Recovery

Last Saturday, I twisted my left knee, now let us go back in time and remind you guys that my original injury was my right knee. My right knee also was operated on. So, why is my left knee twisting similarly to my right? Well, truth be told, both my knee are not in top shape since high school, where my right knee took most of the beating. Having to rely mostly on my left knee thru the years made it just as bad as the right, and last Saturday it showed how tired it was of being relied on.

Thankfully, it is starting to feel a lot better and I no longer need to use my cane. However, with that said, I haven’t had a real check up yet with my orthopedic surgeon to rule out the possibility of ligamental or miniscal taear, I will do that some other time. All I did was skip a few days of work, for which I’m returning tomorrow and quite excited to be a doctor again. Staying at home and just relaxing did the trick.

What else did the trick other than meds as well?

Well, this!

Wednesday Drive
A Drive Around Monaco

This is a good rehab for my knee in a way; sure it is not like the real rehab nor is it similar to riding a bike or doing my squats, but hey, it is giving my legs a workout in a way and in time I can return to my usual home exercises for my knees to truly recover.

This is just a short post, where I wanted to share my recent injury and a glamour shot of my racing in Monaco in F1 2015 (Waiting for F1 2017 so I skipped on F1 2016).

Til next time! PEACE!

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My Sim Rig 2017 (Finally)

If you know me personally, apart from tech, gaming, blogging, guitars, NFL fan, and photography, my other passion are cars and motorsports, particularly, Formula 1.

I have a Formula 1 fan since 1996 and I never failed to watch every season since I became a fan; sure there are a few races I missed per season due to studies and what not, but overall, I never missed a season.

Being a fan is totally different from hopping in the bandwagon. I know the history of the sport, I know the strategies, I know the innards of these cars, etc. I say this, because a lot of people still think I just hopped on to the bandwagon since my boss liked Formula 1. NO.

I have vivid memories of watching the Spanish GP way back in 1996 and saw this red car flying thru the wet track and won the race. That was the Ferrari F310 driven by Michael Schumacher. Since then, I became a fan of Schumacher, Ferrari, and the sport.

Up to this day, I am still a big fan of the sport and Ferrari; win or lose, even during 2009, there worst year in recent memory, I was still rooting for Ferrari. I didn’t jump into the bandwagon for the new dominant teams or drivers… I stuck with my team like a true fan.

So being a fan of Formula 1, of course, I am a bit of a speed freak; I also enjoy me some World Rally Championship, World Endurance Championship, and mostly other open wheel racing like Formula 3 and recently Formula E (No I don’t like IndyCar; I mostly like FIA sanctioned events). Naturally, I love driving games, they are my second favorite genre after Role Playing Games.

However, the last racing sim that I owned and really played was Gran Turismo 4 in the PS2 (First racing sim that I played was Gran Turismo 1 in the PS1) and F1 99-02 in the PC. Becoming a PC gamer, however, there were not that many good simulators; sure there was, like I said, F1 99-02, great for F1 fans, can be modded to one’s heart’s content, there is rFactor, Live for Speed, etc., but none caught my heart and passion for racing like Gran Turismo and F1 99-02. Not even the later F1 games from Codemasters caught my eye at first. Games like Assetto Corsa and Projext cars, as well as iRacing, got me intrigued, but I never thought of playing racing games again in my PC.

Suddenly, I stumbled into a Logitech G920 for 66% off… So I decided to load up my favorite sim racing YouTube channels I use to frequent a lot back then, found some new channels and personalities, and found out that a lot of the sim racing games have gotten so much better, the peripherals from the racing wheels, button boxes, displays, transducers, etc., have gotten way better since the last time I was really into sim racing, not to mention that F1 from Codemasters seemed to have imrpoved over the years as well. This whet my appetite and I knew I can no longer pass up a 66% off racing wheel.

I also got a racing wheel stand since I just want a dedicated rig for the wheel and pedals to be had mounted and I can easily tuck away at the side of my PC without having to mount and dismount on the desk each time I wanted to play (that is one of my biggest turn offs back when I was younger when I had to mount and dismount from the desk each time). I also decided to get a wheel stand, not a complete cockpit, because I don’t have that much space in my room anymore, nor do I have a real dedicated PC rig for sim racing, thus I got this, a small right that I can easily drag using furniture slides to sit flush with my desk and tuck away when I’m done.

Here are the photos of the items:

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FINALLY! These packages took 5 days to arrive!
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Ultra soft Styrofoam packaging… not my type.
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The simple wheel and pedal stand. It also has the optional stand for the shifter, which I will use when I order the shifter.
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The accessories
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This is what 66% off looks like; the box is not in good shape, but the wheel and pedal are in great condition and work like a champ
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What 66% packaging looks like…
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Good lookin’
05-16-2017 SimRig-5
She is built! Fairly easy build, the rig didn’t have proper English instructions and the Chinese instructions with pictures were basically useless. One can eyeball the build of this thing.
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Easily tucked away on the side
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Used these furniture sliders for carpets to easily drag it around; I didn’t mount it using the adhesive since I don’t want the rig to slide about when I brake.

I decided to modify the brake pedal, as if you read reviews on the Logitech G29 and G920, the brake pedal gets stiffer and harder to push down on the farther it gets. It tries to emulate the progressive tension of real life brakes, but honestly, it is a terrible system they used to try and emulate the braking characteristics, especially those with a hydraulic brake system. I decided to mod it to make it easier to push down on and I used this video below to help me do so. Very helpful as he mentions the sizes of the hex and screws, so if you don’t have it, you can easier look for the exact size in the hardware store. The pics below were taken using my phone, hence quality isn’t as good as the otehr photos:

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This doctor is gonna do surgery… Oh yeah, I’m a licensed physician that loves to game.
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The simple innards

 

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Almost there…
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Here is the culprit! That black rubber stopper/block causes the difficulty in braking. Awful design Logitech!

