Checkpoint: 16GB of DDR4 Edition

Checkpoint: 16GB of DDR4 Edition

posted in: Editorials & Features | 0

The first piece of my new PC arrived last week. I pulled the trigger on it because it reached the lowest recorded price point ever on Amazon.ca and across all retailers according to PCPartPicker’s price tracker.

I chose the Crucial Ballistix Sport because it met some very simple criteria:

  • It was cheap.
  • I chose 2 x 8GB because two sticks of 16GB memory was far too costly
  • I chose DDR4-2400 because I wanted to do some light overclocking

So why did I just buy the memory? What about all the other parts? I’m in no rush to build this PC because I’m waiting for NVIDIA’s next generation GPUs to arrive. However, I do have a cut off date: July 29, 2016. That’s when Microsoft stops offering free upgrades to Windows 10.

This will be my smallest PC yet. It will be a mini-itx based PC but I’m moving down to cases that can accommodate full sized GPUs and SFX power supplies. I’m trying to build a powerful and quiet console sized gaming PC.

The Division comes out next week so in the meantime it’s been a lot of Street Fighter V and Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright. I’m enjoying both but they’re not without their issues. Street Fighter V makes a gorgeous first impression but after spending some time looking at the the characters and stages, the flaws become increasingly irksome and disappointing. I don’t ever recall a mainline Street Fighter title debuting with such disregard for detail.

As for Fire Emblem gripes? The awkward anime tropes and awkward handling of offspring. I didn’t meddle with this stuff in Fire Emblem: Awakening and while it’s nice to see new characters on my roster, it’s offset by the peculiar handling of raising children.

Consoles meet PC, PC, meet Consoles?

Consoles meet PC, PC, meet Consoles?

posted in: Game News | 0

Today is a bit of a weird day for Sony’s PlayStation 4, Microsoft Xbox One and the traditional PC (and Mac). Out of nowhere the two console manufacturers announced some sort of PC related support. Sony’s was a small nugget but Microsoft’s announcements may make certain individuals think twice before picking up the Xbox One.

  • PS4 System Software 3.50 Will Support Remote Play for PC and Mac via PS.Blog
  • Forza Motorsport 6: Apex will debut on Windows Store for free this Spring via Xbox Wire
  • Future Forza Motorsport titles will be debuting on Xbox and Windows 10 via IGN
  • Gears of War: Ultimate Edition now available on Windows Store via Xbox Wire
  • Quantum Break will also be available on Windows Store via Xbox Wire

Sony’s little piece of news is a “nice to have”. I own a Vita and never bothered with Remote Play for a myriad of reasons that I won’t get into today. Making it available for PC makes the feature a little more attractive but I doubt I will be using it outside of curiosity.

Now Microsoft’s flurry of news, on the other hand, is setting a significant precedent. Gears of War, Forza Motorsport and Quantum Break — big first party Microsoft franchises — will be making their way to Windows 10 sooner or later. Fable and Killer Instinct were already previously announced for Windows 10 which only leaves Halo as the sole outlier. Will Halo 5 eventually make its debut on Windows 10? Will subsequent Halo games follow suit? It would make a whole lot of sense for Halo Wars 2 — a real time strategy game — to make its debut on Xbox and Windows 10 (with full keyboard and mouse support for the latter).

I have to stress the fact that I’m mentioning Windows 10 or Windows Store and not PC because there’s no guarantee or inkling that any of these Microsoft published titles are heading to other digital storefronts such as Steam. Microsoft is trying to entice people into their ecosystem through compelling software and they’re making a very good case for it with this latest effort.

The Windows Store has its limitations though courtesy of the Universal Windows Platform. They’ve sandboxed the executable to prevent things from hooking into it nullifying hacks and mods in the process. If you only care about the game Microsoft is selling then these limitations are moot. If mods are your thing then these games might as well have stayed on the Xbox One.

I’m in the former camp. I don’t care about mods or hacks (I’ll elaborate more on this at a later date). I just want to run my PC games at 1080p60 and I’m happy but I realize not everyone will be pleased with the closed nature of the Microsoft ecosystem.

Looking at this news and considering the fact that I’ve been configuring a new PC for the past couple of weeks, I don’t know how much playtime my Xbox One will receive in the future. I have Quantum Break on the way but that’s because I got it for cheap and my current PC isn’t up to snuff. I understand Microsoft’s position though. I’m not upset over their shift from hardware boundaries to software boundaries. It makes sense to expose their titles to the wider audience. There are over 110 million Windows 10 users out there compared to the 19 million on the Xbox One. If you’re a business man and you were faced with those numbers, you would be foolish not to make this shift. Not every single one of those 110 million users are running capable PCs but even a fifth of those will already exceed the Xbox One’s sales to date.

