Build Sheet

This tower computer is built to support the Merced Highway 99 experiment - obsolete as of March 2013

This is nice information to have about your machine because it will be needed
0) to answer the base question in every help forum,
1) if your hard drive fails,
2) you catch a virus, that is format the drives and a fresh reinstall
3) you want to change hardware or the operating system,
4) you want to change drivers,
5) the operating system is corrupted

System Model

Manufacturer: MagicMicro
Serial number:
Default server:

A tower story

On 4/1/2008 I [a former CEE241 TA now CIFE research assistant] purchased a 1-year old dual-core XP-OS laptop on ebay, avoiding Vista due to issues found during the CEE241 course. After four years and numerous changes to hardware, software, and settings the laptop successfully constructed a 50MB Autocad Civil 3D model using the 2011 x64 release. 1) Through modification an existing and infamous heating issue with this laptop model was aggravated; an auxiliary fan was necessary for skype chats and 3D modeling. 2) The duration to complete the civil 3D model was not consistent with the intuitive expectation of the Merced 99 project management staff. Professor Fischer decided that this laptop has fulfilled its useful life as a VDC research machine and authorized a replacement machine. While the dv2120 laptop integrated graphics supports a respectable 512MB shared DDR2 800Mhz memory, the lack of a dedicated graphics card is the core limitation; therefore the next machine will have a dedicated graphics cards. Therefore, research for guideline specifications for a new machine were initiated.

A new machine was ordered

The new machine arrived. The following steps were followed to baseline the machine:

  • Installed from the Microsoft Dreamspark website Server2008R2 x64 Enterprise edition and contacted Microsoft to approve license
  • Installed the drivers
  • On my computer properties/advanced/visual effects adjusted for best performance; properties/advanced/performance, I adjusted for best performance and let the system manage the virtual memory.
  • Ran baseline, scored 6264, an improvement from the dv2120 laptop score of score 2740 but lower than comparable machines scoring in the 10K range
  • Pragmatic comparison test of Civil 3D 2011 x64 Merced 99 3D model 'orbit', the dv2120 laptop is twice as fast as the new tower
  • On Local Disk properties/tools I ran an error-checking.
  • Last, I cleared the event logs (control panel/administrative tools/event viewer/windows logs/application) then restarted the machine. After startup check the event log for errors or warnings and correct, some of these are a bit confusing but a web search for the warnings provided guidance on what to do.
  • Installed software for the MER99 experiment and other application tools; duration n days (expected two days).


  • Yesterday morning the OS 'disappeared' and everything was reinstalled
  • Benchmarking the videocard continues C3D video card tests
  • Pragmatic tests:
  • Rest of day running MS Flight Simulator for the field crews to play and then testing a couple sierra nevada brews; Cinco de Mayo
  • With Quadro FX 5600 the flight simulator fps is below playable level, 10 to 20 fps depending on single or dual screen; FirePro v7800 fps is very good with flight simulator but is not good for Civil 3D 2011 or Navisworks 2011 and 2012.

Today at startup a warning indicated that the harddrive files were corrupted, a disk scan corrected the issue and everything now works fine. GPU testing continues. Trying out the WHIPTHREAD command in C3D set to 3;all

Posted in AutoCAD forum: my 2006 AMD laptop with a GeForce GO 6150 (similar to your graphics card) and maximum shared memory (some conflicting information on what this actually is, so say 512MB) compared side-by-side to my tower an AMD BE with a Quadro FX 5600 monster card: in 2D wireframe orbit the 6150 is incredibly faster, in 3D wireframe orbit they are comparable, in anything shaded or realistic the Quadro rules (similar results with an ATI v7800). So, maybe the graphics card means nothing, and I have read posts in forums that have found similar intuition. I am not going back to the 6150 but there was no 'event horizon' passed by going to the Quadro. Note, for the GeForce Go 6150 I used a driver and modified file from laptopvideo2go (allowed the driver to install) and not the driver posted to the HP site, this driver change (after several driver updates over time I found that some worked better than others and recently used 259.47) this made an incredible performance difference.

The comparison of the new ATI and used Nvidia graphics cards indicates that the buswidth may be the key characteristic. To test, a GeForce GTX 280 with a buswidth of 512-bit (650Mhz, 1GB, 240-core) was purchased today and will be tested to confirm an improvement. This card has a lower capacity than the tested Quadro FX 5600 and ATI v7800 cards, except the nearly double buswidth. After 3D orbit testing minimal improvements but in the right direction. The result is a 23-second start to finish time, a 50% improvement over the baseline 42-seconds and major improvement over the up to 1.5-minute observed. The buswidth does not appear a pragmatically significant factor.


5/25/2011 What next?

  • tune processor to 4.0Ghz
  • Buy fastest memory that mother board vendor supports (afterwards realized - buy one faster than that, since fastest is limit of memory and it may crash at that utilization)
  • Tom's Hardware as a research resource
  • use the voltage multiplier to tune
  • liquid cooling is good
  • AMD 880G or 890G ATI stream technology for parallel rendering (PPL supported motherboard)
  • 3 computers, install scheduler for note farming, hookup multiple computers into one - render farm: tom's hardware - building a render farm
  • Acknowledge Martin Stan

Post image like this with OS and C3D settings for any benchmark tests.

Hardware and software configuration testing is essentially completed - daily routine is back toC3D modeling. Corsair PC2000 memory is being used but with the CPU tuned to 4.3Ghz the memory is unstable. Even at baseline tuning the memory does not feel solid as the initial Patriot memory.