 

 

IMG_20170520_181844
The bane of my braking
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I also adjust the clutch (not needed in F1 sims that I usually play now), the brake, and the throttle face plates.

 

The video I used to help me remove the rubber block in the brake pedal:

In the future, especially when I move back to the States, I will definitely improve my SimRig, maybe with a better wheel system, better cockpit, but the ones I am looking forward to purchasing next time would be button boxes and displays. The latter is very important to me as I like to turn off all on screen display in game and have an external display showing me time, fuel, my gear, RPM, RPM limiter, speed, lap times, tire pressure and temperature, brake temperature, oil and water temperature, and the list goes on.

I can’t really find any good ones here in the Philippines since sim racing isn’t really as big as one might think here, so I downloaded app for both the Android and iOS and used my phone and iPad mini to work as user datagram protocol (UDP) devices and display the telemetry I need.

This is the most difficult part, as both apps use the same loopback IP and port, I had to use 8 hours to read the program language of the game and the 2 apps, edit the program, edit the ports, the IP addresses, the loopback addresses, etc, and troubleshoot each new code I wrote. Needless to say, I got both apps to work without conflicting with one another and having them display the proper telemetry separately.

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Using my devices as UDP for telemetry; the most difficult part is setting these up without them conflicting with one another.

Here is a video of my trying the new wheel, re-learning how to paddle shift, using an un-modded brake pedal, and testing my 2 devices if they are working properly. Please, no hate on my lap times. I didn’t edit the setup of the car or anything… I was merely testing these all.

This is like my photography hobby, my guitar hobby, my PC and gaming hobby, where I really started out humbly, not getting the highend or at least mid-high end products for my hobbies since I was just getting into them, so in time, I know my SimRig will be as awesome as the SimRigs most YouTube sim racers show off.

Someday…

Okay, that may have been overkill… still worth a share!

Some glamour shots when set up:

SimRig 2017

SimRig 2017
SimRig 2017

Til next time! PEACE!

P.S.

I “might” be reviewing the Logitech G920 and the BRZ Racing Wheel Stand, but I haven’t even released my Logitech G933 and F710 reviews, yet. So, yeah, I don’t know.

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Move over DX Racer, GT Omega, Maxnomic Gaming Chair; I found an alternative… ADDENDUM! Ergodynamic F1 Gaming Chair Review

DISCLAIMER: I am not a professional reviewer, I am like you, a consumer, giving his consumer thoughts on purchases straight from his pocket. Also, if I place prices, remember, prices may, and probably will, change without prior notice.

Introduction:

My previous review on a non-branded gaming chair has been getting a lot of traffic, and since then, I have answered messages from Facebook, Twitter, and in Steam about that chair. Of course, I have since then upgraded my chair and now I have new recommendations on gaming chairs.

I decided to review my current chair and update the previous post as readers still think I have the old chair. And with all these new questions, I just wanna give them more info and alternatives so they can choose the perfect chair for themselves at the best price the see fit.

For this post, I will review my current chair and give new recommendations as alternatives to this chair as the price may not always sit too well (see what I did there?) with many people.

So here we! Let us begin!

Notable Mentions:

RAKK Gear/EasyPC

As much as I enjoyed my previous gaming chair, I felt that it is missing some features such as the ability to recline, missing head rest (I got that pink head rest from a friend) and lumbar pillow, and frankly, the mesh parts are starting to irritate me.

So I knew, it was high time to upgrade.

We start at the alternatives that I considered:

I stumbled into RAKK Gear/EasyPC and they were selling a gaming chair akin to those like DX Racer, Maxnomic, or GT Omega, etc, but at a reasonably low price of PHP 5,450.

It can recline, tilt, and it has the head rest and lumbar pillow.

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As to why I didn’t order this is simply it was not on stock and I waited quite awhile for it to be on stock. You can reach out to RAKK Gear (FB Page) EasyPC (FB Page or Official Site) for the availability and I highly recommend this chair as I have friends who swear by it.

I heard, however, they have 2 new models, with similar features, and similar price, just different design. Also of note, it doesn’t come with lumbar pillow and head rest.

Again, just reach out to Rakk Gear or EasyPC for the availability.

PCHub

Another shop that sells good alternatives to the more expensive brands, but like the shops above, the chairs were taking too long for my taste to restock.

But the one that caught my eye was the FTW Frag series. Like the Rakk Gear/Easy PC XRACE 01, Kabil, and Takus chairs, it is sweetly priced at PHP5,490 with similar feartures you now expect in a gaming chair.

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For those looking for a more of a premium and even more designs, they also carry AKRACING chairs.

Again, if PC Hub had this back then, I would have gotten the FTW Frag series of chairs; just reach out to them in their FB Page. If you find either this or the RAKK Gear/Easy PC equivalents, I highly recommend them. And if you will get either one of them, do pick it up from the shop; shipping is a pain in the wallet and you will know in a bit.

Ergodynamic/Cost U Less

Now, I really wanted to upgrade my chair, and I didn’t care about the price or shipping (I am not rich, I am just desperate to upgrade), so instead of waiting for either one previously mentioned to restock their products, I decided to look at the Ergodynamic F1 Gaming chairs that can be purchased from Cost U Less (FB Page or Official Site).

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It is a premium as you can see by the price, but for me, it is still slightly less than the more expensive brands, and this can hold up on its own against them.

The shipping hurts, since it is a large object to ship, and I live outside Manila, the shipping cost me nearly or about half the price of the chair. That’s how desperate I was… Did I regret it? No, not at all.

