There has been a lot of discussion lately about Valve making their own gaming hardware. From this discussion there has been a number of articles written regarding building low cost gaming devices with the primary goal of playing games from steam on your TV in the living room. Most of these are using decent enough hardware to provide low to medium quality at 1080p resolution on the TV. The results have been very promising with current generation consoles being left behind. That sparked me to get going on my own steambox.
It has been a number of years since my last big desktop build and times have changed. Prices have been coming down and performance has been steadily increasing. No longer do you have to spend thousands. For my build I want something that won’t take up a lot of space in my living room. I took a look at a lot of smaller sized cases and decided to go ahead and pick up the Fractal Design Core 1000 mATX case. This is a little black box that will suit my living room. I don’t need anything fancy such as water cooling so for $34.99 I am set.
Next, knowing I am going with an mATX case I need to ensure I get an mATX motherboard. My requirements are minimal and keeping the costs low are my primary concern. When looking at motherboard there is a wide range of features that while very nice and cool would be overkill in my budget device. My requirements, USB 3 and SATA 3. I ended up getting the MSI B75MA-P45. This meets my needs of low cost, $64.99 and my other requirements. To match up with this I decided to break the trend of other steambox builds and opt for an Intel i3 3220. This dual-core Ivy Bridge processor runs at 3.3ghz be supports hyped-threading. I thought if I am going to spend a little more somewhere it may as well be the processor.
To go further with that line of spending a little more for better performance, I went with a SSD from Samsung.. The Samsung 840 series 120 GB. This is going to be primarily a gaming device so I don’t need a lot of storage. I do have the option to add more hard drives later should the need arise. The SSD is going to give the box another big speed boost.
Last I just picked up 8gb of ram that was on sale. Nothing special, just Corsair Vengeance Blue 2x4gb DDR3-1600. This will give me a goo start and with my motherboard leaves two slots open if I ever get the need to double up to 16gb of RAM. The power supply, also from Corsair, corsair enthusiast series TX550M. My main reason for choosing this power supply is the quietness found in the reviews and the fact it’s a modular power supply which should help with cable management in this small case.
I am going to be reusing my graphics card from a different device. It’s an XFX Radeon HD 6670 1gb DDR3. It was a very inexpensive card only costing me $50. This may need upgrading as it looks like the weakest link in my build. I will throw it all together and see what kind of performance I get and make a decision then.
So there you have it, my steambox. Lots of room to upgrade and keeping costs down on my budget gaming computer. I can’t wait to see how it comes together as the parts should be arriving later this week.
I was watching some random gaming videos the other day and one video really caught my eye. The game is called Ace of Spades. It has been described as Team Fortress meets Minecraft. It has all the visual style of Minecraft as well as the world manipulation and some building elements. It mixes in multiple classes and weapons for head to head combat. There are multiple game modes ranging from deathmatch and capture the flag all the way to zombie mode. The game comes from indie publisher Jagex who would be best known for Runescape. Ace of Spades is available on steam for the regular price of $9.99
Next week I will be taking a training course at MicroAge in Regina. The course is called Automating Administration with Windows PowerShell 2.0 and should be really interesting. This is a Microsoft Training product with course number 10325a. There are many times during my day at work that I will be doing administrative tasks in active directory which could be sped up by scripting. I am hoping to take what I learn in this course and really improve my day to day performance. The course runs Monday to Friday and covers a large number of topics related to PowerShell 2. The course description can be found here
I have had a Playstation Vita since its launch and have really enjoyed it so far. I would recommend it to people but it seems like lately people have been abandoning the idea of traditional handheld gaming. Recently, the trend seems to be moving to mobile phones which have the power to run similar games but really lack the controls that give gaming its fun factor in my opinion. I have a few games for the vita right now: Wipeout 2048, Unit 13, Mortal Kombat, Little Big Planet, and Hot Shots Golf. All of these games are a lot of fun. With the latest software update for the Vita to version 2.0, it also brings on Playstation Plus support. This adds some really cool features like instant game collection and cloud save game support. The instant game collection seems like an amazing idea which really brings a lot of value to Sony’s subscription service.
I haven’t been interested in gaming on the pc for such a long time. When it actually comes to the last pc game I would have purchased, I think it must have been Battlefield 1942 back in 2005. I have always found that a console was always a safer bet in terms of everything working as it should. With PC gaming you have to contend with system requirements that differ from game to game as well as seemingly endless patching. As consoles have evolved we see that patching is becoming more and more commonplace and now the age of consoles are beginning to show. This brings me to where I am now.
