Please recommend a desktop system for me, a programmer, for < $1k


R

RayLopez99

In the past I have extensively researched the latest in computer
components, using Tom's Hardware site, done a cost comparison, and
built the system myself, but now I'm too busy, and will rely on your
advice--after all you guys are ahead of me anyway on the latest.

Requirements: I code in Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 and 2010, I
write using the Office Suite, and I use several browsers and the only
game I play is a non-graphic intensive form of online chess. I also
sometimes run chess software, which are very CPU intensive, but at my
level, since I'm not a grandmaster, I'm not fanatic about finding the
deepest continuation in a chess position, which requires state of the
art hardware. I'm just a casual chess fan.

Right now I'm actually coding successfully using a Pentium II running
Windows XP Pro, albeit build times can be slow on complex projects.
But it's surprising what a PII system can accomplish.

What I'd like: to spend less than $1000 total on a desktop, with a
17" LCD screen. I thought about going to a desktop replacement laptop
but the system I like at Dell costs $3k--too much money and it will
run hot anyway I suspect.

I want to run Windows 7. Bells and whistles: (optional but nice):
SSD drive. My mechanical HD filled now is about 70 GB in data, and I
doubt it grows to double that, so a small SSD drive is not out of the
question--I assume you have to always back up a SSD drive but I do
that anyway now with Acronis on an external USB HD so no big deal.
Maybe I will put a traditional HD in tandem with it, but perhaps not
since the SSD drive will run slower, no? No need for RAID IMO unless
somebody has a good reason--can you put two SSD drives in a RAID?
Just speculating.

I also for fun want to (maybe) try a 64 bit OS--unless you feel it
will not be backwardly compatible, though "in theory" it should. I
run SQL Server on my local machine too, if that matters.

Memory: if 64-bit OS, lots of memory, otherwise the standard, what is
it, 4GB RAM max on a 32 bit OS.

What chip? My other PC (not this one) has a Core2 Duo from a few
years ago (forget the model number) and it seems fast, albeit on Vista
it's slower than it should be. Windows 7 supposedly has ironed out
the Vista kinks.

Here is a sample PC that "looks OK" for what I have in mind, do you
agree? http://cgi.ebay.com/NEW-INTEL-CUSTO...DR2-BAREBONES-PC-/350383906072?pt=Desktop_PCs

The "INTEL CELERON E3200 DUAL CORE" is roughly the same (I think) as
the Core2Duo from a few years ago that I have, that seems to be strong
enough for Vista and probably 7, agree?

Any advice appreciated.

Also where to buy: Dell, HP? I live overseas in Athens, Greece but
will get my friends to mail me a system that can ship to the USA.

RL
 
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P

Paul

RayLopez99 said:
In the past I have extensively researched the latest in computer
components, using Tom's Hardware site, done a cost comparison, and
built the system myself, but now I'm too busy, and will rely on your
advice--after all you guys are ahead of me anyway on the latest.

Requirements: I code in Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 and 2010, I
write using the Office Suite, and I use several browsers and the only
game I play is a non-graphic intensive form of online chess. I also
sometimes run chess software, which are very CPU intensive, but at my
level, since I'm not a grandmaster, I'm not fanatic about finding the
deepest continuation in a chess position, which requires state of the
art hardware. I'm just a casual chess fan.

Right now I'm actually coding successfully using a Pentium II running
Windows XP Pro, albeit build times can be slow on complex projects.
But it's surprising what a PII system can accomplish.

What I'd like: to spend less than $1000 total on a desktop, with a
17" LCD screen. I thought about going to a desktop replacement laptop
but the system I like at Dell costs $3k--too much money and it will
run hot anyway I suspect.

I want to run Windows 7. Bells and whistles: (optional but nice):
SSD drive. My mechanical HD filled now is about 70 GB in data, and I
doubt it grows to double that, so a small SSD drive is not out of the
question--I assume you have to always back up a SSD drive but I do
that anyway now with Acronis on an external USB HD so no big deal.
Maybe I will put a traditional HD in tandem with it, but perhaps not
since the SSD drive will run slower, no? No need for RAID IMO unless
somebody has a good reason--can you put two SSD drives in a RAID?
Just speculating.

