My NVIDIA GTX 750Ti adventure to date

As I am finally getting a NVIDIA GTX 1060, I thought it would be nice to reflect on the 750 Ti that I have been using in my PC build for the last 2 years.

I have a home built i5-4690K, 16GB ram and a 2GB GTX 750Ti. Full setup detailed here.  I bought the GPU when it first came out as a nice way of getting back into PC gaming on a budget. This has been an excellent card, and I would still recommend it for someone giving life into an ageing PC build. I believe you can now get a 950 for the same price, so this might be a better suggestion. I have not tried one, this is only about my own experience with the 750ti.

So I decided to run some game benchmarks and record them with Nvidia’s own ShadowPlay utility. To give some perspective, I mostly used the games default and set the resolution to 1080, as it the resolution of my monitor. In Arkham City, an older title I used a lower resolution as it had problems with 1080, but I also enabled Physx in that one.

What’s very impressive is how well this 750Ti card runs newer titles such as Doom and The Witcher 3.

Before anyone also weighs in on this, the PC is also used as a proper PC. So I have services, backups ,Hyper-V, background processes, tasks etc happening as I am playing and benchmarking. So this is a well used PC. I am not doing a clean install of windows etc and have no intention of doing that, just for 2-3 frames more.

EDIT: YouTube sucks, you will need to change the video quality to 1080 manually. You can also click into the video to launch it on YouTube. I have had no end of problems with embed in WordPress. It previews fine, but well, meh …

Street Fighter V

Basically if you cannot match 60fps the game is unplayable. This is to ensure a level playing field for everyone. Medium setting is the best one to go with here for this card.

SFV

If you set the default graphics to high, then this happens. Note, the reason its slow is that the game renders all the frames. It does not drop frames.

Crysis 3

This game really struggles on High. I probably can knock it down a notch. I only include it here as I own it on the EA Origin access vault, which is great value at a fiver a month.

Crysis3

The Witcher 3

Witcher 3 plays really well. It also looks better than the Xbox One version, which I have played more of this year than I ever have with an RPG, ever. It’s a great game.

Witcher 3

Arkham City

City is a little different in that the optimal resolution chosen is the only one that gives a decent watchable frame rate. This game is getting a remaster as well, so later this year it will be interesting to see if makes a big change. I personally love the Batman Arkham series, but this and Asylum are the only games that seem to have made the move to PC unscathed. ArkhamCity

Just Cause 3

A new title as well, this one really struggles with frame rate and effects. I think, like Crysis 3 that this will benefit the most from a new Graphics card.

JustCause3

Need for Speed (2016)

Need for Speed

This game plays great, some of these titles such as Rivals are very challenging on PC hardware.

Doom

The new Doom (2016) plays very well on this card considering its age. Doom seems to ignore MSI afterburner for benchmarking. But handily enough it comes with its own internal benchmarking tool.

Doom

Apologies for the prompt in some of the gameplay, there was weird glitch where the E button was not cancelling the info.

Synthetic Benchmarks

(*sigh*)

To complete this , I will add a few synthetic benchmarks from popular benchmarking products. I am using the free version in all cases. I cannot bring myself to actually pay for any one of these products, as my day-to-day job or hobby does not cater for this.

3Dmark11 – Free

This is still used as a test in a lot of performance testing. Honestly, I don’t know what it means, but ill keep this logged anyway for comparison purposes when I get a new card.

Since I am using the free version it only benchmarks at 720.

3Dmark11 basic

3Dmark – DX12 Version

Available on Steam.

Timespy, the DirectX 12 demo and benchmark moves at PowerPoint speed.

TimeSpy Dx12

Audio fades in and out on games in Windows 8.1, Fix

Hey All,

Steam is doing some great sales on games at the moment, and as I am on the road a lot and like to unwind with games, I decided to grab Batman Arkham City game of the year edition from Steam for 7 Euro. I have not played some of the additional content on my Xbox, so this price was a steal. Take note Xbox live Games on “Demand”. 70 Euro for Need for Speed electronic download, I think not.

Anyway, I digress.

I started playing on my laptop and the most annoying thing happened.

The sound fades in and out. Some background sounds only become audible when you move through the menus, or you are listening to dialog.

I thought it was the drivers, so I updated the Conexant driver, check this out for an installer, remind you of anything 🙂

aaa what

The 1990’s called, they want their installer software back.