I have been a longtime fan of tribes for the PC and recently came across that there is a new version of tribes that’s out called Tribes Ascend. I think originally there was suppose to be an Xbox 360 version but that’s kind of fell off the map. With this new game it’s actually free to play which interests me. I can pick up the game for nothing and invest time/mone into it once I get a feel for how I like it. Sounds exciting sign me up, except I have a problem. It has been years since I have played a game on the PC and nothing I own seems to be close to game shape. My options, a Mac mini (early 2009) – not really a gaming device, limited on the hardware front and not to mention a not compatible with a Windows game. Next up, a couple net books. These are kind of a joke spec wise with integrated graphics cards that can just handle the basics. Lastly, I have my older Pentium D windows box. It’s slower by today’s standards but has some potential. My plan at the moment is to buy a graphics card for this device until a greater sum of money is available to buy a new dedicated gaming PC.
Next up, Diablo 3! Yet another reason to get back to gaming on the pc. I spent a lot of time in the past playing Diablo 2 and had a great time. This is definitely something I would continue to enjoy taking part in. I just need the hardware to do it…
I went ahead and got an inexpensive video card to bide my time with. It’s an ATI Radeon 6670 1GB DDR3. I purchased the card for $49.99 from NCIX.com and expect it to arrive before the weekend. I know the card isn’t super powerful but that’s not really what’ I am going for. I just need something that will work. Here’s hoping that it does, I will know soon once it’s shipped and I get it installed.
I happened to stumble upon one of my older blogs that I still “maintain” and noticed everything looked off. First off there was no style sheet loading and the content was flowing on a plain white background. Secondly, while trying to get into the admin console, I am greeted with a cannot open the wp-admin folder… File may not exist. Uh oh, I just finished dealing with a hijacked WordPress install and don’t want to deal with that again. I decided that would be a weird hijack as the only thing that happened was the style sheet is missing. Looking at the site the directories and files all still exist fine.
This just got weird! Looking a little closer at the files and directories I notice the permissions are all out of whack. SMS directories are set to 700 which isn’t close and some files are 600. After making some changes and adjusting directories to 755 and the files to 644 everything seems to be fixed up. Now that I have the site back up and running I have to wonder, how did the permissions get modified in the first place! I guess that’s for my hosting provider to know and for me to find out.
Monday and Tuesday next week will involve me travelling to Winnipeg to take part in a lab exam for a CS2 competition at work. I am looking forward to the opportunity to apply some of my knowledge and really prove that I can do that kind of work. I am going into the exam not knowing what it will be about at all. I am imaging some high level troubleshooting related to some server configuration. I bet the test will be to get the server back up and running with some things thrown in to try to make me jump over hurdles. With that kind of expectation, I’ll make sure to slow down and really take my time with things. It is a three hour exam after all. Outside of this trip, I haven’t ever really taken time to go to Winnipeg before. I don’t really have high expectations about going to Winnipeg in January and I bet I’ll feel like the guys on that old commercial where they say that line: “going to Winnipeg”. I know its only going to be for one night but I imagine I’ll be missing home while I am away.
In the end, the moral of the story is that you should make sure to continue updating your blog software as new versions are released. Also, if there are plug-ins and other add-ons you are no longer using, remove them to avoid other possible attacks.
Well, today was a big day for announcements. It seemed like every carrier in Canada announced that the Galaxy Nexus is coming soon. It must have been the end of Bell’s exclusivity. The Galaxy Nexus is the latest offering that android has to offer with Android OS 4.0 and a pile of really great new features. The device has a lot going for it with a great display and very quick dual core processor.
For myself, buying a Galaxy Nexus might be a little expensive. It looks like the outright price will be $650. So, here’s hoping that my Nexus S gets the Android 4.0 update soon.
Just updated my blog backend to the latest and greatest of WordPress. The new version 3.2 aims to improve speed and updates the dashboard. The new dashboard seems to reduce clutter and builds upon what has been really working well in 3.1. It turns out that this version also isn’t supported by Internet explorer 6 so I say sorry to those still using that browser. Not sorry that I updated but sorry that you are still using such an old browser when much better options exist.
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