Author Topic: My MysterD-certified "kickass" PC  (Read 1453 times)

Offline Cobra951

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My MysterD-certified "kickass" PC
« on: Sunday, December 18, 2016, 08:03:48 AM »
I seriously suggest you somehow just go ahead, take the time, and rearrange everything.

Make this work. Get that 1680x1050 hooked up to your new rig. Sit that monitor somewhere, so it ain't breaking your neck. If you have the room, I'd say put that monitor right next to your all-purpose HDTV.

You really should do your damnest to find some way to hook-up your new kick-ass PC to that Acer TN-panel 1680x1050. This monitor should not be wasted, when you have a brand new PC - and especially a kick-ass video card like that, I might add - that will pounce probably anything & everything up to 1080p at High-to-Ultra settings in most games.

While I don't do consoles, it's possible you might need a Uplay account on console games just to connect to their servers - i.e. like what Origin does.
So, that account might work on PC.

If it does, sweet.
If not, you can always create a new one for PC so you can get some free stuff. Since you got a kick-ass PC, might as well take some of their free PC games (before the promo ends).

I'm glad you approve of what I got.  You know a lot more about modern game PCs than I do.  I wasn't sure.  So, thanks!

BUT . . .

I think I should explain how I ended up with this system, why I got it now, despite not-too-distant remarks about avoiding PC gaming--having moved on to consoles, and all.  It came as a culmination of innocuous events, falling dominoes.  Someone near and dear said she wanted to get me a Christmas present, and wanted me to look at smartphones, or maybe a new pair of prescription glasses.  She was insistent that I decide what to get, while I like to take my sweet time, and really didn't need a damn thing.  I looked at phone ads, which left me perplexed and none too eager.  Glasses?  Pfft!  I have about a dozen cheapies in different magnifications, plus my dad's bifocals which (not too surprisingly) work well with my eyes for normal reading and super-tiny print.  I can't think of anything less appealing as a Christmas present than glasses.  Well, there's always underwear . . .

So I said about as much, and promised to find something I actually wanted.  I looked at the smaller, slightly-more-powerful Xbox One S.  Nah!  Even at $250 with 2 games it makes no sense.  Mine works fine, and I don't really need a smaller footprint or lower power use that much.  A PS4 Pro.  Hmm.  That I'd like.  But after spending $400 plus whatever a passive HDMI switch and extra cable cost (yep, only one HDMI port on this old TV), I'd be at Square One.  No games, and no real knowledge about good exclusives or the PS4 ecosystem in general.  My back catalog on the One is around 10 games, and growing because of all the freebies I keep getting thrown at me.  I'm established in that ecosystem to the tune of 10 years.  So, with some reluctance, I passed.

PCs.  My Dell Dimension is 16 years old.  Last heftily upgraded in 2005 (and I posted about those upgrades in our community somewhere), so most of the tech I'm using is 11 years old.  It makes all sorts of interesting noises.  Right now it sounds like a hot sultry night in the deep South.  It's got this variable series of chirpy squeaks that vaguely resemble a choir of distant crickets.  Every so often, it will do a credible imitation of a buzzsaw on tin.  I think that's a hard-drive bearing, because none of the fans seem responsible for it.

So, I looked at PCs.  Had my eye on a few basic models for under $400.  Not very sexy, and since my eMachines fiasco, I don't trust super-cheap branded stuff.  "Lenovo" sounds like an Italian knockoff of leather goods.  The closest I came to getting was this Acer Aspire for $390.  But no.  No garbage.  I'd rather bag the whole idea of a new PC.

Then I checked out the Microcenter house-built PCs.  These have come a long way.  They use nothing but off-the-shelf components, they're local, and I've never had a problem with this business in several decades.  I've shopped there a lot.  Customer reviews were good.  Someone even said he couldn't build the system himself for less money, since they're on a decent sale.

More than I wanted to spend, but looked solid and fairly future-proof.  After a week of being on the fence, and almost being put off by the issue of no native VGA support, I gave in.  I'll be paying for part of it, which is better than being gifted all of something I don't want.

