Over Clocked Cafe is the Place to Read More Geek articles!

In 2000-2001, the Over Clocked Cafe website was a great place to read lots of Geek articles. The content below shows just a few examples of what you would have found on the site. Content is from the site's 2001 archived pages.

Interview: C. Adrian Silasi of SiSoftware

by Tom Ellis
Date: 4/28/2002

Every computer geek worth his salt has heard of and probably used SiSoft Sandra, arguably the most popular and comprehensive benchmarking and systems analysis suite that exists for the Win32/x86 platform. Being a major geek and a huge fan (as well as user) of Sandra, I was quite pleased when C. Adrian Silasi of SiSoftware agreed to answer a few questions for us. For those of you who haven't had the pleasure, Adrian is quite a nice fellow to talk to, not to mention extremely talented.

Without further ado...the interview.

GoaT:. Sandra seems to support a great deal of different hardware configurations with ease. How easy is it to find testbed machines? How much input do you get from the beta community in this regard?

Adrian: Very, very, hard. With the exception of the reference boxes the beta testers make or break the product. "Good" beta testers are hard to find. Many people are willing but few people can spare the time required; they also need the specific hardware/software that needs to be tested.

So I'd like to thank them for their continuous support with this occasion also.
It is not only a question of buying the stuff (which is quite expensive - since you need to keep for regress testing future versions) but also of space (where do you keep all this?), set-up & management and time (test and analyse results).

GoaT: Whatever happened to Samantha? I know your website says that it's still planned, but Sandra seems to do it all quite well. Is there still a need for an NT/2000/XP diagnostic and management tool?

Adrian: Yes; but Sandra is far too jealous to have such a rival so Sam had to evolve into something completely different than just "Sandra for NT" to prevent any overlap. But she does borrow bits and bobs from Sam with each version - as time allows.

GoaT: Have you ever considered a Linux version of Sandra, or even some kind of scaled back Linux diagnostic software?

Adrian: Yes, Sandra is being ported to Linux (RedHat/Mandrake). The hardest part is to port the interface (from MFC), the rest are just normal C++ classes, hopefully it should go quicker... It's just a question of time.

GoaT: What first drew you to work on diagnostic and other low level software?

Adrian: I wrote the original Win16 program, SAW (http://www.sisoftware.co.uk/saw) in my 1st year at University (City University, London) trying to learn how to program in Pascal and C++. I mean actually write something and release it to see what people think of it/whether they find it useful or not. So all I wanted was to learn to program and how stuff worked.

Sandra was also free while I was at University; afterwards, being unemployed for some months I decided it was a good time to try to make some money before I got a "proper job"... ;)

GoaT:. Are there any future plans at SiSoftware that you can share with our readers?

Adrian: The Win32 ANSI Sandra will be joined by the native NT/200X Unicode version; both will be distributed but as 98/Me get replaced by 2000 and XP we're hoping users will soon switch to the leaner and meaner Unicode version. When 98/Me reach EOL, the ANSI version will be discontinued also.

As well as the Linux version just mentioned, there should also be a version for Windows CE devices; these things have got very powerful - only a few years ago such a config on a consumer desktop PC was top-of-the-range! I still prefer my Palm though - far smaller and the battery lasts for a week before recharge! I'd love to do a Palm version just don't have the time

Goat: Lager or Ale? (editor's note: The GoaT is well known for his love of beer )

Adrian: A good Ale any (on a "bender") day but generally it's Lager.

Goat: Are there any known issues with the current release of Sandra that you'd like to address in future versions?

Adrian: That is a pretty long list; fortunately no show-stoppers, just additions, improvements and support for new stuff coming out. Things are really moving nowadays, it is hard to keep up.

GoaT: Tell us a little about yourself if you don't mind. Hobbies, background, family stuff, whatever you choose to share.

Adrian: Like anyone, I try to do as much as I can in my "free" time. Currently I'm trying to get my bike licence; unfortunately I'm bad at it for some reason - managed to take out of action 2 bikes on the first day. Ripped my jeans pretty good and I'm not into that "ripped jeans" fashion anymore!

GoaT: Anything else you'd like to say to our audience? Keep in mind that our readers run the gamut from rabid overclocking fanatics to corporate executives to academics.

Adrian: I hope you found the program useful and will continue to do so. If you have problems with it - get it touch - we're doing our best but are only human.