Now time for the short review…

Review:

  • Base Type: Nylon Base
  • Base Size: 350mm
  • Base Capacity: 300kgs
  • Gas Lift Type: 120D
  • Gas Lift: 80mm
  • Caster Type: PP
  • Mechanism Thickness: 2.5mm
  • Chair Seating Capacity: 110kgs
  • Tilt-Lock Function
  • Pneumatic Height Adjustment
  • 360° Swivel Function

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First off, I have the faux leather version of this, and for me, I like it better than the fabric version. Your skin tends to “breathe” more with faux leather.

For the price I was a bit letdown by the fact the star base is still made of plastic, albeit very, very  strong plastic that can carry upwards to 300kgs, but with that price I was at least a metal start base. I hardly think with that price, you can’t have at least an aluminum star base, but oh well.

Next are the arm rests, I like how it can go up or down, tilt in or out, but the latter doesn’t have a lock feature, so sometimes, once you get it in the orientation you like, it may tilt outwards or inwards beyond your comfort. Not so much of a problem, but annoying.

Also, the plastic feels so cheap. Again, with that price I spent on it, I was hoping a little more. It can get a wee bit uncomfortable at times when I rest my arms on them, I would have loved a thin fabric or something, but it never really gets uncomfortable all the time… just…at times.

The best part of this chair, I know it sounds crazy, but its the included pillows. Now most chairs are already supplying this apart from the 2 other models from RAKK Gear/ EasyPC, the Takus and Kabil, but upgrading from a chair that doesn’t even recline or have these is a welcome change. I just wished the head rest pillow also had the clip loncking mechanism like the lumbar pillow. I say this, cos I’m short, and I do mean short! Like most girls are taller than me… Okay, I digress. So I had to lower down the head rest to make it feel comfy but the strap is like strangling the chair as you can see below.

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It is also nice to note that even if the castor wheels are much better than my previous chair, it is still not the large castor wheels that can easily glide on carpet, like in my case. It can move around, but once you sit on it, the wheels do bury unto the carpet and you have to make the effort to move. That, or I’m just gaining too much weight for my own good.

Since the chair itself is quite heavy, the tilt function while the chair is upright can oppose you. I am used to a certain level of tilt from my previous chair, and when I sat on this, and loosened the tilt maximally, I still can’t tilt when the chair is upright. With that said, you can feel the tilting a lot when you start to recline. Either that, or I’m too weak and short to tilt the chair like a rocking chair if it isn’t reclined.

Reclining is pretty much what you expect from it, and it does it well; it doesn’t recline completely 180 degrees, but that is good, as the center of gravity will shift and you may just fall on your back. Now I mentioned I loosened the tilt on this chair and I will admit, when I tried to recline this fully, I always think I would fall over, but I didn’t. Up to now, I still get scared. Great way to have a pick me up when I am sleepy.

I got the faux leather finish and it is a dust magnet, I would suspect the fabric finish would be a lot worse. Of course, you can easily wipe it off with a damp cloth, but I think at this price, it is best to get a leather polisher or something to wipe it off.

The cushion, I am unsure if it memory foam, but it is comfortable and firm, in the sense that it is unlike other chairs with cushions that if you sit on it for long periods of time, throughout most of the day of the week,  it would start to lose it structural integrity. This one, I had it since December 2016, and the cushion are still firm and has no signs of going away (I hope I didn’t just jinx it)

Verdict:

So, the price may hurt in a way and it is close to the more expensive ones, well the lower end models of the expensive ones, but we can’t deny that it is a premium especially compared to the products from RAKK Gear/EasyPC or PCHub, and truth be told, I would have purchased from them if the products were available at them time.

That is not to say that I regret this particular purchase (plus the expensive shipping), I love this chair, it was everything I hoped the first chair I bought would be. Apart from my nitpicking in the review section, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS PRODUCT IN SPITE OF THE PRICE.

Of course, my advice would be to go to Cost U Less’ showroom to get the item and avoid the shipping fee, but if you are desperate like me or you live far, then you have to weigh it in for yourself if it is worth the extra shipping fee. Take it from me, after this chair arrived and I started using it, I didn’t care about the shipping fee.

Til next time! PEACE!

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SHODAN: The Evolution of my Battlestation

Now that I recently received my Ikea desk that I ordered more than a month ago (there was a bit of a mix up in the shop’s inventory), I upgraded the setup in terms of desk and chair, and a bit of bling.

All other items, such as the new chair and the LED strip, etc., were all shipped in way before the Ikea desk did, so I had to control my excitement until everything has arrived before I start building anything.

I will post a separate blog on the actual transfer of my PC setup from the old layout and desk to the new layout and desk. For this post, I will just chronicle how this current PC build named SHODAN (yes that is a System Shock reference) way back in 2012 and how it evolved through the years.

Let it be known that I have been building my own PC’s since 1998; each iteration has its evolutionary stage. What do I mean by this? Well, each time I build a new system from scratch with the latest CPU of that generation, I don’t buy all parts immediately. That is, I start with the most important parts: CPU, motherboard, RAM, and if needed, another HDD and other peripherals like monitor/s. I then add the other parts like GPU, possibly another monitor, or other peripherals that is both functional and cool (mechanical keyboards, gaming mouse, etc.). A lot of people deem me to be a rich person… nope. I am just good at saving. And others will say “hey, it’s 2017, why do you have the i7 Ivy Bridge instead of the new Kaby Lakes?”; well, like I said, my builds have an evolutionary stage, and I don’t build completely new systems until an 8 year span or if I feel my current CPU is no longer doing its job. But my current PC is still a beast, so I will keep using this, keep upgrading if need be, until it overall will no longer be able to do the things I want it to do.

And also of note, I have been rocking a dual monitor setup since 2008 and since 2015, I have been using triple monitor setups. So I am more used to systems with multimonitors and feel very limited if I just use one screen even if it were an ultra widescreen monitor.

Anyways, let us see a bunch of photos chronicling SHODAN’s evolution! Join me for a trip down memory lane! From SHODAN’s humble beginnings to what she is today!

