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Astrophotography and Sketching >> DSLR & Digital Camera Astro Imaging & Processing

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mmalik
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Re: Lightning! et the Surface new [Re: akulapanam]
      #6266319 - 12/22/13 01:50 AM

Great! is it Pro 2? What was the fix for USB3 in a nutshell?

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mmalik
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Re: Lightning! et the Surface new [Re: mmalik]
      #6266330 - 12/22/13 02:06 AM

A look at ATIV Book 9 Plus/NP940X3G-K05US/Mineral Ash Black ($1800/i7/8GB/256GB/QHD+/USB3+USB3/HDMI/VGA/Backlit/Touch/8.1)

Pro: Aluminum all-metal chassis, full-size keyboard/mouse

Con: Expensive, no USB 2.0

Top:


Bottom-SD Card


Right-USB3/VGA


Left-Power/USB3/HDMI/Ethernet


Front


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mmalik
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Re: Lightning! et the Surface new [Re: mmalik]
      #6266378 - 12/22/13 03:40 AM

SkySafari Pro 4.0 [for iOS 7] is out and is a new purchase (50% off at $19.99 till Jan 20th, 2014). Seems a bit flaky at this time; keeps crashing as I exit out of settings while in the night mode!

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mmalik
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Re: Lightning! et the Surface new [Re: mmalik]
      #6267966 - 12/23/13 05:36 AM

In today's modern ultrabooks with pre-installed Windows 8.1, BIOS (basic input/output system) as we know it, is gone for the most part! UEFI (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface) replaces it and along with it comes blessing/curse of its ramifications.

What UEFI boils down to is you have to boot into Windows first before you can access BIOS in normal way. BIOS is still there, it is the boot options part that has to loop through Windows now; general purpose BIOS settings are still there in the BIOS. This also brings some consistency to Windows 8 computers; they’ll all have a consistent way of accessing the BIOS. Currently, different computers use different keys at start-up to invoke BIOS.

One of the ramifications is EFI System partition (ESP) that gets added to Windows 8.1 along with a plethora of new partitions.

Talking about partitions, Windows 7 used to have a 'System Partition' and a 'Boot Partition'; with Windows 8.1, it is not that simple anymore. Your new Windows 8.1 system may look like as follows:


Note: Image contains two samples; each from a different Windows 8.1 ultrabook!

Bit larger image here...




In short, what do you need to know and/or do when you get your new Ultrabook with Windows 8.1 preinstalled? Here it is:


1. In order to have your data on a separate partition than OS (Operating System), shrink your C: drive (containing Windows) to something that you think you might need for your future applications, e.g., 50GB. [On caveat will be that you may not be able to shrink it to your desired size depending upon how your system may have been built/written to the disk]

2. Create a D: (Data) drive on the space you are able to recover after shrinking C: [This will be your data drive, separate from the OS; benefits of doing so explained below...]

3. If you needed to get fancier, you may leave some space, e.g., 10GB (or more if you can afford to spare) as you create your D: drive; you may call this little drive, e.g., Z: and use it for offloading page file and/or ‘Temporary Internet Files’ from C:

4. Presuming this is your brand new ultrabook, create a pristine image of your base OS, i.e., C: drive, before you install anything or modify your OS too much; but DO configure your new operating system to your liking, making it look like the way you do so you don’t have to do those little changes every time you were to restore your OS. You may also run ‘Disk Cleanup’ to clean your C: drive before creating an image.

5. Go to desktop, right-click Start button and click ‘Control Panel’.

6. Switch ‘Control Panel’ to ‘Small icon’ view, and click ‘File History’. This is where Microsoft was sleeping when they developed ‘File History’; it will take a while for it to search drives and refresh, but it is not so obvious that Windows is doing anything at that time!

