Scatterbrain

GeForce GPU

I haven’t been able to update the blog as much as I’d like over the last few weeks, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been thinking about things to write about.  Instead of letting all of my random thoughts go to waste, I thought I’d present them here as a collection.  If you’re just looking for a few moments of entertainment, you like reading the musings of the slightly insane, or you’re looking for something to spark your pent-up rage, the following list is probably for you!

Never Too Zune

Each time I plug my iPod (5th generation) into my computer and it freezes up, I secretly hope that it won’t come back on, so I have an excuse to buy a Zune HD.  From everything I’ve seen online, these things look pretty nice, and I’d like to try something different than iPod for a while.  I have absolutely no interest in the iPod Touch or an iPhone; the 32gb Touch is $110 more than the 32gb Zune HD, and being tethered to AT&T again just makes me feel sick.

But I digress; the Zune HD looks slick in its own right.  Wireless streaming capabilities and built-in HD radio are great, and I also like the idea of being able to output HD video and, of course, web browsing.  If Microsoft opens up the Zune to user-created applications, it would become an even great alternative to the iPod.  They seem to be making an effort to get developers to consider their other mobile devices, so I don’t think this is too far-fetched.  So far, however, they’ve been pretty tight-lipped about it.

Marvel Comics Feeling A Little Disney

Though I am not a huge comic book buff, I still felt as though I could almost hear the collective groan of fans as Disney scooped up Marvel Comics for a smooth $4 billion early this week.  Though both companies are distinctly American, and I am sure DIsney will handle Marvel with care, I still feel like Disney is starting to (or maybe already has) hit that critical mass where a company gets so big, with a reach so broad, that it ends up losing focus on all fronts.

There are plenty of companies out there who handle the multiple prongs of modern media quite well, but Disney has already been in danger of losing its grip on things in the past, and with yet another large addition to their stable of interests, I can’t help but wonder what the future will be like for both Disney and Marvel.

Will Disney change how Marvel presents its franchises?

Will we see Marvel characters integrated with Disney’s other mainstays, in titles like the Kingdom Hearts games?

Will we see another feud in Disney’s management as these things happen?

Who knows?  It could be interesting to watch, but it’ll be a shame if either brand is hurt because of this.

All-Out Fallout

When I got sick a couple of weeks ago, I spent a few days laying around my apartment, relaxing and recovering.  My girlfriend had some things to do up at her mom’s house, and didn’t want to risk getting sick, so I was all by myself for much of that time.  Instead of doing anything productive, I used the time to get re-acquainted with my Xbox; I decided that there was no better way of doing this than by collecting all the achievements in Fallout 3.

I did all that I could with my existing character (why did Bethesda choose to make one bobblehead impossible to go back and get?), and then made another so I could focus on slightly different talents to pick up a few odd achievements, like the one for 50 speech successes, and also so I could hit the appropriate levels with neutral and bad karma.

I’ve now gotten every achievement in Fallout 3, as well as in Operation: Anchorage and The Pitt, and have had a lot of fun in the process.  I’ve seen a lot of things that I missed in my first go-round, and have grown to appreciate, for a second time, the vast world of Fallout 3.

Hackintosh is Dead

Though I usually get my fill of OS X at work, a few months ago I got OS X up and running on some old PC hardware I had laying around at home.  I was mostly interested in trying my hand at iPhone App development, so I downloaded the iPhone SDK and got everything up and running without many problems.  I didn’t use the old rig often however, and I let it sit around for a while before firing it up again last week.

Though I’ve been told it isn’t a good idea, I’ve used the system update on my Hackintosh before, and everything’s turned out fine.  When I booted up to find a 300+ mb system update waiting for me, I thought nothing of it as I proceeded with the download and installation.  Unfortunately, the update broke my installation, and for some reason I haven’t been able to re-install it since.  Either something has changed on my box (something which sticks around after multiple hard drive re-partitions?) or I simply can’t remember the settings I used to install OS X the first time.  It’s a drag, but frankly I haven’t had time to learn to code iPhone Apps anyway.  I’ll probably dig into this a little deeper one of these weekends when I’ve got nothing better to do.

Can’t Take The Heat

Recently, I was playing some World of Warcraft on my desktop computer, wrapping up a dungeon with a group of others, when the image on the screen stuttered, a strange dot pattern appeared around my cursor and the UI elements, and then the computer locked up.  After a quick restart, and about a minute of play, the same thing happened.  In a hurry to get back into the game (and in an effort not to be the reason for the deaths of my entire group), I threw open my laptop and loaded the game up there.  In-game disaster was narrowly averted, but it left me worried about my desktop machine.

In my experience, most graphical glitches of this kind are attributed to overheating hardware – the bane of all computer gamers.

