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Everything posted by SamuraiGaijin

  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.
  16. Zabrak Vibroblade - free melee weapon finesse - awesome for low-level Exile (assuming you're going the DEX route vice the STR route). Micropulse Blaster - definitely the handgun of choice for light-fighters, unless you prefer "Improved Critical" feats, then the Mandalorian Disintegrator is absolutely the way to go. I just finished a game where I got zero upgradable robes (except the Ossus Keeper Robes), but three suits of Electromesh Armor and one Electromesh Suit (my party looked like they were in KOTOR I).
  17. Story - I'm not at all surprised that this has received the most votes. Character Development is a huge part of the stories, but ultimately the stories do a good job of tying everything together. I can honestly say that I was a bit surprised with the main plot twist in K1 the first time I played. The ability to try out different classes and DS / LS alignments significantly adds to the reply value, but lately (in the past year or so) when I find myself playing K1 or K2, I fall back to my favorite class combinations, just like reading a good old book. I know the stories backwards and forwards, but I enjoy watching them play out. Music - nice, but not great - some are worthy of Star Wars, but none really have the emotion of John Williams. Graphics - recently built a new rig (Conroe E6600, nVidia 8800 GTS 320) and this is the first time I've been able to play with max settings - in some cases, it's almost like seeing the world for the first time. The games looked good before, but now - wow. I wish there was more variety in blaster bolts, I wish that most of the armor in K2 wasn't brightly colored, and while the robes in K2 are better, they're still not great. Environments - I can imagine that true 3D environments (where you can go up stairs, elevation is important in a fight, you could use a jetpack, etc.) would make things much more complicated - and I'm glad they focused more on the story than the mechanics. They were diverse, visually appealing, and fit the character of the location and story. Character Development - integral to the story - I enjoyed the banter between the K1 characters (once you realize that everyone has something to say to almost everyone else, and each character has a side quest, it's great incentive to bring different characters along for the adventure) - I wasn't impressed as much with the character interaction in K2, but it was the source of some of the best dialog in the game. Influence was cool but I'm not sure it was finished - in fact there are lots of aspects of K2 that I know or suspect were unfinished. Cinematics - some were worth watching, but the quality was not very impressive.
  18. I had been pricing upper/high-mid range components for a complete new build for about six months (it's been time for an upgrade for longer than that) ... when the 8800 GTS 320 hit the streets, quality 680i became reasonably priced, and most of Vista's initial release pains were realized, I figured that it was time to take the plunge. With the exception of some Vista compatibility issues with some of the bundled nvidia software, I'm exceptionally happy with my brand new Antec 900/680i/C2D E6600/8800 GTS 320/2GB DDR 800/4x HDD RAID 5/Vista Home Premium rig - all for about $2000. I know I could have knocked this down to about $1000 by going with less reputable PCB brands, single HDD, older tech in a few areas, etc. I bought what I wanted - solid, reliable, long-term performance. I know I'll check the prices again in a month or so, and notice that I could have saved a few bucks here or there, and that some new gear has a better price/performance ratio, etc. Unless "a few bucks" becomes "a few hundred bucks" for the same performance - or my rig has a meltdown (unlikely, I'm not overclocking anytime soon) - I'll still be very happy. If you're ready to take the plunge and upgrade or build a new rig, now's not a bad time - just my biased opinion.
  19. Shop around, see what you like, get something with the inputs you need and 1080i and you get a monitor with roughly four times the real estate for about half the relative cost.
