD vs. Intel slugfest. AMD won the battle back then, but relying on the now somewhat dated K8 Athlon64 processor has left AMD without a good competing CPU for Intel's "Conroe". Intel published performance results on "Conroe" for quite some time before it was officially released, so it's not like AMD was blindsided by it either.

Intel Climbs Back To The Top
For its efforts, Intel has undergone more than a few self-evaluations. It had to deal with a "Prescott" Pentium 4 voltage leak issue, it stopped pushing GHz as the singular processor metric and adopted the same kind of rating system AMD had been using for years. Then, Intel abandoned Netburst and modernized the P6 core into what we now know as the Core Solo and Core 2 Duo processor.
The Core Solo was nice, but Intel's Core 2 Duo is the real beauty. The CPU was an immediate hit among gamers from the time of its release, and it continues to out pace comparable Athlon64 processors.
Intel's previous NetBurst architecture had de-emphasized FPU power in favor of special instructions (SSE, 2, 3). This is partly the reason so many gamers ditched their Pentium 4/D computers in favor of AMD Athlon64 processors and it's more powerful FPU.
With the Intel Core processor architecture, the company finally addressed the FPU issue. Intel's "Conroe" CPU core has a very powerful FPU, and that has guaranteed a very welcome reception by gamers ever since.
As it stands in the fall of 2007, the Intel Core 2 Duo processor is generally more powerful than AMD's Athlon64 X2/FX series in games, and all around.
Whether you're working on multimedia tasks, workstation or just need raw data crunching power, the Core 2 Duo trounces AMD's best almost every time.
It's also proved its mettle as an excellent overclocker!
Early stepping Intel Core 2 Duo processors could overclock to 3.2 GHz+ on air cooling, and the recent 'G0' stepping can go even further. I've overclocked to the region of 3.8 GHz with the stock heatsink in fact.
By comparison, AMD's 90nm Athlon64 X2/FX processors have difficulty overclocking much past 3 GHz.... Make no mistake about it, clock for clock Intel's Core 2 Duo is currently faster than AMD's Athlon64 X2 and FX processors.

Thermal Output Improving

The Intel Pentium 4 and D processor series were notorious for consuming a lot of power, and consequently running quite hot. The architecture Intel based the Core 2 Duo processors on is much better in this regard. While Pentium 4 architecture was at one time headed towards 150W TDP (Typical Design power), many of its current processors are now pushing 85W or less. One generation before, Intel Pentium D CPUs hovered around the 125W TDP range, late model Core 2 Duo processors (like the E6750 ) have a 65W TDP!
It's true enough that the power values AMD and Intel specify are not entirely comparable with each other, but total system power measurements give a good basis for comparison. I've conducted some power draw measurements recently, and those tests showed that Intel is genuinely kicking high power habit. An average Intel Core 2 Duo E6750 based computer system draws about 7W more power than a budget AMD Sempron 3600+ based PC system with its single CPU core running at idle. You'd think the lower power budget AMD chip would be significantly easier on the juice than the fairly high end E6750 Core 2 Duo, but the difference is pretty small.
With an Intel Core 2 Duo system under load, total power draw results are impressive. For instance, a Core 2 Duo E6750 system consumes 163W of power (total PC power draw) when running with both CPU cores under load.
A comparable Intel Pentium D 940 system consumes 253W of power with both processing CPU cores stressed, and an AMD Athlon64 FX-62 power system consumes upwards of 235W! It's clear you can save a lot on the utility bills by switching to a CPU that sips electricity. Intel offers this, with great performance. (Please keep in mind that these are total system power draw values, not just the processor.)
I've often thought that Intel is the more innovative of the two companies when it comes to designing heatsinks for its processors. The current Core 2 Duo bifurcated radial fin heatsinks are remarkably good, and very quiet.
Gone are the days of throwing out the stock heatsink for an after market cooler the second the box is opened... For good all around CPU cooling, it's tough to beat Intel in terms of noise level. The stock heatsinks are just so quiet, thanks in large part to 90mm fans and Pulse Width Modulation which allows the rotational speed to vary based on moment to moment thermal output.
Of course, these aren't the only reasons Intel is leading with the Core 2 Duo, as we'll talk about next, chipsets play a big role....

