Finding a Laptop

Like I said before, I am looking for a laptop. I used to have a 15.6″ laptop before, which is pretty easy to carry with me. But the increase in price is not that much when I go for 17.3″ this time round. Especially when I look at the performance increase.

I have been noticing a lot of laptops with desktop CPUs. I guess that is nice, but squeezing those into a laptop does mean the temperature will go up easily. That will start throttling and it will help the life span of the machine.

The i7-7820HK should be plenty of performance anyway. I am not looking at overclocking, but it should survive more of a beating than chips that are not built for overclocks.

When I look at 15.6″ machines, I am looking at a GTX 1070 max. A resolution of more than FHD (1920*1080) is not necessary on a screen this size. And with the games becoming more and more demanding, I do not think I would want a 1070 do feed the screen. A GTX 1080, yes.

So a 1080 is possible when we look at 17.3″. More space for cooling and upgrades. Here, a 2560*1440 resolution should be nice. I have seen some at 2880*1620 too. Neither resolutions should bring a 1080 to its knees any time soon. Even 4K could be nice, but that would mean many games will lose lots of FPS. And come on…it’s only 17.3″ we are talking about here.

For RAM, all the CPU wants is two sticks. So 2*8GB will work here. 2400MHz is the spec, just find the ones with low latency.

Then I would go for an SSD of 250GB for the system. Like I said in my desktop post before, the laptop is less busy with start up than it is actually doing things. A Samsung 850 EVO drive is a cheap and solid option I reckon. For the extra speed, I would look at an NVMe drive. These 17.3″ laptops normally have space for two drives of this type. I would just install the one first. It is possible to add another one later. Over time, the cost of these drives will drop anyway. No need to over-spend here. The 500GB Samsung 960 EVO looks good here.

And then I would say the same thing applies for the HDD options. There should be space for two, but I would stick with one for now. If space really does become an issue, you can always add more later. And I would definitely add external storage in the mix. So far, we have included 1750GB of space in the machine. I would have at least that s external space. Probably more. We need it for back ups of the system, things like save games, lots of pictures and video. And for work-related files, obviously.

In both cases, I will also add a chill mat and a new gaming mouse. Then it’s an option to add a 3440*1440 screen with the GTX 1080 laptop. And a keyboard.

The difference between the two options is about $400, which is not major…considering the fact that we are looking at $3000~4000 anyway.

It will be interesting to have a look at laptop CPUs that Ryzen will bring us soon. And if it takes long enough, the next generation. Cannon Lake and Volta are going to come as well. All things will only be definitive when the money is there and the order is made.

Until next time !

Gaming Rig 20170508

So back to a rig !

Good news guys :  AMD is actually doing something for us again ! The little compatibility issues with RAM sticks will be sorted out as we go along. It is certainly a good way to shave something off the cost of building a rig now. I would very much like to see how their laptop CPU’s are going to pan out.

Another thing is :  Kaby Lake X is doing Quad Channel DDR4 ! So I reckon it is time for 4*4GB instead of 2*8GB. And if Intel is going to throw some price drops in the mix, a 6-core instead of a quad-core. I am looking at latency rather than MHz and it seems like G.Skill is a good choice. Bit expensive, but are we really looking at budget here ? If you really need the MHz, G.Skill is also your man. Grab what you need. Just remember to grab a set of four sticks, Not two.

So it will have to be 299-series motherboard this time around. We are going to have to wait until the NDAs are lifted and the whole thing is officially released, but it is a nice jump forward if you ask me.

The way things are right now, I would go for a 250GB Samsung 850 EVO SATA SSD for  the system. The machine spends less time booting than it does actually running things. Just stash the applications you need on there, it should be enough. For the real speed, we will be having a 500GB Samsung 960 EVO NVMe SSD in there anyway. Push the textures to the limit. The Skylake X is going to have loads of loads of lanes, so I am not worrying about my GPUs to suffer if I add another NVMe SSD later on.

So here we have it :  GTX 1080 Ti ! Times two – because fu*k you, that is why. If I had an unlimited budget, I would have a custom liquid cooling set up throughout the whole machine. But that is a serious upgrade when it comes to cost. The FPS will be spectacular running even one of these cards, so if the flow is good – save your money (you can buy more games).

I am into ASUS right now. Not really sure why. I think I would be grabbing a motherboard off them. They come with some nice automatic tuning applications. They will be built for it, but it is not even necessary to do so on this level.