7. Click ‘System Image Backup’ in the lower left corner when it appears, which may take a while.

8. Select D: drive that you created above in the ‘On a hard disk’ drop down and click ‘Next’.

Note: This is one of the reasons you need to have a separate data partition. [This is presuming you were lucky to shrink C: drive to have adequate space available to put an OS image in D:]

9. Take the defaults [System, C:, and EFI selected] and click ‘Next’

10. Click ‘Stat Backup’; if all goes well, one finished, you would have a pristine image of your OS ready!

11. With ‘File History’ still open, click ‘Recovery’ in the lower left corner

12. Click ‘Create a recovery drive’ under ‘Advanced recovery tools’; click ‘Yes’ to UAC (User Access Control)

13. Click ‘Next’ with ‘Copy the recovery partition from the PC to the recovery drive’ selected by default.

Note: This is where ‘Recovery Partition’ toward the end of your disk will be copied to a USB drive as a back-up and/or if you wanted to delete that partition to recover space [I would advise against deleting that partition]. This is the larger size, last partition in pic shown!

14. At this point insert a USB thumb drive that is at least 8GB and click ‘Next’

15. System should detect your USB thumb drive and click ‘Next’

16. Click ‘Create’.

IMPORTANT: Everything on the USB thumb drive will be deleted; if you have any personal files on that drive, make sure you’ve backed them up!

17. Once done, you’ll have a USB copy of your large ‘Recovery Partition’ at the end of your hard drive which contains source software of your factory OS install; beauty of this USB copy is that it is also a bootable USB drive that can be used for trouble shooting in addition to a backup of your OS source. Keep this USB in a safe place; you may never need it as source of this is still on your hard drive’s last partition [if you didn’t delete as you create the USB copy].

18. With ‘Recovery’ still open, as an added measure, create system restore point by clicking ‘Configure System Restore’ and clicking ‘Create’ with defaults [ONLY C: being ‘On’]

19. Provide a name, e.g., ‘BaseOS’, click ‘Create’ and click ‘Close’ once done.

Note: This restore point will be of no use if you were to restore your OS via the image that you created above; but it will be of value to restore your OS if you didn’t use image restore.

20. With ‘Recovery’ still open, click ‘If you’re experiencing problems with your PC, you can refresh it in PC settings’; now you’ll be transported to a whole different area called ‘Update and recovery’. This is where fun begins...

21. Here you can very powerful options; ‘Remove everything and reinstall Windows’ is a way to get back to the state when you first booted your computer upon unboxing; in other words it will restore you OS the factory state.

Note: Beauty of this re-install is if you don’t let it destroy the D: drive you created above, your D: drive data will be preserved. If you chose this option, you will get back to a state prior to your image creation above. Your image that you created above is still valid and can be used to get to a state little after opening the box.

22. Click ‘Restart now’ under ‘Advanced startup’ option; this is the ultimate fun part of UEFI I alluded to at the start.

23. Click ‘Troubleshoot’ under ‘Choose an option’

24. Click ‘Advanced options’

25. Click ‘System Image Recovery’

26. Computer will reboot at this time

27. Click your privileged/admin account under ‘System Image Recovery’

28. Enter your privileged/admin account password and click continue

29. Now you’ll be displayed ‘Select a system image backup’ with ‘Use the latest available system image (recommended) selected; click ‘Next’.

Note: This will be the same image you created on the D: drive in #7 above [verify the date and time to confirm]

30. With ‘Format and repartition disks’ grayed out and/or unchecked, click ‘Next’.

31. STOP: This being a learning exercise, you don’t need to click ‘Finish’; had it been an actual re-image, clicking finish will restore your OS to C: from the image you created in #7 above and which you placed in D:

32. That’s all folks for now... have fun with your Windows 8.1


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mmalik
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Re: Lightning! et the Surface new [Re: mmalik]
      #6272824 - 12/25/13 09:56 PM Attachment (6 downloads)

With QHD+ resolution come the nuisances of text and application sizing, i.e., scaling. Consider the following three applications on a QHD+ system:

Note: Windows 8.1 was configured with 'Extra Large - 200%' for following examples...

