Getting the right PSU

Yesterday I blogged about getting a new PSU (Power Supply Unit) and since I always used Corsair PSU’s that was also my prime target. But let us start with the requirements:

1) It must carry a 80 Plus Gold label. Preferable 80 Plus Platinum.

2) The PSU must be modular.

3) Come with at least 5 years of warranty.

4) The PSU must be affordable.

With a non-modular PSU all cables are hard-wired (soldered) inside the PSU. You can cut some of the cables off at the box, but that is a bad idea (think possible shortages). It is better to purchase a modular PSU. This way you are in control. You decide which cables to use and which not. Resulting in a cleaner, less cluttered cable layout. It also gives you the option to opt for coloured cable sleeves. That is. If you want to spent the extra buck, because they come with a hefty price tag. Not to mention the labor and the risk of doing something wrong.

The PSU must be affordable, because I don’t want to spent too much money on a PSU that I am going to mod (rip apart and put inside something else). More about the latter in a next blog post. But what I do not want to do is to compromise on the efficiency rating, and that brings me to the Seasonic P-600 80 Plus Platinum. It costs around 135 Euro and it should arrive here soon. I however could not wait and thus I also purchased a cheap (65 Euro) Seasonic G-360 with 80 Plus Gold label on it – I didn’t know this, but the shop owner opened a webpage revealing a 89.2% efficiency. Great. That is getting close to a Platinum label, and that will do for now. Until the other one arrives.

Warranty is also important i.e. do not accept anything that comes with less than 3 years warranty. I mean. Come on. When the manufacturer won’t give you a few years of warranty, then it must be rubbish. May fail early, with the possibility of damaging your motherboard and other components in your computer. Not going to happen here. And you don’t have to, because I only paid 200 Euro for two great PSU’s. Not a Corsair brand, but I couldn’t care less about anything. I mean if it works it works. Done deal.

The biggest problem is to predict the total amount of Watts you need for your computer. The golden rule is twice the amount of Watt, and this is where my power meter comes in handy. Even the 300 Watt PSU will be overkill, but I want the 600 Watt Platinum for its Platinum label, and because it can handle a discrete graphics card. Not to mention that it runs without a fan so there is no noise.

I also need some additional headroom to play with this thermoelectric module. Something I like to install on top of the CPU, underneath my Scythe Mugen 3 cooler. This should give me the option of cooling the CPU pretty well (regulating with voltage changes). The risk of frying it is however severe, so I might as well just install my Koolance CPU-380i. A part that hasn’t even seen a single shred of daylight. Still unpacked in a black box. Or was that the box for the bit-something (forgot the brand) stuff I also have laying around somewhere (we’ve only moved to Spain recently, and haven’t unpacked everything)?

Now the one million dollar question is: Will this change the power usage or not? What do you think?

The hardwaresecrets.com review can be found here.

Update: I need to add a clarification about the Corsairs PSU I referred to. First. Corsair designs their PSU’s but uses production facilities from companies like: Channel Well, Seasonic, Chicony and Flextronics. This to keep the price affordable for all of us.

You can check the E number on your PSU by entering it on this form or simply visit tomshardware.com to get the full listing and detailed explanation about who is who and who does what.

How to lose four logical cores

Shocker. I ran ssdtPRGen, to fix power management, and got a strange warning:

Warning: Target CPU has 8 logical cores, the running system only 4
Now using CPU to extent the current range to 8...
You may want to check/verify the generated ssdt_pr.dsl

This means that the script located four “CPUn” devices instead of eight. Normally this is caused by an incomplete or broken DSDT, but that isn’t the case. I have all eight processor block declarations in the DSDT. And running sudo dmesg in a terminal window also shows all eight (logical) cores.

The next thing I did was to check com.apple.Boot.plist but that was still empty and thus that can’t be it. Also checked my RevoBoot configuration and that is fine too. Hmm. Let’s fired up IORegistryExplorer to see what we have and oh dear. I only have four instead of eight. Aha. Now I know – I think – why it run so slow. At 800 MHz and on two cores, or without hyper-threading.

Let’s call Asus. Ring ring.

Mike: Mike speaking.
Me: Hi Mike. I ran into a weird issue.
Mike: Okay.
Me: I seem to have lost four cores.
Mike: Mumble mumble. Did you change the C1E setting?
Me: Uhm. I might yes.
Mike: Ok then change it back and all will be golden.
Me: LOL Golden?
Mike: Yeah fixed in the next update.
Me: Ok thanks.

I re-enabled C1E in the UEFI settings and hoppa. All eight cores and a 15K GeekBench score – I skipped the part where I re-ran ssdtPRGen and fixed something else (device-id) but it runs. The new GPU is so much faster, but still a bit problematic on OS X – using a ATI 6850 at the moment.

More good news. Intel has done an amazing job. The processor and chipset uses a mere 33-47 Watts on average system loads – iTunes/Spotify running in the background and Safari for browsing. Then I OC’ed the CPU to 5.2 GHz – I need to be careful with this thing – and it pulled something like 190 Watt tops… with Cinebench running.