So earlier today, I opened up my desktop computer and dusted it out.  Then I turned it on and started World of Warcraft again, and let it sit.  About 10 minutes later, I came back into the room to find the screen flickering and the computer frozen.  Not good.

I guess this is a good excuse to get a new GPU, something I’ve been wanting to do for a while anyway, but my existing motherboard doesn’t have a PCI-Express 2.0 slot on it, so I’m back to the same conundrum as before I assembled my current desktop – upgrading one part means upgrading two or three others as well.  And since these are all the most expensive parts (GPU, CPU, motherboard), I might as well just splurge a few extra hundred bucks and update the rest of the hardware.  But if my apartment is getting too hot (it’s hot here lately, but not that hot), I’m not too keen on buying and subsequently ruining more computer hardware either.  It’s a problem I guess.

That’s All For Now

Anyway, I think that’s enough of this rambling for now.  I’ve been a bit of a scatterbrain lately, and now the madness shall spread!

16 comments:

  1. Mattthew_H - Over a year ago

    If you get a better CPU and GPU fan, then your PC shouldn’t overheat – or, as easily anyway.

    Looking at some new computers, they all seem rather expensive (here in Oz anyway).
    Depending on which you’d rather use, I’d say go with an i7 and 4-6GB of RAM and any good graphics card you can find (there are plenty of good ones out there) – but since you’ve got a 360, all that power may not even be used.

    I suppose if you’ve got the cash, do it, otherwise: you’ve still got a laptop.

    Matt

    1. Martin - Over a year ago

      Yeah, that’s what I am thinking, Matt… I just don’t want to overlook something important, and then wind up with two broken computers.

      Currently I’m trolling Newegg for parts. I like assembling a functional rig from all the parts on their site and then fiddling around with the details to make it cheaper, if possible. Right now I’m looking at an Intel Core 2 Quad Q9400, but I’ve got some breathing room with the price, so we’ll see. As much as I want my desktop machine to be back online, it still works fine for web browsing and graphics editing (as does the laptop), so I’m not in as big of a hurry. If I can get a good deal on some of the parts, it will be worth the wait. And as you mentioned, I’ve also got the Xbox for gaming, so I guess most of my bases are covered.

      I’ve got to figure out a few things though – do I want to finally make the jump to 64-bit? Do I want to wait for Windows 7 to come out, and then buy that too (adding to the cost of the computer)? And of course, there will be the various GPU comparisons, questions of how much RAM I want / need, etc, etc. Building a new rig is always a process that requires a lot of questions, and a lot of planning in order to go smoothly.

      I’ll admit that even though I know I should shop for parts slowly and methodically, I am feeling slightly anxious to buy anyway – I mean, who doesn’t like getting a new computer, especially after a few years of putting off an upgrade?

    2. Mattthew_H - Over a year ago

      Your right, it’s a somewhat scary task to pick out all thoughs parts, and hope that it’s what you wanted.
      That processor does look very good – depending on what your planing on using it for anyway.

      Go for 64-bit. It’s faster, and it’s the future. It can calculate things faster and bigger calculations too (note: the 64 part in the name :P).
      You should be able to get a free upgrade to Windows 7 when you buy Vista now – or, that’s how it is here anyway.

      nVidia have some awesome graphics cards available – it all ready depends on whether you want 250mb’s, 512mb’s, a 1gb, or the insane 2GB of , if you have a HDMI computer screen – When looking for a graphics card, you don’t just have to think about what your going to run, but also your monitor.
      GeForce GTX 275 looks awesome (http://www.nvidia.com/object/product_geforce_gtx_275_us.html) – not sure how much it costs though…

      RAM? I’d think, like I said in my previous post, 4-6GB of RAM, but that really depends on the motherboard: what’s its channel.

      Newegg looks good, but I don’t think that I’d be able to shop there, as I live in Australia, it may be cheaper to buy it here – with shipping costs as a factor, let alone if they even ship TO Australia.

      Just remember about the Xbox, once there is a new version of it, you won’t see any new games for it anymore (just like what happened with the PS2).

    3. Mattthew_H - Over a year ago

      I just remembered, and I probably should have put it in the other post, but I’m actually looking for a new PC at the moment – http://www.infinitycomputer.com.au/content/index.php?view=article&catid=13%3Aintel3&id=10%3Asystemax-gaming-intel&tmpl=component&print=1&layout=default&page=&option=com_content&Itemid=19 – something similar to that, but maybe with more power (what can I say, I want a PC that will last me a while). :D

    4. Martin - Over a year ago

      I’ll probably write an official blog post about this sometime in the future, but here’s what I’m currently looking at:

      CPU: Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550 Yorkfield 2.83Ghz
      I checked out the i7’s as well, and while they seem to be a pretty significant upgrade over the Core 2 Duo I have now, most of the reviews I’ve read say they aren’t worth the price if you’ve got a faster quad core. I also don’t want to spend more than ~$200 for a processor, so this seems like good bang for the buck. It also has a 12mb cache.

