My new 2011 gaming and media PC Build

With my current system struggling with The Witcher 2, I have decided to upgrade my PC with the latest and greatest Bang for Buck Gaming and media orientated hardware.  Here is what I have selected and some reasons for doing so:

Intel Core i7 2600K $319.00

I was deciding on this or the 2500k, probably won't make that much difference to be honest but at least the 2600k will have some decent longevity.  The 2500k and 2600k are currently the gamers CPU due to being able to easily hit overclocks of 4.9ghz on Air cooling.

ASRock Z68 Extreme4 Gen3 Motherboard $199

To go the Extreme 4 or Extreme 3, that is the question. Further inspection revealed the Gen 3 doesn't gave USB3 pins on the mobo so I grabbed the gen 4.  It costs an extra $50 in Australia though its worth it to have the front mountable USB faceplate.

CoolerMaster Hyper 212+ CPU Cooler $33.00

Appears to be the best AIR bang for buck overclocking option in order to achieve those 4.5 - 5ghz speeds with the i2600k.

Samsung SpinPoint F3 1TB HD103SJ $69.00

Will be using my current hard drives with this as an added extra, may just use this for my Steam install. I was tempted to go SSD though other than windows starting up quicker I cant really see that much of a benefit. My current Steam games load in a timely manner – maybe in the future.  I have an existing Seagate Barracuda ST3320613AS which averages 120ms read for my OS install.

G.Skill Ripjaws F3-12800CL9D-8GBRL 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3 $65.00

Most suggestions for a gaming config suggest buying the cheapest possible ram option at 1333mhz though I decided on the 1600mhz at $7 more, I could have also gone for lower latency for about $20 more but the performance advantages hardly seem worth it looking at available benchmarks.

Silverstone Strider Plus 750W ST75F-P $145.00

Gives me room for SLI in the future without overdoing it.

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit with SP1 OEM $105.00

A second copy will come in handy.

Silverstone Fortress FT02B with Window USB 3.0 $259.00

My Silverstone HTPC case was the deciding factor in purchasing a premium case design – yes it costs a premium but the build quality over the $100 over dollar cases is justification enough.  Hopefully unlike the last few dodgy cases I have, this will last me quite a few years of PC upgrading.

I am going to try see how my existing 9800gtx goes with this system in the meantime as I really want to hold out for one of the next gen video cards. If it is too much of a bottle neck I'll go and buy a 9950 at MSY or similar.

Future plans:

AMD Radeon 7000 series

Due out between now and the end of the year, Can I hold out that long with my ageing overclocked 98000gtx?

Samsung S27A950 $500

A 1080p 120hz 3D monitor, not sure about this though it is hugely popular - in fact it is sold out everywhere.  No nvidia 3D though it makes use of AMD's variant AMD HD3D.  Not too fussed about the 3D aspect though 120hz is definitely where it is at in regards to gaming.

As per usual, my current unused PC hardware will be integrated into my HTPC bringing it up to a gaming spec system. (once I remove the current overclocking profile)  Will post some unboxing pics when I get this delivered.

Deus Ex: Human Revolution - Director Commentary & Gameplay

How good is this game looking?  Deus Ex is probably my all time favourite game on any platform and it appears to be getting getting the sequel/Prequel it truly deserves:

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=73GqUqRetxY

There was always a certain complexity with Deus Ex which has been lacking in recent years,  No! I am not going to mention Invisible War or the farce that was Dragon Age 2 but with gaming mechanics in general,  Developers seem to think the mainstream audience wants every game to be a pick up and play mind numbing borefest and will go out of their way making sure every subsequent game gets increasingly more streamlined.

If I want games like these I'll just watch a Blu-Ray!  I want the satisfaction of an in depth game, I want to be frustrated and then be rewarded for being awesome, I don't want the entire arsenal of the US army in my backpack at my every whim, I would much prefer stabbing some guy in the back with his dinner fork in order to hack his security system than be presented with a massive RPG in order to blast my way through a map.

Maybe its just me...

Steam Vs Console thoughts.

As an Owner of a Gaming Specced PC, A RROD 360 I fixed off Ebay, A PS3 Slim, A Wii and a DS Lite the thing that sticks out the most noticeably for me in the gaming realm is Steam and Valve's philosophy in general, and not just because of the Digital Delivery concept. A few points to make:

Steam is becoming platform indifferent.

We currently have Mac and PC clients and there is talk about an upcoming Linux client – there is your PC console in a small box. I have my lower specced Windows based HTPC running Steam and it works nicely as a TV gaming machine.

Valve has created games where piracy of said game is pointless – TF2 anyone?

Constant updates, community derived input and additions have created possibly the most successful single evolving game. TF2 as it stands is nothing like it was on release and pirating it is pointless.

