Subject: Storage | July 30, 2012 - 01:31 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Seagate, repair, DIY, bricked
While this trick will not work on all bricked HDDs, if you have a Seagate 7200.11 HDD that is failing because it is convinced it is always in a busy state then you should check out this story on Hack a Day. While the initial step of detaching the circuit board and blocking some connections with piece of cardstock can be handled with easy, it will take some expertise to use an Arduino or serial-TTL converter to issue commands to the HDD controller. It is a good thing that there is a tutorial to walk you through the steps to unbrick your HDD, besides in the worst case scenario your HDD will still be a brick so it is worth a shot.
"Hard drive firmware is about the last place you want to find a bug. But that turned out to be the problem with the Seagate HDD which he was using in a RAID array. It stopped working completely, and he later found out the firmware has a bug that makes the drive think it’s permanently in a busy state. There’s a firmware upgrade available, but you have to apply it before the problem shows its face, otherwise you’re out of luck. Some searching led him to a hardware fix for the problem."
Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:
- Western Digital VelociRaptor (WD1000DHTZ) 1 TB @ TechARP
- Hitachi Deskstar 5K4000 4TB @ Tweaktown
- HGST Ultrastar 7K4000 4TB SATA III HDD Review @ NikKTech
- Buffalo TeraStation 5200: a fast NAS with a few business features @ Hardware.info
- QNAP TurboNAS TS-119P II NAS Server Review @ NikKTech
- Intel 910 800GB PCI Express Solid State Drive Enterprise RAID @ Tweaktown
- OCZ Agility 4 256GB @ SSD Review
- OCZ Vertex 4 128GB SSD Review @ Hardware Canucks
- Plextor M3 Pro SSD @ XSReviews
- OWC Mercury Aura Pro Express 6G @ SSD Review
- Kingston DataTraveler Elite 3.0 USB 3.0 @ TechARP
- Kingston 16GB DataTraveler Locker+ G2 USB Drive Review @ Legit Reviews
Subject: Systems | May 28, 2012 - 02:28 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: DIY, econobox, sweet spot, double stuff
The Tech Report have updated their Systems Guide just in time for the holiday in the US, so you should have plenty of time to peruse their recommendations today. From an i3-2120 powered Econobox priced just under $600 to over $1500 Editor's Choice system with a GTX670, i5-3570K and Samsung 830 SSD there is a system for just about everyone. Read straight through to the end for suggestions for monitors, keyboards and more.
You can contrast their picks with our own Hardware Leaderboard here.
"We've freshened up our system guide with new-and-improved builds featuring Ivy Bridge CPUs, 28-nm graphics processors, and cheaper-than-ever solid-state drives. Come and see what we've put together."
Here are some more Systems articles from around the web:
- Dell XPS 8500 Review @ TechReviewSource
- BitFenix Prodigy @ OC3D
- HP Z420 Workstation Review: Competition Heats Up @ AnandTech
- Eurocom Monster 1.0: Clevo's Little Monster @ AnandTech
- CKC - The Curtain Call @ OC3D
- Cyberpower PC Gamer Xtreme 2000 SE System Review @ Ninjalane
- V3 Gaming PC Avenger @ AnandTech
- Chillblast Fusion Vacuum @ XSReviews
- AlienWare X51 System @ Kitguru
Subject: Displays | May 11, 2012 - 01:18 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: DIY, Alienware OptX AW2310, mod
When EyeFinity and NVIDIA Surround first hit the market we were promised LCDs specifically designed to have tiny bezels so that your multiple monitor gaming experience would be enhanced. These monitors are still few and far between and even if you track one down their scarcity guarantees a high price. That is probably what prompted Tweaktown to pick up scraper and hacksaw and carve up their Alienware displays' bezels. This is of course something to be done with the full knowledge that you may well destroy your monitor but if you want gaming like in the picture below you might have to risk it.
"A step-by-step guide on how to de-bezel an Alienware AW2310 monitor and how they look in a three screen portrait setup."
Here are some more Display articles from around the web:
- Samsung TA950 HDTV 3D Monitor Review @ HardwareLOOK
- NEC PA271W - When Accuracy and Consistency Matter @ AnandTech
- Dell UltrasSharp U2412M Review @ TechReviewSource
- Samsung UN55ES8000 LED HDTV Hands On Preview @ Hardware Canucks
Subject: General Tech | March 30, 2012 - 01:13 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: tricorder, DIY
The plans for the Tricorder Mk II have been released by The Tricorder Project and just who in their right mind would not want to build one for themselves ... or their kids. The device uses an Atmel AT91RM9200 processor, 32MB SDRAM and a pair of touchscreen OLEDs powered by an Epson S6E63D6 and runs Debian Linux.
The sensor suite onboard can monitor a variety of atmospheric, electromagnetic, temperature and spatial values. Toss your old IR thermometer away, the Tricorder will give you that measurement and distance as well. You might as well dump the GPS as well since the Tricorder has you covered. You will need a bit of skill in assembling electronics and soldering to finish the project, along with roughly $500 but the instructions are very detailed and in the end ... you get a working Tricorder!
"The Science Tricorder Mark 2 prototype sensor board contains ten different sensing modalities, organized into three main categories: atmospheric sensors, electromagnetic sensors, and spatial sensors. Many of the sensors are similar to those used in the Science Tricorder Mark 1, where the differences are centrally in upgrading sensors to higher-resolution versions where possible. The prototype sensor board also includes an imaging sensor, in the form of a cell phone camera, that is untested. Sensor boards for the Mark 2 are designed to be self-contained, include separate microcontrollers for low-level sensor communication, and as such are more easily upgraded."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Behold! Or rather, don't: Bendy see-through DRAM @ The Register
- What’s the right way to launch a graphics card? @ SemiAccurate
- What Red Hat Has Done is Worth So Much More Than a Billion @ Linux.com
- Google fixes Pwnium vulnerabilities in Chrome 18 @ The Inquirer
- Adobe auto-update eases Flash update chore - on Windows only @ The Register
- Introducing Our 2012 Case Testbeds and Revised Methodology @ AnandTech
- TEXT GOES HERE
- Guru3D Rig of the Month - March 2012
Subject: General Tech | March 12, 2012 - 09:54 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: tDCS, overclocking, DIY, brain, augmentation
The new Extreme Tech (RIP ET Classic) recently ran an article that talks about turbo boosting, overclocking goodness, but with a twist. Instead of the typical CPU or GPU hardware, the article talks about overclocking some wetware in the form of the human brain. More specifically, a DIY kit called the GoFlow is in the works to enable affordable tDCS, or transcranial direct-current stimulation, to stimulate the brain into a "state of flow" enabling quicker learning and faster response times.
The GoFlow β1 will be a $99 do it yourself tDCS kit that will direct you in placing electrodes on the appropriate areas of your scalp and then pumping some direct current from a 9V battery at 2 milliamps through your brain, enticing the neurons into a state of flow. This makes them more malleable to creating new pathways and increasing learning speed as well as allowing them to fire more rapidly, bolstering thought processes. The kit, which is not available for purchase yet, will not require any knowledge of soldering, and will be housed a plastic case along with wires, schematics, and a potentiometer to dial in the right amount of power.
The company behind the GoFlow β1 has further referenced cases of successful tDCS short term testing including tests of UAV Drone pilots and professional gamers all learning their respective trades more quickly than the average. Extremetech also mentions that tDCS can have therapeutic effects for people effected by Parkinson’s or post stoke motor dysfunction.
Right now, the kit is still in the works, but interested users can sign up to be notified when it becomes available on their website. At $99, is this something work a shot, or do you prefer not to void the warranty on your brain? (heh) Personally, statements such as "our tDCS kit is the shit" and "get one of the first β1's and will help us develop β2" on the webstie are not exactly instilling confidence to me, but if you're big into the early adopter adventure, GoFlow may have something for you to test.
Subject: General Tech | February 20, 2012 - 02:15 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: DIY, model m, input, frank zappa, blue alps sliders
Sometimes hacks and mods are done to save you time and money or possibly both but other times you find yourself stuck in the position of Frak Zappa and cannot find a giraffe filled with whipped cream and have to make it yourself. Such is the case with this completely made custom keyboard described at Hack a Day, in which every part was either custom ordered or made by the designer themselves. None of the keys seem to be in their accustomed places and your thumbs will get a workout from all of those keys mounted in the centre of the board but for a programmer this could be the perfect design. It has taken over a year to build and likely cost more than a mass produced designed keyboard but if you want something done right ...
