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.
When I built my new PC back in September I also built a HTPC from my old computer parts. I mentioned that I was going to make a post about it, so I guess I should even though its pretty late. I replaced most of the parts in my PC when I upgraded, so I really only needed to buy a new case and power supply. After looking around at various HTPC cases, I ended up settling on the Fractal Designs Node 605. Its a rather large HTPC case, but because I was working with spare parts I had to fit a full ATX sized motherboard. Other then its size though, it looks really nice. I also needed to get a new CPU cooler. I had a H60 laying around but it wouldn’t fit in the case, so I took the opportunity to buy my first Noctua cooler. I ended up getting the Noctua NH-L12. It works well and is extremely quiet. The only minor issue I had was my ram I took from my old PC had clearance issues in the leftmost slot. I ended up only running 8GB, which is more then enough for this build.
Processor: Intel Core i5-3570K CPU
CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-L12
8GB Corsair Vengeance
Hard Drive: 120GB OCZ Agility 3 SSD
Motherboard: ASUS P8Z68-V PRO/GEN3
Power Supply: Corsair CX500M
Case: Fractal Designs Node 605
Keyboard: Logitech Wireless Touch Keyboard K400 with Built-In Multi-Touch Touchpad
So how well does it work? Perfectly! Its running Windows 7 but boots straight into Steam Big Picture Mode. I elected not to go with any graphics cards for this build, so instead I have been using Steam In-Home Streaming. This uses the power of my new PC to run the games, but streams the video over my wired gigabit network to this HTPC. There are a few games that have issues with streaming (probably SLI related, they work when I disable it), but for the most part you really cant tell the games are running remotely. I use a 3rd party wireless receiver and a Xbox 360 controller to play the games on my TV.
I also ended up installing my old HDMI capture card and buying a HDMI switch/splitter. This allows me to record gameplay from my other consoles on the PC. I have to say it is pretty convenient, although I have not used it to make any interesting videos yet.
Overall, I am pretty happy with how this build turned out. Its a great use of my old PC parts.
The site is now running on the new web host. We had about an hour of downtime but most things should be working properly now. There might be a few small issues such as some images missing, but I will sort these out later this week. Let me know if you notice any big problems.
Things are not looking particularly good for the longevity of the current generation consoles. A couple of recent news stories have shown just how underpowered these consoles really are.
First up was an interview over at IGN with Ted Price from Insomniac Games where he talks about how their upcoming game, Sunset Overdrive, is already pushing the Xbox One’s hardware to the limit, resulting in 900p (1600×900) resolution at 30 frames per second. According to Ted, “This is a game with a lot on the screen and we made the choice to be at [900p] because we wanted to push the level of detail, action, the size of the city”. It seems that with the Xbox One you have to make a choice between either complex next-gen gameplay or 1080p visuals. With the Xbox One already having problems like this, it is likely it will continue to struggle to hit 1080p resolutions for the rest of its life. The PS4 has an advantage here with its 1.5x more powerful GPU, but its not all roses for Sony’s new console either.
Earlier this week there was a big uproar when Vincent Pontbriand from Ubisoft mentioned that Assassin’s Creed Unity was locked at 900p and 30 frames per second, much like Sunset Overdrive. Specifically, he said “We decided to lock [both versions] at the same specs to avoid all the debates and stuff.” Many people read this as the PS4 version was being hobbled to be on par with the Xbox One version of the game. However, it turns out that is not actually the case.
It looks like this is going to be a recurring issue for game developers working with this generation of consoles. Meanwhile, I will just be sitting here with my PC laughing while I run all my games at 60+ frames per second and 1080p+ resolutions. Now is a great time to jump on the PC gaming bandwagon, especially with the “tremendous, earth shattering value from a price/performance perspective” for both the $330 GeForce GTX 970 and $550 GeForce GTX 980.
The last time I upgraded was about a year and a half ago, but that time I was really only adding a 2nd graphics card. I have actually been wanting to upgrade my CPU for a while now, but until now the only real upgrade was the 4770k which was still only 4 cores. Sure, I would get hyper threading but that didn’t seem like a worthwhile upgrade to me. Now that the new Haswell-E CPUs are out, I decided that it was finally worth it. Going from 4 Cores with 4 threads to 6 cores and 12 threads is pretty noticeable in specific workloads, but its not much of a difference for games yet. There are a few games out there that benefit from the extra cores, such as Battlefield 4, but for the most part it doesn’t really matter right now. However, I am starting to see games recommend more cores, and expect this to be the norm once this current console generation is in full swing.
Of course Haswell-E requires a new motherboard and DDR4 ram, so I had to upgrade those as well. The prices for DDR4 are pretty crazy right now, and the motherboards and CPUs are not cheap either. I also got a new CPU cooler, because my old H60 wouldn’t be able to handle the overclocking I plan to do with this CPU.
The build went pretty well for the most part. The only issue I had was due to mixing an older case with a newer motherboard. The 600T has 4 USB2 ports on the case. Add to that the card reader that I have and the USB connection on the H100i and I was a few internal USB2 headers short. So I ended up buying a NZXT IU01 to add some additional internal ports to connect everything up.
All of my old parts are going into a new HTPC that I am building. It should work nicely for Steam In-Home Streaming and media center duties. Once that build is done I will make a post about it as well.