1. Photoshop [unable to scale, notice microscopic menus, icons/buttons, etc.]
2. ImagesPlus [unable to scale, notice microscopic menus, icons/buttons, etc.]

EDIT... 3. PixInsight [Scales somewhat better; button bar is still an issue as it is quite microscopic]

Up until such apps are re-written to be compatible with QHD+ format of Windows 8.1, scaling compatibility is hit and miss kind of deal for AP applications and utilities. Regards

Bit larger pic here...

Edited by mmalik (12/28/13 06:20 AM)


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Takashi
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Re: Lightning! et the Surface new [Re: mmalik]
      #6276605 - 12/28/13 04:17 AM

Quote:


Con: Expensive, no USB 2.0





Why is this a con?... I thought USB3.0 was backwards compatible with USB2.0?


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mmalik
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Re: Lightning! et the Surface new [Re: Takashi]
      #6276657 - 12/28/13 06:15 AM

Quote:

I thought USB3.0 was backwards compatible with USB2.0?




True, but not so true for some guiding related issues lot of folks have run into including myself. Combination of certain guide cameras and PHD is making USB 3.0 quite a sticking point at least for the near future. If this is not your image acquisition machine, then USB 3.0 is all good. Regards

Edited by mmalik (12/28/13 06:44 AM)


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TimN
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Reged: 04/20/08

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Re: Lightning! et the Surface new [Re: mmalik]
      #6277562 - 12/28/13 04:48 PM

Why wouldn't you use a USB 2 hub? They are fairly cheap now and will give our astro stuff USB 2 while you still have the advantage of USB 3 when you use the tablet for other uses. Much better than a USB 2 on the tablet.

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mmalik
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Re: Lightning! et the Surface new [Re: TimN]
      #6277769 - 12/28/13 06:24 PM

I have not used USB 2 hub thus far and the reason is "agile minimalism"... actively managing the number of separate bits/pieces/connections needed to acquire an image. This is part of the "Agile DSLR Astrophoto Imaging & Processing" concept..., getting an image acquired, in this case, without a USB hub. Regards

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mmalik
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Re: Lightning! et the Surface new [Re: mmalik]
      #6288973 - 01/03/14 03:56 AM Attachment (4 downloads)

A look at some 4K monitors:

1. Dell UP2414Q...

2. Dell P2815Q...

3. Dell UP3214Q...

4. ASUS PQ321Q...

24" has the highest pixel pitch, being smallest of all listed; 28" has the lowest price. 32" ones get too pricey and too big but have 10bit color.

Specs at a glance:

Edited by mmalik (01/04/14 11:08 AM)


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mmalik
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Re: Lightning! et the Surface new [Re: mmalik]
      #6291580 - 01/04/14 11:19 AM

An important point to keep in mind here is the Hz; most of these monitors require a DisplayPort [DP] (1.2a to be exact) on your primary machine to operate at 60Hz; most will operate at half the Hz on HDMI (NOT desired). Most ultrabooks don't come with DP; these would best match up with your primary laptop with a DP of desired spec. Investigate your hardware compatibility before purchasing! Regards

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mmalik
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Re: Lightning! et the Surface new [Re: mmalik]
      #6299243 - 01/08/14 01:35 AM Attachment (1 downloads)

There was a typo in my pervious post regarding resolution (I meant 3840x2160), sorry; correction as follows:

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mmalik
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Re: Lightning! et the Surface new [Re: mmalik]
      #6299271 - 01/08/14 02:09 AM

Prevalent HDMI version 1.4 is quite capable of carrying 4K Ultra HD at 3840x2160 but only at 30Hz, hence Dell's new Ultra HD monitors will be able to display 3840x2160 at 30Hz ONLY. 30Hz HDMI may have sufficed for TVs, but it definitely isn't enough for 4K monitors.


Note: HDMI version 2.0 was released Sep 2013 and it supports 4K resolution at 60 frames per second (fps) but new crop of Dell's Ultra HD monitors seem to have missed that wave.


