Quick Take on HTC U11 Selfie Camera

My wife has been using the Oneplus 3T for some more than half a year, and it has been a great upgrade from her previous HTC Desire Eye. The OP3T is smoother, faster and she isn’t frustrated with Instagram crashing so often anymore.

With better image sensor, the front and back camera also takes better photos especially in low light. However the color coming out of the image from Desire Eye is better and more pleasing than from the OP3T, which says a lot about the way HTC processes the photos. The Desire Eye front camera has a ultrawide angle lens too, and on HTC software, it is able to do HDR, which is very useful during mid-day when the sunlight is harsh.

When HTC announced the U11, I was very excited and hoping to see if it can be a better selfie camera phone for my wife. With the flagship specifications, I don’t think she will be disappointed. Most of the reviews online are very positive too. The absence of headphone jack isn’t a problem for her because she never use the headphone before.

It is however, very difficult to find people who really look into the performance of the front camera. I guess most of the reviewers aren’t into selfie. And the people who does a lot of selfie, isn’t interested of the technical details of the front camera. I really need to test it out the old-school way by using the actual product in my hand.

Both the Maxis Centre and HTC store in Sunway Pyramid has a demo unit of the HTC U11, so that mall is the best place to go. Maxis also has the silver blue version in stock if my wife were to upgrade her phone since she is already on Maxis.

The selfie camera is the ONLY thing we ever tested when my wife and I went to the store for a test use. My wife took a few photos with the U11 alongside of her OP3T, so it is nothing scientific. At first glance, the image comes out really nice. The color is much natural compared to those from OP3T, the auto HDR is also a very welcoming feature which prevent some parts of the photos from over exposed.

But there is just one big problem. Auto-focus, or the lack of it. I couldn’t believe there is no auto-focus on the U11, and the photos comes out soft when zoom to pixel level. I just couldn’t make it shoot crisply sharp photos and the sharpness is so much worse than the 3T.

Then there’s the shutter lag. Without any sort of AF, I shouldn’t see any lag at all, but the U11 exhibit some kind of shutter lag from the moment you press the shutter button to the time it actually take a photo. I could say it took longer for the 3T to shoot since it to need focus before shooting, but at least if it pre-focus correctly, it shoot faster than the U11.

I also make a quick test on using the new Edge Sense feature to take a photo. I can think of how useful is it during winter when we’re using thick gloves and unable to use the screen, but there is no winter in Malaysia. Using it to take photo also is also less stable than a shutter or on-screen button, which make taking low light photos really useless. So yes, the new feature is still gimmicky.

So the search for the best selfie camera phone continues. A lot of phones for the selfie crowd doesn’t have flagship specs, and the flagship phones only emphasize on the main shooter. The Google Pixel probably has one of the best selfie shooter for now but it is not officially sold in Malaysia, what a bummer.

Quick Take on HTC U11 Selfie Camera

Sony MDR-1000X

Background

After getting the Sony MDR-1Rmk2, I’ve been exposed to what I have been missing in the music that I am listening all these while – the awesome sound quality and the sound stage. I couldn’t go back to a sub-par headphone anymore, that’s why I am reluctant to buy a gaming headphone even though I find the included microphone will be really useful while gaming.

The MDR-1Rmk2 follows almost everywhere I go, it is always in my work bag for me to use it while commuting to work. Since I take the bus to work, I spend an average 12 hours a month commuting inside the bus and sometimes I will be traveling inside the cabin of an airplane, so I do think I will benefit a lot if I have a noise canceling (NC) headphone.

The Competition

When you think of NC headphone, you think of the brand Bose. No doubt they made some of the best NC headphone out there. Not long after I got the MDR-1Rmk2, I went and try the Bose QC25 in the store, one of Bose best wired NC headphone. After listening a few songs, I don’t like the sound signature. It sounded hollow with poor sound stage, a far cry from my Sony, and it is not cheap – around RM1000.

When the wireless QC35 is out, I can’t wait to try it out thinking they’d improved the sound quality significantly. I was wrong, it does not sound any better and it cost 50% more. Both QC25 & QC35 does well in the bass department, but I am not so much of a bass lover.

Sony has few NC headphones such as the MDR-1RNC which cost as much as the QC35 but without wireless feature. As for the XB-1 NC. I just couldn’t justify paying so much for anything that sound so much worse than my MDR-1Rmk2.

