Tech + Lifestyle

games, gear, and googleplexes (joke)

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

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

Choosing Graphics Cards

Once again, the good folks over at Tom’s Hardware have released their Best Graphics Cards for the Money (Jan ’09). In all honesty, there really aren’t any new offerings that have been added; the only differences are updates in price fluctuations. At the same time, it is important to note that when nVidia’s GTX 295 is unveiled in a couple weeks, it will enter the market at around a $500 price point. This in turn will force the price of the current graphics kind, the Radeon HD 4870 X2, to drop in order to remain competitive. In hand, that will drop the prices of the 4870 1 GB, GTX 280, GTX 260+ and GTX 260, and perhaps even slightly reduce the price of the 4870 512MB and 4850 (512 and 1 GB). It’ll be interesting to watch, undoubtedly.

***Update*** BFGTech was the first to release the GTX 295 today, and prices are already starting to shift. In terms of performance, the GTX 295 is generally more powerful than two GTX 260+ cards in SLI, but can’t manage to get an advantage over the 4870 X2, instead going back and forth (depending on the game) as to which is superior. The good news in all this? While the GTX 295 was released at $499, ATI has already officially announced a $50 price reduction for the 4870 X2, and some companies are offering additional $50 rebates on top of that. In you’re really terrible at math, that means you can now get a 4870 X2 for $399! That’s an incredible value, and one worth looking into if you’ve got the budget.

All that being said, I actually bothered reading through the second half of the BGCftM, which I usually don’t – out of charity or the kindness of their hearts or something, Tom’s Hardware has actually been covering AGP cards as well, an ancient and dying bus that practically nobody uses anymore (hooray PCI-express!). They’ve finally admitted that the AGP beast is all but gone, and only covered two cards for it this time – one over $100, and one below. Past that, though, they released an exhaustive Graphics Card Hierarchy Chart, which lists in tiers every card available right now, and stacks them up according to their power. This is immensely helpful for new users. For example, a couple years ago I knew absolutely nothing about computer graphics, and I mean NOTHING. When choosing the card for my computer, I saw two nVidias – a 6800GT and a 7300LE. Not realizing how they came up with the names (first number is card generation, last three differentiate power within generations, letters differentiate between cards with the same numbering), I thought that since 7300 is higher than 6800, it must be better, right? I couldn’t be more wrong. Had I known better, I would’ve gone with the 6800GT and had a much better gaming experience my freshman year of college. That being said, this chart is awesome.

January 7, 2009 Posted by | Gaming, Tech | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 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