This however did not solve the problem. So I decided to do the following.

1. Playback devices

In the system tray, right click the little speaker, and Select Playback devices.

On your playback setup of choice, in my case select the Simple to recognise “Speakers”. Click “Configure Speakers”.

2. Configure speakers

Click Next.

3. Click Next

Now, the next part might be different for people, depending on whether you have a 2 speaker and Subwoofer setup, or just twin speakers like me, you might have to fiddle a bit. I just selected front and left. Again, your mileage may vary. If you have 2 speakers, or 2 speakers and a subwoofer, make sure you have Surround sound not selected.

4. click front left and right

Click Next, and finish.

5. click finish

I fired up Batman: Arkham City and immediately the problem had vanished.

Back to business.

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You CAN Take pictures on Windows Phone 8 using the Instagram Beta App

A beta app for Instagram, a photo sharing service that I honestly have no interest in, was launched today. Also we got some more apps, whatever. As usual, the “Tech Press”, instead of downloading the app and checking it out, stumbled over themselves for the privilege of “FIRST”.

So then, over an hour on twitter, it was in the store, it was not in the store, who was doing the press release, and then the best one’s:

  • You cannot take pictures with the App, only select from Camera Roll.
  • No video uploading.

etc…. I wont point to the articles or the individuals here, I would not give them the traffic. You can surmise who they are. 

So here are a few hints from me to the tech press/pundits.

Practice better attention to detail. Please.

And here is my hint of the week, and, the solution to the problem.

Go to this link http://www.windowsphone.com/en-ie/store/app/instagram-beta/3222a126-7f20-4273-ab4a-161120b21aea and install the Instagram Beta app for Windows Phone 8.

Let it install. Then Swipe right from the Home Screen and find it
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Hold down your finger on this and select Pin to start. That way you will find it easier to get to.  
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As I don’t have an account , this will be a good test of the App to see how long it takes to set up and If I get any errors.

Create Username. Pick a picture that best describes me.
hide email wp_ss_20131120_0006

Choose to not annoy my facebook friends. Choose to be sure not to annoy my facebook friends.
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Choose to not annoy my contacts. Choose to be sure not to annoy my contacts.
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Ignore every Follow button. Ignore finding my facebook friends, again.
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Ok, in all fairness to the App, that was a pretty clear and straightforward process, right, took me ~15 mins and that was even including the time it took to pull down the app over my crappy broadband connection.

Also I made a cup of tea, and made this comment on twitter.

image

Poor @joebelfiore, he has a good day and everyone rains on his parade.

Lets take a look around at this UI and then get to the taking pictures bit shall we.

Photos of cats and shoes, fine. I have not liked any photos of cats and shoes. Fine.
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Its my profile, all looks right there. And hitting search brings up the search interface so I can find cats and shoes. Fine.
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So now, lets contribute something great to the stream that is instagram. I will upload a picture of my winner of the “Gaudiest present you can bring back to your wife from England” award as my first post to Instagram.

 

this button

Obvious what to press, cool, because we will be doing this a few times.

Pick the Duck. And follow the instructions.
select button wp_ss_20131120_0019
Filters More filters Yawn Caption and we are done.
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Now lets take a picture, with the camera, on my phone.

Remember when we selected our pictures, well now we just press the Camera button.

look a camera button

Take a lovely picture. Mangle it. Upload it.
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So there we go. We signed up and proved that we can actually upload pictures from the Camera on the phone to Instagram, something that I am pretty sure we were always able to do, on 3rd party apps, but did not care.

Any, I am now TheMasterPrawn on Instagram. (*sigh*), the things I do for you.

Cutover Migration error ADCDisabledMail – Office 365

I normally post non work related things here, as this blog is my own and not the thoughts or musing of my company, Unity Technology Solutions here in Ireland. But as we are proud of getting Microsoft Ireland Cloud Partner of the Year in Enterprise I want to share some of the findings from the field on Office 365 Migrations. Some stuff you can miss when you are doing migrations.

If you are doing a cutover migration from Exchange 2003/2007 for under 1000 users there are a few things you need to check first.

All users that need to be migrated over need to be visible in the GAL. All users. I had a scare recently on a site when I checked Exchange and AD against windows azure AD on the Office 365 portal. Not all the users I expected to be there in the batch were there, so I had to make sure they were not hidden in the Global Address List (GAL).