I also consider getting a cheap Panasonic NC headphone just for my commuting use, and use the Sony at the rest of the time. The problem is that I couldn’t find it here locally in Malaysia.

The MDR-1000X appears

Right after Sony announced the MDR-1000X and reading about it, I knew right away that is the headphone that I’ve been waiting. Great sound quality with NC, and I am willing to pay for it. Just like a lot of gadgets, Malaysia didn’t get it on the first day of availability and I’ve been checking with the local Sony store very frequently to see if they started selling it. With batteries and electronics inside the MDR-1000X, I want my MDR-1000X to have local warranty just in case it breaks. It took almost a month for it to arrive in Malaysia and I bought it from Star Picker Audio at Kota Damansara instead of the nearest Sony store because the latter didn’t have the colour binge.

Just like the MDR-1mk2, the headphone comes in a nice padded box, but the similarities stops there. Instead of just a bag, the 1000X comes with a hard case with pocket for the included 3.5mm headphone jack cable and airplane adapter. This time around, only one 1.5m cable is included, unlike 3 different cables in the 1Rmk2. The headphone also came pre-charged, so I can use it straight out of the box.

Noise Cancellation

This is new to me, in fact this is my first noise canceling headphone. I’ve only tried briefly on the store to test the effect of noise cancellation. I eagerly fired up the headphone right after getting into the car, without playing any music just to see how quiet can it get. I then start my car engine and I am very excited to not hear anything.

It is also really useful during my commute to work in the bus and train, silencing most of the background low frequency noise so that the bass sounds better, and I can listen to music on a lower volume. It also works nicely in noisy environments such as restaurants. I won’t completely silence voice of people talking, but the reflecting sound is greatly reduced.

The most useful place is inside an aircraft cabin. Those jet engines are very very loud, and without NC, I have to listen more than 50% volume. With NC, I can actually listen at 10% volume and still hear quite clearly. I think that might actually protect my ears from damagingly loud music.

Voice & Ambient Sound Mode

Other than the normal NC function, there are two additional sound modes that distinguishes itself from the QC35. The Voice mode cancel out the low-frequency and use the external mic to mirror sound in the voice frequency range. This is useful when listening to announcements or when hearing what other people is talking with your background music kept at minimum.

I’ve tried inside the bus with people talking at the back, I can hear the sound of people talking while the NC silenced the engine’s sound. However the voice isn’t that clear, so the other party really have to speak out above normal conversation volume for the mic to pick it up. There’s also a slight latency, but not that much to cause a serious echo.

The Ambient sound mode turns the NC off and the mic picks up all the sound, mirror it into the headphone. So you actually gets to hear more than a normal close back headphone. Probably good if you’re walking on the street and want to avoid being hit by incoming vehicles. Due to the small mics, the direction of the sound isn’t perfectly recreated, but it is good enough. Pretty cool.

Bluetooth & Sound Quality

I can only comment the sound quality from legacy Bluetooth A2DP because I do not have any device that is able to transfer on the higher quality AptX or Sony’s proprietary LDAC. Over A2DP, the sound quality sound noticeably muddy compared to straight from cable. Sound stage is also narrower.

With NC on, I can listen to music at a very low volume that the reduced in sound quality and sound stage doesn’t pose a significant problem to me. This is also my first Bluetooth headphone and the convenience of wireless is really apparent during commute which involves in a lot of walking and getting on and off train of bus.

Edit: I’ve found a way to mod my phone and activate AptX on the CM14.1  Android OS. With AptX the sound quality is significant better with much better clarity and less compression distortion. I think it is so good that I won’t be able to tell the difference from using the cable in a noisy environment. In a quiet environment, I’m able to pick up more details and better sound stage with wire input.

Gesture Control

Another feature I found really convenient for commuting is gesture controls. A lot of review mentions the gesture control is a hit and miss thing, but it worked pretty good for me. One draw back with it is making large changes in volumes which involves in a lot of swipes to achieve it. Someone online described that like a dog scratching its ear.

On wired input, most of the gesture doesn’t work except for mode where you temporary lowers the volumes with your right hand.  Not a big deal since the phone is always nearby with wired input.

The headphone also receive calls in both Bluetooth and wired mode. However I really need speak louder in order for the microphone placed on the headphone to pick up my voice. Same goes to wired mode, which I wish there is a mic on the wire which I can place closer to my mouth when taking calls.

