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Topics - Davixus

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Tutorials/Help Section / How to build a gaming computer
« on: March 22, 2013, 11:53:37 AM »
Hello everyone!

After a long time, I'm going to start working more on the tutorial.  There are a lot of gamers on this forum, many of whom game on computers.  I’m writing this tutorial to help those who are interested in achieving the best performance for the price and keeping up with current hardware upgrades.  There is nothing quite as satisfying as being able to run a game optimally, and to do that you need the hardware to back the performance.

Before diving into the technical details, allow me to introduce my background.  I have been building performance computers since I was in middle school.  Between then and now, I have had to work with many technological and budget parameters, for both myself and friends.  Perhaps the biggest challenge for me was building computers with a college budget (under $1K).  Currently my rig is the result of 3+ years of upgrades, and running some of the best hardware on the market.  I hope this guide will give some of my experience to you guys, and as always, I am available to contact for questions regarding builds.

Building a gaming rig is a big commitment and requires some work and know-how to assemble the parts and ensure that they are compatible.  If you don’t feel confident to make some decisions on spending or have the technical skills, you should definitely wait until you are able to make such financial decision and undertake the tasks in this tutorial.  However, there is nothing as satisfying as being able to play games at max settings on a machine you built yourself.  Hope you guys enjoy this guide!
Assessment
Before trying to figure out where we want to go, it is crucial to find out where we are.   A great tool to assess your current state is CanYouRunIt (http://www.systemrequirementslab.com/cyri/).  This online app will scan your system and determine if you can play whatever game available today.  For this stage, just pick any game, and wait for the results.  The key part of the assessment is what your system currently has.  Note your current system specifications.
 Now that you know where your current status, we need to determine where you want to go.  What games do you want to play?  What monitor(s) do you plan to use?  Is there anything else you want to do with the computer (streaming, video editing, virtualized machines, etc.)?   Make a list of your goals.  Here is where you make your first big decision:  Am I willing to invest money and time to improve my computer performance by (x)?  The rule of thumb with custom computers is if (x) is greater than 15% (CPU speed, amount of titles you wish to play) the upgrade will produce significant results.  If not, then the money and time could be allocated elsewhere and/or saved for a later and greater update.
Finally, What is Your Budget?  For a computer that can run the majority of current games at high specifications, you need ~$600.  There are certain strategies and deals from my experience that I will label as “Brotips” in this guide, which will help you keep the cost down without sacrificing performance.
What is performance?
A common misconception is that there is a “perfect” computer with excellent “performance” in all categories.  Performance in rig design is a mix of both objective and subjective.  Individual components can be compared to each other   (CPUs and GFX cards for example) for performance, but different users will define performance by their own demands.  For example, a high-performance machine for Starcraft2 may end up as a mediocre machine for Battlefield 3.  That is why we performed the assessments:  To make the best decisions as we build and upgrade. 
Priorities
The reason why home-built computers perform better per dollar is because you, as the designer and gamer, have a different priority than generally all of consumer manufacturers.  The priorities most manufacturers have are:
1-   Low manufacturing cost
2-   Branding
3-   Hard drive (space)
4-   Peripherals and features
5-   RAM (quantity)
6-   Mobility
As you can see, there is a lot of room for compromises, and many of these priorities have no impact on gaming performance!  As such, you end up paying for features that ultimately don’t assist you in your quest for gaming glory. 
What is a gaming rig’s priorities?  We’ll get into the reasons why later, but here is what a gamer will value:
1-   Graphics processing unit
2-   CPU (speed and cores)
3-   Motherboard
4-   RAM (speed)
5-   Hard Disk (speed)
6-   Cooling
As you can see, function and performance takes extremely high priority.  Keep this list in mind while in your build, and remember that peripherals (keyboards, webcams, audio) are relatively cheap and can be added later, and should not take away from achieving excellent performance.
Up Next- Anatomy of a Gaming Rig

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I have several friends consulting me about building a gaming rig/upgrading one.  I was wondering if anyone would be interested in a tutorial on this forum.

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General Discussion / Visit to Microsoft Campus
« on: February 18, 2012, 12:59:37 AM »
I'm in Redmond training for a few weeks, so I thought I'd put up some pictures of the Microsoft Campus while I'm here.  Needless to say I'm impressed by the culture and the location.  Without further ado, here are some pictures (sorry for the low resolution):




-This is the plaza in the Commons, basically the center of campus (Keep in mind the place is HUGE)


-This is inside the commons, which is a cafeteria + mini mall.  For example:


-This is a biking/outdoors shop in the Commons.


I decided to grab some lunch there :)

At the building I was meeting, they had Surfaces, basically coffee-table sized touch-screens.  This one is displaying a stream of twitter feeds, which you can "pull off' individually and read :)  Really cool



-Free sodas :)

The building next door is actually the Xbox studios.  They had some interesting things:


-A life size statue of the characters from Halo: Reach.  (These statues are at least 6" tall!  The biggest one "Jorge" is over 7" tall)


-a close-up of one of the character's (Kat's) cybernetic arm

I'll be exploring more around the Seattle area as well, so I'll upload more updates here!

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General Discussion / Kingston game competition
« on: September 30, 2011, 04:13:37 PM »
For game designers-

Come up with an original game idea, or create an original game for a chance to win an iPad 64GB

http://www.kingston.com/canada/WiDriveContest/

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Creative Works / Some music projects
« on: May 19, 2011, 10:03:41 PM »
I've been working with my friends on music with some friends lately.  Here is one song we've been working on, and hopefully will record and upload later next week.  It's a cover of "Never Grow Up" by Taylor Swift, and right now we have a rough guitar instrumental.  Hope you guys like it, and I definitely appreciate comments and criticism.

We also have more stuff in the works, but plan on releasing them one at a time :)

https://sites.google.com/site/changeinchaos/download-stuff/guitar_2.mp3

Enjoy!

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General Discussion / Portal 2
« on: April 23, 2011, 09:20:55 PM »
I won't spoil anything, but if you like music and Portal, you really should play through portal 2 :D

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General Discussion / Diablo III Beta Opt-in is open
« on: March 08, 2011, 06:04:17 PM »
Might be old news for some of you, but Diablo III beta Opt-in is available now.

Go to Battle.net and create an account if you don't already have one.  Download the profiler and allow it to upload your system specs to blizzard, and make sure Diablo 3 is checked in the "Beta tests I'm interested in".

I'm excited :)

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In-Game Discussions / Broken link?
« on: February 28, 2011, 07:23:22 PM »
The demo link gives a 403 error (Forbidden)  :(

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Music Projects / Covers?
« on: February 28, 2011, 07:20:15 PM »
I was wondering if it was ok that we do covers of your songs?

I have a friend who is quite the pianist and singer, and she loved traces, so I went and arranged it.  Would it be ok if we recorded it and posted it?

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Introductions & Farewells / Hello!
« on: February 27, 2011, 12:33:54 AM »
I haven't done forums in awhile.  Here goes...

Hi everyone, I'm Davixus.  I've been around the blog for some time now.  I am a college student in the US, and   I enjoy playing all sorts of games, but really have an appreciation for games that break the mold in terms of design and gameplay.

I've been playing a lot of Starcraft 2 recently, and am also the current shoutcaster for my college team as well.  Music is something I'm always interested in, and I enjoy arranging music for fun, or just composing songs with friends when I have free time.  I also enjoy drawing, exploring, and kendo.

I definitely look forward to the release of Melolune, and in the meantime look forward to getting to know people on the forum!

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