Cathal

Site owner.

Bethesda, you screwed up..

Bethesda Softworks, you’ve really screwed it up. You managed, in less than two days, to turn a large group of hardcore fans against your company. How? By requiring a rootkit to be installed in order to play a game from a famous franchise. See here: https://www.reddit.com/r/Doom/comments/gjzi01/why_you_should_remove_doom_eternal_denuvo/

I’ve been a fan of the Doom franchise since I first played the game way back in the mid-90s. I played on everything from my first P133 through to my current behemoth machines. I thoroughly enjoyed Doom3 in spite of its monster closets. I spent a lot of time looking forwards to the newest iterations of the franchise, and Doom2016 was not a disappointment even though my graphics card at the time very much was.. Then Doom Eternal came out as I was in Zurich for work, and I did not have a gaming PC..

I got the Deluxe edition on steam to have for when I would be reunited with that gamin PC. Then, given I was requested to stay longer on the work contract I built up a new gaming PC here, and I had Doom Eternal installed and ready to play after I was to complete The Witcher 3 first.

I saw that Doom Eternal had an update on Steam. Taking a closer look, I noted that this update required the installation of Denuvo Anti-Cheat. A little investigation of this software package shows it’s a rootkit, designed around a Ring-0 level driver (root level for those that *nix) that gave unfettered and uncontrolled access to the computer to an untrusted third party.

That’s a hard no-no from me. No software package like a game needs to have *anything* that runs in ring-0.

More investigation shows that even after the uninstallation of the Denuvo malware, it gets reinstalled if the game is attempted to be run again. That’s a definition of malware.

Given that Doom Eternal is a single player game, there’s no need for any anti-cheat to be running at all, and even if there was a large online community of people playing the multiplayer aspect, then the measures should be server-side and not client-side. That’s basic operational security – you don’t trust the client.

So, I’ve requested a full refund from Steam, as it’s not legal to change what I bought after the fact in such a manner. Installation of a ring-0 driver in order to play a game triggers my security systems, and as such I’m now unable to play the game I’ve paid for, so the game is no longer fit for purpose. It remains to be seen if Steam have the common sense to comply.

It’s really useful to note that the version of this game available on the high seas is actually more trustworthy, and is performing better, than the “official” release.

I’ll reconsider the purchase of this game once all of the Denuvo crap has been removed.

Build Complete. Beast. Behemoth..

Passmark of 8080

UserBenchmarks:

Game 116%, Desk 134%, Work 134%
CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 3900X – 97.7%
GPU: Nvidia RTX 2080 – 124.8%
SSD: Corsair Force NVMe PCIe M.2 960GB – 257.7%
HDD: Samsung Spinpoint F1 1TB – 46.3%
RAM: Corsair CMW16GX4M2Z3600C18 2x8GB – 116.1%

Timespy: 10974

Firestrike: 23244

Port Royal: 6643

Unigine Heaven Basic : FPS: 363.50 Score: 9158

Build details:

CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 3900X
GPU: Asus RTX 2080 Dual OC
SSD: Corsair Force NVMe PCIe M.2 960GB
HDD: Samsung Spinpoint F1 1TB
RAM: Corsair DDR4-3600 2x8GB
MBD: Asus ROG STRIX X570-E GAMING
PSU: Corsair HX1200i
Case: Corsair Obsidian 750d
Cooler: Corsair H115i Pro

Reasonably tidy cable management!

My graphics cards and CPUs through the ages.

Primary desktops:

YearCPUGraphics CardGraphics card 2Notes
1997P1332Mb S3 Virge DX
1999P3-50016Mb Diamond Viper V550 TNT
2000P3-650 (@1GHz)32Mb Geforce2 GTS AGP Creative LabsMatrox Mystique 220
2004A64 3000+128Mb Geforce 6600GT VIVO by Gainward4Mb Voodoo 1 Stolen
2005A64 X2 4200+256Mb Geforce 7600GTDVI failed
2010A64 X2 5000+ Black1Gb HD5770 MSI HawkCPU lost by Damo :/
2011Core i7 3930k2Gb GTX660 Asus Direct Cu-II
2019Xeon E5-1680v28Gb RTX2080 Zotac Amp Maxx
2020Ryzen 9 3900X8Gb RTX2080 Asus Dual OC6Gb GTX Titan Black
Quite the interesting progression over the years.

Slight change of plan for my desktop/gaming PC

As I’m not going to be near the current desktop PC for a while, I decided to build up the bits I have incoming into a proper PC here. It’s still a bit of a behemoth, so I think I should continue with that name for this instance.

