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Messages - Spectere

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1
Computing / Re: Got a Laptop
« on: July 26, 2021, 10:21:08 AM »
Not trying to sound like a biased douchebag or anything...But...Never really seen anything too good from Lenovo personally. Then again, I've stayed away from them a long long time ago. You ever consider MSI, Acer or Asus? I've seen and experienced personally, amazing laptops made by them, that I've never seen with Lenovo before in my life.

Laptops are pretty tricky. A lot of the major players in the market (Lenovo included) don't even design their own laptop models, they subcontract an ODM (original design manufacturer) to design and build them, and slap their logo on them (sometimes with customizations here and there, depending on how large the company is). That's one of the many reasons that the quality, feature set, and build can vary so much even between different models within the same series.

Just as an example, you might feel that Dell and HP have nothing in common, but both the Dell XPS and HP Spectre were designed and manufactured by Compal, an ODM based in Taiwan. Similarly, several of the products MSI and System76 sell are little more than rebadged Clevo laptops. It's possible for one company to use multiple ODMs as well, so you can't say that all Dell laptops were designed by Compal. It might be a Quanta, Inventec, Wistron, Pegatron, or Foxconn design, depending on its age and model.

So, yeah, it's pretty likely that the Legion wasn't designed or manufactured by the same company that designed the lower-end Lenovos. The only fair metrics you can really use to judge laptops is by how good that specific model is and how good the company's support is (should you need to use it). Beyond that, it's anyone's guess.

It's complicated, it's annoying, and it explains so much of the inconsistent hardware-related crap I saw when I was still doing IT field work.

Really can't justify getting a laptop over a desktop unless you travel a lot or (like me) just wanted one since childhood and only now has the A money, and B a (albeit not strong) reason to justify getting one.

I'd say the pendulum is kinda shifting with the rise of Thunderbolt. If I didn't do much PC gaming, I'd use a laptop along with a TB dock for everything. Plug it in and it's effectively a desktop: charging, displaying to my monitors, using my keyboard/mouse, on a wired network, and connected to my hi-fi. Unplug it and I'm fully portable again. It definitely helps that there aren't as many compromises with laptops as there were 10 years ago.

Laptop gaming is still kind of a niche thing, of course. I'm not sure how many of them support docking, but it wouldn't surprise me if they also started pushing into that direction soon. Kinda seems like it would be a marketing boon to me.

2
Computing / Re: Got a Laptop
« on: July 25, 2021, 01:44:53 PM »
Nah, the stuff gets repaired. They just send a new product (to reduce turnaround times), repair the old one, and sell it as a refurb.

3
Random Chat / Re: The Thread of Extreme Happiness
« on: July 20, 2021, 04:44:48 PM »
I accepted a job offer today. :o

Edit: Also: I got my new rig today!

Falcon Northwest Talon
Ryzen 5900X @ 3.7GHz (12c24t)
GeForce RTX 3090
32GB DDR4

I never thought I'd buy a pre-built gaming rig, but with the availability of the current gen graphics cards, well...

Gotta say, though, Falcon Northwest deserves their good reputation. This thing is dead silent unless the fans need to kick on, and their cabling job is so tight that if you look in the window the only wires you can see are the ones going into the GPU.

In addition to that, they also have a pretty nice drive mounting system that let me easily slap the SATA drives (2 x SSD and 2 x HDD) from my old system with minimal effort. Just screw the drives into the brackets and plug 'em in. They already ran the cables and everything.

So far it's looking to be about 2-2.5x faster than my old rig (i7-8700K @ 4.5-4.7GHz, GeForce GTX 1080 Ti, 32GB DDR4) in most synthetic gaming benchmarks, and up to 6-7x faster in compute-heavy workloads. Not bad.

Oh, they also shipped the system with a complimentary coffee mug and a bag of coffee. Sweet.

4
Random Chat / Re: Car Audio!
« on: July 19, 2021, 08:10:25 AM »
That's some pretty serious hardware. Looking forward to seeing what you come up with!

If we suddenly start getting earthquakes here in Ohio I'll know you're busy testing it. ;)

5
Random Chat / Re: Car Audio!
« on: July 18, 2021, 05:55:35 PM »
...the fuck, dude...lol. Pretty badass stuff there.

Kinda surprised I didn't ask before, but how are you powering all this stuff? Multiple batteries and capacitors, I assume?

6
Random Chat / Re: The Thread of Excessive Rage
« on: July 17, 2021, 11:58:31 PM »
Will my Ryzen 7 1700x be supported by Windows 11?

Nope, at least not with the current supported CPU list. Only the Ryzen 2xxx series and up are supported because...reasons? Their hardware support seems arbitrary as fuck.

Supposedly (in the current beta, anyway) it'll just tell you it's not supported and run anyway, but who knows what the final release is going to do.

fuck Windows 11

A-fuckin-men, brother!

7
Gaming / Re: wut specturr'z playing
« on: July 17, 2021, 11:52:16 PM »
More Ancient Aliens!

MAP04: Pretty short, with some pretty fast-paced gameplay sprinkled throughout. There are a couple of arch-viles and mancubi that kinda harass you at the beginning of the map, but as you progress it's possible to barrel-nuke and telefrag them, respectively. I like it!

