Sunset Canvas Prints – Finding That Perfect Picture

Finding that perfect canvas picture for your room or living space is not an easy task especially if you have spent days or even weeks decorating, you want to make sure you compliment it with the right look and give it that finishing touch that any newly decorated room requires.

Choosing that all important canvas picture or painting can become quite a specific task, you have to make sure you find a picture that has the right colours and compliment your choice of room decoration, i.e. you might have painted three walls in cream and one wall in chocolate brown highlighting the skirting boards with a deep red. You want to find a picture that combines all these colours, or even certain elements of them to ‘colour co-ordinate’ and connect them together.

You then have to decide what style you want. There are many different types of canvas art you can choose; there is modern art, pop art, abstract art or landscapes to name a few. Search online for ‘canvas art’ and you will find numerous websites with online art galleries offering canvas art prints of varying colours and styles but you want something unique, something special. Something which compliments all that hard work, time and effort you put into decorating you living space, something which adds depth and vision. Sunset or Landscape canvas art prints are perfect for this.

Canvas prints to help you unwind…

Adding a sunset or landscape canvas print to your living room gives a feel of vision, like a virtual window to a scenery only found in the most exotic places in the world and only places we can only dream of visiting one day. Most of us live in areas where the most scenic thing we see is the local water fountain or duck pond in the park and if you live in a city well, you mind will be full of thoughts of buses, trams and public transport. When you get home from work after a long day you want to relax and you need your living space to help you do this. Adding a sunset or landscape canvas art print will stir your imagination and help you unwind.

Sunset canvases are perfect for calming the soul and letting your mind drift into a relaxed state. This is partly psychological as sunsets represent the end of a day and if you are lucky enough to catch a sunset worth watching, it will be something that you will remember for a long time. Like when you are on holiday in the Mediterranean, Spain, Greece or Cyprus for example; the sunsets we see at home are nothing compared to the ones we see from a beach abroad. Imagine if you could capture that moment, enhance it, customize it and frame it on your wall for you to see every day?

Want to stand out from the crowd?

We offer unique sunset and landscape canvas artwork to help bring back those happy thoughts and memories from holidays. Each print style has its own colour scheme, from chocolates and creams to red and blues, you are sure to find the perfect colour to match your living space. Our unique digital print shop allows us to produce our unique canvases to order; they are not pre-manufactured and stored on a shelf gathering dust. From the moment you place an order your canvas will be printed, framed, lacquered and dispatched to you within 3 working days.

If you want a unique sunset canvas [http://www.sunsetcanvas.co.uk] print that stands out, is different from the rest and has an ‘edge’ over most landscape prints visit our online sunset gallery [http://www.sunsetcanvas.co.uk/Gallery/sunset_canvas_art_prints.asp]. If you see something you like but isn’t not quite right, give us a call. We can customise colours and sizes to match your exact requirements.

London – The Perfect Tourist Destination

It’s incredibly hard to sum up London for a tourist. It is not only the capital city of the UK but it is one of the greatest cities in the world.

London is a fabulously hospitable city. It is easily reached by flying in to one of five airports, one right in the heart of the city, the others on the outskirts all served by major and immensely accessible transport links. Once there, getting out and about is no issue; the underground is still one of the world’s premier transport systems and there’s a mass of overland trains too. London buses run regular routes and there’s even an extensive service of night buses that run right through until dawn. Add in Docklands light railway and the famous black cabs and tourist travel is as easy matter. Of course, you could always take advantage of a tour on an open top bus which will introduce you to the major sights.

London’s landmarks are iconic. Instantly recognisable destinations on the tourist trail include the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben, St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey and Downing Street. More recent additions include Canary Wharf and the Gherkin and when the Shard Tower is completed in time for the 2012 Olympics it will be the tallest building in the European Union. When the London Eye open to celebrate the Millennium in 2000 it has provided one of the best birds eye viewing facilities any city can boast of. No tourist should pass up the chance to take a 25 minute ride in an eye capsule as it’s the opportunity to see a huge amount of the city.

London is tightly packed but there are a surprising amount of green spaces. The Royal parks (which include St. James’s, Green Park, Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens) are joined by community spaces like Hampstead Heath, Wimbledon Common, Dulwich Common and Clapham Common. Greenwich Park in the south of the city is also one of the prettiest areas as well as being home to the Greenwich Observatory and the Naval College.

London has everything a capital city should have: The restaurant scene is world class and alongside restaurants owned by celebrity chefs and Michelin star winners, every major and minor world cuisine is more than merely represented; the nightlife is equally fantastic with every genre accounted for; theatreland is unsurpassed by any other location – only New York’s Broadway comes close; and the museums, galleries and cultural themed attractions and exhibitions are fabulous in variety and awe inspiring.