2012:

My Workstation (As of 12-22-2012)

My Workstation (As of 12-22-2012)

My Workstation (As of 12-22-2012)

As mentioned above, when I first build new systems, I don’t buy all the necessary parts immediately. So here, I still had my old peripherals and I didn’t even get a GPU, yet.

Specs in 2012:

CPU: Intel i7 3770 3.4GHz
Chassis: Bitfenix Shinobi Windowed Edition
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme 4
RAM: G Skill 2 x 4GB 1600Mhz DDR3
HDD/SSD: Seagate Barracuda 500Gb/Plextor M5 Pro 128Gb
PSU: Corsair GS700
GPU: None
Cooling: 23″ LG IPS234V and 17″ HP f1703 monitors; DeepCool IceBlade Pro CPU Heatsink with 2 120mm DeepCool 120mm IceBlade Pro fans on push/pull config; 3 x DeepCool XFan Blue LED 120mm  fans for rear and top exhausts; 2 x DeepCool XFan Blue LED 120mm for front intakes
Peripherals:  : E-blue Cobra (Got this for free… I don’t even recognize the brand LOL); A4Tech KD-800L (Cheapo keybaord but has LEDs LOL); (A cheapo) Ozaki 2.2 Dual Bass speaker system; Phillips SHP3000 Headphones
Misc: Roccat Taito Midsize Mousepad; NZXT Blue LED Kit; Razer Mouse Bungee

2013:

My Workstation as of 8-11-2013

My Workstation as of 8-11-2013

By this point, I waited for the new Nvidia cards to come out and snatched me one; here I have added the GTX 660ti and I upgraded my keyboard to a mechanical keyboard, the Ducky DK9008 Shine II Cherry MX Blue Mechanical Keyboard… and still use that keyboard to this day as I am typing this blog. I also added a NAS for filebackups and whatnot and a 3.5 multi card reader for transferring phots/videos since I am into photography and videography, too.

Specs in 2013:

CPU: Intel i7 3770 3.4GHz
Chassis: Bitfenix Shinobi Windowed Edition
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme 4
RAM: G Skill 2 x 4GB 1600Mhz DDR3
HDD/SSD: Seagate Barracuda 500Gb/Plextor M5 Pro 128Gb
PSU: Corsair GS700
GPU: Gainward Nvidia GTX 660Ti
Cooling: DeepCool IceBlade Pro CPU Heatsink with 2 120mm DeepCool 120mm IceBlade Pro fans on push/pull config; 3 x DeepCool XFan Blue LED 120mm  fans for rear and top exhausts; DeepCool XFan Blue LED 120mm fans for front intakes
Peripherals: 23″ LG IPS234V and 17″ HP f1703 monitors; E-blue Cobra (Got this for free… I don’t even recognize the brand LOL); Ducky DK9008 Shine II Cherry MX Blue Mechanical Keyboard; (A cheapo) Ozaki 2.2 Dual Bass speaker system; Phillips SHP3000 Headphones
Misc: Roccat Taito Midsize Mousepad; NZXT Blue LED Kit; Razer Mouse Bungee
NAS: D-Link DNS-320L

2014:

My Workstation as of February 2014

Upgraded my monitors to 2 Dell 23″ S2340L IPS monitors, added the Razer. As you can see, I have been using an awful, AWFUL, chair back then…

The mouse by the way, as with most Razer products back then, are USUALLY green, I said usually, cos they did have blue LED products, but for the DeathAdder 2013, they didn’t have a blue LED one I can find. Of course, this is all but a blip in history now as they have the Chroma series that is basically RGB. Anyways, I modded my DeathAdder 2013 by changing the green LED with blue ones… destroying my warranty, but hey, that is what we setup addicts would do to make the theme match.

Specs in 2014:

CPU: Intel i7 3770 3.4GHz
Chassis: Bitfenix Shinobi Windowed Edition
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme 4
RAM: G Skill 2 x 4GB 1600Mhz DDR3
HDD/SSD: Seagate Barracuda 500Gb/Plextor M5 Pro 128Gb
PSU: Corsair GS700
GPU: Gainward Nvidia GTX 660Ti
Cooling: DeepCool IceBlade Pro CPU Heatsink with 2 120mm DeepCool 120mm IceBlade Pro fans on push/pull config; 3 x DeepCool XFan Blue LED 120mm  fans for rear and top exhausts; 2 x DeepCool XFan Blue LED 120mm fans for front intakes
Peripherals: 2x Dell 23″ S2340L IPS Monitors; Razer DeathAdder 2013; Ducky DK9008 Shine II Cherry MX Blue Mechanical Keyboard; (A cheapo) Ozaki 2.2 Dual Bass speaker system; Phillips SHP3000 Headphones; A4Tech HD1080p Webcam
Misc: Roccat Taito Midsize Mousepad; NZXT Blue LED Kit; Razer Mouse Bungee
NAS: D-Link DNS-320L

2015:

My Workstation as of August 22, 2015

My Workstation as of August 22, 2015

Here, I upgraded my GPU to the VTX3D ATI Radeon R9 390. This can handle triple monitor gaming for the most part so I added a 3rd Dell 23″ S2340L IPS monitor. I also got a couple of Corsaur SP 120s that I sued on the after market heatsink, as well as an Ipega Bluetooth Gamepad, mainly for my Android phone, but works well with the PC.

