Friday, December 23, 2016

RX 460 First thoughts

Recently I got an RX 460 to upgrade my old R7 250. R7 250 does not target gaming, but when I bought it back in 2015 it was a good upgrade from the onboard card. RX 460 is more than enough for my old machine date back from 2011. Thus, I ordered the SAPPHIRE RADEON RX 460 2GB.



The card is powerful and well packaged. No external 6-pin power connector from PSU is necessary. PCI express is x8 (fewer lanes), but you are not going to see any significant difference. I have an old machine with G860 3.00GHz, so there is no point of installing anything stronger. I have a corsair PSU  CX430 and the machine is more than enough.

Power draw is 60-70W, but I have seen up to 80W draw.  With overclocking, you will be able to win some 5-10% performance, but I suggest not to do it for a long term. The card has 2GB of memory. There is also a modified BIOS that you can unlock some of the locked hardware (if you try, first take a backup), but you will not able to install the latest AMD drivers due to BIOS check the signature.

Most of the games I play (Company of Heroes, CS GO,  Adventure games) don't require more. The only game I got some issues was Dreamfall chapters, where I had to decrease some of the options of the graphics because I was getting less than 30fps.

Tested also monero (xmr) mining: got ~300 H/s and goes up to 320 H/s with overclocking. In contrast, with the GTX 750TI you get around 220 H/s. CS GO getting more than 80 fps. Most of the demanding games I 'm getting 40+fps, except these that are based on unity engine. Didn't test any DX12 or Vulkan games. Finally, seems hard (or even impossible) to install drivers in Ubuntu 14.04, suggesting to move it to 16.04.

Pros:
Good performance in most of the games in 1920x1080.
Dual fan makes the card cool.
Newest drivers from AMD are really good and improve the performance.
Power less than 80W  - no external connector.

Cons:
PCI-X  x8, means you are losing a bit of performance (2-3%) in some games.
2GB is enough for now, but not for the future.
Overclocking is limited due to no external power connector.
No drivers out of the box for Ubuntu 14.04 LTS.

Two weeks after, the card seems to work fine and plays all games without problems. Overall, if you need a medium power GPU or if you have an old machine, this card is the best choice especially if you find it for less than 120 Euro.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Lunch in Zygi

Zygi is a small village on the south coast of Cyprus, between Limassol and Larnaca. It is famous for its fish taverns. Some days ago, the weather was perfect for a trip to Zygi. Everything was perfect, not so hot not so cold, and a wonderful view of the sea. Prices were also normal nothing out of this world. I would surely suggest visiting the village if you are in Cyprus and want to eat fish at a good price. Here are some photos:

Zygi Village in Cyprus. View of the beach.
Zygi Village in Cyprus. View of the beach. 
Zygi Village in Cyprus. View from the restaurant.
Zygi Village in Cyprus. View from the restaurant.



Zygi Village in Cyprus. View of the beach.
Zygi Village in Cyprus. View of the beach. 


View of the beach in Zygi village in Cypru
View of the beach in Zygi village in Cyprus. Not everything was perfect in the view.... 

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Installing the gfortran compiler in Windows

The gfortran compiler is part of the GNU Compiler Collection (GCC). The first steps of creating a free and open source compiler were back in 2000. Starting from 2005 the compiler was stable enough to use it for production. Gfortran compiler supports the following variation of Fortran language:

  • Fortran 77 (Partial)
  • Fortran 95 
  • Fortran 2003
  • Fortran 2008 (Partial)

It is true that most people nowadays are running Windows, making it hard to use Unix-like tools in this environment. Fortunately, there is the Cygwin, a software package that provides the Unix-like environment and tools, including the FORTRAN and C compilers, in windows for free. I created these instructions for installing gfortran in windows.

The first step is to download the Cygwin installation from the site: cygwin.com/install.html. Depending on your operating system you can choose between 32 or 64bit. If you are not sure, try firstly the  64bit version and if it fails to start, use the 32bit.


Cygwin download page of the site.
Cygwin download page of the site.

After downloading the file you should execute it. Windows will complain that the binary is not verified, but you can safely ignore the message:

Warning windows message for unknown publisher
Warning windows message for unknown publisher. You can ignore it.

During the installation, the installer will ask you which server should use. Select one random. If you think it is slow, try to select something different. In the next important step, the installer will ask you about the packages to be downloaded. To select the FORTRAN compiler, go to "Devel" subtree and select the following packages: gcc-core, gcc-fortran, gdb.

Package selection of the Cygwin framework.
Package selection of the Cygwin framework.

Package selection of the Cygwin framework.
Selected GCC and Gfortran compilers.

In the next step, the installer will calculate the dependencies and it will suggest installing missing libraries and utilities:

Cygwin setup automatically calculated and installs the dependencies.
Cygwin setup automatically calculated and installs the dependencies.

The installation can take from few minutes up to an hour depending on the internet connection and the traffic on the selected server.