The new memory has stabilized after trying various configurations and NtfsMemoryUsage set to 2 that according to Win7 documentation should have no effect the Civil 3D orbit in 2D wireframe and 3D wireframe. and regen times have all improved a lot. The hardware configuration is complete.

8/29/2011 Opened the case and pointed the 14“ floor fan (from laptop tests) into the case - temp at idle dropped from 45°C to 33°C

8/30/2011 Left the fan off today, just removing the case side panel lowers temperature from 45°C~50°C to 40°C

9/7/2011 Crashed OCZ REVO main drive OS: looking for solution but most threads end with reformatting and reinstall


Forum Solution given Tried
Yahoo Answers 1 restore - push F8 a lot, select option “Repair Computer” then logon before doing a system restore x
Yahoo Answers 2 reinstall
Microsoft Answers 1 delete file - diskBoot Win7, click on repair, at some point it should ask about selecting your OS, but instead click the button that says load drivers, this will bring up a window that will let you explore your computer and delete the file to the recycle bin. The location should be C:\Windows\system32\nvvsvc.exe see Nvidia
Make Use Of log-in then goto services.msc start» search» type services.msc» highlight nvvsvc» right click» properties» startup tab» pick manual» apply» ok and set Nvidia drivr line to manual, and Nvidia stereoscopic 3D line to disabled. Then reboot cannot
team liquid forum reinstall - keep booting from disc and finally got the disc to display the setup
Microsoft Answers 2 reinstall - start from scratch and spend the next week or two reinstalling, updating, and reconfiguring all my highly technical work software.
Microsoft Technet clear corrupt Event Viewer service logs manually x
Kioshea forum Unplug all USB items and restart x
Techspot forum boot in “Safe Mode with Command Prompt” and then switch to the CD Drive D: and launch the OS setup. I did an XP “Upgrade” and now all is well.
Nvidia forum delete nvvsvc.exe (renamed with *.old extension) x
personal blog copy and paste contents of windows/system32/config/RegBack folder from OS that works to the OS that does not (nice I have two nearly identical installs of OS on separate drives next to each other)

Nice, it has a name - Black Screen of Death

9/9/2011 I give up - moving to backup SATA drive - installing a few applications to bring it up to date, in the next couple weeks the PCIe drive will be formated and a fresh reinstall, then will be the new backup. Now that the C3D modeling is completed the capacity provided by the PCIe drive is probably excessive and the SATA SSD is likley sufficient No - the PCIe drive is much better and the SATA SSD is annoyingly slow. As soon as the PCIe drive is ready I will switch back.

  • Trouble Ticket ID: 211823
  • User: Forest Peterson
  • Date and Time Submitted: 09-12-2011 @ 12:25:34PM
  • Trouble Type: PCI-Express
  • Trouble Priority: Technical Support
  • Short Description: OCZ REVO DRIVE 240GB 1RVDX0240

10/04/2011 Contacted OCZ to drop-off the revo drive and pickup a replacement but they have none in inventory and must test this drive before deciding to replace or just give it back. The turnaround on the RMA is a couple weeks. So I am using the Muskin SATA, it works, and the RMA process is sufficiently annoying that I have procrastinated to 11/18/2011 and probably will continue to do so for another week.

11/18/2011 I pulled the Revo OCZ drive and had to lower the CPU/NB speed to boot, else it went to blue screen when logging into windows. assuming this is because the OS was using the drive for virtual memory. Bumped the HTlink up a bit at the same time from 2100Mhz

11/28/2011 Dropped Revodrive off at OCZ san jose - Danny RMA rep; in testing now.

8/9/2012 changed back to CMX8GX3M2A2000C9 due to daily blue screen crash; memory felt warm, might be overheating - when time will test modules and if pass then try a memory fan

15 minutes later put the KHX2400C11D3K4/8GX back in - crashed with blue screen again, try dialing back the cpu

10/12/2012 still using the CMX8GX3M2A2000C9 memory due to stability issues. Also, compared to a new W110er laptop with Intel i7-3820QM and 8GB 1866Mhz memory - the laptop works as good and sometimes 8x better. One exception is importing C3D dwg file to Navisworks, the laptop locks up and the AMD machine has no problem.

01/23/2013 just read that ASUS mb stability improves if two memory slots left open - ordering 16Gb (2×8) modules to replace 16GB (4×4) modules. This thread references a different motherboard but we will see if it behaves similarly.

3/21/2013 never did order the memory - this machine feels obsolete, only the FX5600 and the PhenomII for some specific applications are useful for Navisworks import and visualization.



  • network card:
  • Ethernet Driver
  • wireless chipset: NA
Settings Modified Baseline
Flow Control
IEEE802.1P Support
Low Power State Link Speed
Network Address
Optimize For
Speed/duplex settings
VLAN Support
Wake on Magic packet
Wake on pattern
WakeOnLAN from PowerOff

3D Graphics Device:

Attribute V7800 Quadro FX 5600 GeForce GTX 280
Form PCIe 2.1 x16 PCIe 2.0 x16 PCIe 2.0 x16
Series FirePro 3D V7800 Quadro FX 5600 –> GeForce 8800 ultra GeForce GTX 280
Chip set RV870 G80 GT200
Manufacturing 40nm 90nm 65nm
Core clock 700mhz 600mhz 650mhz
Vertex processors
Pixel pipelines
Shader model
Memory 2048 1536 1024
Memory Speed 1000mhz 1600mhz 2214mhz
Momory Bandwidth 128 76.8 141.7
Memory Bus Width 256-bit 384-bit 512-bit
Memory type GDDR5 GDDR3 GDDR3
Max. Shared Memory
Cores 1440 128 CUDA 240
power consumption 138w 1×6-pin 171w 2×6-pin 236w
DirectX support 11.0 10.0 10.0
OpenGL support 4.0 3.3 3.3
Video acceleration
3pin stereo yes
Announced April 26, 2010 2006 June 17, 2008
Device PCI ID
Manufacturer Page
3rd party website for card
wikipedia page for card 1 1
vendor page for card
forum posting for card (guru3D)
Navisworks unusable Solid unusable
Civil 3D visual OK visual good visual good



test 1/0 degree test app. driver website driver code date installed notes
ACAD C3D 2011 ACAD Perf Win7x64 Nvidia 2/4/2011 02/16/2012 Muskin
ACAD C3D 265.70 Win7x64 2012Cert Nvidia
ACAD C3D 275.65 Server2008R2x64 Nvidia 7/11/2011 8/24/2011 Revodrive
ACAD C3D 275.65 Win7x64 Nvidia 4/4/2011 8/24/2011 Revodrive
ACAD C3D 276.14 Perf Server2008R2x64 Nvidia 10/4/2011 02/16/2012 Muskin, ACAD Perf is not integrated in driver
  • laptop drivers:
    • to find (1) open search engine; (2) open advanced search; (3) search for “driver name xyz”; (5) constrain search to
    • to install: (1) download driver; (2) unpack driver; (3) drop modified INF file into folder; (4) launch driver
    • load from drivers installed: (1) open device manager; (2) open graphical device properties; (3) select drivers tab; (4) Select update driver function; (5) select to pick from drivers installed; (6) select have disk; (7) browse to driver folder installed in 'to install steps' and select modified inf file.
  • workstation

Chassis | Case:





Bus width:


  • Type CPU / Microprocessor AMD 10h
  • Family AMD
  • Model Number CXAPH2-975 (Phenom II X4 975)
  • Family “Deneb” (C2/C3, 45 nm, Quad-core)
  • Frequency (MHz) 3.6
  • Stepping code C3
  • Release date January 4, 2011
  • Part Number HDZ975FBK4DGM
  • On-chip peripherals:
    • Hyper Transports
    • memory controller
  • Electrical/Thermal parameters:
    • Multiplier 18x
    • Voltage 0.825 - 1.400
    • Watt 125
    • Maximum operating temperature
    • Thermal Design Power (TDP)
  • Socket AM3
  • Package
  • Architecture / Microarchitecture:
    • Processor core
    • Core stepping
    • Manufacturing process
    • Data width
    • Number of cores
    • Floating Point Unit
    • Level 1 cache size 4x 512 KB
    • Level 2 cache size 6 MB
    • Physical memory limit DDR2 SDRAM up to PC2-8500, DDR3 SDRAM up to PC3-10600
    • Virtual memory (TB)
  • Features:
    • Hypertext 2.0 GHz
    • B
    • C




Solid State Drive Alignment Resource, these drives were installed new with Win7 - except for the Intel X-25 drive which is a clone from a 7200rpm drive - so alignment should not be an issue.


  • PCIe x4
  • 740MB/s sequential speeds
  • random small file writes up to 120,000 IOPS
  • RAID 0 w/ four SandForce-1200 controllers
  • source: OCZ website
  • November 2011 sent into OCZ for testing, returned as clear
  • To use the PCIe hardrive either the BIOS must support this drive and delay powering down the PCIe x4 slot during shutdown or the machine cannot be turned off without risking corrupting the drive (I have corrupted the boot sector three times).

(removed 11/1/2011) 2nd boot Harddrive with x32 OS

  • Intel X25-M G2 MLC 34nm SSDSA2M080G2GC
  • source: newegg

[Backup, nearly duplicate (and nearly full; 90%) of Revo drive]
Mushkin Callisto Deluxe 120GB 34nm SandForce SF-1200 MKNSSDCL120GB-DX

  • SATA II (3Gb/s)
  • 285MB/sec Read; 275MB/sec Write
  • up to 50,000 IOPS with 4kb Random Write
  • source: newegg

Alignment check: cmd → fsutil fsinfo ntfsinfo C: [not real clear how this is done, search the web for some confusing documentation]

ATTO Disk Benchmark, ordered by transfer size KB; total length 256MB; Overlapped I/0; Queue depth 4

Drive 1RVDX0240 1RVDX0240 SA2M080G2GC CL120GB-DX MHZ2320BJ G2
Date 9/20/2011 1/5/2012 9/20/2011 9/20/2011 1/5/2012
State Full OS Partitioned Full OS Full OS Full OS
Byte/sector 512 512 512 512
Byte/cluster 4096 4096 4096 4096
Write/Read MB/s
.5KB 13/17 16/20 13/17 12/8 2/5
1KB 26/32 33/39 26/32 22/16 4/10
2KB 31/56 61/76 49/52 36/31 10/19
4KB 65/93 181/140 74/93 97/59 20/38
8KB 85/135 243/205 57/135 143/97 42/62
16KB 61/176 358/308 85/176 179/136 74/77
32KB 86/207 432/433 89/207 206/178 76/77
64KB 89/227 573/623 89/234 226/199 76/77
128KB 88/234 685/737 230/230
256KB 679/729
512KB 680/747
1024KB 686/744
2048KB 686/747
4096KB 695/746
8192KB 687/747
Max 720/740 720/740 70/250 285/275
%ofMax 12%/31% 97%/101% 127%/92% 80%/84%

Summary: for future use the exact results of this summary are not as important as a benchmark for how to obtain these results and compare them. As you can see the performance numbers and the real world feel of each drive differs. From this comparison, I'd predict that an Intel X25-M G2 drive with x64 may perform the best of all these drives. I am not the first person to notice that the REVODrive is fast but not as fast as advertised and is comparable to other SATA SSD.

