3dMark Video Card Testing

At a suggestion from Kevin, I snagged the 3DMark tool to test my systems video.

I ran the program to run tests on the system just to see if it encountered any issues. Nope, everything seems just peachy 🙂

I got a 3,611 Time Spy score which isn’t spectacular (better than 32% of systems).

3DMark Time Spy is a new DirectX 12 benchmark test for Windows 10 gaming PCs. Time Spy is one of the first DirectX 12 apps to be built “the right way” from the ground up to fully realize the performance gains that the new API offers. With its pure DirectX 12 engine, which supports new API features like asynchronous compute, explicit multi-adapter, and multi-threading, Time Spy is the ideal test for benchmarking the latest graphics cards.

But I got a 10,089 Fire Strike score which is real good (better than 72% of systems).

Fire Strike is a showcase DirectX 11 benchmark designed for today’s high-performance gaming PCs. It is our most ambitious and technical benchmark ever, featuring real-time graphics rendered with detail and complexity far beyond what is found in other benchmarks and games today.

I did put the system into SLI mode (connect 2 graphics cards for better performance) but the tests didn’t change and per the site (and for $30) I’d have to run the Fire Strike Extreme to test SLI and Fire Strike Ultra Benchmark test to test the 4K monitor.

3DMark Fire Strike Extreme is an enhanced version of Fire Strike designed for high-end multi-GPU systems (SLI / Crossfire) and future hardware generations.

In addition to raising the rendering resolution, additional visual quality improvements increase the rendering load to ensure accurate performance measurements for truly extreme hardware setups.

Can your PC handle the world’s first 4K gaming benchmark? Fire Strike Ultra’s 4K UHD rendering resolution is four times larger than the 1080p resolution used in Fire Strike.

A 4K monitor is not required, but your graphics card must have at least 3GB of memory to run this monstrously demanding benchmark.

So, sweeeeet 😀

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Concert: Free Fallin’

From here

[Intro]
        D/Dsus/Dsus/D/A        D/Dsus/Dsus/D/A
[Verse]
        D    Dsus  Dsus  D   A
she's a good girl, loves her mama
      D D sus    Dsus D   A
loves Je-sus and Amer-ica too
        D    Dsus  Dsus   D    A
she's a good girl, crazy 'bout Elvis 
      D   Dsus        Dsus  D      A
loves hor-ses and her boy - friend too

   D/Dsus/Dsus/D/A

           D    Dsus Dsus   D  A
and it's a long day  livin' in Reseda
          D    Dsus Dsus    D           A
there's a free-way  runnin' through the yard
          D   Dsus         Dsus  D    A
and I'm a bad boy, cause I don't even miss her
     D   Dsus    Dsus     D   A
im a bad boy for breakin' her heart


[Chorus] 
        D    Dsus/Dsus/D/A       D    Dsus/Dsus/D/A
and im free,                free fallin'
        D    Dsus/Dsus/D/A       D    Dsus/Dsus/D/A
ya, im free,                free fallin'

[Verse]

        D   Dsus  Dsus    D           A
all the vam-pires walkin' through the valley 
     D    Dsus     Dsus  D     A
move west down Ven-tura  Boule-vard.
            D   Dsus     Dsus     D      A
and all the bad boys are standing in the shadows 
        D    Dsus         Dsus      D      A
and the good girls are at home with broken hearts


[Chorus]
       D    Dsus/Dsus/D/A        D    Dsus/Dsus/D/A
and im free,                free fallin'
        D    Dsus/Dsus/D/A        D    Dsus/Dsus/D/A
ya, im free,                free fallin'

[Bridge]
   D/Dsus/Dsus/D/A
   D/Dsus/Dsus/D/A
   D/Dsus/Dsus/D/A
   D/Dsus/Dsus/D/A

        D     Dsus Dsus  D   A
i wanna glide down over  Mul-holland    
        D     Dsus Dsus D      A
i wanna write her  name in the sky
         D    Dsus Dsus D    A
im gonna free fall out  into nothin'
      D     Dsus  Dsus  D     A
gonna leave this  world for a while

[Chorus]
       D    Dsus/Dsus/D/A        D    Dsus/Dsus/D/A
and im free,                free fallin'
       D    Dsus/Dsus/D/A        D    Dsus/Dsus/D/A
ya, im free,                free fallin'

