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PC Gaming Alive and Dominant

WuphonsReach Re:Simple math (241 comments)

Quite simply to have a halfway decent gaming rig you are plunking down a minimum of $1200 with many doing a multiple of that. Thus these are people who are proven willing buyers.

$1200, maybe... if you include the screen and things like the keyboard / mouse.

But you can build a very decent gaming rig for about $900 or so.

- $80 motherboard (not bottom of the barrel, not top of the line), a budget gaming rig only needs to support a single video card
- $60 for the PSU, should be 80+ silver/gold at around 500-600W, avoid the $30-$40 PSUs with cheap components which may fail and fry your other internal devices
- $180 for the CPU, a lot of games are CPU-bound still, so you need to do a trade-off between individual core performance and having more cores
- $50 for RAM, not hard to get 8GB of DDR3 1600, go with 16GB if you are going to spend up-front for the amount of RAM you'll want 3 years from now
- $150 for the video card, this is the sweet spot (give or take $20) for the decent price/performance cards
- $100 for a decent case. A good case without any funny bells and whistles will last you 10-15 years or more.
- $100 for a SSD, $100 for a big 2TB drive
- $40 for a DVD writer
- $100 for the Windows license

That brings us to $860, add in $40 for S&H / taxes, and you're at $900. There's some room in there to shave off $100-$150, or spend another $100-$150 in places.

Using that as a base, if you are spending more then $1500 on the box itself (not counting displays, mice, keyboards), then you are probably spending for the sake of spending. A $600 video card is not going to get you 3x the performance of a $200 video card. A $1000 CPU will not get you 4x the performance of that $200 CPU.

2 days ago
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Amazon Reportedly Launching Smartphone This Year

WuphonsReach Re:Amazon Phone = NSA Backdoors (38 comments)

1. medication, because pills are small and light enough. Ideal candidate for the first phase using very small, low-cost lightweight drones.

Huge liability risk if your drone crashes and an unintended person gets hold of the pills/medications.

You'll never see drone-delivery of medications in a heavy regulation / frequent litigation country. Especially not prescription medications.

3 days ago
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The New 'One Microsoft' Is Finally Poised For the Future

WuphonsReach Re:Good for devs. (270 comments)

Remains to be seen if the new guy "gets it" and smashes the toxic and entrenched Fiefdom system that exists in Redmond.

I give him about 1 chance in 10 of pulling it off. Unless there are massive restructurings / layoffs / outright firings over the next 6 months.

4 days ago
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Ask Slashdot: How To Start With Linux In the Workplace?

WuphonsReach Re:Replace the backend first (448 comments)

You will save yourself a lot of trouble by migrating the backend (servers, database) to linux first, and only then start on the frontend (workstations, user interface). You will also enjoy a larger benefit immediately, as the backend is where linux will really save you time and effort (once you have it configured).

That's really the best approach.

- Switch to using open-source Linux-based tools on your servers wherever possible. Start with the easy stuff like PostgreSQL, Apache, BIND, IPCop, Postfix, Dovecot, SpamAssassin, AmavisD-New, Clam, Squid, OpenLDAP, Samba 4, etc. Don't let yourself get locked into proprietary windows-only software like SharePoint or an ERP/CRM system.

- Switch to using open-source applications (which are cross-platform) on the desktop. Thunderbird/Evolution instead of Outlook, Firefox/Chrome instead of Internet Explorer, Pidgin/Spark instead of some proprietary chat client/server solution, Git/Mercurial/Subversion instead of some proprietary solution. Identify any custom Windows-only software and turn it into a web application that runs across multiple platforms.

Don't buy hardware (printers, copiers, scanners) which don't come with good Linux, OS X and Windows support. Or which adhere closely to standards.

After a few years, when 90% of your servers run Linux and 90% of your desktop applications are cross-platform, you will be ready to switch. Whether you switch to OS X or Linux will be up to you at that point. Which O/S you use won't matter, because all of your software is already cross-platform, so pick the best tool for the task.

5 days ago
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Ask Slashdot: Which NoSQL Database For New Project?

WuphonsReach Re:JUST USE POSTGRES (272 comments)

Wish I'd gotten on the bandwagon 10 years ago.

Mmm, 10 years ago you would have been using 7.3 or 7.4. Which was not all that fast unless heavily tuned. It wasn't until the 8.x series in 2006-2008 (roughly) where they started focusing a bit more on performance. These days it is quite powerful and a definite competitor to the high-end paid offerings.

There was also the issue that 7.x was a PITA to run on top of a Microsoft Windows system. The 8.x and 9.x series run natively and integrate far better with the Windows O/S, which makes it easier for desktop developers to get their feet wet.

(We ran PostgreSQL on a Windows server for the first year or two once 8.0 came out, then migrated over to running it on Linux.)

about a week ago
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Seagate Releases 6TB Hard Drive Sans Helium

WuphonsReach Re:obsolete (147 comments)

Yep,

* 7200 RPM drives are in the $0.08-$0.12 per GB range.
* 10k RPM are around $0.23-$0.30 per GB range
* 15k RPM are around $0.50-$0.57 per GB range
* Good enterprise SSDs are now down to $1.00-$1.55 per GB.

