Wednesday, July 24, 2013

EVGA GeForce GTX 760

I've been waiting to buy a video card for my computer for over a year. I have three monitors and wanted something that would be able to display all three without having to buy two video cards. I wanted to stay with Nvidia because I already had a Nvidia card and didn't want to clean out all files associated with going with an ATI card. (There are many files that are left when you uninstall via control panel. You need a special program to clean out all files). I wanted a card for its longevity in terms of build quality and compatibility. I use my computer as a media server for my whole house so it is on all the time. It needed to be quiet because my computer is only two feet away from me and I didn't want a loud computer. 
 I was going to buy the MSI 660Ti Power Edition. It had the twin frozr design for good air flow and kept the GPU cool. It had a great feature that reversed the fan blades at start up to remove dust. It wasn't the quietest one but was willing to deal with it since it met all my other requirements. Plus, it had a blue color design and had blue LEDS which matched my blue HAF932 Cooler Master Box.   When I first targeted this card it was $330 which was above my target price range. I waited for the price to come down as all cards do. I waited and waited and waited some more, seven months total!
Newegg had the card for $269 plus a $10 rebate which almost hit my price of $250. I didn't pull the trigger. I figured, "Hey, it just dropped this much maybe I can get it for less than $250."
They sold out in less than 12 hours. When Newegg got more about three weeks later, they wanted $280. 
During that time, Nvidia came out the Titan and then a month later came out with the GTX 760. I did not take it as aconquincedence  that the price for it was exactly my price point of $250. I was again looking at the MSI version but now they changed the color to red and I couldn't have a RED card in my BLUE case. 
I did a lot of research on EVGA and their ACX twin fan design. I had a EVGA currently in my box and it is still going strong so they had the build quality. I had for three years. The guy I bought it from bought it used from another guy. I did read they usually ran hot but that usually just applied to their reference build cards. The ACX fan design are well regarded for their cooling ability and being very quiet. The 760GTX with the ACX was not a reference design. I was going to buy from Newegg buy they wanted to charge $5.64 for shipping. Amazon had free shipping. 
Amazon had sold out of this card in 1 day. I kept checking back and when it was available, they sold out again in less than six hours. I was finally able to find a time when they had them in stock and they only had one left. I ordered it on a Friday morning and received it 11 days later. (What do you expect for free shipping?)

Outside box

Inside packaging and contents. 

It comes with power adapters to hook up your existing power supply connections to meet the requirements for this card. You'll need two 3 pin connectors and two 4 prong connectors. Minimally you need 50 watts on a 12 volt rail. They also throw in a DVI-D to VGA adaptor. 

Installation was a breeze. It will take up two slots because of the size. 

The 760GTX is a another Nvidia card rebranded. They took an older GPU, made some tweaks and gave it a new name and badge. It's the same chip they use in the 680, the GK104-255 A2. It has a little bit slower clock frequencies that the 680 GTX. The 760 comes higher frequency boost clock. 

I kept the airflow tunnel that came with the case to better direct the airflow. The fit is very close but it still works. I did have one concern as one review said the the fan blades push the air inward toward the GPU and thus the air would come out at both ends. I'm not sure if this is the case but will test it later. I moved my SDD down a slot so that if this was true the hot exhaust would not blow directly on the SDD. 

You can see there are air vents above each DVI connection. 

The three monitor setup is a dream. Do not use the DVI to VGA adapter. It will make the edges soft to whichever monitor you use it on. I noticed it on mine because I am using IPS monitors. I used a DVI to HDMI cable. The DVI-D plug fit into the DVI-A slot on the video card. 

My setup

I do plan on getting ultramon so that I can have the same picture going across the entire screen.

After 1 month of using the card, I heard an intermittent quick rat-tat-tat noise. I found out through the forums that it is coil whine. Does not affect the card but I do not like it. I contacted EVGA and they set up an exchange for the card which I will be doing. I'll update the post once I have the new, new card installed.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Carl Jung

I am not what happened to me. I am what I choose to become. ~Carl Jung

Monday, July 8, 2013

Xbox 360 S(Slim) with 250HD

This review is for the Xbox 360 Slim with the 250 gig hard drive. I realize they just announced the arrival of the Xbox one (can Microsoft count? Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox One) but the specs for the Xbox one was not impressive. They are similar to the best graphics card and pc gaming rig of LAST year! Plus I don't want a kinect and don't want to pay extra for it. I think MS will lower the price on the Xbox one in about 3 years depending on sales.
I decided to go with the Xbox 360 because of the many features and it looks like the way they are pricing the Xbox one, they will keep the 360 around for a while (budget Xbox one).
I wanted to play old Xbox games so I made sure I got the one with an MS hard drive. Xbox one, to date will not play original Xbox games.
NOTE: if you buy an aftermarket hd for the Xbox 360 slim, it will not play original Xbox games. You have to get the one sold by MS.

If this is not important for you, then buy an Xbox slim for less then $180 on Amazon (wait for a sale) then buy an after market hd.

I bought mine on Amazon for $279. It came with two games, one one disc (DarkRiders 2) and one downloadable one (Batman). One month of Xbox Gold Live, headset, composite RCA hookups and the power brick. The old Xbox 360 power brick is NOT compatible. The old 360 audio video hook up IS.

Since my old tv does not have HDMI, I am using the HD component hook up with optical digital out.
The slim does have a separate optical out but everything works if you use the old 360 av hookup.
The best part of the slim vs. the old 360 is that it is much, much quieter. Load times are much faster and it runs about 10-20C cooler.

The controller it came with have been refreshed cosmetically with new colors. Chrome xbox button and the stick are black rubber instead of the grey.
My last 360 lasted about 6 years with moderate use. I'm hoping MS has learned from their mistakes and this one last twice as the old one.

9 year old review:

One thing I liked about the Xbox 360 was that it came with one game, Marvel Superheros and I like Marvel. The new Xbox came with DarkRiders II and I don't like DarkRiders II.
I liked it was black and I like the color black. I didn't like how long it took to set up.