Topic: Computer

Hardware, software & hacks

Fast SSD with NVMe

NVMe is the abbreviation for “Non Volatile Memory Express” and describes a standard for connecting SSDs via PCI Express. With SATA the speed is limited to 600 MB/s. In addition, AHCI (Advanced Host Controller Interface) used by SATA was primarily developed for hard drives and limits the possible I/O operations per second (IOPS). With NVMe both have been improved – PCI Express enables significantly higher transfer rates of up to 32 GBit/s or 4 GB/s via PCIe 4x and more than 500000 IOPS.

After one of the SSDs in my “retro PC” started reporting checksum errors I installed an NVMe drive with a PCIe adapter card for M.2 as a replacement.

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By the way – about USB controllers

My PC is built into a tower case from Chieftec. This case offers also external ports for USB 3 among other things. Internally, these ports are connected to the mainboard.

However, I also installed an internal memory card reader from Chieftec, which also uses USB 3 and offers a 4× USB hub. This means that the only internal USB 3 port on the mainboard is occupied. In order to be able to use the external USB connections, I bought an additional controller for PCI-Express, which offers two external USB connections and two more internal connections. The connections in the housing can also be supplied via this.

So far so good – but there was a strange effect when I tried to use a Velleman K8055N: as soon as the connection was established in the software, the software stopped working. This effect did not occur using the connections of the mainboard itself. The USB connections of the memory card reader were not a problem either.

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Signal wants to integrate “Mobile Coin”

I advertised the use of Signal already in 2019 and was quite happy that many of my contacts changed to Signal as well when WhatsApp announced a mandatory change in their terms of use at the beginning of 2021.

Now Signal decided to integrate the crypto currency “Mobile Coin”. Moxie Marlinspike works as a paid consultant for Mobile Coin, so this is not really a surprise. Nevertheless I consider this questionable and I am not alone with this impression.

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OnlyOffice in Nextcloud – the current status

I recently reported hastily that OnlyOffice in Nextcloud would generally no longer work properly.

However, this is generally not correct and I did premature conclusions for some points. Ascensio System also got in touch with me and did everything possible to help me with my problems – thank you!

I removed the original post because it was based on incorrect assumptions.

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“Retro” High End

Recently a good friend of mine gave me a used Intel Xeon E5-1650 v2 which he didn’t need any longer as a gift. According to the data of Intel this model was already introduced in the third quarter of 2013 and is therefore 7 years old as of August 2020.

Calling this “retro” may be a bit exaggerated – but it is a valid question if using such an old processor still makes sens in the year 2020. Current models provide more performance while also often using less power. In addition memory modules with DDR4 provide a higher throughput as well.

On the other hand my old PC is still mostly based on the hardware with a Xeon E3 which I bought already in 2014 and which got equipped with SSDs as mass storage and a new graphics card running a 4K display. Despite its age it is still usable quite well. Moving to the Xeon E5 would be an easy upgrade since I only would have to change the mainboard and the CPU cooler. The existing RAM modules could be used unchanged.

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