Weekend!

A while back, I bought the new Doom for PC back when it was on sale and I found that I could run it, assuming that I ran it on the lowest settings. This was okay for me because, hey, the other option was “not playing it” and I wanted to play it.

It looked pretty good. We’ve reached the point where new(ish) PC games running on the lowest setting now look as good (or better) than PS3/360 games and, hey, that’s pretty good. I mean, I grew up playing the Atari 2600.

Well, we had just started reaching the point where new games were not games that I could play due to my computer being optimized for being a workstation dedicated to stuff like writing blogs, watching Netflix, and playing GOG games. Around this time, co-workers started talking about how the new NVidia card was coming out but it was only 30% better than the previous card that came out and they were discussing Overwatch and how they weren’t sure whether they wanted to invest *THAT* much money in an increase of only 30%.

I was thinking about my card and I looked up my specs and checked out a couple of things and asked their advice and they told me that the new card made all of the previous cards go down in price a notch or two, so I did some research and found that the card that would best help me was about 1000 times better than my current (optimized for Excel!) card. Given that that was not a typo nor hyperbole, I figured that it was time to take a deep breath and take the plunge.

Tonight, I got the thumbs up to go ahead and install it. After almost breaking it twice, I realized that I was now officially too old to do this sort of thing and got one of my 20-something friends to help.

And so, this weekend, I will be seeing how these games I have been playing on the lowest settings look on the “optimized” setting.

Before getting back to the GOG games, I’m sure.

So… what’s on your docket?

Okay for those who wish for more details about the Nuclear Medicine Stress test, they follow:

Showed up on a Friday for the second stress test where the nice nurse told me that this was going to be downright easy. They’d inject me with a particular drug that would open up all of my various vessels and they’d take an EKG for 3 minutes while I was walking a leisurely pace on the treadmill. I would feel flush, I might feel dizzy, I might get a headache. “Drink caffeine… It helps”, I was told. “I gave up caffeine for Lent”, I whined. They shrugged and injected me with the drug and I walked on the treadmill and felt flush? I guess? I didn’t feel dizzy, sadly. And the headache, I didn’t get… oh, wait. There it is. Oh yeah.

After 3 minutes of that, the Nuclear Medicine guy came into the room carrying what looked like a bulletproof lunchbox. He opened it and removed what looked like a 1950’s style metal syringe. He gave me the drug in that and then we went into the Nuclear Medicine room and he had me lie down on my back in what looked like a bare bones MRI machine. 20 minutes there, then 10 minutes on my stomach. I turned my head from that side to this one halfway through lying on my stomach and he admonished me to stay still. So I took a nap.

They woke me up and that was it.

The next Monday, I went in for my “only the nuclear medicine” part of the test and they gave me the shot and he had me lie down and that was that.

I got some results earlier this week which seemed to indicate that things are looking good, insofar as “we caught this really early” is looking good. Tomorrow I go in and talk to my doctor about what the readings really meant and hammer out what “looking good” *REALLY* means, at the end of the day.

So, if you ever get told that you have to take a chemical stress test, it’s not so bad. Don’t worry about it. But don’t move your head.

(Image is “Play” by Clare Briggs. Used with permission of the Briggs estate.)


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Jaybird is Birdmojo on Xbox Live and Jaybirdmojo on Playstation's network. He's been playing consoles since the Atari 2600 and it was Zork that taught him how to touch-type. If you've got a song for Wednesday, a commercial for Saturday, a recommendation for Tuesday, an essay for Monday, or, heck, just a handful a questions, fire off an email to AskJaybird-at-gmail.com

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39 thoughts on “Weekend!

  1. About a year ago, I wanted to upgrade my pc….Hell, I could BARELY play Witcher 2. It was fine for everything else, but games, no. Well, if I wanted to be playing Anarchy Online or such. Anyway, got a lot of info from a friends tech girl at work, as my pc was 10 years old. Got a plan, got the machine. She set it up. Sadly my plan to install windows 7 on the machine vs 10 it came with was bust. Cure you proprietary BIOS.

    Anyway, it’s a screamer for the money. Runs current games at best or near best video. The only real pisser was I needed to upgrade my printer since my 15 year old printer would not work with the new pc. God knows why.

    Enjoy your new kit! I sure as hell am.