London is also accessible in price. It might be home to fabulous 5 star hotels and names such as the Ritz, the Savoy and the Dorchester but there is plenty of budget friendly accommodation. For example, budget hotels run by chains such as Travel Lodge and Holiday Inn Express in the “city”, the square mile of central London, that cater to the business market in the week have really great offers for weekend stays. If you don’t mind basic, London has a mass of tourist hostels.

Whatever you can afford, or whatever you are looking for in a city break – London has it.

Brisbane – A Perfect Holiday Getaway For The Entire Family

The third largest city of Australia and the capital, Brisbane has a population of 2 million. A city of international acclaim the Commonwealth Games was held in 1982, the World Expo in 1988 and the Goodwill Games in 2001. The city receives 2,800 hours of sunshine every year and because of this the weather here usually remains warm or hot. Brisbane has a subtropical climate. Over the years the city has become popular tourist destination due to the growth of dazzling shopping malls, restaurants, clubs, and pubs. There are also a number of wonderful sightseeing places to visit in and around the city. The Queen street Mall is a shopper’s paradise whereas party goers must visit the Fortitude valley.

Reaching Brisbane
Reaching Brisbane is easy with flights, trains, buses, ferries, etc. connecting to it. Air trains are available from the city which will reach you to the airport within a very short time. Country link and Queensland rail are two railway services operating in Brisbane. The airlines connecting from UK are – Etihad, Emirates, Thai, Singapore Airline and British airways. Translink is an integrated public transport system that applies to travel in trains, ferries and buses. Purchase of a go card helps passengers to avail this service.

Places To Explore
• Sea World Coast
It is an oceanarium and theme park located in Gold coast in Queensland. It is home to aquatic mammal animals. You can enjoy here animal exhibits and attractive rides. Sea World is focused on protection and conservation through education. Rescue and rehabilitation of sick, injured or orphaned wildlife is a major area their work.

• Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
In the suburbs of the Fig Tree Pocket in Queensland it is a sanctuary covering an area of 4.6 hectares focused on the preservation of koalas. It is the oldest and largest koala sanctuary of the world founded in the year 1927. The commonly seen animals of the sanctuary include – Tasmanian devils, koalas, kangaroos, wombats, echidnas, platypus and a variety of reptiles.

• Suncorp Stadium
Originally known as Lang Park the stadium is located in Milton, Queensland. Opened in the year 1914 it has a capacity to accommodate 52,500 people. It is also known as Brisbane stadium. The events are related to – rugby league and rugby union.

Accommodation
There are 5 star hotels to backpacker complexes in Brisbane. Hinterland lodges and self-contained flats are among other options.

Brisbane will certainly give you a delightful holiday experience that you can never forget.

Calming Krabi – The Perfect Getaway for Honeymooners!

Located in the southern part of Thailand the island of Krabi is probably one of the most romantic places on earth. If you are planning your honeymoon lately, then it can be a perfect getaway for the two of you to spend some quality time alone in the lap of nature, relax and rejuvenate. The picturesque island of Krabi is a combination of rolling mountains and aqua blue ocean. The lush green vegetation, idyllic islets and the limestone cliffs makes the place ideal for honeymooners or love birds who just want to be tucked away from the rest of the world for a few days.

How to get there?

Reaching Krabi is simple. You can connect via buses or planes. Regular flights ply from Bangkok to Krabi International Airport which is located 15 kilometres away from the city centre. Booking your tickets beforehand will fetch you a good price. Buses from all over Thailand ply to Krabi. AC coaches as well as Non AC coaches are available every day. If you are travelling from Bangkok then it will take around 12 hours to reach the island. Packages of bus and boat are available from Koh Samui as well.

Places to visit…

Now that you are on your honeymoon, you would want to make it as romantic as possible for your beloved. Krabi offers you a lot and much more to cherish, relish and enjoy the most intimate moments of your life. So here are the five most exotic places that you must visit while you are honeymooning in this beautiful archipelago.

1. Railey Beach – Also known as Rai Leh the beach forms a peninsula between Krabi and Ao Nang. Traditional boats are available to get to the beach.

2. Viking Cave at Phi Phi Islands – The Cave at the Phi Phi Island got its name from the various illustrations and paintings of European vessels and ships. This picturesque island is a must visit for everyone.

3. Maya Bay – The place where the famous film “The Beach” was shot. The extremely scenic paradise is located in the Phi Phi Island. The breathtakingly blue sea will enchant you forever.