. . .

Anywho, long story even longer, I'm glad to have it, and buyer's remorse has subsided; but I'm not yet seeing this as a new gaming focus.  That wasn't what set the purchase in motion.  I'm taking that just as slowly as I did deciding on what to get--maybe slower.  So, if you don't see me jumping on my hardware setup options and game acquisitions and driver updates as eagerly as you would, now you know why.

I'm now learning the ropes of Windows 10, the apps thing (the Xbox app is dope), bringing in all the tools to make it useful as my new general system.  I also promptly set my WiFi spot as a metered connection.  I want control of my updates.  I'm not even on it right now.  I'm typing all this on the old box.

Got a question.  The C: (system) drive is the SSD.  The D: (data) drive is the 7200rpm spinner.  That's all well and good, but what about Windows virtual memory?  Won't that kill the SSD a lot more quickly, if that's where it's set up?

Offline MysterD

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Re: My MysterD-certified "kickass" PC
« Reply #1 on: Sunday, December 18, 2016, 02:36:59 PM »
FIRST UP, COBRA's SPECS:
Quote
    Cobra's PowerSpec Gaming PC:
    Intel Core i5-6500 Processor 3.2GHz
    NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 6GB GDDR5 VR Ready

    16GB RAM
    1TB HDD + 250GB SSD
    Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64-bit
    Asus 24x DVDRW Drive
    10/100/1000 Network
    802.11ac Wireless
    500 Watts PSU
    Display Not Included

The PowerSpec stuff at Microcenter has been excellent, in terms of parts + actual deals of late. They've been such good "bang for the buck" in the last year or so, I just might not even build my next PC...whenever that might be. It might not be worth the time of building and all of that mess, given how good their rigs are + their prices; especially in some of their killer sales. And a lot of their better PowerSpec rigs are quite up-gradable, too.

I love Microcenter; I just wish it was a bit closer + not in such a congested area loaded w/ traffic-galore (Cambridge, MA) - so I only get there once and a while. I wish we had a Fry's on this side of the coast, as well - as I buy a lot of parts from them online, but I would've went in on several deals that were unfortunately "in store only."

About SSD's, can't speak on it. Have no clue on the virtual memory thing. I should look it up, since now you have me curious. I have a OCZ attached to one of my hard drive docks, but I don't really use it + it's not my main drive. I am just too lazy right now to make that my main drive on either my main desktop W7 PC or my W10 gaming laptop - since both PC's are already stuffed up w/ lots of stuff on the main drives already. If anything, a SSD will be my main drive on my next PC, whenever that might be.

EDIT:
Just so you know, you just bought yourself a bad-ass PC gaming rig. There's no way to get around this, given what you've bought for specs. a i5 Skylake 3.2Ghz + 6GB GTX 1060 + 16 GB RAM = bad-ass 1080p60FPS PC at High-to-Ultra settings in most games...except probably Dishonored 2 + Batman AK. If you are going to be running at even lower res on even lower monitors than 1080p, geez....you're going to get even better performance than that. So much so, you could probably use Supersampling and/or Downsampling (which are normally performance-killing features) and make your image look even better hopefully without much performance loss since you aren't planning to go 1080p here yet.

You might as well do some gaming here on PC, when you find some good deals. They're out there, just keep checking around. And don't forget to catch all the freebies going around, too - like UPlay has going on.

Steam sales and GOG sales will not be your "Be all, end all" on deals. Look everywhere:
Check IsThereAnyDeal.com for history on sale pricing of games - https://isthereanydeal.com/
Check Reddit's GameDeals SubThread - https://www.reddit.com/r/GameDeals/
Check HumbleBundle - https://www.humblebundle.com/

EDIT 2:
Did a Google search on SSD's optimization + W10. This might be worth a look, read, and bookmark - https://www.back2gaming.com/focus-story/ssd-optimization-for-windows-10-windows-8-and-8-1/
SSD's have limited reads+writes, so...you don't want to burn the cells out.

