Thursday, May 8, 2008


I'm not 100% sure if I should feel as relieved and happy as I do right now, over something as trivial as what I did this week. The "adversity" was something normally I'd just roll my eyes about, honestly. I decided instead of spending over $1,000 on a new PC system this year as a reward from a good bonus check and the new stimulus program, that I'd try to just get what I really need to push my existing system for another year or so. So I bought a new case, some additional fans and CPU heat sink, and a new hard drive. What I figured is that if I could overclock my existing A64 3000+ a fair amount, as well as re-install the OS and put it in a case I didn't loathe, that it could easily do what I wanted it for another year - namely do some media serving to my 360, and play World of Warcraft.

So I picked up a new CoolerMaster case, which I adore so far btw, a nice CPU heatsink, and a 500gig 7200RPM SATA drive. My existing copy of XP has been on this rig since 2005, and is installed on a 120g UDMA133 IDE drive. So I figured by putting a fresh copy of XP on a new drive, I'd be golden. I had a copy of XP MCE 2005 I picked up a while back, so I figured I could play around with Media Center to the 360 while I was at re-installing so after putting the new hardware together I started there. Got everything installed, and as far as I could tell, everything was running fine. Try to load up WoW, and the frame rates would drop off. Spent literally days fiddling with it, but always came back to if I launched up the copy of XP on the IDE drive, it ran fine. Tried new drivers, old drivers, drivers that I had on my IDE drive still... always came back to bad frame rates.

So last night, after reading more tips of things to play around with on the official WoW boards, I decide one last time to wipe the drivers and try using the latest and greatest from nVidia. I noticed that I may have downloaded the nForce motherboard drivers from the wrong place, as my old nForce3 is listed in their "legacy" driver section, so I get those instead. I re-download a fresh copy of the newest Forceware drivers as well. After a few bumps in the road, needless to say the Ethernet chip on the motherboard overall is a very unhappy camper in this setup anymore, I get the system back up and launching into WoW. And the frame rates are solid. They aren't perfect mind you, I get 20-40fps on average in most zones including the most notoriously lagging ones, and the UI doesn't slow down so I'm not typing and waiting to see what I type.

And so, I'm happy. Simple pleasures I guess, but it's nice to take a mountain that you know you can climb and make it to the top.

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