Having upgraded to Windows 7 – which I actually like as an OS, a Microsoft first since Windows NT – it turns out my old Abit motherboard is not Win 7 compatible. This resulted in all manner of weird issues to do with power management. So I had to get a new motherboard and obviously a processor and memory to go along with it. I did the same as ever: get the cheapest options recommended on Tom’s Hardware and on the bestseller lists of Verkkokauppa.com, my (Finnish) component retailer of choice.
This doesn’t get me a high-powered PC, but it does allow me to play everything up to recent games with the overlong console cycle keeping PC game system requirements in check. I know I will be underpowered very shortly, but just for now I’m golden – and I have a long backlog of PC titles I haven’t been able to play. It all comes down to just about 500€, which is a good deal in my opinion, considering all the stuff besides gaming I do on the PC. For comparison purposes, I’m now on an i3 2120 clocked at stock 3.3 GHz (3MB cache) and 8 GB of DDR3 RAM, and still my two year old GeForce GTS250. The difference in OS responsiveness is wonderful.
As far as installation goes, I always dread it because I am not a technical guy, but the only issue was that I had to get a new DVD drive because they don’t support IDE anymore, requiring SATA connection to the motherboard. Right now my only issue is an annoying resonance in the case, surfacing from time to time.
Things I have been playing:
Crysis Warhead. I actually completed this on my old PC rig already, but it was painful and ugly. I just liked the gameplay so much I didn’t mind. It’s infinitely better now on “gamer” (I guess that’s “high”) settings, looking all nice. It’s actually still something of a framerate chug in places, though. But let’s be honest here, this is “I wonder how good Crysis looks now” activity more than enjoying the game for its own sake. I did enjoy the final level a great deal this time around. Psycho’s a good protagonist, infinitely better than the original’s Nomad.
Space Marine. I almost completed this on my old PC, but was ultimately turned off towards the end as the larger crowds made it perform too poorly. It’s silky smooth now and I’m, of course, loving it. Not a deep game, but does it ever let you play out that Space Marine fantasy. Thank you Relic for realizing my dreams!
I’m still lounging on Dead Island. It was performing well to begin with so now I could just crank up the settings. Which doesn’t make it all that prettier, actually.
Tribes Ascend stopped working with the new PC. It crashes after exiting from match. Probably won’t have the energy to find out what’s wrong… I’m just getting old that way I guess. Some of the levels look stunning with settings maxed, but the big thing here is it’s now so slick and smooth I can no longer blame the hardware for not landing those discs where they’re meant.
High on PC playlist:
FEAR 2. I really liked my time with the original game last year, less so the expansions, but the sequel was so well received I do want to play it. Yes, even with the most ridiculous needless subtitle to ever grace a game (“Project Origin“, aagh!).
Empire Total War. I stopped playing this due to other games and stuff, but the lure of cranking up settings and having it run smoothly is very strong. Will install for at least a few battles for sure.