For SSD types, in general - there's SLC, MLC, and TLC. TLC's can save triple the amounts of data at (3 data pieces) per cell and is the weakest + least durable; MLC holds multiples normally (so it's often 2 or 3 per cell) and is the middle of the pack (and is the most commonly used on the market, these days); and SLC holds one single bit per cell and lasts the longest + is the most durable. There are others, but those 3 are the most common.

More on the SSD types - http://www.mydigitaldiscount.com/everything-you-need-to-know-about-slc-mlc-and-tlc-nand-flash.html

EDIT 3:
I don't update my video card drivers all the time, BTW. GeForce Experience has kind of sucked since 3.0 (b/c it has issues - some get it to work, some don't, who knows; roll the dice; I've had issues w/ it on every system and think it's a waste) and b/c their drivers have been "hit or miss" of late. So, eh - I'm still on one of the 36x.xx drivers. I often wait and see how gamers respond to drivers - then decide whether it's worth updating or not.

Old rule: If you feel your games are running fine, no matter what game you're running - why even upgrade drivers?
You really only want to upgrade those, if you need a certain or a bunch of games to be actually running better.

From my experience, also - before installing new drivers, do a System Restore Point right before-hand...in case crap hits the fan when actually updating. You never know if drivers won't install properly, a certain game might no longer work, or whatever the case might be. [shrug]
« Last Edit: Sunday, December 18, 2016, 03:19:43 PM by MysterD »

Offline Cobra951

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Re: My MysterD-certified "kickass" PC
« Reply #2 on: Sunday, December 18, 2016, 03:43:18 PM »
I have to give you credit for getting me a lot more enthused about all this.  I think I lucked out, because I wasn't nearly as knowledgeable about the hardware as I should have been when I made the purchase.  I'm also lucky in that Microcenter has been THE place to go for computer parts around here since well before the internet became a consumer thing.  I dropped into Best Buy on my way over there on Thursday, and the place is practically deserted.  It's disorganized and depressing.  MC, on the other hand, is stuffed to the gills with goods on the shelves and on the aisles, and has plenty of traffic on both sides of the counter. 

As I said in the digital-deals thread, I grabbed the 7 Ubisoft games rather painlessly (the ownership anyway--the Uplay client can't seem to download very much game content without giving up, and asking for a manual resume).  Thanks for that as well.  Today is the last day for it.

Edit:  Yeah, I need to check to see how virtual memory is set up.  Heavy constant writes to any SSD can't be good at all.

Edit 2:  Setting Uplay to run as administrator seems to have done the trick.  Downloading AC3 now.  So far, it has downloaded about half of its 17GB without crapping out.  I suppose it's possible that the problem yesterday was something at their end.  Can't be sure unless it comes back.

« Last Edit: Monday, December 19, 2016, 11:56:42 AM by Cobra951 »

Offline MysterD

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Re: My MysterD-certified "kickass" PC
« Reply #3 on: Sunday, December 18, 2016, 04:08:49 PM »
I have to give you credit for getting me a lot more enthused about all this.  I think I lucked out, because I wasn't nearly as knowledgeable about the hardware as I should have been when I made the purchase.  I'm also lucky in that Microcenter has been THE place to go for computer parts around here since well before the internet became a consumer thing.  I dropped into Best Buy on my way over there on Thursday, and the place is practically deserted.  It's disorganized and depressing.  MC, on the other hand, is stuffed to the gills with goods on the shelves and on the aisles, and has plenty of traffic on both sides of the counter. 

As I said in the digital-deals thread, I grabbed the 7 Ubisoft games rather painlessly (the ownership anyway--the Uplay client can't seem to download very much game content without giving up, and asking for a manual resume).  Thanks for that as well.  Today is the last day for it.

Edit:  Yeah, I need to check to see how virtual memory is set up.  Heavy constant writes to any SSD can't be good at all.

"Damn right" you lucked out!