Installation process of the Cygwin
Installation process of the Cygwin

After installing the tools, you should check the options to create the desktop icon in both Desktop and start-menu. In your desktop you should have an icon with the title "Cygwin64 Terminal" or something similar, depending if you are using the 64 or 32bit version of tools.


After starting the terminal, you can go to your directory and compile your FORTRAN program. In my case, I had the source code in d:\fortran, so I went there and compile it, as you can see in the picture. I personally use the Notepad++ one of the best free editors you can find.

Compiling and executing a FORTRAN application in Cygwin using Notepad++ as an editor.
Compiling and executing a FORTRAN application in Cygwin using Notepad++ as an editor.

Installing gfortran on MAC. 


For installing the gfortran compiler in the MAC, the compiler team provides compilers on their site. You can visit gcc.gnu.org/wiki/GFortranBinaries and check the MacOS section. You should know what version of OS is installed on your machine.

MacOS installation packges for gfortran.
MacOS installation packges for gfortran.



Thursday, September 8, 2016

Nafpaktos

Nafpaktos or Naupactus (Ναύπακτος in Greek) is a small town in Aetolia-Acarnania, West Greece, Greece. It has around 31000 residents and it is very popular during the summer due to the beaches around. Last month i visited the town for a wedding. I enjoyed the sun and the sea of the area. The water is not so hot as in Cyprus or Rhodes. Even the nights the temperature was perfect and it was easy to sleep. Comming from a steady 32-34*C from Nicosia during the night, the change was perfect!

We didn't have time to visit the fortress (there is a nice view of the port and the town), but we managed to walk a bit on the beach and enjoy the sea. Here you can find some photos taken from Nafpaktos.

The entrance of the port with teenagers falling from the stone wall, in Nafpaktos, Greece.
The entrance of the port with teenagers falling from the stone wall, in Nafpaktos, Greece.

The stone wall of the port and the fortress on the hill behind in Nafpaktos, Greece.
The stone wall of the port and the fortress on the hill behind in Nafpaktos, Greece.
The stone wall of the port with the cannons in Nafpaktos, Greece.
The stone wall of the port with the cannons in Nafpaktos, Greece.
At the entry of the port in Nafpaktos, Greece.
At the entry of the port in Nafpaktos, Greece.

View of the Peloponnese from Nafpaktos, Greece.
View of the Peloponnese from Nafpaktos, Greece. Notice the small waves, it was a bit windy when we visited Nafpaktos.
Rio–Antirrio bridge view from Peloponnese.
Rio–Antirrio bridge view from Peloponnese



Friday, September 2, 2016

PROTEAS: Solar Research Facility

Proteas is a solar facility locate in Pentakomo, in the southern part of the island of Cyprus. The facility launched on 3rd October 2015 and it is currently used for scientific purposes. Some days ago we were lucky to attend a tour from the Cyprus institute researchers on the facility and have a close look at the installation. I include some photos from our visit.

The facility is actually a Concentrated Solar Power and thermal De-Salination of Sea Water. Mirrors reflect the solar rays to a specific point in the tower. It is designed to use molten salt, although it is still not operational. You can find more information regarding The Cyprus Institute and Proteras here

Reflecting mirrors at the Proteras solar facility in Cyprus.
Reflecting mirrors at the Proteras solar facility in Cyprus.

Solar tower of the Proteras solar facility in Cyprus. The white block at the top is used for calibrating and measurements, as it contains multiple temperature sensors.
Solar tower of the Proteras solar facility in Cyprus. The white block at the top is used for calibrating and measurements, as it contains multiple temperature sensors. Due to a small accident last week, more than one array was concentrated in the area, making it burn. Not operating at the moment we took the picture.

The control room of the Proteas Solar facility in Cyprus
The control room of the Proteas Solar facility in Cyprus. You have full control of the mirrors, operation of the machines, and multiple cameras for checking the situation outside.

Pump of molten salt in the Proteas solar facility in Cyprus.
Pump of molten salt in the Proteas solar facility in Cyprus.

Concentration area of solar rays in the Proteas solar facility in Cyprus.

Concentration area without the protective lid of solar rays in the Proteas solar facility in Cyprus.
Concentration area without the protective lid of solar rays in the Proteas solar facility in Cyprus.

Sensors of the facility in the Proteas solar facility in Cyprus
Sensors of the facility in the Proteas solar facility in Cyprus.
De-Salination machine in the Proteas solar facility in Cyprus.
De-Salination machine in the Proteas solar facility in Cyprus. Not active when we visit the facility. Can produce some 10s liters per day, ideal for using it for cleaning the reflecting mirrors.
View of the beach, back side of the Protes Solar facility/

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Kolossi castle

Kolossi Castle is a medival (Crusader era) stronghold at the Kolossi village, 14 km (9 mi) west of the city of Limassol on the island of Cyprus. Trough the ages, the castle was belong to different factions of Crusaders, including Knights of the Order of St John of Jerusalem  and Knights Templar. It is believed that the castled build around 1210. The castle was mostly used as command center rather than defensive structure. It was also know that it produced sugar next to the castle for the creation of the sweet wine, Commandaria. Here are some pictures from my last visit:

Outside view of the castle in Kolossi, Cyprus.
Outside view of the castle in Kolossi, Cyprus. 

