Tuesday, June 22, 2010

I'm just stuck

Some of you may not know about my latest project: I'm building my first gaming computer. Originally I just wanted to buy one, but that idea was dashed when I saw the shipping estimate. Ouch. And so I started the process of familiarizing myself with all of the current parts and equipment on the internet.

And now I have reached the point of TMI. I have read so many things about some of the pieces that I'm completely stuck. I can't choose! It's at the point where I know all the pros and cons, but I'm just stuck. I guess I'm afraid of making the 'wrong' choice. Or maybe not the wrong choice, but that I'll regret it later.

I've managed to get everything except the graphics cards.

Well, recently I've also been questioning my PSU, but I'm focusing more on the graphics cards.

Here's what I've chosen thus far.

Coolermaster 932 AMD edition
Intel i7 960
ASUS x58 rampage iii
Corsair 1000w HX
WD 1tb @ 7200 rpm

Now don't go all medieval on me about putting an intel chip in an AMD box. I wanted the Coolermaster HAF X, but guess what??? It's not available in Japan. Shocker. This was the biggest case I could find here, with a side window. No I wasn't going to install my own window. I've been thinking I might try and change the badge on the front of the case.

I haven't chosen the ram either, mostly because I'll probably place the order on a website other than amazon.co.jp due to limited selection on that site.

And so the graphics cards are:

Geforce GTX 480 & ATI Radeon HD5870

(Whichever graphics card I pick, I will get two for my system.)

From what I've read, the GTX is more powerful, and NVIDIA has a good rep on making up to date drivers for their products that work well with games. However, this card runs much hotter (is designed to withstand the heat as well), and is supposedly noisier. It also chews up more power than the ATI.

The ATI isn't as powerful, but it holds a cooler temp, is quieter, and still holds it's own against the GTX. Also, this family of cards has gotten really good reviews since they came out, and because of the heat etc, some still think the ATI is a better choice if you're not over clocking it.

To make matters worse, in Japan the prices on these cards are within $50 of each other.

If I was living in the US, I'd probably just buy the GTX. But power here is a big thing. My electric bill is no joke, and to be honest, I'm a little scared that this new computer will blow fuses all over the place at my old house. And since I don't *technically* have access to my breaker box, it's kind of a pain unless I want to ultimately move. Which, is an option, but would suck.

Also, air conditioning here is just not on the same level as in the states. Houses are made to fit loosely together and pretty much leak like a sieve. When I told some of my teachers how houses in the US are built tight with good insulation, their response was, 'It must be so hot in the summer!' I tried to explain that we use central air in the summer and that since it's so tight this works quiet well, but they weren't buying it.

Thus any heating or cooling ends when you turn off the aircon and that's not central air my friends. To finish it off, my apartment is on the 2nd floor (and no basements here - hello earthquakes).

So for me living here, heat is a bigger consideration than in the states. Of course, on the plus side, I could use the help keeping my room warm in the winter...

You are now up to speed on my current conundrum. It's like comparing apples and oranges. They are close enough that either will work well I think, but would I like the quieter card or the more powerful card in the long run? Which would work better for my current situation? Why couldn't one of the cards have been the obvious choice???

Perhaps in this case simply buying the most recent isn't the right move. That goes against everything I believe in as an American.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Into Summer

It's summer here in Nankan. Well, it's the time of year I consider summer. I consider there to be six seasons here. Fall, winter, spring, summer, the rainy season, and then hell.

Yes, it's coming close to the last two; neither of which will bring comfort of any kind.

The fireflies are coming out, and as soon as they leave us, I expect the rainy season to come. It's muggy and it just rains. But not in a fun way like in MN. No, it just rains. Straight down. FOREVER. Last year I started to get pissed off from the continuous noise that never changed and never stopped. I'm hoping this year I will have a higher tolerance.

And of course with the hot and steamy the bugs will mutate and just like in the movie Mimic, will hunt us down. It's hard to say what scares me the most, the spiders the size of grapefruit (bodies the size of a lime), 8-10 inch centipedes, cockroaches that fly, killer bees 3-4 inches long, or mosquitoes that are fast and small and rob you of the chance to have your revenge.

After that, we enter into the really HOT season. I just call it hell. I mean, let's get serious. You don't need some fancy name. I know that places in the US are just as hot or hotter. Do it in the US without air-conditioning and we'll talk. Until then, eat me.

Moreover, this year has a special sad tang to it: many of my friends here are returning to the US (or home country). We'll get new people, and it will be nice to meet them, but it doesn't change the fact that the friends I've made here will leave. It's the way things go, but it still sucks.


Surprisingly, despite this, I'm in good spirits.

I have a new gold fish. His name is Tomo; as in 'tomodachi'. I was going to name him buddy, then thought this would be the Japanese version and liked it. I still call him Buddy half the time. Poor fish. Doesn't even know his own name.

I was unable to find a suitable computer to buy online from America and have sent over here. Shipping plus tariff just cost too much. And so I get to do something I've always wanted to do: build my own. To make things even better, Kat said we'll build it together. So I get the experience, I'll be hanging out with her despite all the demands on her her last months here, and I'll get an awesome computer.

I'm finally going to England this summer, after delaying last year when I found out Joe was going to live there (right after my Summer vacation ended - thanks Joe).

Deborah will come to see me for a bit too, which will be lots of fun. Lots of Okonomiyaki and onsen.

And of course, over the summer I can justify eating ice cream almost every day.