I'm a bit jealous you have 6GB of full-blown VRAM opposed to my 970's 4GB ultra-fast 3.5 GB on 384-bit bus with also a segmented+slow (and often useless) 32-bit section for the last 0.5 GB.
If you're curious about the 970's split VRAM issue I'm speaking of, look here - http://www.pcgamer.com/why-nvidias-gtx-970-slows-down-using-more-than-35gb-vram/

You will be able to throw more details, more settings, better textures, and whatnot. You'll be able to use some of the higher settings (i.e. 4GB+ VRAM settings) that Dishonored 2, Shadow of Mordor, Doom, and a few others games have.
SoM and Doom do have some settings for beastly cards like you have! :P
Doom has Nightmare for 5GB+ cards - http://www.tweaktown.com/news/52122/dooms-nightmare-graphics-setting-requires-insane-5gb-vram/index.html
SoM has a setting for 6GB VRAM cards - http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/digitalfoundry-2014-eyes-on-with-pc-shadow-of-mordors-6gb-textures

Can't complain too much, as my 3.5GB 970 outperforms 4GB 960 in most instances by a bloody mile. Plus, I bought the 970 for $100 from someone who barely touched theirs (it was practically brand new and he barely ran any games on it), since weeks after buying a new PC he decided to go to a 8GB GTX 1080 (which was brand new at $700, when he saw it and had to buy it - that was a few months back).

In some games, like Batman: AK, Far Cry 4, The Crew, AC Unity & AC Syndicate - even though 970 is technically 4GB in size, I really can't go over 3.5GB. If I do, chances are good that performance will tank to slideshow, until it finds that last 0.5GB and actually can free it up for usage.
You have 6GB - you won't run into those issues w/ those games.

Welcome to your new Gaming Heaven.

EDIT:
Also, about Microcenter - I haven't seen ANY deals for Pre-Built PC's anywhere (NewEgg, Amazon, Fry's etc) top those PowerSpec deals for both in terms of price + quality parts. Not even bloody close. The only way you'll get close to that or maybe better, is if you buy parts piece-by-piece in pretty much nothing but killer sales from everywhere. That $800 deal for that PowerSpec you bought is going to be VERY tough to top.

Offline scottws

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Re: My MysterD-certified "kickass" PC
« Reply #4 on: Sunday, December 18, 2016, 06:00:39 PM »
Congrats!

For what it's worth, Lenovo is the Chinese company that bought IBM's PC business.  Their consumer line is to be avoided.  They've gotten caught several times doing shady stuff there (e.g. Superfish).  The business line, though, has remained true to the original IBM Thinkpad roots and it still highly regarded.

Offline Cobra951

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Re: My MysterD-certified "kickass" PC
« Reply #5 on: Monday, December 19, 2016, 05:09:04 AM »
Congrats!

For what it's worth, Lenovo is the Chinese company that bought IBM's PC business.  Their consumer line is to be avoided.  They've gotten caught several times doing shady stuff there (e.g. Superfish).  The business line, though, has remained true to the original IBM Thinkpad roots and it still highly regarded.

Oh, yeah.  I remember now something about it being a Chinese business.  I think it was my brother Tony who told me that a while back.  I've now read about Superfish too.  Super fishy.


Dropped downloads on PC? What the hell is that? You likely won't get that on Origin + Uplay, as that ain't as popular as Steam. Dunno how you ran into that on Uplay. :(
Even on Steam, I don't have many of those downloading issues, which has tons of users. :P
Probably helps that I have Comcast Blast for Internet, as well.

The very first suggestion in a support thread is run Uplay as administrator, which worked for someone there.  I need to wrap my head better around the new Windows' paradigms.  I'll give that a shot later when I fire up the new box.

[Yes, that seems to have done the trick.  Downloading AC3 now--12/19, 2 PM.  So far, it has downloaded about half of its 17GB without crapping out.  I suppose it's possible that the problem yesterday was something at their end.  Can't be sure unless it comes back.]