Specs in 2014:

CPU: Intel i7 3770 3.4GHz
Chassis: Bitfenix Shinobi Windowed Edition
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme 4
RAM: G Skill 2 x 4GB 1600Mhz DDR3
HDD/SSD: Seagate Barracuda 500Gb/Plextor M5 Pro 128Gb
PSU: Corsair GS700
GPU: VTX3D R9 390 8Gb GDDR5 1000Mhz Core Clock 1500Mhz Memory Clock
Cooling: DeepCool IceBlade Pro CPU Heatsink with 2 Corsair SP120 fans on push/pull config; 3 x DeepCool Ice Blade Pro LED 120mm fans for rear and top exhausts; 2 x DeepCool XFan Blue LED 120mm fans for front intakes; 1 x DeepCool Ice Blade Pro LED 120mm for bottom intake
Peripherals: 3x Dell 23″ S2340L IPS Monitors; Razer DeathAdder 2013; Ducky DK9008 Shine II Cherry MX Blue Mechanical Keyboard; (A cheapo) Ozaki 2.2 Dual Bass speaker system; Phillips SHP3000 Headphones; iPega Bluetooth Controller (Mainly for my Android phone, but works well with the PC)
Misc: Roccat Taito Midsize Mousepad; NZXT Blue LED Kit; Razer Mouse Bungee; Buffalo Bluetooth 4.0 Dongle
NAS: D-Link DNS-320L

2016:

Workstation as of 02-09-2016

Shameless Workstation Glamour Shot

Finally added a better chair, this is racing inspired but as you can see, there is no way for this to recline. I also added an extended mouse pad, a cheap clip on/lav mic, and a cheapo webcam and a printer at this point. Oh I nearly forgot, I also upgraded my mouse into the Logitech G600 MMO Gaming mouse – works well for all games not just MMOs. This also marks the beginning of my fanboyism to Logitech. Also added an extra 2 sticks of 4GB RAM totaling 16GB good for photography and video editing.

Vidya Gaemz

A later little on, after I passed my medical licensure examination and became a licensed physician, I was able to land a job early and get to save enough to get a new a case, added 3 more Logitech products: Logitech G13 advanced gaming pad, G430 7.1 Headset, and F310 gaming pad. Told you I was a fanboy. Oh hey, I have a Megaman E Mug, too.

Specs in 2016:

CPU: Intel i7 3770 3.4GHz
Chassis: Phanteks Enthoo Evolv ATX
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme 4
RAM: G Skill 4 x 4GB 1600Mhz DDR3
HDD/SSD: Seagate Barracuda 500Gb/Plextor M5 Pro 128Gb
PSU: Corsair GS700
GPU: VTX3D R9 390 8Gb GDDR5 1000Mhz Core Clock 1500Mhz Memory Clock
Cooling: DeepCool IceBlade Pro CPU Heatsink with 2 120mm Corsair SP 120 fans on push/pull config; 3 x DeepCool 120mm IceBlade Pro fans for top exhausts; 2 x Phanteks 140mm front intakes; 1 x Phanteks 140mm rear exhaust
Peripherals: 3 x Dell S2340L 23″ IPS 1080p Monitors; Ducky DK9008 Shine II Cherry MX Blue Mechanical Keybord; Logitech G13 Advanced Gamepad; Logitech G600 MMO Gaming Mouse; Logitech F310 Gamepad; iPega Bluetooth Controller (Mainly for my Android phone, but works well with the PC); Logitech G430 Headphones; (A cheapo) Ozaki 2.2 Dual Bass speaker system; Brother DCP-J100 Printer with Continuous Ink System
Misc: Tecware Haste XXL Desktmat; NZXT Blue LED Kit; Razer Mouse Bungee; Buffalo Bluetooth 4.0 Dongle
NAS: D-Link DNS-320L

2017:

Workstation as of 01-05-2017

Workstation as of 01-05-2017

Finally, we caught up with the present year. As you can see, I got a new desk, I also got a long awaited LED strips that are USB powered and connected directly to my PC so when it powers on, it powers on the LED strips. I also upgraded the speakers to, guess what, Logitech Z333 2.1 Speakers. I also changed my chair to the Ergodynamic F1 Blue Fauz Leather Gaming chair that reclines.

Specs in 2017:

CPU: Intel i7 3770 3.4GHz
Chassis: Phanteks Enthoo Evolv ATX
Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme 4
RAM: G Skill 4 x 4GB 1600Mhz DDR3
HDD/SSD: Seagate Barracuda 500Gb/Plextor M5 Pro 128Gb
PSU: Corsair GS700
GPU: VTX3D R9 390 8Gb GDDR5 1000Mhz Core Clock 1500Mhz Memory Clock
Cooling: DeepCool IceBlade Pro CPU Heatsink with 2 120mm Corsair SP 120 fans on push/pull config; 3 x DeepCool 120mm IceBlade Pro fans for top exhausts; 2 x Phanteks 140mm front intakes; 1 x Phanteks 140mm rear exhaust
Peripherals: 3 x Dell S2340L 23″ IPS 1080p Monitors; Ducky DK9008 Shine II Cherry MX Blue Mechanical Keybord; Logitech G13 Advanced Gamepad; Logitech G600 MMO Gaming Mouse; Logitech F310 Gamepad; iPega Bluetooth Controller (Mainly for my Android phone, but works well with the PC); Logitech G430 Headphones; Logitech Z333 2.1 Speakers; Brother DCP-J100 Printer with Continuous Ink System; A4Tech HD1080p Webcam
Misc: Tecware Haste XXL Desktmat; NZXT Blue LED Kit; Buffalo Bluetooth 4.0 Dongle; 2M RGB USB Powered LED strip
NAS: D-Link DNS-320L

Now some people will ask why I have a small (that’s what she said) HDD in my system, well, I have a 4TB NAS and another 2x2TB HDDs coming in as well as another 2 bay NAS, so I will have 8TB NAS for most of my files. The 500GB HDD is just for games. the 128GB SSD is for the OS, some games, and the more commonly used programs. I will be adding another 256GB SSD mainly for games later on this year.

Also of note, I used NZXT extended sleeved cables and a couple of custom sleeved SATA Data cables, so if you look inside my PC, you’d see sleeved cables.

So there you have it, a trip down memory lane… thanks for joining in the ride!

Til next time! PEACE!

