My new computer arrived early last week, and it’s awesome. The box arrived while I was at work and my wife, who had the day off, called me to let me know it had come. That made for one of the longest work days in my career. I felt like a kid just waiting for Christmas morning, wanting to race for the tree to rip open everything underneath it.
After unboxing it and setting it all up, I turned it on and almost went deaf. It sounded like a jet engine taking off, and I knew right away that something had to be wrong, there was no way my glorious new PC was supposed to be this loud. It didn’t take long to figure out that the thermal control program was set by default to run the hard drive and graphics card fans constantly at 100%. A quick fix later and my liquid-cooled PC went completely silent, and I was relieved.
Rather than dive into some games right away though, I instead wiped out the factory installation and put on a nice, fresh copy of Windows 7 Ultimate from scratch. Then I installed Steam and proceeded to download all my games from there. Unfortunately this was right in the middle of one of Steam’s crazy sales and the downloads were going super slow. So I just let it run over night, and through the following day. By the time I got home from work that day all of my Steam games were downloaded and waiting to be played. I still wasn’t ready to play anything though, because I wanted to install all of my non-Steam games. This process took way longer than I ever thought it would (Company of Heroes = worst installation ever in the history of anything), but eventually I got everything up and running and I’m now playing games again, and my oh my, what a difference from my old PC.
My old PC is a single-core, Pentium 4 3.4GHz with 3GB RAM and an AGP Radeon 3850, and for the past two months the graphics card was off being RMA’d, so I was running with the Radeon 9800XT that originally came with the PC. My new PC is an i7-960 quad core, 3.2GHz with 12GB RAM, a Radeon 5870, and two hard drives totalling 2.5TB of space. Needless to say, there is a significant difference between the two computers. I can once again run games at their max settings! So what have I spent my time playing?
World of Warcraft
Yes, I finally get a new PC and I still end up spending most of my time with a game that looked and ran just fine on my old rig. Of course now it looks and runs even better. I was quite surprised actually at how nice the game looks. It has aged very well. Pictured above is my new Orc Warrior. Apparently the game doesn’t appeal to me at level 80 because as soon as my Mage dinged 80 I more-or-less abondoned him to start all over with this guy. I’m hoping to get through as much content as possible before Cataclysm, as I’ve never levelled a Horde character. So far, level 23 as of this writing, it’s been fun and a nice change from playing Alliance. I’m on a PvP server again, but have yet to have any PvP encounters, although I’ve only recently ventured into contested zones.
Starting this new character has reaffirmed to me just how much I like this game. Damn you WoW.
Call of Duty 4
I actually played a few levels of this on my old PC, and I fully believed that it ran just fine. Playing on my new PC however, with settings cranked, proves to me just how deluded I was. This is a fantastic looking game, and this is even an “old” Call of Duty, not Modern Warfare 2. I’m still not entirely sure though if I love the gameplay. It’s a little too “on rails” for me, and it feels like I’m just moving from one set piece to the next. I’m curious to see how the story plays out though, so I’ll keep playing it in bits here and there.
Far Cry 2
I picked this up on a whim for $12 the other day. I’m still early in the game, but so far I love it. Unlike Call of Duty, Far Cry 2 feels wide open, like I can do whatever, and go wherever I like. It’s also one of the most gorgeous games I’ve ever seen. I was originally going to track down Crysis because I wanted a game to “show off”, to convince my wife that this new PC was worth the price, but after reading some reviews and watching some gameplay videos, I didn’t think I’d like Crysis all that much. I didn’t know much about Far Cry 2; I had played the first one and really enjoyed it up until I started fighting mutants and other creatures. I just wanted to kill other people damnit. My understanding is that the sequel is quite a bit different, and so far that has been true. I like it, and will probably spend most of my gaming time outside of WoW with this one.
Those are the three games I’ve been playing. I’m also planning on finally getting to Dragon Age: Origins, but it’s still not pulling me just yet. I don’t know what it is; I want to play it, but I also sort of don’t. It’s a weird feeling. Also on my list is Left 4 Dead 2 which I picked up for $10 thanks to the previously mentioned crazy Steam sale, along with Torchlight. Although, with Torchlight, just before I put it in my virtual cart I said to myself, “I’ll probably never play this, but it’s only $5”, and I bought it. We’ll see.
The only thing I’m sort of regretting with the new PC is not getting a dedicated sound card. I figured the onboard would be good enough, but I’m kind of wishing I had gotten one. I may be picking one up soon. I love new toys.