SSDs are definitely putting the squeeze on the 15k RPM drive market. Price difference is now only about 2x between 15k SAS and SSDs. So for any application where you would short-stroke the drive to get more IOPS but less capacity, SSDs edge out the 15k RPM drives.

Unless the prices on 15k RPM SAS drives drop by a factor of 2x or 3x, there's potential for enterprise SSDs to overtake them by next year.

about a week ago
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Seagate Releases 6TB Hard Drive Sans Helium

WuphonsReach Re:obsolete (147 comments)

Does anyone buy platters of very slow piles of rust anymore?

For bulk storage (measured in terabytes and petabytes), platters of spinning rust are the only economical solution. So for a secondary storage SAN where capacity is more important then IOPS, you fill it out with spinning rust. A 4TB enterprise SATA 7200RPM drive is about $330 right now, or about $0.08/GB. The cheapest enterprise SSDs are about 10x-20x that price.

Rust is also better for drives (or tapes) used as backups. It has better shelf stability then a SSD. Most SSDs will start to lose data after a few months of being disconnected (maybe as few as 6 months). Barring mechanical issues, traditional magnetic media holds up well over the span of years (at least a decade in most case).

Now I just wish WD would come out with a 2TB 10k RPM SATA Velociraptor 3.5" drive...

about a week ago
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Dyn.com Ends Free Dynamic DNS

WuphonsReach Re:Viable Replacement? (239 comments)

Or go with some place like DNSMadeEasy where you get even more features for a flat $30/yr.

Their corporate pricing is a little ridiculous at $1500/yr, but the Small Business and regular Business plans are pretty good. Especially if you want geographically distributed DNS servers.

about a week ago
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An SSD for Your Current Computer May Save the Cost of a New One (Video)

WuphonsReach Re:Max RAM? (353 comments)

4GB for Win7 is borderline minimum. Figure 500MB-1GB for an email program kept open all day, plus 500-800MB or more for the browser (also probably kept open all day) plus 100-300MB for instant messenger or other communication tools, plus the 1.0-1.5GB that Windows wants for itself...

Open up 2 more things and you are bumping into the swap file.

8GB of DDR3 is a good minimum these days. Buying 2x4GB sticks is pretty inexpensive and the 2x8GB sticks are getting there quickly.

Base load for me with a handful of things open is about 3GB, which doesn't leave much headroom on a 4GB system. I have 8GB on this laptop, which is enough to get me through another year or two. My next laptop will definitely need 16GB (which also gives me enough RAM to run some VMs).

about two weeks ago
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An SSD for Your Current Computer May Save the Cost of a New One (Video)

WuphonsReach Re:So very true... (353 comments)

SSD is why I am still using my Thinkpad T61p from 2006 or 2007 (going on 7 years old now? 8?). Boosted RAM to 8GB, tossed Win7 Pro on it and a 300GB Intel SSD.

Now the CPU is the bottleneck, as it's a Core2 Duo 2.2GHz.

But I still use it as my primary work machine (I have access to other machines if I need raw CPU horsepower or lots of disk space).

I was ready to toss it in the dumpster 3-4 years ago before I put a SSD in it. That SSD was in the $2.50/GB price range, but was cheaper then buying an all new machine. Now I'm thinking that maybe I can push the purchase of a new laptop off another year or two still.

about two weeks ago
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An SSD for Your Current Computer May Save the Cost of a New One (Video)

WuphonsReach Re:Automatic SSD caching of spinning disks in Linu (353 comments)

And none of those solutions are quite ready for prime time, unless you set them up at the same time you setup your machine and you don't need to cache multiple file systems...

(I think they're on the right track, but there are a lot of gotchas and "oh, you can't do that" cases with those solutions.)

about two weeks ago
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An SSD for Your Current Computer May Save the Cost of a New One (Video)

WuphonsReach Re:Holy shit did they get cheap fast (353 comments)

The better quality SSDs are still up around $0.80-$1.10 per GB. The server-quality SSD drives are around $1.50-$2.50 per GB.

Which, is not all that bad a price for server quality SSD storage. When you start adding up the number of 15k SAS RPM drives that you would need to short-stroke in order to get equivalent IOPS, the SSDs are competitive.

about two weeks ago
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Linux 3.14 Kernel Released

WuphonsReach Re:WOW! (132 comments)

A 7 year old machine is getting quite long in the tooth.

Maybe, maybe not. Per-core performance has basically flat-lined for the last 7 years. Long-gone are the days where clock speeds doubled every 12-18 months or where buying a new PC would get you something that ran 4-8x faster then the one you had from 3-4 years ago.

At the moment, I'm still using a 2007-era Thinkpad T61p (Core2 Duo 2.2GHz, 8GB RAM, Win7 Pro, SSD). It originally shipped with WinXP, 4GB RAM and a 7200 RPM HD. This is still the machine I use for the majority of my work.