MAP05: I wasn't a huge fan of this one. It's fairly reasonable in premise--dodge the cyberdemon!--but in practice it ends up being a slog if you're even semi-competent at dodging rockets. All that ended up happening is that I'd run from point A to point B and given that so many switches and secrets are either in alcoves or require you to wait for a sec, I'd basically have to stop what I was doing, lure the cyberdemon away, and then run back and continue. Meh.


In Other News: I decided to UV-Max all of the levels in Ultimate Doom's E1-E3 from a pistol start tonight for the first time. It wasn't too bad, but man...you have to shotgun a lot of barons and cacos to death when you start pushing into episode 3. It's incredible how much Doom II's expanded bestiary and super shotgun improved the game. Also: fuck E3M5.

Edit: Just did episode 4. Ye gods, those are some bad, bad levels. I didn't bother UV-Max'ing most of them due to them either being way, way too imbalanced (the infamous E4M1) or because I just wanted them to be over as quickly as possible. Still, I beat all of them from a pistol start so, uh...that's a thing I did. Yay?

In all fairness, the Romero levels were pretty good (E4M2 felt overtuned, especially for map frickin' two, while E4M6 felt fine) and there were a few that I'd consider average. Then there's shit like E4M4. Ugly, stuck enemies galore, uninspired. Blech. Episode 4 just kind of...exists, and while I can find plenty of redeeming qualities in TNT despite my opinions of it, I really see no reason to ever play through episode 4 again.

8
Random Chat / Re: The Thread of Excessive Rage
« on: July 16, 2021, 10:13:06 AM »
Correction: my i7-7700 that's barely over 4 years old isn't supported by Windows 11, and apparently some 8th gen processors from early 2018 also aren't supported, so it's more like 3-3.5 years  8)

Oh shit, you're right. For some reason my geriatric millennial brain thought that the 8th gen CPUs came out in 2016.

I know the Dell chonkbook I bought in late 2016 isn't supported. 6th Gen Core i7 CPU...LOL, who even has one of those, am I right?

9
Computing / Re: Got a Laptop
« on: July 13, 2021, 08:26:53 PM »
Yeah, unfortunately a lot of those tech support drones have to do things by the book, otherwise they could get into trouble. It's frustrating as hell, but it's faster to just not ask questions and do what they request (within reason, of course).

I hope the rest of the process goes smoothly for you.

10
Computing / Re: Got a Laptop
« on: July 12, 2021, 09:25:39 AM »
Sheesh, that's giving me flashbacks of when I did computer repair. One of the services that people would legit pay us for is dealing with their PC's hardware support. :/

Have you tried just getting a replacement through Amazon? Their process is fairly streamlined in my experience, and it would probably be a lot faster and easier.

11
Random Chat / Re: The Thread of Excessive Rage
« on: July 12, 2021, 09:22:02 AM »
Windows kinda has that nice blend of market share (by a healthy margin), performance, and open hardware support (at least until Windows 11 locks that down).

Like, Linux has the benefit of running on just about everything, but its windowing system is probably its most limiting factor. X was originally written to support networked display terminals, and the sheer number of gross hacks it's collected over the years are a testament to that. Wayland, its slated replacement, still has enough outstanding issues that I can't even use it for my work system, let alone a gaming rig.

macOS has performance down pat (no joke, I was using an iMac--running macOS--as my main gaming rig for a while, with Steam in-home streaming filling in the gaps), but there are a few issues there. The first and most obvious one is that they've largely left compatibility behind, what with them phasing out 32-bit and eventually switching away from Intel-compatible processors. This isn't a bad thing by any stretch, considering their $700 Mac Minis now easily rival $2000 PCs in computational power, but it does mean that a lot of titles got left in the dust. The other is that due to Apple's chosen form factor you can't just plonk a 3060 in one of their rigs (unless you're running a Mac Pro) and call it a day. eGPU solutions exist (at least for Intel Macs) but that tends to be an imperfect and expensive solution.

Windows has leading market share, offers solid performance, and allows PCs to have just about any configuration. Furthermore, unlike Linux, devs don't have to worry about users using--for example--a completely different sound system than what they're expecting. It's just one of those cases where the alternatives are just too much of a hassle to support in many cases. Engines like Unity smooth over a lot of that, but even then there are a bunch of weird, random issues. Even simple games like Undertale require additional work and testing to properly support Linux and macOS due to some gaps in GameMaker's OS support (from memory, there are/were some issues when you first enter Alphys's lab on non-Windows builds).

Of course, with Windows 11 they're so eager to copy Apple's aggressive deprecation stance (oh, and they finally ripped off their rounded window borders) that Microsoft basically told people with 5 year old CPUs to go fuck themselves. Considering macOS Big Sur still happily runs on 2013 hardware (and earlier, albeit with minor issues) that seems just a tiny bit absurd. Oh, then there's the fact that the UI is such trash that I legit thought it was a 2010-era Android launcher with a Windows skin on it when I saw screenshots of it.

