Doctor Who Season 8 First Full Trailer Featuring Capaldi’s Hypnotic Eyes

Beyond Capladi’s searing retinas, this is our first full look at what we can expect to see this year.  Look out for TONS of Daleks, half faced androids, and plenty of darkness.  Im excited for the shift from the last two Doctors, both in age and in attitude.  Although Matt Smith and my beloved David Tennant had their dark moments, they were very much more up beat and fun loving (generally mind you).  I get the impression that Calpaldi will not be that kind of Doctor, and I look forward to watching this new version find himself.
The new season of Doctor Who premiers on August 23rd.
July 16, 2014 VIEW POST
How to Build a PC - With Misguidedgeek
So, we know you made the decision to build a PC, you picked out the CPU, your motherboard and RAM, and then your case, cooling, power supply, and drives.  All that’s left is to put that that bad boy together!  Im not going to lie, I have been collecting these parts for a few months, just buying components when I had the money, and watching them pile up without being able to put them together was torture.  So, without further preface, LETS BUILD!
POWER SUPPLY


Before we install the mother board and CPU, lets get the power supply and our drives installed in the case.  The power supply is easy, simply slot it in and secure it with either the four screws provided with your case, or those that came with the unit.  I chose the case screws, only because they were black and matched the case.  You do have to make the decision on the orientation of your supply.  I chose to have the fan on the bottom sucking fresh air into the case rather than on top pulling hot air out.
DRIVES



Next I went ahead and slotted my HDD and DVD drives.  You can see the multitude of options to place the HDD, I chose the second slot down in the cage just for added air flow.  You can also see I ran the previously installed front fans through the SDD cage, since for the moment that space will not be used.  The DVD drive slid right in and mounted flush using the tool-less snaps which are a nice feature of the case.  Although both the HDD and DVD drives felt secure, I went ahead and added a couple of the fine threaded screws provided with the case just to be safe.
CPU, RAM AND COOLER MOUNTING


As you can see, using the MB box and provided static bag as a platform, you can go ahead and slot the CPU into the mother board.  Now, there are not many places where you can really ruin anything, but if you bend one of tiny CPU pins, you are done, so be VERY careful when dropping in your processor.  Line up the tiny gold triangle on your processor with the same triangle on the MB and just drop it in, once seated lower the tension rod and you are done.
I installed the RAM next, typically if you are running dual channel ram and have more than two RAM slots, you use the colored slots first, this MB has all black slots so I had to consult my manual to make sure.  I mounted the RAM first because I was worried it may hit the big cooler, mine didnt, but be mindful of this if you are using RAM with high profile coolers.
Installing this cooler was perhaps the trickiest part of the build.  The stock cooler has thermal past pre-placed and all you have to do is snap it in.  With these aftermarket cooler’s, you have to do the work yourself.  The Coolermaster Hyper 212 Evo comes with its own little pack of paste, no need to drop $10 on anything else.  I went with the spread method, and then used the provided tension mount to seat my cooler on top of the CPU.  This was a little tricky, but not too hard.
MOUNT YOUR MOTHERBOARD

 

First off, snap in your IO shield making sure it is oriented correctly, then you can dry fit your MB to make sure it lines up with all the correct standoffs.  As I mentioned in my previous post, the Corsair 200R has all of these pre-installed, I did have to remove one which I think it set up for ITX boards.  Once that is done, if everything looks good, you can then mount your board using the provided screws.  Make sure to only hand tighten these, and then lightly going diagonally across the board first to keep the board from shifting or flexing, you can make them snug after.
CONNECTING… EVERYTHING



Perhaps the most daunting part of the process is connecting everything.  From CPU power, to SATA connections, USB hook ups and fan headers, there are seemingly a never ending bundle of cables that need a place to go.  As you can see above, my case was messy with everything that needed to be run and connected, luckily the case offers many ports to run your assorted cables, and its really not that bad.  Just take it one connection at a time and you will be fine.
TEST IT 

The moment of truth!  Double check your connections, plug it up and hit the power button.  IF everything starts up, mine did not the first time only because I didn’t have the power switch on the power supply turned on, check your power and reset LED’s, and then make sure you boot into your MB bios.  As noted above, my great relief my my PC booted into the bios… after I flipped the power switch.
CABLE MANAGEMENT



Do this AFTER you test to make sure everything is connected and running, its a pain to have to take all of this apart and snip all the cable ties.  How nice does that look!  Noting nicer than a clutter free PC.  Now all thats left is to install your OS and you sir are computing!
This will complete the MisguidedGeek budget build series.  To see all the posts on one page you can click here, or just click the MG PC Build tag below.  Let me know your thoughts and suggestions, as well as any questions you may have about building your own PC.
June 24, 2014 VIEW POST
2014 Steam Summer Sale Begins Today….?
Rumor on the street is that the 2014 Steam Summer Sale is supposed to start any minute now and run through June 30th, although Valve has made no official announcement, this rumor has been reported so much it must be true right?  So, that said… prepare your wallets for the assault!

