No More Noise

my-pcWhen I was configuring my new computer a few months ago there were two very important considerations. It had to be fast for video editing. It had to be quiet.

That quiet thing isn’t as easy as you think. More powerful chips throw off more heat. More heat means more fans. Fans mean noise. It’s a vicious cycle!

The computer’s in a Thermaltake Soprano case. The case was designed to be quiet. It’s even got acoustic foam padding on the doors.

The PC under my desk is as fast as expected and quiet. I wondered if it could be quieter still? It’s so overdesigned. It should be silent.

Today was my chance. I was installing a case mounted card reader. The doors would come off. The case would be open. Everything would be exposed.

When I looked inside I noticed the fan for the CPU’s liquid cooling unit was plugged into a “CPU fan” socket. I’d been unable to control its speed. What if it was plugged into the “System fan” socket instead?

The fan, which had been running around 1,500 RPM is now clocked near 500 RPM. The CPU temperature is still 1&#176C cooler than Intel’s idling spec for my 4770-K. This motherboard/chip combination can be overclocked. I could probably squeeze out some extra performance. Right now I’m like a guy with a Maserati who obeys the speed limit.

The computer is silent… OK, nearly silent. It is just part of the white noise of the house. Turning down that one fan eliminated the bulk of the problem.

If you’ve read this far you are seriously geeky and should consider therapy.

Tonight I am happy.

I Wish I Was At CES

Between the reading tweets and news coverage I’ve become disappointed I’m not at CES, the Consumer Electronics Show. Las Vegas is nearby. CES has all the toys.

Technology is constantly changing. The big deal at this show is how much processing power can be put in how small a space, like Intel’s Edison Development Board.

It’s the same size as an SD card, commonly used in point and shoot cameras. It has a two core processor, with WiFi and Bluetooth already integrated.

Intel says, wear Edison. Here’s their suggestion for a baby monitor.

Start with a computer that really is the size of an SD card.
Attach it to a regular onesie and sensors that monitor the baby’s temperature, breathing, and motion.
Then, set the Intel Edison board to trigger actions on other connected devices, like this automatic bottle warmer or this coffee cup.
Each one of these has the Intel Edison board inside, communicating with the others to deliver amazing solutions to age-old problems.

Helicopter parents, your prayers have been answered.

This baby surveillance system is just a demo. It’s a taste of what the device can do so other developers create more products using it.

There’s lot of talk of 4k video at CES. It’s a new, higher standard for video. 4k video is sharper and more lifelike than HDTV.

I’ve seen 4k. Spectacular. The improvement is immediately noticeable.

Unfortunately, in 2014 having 4k capability is like having a car that can do 160 mph. So? Where can you use it?

Cable, satellite and Internet delivered video are all compressed mercilessly before we see it at home. Modern TVs are capable of much better images than what we see. I’d rather get less compressed HDTV (and hold onto my current hardware) than compressed 4k.

Marissa Mayer of Yahoo! spoke today. Her arrival has been widely applauded among the Technorati. Whether Yahoo! becomes a bigger player, as they once were, is another story. Their stock’s doing well.

1,700 were at the Hilton to see her. Katie Couric talked about her involvement with Yahoo News. David Pogue’s Yahoo! tech site was shown off.

It’s still more smoke than substance. They seem to be moving in the right direction. It’s a company full of smart people who should be able to figure things out.

This is the nerd prom. I need to attend. Maybe next year?