Monthly Archives: December 2016

Ascension to PC Master Race: 11 years in the making

Its a dream of every PC geek out there to have a PC that they can treat it as their own personal super computer. It took me just south of 11 years to reach from a Pen 3 PC to now a Core i5, RX 480 rig. Two years ago I wrote about how I started working on PC from a Pen 3 PC. I quote here,

It was in my college that my father was able to buy for me a Pen 4 PC in 2005, Internet connection 3 yrs after that, and recently I upgraded to a Core i5 PC after more than 7 yrs.

So here’s a little back story of how I managed to pull off a Core i5 and what experiences lie behind it.

I started with a PC when I was in school that I didn’t own. I owe it to my relative, the PC of which included a configuration of Pen 3, 20 gigs of HDD and a 15″ CRT monitor, on which I use to play Carmageddon Apocalypse and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets; and learn to program in C++ by building a program as my hobby.

Later in 2005 when I entered college, my dad bought for me a Pen 4 rig. It included a 512 MB of RAM stick and a 17″ CRT monitor. It was an exciting time. Steam, a much loved gaming platform from Valve had managed to reduce piracy in games and people started to buy genuine games legally. It was that time when I managed to build a good collection of games in steam sales. But the Pen 4 chip started to hinder my gaming abilities and motivated me to upgrade. So in 2012 I finally decided to upgrade my Pen 4 rig. But I didn’t reach to my Core i5 built until now. I didn’t use to earn much. So I assembled a very budget friendly following APU built:

SerialComponentModel
1Mobo+CPUGigabyte E350N Motherboard
2CabinetCooler Master Elite 310 Cabinet
3SMPSCorsair CMPSU-430CXV2UK 430 Watts PSU
4HDD500 GB WD Cavier Blue
5RAMKingston ValueRAM DDR3 2 GB (KVR1333D3N9/2G) x2
6ODDSamsung DVD Writer

[I used components of this PC to make my Core i5 PC later, but the heart, APU remains the same].

But this APU machine could only do so much. Sure it was a perfect blend of processing and graphics capabilities but playing a game on decent quality was still a dream. I managed to play less resource intensive games like Trackmania, Burnout Paradise, Portal, Grid 1 (on low setting) and multi player game like Teeworlds (which frankly could also be run from a Raspberry Pi).

I had a long term plan when I built an APU machine. I was saving up for something big. I got lucky to win a contest from Microsoft and got some voucher on Amazon.com. Bought the Core i5 processor from US in 2013 and assembled my primary PC which you can see the specs of below.

SerialComponentModel
1MonitorHP Pavillion 22XW Monitor (1080p)
2CabinetCooler Master Elite 310
3HDDWD 1 TB WD Blue
4PSUCorsair CMPSU-430CXV2UK 430 Watts PSU
5ProcessorIntel 3.2 GHz LGA 1150 4570 i5 4th Gen
6RAMG.Skill DDR3 4 GB X 1 and
G.Skill DDR3 8 GB X 1
7MotherboardMSI H87M-G43
8HeadphonePhilips SHP 2000
9Graphics CardMSI RX 480 4 GB
10UPSLuminous LB1000UNO UPS
11KeyboardTVS-E Gold Bharat Mechanical Keyboard
12MouseLogitech G90 Gaming mouse
13Optical DriveSamsung DVD Combo
14ControllerXBox 360 Wired Controller
15MFDHP Deskjet Ink Advantage 3545 printer
16RouterTP-LINK TL-WR840N (V2) 300 Mbps

But it was not until I got myself the beast RX 480 graphics card that my gaming PC was completed in true sense. It was a long journey to reach here. And members from digit forum needs a special mention which helped me to take decisions and assisted with the troubleshooting many nights.

Following is the Timeline for some of the stories from the forum worth documenting, so that it would be easier for me to be nostalgic towards the incidents:

  1. February 2011: I bought got a new Monitor for my Pen 4 PC, but I was having driver problem. Forum members came together and solved it.
  2. November 2012: I moved from my Pen 4 to built a AMD APU PC.
  3. July 2013: Bought Core i5 processor as a first step to build my gaming PC.
  4. August 2013: Bought motherboard as a second step for my gaming PC.
  5. June 2014: My research on buying a MFD (printer, copier and scanner) documented in this thread.
  6. February 2015: Got myself a treat with a new and beautiful fHD monitor.
  7. August 2016: Upgraded the RAM of my PC here.
  8. October 2016: As a possibly last step towards my Gaming PC I got myself the most VFM Graphics card, RX 480.