GoaT: Thank you for the tremendous contribution youv'e made to the hardware community with Sandra. I know I speak for a lot of people when I say that. Thank you as well for taking the time from your busy schedule to talk to us.

Adrian: Sandra says "Thank you".

+++

Be cool, with H20!

What this article is… and isn’t.

Quite simply, this article is a basic overview of water-cooling, including some dos, don’ts, and watch-outs that you should be aware of. This article is not an in-depth analysis of water-cooling. I won’t discuss the thermodynamics of water-cooling, I won’t provide a sales pitch of where to buy your supplies, and I won’t attempt to tell you whether you should or should not cool your system’s components with water as opposed to air. I will simply give you the pros and cons of each, and let you decide for yourself.

One thing, before we begin. As I write this document, I’m going to be politically incorrect, and stick to the use of masculine pronouns. This is not, in any way, to imply that only men own computers, tinker with things, or are stupid enough to pour water into their computers. It also is not, in any way, to imply that women aren’t electronically inclined, don’t tinker with things, or aren’t too stupid to pour water into their computers. It is simply to make this article easier to read. Let’s be honest, it’s distracting to see a bunch of duplicate pronouns like “he/she” or “he (or she).” I also don’t wish to use the grammatically incorrect singular “they” that people use all the time to avoid such issues. So, if you feel you need to see the politically correct use of duplicated pronouns in any body of print that you read, please, get over it… at least for this one article. I mean, can’t we all just get along???

Why use water?

Just in case you can’t get your mind off that last paragraph, let me reiterate something from the first paragraph: I am NOT going to tell you why you should use water, or why you should instead stick with air-cooling. Having said that, why the heck did I use that title for this section? Because Mr. Phelps, your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to determine why the heck anyone in their right mind would introduce a substance into the heart of their computer that everyone with a 3rd grade education knows will destroy it. I mean, let’s be honest; water and electricity just don’t mix. Computers run off of electricity, so, what the…?

Okay, okay… let me try to solve the riddle. There are four types of people (discounting the criminally insane, of course) that would attempt such a foolish undertaking.

First, there’s the die-hard overclocker. This person knows that he can squeeze another 50MHz out of his computer if he can just cool that processor down one more degree. This person would sell his sister into slavery for just one liter of liquid nitrogen, so that, for one minute, he could have the fastest computer in existence, or at least faster than his neighbor’s $5,000 “Dream Machine.” If you’ve ever seen one of those small refrigerators, and thought, “Man, a jig-saw, and a couple tubes of caulk, and that baby would make one killer computer case,” then you fit into this category.

Second, there’s the tinkerer. This person can’t keep his hands out of his computer for five minutes. He’s always switching memory modules or PCI cards around to see if he can find the “perfect” combination that will solve all his instability problems, which, by the way, are usually caused by his constant meddling. This person will try water cooling for the sheer challenge of it – to simply show that it can be done. Speed increases aren’t as important as the joy he feels when he sees the shock on someone’s face as he tells them he needs to stop by the store to get some distilled water for his computer. If the words “closed case” are about as meaningful to you as the unified field theory, then this is your category.

Third, there’s the audiophile. This isn’t to be confused with someone who desires perfect musical clarity. No, this person simply wants quiet at all costs. This person swears he can hear the electricity buzzing through the power-lines next to his house, and it’s driving him crazy! This is the kind of person who would run screaming from an 80mm fan running at 10 rpm. Tell him he needs 3 to 4 of them running at 5000+ rpm, and he’ll look at you as if you’d just grown a second head, along with six extra arms, a few legs, and a blowhole. To him, water-cooling brings the joy of removing that last fan out of his computer once and for all. If you’re wearing a pair of noise-canceling headphones as you read this article… bingo!

Finally, there’s the believer. This is the person who does something because he believes “everyone else is doing it.” Invariably, this person lives next to, or works with, or is friends with someone who has recently delved into water-cooling and now he can’t wait to follow suit. This is the person who sees an article (like this one) on the Internet on water-cooling, and becomes convinced that he can’t get along with his Heat-Sink-Fan (HSF) combo any longer. He will rush out, buy a water-cooling kit from the first web-site he runs across, and probably melt his CPU on his very first attempt. If you feel that you may fall into this category, then you have my deepest apologies, and my sincere wishes that you seek help, immediately. 