[Outro]
       D/Dsus/Dsus/D/A           D/Dsus/Dsus/D/A
       D    Dsus/Dsus/D/A        D    Dsus/Dsus/D/A
ya, im free,                free fallin'
       D    Dsus/Dsus/D/A        D    Dsus/Dsus/D/A
oh!                         free fallin'
       D    Dsus/Dsus/D/A        D    Dsus/Dsus/D/A
ya, im free,            oh! free fallin'
       D    Dsus/Dsus/D/A        D    Dsus/Dsus/D/A
Posted in 2016 Company Picnic, Music | 1 Comment

Concert: Angel Band

From here
C. G. C

    C              F     C
My latest sun is sinking fast
    A        E     A
My race is nearly run
    A               D     A
My strongest trials now are past
    A        E     A
My triumph has begun

Chorus
E        A
Oh come angel band
E        A
Come and around me stand
D                    A
Bear me away on your snow white wings
   A     E      A
To my immortal home
D                    A    
Bear me away on your snow white wings
   A     E      A
To my immortal home

   A                D       A
Oh bear my longing heart to him
    A        E        A
Who bled and died for me
   A                      D        A
Whose blood now cleanses from all sins
   A          E     A
And brings me victories

Chorus
E        A
Oh come angel band
E        A
Come and around me stand
D                    A
Bear me away on your snow white wings
   A     E      A
To my immortal home
D                    A    
Bear me away on your snow white wings
   A     E      A
To my immortal home
Posted in 2016 Company Picnic, Music | 1 Comment

Concert: Bartender’s Blues

From here

(intro: D (chord), E (plain), F# (plain)

G C D

     G             C
Well I'm just a bartender
      D            A
And I don't like my work
      D                       G    D, E plain, 
But I don't mind the money at all
D7/F#     G           G7
I've seen lots of sad faces
    C           A
And lots of bad cases
   D                             G     D
Of folks with their backs to the wall


(chorus)

          G          G7         C          A
But I got four walls around me, to hold my life
   D            D7/F#    G    D
To keep me from going astray
      G          G7        C       A
And a honky tonk angel, to hold me tight
   D             C        G
To keep me from slipping away


(As first verse)


Well I can light up your smokes
I can laugh at your jokes
I can watch you fall down on your knees
I can close down this bar
Oh and gas up my car
And I can pack up and mail in my keys


But I need four walls around me
To hold my life
To keep me from going astray
And a honky tonk angel, to hold me tight
And keep me from slipping away


Now the smoke fills the air
Of this honky tonk bar
And I'm thinkin' bout where I'd rather be
But I burned all my bridges
And I sunk all my ships
And I'm standing at the edge of the sea

I still need four walls etc.
Posted in 2016 Company Picnic, Music | 1 Comment

Concert: Lost Highway

From here

              C          G        C
I'm a rollin' stone all alone and lost
              C          G        C
For a life of sin I have paid the cost
            F                 C
When I pass by all the people say
                   C            G        C
There goes another boy down the lost highway

               C           G      C
Just a deck of cards and a jug of wine
               C           G         C
And a woman's lies makes a life like mine
               F           C
For the day we met I went astray
                  C         G        C
I started rolling down that lost highway
[Chorus]
              C         G      C
I was just a lad nearly twenty-two
                 C          G        C
Neither good nor bad just a kid like you
            F                C
And now I'm lost too late to pray
              C           G        C
Lord I paid the cost on the lost highway

                C        G        C
Now boy's don't start to ramblin' round
                C           G      C
On this road of sin are you sorrow bound
          F                        C
Take my advice or you'll curse the day
                    C         G        C
You started rollin' down that lost highway
Posted in 2016 Company Picnic, Music | 1 Comment

Concert: Looking Out My Back Door

From here

Muted strum 8 beats

G                            Em
Just got home from Illinois, lock the front door, oh boy !
C          G            D 
Got to sit down, take a rest on the porch.
G                    Em
Imagination sets in, pretty soon I'm singing,
C         G            D           G
doo, doo, doo, lookin' out my back door.

G                                 Em
There's a giant doing cartwheels, a statue wearin' high heels,
C               G               D
look at all the happy creatures dancing on the lawn.
G                    Em
A dinosaur Victrola, listening to Buck Owens
C         G            D           G
doo, doo, doo, lookin' out my back door.

D                             C              G
Tambourines and elephants are playing in the band,
Em               Em                 D
won't you take a ride on the flyin' spoon doo-n doo doo
G                     Em
Wond'rous apparition, provided by magician,
C         G            D           G
doo, doo, doo, lookin' out my back door.

