Monday, October 27, 2014

White-on-blue Theme for Vim

If you want to make vim look like the old white-on-blue of WordPerfect (and frankly, who doesn't?), you can apply these changes to a colour file.

I started with desert.vim (usually in a directory like /usr/share/vim/vim74/colors), copied to ~/.vim/colors and made the following changes:

26,27c24 < ""hi Normal guifg=White guibg=grey20 < hi Normal guifg=grey90 guibg=#061c34 --- > hi Normal guifg=White guibg=grey20 48,49c45 < ""hi SpecialKey guifg=yellowgreen < hi SpecialKey guifg=darkblue --- > hi SpecialKey guifg=yellowgreen 73d68 < hi SpellBad guisp=darkred

There are probably more changes that could (should?) be made, but that gets the primary effect.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Updated Conky Config

Made a few little tinkering updates to the previous conky config (thanks for the CPU graph tip JB).

Rather than try and paste the .conkyrc file in here (which is difficult to copy/paste and doesn't fit properly in this blogger template), I'll just link to it in my repo:

Install lm-sensors and run sensors-detect in order to get CPU temps to show.

The most difficult thing I've found is getting fan readings, since hwmon was removed from the Ubuntu repos, there doesn't seem to be a replacement. I haven't been able to find a reliable way to query the file-system for current RPM values either -- if anyone knows, please let me know!

Screenshot of the latest setup:

Monday, October 20, 2014

nVidia Tearing Fix in Kubuntu 14.04

Finally got around to revisiting this issue. Last time I tried I black screened the system, but with the TTY consoles successfully in operation that isn't so much of a risk.

Seems the following fix from AskUbuntu (thanks Barafu!) solves the problem. The solution is almost identical to the fix I used for 13.04, but adds an extra line to /etc/profile:


Not sure why I got the black screen, it may have been something unrelated, as this worked perfectly on two differed Kubuntu+nVidia systems.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Build Log Addendum: Gigabyte GTX970 G1 Gaming

Update on last week's build log: managed to pick up a Gigabyte GTX970 G1 Gaming for the machine.

The Gigabyte GTX970 G1 Gaming

Installing the card went without issue. It proved to be a nice, quiet card after installing the nVidia drivers (fans were noisy at first boot -- probably as expected -- until the proper driver was installed).

Interestingly, despite the Fractal Design Arc Midi R2 specs saying it only has 290mm clearance for GPUs with the HDD cage installed, the Gigabyte GTX970 just fit (was a squeeze, but I could get it in). So obviously there is some leeway in Fractal Design's specs for this case.

Completed build. This is without the HDD cage -- I left it out in the end for better airflow

To test it out I ran through Unigine Heaven again. At 1920x1080 Ultra 0xAA, it scored 2627 (average FPS: 104.3, min FPS: 29.3, max FPS: 205.3). At Ultra 8xAA, it scored 1786 (average FPS: 70.9, min FPS: 8.8, max FPS: 137.6). A little better than the 10 FPS average of the onboard graphics.

Running through Hitman: Absolution in-game benchmark (random game I had available on Steam) it scored Average FPS: 60.2, Min FPS: 50.5, Max FPS: 72.0.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Build Log: Fractal Midi R2, i5 4590+H97

Putting together a new machine for a friend. This is its story...

First up, the list of parts used:

CPU: Intel i5 4590 CPU cooler: Coolermaster Hyper 212 Evo Motherboard: Gigabyte H97-D3H RAM: G-Skill Ares 2x4GB 1600MHz SSD: Plextor M5S 256GB HDD: Seagate 2TB 7200RPM ODD: Lite-on DVD-RW Case: Fractal Design Arc Midi R2 PSU: Antec True Power Classic 550W

The usual suspects

Initial reaction to the Fractal Define Arc Midi R2 is that for a mid-sized case, it's...big. At least, it's very wide. Good for big CPU coolers if needed (180mm of clearance).

The Fractal Design Arc Midi R2

The case has some nice features, including an in-built fan controller for up to three fans. The switch for fan speed levels is built into the front of the case. Switching between the speeds after completing the machine, at 12V the fans audible but not too noisy, while down at 5V they're barely audible at all.

Arc Midi R2 front panel connectors, including fan controller switch

The R2 comes with a bunch of screws, cable ties and risers as you would expect. Below is the inside of the case with both side panels removed. If there was a blemish with this case, it was that one of the side panel screws felt slightly cross-threaded when first undone. Very minor in the scheme of things, hardly worth even saying, but I liked everything else about the case :)

On to the rest of the components. CPU is the i5-4590, motherboard is the Gigabyte H97-D3H. Both solid mid-range options for a non-OC machine.

The Gigabyte H97-D3H

I've heard people say that when installing an Intel CPU for the first time, they get a bit scared by the sounds that the lever used to hold the CPU in place can make. It can make creaking sounds, but this is normal in my experience. It is applying a fair bit of force, since it needs to keep the CPU absolutely stationary in its socket.

The i5-4590 in place in the motherboard

Next I installed the RAM and cooler. I did this outside of the case, but that turned out to make accessing the top left of the motherboard awkward when screwing it in place (fat fingers!). Putting the motherboard in first and then mounting the cooler (there is a cutaway behind the motherboard that lets you do this) would have been easier. And while this is a non-overclocking machine — and so the stock cooler would have sufficed — for a little extra quietness I got the aftermarket cooler.

Motherboard with RAM and cooler installed

Adding the other components to the case was fairly straightforward. The drive bays all have rubber sound-reducing grommets to screw hard drives into, and mount points for SSDs. Cable management was an absolute breeze in this. I think I only used two of the cable ties that came in the box, the rest more or less managed itself. I'm far from great at cable management, but this case made it really easy.

The finished product...almost

The picture above is the complete machine, minus the graphics card, which I'm waiting on for stock. Intending on a GTX970, hopefully an MSI model so it will fit without needing to remove the top HDD cage. The loose cable at the bottom of the case is the PCIe power connector for the GPU. I'll post an update when the GPU is in. Currently the machine gets about 10FPS on the Unigine Heaven benchmark the poor dear. I'm sure a GPU will help out a little there.

Update: Addendum for the GPU installation.