Build Log 2015

I have an ancient PC at home. It’s from the 2007-08 period. The processor is a some dual core outdated, stone-age one. The motherboard is something from Lenovo Thinkcentre range with onboard SiS Mirage 3 graphics. The RAM is a 2 GB DDR2 333 MHz stick. The monitor is quite decent though, apart from other peripherals. There’s an 80 GB Hitachi hard disk, helped by a 1 TB Western Digital My Passport Ultra external hard disk.

I’m honestly surprised I could dual-boot it, throw Microsoft Office 2010 at it and play games like Counter Strike, let alone have a dozen tabs open in Google Chrome. The PC came with Windows XP. I upgraded first to Windows 7 and then to Windows 8. The dual-boot setup I have right now is a combination of Windows 7 and Windows 8.1.

Long story short, I needed an upgrade.

I began searching about building a PC. There are a ton of amazing, in-depth tutorials from Newegg, EasyPCBuilder etc. After spending days understanding how it’s all done, I started researching about the parts that I’d need. My requirements are:

  • Document editing
  • Lots of internet browsing
  • Media – music, photos and videos. I watch a lot of shows and movies
  • Moderate gaming – Counter Strike, Battlefield 4, CS: GO and some other titles I don’t know the names of. I don’t play games, my brother does

With those modest requirements in mind, I went about looking for reviews for different processors and motherboards, as those two will be the most important items I’ll need to purchase.

Processor: Intel Core i3 4150 3.4 GHz dual core processor – Haswell

After having a dilemma between Intel Pentium G3258 and Core i3 4130, I was advised that although the G3258 is a lot cheaper, the Core i3 4130 will be a better choice in the long-term. I don’t want to keep upgrading often, so I decided i3 4130 will be a much wiser choice. I won’t dwell on the differences between the i3 and the G3258, but you can compare the two here.

I then realized there’s a refreshed version of i3 4130 called the i3 4150, part of the Haswell Refresh lineup. There’s not a lot of difference between the two, both features- and price-wise. I went ahead with the Core i3 4150.

Price: Cost me around Rs. 5840 after all discounts and cashbacks.

Motherboard: Asus H81M-CS

Next up was the motherboard. There are a wide variety of options out there. Asus, Gigabyte, ASRock and even Intel if you’re feeling rich. The Core i3 4150 processor supports the FCLGA1150 socket, so I shortlisted Asus H81M-CS and the Gigabyte H81M-S1. I went ahead with the Asus for after-sales service options. You can pretty much choose any of the two, but Asus seemed better to me. It’s a bit pricier, but it’s the same thing as Gigabyte.

Price: Cost me around Rs. 2720 after all discounts and cashbacks.

RAM: Corsair Vengeance DDR3 4 GB (1 x 4 GB) PC RAM (CMZ4GX3M1A1600C9)

I needed RAM as well, seeing as the Asus motherboard and the i3 4150 both don’t support DDR2 sticks. I went with the Corsair Vengeance DDR3 4 GB, a single 4 GB stick. Using a single stick will save my costs if I want to increase it. The Asus H81M-CS motherboard comes with two channels for RAM.

Price: Cost me around Rs. 2300 after all discounts and cashbacks.

Hard disk: Not decided yet

I’m yet to finalize on this. I’m still wondering if I should reuse the old hard disk or get a new, more spacious one. I’ll update this post when I decide.

Price: NA

Case: Local purchase

I’ll be buying one locally. I need a microATX case.

Price: ~Rs. 1000

Monitor: Will be reusing the current monitor.

Peripherals: Mouse, keyboard, speakers etc, will be reused.

Total cost: Rs. 12,000

So far, all the purchases have cost me around Rs. 12,000. I got a great deal on the processor, motherboard and RAM. The case will cost around Rs. 1,000, which is included in the total cost. Local prices are not really good, plus sites like Snapdeal and Flipkart are running some really good cashback offers. Snapdeal is offering way lower prices with 7% auto-discounts. I was expecting the entire build to cost around Rs. 15000, but due to the cashback and discounts, the price came down by nearly 20%.

