Posted on Thursday, January 26, 2006 at 7:28 pm
We’ve got an awesome review lined up for you today, ladies and gentlemen. We are rating, reviewing and comparing two graphics heavyweights.
The challenger, ATI’s newest badass mofo, the Radeon X1900XTX:
And the current reigning champion, this cinder block:
First, let’s compare the specs for each product.
|Radeon X1900XTX||Cinder Block|
* Note: The ATI card is stackable up to two units in Crossfire configuration, but otherwise is not stackable.
As we see from the table, Big Red’s product definitely has a leg up on the competition in speed, memory size, and pipelines. In fact, our cinder block scores big ol’ zeros in each of the first five categories. With stats like that, it’s amazing that the cinder block has lasted as long as it has.
However, in the last two categories, the cinder block wins in a landslide. It’s stackable, unlike the vast majority of uses for the Radeon. You can also use it in conjunction with a few 2x8s to create an excellent bookshelf for your bachelor pad. And at a whopping eighty-seven cents a pop, you can afford a whole lot more of them than the Radeon.
But specs on paper are only one part of the puzzle. Let’s look at some benchmarks for the two products, to see if their individual architectures may help them out.
Quake 4 Performance @ 1920×1400 (4xAA)
X1900XTX: 52.1 fps avg.
Cinder Block: 0 fps avg.
Battlefield 2 Performance @ 1920×1400 (4xAA)
X1900XTX: 59.6 fps avg.
Cinder Block: 0 fps avg.
Bookshelf Component Performance @ 3 shelves (4′ wide)
X1900XTX: Held 0 books (unable to stack properly).
Cinder Block: Held 42 books (when stacked with 5 other identical units).
Dead Body Sinking Performance @ 175lbs body size (dumped in river)
X1900XTX: Did not affect sinking rate of body.
Cinder Block: Effectively kept body underwater until the goddamn rope rotted and the corpse popped up in downtown Dallas. Way to go, Home Depot brand rope!
Interaction with Foot @ floor level
X1900XTX: Solder points cut my toe.
Cinder Block: Stubbed my toe.
We can see that, in actual experience, the two products should primarily be used for different things. I guess it depends on exactly what you want to do with your product. If you’re in dire need of a bookshelf, or some concrete shoes for that dead hooker, you should probably use the cinder block. However, if you’re wanting to improve your gaming performance, the Radeon is the way to go!
I hope this review has been helpful. If you have any questions, please feel free to forward them to our customer service department, or email me directly at email@example.com.
Hasta la pancakes.
Posted on Saturday, January 21, 2006 at 7:29 pm
As posted at BoingBoing, Congress is yet again attempting to stifle creativity and technology by bending over and taking it up the tailpipe from the RIAA and MPAA, in the form of yet another proposed “broadcast flag.”
Said broadcast flag means that TV shows, DVDs, and whatever else, will include a supposedly uncopyable bit of information (the broadcast flag) that determines whether or not they are authorized by Hollywood. For example, this flag will come over the air when you’re watching TV, but if you try to record the show you’re watching, the flag won’t be recorded. And according to the new legislation, new VCRs (or DVD players, or TiVo, even fucking iPods) will be required by law to not display the content if that flag isn’t there. Goodbye VCR. Goodbye DVD recording. Goodbye TiVo. Goodbye iPods. Goodbye entertainment altogether. (By the way, when I say “uncopyable,” I mean, it’ll be cracked within about 30 seconds by big piracy groups, so the only thing it’ll accomplish is being a gigantic pain in the ass to normal, law-abiding consumers.)
So if you’re a citizen of the United States, please tell your senator how you feel about the Broadcast Flag. The EFF even has a pre-made letter all ready to go. All you gotta do is fill out your name and address. How easy is that?
So yeah. Go do it now. Because unless enough people tell them how bad this is, they’ll just let Hollywood continue to take a gigantic dump all over the Bill of Rights. And you don’t want a Bill of Rights covered in shit, do you?
Posted on at 9:44 am
Quake 4 is friggin’ great. You should get it. But why? Well, I’ll tell you.
First, it uses the Doom 3 engine, so the graphics are friggin’ amazing. The system requirements are a little steep, but my humble little Radeon 9800 Pro and Athlon64 3000 can handle it pretty well at medium graphics settings and 1280×1024 resolution. It generally goes between 45 and 60fps, which to me is perfectly playable. It does get a little stuttery on huge outdoor scenes or when there are shit-tons of characters in a scene, but for the most part it’s pretty good. Of course, the D3 engine is capped at 60fps anyway, so it doesn’t really matter what kind of card you have, in a gameplay environment it’s never going to get above 60.
It’s got some major improvements over Doom 3, too. For one, it’s actually lit decently well. Everything in Doom 3 was SOOO dark. I think this was due to their “atmosphere” concept, wherein you fumbled around in the dark until an Imp jumped up from underneath some stairs and you promptly shit your pants. Scary it was. Pretty it wasn’t. But Quake 4 fixes that, and there’s a lot of light throughout most of the game as far as I’ve played it. No more fumbling around in the dark.
Secondly, the machine gun now has a flashlight mounted on it. When taken into account with my first point here, it’s not QUITE as big a deal as it would have been in D3. Because there’s only a few parts where you really even need the flashlight. But in D3, you couldn’t have a flashlight and a gun at the same time. And given that it was completely dark 80% of the time, with things jumping out at you, it seems to me like a gun-mounted flashlight should have been a no-brainer. But no. Anyway, yeah, that’s fixed in Q4.