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  2. Congrats on your new video card.
    I’m holding out for the new machine myself.

    I remember taking a stress test on a treadmill a few years back.
    “My heart rate doesn’t go that high,” I told them.
    “Oh, yes, it will,” they said.
    It took awhile, but it got that high.

    “Nuclear medicine” sounds so much nicer than “We’re going to pump you full of radioactive isotopes,” which, in turn, sounds better than “You would absolutely sh!t if you knew what this was we’re about to put in you.” All of which are true, of course.
    I hope everything comes out alright, including, but not limited to, the residue via your kidneys.

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  3. Though as someone with some funky sensitivities to some things, having a doctor saying “We’re gonna shoot you up with this stuff” makes alarm bells ring for me. (Sulfa antibiotics are perfectly safe. For MOST people….)

    Out of morbid curiosity, how high do they want the heart rate? I usually hit about 120 bpm when working out, which is borderline “vigorous exercise” for someone my age.

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    • For this one, they didn’t want my heart rate that high. The treadmill was just going at a pace just above “mosey”. The drug didn’t increase my heartrate, it just turned all of my blood vessels from “sluggish” to “HOLY CRAP I’M AWAKE I’M AWAKE I’M AWAKE” for 3 or so minutes.

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  4. Ooh a tech thread. perfect.

    I’m currently on a Dell Inspiron laptop with an Intel i-5 core and an Intel HD 4000 video card. When I’m in combat in Skyrim things can slow down so dramatically that it feels like a turn-based game.

    My better half has given me a certain sum of money for a new gaming computer. If I were to spend in the range of $2500, what would people recommend?

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      • My bud talked to me about Intel vs. AMD and showed me a spreadsheet that he had *HIS* next box on and pointed out that you might not need monitor screens, or a VR headset, or you might not need Windows 10 because you have a Ubuntu build or what have you.

        So. With that in mind:
        I’d suggest the AMD build:
        AMD YD180XBCAEWOF Ryzen 7 1800X Processor is about $500

        ASUS ROG Crosshair VI Hero AMD Ryzen AM4 DDR4 M.2 USB 3.1 ATX X370 Motherboard with AURA Sync RGB Lighting is about $250

        GeForce® GTX 1060 GAMING X 6G is about $250

        G.SKILL 64GB (4 x 16GB) Ripjaws V Series DDR4 PC4-25600 3200MHz For ntel Z170 Platform Desktop Memory Model F4-3200C16Q-64GVK is about $500

        CPU cooler! MasterLiquid Pro 280 All-In-One CPU Liquid Cooler with FlowOp Technology is about $125

        Corsair Graphite Series 760T Full Tower Windowed Case – White is about $175.

        EVGA SuperNOVA 1200 P2 220-P2-1200-X1 80+ PLATINUM 1200W power supply is about $250.

        Seagate 4TB BarraCuda SATA 6Gb/s 64MB Cache 3.5-Inch Internal Hard Drive (ST4000DMB05) is about $125.

        For a grand total of $2200 for those parts, but that’s without a monitor, operating system, or gaming keyboard/gaming mouse.

        That’ll futureproof ya.

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        • Nice.

          For punters like me, though, I like to stick with Intel/Nvidia… I’m scarred by various AMD or Radeon (or both) issues from some years back. I’ll pay the premium for boring.

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          • That’s an additional $500 for the Intel build, though. Which puts him over budget and *WAAAAAAAAAAAAY* over budget if he actually needs a monitor, OS, keyboard, and mouse.

            (But, yeah, with an unlimited budget, Intel all the way.)

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            • eh, I’d downgrade the chip first… unless I win the lottery from the other thread, I’d never buy the newest chipset. I’m still on an i5 with GTX 560ti and having no issues. 7th gen i5 or “mid tier” i7 would be more than adequate… don’t spend the money on the cores. The premium for today’s hotness is absurd when you consider you would have killed for yesterdays hotness yesterday.

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          • I don’t do much real gaming, but I do buy a lot of laptops for various contracts (I try to keep customers separate) and I’ve found that buying an old refurbished laptop on eBay and putting a solid state disk in it makes a junker laptop new again. Laptops have always had a terrible disk I/O bottlneck, so the advent of the SSD was a godsend for them. Not to mention the fact that they handle being dropped a lot more gracefully.