Okay, so now that you know who would get into water-cooling, the next answer is why? Well, that one is simple. There are four reasons to delve into water-cooling, each associated with one of the categories previously mentioned. One water-cools in order to:

1. Increase overclocking ability.
2. Experiment, and learn.
3. Reduce Noise.
4. Show your neighbor that he’s not the only one who can do it.
If you’re not thinking of water-cooling your computer for one of those reasons, then your HSF combo is really your best bet. There is absolutely no compelling reason for introducing such an alien substance into your electronic computer, other than these four. Even they are questionable due to the risks involved, but hey, someone’s got to do it, right?

Where to start

Okay, you’ve got your mind set on water-cooling, huh? You’re willing to accept the jokes that your co-workers and friends will probably throw your way, like, “How many miles per gallon does that thing get on the highway?” or “Aren’t you worried about blowing a fan belt?” If you’re really serious, then you need to know where to begin.

The easiest way to start is to buy a ready-made water-cooling kit. There are plenty of websites out there, but in keeping with my promise to avoid sales pitches, I won’t recommend one. I can, however, recommend that you shop around. Hit the overclocker sites (like, oh, I don’t know… http://www.overclockedcafe.com… oh drat, that sounded like a sales pitch didn’t it… oops, my bad) and start clicking on their “links” section. Or hit their forums and ask for advice. Whatever you do, DO NOT buy the first kit you run across. You’ll invariably be sorry. These kits run anywhere from just under $100 on up, and the quality range is about as large as the price range, so be sure to shop around. Also, some people will tell you that you can build your own water kit. Take my advice: don’t, at least, not on your first attempt at water-cooling. Believe me, you’ll have enough problems trying to get it to work. You don’t need the extra hassle. Once you’re an old pro at water-cooling, then feel free to experiment.

Some of the things you should look for in a good water kit, are:

1. A complete kit. This would include a CPU waterblock w/ fastener, plastic tubing, radiator, pump, and reservoir. Optional equipment would include a GPU waterblock, tubing clamps, temperature sensors and displays, radiator fans, etc.

2. Waterblock connection type. This is a bit hard to explain, so hear me out. Everyone’s case and motherboard is somewhat unique. You need to realize that you’re going to have two tubes measuring about 1/2” each running from your CPU. You need to determine where these tubes are going to go, and how they’re going to run. Once you’ve determined that, realize that the connectors coming off of the waterblock are likely to be at least an inch long. Do you have room to have them come out flat against the motherboard, or do they need to come down from the top of the CPU? If from the top, can they still attach to the side of the waterblock (via an elbow joint), or do you need them to be within the footprint of the waterblock? These are things that you need to consider before blowing some cash on a waterblock that won’t fit your motherboard or case!

3. Tubing length. Most kits will include 10 feet or so of tubing. Realize that this will be a closed loop, and that the tubing must run from the reservoir to the CPU, to the radiator, and back to the reservoir. Add a GPU cooler, and you’re talking even more required tubing. In short, 10 feet usually won’t cut it. Get as much tubing as you can, but don’t pay an arm and a leg for it. Remember, you can usually go to a home-improvement store and get more. There, 20 feet or so will cost only $2-3.

4. Tubing size. There are two diameters of tubing commonly used for this purpose: 1/4” and 3/8”. These are internal diameters. In other words, the diameter of the space in which the water will flow. The 3/8” variety is common enough that you shouldn’t bother with 1/4” diameters. The more water you can get flowing, the better the cooling potential. You can get a good 3/8” kit for under $100, so cost isn’t really an issue, and the tubing is common enough, so believe me, stick with 3/8”. One more thing, I’ve seen 1/2” tubing, but there are two reasons not to buy it. One, it’s hard to find, even in the home-improvement stores, and two, if it’s a half-inch inside, how big do you think the exterior diameter will be? Unless you’ve got the most wide-open case I’ve ever seen, you just won’t have room for it. Again, stick with the 3/8” size.

5. Pump type. This isn’t really that much of an issue, since most will use in-line submersible pumps, but this is your only moving part, so be sure to include them in your comparison. Find out their rated life. If one pump is rated for 5,000 hours, and another for 20,000 hours, which one do you think you should go with? I mean, it’s really just common sense. Also, ask about the warranty on the pump. If the company from which you’re buying the pump won’t stand behind their product, why should you buy it?