I need to add two remarks:

1) The power grid here sucks. I am only getting 214 Volts, instead of the normal 230-240 Volts.
2) The power supply I used is a Corsair TX650 (80 Plus Certified) and thus only 80% efficient. Resulting in a 20% inefficient heat production (dissipation).

In short. Things should become even more impressive with a high voltage and a better power supply. Speaking of which. Let me order one right now… Let’s see who is first. My new audio gear from Teufel Audio or the power supply.

Oh wow! Now I am getting 215 Volts. Yeah. My girlfriend must have switched off something in the kitchen or closed the door of the fridge LOL

Update: Added link/info of the used PSU, which is 80 Plus Certified after all.

AICPUPMI and Haswell update

First we had something like this:

AICPUPMI: CPU P-States [ 16 24 29 (33) 34 35 36 37 ]

Then I lowered APSN – old news – and got this:

AICPUPMI: CPU P-States [ 16 (21) 24 29 33 34 35 36 42 45 ]

And now it also shows the reached P-States for the IGPU:

AICPUPMI: CPU P-States [ 16 (21) 24 29 33 34 35 36 42 45 ] GPU P-States [ 17 18 19 (20) 21 22 ]

Much better this way. Go get the source here
Oh and in case you don’t get the OC thing. I have only changed the top multiplier to 45. This way I can boot quicker, but without heating my room and burning the solar Amps for nothing.

One more thing. The Haswell hardware arrived and my oh my. What a shock. First. I need a new case. Not that it wouldn’t fit in the case that I am using right now, but I don’t want something this nice to be hidden in a case under/next to my desk. I want it to be right there in front of me. On my desk. Thus… I need a new custom case design. Something special. Maybe an oak bottom with polished aluminium in between and a glass cover on top of it. SSD’s hidden in the bottom. Pico power supply. Hmm. What about submerging the whole thing? Nah. I just don’t know what I want. Time will tell.

Now the not-so-good part of it. The UEFI appears to be locked down to Windows 8. Either that or I am doing something utterly stupid – gave it my best shot today and tried literally everything – or it isn’t completely ready. It is probably the latter, hopefully, or something RevoBoot can’t handle yet. Don’t you worry. We will get the Haswell going. Thing is. We’ve only worked a few hours with it, and stuff this new normally takes time. A lot of time even so be patient.

Please do not ask for photographs because I cannot share anything that may help other manufacturers… or we may end up getting nothing anymore.

ACPI CFGD Explained

Like I said in my previous post. I’m not much of a blogger, but this speaks for itself. Or so it should:

//
// Platform Power Management Flags Bit Definitions (think CFGD):
//
0x1			// BIT 0 : Enhanced Intel Speed Step Technology.
0x2			// BIT 1 : C1 enabled, supported.
0x4			// BIT 2 : C1E enabled.
0x8			// BIT 3 : C3 enabled, supported.
0x10		// BIT 4 : C6 enabled, supported.
0x20		// BIT 5 : C7 enabled, supported.
0x40		// BIT 6 : Adaptive Thermal Monitor.
0x80		// BIT 7 : Long duration turbo mode
0x100		// BIT 8 : Short duration turbo mode
0x200		// BIT 9 : Bi-directional ProcHot.
0x400		// BIT 10: CMP (Multi Core Processor/Hardware Coordination).
0x800		// BIT 11: CPU throttling states
0x1000		// BIT 12: MONITIOR/MWAIT Extensions supported.
0x2000		// BIT 13: C1 Auto demotion enabled
0x4000		// BIT 14: C3 Auto demotion enabled
0x8000		// BIT 15: Energy efficient P-State Feature enabled
0x10000		// BIT 16: C7S enabled, supported
0x20000		// BIT 17: C1 Undemotion enable
0x40000		// BIT 18: C3 Undemotion enable
0x80000		// BTI 19: Fine grained CPU Throttling states
0x100000	// BIT 20: Set boot P-state to HFM when EIST is disabled
0x200000	// BIT 21: Fast break Snoop Enable
0x400000	// BIT 22: Fast break Interrupt Enable

All bits per Intel’s PpmAslDefines.h

Update: Tabs added to improve the layout, CMP explained and typo corrected.

Haswell Processor Arrived, or Not

Signing up for a blog is easy, but posting your first post isn’t. At least not for me. Thing is. I’m not much of a blogger. Anyway. Here we go. But I warn you because it isn’t a good start.

Ok. So I received a box from Intel with big red letters on top of it. I opened it and there it was. The long anticipated Intel Haswell i7-4770(K) processor. Well. The box that is, because when I opened it… it was empty. There was nothing in it. Not even a piece of plastic. Nothing. Nada.

Great. So now I have an empty box, and I will have a hard time getting a replacement. I guess since the box is fairly large, that the accompanied motherboard is now also somewhere else. I mean. What can I do without a motherboard. Not to mention the missing CPU. Pfft.

Yup. Got to love Spain, and I do, but this sucks. Really sucks.

Hey Intel. Hey customs. Hey delivery boy. Where the fok is the hardware I signed for?

Update: Hardware located. Package should arrive tomorrow!