Friday, April 23, 2010

Emulating Your CD/DVD Image using Daemon Tools Lite

There's a lot of CD/DVD image file types such as *.iso, *.cue, and *.nrg. To read this type of file you need a CD/DVD emulator. Among the popular CD/DVD emulator are Daemon Tools Lite, UltraISO, and Nero.

Today, I want to share the best CD/DVD emulator that I've known so far which is Daemon Tools Lite. It's a freeware and using small amount of memory of your laptop/PC.

Daemon Tools Lite

DAEMON Tools Lite is a lightweight and powerful application for CD/DVD emulation. It allows to run software from backup copies as if the original disc was inserted.
In order to run backup copies you need to create appropriate image files of your original cd/dvd discs with software which has such functionality (e.g. DAEMON Tools Pro ).

DAEMON Tools Lite is a virtual CD/DVD-ROM emulator based on a SCSI miniport driver. It emulates up to 4 DVD-ROM drives and works with CD/DVD images created by many burning and image-creating programs. It is great on notebooks without a physical CD/DVD-ROM drive or to save accumulator power and speed up CD/DVD access. In opposite to other CD/DVD-ROM emulators DAEMON Tools Lite doesn't use a proprietary container format. The advantage is that you can burn images you're using with DAEMON Tools Lite using Astroburn software or just test an image before burning it to see if it was created correctly. DAEMON Tools Lite works with most popular image formats. Media Descriptor format (MDF/MDS Files) is the native DAEMON Tools image format, also DAEMON Tools Lite supports RMPS Media.

DAEMON Tools Lite supports the following image types:
  • b5t (BlindWrite images)
  • b6t (BlindWrite images)
  • bwt (BlindRead images)
  • ccd (CloneCD images)
  • cdi (DiscJuggler images)
  • cue (Cue sheets)
  • iso (Standard ISO images)
  • mds (Media Descriptor Files)
  • nrg (Nero images)
  • pdi (Instant CD/DVD images)
  • isz (Compressed ISO images)
Here's the download link.


Run downloaded setup file and on the first screen press Next.

Read License Agreement carefully and press I Agree to continue installation.

Choose license type you want to use and press Next.  (Of course you need to choose Free License). :P
Choose what components you want to install and press Next. Usually I leave all the box untick, so I suggest you do the same.

Choose destination path for installation and press Install

If prompted, reboot your computer (Actually it will asked you to reboot).

It will autostart every time when you start your windows. If you're using this software ocassionally, I suggest you disable the autostart.
Here's how :

After the installation/boot there will be an icon on the taskbar which look like this (see red box):


 Right at that icon, it should show like this (go to Preferences and click there) :


 Now just untick "Autostart" box in the General tab at Preferences menu. Reboot and finish. =.=

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Top 15 Ways to Extend Your Laptop's Battery Life

