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About SamuraiGaijin

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    (4) Theurgist

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    Newport, RI
  1. I've got a smaller, older VAIO (VGN-S560P), and upgrading the RAM to 2GB was the best single upgrade I've ever made to a PC. I'm still using it with no complaints. Be sure and shop around for the RAN ... I found mine for about 1/4 the price it would have cost me to upgrade through Sony. It's very unlikly that you'll notice any extra heat from the RAM - most of mine comes from the CPU and GPU
  2. The Master Jedi Defense feats (automatically earned as you increase in level) eventually overcome the bonus for wearing the Jedi Armor rather than Jedi Robes ... you won't get an overlay, but ... pro's and con's with each.
  3. I really like the Sentinel-Weapon Master/Marauder build too. I like that high skills can actually net you more experience this time around, and at higher levels, it's fun to max out the dual-wield and lightsaber feats. I generally focus more on dexterity (and finesse) than strength, and in the grand scheme of things, the difference between +1 and +5 strength is not that significant at 30+ level, when your lightsaber has +40 or more to damage from crystals, upgrades, etc.
  4. If you didn't upgrade Mandalore's melee feats, shame on you - the man is a tank with a double-vibro. If you haven't jedi-fied Mira and equipped her with a lightsaber, you're probably in serious trouble. Use Visas as your primary character for the fight - focus on buffs first (hopefully she's got master-level energy resistance, heal, & focus). This is a tough fight if you're not prepared for it.
  5. I usually have Mira and Atton set with the "ranged" AI, LS finesse, Blaster Deflect, Jedi Defense, and dueling - Atton's usually maxed on Critical & Sniper and Mira on Flurry & Rapid - they're "Blaster Jedi" until something gets within melee range. Handmaiden and Disciple are tanks - "jedi support" (or "aggressive" if Kreia's in the party), equipped with a lightsaber (double or dual wield for Handmaiden) Bao-Dur, I usually don't convert until the very end (I don't bring him along enough to trigger the right influence), but he's not *all* that bad with fully upgraded (plating and regen) medium armor, dueling (which got maxed early to counter his crappy abilities), the biggest blaster rifle you can find, a single lightsaber, deflect and jedi defense, and set on "ranged". I usually don't level up Handmaiden or Mira until they're ready to be converted - and sending Mira, Handmaiden, and Visas to the tomb of Freedon Nad is just too cool.
  6. I was building a new gaming computer, and figured "why not - if it sucks that bad, I can always format and install XP" I haven't done much of anything with it other than tinker with Vista and install and play games - the only compatibility dissappointment I have so far is KOTOR I. However, I still stand by my statement that there's no compelling reason to upgrade to Vista right now.
  7. Everyone is right - there is no compelling reason to upgrade a WinXP box to Vista, but if you must, I also recommend a clean install. (So either slick the HDD or get a new one.) If your friend bought the "upgrade" version of Vista, you can still install it and register it properly on a fresh HDD - install it once, don't register, then install it again.
  8. Faster-rated memory (667, for example) will work fine with a motherboard that's rated for slower operation (533). If the choice is between 2x 1GB 667 or 533, go with the 667 (because, as you say, it's cheaper).
  9. While using a video game as the primary reference for a paper of any sort may be frowned upon, especially since the teacher / professor probably has not played the game, the idea has merit and reflects the amount of thought and work that went into creating the game. What might actually be acceptable would be using the core Star Wars novelizations (not the movies, and not the expanded universe). The same could be said of any well-developed fictional society - names/places/series that come to mind are Middle Earth, Wheel of Time, the Star Trek galaxy (or even just the social structure of one ship/station), Heinlein's or Asimov's Future. Well-known and establish authors (Tolkein, Heinlein, and Asimov for example) would probably be easier to swallow for a more traditional prof. I don't read fiction as much as I used to, so I'm having a hard time coming up with too many more examples, but I'd bet that an understanding teacher would encourage examination of a fictional world in this manner. The trick is to find a series of novels (just one isn't going to cut it) whose story is not just the characters, but how the characters affect the world around them and vice versa.
  10. You don't see too much variation between most lightsaber hilts (aside from the obvious two - Dooku and Maul) other than cosmetic (Palpatine's flashy gold hilt) or comfort/utility (different gripping surface styles). When comparing lightsabers to swords - the overlying themes in most sword hilts are comfort/balance (how does it feel in the hand), reliability (how well does it stay in the hand and keep the blade aligned - the latter is not a problem for lightsabers), and defense (how well does it protect the hand - also not a problem for lightsabers in the movies where the "cortosis weave" blade is not an issue). Incorporating the cortosis weave into some form of handguard would be interesting and would probably lead to different lightsaber styles (especially those that use two blades - one to catch an opponent's lightsaber and one to attack with, for example). As most of the opponents a Jedi faces do not use a lightsaber, defense against blasters is at least as important, if not more so. While I would have liked to have seen some variation in the hilts available for the lightsaber you build (especially) and find in the game, it wouldn't have changed my decision to purchase the game. That level of customization would be nice, but it's not necessary - the development team had bigger things to fix than this.