I think we do need to throw in some HDD drives with a proven track record. No need to spend lots on it. And no need for fancy RAID setups, unless you need the RAID1. The SSDs have plenty of speed, we just need to stash media and documents on there that will not need hyperspeed.

Now what about Intel Optane ? I have seen it around. It will keep the tempo up a lot longer than the NVMe SSDs will. But do I really want to be an early adopter for this now ? We are only talking about RAM-sized bits of it. Okay, it is definitely cheaper than adding another 16GB or 32GB of DDR4. But I have not had the pleasure of trying it out. I wonder if it will make that much of a difference for the things I like doing on a PC. Still a budget issue though – if the budget does not matter, might as well stick it in.

Then I will be going for curved screen this time around. 21:9 3440*1440 should do it. A computer is not like a TV, where you will be sharing it many times. A curved ultra wide is nice for work too. Just visual editing is better on a flat one. If you need to, 4K screens are looking cheaper now. Do that. Or both. And add a 4K beamer while you are at it haha (I would love one) !

Right. Enjoy people !

All this new stuff to get

I’m going to work abroad for about half a year. I needed to get myself a digital camera (I still didn’t have one !), so I can make some adorable pictures for the people back home. I decided to go with the Canon IXUS 230HS (see a review here).Canon IXUS 230HS

The 8x optical zoom is really brilliant. Most other cameras have an optical zoom of anywhere between 3.8x and 5x and I think the previous model has 4x optical zoom. A nice improvement there !

This means I’m going to have to either email loads of pictures to my mom. Or I could stick ’em on Photobucket and post ’em on a blog. That way she (and whoever else I want to share it with) can click a link. I can also add some short stories to the pictures that way. Then at least they have an idea what’s in the picture and why it’s there. I could also stick ’em all on Facebook, but somehow I’m reluctant do so hehe !

Another thing :  I style my beard. But since my new job requires a lot of public interface, I decided I should get a new electric shaver. One that’s waterproof and has trim/style functions. I went for the Braun cruZer 6 face. It wasn’t cheap, but I’m planning on using it for a long time.

Braun cruZer 6 face

I haven’t been able to try it out yet. But I will tomorrow or the day after. It should save me a bit of time every day !

Now I still need some pantalons. Swimming shorts. Needle and thread in case my buttons decide to fall off. I already got some Zaanse Mayonaise, which I’m really going to miss. (All you people that don’t like mayonaise probably only ever tasted French mayonaise. The sour one. The Dutch mayonaise is much better !) Oh and I need to have my hair cut before sunday.

It’s almost early again and I’m getting hungry. I’m gonna pack my stuff and get home. Make myself some hotdogs there =9

Good morning, bon apetit and/or good night to everyone !

Ultimate Gaming Rig (20120412)

I was helping a friend find a computer and I came across AMD’s new FX-4170 APU. Still with the 1866MHz DDR3 support, though also still pretty power hungry (125W). But this is going to be a desktop PC, so I don’t care about the usage that much. And now that we have the nVidia GTX 680 too, we might as well make a new list !

So it would include :

– AMD FX-4170 QuadCore ~4.2GHz
– ASUS Corsair V Formula / Thunderbolt
– G.Skill Ripjaws F3-14900CL9D-8GBXL (2x 4GB Set)
– 2x ASUS GTX680-2GD5 (OC to 1.058 MHz =9 )
– 2x OCZ Synapse Cache SATA III 2.5″ SSD 128GB (Raid 0 for System and Gaming)
– Western Digital Caviar Green WD10EZRX, 1TB 7,200RPM (Storage)

Add a cooling paste for the CPU just to be sure (the CPU fan is delivered with the chip), add a case with 2~3 fans and approx. 1000W (modular) PSU. Oh yeah, and an optical drive if you don’t have one lying around. Might make installing stuff on it a bit difficult !

This came up to 1958,39 euros on Tweakers, but most likely a bit more. And you’ll still need Windows 7 on it. Premium would do fine, though Professional has some options (also security options) that are nice to have. The 8GB RAM will handle that perfectly. Ultimate is going to need more though. They advise 16GBs. Though I’ve seen it run on a WinXP laptop, so it’ll work on less. I wouldn’t recommend it though.

Going back  to a QuadCore over the FX-8150 OctoCore setup, has to do with software. There is not that much out there, that will actually utilize the 8 cores. Most games won’t even use more than two. So the faster-but-fewer cores should do games really well. And it’ll still function with 1866MHz memory, which is imba !