Laptops tend to lose their charm quickly when you’re constantly looking for the nearest power outlet to charge up.  How do you keep your battery going for as long as possible?  Here are 15 easy ways to do so.
1. Defrag regularly -  The faster your hard drive does its work – less demand you are going to put on the hard drive and your battery.  Make your hard drive as efficient as possible by defragging it regularly. (but not while it’s on battery of course!) Mac OSX is better built to handle fragmentation so it may not be very applicable for Apple systems.
2. Dim your screen – Most laptops come with the ability to dim your laptop screen.  Some even come with ways to modify CPU and cooling performance.  Cut them down to the lowest level you can tolerate to squeeze out some extra battery juice.
3. Cut down on programs running in the background.  Itunes, Desktop Search, etc.  All these add to the CPU load and cut down battery life.  Shut down everything that isn’t crucial when you’re on battery.
4. Cut down external devices – USB devices (including your mouse) & WiFi drain down your laptop battery.  Remove or shut them down when not in use.  It goes without saying that charging other devices (like your iPod) with your laptop when on battery is a surefire way of quickly wiping out the charge on your laptop battery.
5. Add more RAM - This will allow you to process more with the memory your laptop has, rather than relying on virtual memory.  Virtual memory results in hard drive use, and is much less power efficient. Note that adding more RAM will consume more energy, so this is most applicable if you do need to run memory intensive programs which actually require heavy usage of virtual memory.
6. Run off a hard drive rather than CD/DVD - As power consuming as hard drives are, CD and DVD drives are worse.  Even having one in the drive can be power consuming.  They spin, taking power, even when they?re not actively being used.  Wherever possible, try to run on virtual drives using programs like Alcohol 120% rather than optical ones.
7.  Keep the battery contacts clean:  Clean your battery’s metal contacts every couple of months with a cloth moistened with rubbing alcohol.  This keeps the transfer of power from your battery more efficient.
8. Take care of your battery – Exercise the Battery.  Do not leave a charged battery dormant for long periods of time.  Once charged, you should at least use the battery at least once every two to three weeks. Also, do not let a Li-On battery completely discharge. (Discharing is only for older batteries with memory effects)
9. Hibernate not standby – Although placing a laptop in standby mode saves some power and you can instantly resume where you left off, it doesn’t save anywhere as much power as the hibernate function does.  Hibernating a PC will actually save your PC’s state as it is, and completely shut itself down.
10. Keep operating temperature down - Your laptop operates more efficiently when it’s cooler.  Clean out your air vents with a cloth or keyboard cleaner, or refer to some extra tips by
11. Set up and optimize your power options – Go to ‘Power Options’ in your windows control panel and set it up so that power usage is optimized (Select the ‘max battery’ for maximum effect).
12. Don’t multitask – Do one thing at a time when you’re on battery.  Rather than working on a spreadsheet, letting your email client run in the background and listening to your latest set of MP3’s, set your mind to one thing only.  If you don’t you’ll only drain out your batteries before anything gets completed!
13. Go easy on the PC demands – The more you demand from your PC.  Passive activities like email and word processing consume much less power than gaming or playing a DVD.  If you’ve got a single battery charge – pick your priorities wisely.
14. Get yourself a more efficient laptop -  Laptops are getting more and more efficient in nature to the point where some manufacturers are talking about all day long batteries.  Picking up a newer more efficient laptop to replace an aging one is usually a quick fix.
15. Prevent the Memory Effect - If you’re using a very old laptop, you’ll want to prevent the ‘memory effect’ – Keep the battery healthy by fully charging and then fully discharging it at least once every two to three weeks. Exceptions to the rule are Li-Ion batteries (which most laptops have) which do not suffer from the memory effect.
Bonus Tip #1: Turn off the autosave function.  MS-Word’s and Excel’s autosave functions are great but because they keep saving regular intervals, they work your hard driver harder than it may have to. If you plan to do this, you may want to turn it back on as the battery runs low. While it saves battery life in the beginning, you will want to make sure your work is saved when your battery dies.
Bonus Tip #2: Lower the graphics use. You can do this by changing the screen resolution and shutting off fancy graphic drivers. Graphics cards (video cards) use as much or more power today as hard disks.

* Very lazy to write anything. Sources from Friedbeef web page.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Free Photo Editing Software

Got bored with Adobe Photoshop? Or you think Adobe Photoshop is too complicated? Well there's a few photo editing software you can choose to do your photo editing task. It doesn't have to be only Adobe Photoshop... Here's a few photo editing software that I found useful. Plus it's all FREE. 

1. Picasa 3
This is a basic tools to edit your photo. Recommended for beginner.

Info :

Picasa is free photo editing software from Google that makes your pictures look great. 
Sharing your best photos with friends and family is as easy as pressing a button

To download, click HERE.

2. Paint.NET
If you already an intermediate/professional user of photo editing software you can use this software.

Info :    

Paint.NET is free image and photo editing software for computers that run Windows. It features an intuitive and innovative user interface with support for layers, unlimited undo, special effects, and a wide variety of useful and powerful tools. An active and growing online community provides friendly help, tutorials, and plugins.

It started development as an undergraduate college senior design project mentored by Microsoft, and is currently being maintained by some of the alumni that originally worked on it. Originally intended as a free replacement for the Microsoft Paint software that comes with Windows, it has grown into a powerful yet simple image and photo editor tool. It has been compared to other digital photo editing software packages such as Adobe® Photoshop®, Corel® Paint Shop Pro®, Microsoft Photo Editor, and The GIMP.
To download, click HERE

This is an Open Source base software. However, it also have a windows version of it.