Next up will be the assembly. I can’t wait for the products to be delivered.

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My best captures with the Nokia 808 PureView

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I am an average smartphone camera user. Yes, smartphone-camera-user. I’m not even talking about the real cameras. But every now and then, I like to delight myself with how far the smartphone cameras have come. And the leader of them all, and undisputed, at that, is the Nokia 808 PureView. I had been wanting to publish my review over on the blog, but due to time constraints, I never could. But anyway, I sat around, and sorted my clicks. Here’s a few of them, and I think I love them all quite a lot. Surely my best captures with any phone I’ve ever used.

 

Metro Is Beautiful, But I Don’t Need It, Yet

Microsoft launched the shiny new Windows 8 in October, and I knew what to expect – actually, to put it more correctly, I knew what using Windows 8 would be like, since I’d been using it back when MS unveiled the Developer Preview. So, in all, I was using Windows 8 for more than a year, already, before the final version was out. I loved the upgrade to bits – it ran faster than XP and Windows 7 Ultimate did, and a lot, lot faster than Ubuntu. There’s no reason to dislike it, for me. The desktop has been cleaned up a lot, and is a lot, lot easier to use, and is light on the eyes. That’s what Windows 7 lacked – there was a lot of gloss everywhere, and it’d bring the entire computer to a screeching halt. Windows 8 seemed to address all of my concerns with the desktop, but it also brought with it something new, something really nice – Metro UI.

Dual Identities Windows 8

I like the latter, but the former gets my work done.

It’s inspired from Windows Phone, and being a Windows Phone fan myself, I had no doubt I’d buy Windows 8 the day it’d become available – I did. But here’s the deal – I don’t know why’d I use Metro apps. I’ve found and am comfortable with the desktop apps, the ones without the Metro UI – the old-school apps. They are powerful, and can do what I want. But with Metro apps, there’s some compromise – hidden menus, actions, a lot of scrolling around, and more than anything, you cannot resize the “window” size – they’re all full-screen. Oh yes, there’s the snap feature, but that’s as much about it. I don’t know what is happening outside of the app, and that’s not what I want. I would use a tablet or a smartphone if I did not want to multitask. I can get in and out of apps at a breeze, but then that’s not something I want to do, again.

To say that I’ve been using Windows Phone for well over a year, and Windows 8 as well, and that I still don’t feel at home with the Metro UI on the latter, surprised me as well, when I first realized the fact. If ever you find me using the Metro apps on the computer, it’s because I’m forcing myself to get used to it, to use the new stuff more, to forcibly like it, to forcibly ditch the desktop apps, to forcibly move along in the new direction Microsoft has taken.

I understand they’re trying to unite the mobile and computer spheres, but it seems like a lofty goal to me, for now. In spite of using Windows 8 for well over a year, I still can’t seem to use Metro. I can’t use it even when I want to while away my time, nor when I want to be productive.

It’s going to be a tough ride for you, Microsoft. As long as there are Windows XP, Vista, 7 or the desktop Windows in any form, you’re going to have a tough time migrating your user base to Metro.

Microsoft: Pay $40, Get Windows 8 Pro

Nope. I’m not lying, joking or stuff. Microsoft just announced that you’ll be able to get the Pro edition of Windows 8* for just $40. It’s the best/top edition of Windows 8 you can buy, and to know that the best edition will cost almost 20% of what Windows 7 Ultimate currently costs, is a great news. Fabulous, actually.

Hopefully, this means that there will be considerably fewer people pirating. I know, paying that much for Windows will make you seem like a fool, but it shouldn’t, anymore.

*there are four editions – Windows 8, Pro, RT and Enterprise. You can buy only Windows 8 and Windows 8 Pro. Windows RT will come pre-installed on tablets, and Enterprise will be available only through volume licensing.