UPDATE:

Fixed the remaining wires that are bothering me under the desk.

Workstation as of 01-11-2017

Workstation as of 01-11-2017

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Logitech G13 Review! I HAVE ALL THE KEYS!

DISCLAIMER: I am not a professional reviewer; I review the things I buy as a consumer. I am not at all sponsored. I am an average consumer, giving my consumer thoughts.

INTRO:

Not too long ago I bought me a Tecware Haste Deskmat (LINK), and as you can see, and like every desk sized mousepads, it is spread out enough to hold my mouse as well as my keyboard… but suddenly, the downside is that if you are obsessive compulsive like me, you tend to keep things right in the center, thus, having my keyboard in the dead center of my deskmat, there is a lonely left side of the deskmat.

Now… what can I do to fix this problem!? Ah yes, why not get a Logitech G13… that was on sale!

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There we go… left side is no longer lonely!

Yeah… I think it looks better now. Sigh… the problems of an obsessive compulsive geek.

Screw you, first world problems!

Why did I just now get a Logitech G13, and by the pics, a Logitech G13 in the older package. Well, this was on super sale, like 50% off, and at first I always thought this was just a gimmick – but with a %50 percent off from a shop, whatever gimmick it is, so long as the price is right, I am literally sold.

 Let us move on to the actual review!

SPECS:

Color Black
LCD Resolution 160×43
Connection Interface USB
Weight 1.5 lbs

SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS: <- LOL, I know… who even checks these anymore!?

Windows 8, Windows 7 or Windows
Vista 70 MB of available hard disk space
USB port
Internet connection for optional software download

REVIEW: 

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Orignal Front Packaging!

 

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Original Back Packaging!

 

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Instructions and installation disc… who needs these!?

 

The first thing you will notice about the packaging is that it is not of the newer runs; this was sold at 50% off from a local shop, most likely a clearance sale of some sort. And even if the box indicates this was one of the earlier runs of the Logitech G13, it is no different, from my understanding, with the later runs with the new packaging. Coupling it with the latest Logitech Gaming Software version, it runs just fine.REVIEW:

As you can see in the above photo of the software, I have the Logitech G600 (Which I never posted a review on… ah well) and the Logitech G13 shown and you can easily add macros or button mapping without affecting the other device. It is nice to note that I got the Logitech G600 mouse last year second hand, effectively saving 50 bucks from the original price (From PHP3,500, I got it for PHP1,200) and I got this Logitech G13 for PHP1,800, which was originally at PHP3,600. Again, I will emphasize,  I don’t go for these gaming peripheral gimmicks; I have always wanted a MMO styled mouse so the Logitech G600 was an easy buy, but I never fall for gimmicks like this Logitech G13 Advanced Gamepad, but with that kind of price, even gimmicks I am will to buy.

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The device!

The actual device, as you can see, the wrist rest and the keys are at an angle, to supposedly contour more with our hands natural tendency to curve down. At first, I didn’t think this would be any real comfort as I am already used to my Ducky DK9008 Shine II keyboard being in the normal form factor, without those angles, and still be comfortable. But to my surprise, the angle, the ergonomics of the device is really comfortable. My on gripe with the overall comfort and key placement would be the G20 and G22 keys; they are there to simulate the control and space keys respectively, that is, if you have the default button mapping on the device, and having to reach for G20 to crouch in some games that crouching is not a toggle can be very uncomfortable. So is the space key to jump, I sometimes also remap the space key on the joystick as that feels more comfortable and the exact distance from the WASD keys to the space key in a keyboard. You can always train yourself to get comfortable with it, but it will take time; I was hoping for something a lot easier to get in grips with. And you also have the option to remap the control and space keys in the other G keys, but for me, it is a waste of key real estate for other functions.

Now that we mentioned the joystick, let us now go a little more in depth in that part of the device. The joytick is smooth, but I have yet to find a sensitivity control in the software (if someone knows, comment below), it can simulate, well, a joystick in game, mouse, or any keystroke once you mapped them in the software. I like this as in some games, provided you mapped the WASD keys to the G4, G10, G11, G12 keys (these keys have an indentation so you can easily tell by feel that these are your WASD keys… that is if you mapped them as WASD), and if the game has camera controls apart from the mouse, you can map those camera controls to the joystick and move the camera without having to have you hands reaching awkwardly to the key in the keyboard. This is one of the only things I likes about controllers in console games, you can move the camera with the right analog stick and control your character with the left analog stick.

You can simulate mouse controls with the joystick as well and map the 2 keys along side it as the left and right clicks. You can even push the joystcik down as another button, and in the cases of simulated mouse, it becomes the middle click. Again, you can always remap to a macro or any keystroke you wish. I just find the 2 buttons alongside it being a bit flimsy, and pushing the joystick down for the other button is quite tough; when I try to push it down with my thumb, due to the tiny knob of the stick, the stick tends to move at a direction and not pushing the button when pressure is applied. I tend to use both my thumb and index finger to push the joystick down in the end.

Also of note, the keys are not mechanical; they are membrane keys and I was worried at first if my gamble on getting this even knowing it has membranes keys would make the experience less enjoyable, but honestly, as a person that has used mechanical keys for many, many, years now, I was able to jump right in and had no problems gaming with the membrane keys on this device. I believe the overall shape/ergonomics of the device helped make it easy to game on even with membrane keys. Now, I am not a professional gamer or  twitch gamer; I am mostly a RPG fan, and sure, I do play a good number of FPS, but not so competitively to say that this may replace your keyboard of choice in Counter Strike Global Offensive tournaments. But if you are into RPG/MMORPG heck even platformers or action games, I feel this will be perfect for you.