4. Phra Nang Beach – Located in the island of Ao Nang, the Phra Nang Beach is one of those spectacular places where you get to see limestone cliffs growing out of the sea. The aqua blue water along with the limestone cliffs makes it look just like a picture from the fairy tale book.

5. Tup Island – This is also an archipelago in the Ao Nang island. Honeymooners would love the serene and pristine beach with very few people around. You can try a lazy swim or snorkelling in the sea here.

Things to do…

Since Krabi is comprised of many islands and beaches you are sure to get the best water sports and adventures here. Snorkelling is one of the most popular adventures as the clear water of the sea facilitates in increasing the visibility of the rich marine life beneath the waters. Apart from that you can try boat rides, diving, speed boat ride and even camping in the nearby forest. Eat the local cuisine, shop for the local handicrafts and play on the beach – that is what Krabi is for its visitors. So when you are planning your honeymoon, make sure to take your best beach wear, shades and lots of sun screens or tanning lotion.

Party Buses Go Greek – Hosting Your Next Invitational on the Go

Fraternities and sororities put plenty of time and effort into choosing a new batch of pledges every year. The recruitment process is long and involved, with each house trying to outdo themselves on invitationals from year to year. These gatherings are designed to accomplish a multifold purpose, from impressing recruits to allowing current and potential members the chance to get acquainted. Many Greeks are now finding the perfect solution to their invitational quandaries, by hiring a San Francisco party bus to get the recruitment process done right.

Value

A party bus can provide a much greater value than renting a venue in your college town. This single vehicle may come equipped with a first class light and sound system, plasma television, coolers for refreshments and even its own bathroom. You can use the party bus to get your crowd to a destination or simply take a tour of the city while enjoying all the amenities onboard. When you compare the cost of bus to other types of invitational events, you may find that the Bay area party bus does indeed provide the best value for your dollar.

Privacy

The idea of an invitational is to get to know some of your prospective pledges before the recommendations go out. The party bus provides the perfect opportunity for current house members to chat with these new recruits and find out which ones will be the best fit for your group. With comfortable seating and plenty of privacy, you can collect all the information you need to create your new pledge class.

First Impressions

First impressions do count when recruitment time rolls around, and what better way to impress a group of prospects than by picking them up for the day in your own luxury party bus? These vehicles are guaranteed to get plenty of attention, making your house the most popular on campus. Even alums that return for the invitationals will be quite impressed with your ability to entertain young prospects.

Flexibility

A San Francisco party bus can come in a wide range of sizes and styles, allowing you to choose the best bus for your invitational. The buses are also prepared to allow users to bring their own food and entertainment onboard, so you can tailor your event to the unique preferences of your house. Looking for a tropical-themed invitational? You provide the inflatable palm tree and Mai tai’s – alcohol free if you will be hosting underage students at your event. The ability to turn your party bus into any kind of celebration you wish adds to the desirability of these vehicles.

A party bus is an excellent choice for your next Greek invitational. You can wow your prospective pledges and get better acquainted at the same time. Your unique approach to recruitment will make your house stand out from the crowd, attracting even more recruits to your house next year. Check out your options in a San Francisco party bus for an invitational that will not soon be forgotten.

Get Access to Any of the Tour Buses Worldwide

One of the best ways to travel anywhere in the world afford-ably, is by bus. This also gives you access to a lot of the stuff that you would not be able to experience if you traveled by yourself. Tour buses really do make the world of difference, not only in the sightseeing experience, but you also get to meet like-minded individuals on the trip.

The greatest benefit of making use of the service is that you will be given access to any travel destination you can think of, and more. It does not matter if you want to travel in the US, Europe, Asia or Australia, there are different packages available for you to make use of, and one that will surely match your budget.

Why would you make use of this service that allows you to book any travel tour bus worldwide? Firstly, you will have access to the largest availability of tours and sightseeing packages. You will be able to access them online and determine beforehand exactly where you’re planning to spend your vacation. Plus, you’ll be able to ask any question you want to know about your travel package on the tour bus and a dedicated customer service team will get back to you quickly.

Currently, it makes a lot of sense to travel on a tour bus from a financial perspective. Simply put, it is far cheaper to make use of a tour bus. If you had to calculate what it would cost you to travel in a rental car plus all the fuel costs, toll fees and parking, you would not think twice about taking a tour bus vacation. If you would like to work out how much it would cost you to travel by car or rental car I recommend you go to the following website (http://www.travelmath.com/fuel-cost)

Another reason to make use of a tour bus is the possibility that you are thinking “green” and you’re thinking for a head of anyone else. You’d like to preserve the earth and all of its natural resources while touring, that is why it makes perfect sense for you to travel and share a tour bus with 40 to 60 people. You will not only travel cheaper, but you will also cut down on pollution and energy wastage.

