[ROT] Dear AMD,

I’m trying to upgrade the drivers for my Radeon HD 5850 card but every attempt fails horribly.

If I uninstall the default MS Certified driver that loads in (it is from 2009) then try any of the recent AMD Catalyst packages it fails to even find the hardware.

If I leave the MS Certified driver on then try your AMD Catalyst package it realizes a new driver should be installed and installs it… poorly. On reboot it loads up in worse shape than if I had no driver installed at all.

Good job.

I tried calling tech support but your hours didn’t offer 24/7 support or if you do have that support, it’s not listed anywhere obvious like under the “Contact Us” section.

I then went to your web form to report the issue – because I like firing information off into the void and never hearing back from it – but while trying to pick the issue from the drop down, there wasn’t an option that sufficiently described my issue: Your drivers suck ass now, please address.

Thank you,

A new nVidia supporter.

In all fairness, I realize this is an older card, but when I run their application which is supposed to autodetect my card and download the drivers for me, it grabs the same ones that aren’t working. I’m now in a state where I can’t install the ones that did previously work.

I’m in no mood to do an entirely fresh install of the OS (I really shouldn’t have to) so I figure I’ll yank the card out, perform an Irish jig on it then pop in a new nVidia card.

Sad thing is that driver support used to be so much better. You could easily find and download just the driver you wanted without all the bullshit getting rammed down your pipeline.


Resistant to Change

You can tell someone is resistant to change when they get an opportunity to do something entirely new, but make it function in the same way previous, older incarnations did.


One of the guys in my D&D/Pathfinder group bought a Windows Tablet. Cool right? Lets see what Microsoft did with their tablet – could be cool!


First thing I noticed?

It was Windows 7.

No really, it was Windows 7.

Same look, feel with menus and all… only they were mostly itty bitty little menus because of the screen real estate.


Opportunity totally missed there Microsoft.

Yes, you could poke the screen, pinch, stretch, drag, etc. but it was otherwise the same visual experience as having Windows 7.

I’m only moderately poking fun at Scott for this because I can’t blame the guy for his purchase because he identified a need he wanted to fill which was a really portable device which he could run Excel on because that’s where his character sheet lives – Excel. For that need, it was a perfect fit and more practical solution than some of our other members who bring massive laptops in.

I’m mainly poking fun at Microsoft for not modifying the immediate tablet experience any more than just adding the common gestures.

Let’s take what we have on touchscreen desktops, shrink it down and plop it on a tablet! Great idea!

Very sad.

I’m still without a tablet and juggled the idea of getting one but never really did. I still use pencil, paper and hardcover books.

Maybe I’m the one resistant to change or maybe I’m just waiting for a solution that suits me best…

Sad Face

The fan on my video appears to have died all together now.

“But Smaken, how are you posting to the interwebs?”

I’m not, I’m posting directly to the brains of those attempting to view this page.

Okay, would you believe I have a cyber-implant that lets me plug right into the internet?

How about I’m typing this with the monitors off?


I have a second computer.


I bought the extended warranty so I can just return it. The main issue I have now is that the system I had was a bit of a beast and they don’t appear to have anything close anymore.

Caving In…

I’m caving to the pressure of everyone else getting new PCs and I’m going to have to get one too.

I rationalize it by saying my current PC will get passed on to the wife/kids and with it a 22” monitor which will replace their 19” with the discoloration in the upper left corner.

I’ve been fighting the urge for well over a year now but it’s got me. On the bright side, it’s going to be far less than half what I usually pay since it’s a pre-packaged system rather than customizing and getting all the best parts.

ATTENTION MEN! “Alrighty” is the new “fine”! Be warned! If you tell the spouse you’re about to go spend a couple of thousand on a PC and she says, “alrighty” she really means “fine” which we all know means something else entirely different…

The system uses the i7 860 CPU, weighs in with 16GB of DDR RAM, 1.5 tb HD space, a blu-ray drive, a 23” monitor (which will be sitting along side my 24” – I love me some two monitor action) and an ATI 5850HD 1gb video card.

This is going to be the first time I ever buy a pre-packaged system. I think it’s solidifying the fact that I’m unwilling to play the “chase the latest hardware” game.

I’ll likely spend the night working to remove the default installed crap on there. I’ll have to deactivate some of the software I have on my current system and clean that up too. And move files from the wife/kids PC over for back up purposes.

Good times!

Scary Sounds…

While I was mucking around with Smaken doing some dailies for Hodir faction I started hearing some pretty unpleasent sounds from inside my computer.

My first thought was the fan is dying.

I shut down and popped open the lid then looked around and couldn’t see anything. I fired it up again and heard the sound but couldn’t tell which fan was the offending one – I’ve got four fans in one area; cpu, video card, rear and top fans. I turned it off again, since I was sure I was smelling burning.

