PC Build Guide–The things they don’t tell you about RAM

There are lots of PC build guides out on the web. There are lots of things they do not tell you, too.

So what are these things?

Let’s break it down to the main one.

How to choose fast RAM.

Your CPU is the foundation of everything else. If it is slow the rest is slow. Get the fastest CPU you can afford. Less cores is okay unless you are using well optimised programs with extensible mult-threading.
What does that mean?
Can you software use all available threads? If yes, then lots of cores and threads will be fine. If no, then it won’t help much having a 16 core 32 thread CPU.

The first bottle-neck!

Between your CPU and RAM is the first bottleneck. This is overcome with "True Latency".

True latency is measure in nanoseconds for RAM. We want to get this under 10ns.

"But nanoseconds don’t matter. You won’t notice them!"

"We will when the difference is multiplied by a billion – which is the number of CPU cycles per second!"

The rule-of-thumb with RAM Is getting the best true latency for your dollar. Ideally this is under 10, or under 9.

How to figure out true latency.

The back-of-napkin calculation will be given but first we have to define some terms.

RAM speed is often referred to in MHz.

RAM CAS latency, or CL, is given in number of cycles. This is usually a value between 14 and 20.

So if we pick some ram it might have these attributes.

RAM_maker_X

3200Mhz
CAS (or CL) 16.

…and a bunch of other things we will ignore.

The steps

3200Mhz is the speed.

16 is the latency.

To figure true latency:

1) Divide speed by 2.

1600

2) Divide that by 100.

16

3) Divide CL by the figure at number 2.

4) If it’s equal to 1 then you get 10 nanoseconds.

Otherwise use this formula.

frequency/200 = a
cas = c
1/(a/c) = true latency

So here’s some examples:

3200 C14.

16/14 = ~1.14

1 / ~1/14

8.75 nanoseconds.

 

3600 C16

18/16 = 1.125

1/1.125

8.8888* nanoseconds

 

4200 C20

21/20 =  1.05

9.5 nanoseconds

PC Build Guide–The things they don’t tell you about RAM

Getting rid of NVidia entries in Manage 3D Settings

NVidia control panel can help solve issues and improve performance with 3D applications. However, it has some lazy bugs in it like graying out the “remove” application button in “Manage 3D settings”.

nvidia_remove

You do not need to download anything like random driver cleanup programs to get rid of this. You can do it with “regedit”.

Start up regedit.

Either click start and type “regedit” or go to the run box and put it in there.

Once you are in the Registry Editor be careful and do not delete anything unless you are sure. It will not prompt you to make sure an the wrong thing can ruins your Windows install.

Search (CTRL + F, or Edit… Search) for “NvCplAppNamesStored”.

It ought to be the only entry (see below):

nvidia_cleanup

The HKEY is below for power-users.

HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\VirtualStore\MACHINE\SOFTWARE\NVIDIA Corporation\Global\NVTweak\NvCplAppNamesStore\

In the panel on the right, find what you do not want, select it (check it is the correct one) and press the delete key.

It’s gone.

Exit Registry Editor and exit NVidia Control Panel.

NVidia have kindly made the Control Panel restart automatically so you will not have to do it.

Check your Manage 3D Settings and the entry will be gone.

Getting rid of NVidia entries in Manage 3D Settings

Troll Build

Completing the Troll build was great. I rode it without bar grips or tape for a few days then taped up the Velo Orange Crazy Bars with Lizard skin 3.2mm tape. Nice.

Riding it for a month or two I realised some shortcomings of the Rohloff; much to my chagrin. I really wanted the Rohloff to be bicycle perfection. It’s not. Sensitive to chain tension and axle position makes it annoying in terms of chain leaping off when racing over bumpy ground. This eventually resolved after the paint wore off the dropouts enough that the quick release had more friction underneath so that it stopped being pulled forward on the drive side because of take-off torque.

Then the fitness increase came and I was hitting that point where the effort to ride >25kph all the time was no longer bothersome and you get a flying feeling. That is until you crash and break your clavicle. 28mm of separation and a hook plate later I’m 6 weeks off the bike and missing it every day.

Troll Build

The Decker

In Cyberpunk settings there is a class that’s focus is bypassing and taking control of computer security. The systems have a rule set which becomes a mini-game to the side of "meatspace" just for these folks. In play it becomes a disjointing mechanic – the party is basically split up – and they have to take turns with the GM’s time.

For these basic reasons I recommend having PC’s being all deckers or no deckers in the player characters. Give the group a few NPC decker allies that will run for them and expect to have a share of the rewards. Or they run as a decker crew that covers the meat-heads who are doing the incursions requiring the security infiltration that is their skillset.

All Deckers

or,

No Deckers.

How does your group handle deckers in such settings?