Thanks for the link about optimizing Win 10 for SSDs.  I found the advanced settings on my system, and yeah, the paging file is on the SSD.  Haven't changed that yet, but I will.  He suggests turning off the paging file altogether.  I know PCs come with lots of RAM now, but is that really a good idea?  For now, I'll just move it to D: and see how it does.

Edit:  After much reading, it seems the best thing to do is leave the paging file alone on the SSD.  It supposedly gets few writes and many reads on a system with ample RAM, which is ideal for SSDs.  I'll keep it there for now, with an eye out for more info.  It certainly is best by far for performance.
« Last Edit: Monday, December 19, 2016, 12:02:21 PM by Cobra951 »

Offline scottws

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Re: My MysterD-certified "kickass" PC
« Reply #6 on: Monday, December 19, 2016, 08:59:38 AM »
It is not recommended to disable to page file ever.

Offline Cobra951

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Re: My MysterD-certified "kickass" PC
« Reply #7 on: Monday, December 19, 2016, 09:04:26 AM »
It is not recommended to disable to page file ever.

Yeah, some stuff won't even work without it.  Been reading a lot on the subject this morning.  As I said in my edit above, I'll leave it alone on the SSD.  Apparently it gets few large-chunk writes and many small-chunk reads on a system not starved for memory.  Should be fine on the SSD.  There is too much conflicting opinion on this, but a general consensus that it isn't going to kill the SSD in short order.

I'm always open for better info.  I'm so far behind the curve on modern PC knowledge.

Offline scottws

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Re: My MysterD-certified "kickass" PC
« Reply #8 on: Monday, December 19, 2016, 11:20:44 AM »
I stopped reading Windows tweak tips long ago after I realized that the people that write them almost never have any idea what they are talking about.  Their suggestions are as likely to do something bad as good.  For example, I'm sure Microsoft would have considered the impact of a page file on an SSD in Windows 10.  At the very least, they considered it an acceptable risk.

Anymore, I typically trust the system defaults.  If I'm feeling really froggy I'll implement the DISA STIG settings, but those mitigations aren't as important on a home network.

Offline MysterD

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Re: My MysterD-certified "kickass" PC
« Reply #9 on: Monday, December 19, 2016, 03:42:26 PM »
Oh, yeah.  I remember now something about it being a Chinese business.  I think it was my brother Tony who told me that a while back.  I've now read about Superfish too.  Super fishy.


The very first suggestion in a support thread is run Uplay as administrator, which worked for someone there.  I need to wrap my head better around the new Windows' paradigms.  I'll give that a shot later when I fire up the new box.

[Yes, that seems to have done the trick.  Downloading AC3 now--12/19, 2 PM.  So far, it has downloaded about half of its 17GB without crapping out.  I suppose it's possible that the problem yesterday was something at their end.  Can't be sure unless it comes back.]

Thanks for the link about optimizing Win 10 for SSDs.  I found the advanced settings on my system, and yeah, the paging file is on the SSD.  Haven't changed that yet, but I will.  He suggests turning off the paging file altogether.  I know PCs come with lots of RAM now, but is that really a good idea?  For now, I'll just move it to D: and see how it does.

Edit:  After much reading, it seems the best thing to do is leave the paging file alone on the SSD.  It supposedly gets few writes and many reads on a system with ample RAM, which is ideal for SSDs.  I'll keep it there for now, with an eye out for more info.  It certainly is best by far for performance.

If your SSD came with a program (not sure which SSD you got there), hopefully it came with an app. Sometimes, they do - and you canan use the app it came w/ for info and stuff. For example, my OCZ came with a program that can check its health, firmware, and all kinds of cool stuff.

Offline Cobra951

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Re: My MysterD-certified "kickass" PC
« Reply #10 on: Monday, December 19, 2016, 04:21:10 PM »
Interesting.  Device manager identifies my SSD as Samsung 750 EVO.  I downloaded this "Magician" software for it, and it can do the kinds of things you mentioned, plus enable what they call RAPID mode.  (Someone got creative with acronyms.)  But the disclaimers are just too scary.  This is my system drive, and letting the software even benchmark can apparently cause corruption if something goes awry (like a power failure).  I don't think I want to muck with it right now.  I'll just stick to reading the data sheet and install guide for now.