Spec sheet:

  • AMD Ryzen 9 3900x; 12C/24T 3.8-4.6 GHz, 70Mb cache
  • 16Gb Corsair Vengeance DDR4-3600 CL22 RGB
  • Corsair H115i Pro 2x140mm AIO closed-loop watercooler
  • Asus ROG Strix X570-E Gaming motherboard
  • Asus RTX 2080 DUAL O8G EVO graphics card
  • Corsair Force MP510 960Gb NVMe SSD
  • Corsair HX1200i PSU with red/black Cablemod Pro cables
  • Asus ROG Strix XG32VQR 1440p 144Hz 32″ monitor

Accidentally a complete Asus-Corsair build. Further additions to come:

  • (From the current desktop build being upgraded from)
  • 240Gb Sandisk SSD
  • 480Gb Samsung 860 Evo SSD
  • 2x 6Tb WD Black spinning rust drives, software RAID1.
  • DVD/RW Sata optical drive
  • (upgrade enhancements)
  • 2x16Gb Corsair Vengeance DDR4-3600 RGB to total 48Gb
  • Asus BD-Ray burner optical drive.
  • Addressable RGB LED strips to illuminate the case internally
  • Asus Xonar DX soundcard or, possibly a USB 5.1 sound card.

The build appears to be a very stealthy one so far, with all of the components being black with dark grey accents – well at least when any RGB is switched off! It’ll be very interesting to see how I can hide the RGB strips to ensure best illumination without seeing the LEDs. I’ll be going for red lighting anyway.

E5-1680v2 current setup benchmarks via RDP connection:

  • CPUMark 10693 (65%)
  • MemoryMark 1956 (32%)
  • DiskMark 3626 (50%)
  • 2dMark 553 (53%)
  • 3dMark
  • PassMark 3975 (partial)

https://www.passmark.com/baselines/V10/display.php?id=122162920476

More PC stuff inbound

More hardware incoming! As the circumstances update, it’s looks likely it’ll be a little while longer before I’ll be able to dig through my main desktop for the planned upgrade process. Given that, I’ve decided to go a little further down the upgade path for my main desktop.

A moderately large Corsair order went in to my supplier of choice. First part is an Obsidian 750D Airflow case, with an HX1200i PSU to be installed. Then, there’s an H115i Pro to complete that Corsair package.

There’s availability √¨ssues with the HX1000i that I was hoping to get, so I went one step up in size as that was immediately available. There was an AX1000i but at ~400 odd it was not going to be enough of an improvement to justify that.

It turns out that this is the first time in about 18 years that I have a proper choice in choosing what case to get. The last case I bought separately was one of Chieftec Dragon miditower cases, door on the front, EL cable delineating the arches on the front fascia, heavily modded by myself, and I loved that case. Such a pity that PC was nicked from Elm Park.

The Corsair case appears to tick all of the boxes for me, and it’ll have enough space and slots inside for all of the hardware I want, without it being too big.

My primary desktop’s octa-core Xeon hardware as installed in the case is being farmed off to a friend who will be supplying their own HDD and graphics card, as they currently do not have access to a system capable of playing current games, so now that I have decided to build up my primary here it will be good for the older machine to give good use to someone that should enjoy it.

Quite interesting that (kinda accidentally) all of the hardware being sourced is either Asus/ROG or Corsair.

Note to Microsoft Accessories people:

If you lot ever engineer a direct replacement to the current Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000, with properly backlit and transparent key letterings, you will have a definite winner on your hands.

My go-to preference for a keyboard is the above-mentioned Ergonomic 4000 and I’ve had the use of a few over the past few years. The feel and fit is pretty good for me, I really like the UK key layout as done on this keyboard. The only thing it’s missing is having the keys backlit or throughlit, to aid use in the dark. Backlighting to illuminate the gaps between the keys is something I can add myself with a handful of properly laid out EL-cable or LED strings, but it would be fantastic to be able to see the key assignments by through-illumination.

Bonus points available for RGB control – not for making it more flashy but for getting just the correct tone of deep and dim amber for comfortable night work. The lighting does not have to be bright – in fact dim is very much preferable.

What are the chances of getting this idea as a product we can pay for?

RGB, time to get on that bandwagon!

It would appear that the motherboard I’m getting (Asus ROG Strix X570-E Gaming) has an onboard RGB controller as one of the options built on. There’s two 4-pin RGB headers, and two 3-pin addressable headers. A quick look around the Alibaba showrooms, suggests there’s a reasonably large amount of products that are supported by the Asus Aura RGB ecosystem – the motherboard light accents, the tops of the Corsair Vengeance RAM modules, even the AMD-supplied fan on the Wraith Prism CPU cooler is RGB..

I’m fairly sure that I’ll set things to be temperature-controlled if I can. Gentle purple for normal conditions and a lurid red for the running hot.

I did request some LED addressable strips and some other lighting from the Chinese, and it’ll likely be in Limerick before I will be..

