ASUS Gaming Desktop

In November of 2021 I purchased an ASUS Gaming Desktop computer. I bought it at Best Buy and had it delivered to my front door.

The model is a ASUS ROG STRIX C15-B11. It comes with an Intel 11700KF CPU, an ASUS TUF Gaming Nvidia RTX 3080 NON LHR GPU, 16GB of rather generic RAM, an ASUS B560 Motherboard that has been modified somewhat, a 500GB NVMe, a 2TB Toshiba hard drive and a 750W power supply.

Positives include, a great price for what you get. Extremely well organized and cable managed inside the slightly small case. Parts that work mostly. I’ll cover this in the cons.

The particular unit that I obtained factory new in the original unopened box had a mouse, a keyboard, the computer itself and some of the usual suspects in the way of stickers and spare parts, etc.

The cons of the unit I have is that out of the box the CPU Heatsink was not performing it’s job in any fashion. First indicator of the issue was when the exhaust fan sounded like a jet engine on take off. I then installed CPUID’s HWMonitor tools and began trouble shooting.

CPU core 1 on the Intel processor was spiking into the 100C thermal throttle zone. Other cores were at approximately 95 C. One core was at 80 C.

I opened the case. I reached in moving my hand NEAR the heat sink/CPU cooler without actually touching it initially. No heat what so ever. Then I touched it gently and it was room temperature cold to the touch. Next I removed the cooler from the CPU and checked the application of thermal compound. It was woefully inadequate. I cleaned the cold plate of the CPU cooler, and the Intel CPU, using rubbing alcohol and microfiber towels. I reapplied Artic MX 4 thermal compound correctly to the TMI of the CPU and then re-installed the CPU cooler provided. Minimal change in results. CPU Core 1 was still approaching 100 C and throttling, the CPU cooler was room temperature to the touch.

I purchased a Noctua NH-U12S Redux CPU cooler and installed per the Noctua instructions.

HWMonitor now reports 75C or lower temperatures for all of the Intel i7 11700KF cores and package under extended load using AIDA64 in Stress test mode for 4 hours. I also removed the somewhat lackluster RAM and installed 32 GB of G.Skill DDR4 3600Mhz in a 4×8 configuration. In addition I put a WD 850 TB NVMe into the PCIe 4.0 4×4 m.2 slot, moving the 500GB WD 750 to the secondary M.2 slot which can only do PCIe 3.0 3×4.

Hardware issues solved, system performs like a demon in games, light work loads, heavy work loads, benchmarks, etc.

On February 10th, I attempt to log into Second life using firestorm’s latest viewer and get a series of dots in an array of colors.

This was immediately proceeded by an Armory Crate update.

I performed a clean install of firestorm to reveal the same symptom. I remove Firestorm viewer and the app data folders, reboot and then install Kokua viewer. Same result.

I uninstall the nvidia driver and do a clean install of the lastest nvidia driver, then reboot and attempt the login again. Same failed results.

My next step was to run an sfc /scannow from an elevated Admin mode command prompt. SFC reported no errors found.

At a total loss and having spent a few hours into the trouble shooting at this juncture I install Windows 10 cleanly. This in turn had deterimental impacts on my Mint 20.3 linux install on a different partition of the system and I chased that back and forth for a while.

Ultimately I reformatted the TB NVMe and installed windows cleanly then rebooted and installed Mint 20.3 cleanly. Things are performing smoothly once again.

I strongly advise my readers avoid ASUS Armory Crate software whenever possible.

Security issues at Top Gun DUI site

If you happen to be in the market for a DUI attorney, please avoid the Top Gun DUI website for now.
The site is currently the victim of a WordPress vulnerability that may cause visitors serious computer security issues, especially those using Windows.

I did not create nor do I maintain the current Top Gun DUI website.   I do periodically review my former clients’ websites.  I have made a few attempts to contact Myles L. Berman® and his staff related to this issue. So far I have not received a reply.

Howto: Securely remove data from a drive.

Many purported security experts believe that reformatting a computer will remove all traces of data. That is just not accurate. Drives can be formatted and reformatted and will still have files that can be easily recovered with the right tools.

There are 2 primary ways to permanently remove data from a hard drive. One is destructive and the other is not destructive.

1) Use a degausser ( powerful electron magnet ) on the drive. This renders the drive completely useless and destroys the drive permanently. This will remove the data permanently. I highly recommend method 2) instead of method 1)

2) If you have Windows XP Pro, Vista Pro, or Windows 7 Pro or higher you can wipe the data from the free spaces on a drive. The first step is to delete the files. Deleting a file does not actually remove it. It merely removes the file entry in the File Allocation Table and removes the first letter of the file name. It also frees the block or blocks of drive space that the file occupied for rewrite. Next up you would open a command prompt and type in cipher /w:C: then press enter. This process will perform a government level wipe of the free space of your C: Drive. It can take several hours for the process to complete. What this does, is overwrite all free space of the drive with 0s, then 1s, then a random hex bit. This does permanantly remove any file that has been deleted. You can also remove individual files explicitly using cipher /w:C:directorynameoffile. Once a file has been wiped using the cipher utility there is no chance that it can ever be recovered by any means. Use with caution.

