After nearly a decade, Microsoft Windows has crawled its way back into my life with Windows 8. In an effort to create a gaming and home theater PC for my living room, I've called upon the prowess of Microsoft's ubiquitous Windows platform.
PC enthusiasts have been incredibly unhappy with Windows 8 and after only a couple hours of use, I can see why. It's as if Microsoft took it's latest Xbox Live interface, added a small amount of flexibility and none of the ease of use.
Granted, Windows 8 was not designed with the living room in mind. Fine. What I really want is a thin OS built only for streaming videos and playing PC games. Who has a product like that?
Loved this excerpt from a piece written by Christopher Thompson at New Hampshire Union Leader:
I realized the time I was spending on Facebook was time I was wasting. And it truly was. At that point, I made the decision to quit Facebook.
At some point we all realize this. Personally I have been toying with the idea of quitting Facebook. Haven't built up the courage and is a sad admittal of a shallow devotion to Facebook.
After several strong quarters of growth, Netflix now has 29.2 million people in the US subscribed to its $8-a-month streaming plan, which is, for the first time, greater than HBO’s domestic subscription base of 28.7 million.
You have to wonder how cable operators are reacting to this. Especially considering:
[Netflix] competes for attention with television fare beyond just HBO. And in that context, Netflix commands more attention—87 minutes per US household per day—than any American cable network, according to an estimate pulled together earlier this month by BTIG analyst Rich Greenfield (registration required).
HBO's growth is slow and steady, while Netflix has been surging and showing no sign of letting up. While HBO's days are far from numbered, I think they reign as king of original content is coming to a close.
In the last installment I picked out an Intel-based motherboard by MSI. Now it’s time to pick out a processor. Truthfully, choosing the Intel platform was a matter of popularity. Right now, it’s the best platform for building a gaming PC, budget or otherwise.
Intel’s i5 3570K
The i5 3570K is well-regarded for its benchmark gaming performance and reasonable cost. At $220 you won't find a better processor for gaming.
Not only is it fast and cost-effective, the 3570K comes with Intel’s HD Graphics 4000 iGPU (integrated graphical processing unit). Though not as effective as a discrete GPU from a 3rd party, like EVGA or MSI, it’s fantastic for gaming in a pinch and more than enough for an home theater PC build.
A quick search on YouTube shows us a few examples of it’s performance while playing graphically intensive games.
Unfortunately high-end games will only be playable at low to medium settings and barely playable at high settings. But if you absolutely can't afford a discrete GPU, the Intel HD 4000 will deliver console-level performance on most games.
Checkout Bioshock Infinite and Battlefield 3 running on the Intel HD 4000. Settings are typically on low for better frame rates, but as you'll see, the iGPU can get the job done if needed. So as long as you don't have illusions about it's limitations. The Intel HD 4000 is not a permanent substitute for a discrete GPU.
Not bad for an iGPU.
Why not an i3 for cost or an i7 for performance?
The i3 is both cheap and performs well enough. But for gaming? With fewer cores and no hyper-threading, you're going to struggle playing even modest games in terms of their GPU requirements. Even with an Intel HD 4000 on board, you're not getting very far.
The i7 series, even at it’s lowest denominator, is expensive and the cost-to-performance ratio isn't nearly as desirable as the i5 3570K. But, if you can afford the higher-end of the i7 series, then by all means.
Intel’s i5 series is a great option when cost and performance matters. With the 3570K, paired with a good discrete GPU, you should be able to play the latest and greatest for at least a couple years before needing to upgrade.
Splinter Cell: Blacklist is due out August 20th, 2013 on Xbox 360, Playstation 3, Wii U and Windows PC. I'm gushing with excitement!
the company's looking to get the smartphone dabblers on board by releasing the source code for several iterations of its new flagship [HTC One]. The files, available now on HTC Dev...
HTC is listening to it's customers and that, to me, makes the Android platform a more desirable option for potential switchers like myself.
The Gigabyte H77N-WIFI is well-reviewed and any poor reviews were more about the lack of specific features t(found in other more expensive products) than actual defects. It sits nicely between the budget H61 model and the higher-end Z77 model. Midrange? Sure. Appropriate for this build? Definitely.
What drew me to this motherboard was WIFI. Currently my xbox does not come with wireless built in. I'd either have to purchase a new xbox or purchase a $99 wifi adapter. Neither option is appealing.
Gigabyte's H77N-WIFI has all the standare fare of motherboards in it's form factor and price range.
Andrew Munsell for Tech Block:
Facebook portrays this experience as emotional, with your friends’ best moments slowly panning by on your lock screen. Their marketing page is filled with “perfect” lives and people, sharing only beautiful, colorful pictures. ... The problem is a lot of my Facebook friends don’t post pictures like that.
With 1 billion users and counting, I have seeking suspicion that Facebook Home will be a nuisance for most.