+++

TODAYS SPECIALS

Video Maker
Posted by Mark on December 11, 2001 at 10:52PM MST

It's a TV-Tuner, it's an MPEG decoder, it records audio/video, it slices and dices. It's the Prolink PixelView Video Maker, an add-on multimedia card, and you can check out the review at TweakTown.

Athlon MP 1900+
Posted by Mark on December 11, 2001 at 10:47PM MST

Our pal Andy 'always shaken, never stirred' at The Tech-Report gives us an insightful look at the new Athlon MP 1900+ processor. He also covers such topics as "What SMP means to me", and as always - it's full of those benchmarks that everyone loves. A good read, head over and...read it.

Codename:OUTBREAK
Posted by Mark on December 11, 2001 at 9:14PM MST

Another First Person Shooter to hit the retail shelves, Codename:OUTBREAK. It's a military type of game, probably involving some covert operations (what fun is a game without covert operations?). It looks like one of those 'borrow it from your friend when he's done playing it' type of games. Read the rest at hArDcOrEwArE.

Spire copper cooler
Posted by Mark on December 11, 2001 at 8:58PM MST

This is a low noise cooling solution, which means it's not one for the overclocker, more for the OEM crowd. With the low RPM fan, and the unit being all copper, it'd have a tough time shaking off the heat from higher bus speeds and voltage bumps. It's the Spire 5E055B1H3R Copper Heatsink, and you can check out the review from the tallest guy in the hardware community (Max is 8'6") at FrostyTech.

Arkua 6228
Posted by Mark on December 11, 2001 at 2:39PM MST

They worked with Homer at the Springfield Nuclear Plant, but an accident at the plant forced them to leave, and left him with 8Balls. But, they've now joined the hardware community, and bring you their latest review of the Arkua 6228 Socket CPU cooler.

November's 3D Digest
Posted by Mark on December 11, 2001 at 1:31PM MST

It's a monthly drivers report and popular 3D accelerators comparison from the gang at
Digit-Life. Here's what's new this month (or last month...)

- 5 testing platforms used for testing
- 6 games and applications used to test performance
- 19 games and applications used to tes image quality
- 38 cards tested and 25 more in archive
- drivers released from October, 20 to November, 20 were tested
- perfomance checked under WinME and WinXP
- S3TC/FXT1 influence on speed and quality (Windows 98SE)
investigated
- anisotropic filtering on the example of Serious Sam (Windows 98SE)
investigated
- peak and minimal FPS in Giants (Windows XP) investigated
- 3D cards rating for the end of Nov
- two huge screenshots galleries

RivaTuner 8.2
Posted by Mark on December 11, 2001 at 1:27PM MST

The Guru of 3D made an update to the handy tweaking utility for anyone running NVIDIA based video cards. Head over and download the latest, RivaTuner RC 8.2. It has a few bug fixes, a few new additions, and it's chock full 'o' tweaking goodness.

Nostromo
Posted by Mark on December 11, 2001 at 1:21PM MST

Neoseeker gives us their thoughts on the Nostromo n50 Speedpad & Nostromo n30 Gamemouse. A good gift idea for the hardcore gamer in your life. You can also take a look at JT3's review of the n50 Speedpad - here.

Xtasy Everything
Posted by Mark on December 11, 2001 at 1:15PM MST

The VisionTek Xtasy Everything allows you to do...everything. From gaming, to watching a movie, to video editing, and being able to control it all with one remote. Read the rest at SLCentral.

Iwill XP333-R
Posted by Mark on December 11, 2001 at 1:06PM MST

An overclocking review of the Iwill XP333-R from VR-Zone. It gives you a decent look at the board, and a look at different settings that will help you squeeze the most out of this board.

DFI WT70-EC
Posted by Mark on December 11, 2001 at 1:03PM MST

IANAG takes a look at the DFI WT70. This board is Socket 423, and is built around the i850 chipset offering support for RDRAM. It's not loaded down with a lot of options, it's also fairly cheap - around $150.