  11. I haven't bought a computer (with exception of laptops) in over ten years ... my first custom rig was about 7 years ago. Since then I've built three other computers for me, and over a dozen for friends and family. I wouldn't even recommend a factory box to my mom (who literally does nothing but web surfing and e-mail).
  12. The proprietary bloatware that the laptop came with ("Sony" or "VAIO" software for darn near everything media related) was a complete waste of HDD space and boot-up time for the 15 minutes it took me to figure out I didn't need them and to kill them with "Add/Remove Programs". So, I'm not sure what "VAIO Interface rubbish" you're specifically talking about. The driver support has been pretty slow to update, but I don't know if that means that new drivers are released infrequently because the tech support is slow or because the drivers shipped in good shape. As I haven't had any problems with it so far, I'd bet the latter, though. Yep - it's a sexy little piece of hardware ... it turns heads, but doesn't scream "non-conformist" or "cute" like an iBook. Performance in such a small package (for the portables ... if you're shopping for a desktop-replacement, shop around) comes at a premium, though.
  13. The above concerns are not valid ... the front side bus speed (how fast the CPU talks to the Mobo) and memory speed are asynchronous (not linked) on the 680i or any other current-generation motherboard. That said ... (1) most 680i motherboards only claim to work up to DDR2 800 (PC6400) ... but higher speed RAM might work (2) the Core2Duo FSB runs at the same frequency as PC8500 (1066 MHz) ... so I'd bet whoever you friend was talking to is mixing up his apples and oranges. For the best chance of success ... I recommend using whatever memory best fits your friend's price range that has been tested to work with the mobo he's picked ... for example, on the ASUS site, the "QVL Download" button on the left of the screen gives you a list of certified memory and what modes they work in. My 2x 1GB sticks of Corsair XMS DDR2 800 (PC 6400, CL5) work great in dual channel mode (so far) with my E6600 and BFG 680i. I haven't tried overclocking yet (no real need to) and can't justify the price premium for faster RAM (especially when there's no guarantee that it will operate at the rated clock speed), so I don't know how faster RAM compares.
  14. As the proud owner of a Sony VAIO VGN-S560P, the only issue I had was that it came with only 512MB RAM ... and DDR2 was a bit difficult to find when I first bought it (a year and a half ago) ... luckily I had a trip to Hong Kong coming up, and upping the RAM to 2GB is the only change I've had to make (other than software updates). It's a bit dated, but still plenty of hardware to keep up with everything I throw at it ... except games ... it can run most games at minimum quality settings. It was probably a bit overpriced, for the performance, but zero problems and good portability have been well worth it. I find the "less than 1kg" data point hard to swallow, but then again, if you remove the battery and DVD drive then I'd bet mine isn't too far off that mark. You do pay a premium for the smaller form factor and Sony style, but I'd buy another VAIO - mine's been nothing but goodness (after I upped the RAM).
  15. RAM: generally speed (DDR2 533 vs 667 vs 800 vs 1067, etc.) is more important than latency (CL4 / CL5 / CL6). - In general, I have always bought the fastest memory that my motherboard officially supports, but I usually buy performance for gaming. - If you're planning on doing any media editing, you probably want to go with 2x 2GB sticks now (so that you have room to upgrade later). - If all you're going to use the computer for is typical web surfing, document crunching, and gaming - 2x 1GB is more than enough (for now). MOBO: It depends on your budget, but right now I'm helping a friend build a low budget (i.e.: about $1000) gaming box, and the nForce 650i SLI looks really good right now. I'm very happy with my 680i, but the differences between the two probably don't justify the premium price. VGA: Any decent modern card requires external (i.e.: not from the slot) power. That said, while there are performance gains to be had with SLI, you're generally better off going with one more expensive card than two cheaper cards - unless you plan on multi-monitor (i.e.: more than two) ops. (My friend, for example, wants to set up a three-monitor rig for MS Flight Sim X.) PSU: I recommend more than 500W and concur with the modular cable suggestion ... I'm very happy with my SilverStone SST-S60F (600W Modular). If there is any component in you box where you cannot afford to cut corners, it's the PSU.
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