Monthly Archives: October 2010

What Am I Looking For At BlizzCon?

BlizzCon starts in just a few hours.

The BlizzCon Musical Act

As we did last year, we have ordered the DirecTV Pay-Per-View at our house.

After viewing last year’s event, my daughter wanted us to go to BlizzCon this year.  Unfortunately, I was unemployed about the time the tickets went on sale, so thought we probably had better uses for our money.  Not that I could have gotten tickets.  How quickly did they sell out this year?

Anyway, after a flurry of deletions by my lovely wife, there is space on the (apparently non-upgradeable R15 model) DirecTV DVR for 20 hours of BlizzCon.

But what do I want to see this year?

Sure, watching panels is good.  Hearing from the people who make the games, and who are obviously very passionate about the games they make, is always good for me.

And the light bits are always fun, like the costume and dance contests.  Jay Mohr is supposed to be back again as MC of the contests.  He is a hoot to watch.

Then there is the live Tenacious D concert.  Even my wife might sit down and watch that.

But what else do I expect?  What else would I want?

World of Warcraft

Cataclysm is a little over a month away, so what can they really talk about that we don’t already know?  I mean, if you’re hard core enough to go to BlizzCon, you’re probably in the beta (unless you’re Wolfshead) or at least you’ve immersed yourself in what is coming.   The 4.0.1 patch has already dropped, so we have the new talent trees.  So what else is there.

I Expect:

  • Cataclysm Cheerleading
  • A lot of air time for the Cataclysm trailer
  • More details with few surprises
  • Maybe some new shiny announced for the Blizzard Store
  • Some excuse about why the World of Warcraft Magazine Fall issue isn’t in my hands yet
  • Goblin and Worgen dancers in the dance contest

I Want:

  • Something huge pulled out of the hat, a surprise they’ve kept under raps about Cataclysm
  • A great big hint about the next expansion
  • More bank slots (I always want more bank slots)

StarCraft II

This just released a couple of months back.  I still don’t own it, so my interest is low.  We were moaning at the office about how we could actually play the original StarCraft on machines we had at the office.  With StarCraft II, that just isn’t reality.  No LAN play an heavy system requirements… at least relative to the machines on which we work… which are from about 2004.

I Expect:

  • StarCraft II Cheerleading
  • Talks about upcoming patches
  • Ladder talk
  • Downloadable content for the Blizzard Store

I Want:

  • A date for the next episode
  • Details about the next episode (Zerg, please)
  • A price cut, LAN play, and a pony while I’m wishing

Diablo III

Here is the game about which we know the least, which gives Blizzard the opportunity to tell us something we don’t know.  Don’t blow it Blizz.

I Expect:

  • More game play videos
  • A whole lot of “here’s what we’re doing” panel time
  • Talk about RealID integration, and Facebook, and all that crap
  • The fifth and final class announced and demonstrated – If we get only this, it will be enough

I Want

  • A date, dammit.  I know it will be off by at least 90 days, but give me something
  • Some way to play without logging into Battle.net
  • Talk about how the Diablo III platform will be open to mods, with tools and real support, which they should have spent time doing for Diablo II over the last decade

Other Games

Of course, there is some other huge project going on at Blizzard.  But there has already been a denial from Blizzard that they will have any sort of announcement about this project.  Still, they might just be playing coy, and there isn’t a lot else to get us worked up about this time around that I can see.

I Expect:

  • Nothing

I Want:

  • A hint
  • Several hints
  • Maybe some anagrams
  • A teaser video

We shall see.

Of course, I’ll hear about any big news long before I see it on my recorded copy of BlizzCon.  I’ll be at work, and not in front of the TV, so anything really newsworthy will probably be a Yahoo headline before I see it.

But even when you’ve read the reports, which are always filtered through somebody elses’ perspective, it is nice to see the announcement on your own.

What will we see at BlizzCon?

Crafting Adventures in Dried-Hamlet

Just to see who is paying attention, all proper nouns in this post will be presented in anagram form.

[By popular… or angry… request, a non-anagram version of this post is available here.]

(Anagrams courtesy of I, Rearrangement Servant.)

(Obvious Extra Credit: Figure out all the anagrams.)

Yes, it was again late in the eve of another Tau Drays and we were still hanging out in Gout Hurts, warming up with a little music while trying to avoid the gaze of the ever-disrobing Cheered Rift Idler.

And in the usual course of things I went over to Teeth Fault to see what new songs had been added since our last adventure.