Strum: G Em Em C G D
Strum: G Em Em C G D G

D                             C              G
Tambourines and elephants are playing in the band,
Em               Em                 D
won't you take a ride on the flyin' spoon doo-n doo doo
G                   Em
Bother me tomorrow, today I'll buy no sorrows,
C         G            D           G
doo, doo, doo, lookin' out my back door.

Muted Strum: 8 beats

G                          Em
Forward troubles Illinois, lock the front door, oh boy !
C               G               D
look at all the happy creatures dancing on the lawn.
G                   Em
Bother me tomorrow, today I'll buy no sorrows,
C         G            D           G
doo, doo, doo, lookin' out my back door.

Muted Strum: 4 beats

C         G            D           G
doo, doo, doo, lookin' out my back door.
Posted in 2016 Company Picnic, Music | 1 Comment

Concert: El Paso

From here

D                     Em
Out in the West Texas town of El Paso
A7                            D
I fell in love with a Mexican girl.
                           Em
Nighttime would find me in Rose's Cantina,
A7                                D
Music would play and Felina would whirl.

D                           Em
Blacker than night were the eyes of Felina,
A7                              D
Wicked and evil while casting a spell.
                          Em
My love was deep for this Mexican maiden,
A7                                 D
I was in love, but in vain I could tell.

G                      D           G
One night a wild young cowboy came in,
            D          D7
Wild as the West Texas wind.
D7
Dashing and daring, a drink he was sharing,
D7                                  G
With wicked Felina, the girl that I love.
      A7
So in anger

D                              Em
I challenged his right for the love of this maiden;
A7                                     D
Down went his hand for the gun that he wore.
                              Em
My challenge was answered, in less than a heartbeat
A7                                          D
The handsome young stranger lay dead on the floor.

D                   Em
Just for a moment I stood there in silence,
A7                                  D
Shocked by the foul evil deed I had done.
                             Em
Many thoughts ran through my mind as I stood there;
A7                                   D
I had but one chance and that was to run.


G                            D         G
Out through the back door of Rose's I ran,
              D           D7
Out where the horses were tied.
D7
I caught a good one; it looked like it could run,
D7                            G
Up on its back and away I did ride.
        A7
Just as fast as

D                           Em
I could from the West Texas town of El Paso,
A7                             D
Out to the badlands of New Mexico.
                   Em
Back in El Paso my life would be worthless;
A7                                   D
Everything's gone in life nothing is left.

D                            Em
It's been so long since I've seen the young maiden,
A7                                  D
My love is stronger that my fear of death.

G                  D        G
I saddled up and away I did go,
         D          D7
Riding alone in the dark.
D7
Maybe tomorrow a bullet may find me,
D7                                           G
Tonight nothing's worse than this pain in my heart.
        A7
And as last here

  D                  Em
I am on the hill overlooking El Paso,
A7                         D
I can see Rose's Cantina below.
                         Em
My love is strong and it pushes me onward,
A7                            D
Down off the hill to Felina I go.

D                     Em
Off to my right I see five mounted cowboys,
A7                    D
Off to my left ride a dozen and more.
                         Em
Shouting and shooting; I can't let them catch me,
A7                                D
I have to make it to Rose's back door.

G                       D           G
Something is dreadfully wrong for I feel
  D            D7
A deep burning pain in my side.
D7
Though I am trying to stay in the saddle.
D7                           G
I'm getting weary, unable to ride.
       A7
But my love for

D                      Em
Felina is strong and I rise where I've fallen;
A7                                 D
Though I am weary, I can't stop to rest.
                        Em
I see the white puff of smoke from the rifle,
A7                              D
I feel the bullet go deep in my chest.

D                       Em
From out of nowhere, Felina has found me,
A7                                   D
Kissing my cheek as she kneels by my side.
                      Em
Cradled by two loving arms that I'll die for,
A7                             D
One little kiss and Felina goodbye.
Posted in 2016 Company Picnic, Music | 1 Comment

Concert!

Folks at the company have asked me to play guitar at the Company Picnic. I got with a coworker and we came up with a list of 3 of his songs, 3 of mine, and at least 1 extra just in we figure to play for about 30 minutes and then let the picnic continue.

Song Listing:

Steve’s Three:

Lost Highway – Hank Williams

Bartender Blues – George Jones

Angel Band – Stanley Brothers

My Three:

El Paso – Marty Robbins

All Right Now – Free (maybe; might be too complicated for a chord type song)

Looking Out My Back Door – CCR

Free Fallin’ – Tom Petty

Extra:

Learn to Fly – Foo Fighters

Links to the songs in line.

