John Bokma MexIT
freelance Perl programmer

More memory and faster video

Wednesday, September 14, 2005 | 3 comments

Today Esme and I went out to buy some hardware for our computer. I already had upgraded the computer with an extra 256M some time ago, it originally had just 128M. However, when I was using the computer I still managed to make it swap a lot.

We went to a place which has several small computer stores next to each other, but only one was open. So Esme asked the price of 256M (KVR266X64C25/256) and 512M (KVR266X64C25/512). I had written down the price in both USD (from Froogle) and pesos (converted using Google), and was not really amazed to get prices significantly higher (as in 1.7 times). We decided to eat something first, and then come back to ask in the other shops.

When we got back, Esme asked the price in another shop, and we managed to bring down the price with 10 pesos for the 512M. Since the computer uses on board video, I decided to buy a cheap upgrade: a GeForce FX 5200 by EVGA.

GeForce FX 5200 by EVGA (P/N: 128-A8-N304-LX)
GeForce FX 5200 by EVGA (P/N: 128-A8-N304-LX)

Back home, I started to install the new hardware. Esme had to go back to school and would be back in one hour and a half to pick me up. In the evening there was an early Independence Day celebration at the school where she has her internship. So I replaced the 128M with 512M (only 2 slots), and installed the AGP video card. I turned the computer on, no problems, and downloaded the most recent NVIDIA driver. However, when I tried to install the driver I got a message in Spanish that some other installation program was running. I saw something in the system tray, but couldn't kill it. After several attempts I turned the computer off, turned it back on pressing F8 after the BIOS messages and entered safe mode. And in safe mode I was able to install the driver without any problems.

Quake forever

One computer game I have been playing a lot, and even finished several times is Quake. I even got two mission packs: Scourge of Armagon (Hipnotic Interactive) and Dissolution Of Eternity (Rogue Entertainment Inc.). And also a CD with some extra levels which are not as good as those the two aforementioned mission packs.

For quite some time I have been looking at the Tenebrae home page. Tenebrae adds stencil shadows and per pixel lights. Or in short: makes Quake look much and much better on recent hardware. I tried it some time ago on but the on board video card is not powerful enough.

Tenebrae in action
Tenebrae in action

So the next thing I did, after the driver finally got installed: downloading and installing Tenebrae, and installing Quake from the original CD. And wow! It really looks amazing. Sadly the FX 5200 is not that powerful, but even at a resolution of 640 x 480 pixels Quake looks almost new.

Celebration of Independence Day

Although the official date is the 16th of September, the school Esme has her internship with decided to celebrate it a bit earlier. When we arrived we first bought something small to eat and drink. After a short time the show started: children dancing and singing. Later on, older boys and girls did several traditional dances. Some dances involved holding a glass with either a burning candle or water on the head, while dancing. The last performance was a play about independence which I could not follow because I still have to learn quite a lot of Spanish. At the end of the evening there was some professional fireworks.

Google Earth

When we came back to the house I checked Google Earth. With the on-board video card OpenGL could not be used. With the FX 5200 Google Earth runs extremely smooth. Zooming in and out using the scroll wheel now happens at dazzling speed.


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