I was quite happy to find a two part version of Teat Bib Whir, a classic of the Jalapeno Fire Ferns. (That should be a real band, not just an anagram!)

We occupied ourselves with that for a bit, then tried a version of A Hero Fantasized Why.

Music in Gout Hurts

Though written by La Spumoni, I always associate the song with Let Shebang. (I had a friend in college who took one course merely because there was a girl who looked like An Ass Snuff Ho in the class.)

We played for a bit while waiting for Alien Ed to make her way up to Gout Hurts and for La Catheter to log on. He was logged into Pesky, but didn’t seem to be inclined to make an appearance in Dried-Hamlet.

That was a shame, because we had some high adventure in mind. Adventure of the sort that Great Scar mentioned recently, of a sort where you end up heading some place you have no business being at your level. We would just have to do it sans La Catheter.

So the line up for the night was:

  • Glen Fakir – level 29 elf Minstrel
  • Red Wigs – level 30 human Champion
  • Alien Ed – level 30 elf Rune Keeper

with a special guest appearance by one of my alts:

  • Um No – level 28 dwarf Guardian

We were going to head out of the Anon Dells for a bit, as each of us had a crafting quest to go after.

Crafting in the game is surprisingly relevant and useful, at least on the group level (I do not have the patience to try to make money at it at the Aeon Ouch Suit… wait, is that a proper name or not?), but to really make the best stuff you have to stretch out beyond the crafting in your current level range and get access to the tier above you. That unlocks the ability to get critical successes when crafting in your own level range.

And that meant, for us, a pack of level 40 crafting quests to conquer in zones comfortably above out current levels.

On the danger side, we would be threading our way through areas where the mob ran from level 35-40. But on the plus side, in LOTRO at least, as a group mobs 8-10 levels above you are surmountable, as long as they are taken individually. Adds are death.

The first course was east from Gout Hurts in the Anon Dells and into the Short Walls. Therein lay the goals for a level 40 cooking quest that both Glen Fakir and Red Wigs needed as well as a level 40 metalsmith quest that Um No needed to advance his armor crafting skill.

We decided to do the cooking quest first. The target, a boar (of course) of extraordinary magnitude, lay beyond the Inbred Fun Roof in the Legality Van that is off to one side of the Grim Ho Ho.

Getting to the Inbred Fun Roof was not a big problem. We stuck to the main road, diverting only to pick up the stable master route at Death Horn.

However, as I’ve mentioned before, unlike in the books, crossing the Inbred Fun Roof only puts you in more danger, not less. The path up the far side is patrolled by bears, lynx, and giant mosquito-like flying insects that look like they could drain a hobbit dry with a single prod of their… blood sucking… prod… thingy.

We had to dismount and fight our way up into the Grim Ho Ho, one fuzzy creature at a time.

Once securely in the Grim Ho Ho, we had to scout out the Legality Van, for only therein lay the porcine pal with whom we had come to play. It was not too far off the main path. But danger lay in the Legality Van.

First there were the giant signature level lizards, who were around level 40. Signature is somewhere between solo and elite. Possible to take on, but tougher than the standard mob. We worked our way carefully around them. Carefully and successfully. Did they reduce the aggro radius of mobs in the game when it went free to play? I seem to be skirting danger more successfully since that change.

And then there were the elite dragons. We gave them a very wide berth when possible, diminished aggro radius or not.

We were able to find our way, and soon the message went out, “Sighted Swine, Sank Same.”

Carving Up Porky

The pig was butchered, producing just enough meat to fulfill the quest needs of both Red Wigs and Glen Fakir.

A boar has at least two flanks, right?

We then retraced our steps back out of the Legality Van.

Already in the Grim Ho Ho, we decided we should take the opportunity to visit Level Rind. (Truth denied for lack of a “g” I guess.) We could hardly pass up the chance to visit the home of Lo Nerd and Dong Filler. Surely you recall Dong Filler, who faced the Lag Bro at the fall of Noodling and who himself fell, but later returned after some time in the Nasal Mosh Fold in No Rival. I mean, there can’t be two Dong Fillers, right? He’s got to be the same one.

So through the rest of the Grim Ho Ho we rode until we reached Level Rind. (Dim Rails, in the elven tongue.)

Behold, Level Rind!

There we stopped for a short time, looked around a bit, got our bearings, then headed to the stable master.

Wait, Those Names Don't Look Right...