I also for fun want to (maybe) try a 64 bit OS--unless you feel it
will not be backwardly compatible, though "in theory" it should. I
run SQL Server on my local machine too, if that matters.

Memory: if 64-bit OS, lots of memory, otherwise the standard, what is
it, 4GB RAM max on a 32 bit OS.

What chip? My other PC (not this one) has a Core2 Duo from a few
years ago (forget the model number) and it seems fast, albeit on Vista
it's slower than it should be. Windows 7 supposedly has ironed out
the Vista kinks.

Here is a sample PC that "looks OK" for what I have in mind, do you
agree? http://cgi.ebay.com/NEW-INTEL-CUSTO...DR2-BAREBONES-PC-/350383906072?pt=Desktop_PCs

The "INTEL CELERON E3200 DUAL CORE" is roughly the same (I think) as
the Core2Duo from a few years ago that I have, that seems to be strong
enough for Vista and probably 7, agree?

Any advice appreciated.

Also where to buy: Dell, HP? I live overseas in Athens, Greece but
will get my friends to mail me a system that can ship to the USA.

RL

If you wanted an SSD, you'd probably buy that after-market and
install it yourself. Find an SSD drive with a SandForce controller
on it, and read some comparison reviews before you buy. There are
differences between the controller chips inside the SSD, as to how
many IOP it can manage. Don't go entirely by claims of transfer
rate (MB/sec). That is important, if the SSD is a pathetic one.
But for lots of small transactions, it might be nice to have
a higher IOP rate. That is something you'd look for in the review
of a Sandforce based drive.

As for the rest of it, virtually anything you buy today, is going
to be faster than your Pentium II. Part of the speed will be
consumed by the OS. When you do a software build though, the GUI will be
idle, so the compute power will be applied to doing your build.

Your main issues will be pragmatic ones.

1) What country will you be living in, when you need a warranty repair ?

2) Does your current country of residence have any currency laws ? At
least one country makes it easy to buy a computer, and then you
can't get a refund if you want one later. And that is due to the
currency laws (they don't want you using your credit card as a
money laundering service).

3) Does your current country of residence have VAT, customs and excise
or the like ? Will they fall for the customs declaration of "gift"
written on the outside of the box ? What is the penalty for a false
declaration ?

HTH,
Paul
 
R

RayLopez99

RayLopez99 wrote:
If you wanted an SSD, you'd probably buy that after-market and
install it yourself. Find an SSD drive with a SandForce controller
on it, and read some comparison reviews before you buy.

My internet connection at the moment here in Greece is very very slow
(slower than a dial up modem). Summer fires is the typical reason
given this time of year. Can you recommend a SSD Drive? Can I just
Google it or on eBay buy one? Why do I need to read comparison
reviews? Are some of these SSD drives defective?
There are
differences between the controller chips inside the SSD, as to how
many IOP it can manage. Don't go entirely by claims of transfer
rate (MB/sec). That is important, if the SSD is a pathetic one.
But for lots of small transactions, it might be nice to have
a higher IOP rate. That is something you'd look for in the review
of a Sandforce based drive.

OK what IOP is recommended? I don't know what that acronym stands
for, perhaps IO Processor? But you're using it as a verb.
As for the rest of it, virtually anything you buy today, is going
to be faster than your Pentium II. Part of the speed will be
consumed by the OS. When you do a software build though, the GUI will be
idle, so the compute power will be applied to doing your build.

Right. Ideally I'd like the chip to be faster than a Core 2 duo from
a few years ago, and probably the Celeron variant in my OP is indeed
slightly faster. I hope Windows 7 is not too mP intensive. Vista was
tolerable but a bit CPU cycle hoggish.
Your main issues will be pragmatic ones.

1) What country will you be living in, when you need a warranty repair ?

