Archive for the 'PC' Category


AMD system build

I’ve created a feature which details the building of a PC using an AMD 690G motherboard.


Hitachi 1TB…big boys toys

It’s not often that I’m in awe of computer kit these days, but today Hitachi very kindly sent me once of the their new 7K1000 drives. This baby has 1TB!!!
It’s easy to dismiss stuff like this and just say it’s a bit bigger than the 750GB Western Digital I reviews a while back. True it’s entirely arbitary amount of data, like any other size, but an entire terabyte on a single drive, numbs the mind a little.
Let me put that in a little perspective. The first hard drive I owned was the 30Mb MegaStore for the Atari ST. This drive is a thousand gigabytes or a million megabytes, which is a mere 33,000 times bigger! I’m not sure how many MegaStore’s Atari sold in the UK, but I think I could hold more capacity in one hand in these drives than they pushed in all the MegaStores. Assuming the rate of growth is proportional, which it isn’t, in 2027 we’ll have 20,000 or 40,000TB drives. Or, more HD movies than it’s possible to watch in lifetime. Bring it on!

Hitachi 1TB


AMD 690G build crazyness

Cheng Build
I’ve spent the day trying to complete a PC build for a friend, which I’ll document more completely at a later point. But this morning the PC had XP on it and was pretty ready to go (or going as in the picture). So why have I just finished mucking about with it???? In a word ‘sound’. For a reason that still defies logic I noticed that no sound device had been installed, and then more strangely that the sound device was missing! I assumed, wrongly, that it was an XP driver muck-up, and reinstalled XP using repare mode. That didn’t fix it. So in desperation I threw Vista on it, mainly to find out if it was something wrong with the hardware. It was, because I got no sound in Vista either!
In the end I wondered if the BIOS settings weren’t being shown correctly, and considered pulling the battery out to reset everything. Before doing that I reset to factory defaults and kerrr-pow!…We have sound. Now all I’ve got to do is scrap off Vista and start again with the OS my friend actually wants…
Perhaps I should write an article on how to waste about five hours on something stupid.


Bioshock – maybe not!

After playing the demo of Bioshock I was all up for the full title, which hit the streets on Friday. But reports about how 2K decided to protect their games with SecuROM DRM technology have entirely put me off. Developed by Sony it plumbs itself into Ring 3 of the OS, and monitors data coming from the CD/DVD and also refers to an online distribution service. The original release allowed the game on two machines, and you had to deinstall it from one of those to use it elsewhere, and have the original disc. Within hours people reported failed installs and revoked codes.
From all accounts this is an amazing game, but there isn’t a remote chance I’d let it anywhere near my working PC, or any that I rely on. I know 2K has relaxed that original 2 machine limit a little, and their working on a code reclaim application if you can’t deinstall because your PC dies. But I can’t really accept that a game deserves to decide what other than itself should be on my PC (as this install does..), or that comes with such draconian Digital Rights Management. But I’m sure someone else will get to the Micro Mart review copy before me, so it won’t be an issue. I’ll let it muck up their system instead!

Update: AH! It’s already messed up, because the demo put SecuROM on my system, and didn’t remove it when I uninstalled it.  These people need a kick in the head!


Bioshock demo – yummy!

I’ve just been playing PC demo of Bioshock, and jolly good it is. If you’re not a keen gamer, or a youngster, you might not remember the original SystemShock game, which where all set on a derelict spaceship. This isn’t. Instead the action takes place in a realy weird submerged city, a sort of pre-war styled Atlantis, called Rapture. At the start of the demo you arrive when you’re plane crashes near Rapture, and you take an underwater elevator deep beneath the ocean.
So what makes this FPS different from the standard crop? Two things strike you almost immediately, even within the limited confines of the demo. The first is the level of design work that’s gone into this game, which is astounding. The starting locations are lavish Art Deco, and filled with posters, tiles, signs and statues. It’s like being a movie when they’ve given the art director his head and a massive budget. Having a few locations like this in a game is impressive, but every room, even the toilet are works of digital art.
The second, and somewhat unexpected aspect to Bioshock is the AI of the enemies. While they’re still triggered by you to appear, what they do and how they react is entirely driven by their own individual logic. Once you understand the motivations of the various creatures that infest Rapture you can use that to make them allies or confuse them into helping you. You can also hack the defence systems to ignore you and attack your enemies. Which promises a much more cerebral experience that just running around shooting everything. I feel that approach won’t get you very far in BioShock, you need to be smarter than that.
Previously we’ve seen great demos that didn’t live up to their potential in the full game, but I’m confident that Bioshock will, and might be even better.
Can’t wait for the full game!

You can get the demo here


City of Heroes – I’ve retired!

TetraCobaltIt’s a sad day, but I just stopped my City of Heroes/Villains account. This is the second time I’ve take a break, and probably the last that I’ll play. Don’t get me wrong, I had a blast getting four ‘toons’ all the way to lvl 50. But a number of things had convinced me that my last character would be my final new one. I still think it’s a very interesting game, but in the end their wasn’t much new to do once you’d got to the top level, and it sucked up time I could better use on writing, or blogging…even.
My son plays Wow, but I’ve no interest in following him there. So until I get sent anther online game to play I’ll be abstaining, so to speak. I’d like to thank anyone who teamed with the heroes Cobalt Smash, Cobalt Evo and villains, NecraCobalt and shown here…TetraCobalt.
It was fun, but I must do some work! (you watch…I’ll get sent something really additive before the week is out).


Crazy Computers

I’ve put up some of the stranger computers I’ve made…just three to begin with…more to come later!

Stella Computer

You’ll find them at