Category Archives: Hardware

Adding a Hard Drive – “If All The Parameters Are In Place”

Adding a new Hard drive to the system should be easy and if all the parameters are in place, it will be. That’s the important thought however, “If all the parameters are in place…”

We received a Western Digital Caviar Green 3TB Internal Drive in to test out in the Media Center PC we are putting together and after putting the Motherboard and Processor in place, installing Memory, the Main Hard Drive (Western Digital 500GB 7200RPM 16MB Cache), Video Card and Windows 7 X64 (We’ll be testing with X32 as well) we were excited to add the WD Caviar Green 3TB Internal to the fold. After putting the rails on the drive and cables we booted the system up which located the drive. We selected the Create New Volume and after deciding to label the drive and choosing it as Drive M (For Media) we proceeded to Quick Format the Device. After about 30seconds the Quick Format failed and we then unchecked the box for Quick Format and decided it was possibly best to perform a detail and exact format. We knew this means it will take longer, but we were not expecting what happened next.

We started the format at 9:15am on Sunday 12/19/2010 and on Monday 12/20/2010 at 8:15am we were at 1%. Looking at the Storage Manager we could see that Windows 7 and the Intel Board could locate and visually see the drive however this was by no means normal. Without becoming all Sheldon on ya, this could in fact take 2 months, 23 days, 7 hours and 11.5 Minutes, give or take a month to format. Western Digital had sent a HPA Adaptor card which is a part of the 3TB Internal Drives, also the 2.5TB drives ship with this little card which plugs into the available PCI Express Port. We didn’t install the card since the Intel Board, the DH57DD was so new we assumed it should have no problem with the capacity of the drive.

If you aren’t aware, There are limitations in size for some boards accessing over 2.19TB. This little card that WD includes will help some boards be able to address the drive and welcome it to the hardware fold. WD even includes the plug in card with low riser and full size bracket for the smaller towers and regular sizes available. We plugged the card in, hooked up the drive and upon boot, the card was identified but the drive wasn’t. We let it boot and sure enough, nada was in the available drives. We shut it down, made sure the SATA Cable and power cable were connected firmly and rebooted. This time, the drive was seen and we proceeded to boot into Windows and begin the steps to reformat.

Once we deleted the previous volume and then reattempted in Quick Format Mode, it failed. We reattempted by deselecting the Quick Format and could see right away, the format was going to be a long process. Something just wasn’t right. We revisited the Western Digital website which features a very good video on adding a secondary drive with the WD Caviar Green 3TB and saw that all the steps we’d performed we’re inline. After a cup of coffee and racking the brain we decided to try one other step we hadn’t done, changing out the SATA Cable. We had provided this cable as the ones that came with the board were both used up.

Over the years you tend to amass a large quantity of cables and power cords, I always wonder if somewhere I forgot to hook up a cable because why do I have an extra!?
I located a SATA cable and connected it, rebooted the system went through the steps of deleting the old volume, recreating and performing a Quick Format. Viola! (Walla! for those not immersed in French..) Our Drive formatted and quickly. So, before you go calling Tech Support or heading back to Frys or Best Buy check the SATA cable to make sure that it isn’t the culprit. Also remember to toss the other cable since leaving it around will just cause you to put it in another system. Hopefully this helps somebody!!

Andy

All Nice and No Naughty – Scan those Photos!

We caught word that our friends over at Visioneer have a Contest taking place on their Facebook Page giving you the ability to share some of your fine holiday photos but also have a shot at winning a Visioneer 9520 Scanner. There probably isn’t any doubt that Digital Cameras will sell well during the Holiday Season. So many great new devices are on the market with Fill features, sequential photos for action and large megapixels for printing from the Digital Image.

One piece of technology that is still a constant for photo enthusiasts, archivist and those working with graphics is the Digital Scanner. Gloria and I bought our first photo scanner back in 1991 for our new Desktop Publishing business and its features were about 25% of what is available with today’s Scanners, pricing is now considerably less as well. In 1991 our scanner set us back about 700 bucks!

One of the companies that has offered affordable solutions for the consumers and business user is Visioneer. We’ve had several models over the years of Visioneer scanners that have served us well. We still have a need to scan those photos, logos and other documents into the computer and with today’s software, the user is really able to fine tune and achieve a great looking photo from a scan. Most users of scanners I’ve talked with have made photo archives of all the film photos in the home for safety and ability to easily share them online with sites such as Flickr and Facebook and then store the originals away for safekeeping. It is incredibly easy to scan a photo and save it as well.

The Visioneer 9520 scans at 4800DPI and captures in 48Bit Color. For those of you that have amassed a collection of Slides, the original way a slide show was presented, a built in 35mm Slide transparency adapter makes it easier.  One Touch scanning of the 9520 gives users the option of easily selecting Fax and Send, Send to Printer or open up the Scanning Program to scan to your specific program. The Visioneer 9520 also ships with Corel and Arcsoft programs.