  20. No - you'll almost certainly be more than happy with 550W. Another brand to check out (relatively long history of quality ...) is silverstone. 650 Watts for $120 ... http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx...N82E16817163108 560 Watts for $105 ... http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx...N82E16817163112 Or if you need modular cables ... 600 Watts for $120 ... http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx...N82E16817163109
  21. It's been said before, but an RPG along the lines of Neuromancer would be very cool ... even based on the locales in Neuromancer, if Gibson were willing to participate in the development, but it's hard to imagine a near-future "cyberpunk" world without thinking of Neuromancer - it's definitely my favorite of the genre. The biggest trend in RPG's that I have so far avoided (and most likely will continue to avoid) is the MMO aspect. I don't have time. I probably won't until I retire, unless there's an MMORPG out there that will be friendly to those of us who can only dedicate a few hours a session, and maybe only once or twice a week. Say what you want about Micro$oft ... I like their simulators ... MechWarrior 4: Mercenaries and Freelancer will remain on my "must play" list ... I'd love to see sequels. An RPG that had potential to branch into other genres might be interesting - start out as a normal guy who ends up being able to be the hero of a Space Sim, Tactical Shooter, Real Time Strategy, etc. would be interesting, but each branch would need to be a stand-alone game that you could drag your avatar into. Games that try to combine gaming styles usually aren't very good at either.
  22. I know there are many that disagree, but I believe that the prophecy was misinterpreted in the means by which Anakin would bring balance to the force (and then bring peace to the galaxy). Balance to the force ... when he and Palpatine were done with the Jedi, there were only two Jedi and two Sith Killing Palpatine and ending the empire ... peace to the galaxy
  23. I recommend dumping the 256 MB sticks altogether and going with either 1x 1 GB or 2x 512 MB sticks ... the performance boost you'll see will be due to the greater memory capacity. While it's possible that your motherboard supports different capacities in different slots, without knowing more, I couldn't tell you for sure. Depending on your operating system (I'm guessing WinXP), 1 GB should be plenty ... if you use any major memory hogs (photo, audio, or video editing, for example) or if you're considering keeping the computer for another few years and/or upgrading to Vista (and your mobo supports it) you might want to consider 2 GB. (Which is still pretty cheap at about $150 for 2x 1GB sticks.)
  24. I thought there would be some way to determine the memory type installed in Windows, but I was wrong ... The easiest way is to dig it out of the manual that came with your computer (or motherboard, if it's a custom rig). The next easiest way is to get the brand / model / serial number etc. off the memory itself, google it, and go from there. If it's an older computer, you might be better off googling the motherboard brand / model / serial number, and figuring out what the highest capacity / fastest RAM it can support is. I found this ... http://www.upgradememory.com/mmstart.cfm ... which supposedly can ID your memory type (it successfully ID'd my computer and the amount of memory installed, but not my memory type - and admitted as much, so it was honest, if not successful, for me).
  25. What realy let me down ... - music - I didn't think the music was bad, but it wasn't ground-breaking (Star Wars won the Oscar because it was great music, and the concept of a classical score throughout the movie was not the norm) - younger audience - with exception of Episode I, I didn't think this was really the case - heck, even Disney and Pixar animated fils have "inside jokes" for us old farts - acting /writing / directing - I generally agree that the acting wasn't so much the problem as the directing. George is most beneficial to a project when he's "hand's off" - case in point - Episode V Worst performance ... - Hayden Christensen - then again, I don't know if anyone could have pleased us with a the Anikan / Vader transition - I'm sure there are some young actors out there that could have done a better job, but Star Wars fans - especially the older ones - came in with a preconceived notion of how the character "should have been" - the problem is complex, and I'm not sure the blame lays squarely on Hayden - Natalie Portman - while there were times when I felt like she was there purely for window dressing (Episode II), I can't say I was disappointed. - Ian McDiarmid - he had some of the best lines in the trilogy "we'll be watching your career with great interest", for instance ... Palpatine was supposed to be mysterious - it's hard to pull off mysterious when you're not the main character. If you're doing your job right, the audience doesn't really know your motives ... if you're doing it poorly, the audience wonders why the others haven't figured it out yet Worst Ideas ... - creatures, aliens, technologies - if anything, I think GL went overboard, but the only true disappointment was Jar Jar Binks (I did take some pleasure in how easily he was manipulated by Palpatine in Episode II). - character development - it's hard to fault a prequel too much here ... you already know how the story will end - story setup - I figured out as a Game Master for the Star Wars Role Playing Game that there is a formula to making a story "feel" like Star Wars. I don't think they succeeded ... but as I said before, Star Wars fans are a demanding bunch ... ... "do or do not, there is no try" ... "You want the impossible" ... "I ... I don't believe it." ... "That is why you fail."
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