Swiftech MCXC370
Posted by Mark on December 10, 2001 at 9:25PM MST

Swiftech makes some very nice CPU coolers, a bit expensive, but they put some thought into the design and performance. The MCX370 uses a threaded pin design, comes with a copper base, and uses a Pabst 6800RPM 33CFM fan. To catch the latest review on the Swiftech MCXC370, head over to FrostyTech.

Awarded an award
Posted by Mark on December 10, 2001 at 8:45PM MST

I like it when email shows up in my inbox five hours after it has been sent. NVIDIA keeps on chugging along, this time around it's the "Front Line" award from Game Developer Magazine. The "Front Line" award singles out select hardware and software companies for providing a breakthrough product that streamlines the game development process. You can read all about it in our press box. On a side note - I had a good time hanging out in the NVIDIA area at COMDEX this year, even though COMDEX was a yawner, the hospitality I received from the various manufacturers was much appreciated. They also gave me a really nice NVIDIA sweatshirt...that my wife had the pleasure of ruining with bleach.

Samsung 80GB of goodness
Posted by Mark on December 10, 2001 at 8:26PM MST

Damn Sprint and their wireless non-broadband broadband connection, this is the second time I've had to type this post. It's a review of the Samsung SV8004H 80GB hard drive at PCStats. Interesting drive, only 5400RPM, but it also only uses two platters. Another nice thing is that it's reasonably priced.

Blizzard 540
Posted by Mark on December 10, 2001 at 7:59PM MST

This case is similar to the Blizzard 360 case made by FrozenCPU, one of the main differences is the see-through window on the side/door of the case. Anyhoo, I'll be starting my review of the 540 case this week, in the meantime head over to 3DGameMan for his Blizzard 540 case review.

Hey you!
Posted by Tom on December 10, 2001 at 6:45PM MST

Yes, I mean you. What's the matter with you? Why haven't you joined out message boards yet???

Taking off with Shuttle
Posted by Mark on December 10, 2001 at 5:23PM MST

Not a lot of difference between the other revisions of this board, and the latest revision of Shuttle's AK31 (Rev 3.1). The BIG difference being that they're now using a KT266A chipset on the board, offering a nice performance jump. Check out the Shuttle AK31 Revision 3.1 review at Active-Hardware.

Nanotherm epoxy
Posted by Mark on December 10, 2001 at 4:42PM MST

It looks as though the company that brought you the non-metallic thermal compound, Nanotherm ice and blue, is now developing an epoxy. Nanotherm isn't a bad choice for anyone who wants a non-conductive thermal compound, great for those who tend to make a mess when applying it. You can read about the Nanotherm epoxy at 3DVelocity.

Ah, EPoX
Posted by Mark on December 10, 2001 at 4:38PM MST

OverclockersOnline digs into the first KT266A motherboard to hit the retail market, the EPoX 8KHA+. This is a nice board, packed with features and offering great performance.

Que pasa, UPS...
Posted by Mark on December 10, 2001 at 2:21PM MST

Lately my packages delivered via UPS are showing up beaten and bruised. I guess with the Christmas crunch, and the added volume of packages, there is less care taken in handling. Last week we found a package in the bushes, the other packages that have shown up look like they've been held hostage and beaten for info before arriving at the house. If you're using a delivery service this year, might be wise to insure it.

The state of Intel
Posted by Mark on December 10, 2001 at 2:04PM MST

A good article from Josh about the current state of Intel, where they've been and where they are heading. What really hurt Intel was their decision to move towards RAMBUS, and at the time was a hefty expense for the end-user, now it's playing out in a political way. Then...the whole P4X266 chipset thing, Intel needs to sell P4's and pushing the SDRAM solution for the P4 isn't a viable solution. The last I checked business was about the bottom line, and their true bottom line comes from selling processors. Head over to PenStar Systems and check out his thoughts.

Celeron 1.2GHz Tualatin
Posted by Mark on December 10, 2001 at 12:59PM MST

I don't know...unless you are really low on funds I'd think about upgrading to something other than a 1GHz+ P3 or Celeron. You are going to get a lot more milage out of an upgrade then you would with current P3/Celeron solutions. But, if the funds are really tight and you want to upgrade your old Celery, check out the Tualatin Celeron 1.2Ghz review at PCHardware Romania.

