Nick’s Gaming PC 2: Electric Boogaloo

Back in April of this year, Nick — who I helped with a gaming PC back in 2014 — was looking for a new system to get him a step up in performance. His old system was going to be given away / sold, so simply upgrading that was not in the cards.

The new system was to have essentially the same purpose and priorities as his existing system. The budget wasn’t particularly strict as long as it was under 2K and performance needs were met, but I obviously also didn’t want to just burn his money. Some people like to spend right up to the allocated machine’s budget, whereas others just set an amount as the maximum and leave the specifics up to me. Nick is the latter.

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♫ Despite 12 months of parts lists, the PC was not built ♫ (Nov/Dec 2019)

In June of 2018, my dad expressed interest in a parts list for a new computer, and I obliged. For the next 12 months 17 months1 he continued to express that interest on and off, and so multiple times during that time period I diligently updated the parts list based on the current market.

With Black Friday / Cyber Monday deals wrapping up, it’s now plausible that the year will end and the system will still not be assembled, so I’m locking the current parts list in place as a demonstration of a build at this price point with roughly these priorities.

Cooler effects more akin to a Thanos snap would’ve been sweet, but far too time consuming for a throwaway photo.

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Systems I’ve Helped Build (Part 1: 2015-2014)

Architecture Student + Light Gaming Build (August 2015)

Silverstone’s Kublai KL06. Image credit: Silverstone.

This build was for a friend who’s requested to remain nameless. They provided a bit of a challenge: provide optimum performance for the demanding 3D work an architecture student does, but do so within the budget of a full-time student paying rent.

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Andrew’s Lazy Gaming PC (Nov/Dec 2019)

Michael’s twin brother Andrew was after a super solid gaming PC during the Black Friday – Cyber Monday period. The budget was scoped out to be about $2,000. This turned out to be pretty convenient timing for me, as I already had a parts list handy for a ~$1,500 gaming / general use PC. I used that parts list as a base and got to work.

Given the extra budget, I looked around on the list at where I could make part substitutions that increased performance roughly proportionately to the increased price. This was a nearly-strictly gaming-focused build, and the performance of parts were considered within that context.

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Finding a Middle Ground in the Nvidia RTX “Just Buy It” Fiasco

Pre-flame disclaimer: No person or company asked me to or paid for me to write or comment about this topic.

Roughly one week ago, Tom’s Hardware published an opinion piece about Nvidia’s upcoming RTX series of graphics cards, titled “Just Buy It: Why Nvidia RTX GPUs Are Worth the Money“.

Shortly thereafter Gamers Nexus published a video titled “Response to Tom’s Hardware’s Insane “Just Buy It” Post [RTX 2080]”, with a corresponding blurb on social media posts saying “Tom’s Hardware’s Editor-in-Chief attempts to string together sentences that have meaning”.

“What? What the fuck is this?” -Steve Burke, Gamers Nexus

In this video, Steve essentially completely laughs off the entire Tom’s Hardware article, and sadly misunderstands a number of points. As a fan of him and Gamers Nexus more broadly, I found this particularly disappointing.

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Down the Rabbit Hole: Troubleshooting an Abrupt Outbreak of BSODs

Bonus points for the title because I have pet rabbits.

My sister and I both have our computers in the same room. This is important because it means that when something exciting happens while she’s playing a game, I usually notice.

In this instance that “exciting” thing was Terraria glitching out1 and then crashing (and blue screening?) her PC. I’m a little fuzzy about whether the first blue screen was now or later.

After that, the save was essentially corrupt – loading it either didn’t work or would crash the game. Also fuzzy about which of those it was, but you get the gist. My sister wiped that save, made a new world, and everything was fine.

..At least for a while.

At some point either that day or the next, the computer blue screened (again?).

An example of the Windows 10 blue screen. Image credit: Microsoft

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Everything is Roughly Balanced

This concept is applicable near universally: games, economics, computer parts, whatever. If the category exists, the things within it are almost certain to be roughly balanced.

For “quick and dirty” comparisons between two things, this concept is incredibly valuable to understand. When you just need to know roughly whether something’s worthwhile, you can save a lot of time by keeping the deep analysis for later.

Let’s use some examples to illustrate.

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Systems I’ve Helped Build (Part 2: 2017-2016)

Jo’s “handle anything I throw at it” (August 2017)

Glamour shot of Jo’s case. Image credit: NZXT

Build involvement:

  1. Component selection (assisted)
  2. Building the system (assisted)
  3. BIOS / drivers / software (assisted)

Priorities:

  • Give Jo a feeling of the computer being “able to handle anything”
  • Gaming performance
  • Not-awful acoustics

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