Thursday, October 29, 2009

From ATI to nVidia

Well, it's been a while since I've dropped something into this Blog.
For one; my Wireless Internet has not been consistent at all. I couldn't commit to something when my connection kept dropping and I had no idea when it would resolve.
Lately though, it's been somewhat semi-reliant so I've taken the chance to make an entry.
If you've been following this Blog then y'all know that I wish to indulge in the Win7 madness that's running rampant.
Sure, although being a great Linux Fan, I also have appreciation for the other OS's.
So, with that in mind, I chose to prepare my humble hardware platform for the eventual replacement of my beloved XP.
Seeing as how I only had a 128 Mb ATI Radeon card which could play videos at a minimal, acceptable level but not allow the magnificient GUI embellishments that Aero would grant, I committed to the acquisition of a 'better' video card. The rest of my hardware is more than enough to handle the Vista/Win7 platform but I definitely lacked in the video dept.
Since I'm on a severely restricted budget, I had to scratch around for a 512 Mb AGP video card that wouldn't break me for the rest of the month. Anything that I checked out regarding AGP was really expensive compared to PCIe – the ongoing tech these days.
I found one at a shop that I hadn't visited in over a year – it cost me $60 instead of the $73 I had resolved myself to. It was the old reliable nVidia GeForce 6200. Sheet man! I thought those suckers went the way of the DoDo Bird. With that saving I ended up getting a 12-pak instead of the fore-planned 6-pak!
Normally, one would think that the outdated hardware items would be released at a "bargoon" price, but such is not so. It seems that although AGP is sooo dinosaurish, there are us poor slobs who have no choice but to adhere to our antiquated hardware due to monetary restrictions.
The Vendors have to maintain a suitable profit margin otherwise we wouldn't have our "Friendly Neighbourhood Computer Stores". Yet, in the interest of promoting a long term clientele, one would think that these shops would hold a "loss" sale – an item sold for 10%- 20% above cost in order to attract customers to their more popular items.
Nope, no such luck. Computer stores don't have to market stuff like that unless they're a Chain Type like 'Future Shop' , ' BestBuy' or one of those other mass merchandiser outfits. Nope again because Computer Shops are just that – so if they buy an item for $30, they in order to maintain viability will have to sell it at least $43 which will keep their head above water, so to speak. Of course, they aim at an average margin of at least %175+ making said item at around $53 and more, if they can get away with it. Then there is the volume discount they receive from their suppliers, an incentive to sell more of said product. If they sell at or above the projected percentile, then they will receive another 2 - 3 or even 5 percent discount – whoopee!
Anyway, that's a subject for marketing and economics. What I'm on about is my transition from a lifelong affiliation to ATI video cards to my first experience with an nVidia unit.
It was amazingly painless! I encountered a brief blip in my XP-SP3 in that my sound didn't work when I rebooted. This was fixed by re-installing my SB Audigy SL software. Tunes sound great as they did before – movies sound even better now.

Now, in Linux. Well, of course there was no X window system since its configured agent no longer existed. Luckily, I had downloaded and copied the file over to my Linux system so I merely booted to 'Single User' mode and installed the latest nVidia binary, rebooted and logged in and things are great. Desktop is functioning OK,; sound is great, as usual; videos are playing even better and the "Gears" test looks fantastic!
Wow, I'm impressed! Here I was anticipating all these horrible configuration problems and instead there was shit to worry about.
I'm disappointed! I was ready for an all out battle within the CLI and had all my stuff ready 'n rarin' to go and instead there was bupkis. Everything works fine – unbelievable!
. . . and the video is way better than it was with ATI. I used to have little 'artifacts' scitter across the screen when viewing videos, but now there's nothing but clarity, crispness and a much better colour display.
I will report on how the compiz window manager behaves within the Gnome and KDE environments tomorrow or later or whenever I get around to installing and configuring it.
Later kiddies . . .


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