And thirdly – and this is really an improvement over lots of single-player FPS games, not just D3 – when you start the game, you have a gun in your hand and you start blowing shit up right away.
Doom 3… Half-Life… Unreal… they all really like giving you some sort of storyline, and a tutorial on how to play the game which forces you to walk through each little step. Seriously, Valve, I’ve played shooters before. I fucking know how armor works, how to jump, and how to shoot a damn machine gun. Doom 3 was the worst, because (if memory serves me correctly) this wasn’t even done under the guise of “training.” You just fumbled around in the dark looking for some scientist, without even having a gun or being able to shoot, for a fucking half hour.
NOT SO with Q4. There’s the short opening credits cinematic, then a short backstory cinematic, and then it drops you in the middle of a space battle with a pistol and you pretty much immediately start shooting stuff. Finer points of the story and the inner workings of the game controls are explained as you progress through the game – for example, the first time you get close to a Medic marine, he heals you. Same deal with the Tech marine and your armor. But these things are all done in-line with blowing shit up. Amazing.
Finally, I have yet to find a situation where I’m completely out of ammo in the middle of a room full of 50 or so Strogg. FPS games have been getting better about this lately, it seems. But it’s nice to actually have enough ammo to get through a scene. Not way more than enough ammo, mind you, but enough to survive. Some more health would be sorta nice every once in awhile, as there aren’t very many direct health pickups and you typically have to rely on finding a Medic. The problem with finding a Medic is that sometimes their AI isn’t all that great, so even if you need health, they may or may not heal you. I think it has something to do with the alignment of Jupiter and how many virgins you’ve sacrificed recently. I’m not sure.
So yeah, that’s pretty much it. That about concludes my short and sweet review of Quake 4. You should definitely get it, if you don’t have it. I can’t wait till I get my new computer with my Crossfire Radeons so I can pump up all the graphics options just to see what it looks like. It’s about damn pretty like it is, so I can’t imagine how great it would be if I had a graphics card that could handle it.
(Oh, wait, I do… my work computer is a Dell XPS 600 with dual GeForce 7800GTX’s. I’m SOOO taking Q4 to work with me sometime.)
Have fun, people.
Posted on Sunday, January 15, 2006 at 9:21 pm
In my continuing effort to have the biggest and best version of everything*, I’ve upgraded to the recently released WordPress 2.0. I’ve gone through and attempted to verify that everything is still working after the upgrade, and it appears to be so. But I may have missed a spot – specifically with my Reset themes, given that I had very little experience with the program when I created the original Reset Aero, and all the themes since then are derivative. So what I’m trying to say is that there’s a possibility that something I did is not quite compatible with the new version. So yeah. If you notice anything out of the ordinary, lemme know.
* This doesn’t apply to the forums, currently, since we all know my version of Threads is about two years old. But I’m still, for some reason, holding out for the new Infopop – err, Groupee – downloadable package to be released, even though it’s looking to be more and more like vaporware.
Posted on Saturday, January 14, 2006 at 2:44 pm
So yeah. I’ve survived my first week of the so-called “real world,” wherein one is expected to seek and maintain gainful employment, take care of one’s own financial well-being, and otherwise keep tabs on all that crazy survival nonsense. Work was pretty hectic this week – moreso than I expected it to be – but it’ll hopefully cool off a little and get back to a state of normalcy.
We got new cell phone service today. If you already received an email from me, I figured you were important enough to notify about the new number. If you didn’t get that email, you either weren’t important or I didn’t have an email address for you. So if you haven’t gotten an email, and you think you should know my new cellery number, feel free to toss me an email and I may briefly consider letting you in on this little bit of information.
Speaking of new cell phones, here’s a really quick way to get a Motorola RAZR phone for $25:
1. Wait for your boss to convince himself that owning the biggest and baddest Blackberry money can buy is a life or death situation.
2. Offer to kindly take your boss’s old RAZR to the nearest cell phone recycling center on your way home from work.
3. Conveniently forget to stop at said recycling center. (And since I’m fairly sure that there’s no such thing as a cell phone recycling center, not stopping there shouldn’t really be a big issue.)
4. Pay some shady internet company $25 to unlock the RAZR. This, of course, is entirely unnecessary if you can somehow manage to find the proper subsidy code for your phone without paying for it. But I was unable to find said subsidy code and/or a free unlocking program after several days of searching Google and Gnutella, so $25 started to look like a pretty cheap alternative to actually buying a new RAZR.
5. Pop your SIM card into it, do a Master Reset on the phone settings, and AWAY YOU GO!!!
If the phone is, shall we say, “well loved,” you may need to get some Ice Creme to take the scratches out of the screen. Also note that if your boss happens to already be on the same network as you, you can skip step 4 and go straight to installing the SIM card, as it should already work with the phone. And now you got a free RAZR, which is significantly better than a $25 RAZR.
Anyhoo, that about sums it up for what’s been going on with me lately. I’m really going to be trying to get back into Scourge development here soon, but I’ve been staying late at work all week and when I get home, the last thing I wanna do is look at more PHP. Not to mention the fact that it would piss my wife off if I went straight to my computer after not seeing her all day. But yeah. Hopefully once stuff cools off I’ll be able to pick up where I left off.
Now, I’m gonna go… I dunno… do something else. You should do the same.