Built Quality & Comfort

Since it is priced more expensive than the MDR-1Rmk2, it also sports a better build quality. There isn’t much plastic squeak unlike my MDR-1Rmk2. The latter squeak a lot when resting my head on headrest with the headset pressed onto the cushion.  The outside of ear cups are had a touch of leather skin or something which feels like that and isn’t cheap plastic surface.

The MDR-1000X is a little tighter than the MDR-1Rmk2, that is understood because it is also significantly heavier with batteries and additional electronics inside for Bluetooth and NC. I didn’t feel particularly uncomfortable with the tighter headband.

It is more comfortable to rest my head on headrest with the MDR-1000X because of the more compact arm holding the ear-cups which doesn’t touch the headrest. However I do need to keep my head really still to make sure the headset does not touch the headrest of the seat while taking a bus or plane, because the vibration from the chair will transfer to the ear through the headset and it is very annoying. The sound it made is more pronounce on a NC headset.

After prolong usage, I noticed that the MDR-1000X is sensitive to abrupt air pressure changes. I think the headphone NC mis-compensate it causing a loud thud to be heard. I not sure if this is Sony only problem or is this a side effect for any NC headphones because I couldn’t find much people complaining it, only someone in Head-Fi forum. It might be a defect for my set.

Conclusion

All in all, the MDR-1000X is a good buy even with the high price tag if you need Noise Cancellation. If you’re only listening at home, then you’re better of with similarly priced but having much better sound quality. The NC is tout to be the best out there currently and combine that with great Bluetooth AptX, the MDR-1000X truly let you enjoy your favorite music on-the-go.

Sony MDR-1000X

Alienware 13 R3 Review

Never in my wildest dream that I will buy an Alienware laptop. I knew about the brand dating back as far as 2 decades ago, before they are being bought by Dell. I never liked its design because it looked too geeky. It is so geeky that it was Sheldon Cooper’s laptop in “The Big Bang Theory”. I prefer the Macbook Pro type of industrial design with minimalist look.

My previous laptop – the Dell Inspiron 15 7559 was a great budget gaming laptop, but it struggle quite a lot when comes to playing AAA games. I thought I was going to play Starcraft2 and BF4 a lot with it, I ended up playing a lot of The Division.

 

Smaller Size

Another problem is that how big the Dell 7559 is. It’s so wide that I have to get a new camera backpack to fit it. The AW13 fits into my old Lowepro Event Messenger 250. The Inspiron 15 fit tightly into my work luggage while the AW13 fits nicely with rooms to spare. The AW13 is same as thick though.

Although I don’t use laptop a lot in flight, but my Inspiron 15 will need to be on my lap for me to use it half comfortably. With the AW13, I can place it on the tray table and use it comfortably without the laptop warming up my lap. I’ve tried inside the economy class of Malaysia Airlines Boeing 737, so you can expect it to be a bit more cramp inside LCC airplanes.

13″ IPS Screen

Prior to getting my AW13, I have yet to read any reviews having a unit with IPS screen. Most of the US based reviewer got their OLED units back in the end of 2016 with Skylake CPU and all of the review are positive of the 1440p OLED screen.

I already have a 1440p desktop screen at home, and even a 980Ti is barely powerful enough to keep at stable 60fps on Ultra Settings in some AAA games,. The main purpose for me getting the AW13 is simply just playing games and a bit of photo editing, so the cheaper 1080p IPS screen is enough for me. I do lose the OLED tech raved by other reviewers.

With my subjective view, I think the IPS screen by BOE on this is pretty ok, much better than the 15″ LG that came with the Inspiron 15, on par with the replaced AOU 15″. It gets bright enough and dark enough for what I need. I do not have any light meter or color meter for proper testing of the screen.

Best of all, the screen has got matte coating, unlike the OLED screen. I mentioned before that the 1080p resolution density is just nice for a 15″ screen without any scaling. 1080p on 13″ is a little small without scaling, but isn’t that bad because the screen is now closer to me compared to the Inspiron 15. Arguably the 1440p will be the best with 150% scaling.

The screen doesn’t support Gsync, with that it does supports Optimus graphic switching which IMO, far out weight Gsync. No matter how power efficient the 1060 is, it still cannot compete with Intel’s iGPU when not running anything 3D, giving this gaming laptop an insane amount of battery life.