Greece or Mexico, no need for a warranty.
2) Does your current country of residence have any currency laws ? At
    least one country makes it easy to buy a computer, and then you
    can't get a refund if you want one later. And that is due to the
    currency laws (they don't want you using your credit card as a
    money laundering service).

Right. I will not be returning any machine.
3) Does your current country of residence have VAT, customs and excise
    or the like ? Will they fall for the customs declaration of "gift"
    written on the outside of the box ? What is the penalty for a false
    declaration ?

Yes, "GIFT" written on the box works fine, and no penalties last I
checked, though GR is cracking down on tax cheats so who knows. I
think however I can slip one by them, if my friends mail me components
in several boxes rather than one big box.

RL
 
J

John Doe

RayLopez99 said:
Requirements: I code in Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 and 2010,

I use Visual C++ NET 2003 for my voice-activated scripting
utility. Extremely fast on my quad core, maybe because the program
is very small.
Right now I'm actually coding successfully using a Pentium II
running Windows XP Pro, albeit build times can be slow on
complex projects.

Windows XP SP3 here.
I assume you have to always back up a SSD drive

Probably no more than a conventional hard drive. Maybe less, since
it is not subject to shock damage when removed.

Do keep in mind that in SDD can be a tricky installation, but
hopefully less so nowadays. Being a programmer, you probably will
have no problem with it.
but I do that anyway now with Acronis on an external USB HD so
no big deal. Maybe I will put a traditional HD in tandem with
it, but perhaps not since the SSD drive will run slower, no?

If you mean on the same motherboard, that should not affect SDD
performance. You put them on different SATA connectors. If you can
afford it, the setup SDD as primary and conventional HDD as
secondary is the way to go, at least for now. Also works great for
quick backup of important files from one to the other. I also have
a flash drive hanging from the connector, for a third source of
easy backup.
No need for RAID IMO unless somebody has a good reason--can you
put two SSD drives in a RAID?

As an efficiency aficionado, I do not mess with RAID.
What chip? My other PC (not this one) has a Core2 Duo from a
few years ago (forget the model number) and it seems fast,
albeit on Vista it's slower than it should be. Windows 7
supposedly has ironed out the Vista kinks.

I would ask those using Visual Studio 2008 and 2010 whether quad
core is much better than dual core.

Good luck and have fun.
 
P

Paul

RayLopez99 said:
My internet connection at the moment here in Greece is very very slow
(slower than a dial up modem). Summer fires is the typical reason
given this time of year. Can you recommend a SSD Drive? Can I just
Google it or on eBay buy one? Why do I need to read comparison
reviews? Are some of these SSD drives defective?

SSD drives range from pathetic (slow, stutters, low MB/sec bandwidth,
may fail in as little as two days), to SSD drives that are worth having.
These are some with Sandforce controllers. IOP rates listed as
Random Write 4K: 15,000 IOPS, while I think I've seen about 1200
on my ordinary hard drive here. To achieve 1200, requires most of
those commands to be hitting the cache DRAM chip on the hard drive.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produ...NodeId=1&Subcategory=636&srchInDesc=sandforce

You can see one review here, where someone feels they got a lemon.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductReview.aspx?Item=20-233-124

SSD drives still don't reduce execution times to zero, so prepare
to be underwhelmed. Depending on how many header files you have
or the like though, you might end up pleasantly surprised.

And you really should be reading your own reviews. Compare them
carefully, as this is "early adopter" technology still. You
should not buy these devices "blindly", like you would with
an ordinary hard drive.

http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/storage/display/corsair-ssd-roundup_5.html#sect1

http://www.anandtech.com/show/3661/understanding-sandforces-sf1200-sf1500-not-all-drives-are-equal/2

http://www.anandtech.com/show/2899/1

Paul
 
R

RayLopez99

I use Visual C++ NET 2003 for my voice-activated scripting
utility. Extremely fast on my quad core, maybe because the program
is very small.

True VS compiles are very fast, even on my old hardware. Surprised
you have not upgraded to a later VS. All VS editions can coexist
happily I've found (I have .NET 2002 VS on my HD, along with VS 2010).
Takes a few hours sometimes to upgrade however, if you have install
bugs even longer.


