Archive for the ‘Tech’ Category


Skynet in my basement

November 21, 2007


I picked up my new system yesterday, and compared to my old rig I’ve now got serious concerns about Skynet starting up in my basement. Well, it’s not the fastest machine in the world by any means but it’s the fastest I’ve ever had and a huge improvement over what I had prior to this.

My previous system;

Pentium 4 2.8ghz
1.5gb of some sort of ram
nVidia 7600GS
150gb worth of assorted hard drives

My new system;

Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 2.40GHz 8MB
Reaper 2GB (2X1GB) PC9200 DDR2-1150MHz
Dual BFG 8800GT OC2 512MB PCIe Video Cards (SLI)
Dual Western Digital Raptors 150Gb 10000Rpm WD1500ADFD

As I said, a decided improvement. Some real world numbers…

Old system:

1280×720 (widescreen)
Physics and water detail – High
Everything else – a mix of low/med (mostly low)
FPS on average : 20 to 30

Call of Duty 4
960×700 (widescreen)
Settings – a mix of low/med (again, mostly low)
FPS on average : 20 to 30 with a generally laggy feel

New system:

1680×1050 (widescreen)
All settings max + a tweak to enable very high settings in DirectX9
FPS on average : 40 to 50, with the odd dip down to near 30

Call of Duty 4
1680×1050 (widescreen)
Settings all maxed
FPS on average : 150 to 160

Very happy with my purchase so far.



Half Life 2 : Ep2 Stats – Neat but invasive

November 19, 2007

I like stats for some reason, and apparently the guys at Valve do too. To go along with the Hardware Survey Results they released recently, here are the Half Life 2 : Episode Two Stats as collected by the steam client. (EP1 stats are here)

Some interesting numbers in there for ep2, such as the average play time being 4 hours, 45 minutes and the average completion time is now 6 hours, 12 minutes. I guess not everyone is finishing. I know I didn’t though I plan to sooner or later. It’s admittedly still pretty early to get much out of these numbers, but it will be interesting to see how ep2 stacks up against ep1 in a few months.

The ep2 stat tracking has a few new items being tracked as opposed to the stats for ep1, the neatest of which is the “death maps” that graphically show where people have been dying on each level.


Again, this sort of statistical information is cool for those of us into that sort of thing but it also raises my eyebrows a bit. I wasn’t aware steam was collecting this level of detail about it’s player base. The hardware survey is fine as it’s an easy opt in/out, but this other stuff is a bit more murky to me. Do you get an option to opt of of this level of data gathering? I don’t recall seeing it anywhere, though I may have missed it. It’s a bit invasive if you ask me, unless there’s an easy opt out option.

I suspect the next time I play a Valve title I’ll have this strange sensation of being watched. Sadly, it will be a valid sensation too.