Ask the expert: messing with your mouse
What do you do if your mouse goes wrong? That innocuous looking piece of plastic that sits beside your keyboard has proven to be somewhat problematic for a few followers this week. Which is a strange co-incidence because I've just written a column about troubleshooting mice for next month's mag.
Kill the driver
I have a Mionix Saiph 3200 mouse. It was acquired free from a subscription to PC Gamer UK no less. The problem is that, maybe one in three times upon booting my PC, the mouse drivers fail to load. The result is usually the mouse cursor not moving at all and no LEDs light up on its body. Disconnecting and reconnecting the mouse at the USB port always quick-fixes it. I have Googled this problem and it is apparently an issue with Windows 7 64-bit and its hibernate mode disabling the driver and not reloading it again.
However, I don't actually use hibernate. There's a suggested fix is a registry hack to stop hibernate disabling the driver which i am not prepared to mess with.
PCG says The relationship between Windows and third party drivers has never been a happy one. In order that we can all move on and live our lives happily, though, we have to come to some sort of blame-free resolution. Whether it's Windows not letting go or Mionix' control panel refusing to leave, I don't care – it's time for them to go there separate ways.
Uninstall the Mionix driver completely and let Windows do its own thing. You won't miss anything other than the inconvenience of the conflict – you can still change the sensitivity using the buttons on the mouse.
No mouse power
I was a heavy FPS gamer a few years back, until I bought a business, then another one, which left me no time to play. I've kept reading PC Gamer, though. I built a machine about 7 years ago, with an Abit Uguru motherboard, an Intel P4 2.8GHz Northwood CPU, XP Pro, an ATI X800 PRO, 2GB RAM and 5.1 surround to round it out.
My problem is I haven't booted it up in a couple years. I had some free time the other day and wanted to play a little HL2. I've been getting the itch, if you know what I mean. Well anyways, I booted up and my mouse wouldn't work. It's a Microsoft IntelliMouse 1.1A USB. It lights up for a couple seconds while booting then goes dark, and I can never move the pointer at any point. Updated the driver with no luck. Any ideas?
PCG says I do have a few ideas. Four, in fact, three of which are nothing to do with the mouse. You're going to need to plug the mouse into another PC or laptop (and I can't believe a businessman like yourself has spent seven years PC free) to see if the mouse is working. If not, there's solution number one - buy a new mouse. If it is, then it sounds like a USB problem:
2 The worst case scenario is that you have a broken motherboard or hardware failure on the USB channels. You could pick up a cheap PCI expansion card with fresh USB ports on to get round this.
3 Your USB drivers are corrupted (ie. not the mouse driver, the sofware which governs the internal USB hub). It's unlikely in Windwos XP, but possible. Try Abit's site for an archived drier update.
4 There's some sort of power problem. The PSU may have got damaged/worn out in storage and can't put out enough juice to run the mouse, or there are too many devices on the same USB hub. Make sure the mouse is plugged directly into one of the USB ports on the back of the board. If it is already, try changing the port it's in.
I am bordering on my next major build and was wondering if I could get some advice. Where possible I try to stick to a 4-5 year plan, building a PC on a good base that will allow me to tweak (mostly RAM and graphics) without having to re-build.
I'm keeping an eye on the new motherboards particularly paying attention to any news regarding support for Intel's upcoming octo/deca core processors and I was wondering if you had a view on where the current market lies. I cant help but feel that I may have missed the boat on the i7 processors and would now be better off waiting for the next major socket change, but I cant seem to find anything conclusive about how long this is going to be, there even seems to be some hypothesis that the oct cores may be compatible with the current sockets but nothing concrete.
Essentially I see three options:
1 Spend the money on a Q6600 CPU and a GTX 470 and wait a bit (roughly £300)
2 Build based on the i7 model (£1100-£1200) and hope that it will stay capable for the next 4-5 years
3 Do nothing as the motherboard supporting oct/dec cores is just around the corner so save my pennies
(Tom mentioned in a follow up mail that the biggest problem he has is that his current Socket 775 board can't be upgrade to a Penryn-class Core 2 processor, which is why he's looking at the dated and hard to get hold of Q6600).
PCG says The easy part of this answer is get the new GPU sooner rather than later. It'll be a massive boost to your system and keep you going for years. As for the CPU, I see the dilemma and there's no right or wrong. Upgrading to a Q6600 will save you a lot of money, and I don't know anyone who's got one of these that's thinking of upgrading yet, so I'd say that's the sensible option. For me the temptation of gutting the system and replacing it with a Core i7 would probably be too great.
As far as waiting for eight or ten core chips goes, don't do it. So far the take up of multithreading in games has been disappointing, and the games which scale really well across cores tend to be those that you won't stress a decent quad anyway. Like RUSE or Napoleon: Total War. It'll be a while before an octo-core machine is worth the cost – which is likely to be enormous, if the introduction of Intel's six core chip is anything to go by.
Got a question for Adam? If you have a technical problem you need solved or are just curious about PCs in general, leave a comment below or email him directly here.
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