What about this setup ? Isn’t this a nice one ? I guess that 2000 euros is a nice price to aim for when building a massive machine like this. This’ll run games at maxed settings for quite a while after you bought it.

Sub-Ultimate Gaming Rig (20120208)

After I made the Ultimate Gaming Rig (20120203) post, I thought I should nerf it a bit. Make it a little less unaffordable. Let’s see what I can kick out and tune down.

PC Case: Zalman Z-Machine LQ1000

MB: ASUS SABERTOOTH 990FX AM3+

CPU: AMD FX-8150 3.6/4.2 GHz 8 Core AM3+

GPU: 2x EVGA GeForce GTX 580 Superclocked 1.5GB 797MHz GDDR5

RAM: 16GB (2x8GB) G.Skill RipjawsX F3-14900CL9Q-16GBXL

HDD: System) Samsung 830 series 128GB;
Gaming) Samsung 830 series 256GB;
Storage) Western Digital Caviar Blue 6Gb/s WD7500AALX, 750GB

Optical: LG GH22NS70 Black

Soundcard: Built-in (see motherboard)

Speakers: 5.1

Monitors: Samsung 40″ LED TV; HD Beamer

PSU: Levicom Xilence Gaming Edition 1000W

External HDD: Media Storage) LaCie Hard Disk Design by Neil Poulton 2TB Raid 0 Black;
Back-up) Verbatim Store’n’Go Portable Hard Drive 320GB Silver

Cooling: Liquid Cooling and Fans (+ Controls) are built into the PC Case (see above)

Network Switches: 2x Linksys SE2500 (one for TV+Beamer+Network Drives+the other switch; one for PC+Server+Internet+the first switch)

It’s still very expensive. But you could change the PC case for a cheaper one (be sure to keep it cool in that case). Drop the peripherals. Drop the second GPU. Drop SSD and go for regular 7,200RPM HDDs in Raid 0.

What Else Does One Need ?

Say you have the following setup for A/V and Gaming, what else would you need ? …Besides enough money to pay for the bills, of course.

  1. A good TV, maybe two*
    A TV that has Full HD resolution, but preferably even higher. Somewhere in the range of 40 inches. Connects via HDMI (two or three inputs) and via Ethernet. Most flatpanel TVs have all of these connections nowadays. If you use the Ethernet connection on your home network, you can view files directly from any shared HDDs directly (without having to use a computer).
  2. A beamer*
    Beamers are awesome for watching movies. But they also make playing certain games much more fun than even a big TV does. They do need a lot of distance to the screen or wall where you want the picture. Not many rooms are that spacious. The room also needs to be very dark to get a good picture quality. Getting a high resolution beamer with the inputs you want to use (HDMI/DVI and Ethernet preferably), can be an expensive task.
  3. A high end PC
    One that plays the games you like, preferably also the games you like in a year or two. One that is able to feed all the media to your TVs directly. Having plenty of graphic power (my favorite atm is a dual GTX 580 setup, but that’s me) lets you use the HDMI connections to both/all  And also, it is likely to use a lot of bandwidth on your network (and the internet), so a good network card is handy. If you are into BluRay discs, make sure you have a BR drive. If you have a subscription to cable TV (HD or otherwise), you can decide to plug it in to your PC (which then needs a TV Tuner, with/without HD, with the correct system for your area like PAL/NTSC). If you want to record audio (I like to plug my guitar in stereo through two mono-Jacks into my computer), you’ll need the required inputs (or low-latency) converters on your PC too.
  4. External storage devices
    If all your TV(s)/beamers are connecting to your network directly, you could use external HDDs (with an Ethernet connection) to feed them the media. This frees up your computer for other things. And it allows you to watch a movie without having to turn on your computer (which costs more power and can be noisy). External storage is great for backing up all the files you can’t live without. Keep your back up discs safe and secure; turn it on only when you need it and scan your files before copying them over. When you run out of storage space, you can easily add more drives to the setup.
  5. A fast and secure router, maybe two*
    To connect your TV(s)/beamer directly to your network, you need to make sure you have plenty of space on your router. I would even think about having one router that connects to the internet and the computers, and another that connects to the first and to the TV(s)/beamer and the storage devices. The setup can be made so that only one computer can access this second router through the first. This keeps your TV(s)/beamer and storage devices safe(r) from intrusion.
  6. A surround set
    Now here is the tricky part. This needs to connect to everything that you use to watch a movie or play a game on. Otherwise, you might not get sound when you watch a movie on your beamer for instance. So make sure you have plenty of inputs for 5.1 (or even 7.1) surround sound. You also need to figure out where you put the speakers. Surround works best when you are in the exact middle of the advised setup. This is explained in the manual. Sitting in the same spot every time can be problematic, but so is dragging your speakers to other ends of the room. Most of the current sets allow you to connect to the network like TVs do. Grabbing bulks of MP3s directly from your network is great. For the same reasons as watching movies directly from the network.
  7. A server*
    If you set up a server on your network, you can do a bunch of cool things. Server OSs have tons of automated tricks you can use to organize the data on your network. It can run back ups, security scans, set usage priority, handle user (and hardware) permissions, whatever. You can use it to download without end, freeing up your PC again. Unless you need the full capacity of your internet connection to play games with low latency or stream videos from the web. But then again, if you set the rules and priorities right, you shouldn’t need to. And after you set it up, you don’t even need to have a keyboard, mouse and monitor connected to it. You can simply access it remotely from your PC. It does not need much at all (no fancy CPU, GPU, etc.). Remember to turn off the screen saver. Easy to forget the simple things.
  8. Furniture
    You will need plenty of space to put all this stuff. To hide away the parts you don’t need physicle access to at all times. To mount or put your beamer. A desk to sit behind, with plenty of space for doing other things aside from using the computer. A few good seats to watch movies comfortably (with your friends). This may very well be the first item on the list. You can’t put in more gear than will fit in your house. Most of this stuff is likely to end up in one room. Make sure your hardware gets plenty of ventilation so it does not overheat.
  9. Portable hardware*
    Having a USB-powered external HDD lets you easily share data with your friends. Having a laptop is less mobile, but gives you many more options. Like accessing your network from elsewhere or from your bed. A very high end gaming laptop could be good enough to replace a PC, depending on your needs. However, they have several disadvantages compared to PCs (like price and heat).