 

Speaker & Audio Quality

I can’t believe I say this, but I really like the speakers and surround simulation on the AW13. The combination is better than the implementation in Inspiron 15. The virtual surrounds successfully tricked me into thinking the sound came from behind! I find it better than the Asus Xonar U7 with 2.1 setup on my desktop.

Plugging in my Sony MDR-1000X, with just virtual surround enabled and the rest disabled, the effect is also quite pleasing when playing games. Again, arguably it sounds better compared to Dolby HT on Xonar U7. The Killer wireless module doesn’t supports AptX audio thru Bluetooth, so that’s something I missed from the Inspiron 15 7559.

Sound quality for music listening is okay with all Alienware Enhancement turned off. I think using the enhancements is worst off. By plugging in my little Asus Xonar U3 and comparing to the on board audio, the sound from U3 sounds fuller, crisper and with better sound stage.

 

Built

Like the other reviews has mentioned, the laptop felt solid and dense with very little flex, very much different from the Inspiron 15, closer to the high quality of Macbook. It is actually very hard for me to believe it until I got my hands on it because my past experience with Dell laptop (mostly Inspiron and Vostro line) suggest otherwise.

The screen can be open with a single hand, something I’m so used on my Macbook Air and missed it when using the Inspiron 15. This is thanks to the sturdy and very well-tuned hinge. The screen is also held shut by magnet, so it won’t open ajar when the laptop is place inside the bag standing on its back.

The soft touch material on the palm rest is identical to the one on Inspiron, same goes to the keys on the keyboard, which is a good thing.

The outer shell consist of plastic and aluminum panel which in combination made the laptop feels much sturdier than the budget Inspiron 15 even though it may not have the touch and feel of unibody Macbook or Razer Blade.

As for the lightings, I’ve disabled all of them except for keyboard and power button. I don’t find lighting up the touchpad being cool. Although all the keys are lit, they’re aren’t as evenly lit like on my Macbook Air. The keyboards lightings isn’t per key RGB, heck I can’t even choose the colour White. Instead, I have to edit the hex numbers in the config files for that colour.

One reason I could think of for not providing white colour is that the LEDs can’t really do perfect white light, there’s a slight purple tint, very obvious on the touchpads, which isn’t a problem since I’ve disable it. At least the secondary functions keys are lit unlike on the latest Razer Blade.

 

Keyboard & Touchpad

The keyboard looks like from the 1990, unlike the island keys made famous by Apple Macbook. I prefer the island style keys for typing because the gap in between the keys on the AW13 are too small and I keep hitting the wrong key. Maybe I’m used to the smaller Inspiron keys IDK.  I do find the keys very stable, not too close apart and with deep travel distance, making them really great to and game on.

The keyboard on the Inspiron is good for typing when you got use to them, but they aren’t really great for playing games, they are too close to each other. I actually use a Bluetooth mechanical keyboard to game on it. Oh mechanical keyboard, still the best thing for both gaming and typing!

The touchpad is ok. I can say it sucked if I compare it to my old Macbook Air, why they don’t put in a better touchpad is beyond me. Good thing they made it smaller compared to Inspiron so that I don’t touch them during typing and gaming. There are physical buttons for mouse clicks which are nice to have but I have no use for them.

 

Ports

I’m not going into the details of the available ports, it has got one less USB 3.0 port, which I had already gotten a USB-C to USB A converter in case I need more ports. I also wish it has a SD card reader, so now I gotta bring a card reader and its cable when I’m travelling. Maybe I need to find a USB-C SD card reader.

The AW13 has 2 audio jacks for headphones and mic. The headphone jack seems to support those headset with a single jack because a prompt popped asking for the correct configuration when I plug in the headphone jack.

I am still now used to the power input at the back, all the laptops I ever used have power input on the left. With the cable sticking out on the back, I need more space behind it when placing it on a table.  I guess it has desktop in mind, by hiding as much cable behind as possible.

I haven’t find the use of rest of the ports yet. I don’t have a HTC Vive for testing, which would makes the extra ports very useful. I’ll hook up the laptop to my 4k TV if I got the time.

 

Upgrades

Just like the Inspiron 15, the bottom of the AW13 can be easily opened, albeit by releasing a little more screws. By a quick glance of the internal from the bottom, I can tell it is a much higher quality product compared to the Inspiron 15.

