Tech + Lifestyle

games, gear, and googleplexes (joke)

Summoning the Beast

“I suspect if more people understood how simple it really is to get computer components to fit together, more would try it. Getting them to work together is a dark and terrible magic.”

My thoughts exactly… sorta. I’m building a new rig this week, and while it’s always good to be careful and even a little nervous when assembling expensive components, that attitude is a little cynical for my taste. Building computers is fun. Doing mods, upgrades, repairs, is fun. I’m absurdly excited about my rig, truth be told. For your viewing pleasure, below are the parts I’ve got so far (still waiting on the case):

Processor: AMD Phenom II X3 720 BE

X3 720 BE

X3 720 BE

Continue reading


August 18, 2009 Posted by | Tech | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Treatise in Which I Examine the Finer Points of Computer Hardware, or Summoning the Beast: The Arcane Magic of Gaming Rig Resurrection and Improvement

After reading some reviews for the newly-released ATI Radeon HD 4770, I find myself thinking long and hard about my planned tech purchases. I’m often fond of referring to such spending as investments, but realistically that’s a misnomer. Regardless of what motherboard, or processor, or graphics card I buy, none of them will gain value the longer I own them. In reality, the value of computer hardware drops almost as quickly as that of cars, and in some cases even worse, given the six-month to one-year life of each generation of hardware. Before I go any further, that needs to be clear and ever-present in my mind and that of readers – any money dropped on hardware should basically be written off at a loss.

That being said, the logical thing to do is examine my reasons for upgrading my hardware. It’s pretty easy for me Continue reading

May 2, 2009 Posted by | Personal, Tech | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

A Day In The Life: AMD’s Execs

Sometime last week, in AMD’s boardroom:

AMD Exec 1: Members of the board, I have good news. We’re on schedule to deliver five new processors for our Phenom II line next week!

Board Member 1: That’s great news! What are the specs on them?

AMD Exec 2: First, we’ve got the the X4 910, which is essentially an X4 920 that’s been underclocked by .2 GHz. Then there’s the X4 810, which is the same speed as the X4 910, but it has 4MB of L3 cache instead of the 6 MB that’s standard on everything above it. Next is the X4 805, which has the 4 MB L3 cache like the 810, only it’s got a speed of 2.5 GHz. After that we’ve got two X3 models, which are X4s but with a core disabled. The X3 720 is clocked at 2.8 GHz, and it’s got the 6 MB L3 cache that the 900-series processors do, but 1.5 MB for the L2 cache instead of 2 MB like the others. The X3 710 has the same cache sizes as the 720, but it’s sitting at 2.6 GHz instead of 2.8. Finally, all the new processors are-

Board Member 1: That’s… confusing. Why do they vary in cache size and clock speed, but without any sort of logic to it? The 900 series should be the highest-spec’ed, followed by the 800 series, and finally the 700 series. That just makes sense.

AMD Exec 1: We would totally do that-

AMD Exec 2: -Totally do it.

AMD Exec 1: But we can’t.

Board Member 2: And why not?

AMD Exec 2: Well, here’s the thing: we can’t afford the R&D to actually design other processors.

AMD Exec 1: So we’re taking all the Phenom II chips with defects and then renaming them based on what’s wrong with them. The 800 series has jacked-up cache, but all the cores are fine, and the 700 series has cache that’s fine, but a core that doesn’t work.

Board Member 2: So we’re doing this to avoid wasting any chips, right?

*awkward silence 1*

AMD Exec 2: …Yes? Continue reading

February 9, 2009 Posted by | Humor, Tech | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Intel Price Cuts

Intel couldn’t resist. They’ve cut prices on a number of their processors. While I’m sure they planned to do so anyway, I can’t help but think that some small part of it was just to stick it to AMD and their new Phenom II processors. Anyway, I’ve taken some screenshots of the damage:

Core 2 Quad processors

Core 2 Quad processors

The most significant price cuts came in the Core 2 Quad line Continue reading

January 19, 2009 Posted by | News, Tech | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

AMD’s Fusion: What it means for PC gaming

So… all the web is abuzz with talk of AMD’s announcement at this year’s CES – Fusion Render Cloud computing.

AMD has previously announced plans for a fusion product line – essentially, one where the CPU and GPU are combined on the same chip. Fusion Cloud computing, while not necessarily a replacement of this concept, is a marked re-imagining of it. The plan is to combine more than 1,000 ATI Radeon HD 4870 GPUs with matching Phenom II processors and AMD 790 chipsets into “the fastest graphics supercomputer ever.” Continue reading

January 12, 2009 Posted by | Gaming, Tech | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Everybody, meet Phenom II

Phenom II

AMD’s new processor is finally here. Yay! Now, what does that mean for the consumer… Continue reading

January 8, 2009 Posted by | Gaming, Tech | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

PC Component Holiday Guides

It’s that time of the year, boys and girls. Whether you’re celebrating Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice, Festivus, or any other winter-related holiday, chances are you’re planning on buying gifts for family and friends (or convincing people to buy things for you). If you’re a geek, or you’re buying for a geek, pc components are a great holiday gift – I personally can’t resist the urge to upgrade whenever I’ve got the available funds. With that in mind, several sites have put together guides to help you decide what brand to go with, or particular product, or what have you. I’m putting up links to each review I’ve found, along with my personal pick for each category. Enjoy! Continue reading

December 16, 2008 Posted by | Tech | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Computer Build Part One – Choosing Your Components

I actually completed this build about two weeks ago, but I’ve been too busy with school to write up a decent post on it. I previously wrote one post about ordering the parts for it, and another with a few teaser pics of my work area. Now I’ll finally get into it. Here we go… Continue reading

September 20, 2008 Posted by | Tech | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment