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Showing posts from 2022

Nostalgic memories of the first time I built a PC in 2002 (from reddit)

 Copied from this Reddit comment: I am late to the party but your question brings back some nostalgic memories I would like to share: I first built a PC in 2002 so only twenty years ago and not twenty five. In 2002 building your own PC was not as common as today but enough people were doing it that guides were readily available and specialised retailers sold components. The actual steps of the build itself were not too different but they probably took a bit longer especially installing windows and drivers. The main components were still CPU, GPU and RAM and you still had multiple choices: Intel or AMD for CPU, Nvidia, ATI and a few few others for GPU. There were a lot more ancillary parts however. You needed a sound card, you needed a hard disk, a floppy disk and a CD/DVD drive. You also needed a dial up modem to get 56kbit ! internet. You needed a wired keyboard and a wired mouse. This wa

Playing the Call of Duty World War 2 games on Veteran Difficulty

The original Call of Duty made a big splash when it came out on PC back in 2003. Call of Duty has since  become one of the biggest franchises in gaming. Even though most of the money is now earned from multiplayer and even though the series has long since moved on to modern day and futuristic settings it still visits World War 2 occasionally. I recently had the opportunity to play through most of the single player World War 2 Call of Duty games on veteran difficulty and I would like to share my thoughts and comparisons.  I have middle aged reflexes and I am far from a leet gamer but I chose veteran (the hardest) difficulty  because I have replayed these campaigns several times over the years and it makes sense for me to up the challenge. I also think that playing a 2003 game on a modern PC makes things easier. I remember jerky response times making it hard to aim and survive during the frenetic battles scenes way back in the day. A modern gaming PC can handle those early games with but

How to eat safely at your desk

 This post is about eating breakfast / lunch / any other snack safely at your desk while working. Lets get the elephant out of the room before we begin: Eating at your desk is a terrible habit that is bad for you both physically and mentally. If at all possible you should switch off the computer and go somewhere else to eat. However the sad reality is that many of us regularly do so. In my case my computer is an integral part of both my work and my leisure and eating at the desk is a common occurrence. In fact this became so common during the enforced covid lockdowns that I learned, through trial and error two tips for eating at a computer desk and it is these tips that I wish to pass on today.  Tip 1: Never place a beverage cup between you and your mouse.   I am right handed and the intuitive position for me to place a cup of coffee is slightly to my right about 20cm from the edge of my desk. Unfortunately this is also the default position of my mouse. My first reaction was to move th

Grumpy Complaint about Ironing (From Reddit)

  For some reason I am chief clothes ironer in this house and it annoys me how much harder my wife's things are to iron than my own. This is despite the fact that my clothes tend to be much bigger and have a lot more material to cover. Reason 1: My clothes are all made out of cotton that can be steam ironed at high temperature. My wife's clothes are made out of a variety of light materials that will melt at anything above luke warm. Reason 2: Male clothing tends to be made up of a number of large flat panels. You just lay each panel flat and iron it. Even sleeves and trouser legs can be laid flat. Women's clothing tends not to have flat panels. It is made up of irregularly shaped pieces of material which are sewn together in escheresque arrangements. It is literally impossible to lie them flat. Reason 3 accoutrements. My clothes are all fairly basic. The only accoutrements you need to watch our for are the occasional button. My wife's clothes almost always have some kin

Necromunda: Hired Gun - A surprisingly enjoyable Warhammer 40k shooter

  There have been a lot of bad Warhammer 40k video games over the years and only a very small number of good ones. The first two Dawn of War games were excellent RTS games while Space Marine was a great third person shooter but Necromunda: Hired Gun is the first 4k based first person shooter I can remember actually enjoying.  The game pits you as a soldier of fortune undertaking missions on the gang ruled munitions factory planet of Necromunda. There is an overarching plot which sets you up on the trail of a shadowy figure who is stirring up trouble but the story is utterly secondary to the gun play and the gun play is quite good. Movement is fluid and controls are tight. There is a good selection of appropriately powerful weapons and bionic powers available. The missions are set in large open levels which allow plenty of opportunity for parkouring around with grappling hook, wall running and sliding. The maps do feel a but repetitive by the end of the game but there is enough variety

I'm playing Final Fantasy XIV. It's an MMORPG. Is it 2005 again?

I heard a recommendation for Final Fantasy Online a few days back and decided to give it a go. It is a long time since I felt the urge to play an mmorpg but I have been bouncing around between a few games recently and perhaps in a fit of nostalgia I remember the good times I had fifteen years or so ago when  World of Warcraft and Lord of the Rings Online were cool. For a brief few years MMORPGs offered an exciting glimpse into the possibilities of virtual worlds. They also demanded a huge time commitment and required a lot of busy work which is why I and most other gamers eventually moved on. I am trying FF XIV at a very casual level, no guilds , no raids just questing around in the world. First impression are pretty good. There is a very generous free trial that appears to offer a lot of content with not many restrictions. the game has been around since 2013 so it is not surprising that it seems very polished by now and it looks pretty too. Of course it has a confusing array of locati

Tweaking an RTX3060ti for a quieter life (Undervolting)

The RTX3060ti I "borrowed" from my wife's Dell XPS machine is a great card for 1440p gaming but the twin fan cooler gets quite noisy when it is pushed hard. This post will explain how I managed to reduce the audible noise while maintaining performance using MSI afterburner.  The Parameters First a bit of background information. The three most important parameters are: 1. Fan Speed:  The louder the fan spins the noisier it gets. In my experience anything below 1000rpm is very quiet while anything above 2000rpm is intolerably noisy. I like my fans to idle below 1000rpm when the PC is not being stressed and I like them to stay as far below 2000rpm as possible when being pushed hard. Long ago PC fans ran at fixed speeds but nowadays they are nearly always controlled using a fan curve dependent on GPU temperature (or CPU temperature for CPU fans). The hotter the component gets the faster the fan spins.  2. GPU (core) clock speed. Simply enough the higher the clock speed the

Avoiding the temptation to wallow in the past (from Reddit)

 My contributions to this blog have slowed to a trickle in recent years. These days my main social media output is on Reddit where I go by the name of u/liambp (" L ife i s a M ind b ending P uzzle" ). Anyway sometimes I write stuff on there which could equally be posted here so I am going to try a new experiment and copy a post from there to here. If there are no undesirable consequences I may do it again.  The insidious algorithms of Spotify and Youtube know the truth. A quick glance at my personalised recommendations proves that my tastes were formed decades ago. I try to resist this inevitable sign of aging and make a genuine effort to follow modern trends but with a few drinks in me I quickly succumb to the lure of past memories. I have spent more than one Friday night binge watching music videos from the 1980s. When the zeitgeist occasionally rediscovers past artistes (eg Kate Bush/Stranger things) I allow myself a brief moment of smugness because "I was there whe

Apparently I have a coffee problem

 A couple of weeks ago my wife alerted me to the fact that I had developed an occasional odour problem. This surprised and distressed me somewhat. I will admit certain standards loosened during the pandemic  but I thought I was still doing OK on the fundamentals of personal hygiene. My wife was unable to clearly identify the cause so a bit of detective work was required. Eventually by process of elimination I discovered that excessive coffee consumption was responsible for my unpleasant aroma.  I wasn't always a coffee addict but during the pandemic lockdowns I got into the habit of brewing a large pot every morning. My wife sticks to decaffeinated so I got to polish off this litre sized jug of strong coffee all by myself. It fills a large mug three times. The first mug was fresh and piping hot. I tempered it with the smallest drop of milk, less than a teaspoon,  just enough to give some colour. The second mug poured later was stronger and cooler so I would forgo the milk.  By the