Prevalent DisplayPort version 1.2 which was released back in 2009 seems capable of displaying 4K Ultra HD at 3840x2160 at 60Hz; I have yet to find specifics of Dell's reference to 1.2a though?


Indium gallium zinc oxide (IGZO) is a semiconducting material, consisting of indium (In), gallium (Ga), zinc (Zn) and oxygen (O), and often abbreviated as "IGZO". IGZO thin-film transistor (TFT) is used in the TFT backplane of flat-panel displays (FPDs). Both of the 32" displays listed above are IGZO panels and come at a hefty price.


IPS (In-plane switching) is a screen technology used for liquid crystal displays (LCDs). Both, the 24" and the 28" listed above are IPS panels. Looking at the prices, currently only 28" qualifies as poor man's 4K Ultra HD monitor.


While both of the 32" displays listed above have 10 Bits color depth, the 24" and 28" have 8 bits with AFRC (Advanced Frame Rate Control) which is an alternative method of achieving higher color depth. All Dells (24"/28"/32") support color gamut of Adobe RGB 99% and sRGB 100%. Regards


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mmalik
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Re: Lightning! et the Surface new [Re: mmalik]
      #6301241 - 01/09/14 01:30 AM Attachment (4 downloads)

First look at Dell's 24" 4K Ultra HD UP2414Q... Note: Each quadrant of the wallpaper in the pic is 1080p, with the total resolution of 3840x2160.

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mmalik
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Re: Lightning! et the Surface new [Re: mmalik]
      #6301242 - 01/09/14 01:31 AM Attachment (1 downloads)

UP2414Q ports...

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mmalik
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Re: Lightning! et the Surface new [Re: mmalik]
      #6301245 - 01/09/14 01:35 AM Attachment (2 downloads)

UP2414Q menu... Note: Enabled DisplayPort 1.2; disabled by default.

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mmalik
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Re: Lightning! et the Surface new [Re: mmalik]
      #6301247 - 01/09/14 01:40 AM Attachment (3 downloads)

UP2414Q color calibration report...

Larger view...


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mmalik
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Re: Lightning! et the Surface [Re: mmalik]
      #6301258 - 01/09/14 02:07 AM Attachment (2 downloads)

UP2414Q's expansive desktop area at 3840x2160; programs open on the screen: Photoshop, PixInsight, ImagesPlus, and Explorer

Original view...


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mmalik
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Re: Lightning! et the Surface [Re: mmalik]
      #6301261 - 01/09/14 02:11 AM Attachment (2 downloads)

DisplayPort on the laptop...

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mmalik
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Re: Lightning! et the Surface new [Re: mmalik]
      #6301276 - 01/09/14 02:40 AM Attachment (2 downloads)

So far so good? Not quite! I was hoping my video card/DisplayPort will give me 60Hz at Ultra HD 3840x2160 but I am getting 30Hz at Ultra HD 3840x2160. Not so bad for an early adoption.


This was more of an experiment on my part to see whether my current hardware will support 4K which it does for the most part. Picture at 30Hz is quite stunning at 3840x2160. FYI: My laptop's native resolution is 1920x1080 at 60Hz and it now looks less impressive and less colorful than UP2414Q.


To sum up my 30Hz situation, I think it has more to do with my video card's capability than DisplayPort's.


Lastly, get big eyes if you plan to go to 4K . Your eyes will be tested at native Ultra HD 3840x2160.


Note: Don't be fooled by the wallpaper; I am still running Windows 7 with a wallpaper stolen from my Windows 8.1 machine (C:\Windows\Web\Wallpaper\...)


Note: Dell drivers were installed that came with UP2414Q (see pic).


My video card: nVidia NVS 3100M 512MB (from 2010)
My laptop's DisplayPort: I am quite sure it is 1.2 given I have enabled DisplayPor6 1.2 in the monitor (which came disabled by default in UP2414Q); I have yet to find out what exactly is 1.2a that Dell refers to?


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