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Friday, March 23, 2007

Dang I Hate Windows

I really have become a Mac convert it seems.

Instead of trying to buy a cheap 360 off of eBay, I decided to instead try and upgrade the CheapBox one last time. I did this by spending just over $100 on an OEM version of the X800 card and a new PSU to supply it.

Both arrived in the office today.

It's been nothing since a nightmare since I got home.

I've got the PSU in just fine. It's actually a great piece of hardware - a 380W Rosewill. Unless that's causing the pain I'm about to describe, I highly recommend it. Quality cables, easy to install, dual fans. Good PSU.

The rest, though. Ugh. I install the new drivers. The system reboots. It comes up in glorious color. The resolution is nice and crisp. Everything seems dandy. But icons are gone. The desktop is just text. Rolling over them makes them appear. Sometimes. Maybe.

So I reboot. I mean, it's Windows. Rebooting again is usually good, right? Surely not bad?

Wrong. When it comes back - it's stuck in 4bit, 640x480 hell. This is what I upgraded to?

I'm almost positive it is a driver problem. I just tried a clean install and it did again however.

Updates to follow.

Update 1 - I figure if I got to the manufacturer instead of ATI, Sapphire, maybe they'll point me to reliable drivers.

Their download page forces me to wait 60 seconds for "security reasons".

And then the download link? 404. Nice one, Sapphire. You evil bastards.

Update 2 - Now trying to find the same drivers elsewhere. Mind you, these are several revs out of date. But if they can make this 256MB card display icons and not coward into 640x480 mode? I'd be OK with it.

Update 3 - The old drivers "work", but not without some serious issues. Artifacts abound. Civ IV refused to run. So now I get to try the most stable version of the driver without breaking the system.


Know what my Mac has never ever, ever, ever, ever asked me about?


Not once.

That 360? Maybe it would have been worth the extra money. I'm beginning to see why Microsoft started to slide into the console camp in the first place.

Fallout: Using the latest Omega drivers, which are some funky offbeat riff of the "official" drivers" - I get pretty good compatibility. Prey played great at 1024, as did UT2004 and the CivIV demo. The X3 demo had some odd 3D artifacts and the Dark Messiah demo had some odd 2D artifacts. I think Guild Wars is OK, but I'm downloading the last year's worth of updates now.

In short, I'm about where I was before. I won't buy a PC game without a demo to prove it works with my hardware ... but at least it runs 100% better when it does.

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