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End of the Midterms, PC Housekeeping and Upgrades, Site Updates, and Ninoy Aquino

Written by Raymond Santos Estrella on Friday, 15 August 2008. Posted in 2008

My midterms for the first semester were finally completed yesterday and I am beat. Having only 5 to 6 hours of sleep for over a week really takes a toll on you. I very nearly look like one of those zombies in Romero’s Night of the Living Dead. Very, very, uncool. Anyway, the exams went pretty well, I’d say. Nothing as downright impossible or as walk-in-the-park as the ones I took before. Let’s just hope that I’m not just being too over-confident this time. I’ll post updates on the results as soon as our exam booklets are returned.

Went out last night with some brods and had a few beers while catching up on each others’ activites. Had some really interesting stories to tell and listen to as to the goings on in each others’ lives. Caloy just came from doing a cross-examination where the plaintiff’s counsel, to his chagrin, kept on objecting to his questions on grounds of being irrelevant or for being leading questions. Unfortunately, the judge kept sustaining. Worse, when he told us the questions, they really were irrelevant and leading. It seems that questioning a witness really is a an art form you probably won’t learn in law school. I’m already having misgivings about when its going to be my turn to examine and cross-examine witnesses.

Lately, I’ve been contemplating upgrading my PC’s quaint but still adequate Cooler Master Real Power 550W power supply. It still works, mind you, but I’ve thoroughly used each and every single 3-pin peripheral and SATA connector available. Two of the 3-pins are already daisy-chained as it is and I’m beginning to have doubts as to the long-term effects this will have on my system. Of course, nothing has gone wrong yet but for how long the status quo stays remains to be seen.

First of all, I’d like to finally make the transition from my aging but still reliable Intel Core 2 Duo E6300 to a Core 2 Quad Q6600 (preferably with the G0 SLACR stepping). As things stand, my system’s performance is getting CPU-bound already and even my current SLI setup isn’t that much of a help especially when running really intensive games like Crysis, World in Conflict, or Bioshock. As for video, I want to eventually replace my year old NVidia 8800GTs with a pair of 9800GX2s. After all, a quad-core processor certainly deserves a quad-core GPU solution as well. With these in SLI, I bet I can give pretty much any current application or game a run for its money. On the storage front, I’m seeing one of the inherent downsides to broadband: diminishing hard disk space. With this and that interesting thing you find on the internet, it becomes quite addictive to just download and forget, leaving one with a large amount of stuff that you might not really need all strewn about in every nook and cranny of your hard drive. Right now, I’m using an 80Gb drive for booting Vista and have 160, 250, 320, and a 500Gb hard drive for storage. Aggregating everything up, I’ve filled about 80% of all that and each day brings with it another gigabyte downloaded. As things stand, I’ll really have to purchase a new hard drive soon and I’m contemplating on whether or not to jump beyond 500Gb right now or stay and wait until the 1Tb or 750Gb drives drop near the P5,000 level.

To power all of this, I’m going to need some extra wattage and some additional upgraded connectors. In order to save on additional costs, I’m thinking of making all these upgrades as the last ones I’ll be making for this particular system before I eventually move to the next new motherboard architecture and CPU socket class. The power supply I’ll be getting will have to be enough for this last burst of splurging.

Browsing through power supply manufacturers’ sites, I’m pretty keen on getting a Gigabyte Odin Pro or Gigabyte Odin GT. Both can output 800 watts and are virtually identical. Both versions carry the same number and type of connectors and will definitely tide me over to my planned transition from dual core to a quad core CPU, and from dual GPU SLI to quad SLI. The GT, though, has a USB link to the motherboard which is used so you can monitor fan speed and temperatures from four different points in the PC through the accompanying software. A bit of overkill for me since it comes with a P2,000 premium over the Pro version. Since I am on a budget and I’d rather use that price difference on something else, I just might get the Pro version instead. Still, that software is a bit intriguing and tempting though I’ll probably make the choice as the time for purchase draws nearer. This is--barring any unforeseen complications--my last upgrade before I completely turn to the upcoming CPU architecture in Intel’s Nehalem.

I’ve also been really keen on laptops lately, picking up price lists, looking up specs on the ’net, comparing models. I haven’t really made any real choice as of yet, what, with the midterms and all the other extra-curricular activites I’ve been up to on the side. Still, I’ve been thinking about getting a more or less average system: a mid-range, dual-core, integrated graphics sort of notebook with a decent 14 inch widescreen and a proper keyboard. Something that can run for at least 3 hours without a charge while browsing the net or using Office applications. Gaming and graphics performance isn’t really a factor right now as I’m already in the process of upgrading my desktop to handle those kinds of tasks. This laptop is going to be pretty much all about paperwork and portability. That said, I estimate that prevailing market prices indicate that a notebook would set me back around P25,000 to P35,000. I could go to a lower price point and go for those netbooks that are all the rage these days but I definitely won’t get by without an optical drive which the Asus Eee, MSI Wind, Dell Vostro and HP Note all lack. Judging from benchmarks I’ve seen, I’m pretty certain that the Intel Atom processor these things use just won’t cut it for all the stuff I plan to do.

Still, all of this planning for a laptop begs the question of where to get the funds for this purchase in the first place. My current cash account definitely won’t be enough for something this expensive. I guess we’ll see.

There won’t be any classes on Monday, August 18, because its Ninoy Aquino Day. That leaves me with a nice, well-deserved (at least I hope so) long weekend where I plan on getting some projects I haven’t checked up on lately. I’ll be updating this website and The Corpus Juris to the new Joomla 1.5.6 code base and might start planning for a redesign. This site still looks pretty pleasing on the eyes but I feel that the design is getting to be a bit long in the tooth. I’m looking for something that has a bit more edge to it and I hope to finish before the Bar Exam month of September where I have a distinct feeling that my time during weekends are largely going to be devoted to the Bar-Ops itself. At least the first weekend of September is going to be devoted to the Labor tips that we’re going to be doing the night before the Bar Exam itself so I don’t think this year will be one of those times when I can just stay out during the weekend and drink myself silly or have a chance to mingle with the brods.

I wish I could say more about this Ninoy Aquino Day other than casually stating that there are no classes because of it. Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, Jr., is, of course, a Hero of the Republic, whose martyrdom galvanized many an oppressed Filipino’s resolve against the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos and eventually led to the installment of his widow, Corazon Aquino, as the next president. I’m a bit busy now, so I’ll probably have to leave that off for next time.

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Raymond Santos Estrella

I guess I should really make a proper writeup here. Something witty or maybe a joke to add some levity. I’ll come back to this when I have time. If you have any suggested copy that I can insert here, drop me a line.

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