Articles in the Hardware category

  1. Debian Lenny and Dell R410 Network Card Not Supported

    August 20, 2010

    For those who are running Debian Lenny and want to order the new Dell R410 server, beware!

    There is no safe solution to get Debian Lenny working with the on-board Broadcom network cards. A fairly recent kernel is required. Basically, you will have to install back-ported kernels, more recent modules and thus must violate the reasons why you were running Debian Lenny in the first place.

    There is one solution, although it may not be an option: run VMware on the hardware and run Debian Lenny in a virtual machine. I think that in most cases, this will be sufficient for many cases and it has all the benefits of virtualisation and the stability of Debian Lenny.

    It is unfortunate that Broadcom or Dell do not support Debian.

    If you do have an easy and quite safe solution to get the Broadcom network cards working with Debian Lenny, please drop a note.

    Beware though: the H200 and H700 RAID controllers are also not supported by Debian Lenny.


    Tagged as : Uncategorized
  2. Blu Ray Is Dead

    October 05, 2009

    HD-DVD may be dead, but Blu Ray is just as dead. The whole concept of optical media is dead. Honestly, who is still burning CD's or DVD's nowadays? (If you are, why for Christ sake? I can't think of a single good reason) And at 10 euros ($100) for a single Blu Ray disk, you must be totally bonkers to buy one of them recorders.

    I mean, let's face it, CD's were really cool in an age where 650 MB was way more than the 40 or 80 MB hard drive in your computer. It made a difference. That was already less so with a DVD, with a capacity of 'only' 4 GB. However, in the early years of the DVD, you could backup your entire hard drive on two, maybe three disks, since a hard drive averaged around 4 to 10 GB at that time.

    Then finally came Blu Ray and HD-DVD. A whopping 25 GB on a disk. No shit!. You mean, like I need no less than 40 Blu Ray disks (400 euros) and an eon of burning disks to backup one of my 1 TB hard drives that cost me like 70 euros?

    What must they have been thinking when they developed Blu Ray? As a backup medium it is useless, but it was ofcourse intended as a carrier for movies, I know. But why should I go outside, through the cold and the rain to go to some shitty video store that only has last years block busters? Why bother with 40 Mbit downstream and the Internet at your disposal? Downloading a movie will take me as much time as going to the video store and selecting something so dreadful even the DVD player will refuse to play it. What else is there to choose from. The Internet provides us with the most rare and obscure but most beautifull movies you ever saw. And the more main stream movies can be obtained in full HD 1080p.

    Current Internet connections are of such quality, that physical media such as Blu Ray disk are becomming irrelevant. A normal DVD is downloaded within 20 minutes at 4 MB/s. And when Internet connections will reach 100 Mbit or 12 MB/s, even a HD 1080p movie will be downloaded within the hour.

    Storage is not a problem. If you can store 40 HD movies on a single 1 TB disk, then you will pay 1,5 euros for each movie. Beats any Blu Ray disk in price and time. If you even care about them that much, buy or build a NAS and store them on some redundant storage.

    In time people will do with DVDs and CDs what most people already do with CDs: rip them to some format your computer understands (to transfer it to your MP3 player) and get rid of that CD that will become scratched and useless even if you don't touch it. No, you don't want to transcode your HD movies to some iPod or something, but you may want to stream it to your media player in the living room? A jukebox full of films, just as you have a jukebox full of music.

    Give the CD, DVD and Blu Ray a little push, and let them fall into the grave. It is an outdated technology for a problem that existed 10 years ago. The Internet has made it irrelevant. Be done with it.

    Tagged as : blu ray dead
  3. Got Myself a Norco RPC-4020

    June 16, 2009

    I've got this fetish for storage. So I bought a case that gives me some room for future expantion. The current 6 TB RAID 6 storage server does not have any room for expantion.

    This Norco RPC-4020 case with 20 hot swap drive bays does however. Don't know what to fill it with yet.

    Tagged as : Uncategorized
  4. FFmpeg Performance on a Core I7 920 @ 3.6 Ghz

    April 22, 2009

    The system i'm running is a Core i7 920 @ 3.6 Ghz.

    I am transcoding a DVD (Grave Of The Fire Flies) to iPod format (640x480 x264).

    Thread support is enabled, to FFmpeg uses about 250% CPU. That's 2.5 of the 4 cores available. If possible, I would have liked to see it use all four to the max.

    Any way. I use these settings:

    FFmpeg version SVN-r18628

    ffmpeg -i $1 -pass 1 -acodec libfaac -ab 128k -ac 2 -vcodec libx264 -vpre normal -vpre ipod640 -s 640x480 -b 512k -bt 512k -threads 0 -f mp4 $2

    With these settings, I get an encoding speed of fps=193.

    I don't know how that stacks up against other systems. It seems fast to me though. In effect, the system is playing the DVD at 7.6 times the speed of the movie (25 fps?). So encoding is 88 minutes / 7.6 = 11.45 minutes for encoding a DVD to iPod x264.

    Tagged as : Uncategorized
  5. Core I7 920 @ 3,6 Ghz Is a True Beast!

    March 04, 2009

    Even today, Core 2 Duo processors clocked at 2 ghz are no slugs. However, the Core i7 920 is of a different kind. First, it is not only clocked at a higher speed (default 2,8 Ghz), it is also a quad-core processor. Thanks to the re- introduction of hyperthreading, this processor can handle 8 parallel proceses simultaneously.

    Just how fast a Core i7 can be, especially if overclocked to 3,6 Ghz shows this diagram:

    Using my still in development version of PPSS, four systems processed 400 GB of WAV files and converted them to MP3. This simple pie-chart shows that the Core i7 on it's own, using 8 parallel processes, managed to process 2/3 of the files. The Core i7 was way faster than the other 3 systems combined! This is marvelous, I think. And it seems all due to Hyperthreading. If an additional duo core system would have been added, the other systems combined would have also 8 parallel threads available and would have processed roughly 50% of the items. However, please note that the Core i7 is a quad core processor and has 'only' four physical cores...

    Tagged as : Uncategorized

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