  Moving around the castle was only possible through small stairs. Inside he castle in Kolossi, Cyprus.
Moving around the castle was only possible through small stairs. Inside he castle in Kolossi, Cyprus.

Internal view of the castle in Kolossi, Cyprus. Note the fireplace on the right.
Internal view of the castle in Kolossi, Cyprus. Note the fireplace on the right.

View from the top of the castle in Kolossi, Cyprus.
View from the top of the castle in Kolossi, Cyprus.

The last floor of the castle includes a small room with screen for displaying information, in Kolossi, Cyprus.
The last floor of the castle includes a small room with screen for displaying information, in Kolossi, Cyprus. 

Going to the last floor of the castle, in Kolossi, Cyprus. There is also a small area under this part,  but it was not open to the public
Going to the last floor of the castle, in Kolossi, Cyprus. There is also a small area under this part,
but it was not open to the public


View of the last floor inside the castle, in Kolossi, Cyprus. Each big area had also a fireplace.
View of the last floor inside the castle, in Kolossi, Cyprus. Each big area had also a fireplace. 
Area where they produced sugar - view from the castle, in Kolossi, Cyprus.
Area where they produced sugar - view from the castle, in Kolossi, Cyprus.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Kataklismos - Flood Festival in Cyprus

Kataklysmos or Festival of the Flood marks the day of the Holy Spirit. The festival is organized in each of the coastal cities of Cyprus. These photos are from the festival in Limassol:

A blacksmith creating and manipulating objects using fire in Limassol, Cyprus during Kataklysmos - festival of flood.
A blacksmith creating and manipulating objects using fire.

One of the many stages in the area for the festival in Limassol, Cyprus during Kataklysmos - festival of flood.
One of the many stages in the area for the festival in Limassol, Cyprus during Kataklysmos - festival of flood.

Another stage with traditional dances in Limassol, Cyprus during Kataklysmos - festival of flood.
Another stage with traditional dances in Limassol, Cyprus during Kataklysmos - festival of flood.

Some dances were more modern in Limassol, Cyprus during Kataklysmos - festival of flood.
Some dances were more modern in Limassol, Cyprus during Kataklysmos - festival of flood.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Barcelona again!

Barcelona again! I was living there from 2010 until the end of 2013. 3,5 wonderful years in a magnificent city. It is the city that can combine everything from hard work to crazy nightlife.
Plaza de Catalunya fountain
Plaza de Catalunya fountain.
This time, I visited Barcelona because is want to take my degrees and see some old friends. Making the paper was not easy as I thought. It took them almost two years of "printing" the degrees, but finally, they manage it. I think Spanish public sector is more bureaucratic even than the Greek one. And then... we have the second phase: the legalization (Apostille). If you want to avoid the fees you have to go to an office of the Spanish Ministry of Justice (C/ Garcilaso, 123, Planta baixa - 08027). The line was going to the next road as you can see from the photo bellow. We arrived 08:45 (opens at 09:00) and we took the number 266. We took our paper around 14:00 and in the mean time we also went for shopping.

Waiting line at the office of the Spanish Ministry of Justice.
Waiting line at the office of the Spanish Ministry of Justice.

After spending two days for taking care our paperwork, it was time for us to enjoy the city. We stayed at Residencia Melon District Marina near the metro station Marina of the red line. Next photos are from the terrace of the building. The view is quite good, and there is a small pool if you are in a rush for getting into the water.

View from the Melon District Marina roof.
View from the Melon District Marina roof.

Torre Agbar or "Dildo Building" as show from the terrace of the hotel.
Torre Agbar or "Dildo Building" as show from the terrace of the hotel.
Swimming pool at the roof of the Melon District Marina hotel.

Walking in the City is one the best things you can do. Every part of the city contains something special that you can explore and admire. Unfortunately, we didn't have lot of time, so we skipped Sagrada Familia and Montjuic.

Arc de triomf of Barcelona.


Demonstration for the independence of Catalunya.
Demonstration for the independence of Catalunya.
Barceloneta is one of the best areas to walk in Barcelona. It is next to the beach and ends at the W hotel. Although the beach looks nice and the local authorities always clean it every night (!), I would suggest not to swim there and try to explore beaches outside of the city. The city has good rail connections with other cities, and you can visit much better beaches in about one hour.

W hotel at the beach. It famous and luxury hotel. The location is at the beach.
W hotel at the beach. It is the famous and luxury hotel. The location is at the beach. Maybe one day I will visit it.

View from the W hotel in Barcelona.
After five days enjoying the city we had to come back to our home. From time to time i really miss the life of the city and the energy that contains.