James (phasemaster) wrote,

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Oh Virtual Reality, how I missed thee :)

It's Sunday night, and I just got back from watching the Cavs drop game 2 to the Spurs in the NBA Finals. Man they sucked tonight. Not unlike on Thursday night. But damn the Spurs are good. At least we went down swinging tonight in the 4th quarter.

In other news, I finally built my much-anticipated gaming PC. It's a beautiful thing, really. Playing newly-released games like Command & Conquer 3 and S.T.A.L.K.E.R. with the settings maxed out is something I've never been able to do before.

At long last, I give you...

the P35 Chakra

A pretty face...

...sexy profile...

...and she's beautiful on the inside, too.

I would say that it's too bad I didn't build a woman...but can a woman run Hellgate: London with the settings jacked? Mwahaha.

Anthropromorphization aside, it's nice to finally have such a kickass setup. I call it (as of now) the Wall of Entertainment (tm):

Side by side, it adds up to just under ten feet of electronics. The dual monitor setup complete with KVM switch and new PC constitute phase one of my plans for having a streamlined media entertainment complex. Phase two will add an HD projector and X-Box 360; and phase three will round it out with full 7.1 surround sound.

But getting back to the point, here of the specs of the Chakra:

Processor: 2.4 Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 (overclocked to 3.0 Ghz)

CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper TX

Motherboard: Asus P5K Deluxe WiFi-AP Edition (based on the Intel P35 "Bearlake" chipset with ICH9R South Bridge)

Memory: 2 GB of Corsair Dominator PC8500 1066 MHz

Video Card: EVGA GeForce 8800 GTX

Hard Drive: 500 GB SATA 300 Seagate Barracuda 7200.10

Optical Drive: Sony NEC Optiarc 18X SATA DVD-R Burner

Sound: onboard HD audio

Network: Dual Gigabit LAN with WiFi AP generator

Case: Enermax full tower ATX Uber Chakra ECA5001 with monster fan

So basically, I spent way more than the $800 to $1200 I was shooting for when initially setting out to build my new machine nearly two months ago. Instead of a mid range system, I built myself a high-end monster (one might argue that my Core 2 Duo E6600 is a mid range-processor, but overclocked, it, too, is a monster :P). Aside from my usual difficulties of getting my wireless network and internet connection sharing set up properly, the system runs very smoothly. Even overclocked, it is WAY more stable than its Athlon XP processor-based predecessor. Although I haven't made the jump to Windows Vista yet (drivers are still somewhat lacking for the new OS), I expect that, when I do, the unlocking of Direct X 10 which will accompany such a leap will unlock even more power in my already mighty GeForce 8800 GTX GPU.

As for how games run now? Well, Command and Conquer 3 is glorious at 1600x1200 (the max res. of my primary CRT), with not a hint of slowdown. S.T.A.L.K.E.R. is generally quite smooth at max settings, despite some apparent sound coding inadequacies. Quake 4 is stunning at nearly max settings, but the 500MB of texture memory requirement seems to be too much for even the mighty GeForce 8800 GTX (arguably the best video card on the market, aside from its overclocked brethrens). Well, assuming I'm not having driver issues—this is a brand-freaking new motherboard I'm running things on.

Supreme Commander is certainly gorgeous as hell, too. Although visually it's not quite as flashy and visually polished as C&C 3, what it lacks in pretty textures it more than makes up for with is MASSIVE scale. If you've ever heard the phrase, "A good general studies strategy. A great general studies logistics"; then you have a good comparison between C&C 3 and SupCom. Don't get me wrong, I love C&C 3 to death, as it has exceeded my expectations and delivers one of the best, most well-designed single player RTS experiences ever. But the scale of Supreme Commander is simply unprecedented. Whereas C&C 3 seems to be all about putting together and holding onto a small, but efficient, squad of veteran units; SupCom demands that the player set up supply lines, rally points, patrols, staging areas, and build queues all brimming with their own strategic possibilites. It's certainly more obtuse and less immediately accessible of a game than C&C 3, but given time; I expect some great multiplayer matches to come out of SupCom.

Oh, and did I mention how fucking cool it is to play SupCom on two screens (heheh, one of the main reasons I even have this dual monitor setup)?

So while it sure would be nice to have some more friends here in L.A., I'm definitely stoked to finally be back in the thick of it when it comes to PC gaming. There's such an intentionality about the whole experience (i.e.—when you sit down at a computer to play a PC game, you're there to fucking play; unlike with the non attention-demanding setup of consoles). Now I've just gotta find a kickass multiplayer game with a community and gameplay that can measure up to the as yet unmatched Unreal Tournament :)

Cross-posted to hardware
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