RkBlog

Hardware, programming and astronomy tutorials and reviews.

Design and capabilities of multi-CPU computers

There are tasks like video rendering that can take many hours on a good CPU. The final total time needed depends on the CPU performance - how many cores it has, what frequency it runs at, what is it IPC and so on. Many tasks can use multiple cores of a CPU to finish the job faster while the CPU can only have a finite amount of cores due to size or design limits. To overcome this problem servers and workstations just use more than one processor in one system. It adds complexity but provides much more cores for the task to run on. Lets check how multi-CPU systems work and how you can play with one yourself by using an old cheap workstation motherboard.

Read more

Testing two cheap portable monitors

It's not a problem to buy a monitor. If you need 1080p, 4K 16:9 or ultrawide 21:9 - everything is easily available. But there is also a niche called portable monitors with small diagonals of 11,6" to 17,4", often powered from a laptop to which they can be connected to. In this article I'll review two Chinese monitors of such type - 11,6" and 13,3" cheap displays.

Read more

Testing fanless Pentium J5005 + GTX 1050 Ti PC

Around four years ago I was testing a Celeron J1900 CPU. Today I will be testing latest successor - Pentium J5005 CPU. Both are a quad core low power 10W TDP CPUs intended for very compact and basic PCs. Let's find out how much performance improvement did happened over those four years. Will a 10W passively cooled CPU combines with a passively cooled GTX 1050 Ti be to run some games? Lets find out.

In this article I will test and go through a fanless PC based on ASRock J5005-ITX board and Palit GTX 1050 Ti - a fanless, passively cooled components creating a zero-noise PC. Plus some Vega 64 results for comparison.

Read more

Astrophotography - hobby with nice views and lots of hardware

Next day and another PC hardware benchmark, product rumor or new CPU specifications, not to mention some OS updates and so forth. But there is PC technology and software that can see and study places where no man has gone before. I would want to showcase to you astrophotography in a hobby form factor. 10 nm may be a cool thing, but 628 743 036 kilometers definitely has more mystery to it.

Read more

Idea for future WoW leveling and world design

There was some talk on future of levels and leveling in World of Warcraft during Blizzcon as well as some ideas and comments from WoW content creators like Thete or Preach. Taking the opportunity I want to show my idea on how leveling and in bigger picture expansions could look like. Looking to hearing your opinions too!

Read more

Right angle 90 degree ATX adapter

Cable management is usually a quite important element of a custom made PC - wherever for good looks or for best airflow or thermal performance. There are custom cables, cases with very good cable management design solutions but usually there is something that may stand out among the cables - arched ATX motherboard power cable. If the bundle of cables won't be flexible enough the arch will be quite big. Solution - right angle (or 90 degree) ATX connector-adapter.

Read more

Showcasing my planetary Dall Kirkham telescope

Solar System imaging on high resolution requires very good setup in order to get good images. The optics, mechanical design, atmospheric conditions - all of that has to line up. I used a 14" Celestron SCT and I had some problems with thermal lag or lowered UV/Blue image quality due to spherochomatism and spherical aberration. I solved them by replacing my SCT with a 14" planetary Dall Kirkham telescope.

Read more

Are cheap low power x86 CPUs an alternative to higher end makers ARM boards?

Single board computers with ARM chips are flooding hackers/makers market. More and more models are released but they are getting stuck in a state of limited I/O support and limited software and drivers support when compared to what current x86 Intel and AMD platforms can provide. So let us check if cheap low power x86 CPUs can perform similarly or better while solving problems of most ARM SoC by offering more interfaces and better hardware support.

Read more

Past and future of VIA Technologies x86 CPUs

VIA Technologies started in 1987 was a quite successful company making chipsets and controller chips, it had large market share in Intel and AMD motherboard chipsets where it compete with companies like Nvidia. After Centaur Technology acquisition VIA become a third company with a x86 CPU license but was unable to grow to the size of Intel or even AMD. Nowadays VIA is returning to the news stories with a Chinese child-company called Zhaoxin that claims to be releasing modern x86 CPU competing even with AMD Threadripper.

Read more