This will be my first Steam sale and so I for one am very excited/nervous.  As we all know, I am building a gaming computer (spoiler I already built it, final post coming most likely tomorrow), so I am pumped for the opportunity to fill it full of cheap games.  Budget games for a budget system, this was the whole reason I am getting into PC gaming in the first place, bang for your buck, and there is no greater time to do that, then during one of the Steam sales.  If you are REALLY trying to maximize your spending and bargin hunting, load a bunch of stuff into your Steam wishlist and then head over to Is There Any Deal.  There you can import your steam wishlist and get notifications if any of your games go on sale, through steam or 30 other game sites.  Yes, Steam has the big sale, but all these other gaming sites have to keep up, so they ALSO tend to have a lot of great deals to!
For any of you veterans of Steam Sales, do you have any advice for someone, like myself, who has never experienced the craziness brought on by Gabe and his Steam monster?
June 19, 2014 VIEW POST
June 17, 2014 VIEW POST
Is Amazon’s Prime Music a Spotify Killer?

If you dont already know, Amazon just launched its “Prime Music” service for its premium Prime members.  Now, as a Prime member, you just don’t JUST get free two day shipping AND access to a large collection of free streaming TV shows and movies though its prime instant video service, but you also now have access to over a MILLION songs, streaming ad free, for no additional cost… except maybe for the recent $20 price hike in membership fees.
So, that said, is this a Spotify killer?  In short no.  Prime Music doesn’t have the depth (only 1 million songs compared to Spotify’s 20 million) nor does it have the accessibility ($100 a year for Prime when you can get Spotify for free) of the existing champ.  That said, if you are already a Prime member, you have just another reason to justify the now $100 cost of prime, and an additional avenue to get your music fix.  
I played around this morning with the service, and Amazon has made it easy to consume, a skill they have become very good at.  All you have to do is enter into the Prime Music section of Amazon to see a massive list of music and pre-selected play list.  Then simply add what you want, either as a playlist/album/song, launch your library either in the web app or mobile app, and you are good to go.  The music is just added to your library so you can make your own playlist and as a kicker, taking one from Spotify, you can download your music for offline use.  You can do this with Spotify but only as a premium member.
So although Amazon’s catalog is much shallower than Spotify’s, for a Prime subscriber this new music service offers a nice alternative to the king of music streaming.  I’m planning a long road trip this weekend to a family reunion (no wifi, spotty LTE coverage) so Im planning on creating several offline playlist to keep me and the wife entertained.
Have you seen enough to drop Spotify for Amazon’s Prime Music service?
June 12, 2014 VIEW POST
Misguidedgeek Summer Reading List:  Space Operas
I know, I know, I already did this one, but since last summer, I started reading a new series, recommended by a reader on the last post, that I need to share.  Also I have another must read classic that I wanted to get out there, but couldn’t really find the right genre, Space Opera seemed as good a place as any… you will see once I get there.


Classic Must Read:  The Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (1979)
I have come back to the space opera recommendation post in part because I could not find a more appropriate genre for Douglas Adams’ classic (my beat up, dog eared copy of the “ultimate edition” pictured).  What other genre would you use to identify this book?  Comic Science Fiction?  Sure.  Speculative Science Fiction?  Yeah that fits.  But for me, The Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is firmly a space opera.  It’s big, it’s expansive, it’s long, there is melodrama and romance, action and adventure.  You follow the protagonists from the beginning of time to the end of time, from earth to a restaurant at the end of the universe.  What else do you want from a space opera?  