The keys, as well as the display, can be backlit or not, depending on your preference. But if you’re just gonna blackout your display, then you are missing out on some of the main features of the device. It is RGB in the sense you can choose any color in the software, but you can’t individually choose the colors of of the keys or have a different color of the keys and the display at the same time; it’s one color for all at a time. Except for the profile/macro key, which is red and I will talk about it more later. And I don’t know if it’s because it’s an older run of the Logitech G13, but the keys are a bit darkly lit; I can’t appreciate the backlight of the keys unlike the display. It also doesn’t help the backlight that the keys are at an angle.

If Logitech will make a replacement gamepad in the future, make the joystick know a little bigger like console controllers, and make the G20-22 keys a little easier to reach.

Now, let us talk about the display!

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There are some default applets that show time, email, RSS, system monitor, etc. They are not really the best applets, but as usual, what do you expect from stock? The good news is that you can also add applets for the display, but it is getting harder to find good ones. I suggest LCDSirReal. You can also edit the .txt file’s configuration to your liking. It takes trial and error, but if you understand simple programming languages, you’ll understand how to edit this. Plus it has some instructions for you to follow anyway in the .txt file.

Some games like Borderlands 2 and Witcher Enhanced Edition (these are the only games I have seen to have custom applets; I haven’t tested all other games in my Steam Library, yet) have these custom applets in game, as well.

There are 2 circular buttons on each end; the one on the left chooses which applet is to be displayed, and the one on the right controls the LED lights – it just turns it on or off, it doesn’t change the color. That is to be done at the Logitech Gaming Software. And be noted, again, that the LED lights, if chosen to be off, it will turn the LCD display LED and the keys LED all off.

The function of the 4 buttons in between those circular buttons depend on the active applet chosen.

Whereas the 4 larger buttons below the above mentioned buttons (labeled M1-M3 and MR), that happen to be red in illumination, and for now, I can’t seem to find any way to change their color, function as your profile or sub profile selector and macro recorder. Let us expound what I just said there.

M1-M3 can be used to save profiles unto the actual device – this is done by going to the Logitech Gaming Software, and saving a chosen profile to the device. This is useful especially if you plan to go to LAN parties with it and use someone else’s PC without your profiles saved in the Logitech Gaming Software.

However, if you are using you own PC, you can have subprofiles within a profile. Profile-ception, if you will. What I mean is this, as you can see in the following photos, this is my Grim Dawn profile (saved on the PC) showing the button maps of M1, which is used for the main gameplay; M2 on the other hand is used for online parties, such as party chat, party windows, etc.

So, again, as to not confuse you, the M1-M3 can be used to save profiles from your PC to the device, which is handy when you decide to play in LAN parties without your PC and the saved profiles within the Logitech Gaming Software. Also, the M1-M3 can be used as subprofiles within a profile when you are using your own PC or if you have access to your profiles saved in the Logitech Gaming Software as shown above.

Now for the MR, it is used for macro recording; simply press it once, then start recording your macros, and press the MR button once again to either save it or cancel it. Honestly, I haven’t used that functionality, because I rather use the actual macro recorder in the Logitech Gaming Software.

The cable is not braided, but this is a device originally released as early as 2009; but thankfully the cable is thick enough to be sturdy enough and long enough to justify ti being on the left side of your desk.

FUNCTIONALITY:

One of the main uses for this device is of course, gaming! And I must say, at first it took awhile to get used to all the buttons like what I was saying above, that the button 3 buttons, specifically the G20-22 keys, can be a bit fiddly to get used to at first, but now, I am starting to get grips with it. In fact, the funny thing is that I am more used to holding the device than using my keyboard even in non-gaming situations; I also find that my hands are more in tune with the keyboard for typing only again. Before, my left hand is not on the proper home keys, they were on the gamer home keys… you know, the WASD, shift and space bar, as my home keys. And it did slow me down in typing, but then again, that still depends on the person anyway.

In games, especially the RPG’s or action RPG, heck, especially MMORPG, when there are a a lot of hotkeys, spells, weapons, and what not, this device can be very, very, helpful, and coupled with me Logitech G600 MMO Gaming Mouse, I can map so many keys to either device, depending on my preference and honestly, you will be having as much fun, planning how to map both devices in order to get the most out of the gaming experience. I spend at least an hour or 2, just planning out the mapping that I am most comfortable with – and it was all great fun.

I mentioned that this is great for RPG’s, well how about other genres? Well, this can also be very helpful in FPS, again coupled with my G600 mouse, I can map so many things in FPS games – reload, melee, grenade, you name it, I can map it to wherever I feel comfortable with and may be quick to use them in tight situations.

So in a nutshell, I can say this device, with or without a MMO mouse like the G600, can be very useful in many games, not just RPG’s.

Another thing why I picked this up while on super sale was for productivity; much like my G600 mouse, I can map certain keys to the device even when not gaming. For example, I placed the mouse up and down scrolling to the joystick up and down directions, respectively – while browsing some sites, reading some PDF’s, I can just use the joystick.

I also mapped my Adobe products’ hotkeys to the device, coupled again, with my G600, I can do so much work quickly. For those Adobe vets, you can agree with me, even if we use Adobe a lot for some things, we may tend to forget the hotkeys, because each product, no matter how similar they may be like After Effects and Premiere Pro, their hotkeys are quite different, and having to search through the keyboard just to find the right hotkey may slow down post production; and all the more if you just forego the keyboard hotkeys and decide on using the mouse to hover and click on the different functions. Using the G13 to make at least similar keymaps, hotkeys that are close to eachother, can aid in the productivity. And I can assure you, using Lightroom with VSCO Keys (to override the awful hotkeys from stock Lightroom; you may change the hotkeys with VSCO keys) mapped on the G13, I have seen an increase in post production time, and it made editing, at least for me, fun again and not a chore.

CONCLUSION:

Okay, I have yapped on why I didn’t buy this device when it was grand spanking new back in the day, and what changed my mind ultimately; I also talked about the device itself and what I use it for. So, overall, what do I think of it?