When I look back now, connecting the dots backward, each year have been leading me to the moment when I could be playing fHD games on my fHD monitor. And with RX 480 graphics card its been a giant leap forward. In Reddit lingo, I have ascended to PC masters race. But this is just the beginning as 144Hz monitor will soon join my PC. This will be followed by SSD upgradation and a multi monitor setup. Things will only get better I assure to my little ‘Super-Computer’.

I would leave you with this imgur album of the unboxing of RX 480 that I did a while ago:

MSI RX 480 4 GB

Amazon Prime In India: My views and a Catalog of Good Content

Important Note: This is not a promotional write up. Amazon’s not paying me to write this.

I always believed Traditional TV to be a very poor medium of entertainment. We want to choose what ‘we’ want to watch and ‘when’ to watch them, instead of letting the TV decide for us. With the pace of modern life, we want greater control on the content and timing.

Thankfully, traditional TV is now officially dead. Before we continue to the rest of the article let us take a moment of silence for the Traditional TV as our parents knew it!

Welcome Amazon Prime Video in India. With all the contents and shortcomings of it (coming below), I think the wishful thinking of a good and legal streaming service isn’t just a wish anymore. The introductory price of the subscription too, Rs 499 for a year comes to around Rs 41 a month, is highly welcoming indeed. Compare it with the most basic plan Netflix provides which is Rs 500 PER MONTH, and you can see why the price provided by Amazon seems surprising.

I have managed to start with the 30 day trial first, just to test the features of this streaming option Amazon Prime is providing. I did hear about some content being censored on Amazon Prime, but I can easily check the length of the video on IMDb, before deciding to add it to my watchlist. So far content wise its a bit of a let down, still I managed to shortlist various good stuff on my watchlist. I certainly hope new content will be added, and also browsing of content would be a bit better in future.

I tried to analyze the content provided under Amazon’s Prime Video. Here’s some from my shortlist. Do note that the genre I like to watch, which will heavily influence my opinion on the content provided by Amazon are: Sci Fi, Action, Thriller, Cyberpunk, Fantasy. I dislike Horror and (only) Drama shows in general.

Note: The direct links to the Amazon Prime website won’t work if you aren’t login to Amazon prime service. I intend to mention IMDb link in future if there’s demand.

Amazon Original Series:

This section contains few shows that I never heard. Some shows which I added under watchlist are following:

Amazon Prime Video is now live in India with aggressive pricing, local content catalog


The Man in the High Castle
(Drama, Sci-Fi, Thriller): A glimpse into an alternate history of North America. What life after WWII may have been like if the Nazis had won the war.

I didn’t add anymore shows from amazon original list, just due to my taste. But worthy mentions in Amazon Original series include, The Grand Tour, Hand of God and Bosch. Do consider that the 4th episode of “The Grand Tour” is highly censored.

TV Shows:

There are many TV shows on Amazon, thought I couldn’t find popular shows like Flash, Arrow or Legends of Tomorrow. But I found these good ones (with description from either Amazon Prime or IMDb:

Extant (Drama, Sci-Fi, Thriller): a mystery thriller about a female astronaut trying to reconnect with her family when she returns after a year in outer space. Her experiences lead to events that ultimately will change the course of human history.

The World’s War (Documentary, History): British historian David Olusoga, along with other historians, narrates the story of millions of Indian, African and Asian troops who fought and died alongside French and British troops to help win the war against Germany, Austro-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire.

Startup (Crime, Thriller): Nick Capelli emerges from prison into a world where his once strong mafia family has eroded, leaving him with no direction, but an uncontrollable need to try to recreate his past criminal life. In the modern world where the mafia doesn’t command respect like it used to, this series takes a look at what it would take for a modern crime organization to rise today. [I JUST ADDED THIS FOR Martin Freeman!]

V (Drama, Sci-Fi, Thriller): Elizabeth Mitchell (Lost) stars in this reimagining of the hit miniseries from Scott Peters, creator of The 4400. “Visitors” appear in every major city in the world, promoting a message of peace … but could they be a threat to our existence?

Britain’s Greatest Generation (Documentary): Documentary series on the generation who fought or lived through World War II.

Fringe (Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi): An FBI agent is forced to work with an institutionalized scientist and his son in order to rationalize a brewing storm of unexplained phenomena.

Best of AIB (Comedy, World Cinema: Indian): Do they need a description?

The Storytellers (Drama: Plays/Performance, World Cinema: Indian): Remember the good old days of sitting around a campfire sharing stories? The Storytellers is a modern day take on that. At a time when interactions primarily take place across screens, The Storytellers encourages people to look up and connect with one another by sharing their personal life experiences face to face, without inhibitions and with honesty.