"[dmw] posted a pseudo-build log over at the geekhack keyboard forums. Every single part of this keyboard is custom-made. The key caps were made by Signature Plastics, the case was made by Shapeways, and the custom PCB for the key switches came directly from Express PCB. The key switches are blue Alps sliders (one of the best key switches available) with a few white Alps switches taken from an old Apple keyboard."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Roccat ISKU Gaming Keyboard Review @ Hi Tech Legion
- Corsair Vengeance M90 @ XSReviews
- Enermax Briskie Wireless Keyboard and Mouse Bundle @ Kitguru
- Corsair's Vengeance K60 and K90 Keyboards @ AnandTech
- Corsair vengeance K60 @ Guru3D
- Corsair Vengeance K90 Performance MMO Mechanical Gaming Keyboard Review @ Madshrimps
- SteelSeries SRW-S1 @ OC3D
- Steelseries Simraceway SRW-S1 Controller Review @ XtremeComputing
- Corsair Vengeance M90 MMO Gaming Mouse @ Kitguru
- ROCCAT Kone[+] Laser Gaming Mouse @ techPowerUp
- HP Wi-Fi Touch Mouse X7000 Review @ TechReviewSource
- Cyborg R.A.T.7 Albino Edition Gaming Mouse Review @ eTeknix
- Steelseries Kinzu V2 Pro Edition Gaming Mouse @ Funky Kit
Subject: Mobile | February 16, 2012 - 01:31 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: ultraportable, DIY
Check out the latest system build at The Tech Report; a lucky find of a 12" X60 devoid of its hard drive, battery, and power adapter for $87 along with some smart shopping lead to a very powerful ultraportable. What was left inside was the 1.83GHz Core 2 Duo processor and 1GB of DDR2-667 RAM and a lot of empty space. Another stick of RAM and a power adapter were located in their hoard of equipment so the only peice that had to be purchased was a hard drive and battery. The battery was easily available for little money and they went all out on the hard drive, picking up a SanDisk Ultra 120GB SSD. Not a bad build for under $300!
"In his latest blog post, TR's David Morgan pieces together a 12" ultraportable notebook with ThinkPad build quality, a 120GB SSD, and much better performance than budget netbooks for less than $300. Here's how he did it ..."
Here are some more Mobile articles from around the web:
- Lenovo ThinkPad T420 Review @ TechReviewSource
- Asus Transformer Prime @ The Inquirer
- Asus Zenbook UX21E-DH52 Review @ TechReviewSource
- MacBook Pro Solid State Drive Upgrade Guide and Performance Testing @ circuitREMIX
- Sony Vaio Z2: Everything is Peripheral @ AnandTech
- Choiix/Cooler Master Mobile Wave Stand Review @ eTeknix
- Razer Blade 17.3-inch LED Gaming Laptop @ Tweaktown
- AC Ryan Veolo @ techPowerUp
- azer Blade Switchblade User Interface Panel @ Tweaktown
- Cooler Master NotePal X3 Silent Laptop Cooling Pad @ Pro-Clockers
- Mobile GPU Comparison Guide @ TechARP
- Le Pan II Android Tablet TC979 Review @ TechwareLabs
- Tablet cover from old hardcover books @ Hack a Day
- Motorola Droid RAZR MAXX Review - 1.8x The Battery @ AnandTech
- Arctic iPhone 4 Soft Case Review @ eTeknix
- CPU Idling Problem In The Apple iPhone 4S? @ TechARP
Subject: General Tech | November 24, 2011 - 11:22 AM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: DIY, hack
Laptops have a harder life than desktops, not just because they get knocked around while you are on the move, but the plugs see a lot more action as you unplug your peripherals and power to put it in its case and plug them back in when you get to where you are going. As a result broken USB ports can be common but can be worked around, as can bent network pins but what about the power plug? Quite a few people have taken their laptop apart to clean the insides or to upgrade the RAM or other hardware but have you done any soldering inside the case or replaced plastic mounting points? Hack a Day will take you through a simple fix for a broken power plug on a Satellite which will bring your laptop back from the dead. This particular model is fixable because the power plug is not directly attached to the circuit board, a design which might be more brittle than direct attachment but does mean you can make these types of repairs.
This might take a little more ingenuity.
"It seems that there’s a whole range of Toshiba Satellite laptop computers that suffer from a power jack design that is prone to breaking. We see some good and some bad in this. The jack is not mounted to the circuit board, so if it gets jammed into the body like the one above it doesn’t hose the electronics. But what has happened here is the plastic brackets inside the case responsible for keeping the jack in place have failed. You won’t be able to plug in the power adapter unless you figure out a way to fix it."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Blistering chip pumps 1.5 Gbps down wireless channel @ The Register
- Infographic: Get More Out of Google @ TechReviewSource
- Yahoo! Microsoft! merger! back! on! after! NDA! signed! @ The Register
- Asus WL-330N3G 6-IN-1 Wireless-N Travel Router Review @ Tweaknews
- Holiday Gift Guide & Black Friday Deals @ TechReviewSource
- Real World Labs And Jabra Joint Contest
- 2011 Ars Child's Play Drive begins: Signed Ultima! Halo 360 hardware! Aliens-themed Nerf gun!