Our first ever visit to Level Rind was short.  We had tasks still to accomplish. It was time to ride back to Death Horn.

Through The Woods Again

Once there, I logged out Red Wigs and brought in Um No.

The quest for Um No involved wights up in Thane Rant On, in the north part of Short Walls. To reach that, we had to take some narrow paths, so there was no sneaking around things. As with the path from the Inbred Fun Roof to the Grim Ho Ho, it was a creature by creature slog.

We reached the area of the wights and spotted one immediately. This level 38 shade put up a tough fight, and it was Alien Ed’s huge damage output that saved the day. Um No was able to hold aggro, but only just. But our victory was hollow. The item Um No needed did not drop. The crafting quest drops are usually close to 100%, but not this one it seems. We would need another wight.

The next one we spotted was level 40. Given the tough fight the last one put up, we were a bit cautious. We made sure we had buffs going, then headed in.

The two levels, putting the wight 12 levels above Um No, was telling. Um No landed very few blows, and since a lot of his aggro management relies on connecting with his shield, the wheels started to come off the situation. Glen Fakir tasted defeat and the wight was advancing on Alien Ed who was putting out a veritable storm of magic while Um No tried to get the attention of the wight.

Hardcore Wight

Two taunts in a row hit and the wight turned on Um No. Meanwhile, Glen Fakir revived and rejoined the fight. The wight was slain and the item for the quest was recovered.

That left only the quest of Alien Ed, which was over in Better Girdles. We decided that recalling to Beer was in order. (Beer, the shortest, easiest anagram in the whole post. You at least got that one, right?)

Um No retired for the evening and Red Wigs came out again as we rode up to Better Girdles.

There Alien Ed found that her quest was rather simple. It was not the quest to access the next tier, which takes place up near Rag Man, but just the quest for superior workbench access. We’ve seen that one before, where you gather some wood down in the river below Better Girdles and then patch up the bridge. I did that quest with Tin Eater a while back.

So while Alien Ed collected wood, Glen Fakir and Red Wigs went back to music, playing a little Rubber Hotels.  Mommie In Gloves didn’t sound quite right, but we were only playing two out of the three parts.

Which One Is Doe Owl?

Once Alien Ed was done, we rode on to Idle Nest, which is home to the crafting hall with superior workbenches. It is also one of the most convenient crafting halls in the game as it has a vault keeper and a mail box close to hand.

There, I closed up the night with a solo version of Ill Avatar Grime, which actually drew in a few role players.

Take Us Out Red Wigs!

And that was about it.  I didn’t even get to make fun of our pal Tad Ragas.

Next week, iambic pentameter!

Oh, and maybe how the game looks on the new machine with DX11 and such.

We’ll see if Nub Rite has anything about which to brag.

The New Machine… It Lives!

In an amazing bit of shipping magic, everything I ordered from Amazon.com on the evening of Monday, October 11th arrived on my doorstep on Friday the 15th.  This despite the fact that I opted for free shipping and that my order shipped from four different warehouses and one 3rd party vendor and came via three different shipping companies. (UPS, FedEx, and the US Post Office.)

Actually, there were three exceptions.

I went out and bought the motherboard and the case at Fry’s during the week.  They were having a sale that made it worth paying the sales tax.  That was two of the exceptions.

And then there was the CPU.  The most expensive piece, the main focus of the assembly, the first thing you install, the star of the show.

As late as Thursday morning it was still listed as “shipping soon” at Amazon.com.  I figured I would have to wait until the following weekend to start putting things together.

Then it was suddenly flagged as shipped with an estimated arrival of Saturday the 16th.  And sure enough, Gabe, our regular postman, dropped it by the house Saturday morning. Go Amazon!  And Gabe!  Building could commence!

Of course, the first thing you have to do is also the most nerve wracking.

You have to put the CPU on the motherboard.  You have to take the most expensive item, a small square worth $300 and mount it on the 1,366 pin array on the $200 motherboard.

And the documentation for both the CPU and the motherboard pretty clearly say, “Don’t fuck this up or you’re screwed!”

Considering that the last time I mounted a CPU on a motherboard it had few enough pins that you could reasonably expect to be able to count them, I was a bit nervous.  I spread everything out on the kitchen table, tried to follow the nearly similar instructions from the two guides, and… heh… stuck it in.

Intel Core i7 Installed

It seemed to slot in okay.  But, of course, you don’t know if you’ve screwed up until you put everything else together and turn on the system.