Do keep in mind that in SDD can be a tricky installation, but
hopefully less so nowadays. Being a programmer, you probably will
have no problem with it.

Yeah, right! ;-)
If you mean on the same motherboard, that should not affect SDD
performance. You put them on different SATA connectors. If you can
afford it, the setup SDD as primary and conventional HDD as
secondary is the way to go, at least for now. Also works great for
quick backup of important files from one to the other. I also have
a flash drive hanging from the connector, for a third source of
easy backup.


OK, I'll make a note of that: SATA connections for each drive, makes
sense.
As an efficiency aficionado, I do not mess with RAID.

OK, agreed. RAID is for enterprises that need to hot swap I've
concluded.

RL
 
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R

RayLopez99

SSD drives still don't reduce execution times to zero, so prepare
to be underwhelmed. Depending on how many header files you have
or the like though, you might end up pleasantly surprised.

And you really should be reading your own reviews. Compare them
carefully, as this is "early adopter" technology still. You
should not buy these devices "blindly", like you would with
an ordinary hard drive.

http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/storage/display/corsair-ssd-roundup_...

http://www.anandtech.com/show/3661/understanding-sandforces-sf1200-sf...

http://www.anandtech.com/show/2899/1

    Paul

Excellent links, thanks Paul.

After reviewing these links, I've concluded that for me, SSDs at the
present is not worth the price: SSD drives are about 3x faster than
traditional hard drives in real-world tests, but given the price
difference and capacity limits it's not worth it for me for now. I'll
stick to traditional HDs for this new machine.

Thanks again.

RL
 
P

Paul

geoff said:
It seems to me, the real issue with SSDs is TRIM support. Some handle it
entirely in the drive, others don't.

--g

SSDs are like owning an expensive foreign car, and needing a tuneup
every week, to keep it running in top shape.

Paul
 
D

DevilsPGD

In message
<[email protected]>
RayLopez99 said:
After reviewing these links, I've concluded that for me, SSDs at the
present is not worth the price: SSD drives are about 3x faster than
traditional hard drives in real-world tests, but given the price
difference and capacity limits it's not worth it for me for now. I'll
stick to traditional HDs for this new machine.

The biggest difference between SSDs and traditional drives isn't the raw
throughput, but the latency. Unless you're reading or writing more than
a few dozen MB at once, latency is almost always more important than raw
throughput.

I came very close to making the same decision you did, but one of the
SSDs on my shortlist happened to go on sale so I gambled and grabbed
one, and at this point I don't think you could pay me to go back.
 
D

DevilsPGD

In message <[email protected]> Paul
SSDs are like owning an expensive foreign car, and needing a tuneup
every week, to keep it running in top shape.

Unless you happen to be on a modern OS and modern drive controller, in
which case TRIM takes care of it for you without you worrying about it.
 
L

Loren Pechtel

Excellent links, thanks Paul.

After reviewing these links, I've concluded that for me, SSDs at the
present is not worth the price: SSD drives are about 3x faster than
traditional hard drives in real-world tests, but given the price
difference and capacity limits it's not worth it for me for now. I'll
stick to traditional HDs for this new machine.

I would go for enough memory to cache the stuff you are working with
before I worried about SSDs.
 
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R

RayLopez99

On Thu, 12 Aug 2010 02:09:38 -0700 (PDT), RayLopez99



I would go for enough memory to cache the stuff you are working with
before I worried about SSDs.

Excellent advice. Since nearly all programs I know of work from RAM
only, and not the hard drive (though in theory of course the OS itself
can use the hard drive instead of or in lieu of RAM, though in
practice the system bogs down so much that effectively the computer
often seems to hang, or does in fact hang, or so it seems to me),
increasing the RAM is the practical solution, as you suggest. But
faster uploads of programs in secondary memory into RAM (the latency
issue) is of course solved by using SSD drives. Even on my faster
Core 2 machine with traditional Sata HDs it takes 20 seconds (or so)
to fully load Visual Studio, which is annoying. Not to mention the
slow bootup times, often 5 to 10 minutes (I never hang around to time
it, but go make coffee).

