Posts Tagged ‘new computer’

Saturday, November 7th 2009

Screen Cravings

I don’t know why. I can’t explain it. But for some reason I’ve started dreaming of a nice new wide-screen display for our computer.

I have no reason to dream of a new screen. We have a 17 inch, 1280×1024 Acer that works perfectly. It swivels, tilts and does all kinds of tricks. Yet I can’t get this thing out of my head:

It is the NEC EA231WMi.

It is 23 inches across. It shows 1920×1080 pixels. It can be raised or lowered, turned, or pivoted for reading long documents.

But most importantly, the panel in this screen is an IPS panel. That means the picture is much more like what you got on an old fat-screen.

Most flat-screens can’t actually show all the 16.7 million colours that an old fat-screen can. The fact that nearly all flat-screens only have 6 bit colour depth for red, green and blue is a well-kept secret.

Now it couldn’t have been a well-kept secret if 6-bits meant horrible colour. It doesn’t. But it can mean that you get slight banding in gradients which should really be perfectly smooth. Have a look at the background on my website to see what I mean.

The NEC EA231WMi can show all those colours. And it is much less sensitive to viewing angle than most other screens.

Those things are great for a photo-geek like myself. Especially the bit about viewing angles, since it means that I don’t risk making photos too light or too dark because I happened to have the screen tilted slightly wrong when I made the adjustments.

The fact that the screen is really wide is nice for using Lightroom, which has panels down both sides and the photo in the middle. On a wide-screen the photo area becomes much larger.

Obviously it can show full 1080p HD video too. Such as the upcoming season of Top Gear. (Sunday 15th!)

The best thing is the price of this thing. Around $380, or SEK 3600, which is about half as much as most comparable screens. Still, I’ll have to ask for contributions for Xmas. The money I’ve saved up for unnecessary fun stuff isn’t quite enough yet.

Saturday, July 4th 2009

New Computer Up And Running

Finally we got our new computer yesterday after waiting two weeks for the graphics card. In fact I gave up on the shop to get hold of the card and ordered it separately over the web.

While installing Windows XP and then Service Pack 2, the computer just rebooted on us for no good reason, and then wouldn’t boot at all.

After a few tries I gave up and had a look inside. The reason was probably a loose SATA cable. After fastening it properly we started again.

Formatting the 1 TB drive took close to 3 hours. A quick format would probably have done the job just as well (without looking for surface problems) but I thought I might as well do it properly.

After installing Windows again, getting everything set up the way you want it takes ages. Service packs, drivers and a million different programs. File endings: visible, system files: visible, start-menu: classic, annoying shortcuts on the desktop: GO AWAY! Disable ten or so unnecessary Windows services. Etc.

Now the computer is beginning to become usable. Our old Firefox profiles in place. Internet access working.

The graphics card, an XFX HD 4890 Black Edition, is a bit on the loud side while gaming, but in Windows it is a lot quieter. Before we got the driver installed for it the fan was spinning away at 100%, which was a bit trying during the three hours it took to format the hard drive.

At the moment my lovely wife is playing Sims 3 at maximum graphics settings with no visible lag at all. Will be interesting to try some of my games later.

Monday, June 22nd 2009

Ordered a Few Games

With the new computer on its way, I also ordered a few games to play during the summer.

GTA IV for PC

Far Cry 2 for PC

Crysis for PC

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare for PC

Tom Clancy’s H.A.W.X (annoying name to write) is bundled with the graphics card. Not sure if it’s any good.

Tom Clancys H.A.W.X for PC

It’ll be interesting to see how far I can push the graphics settings in GTA IV. BTW, I just saw a great video review of GTA IV here.

Saturday, June 20th 2009

New Computer on its Way

On Wednesday we ordered a new computer. Not that there’s really anything wrong with the current one (AMD something 3200+), but we both had an urge to play some newer games. Such as The Sims 3 and GTA IV.

computer case

We’ve ordered it from a local shop, Proxdata. They seem to know what they’re doing. Here’s what we decided to throw into the mix:

That should be plenty of gaming power for the time being I think, but if we need more in the future we can add another identical video card and have them run in parallel (Crossfire).

All in all, we’re getting much more punch for the money than the big electronics chains in Sweden are offering right now.

We’ll keep using XP, since we see no real point in upgrading to Vista. Not even Direct X 10 has convinced me. All games seem to support version 9 still, and the visual difference, when there is one, is negligible.

There may be a day when we want more than 4GB of RAM. Then we’ll have to get 64 bit Windows 7, since 32 bit XP can’t use more than 4GB. (I’ll gladly skip Vista, for various reasons.) Until then though, I think we’ll be sticking with XP.

Hopefully we’ll be getting the computer on Tuesday or Wednesday. Then we can get started on the wonderful process of installing all the many different programs that we have on the current computer.