Then came the only other tricky part, installing the CPU cooler.  And this was only made difficult by the woefully inadequate documentation.

Well, it wasn’t the worst documentation ever, but it seemed to skip over the bits where I had questions.  And even the video on their site cut between scenes right before I could get an answer to my worry.

Still, I gleaned enough to mount the giant heat sink on the CPU.

It Also Gets HBO

You can see the tiny stock Intel heat sink in the background.  And that table cloth is 100% cotton.  No static.

After that is was pretty easy.  The case was nice and roomy, and only one cable had a problem reaching.

And when I finally had everything together and plugged in, it came up on the first go.  My fear of an afternoon spent finding the flaw abated.

The final parts manifest was:

Total price: $1,119

The rebate about cancels out the sales tax, so I’ll take that as a wash.

It turned out that I had a good Antec 550 watt power supply sitting in my old Alienware case from when I had to upgrade to install that ATi x1950 board in it.  That card was a beast, arguably the fastest AGP video card available, with two power connectors and a loud fan.  It went back to the shop twice.  It and my two dead 8800 GT boards are the reason I am staying away from high-end video cards from now on.

And since I could drop the expense of a power supply, plus I found a cheaper RAM kit (no big heat sinks on them, but oh well), I opted for the GTS450 video card.  DX 11, low power requirements, runs cool, and is faster than my GTS250 to boot.

I know, bigger, badder cards are only another $30-50 up the food chain, but I’ve had such good luck with mid-range cards, so I’m sticking to them.  The longest lasting, most reliable cards I’ve had have been the nVidia GT6600, the ATi 800XL, and my current GTS250.

So there is my system.

Granted, if I decide I want to go nuts over clocking or go the SLI route with video cards I will need a bigger power supply, but for now I’m okay.

The system is running.  The Cooler Master HAF 922 case is awesome.  It is big, as bit as my old Alienware case, but it is nice.  The big fans in it move a lot of air quietly.  If I had thought about it at the time, I would have installed the CPU heatsink facing up, as there is a great big 200mm exhaust fan at the top of the case above the CPU.  My only worry is that I am going to spill my drink down that big grill in the top of the case.

Now I’ve got to reload software and get used to Windows 7.  It seems to be going okay so far.

How good will DirectX 10 (and 11) look?

Contest Prizes Paid Out

Just in case you were wondering, I managed to get all the prizes out last night.

Ed McMahon I'm Not

I even think I got the contracts for the PLEX done correctly.

Do I have a contract for you?

Not that I expect that anybody would think I failed to fulfill my part of the bargain.  I personally always wonder how and when contests actually distribute their bounty.  Here is how I did it.  It looks like accounting.

(Let me know if I sent a prize to the wrong person.)

EVE Online Screen Shot Contest Winners

The time has come to announce the winners of the EVE Online Screen Shot Contest.

The top two entrants will each win a PLEX, a 30 day Pilot License EXtension, which will give them 30 days of game time… or around 330 million ISK if they decide to sell the PLEX in-game.

Another group of entries will each earn 10 million ISK for submitting the best picture for a given list of categories.

About picking the winners

I had 112 pictures to choose from, entered by 26 individuals.

It was not easy to choose.   And the choosing was complicated by letting people enter five pictures, but then only allowing a single prize to go to any given person.  Some people sent me pictures that were contenders in five different categories.  Heck, you will see a few pictures that won that could easily have covered a couple of categories.  Conflicts in with people being in more than one category caused me to scrap the Rookie Ship category, as the people who were contending for that had winners in other categories.

In the end, once I picked a winner, all the other shots from that person had to be set aside.  So, aside from the two overall prizes, you might view the rest as the best picture that was qualified to win.

That said, there are some pretty awesome pictures on the list from a game that can really make you feel like you’re looking through a window into space.

Now on to the winners.

Continue reading

Do You Care About My Side Bar?

You know, the side bar.  That column of stuff on the right.  Over there.

 

over there

 

Do you ever look at it?

I ask this for a reason.

Up until this point, the things on that side bar have been mostly for me.  I use or look at most everything there.  Things that I do not look at or use tend to go away sooner or later.

So if you never look at it, I’ll understand.  It wasn’t necessarily meant for you.

But now I have something there that is pretty much solely for people other than me.

There it is, a little ways down, under the heading of “Posts From Other MMO Blogs.”

I’m looking for a better title, by the way.  Feel free to suggest one.