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            • On the topic of drives… I’ve moved to a 3 tier system.
              1. 128 GB SSD for Operating System/System apps (nothing else)
              2. 128 GB SSD for Games/High Volume apps (this is current size crunch)
              3. Spinning disk for storage and spreadsheet type apps – Cheap
              (4.) Cloud storage – fremium
              (5.) External storage drive

              If when your OS crashes, it doesn’t destroy your stuff. If your storage drive is failing, you usually get some warning and can back-up (plus, backing up your storage drive is cheap and easy these days).

              The problem with the Game drive is that the size of games are so big now that 128 GB is maybe 5 games… my Steam folder is 400GB (after a recent purge). So, ideally you’d want ~500GB – which were really expensive at the time, but relatively cheap now.

              But definitely put your OS on a separate drive, if possible.

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              • I’m a developer and I spend most of my time in Linux, so the good news is my files are either very small (source code) or very large (system images), so I’ve gone to:

                1) A bunch of $300 laptops with interchangeable parts and SSDs.
                2) A 12TB ZFS storage server in my house.
                3) Cloud storage for other stuff.

                ZFS is the best thing since sliced bread. Redundancy, data integrity, snapshots, pooling, replication. It takes some fiddling, but getting my laptop rootfs set up with ZFS allows me to do replication and snapshotting for my home directory so I need to keep a lot less data on it, and keeping my various data sets in sync through the server easy.

                I don’t do much gaming, but I have rediscovered doom recently. Good memories.

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                • Heh… I can barely get a NAS up and running (and I can never get it to work the way I want it to)… ZFS would probably kill me.

                  SSD’s have been a godsend, I love the idea of replaceable laptops. The way my desktop is evolving, it’s turning in to the modular component where I keep my CPU chip, and that’s about all. Increasingly I wonder why I want my components inside the one box anyway… all it does is create heat problem.

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    • Spending about half that and quietly pocketing the other half for good wine.

      Right now its your integrated Graphics that are killing you… if your motherboard supports an upgrade to a GTX1060, you could probably stop right there…

      The simple gaming triad (for me at least) has been Video Card, RAM, and Cooling System… and, if you are buying a pre-built package, those specs will pull along everything else to more than acceptable levels. At this snapshot in time, I’d target GTX1060, 16GB, and Liquid as your *minimum* spec for your budget. Bonus options include additional 256GB SSD. If you have money to burn, there’s always a better, more expensive video card — but then that’s the argument *not* to burn the $$ on video… there’s always a better upgrade 3-yrs from now.

      Sticking with Dell… upgrade from Inspiron to XPS and you’ll get a perfectly fine rig… Alienware gets you better thermals and a few doodads and cache with all your friends when they hang out in your room er, man-cave/office.

      Alienware
      XPS

      If you are feeling frisky, you can save some $$, customize your specs and get everything you want just as you want it at NewEgg (or others)… of course then you have to build it, and deal with the inevitable one component that is compatible with the xlxdlrr5 but not the xlxdlr5 that you bought. For fun, you can compromise and go to someplace like ibuypower and experience the joy of OCD compulsion to research every component, but then let some younger aspiring nerd put it all together for you.

      Good luck, let us know how you spend the other $1k.

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      • Alienware. That’s what I got on my last upgrade, and I’m content with it. The only thing that annoys me is the proprietorially bios where I could not (at the time) downgrade windows 10 to 7.

        But I got state of the art (within reason) a small “desktop” profile, and cool lights in the box.

        IIRCC: 32 gig ram, 1TB hard drive. Nvidia graphics that was SOTA 2016.

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        • Yeah, Dell seems to have brought some good focus to the line… it’s not as Xtreme as it once was… but I like a lot of the tech decisions/cost points. There still are plenty of places to get oblong flaming purple rigs though… so no one is being under-served.

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    • Take 2:

      My bud read your original comment and he said “wait, he’s starting from a Dell Laptop? The build I gave you assumed that it wasn’t your ‘friend’ and that I was going to help you build it. It’s not a starter build.”

      He said first:
      Go to https://pcpartpicker.com/

      Click on “Start a System Build”.