Edit (12/26):  I think I've finally zapped the one annoyance that persisted since I got this.  I was hearing this alarming TICK sound coming from inside the case every so often.  I figured it was either the video-card's fan getting turned on or off via a thermostat-controlled solenoid switch, or the mechanical hard drive parking its head.  Both are undesirable, particularly head parking, since the repetitions will wear out a mechanical component.  Identifying my video card and getting the detailed control software for it made no difference (though it is definitely good to have).

Dealing with the HDD took a lot longer.  I read through reams of threads and related articles about advanced power management (APM), but taking control of it was not trivial for this noob at first.  I tried the Windows power-scheme settings, but those did nothing.  The APM seems to be handled at a root level on this drive, and I imagine most modern drives.  Yesterday, I found this hdparm command, which is really for Linux, with compatibility for Windows via a DLL.  It was late last night when I finally got it to work, but I didn't stay awake long enough to really see if it helped.  It also works with these archaic command scripts, and it was an exasperating chore to deal with those and the UAC security roadblocks together.

Too bad I wasted all that time, because this morning I found Crystal Disk Info, which makes the whole thing quick, easy, and the native-Windows way.  It diagnoses the drive, and lets you change the user-accessible parameters, like APM.  Set it to Disabled, done.  I automated it to start with Windows, since the setting is only effective during the current Windows session.  Will verify that works as intended next boot up.

Can't prove a negative, but it's been several hours now with no hint of that cringe-worthy TICK! noise.  I made sure to utilize the mechanical drive too.  I think I'm good.  Yay.  *knock on wood*


Edit (12/29):  Plugged in Xbox One controller through USB cable, and it worked instantly.  I thought it might need to find drivers and set itself up, but apparently that's taken care of by default.  Both Rayman Origins and AC III greatly benefit from the controller.

I'm really pleased at this point.  Everything is going smoothly, and nothing so far makes this system stutter, halt for long loads, or break into a noisy sweat.  The TICK noise is gone since I last mentioned it, so I'm fairly sure it was HDD head parking now.  The latest nice surprise was being able to mount an ISO as a drive right from the context menu.  I'm not sure if that came with the free DVD Flick and Image Burn software I installed, or if it was there all along.


Edit (1/5):  I've made the full transition to the new system as of this morning.  The final hurdle was Office.  I refuse to be tied to a subscription model, where I'd have to pay installments forever to use it.  I have a copy of Office 2003 which has served me well through the years, but it's really just too old now, like the antiquated PC I'm leaving behind.  I don't want to pirate on my new system either.  I want all the serious functionality to be above board.  So I went looking for alternatives.  I tried Google Docs and Sheets, but they're tied to Chrome and Google Drive, and the whole thing feels one step removed from my control.  I remembered a conversation about OpenOffice, so I followed that and found LibreOffice, the current best fork from that project.  It's perfect.  I grabbed the "Fresh" version for x86-64, and it went smooth as glass from there.  Best thing is that files can be saved back as XLS, DOC, etc, and newer versions of the Office formats, plus several other formats.  The software doesn't care, and everything works right while working on my important documents. 

An unlamented, unrepentant farewell to Microsoft's Office.  It won't be missed.

Edit (1/30):  I have this VGA switchbox that dates back 10 years, to when I first set up my computers and consoles around this one screen.  I had 2 working PCs, and the 360 could also be hooked up via VGA (though I abandoned that fairly quickly).  It's a quality thing, and worked well with my main PC.  I never thought through why I was getting some ghosting on the other, very-cheap, and soon-dead PC.  After that died, I never thought about it again.