Write summary: The OCZ REVO and Intel X25-M G2 drives have comparable 70MB/s write speed and the Mushkin Callisto Deluxe has nearly double the speed of 230MB/s.

Read summary: All three drives top at 230MB/s, the OCZ REVO and Intel X25-M G2 drives have nearly equal ramp-up and lead over the Mushkin Callisto Deluxe by twice the speed in the smaller blocks and by 30% near where they converge at the 128KB block size. At the top end the Mushkin Callisto Deluxe has the stablest speeds of the three drives.

Pragmatic summary: Using these three drives, the Intel X25-M G2 with the x32 OS (have not tried x64) has the fastest startup time by a wide feel, in use the OCZ REVO performs the best with Civil 3D (C3D is balky with the other two drives or possibly the OS install differs, the Intel drive has an x32 OS so C3D is nearly unusable) comparable with both the Intel X25-M G2 and Mushkin Callisto Deluxe for any other application. The OCZ REVO in this test is running at half the advertised speed.

(added 12/5/2011 for virtual memory) fujitsu MHZ2320BJ G2, 7200 RPM 320GB


Motherboard supports 4 x DIMM, 16 GB, DDR3 2000(O.C.)/1600/1333/1066 ECC,Non-ECC,Un-buffered Memory

  • [original] DDR3, 16GB PC12800/1600MHz (2x 2x4GB Kit) 9-9-9-24 1.65v Patriot
  • [changed 6/1/2011] 2x GB kit (2x4GB) for Dual Channel 240-Pin SDRAM DDR3 2000 (PC3 16000) CMX8GX3M2A2000C9 9-10-9-27 CORSAIR XMS - total 16GB
  • [changed 7/2/2012] 8GB kit (4x2GB) for Quad channel 240-Pin SDRAM DDR3 2400 KHX2400C11D3K4/8GX 11-13-11 @1.65V

Timings (nanoseconds, lower is better): BIOS to AUTO

  • tCAS 9
  • RAS to Cas Delay (tRCD) 9
  • Min RAS Act (tRAS) 9
  • Row Precharge (tRP) 24
  • Row Cycle (tRC) 41
  • Write Recovery (tWR)
  • Ras to RAS Delay (tRRD)
  • Precharge (tRTP)

Forum question: What is my memory speed


Approach: For the MER99 experiment, first we developed an approach using an HP dv2000 laptop. During the process I customized it with a 2.3GHz processor, Intel solid state drive, a 64x OS, and 8GB Muskin memory. After these modifications the laptop was adequate for integrated models of building projects - the 3D models were provided and not modeled with this laptop. The approach to modify the laptop was driven by resolving performance issues as they arose but tuning was not an option and I had not discovered benchmarking applications. The MER99 experiment uses AutoCAD Civil 3D and the scope of the 3D model is greater then a laptop form can support - so following the approach of resolving issues with increased hardware we changed to a tower form and added the ability to tune. The baseline tower using the top AMD processor, harddrive, and RAM memory was inadequate. A tuning procedure became necessary. Our approach to tuning is 1) research, 2) trial and error, 3) benchmark, 4) document. For research we rely on web searches of gaming and overclock web forums. For trial an error the research assistant plans a series of test parameters and then makes changes incrementally. For benchmark two software applications are used, these are CPU-Z to record the settings, and GeekBench to measure a performance index. The results are then documented in this wiki and periodically posted to a web forum for peer review.

Benchmarking tools: For the Civil 3D application we need a benchmark to test single core processing and are not concerned with multicore metrics

Tuning tools [none of these were tested for this experiment]: Check if only CMOS clearable boards



