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My main system dying: releases might be postponed 
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Joined: 2009-03-17 18:42:51
Posts: 3594
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(Very) Bad news !

My main computer (which is also the Cool VL Viewer's build system) is dying: more exactly, the regulator system for the CPU supply (1.3V regulators) is dying, causing many segfaults as soon as the CPU load increases. I tried everything (such as under-clocking the CPU and increasing its voltage to try and stay above the minimum voltage when the regulators drop out under load, or replacing the power supply with another one, just in case), but this shitty motherboard (a Gygabyte "Ultra-durable": ultra-durable my ass !!!) is just agonizing.

The first symptom has been an exploding surface-mounted capacitor in the regulator circuitry 4 months or so ago: the board still worked after that, but Gygabyte refused to tell me what the capacitor value was (the board is no more under warranty, so my only chance was to replace the capacitor myself), and I was expecting things to go worst with time. During the past week, I got a few segfaults while compiling programs (and it was not related to the CPU, since even after returning it to its normal clock rate and supply voltage, the segfaults still occurred). During the past two days, things got much worst, and today, while I could compile the Linux releases for the Cool VL Viewer, VS2010 kept segfaulting under Windows every few files (and since it generates code in batches, you can't even relaunch the compilation: if it couldn't generate code for one full batch, it will keep rebuilding the same batch and segfaulting doing it, again and again).

Interestingly, Linux seems less "violent" on the CPU's power supply, since I still can run (and even compile) things more or less stably when Windows keeps crashing every two minutes: this is probably due to how Linux better spreads the load over the cores, or perhaps does it cause less computing power surges via a smoother scheduling of the tasks (causing less intensity spikes for the regulators to deal with). So, I'm currently trying to compile Windows builds under a Windows XP virtual machine running under Linux (it will take ages, because VS2010, unlike VS2005, is hyper-slow under VirtualBox, but it *might* succeed).

In the mean time, I'm crossing my fingers for this system to keep (more or less) working till I get a chance to buy and install a new motherboard (and CPU, and DRAM, since the Q6600 and DDR2 are not exactly on par with current motherboards)... and no, I'll not buy a Gygabyte motherboard, this time !!!

One thing is highly probable: there will not be any new release next week...


2012-09-01 14:02:00
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Joined: 2009-03-17 18:42:51
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In excess of Linux builds that have already been posted, I managed to compile the Windows release of v1.26.4.28 (using VirtualBox under Linux, emulating a single-core Windows XP system): it took 4 hours (!) to compile, but it's there, and it *seems* to be working fine (just in case, v1.26.4.27 is still there).

Now starting the compilation of v1.26.5.7... Wish me luck !


2012-09-01 18:41:12
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Joined: 2009-03-17 18:42:51
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v1.26.5.7 has been compiled, at last... It is available from the download page.

I also ordered new computer parts (ASRock motherboard, i5 2500K CPU and 8Gb DDR3) that I should receive next week, so I should be back into the business in two weeks...


2012-09-01 23:40:09
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Joined: 2009-03-17 18:42:51
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I'm back into the business with an upgraded computer !

I received the parts two days ago and rebuilt the computer with them, then spent my free time yesterday to tweak (overclock) it and do burn-in sessions to verify its stability. Instead of the stock 3.3GHz (33 x 100MHz) of the Core i5 2500K, I reached 4.77GHz (45 x 106MHz) with 100% stable operations (verified with hours-long burn-in sessions), very low over voltage (only +0.05V on the cores + 0.004V in turbo mode) and reasonable core max temperatures (never over 85°C in all circumstance even though I voluntarily capped the CPU heatsink fan speed at 1500 rpm to avoid noisy operations; without fan speed capping, the cores won't go over 70°C, but noise-wise it's like if you got a vacuum cleaner in your PC, lol !).

I must say I'm impressed with the speed of the system; compared to the old one, the 4.8GHz CPU (instead of 3.4GHz), the DDR3-1600 (instead of the DDR2-800) the 5GT/s (instead of 2.5GT/s) bandwidth for the PCIe 16x slot on which my GTX460 is plugged do make quite a difference. Under Linux, in my skybox (which is my low-prim "reference" environment for viewers benchmarking), with all graphics settings maxed out excepted draw distance on 256m, WL sky details on low ("high" doesn't make any visible difference on the screen, but it does make some on the fps), and deferred rendering off, I now get 230fps (instead of 170) with the Cool VL Viewer v1.26.4 and 200fps (instead of 130) with the Cool VL Viewer v1.26.5 !

Anyway, the good news is that there will be new releases tomorrow (nothing fancy, just a couple of bug fixes).


2012-09-07 09:00:37
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