I poked around inside checking wires and discovered one that wasn’t attached to anything and it was under the video card.

Ah ha! That was the source of the sound. One of the wires slipped down and the video card fan was clipping it. I wrapped the wire up carefully and out of the way and fired it up again.

All is well.

The burning smell? Haha, I can hear the jokes now… well, the wife had started a fire in the fireplace upstairs.

I Felt Like a Doctor…

… performing surgery.

Early Saturday morning I decided it was a good time (since the wife and kids were out of the house) to install the new (second hand) ASUS 4870 HD card I bought from a friend.

I cracked open the box to take a look at the card and was surprised to see it would require two power connections instead of the one the 3870 HD required. It was a cool looking card – there is a pun there but you won’t know it unless you know the card. For a cooling system it had one fan that looks to fed four different pipes. It is pretty damn quiet too.

I popped open my case and removed the old card, no real issue. I then slotted the new card and realized it was going to be a real bitch to get two connections to it. I had to clip a tie holding one out of the way (there was also velcro holding them all together) to get the second connector out but the second mass of cables was in the way. With some choice wording and some creativity I managed to get both connectors plugged in.

Fired it all up, installed the drivers I downloaded and gave it a reboot. Everything was fine.

I started up WoW and turned up all the settings except ground clutter (I don’t really like a lot of ground clutter) and shadows. Everything looked okay, a little better than what I had with the 3870. I then took it for a test run around Dalaran – no problems.

Now, granted it wasn’t during peak times, but I’ve since raided and run around while Dalaran was pretty full – no problems either time.

I like it so far. I might have to try it out with some newer, non-mmo, game. Or not. I just have too much to do in WoW to bother.

Upgrades Are In With Only Slight Pain…

The hardware items I ordered arrived yesterday which I gleefully opened while wandering downstairs to the computers. The wife waved good bye to me for the rest of the evening. I don’t even think she called me for supper, I’m pretty sure I heard her calling the boys though.

Operation Alzheimer:

I had picked up four sticks of Corsair DDR2 at 800mhz RAM at 2gb per stick for my PC (running Windows 7 64-bit). Unfortunately that was the best my motherboard would support and they replaced four sticks of OCZ Platinum DDR2 at 800mhz at 1gb per stick. That means I went from 4gb of RAM to 8gb and I believe the timings on the Corsair RAM were actually better.

I had no problems doing this at all.

Operation Cataract:

My old computer, about five years old, was intermittently shutting down while my son was playing various games. I adjusted the video drivers (they were using 32-bit Win7 default drivers) and next time he had an issue the driver caught that the card was overheating so it throttled things back. No system crash happened however there was clearly an issue with the fan on the card (I checked temperature inside the system and it was fine) so I figured I’d order another one.

The problem was that the motherboard on that system only supports AGP. Fortunately, some decent AGP cards are still being made so I ordered a PowerColor ATI HD 4670 AGP card – it has 1gb of DDR3 memory on it and it might actually be a little better than my main system’s 3870 HD card.

I love that my cases are easy to open (Antec) so I popped it open and right away I noticed a sticker on the video card was peeling off. Not good. I attempt to remove the card and it’s being quite resistant so I removed the panels in the back that were next to it since it looking like it was overlapping. Still tough to remove. Double checked that the clip was up and it was.

I’ll admit, at this point I was really tempted to give it a good yank which might damage the motherboard. If that happened, I’d pass down my current machine and simply need to get a whole new system. As appealing as that was to me, I’m sure the wife wouldn’t have been pleased with that idea.

I wiggled it a bit more and eventually got it out. The other card popped in just fine so I screwed it in and added all the other panels in.

Hardware installed successfully.

Software not so easy.

The drivers on the CD were only for XP and Vista. I hoped Vista drivers would work for Win7  but they didn’t. So I had to flush those. I went to the ATI site and grabbed the latest set of Catalyst drivers, a set for 4000 series cards (just in case) and I noticed an AGP hotfix set which I grabbed as well.

None of them worked. Win7 defaulted to a VGA Display Adapter.

I uninstalled all those and hit up the PowerColor site for drivers. It had some there which looked to be newer than the ones on the CD so I grabbed those and installed.


I fire up WoW (which had the odd crash if I was running at higher settings) and cranked up the settings. Gave it a quick tool around and it was really smooth. I logged off and let my oldest know the new card was in and ready to go.

He didn’t touch the computer at all, the little bugger. On the other hand he was reading French with his Grandmother and reading some other books with his Mother so… I was free to play WoW alone.

This morning he ran downstairs and fired up WoW. He was pretty excited that it looked better and was smooth. He said his guy used to walk funny and showed me sort of stutter stepping but now it was good. I don’t know if he’s clued in that The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion, Battlefield2 and Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare will now play and look better too. Which reminds me I need to fire those up and adjust his settings for them.

I think I need to update my own video card now…