Steam embraces the indie and modding community.

Probably the biggest reason why PC gaming will and never should die. Highlighting gaming brilliance and bridging the gap between the gamer and developer. Counterstrike Source was a mod after all and in the console realm this would never be possible.

Steam games are also cheaper than any console. (Bar Activision localisation)

Nintendo Wii price Drops for Australia

 Nintendo Wii Console+ Wii SportThe Wii console buying craze appears to be diminishing so in an effort to boost some sales, Nintendo has dropped the price on this incredibly popular console by $100.  The best price I have found for a really Cheap Nintendo Wii in Australia is for $269.95 available online from Fishpond and also comes with Wii Sports and all the accessories you need.  I  would highly recommend getting some component cables and upping the resolution to 480p as the supplied composite ones don't look great on a HD TV.

My Top 5 Wii games you must play

Final Fantasy XIII Collector's Edition Australian Preorder.

Final Fantasy XIII is going to be released on the 9th of March in Australia and if you can wait a few days, Fishpond have the Collectors Edition for both the Xbox 360 and PS3 editions for just $119.00.  My favorite Final Fantasy games in the franchise were  FF6 and FF5 on the Super Nintendo followed by FF8 on the PSX and FFX on the PS2.  I really hope this one holds up my expectations of JRPG brilliance, time will tell....

Final Fantasy XIII Collector's Edition [PS3]Final Fantasy XIII Collector's Edition [360]

Final Fantasy Limited Collector’s Edition Preorder:

Features a Branded presentation box containing the FINAL FANTASY XIII game, plus:

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eJPbozRomX4

Gamelane Australia has an awesome price on the standard edition at $79.99

Australian Voice Servers for clans and gamers.

Undoubtedly Now the best value voice servers in Australia.  Hypernia provide the gaming world with Game services including, single game servers, dedicated gaming servers, voice servers, console game servers and clan hosting solutions.

Finding a Game Server provider in Australia has always been a lop sided affair, you either deal with the big players and pay ridiculous amounts or you try a budget server from some unknown company and hope to hell it isn't going to lag due to overselling.

In July 2009, Hypernia partnered up with iiNet to finally bring Affordable Online Gaming to Australia offering not just Gameservers but also 3 different types of voice servers.

 

R18+ Classification for Games: Australian Public Consultation

Time to get our submissions in for a potential R18+ ratings system on a media format now more popular than Movies.  Submissions to the Aussie Government are invited by close of business 28 February 2010. Submissions received after the due date may not be considered.

In Order to make a submission, you need to answer this question:

Should the Australian National Classification Scheme include an R 18+ classification category for computer games?

Submit and download all the relevant documents here.

The submission template contains multiple choice questions as well as a 250 word comment section, not really enough words allowed to thoroughly discuss the issue yet it is better than nothing.

The Commonwealth Government has released a discussion paper which briefly summarises the key arguments for and against an R 18+ classification for computer games.  Censorship Ministers have considered the issue of an adult classification for computer games on several occasions.  However, they have not undertaken public consultation on this issue.

Submissions are being sought on whether the Australian National Classification Scheme should include an R 18+ classification category for computer games.  Submissions can be made by downloading and completing the submission template.  Submissions may also be mailed or faxed.  The discussion paper and submission template contain the contact details for making a submission.

The ABC in damage control over Junglist vs Good Game Scandal

I recently wrote this for Ozsource Australia:

What a torrid few days it has been for the ABC with a massive community backlash in regards to the original silent axing of Good Game TV favorite, The Junglist.  The mainstream Media has also caught wind of the events unfoldng at the ABC with The Age announcing "Good Game presenter claims ABC gender bias after axing"

In the recent forum thread: Statement from the team.... including Junglist the community and Junglist himself has responded to this apparent comment and untruth from the whole Good Game team:

The decision to take Junglist off air was not forced upon us by ABC Management and it's one that is fully supported by all the GG team. We are gutted that it has come to this but in our opinion it absolutely had to happen.

It's strange for us to read that so many of you think this is because we have suffered a raging case of political correctness gone mad or a wish to dumb the show down. That’s absolutely not right. We, as ever, will continue our quest to bring you the show for gamers by gamers but this has to be our last word on this – we have shows to make!

Finally, we genuinely wish Junglist all the best, and we hope he finds a medium for his awesome analysis and presenting skills that works for him.

Team Good Game Out
(Syd, Bajo, Moe, Tuk, Gog, Mafia, Jeremy Pencil, Palindrome)

Junglist happier days The ABC in damage control over Junglist GG sacking

A response to this from Junglist:

I can tell you that this is a lie. There was no vote taken, no consensus reached. In fact, the GG team was completely unaware of the change until the same day I found out. The same confidentiality clause that prevented me from saying anything publicly, prevented management from telling them anything.

