Think Twice

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As you probably know, Doom 3 is supposed to show up August 3.

Now the marketing starts, and not just for the game.

One review hyped, “the time to upgrade to a next generation 3D chip, or even an all new rig, is now.”

Like hell it is.

The Tail Wagging The Dog

The big financial event surrounding Doom 3 isn’t buying the game. It’s spending much more money than what the game costs to get computers up to par to run it.

In all honesty, though, the hardware options aren’t so good right now. Calling Doom 3 the “Summer Clearance Of Less Than Ideal Hardware At At Ideal Prices Event” isn’t too far from the truth.

Here are your choices come next August:

Intel: A socket T platform won’t be obsoleted quickly, but that’s the only good thing you can say about it. It’s expensive, it’s hot, it has a finicky CPU socket.

AMD: Take One Socket 939 CPUs are too expensive, and socket 939 motherboards available in August will be obsoleted in October by boards with PCI Express slots.

AMD: Take Two Socket 754 CPUs aren’t too expensive, but they won’t have PCI Express until October, either, and socket 754 is going to be a dead-end system in the long run.

Video: The latest generation of video cards are expensive, but at least they give you a lot more bang for all those bucks. More than a few, especially those who haven’t gotten a new video card for a while, probably are thinking about making a big video investment now to last them a while and stretch out the useful life of their current box.

Unfortunately, August is precisely the wrong time to execute that approach, because we’re going to have a major change in video standards very shortly, the kind of change that only happens once every five years or so.

If your goal is to buy a high-end video card to last you the next two years or so, what you don’t want is an AGP card. You want a PCI Express card.

If you say, “but any PCI Express card I’ll buy in the next couple months isn’t going to be any better than an AGP card,” that’s not the point.

The reason why you ought to want an expensive PCI Express video card rather than an expensive AGP card is that when you do a major upgrade a year or eighteen months or so from now, you probably won’t be able to plug in an AGP card into that new box.

And unless you like trading on eBay, you have a problem down the road.

For sure, many of you reading this don’t plan on upgrading your core platform anytime soon, and you’re not going to wait eighteen months to upgrade your GF3.

The answer for you is not to avoid buying an AGP card at all. Just don’t buy a very expensive one, and realize that whatever you buy isn’t going to be around past your next major upgrade.

Also consider the possibility that if a game can’t run decently enough with a new $200 video card, the game just isn’t worth it.

A Doomed Christmas…

A Doomed Christmas?

For those of you needing to upgrade your box seriously, the hardware picture ought to look better towards the end of the year.

For one thing, PCI Express ought to be available for all Hammer platforms. Socket 939 CPU prices ought to be getting semi-reasonable by then, but even for socket 754, waiting a few months for video PCI Express would be a good idea in the long run.

A Life Lesson

These days, there’s a lot of talk in these circles about corporate greed and ripping off the little guy and so on and so forth.

What do you think this is?

It never ceases to amaze me to see someone to carry on endlessly about how evil and greedy and conspiratorial corporate entities (i.e., RIAA) are, then turn around and get played like a deck of cards by other corporate entities out to suck much more money out of them.

To be crude, it’s like their conspiracy-compulsive brains stop working once their a**** get kissed with a few cheap words.

You see, the idea behind the hype and advertising is not to sell you a product like a screwdriver. No, the goal is to make you think a video card or new computer will somehow make you a better, cooler human being, not somebody with a better screwdriver.

That way it becomes personal, you adapt the idea as your own, so if someone tells you this isn’t a good idea, it subconsciously (or not so subconsciously) becomes a personal attack by someone who doesn’t want you to be a better, cooler human being.

I’m not against Doom3. I’m not even against expensive video cards. I’m against those who take advantage of (usually) young and insecure people to spend money they really don’t have by psychologically manipulating their egos and insecurities to buy right away, when a little later would be a lot better for most.

Yes, I know it’s the norm, but that doesn’t make it right. I’d just like to run across a few less preprogrammed zombies regurgitating some corporate spiel hook-line-and-sinker while telling me how smart and independent they are. 🙂

The way to counter that is simply to expose the game. If you think “I’m upgrading my screwdriver” rather than “I’m upgrading my humanity,” that automatically immunizes you against most of the hype and leaves your head clear to make a decision that’s good for you, when it’s good for you.

Right now, I have a Radeon 9700 Pro. I’m going to need a new video card fairly shortly. I’m going to wait until PCI Express platforms become available for Hammer before the next big upgrade, and then I’ll lay out the big money.

So I’m hardly against the idea of buying these things eventually. Just not now.

And if I can wait, so can you.

If you’re saying to yourself, “But I want it now, and I don’t care about the other things,” all you’re really saying is “I can’t control myself,” a fish waiting to be hooked.

Especially when there are plenty of people ready to take advantage of you, and know exactly what buttons of yours to press to do it.

Think about it.

Ed

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