Thursday, March 16, 2017

On the upgrade trail again

I'm needing (maybe!) to spend some of the money again.

Although tonight's spend was more of an essential spend rather than an optional spend.
There are 2 techie related things that I'm looking (or have) to change. One is the desktop computer, another is my house phone ...

The house phone has been eating the batteries. This seems to be a thing with cordless house phones. They'll work ok for a few years and then you get low battery warnings after 15-30 minutes of phone call. On Sunday, it was saying low battery after 15 minutes of being on hold at Esure.

(Esure have been fired, partly due to excessive durations of on hold, mostly because they cost £150 more than who I went with).

So I have a new house phone now after that 4th set of batteries died. I think I got the 3rd and 4th sets around Xmas time and the phone has gone through both since then. Ouch.

What's the other techie related thing ?
There is a new game incoming ...

One game series I have put a LOT of time into is the Mass Effect series. It's a trilogy where you play Commander Shepard, a space marine of the 22nd century who finds herself* on a crusade to save the galaxy from rampaging AI warships who invade every 50,000 years to purge the galaxy of technologically advanced life.

*(FemShep Best Shep. That Jennifer Hale voice brings the character and the games to life).

The next game, called Mass Effect Andromeda is nearly upon us and from what I've seen so far, it could be a lot of fun. I suspect though with the developer's recent form, that it might be incredibly padded though.

But ... it has 2 problems. One is price, I am certainly not prepared to drop £50 (or £42 with an online shop discount) on a game. That's ridiculous but sadly seems to be becoming a norm now due to far too many people who get caught up in the hype and allow the publishers to think that we consumers will accept higher prices.

The other problem is the minimum spec ... It calls for a minimum of i5-3570 processor, which is the next generation on from the i5-2500k that I have. It would also like more memory. My machine has 8GB, although far too much of that is used up on all the browser tabs I insist on keeping open on it.

This machine has done extremely well though. It was built in October 2011 (I had to look back really far for the post ! Here's a link) and the central parts of it have survived ok since then. Hmm ...

Except for : 1 power supply, 1 motherboard sound circuitry, 2 hard disc upgrades, 1 hard disc death, same hard disc mysteriously resurrecting, an operating systems and finally the death of 2.5 graphics cards.
So after an Intel based machine did so well for 5.5 years ? What am I looking at to replace it ?

You recognise Intel chips by their number. i3, i5 and i7 are cheap, good and performance versions. The 2500 is how good it is and how old it is. The 2000 is for 2nd generation Core, the 500 is for it being "almost best of the type". The latest Intel chips are 7000 series, or 7th generation. To be honest though, Intel hit somewhat of a wall with performance. Whereas before, my machines might last 18 months to 2 years before the market moved on to outclass it. Now ... I can still run the latest high performance stuff reasonably well, albeit with better graphics cards appearing every few years.

I don't really need to upgrade but .... that Mass Effect game is tempting.

What am I looking at for an upgrade ?

AMD have a new chip out called Ryzen. It's early days but it might be promising as an alternative to Intel. The chip I'd get isn't out yet though and I'll want to see many, many benchmark numbers before I switch back to AMD.

The new system would take a lot of parts from the old one and the specs would be :
Intel i5-7500 (ish) or AMD Ryzen 5.
16GB memory.
A suitable Asrock motherboard.
The nVidia 1060 graphics card that appeared a couple of months ago. (Time flies !)
Hard discs - 250GB SSD with Windows 10 on, 1.5TB and 250GB of normal drives.

The core upgrade would cost a little over £400, depending on how much the AMD Ryzen 5 comes out as. Only one of the good tech sites I follow has it listed and it has "Call For Prices" ...

Will I upgrade and get the game ? Maybe. Maybe not. I need data before I make a decision. The long life of that Intel chip has given me the luxury of being able to make the decision when I want to, instead of rushing into a poor decision.

Try to make decisions when you have all the data you can get.

That game does look rather shiny though.

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