RX 550 How a bad value gpu might just be my all time favourite

Quick recap about my cunning plan to overcome the GPU apocalypse last year: We bought a prebuilt Dell with an RTX 3060ti for my wife who is not a gamer. I Took the 3060ti for my gaming machine and put a GTX 1050ti into the Dell. The 1050ti is plenty powerful enough to drive the three monitors my wife uses for work and content creation.  This plan hit a roadblock when it turned out that 1050ti caused intermittent crashes in my wife's machine often during important conference calls.  Trying to diagnose a problem that randomly occurs once in about 24 hours is incredibly frustrating. I wasn't even sure that the 1050ti was the problem because it worked fine in my PC. The 3060ti itself was not completely immune to crashes but they were much less frequent,  less than one per week. Google threw up a few posts from other users who had similar frustrating crashes with that model of Dell when a graphics card is fitted. The only reliable solution suggested was to remove the GPU and use int

Updated Personal Video Card History

 Back in 2014 I wrote this post cataloging the gaming GPUs I have used over the years. Its been eight years so I think it is time I did an update.  2014 GTX970 .  At €310 this represented a step up in what I previously paid for graphics cards. Partly this came from me being a bit older and willing to spend a bit more money on my hobby but also it reflects the fact that gaming in general and PC gaming in particular was getting more expensive. For many years 30 frame per second  was considered playable while 60 frames per second at 1080p was held up as the holy grail of performance. By 2014 however the envelope of desirable performance was being pushed hard on multiple fronts: 4k gaming, ultra high frame rates and even virtual reality demanded significantly higher levels of CPU and GPU performance.  The €310 GTX 970 was only the entry level of the "enthusiast end" but it still managed to deliver high quality gaming at good framerates for the next few years  years.  When I firs

Trying to cut down on subscription services

I remember a time when people used to buy media content by the piece. You bought  a book, record, video or game and brought it home to keep forever. I have no great nostalgia for those times because content was expensive and the selection was limited. The advent of the internet and digital distribution shook things up and for a brief few years a lot of people thought that they could just keep downloading everything for free. Nowadays however we are firmly in the age of the subscription service where you can have access to a large selection of titles for a relatively modest subscription fee as long as you keep paying month by month. Subscription services have become utterly dominant in music and video and there are some very compelling offerings in video games and books now too.  These subscription services appear to offer an unbeatable value proposition. The monthly fee offers an enormous library of content and this fee is often less than you would have to pay for a single piece of con

My AM4 Ryzen Gaming PC has Reached it Final Form

In 2017 I switched from Intel to the new (at the time)  AMD AM4 Ryzen platform and started completely from scratch with all new components in a new case. I still think of it as my 2017 rig even though almost every  component has been upgraded since. Nevertheless like the Ship of Theseus it retains its essential identity as  my "2017 Computer" and is likely to do so until the next time I build a new PC from scratch. Yesterday I replaced the Ryzen 5 3600 CPU with a rather unnecessary Ryzen 7 5800x for no better reason than spotting one at a decent price on a local trading site. This change is somewhat significant because it probably marks the end of the upgrade path for this rig. The AM4 socket has reached end of the line with the 5000 series and any further upgrade would be prohibitively expensive for very little gain. The rig in its current state has plenty of horsepower to see me through the next couple of years until I am ready to start again from scratch with a new platfor

Can PC Gaming Survive the Great GPU Crysis of 2020-2022?

 I am writing this in early January 2022 and it is almost two years since we first heard about SARS Covid 19,  the virus which caused a pandemic that has wracked the globe in multiple waves since then. Notwithstanding the fact that there are far more serious implications of a life threatening pandemic than its impact on a hobby I still think it would be appropriate to write a few words about how the last couple of years have affected PC gaming.  To misquote Dickens it has been the best of times and the worst of times to be a PC gamer. Virus halting lockdowns forced many to look to digital entertainment and gaming of all types thrived. Of course we all headed outdoors as soon as restrictions lifted but I think the bounce in new players and the increased respectability of gaming as a leisure activity brought about will have lasting consequences. Despite a number of Covid related delays we have also been lucky enough to enjoy many fantastic game releases over the last two years and not ha