The main advantage I have is that before the 4yr warranty ran out, I made *sure* to have it serviced, so it has a new backlight, new keyboard (which was acting up), etc.

Is it slow? Eh, the CPU is not the zippiest and I would definitely prefer a faster quad-core, but it still works well enough that I'm not ready to spend $2200 on a new Thinkpad. I have a much more powerful desktop sitting beside me for things that need raw CPU power.

Really, the thing that makes it still usable is the SSD. Without that I would have given up on it years ago. It's why we are putting SSDs on all the desktops at the office. With a good SSD, you spend a lot less time twiddling your fingers and less fear that if you do X that you can't do Y at the same time because of disk contention.

about two weeks ago
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Samsung SSD 840 EVO MSATA Tested

WuphonsReach Re:no capacitors (76 comments)

go look at Intel SSDs but be prepared to pay an arm and a leg for it.

Well, maybe not an arm and a leg, the 300GB Intel DC S3500 units are only $300. Or the 600GB unit for $600. So around $1/GB and they come with the large capacitors inside to deal with power loss.

The Intel DC S3700 units, OTOH, are $2.25-$2.50 per GB. Which isn't all that much either in the big view, even regular SSDs 3-4 years ago were $1.50-$2.00 per GB.

about two weeks ago
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Ask Slashdot: Preparing For Windows XP EOL?

WuphonsReach Re:Take 'em offline (423 comments)

there are good reasons to keep XP around in a virtual machine for running apps that won't work on newer OS's, but I fear that i won't be able to authorize XP so there will be no more fresh installs / reinstalls of XP

In other words, companies with products who rely on software that only runs in WinXP have had their head in the sand for 5+ years now.

We spent the last 5 years moving everything to web applications (that work fine across all the major browsers) and switching to open-source applications in every possible niche. I estimate that in another year, 80-90% of our desktop users could easily be switched to OS X or Linux. There's only a few remaining applications which are Windows-only.

about three weeks ago
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Peter Molyneux: Working For Microsoft Is Like Taking Antidepressants

WuphonsReach Re:Consider the source (164 comments)

Exactly right. Clinical depression is a life-threatening illness.

Spot-on. And the main reason it is so life-threatening (and frequently fatal) is because you are your own worst enemy. Sometimes realizing that you are not being rational is enough (CBT), but sometimes drug-therapy is also needed.

I've done a course of CBT (about a year, with monthly visits). The tips and tricks that you learn during CBT are very useful. It teaches you coping mechanisms, ways to self-diagnose that you are not thinking straight, and gives you symptoms to watch for that indicate you need to go get help again.

But for me, medication is the only long-term solution. Fortunately, there is a generic that works well enough to make me functional (even optimistic) without only minor side-effects.

Heck, the best part about opening that dialog with the doctor and going through that first few months of intensive treatment is that it is no longer scary. I'm not afraid to pickup the phone and call my doctor's office to seek help with it.

about three weeks ago
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Peter Molyneux: Working For Microsoft Is Like Taking Antidepressants

WuphonsReach Re:Thanks for peptuating (164 comments)

Not all anti-depressants smooth out both the highs/lows, some just smooth out the lows and make you more able to experience the highs. People just react differently to different meds, and the different meds have different impacts.

about three weeks ago
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Intel Announced 8-Core CPUs And Iris Pro Graphics for Desktop Chips

WuphonsReach Re:Pointless (173 comments)

Indeed, the sweet spot for CPU prices is about $80-$120 for the "budget" minded, and $150-$250 for the "mid-range". The CPUs at $300+ are where you spend a lot of cash for small improvements in performance over the mid-range CPUs.

The same price ranges also apply to GPUs. Any GPU in the $80-$120 range can probably handle most games at 720p, going with something in the $180-$220 range gets you a GPU that can handle almost everything at 1080p. Spending $300+ on a GPU is only needed if you are doing a triple-headed setup with multiple 4K resolution monitors.

You can still build a mid-ranged gaming PC these days for about $1000. That gives you $200 for the CPU, $200 for the GPU, $200 for RAM/motherboard, $100 for the Windows license and $150 for the case/PSU/misc and $150 for SSD.

It won't be top-of-the-line, but it will last you 3-5 years.

about three weeks ago
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Intel Announced 8-Core CPUs And Iris Pro Graphics for Desktop Chips

WuphonsReach Re:Pointless (173 comments)

The few times I'm ever waiting on CPU, it's multi-threaded. Video transcoding, occasionally compiling. I can't remember the last time I heard of a game being CPU bound - that's always GPU-bound these days.

There are dozens of AAA titles which are CPU bound. Especially multi-player games where the CPU has to keep track of everything so that it can all happen in a deterministic order. Since that can't happen across multiple-threads, your FPS gets limited by the speed of a single core.

(Planetside 2 is probably the best known example. Even with their OMFG patches last fall to try and make it more multi-threaded, the game performance is still limited by the speed of a single core.)

about three weeks ago

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