The 16GB DDR4 (2×8) can be upgrade to 32GB, which I don’t find a reason to do so. There are two M.2 SSD banks which one has been used by the included 256GB PCI-E SSD. Dell is kind enough to use Samsung SM961 on my unit, which I prefer compared to Toshiba ones.

It supports M.2 SATA SSD too which I’ve used briefly with the 256GB Crucial MX200 I’ve installed in my Inspiron. It has since been replaced by a used 1TB Toshiba PCI-E SSD which I found someone selling online.

Battery Life

Long story short, I can around 6 hours with non-gaming usage. Probably more if all I do is just reading from a PDF or typing some stuff. I’m glad to report that the new Kaby Lake CPU really makes wonders because I would expect this laptop with 1060 wouldn’t last as long as my old Inspiron 15 with 960M. I’m gladly surprised it isn’t the case. I had report that the AW13R3 with OLED and Skylake CPU would last around 4 hours.

I wish it can last 10 hours like the Macbook Pro does, but I can totally live with 6 hours. My Sandy Bridge Macbook Air barely reaches 4 hours which I find that a bit short.

I do not plan to game on battery, ever, so no comment on that.

 

Gaming

The only reason I get the AW13 is to play games, that’s all. If not for that I would just get a XPS 15 which cost roughly the same but sports a much slower GTX 1050 GPU but at a much lighter weight and compact size. Plus that bigger screen!

And oh boy the GTX1060 doesn’t disappoint. It is crazy to think the GPU inside is faster and cooler than my old big ass R9 280X and just a tad slower than the 980 Ti on my current desktop. I’m not going to post benchmark scores here since many have done that already.

I’m so happy that I can play The Division, Battlefield 1 and now Ghost Recon: Wildlands with graphical settings similar to the ones on my desktop, on this little laptop. The fans does spin up quite a lot during load, which is expected.

Initially I got CPU temperature hovering above 80°C during gaming, which is WAAAAY past my comfort on a laptop. Luckily with the help of Intel XTU, with a -0.120V core adjustment, I am able to bring down the temperature by 10°C without any repasting done.

Just like I’ve rant about the screen, I wanted to say again that at 13.3″ the screen is a little small for gaming. I really wish they put in an 15″ Infinity display from the XPS into it. Maybe it is the small screen, but I don’t miss not having Gsync as I don’t see much, if any, tearing.

 

Conclusion

The Alienware 13 R3 is a powerful laptop which doesn’t come in a really big package. It is still rather bulky and heavy in the era of tablet and Ultrabook computing. The 13″ screen is a little small, but the 1080p resolution keeps everything sharp and nice. This is a laptop for people who play games but doesn’t need a laptop to be with them all the time.

Alienware 13 R3 Review

AptX on Dell Inspiron 15 7559

Since I got the MDR-1000X, I’ve been trying to find a way to stream high quality sound over Bluetooth into it. It supports AptX and Sony’s proprietary LDAC which both are not supported by my Oneplus One.

Today while trying to look for a new phone that supports AptX or LDAC using my Dell laptop, suddenly it hit me. Can this laptop supports AptX instead? By default it doesn’t because even by playing back songs from Spotify, I sounded muddy over Bluetooth.

A quick Google search led me to Notebook Review Forum whereby someone mentioned that there’s some Intel Bluetooth drivers unlocked AptX for him. So and I went and try those driver. The installation is pretty simple, already detailed by the site.

I tried the first driver for Intel 7265/3165/7260/3160 Bluetooth. Installation went smoothly, and a notification pop up after I’ve connected to my Sony headphone, stating that AptX is active. I got really excited! I fired up Spotify and confirmed it sound much nicer now but there is one major flaw. The sound would skip as if there isn’t enough bandwidth. I was disappointed, thinking maybe the Bluetooth module in my laptop doesn’t supports it.

There is a second driver for Intel 8260 Bluetooth. I downloaded it just to give it a try since the installation is so simple. This time the driver works flawlessly, I am able to listen to much better quality sound over Bluetooth without any skipping.

If you have AptX supported audio device and wanting to try playback better quality music over Bluetooth on your laptop. I would highly recommend you give these drivers a try.

Edit: What do you know, I also managed to unlock AptX on my Oneplus One by downloading a zip file done by dr_root from XDA Forum. Now I can continue using my OPO till it die!