      RAM: G.Skill 4Gb DDR3 1333 (PC10666)
      This is something I’m not entirely decided upon yet, but for a new system, I want at least 4Gb RAM. Most of the mobo’s I’ve looked at have 4 slots for RAM, so if I start with 4 and add 4 more later, I think that might be a good route to go. This G.Skill RAM is also the fastest one they have as far as latency is concerned. The features for this RAM makes it sound like it might not be compatible with anything but the i5 / i7 processors and P55 motherboards, but I’ve never heard of anything like that before. I’ll be keeping that in mind though, as I continue to work toward a final build for the new rig.

      GPU: Diamond Radeon HD 4890 1Gb 256-bit GDDR5 PCI-E 2.0 16x
      Though i actually prefer nVidia cards, as they tend to be cheaper (and often more powerful), lately I’ve been hearing a lot of good things about the Radeon HD cards. A friend of mine recommended this card to me, and after reading reviews, I think this might be the one I want. Most everything I’ve read tip their hand to ATI for this generation of GPU’s, and having one that could be improved upon later by adding a second seems like a good idea this time around. I’d probably have to get a better power supply to do that, but that is way down the road, and just a matter of future-proofing the new computer so I don’t have to buy all news parts the next time one of them decides to go dead. I checked out the GeForce GTX line as well, but they seemed a little underpowered for the price. I really want to get a decent GPU without spending more than ~$200, and this one seems to fit the bill nicely. Of course, as with the other parts I mentioned above, this is all up in the air right now, and I’m going to mull over it for another day or so before I decide exactly what parts I’m going to get.

      About the Xbox, I know it will be pretty barren once another Xbox comes out, but with Microsoft pouring a lot of work into Project Natal, which they have insisted is only going to be a peripheral for the current Xbox, I’m not too worried about it. When they do decide to release a new Xbox on the public, I’ll probably wait to see if, first, it looks like a good piece of hardware and will have good game support, and second, whether or not my friends are going to get one. I’ve had a lot of fun times with my current Xbox, but most of them have been because I’ve had a lot of friends to play games with on it. I’m confident that Microsoft won’t drop the ball with Xbox 3, but I don’t think we’ll see anything like that on the market before holiday season 2010.

      Anyway, I’ll keep you guys updated on my system buying experience here… maybe once I get all the parts I’ll do a photo gallery of the assembly as well. :)

    5. Martin - Over a year ago

      Oh, and that PC you linked to looks pretty beefy… and pretty pricey! ;)

    6. Mattthew_H - Over a year ago

      Yeah, it’d leave mark on any games frames per second rate….and your wallet.

  2. kc lc - Over a year ago

    Re Disney/Marvel:

    I wonder about all the other companies that currently hold licenses to use Marvel characters.

    For example, Universal Studios has a big theme park in Orlando with lots of Marvel characters. Disney can’t force them to remove those attractions until the current license expires… but they (Disney) probably won’t renew their license. So what then?

    Also, can Sony release any more Spider-Man sequels after #4? They bought the rights from Marvel — but is it “in perpetuity”, or one movie at a time? Seems like Disney Studios would want to stop that, and release any more sequels themselves.

    I think this is where the acquisition will have the biggest impact.

    1. Martin - Over a year ago

      Good point, KC. The last Marvel movie I saw was Iron Man, so I can’t say their movie rights were on my mind when I wrote the original post, but looking back, that is indeed probably where the most impact will be seen. I’m sure a lot of the studios that were looking to cash in on the superhero gravy train are probably a bit worried / peeved right now.

    2. xot - Over a year ago

      I had many of the same thoughts, KC. I don’t think other Marvel allied studios and theme parks have anything to worry about. Marvel is making a killing right now and I doubt Disney will want to mess with the formula. I think this is strictly a financial move for Disney who learned a valuable lesson from their work with Pixar. At least a lesson in money making. They still haven’t quite figured out how to make great movies again. I guess that’s why they hired John Lasseter directly. Disney needs to try to get back to what made them great in the first place. I think Marty’s thought on the risks of diversification are well founded.

    3. Martin - Over a year ago

      Haha, that’s awesome!

    4. Martin - Over a year ago

      The first is probably my fav of the bunch there, Xot. Wolverine Mickey FTW.

  3. Dangerous_Dave - Over a year ago

    Seems to me this post is less about random thoughts and more about witty subtitles :P

    1. Martin - Over a year ago

      Haha, nah… I just like to come up with “witty” titles (often they are not all that witty :P). I’m not sure where I picked that habit up, but I think it came from my days working for my local newspaper. I didn’t write anything for the newspaper, but I got a kick out of the things the writers / editor did, and I guess I might have picked up some of their habits as well.

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