Well, it is almost obvious that I love this device by the way I talked about it above. But do I recommend it? I do! BUT NOT AT FULL PRICE. If you can find one used at good condition, or luck out like me, getting a brand new one for half the price, do get it. I will also note, based from my readings, the Logitech G13 on the original packaging compared to the new packaging really has no difference functionally. You are just more assured that the G13 with the newer package is of a more recent run, but again, from my readings, no difference. In fact, my Logitech G600 was second hand, so it was part of the earlier runs, but I had no problems whatsoever with it.

So again, I love this device, but I will only recommend it to my friends, if they can find one for a decent price. It will still be a gimmick to me at full price, but with half the price, I was sold, and I am impressed.

Wow, this was a longer review than I anticipated… hope you guys find this enojyable to read and helpful.

Til next time! PEACE!

-o-

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Grim Fandango Remastered

I played most of the LucasArts Adventure games when I was younger, and they still hold a special place in my heart, but I have since lost the discs or they no longer work, etc.

I always said I will recollect them digitally one day, both in Steam and GOG, and thankfully it starts today.

When Grim Fandago Remastered was first released earlier this year, I wanted to buy it, but I always had a rule when it comes to spending games full priced. The only time I will pay full price for a game is when I have been waiting for it for a long time, always have wanted it, or if I know the game is downright amazing, and are brand new.

Examples are: Wasteland 2, Pillars of Eternity and its expansion, Wolfenstein: Old Blood. These were brand new (at the time), were something I was waiting for, something I really WANTED, and I knew they were good (Pillars, I took a gamble and preordered it). Otherwise I will wait for a sale… I am that patient… Thanks to my work/studies. Grand Theft Auto V and Metal Gear Solid 5 can wait… they aren’t something that I really want even if they are ground breaking.

That is not to say that this is not downright amazing; but technically it isn’t all that new, nor did I REALLY want to have it. Thus, I waited for a sale, and voila, at 66% at Steam as of this writing, it is worth the wait. Like love…

Like my previous post about Another World 20th Anniversary, this is not going to be a review of the game, it is simply a tribute or less, for the game.

This was when the adventure games were at the pinnacle and there was no hand holding. You can enter a room, faced with a puzzle, not knowing what to do next. Then when you find out how to solve the puzzle, you feel the sense of accomplishment. I feel that is what is lacking in the newer games… the challenges in puzzles. They take our intelligence for granted.

The humor in this game, much like every other LucasArts Adventure game at the time is topnotch! And surely, it has been years since I played it, and currently installing it right now, I am to find out if those jokes will still get to me today. I am sure it will.

Of note, I was reading around that like in Another World 20th Anniversary, you are able to switch from the modern graphics or the classic graphics. Fun to see how they improved the game especially with their dynamic lighting and all. But sadly, if you will play this in 1920×1080, I was told it stretches the image to fulfill the 16:9 aspect ratio… If this bothers you, like it will with me, you can play in the native 4:3 aspect ration, but like Another World again, there will be black bars on the sides.

This will never deter you from the actually story and gameplay. So, if you are the nostalgic type like me, or you want to try this out for the first time, rest assure, first timers, your money will be well spent. And at 66% off, you can’t go wrong! GO!

I am happy that Double Fine decided to remaster this, though it also comes to no surprise seeing as Tim Schafer was the designer of this game anyways back in the original release. So much care was still put into this. And I am glad.

With that, I am currently installing this bad boy, and will surely have a trip down memory lane once again when the game is installed.

To think, first it was Another World 20th Anniversary Edition that was on sale, now this! Perfect time to be a classic gamer…

PEACE!

Let the download… BEGIN!

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Another World 20th Anniversary Edition

This ain’t a review… this was 20th Anniversary Edition was released way back 2013 for Steam so more or less people already reviewed this, plus this is a technically remaster, originally released for the Amiga and Atari ST, later on Apple II and DOS… as well as SNES and Sega Genesis, so if you are any kind of gamer that you claim you are, you should at least already know what this game is.

I saw this on sale today in Steam, and I was unaware that they made a 20th anniversary special, let alone, release it on PC. So, seeing it at 75% (Until this September 8, 2015), I thought of revisiting one of the games I loved in SNES… back when I was still really a console gamer. Fret not master race, I have been in the cult of PC gaming since 1998… better thank Baldur’s Gate for that.

Ah, that familiar scene. As you can see, the graphics are not too pixelated as the original and has a higher quality background.

First off, the graphics as well as the sounds have been remastered, but the good thing for those purists, you can also choose to have the original graphics and sounds. However, having years of not playing this, it helps that the graphics have been updated so I can tell where I am going at times.

The main reason why I got this was for the nostalgic feels… the nostalgic rage quit feels.

We meet again… world. And beast.

Boy, I nearly forgot what made me SOO frustrated about this game. This and Oddworld: Abe’s Oddysee have the same gameplay that being trial and error, where the latter happens a lot. Way too much. And both games are still my favorite sentimentally in spite of the difficulty and rage quit moments.

It is nice to revisit this game with updated graphics and sound, but still have that gameplay intact. In fact, when I just raged quit not too long ago as I am typing this (around 30minutes ago I raged quit), showed how much this game hasn’t changed in that aspect, and somewhere in me, a 6-7 year old (I didn’t play this game until 1995/1996 in SNES) is rage quitting all over again… and still enjoying this game nonetheless.

If you haven’t played this way back in the day, go ahead, get it in Steam for 75% off until September 8, 2015. You may regret it because of the challenges it gives… but you are compelled not to be defeated by the game. So when you do finish this game… the sense of accomplishment is certainly there.

PEACE!

EDIT:

Take note that when you play in fullscreen 1920×1080, there are vertical black bars on either side of the screen. Not sure why, I will try and figure out as to make it tru fullscreen. But overall it doesn’t deter from the actual experience.

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