Kinda interesting this whole scenario, given I had built case mods with windows and UV-reactive items back in 2001 before it became popular. Nor I get to try and do a somewhat tasteful RGB implementation on this instance of my main desktop.

Behemoth update incoming..

I built myself a PC in 2011, and it’s finally due a major update/refresh. It’ll still be a bit of a behemoth..

The 2011 build was a hex-core Intel i7-3930k watercooled with a Corsair H100, 16Gb DDR3, with originally a Radeon 5770, with an Intel i520 SSD and 4x 1Tb harddrives for a Raid 10, all sitting on an Asus P9X79-Pro motherboard. A pretty decent spec of a machine, and a very good performer especially when overclocked.

Over the past 9 years I updated the graphics first to a GTX660 in 2012 and recently to an RTX2080. The CPU was swapped out for an E5-1680v2 Xeon. Storage was updated to 500Gb SSD, and to two 6Gb drives in raid1.

It’s become a good idea to future-proof this pc again, for the next few years at least. Incoming are the following:

  • AMD Ryzen 9 3900X, 12 core, 3.8-4.6 GHz clocks
  • Asus ROG Strix X570-E Gaming motherboard
  • 16Gb DDR4-3600 Corsair Vengeance RGB memory
  • 960Gb Corsair MP510 NVMe SSD.

Paired with my Zotac Maxx RTX2080 and the stack of storage, this beast of a desktop will continue to earn the Behemoth moniker. It’ll be a few weeks until the bits are installed and configured, but it’ll be a really fun time I think!

Coronavirus? My thoughts..

So Covid-19 had reared it’s little coronated head on the Island of Ireland. And the country is ill-prepared for the probability of what’s going to happen.

Here’s a middle of the road scenario based on the current data available. Cases appear to be doubling every ~6 days. 15% or so need hospital care, and about 5% of those needs ICU-level care. Deaths are averaging at about 3.5% at the moment.

Given there’s about 22 cases in Ireland (excluding the North for this one), we can expect the following:

  • March 9th; 22 cases,
  • March 15th; 44 cases,
  • March 21st; 88 cases ,
  • March 27th; 176 cases,
  • April 2nd; 352 cases, with ~50 hospitalisations and 12 deaths
  • April 8th; 704 cases,
  • April 14th; 1408 cases,
  • April 20th; 2816 cases,
  • April 26th; 5632 cases,
  • May 2nd; 11264 cases, with ~1600 hospitalisations and 400 deaths.
  • May 8th; 22528 cases,
  • May 14th; 45056 cases,
  • May 20th; 90112 cases,
  • May 26th; 180224 cases,
  • June 1st; 360448 cases,
  • June 7th; 720896 cases
  • June 13th; 1441792 cases
  • June 19th; 2883584 cases

That’s assuming current exponential growth. In reality the case increases should start to have less new cases by about the middle of May due to a self-limiting transmission (less uninfected people available) and a continuation slowly up to maybe 100 thousand cases by mid summer and maybe 1500 total deaths by then.

That’s a middle-of-the-road back-of-envelope calculation, but based on valid current numbers and trends. It really makes for sobering reading.

The elderly are more heavily affected by this disease, with a 5% chance of death in the over 60s and a 15% chance of death in the over 80s. For healthy adults below 40 the rate is currently 0.1% chance of death which is x10 times the standard winter flu (even including the flu shot for the winter flu).

What we should do individually is to limit our social contacts, minimising contact with people, minimising our own exposure to infection by practicing simple good personal hygiene, minimising touching our faces with our hands without disinfection. We should also limit the exposure to the elderly from children, who appear to be able to transmit the virus without appearing symptomatic ourselves.

The authorities should start the minimising of travel, both internationally and nationally. Sporting fixtures should be without the crowds of fans watching – if the fixtures go ahead at all. Pubs and nightclubs should close for the duration of this epidemic. Parades and marches should not be let go ahead. Public gatherings of more than 500 people should not be organised. If this is done, the rate of transmission will be lower, and the peak numbers at any one time of infected and treatment-seeking people will be lessened, hopefully to levels that our health system can cope with.

If we don’t take strong action in the very near future, we will have a proper national-level emergency to deal with, and a lot of our parents and grandparents will not live to see the next Christmas.

If you think I’m scaremongering or panic-inducing, please look at the north of Italy and see what’s happening there, and realise that there’s very little difference between there and here in our societal habits. A little fear is a good thing, if it can get people to think and to plan. Have a stock of medications to hand, and be prepared to stay at home for up to a few weeks. It’ll hurt, it’ll be terrible, but we should be able to weather this upcoming storm if we do that.

If you think that this is not much worse than the flu, there’s a doctor or two in the hospitals in Bergamo that would like to have a chat with you. Link here: (Google machine translation here)