While the website may seem a bit confusing in its support of Windows 7, Drivers for Windows 7 and Vista are available on the Visioneer Site. If you visit the site and select the Home Products, then the product itself, scroll down to the bottom right of the page you will find drivers and there you will locate the Windows 7/Vista drivers. Probably the easiest step is to visit the Visioneer Like Page on Facebook and participate for your chance to Win one of Three Visioneer 9520 Scanners.

A Photo of the 2001 Christmas Card with Ozzy
Andy Taylor and Family with Adopted Kid Ozzy

All you have to do is submit your Nice Holiday Photo in the Holiday Photo Album and the folks over at Visioneer will select a winner December 22nd 2010. I was thinking about submitting this Holiday Family Photo from 2001 with Gloria, myself, the girls and our adopted friend Ozzy but I already have a 9520 and wouldn’t want to take away your opportunity to win!

For your chance visit http://www.facebook.com/visioneerinc

Help, I am Out of Hard Drive Space

We’ve all been there! You want to do some work on your Computer and you keep getting a warning telling you the Hard Drive is Full. Going through your drive and deleting files would be the nice thing to do, especially those ones that just seem to be duplicated throughout your Hard Drive. If you don’t have time to do that, adding storage is always a great solution. In fact, with the pricing on Hard Drives currently, it is really to your benefit to plop down a few bucks and get that deal on the 1TB or 2TB drive you had your eye one. Getting some of that clutter and files off your hard drive can also help your system run better. A Good Defrag after moving a bunch of files off your hard drive is like a nice oil bath for C3PO, but I digress.

We talked with Wilson Tang from Azio Corporation on a New Hard Drive Enclosure the company is producing called the E377-U31. This Aluminum cased Hard Drive enclosure with a Slide Out Tray gives users the ability to Add a SATA Hard Drive with a Couple of easy steps. Seriously, it could get easier then this! The Power Connector and USB Cable, which was supplied, connect up in seconds to the Enclosure which offers a screwless design so after a couple of snaps the Drive is in place. Viola!

Pricing is great on this Enclosure system and it really looks pretty good on the Desktop. Users can opt for a USB 3.0 connection or go for the current standard USB 2.0. If you decide on the USB 3.0, you are backwards compatible with the USB 2.0 and USB 1.0 designs. You’ll need a USB 3.0 to get that full speed or you can purchase a USB 3.0 Expansion Card which can be placed in an available PCI Express Port and connected to an available Power Connector.

We like the Sturdy Design, Ease of Access and Side Mounted Fan on the Unit. Listen in to our interview with Wilson Tang of Azio at http://www.techtalkradio.com/hardware/azio.html You can also view photos of our tester unit on the page.

SteelSeries helps gain the advantage in Gaming

Bruce Hawver talked with Andy Taylor of TechtalkRadio
Brcue talks with Andy Taylor of TechtalkRadio

I talked yesterday with SteelSeries CEO Bruce Hawver about some of the products we will be seeing this holiday season from SteelSeries. It’s not the first time Bruce has been on our show and certainly won’t be the last. Since the previous discussion with Bruce, the company has expanded it’s product line to include more branded gaming items, eyewear to combat eye strain and fatigue and a new way to pay for the products you would like to get.

With the upcoming season, it is expected that peripherals will make up a huge portion of the gift buying. While many look to add USB Web cams and storage, SteelSeries knows that gamers want the products they make. Over the years we have looked at many of these products including Headsets, Gaming Mice and the very cool Merc Stealth keyboard produced by Ideazon which SteelSeries acquired. Some of the new product from SteelSeries include headsets with removable ear cups, connector cords which can be disconnected and put away and even a few with USB connections. For the gamer that likes to be part of the conversation, a variety of the headsets include microphones that collapse inside the ear cups. This is valuable considering the few different headsets we’ve looked at from other vendors with microphones that detach could be at risk of losing the microphone piece. Even the Console game can benefit with the SteelSeries latest Spectrum 5XB for the Xbox360.

The gaming mice products from SteelSeries are a must have for fans of World of Warcraft. The latest product branded with Blizzards MMO title, is the World of Warcraft Cataclysm MMO Gaming Mouse. This peripheral features the ability to bind all 14 buttons to the in game selections for WoW as well as advanced illumination and drag and drop setup with over 130 preset game commands. The Mouse is beefier and almost looks as though it would come from the World of Warcraft! If you’re not the big WoW fan, you could also get into intense combat with the Medal of Honor branded products or Starcraft II to name a few.

SteelSeries has also partnered with the folks at PaynearMe which allows shoppers to select a product for purchase on the SteelSeries website and visit a local participating 7-Eleven to have the payment processed. This can come in handy when a credit card is not available or the buyer wants to pay with cash.

Check out our Interview with SteelSeries CEO Bruce Hawver and be sure to take a look at the SteelSeries Website for a full look at the products the company offers. Our interview can be found at http://www.techtalkradio.com/hardware/steelseries.html You can also get some great information and updates on the Unofficial Official Blog for SteelSeries at http://fragyou.net