If you have never ventured into the world of Douglas Adams, then you are doing a disservice to yourself and society.  These books can be hard to follow, but once you accept the whimsy of the world that Adams has created, then you can simply sit back and enjoy the crazy, CRAZY ride.  I have spent many a summer day with this mostly harmless tome, trying to figure out the meaning of life, the universe and everything (42), discerning the beauty of perfectly formed fjords, and falling in love again and again with Arthur Dent, Ford Perfect, Marvin the depressed robot, Trillian, and the two headed Zaphod Beeblebrox.  This is one of my all time favorites, by one of the all time greats.

Contemporary Must Read:  The Honorverse (1992 - Present)
The second reason I wanted to revisit the space opera list, was because on my last post, a reader recommended the Honor Harrington series.  I would like to consider myself well versed in most of science fiction, yet David Webber’s Honorverse, as fans call the collection of novels, had slipped below my radar.  It just so happened at this time the first two books of the series, On Basilisk Station (April 1992) and The Honor of the Queen (June 1993) were free, the e-book version anyway, on Amazon.  So I picked them up and I am very happy I did.
The series follows Honor Harrington, crafty and fearless military heroine and officer of the  Royal Manticoran Navy.  This militaristic series examines a large variety of themes from the obvious duty, honor (an oft used pun), chain of command, and relations with civil authority, to broader themes of human rights, gender norms, and xenophobia.
As we all know, I love Star Trek, the adventure, the technology, the crew relationships, yet I haven’t found many book series, including the majority of the Start Trek books themselves, that have been able to balance all of these factors without being down right boring.  All the books I have read so far in this run, I am through the fifth book, have kept me on the edge of my seat from beginning to end.  These are fun, simple reads, perfect for a summer day spent by the pool.
Just to jog your memory below were my other recommendations in the space opera genre:
Foundation Series - Isaac Asimov
 Ringworld and the Known Space Series - Larry Niven 
The Culture - Ian M. Banks (RIP) 
Star Trek New Frontier -  John J. Ordover and Peter David 
Coyote - Allen Steele 
Seeker and the Alex Benedict series -Jack McDevitt 
Xeelee Sequence -  Stephen Baxter’s (be warned its MASSIVE) 
Expanse Series - James S.A. Corey (upcoming TV show)
Dune - Frank Herbert


Let me know if I missed your favorite.  You see MY recommendations, what space operas would you suggest?
June 10, 2014 VIEW POST
Budget Gaming Rig:  Case, Cooling, Power Supply, and Drives
So, as we know already, I decided to build a computer.  First we looked at the tough decision of picking a CPU, then last week we discussed Motherboards and Ram, this week I look at… well everything else.  I thought about breaking this up into multiple post, but really these are all utility parts that are not very exciting, although they can be IF you have a ton of money… which I dont.  Anyway, lets look at what I chose, as well as other options you may want to consider for your build.
THE CASE:  Corsair 200R


In my opinion, I think the 200R is the BEST value case on the market.  It features heavy duty steel construction, a removal plastic front plate, two USB 3.0 front ports, as well as a headphone and microphone jack. 



Remove the side panes, which are nicely constructed, not the super flexy panels endemic to cheaper cases, and you see a spacious interior work area.  On the left picture above, note that there is plenty of room to house a full ATX board (like our ASRock model) and of course anything smaller.  Because this case is tool-less Corsair has pre-installed the motherboard stand offs, which is nice, but for me I had to remove one one of those stand offs not needed to secure my board so make sure to “dry fit” your MB, the last thing you want to do is have a rogue stand off short out your build.  You can also see a nice big cut out on the back, perfect if you are changing out CPU coolers and don’t want to remove the motherboard.  There are also plenty of cut outs and notches to help you with your cable management, but these do not feature the nice rubber edge covers typical of higher end cases.  On the right you can see a really nice storage bay, a configuration I havent seen used anywhere else.  It features four 2.5 HDD bays and then stacked on top are four more SSD bays, all of which are tool-less in design, the drives just snap into place.  This gives you space to run eight total storage drives, in a budget case, which is very nice.  
I fell in love with this case when I first saw it  It is simple enough that it blends in to the office, but sill looks great.  Sharp lines, understated touches, its a well built, good looking case, which I was able to pick up for $49.99.  There are other great budget options with solid reviews, like the Antec Three Hundred Illusion, the Rosewill CHALLENGER, or the Cooler Master Elite 430.  I considered all of these, and more, but most in my price range were geared more towards gamers, the design was too aggressive for my taste.  Another nice thing about my 200R is that is a perfect canvas for modding, so if I do want to drop a window in, or put some handles on it an turn it into a LAN box, I could.  Parts are cheap too, most of the panels are only like $10, so if you mod and dont like, you can get a fresh panel for next to nothing.
COOLING: 2 Cooler Master Sickle Flow Fans, Cooler Master HYPER TX3, and the built in Corsair exhaust fan.
Cooling is important, a hot machine is slow to run and quick to die.  The great thing about the 200R is that it is well ventilated and spacious which allows for some great air flow.  The case comes with a front fan and a rear exhaust, but I replaced the front fan with two Cooler Master after market fans, one over the drive bay, and one pushing air over the motherboard.

