It started innocently enough. I was considering upgrading to a larger format monitor sometime in the next year or so. I like having lots of video “real estate” and, although my ViewSonic VP201 20″ LCD display has served me well, I am starting to feel crowded.
I was starting to think that the tide might be turning away from ATI + AMD: my favoured platform for the last four years or so. Both Intel and NVidia have been ahead of ATI/AMD now for about a year in terms of top-end video card and CPU performance.
I mentioned in a previous post here that I picked up some additional hard drives. The 750 GB drive is running happily in an external eSATA-connected enclosure and is providing backup for my machine. The other two drives are sitting on a shelf, and will remain there indefinitely. There is a story behind their banishment from my computer. It isn’t that there is anything particularly wrong with the drives themselves: I’ve finally concluded that my Asus motherboard has crappy RAID/AHCI support.
I have spent the last couple of days repeatedly building and tearing down my machine. First I built a RAID 1 array. Bear in mind that the drives I’m using are good quality Seagate 7200.10 drives: they have full SATA2 support, including Native Command Queuing (NCQ). The drives they displaced were high-end WD Raptor 1500ADFD drives: arguably, the Raptors are better drives, but I had suspicions that WD drives might be behind my problems putting my system into standby mode in Vista. I was wrong.
…but you can’t fault my persistence. I have managed to break my main PC again. The exact same cause: once again, I decided to try putting my machine in standby after an update. And once again, when the machine came out of standby, it horrendously corrupted my ATI SATA RAID array (of Western Digital Raptor drives). Exactly the same steps, exactly the same results.
ATI released their “production” Vista driver on January 29th. And it apparently has native OpenGL support, at least according to this extract from the release notes:
I run my main computer slightly on the edge. I don’t overclock it, but I do have some of the latest hardware inside, and the latest drivers. I build (assemble the bits, install and configure the OS) it myself not because I consider myself particularly brilliant, but because it sort of makes me feel good.
I am pretty technically proficient. However, I build one (1) completely unique computer per year more or less: you don’t learn all the ins and outs of a build when you only create one of them. And as a result of the “one of a kind” nature of my configuration, I am periodically caught by a problem. That’s what this post is about.