Info :

GIMP is an acronym for GNU Image Manipulation Program. It is a freely distributed program for such tasks as photo retouching, image composition and image authoring.
It has many capabilities. It can be used as a simple paint program, an expert quality photo retouching program, an online batch processing system, a mass production image renderer, an image format converter, etc.
GIMP is expandable and extensible. It is designed to be augmented with plug-ins and extensions to do just about anything. The advanced scripting interface allows everything from the simplest task to the most complex image manipulation procedures to be easily scripted.
GIMP is written and developed under X11 on UNIX platforms. But basically the same code also runs on MS Windows and Mac OS X
To download, click HERE. For Windows user, please download the GIMP for Windows.
This is three software that I found very useful in photo editing. Hope you'll like it.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Speed Up Your Boot Time on Windows 7/Vista

Note : This only will show result if you are on dual/quad core processor. A single core processor will not show any differences.

Although one way to make your computer boot faster is to make sure you don’t have too many programs in your startup list (as each and every one of these programs will slow down the boot process), and buying a newer, better machine is a thing we all postpone as much as we can, you can try making a few changes in the MSConfig dialog. Here are the steps you need to take:

1. Type “msconfig” (without quotes) in Vista or Windows 7 start menu search box and hit enter.
2. Click Continue if you get a UAC prompt.By default, you won’t get a UAC prompt in Win7.
3. Navigate to “Boot” tab and click on “Advanced options” button.

4. Check the box named “Number of processors” and also select the number of processors from the drop down box.

5. Click “Ok” and restart to see the time difference.
6. You are done.

Note: Microsoft also mentioned the importance of this tweak in their KB959233 article recently. So, go ahead and tweak it right now!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Remove Unwanted Startup Programs Using System Configuration Utility (msconfig)

Many programs are designed to automatically load when you boot up your computer. Typically, they will run in the background, so they will immediately open when you click on the program's icon. This is convenient for programs that you actually need, but for those you don't, it merely drains system resources, slowing down your computer.

I know. Many people knew about this. But for those who don't, here's how :

1. Startup processes and other programs are also defined by the system configuration utility. To open this goto Start > Run and type msconfig. The msconfig window will look like this :

2. Firstly, select the Startup tab. Unselect any unnecessary programs from loading automatically when your computer boots.

: Look for really unnecessary programs only.

3. Secondly, select the Services tab. Unselected any services that you no longer want to run on startup.

4. Reboot
your computer.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

How to clean your laptop~

Keeping your laptop clean, while help it to run more smoothly and last longer. Dust, crumbs and dirt can get into your laptop and cause it to run less effectively. Cleaning your laptop once a month, is good maintenance to assure that your laptop lasts longer.

So what do you need?
- Compressed Air (Small Blower would be nice)
- Cotton swabs
- Cleaning solution
- Soft cleaning cloth such as a cotton t-shirt.

*Precaution : Please unplug your laptop before cleaning.

Laptop Body

  • Use a soft damp cloth such as an old cotton t-shirt to clean the casing.
  • Do not use a scratchy or abrasive cleaning cloth.
  • Don't use harsh cleaning products.
  • Never spray any cleaning solution directly onto the casing - spray onto a cloth first.

Cooling Vent

This part is very sensitive and dangerous. If you don't expert enough please don't open the vent cover. Clean it from outside. Use a can of compressed air to clean the cooling vents. Be careful with the compressed air that you don't spray too hard and get liquid on the fan blades. Use cotton swabs to hold fans in place while you clean them. Spraying directly on the fan and making them spin could cause them to over spin.

I don't know where to find the compressed air can. If you have information about it, I would like to know. Looking for it for years now.

I/O Ports

This is the very simple part. Just use cotton swabs to wipe away large pieces of dirt that have accumulated around the usb port, power supply etc.


Use a cleaning kit that you can buy in any computer store or supermarket. Most of the cleaning kit especially the cleaning liquid have the solution of water and alcohol (isopropyl alcohol to be exact). If you are "hardworking" enough, you can make your own liquid solution by adding isopropyl alcohol with water in ratio of 1:1. Use a non-abrasive cloth such as a cotton t-shirt and wipe the screen carefully.


If you're expert + hardworking enough you can take out the keyboard key one by one and clean the key board with compressed air can and non-abrasive cloth. But if don't want to take that risk, just use cotton swabs cleaning in and around keys.