The Decker

Troll Build Notes and Jokes pt. 1

I bought a Surly Troll in Pea-Lime Soup green colour and am building it up to be a Trohloff; that is, a Troll with a Rohloff. It’s been a funny and frustrating process so far.

First, I assumed I didn’t have disc rotor bolts for the front rotor and went to buy a pack from the local bike shop. Tore open the rotor packet and there were six shiny silver disc rotor bolts. Ah well, I wanted black anyway. At least it was only $6 for the bolts. Although that was an annoying process. They originally said 50 cents each; $3.

Next, I’d previously assumed, for some weird reason, that I had a 203mm rotor. It was a 185mm that I purchased and a 200mm rotor that I got in the pack of stuff second-hand with the Rohloff.

So I went to put the 185mm rotor on the Rohloff because that is what the Big Dummy is currently set up for. The axle plate screws were in so tight I stripped out two heads of T20 torx M4 screws. Bugger.

Next purchase was a Sutton Easy Out. This ought to do it. Nope; it snapped after I cautiously and patiently drilled the hole into the M4 screw – there’s not much room to do that without error and by hand-held cordless drill. On top of that I hoped to use my Ryobi One+ Impact driver. The Easy Out doesn’t fit its chuck.

So I bought a set of Speed Out bits. They were useless as well, but at least they didn’t snap. Also they didn’t fit the Ryobi One+ Impact driver.

Thankfully a good friend was a fitter and turner and I asked him about solutions. Impact screwdriver. A hammer driven screwdriver. I was worried the Rohloff Speedhub would be fragile in the threads but reluctantly went ahead. That was my last chance before I’d have to take it 35kms to Commuter Cycles. I’d already spoken to Huw about it and he was happy to give it a cracking good try. My friend was a lot closer at only 8kms. The impact screwdriver worked. One of the axle plate screws was a hex head, and only 2.5mm, so tiny noodle-like piece of steel. That one sheared off and then the axle plate was loose since it was the last screw meaning all tension was removed. It was easy to twist the sheared screw out as well (no more tension).

Happy that the axle plate was off I gingerly removed the little plate of steel and took off the ex-mech box. Underneath the paper gasket was torn. I thought if I don’t mess with it then it will just tighten back up with the new screws and be fine. Well, to get the new screws I had a choice. 6 axle plate screws for 2.99 pounds or 6 axe plate screws with paper gaskets for 2.99 pounds. I chose the latter and then the axle plate was remounted. Not wanting to over tighten them I left them loose until I could get my hands on a torque wrench. So of course the hub started to leak. I had not tightened the axle plate so the gaskets weren’t doing anything except absorbing a bit of Rohloff Speedhub oil. Hand tightened them so they were cinched up but not cranked hard. The leak was sorted; oh, and I had the 185mm rotor mounted.

That leads to the next part of the funny story. Since I thought I had a 203mm rotor I went ahead and ordered two 203mm IS to PM adapters thinking I could fit the Rohloff between the Troll and the Big Dummy; not having to purchase two Rohloff hubs (yikes)! Well, that turned out to be wrong. I did not have a 203mm rotor at all. I had a 185mm and a 200mm rotor I completely forgot I had at all. Plus the 160mm rotor that was on it but I had already changed that.

The rear of the Troll uses a 55mm spaced IS disc brake type mounting arrangement in the dropout. The supplied Surly IS to PM adapter only handles 160mm rotors. I was stuck with two 203mm adapters coming in the mail. Was it going to fit? Will I have to change the rotor back to the 160mm?

Eventually the adapters arrived and in the time before I figured, “You know what, the 203mm might just work with a 185mm rotor on this weird 55mm spacing.” I was right! It fitted just fine and has no rub at all. Easy, perfect, rear wheel disc fit and brake alignment. So 203mm standard rear adapters will let you put a 185mm rotor, with plenty of room, on a Surly Troll; which also means on a Surly Ogre.

Only waste has been $6 in disc rotor bolts, $15 for the Easy Out, $5 for the Speed Outs (but they might work on wood screws), and $3.50 for the extra 203mm rear disc adapter. Not quite as bad as it sounds in the above roller coaster of errors.

Now with the front rotor it half rubs and half clears, but that will be part of further tales of Erring-do and Dashing Assumption.

Troll Build Notes and Jokes pt. 1

Recovering from Injuries – part 3

New maximum of 6 chin-ups. Decided against a power tower because don’t have enough room and have ordered a doorway chin up bar. Have had a niggling pain in the shoulder so had to back off and missed goals for the month of September. I really don’t want to have to do another 6 months or more of physiotherapy.

Pushups were likewise stymied so I’ve focused on intensity instead of reps with the method: down slow, count 2, up; for each rep. This is helping and I’d say it’s probably better than just chasing high rep-count for me.

Recovering from Injuries – part 3