What I use

PC

Finally I was able to build my Small Form Factor gaming rig. This project started about 4 months ago when I found out that I can actually start selling stuff on Rakuten Auctions for a decent sum. I kept on selling the components in my old ATX rig, and bought new parts to go in the SFF build. The final piece of the puzzle was the case, and finally I managed to get rid of it at the beginning of August.

While this is not the smallest gaming rig you can build, the sheer amount of power that can be housed in it is amazing. Just 23litres of volume can house a Micro ATX board, a CPU cooler up to 165mm in heigher, dual graphics cards because of Micro ATX support, a full ATX case, two hard drives and up to 6 additional SSDs. It is no slouch when it comes to cooling either. 

There of course is one thing that looks out of place in this rig. It is the video card. I am still using the 2-year old GTX 670. The plan is to get a GTX 870 when they come out in the next month or the month after. But knowing how high the launch prices would be, I might have to wait at least 6 months to get one. I might probably go for a GTX 780Ti if they become available cheaply after the launch of these new cards. That would still be a significant upgrade over my GTX 670.

Specs


CPU:Intel Core i7 4790K @4.6GHz / 1.27V
CPU Cooler: Silverstone Heligon HE01
Motherboard:Asus ROG Maximus VII Gene
RAM:16GB A-DATA XPG V2 DDR3 2400 CL11
Video Card:Palit GTX670 JetStream  @1150MHz/6800MHz
SSDs:Samsung 840 series 250GB
HDDs:Toshiba DT01ACA300 3TB
Western Digital WD30EZRX-00DC0B0 3TB 
Display:Qnix QX2710 Evolution II 2560x1440 @96Hz
Case:Silverstone Sugo SG09
PSU:Corsair HX650 Gold
Mouse:Logicool G602 Wireless Gaming Mouse
Mouse Pad:Steelseries QCK / Razer Sphex
Keyboard:Logitech G15 V2 Gaming Keyboard
Headphones: AudioTechnica ATH-AD500X
Speakers: Logicool Z623
Webcam: Logicool C910



Tablet

I bought my first Tablet at the end of February 2013. It was a Dell Latitude 10 Essentials tablet running Windows 8. (You can read a full review here.) But it had a lot of issues, so I sold it and bought a new one - the Asus Transformer Book T100 running Windows 8.1 and with the new Atom BayTrail CPU. (You can read my initial impressions of it here.)

I like this tablet very much. There are very little hardware issues with it. Most of the issues I have are with Windows 8.1 and the (lack of) Metro apps. But the major apps are coming to Windows 8 slowly, so in time it would become a nice platform. Right now, going with a Windows tablet was the easiest way to stream content from the desktop PC to the tablet because we don't need a middleman. 

Laptop

I had an Asus UL20A laptop earlier and I sold it to get the 2011 MacBook Air. I did not have to pay the whole price, because I bought it with a new internet connection. I got a JPY35,000 discount. It's a pretty big deal. That's about $435.

I hardly use the MacBook Air. My wife uses it. I keep her away from my trusty Windows 8 based desktop PC. The only thing I do with the MacBook Air is updating the software and troubleshooting for my wife.

One of things I do not like about the laptop is that is gets very hot and at the same time very loud when doing something resource intensive. It is unfortunate that even watching YouTube videos can be considered resource intensive with a MacBook Air.

Specs

Dimensions:    H: 0.11-0.68" (0.3-1.7cm)
W: 12.8" (32.5cm)
D: 8.94" (22.7cm)
Weight:2.96 lbs (1.35kg)
CPU:           1.7GHz dual-core Core i5
Graphics:      Intel HD 3000
RAM:           4GB DDR3-1333
SSD:           128GB SSD
Display:       1440 x 900
Ports:         Thunderbolt
2x USB 2.0
SDHC slot
Composite audio in/out jack
OS:            Mountain Lion

I recently upgraded to Mountain Lion by paying JPY 1,700. I only did an update install, not a clean install. I do not like to play with the laptop as much as I like to play with the desktop. I would have done a clean install without any second thoughts with the desktop.

Phone

Currently I use a Space Grey colors iPhone 5S 16GB. I upgraded to the iPhone 5S about a week after the launch. I used to have an iPhone 4S before that. At first, I placed a reservation for the gold model, but there was not ETA so I quickly cancelled it and went for the Space Grey model. Hey, once you cover it up in a case, you won't see what color it actually is. Besides, I got myself a cool case, and the black color goes really well with it. Now it kinda looks like a Nokia Lumia 920 or an iPhone 5C.


My wife uses a White iPhone 4S 16GB. She hasn't upgraded her phone. Actually she won't be upgrading her phone because we got a nice JPY 0 per month connection when I bought my iPhone 5S. 

Camera

I recently bought a Canon EOS 70D-W DSLR with the 18-135mm IS STM lens kit. I used to have a Canon PowerShot S95 camera and loved it for the compactness, but it wasn't doing anymore.

For me, there have been two issues with DSLRs. First one is the size and the second one is the need for change lenses. The first one is pretty hard to avoid. There are a lot of compact DSLRs coming out, but they are not as good as the big guys when it comes to the feature set and the image quality. But I could avoid the second issue by going with a zoom lens that has decent range. Eventually I might want to get another lens or two. But I don't see that happening anytime soon. I can manage with this 18-135mm lens.

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