Posted in 2016 Company Picnic, Music | Leave a comment

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

I got this recipe from my mom and of course had to make a couple of changes for my tastes (I like raisins so I doubled them).

Step 1: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Put the cookie sheet in the oven to preheat it. You get a properly cooked cookie when the temperature is consistant.

Step 2: In a medium mixing bowl (just big enough for the ingredients), stir the following ingredients:

6 Cups of Oatmeal. I use Quaker Oats in the big barrel. I’ve tried the minute oats and it doesn’t work as well.
2 Cups of flour. I use Pillsbury. I can’t see that it makes a difference.
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda.

Step 3: In a large mixing bowl (this will hold this plus in the next step you’ll blend in the stuff from Step 2), mix the following ingredients:

1 cup granulated sugar.
2 cups of light brown sugar. This is one whole box of the brown sugar. If you get a bag, you’ll have to measure.
1 1/2 cups of shortening. I use Crisco and not the butter flavored one. Just straight up lard.
2 large eggs.
1/2 cup of water
2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract. I use McCormick.

Step 4: Mix about half of the medium mixing bowl in and begin blending. You’re trying to get the oat/flour mixture wet. When the oat/flour is well mixed, blend in the rest. Again, you’re trying to get it all damp.

Step 5: Mix in 1 barrel of raisins. That’s about 4 cups and I use the Sunmaid brand. The others seem to be dryer and crunchier. Just like Step 4, you’re trying to get all the raisins covered with the oat mixture.

Each batch should make about three dozen cookies when you’re done. I usually cook a dozen per sheet. Four per row and three rows.

Once everything is ready, take out the cookie sheet. You’ll need to grease the cookie sheet. I take a sandwich bag and scoop out about 2 tablespoons of shortening and wipe down the cookie sheet. This keeps your fingers clean. Throw the bag away after each use.

Now split the total in to three parts (just a rough separation in the bowl is cool). You’ll use a tablespoon to scoop out one cookie’s worth and put it on the sheet. For a nice even lay out, put blobs in each corner first. After that, you should be able to line up the rest so you have a nice even layout.

Once you have the cookies laid out, put it in the oven and start the timer. I’ve been using about 20 minutes to cook them. Unfortunately it’ll depend on the temperature, humidity and altitude as well. The ingredients can be cooler so it’ll take an extra minute to cook right. Don’t obsess though. They’ll come out ok with a minute plus or minus. You’ll get the hang of it after you cook them a few times.

Now, lay out newspaper, or if you’re squeamish about where it’s been, wax paper. Get your oven mitt ready and use a large wide spatula. I have two that are about fried egg sized. The cookies will be large and moist so will fall apart if you use a narrow spatula.

When the cookies are done, you may not be able to tell immediately. When they’re hot, they’ll be very loose and can fall apart. After they’re cool, they’ll be perfect and ready to eat.

Enjoy.

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Windows 10: Audio Buzzing, Video Pausing

Back in March, I purchased a new system. My old one was built in 2008 and the Windows 10 upgrade was breaking things.

As you can see (go look 🙂 ), a nice video setup.

But.

I don’t watch a lot of videos on my computers. I had four monitors on the old system for screen real estate. Coding and reading websites. The new system had an even larger monitor so more space in one screen.

But there was a small problem. When I watched a video or listened to music, the system would pause and buzz. I did some checking on the ‘net and tried a few suggestions, even a 15 year old’s youtube video 🙂 Most pointed to the onboard RealTek sound chip or RealTek wireless network chip. As I didn’t have wireless and it only affected youtube, itunes, and media player, things I really didn’t do much of, I felt it wasn’t something I needed to spend much time on. There were discussions on compatability with Windows 10 that was being worked on and since I received somewhat regular BIOS updates from Asus, I figured it would eventually get straightened out.

Besides, games like Rocksmith, Carmageddon, and Doom worked fine.

Until Windows 10 Anniversary.

Then games had problems. The same problem.

Time to get serious then. I checked again online for solutions. Nothing new had popped up. I purchased a SoundBlaster ZX sound card. I figured if there was a problem with the onboard sound, an external sound card would correct the problem.

Sadly, the SoundBlaster had its own problems. YouTube videos would have the voices muted but music clear. Plus the buzzing and pausing didn’t go away. A driver update reversed the SoundBlaster problem to the music muted and voices clear. I disabled the RealTek in the BIOS but no change. I disabled all sound except the SoundBlaster but no change. Eventually I disabled the SoundBlaster and reenabled the RealTek. At least it was just buzzing and pausing

More research. In troubleshooting the SoundBlaster, I realized my speakers weren’t working in 5.1 mode. I switched the configuration to stereo but it didn’t fix the buzz/pause. It did fix the muting issue on the SoundBlaster though. Still, not 5.1.