Try CPU CPUbus Ghz PCIe DRAM CPU/NB HT link CPU v CPU/NB v DRAM v HT v NB v timing Div:DRAM approach result* CPU-Z Geekbench
negg 15.5 250 3.9 - 2000 3000 2000 1.4 1.65 1.3 7-8-7-24-2T
negg 267 - 2133 1.65 9-11-10-28-1T
negg 16 240 3.8 - 1920 2880 1920 1.4 1.65 1.3 7-8-7-24-1T noBoot
Goal - - - -
0 18.0 200 3.6 - 1600 - - 1.400 1.1 1.65 1.2 1.1 ? delivered stable 4/21/2011 6565
1 18.5 229 4.2 - 1832 - - 1.475 1.25 1.65 1.2 1.2 ? EVO stable
2 18 234 4.2 - 1872 - - 1.475 1.25 1.65 1.2 1.2 ? EVO unstable
3 18 229 4.1 - 1832 - - 1.475 1.1 1.65 1.2 1.1 ? EVO unstable
4 18 229 4.1 100 1527 2061 Auto 1.3625 1.1 1.65 1.2 1.1 9-10-9-27-31-2T BIOS unstable
5 18 229 4.1 100 1527 2061 Auto 1.425 1.1 1.65 1.2 1.1 9-10-9-27-31-2T BIOS OK
6 16.5 250 4.1 100 2000 2061 Auto 1.3625 1.1 1.65 1.2 1.1 9-10-9-27-41-2T BIOS Fail
7 16.5 229 3.8 100 1527 2061 Auto 1.392 1.1 1.65 1.2 1.1 9-9-9-24-41-2T 3/10 722.4 BIOS tune OK
8 18 206 3.7 100 Auto Auto 2263 1.3625 1.2 1.65 1.2 1.1 7-8-7-24-35-1T 3/8 548.5 BIOS 45°C 4/21/2011 7502
9 18 217 3.9 100 Auto Auto 2384 1.3625 1.2 1.65 1.2 1.1 9-9-9-24-35-2T 3/10 722.4 BIOS tune 43°C 9/28/2011 8216
10 17 236 4.0 100 1882 Auto 1886 1.65 1.2 9-9-9-24-41-2T 1/4 943.2 BIOS unstable1 9/29/2011 8323
11 17 217 3.7 100 Auto 2167 1734 1.65 1.2 9-9-9-24-34-2T 3/10 722.4 BIOS tune 40°C 9/30/2011 7704
12 18 207 3.7 100 Auto Auto:2066 2266 1.4 1.15 1.65 1.2 Auto 7-8-7-24-27-1T 3/8 551.2 BIOS 40°C 10/10/2011 7784
13 15.5 250 3.9 100 2000 auto auto auto auto auto auto auto auto BIOS noBoot
14 18 217 3.9 100 Auto Auto:2167 Auto:2167 1.452 Auto 1.65 Auto Auto 9-9-9-24-34-2T 3/10 722.4 BIOS tune 43°C 10/11/2011 8184
15 18 210 100 1680 Auto 2520 Auto Auto 1.65 Auto Auto 7-8-7-24-27-1T BIOS unstable
16 18 208 100 1680 Auto 2520 Auto Auto 1.65 Auto Auto 7-8-7-24-27-1T BIOS unstable
17 18 210 100 1680 Auto 2310 Auto Auto 1.65 Auto Auto 7-8-7-24-27-1T BIOS unstable
18 18 207 100 1656 Auto 2277 Auto Auto 1.65 Auto Auto 7-8-7-24-27-1T BIOS unstable
19 18 207 100 1656 Auto Auto Auto Auto 1.65 Auto Auto 7-8-7-24-27-1T BIOS unstable
20 18 207 100 1656 Auto Auto Auto Auto 1.65 Auto Auto 7-8-7-24-Auto-1T BIOS unstable
Try CPU CPUbus Ghz PCIe DRAM CPU/NB HT link CPU v CPU/NB v DRAM v HT v NB v timing Div:DRAM approach result* CPU-Z Geekbench
21 18 207 100 Auto Auto:2067 Auto:2067 Auto:1.4 Auto 1.65 Auto Auto 7-8-7-24-27-1T 3/8 551.2 BIOS 40°C 20111011 7783
22 18 211 3.8 100 Auto Auto:2107 Auto:2107 Auto:1.4 Auto 1.65 Auto Auto 7-8-7-24-27-1T 3/8 561.9 BIOS 40°C
23 18 211 3.8 100 Auto Auto:2107 2310:2107 Auto:1.4 Auto 1.50 Auto Auto 7-8-7-24-27-1T 3/8 561.9 BIOS 40°C 20111011 7942
24 18 210 3.8 100 Auto 2528 Auto:2528 Auto:1.4 Auto 1.50 Auto Auto 7-8-7-24-27-1T 3/8 561.9 BIOS 40°C 20111011 8011
25 18.5 210 3.9 100 Auto 2739 Auto:2739 Auto:1.4 Auto 1.50 Auto Auto 7-8-7-24-27-1T 3/8 561.9 BIOS 40°C 20111011 8257
26 18.5 213 3.9 100 Auto 2964 Auto Auto Auto 1.50 Auto Auto 7-8-7-24-27-1T BIOS unstable
27 18.5 213 3.9 100 Auto 2964 Auto Auto Auto 1.65 Auto Auto 7-8-7-24-27-1T BIOS unstable
28 18.5 212 3.9 100 Auto 2964 Auto Auto Auto 1.65 Auto Auto 7-8-7-24-27-1T BIOS unstable
29 18.5 211 3.9 100 Auto 2964 Auto:1694 Auto:1.45 Auto 1.50 Auto Auto 7-8-7-24-27-1T 3/8 564.6 BIOS 20111011 8330
30 18.5 210 3.9 100 Auto 2950 2739 Auto:1.40 Auto 1.50 Auto Auto 7-8-7-24-27-1T 3/8 561.9 BIOS bit unstable 20111011 8284
31 18.5 210 3.9 100 Auto 2739 2739 Auto:1.40 Auto 1.50 Auto Auto 7-8-7-24-27-1T 3/8 561.9 BIOS
32 18.5 210 3.9 100 Auto 2949 2106 Auto:1.40 Auto 1.50 Auto Auto 7-8-7-24-27-1T 3/8 561.9 BIOS 20111117 8286 v2.1.12
33 18.5 210 3.9 100 Auto 2949 2310 Auto:1.40 Auto 1.50 Auto Auto 7-8-7-24-27-1T 3/8 561.9 BIOS 10321v2.2.3
Try CPU Bus Ghz PCIe DRAM CPU/NB HTlink CPUv CPU/NBv DRAMv HTv NBv timing Div:DRAM approach result* CPU-Z Geekbench
34 18.5 210 3.9 100 1400 2520 Auto: 1.425 Auto: 1.50 Auto: Auto: 6-6-6-A-A-1T BIOS fail.bios
35 18.5 210 3.9 100 1400 2310 Auto: 1.425 Auto: 1.50 Auto: Auto: 6-A-6-A-A-1T BIOS fail.win7
36 18.5 210 3.9 100 1120 2100 A2107 1.404 Auto: 1.50 Auto: Auto: 6-A8-6-A20-A27-1T 3/8 561.9 BIOS 38°C 20120315v1.60×64 10159v2.2.7
Try10B 17 236 4.0 100 Auto Auto 1886 1.50 Auto: 1.65 Auto: Auto: 9-9-9-24-41-2T 1/4 943.2 BIOS
37 18.5 210 3.9 100 1120 A2107 A2107 1.40 Auto: 1.50 Auto: Auto: 6-8-6-20-27-1T 3/8 561.9 BIOS 20120702
38 18.5 210 3.9 100 A1404 A A2107 1.40 Auto: 1.50 Auto: Auto: A9-A9-A9-A24-A33-1T 3/10 702.4 BIOS
39 18.5 220 4.1 100 A1472 A1987 A1987 1.475 Auto: 1.50 Auto: Auto: A9-A9-A9-A24-A33-1T 3/10 736 BIOS 55°C 20120702 10718v2.2.7
40 18.5 225 4.2 100 A1472 A1987 A1987 1.475 Auto: 1.50 Auto: Auto: A9-A9-A9-A24-A40-1T 1/4 883 BIOS 55°C 20120702 crash
41A 18.5 220 4.1 100 1766 A2207.5 A1987 1.475 Auto: 1.50 Auto: Auto: A9-A9-A9-A24-A40-1T 1/4 883 BIOS 55°C 20120702 crash
41B 18.5 220 4.1 100 1766 A2207.5 A1987 1.475 Auto: 1.70 Auto: Auto: A9-A9-A9-A24-A40-1T 1/4 883 BIOS 55°C 20120702 10495v2.2.7
41C 18.5 220 4.1 100 1766 A2207 A1987 1.475 1.35 1.70 Auto: Auto: A9-A9-A9-A24-A40-1T 1/4 883 BIOS 55°C 20120702 10692v2.2.7
41D 18.5 220 4.1 100 1766 A2207 A1987 1.500 1.35 1.70 Auto: Auto: 8-A9-A9-A24-A40-1T 1/4 883 BIOS 48°C - daily crash 20120702 10743v2.2.7
41E 18.5 220 4.1 100 1766 A2207 A1987 1.520 1.35 1.70 Auto: Auto: A9-A9-A9-A24-A40-1T 1/4 883 BIOS 48°C
Try CPU Bus Ghz PCIe DRAM CPU/NB HTlink CPUv CPU/NBv DRAMv HTv NBv timing Div:DRAM approach result* CPU-Z Geekbench