RL
 
R

RayLopez99

Also where to buy: Dell, HP?  I live overseas in Athens, Greece but
will get my friends to mail me a system that can ship to the USA.

RL

I decided to go buy the lowest end Dell Precision T1500 ($600)
workstation. I would have comparison shopped elsewhere, but my ADSL
internet connection is so slow here it's not worth the hassle! Dell
thanks Greece's bureaucratic national telecom carrier, OTE. One
factor that persuaded me was the snippet below, from I think
AnandTech, from a seemingly knowledgeable user. The low end Dell uses
Intel's Core 2 i3 chips, released in January of this year, and they
are roughly all the same as a Core 2 Quad and other modern 2009 - 2010
chips. Since Intel chips seem to be 'compressing' in relative
performance, I think, like racehorses, you pay a huge premium for
10-30% more speed. I will settle for slightly less speed given my
budget.

RL

* snippet:

"I've been building systems since the late 90's, mostly for others,
and I'm always the last to get a decent system so I decided it was
about time for me. I'm running an e6600 on a 3 yr old Intel board w/
2g of DDR2 RAM and was wondering about the differences between C 2
quad, i3-540, i5-750 or i7-820 [I.E--ABOUT SAME IN PERFORMANCE/PRICE].
I priced out 3 different setups with Gigabyte boards (EP45, H57 & P55
- USB3 ver.) combined with Q8400/9300/9400 on EP45, i3-540,i5-750 and
i7-820 on the H57 & P55 and 4 Gb DDR3 RAM (Crucial, Geil,
Kingston)so , basically, I had 9 combinations. Excluding the i7, the
price range for these builds was about $429 - $487, and I could
probably do better if I tried but I was amazed that they were that
close (the i7 adds another $100 but not that much improvement in
performance that I can see). Looking at your charts, I think I can
justify going with the i5-750. I have a decent video card for the
occassional gaming that works pretty good for me now (I'll apply the
$100 from above to a better card later) but I do a lot of spreadsheets
and some photoshop and autocad so I think I'll see a better
improvement there. Thanks again for all your articles. Very well
written, understandable and thorough."
 
P

Paul

RayLopez99 said:
I decided to go buy the lowest end Dell Precision T1500 ($600)
workstation. I would have comparison shopped elsewhere, but my ADSL
internet connection is so slow here it's not worth the hassle!

Have you done any analysis of the effects of the "profile" being used
with your ADSL modem ? The "profile" is a cap inserted at the ISP end,
reducing the data rate to a level where there are no CRC errors.

Tools like DMT, on select modems, can tell you the error margin
or signal to noise ratio. That predicts how much bandwidth
can safely be extracted from the line.

The "profile" or maximum bandwidth setting, has to be such that
there is some noise margin left, so that there won't be excessive
errors. A slow connection *might* be caused, by a too-aggressive
profile.

DMT reads out the information inside the modem. There are multiple
downloadable versions of DMT, each of which supports a different
set of modems. DMT reads out the statistics (the "bins" used by ADSL),
and displays the result.

http://www.dslreports.com/r0/download/1300227~83b958fe55e96961420237b0edf5506a/dmt20080420_1757.png

If you collect a DMT result, or a number of them, and forward them
to your ISP, they can adjust the profile to suit the situation.

http://www.dslreports.com/forum/r20370982-Noise-margin

I'm on a 500KB/sec service, and I'm only getting 300KB/sec, and
that is the "cap" they've set in the initial profile. I have
to complain to the ISP, to get that raised, something I haven't
wasted time on yet. Whether it can be raised, depends on SNR.
My previous ISP had the line running at 500KB/sec, but the
next one selected ~300KB/sec to start with.

HTH,
Paul
 
R

RayLopez99

Have you done any analysis of the effects of the "profile" being used
with your ADSL modem ? The "profile" is a cap inserted at the ISP end,
reducing the data rate to a level where there are no CRC errors.

