Some random thoughts and a quick weekend shoot

Some random thoughts and a quick weekend shoot

Saturday was simply wretched – constant rain and wind all day, so there was no photo shooting. Instead, I had the perennial fun of getting to re-install my OS because the latest driver for my Intel motherboard RAID controller completely pooched the Vista shutdown cycle – and no amount of restore points helped. Shutdowns would just hang which meant every time you restarted you were told the raid was corrupted/shutdown improperly and would need to re-verify the whole raid (2+ hours). I’m now on my 4th Vista re-install, and I’m becoming more and more unhappy about the stability all the time. (Vista Ultimate 64-bit by the way). Plus that with just weird/random connectivity problems with my USB ports and odd audio behavior and I was ready to re-install. Now everything works again – but why? I had the same driver versions installed before, the same patches – why is the old install so unstable and a fresh one not?  That coupled with the latest drivers not always working as well as the previous ones (64-bit versions) and things just feel dodgy in Vista 64 land – which is very quickly grating on my nerves.  I want to do my photos dang it – not lose all my weekend doing OS re-installs.

On the plus side, I picked up a BFG nVidia 8800 GTS OC, and it’s very very nice. Unfortunately for me, it came at the expense of my ATI XT1900 going south. A couple notes:

  • The fans on the ATI’s are universally TOO LOUD. I simply can’t stand any of their dual-slot fan/cooling solutions anymore, and their single-slot solutions are only *just* tolerable from the noise standpoint.
  • My XT1900 was just 2 days out of warranty when it died. <sigh>
  • 3dConnect is the worst company. They never gave me my $75 rebate after 8 months of constant remailing, messages, and emails.  They actually have a phone tree that at NO TIME can you actually talk to a real person. I went through the whole tree – you either leave a message (which will never get returned) or just get an automated response which tells you to go someplace else. Horrible – 5 thumbs down.  On top of that their manufacturing sucked – cards ran way too hot right out of the box.
  • Performance wise, the ATI XT1900 from a year ago is about the same performance as the nVidia 8800GTS released this year (as far as Steam/Half-life 2/CounterStrike:Source are concerned – which is what I do) nVidia cards suck on Half-life, which means you need to get a high-end one in order to get similar performance.
  • The 8800GTS is QUIET – I have yet to hear its fans kick on.
  • Now that I have DX10 compliant card at home, i can try some coding experiments out (muhahaha!)

Got up early on Sunday morning, hit mass early, and then went for a little shooting – and it wasn’t a bad day for it. I got a couple of shots, but I think the best ones are done for the year. On the fun side, I saw a total Nikon fanboy at the Gardens. Nikon D200 hat, Nikon everything. The gardens filled up with people fast when they opened for the general public (photo members can get in 2 hours earlier than general public), so after shooting and the folks started pouring in – I took off. This was from a weekend or so ago, but it’s still a good shot. I’m going to start looking into some really big prints here 30-40″ range for a large wall-size photo. Now that I have this 5D, the 4200×1900 resolution should be able to do so without any trouble.

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