Now that you know the main reasons why you should be making use of a tour bus to travel to your next travel destination or vacation, you’re probably going to ask me then, how safe is it to book your bus ticket with this online service? I have done a lot of research and tested a lot of services out there. All of them had their positives and negatives, but what made this online booking service unique is the fact that it has a wide variety of tour bus packages. To book, all you have to do is follow a simple 3 step process to book your bus ticket.

This is definitely the way that you should be traveling, all the time because it just makes perfect sense. Not only will you save yourself some money, but you’ll also be saving our planet at the same time.

Get Your Party on With Limo Buses

Major celebrities of the world live to party and present their craft to the millions and millions of their admirers by cruising around town and to formal functions by way of limo buses. But they are not always and necessarily filled with celebrities; they are filled with normal people too. Read on to find out more about where these Hummer vehicles are used and what they are all about.

The Limo Bus

The limo bus is basically like an elongated Hummer. This makes it the perfect tool for a party or a transport to another party. These vehicles can usually sit around 20 people so there’s plenty of space for everybody. In the vehicle people can expect lots of music, with speakers situated all around the interior. Leather seats for ultimate comfort, neon lights to create the right mood, and lots of drinks of the highest quality. This makes limo buses a favorite amongst people all over.

Popular Uses for these Hummer Vehicles

There are a variety of uses for which these party animals could be employed for. Below are just some of the occasions that these things have been used for:

• Proms. In a young student’s life this will be the biggest night of their lives, and whilst it’s admitted that it will be up to the parents to buy a limo, it really is the life of the party, and this is both before the prom and after the prom.

• Graduation ceremonies. Another major event in a young student’s life, these limos are perfect for a celebration of such magnitude. Why not hold one last party before everybody goes their separate ways?

• Weddings. These vehicles can be used for either stag nights, hen nights, or even for the ceremony itself. Since these vehicles are not a common sight all around the world it can really make any wedding memorable, as well as adding that little bit of luxury to top the day off.

• Just because people can. It’s not necessary to have a special occasion for using these vehicles. Just get them for the sake of getting them. It can be a cruise down to the hottest nightclubs or just a trip to the beach.

Are they Expensive?

There’s no denying that limo buses are not for those with a light wallet. However, it’s important to remember that as demand has increased the prices have lowered due to competition from rival companies. These days people don’t have to be a celebrity or an oil baron in order to get one of these Hummer vehicles.

Even though they can set back people quite a bit, why not get one anyway? Life was made for living and getting one of these vehicles can create an occasion that will be remembered forever. Pay now but benefit for the rest of one’s life, that’s a pretty good deal!

System Buses Explained

System Buses Explained

I don’t know about you, but I for one, despite thinking to myself that I had it all under my grasp always get confused when thinking about the array of buses in a modern computer. Bandwidth of the CPU, memory, AGP plus new technologies such as Hypertransport always leave me in a spin, especially when you’re talking to someone about it who manages to make you question your own knowledge.

I thought I would write it down for reference, and hopefully provide an understanding to those who want to know all about this topic.

Throughout this article we will try to grasp an understanding of all the components that make a viable computer system and hopefully see past the marketing which preys on our lack of understanding.

The Aim

Computers are not marketed these days from a purely technical point of view. All retailers or manufacturers will attempt to give their product an edge over very similar products in their class. Graphics cards and motherboards are an excellent example of this right now. Different names, same technology.

Marketing even goes so far as to deviate away from the correct technical terminology of computers. Kilo, Mega, Giga are not the same when it comes to making numbers “easy” for joe public.

Technically and correct:

1 bit is a single unit of information depicted in the form of a 1 or a 0.

There are 8 bits in a byte

There are 1024 bytes in a kilobyte

There are 1024 kilobytes in a Megabyte

There are 1024 Megabytes in a Gigabyte

And incidentally, although not used in this article…

There are 1024 Gigabytes in a Terabyte

1024*1024*1024 is awkward and provides results that are not nice for marketing.

Instead they move to multiples of 1000. 1000 bytes in a kilobyte, 1000 kilobytes in a megabyte and so forth. This provides nice round numbers.

Take this for example (we will cover the calculations later on):

Technically:

PC2100 DDR Memory / DDR266 Memory

64 (bits) * 266,000,000 (Hz) = 17024,000,000 bits/s

(17024,000,000/8) / (1024*1024) = 2029.4MB/s

Marketing:

PC2100 DDR Memory / DDR266 Memory

64 (bits) * 266,000,000 (Hz) = 17024,000,000 bits/s

(17024,000,000/8) / (1000*1000) = 2128MB/s

Convenient don’t you think? Not only does it provide a magical 100MB/s of bandwidth, it’s also a nice number (no decimal places etc..)