 

Welcome Surface Book

Welcome Surface Book

posted in: Technology News | 0

Microsoft held a hardware event today. I completely forgot about it and it looks like it was a doozy.

Wearable HoloLens

If I had to choose between Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality, put me in the Augmented Reality camp. Using technology to enhance our day to day lives is much more appealing to me which is why HoloLens is intriguing than the Oculus Rift to me.

Microsoft demonstrated wearable hologram technology with their “Project XRAY” game which was unlike interactions using the Wii Remote. It looks interesting but certainly not interesting enough to plop down $3000 for a HoloLens Development Kit.

The kit will be available in Q1 2016.

Lumia 950 and 950 XL

Oh look! More Windows Phones. The highlight feature for these phones is the ability to dock the phone to a Microsoft Display Dock and use it like a lightweight PC with familiar Windows 10 interface.

It’s the Microsoft take on the Motrolla Atrix 4G. Who knows? Maybe Microsoft will be the ones that will make this idea stick.

Surface Pro 4

I was tempted by the Surface Pro 3 and it continues with the Surface Pro 4. It’s an evolutionary release but that’s fine by me. Further refinements are a good thing. I just hope all the little refinements add up to a clear step forward in all areas and not the mixed bag that was the Surface Pro 3.

It starts at $1179 but that’s for the low-end Core M model but the one I would get costs $1679. 16GB of RAM is costly.

Surface Book

The 13″ Retina MacBook Pro has new rival. The Surface Book is aimed squarely at Apple’s MacBook and it looks like it can take it to task. Microsoft is claiming their new machine doubles the performance of the 13″ rMBP but that’s not that difficult when you consider the fact that Surface Book has a dedicated GPU and the Intel’s Skylake processor. The Surface Book’s ability to detach the screen and use it like a tablet and the ability to use a pen is an attractive feature though.

As for build quality, I hope that it’s rock solid and precise considering the asking price starts at $1949.

With all that ind mind, I still have a few questions:

  • Where’s does the dedicated GPU reside? I’m assuming it’s with the keyboard half.
  • How much battery life is in tablet/clipboard mode?
  • How’s the performance of the device in tablet/clipboard mode?

I look forward to AnandTech’s in-depth review on this.

Checkpoint: Listless Summer 2015 Edition

Checkpoint: Listless Summer 2015 Edition

posted in: Editorials & Features | 0

Two years in a row now where my summers turned into listless purgatory where the days seemingly go on forever and I feel like I’m wasting away.

And on that bombshell let’s move onto what I’ve been up to this week!

I Need Unlimited Bandwidth

All these betas, free PlayStation Plus titles, multi-gigabyte patches, Netflix, YouTube and GiantBomb videos busted my monthly 400GB allotment by 64GB. I have no idea how much that will cost me but I’m going to have to enable TekSavvy’s “Zap the Cap” option from now on. Dealing with monthly bandwidth caps is a terrible way to live.

Windows 10

I upgraded to Windows 10 on my desktop yesterday. Kicking off the upgrade process took a bit of elbow grease after I encountered the 80240020 error. I had to employ the following fix to force the update to download and install properly.

  1. Delete contents of C:\Windows\Software Distribution\Download
  2. Open RegEdit and navigate to [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\WindowsUpdate\OSUpgrade] Create a new DWORD (32-bit) Value with Name = “AllowOSUpgrade” and set the Value = 0x00000001
  3. Run wuauclt /updatenow

Eventually everything installed without a fuss. Then I tweaked some privacy and Windows Update distribution settings and I was off to the races.

The next big question mark is how Windows 10 will function with my WSUS server because at the moment, it’s not hooked into it whatsoever.

Contradicting Rockets & Nazi Zombies

I finished Contradiction: Spot the Liar on my iPad earlier last week. I wanted to write something about it but it completely slipped my mind. Maybe I’ll cobble something together for this Wednesday.

I’m making my Wolfenstein: The Old Blood and while I’m enjoying in spurts, I cannot play it more than an hour. I used to feel that way about Rocket League but the more I play, the longer subsequent sessions are. Now a couple of hours slips away as I’m playing through Ranked and Standard matches.

GiantBomb Content

Thank goodness for GiantBomb and its fans for providing me hours of content to consume. So much laughter.

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