*max loaded temp for AMD Phenom II 55°C - result temp measured at end of geekbench run
*change in v2.1.12 to v2.2.3 resulted in 25% improvement in score and so are not comparable
1crashed when skype screenshare started by conference 3rd party - otherwise worked

Software: Revodrive

Install core software

* indicates installed

forcing driver instal for Server versions

Give the date, drive, and version

  • Installed from second boot drive by opening the instal DVD and selecting setup - allowed bypassing the issues with drivers
  • AHCI from AMD - not installed, this should go before OS
  • *Operating system Microsoft Windows NT Version WNT_6.1I_64 aka Server2008R2 SP1 x64
  • *ASUS Motherboard driver CD: just install LAN
  • *Sophos (Stanford ESS)
  • *Install OS updates
  • *Activate windows
    • computer properties system product ID
    • start/search/slui 4
  • *Mozilla Firefox
  • *Adobe flash
  • *7-zip v9.22
  • *Revodrive driver
  • Then update from ASUS website
    • *chipset - found a setup.exe get from AMD site
    • *audio - found a setup.exe - check, something wrong
    • *LAN select setup.exe
    • *USB3 select setup.exe
    • BIOS - motherboard already flashed with newest
    • EPU
    • BCU
    • *standard server driver 1/10/2012 v276.14
    • try Win7 driver
    • AutoCAD driver not for server2008R2
  • *AMD - Southbridge
  • Stanford software:
  • *Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack &
  • Add server roles
    • *Application server + .NET 3.5.1
    • *Web Server (IIS)
  • Adobe apps
    • *reader
    • *shockwave
  • *Java plugin v6 and v7
  • *Microsoft .NET Framework 4 (.NET 1.1)
  • *Microsoft DirectX June 2010
  • *Microsoft Core XML Services (MSXML) 3, 4, and 6 (or latest bundle)
  • *Enable the Desktop Experience Function for Windows Media Player
  • Print
    • Print driver Y2E2 (NA for RGW office)
    • Print driver Studio 5 (NA for RGW office)


  • *System Properties/Advanced/
    • Visual: adjust for best performance
    • Performance: adjust for best performance of programs
  • *IE web security
  • *change folder view settings - unhide, uncheck simple view
  • *internet options - clear contents
  • *Mozilla settings for download, security, and passwords
  • NA - in the BIOS change PCIe slot speed from auto to 4x (if applicable)
  • *open command prompt as admin and enter “fsutil behavior set memoryusage 2” then reboot
  • Settings
  • *turn off unnecessary services
  • *turn off the half-dozen auto scheduled tasks


  • Driveragent check for missing drivers
    • 1/10/2012 24good,13bad; installed drivers 5bad remaining
  • Geekbench and baseline run
    • 1/10/2012 10,321
  • SPECviewperf 10/11