Latency

The problem with high multipliers in modern CPUs is the latencies involved. The processor clock speed (we will use 1.73GHz as an example) is far in advance of the relatively paltry speeds of the memory bus, AGP bus etc.. the CPU finds itself having to wait around for the rest of the system to catch up.

We shall use an example to illustrate:

A processor with a 133MHz bus speed running at 1.73GHz has a clock multiplier of 13 (13*133 = 1733).

# The CPU sends a request to the system memory for information # The CPU then waits one cycle (commonly known as the command rate (1T) # The memory undergoes what is known as a RAS/CAS latency # The memory has a delay in finding the data known as a CAS latency

Thus whilst the CPU has waited 1 CPU cycle and then 4 bus cycles it has had to wait for 1 + (4 * multiplier) CPU cycles to get the data it was after. For every memory bus cycle the CPU has undergone 13 cycles. Not much when you consider this 1.73GHz CPU has 1.73 billion cycles per second, but how many times does the CPU access main memory? Quite a bit and so it all adds up.

Memory

We will consider 3 different types of computer memory in this article.

# SDR-SDRAM (Single Data Rate – Synchronous Dynamic Random Access Memory) – SDR-SDRAM was the dominant memory of the late 90s. Later version were available at speeds of 66/100/133 MHz as standard. This type of memory is/was used by both Intel and AMD for their recent offerings, even used in the i845/845G chipset with the Pentium 4 processsor. Later we will show what a mistake or distinct waste of CPU that was.

# DDR-SDRAM (Double Data Rate – Synchronous Dynamic Random Access Memory) – DDR-SDRAM has taken over where SDR memory left off. Particularly with AMD systems (Thunderbird / XP / Thoroughbred) DDR memory has come to the fore as the mainstream memory for the foreseeable future, with DDR-II on the horizon.

# RDRAM (RAMBUS Dynamic Random Access Memory) – Although only really made popular in the mainstream computer market via the Intel Pentium 4 processor, RDRAM technology dates back earlier than DDR memory.

Bandwidth Calculations

To avoid confusion later on here is a reference table for bits, bytes, Mega, kilo, Giga etc…

1 bit is a single unit of information depicted in the form of a 1 or a 0.

There are 8 bits in a byte

There are 1024 bytes in a kilobyte

There are 1024 kilobytes in a Megabyte

There are 1024 Megabytes in a Gigabyte

And incidentally, although not used in this article…

There are 1024 Gigabytes in a Terabyte

SDR-SDRAM

To calculate memory bandwidth we need to know 2 things. Its data width and its operating frequency. The latter is easier to find out as it is usually part of the marketing/retail title.

We usually see SDR memory at 100 or 133MHz. Taking 133MHz as the example, this means that the memory can perform an operation 133 million times every second.

Finding the data width, well that’s just something you have to look up. SDR memory has a data width of 64 bits or 8 bytes (8 bits in a byte).

PC100 SDR Memory

The calculation is as follows : data width * operating frequency = bandwidth (in bits/s)

To convert to more realistic and manageable figures, divide the result by 8 to give bytes/s and then divide again by 1024 to get kilobytes/s and then by 1024 again to get Megabytes/s.

Thus : 64 (bits) * 100,000,000 (Hz) = 6400,000,000 bits/s

(6400,000,000/8) / (1024*1024) = 762.9MB/s memory bandwidth.

PC133 SDR Memory

Using the same forumla as we did for PC100 SDR memory we can easily calculate theoretical memory bandwidth for PC133 SDR memory.

64 (bits) * 133,000,000 (Hz) = 8512,000,000 bits/s

(8512,000,000/8) / (1024*1024) = 1014.7MB/s or roughly about 1GB/s memory bandwidth.

DDR-SDRAM

DDR memory is slightly more complicated to understand for 2 reasons. Firstly, DDR memory has the ability to transfer data on the rising and falling edge of a clock cycle, meaning theoretically DDR memory doubles the memory bandwidth of a system able to use it.

Secondly, as a marketing push to compete with a rival technology at the time DDR was introduced, RAMBUS; DDR was sold as a measure of its approximate peak theoretical bandwidth. Similar to AMD and the PR rating of the XP processors we have today, People buy numbers, and DDR was seen to be faster if it was sold as PC1600 and PC2100 instead of PC200 and PC266.

PC1600 DDR Memory / DDR200 Memory

DDR memory has the same data width as SDR memory: 64 bits.

We use the same calculation to measure bandwidth, with the additional frequency.