Browser choices launch via Windows in the European Union

As part of the settlement Microsoft lost in the European Union, Microsoft is now required to provide a Windows update that offers computer users in the European Union choices for web browsers.   I encountered the site early this morning while browsing the web and found it to be utterly amusing.   If you would like to see the site for yourself visit Browser Choice Site. You can also read my reviews of browsers.

Windows 7 x64 Enterprise edition!

For my new workstation, I installed the 64 bit version of Windows 7 Enterprise edition.

Install from start to first log in took 15 minutes.

System reboot from pressing shutdown to seeing the clock on the desktop 34 seconds!

The install is currently occupying  12.6G of hard drive space on my Intel X25-M SSD.  That includes all of the latest Windows updates and:  Adobe reader and Flash, Amaya, Firefox, OpenOffice.org 3.1.1, Sun JRE and Windows Live Essentials.

I am reasonably impressed by the performance of Windows 7 Enterprise edition on the new workstation.  If you must use a Windows operating system, Windows 7 is a pretty decent choice.  Be sure to purchase the 64bit version of Windows 7 Professional.

WebDAV and Windows XP Pro x64

They seem to have MAJOR compatibility issues.   I have attempted to use WebDAV to connect with OfficeLive web servers.   Using Windows XP Pro x64 with the latest service pack and Windows updates installed, I have had no success.   Windows XP Pro x64 is the fastest Microsoft operating system available.  This taints my love of Windows XP Pro x64.

Windows 7 technical review release to expire soon

Just a reminder that the Windows 7 technical review release ends in two weeks.  Time to weigh the alternatives.   I planned to re-install Windows Vista Ultimate 64 bit.   On doing so today I found that the OS takes up 30G of hard drive real estate after you apply all of the latest updates.  This is not an acceptable solution on the 37G partition of my SSD that was occupied by Windows 7 Ultimate(approximately 9G).  I installed XP Pro 64bit.  Takes a scant 9.22G of space with all the software I typically use installed and the latest updates applied.  It boots in less than 20 seconds too!

Windows 7 is finally released

Windows7 is now available.

I am not terribly impressed.

I have been using the Release Candidate Technical Preview of Windows7 Ultimate 64bit edition for about 7 months.

A few comparisons:

Windows 7 Ultimate 64 bit takes 20 minutes to install and approximately 4 hours to get all the “right” stuff installed.

Fedora 11 x64 takes 6 minutes to install and approximately 2 hours to get all the “right” stuff installed.

When I say right stuff I am using the same right stuff on both Windows7 and Fedora.

Winner Fedora.

Fedora 11 x64 boots faster.  43  Seconds to a usable desktop for Fedora.  61 seconds for Windows7 Ultimate 64bit.   On the same system.  Windows7 has the advantage of the sweeter “spot” of the hard drive at the first primary partition.  Fedora is at the tail end of the same hard drive.

Firefox works well on Windows7 Ultimate x64 and it works equally well on Fedora 11 x64.

Windows7 Ultimate x64 costs $319 (suggested retail)  I can actually purchase the OEM version for $169.

Fedora 11 x64 costs Nothing.  Yes that’s right it’s FREE!  Since I get most of my software free as a Microsoft Core Beta Tester and a Technical software reviewer this does not actually impact me.   Those who would have to pay for Windows7 might appreciate the lower price of Fedora.

Wimdows7 Ultimate x64 requires a virus scanner installed.   Typical high quality Anti-Virus Suite costs $60 – $90.  ESET Smart Security version 4  is $96 for two years.  You can use Avast or AVG free versions in non-commercial home use only scenarios, but they are not as effective as ESET Smart Security Suite 4.

Fedora 11 x64 has no need of a virus scanner typically.  If you should happen to actually need one for your Mail server on Fedora, you can download Clamav/Freshclam/Klamav for free.

Speed for your average day to day tasks is very similar for the two operating systems.

Windows7 Ultimate x64 with all the applications I use installed, occupies 29.84G of disk space.

Fedora 11 x64 with the full compliment of applications I use occupies 6.87G of disk space.

Not really an issue unless you are purchasing an SSD drive for your operating system.

Windows 7 Ultimate 64 bit edition VS. Fedora 11 64 bit edition

To keep it simple I’m referring only to the versions in the title of the post unless otherwise noted.

Initial Cost (retail and otherwise)
Windows $99-349
Fedora $0-$59

Speed about equivalent for both. Minor variances on this or that but overall not significantly different for everyday tasks.

Security Risks:
Windows – connected to Internet 18 minutes without Anti-virus and firewall – INFECTED
Fedora – connected to Internet 18 months without Anti-virus and firewall – CLEAN

Total Cost of Ownership – primarily cost of ongoing updates and various other maintenance per workstation, or desk top. Laptops slightly higher.
Windows $300 per year on average
Fedora $100 per year on average

Costs for additional software
Windows $750
Fedora $0

Stability
After cost, this is the most significant factor:

Windows7 – Stable 10-12 days between critical errors over a period of 3 months.

Fedora 11 – Stable for the entire 3 months. No critical errors during the same 3 month period.

Security and time spent securing windows is a significant factor in the Total cost of ownership. All figures projected from actual figures compiled from multiple clients of various residential and business demographics in Southern California. Your mileage will vary, especially in different regions of the country.