However I had a few accounts that were failing to sync still. So here are some thoughts to help you with the horrible error.

"ProvisioningFailedException: Couldn’t find object ADCDisabIedMaiI. Please make sure that it was spelled correctly or specify a different object".

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One fix for this is related to the following technet article, which gives a good description as to why this can happen.

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa997413(EXCHG.80).aspx

So with that bit of knowledge, there are a number of things you want to watch out for if this is in error. Either a delegate on the Mailbox is disabled , hidden from the GAL or has the mailbox deleted, or there is a forwarding address to a contact that is Hidden from the GAL.

Go to "Active Directory Users and Computers" and find the account in error.

Right Click the Account and select "Properties".

Click "Exchange General".

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Then Click on "Delivery Options".

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Note the users on the "Grant this Permission to:" section and check to see if they are Disabled, Deleted or hidden from the GAL. Remember, if a user is hidden from the GAL the cutover migration cannot "see" it, and this can cause errors during the migration process.

Don’t leave this screen yet. Note that there is a forward to address on this mailbox as well. Well you might think, that is ok, they want their message forwarded. But you need to check the mailbox or contact of the forwarding address, even if it is forwarded externally. Why? Well again, if that object is hidden from the GAL…. I think you get the picture !

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In this case the user has set up a forwarder to their phone and it is placed as a contact in exchange. So, look for that contact in "Active Directory Users and Computers".

Click on "Exchange Advanced".

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A-ha. We have found another culprit that will cause us sync problems. The contact will not be synced so Office 365 will have a problem resolving it. Un check "Hide from Exchange Address lists" and click "OK".

So in Summary, before Cutover Migration from Exchange, make sure all users you want to be cutover are visible in the GAL. Make sure there are no mailbox delegates that are hidden from the GAL or deleted. And perform the same effort on Contacts to make sure any forwarding rules do not create an error. If you do this before cutover things should go smoothly.

Other references:

Cut-Cover Migration: Couldn’t find object "ADCDisabledMail" for some users

http://community.office365.com/en-us/forums/158/p/46022/270882.aspx

ADCDisabledMail error when doing a cutover migration

http://community.office365.com/en-us/forums/158/t/46157.aspx

Tempest 1000, review from college

When I was in college studying video games we were asked to review an older game. I found a version of Tempest on a flash website. Here was the outcome.

Aliens are coming, pouring through a black hole in the very fabric of time and space itself to tear our race from limb to limb, or make contact and drink themselves into another reality in our company. Whatever their intent, here you are, perched on the edge of the wormhole, armed with nothing more than your spaceship, reflexes and an intense Xenophobia, ready to disperse their atoms into space, proving space is a vacuum, not a place that needs to be vacuumed. In space, no one can hear you clean!

And so the scene is set for Tempest 1000. This is a game that requires quick reactions and timing to shoot down the enemy spaceships. They come out of the black hole in random waves. There are purple slow moving ones, and green ones that zoom by. Also in the way of variety there are faster moving purple ones that shoot boxy white beams at you, proving they are a highly advanced species after all. Any enemy alien that reaches your level on the wormhole will move around after you, to collide with you and take his or her (or its) own lives as well as yours, therefore making intergalactic insurance claims vastly chaotic in terms of paperwork. Probably.

To make your life easier you have a number of gravity defying jumps. Using these you can rain down fire on any enemy that tries to use the fore mentioned tactic. But remember these jumps are limited to 3 per level. You may also use one megablast per level, sending all enemies on the screen back to their creator in very small pieces with the note “in case of reincarnation, some assembly may be required”. But use this wisely

Level progression occurs when you have cleared all the enemies on the current level. You are then sucked down the wormhole to an almost identical wormhole to fight with faster and more numerous enemies.

This game was the brainchild of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dave_Theurerin Atari and was one of the first games that had 3D vector Graphics. It is very hard to find the original arcade incarnation of Tempest in its true form outside of getting an arcade cabinet, or purchasing an Arcade emulator. But many excellent conversions exist on the web, thanks to the cross platform (cough) wonder that is Java. Reviewed below is the closest Tempest 1000 clone I could find available at this time. The search continues to find one closer to the arcade machine. Be assured though, I will not rest until I do. Well ok then, maybe the odd snooze and a break to play this.

