Archive for July, 2008

Post Addendum – Zoom for Windows

by on Jul.26, 2008, under Personal

This an addendum to the last post. The video card in the system is a PNY Quadro FX1700; however, I completely forgot that I ordered a PNY Quadro FX1500. It was one of those days I guess.

I chose the FX1700 because it supports OpenGL 2.1 and DirectX 10. Nearly all of the older model Quadros support OpenGL 2 and DirectX 9 – including the FX1500. Some major differences between the FX1500 and FX1700 (this is not a review, just a display of basic facts):

  FX1500 FX1700
Memory Size 256 MB 512 MB
Memory Interface 256 bit 128 bit
Memory Bandwidth 30 GB/Sec 12.8 GB/Sec
OpenGL 2 2.1
DirectX 9 10

Looking at the bandwidth, I suspected the FX1500 would be faster, but review sites claim the FX1700 is faster because of the new GPU that is supposed to handle an incredible amount of data. I am not a graphics card expert so I cannot speak intelligently on this matter.

What I did notice is the FX1500 is much faster. Out of curiosity, I removed the FX1700 and drivers from the system and replaced it with the FX1500. In testing the Windows Energy screen saver, there is a substantial difference in the speed of the graphics display. As for the Windows Vista Experience Index:

Compare these numbers with the set below. As a result, the FX1500 remains in my system and the FX1700 will go into storage to serve as a spare part.

That is all for the post addendum. Thank you for your time!

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Zoom for Windows

by on Jul.23, 2008, under Personal

First of all I would like to apologize for my lack of posting. It’s difficult enough using the computer when one is legally blind, but my vision has decreased even more over the past month or so. I have been dealing with this which has been very difficult. I did see the eye doctor and the good news is that there are no structural changes within the retina.

Now for the purpose of this post.

It’s not a secret that I am using a Mac, and I am running OS X 10.5.4. One of the best things about this operating system is it’s ability to be used by low-vision folks like me. Using a key of your choosing along with the wheel of the mouse, the entire screen zooms in to a significant size. Windows lacks this feature, instead using a very lame magnifying lens that is fixed to a small part of the screen, or re sizable to take up valuable screen real estate.

There are some programs that I still need Windows for, so I had buy a new Windows machine. I settled on a Dell Optiplex 330. So far I have been pleasantly surprised with this machine. This model comes with an Intel P35/G33/G31 (based on CPU-Z) chipset which is a budget, yet very stable chipset, and I configured it with a Wolfdale E7200 Core 2 Duo processor.

I added some personal touches, a 4GB memory kit from Crucial, a Seagate 1TB Barracuda ES.2 hard drive, a PMY FX1700 graphics card and an RME HDSP 9632 soundcard (highly recommended). The result is the best Windows machine I have ever used. Considering it’s base components being budget in nature, it generates some respectable numbers on the Windows Vista Experience Index:

The only downside to the Windows machine is the screen zoom. However, I am extremely excited to find a free program that fixes this issue. It’s called Zoomit v2.10. This program, written by Mark Russinovich, is available from Microsoft Technet Website. It’s a standalone program, meaning there is no install. It runs in the background and waits for the CTL+1 keystroke for activation. When activated, the wheel on the mouse will zoom in and out – the entire screen, just like OS X. The downside: you cannot use the mouse or type while in zoom mode. But that’s OK. I use this mostly for reading and viewing images mostly.

So that is the latest news. I hope this post is informative for someone!

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