Tools like DMT, on select modems, can tell you the error margin
or signal to noise ratio. That predicts how much bandwidth
can safely be extracted from the line.

The "profile" or maximum bandwidth setting, has to be such that
there is some noise margin left, so that there won't be excessive
errors. A slow connection *might* be caused, by a too-aggressive
profile.

DMT reads out the information inside the modem. There are multiple
downloadable versions of DMT, each of which supports a different
set of modems. DMT reads out the statistics (the "bins" used by ADSL),
and displays the result.

http://www.dslreports.com/r0/download/1300227~83b958fe55e96961420237b...

If you collect a DMT result, or a number of them, and forward them
to your ISP, they can adjust the profile to suit the situation.

http://www.dslreports.com/forum/r20370982-Noise-margin

I'm on a 500KB/sec service, and I'm only getting 300KB/sec, and
that is the "cap" they've set in the initial profile. I have
to complain to the ISP, to get that raised, something I haven't
wasted time on yet. Whether it can be raised, depends on SNR.
My previous ISP had the line running at 500KB/sec, but the
next one selected ~300KB/sec to start with.

HTH,
    Paul

Wow, good stuff here Paul. I've bookmarked this for future reference.

What I can say is this: here in GR they have noise of the digital
variety, meaning your signal gets dropped completely for 30 second to
180 seconds--absolutely nothing goes through SAVE *sometimes* Skype
(go figure? How is that possible? The only thing I can think of is
that Skype uses some sort of Spread Spectrum error correction
algorithm so that even the slightest connection will allow you to make
a spotty Skype call).

Then, after the digital noise abates, you get a decent download speed
of SEE BELOW* and from BroadBand DSL Reports **. Only slightly worse
than my USA connection in DC, in a house that had poor telephone
wiring. That is, not too bad for my purposes, since I don't do much
online high-def media streaming.

The generic SpeedTouch ADSL modem + router I use has a hardware
firewall, and I think when I set it up it was set to "block ads"--so
often the ads will not appear in a web page. I have a sneaky
suspicion (though I cannot prove it) that sometimes, in ad-heavy sites
like Marketwatch, if you block ads the page 'takes forever' (i.e., a
long time) to load up, since I think the behind-the-scenes code waits
until all ads are loaded, or, after a long time, will allow the page
to be loaded without the ads. Hence the long load times for
advertisement and graphics-heavy sites like Yahoo or Marketwatch. But
I don't go there often, so it's not a big deal. The big deal for me
is the white noise I describe above--very annoying. Any suggestions
welcome. These developing countries like Mexico and Greece (been to
both) seem to have this problem of white noise a lot. Ditto Thailand
when I visited. The excuse given by a support person here in Greece,
probably bogus, is that wildfires severed certain fiber optic lines,
but that's a lame excuse IMO. Another reason might be they are
ramping up their infrastructure, and have too many subscribers and not
enough hardware. 5 years ago, when they first started rolling out DSL
here in Athens on a volume basis, it was not this bad--I used to get,
with the same setup, about 50% to 100% more throughput and I don't
remember any white noise problems. A small possibility, as I note I
was the only GR user who has "home" prefix in the domain name below at
** (i.e., home.otenet.gr), is that I am saddled with some crippled
version of DSL, even though I specifically asked the salesperson to
set me up with the highest DSL (and I'm paying for the highest).
Would not surprise me, incompetent as they are here.