At this point I figured it was a Windows 10 issue. It was there day one and worse with the Anniversary update.

But.

With the RealTek wireless network chip, maybe it was some network activity. I brought up Task Manager to monitor the system and disabled the network. Buzzing was still there but I was seeing CPU spiking. Reenable the network. Check the startup tray programs. Maybe the buzzing is some app checking the home site for updates. Disable everything not clearly needed for the system. Still the problem exists.

Maybe the 4k monitor was just too much for the video card. Turn off the monitor and reboot the system.

No Problem!

I played videos on my two Acer monitors. No problem. I played Rocksmith. No problem. Well. This will be annoying but maybe it’s just the card can’t drive the 4k monitor. Well, but, I did check before purchasing and the card did say it could easily support a 4k monitor. Heck, I bought two of the video cards just to keep the two Acers off the main card.

Testing time. I powered off the system between each configuration change.

Test:

Card 1: 4k DisplayPort Monitor
Card 2: 2 Acer Monitors

Problem exists.

Test:

Card 1: 4k off
Card 2: 2 Acers

No Problem

Test:

Card 1: 2 Acers
Card 2: Nothing

Problem exists. Hey, maybe it’s the card!

Test:

Card 1: Nothing
Card 2: 4k

No problem. It’s not the monitor then. Plus moving windows around with the mouse is smooth. On Card 1, it’s a little jerky and if I move too fast, I lose connection with the window.

Test:

Card 1: Nothing
Card 2: 4k and 2 Acers

No problem.

I figured the problem is with the card then. I tried setting up SLI then just to try something different but it didn’t change anything. SLI seems to work best with 3D or Surround and I wasn’t interested in either,

It appears I have a problem with the first video card.

I posted on the MSI forums and there’s a suggestion to check the VBIOS and maybe update. We’ll see but I suspect it’s a bad card. Note the serial numbers are sequential.

Update:

I posted the BIOS versions and posted a link to the video documentation of the problem.

Update:

Yesterday I tried moving the video cards to see if the problem followed the cards, to see if it was a slot problem or a problem with the actual card.

Card 1 to Card 2 slot
Card 2 to Card 1 slot

No video. System came up and no sound but no video.

Card 1 back to Card 1 slot
Card 2 back to Card 2 slot

Video but only on the two Acers on Card 2. Sound was disabled.

Remove power cords to Card 1.
Card 2 – 4k DP Monitor plus 2 Acer DVI monitors

Video on all three but Sound still disabled.

Remove Card 1.

Video on all three and Sound enabled.

This was even worse.

Update:

Later on I removed all cables and pulled the system out, put it on its side. I removed Card 2 (the “good” card) and put Card 1 back into Card 1 slot. Success! Sound enabled. Everything works. I then removed all cables again, pulled the system out and put it on its side and put the Card 2 back into Card 2 slot and plugged its original configuration back in. 4k DP in Card 1, 2 Acer DVIs in Card 2.

It works.

It’s all working now and I don’t know why. I can speculate.

The cards have two female power plugs for additional power for the fans and such. An 8 port plug and a 6 port plug. But the power cords themselves are 6 prong male plugs but each have a separate 2 prong male plug. So you can plug the two 6 prong plugs into the 8 and 6 ports and then push the 2 prong plug into the two remaining ports on the 8 port plug. In putting the 2 prong plug into the last 2 ports, there is an audible click as it seats. Maybe the plug wasn’t fully seated so the card was under powered.

Also, the PCI-E slots have a holder that lifts up to hold the back part of the card in the slot. These cards are quite large. If the holder wasn’t snapped up, it’s possible the card wasn’t fully seated into the slot, had gradually migrated out.

I will continue to keep an eye on the cards. One thing I noted, with one card in the system, the two fans on the card were spinning. When I first booted the system after both cards were installed, none of the fans (2 on each card) were moving. So I don’t know if there may be an issue the longer the system stays up or if there was more of a load with three monitors (one a 4k) on one card vs the DP on one card and the two Acers on the second card.

Maybe put the Logitech webcam in the box with a light to see if the fans are moving, or locate tools for the card and monitor the fan speed from the system.

Posted in Computers | Tagged , , | Leave a comment