12
Gaming / Re: wut specturr'z playing
« on: July 11, 2021, 01:27:27 AM »
That would also conflate another issue with the engine: the limited size of the intercepts structure. It's already possible, in some instances, to overflow that table and corrupt the blockmap (the next thing in memory) even on standard maps. It's not at all uncommon for a thing to be standing on multiple blockmap chunks, so you're more than doubling the odds of an overflow. You can't just throw more memory at the problem either, because Doom was already pushing hard against the 4MB barrier, and memory was expensive as hell in 1993.

Also, bear in mind that we're talking about 386's here. Those CPUs tended to require a lot of cycles per instruction (one of the biggest improvements of the 486 was reducing that, introduced pipelining, and adding an instruction cache--the difference between the two was pretty massive), so adding in a bunch of extra ALU hits was actually very expensive on those systems. Plus, it's a bit complicated. For smaller targets you could do a quick four-point check on the edges of their hitboxes, but for larger enemies (larger than 128 units) that wouldn't work and would require even more calculations just to see if it's even possible for them to be hit.

Compare this to the solution that they used: a table in a static section of memory that can be (relatively) quickly accessed, and is guaranteed to be updated as things move from chunk to chunk.

There's a pretty huge gap in complexity--especially for a 386 (which doesn't even have an on-die instruction cache or pipeline, on top of a slow ALU)--and aside from certain edge cases it's unlikely that a casual player would notice a difference. Plus, most of the larger enemies are usually best dispatched with rockets and projectiles anyway, and the issue doesn't affect those.

I think this is one of those issues that seems silly with a modern lens, but it makes more sense when the hardware of the era is closely considered. Polar movement coordinates? Yeah, maybe not so much with that. I think even Carmack said at one point that doing that was a mistake, lol.

13
Random Chat / Re: The Thread of Excessive Rage
« on: July 11, 2021, 12:58:31 AM »
The more I read about Windows 11 the more I want game companies to start targeting Linux.

14
Gaming / Re: wut specturr'z playing
« on: July 08, 2021, 09:31:35 PM »
Just finished Rush!

MAP10: It opens up with some nice indoor combat areas, sprinkled with some decent traps and monster spawns. At the end it throws you into a large arena with swarms of cacodemons and hell knights, a handful of cyberdemons, and way too many arch-viles (though thankfully they give you an invuln sphere to help you deal with them). My strategy for dealing with this was to kill off the pain elementals at the center of the arena, run around to force some good, old-fashioned infighting, take down the arch-viles with the invulnerability sphere, then pick off the remaining demons. Fun as hell.

MAP11: The opening is balls to the wall, reminiscent of the earlier slaughter-focused maps in the pack. Just over half of the kills happen near the beginning, with the rest being chonksters that appear when you snatch the skull keys. Gotta give a special shoutout to the arena that ultimately allows you to grab the yellow key. It didn't really have a lot of enemies, but between the little bit of verticality that arena provides and the enemy selection it's a bit on the nasty side. The red key, which is just a brute force assault, pales in comparison. As with MAP10, the final fight mercifully gives you an invuln sphere that gives you just enough time to deal with the copious amounts of arch-viles before letting you leisurely pick off the rest of the demons.

MAP12: Hoo boy, this is a biggun. 1234 enemies, a large, intricate level design, and some nasty monster traps. By far the toughest level of the WAD, but it remains pretty manageable as long as you're good at spontaneously forming exit strategies and knowing just when to switch from the rocket launcher to a closer range weapon. It's a seriously great culmination to everything you've gone through up to this point, and a fantastic way to cap things off.

So, final thoughts: this map set is excellent. It doesn't overstay its welcome, has some adrenaline pumping moments, some great traps, and has some much needed moments of downtime between swarms.

On a side note, it's kind of funny how quickly I'm plowing through WADs that earlier this year I never thought I'd have a chance at beating. Just a little bit of practice and persistence is all it takes, I suppose!

Next stop: I dunno. Ancient Aliens, maybe?

Edit: YEP, Ancient Aliens.

MAP01: Berserk. A bunch of lower level enemies (with a couple of hell knights and revenants) and a cyberdemon turret, along with some really sweet visuals. Kind of a fun gimmick, and nothing too difficult as long as you stay on your toes.

MAP02: Definitely a more conventional map. Basic key/switch hunt, with a decent number of low level enemies. Pretty easy stuff.

MAP03: Another map that uses the monster turret concept, though this time with arachnotrons. Fairly tight quarters, overall, and plenty of opportunities to encourage infighting and save ammo. Very fun!

15
Computing / Re: Got a Laptop
« on: July 07, 2021, 07:05:57 AM »
Congrats! Looks like a pretty solid little gaming box. It looks like they actually bothered to put a decent cooler on it, which is nice to see in light of all the "gaming ultrabooks" (ugh) that have been coming out in the past few years.

And yeah, definitely keep pushing to get that sucker fixed. It's hard to say how big of an impact that'll have without seeing it in person, but at best it's an annoying cosmetic defect and at worst (like if the fracture is on the panel itself) it's a ticking timebomb.

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