Software applications

careful, some applications install to the C: by default, this drive is F

  • MS Office 12 - 2010 x64
  • Vico Office 2010
  • AutoCAD Civil 3D 20xx (install .Net 3.5.1 first)
    • whipthread 3
    • hardware acceleration off on
    • adaptive degradation off on except wirefrmae
    • dynamic tessellation off
  • VMware Player 3.1.3 build-324285
  • Navisworks 20xx (install revit first)
  • Mozilla timezone
  • Vico 2009 control [license]
  • Vico control 2008 (afs)
  • Primavera P6 v7.0
  • SDK connection setup
  • yED3
  • openCV
  • CoreTemp
  • Skype
  • Adobe Pro | Win2PDF
  • Dragon Natural Speak (online)
  • CamStudio
  • DropBox
  • VideoLan
  • Publish or Perish
  • WinRAR
  • QuickTime
  • RealPlayer
  • FormZ
  • HCSS - text file license
  • SQL developer (dreamspark)
  • Sketchup
  • Maple (CD)
  • ASCE/SEI 7-05 (CD)
  • AISC 13th (CD)
  • Visual Studio 2008 (online)
  • MSProject 2003
  • Sage-Timberline v9.7.1 (afs)
  • AutoCAD Architecture 20xx
  • Revit 20xx (2010 necessary for ilink)
  • Synchro
  • Tocoman - *express 2.0, express Sage, express excel (tocoman website | afs)
  • MSProject 2010 x64
  • Tocoman
    • ilink revit [2010]
    • ilink Autocad [must have Autocad Architecture 2009 x32 on x32 OS drive] (tocoman website | afs)
  • SecureFX & SecureCRT (Stanford ESS)
  • [x32] Primavera P3
  • MSProject 2007 x32
  • Eclipse
  • R-statistic
  • SPSS
  • Skype Vod Burner,
  • Skype Pamfax
  • OfficeRecovery
  • go2meeting
  • Gogrok
  • Bimserver
  • Building Explorer
  • Graphisoft ArchiCAD (ilink 13)
  • Tekla (ilink 16)
  • Trimble Construction manager
  • On-center On screen takeoff
  • Innovaya - 6 tools
  • Microsoft SDK
  • Not tested (these are for VDC software development)
  • Viso viewer
  • openOffice - allows saving ppt to html
  • Navisowrk exporter
  • C3D object enabler
  • C3D subassembly composer
  • C3D 2011 SP1
  • ATTO Disk Benchmark
  • Synergy.shardScreens

Clean-up process:

  • remove unused programs
  • compress unused files
  • remove unused options

Check and backup:

  • image HD and store on server [copy image, check for unequal drive size]
  • backup work folders daily/bi-daily
  • Check with run\ DXDIAG
  • regedit.exe
  • msconfig.exe (XP based OS)
    • bcmtray
    • dumprep 0 - k (default)
    • ctfmon (default)
  • Start –> Run –> rrasmgmt.msc (XP based OS)


  • auto services(changed *):
  • application layer gateway service
  • Remote Access Auto Connection Manager
  • broadcom Wireless LAN tray service
  • COM+ Event System
  • COM+ ystem Alication
  • Crytograhic services
  • DCOM Server Process LAuncher
  • *COM+ system application
  • DHCP Client
  • Distributed Link Tracking Client
  • DNS client
  • Help And Support
  • HP WMI interface
  • ISEC services
  • Networ connection
  • Network Location Awareness (NLA)
  • Plug and play
  • Print spooler
  • Remote Procedure Call (RPC)
  • *Remote access connection manager
  • Shell hardware detection
  • *SSDP discover service
  • telephony
  • webClient
  • Windows Driver Foundation - user driver framework
  • Windows firewall/internet connection
  • windows management instrumentation
  • windows time
  • wireless zero configuration

Manual services:

  • Remote registry
  • server


  • Windows image aquisition (WIA)
    1. Click the Start button, open the Administrative Tools menu, and click Server Manager.
    2. Click Features to load the Features Summary, then click Add features.
    3. Check the Desktop Experience check box.
    4. Click Next, then click Install.
    5. Restart your computer.


Clear these folders (Win7) if you need drive space; I did for a virtual machine to run a 32-bit OS.

  • C:\Users\Administrator\AppData\Local\Temp or %temp% (5GB, fills fast, a month later there was another 3GB)
  • C:\Autodesk (10GB install files)
  • right click/properties c:/ disk cleanup (1 - 3GB) or cleanmgr; to automate this task, this is from clear temp files during shutdown with gpedit.msc [careful I changed this to clear files on startup and my harddrive crashed the next day - may be unrelated]; “Navigate to User Configuration > Windows Settings > Scripts (Logon / Logoff) and double-click on Logoff. gpedit.msc Click on Add and Browse in the next window. Right-click in the blank space of the Logoff folder and create a new text document. Name it cleanup.cmd. Open it with a right-click and add the following line to it. cleanmgr /sagerun 1 Select the file cleanup.cmd and click Open and in the previous menu OK. The file that you created should be now in the list. Click on Apply and OK afterwards. Et Voila, we are done. Everything that you selected during the configuration will now be deleted after every system shutdown.”
  • Use a second harddrive for virtual memory - not specifically bloat but I found that the Muskin and Revodrive drives each have several GB of pagefile - I moved these to one dedicated page file drive - an old unused 7200rpm drive - and freed some valuable space on the Muskin drive (1/12/2012) but had a noticeable drop in performance due to the spinning drive.