64 (bits) * 200,000,000 (Hz) = 12800,000,000 bits/s

(12800,000,000/8) / (1024*1024) = 1525.9MB/s.

Notice the bandwidth is twice that of PC100 SDR memory.

PC2100 DDR Memory / DDR266 Memory

64 (bits) * 266,000,000 (Hz) = 17024,000,000 bits/s

(17024,000,000/8) / (1024*1024) = 2029.4MB/s or roughly 2GB/s memory bandwidth.

With the advent of improved memory yields, modules able to run at higher clock speeds are being released to the market. PC2700 has finally come into its own with the introduction of the AMDXP2700+/2800+ and the Intel i845PE chipset.

Here are some bandwidths for the latest memory available:

PC2700 DDR Memory / DDR333 Memory

64 (bits) * 333,000,000 (Hz) = 21312,000,000 bits/s

(21312,000,000/8) / (1024*1024) = 2540.6MB/s.

PC3200 DDR Memory / DDR400 Memory

64 (bits) * 400,000,000 (Hz) = 25600,000,000 bits/s

(25600,000,000/8) / (1024*1024) = 3051.8MB/s.

PC3500 DDR Memory / DDR434 Memory

64 (bits) * 434,000,000 (Hz) = 27776,000,000 bits/s

(27776,000,000/8) / (1024*1024) = 3311.2MB/s.

RDRAM

RDRAM memory is slightly more complicated in that the bus operates at an effective 64 bit bus width ala DDR but is separated into 2 16/32 bit channels. What does this mean? well currently 2 sticks of RDRAM have to be used in a system. DDR has the advantage (usually from a cost point of view) of being able to be used in single DIMMs.

The caclulation is basically the same however, we just need to take into account the extra channel and additional memory speed.

PC800

16 (bits) * 800,000,000 (Hz) = 12800,000,000 bits/s

(12800,000,000/8) / (1024*1024) = 1525.9MB/s. Multiplied by 2 because of the dual channel configuration – 3051.8MB/s

PC1066

16 (bits) * 1066,000,000 (Hz) = 17056,000,000 bits/s

(17056,000,000/8) / (1024*1024) = 2033.2MB/s. Multiplied by 2 because of the dual channel configuration – 4066.4MB/s

nForce

nForce is special as it heralded the future of memory interfaces, for DDR at least. Dual DDR technology gives 2 64bit channels instead of 1 making an effective 128bit memory bus. This allows twice the bandwidth through the bus.

Although DualDDR technology never really made a huge impact on nForce memory bandwidth (so the benchmarks tell us at least), it has great potential to a recent DDR convert.

The Intel Pentium 4 processor, a long standing advocate of RAMBUS/RDRAM has pledged to move away from the serial memory technology and embrace DDR. Unfortunately, as the memory bandwidth calculations on page 4 showed, DDR in its current form has neither the bandwidth or the potential to scale up to RDRAM bandwidths in its current iteration.

Dual DDR will make a big difference to Pentium 4 chipsets. P4s with QDR architecture can achieve bandwidths of around 4GB/s, perfectly matched with PC1066 RDRAM. The fastest DDR memory currently available on the other hand, PC3500 has a bandwidth of around 3.1GB/s. The P4 is crippled with current DDR chipsets.

Doubling the memory bandwidth then is something Intel is looking forward to.

PCI Bus

The PCI bus is one of the older buses in a modern system. It is the bus which connects all the expansion cards in a system to the main chipset, along with IDE and USB.

The PCI bus is a 32-bit wide bus running at 33MHz. Using our familiar calculation we can now easily calculate its maximum bandwidth.

32 (bits) * 33,000,000 (Hz) = 1056,000,000 bits/s

(1056,000,000/8) / (1024*1024) = 125.9MB/s. Rounded up to 133MB/s

It is relatively easy to imagine, that with modern ATA133 Hard Drives, PCI network adapters, sound cards and the like, the PCI bus can easily become saturated. There are 3 ways around this solution. 2 have already been implemented.

# Expand the bandwidth of the bus – Server motherboards, especially with the prevalence of SCSI hard drives requiring more bandwidth than the PCI bus can transfer, have moved to a 66MHz bus using 64bit slots. This quadruples the bandwidth afforded.