Sound:

Dreadful, even for its time. The Java version has all the flair of buzzing wasps, stuck in a bean tin, fighting to the death for the love of another wasp or a Solpadine tablet, only to be invaded by riot police wasps with chainsaws. Overall lots of pings, treble and buzzing in a bean tin style environment. I remember walking away from the original Arcade cabinet with the distinct feeling I was in a nightclub for a few days, or listening to Happy Hardcore. Ears ringing, if its nostalgia you are after, use headphones with this. It will bring back memories, or headaches.

Score: 5, Functional, but play some background music in case you feel the need to scratch the inside of your brain with a biro introduced via your nose. Neither medical insurance nor the medical card will cover that. Or so I hear.

Graphics:

Solid and functional, with an excellent sense of perspective. There are times you really feel you are on the edge of a vast black hole somewhere in the universe sending the alien nasties back to the evil spawning ground from whence they came. Earlier version such as the arcade cabinet had simple dotted lines for the black hole arranged to give the sense of perspective, later version had the sides of the black hole change colour from level to level. Each version keeps the simplicity. An excellent feature of this game is that prolonged exposure can cause a slight queasy feeling, made all the worse by the jump action and the fact that as you move around the edge of the black hole it tilts slightly. There is a cool falling effect when you are sucked into the black hole and placed on the next level.

The enemy ships and your ship are believable and recognisable in an early Sci-Fi kind of way. Things that can kill you (i.e. everything) are very visible and your weapon projectile is a little underpowered looking but nonetheless effective.

Score: 8, Awesome for its time and excellent now, stands the test of time well, simple and clear. I would have given it a higher score but it lacks special effects like explosions. Top marks nonetheless.

Gameplay:

I was going to write this review about 2 hours ago, and get some other stuff done, but this is a game that makes you want to come back for more. Constantly. There is very little variation in level design, even if this was one of the first games to have varying levels, although I am sure this version is missing some of the more unusual level designs of the original. There is a distinct feeling of satisfaction of getting as far as number 5 in the high score table and feeling proud you have done so well to repel the evil invasion. I would prefer to play the game with a joystick as opposed to a keyboard though. RSI inducing.

This is one of the few games that pass the test of time again and again. This was released on the Atari Jaguar (remember that) as Tempest 2000, with improved sound that actually made you feel like you were in a rave (I.e. naff really). But the original is still the best.

Score:10, fantastic replay value, replay value, replay value, replay value, I cannot say it enough, thank you copy and paste.

Overall: 7.6

This is a fantastic Tempestuous (couldn’t resist) battle against the Aliens in some far-flung hole (literally) in the galaxy and stands the test of time.

In the future you will be in your spaceship on the edge of a black hole, listening to gravity distorted music on your intergalactic A-Track and wondering how time passes back home according to Stephen Hawking. Just remember your training on this simulator. Forget about your loved ones and don’t worry whether or not you left the gas on in your house. If the Aliens get through your house will be a charred crisp anyway. Just start jumping moving and keep on blasting. The invasion must be repelled.

Home Server and XBOX Video Issues – Network

Hey all, long time no hear.

I am just posting a little fix to a problem I had with the XBOX, my wireless network and windows home server. I install a large number of computers through re-builds, tests , multiple OS’s , virtual machines and other things. these are mainly windows boxes and are prone to being removed, re-instated, tested , broken etc. All of them get added to windows home server at some point for file access, backup, and so I can administer them from the internet.

Recently I bought a new XBOX and when I went to stream media to it, there was no sign of the Videos share. Anywhere. At all.

Generally I normally re-boot the router, renew IP addresses, etc. No Joy.

I had forgotten. Windows Home Server has a 10 user limit. I had reached this. Even though the machines no longer exist it remembered. Oddly enough it does not tell you this.

So if you have this problem , please consult this knowledgebase article http://support.microsoft.com/kb/939217

Extract from the KB

This issue occurs if more than 10 devices try to access the shared media folder through Media Library Sharing.
Media Library Sharing in Windows Home Server has a 10-device limit. You may experience a situation in which this limit is exceeded. For example, another user may connect to the network by using a computer that is running Windows Media Player 11. If Windows Media Player has media discovery enabled, this computer may be counted as a device in Windows Home Server.

Generally you need to un share and re-share the media. Then re-boot the receiving device. Personally I had to re-boot everything , including the NetGear router in the house as well.