 These fans are a slight upgrade over the stock unit, and I noticed a pretty nice drop in temps on the MB and on the CPU after installation.  I caught these on clearance for $3 each, so they were a worthwhile purchase.  I did not replace the back exhaust fan, it seems to be doing a fine job on its own.
For the CPU cooling, I went with the Cooler Master Hyper TX3, this is the little brother of the more popular and powerful Hyper 212 Evo.  

First off, let me say that you do not need an after market cooler.  Your CPU will most likely come with its own heat sink, which will keep your CPU nice and cool… unless you overclock.  Because I am not running a dedicated GPU, to squeeze the most performance I can out of my AMD A-10 6800K process, I am planning on overclocking while gaming, this means I need the extra CPU cooling afforded from an aftermarket cooler.  I was able to pick up this guy for about $20, while the HYPER EVO was $40.  If you can swing it, the EVO is going to give you a little better performance.  Watercooling has also come a long way, no longer do we have the expensive, bulky water tanks that you have to regularly refill, most everything today is self enclosed, and down right affordable, you could grab this Corsair Hydro cooler for $60!
POWER SUPPLY:  Corsair CX500


Simply, this 500W power supply is all I needed, in fact its a little overkill for this build alone, which is only estimated to pull 210W by PC Part Picker, but it gives me the power to run a GPU or another HDD or a SSD should I add them later.  This is 80 plus Bronze rated, its solid, its cool, its all you need.  The only knock against it, is that this model is not modular, but for $30 (after rebate) its hard to beat.
DRIVES:  Asus DVD Drive and Burner and  Segate Barracuda 1TB HDD



Who uses disc drives anymore?  Most likely, if you are gaming today you are using Steam or Origin (ugh) to download your games directly.  Hey, you can even download your OS and install it from a flash drive.  But for me, not having a disc drive for the past few years on my laptop, I have missed the option to burn CD’s for long car trips,or having to rip a program or an old CD from my wife’s computer, put it on a flash drive to move to my laptop.  For $15, its a worth while addition for me.



The Segate Barracuda is not the fasted on the market, but its rock solid, and its cheap, $55 shipped.  For the moment I will be running everything off of this guy, but to boost my performance Im planning on adding a 120 gig or 240 gig SSD to use as my boot drive, and to run games, at which time this 1TB drive (it still blows my mind how cheap storage has become), will just serve as my warehouse, storing all my photos, videos, and music.
So there we have it, all our components are in house, the next post will outline the build itself, and then hope that it works!  If you want to see my build broken down you can check out my PC Part Picker list.  Play around on this site, it not only will make sure your parts are all compatible, but it give you the best price per part.
Let me know what you guys think of the build, and if you have any questions.  Concerning my case, cooling, power supply and dives let mw know what would you have done differently?
June 6, 2014 VIEW POST
June 3, 2014 VIEW POST
Budget Gaming Rig:  Motherboard and RAM
One of the disadvantages of my CPU choice is that there are not a ton of high quality board options out there for the FM2 (or FM2+ for Kavari APUs) socket, so my choices were fairly limited.  I knew I wanted a full ATX board as my build will feature a mid tower and I wanted to take advantage of that space, and all the extra expansion slots that go along with a larger board.  I agonized over this decision for weeks, as really most of the boards from the major manufactures, MSI, Asus, ASRock and Gigabyte had many of the same features, at around the same price point but none of them were a slam dunk in my mind.  So, I “settled” on the ASRock FM2A88X Extreme6+, here is a quick review:

I picked up this MB on sale for $82.99 from Newegg, not a bad price considering the features, and the fact this is considered a “flagship” AMD board by ASRock.  I am not going to spend a ton of time breaking down the boards detailed specs and benchmarks, this has been done very well by other, smarter folks than myself, but I do want to discuss my reasoning as to why I chose this particular motherboard.  First, again was price, this is a budget build, and it just so happened this was a well-reviewed board, with all the things I wanted, again… price.  If say it was Gigabyte’s GA-F2A88X-UP4 or Asus’s A88X-PRO that had gone on sale, then I would have picked those up instead.  But all that said, this motherboard has everything I want, the price was right, it looks good, and price… did I mention price?
ASRock
Briefly, you can see the FM2/FM2+ (meaning it is backwards compatible with both Kavari and older APUs like my Richland) socket in the center right surrounded by 3 fan headers.  Below that you can see the 4 DRAM slots, 24-pin ATX power connector, a USB 3.0 port, then six of the SATA 6 Gbps ports, the dual, replaceable BIOSes (nice), another SATA 6 Gbps port and a BIOS selector switch.  You then have, above the SATA ports, the A88X chipset covered by its heatsink, power and reset buttons coupled with a two-digit debug LED, three USB 2.0 headers, a COM header, a Front Panel audio header, a front panel header and another fan header.  Ok, now for some slightly more fun stuff, we go two PCIe 2.0 x1 small slots two PCI slots, two PCIe 3.0 slots and a final PCIe 2.0 x4 slot.  You can also see up top, left of the the IO, the sound section of the board, featuring ASRock’s “Pure Audio” sound element, which is a slight upgrade over most on board sound chips, a nice bonus for someone not planning on using an audio card immediately, or ever for that matter..

ASRock

Turning out attention to the IO, we have two USB 2.0 ports, a PS/2 combination port, VGA, dual-link DVI-D, a DisplayPort, a HDMI-out, a HDMI-in which is a unique feature, an eSATA 6 Gbps, two USB 3.0 ports, another two USB 3.0 ports, the Ethernet port an optical SPDIF output and audio jacks.  
So what we have in total is a big board, with a top shelf sound chip, plenty of expansion space, four ram slots, TONS of USB ports and the ability to run four monitors without a graphics card.  This is stupid, I know, but another selling point for me was a black IO shield (you will see it later), I bought a black case and I hate those silver stock shields, so having a black one to blend in was a nice (stupid) selling point for me.  I also have the option to add another input HDMI device to run through my monitor, which is great for the day my wife or kids necessitate the removal of my PS3 from the living room.  Not too bad for $83!  My only complaints is that I wish it was a little flashier, I’m not a huge fan of the brown/black board with the gold accents, and I wish I had alternating color RAM slots, as I will go ahead and tell you, I installed my RAM incorrectly the first go around.  Speaking of which…


I have 8 gig of G-Skill Ares SDRAM DDR3 2133, which I found on sale for $62 (BUDGET!), to drop into this mother!  Now, I’m of the opinion that RAM is RAM is RAM, I don’t think there is a ton of functional difference between the no name chips in most pre-built kits, and the super expensive “Nipple Ripping Gamer Edition” sticks the big guys sell, except maybe a slight higher build quality and of course the flashy heat sinks.  That in mind, I picked the G-Skill Ares for two reasons.  1 - they were the cheapest RAM rated to run at 2133 MHz, the highest frequency the Richland APU can run.  Now, since the graphics are being managed by the CPU, not an additional card with its own RAM, you need fast memory, and benchmarking has shown some marked frame rate gains using fast RAM (higher frequency) over the standard 1333 or 1600 MHz.  2 - they are orange… yeah, they flashy orange heat sink got me, but being able to customize your PC is one of the major advantages of building your own rig, and hey, I have a dull board; I needed to add a little flash.
So there you have it, not the most exciting part of the build, but perhaps the components with the most selection.  What you want and want you need in a motherboard and RAM will wildly affect your cost.  Intel boards are going to be, generally, a little pricier which is something to be aware of it you choose an Intel CPU, but they offer a MUCH wider selection and higher build quality.  You can spend several hundred dollars on RAM alone.  If you really need 32 Gig of “Teeth Breaking Ultra Edition RAM” then pick up a couple packs of Corsair’s Vengeance series, but that’s probably more than you need (I promise), also be careful those high heat sinks don’t interfere with your CPU cooler.  For me though, 8 Gig is a nice sweet spot, and thanks to a great motherboard choice, I have plenty of room both to grow my RAM and expansion cards should I need to, or choose to later.
Let me know your thoughts about my selections, or reasons for building in the first place, in the comments!  What would you have recommended or done differently?
May 30, 2014 VIEW POST
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