Ryan Mahler

photographies, technologies, and anomalies

Beginner PC Builder’s Guide

Writing this as a guide for a first-time PC builder. Usually these guides are just lists of parts to put together, but I’m going to try to make this one more detailed and descriptive. Parts listed here go for about $800 on Newegg.ca. For each of these items, go to the Newegg page and click the Specifications tab; that’s where the specs I’m describing are listed.

Some terms before we get started.

  • A CPU (Central Processing Unit) is the computer’s brain. Faster CPU means faster computer, in general usage.
  • A GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) is the graphics card. Better GPU means better gaming performance.
  • RAM (Random Access Memory) is memory as people know it. The more memory you have, the more you can run at a time without experiencing slowdowns.
  • An SSD (Solid State Drive) is the modern, faster replacement for the hard drives of olde. Still somewhat new, so still somewhat expensive.

In addition, if you’re a person that is knowledgeable in this area and likes to tell people how knowledgeable you are (the term “neckbeard” comes to mind), understand that I tried to make this as simple as possible. This means there are some pretty big oversimplifications and generalizations. You can argue that CAS latency is critical to get the best performance out of your RAM all day, but the fact is that a beginner won’t give a shit. So before yelling at me, remember that.

Very Short Reviews of Movies Other People Have Already Seen: Behind Enemy Lines [2001]

Based on a fictional US Navy F-18 navigator who gets shot down over a supposedly DMZ during what is supposedly the Bosnian conflict of the early ‘90s.

Good enough storyline, somewhat original. Cheesy special effects (it was almost 10 years ago, you know), and too many clichés. Evil Russian sniper anyone?

5.2445/10, for lack of imagination and trying to make me take Owen Wilson seriously.

Originally posted on Facebook on 2 February 2010 at 19:42

Very Short Reviews of Movies Other People Have Already Seen: Starship Troopers [1997]

Sci-fi that “follows a young soldier named Johnny Rico and his exploits in the Mobile Infantry, a futuristic military unit. Rico’s military career progresses from recruit to non-commissioned officer and finally to officer against the backdrop of an interstellar war between mankind and an arachnoid species known as “the Bugs”.“ – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Starship_Troopers_(film

Special effects that make some newer films look amateur, this is a surprisingly funny (read: over-the-top and ridiculous) parody of militarism and totalitarianism. Lame storyline and acting, but hey, this is science fiction. Get used to it.


Originally posted on Facebook on 3 February 2010 at 19:48

Very Short Reviews of Movies Other People Have Already Seen: Fight Club [1999]

“Fight Club is a 1999 American film adapted from the 1996 novel of the same name by Chuck Palahniuk. The film was directed by David Fincher and stars Edward Norton, Brad Pitt, and Helena Bonham Carter. Norton plays the unnamed protagonist, an “everyman” who is discontented with his white-collar job in American society. He forms a “fight club” with soap salesman Tyler Durden, played by Pitt, and becomes embroiled in a relationship with him and a dissolute woman, Marla Singer, played by Carter.“ – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fight_Club_(film)

An intricate (but not overly confusing) storyline, intense (yet believable) acting, and a kickass soundtrack. Oh, and a sick sense of humour throughout the entire thing. No wonder people love this film. Definitely a new addition to my top ten. Messed up and awesome.

9.9999/10, because nobody is perfect.

(As a not related note, is there a single film Edward Norton is in that ISN’T awesome? I mean, seriously…)

Originally posted on Facebook on 4 February 2010 at 20:28

Very Short Reviews of Movies Other People Have Already Seen: (500) Days of Summer [2009]

“(500) Days of Summer is a 2009 romantic-drama-comedy film. It was written by Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber, directed by Marc Webb, produced by Mark Waters, and stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel. The story is presented in a nonlinear narrative structure and depicts a memory-driven look at a failed romance.” – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/(500)_Days_of_Summer

Not a movie that I would usually like, but I was somehow smiling the whole way through. Then again, that could just be Zooey Deschanel. One of those films that bills itself as “quirky”, this is one of the few that does it relatively well. Not sure that the comedy tag fits this film – although amusing, I’m not sure that I ever actually laughed. Well, except at the impromptu musical number.

8.5/10 – would be 7.5, but Zooey Deschanel’s cuteness gives an extra point.

Originally posted on Facebook on 4 February 2010 at 23:58

Very Short Reviews of Movies Other People Have Already Seen: Top Gun [1986]

“This film stars Tom Cruise, Kelly McGillis, Anthony Edwards, Val Kilmer, Meg Ryan, and Tom Skerritt. Cruise plays Lieutenant Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, a young Naval aviator on board the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise. He and his Naval Flight Officer (Radar Intercept Officer – the “RIO” – the “back seater” in the two-man F-14 Tomcat) Lt. j.g. Nick “Goose” Bradshaw are given the chance to train at the Navy’s Fighter Weapons School, after the pilot above him in the squadron rankings resigns from duty following a very stressful mission. This film depicts Maverick’s progress through the training, his romance with a female instructor, and his overcoming a crisis of confidence following a fatal training accident.“ – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Top_gun

No idea why this film was so popular. Maybe it’s just the 80s hairstyles, but sitting through the entire length of this film was actually quite excruciating. Not sure if it’s action, romance, or just a blatant US Navy recruiting project.

Originally posted on Facebook on 5 February 2010 at 20:28

Very Short Reviews of Movies Other People Have Already Seen: The Boondock Saints [1999]

“The Boondock Saints is a 1999 crime thriller film written and directed by Troy Duffy. The film stars Sean Patrick Flanery and Norman Reedus as Catholic Irish American fraternal twins, Conner and Murphy MacManus, who become vigilantes after killing two members of the Russian Mafia in self-defense. After a “message from God”, the brothers, together with their friend David Della Rocco, set out to rid their home city of Boston, Massachusetts of crime and evil; all the while being pursued by Special Agent Paul Smecker (Willem Dafoe).”

Irish wit. Excessive use of the word “fuck” (in all senses). Bloody violence. And Willem DaFoe dressed as a woman. What’s not to like? Well, not overly great storytelling and a sense that this film has no point is what’s not to like.

6/10. Entertaining, but not stellar.

Originally posted on Facebook on 9 February 2010 at 00:03

Very Short Reviews of Movies Other People Have Already Seen: Constantine [2005]

“Constantine is a 2005 American film based on Vertigo Comics’ Hellblazer comic book, with some plot elements being taken from the “Dangerous Habits” story arc (issues #41–46) and others—such as the inclusion of Papa Midnite—from the Original Sins trade paperback.” – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constantine_(film)

Keanu Reeves being moody. Shia LeBoeuf being annoying. Nothing to see here folks, move along.

3.9999999999/10 – Only redeeming feature is Peter Stormare’s short part as Lucifer and about 2 amusing lines.

Originally posted on Facebook on 27 February 2010 at 20:20

Very Short Reviews of Movies Other People Have Already Seen: Michael Clayton [2007]

“Michael Clayton is a 2007 American dramatic film written and directed by Tony Gilroy and produced by Sydney Pollack. It stars George Clooney, Tom Wilkinson, Tilda Swinton, and Sydney Pollack. It chronicles the attempts of attorney Michael Clayton to cope with a colleague’s apparent mental breakdown and the corruption and murderous intrigue of a major client of his law firm being sued in a class action case involving toxic agrochemicals.” – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Clayton_(film)

I hate to be clichéd, but this is the only film I have ever seen that I can describe as “gripping drama”. Damned good, with a hint of oak aftertaste.

8.5262/10 – Tilda Swindon’s fake american accent is annoying at times, and the overload of legal and business terms can be somewhat detrimental to the flow of the story in parts.

Originally posted on Facebook on 1 March 2010 at 00:57