      Now, answer these question:
      Do you want Intel or do you want AMD as your CPU? Do you have any requirements for your CPU (like is this a pure gaming machine or will you use it for multitasking)? Do you need (or would you want) more than a quad core processor?

      If all you care about is framerate, then the optimal CPU is an intel I7 7700k quad core. But if you want this machine to do multi-tasking, you might want a hexcore or octcore (like if you’re going to be doing streaming or anything similarly CPU intensive).

      But you need to answer that question about the CPU first because that CPU question drives the rest of the build (except for the video card and the power supply).

      So there’s that.

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      • not starting from the laptop. replacing the laptop. I need the laptop for working on the road but I’m fundamentally dissatisfied with it as any kind of gaming tool. (even the civ 4 movies are clunky.)

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          • I have plenty of room in my house and I don’t game when I’m traveling. If I can get better performance with a desktop at an equivalent price, then I would be fine with a desktop.

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            • Okay. You can totally get better performance with a desktop than a laptop at that pricepoint.

              I suppose I should have also asked if you want to go through the hassle of building your own box or if you’d just want to have it pre-made and shipped to you.

              There are a lot of downsides to building your own box. “Hey, I’ve got everything I need… oh, except the harddrive. Let me check the shipping on that… oh, it’s in Guangzhou… Well, I guess I could put the motherboard in the case…”

              You could get an Alienware Aurora that is pretty dang tricked out (with maxed memory for less than your budget and you could get an Alienware Alpha that’s almost totally tricked out for around $1700… that’s enough to spend $800 on stuff like dual monitor setups and whatnot. Or Steam, for that matter.

              Heck, you could get an Area-51 box without bumping it up at all and just plan on asking for memory sticks for birthday/Christmas.

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              • If I were in my 30s, building my own machine would sound like fun. But since I’m in my early 50s and have a bit of a shake in the mitts when I try to do fine motor work, I think I’m looking for a built-out machine.

                btw, thanks for participating in this thread. We may not always agree but I do always enjoy reading your comments no matter what the topic.

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  5. I’m not old enough to have played the 2600, but I do remember how big a deal it was when we got a computer with a 1 gigabyte hard drive. So when the 1 terabyte drive on the gaming computer died and I went to the store and picked up a 3 terabyte replacement, I had a smile on my face.

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  6. i have a laptop again…. HURRAY.

    Nasty dentistry on Thursday, so I rewarded/consoled myself with a 4 day weekend. Once the mouth gets sorted, there will be choring and gaming and so and so forth, but for now, there is a lot of lying around doing not much (reading, watching Netflix, and poking at the new laptop).

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  7. When I realized that turning my two boys into gamers meant that I would never ever ever get time on my own computer again, I moved to build them their own machines. Well, no…what I did was gather up the hardware and coach THEM on building their own machines. We’re about three generations in now, and what that has meant is that every upgrade I made to my machine has meant cascading upgrades to their machines as I hand hardware down to oldest boy, who then hands hardware down to younger boy.

    I am 100% an AMD guy as the loss in performance when compared to Intel isn’t worth the increase in price. I was also an Nvidia guy since forever until a few years ago when I started experiencing serious problems with their drivers. I changed to Radeon and haven’t looked back.

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  8. Putting in overtime at work, attempting to finish my taxes, and various chores. Friday night I volunteered with the PTO at Junior’s elementary school spaghetti feed.

    Surrobabe is 21 weeks and kicking day and night. I am sleeping much better without the cold.

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  9. I had my own video card ordeal over the past week. I have an Nvidia card (my first in a while) and received notification that there were new drivers available. I clicked to allow Nvidia’s software to automatically update my drivers, a practice that’s frowned upon by the enthusiast community, but has worked flawlessly for me for a while now. This time, upon rebooting, I was greeted with a BSOD. It sucks, but I thought it’d be easy to get around by booting into safe mode and running the Display Driver Uninstaller utility (which is what the enthusiast crowd generally recommends before every driver installation). Nope. Couldn’t get into safe mode, auto-repair, system volume restore, and everything else I could think of failed. Last thing available was the Windows 10 system reset, which is close to a clean install, except you have the option of keeping some of your files. That finally did work, but getting there took some time. In the past, this would have been a single day’s effort, but between work and family, it spread out over several days.

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