In the past I have always appreciated those “posts from other blogs” posts that people like Syp, Tipa, and Gordon do on a regular basis.  I have often thought that I should do something like that, but aside from a single parody, I have never managed it.

I’m too introspective I suppose.  Or selfish.  I am always secretly jealous when one of my posts isn’t included on those summaries.  But then I am always secretly jealous when somebody else wins the Nobel Peace Prize or gets crowned Miss America.

Anyway, I decided to finally act on the impulse to point out other blogs posts on a regular basis, but in my own lazy way.

What that new item presents is a selection of links to blog posts on which I have clicked the “share” button in Google Reader.

Google Reader will let you publish an Atom Feed of your shared selections which, due to the fact that WordPress.com doesn’t seem to like Atom, I ran through FeedBurner to turn into an RSS feed so that it would display nicely and in a timely manner there in the side bar.

It is easy and quick for me.  It has a prominent place on my blog.  It isn’t as good as a post when it comes to directing traffic to another site, but it is better than nothing.

Or it would be better than nothing if people looked at the items in my side bar.

So it is time for yet another poll.

I am also happy to entertain suggestions about the side bar.

The Disturbing Habits of the Lone Lands

We were again forming up at the far end of the Lone Lands, in Ost Guruth.

Or as Garfinkel called it, “The O.G.”

Go on, write the lyrics for that theme song.  I dare you.

 

A Wainstop on the way to Rivendell

 

Of course, the really odd thing about The O.G. is the propensity of the local residents to disrobe.

You get the usual assortment of quests, but then the reward is often the shirt off the quest givers back… or his shoes… or in one case, his pants.

I don’t know if the place is trying to ease its way into becoming a nudist colony or is just a front for the Salvation Army, but it was starting to creep me out a bit.  I mean, how would the community react if I had the kid next door mow my lawn then paid him with a pile of silver coins and MY PANTS?

Yeah, I’d be on that Megan’s Law list toot suite.

So while we were waiting for the group to gather at The O.G., Garfinkel and Sigwerd played a few tunes for the locals in the hopes that it would soothe them and perhaps keep them from dropping trow so readily.

 

Don't make eye contact, just keep playing...

 

We opened up with last week’s favorites, Riders on the Storm and Istanbul (Not Constantinople), then moved on to a song newly uploaded to The Fat Lute, Garota de Ipanema or The Girl from Ipanema.

The latter was a three part song and we clearly left out the key part to the song, as things were coming out pretty rough.  Or maybe we just weren’t in an elevator.  Fortunately, the rest of the crew arrived on the scene before the crowd got restive or undresstive.

Our group for the night was:

  • Earlthecat – level 27 dwarf Guardian
  • Garfinkel – level 28 elf Minstrel
  • Sigwerd – level 29 human Champion
  • Enaldie – level 29 elf Rune Keeper

And it was time to do some cleaning up around the area.

Due to some mis-communication last week, we had to go out and slay wargs and boars again to get everybody up on the same quest.  We also took the opportunity to knock of a few more Gaunt Men for Radagast the Brown.

 

The Gaunt Men can hear my thoughts!

 

We gave Frideric the Elder Stripper his stuff, got the next quest from him, then got out of there before he started talking about giving us his socks or underwear.

We then had to go speak with the head of the local Earthkin chief over at the Tornstones.  They have their own thing going on there as well it seems.

 

Got Horns! Giant Horns!

 

Their leader looked like he was pretty serious about his heroin habit and hadn’t had a good night’s sleep since the second age.  Seriously, you don’t get bags under your eyes like that without some serious issues.

And then there were the horns.  We didn’t ask fearing not so much that we might offend as that he might be happy to tell us about them.

But he had a pile of quests for us.  As with Frideric, we were happy enough to take his quests so long as they lead us away from him.

That sent us into Harloeg, where among other happy surprises, we began running into the next tier of crafting material to harvest.  Dwarf iron, platinum, and lebethron a plenty.

There we found the local quest hub and spent some time gathering fungus and putting down the local wight supremacist movement.  However the late hour was weighing on Earl a little sooner than usual, so after the first round of quests there, we assembled for a final screen shot then called it a night.

 

Happy in Harloeg

 

I thought it might be a good idea to get to bed a little earlier than usual myself.  Then I spent the next two hours looking up parts and prices for my new computer.  That’ll happen to you if you’re not careful.

Next time around, I think we’re going to have to take a trip into the Trollshaws.  At least tw0 of us have trade skill quests to finish up in there.  It would be very, very tough to get in there and do them solo, the mobs being in the level 40 range, but as a group, I think we can manage it.