ASUS KT266A
Posted by Mark on December 10, 2001 at 12:41PM MST

ASUS makes nice stuff...in case you didn't know. I am running the i845 based board, and even though it's SDRAM for the P4, the board is very nice. The latest offering from ASUS is built around the VIA KT266A chipset, offering solid performance for those of you with an Athlon XP and DDR memory. It also comes with a lot of the 'extras' that ASUS is known for, sort of a happy balance between not too much and not lacking, and plenty of room for upgrades or adding peripherals. To read all about it, head to [H]ardOCP.

MSI nForce
Posted by Mark on December 10, 2001 at 12:29PM MST

Ay yi yi...another red PCB...toro toro. Not a bad review of the NForce based K7N420 Pro from MSI, though he only provided a few benchmarks, nothing you could really make a decision on (or help make). The nForce may be running a little behind for the end-user, but with the 'almost everything' intergrated, may fair well in the business enviroment. You can check out at Overclockers Australia.

Xbox funtime
Posted by Mark on December 10, 2001 at 12:20PM MST

Get an Xbox, get some friends together, consume mass quantities, and play games until you die...at least until your thumb goes numb and grows a thick callous layer over it. That's what the gang at FutureLooks did, and they lived to tell the tale. Head over to catch their thoughts on the Xbox.

MMC in XP
Posted by Mark on December 10, 2001 at 12:15PM MST

TweakersAsylum posted a Windows XP MMC guide. Most of the tools are for networks and admins, but the end-user should be able to get some use out of them, for tweaking and troubleshooting.

Shuttle AB30R review at TR
Posted by Klatoo on December 9, 2001 at 9:59PM MST

SHUTTLE HAS HAD STRING of successes of late. First, we were surprised with their AK31 Athlon board. Next came a very fast VIA P4X266-based AV40R. Then, almost out of nowhere, came the SV24 bare-bones system that has spawned a bit of a cult following. Today, Tech Report looks at another Pentium 4 offering from Shuttle, the AB30R, which uses Intel's 845 SDRAM chipset.

You can read about it HERE

Logitech's Z-560 THX Certified 4.1 Speaker System
Posted by Klatoo on December 9, 2001 at 9:55PM MST

Something of a "Sound Wars" theme going tonight, not to make a really bad side reference to George Lucas, but the THX Certified 4.1 system that Hot Hardware reviews here just brings to mind all those really cool opening screens for THX soundtrack DVD's out there.

Here's the Review

Dr. Thermal TI-V86 & TI-S86
Posted by Klatoo on December 9, 2001 at 8:05PM MST

Our friends at ipKonfig have a new review of the Dr. Thermal TI-V86 & TI-S86 heatsinks.

Not a bad read at all.....

Review of Klipsch Promedia 2.1
Posted by Klatoo on December 9, 2001 at 8:01PM MST

Good article at Hardware Test , except the translation is a bit choppy, but hey after a day of watching football and consuming adult beverages you probably won't notice.

Here's the review of the Klipsch Promedia 2.1

Good evening Campers!
Posted by Klatoo on December 9, 2001 at 7:57PM MST

And you may ask yourself, where has the usually punctual Jim been, well I tell ya'take your pick:

1) Abducted by a UFO
2) Held hostage by my children and I wasn't released until I gave them a bag of OREOs.
3) Ahhh, My dog ate it??

Actually I'm working on my new house and hoping to be moved in by Christmas, so my schedule is a bit disrupted, but hey, I'm here now so let's get going!

Video Card Rodeo
Posted by Tom on December 9, 2001 at 9:23AM MST

Digit-Life gets some professional 3D cards and some gaming 3D cards together for a good old fashioned Video Card Roundup.

Good Morning, Peeps.
Posted by Tom on December 9, 2001 at 6:15AM MST

Nothing like a good tape drive review early in the morning to get your juices flowing, eh? Oh. That's what I said, too. Anyways, head on over and read Technoyard's review of the OnStream ADR2 60GB Digital Tape Drive .

Tonight @Geek manor
Posted by Tom on December 8, 2001 at 3:26PM MST

Tossed green salad
Slow Cooked Beef Pot Roast with Potatoes and Onions in Tomato Sauce
Steamed Snow Crab Legs with Butter

Slow going.
Posted by Tom on December 8, 2001 at 1:19PM MST

It's a slow, rainy Saturday here. If you've got news, send it on it. Better yet, head over and sign up in our forums and make some news.

OverClockedCafe.com