Next build - attempt #2 at field PC;

investigate: change to intel processors for CAD applications due to single core speed TDP laptop 35w TDP tower 130w

Processor scale year cores Tunable socket
AMD 10h 65nm 9/2007 Black Edition Socket AM3
Nehalem (microarchitecture) 45nm 9/2008 x2 Bloomfield (microprocessor) LGA 1366
Sandy Bridge 32nm 1/2011 x4 K-edition 2500K, 2600K & 3930K LGA 1155 LGA 2011
Bulldozer (processor) 32nm 9/2011 Black Edition Socket AM3+
Haswell (microarchitecture) 22nm 2013



The bottle-neck in the Merced99 experiment system is the harddrive and memory. So if we focus on that in the next machines:

  • Memory: the x64 operating system you installed supports over 4GB of RAM, we could try 8GB DDR2 $150
  • Harddrive: Either 240GB dual SATA solid state drives in Raid0 $660 or a single PCIe Raid0 $450; or a couple SATA 10/15000RPM harddrives in Raid0 $240. It should be possible to place dual SSD harddrives in the smaller Dual core boxes, I did not check if they have a RAID0 controller or dual SATA plugs - they are newer so they should. The PCIe hardrive is preferable but either the BIOS must support this drive and delay powering down the PCIe x4 slot during shutdown or the machine cannot be turned off without risking corrupting the drive.

Try: 13.3“ ASUS $400 ebay computer with 540M gpu - replace x2 2410M cpu with $1200 x4 XM unlocked processor and install $150 1600Mkz memory = $1750 for nonexistant 13” laptop. Issue is socket compatibility - research of blogs finds they may be compatible.


  • Cost estimate, $150 + $660 = $810 x 19 machines = 15,390
  • Time estimate, about a week with two students installing hardware, reinstalling image and debug
  • Quality estimate, a decent setup with the processor and motherboard forming the new bottleneck - the hardrrives can be reused for the replacement computers CIFE will eventually obtain - the memory will not be reusable and have a low salvage value. These changes should get CIFE by for another few years until a larger bundled change or complete replacement is made of the current machines. In 2013 Intel will release a new processor and that may be a good target for replacing the current machines. Maybe with a bulk purchase for 19 machines, that is 76 memory sticks, we can find a discount source.

These optional and add-on changes will be required over the next five years either as entirely new machines or incremental changes to the existing cases:

  • Processor: On the Merced experiment I found that AutoCAD type programs use a single processor core so the processor speed is important and multicores are not necessarily much good. Changing the lab machines to the LGA 775 socket Core 2 Extreme QX6700 2.67Ghz $670 is costly but allows tuning the processor to the specific machine configuration - from 3Ghz and depending on the motherboard and cooling tuned up to 3.6Ghz. The vast majority of CIFE lab machines are dual cores, a Core 2 Extreme X6800 2.93Ghz is about $450. The Core micoarchitecture that these processor are based on is the previous generations from the current Nehalem microarchitecture and two generations back from the newest Sandybridge microarchitecture released this year. If the motherboard and processor are changed then the memory will also be changed forming a less expensive bundle - 8GB DDR3 2000Mhz RAM $200 and sandybridge 3.3Ghz 2500K tunable (good to 4.5Ghz) processor $220. The sandybridge processors and DDR3 memory should be reusable in future machines.
  • Motherboard: for the quad core towers the motherboards are easy to replace, allowing the use of newer processors, memory, the newer PCIe standards, multiple PCI x16 (2 minimum), and allow a perpetual CIFE build, without integrated graphics these are $170
  • Graphics card: Pair of Nvidia Quadro FX 3700 cards in Scalable Link Interface (SLI) $325 x 2 for $650; two cards running in parallel keeps cost down if there is space in the PCI slots, the dual core cases probbaly do not have room or adequate cooling capacity. These cards can be reused in future CIFE lab machines.


  • Cost estimate: 200 + 220 + 650 + 170 = 1240 * 3 = $3,720
  • Quality: These would be some nice machines in the old cases - so more sustainable and green :)

These changes should give the machines another 8 years but is building new machines and reusing the existing cases and power supplies. It will also take longer to reconfigure and require some research and knowledge-building. These machines will not have service contracts so we have to keep them going ourselves but I have not seen any Dell technicians around anyways. The existing parts that are removed can be sold on ebay.

Some of these specifications sound extreme and that building machines rather than buying as a complete box is a hassle but on the Merced project these are the type of specifications and approach to computing that is working. For the longterm the core supporting factor is a motherboard with an unlocked BIOS, slots and room for later expansion, cooling, and a tunable processor. G.SKILL Ripjaws Z Series 16GB (4 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 2400 (PC3 19200) Desktop Memory Model F3-19200CL9Q-16GBZMD

Lower to approach 1333 and CAS2

  • Deneb allows you to effectively ignore the CPU-NB or the HTT.
  • It only cares about
    • how much voltage you are giving it, and
    • how cold it is.
  • Try
    • reduce cpu/nb to 2666Mhz
    • raise the voltage up to 1.55v
    • check that temp is under 55c
    • raise the bus up to 300Mhz
    • use 8GB
      • lower timing to CL2
      • lower speed to 1000Mhz

Test: you can give this a try. open the autodesk sample file:

C:\Program Files\Autodesk\AutoCAD Civil 3D 2012\Help\Civil Tutorials\Drawings\Corridor-5c.dwg. set interval to 1m dont' touch anything else. do that in corridor property. then hit ok then start timing til become responsive. took me .34 seconds. i think that's not bad.

but what i realized from this is again emphasize how much time we waste on waiting for the program to responde. only if it can use more cores even 4 cores we would see a marked improvement. imaging cutting down all these time by 75%.

try:! turn off “Enable Orbit Auto Target.”

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