AptX on Dell Inspiron 15 7559

Getting Bootloop in Shanghai

I should have done a nandroid backup before I flash the latest CM13 ROM. I didn’t do it because updating a new nightly didn’t cause much of a problem until today. While at work, without any sort of internet connection, I don’t use my phone much. So I just went and update the ROM. It ended-up getting into a boot-loop. 

I ended up in Shanghai after finishing my work. So once I got my wifi in the room on my laptop, I quickly went and grab the latest version of ROM to see if I can set it up. I manage to connect briefly into my house’s VPN so for a while I was able to message my wife using Facebook Messenger. Usually I contact her using Whatsapp while overseas, but no phone no Whatsapp. 

I seem to be able to download the latest ROM and OpenGApp, so I load them into the phone, did a factory reset, and flashed both .zip. Then realities hit me, I can’t set up the phone because it needs to talk to Google server. I can’t get past the set up screen, so I can’t set up a VPN connection from my phone to reach Google’s server. 

I noticed a few days back that I can set up hotspot on my laptop, I haven’t thought of the practicality of it until today. The laptop is always connected to the internet thru wifi, so why do I need to create another wifi network out of it? If my laptop is connected thru VPN, I can share that secured connection to my phone. Thus my phone doesn’t need to set up VPN.

I tried that method and I’m guessing the connection to my house’s server is so slow that nothing seems to be loading. I went and restart the house router by connecting into its control panel. Then after that I can’t log into the VPN anymore. Now I end up with a completely useless phone. Good thing about my job is that I will be back at home tomorrow, away from all this China Great Firewall crap. 

Without Whatsapp, Google, Facebook, I can only fall back to my Yahoo Mail which seems to be working in China. I wrote an email to my wife updating her my failed attempted to setup the phone, and hit the Send button. For some weird reason, only the first letter got thru – the letter H from the word “Hi”. I don’t know was it the Safari on the iPad or what-the-fuck. I just shut everything off and goes to bed. 

Getting Bootloop in Shanghai

Noctua NF-P12 & NF-F12

I got a pair of Noctua NF-P12 back in August and I finally got the time to install them into the Ncase. The reason I get the two fans was that the Corsair SP120 cooling the 980Ti is a little on the noisy side when gaming so I was thinking how can I reduce the noise. I always hear how good Noctua fans are so this is probably the good time to get them.

I made the mistake buying the P12 instead of the F12 thinking that like Corsair, P stands for Pressure. It’s not, it is just Premium for Noctua and F means Focus which is the one I really need. The P12 also runs at just 1300RPM instead of 1500RPM on the F12. Anyway, they are considered slow compared to Corsair’s running at 2300RPM. Noctua 2000RPM fans are their Industrial line and they cost almost double.

Replacing the two fans inside my Ncase isn’t hard. With the spare SP120, I decided to use one as exhaust on the side panel, and the other one as a second fan on the NF-C14 CPU cooler. The later is a PITA to install without removing the cooler from the CPU. I used the original clip on its original 140mm fans. Since Corsair fans got this thick rubber screw hole, I have to use cable ties to hold the clip.

After putting everything back on, and flashing the 980Ti BIOS with new fan speeds, I went and run Furmark to see how the Noctua fans perform. One word: poor. At max RPM, which is around 1210RPM, the temp shoots right up to 81C without OC. It simply thermal throttle with OC even if I set the temperature limit to the maximun 91C. Things looks better in real world gaming test. I fired up The Division and with my CPU OC to 4.4GHz and 980Ti OC, the fans seems to be keeping the GPU temp around 80C.

Noise wise, at max RPM, they definitely sounds a lot quieter than the Corsair pairs as they need to spin at around 1800RPM to get identical cooling performance. Since the SP120 is far more quiet than the stock reference 980Ti fan, the NF-P12 is almost like silent even at full speed.

Since the P12’s cooling performance isn’t ideal, I went and ordered a pair of NF-F12. I swapped out the P12 and use the F12 for cooling the GPU, and use the pair of P12 to cool the CPU.

The P12 does a great job cooling the CPU! At full speed, it is much quieter than SP120 and it is able to keep my i5 3570k overclocked to 4.4GHz below 85C. The added 300rpm of the F12 doesn’t really improve the situation on the GPU front. The 980Ti still thermal throttle and I don’t know why.