RL

*Speedtest.net:
Download Speed: 1240 kbps (155 KB/sec transfer rate)
Upload Speed: 78 kbps (9.8 KB/sec transfer rate)
6/25/2010 18:30:17

**from Broadband DSL reports that Paul recommended: I am last below at
505/66 but a few others also have these numbers
Speed
Dwn/up Claimed
ISP & Speed User
Location Test Day
Hour
(EST) Company &
Domain
3.3m/353 OTENet
anon @ ATHENS (flash speedtest) 9th 12:33 PM OTENet
otenet.gr
2.1m/519 OTENet
anon California, USA 4th 04:59 PM OTENet
home.otenet.gr
1.8m/508 OTENet
anon (flash speedtest) 26th 02:07 PM OTENet
otenet.gr
1.5m/576 OTENet
anon (flash speedtest) 8th 03:16 PM OTENet
otenet.gr
1.4m/266 OTENet
anon @ ath (flash speedtest) 31st 11:28 AM OTENet
otenet.gr
1.4m/236 OTENet
anon (flash speedtest) 30th 12:42 PM OTENet
otenet.gr
1.1m/194 OTENet
anon (flash speedtest) 16th 12:48 PM OTENet
otenet.gr
702/120 OTENet
anon @ rafina (flash speedtest) 14th 03:01 PM OTENet
otenet.gr
635/43 OTENet
anon (flash speedtest) 26th 02:41 PM OTENet
otenet.gr
505/66 OTENet
anon @ Athens California, USA 13th 06:39 PM OTENet
home.otenet.gr
 
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P

Paul

RayLopez99 said:
Wow, good stuff here Paul. I've bookmarked this for future reference.

What I can say is this: here in GR they have noise of the digital
variety, meaning your signal gets dropped completely for 30 second to
180 seconds--absolutely nothing goes through SAVE *sometimes* Skype
(go figure? How is that possible? The only thing I can think of is
that Skype uses some sort of Spread Spectrum error correction
algorithm so that even the slightest connection will allow you to make
a spotty Skype call).

Then, after the digital noise abates, you get a decent download speed
of SEE BELOW* and from BroadBand DSL Reports **. Only slightly worse
than my USA connection in DC, in a house that had poor telephone
wiring. That is, not too bad for my purposes, since I don't do much
online high-def media streaming.

The generic SpeedTouch ADSL modem + router I use has a hardware
firewall, and I think when I set it up it was set to "block ads"--so
often the ads will not appear in a web page. I have a sneaky
suspicion (though I cannot prove it) that sometimes, in ad-heavy sites
like Marketwatch, if you block ads the page 'takes forever' (i.e., a
long time) to load up, since I think the behind-the-scenes code waits
until all ads are loaded, or, after a long time, will allow the page
to be loaded without the ads. Hence the long load times for
advertisement and graphics-heavy sites like Yahoo or Marketwatch. But
I don't go there often, so it's not a big deal. The big deal for me
is the white noise I describe above--very annoying. Any suggestions
welcome. These developing countries like Mexico and Greece (been to
both) seem to have this problem of white noise a lot. Ditto Thailand
when I visited. The excuse given by a support person here in Greece,
probably bogus, is that wildfires severed certain fiber optic lines,
but that's a lame excuse IMO. Another reason might be they are
ramping up their infrastructure, and have too many subscribers and not
enough hardware. 5 years ago, when they first started rolling out DSL
here in Athens on a volume basis, it was not this bad--I used to get,
with the same setup, about 50% to 100% more throughput and I don't
remember any white noise problems. A small possibility, as I note I
was the only GR user who has "home" prefix in the domain name below at
** (i.e., home.otenet.gr), is that I am saddled with some crippled
version of DSL, even though I specifically asked the salesperson to
set me up with the highest DSL (and I'm paying for the highest).
Would not surprise me, incompetent as they are here.

RL

*Speedtest.net:
Download Speed: 1240 kbps (155 KB/sec transfer rate)
Upload Speed: 78 kbps (9.8 KB/sec transfer rate)
6/25/2010 18:30:17

