Thursday, November 25, 2010

Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit 2010

I have been playing the newest title of the “used to be popular” Need for Speed series and I have to tell you that I am absolutely loving it. It reminds me how I used to play NFS in the Most Wanted and Carbon days. I do not just play the game. I record the game and post the videos or at least tried to post videos. I bet there are few drifting videos on the my youtube channel. But that was when I was living in Sri Lanka. You know, crappy internet? Now I do not have that problem. How long does it take me to encode and upload a race at HD? Just about 5 minutes for the entire process. Weee! (How much will I miss this speed when I go back the Sri Lanka someday!!!)

Anyways, I finished Call of Duty Black Ops to quickly because I had to start playing the game. I installed it on the SSD, so I don’t know if the load times are better or not. No way to compare. At first, I was a bit shocked to find out the handling was a bit like NFS Pro Street. I’m sure there are people who love simulation type racing (GRID was like that, but it was fun! Pro Street wasn’t) Anyways, there is a bit of everything. Much of it is like arcade, but it is not just like that. You have to properly drive the car! However, I still cannot get a non-drifty curve with big bends. I always drift. It is fun though. But I bet it kills some time. Doesn’t matter. All that matters it drifting is FUN! I know why Jeremy loves drifting so much, even if it peels off the tires so badly.

Anyways, back to the game. The first race wasn’t great. The car wasn’t great. That race alone can make someone hate the game. But it gets much much better afterwards. The graphics are nice. Of course, they don’t use all the tech they can to implement simple, but breath taking sceneries. The graphics are pretty nice. There aren’t much special effects though. (I hear there is a patch coming in a few days’ time which would add weather effects like rain and snow! Gotta apply that as soon as it comes out!

The cop chases are fun! I don’t like being the cop, but I like getting away. Cops in this game is much much harder than the previous one. But spike strip doesn’t get you in one go. They all add up as damage to the car. After some point, you get caught. (well, at least that is what I felt. Maybe not how it is supposed to work.) In the previous hot pursuit game, the helicopter dropped fuel barrels. Now they drop spike strips! Yikes!! Cops can shoot an EMP blast as well. Luckily, it doesn’t bring the car to a complete stop. It is also like the spike strip. Adds to damage. What is nice is that the drivers are equipped with the same tech. They can drop a spike strip, shoot and EMP blast, and there are few other tricks to get away from the cops. One of the hardest parts it dodging an EMP blast. Sometimes braking helps, sometimes you can drop a spike strip to kill the cop car which got you locked into an EMP blast…like wise.

And all these things require what kind of a PC to run the game smoothly? I don’t know and I don’t car. My PC runs the game amazingly well. FPS is around 50-60 at max details but no AA. Who can spend that much for just AA, right?? Even when recording with FRAPS, the FPS is around 40. The game seems to be single threaded. I see only core 0 running at full speed. Others are idling. That sucks! I hope the game is not CPU bound, even on my PC!!

Anyways, here are the gameplay videos I uploaded to youtube. Enjoy! (click on the arrow buttons to navigate the videos.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Call of Duty Black Ops and HD5770

So I got the game and installed it and played for a little while. At first, I felt the game was pretty heavy on the little Radeon. I was only getting about 40fps at full details. I had AA on, so I disabled it. But it showed no performance improvement. Even at 40fps, the game was very laggy. The idea of getting a new graphic card reappeared.

However, the next day I loaded up the game and I found the game to run very smoothly. I was getting 40-90 fps, most of the time above 60. And it wasn't laggy at all. Everything was perfect. Only that AA was turned off. Maybe the first time when I turned off AA, it didn't get applied without a restart. Hmmm. If that is the case, it sucks!

Anyway, the game doesn't appear to be very heavy by the looks of the graphics. The physics are nowhere near Crysis'. Gameplay is superb though. I gotta finish it in the weekend.

Friday, November 5, 2010

SSD heaven finally

After giving much thought, I decided to install an SSD in thAe laptop. I had two options. I could buy a new drive for the laptop, or transfer the Kingston drive from the desktop to the laptop and buy a newer, faster and larger drive for the desktop. Heck, I still use the desktop 90% of the times. Beside, a faster drive won’t be able to show its colors in the laptop. The CPU isn’t helping it in any way. Only problem with the second approach would be the small size of the Kingston drive. It is only 40GB. It is enough for what I do with the laptop. I use it mostly for browsing. Why would I need a large drive anyways? (in that regard, even 40GB sounds too much)

So what did I do? I went with the second approach of course. Did you think I would even consider the first option? I just wrote it for the sake of completeness. XD

What did I buy? I bought an OCZ Vertex 2 50GB drive. It felt much much faster to use. I t loads apps faster. I mean, it is funny if you can you can feel the difference in app launching performance on two SSDs, but there is a difference. iTunes that used to take more than 3 seconds with the Kingston, now loads within 3 seconds. Firefox is also about 1 second faster. Yes, I know. What can you do with that 1 second? I would never call it an upgrade, but I didn’t just upgrade the SSD. I put the old on in another PC. They are two different things. I had to buy a new drive and I bought it and it is faster, bigger and cheaper as well. Win! Did I say cheaper? Yep you heard me right. It cost my only JPY8800 after using the points I had with that shop. I saved more than JPY1000 with the points. (heck, I didn’t know I had that many points with me!)

Anyways, the Windows WinSAT score went up by 0.1 mark. Now it is 7.7 instead of 7.6 with the Kingston drive.

 WinSAT on the Desktop

Funny the CPU score got a 0.1 increase as well. Maybe it is because of the winter and WinSAT benchmark is taking it into account as well. LOL

Anyways, that is just for the information. But this is for fun!

winsatul20a

Look at that score on the laptop. So funny, isn’t it?

Anyways, now everything is good on the laptop. I sometimes feel that I should have gone with a faster CPU. Right now, the only problem I have with the laptop is when I am doing a kinda CPU bound thingy. BTW, I upgraded to 4GB RAM as well. Now I don’t have to use a pagefile as well. Happy SSD.

That’s it for now. It seems I have run out of PC upgrade for a long time, unless AMD’s HD6900 series makes me wanna buy a new video card. Until then, it is a little pause on upgrade from this end.

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