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Scott's Column
A Little Gaming and a Gaming Computer

July 1, 2005
By Scott Lewis

As promised, this month I will cover the gaming machine that i built for a friend. I will also touch on my own gaming. I will also reminisce about a coastal trip.

This Month's Games

I continue to play the original Splinter Cell. The friend I built a computer for found two more games in with his "stuff." Both were on DVD discs. Hmm. One was Splitter Cell Pandora Tomorrow, and the other was a Prince of Persia game. I will get to them later. I still find Splinter Cell (the original) to be far too difficult to play without a walkthrough. However, I have not had to resort to looking up a cheat... yet.

I am also playing Jedi Knight Jedi Academy. Last month I told you I found it frustratingly difficult. I didn't play the game for a while. My sons played it a lot. I started playing it again and did not have any of the issues with difficulty. I don't know why. I find the game decent, but clearly you have to be a Star Wars fan to enjoy the game. My kids can't get enough, and my brother-in-law (who installed it on my computer) has already finished it. At times the games get annoying. Finishing some missions is just a drag.

My overall gaming time is much reduced during the summer months. My wife is a teacher and the kids are home with her. The kids just don't want to go to bed at a decent time, so I can't just slip off to play games after they go to bed. Heck, sometimes I go to bed first. Does that mean I am getting old. Probably!

My Friend's Computer

Here are the final components and what I know about how much he spent:

AMD Athlon 64 3200+ Venice 1GHz FSB 512KB L2           229.00
ASUS A8N-E Socket 939 NVIDIA nForce4 Ultra ATX AMD     132.00
Kingston ValueRAM 512MB DDR SDRAM (PC 3200) 2@41.99     83.98
Leadtek PX6800TD-256M Geforce 6800 256MB PCIe          289.00
Black ATX Desktop Case                                 110.00
160 GB ATA-133 Hard Drive                               39.00
Plextor 16x DVD Burner                                 129.99
Audigy2 Gamer                                          129.99

I don't know the part numbers for some of this because I just clipped Best Buy adds for some of it and let him buy them. The CPU, motherboard, video card and case were all bought at Newegg, and I gave him all the links to order them.

When I showed up to help him put it together he already had a new Sony 19" LCD monitor attached to his old computer as well as a Logitech 5.1 speaker system. I don't know how much he paid for that stuff, but I am guessing his total cost for this computer is probably between $1,700 and $1,800.

It is one heck of a system. It is very fast. All in all we didn't have any trouble putting it together. We did not get the front mount audio jacks and decibel meter working on the case. Why? Glad you asked. Because the Audigy2 sound card did not have connectors to match those from the case. The sound on the motherboard did have the pins to plug into, but we were not using the motherboard sound.

All-in-all my friend is extremely please with his computer. Now I wish I could afford $500 for a new LCD monitor. Maybe for Christmas.

Back To The Coast

My family went on vacation to Rockport, Texas. For the one or two of you that have been with me since the beginning you may recall that the first thing I wrote about in this very column was a trip to Rockport back in 1997. Eight years later and we are back. This is not the first time back in eight years, but it has been a while. This is a regular thing for my family (meaning my wife's family). This time we got a three bedroom condo and packed it with 11 people. 7 adults and 4 kids.

I just had to reminisce when I got back, so re-read that August 1997 column. My family is still pretty serious about their fishing. We did return to the "Big Peer" again. This time I did not take a laptop out on the peer. My wife and I did take our laptops with us. Mine was used to let our boys watch videos during the drive to and from the coast. We tried watching a DVD in bed from my wife's while we were there. We were all too tired and all had fallen asleep only a few minutes into Hitch. My wife also used hers to play music. BTW... when we returned we all watched and thoroughly enjoyed Hitch. I have a feeling we will buy it even though it has been played over and over with our NetFlix rental.

Although I did not take a laptop on the peer, I also did not do much fishing. In fact, I did not plan on doing any fishing. I did not bother to get a fishing license. I did help out with baiting hooks and taking fish off hooks to be thrown back. No keepers where caught. My kids loved it. They were old enough to remember it this time. As it turns out you don't need a fishing license to fish on the "big peer." I don't know why, but I figured what the heck and dropped a line. I manager to catch a red about 8 - 9 inches long. I didn't measure it because it was way to small to keep. I also caught a hard head (some kind of catfish) and two sand trout. All small. I much prefer this to catching fish that you keep... and have to clean and such. Yuck!

Conclusion

That's it for this month. I don't even have an idea for next month. Summers are slow for technology. Summer is for swimming. Good thing the pool is sparkling clear.
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