Saturday, May 03, 2008

AMD vs. Intel Comparison

About the new AMD system I recently bought...

The AMD Athlon 64 X2 4400+ rocks when compared to my Intel system, which uses a Pentium D830. The AMD CPU is running on an Abit NF-M2SV board with 1GB of RAM. The Intel system is running on an ECS nForce 570 SLIT-A v5.1 mainboard and 2GB of RAM. While the Intel system outguns the AMD system, spec-wise, the AMD system is quite a bit more responsive...the whole system seems and responds like it is extremely lightweight. Both are running XP Pro. The AMD CPU runs 104F temps on the average, while the Intel CPU is in the 120F range...and this system has the beefier CPU fan/heatsink too! The AMD CPU cooler is here. It is an Arctic Cooling Freezer 64 LP. The Intel CPU cooler is here and is apparently a standard issue HSF (Intel Socket 775 Cooling Fan, although it is badged as an Ultra unit).

I'm very impressed!

No, I don't have any benchmark specs (you can probably find these online via Google), but this is really a seat-of-the-pants comparison. That I noticed such a difference in this manner should speak for itself.

Now, I've split the 250GB drive on the AMD system in half, to test Slamd64, an unofficial 64-bit port of Slackware (which is a 32-bit OS). I've run into issues booting up Slamd64, though...I've been getting SATA-specific errors that hint that the hard drive is going bad (which I seriously doubt). I think I've seen these errors before when I last installed Slackware on a SATA drive...I think I selected the wrong kernel. I need to select a kernel specific to SATA support. I'll work on this during the next 7 days and report my findings here.

I'm seriously thinking on swapping the Intel machine for the AMD one, since the AMD machine appears more robust.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Bake-off: NoScript and Firekeeper

I decided to mention Firekeeper on the security forums at One of the moderators there mentioned that NoScript was better at blocking malcode than Firekeeper. In order to understand what he was talking about (I'm confused about that comment), I decided to install both to see if one can layer and leverage both of these tools. I also wanted to see which was better at blocking and alerting on malcode in general.

It appears that NoScript is specific to javascript, although it looks to detect cross-site scripting, flash, and MS' version of Flash. It also works via whitelists and blacklists and not pattern matching (other than focusing on the word "script" and occasionally focusing on "" (I haven't determined why it does this yet).

Both tools work in conjunction with another fine, though (so far).

I'm partial to Snort because an efficient and focused rule will always beat someone adding a site to a whitelist. I've seen trusted sites be hacked before, so if a trusted site is violated and begins serving malware, you're going to be visiting that site and that site will be in your white list...with Firekeeper, it will alert and block any malicious traffic.

The bad thing about Firekeeper is that someone always has to maintain the ruleset (be it the user or the developer or a combination of both).

I'll continue to comment as I learn both tools.