Pokemon Mew Download Event

Pokemon.com has announced a new Pokemon download event for Pokemon HeartGold and SoulSilver players.

Celebrating the 10th anniversary of the launch of Pokemon Silver and Gold, the games on which HeartGold and SoulSilver based, Nintendo is offering up Mew, the original secret Pokemon for download.

Get him while you can

The download event runs from October 15th to the 30th.

This is one of the Pokemon I do not yet have, so we’ll be grabbing Mew on our copies of HeartGold and SoulSilver this Friday.

Instructions on how to download Mew are available at Pokemon.com.

This is not an in-store download.  You must connect to the Internet via your Nintendo DS using the WiFi option in order to download Mew.  Instructions on how to configure your DS are in the instruction booklet that came with Pokemon HeartGold and SoulSilver. (page 35)

If you need help configuring Nintendo WiFi, please check on the Nintendo site for further information.

Winner of the Last LOTRO Lottery?

One of the things that has gone away with the change to the free to play model with Lord of the Rings Online is the regular lottery.

There was a regular series of lotteries that one used to be able to sign up for on a weekly basis that gave out prizes that varied from merely handy to pretty darn cool.  I managed to win one or two in the past, including one with a really nice cloak as a prize.

But since free to play has come, the lottery has disappeared.  And I don’t think it got lost on the new and annoying community site.  I have looked around for it, but haven’t been able to find a word.

So the last LOTRO lottery sent out prizes back on August 30th.

I’m pretty sure of that date because I was one of the winner.

 

Greetings...

 

There was some coinage, 200 silver, and a set of very nice level 50 jewelry.

 

Matched Set of Beryl Jewelry

There is a bit more incentive to get to Moria before December 7th.

And, I won the whole thing twice, since two of my characters were winners.  So I received a double set of jewelry.

Maybe it is gone for good.  Maybe there is just too much going on with the big boost in players.  Maybe it will be back some day.  But whatever happens, the LOTRO Lottery was pretty good to me at the end.

 

The Proposed System Configuration

Like most of the voters in my poll, I am leaning towards going the self-built route for the next computer.

After a week of digging around, this is what I think I am going to go with:

  • Windows 7 PRO 64 Bit System Builder 1pk – $140

The OEM, single machine kit.  It may, or may not, be okay for me to use this.  But I am going to.

I went looking for cheaper alternatives, but if you want an X58 chipset motherboard, you’re going to be spending $200 and you’re going to get SLI support whether you want it or not.

Still on the fence.  I might spend $15 more to get the 950 that clocks at 3.06GHz.

I weighed all the $100+ units, but reviewers seemed to like this unit unless you plan to push the envelope of overclocking, and it is about $30.

1 TB, SATA 3, and 6GB/second throughput for under $100.  Met my goals there.

  • Corsair TR3X6G1600C8D Dominator 6 GB 3 x 2 GB PC3-12800 1600MHz 240-Pin DDR3 Core i7 Memory Kit – $190

Not married to this particular kit, but it works as a placeholder.

The bigger, more expensive HAF cases are… well… bigger and more expensive.  I still might go with the HAF 922.  I went by Fry’s to look at it.  The drive bay architecture is very nice on the 922, I just have to decide if it is worth an additional $35.

  • Ultra X4 – 600 Watt, ATX Modular Power Supply U12-40505 power supply – $95

Recommended by a friend and in as a placeholder.  It is rated beyond 80% efficiency, but since I’m going with a Cooler Master case, I might just opt for one of their power supplies.

All of which prices out to about $1,100 at Amazon.com.  My personal goal was to keep the whole thing around $1,200, so I am in the ballpark.

I was mildly surprised to find that Amazon.com ended up having the best prices relative to ZipZoomFly, TigerDirect, and NewEgg.  Plus there is no Sales Tax with Amazon.com, unlike those three, which in my part of California adds 10% to the price of goods.  And if I am feeling really frugal, almost all of the items on the list qualify for free shipping.

I will likely buy the case, and probably the power supply, at Fry’s though.  I have to support a store that has all of the stuff I’ve list here on the shelf somehow.

The only item not on the list is the video card.  My current GTS 250 is still a decent card, runs cool and all that, plus I still have an ATi 4850 card sitting around.  So I may just use one of those.  Both support DX10 and I can wait a while before I need a card with DX11 support built-in.  We’ll see.