2013 PC Build Impressions

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I finally finished my building the 2013 PC. It officially belongs to my brother but I had the pleasure of putting it together. Here are some of my impressions of the build and the build process itself.

 Model
ProcessorIntel Core i5 4670
MotherboardASUS H87I-PLUS
MemoryHyperX 10th Anniversary Edition 16GB DDR3-1600MHz CL9 Dual Channel Kit (2 x 8GB)
Video CardPowerColor PCS+ HD5770 1GB GDDR5
OS DriveSamsung 840 120GB
Storage DriveWestern Digital Caviar Black 1TB 7,200 RPM
CaseBitFenix Prodigy (White)
Power SupplySeasonic G Series 550W
CPU HSFSwiftech H220
Additonal FanScythe Slip Stream 120mm (SY1225SL 12L)
OSMicrosoft Windows 8 64-bit
MonitorASUS PB278Q
KeyboardMicrosoft Comfort Curve Keyboard 2000
MouseRazer Death Adder
SpeakersBose Cinemate Series II
OtherMicrosoft Xbox 360 Wireless Gaming Receiver for Windows

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A Summer of Betas

windows-8-logoThe following betas are available for testing:

  • Mac OS X Mavericks
  • iOS 7
  • Windows Server 2012 R2
  • Windows 8.1

I could be running beta operating systems across all my computing devices. From tablets, smartphones and laptops to home servers and desktops. I could be living on the very bleeding edge. I could but I will likely not and here’s why.

I threw iOS 7 beta 2 on my iPhone 4S and iPad 3. I’m enjoying the early look but it hasn’t been all smiles and rainbows with Apple’s latest. There were a number of app crashes, battery draining issues and just overall glitchiness. Still, I am sticking with it and will experience the evolution of iOS 7 towards Gold Master.

I have access to OS X Mavericks but unless I can eventually upgrade to the final release, I will stay away.

As for the Windows 8.1 Preview, I’ll install it as soon as I rebuild my PC. It’s an upgrade which should easily be replaced with the final release.

Windows Server 2012 R2 will likely remain unused since I have no intentions on disrupting my home server unless I can easily upgrade to the final build as well.

The computing future is always evolving and I’m pleased to catch a glimpse of what the future has in store however I can.

Roku 3 Impressions

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roku-3-box

I bought a streaming box for my parents place because they needed something that can pull down Netflix movies. Hooking up my Macbook Air to the big screen became a chore and I wasn’t planning on lugging it over every time I paid them a visit. So I chose to buy a Roku 3 from Amazon.com.

I chose the Roku 3 because of the praise and — more importantly — because it had has Plex support. It also has support for a variety of streaming services that are either a channel install away or a DNS change away. It even supports GiantBomb’s video feed which makes the lack of YouTube support easier to bear.

Broad channel support is very nice but it wouldn’t be worthwhile without the performance as well. Roku 3 is easily the quickest and easiest interface to use out of all the TV streaming solutions I have available to me. The remote is wonderfully designed and shames the remotes the accompany the HDTVs I own.

That headphone feature is ingenius and I’m surprised by the fact that it was a streaming box manufacturer that came up with it first. The remote is essentially a mini-Wiimote. It has an accelerometer and can be used horizontally for simple games. I’ve only tried Angry Birds: Space but its serviceable. I wonder if there are any emulators out there that can transform this box into a light gaming box as well.

The Roku 3 is such a wonderful device that I’m considering buying another one for myself. It’s a very sensible box and worth every one of the one hundred and twenty five dollars I paid for it. If you’re looking for a quick Netflix watching and Plex supporting streaming box, get the Roku 3.

 

Goodbye PMS. Hello PMS.

plexWhat am I talking about here?

I’ve retired PS3 Media Server and changed over to Plex Media Server. I’ve heard of Plex before but I always thought it was just a front end application like XBMC. I looked for alternatives to PS3 Media Server but I only found Serviio which is another Java based media server. It’s a good thing I conducted another search a few weeks ago.

Major Plusses

I’ve been trying to move from a Java based media server in order reduce memory usage and having to provide upkeep on Java itself. Plex doesn’t require Java and consumes very  little memory.

Plex is also incredibly flexible with its viewing clients including web browsers, iOS apps and DLNA clients. I don’t eve need the iOS app; I can stream by hitting the webpage via Safari. There’s one more trick up Plex’s sleeve which I have yet to try out: myPlex. If/when I sign up for it, I will be able to stream my videos from anywhere in the world.

A Minor Shortcoming

The only shortcoming worth mentioning thus far is the inability to install Plex Media Server as a Windows service. There is a workaround developed by a Plex forum user but I would like to see the developers include a native option.

So Far So Good

The next step is to try myPlex and maybe even get a copy of the iOS app. I’m also toying with the idea of getting a Plex compatible streaming client. Maybe this Roku 3?

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