I have spoken to members of the GG team who clearly DON'T support this, but can't say anything publicly. Of course they'll tow the party line. They have to.

Up until now the situation has just been poorly handled. But to now LIE to your own audience, in an effort to save face for replacing an experienced reviewer/presenter with an inexperienced one, is quite simply the lowest thing I've ever seen ABC management do.

I feel now as if I'm being professionally attacked, so here's a truth bomb. In the meeting where I was told I would be replaced, the reason given was they wanted a girl on the show. "Mass appeal" was a direct quote from that meeting. After a half-hour of explaining how they'll lose their hardcore following, they responded that yes, they knew this, but expected to make up the numbers with a new following. "A show can grow beyond its hardcore base", is another direct quote.

The decision was forced by ABC management, for a mass appeal direction, and will naturally be dumbed down for the loss of experience....

Trawling through the thread it becomes clear what some of the issues the Good Game management had with Junglist.  They did not see eye to eye for his desire to review more in-depth if required, unlike the default 1 hour play-test.  Imagine a review for Dragon Age Origins coming from Good Game after an hours worth of play time.So what if it takes a bit longer - more time makes for a better review, especially considering Good Game only does 3 a week and throws out a heap of submissions from Bajo and Junlist every week.

ABC management also appear to have a misguided mission to target the stereotypical Wii type casual gaming public and younger gamer with a dumbing down in order to achieve mass appeal.  Thinking the core gaming audience would not notice this was enough motivation to remove the only core gamer from the show.  His replacement in Hex, also reeks of blatant sexifying to encourage viewer numbers.  I do not have anything against her in general as she has the right personality and ability to become a TV star with great potential for the future, she just walked into a Dog House.

My own personal thoughts and closing sentiments on this debacle which I also sent to the ABC:

I would like to highlight my disgust at the apparent disgraceful act of commercialisation and sexism with the sacking of Junglist from Good Game.  This is not what the ABC is about. The poor performance of your staff on the Good Game forums is also unprofessional and now has brought about potential damning discrimination issues with the ABC in general.
Good Game was fantastic the way it was but now you have killed it and the Real gaming community.

Thanks a lot.

Save Junglist Website.

Save Junglist Facebook Group.

Petition.

ABC Contact Form.

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ka7wveV7Wsw

Hypernia and IINET partnership Australia

The Hypernia and iinet partnership is fantastic for Aussie gamers who have been accustomed to substandard service in our country when it comes to simple gaming services:

July 8, 2009---Miami, FL--- Hypernia Hosting Corp®, the global leader in online game hosting, announced today its partnership with iiNet, Australia’s third largest ISP, providing Australian gamers with local access to some of the world’s top online games.

This exclusive Australian partnership brings with it major titles including the free-to-play Quake Live (a new browser-based First Person Shooter game from id Software), as well as titles from LucasArts including the popular PSP game Star Wars Battlefront: Renegade Squadron and Novalogic’s Delta Force: Xtreme 2, with the promise of more to come.

James Vallord-Costa, Hypernia’s CEO states, “Hypernia is the global market leader in the game hosting arena and together, with iiNet’s impressive network technology and local resources, we are extending our reach into Australia’s previously untapped market by bringing affordable hosting solutions to the game publishers around the world who are interested in the Australian market. By partnering, we’ve been able to significantly lower the cost of bandwidth and managed services down to a level that supports the gaming usage model, on par with our prices offered in North America and Europe.”

By providing brand new gaming networks in both Perth and Sydney, with access to over 70 of the world’s top online games, Hypernia and iiNet are able to give Australian gamers the choice of hosting location, ensuring a higher quality service with improved latency and game-play.
Also, as a bonus, all iiNet subscribers will receive complete unmetered service to all games hosted by Hypernia as well as improvements in latency, lowering ping times from 140-200 ms down to 20 ms which is near LAN quality.

“Our gaming network with Hypernia is growing exponentially in size and popularity as it provides gamers with unmetered fast access to top gaming content in Australia from top publishers like EA and Activision,” says Greg Bader, iiNet’s Chief Technology Officer.

“Hypernia’s existing relationships with major game publishers and developers bring with them future opportunities for big MMO (Massively Multiplayer Online) games via our networks. Until Hypernia and iiNet partnered, the closest game companies could host to Australia was in Singapore due to high costs. With localized content, it is now as affordable as it is in North America, opening the door to more games and better online experiences for Australians.” says Mr. Bader.

Hypernia Game Server Coupon

If you are looking to get a Dedicated server for your Clan or gaming league, Hypernia currently have a $25 dollars off coupon for the first month.

Features:
• Full Desktop Access
• Unlimited Ranked Servers
• Unlimited Players
• Run all Games on a Single Machine