Checkpoint: New AnandTech Edition

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Checkpoint - New AnandTech Edition

It’s the end of an era.

With Anand Lai Shimpi retiring from tech publishing and leaving the website he built nearly 18 years ago, I thought it would be fitting to reflect and show my appreciation for the tech site.

Years ago when I was learning to build my own PCs, sites like AnandTech were common. Tech sites analyzing and critiquing computer hardware were a dime a dozen. AnandTech, The Tech Report, Tom’s Hardware and HardOCP were amongst the most popular. But even back then, AnandTech and The Tech Report were always vying for top spot in my books.

As time wore on and computers became more and more of a commodity, tech sites began to fade away. The appetite for higher end computer hardware became increasingly niche and you had to stand out in order to survive. AnandTech doubled down on their analysis and deep dives into technology and I appreciated it more and more.

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Checkpoint: Quality Spending Edition

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Checkpoint - Quality Spending Edition

“We don’t have time to do it right but we have time to do it again”

That expression is applicable to the workplace but it’s also applicable to everyday life including purchases. I bought cheaper products believing they were “good enough” but it didn’t take long before I had to go out and buy the same product again because it already fell apart.

I’m finding this is line of thinking applies to everyday household products most. Spending the right amount of money on a quality household utensil or appliance makes my life easier  for a long time. Going down the cheap route will only keep me content for that initial use.

So how does one spend the “right amount of money”? Spending more money does not necessarily mean quality. You need to also find the right product for the right price. I use The Wirecutter and its household centric sister site, The Sweethome, to help me make these purchasing decisions. If they don’t have a recommendation, I search for some semblance of a product review online but I am cautious in that area.

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Oh review scores

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grand-theft-auto-v-art

Gamespot gave Grand Theft Auto V a fine score of 9.0/10. It’s a fantastic score to what looks to be a fantastic game. Apparently that score isn’t good enough and some folks out there couldn’t bear the fact that their score wasn’t a 10.

So the craziest of the crazy folks on the internet went out of their way to start a petition to fire the Gamespot editor behind the review. I didn’t read the review but I doubt anything the reviewer could have written would warrant losing their job over.

Review scores are not the problem. The problem is that some people put too much weight on them. We’ve been trained from a very early age to take scores seriously so it’s not surprising why people do so.

However math tests and games are different — 2 x 2 will always equal 4 and beauty (or fun) is the in the eye of the beholder. A 10/10 on a test will always mean perfection; you made no mistakes. 10/10 in a game review never means that; it means that the game is held to the highest regard for that specific reviewer. Game reviews like movie or music reviews are subjective pieces.

And until the masses can discern between the objective and subjective, numbers should be sidelined in favor of a stars system like GiantBomb. It’s a silly distinction but you know what? It works. Or everyone should just adopt my system.

Checkpoint: Haswell Edition

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checkpoint-haswell-edition

Reviews of Intel’s 4th generation Core are out and for they are revolutionary as per usual. I’ve stopped caring about large double digit improvements on desktop CPUs since Sandy Bridge’s introduction. It was then that I noticed CPUs were not the primary limiting factor for games; the GPUs are usually the weaker links.

I’m far more concerned with features and power consumption. The lack of overclocking potential doesn’t bother me. I don’t even want the “K” series of chips because they lack features like VT-d which will be invaluable in a virtualization environment. I am planning this Haswell PC becoming my new home server in like 5 year’s time.

A handful of the major computer parts retailers are accepting pre-orders but their prices have inflated over the MSRP by several dollars. I don’t appreciate this kind of gouging. I’m also interested in the Intel Core i5 4670S which is proving difficult to locate early on. Is it not available through retail channels? I may have to settle with the regular Core i5 4670.

Waiting will also give me time to look into the latest mITX motherboards based on Intel’s brand new 8 series chipsets. I hear the first revisions have USB 3.0 issues which should be addressed in July. The issues are not show stoppers but why put up with a known fault?

A few blemishes during this launch but it hasn’t stopped me from wanting to build a new PC around Haswell.

I wrapped up Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon. A review of it should be up by midweek. I’m nearing the end of God of War: Ascension as well. Both games have underwhelmed me in different ways but I feel Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon was far more grating on me.

I started Fire Emblem: Awakening. So far, so good.

 

 

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