* Optional

So here you’d have a lot of hardware that needs to be connected to eachother through HDMI/Ethernet. It’s quite a bit of work to set it all up, but afterwards…you’d never have to leave the house again !

Ultimate Gaming Rig (20120203)

So I came across a competition by nVidia. They ask you what the ultimate gaming rig would be. You can win a GTX 580, which is the most awesome thing available right now. Of course I want to win one !

You can find all the information you need here.

Here is my crack at it. Just a few notes :

  • I chose the max AMD over the max Intel, since it supports 1866MHz instead of the 1600MHz memory. Keeps the thing up to speed for an extra 6~12 months, I reckon. The additional power usage does not matter for the ultimate rig.
  • Two GPUs should be overkill, let alone the 4-way support of the motherboard. (I initially included three of them. And a second LED TV.)
  • The Storage HDD isn’t really necessary, but what the heck. Plenty of space to work on projects this way.
  • 32GBs of RAM should be overkill, although it will be handy for editing audio and video. And some future-proofing. However, Win7U could use some overhead.

 

PC Case: Zalman Z-Machine LQ1000

MB: ASUS SABERTOOTH 990FX AM3+

CPU: AMD FX-8150 3.6/4.2 GHz 8 Core AM3+

GPU: 2x Gainward Geforce GTX 580 3GB Phantom 883 MHz GDDR5

RAM: 32GB (4x8GB) G.Skill DDR3 RipjawsX 1866MHz

HDD: System) RunCore RCP-V-T251B-MC 120 GB, SF-2281, SATA 6 Gb/s;
Gaming) 2x Patriot Pyro E 240 GB, SF-2281, SATA 6 Gb/s – Raid 0;
Storage) Hitachi Deskstar 7K3000 3 TB, 7200 rpm, SATA 6 Gbit/s

Optical: Sony BDXS-500u 12x BD Writer

Soundcard: Built-in (see motherboard)

Speakers: Bose Acoustimass 15 home cinema speakersystem

Monitors: Samsung UN40D6500VF 40″ LED SmartTV; BenQ SH960 1080p Beamer

PSU: be quiet! Dark Power Pro P8 1200W

External HDD: Media Storage) Seagate BlackArmor NAS 440 8TB;
Back-up) Iomega eGo III Portable 500 GB USB 3.0 500GB

Cooling: Liquid Cooling and Fans (+ Controls) are built into the PC Case (see above)

Network Switches: 2x Linksys SE2500 (one for TV+Beamer+Network Drives+the other switch; one for PC+Server+Internet+the first switch)

Oh. My. Sweet. Baby. Jebus. This thing would cost a fortune. But it would make one very happy-in-pants !