Subject: Systems | November 22, 2011 - 11:53 AM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: DIY, VIA, ARTiGO
Packs VIA Eden X2 processor, HD video, HDMI connectivity and 64-bit computing in a palm sized chassis
Taipei, Taiwan, 22 November 2011 - VIA Technologies, Inc, a leading innovator of power efficient x86 processor platforms, today announced the launch of the VIA ARTiGO A1150 a sub-liter dual core DIY PC kit for enthusiasts who want to taste the next generation of ultra-compact desktop computing.
The new way to measure PC size
The VIA ARTiGO A1150 is one of the smallest full featured DIY PC kits available today, squeezing an impressive range of features that include a 1.0GHz dual core VIA Eden X2 processor, HD video support, HDMI and VGA display connectivity, Gigabit networking, Wi-Fi Support and five USB ports, all into a palm-sized PC chassis. The VIA ARTiGO A1150 is ideal for a variety of applications in the home or office, including home server, media streaming and surveillance applications or great as a regular desktop PC, using only a fraction of the physical real estate.
"VIA redefines dual core low power compact computing, bringing all the features of a regular desktop PC into a form factor that needs to be seen to be believed," said Epan Wu, Head of the VIA Embedded Platform Division, VIA Technologies, Inc. "VIA has a long history in creating leading edge form factor systems, and the VIA ARTiGO A1150 pushes the bounds for ultra-compact desktop computing."
VIA ARTiGO A1150: Compact Computing Redefined
The mere 5.7" x 3.9" x 2" (14.6 cm x 9.9 cm x 5.2 cm) VIA ARTiGO A1150 is powered by a dual core 1.0GHz VIA Eden X2 processor, offering a high performance native 64-bit computing experience while remaining within a low power thermal envelope. The VIA Eden X2 processor is joined by the VIA VX900H media system processor, a fully integrated all-in-one chipset that brings exceptional multimedia experience to small form factor devices including hardware acceleration for the latest HD video codecs including H.264, VC-1, and MPEG-2/4 at screen resolutions of up to 1080p.
Front and back panel I/O includes HDMI and VGA ports, a Gigabit Ethernet port, five USB ports including one USB device port, three audio jacks with optional wireless IEEE 802.11 b/g/n and SD card reader modules.
To watch a short introductory video about the VIA ARTiGO A1150, please go to: http://youtu.be/qkQtymQdbgg
Subject: Systems | November 10, 2011 - 11:47 AM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: puget systems, mineral oil, DIY, Aquarium
If you have an urge for switching your PC 's' cooling to full immersion in mineral oil you could do worse than looking to Puget Systems and their DIY Aquarium kit. For four years they have been perfecting one of the most unique PC designs on the market, mimicking the look of an aquarium right down to the overhead light and gravel at the bottom. By ordering a complete system, or picking up the parts from their parts store to build your own, you will end up with a well cooled conversation peice that you should proudly display in a prominent place. Plus it is still a working PC, even if you will be distracted from the screen by your case.
In House Manufacturing
We have seen so much demand for our aquarium kits that we have purchased our own laser cutting machine! This allows us to manufacture these kits entirely on our own, which carries a number of advantages.
- Our costs are lower, which helps lower the price to you.
- We are in full control of quality.
- We know what is needed much better that an outsourced machine shop.
- We can make MUCH more frequent design tweaks and improvements.
Up to this point, our aquarium kits have been getting bigger and more complicated with each release. The V4 kits take a step back. The size and capacity is the same as our V3 kits, but with the advantage of rapid prototyping though on-site manufacturing, we are able to create a much more finely tuned product. Instead of large bulky bracing, we cut it down to only what is necessary. Instead of dual pumps with complicated interconnects, we run a single more powerful pump. This leads to a dramatic decrease in complication, assembly, and number of parts needed. This results in less points of possible failure, and much lower overall unit price.
For those interested in the full history of this project, Puget Systems has chronicled our timeline over the last 4 years, sharing our thoughts, testing, benchmarks, and results.
Our full V4 aquarium kits, including tank, motherboard tray, pump, radiator, and all necessary wiring and tubing, are available for immediate purchase on our website. Alternately, for those looking for parts for their own DIY projects, each component of our V4 kit can be purchased separately on our parts store.