When I got my new system, I hooked it up through the still-present orphan VGA cable I used on the dead system.  Once again, I had ghosting, and the display was less sharp overall than my old PC (even though it too goes through 2 VGA cables and the switchbox).  So I initially blamed the DisplayPort-to-VGA DAC for the slight fuzziness--figured it was cheap, like the cheap dead PC.  Oh well.

Last night, half asleep, it suddenly hit me.  The way the cables are laid out, the old, but still working PC doesn't share the same space as the cable going from the switchbox to the screen.  But the cable going from the new PC to the box goes along the same path as the cable from the box to the screen.  They're crosstalking.  The old PC is hooked up via DVI to an Acer monitor anyway, so this morning I  hooked up the new system directly to the main screen.

HOT DAMN!  Not only is the ghosting gone, but the display is sharp as a tack.  Apparently the crosstalk was doing more damage than just the ghosting, plus of course the extra cable length and connections are going to cause some degradation even in the best analog setup--a tiny bit of lag too.  This now looks so good that I won't have any trouble living with it for however long.  I love it.  This resolution is perfect for my aging eyes too.

Sorry I "newed" this thread again.  I had to spew all this out.
« Last Edit: Monday, January 30, 2017, 07:24:48 AM by Cobra951 »

Offline Quemaqua

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Re: My MysterD-certified "kickass" PC
« Reply #11 on: Thursday, January 05, 2017, 08:27:13 PM »
Totally with you. Even though I could get it free from my school, like why do I want to buy into an ecosystem that's going to continually demand money from me once I graduate? No, thank you.

天才的な閃きと平均以下のテクニックやな。 課長有野

Offline Cobra951

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Re: My MysterD-certified "kickass" PC
« Reply #12 on: Friday, January 06, 2017, 08:29:40 AM »
Hey!  I've been editing my posts silently, assuming they weren't rising in visibility--a lazy journal of sorts.  I didn't want to bump the thread.  Does your admin status make my edits stand out, or was it a random visit?  Not that I mind.  Just wondering.

Anyway, yeah.  When I helped Sandy pick out her Surface Pro last April, I learned about the Office subscription model.  She bought in, but that gets paid by her business, which is the only way it makes sense.  The direction they're taking is alarming, to say the least.  I fear a future where nothing you use really belongs to you at all, and a young generation that doesn't know any better, or cares.

Offline scottws

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Re: My MysterD-certified "kickass" PC
« Reply #13 on: Friday, January 06, 2017, 10:42:12 AM »
The latest nice surprise was being able to mount an ISO as a drive right from the context menu.  I'm not sure if that came with the free DVD Flick and Image Burn software I installed, or if it was there all along.

Microsoft added that feature in Windows 8 or 8.1.  It is nice, that's for sure.

Edit (1/5):  I've made the full transition to the new system as of this morning.  The final hurdle was Office.  I refuse to be tied to a subscription model, where I'd have to pay installments forever to use it.  I have a copy of Office 2003 which has served me well through the years, but it's really just too old now, like the antiquated PC I'm leaving behind.  I don't want to pirate on my new system either.  I want all the serious functionality to be above board.  So I went looking for alternatives.  I tried Google Docs and Sheets, but they're tied to Chrome and Google Drive, and the whole thing feels one step removed from my control.  I remembered a conversation about OpenOffice, so I followed that and found LibreOffice, the current best fork from that project.  It's perfect.  I grabbed the "Fresh" version for x86-64, and it went smooth as glass from there.  Best thing is that files can be saved back as XLS, DOC, etc, and newer versions of the Office formats, plus several other formats.  The software doesn't care, and everything works right while working on my important documents. 

An unlamented, unrepentant farewell to Microsoft's Office.  It won't be missed.

I also use LibreOffice at home on my old MacBook Pro.  It is ugly as hell, but it isn't missing any features that I use in Word or Excel and I've never had a problem with it.  Well, there was one time many years ago when I was working on a group presentation for school.  The presentation did not like being edited by both Impress and PowerPoint.  The formatting kept getting all screwed up.