Updated 10th June 2017:

I couldn’t take the 980Ti always thermal throttling during gaming, so I decided to do a re-paste just in case I did it wrong the first time. After re-pasting and putting every back together, I found something peculiar with the fans.

While stress testing the 980Ti, the 2nd fan connected to the 3-pin on the Y-splitter would stop spinning. Using MSI Afterburner, I’ve set the fan to 100% for testing, and the 2nd fan will stop spinning once a while.

Initially I thought it was due to loose cable because the custom-made Y-splitter’s fan header is pretty lose. It isn’t it because the fan will stop spinning when command for 100% even if I didn’t move or touch the PC. Even if both fan are spinning, the 2nd fan is spinning considerably slower than the main one. By rough estimation, it is spinning less than 40% of full speed.

The fan is fine because switching the header only reverse it. That’s mean something isn’t right with the cable or the card isn’t sending enough power to spin two fans at full speed. I used another Y-splitter which comes with the Noctua fan, and use it on top of the 4-pin.

Yes I splitting it twice. It solved the problem and both fans are running at full speed again and it make a lot of difference. At 1500rpm, the fans are able to keep the 980ti from thermal throttling even with mild over clock to 1300MHz.

Noctua NF-P12 & NF-F12

An iPhone for my wife?

Recently my wife has been complaining how shitty her phone is. The biggest problem for her HTC Desire Eye would be that 16GB storage. It just can’t hold a lot of apps and she’s having headache deleting some rarely use one to make room for new apps. I can set-up the external storage (aka MicroSD) into a some sort of shared internal one since the phone is running on Android Marshmallow, but I think that’s going to amplify the second problem.

Second problem is speed. The phone’s Snapdragon 801 CPU may be the best of the bunch back in 2014, but at the end of 2016 it seem to has shown it age. I don’t know whether the CPU is the real culprit or is it the combination of RAM and almost full internal storage, but the phone simply loads apps slow and same for switching them back and fourth.

Another problem for her and not me is the difficulty in getting new casing, new cute casing for girls to be exact. It is so rare to find compatible casing in the streets compared to more popular HTC phones like the M8. My wife is simply envy seeing all the nicely design case out there designed only for the iPhone.

She saw some amazing photos taken on the iPhone 6S and she is really interested using one. She hear how better apps works in iOS and how smooth the OS is from her circle of friends who mostly use iPhone. I’m guessing for a lot of people out there, using an iPhone sort of speaks how trendy or how wealthy you are. Not for me.

I’ve been reluctant to get an iPhone for her because of the fact that I’m pretty cheapskate when comes to buying new phones. That RM1.8k Desire Eye I got for here is pretty much the most I will pay for a phone. I mean, it is a phone, not a laptop or PC where I can do a lot of things on, or a DSLR which high price give you good image quality and better handling as well. That new 128GB iPhone 7 Plus cost more than double of that!

Second would be the front facing camera. She love the HTC Desire Eye selfie camera, and it is also the main reason I got it for her. It is whopping 13 megapixel albeit from an older Sony sensor. It hold up pretty well in 2016 in good light and suck a little bit in poor light. And then it is the very wide 22mm (35mm equiv.) lens which makes it very easy for her to take group photos or just better selfies with more emphasize on what’s happening in the background.

The selfie camera on the iPhone 7 isn’t bad, in actual fact that new 7 megapixel sensor is much cleaner and will perform well on low light. However I do think the 32mm lens is too narrow for a selfie camera in 2016. I’m dead sure Apple is going to come out a new iPhone with wider selfie camera and make a lot of ladies wanting to change their old iPhone. Looks like I will have to resort to poor quality adapter lens for the selfie camera for her to get wide shots.

As for the main camera side, I do think that the dual camera on the new iPhone will be quite useful for her. She love to try new food and I think the new “Standard” lens camera will be a nice welcome for her to frame shot of foods, restaurant and people.

I am also reluctant to get an iPhone for her because of the Apple ecosystem. She’s been on Android for ages and a lot of her data are in Google server inside Google ecosystem, same goes for me. I really dislike the way iOS handles media files, and the only way to get them onto your PC is either via the buggy iTune or Apple Photo cloud crap. Maybe it is a good thing she’s using my old Apple Macbook Air right now that it may be easier for her to get into the Apple ecosystem bandwagon.

Maybe I should just set-up the external storage on her phone as internal and see how it turns out. Maybe she’ll forget about getting the iPhone.

An iPhone for my wife?