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PC Upgrade Time 2016

3dmark Results

The last time I made a significant PC upgrade was back in 2014. Since then I have added storage, added ram, picked up a new video card and a new monitor. I also picked up a new mouse. Here is the current state of my gaming rig:

Processor: Intel Core i7-5930K
CPU Cooler: Corsair H100i
Memory: 32GB Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4 2800
Primary Hard Drives: 256 GB Samsung SSD 840 PRO Series, 500GB Samsung 850 EVO
Other Drives: Over 10TB of traditional storage (various drives)
Optical Drive: LG Blu-ray Burner
Video Card: ASUS GeForce GTX 1080 8GB ROG STRIX OC Edition
Dedicated PhysX Card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680
Primary Monitor: Acer Predator XB271HU Black 27″ 144 Hz HDMI Widescreen IPS NVIDIA G-Sync Gaming Monitor w/ Overclocking to 165 Hz
Second Monitor: Asus VG236H 120Hz 3D Monitor
Headphones: Corsair Vengeance 2100 Wireless 7.1 Gaming Headset
Speakers: Logitech X-540 5.1 Speakers
Keyboard: Corsair Vengeance K90
Mouse: Logitech G502 Proteus Spectrum
Mouse Surface: Corsair MM600
Operating System: Windows 10 Pro 64-bit
Motherboard: ASUS X99-DELUXE
Computer Case: Corsair Graphite Series 600T
Power Supply: Corsair HX Series HX750
Card Reader: NZXT Aperture M
LED Lighting: NZXT Hue

Some photos of the new components, plus some bonus photos of some of my old video cards I have used over the years.



Gaming PC Build March 2016

I did another gaming PC build for a co-worker. We had a more reasonable budget then last time, but I am pretty pleased with the results. Here are the specs:



Sony Releasing a PlayStation 4.5

Sony is coming out with a “PlayStation 4K” later this year for $400, and its as hilarious as it’s moniker is misleading. Its a slightly more powerful version of the Playstation 4 hardware, with the ability to “output at 4K resolution”. However, the hardware is not powerful enough to actually run games at 4K natively. Even high end PCs with thousands of dollars in graphics cards have issues doing this. Its simply not possible that this hardware is going to be able to do it at $400 and at that form factor. What the console is really doing is upscaling to 4k from whatever native resolution the games will actually be running at (likely still around 1080p).

Supposedly there are already games in development that will be specifically advantage of the increased PlayStation 4.5 hardware. This, in my opinion, completely negates one of the biggest reasons why people go with a console rather then a PC. Lots of people go the console route because PCs are “more expensive”, and that you “have to upgrade all the time”. Historically, console hardware have been pretty static within a generation, with only trivial updates to the hardware over their lifetimes (smaller form factors, more power efficient). With Microsoft talking about doing a similar refresh to the Xbox One, this seems like its no longer going to be the case. So I have to ask, why buy a console now if the plan going forward is to refresh the hardware every three years or so? I get way better life out of my PC hardware, and PCs can actually run games at 4K natively if that’s a selling point for you.

“Consoles lock the hardware and the software platforms together at the beginning of the generation. Then you ride the generation out for seven or so years, while other ecosystems are getting better, faster, stronger,” Xbox boss Phil Spencer said. “When you look at the console space, I believe we will see more hardware innovation in the console space than we’ve ever seen. You’ll actually see us come out with new hardware capability during a generation allowing the same games to run backward and forward compatible because we have a Universal Windows Application running on top of the Universal Windows Platform.”

Sony is essentially splitting its player base for very little gain. What’s really the point? Developers are either going to take good advantage of the extra hardware power and require players to upgrade to play new games, or they are going to use it in trivial ways to keep the games compatible with the old console. I suspect the majority of it is going to be the latter, which makes value of the hardware refresh rather dubious. And if that is true then the PlayStation 4.5 is basically just there to upscale your content, which is something 4K TVs already do a pretty decent job of.

Head over to Digital Foundry for some more technical information. Either way, I think this is now officially the most disappointing console generation ever.



Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Encryption



Gaming PC Build Feb 2016

results

Similar to before, I build another pc for a co-worker. This time the budget was around $2,000 with the goal to build a small and reasonably quit gaming rig. Overall it came out pretty nice. We came in right at $2k with the following parts:

The only challenge of the build was just the small size of the case. We got everything to fit, but if I were to do it again I would get a slightly shorter length power supply. The Corsair site lists that it supports power supplies up to 160mm so that is what we got, but there was very little clearance between the end of the power supply and the drive cages. All the cables are basically bent at 90 degrees in order to get around it. Other then that its a pretty nice case.

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