**from Broadband DSL reports that Paul recommended: I am last below at
505/66 but a few others also have these numbers
Speed
Dwn/up Claimed
ISP & Speed User
Location Test Day
Hour
(EST) Company &
Domain
3.3m/353 OTENet
anon @ ATHENS (flash speedtest) 9th 12:33 PM OTENet
otenet.gr
2.1m/519 OTENet
anon California, USA 4th 04:59 PM OTENet
home.otenet.gr
1.8m/508 OTENet
anon (flash speedtest) 26th 02:07 PM OTENet
otenet.gr
1.5m/576 OTENet
anon (flash speedtest) 8th 03:16 PM OTENet
otenet.gr
1.4m/266 OTENet
anon @ ath (flash speedtest) 31st 11:28 AM OTENet
otenet.gr
1.4m/236 OTENet
anon (flash speedtest) 30th 12:42 PM OTENet
otenet.gr
1.1m/194 OTENet
anon (flash speedtest) 16th 12:48 PM OTENet
otenet.gr
702/120 OTENet
anon @ rafina (flash speedtest) 14th 03:01 PM OTENet
otenet.gr
635/43 OTENet
anon (flash speedtest) 26th 02:41 PM OTENet
otenet.gr
505/66 OTENet
anon @ Athens California, USA 13th 06:39 PM OTENet
home.otenet.gr

Would the outage of 30 seconds to 120 seconds, be a "resync" ?
Does the LED on the modem go back to the flashing state, implying
it is training up to connect again ?

Poor performance, can be caused by being a long distance from
the Central Office. But companies also have the option, of
placing Remotes of some sort, in a neighborhood, which can
reduce that distance somewhat.

I have a Speedtouch, but I run it in Bridged mode. Then,
I connect a separate router box to the output. That is
equivalent to your setup, only I get the features of
my favorite router, rather than the Speedtouch router
stuff. I find the router side of the Speedtouch, is
too "chatty" on the LAN side. My wired router, on the
other hand, is well behaved. It only speaks when spoken to.

Paul
 
R

RayLopez99

Would the outage of 30 seconds to 120 seconds, be a "resync" ?
Does the LED on the modem go back to the flashing state, implying
it is training up to connect again ?

Poor performance, can be caused by being a long distance from
the Central Office. But companies also have the option, of
placing Remotes of some sort, in a neighborhood, which can
reduce that distance somewhat.

Yes it seems a resync. Since Athens is only, at best, about 25 miles
in diameter, I find it hard to believe they don't have repeaters/
remotes everywhere yet, but it would not surprise me.
I have a Speedtouch, but I run it in Bridged mode. Then,
I connect a separate router box to the output. That is
equivalent to your setup, only I get the features of
my favorite router, rather than the Speedtouch router
stuff. I find the router side of the Speedtouch, is
too "chatty" on the LAN side. My wired router, on the
other hand, is well behaved. It only speaks when spoken to.

    Paul

Speedtouch is chatty, noted. BTW I also have successfully set up a
hub downstream of the Speedtouch router, so I can and have run two
computers through the same SpeedTouch modem/router at the same time.
Naturally this affects performance, so I don't usually do it, but I
have.

RL
 
L

Loren Pechtel

What I can say is this: here in GR they have noise of the digital
variety, meaning your signal gets dropped completely for 30 second to
180 seconds--absolutely nothing goes through SAVE *sometimes* Skype
(go figure? How is that possible? The only thing I can think of is
that Skype uses some sort of Spread Spectrum error correction
algorithm so that even the slightest connection will allow you to make
a spotty Skype call).

I get a similar effect at times and I think I see what's going on:

Open connections remain open and sometimes have substantial transfer
rates but almost all attempts to open new connections fail. I had
always figured it was ISP throttling when the segment overloaded.
 
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R

RayLopez99

I get a similar effect at times and I think I see what's going on:

Open connections remain open and sometimes have substantial transfer
rates but almost all attempts to open new connections fail.  I had
always figured it was ISP throttling when the segment overloaded.

That's interesting and probably true.

Do you or anybody have a tool to measure when ISP throttling is
occuring? The links Paul provided were not clear about any tool you
can download. The only tool I have is a freeware utility called
BitMeter that simply tracks, in a rough average every hour, your bit
rates d/l and upload in MB/s every hour. I want more tools with
instant real time abilities. I also, for programming purposes, have a
packet sniffer called Fiddler, but it's a bit too granular (it gives
you for example the bit stream packets in Hex coming in or going out).

RL
 

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