Fullmetal Alchemist (Anime): On one fateful night, Edward loses an arm and a leg, and Alphonse losing his entire body in an alchemy experiment gone awry. From this point, Edward’s only concern is finding a way to return his brother to his body. He soon finds himself in the service of the government as a State Alchemist. It is here the amazing story of the youngest State Alchemist in history begins.

Chi’s Sweet Adventure (Anime, Subbed): Cause, Cats!.

People of Earth (Comedy): In this half-hour comedy about a support group for alien abductees, a skeptical journalist investigates their supposed alien encounters. The more he digs into their oddball claims, however, the more he realizes signs that point to his own alien abduction. The onetime outsider now finds himself part of this eclectic group of misfits, while struggling with the idea of life beyond our world.

Mr. Robot (Crime, Drama, Thriller): Follows Elliot, a young programmer working as a cyber-security engineer by day, and a vigilante hacker by night.
I guess Cyberpunk isn’t a genre anymore, but I was pleasantly surprised to have this show on Amazon prime. Although I am sure there will be censorship in this.

Dexter (Crime, Drama, Mystery): When blood spatter analyst Dexter Morgan is not out solving murders, he spends his time as a serial killer who eliminates those who do bad things.

Constantine (Drama, Fantasy, Horror): Seasoned demon hunter and master of the occult John Constantine is armed with a ferocious knowledge of the dark arts and a wicked wit. With the balance of good and evil on the line, Constantine uses his skills to find the supernatural terrors that threaten our world and send them back where they belong.

Wolverine and the X-Men (Animation, Action, Adventure ): The story picks up one year after the attack on Xavier Institute that caused the disbanding of X-Men and the mysterious disappearance of Professor X and Jean Grey. Wolverine must reunite his team to find out what happened that fateful night. Their position as mutants doesn’t make things any easier as the MRD (Mutant Response Division) is hunting down and exterminating them.

The Girlfriend Experience (Drama) : Christine Reade is a second year law student and a new intern at a prestigious law firm. Her focus quickly shifts when a classmate introduces her to the world of transactional relationships.
I don’t need to explain why I added this show.

Elementary (Crime, Drama, Mystery): A modern take on the cases of Sherlock Holmes, with the detective now living in New York City.

Movies:

I am surprised by the fact that I could shortlist only a few movies from the below list, but it goes on to show that movies catalogue is really small. I have added some worthy mentions below my watchlist.

Amazon Prime Video is now live in India with aggressive pricing, local content catalog

Mr. X in Bombay (1964): Shobha’s dad who is a scientist gets into a difficult situation after an experiment he was conducting goes wrong and kills his employee Manohar.
Indian Sci Fi movie from way back. I can’t miss to watch this.

A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001): In a future world, humans share aspects of their lives with companion robots called Mechas. But when an advanced prototype robot child named David is programmed to show unconditional love, his human family isn’t prepared for the consequences.
One of my all time favorite from Spielberg. Will watch this again and again until my last breath!

Saving Private Ryan (Action, Drama, War): Following the Normandy Landings, a group of U.S. soldiers go behind enemy lines to retrieve a paratrooper whose brothers have been killed in action.

SpongeBob SquarePants: Sponge Out Of Water (Comedy, Animated): On a mission to save his world, SpongeBob SquarePants is headed to ours for the first time ever! When pirate Burger Beard steals the Krabby Patties recipe, SpongeBob and friends must unleash their inner superheroes in order to defeat a super-villian.

Sarbjit (Biography, Drama, History): Biopic of Sarabjit Singh, a farmer residing at Bhikiwind, Punjab, near the Indo-Pak border, crossed the border after having a couple of drinks. However, he was mistaken to be an Indian spy and was sentenced to capital punishment.

Worthy mentions for movies (which I have already watched): War of the Worlds (2005), The Godfather, Lemony Snicket’s Series Of Unfortunate Events, Forrest Gump, Cast Away, The Dictator, Into The Wild, Watchmen, Finding Neverland, Stardust, Paycheck, World War Z, Minority Report and Star Trek series.

Bonus:

The worst movie I could find on Prime: Journey to the Center of the Earth. Just watch the rating and review on IMDb. I do intend to TRY to watch this.

Conclusion:

I always thought how a Steam like model can be implemented for video industry, and how I would support it if the price is justified. Amazon’s Prime video seems like a good direction to go into and definitely the one streaming service subscribing is required to.