64 (bits) * 66,000,000 (Hz) = 4224,000,000 bits/s

(4224,000,000/8) / (1024*1024) = 503.5MB/s. Rounded up to 533MB/s

# Move to a dedicated bus – The obvious example here is graphics cards. With ever increasing speeds of graphics cards needed to deal with ever complex games the PCI bus of old simply cannot deal with the sheer amount of information needed to get to the northbridge and vice versa. Thus the AGP bus was born. A direct link from the AGP card to the chipset running at 66MHz with a 32bit bus gives a maximum bandwidth of:

32 (bits) * 66,000,000 (Hz) = 2112,000,000 bits/s

(1056,000,000/8) / (1024*1024) = 251.77MB/s; rounded up to 266MB/s

IDE

IDE hard drives transmit data to the CPU and vice versa, via the PCI Bus. Of course this means that any transfers is limited by the speed of the PCI bus, 133MB/s or thereabouts meaning ATA133 is as high as IDE can get (even though in reality it never gets close anyway).

Recent innovations have tried to bypass the PCI bus for IDE transfers. VIA’s VLink technology is a dedicated bus running at 266MB/s between the Southbridge and Northbridge.

Serial ATA

The successor to IDE. Why is this in the PCI section? Well currently despite all the hype, Serial ATA connectors all use the PCI bus to transfer information. SATA150 with a theoretical maximum transfer of 150MB/s is limited to the paltry 133MB/s of the PCI bus. Future chipsets will alleviate Serial ATA of the PCI bus burden and allow direct access to the chipset probably on a dedicated bus. This is needed for the next generation of SATA devices able to run at 300/600MB/s.

AGP Bus

As partly explained on page 6, the AGP bus was born to accommodate the ever expanding bandwidth needs of graphics card. The 133MB/s capacity of the PCI bus simply wasn’t able to handle the likes of cards faster than the Voodoo 3, one of the last PCI graphics cards.

The AGP bus was a 32bit bus like the PCI bus, but it operated at 66MHz giving it a maximum bandwidth of 266MB/s. This was and is known as AGP 1x.

Similar to the QDR implementation of the Intel Pentium 4 processor, the AGP bus was redesigned to allow data to be processed 2, then 4 times every clock cycle. This is known as AGP2x/4x. More recently AGP8x has been introduced.

Each iteration of AGP has doubled the bandwidth of the previous standard:

# AGP1x = 266MB/s
# AGP2x = 533MB/s
# AGP4x = 1066MB/s
# AGP8x = 2132MB/s

Hypertransport

In all walks of life, things move on. Standards described 10 years ago ad beyond can never hope to achieve scaleability to today’s needs.

As the 8bit ISA bus was superceded by the PCI bus, thus the outdated PCI needs to be phased out and a new interconnect protocol defined. The leading contender for the throne at the moment is Hypertransport.

An AMD led consortium hopes to make Hypertransport the defining interconnect protocol of the foreseeable future.

What Is Hypertransport?

Hypertransport is a point-to-point interconnect primarilly designed for speed, scaleability and the unification of the various system buses we have today. The same link can be used to retrieve data from a network card and a bank of DDR memory.

Here is an example of the typical computer bus layout as we know today:

Hypertransport would eliminate most of the bottlenecks found in today’s systems. The PCI bus as explained earlier is easily saturated with the high bandwidth peripherals in use.

In terms of speed, Hypertransport is capable (at the moment) of delivering throughputs of up to 51.2Gbps.

Using 500MHz clock rate as an example

2 (bits * 500,000,000 (Hz) = 1000,000,000 bit/s

(1000,000,000/8) / (1024*1024) = 119.2MB/s – with the ability of DDR signaling this is doubled to 238.4MB/s.

or to use Gbits (basically because it sounds more):

1000,000,000 / (1024*1024*1024) = 0.93Gbps (rounded up to 1Gbps). With the DDR signaling this is shunted up to 2Gbps.

We see Hypertransport in today’s technology through one company’s innovation to break from the norm. NVIDIA’s nForce (and nForce2 of course) use Hypertransport as the primary interconnect offering throughputs of 800MB/s (nForce1) and 1600MB/s (nForce2). Not top speed Hypertransport but more than enough for today’s components.

VIA have validated Hypertransport for use in their upcoming K8 AMD Hammer chipsets so the future is certainly picking up for the fledgling protocol.

Roundup

Before we talk about what will come let us briefly cover what is going on at the moment.

It should have hopefully become apparent that there are many pitfalls when deciding on a new computer system, for both home users and businesses alike. As always, technical details are buried under a big pile of marketing. Minor advancements in technology that in reality, do nothing are heralded as the “next big thing”. A quick look under the surface however, shows this not to be the case.

It pains me to see users asking whether they should upgrade their VIA KT266a based motherboard to a VIA KT333 chipset because “it must be faster”, bigger numbers mean faster right?. Wrong, a balanced system means you can squeeze the most out of your setup, be it for gaming, CAD or other intensive operations. Nobody wants to spend money needlessly so read this article again, get a feel for the numbers involved and come to your own conclusions.

