Archive for the ‘Video Games’ Category

New Computer

Thursday, June 12th, 2008

well, it’s finally time to say goodbye to my tried and trusty ol’ pentium 4 computer. it has served its purpose well, but i’ve decided to get a bit more with the times and update my hardware technology. i’ve failed to keep up with all the latest and greatest, save for reading a few computer magazines here and there. so i did quite a bit of research before tackling this build. here is the list of parts:

  • Intel Q6600 2.4GHz Quad-Core CPU
  • ASUS P5N-E SLI Motherboard
  • EVGA GeForce 8800GT 512MB Video Card
  • Seagate 500GB SATA Hard Drive
  • Western Digital 320GB SATA Hard Drive
  • LITE-ON SATA 20x DVD±R DVD Burner
  • Arctic Cooling Freezer Pro 7 CPU Heatsink/Fan
  • Cooler Master Centurion 5 Case
  • BFG Tech 650W Power Supply
  • Antec 120mm Exhaust Fan
  • Antec 80mm Intake Fan

i used a pre-built gaming pc that i saw for sale as a template. most of the parts are the same, but i upped the RAM, added another hard drive, improved the cooling, and used a higher rated PSU. even with these changes, it still turned out to be cheaper to build than buying it pre-built. can’t complain about that.

i also picked up a copy of Windows Vista Home Premium. not wanting to lose my familiarity and the stability of Windows XP, i decided to create a dual boot system. it was a piece of cake to do this, although a tedious process having to install drivers and software under each OS.

ok, so first impressions… this thing flies. XP boots up at least twice as fast than on my old computer, and Vista loads just as quickly. i’ve heard lots of complaints about Vista, but after playing around with it for almost a week now, i have to say that i’m a fan. i understand that it’s more of a resource hog than XP, but it’s a lot easier to shutdown and disable any unnecessary background programs and services. the interface is pretty snazzy, but takes some getting used to. i’m sure people probably have gotten comfortable in their ways with XP, but i think it just takes time to get accustomed to Vista.

as far as games go (which is the primary reason why i built this), i don’t think i could ask for more. the Windows Experience Index is a rudimentary tool within Vista that attempts to measure the abilities of various components, and here’s what mine turned up:

Processor: 5.9
Memory (RAM): 5.2
Graphics: 5.9
Gaming Graphics: 5.9
Hard Drive: 5.7

at the moment, 5.9 is the highest score value that can be achieved. so i am more than pleased with the results i got. i plan on overclocking at some point, so hopefully that RAM score will increase.

i installed FSX, Rail Simulator, Crysis, and Unreal Tournament 3 under Vista. i finally have a machine that runs FSX decently, averaging about 25-30 FPS most of the time. that number tends to drop in the more densely populated areas, but i haven’t seen it go below 15 FPS yet. this seems to be more than acceptable. Rail Simulator isn’t really a demanding game, but it is DirectX 10 compatible. it runs with all settings completely maxed out, and without a hiccup. Crysis is the ultimate test for a gaming rig. i think this game really shines when played with DirectX 10. with the new rig, i am perfectly capable of playing with all settings maxed out at “Very High,” but some of the cutscenes bring the machine to its knees. after searching around the internet, this seems to be the general case. oh well, what can you do. lastly, Unreal Tournament 3 also runs with all settings maxed out. this was the case even with my old computer. i think this is more a testament to the newest Unreal engine, itself.

i have a Matrox TripleHead2Go (analog version) and three 19″ widescreen monitors. Matrox developed a tool under XP that offered more resolutions to accomodate the growing trend of widescreen monitors. the digital version of the TH2G has widescreen support built in. so far, my only complaint is that i cannot get these widescreen resolutions in Vista with my analog TH2G. but this is more an issue with Matrox, rather than Vista. after searching around, Matrox has indicated that they will not be developing this same tool for use under Vista, and that the only alternative is to purchase the digital version of the product. talk about poor product support. i refuse to shell out another $300, so i’ll just restrict my TH2G gaming to XP.

i’ve been messing around with Vista so much that i haven’t gotten around to getting the XP partition completely setup. i got as far as installing drivers and basic software, but have yet to install the rest of my game collection. FS2004 will take hours alone, given the number of add-ons that i need to install. but i’m looking forward to getting it up and running. if FS2004 ran that well on my old computer for that long, then i can only imagine what this new rig can do.


Thursday, June 12th, 2008

here’s a short gameplay video from Crysis. the scenery and textures are quite stunning under DirectX 10, especially the water and reflections. all visual settings are set at either “high” or “very high.” also, the gameplay is a bit smoother when Fraps isn’t running in the background.

WARNING: this is the “high quality” version of the youtube video, so it may take a bit longer to load.

Virtual Insanity

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2008

tiger woods 08 lets you use real life pictures to create a golfer, which basically translates into your virtual counterpart. it’s actually kinda creepy.

Matrox Triplehead2Go

Monday, August 20th, 2007

i don’t know what i did to deserve it, but i was treated very well on my birthday this year. first, i got a new 19″ widescreen monitor. since i already had two, this completed the trio of monitors that i would need to fly in virtual cockpit heaven.

then, just a few days later, my parents dropped a bomb on me. well, a package really. this is what was waiting for me at home…

Triplehead2Go!!! i couldn’t believe it. three monitors and a TH2GO. what a birthday!!!

the only problem with the TH2GO is that it doesn’t play too nicely with ATI cards. with a X1950PRO in my computer and an X800XT sitting in the closet, i didn’t want to sell myself short of the full experience. so i shelled out the cash for this…

eVGA nVidia GeForce 7800GS CO… so far, it’s worked flawlessly. it even overclocks further to a stable 472/715. not too shabby for an AGP card.

if you’re interested in the new setup, i shot a little video clip of the new hardware in action. just click on the pic below…