My New Workstation

AMD FX 8120 Powered

It has been a while now that I am without a work PC. The PC has been given away to my nieces for their schoolwork and I’m in no hurry to get its replacement because I’m waiting for the release of the new AMD FX series processors. A new architecture, a new way of computing and I’m all for it. The future is multi-threaded and this cpu excels in multi-threaded environment and as of now the wait is over.

My PCs have always been powered by processors from the competitors ever since the 386. It is because that I like competition, without them there will be no check on pricing and as a consumer it is not good. On the other hand I usually go for price/performance. Cyrix has gone, Nexgen becomes part of AMD and VIA is now concentrating on a niche market. So now AMD is practically the sole competitor to Intel in the x86 world.

The PC is powered by the FX 8120 processor, 8GB ram, 1TB hard disk drive and a Radeon 6750 graphics card with 2GB DDR3 ram. This is an unintended result which will be temporary. I have bought a 64GB SSD months earlier (meant for the old PC) but somehow it is not working. My intention is that the OS and application programs will reside in the SSD while all my data will be in separate partitions on the hard disk. I have been separating the OS and application programs away from my data for a long  time. During the time when hard disks capacities were small, I had the OS, application programs and data stored in a compressed hard disk (this increases its capacity). At one time, the OS could not be loaded and as a result of that I could not access my data. That was when I decided to separate them.

The partitions on the 1TB hard disk

The hard disk was then partitioned into two parts, one for the OS and application programs in the boot partition in compressed mode, the other for data in the extended partition in non-compressed mode. If something goes wrong I just reinstall the OS and application programs without damaging my data, or, I just attach the hard disk drive to another computer and retrieve my data. Now, I don’t have to reinstall the OS but just reimage the partition from the saved clone image that I did immediately after a full installation if and when the need arises. This saves the trouble for activating Windows again and with all my data on separate partitions, not only that they are safe but backing-up is a breeze too.

With this set I intend to familiarise myself with some of the CAD programs. The freely available AutoCAD LT alternative DoubleCAD XT for 2D, FreeCAD for 3D, Blender and POV-Ray for rendering. It has been a long while since I last lay my hands on the drawing board and I now have a project. The only problem is that the learning curves for these 3D programs were steep, just hoping that the will be strong enough to overcome any procrastination.

Rendering of the file biscuit.pov in ver 3.6 is 71607 PPS with CPU running at 3.3GHz

Rendering of the same biscuit.pov in ver 3.7 results in 120323 PPS at the same CPU speed

Note:

Accordingly the system should be able to use all 8 cores. It shows on Device Manager but on Task Manager it shows only 4 cores. Is this normal or limitation of Windows Home Premium? On Microsoft site it is stated that 64 bits Windows 7 can have up to 256 cores processor (multiple cores processor) but only the Pro and above can have more than one processor (multiple processors) but limited to only two processors. Need to check this Task Manager thing.

Solved

The answer was found in amdzone site, if I remembered it well (was  s excited that I quite forgot the site). Someone having the same problem but with the AMD X6 processor and Task Manager showed only 4. To solve it type ‘msconfig’ on the start menu, click the ‘boot’ tab in the window that appears, then click the ‘Advanced option…’ and uncheck the ‘Number of processor’. Reboot. Once rebooted, repeat the process again but this time check the ‘Number of processor’ box and choose 8 and reboot. That’s it.

The Task Manager showing 8 cores

Bicuit rerendered in POV-Ray 3.7 RC3. This time the time is 140034 avg PPS. Actually it varies between 125000 and 140000 but mostly in the upper 135xxx

Lastly the built-in benchmark takes 247 seconds to render

Update:

The PC is now fully assembled with a little more hardware added than originally intended. The OS is now sitting on two 60GB SSDs in Raid 0 (stripe) configuration (120GB total) and 8GB additional memory added (16GB total). Pagefile set to none. I shall put up the migration process of the OS from the basic hard disk to the striped SSDs soon.

You can read the migration process here.

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