The Future

We covered briefly the aspects regarding future IO buses. Hypertransport and PCI-Express are on the horizion, or indeed are already here. We need the peripherals and components to make use of this additional bandwidth. At the moment it seems wherever you look, there is a bottleneck.

Hopefully in the future manufacturers will settle on fewer buses, it’s less confusing for the consumer and it also means that computers will become less complex. Take for example USB2.0 and Firewire (not covered in this article), two competing protocols that basically do the same thing. Hot-pluggable, scalable, high-bandwidth connections. Why not settle on one and stick with it?

Anyway, end of the ranting. We hope you enjoyed this article. It will be constantly updated as new technologies emerge in this ever-changing industry.

At the end of the day, this is a reference for us all.

Bus Safety Tips For Passengers on Charter Buses

Having the luxury of a coach bus to transport your group is a very helpful option for moving large amounts of people to a destination at one time. It is also the perfect solution for travelling over shorter distances where a plane ride wouldn’t be efficient. Whatever method of transportation your travel coordinator chooses, it is important that the entire group arrive to the destination safely and on time.

There are many ways that a trip coordinator can help prepare the selection and transport of a charter bus to ensure the safety of the riders. It is important that they do their research and understand the qualifications, preparations, maintenance and reputation of the charter bus company that they are looking to hire.

Bus Research/Maintenance

When requesting information from the bus company, ask them if they employ a safety director to oversee the safety compliance of their drivers. Driver compliance includes maintaining a valid CDL Class B with passenger endorsement driver’s license with a good driving record and a valid DOT physical on file. A CDL is required in order to drive a commercial vehicle in all 50 states. The driver must be at least 21 years old to drive with a CDL through multiple states, but can be as young as 18 if the trip taken is within the same state. It is also illegal to operate a commercial vehicle without the possession of a valid CDL.

Also find out what the charter bus company does to maintain their buses. Ask if they have certified mechanics working on their buses and how frequently they are maintained. Charter bus companies should have a regular maintenance routine in place for their buses and should be able to provide you with a detailed log of the work done on an ongoing basis. As with any piece of mechanical equipment, breakdowns can occur but with the proper maintenance, the risk of being left along side the road goes down significantly.

Boarding/Riding

Your driver should be knowledgeable of current road conditions and construction. Take time to discuss the route with your driver prior to departure and any planned restroom and meal stops. Good communication between the group leader and bus driver usually results in a great experience for you and your passengers.

Another idea to ensure the safety of riders is to take inventory for possible needs of riders. Some bus passengers can get easily nauseated from being in an enclosed environment and need fresh air, the front window or in some cases bags for extreme nausea.

Upon entering the bus, stress the importance of riders watching their step as they enter and depart the bus and to use the hand rails. As minuscule as it seems, one of the most disheartening ways to start a trip is by losing your footing upon entering or exiting the motorcoach. It can be very easy to get caught up in the excitement of going on a trip or even stumbling from carry on baggage.

Before departure, everyone on the bus should be aware of every emergency exit and the responsibilities of the person sitting closest to the exit. While riding in the bus, make sure that have their belongings stored away properly and out of the aisle so that there is a clear path for passengers to safely exit or make their way to the restroom. It is strongly encouraged that passengers to do not use laser points on board the motorcoach as it can cause a distraction to both the driver and other motorist.

The most important part of using a charter bus is to make sure that you keep a very close attendance record of all your riders to make sure that everyone gets to the destination and back home safely.

A charter bus can be an amazing tool for transporting groups to places, but the proper cautions should be taken in order to have a safe and successful trip.

1500 Buses Flood in New Orleans

Let us talk about common sense in Hurricane Disaster Evacuations prior to land strike. The City of New Orleans owns 500 buses, which were running perfectly, that is until the levee broke and the flood came. The School Districts have another 1000 buses, which were flooded after the Levee Broke.

These 1500 buses if push came to shove could take an average of 50 people each and in fact move 75,000 people. They could have evacuated the same amount of people who went into evacuation facilities like the Superdome and other safe places. What we have now is 1500 submerged and ruined buses, good for bus manufacturers, but bad for taxpayers. The cost to replace those 1500 buses at an average of $50,000 each and that is a lot of money. Seventy-Five Million Dollars worth of assets flooded and ruined, that could have pre-removed the evacuees. When did Noah build the ark? Before the flood remember?

That money could be used to buy temporary classrooms, levee repairs and recruiting and hiring more police officers who conveniently walked off the job or did not report for duty. Think about this for next time, it is silly to keep learning all these things after the fact? Those buses could have taken nearly everyone out prior to the storm and the levee that breached afterwards. Now in hindsight, all the buses are a total loss, when they could have been saved along with the people in adavance?