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Zoomer30 Blog

PC Gaming 1981-2008

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I think we can finally say that PC Gaming is dead. Outside of a few hot games that are coming down the pipe, Fallout 3 and of course Spore, there is really nothing out there that makes you think, "I really need to upgrade my PC". The PS3 and the 360 of effectively put an end to the nearly constant need to upgrade your PC just to keep your spurs. With the cost of even a ho hum machine cost 2x to 3x that of a PS3 or a 360, its just not cost effective.

The first area where PCs are really taking a hit is in power usage. My current PC is about 3 years old, a homebuilt AMD 3200+ with 2GB of RAM and WinXP. Runs all my games fine, but to be honest I cant remember the last time I played a game on my PC. The power supply is about 350 watts so its small compared to some of the 800-1000 watt behemouths out there. This summer I decided to stop doing BOINC apps on my PC so I could save power, and in just 3 months I have cut my power usage by an average of 50%-60%. And this is just a low power need PC, Some of the new high end PCs require power supplies of 800 watts or more. Hopefully your not running something like this more than 12 hours a day, it could break the bank.

The PS3 and the 360 are quite low in power usage for what you get, usually in the 300 watt range.

Another area is hardware. You can easily spend $500 every year or 2 just to keep up, not to mention try to keep ahead. New video cards coming out every year, and a lot of times you need to add other things to take advantage of that power. At least with the next gen consoles you know you have the best you can have, no need to worry.

People are getting tired of having to spend money and time just trying to stay current. If Spore where not coming out this year, it would be a very bad year for PC Gaming.

No Home Beta This Year.

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Yep you heard it here first. Once again Sony has missed their target for the Home open beta. Oh, its still a few months before they have missed you say? Oh, lets just say I have heard Sony cry WOLF! on this subject one to many times and I am just beating them to the punch. The hype will build and build over the next few months, caused be otherwise smart gamers who have allowed themselves to get sucked in by the latest "oh this Home vaporware thingy is this close to done" news from Sony. Then we wont hear a thing until sometime in January a Sony exec will mention in an interview "COUGHnoopenbetatill2009orsomethingCOUGH"

For those of you who wonder why I am so negative on this subject, just go back to last year. The hype from Sony was an open beta in November 2007. Now fast forward to now. The hype is an open beta in November. Sony has gotten so lazy they cant even come up with a good lie anymore, just recycle last years lie. At least they can say they are being "green". Its like they just change the year. They should just shut up about Home, either get it done or kill it and when its done put it on our XMBs.

How Green Are Distributed Computer Projects??

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The slap in the face came for me when I noticed a few months back that my monthly electrical bill was up to $91 a month. That was the sign I needed that I could not afford to do "distributed computer projects" many hours a month anymore.

You all have probably heard of these things. There is BOINC on the PC where you can get into Seti@Home, Rossetta@Home, etc and earn points for work done. You leave your PC or in the case of Folding@Home your PS3 on when your not using them for something else and you "donate" time to the projects. In reality the biggest donation you are making is electrical power.

Last summer my usage was over 1000 kwh three months in a row. June, July and August and almost September. A lot of this was due to running these projects. Its a double wammy trying to do this stuff in the summer since the devices put a lot of heat into the room, then you need to run the AC more. More power. Higher bill.

In February I cut back to almost no project time at all. When not being used the PC and the PS3 get shut off. When I am at work they are off, when I am asleep they are off. My power bill has been under 500 kwh 3 months in a row so far, could cut my budget by $30-$40. For those of you that wonder, if I ran my PC and PS3 24x7 for a 30 day month, my use would be this

PS3 = .300kw * 24hr * 30 days = 216 kwh

PC = .350kw * 24hr * 30 days = 252 kwh

TOTAL = 216 + 252 = 468 kwh

468 kwh if I NEVER shut off my PS3 or my PC. Thats before you factor in the fridge, the water heater and any AC you need to use.

It is ironic that you can get into a Climate Prediction project on BOINC to try to save the planet or find the reason for global warming when in fact all these PCs running 24/7 doing the work could be adding to the problems. More PCs doing this means more need for power. At some point there is a cut off to this. My came when my power bill was almost a 1/3 of my rent. Time for me to be green and stop wasting power.

Why HD-DVD Lost The War

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Now that HD-DVD has lost two more studios, Paramount and Universal, I think its clear Blu-Ray is going to win this war. Some may wonder how Blu-Ray made such a big turn around, some may wonder why HD-DVD is getting dropped left and right. I think the main thing that helped BR win this war is a simple reason: Instant installed player base.

Every time a PS3 is sold, it is like selling 2 machines, a game machine and a movie machine. No need to go out and get an add on drive. Now that the PS3 is really hitting its stride and selling much better, the installed base is just getting better and better.

Another issue is video output. The 360s are all over the map, only one has HDMI, so the other models are limited to 720p and you need the component video cables for that. Also the HDMI the PS3 supports is better, it supports "deep color" so when those displays starting coming out, the PS3 will be ready to pounce.

The biggest killer in this war has to be system reliability. If I had a 360 I would be worried to play GAMES too much on it, what with how they seem to break left and right. The last thing I would want to do is stress the poor thing out anymore by getting a HD movie drive add-on for it and using it for that as well. As for my PS3, I have run it around 4200 hours total since I got in in April 2007. That is JUST Folding@Home (about 700 work-units X about 6 hrs per unit) and the machine is just bullet proof. I may get a standalone Blu-Ray player once they come down in price, and keep the PS3 as a game machine. 4200 hours, its sad but if you tried that on a 360 you would be on your 3rd or 4th machine by now and probably still not reach that amount of use.

So I think we can say the war is over. The PS3 has all the pluses in its column and now it seems the movie distribution house I have figured this out as well. The only thing that could muddy the waters is how much money Microsoft wants to throw away trying to buy support. That only works so long however. I believe it was Universal who had a 150 million dollar deal with Toshiba to not do BR for a period of 18 months, that expired and Universal did not renew. Paramount just dropped them altogether.

The war is over and it looks like Sony FINALLY WON ONE (they lost Beta Max, Mini Disc and UMD)

The New EA Sports

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It could go by many names. 360 Sports By EA. EAcrosoft Sports. Make up your own. After yet another putrid release for the PS3, that being March Madness 08, I think its time for all PS3 owners to just face the facts (I am one and I already have).

Peter Moore will not allow a game to run better or even equal to the 360 on the PS3. This explains so many things. Madden 08 (glitch fest on the PS3, plays like a different game on the 360) Tiger 08 (same story, best slide show this side of PowerPoint) NBA Live 08 (not as bad but still clunky) and the grand-daddy of stutter, March Madness 08. The game spends most of its time BELOW 15 FPS on the PS3. It seems to drop more frames of animation than it displays. Just not a good or fun game to play.

This also brings me to another point. It seems that only games that are 100% developed by EA or EA Sports suffer in this way on the PS3. Case in point is Burnout Paradise. That game runs great if not better on the PS3 than the 360. The developers seemed to like the PS3s much easier network setup. And it can run at 60 fps. That's something we will never see from EA Sports on the PS3. From here on out I am just going to assume that that new EA Sports game will not run well on the PS3. Speaking with ones wallet is sometimes more effective than speaking with ones mouth.