Tech + Lifestyle

games, gear, and googleplexes (joke)

Weekly Shenanigans #8

Shenanigans remind me of cliched Irish terminology and the movie Office Space. Surely, neither of those are bad things. If they are, I don’t want to be right. Anyhow, I present to you the eighth iteration of Weekly Shenanigans, that once-every-seven-days feature that you all know and love. Bastion of all things geek and nerd, purveyor of tech-news… how would you ever live without this stuff? And with that, away we go:

  • First up is an interesting (if somewhat cerebral) look at gaming terms posted onto Gamasutra entitled, “Mapping Gamer Dialect.” Intriguing, no? Click through and read up.
  • This is the POWERHAT.

    This is the POWERHAT.

    If you haven’t been reading these, you should absolutely, definitely, without any shred of doubt head over to Rock Paper Shotgun and read their newest ongoing feature – “A Fool In Morrowind,” in which Alec Meer re-discovers The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, and all the wonderful things therein. He recounts his experiences with… things… like the hat pictured at right. Hilarity ensues. GO.

  • Anandtech recently reviewed the ASRock X-58 Extreme motherboard, priced at the sweet, sweet amount of $169. It performed around 1% lower than other boards, but such a difference is hardly noticeable to most users. Given that this is a fully-featured ATX motherboard, that price is excellent, and only matched by the micro-ATX MSI X-58M previously mentioned on Weekly Shenanigans.
  • Most weeks – not every week, but most weeks – I post something about Apple. This week is no exception. It’s almost like a mini-feature within the feature. What’s going on this week, you ask? I’ll tell you – three times over! Oh, and I’m naming this sub-feature Super-Happy-Apple-Fun-Time. It just seems appropriate. Read below, fool! Also: Don’t ask why this is two separate bullets. I don’t know. Continue reading
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July 5, 2009 Posted by | Gaming, Humor, PC gaming, State of the Blog, Tech, Weekly Shenanigans | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 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

Hello, Nikon D60. You’re A Sexy Beast.

Excessive? Perhaps. At the same time, the transition from an Olympus FE-140 to a Nikon D60 is similar to what I experienced when I switched video cards in my desktop from an nVidia 7300LE to an 8800GT.

If you’re not the PC gaming type, allow me to illustrate graphically. Here’s what I had at first:

…and here’s what I’m using now:

The power in my hands is mind-boggling. I think my head might explode if I get a decent set of lenses for it.

I’m not a great photographer, but I’m working on it. I’ll post some pics I’ve taken later.

March 27, 2009 Posted by | Personal, 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

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

How To: Install a New Graphics Card

This was previously published at Blogcritics.org. You can read my article here.

Periodically, every computer needs an upgrade. Parts get old and, as software becomes more sophisticated, that old gear just doesn’t cut it. Trust me, I know the feeling. I went through this process last February. My main PC came with an nVidia 7300 LE graphics card – just barely better than having an integrated graphics chipset at the time and absolutely useless by today’s standards. I wanted to play HD video without overworking my processor. I wanted to play the latest video games without having to set them at minimum resolution and low detail. Continue reading

October 9, 2008 Posted by | Tech | , , , , , | 2 Comments