I do use Google Docs and Sheets (and Google Drive) on occasion.  Mainly if I'm looking for collaboration, since I hate trying to merge multiple edits manually.  They're pretty nice considering they're basically just HTML5 applications.  Amazing, really.

Offline Quemaqua

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Re: My MysterD-certified "kickass" PC
« Reply #14 on: Friday, January 06, 2017, 05:35:11 PM »
Hey!  I've been editing my posts silently, assuming they weren't rising in visibility--a lazy journal of sorts.  I didn't want to bump the thread.  Does your admin status make my edits stand out, or was it a random visit?  Not that I mind.  Just wondering.

Anyway, yeah.  When I helped Sandy pick out her Surface Pro last April, I learned about the Office subscription model.  She bought in, but that gets paid by her business, which is the only way it makes sense.  The direction they're taking is alarming, to say the least.  I fear a future where nothing you use really belongs to you at all, and a young generation that doesn't know any better, or cares.

Agree with you. I don't like the direction it's all going either. I didn't support the digital download culture initially for this reason, because I was afraid this would be the end result. But eventually I gave up, like everyone, I guess. I still buy hard copies when I can get them, but even those are usually tied to some service or other.

As for your edits: any edit won't bump the thread to the top but WILL mark it as unread (bold/tagged new, whatever). I don't think this has anything to do with me being an admin, but I actually don't know that for a fact. I always just took it as inherent forum functionality.

天才的な閃きと平均以下のテクニックやな。 課長有野

Offline Cobra951

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Re: My MysterD-certified "kickass" PC
« Reply #15 on: Friday, January 06, 2017, 08:07:57 PM »
Microsoft added that feature in Windows 8 or 8.1.  It is nice, that's for sure.

I also use LibreOffice at home on my old MacBook Pro.  It is ugly as hell, but it isn't missing any features that I use in Word or Excel and I've never had a problem with it.  Well, there was one time many years ago when I was working on a group presentation for school.  The presentation did not like being edited by both Impress and PowerPoint.  The formatting kept getting all screwed up.

I do use Google Docs and Sheets (and Google Drive) on occasion.  Mainly if I'm looking for collaboration, since I hate trying to merge multiple edits manually.  They're pretty nice considering they're basically just HTML5 applications.  Amazing, really.

Really?  Writer and Calc (Word and Excel clones) look OK to me.  The version I'm using is 5.2.  (Most importantly, the documents look just as they should.)  Then again, I'm comparing them to their Office 2003 counterparts.  Have they been beautified since?  I haven't tried the others yet.  I've never used Powerpoint or Visio in my life.  I do have a DVD database I might check out in Base sometime.  The one thing missing is a replacement for Outlook; but there are plenty of other email clients out there, if I ever feel the need to check my never-used ISP mail the old-school way.

I liked how easy Google Docs and Sheets are to use.  The kinks started showing when I realized I'd be dependent on an online service, and uploading sensitive stuff out there somewhere.  Did not want to go there.


Agree with you. I don't like the direction it's all going either. I didn't support the digital download culture initially for this reason, because I was afraid this would be the end result. But eventually I gave up, like everyone, I guess. I still buy hard copies when I can get them, but even those are usually tied to some service or other.

Discs are tied to services, to updates, or both.  Games don't get released in proper working order anymore; and more serious software requires security and other updates.  I like how you put it.  "Eventually I gave up, like everyone."  Resistance is futile.  We have been assimilated.

Offline scottws

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Re: My MysterD-certified "kickass" PC
« Reply #16 on: Saturday, January 07, 2017, 05:31:25 AM »
Well Outlook is a terrible POP3/IMAP client for home users anyway. It is better to just use webmail and an online calendar these days.

Offline Cobra951

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Re: My MysterD-certified "kickass" PC
« Reply #17 on: Saturday, January 07, 2017, 07:29:20 AM »
It certainly is a lot more work than webmail.  My mom is used to it (Outlook Express before, now Outlook 2003 in Win 7).  But once I discovered webmail, I never went back.  I can get to my ISP mail on a browser too, if I ever need to.