Friday, April 22, 2016

Macbook Air 2015 base model review

Here is a little backstory, I am a noob when it comes to Macs. This is a new environment for me and I am going to be documenting my experience with the OS and how I like my Macbook Air. I will be doing these over the first week about my experiences and give a perspective for a developer and an overall geek.

First off, the Macbook Air 2015 is light and portable. I have only used it for a couple hours so I am not sure how the performance is truly but it is quite fast for compiling java code. I am lucky and got a good deal for mine so I am pleased thus far. We will see as the new couple days unravel.

This is a little odd working on a mac since I am a PC guy but this is quite nice. I will update this post as I go through the days and learn new things.

UPDATE Sat. April 30, 2016
I have been using it for 1 week now and I am really getting a feel for the laptop. I have noticed an significant better trackpad over my Acer gaming laptop and the keys (still a bit weird, nothing to compare them to) feel surprisingly good. It is odd to just write about this but it is wonderful finally getting a laptop that has a good trackpad and a good keyboard. More updates to come soon!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Lolita Spyder 87 key keyboard by Noppoo Testing and First Impressions!


I recently received the Lolita Spyder 87 key keyboard from Noppoo and here are some of my thoughts on it. 



Overview


Overall I like the looks of the keyboard, it feels solid. I like the top plate of the keyboard, it reminds me of a silver version of the Corsair K65 RGB except it is not brushed aluminum and there are no back-lights. The keyboard is a 10 keyless keyboard meaning there is no number pad on the right hand side, but I prefer not having one. It saves a lot of space on my desk and I would rather use the space for other things, like my Han Solo [Snow Gear] pop figure from LootCrate. The keyboard comes with good enough keycaps on it but I prefer my new Rosewill caps I received (review coming soon I will replace this text when it is up!) The cable is non-removable and is not braided but it has three slots where it can be routed. It can be routed to the center, left, and right. The USB is gold plated, not really a plus because it offers no benefit nor does any other gold plated USB on the market, but I thought I just needed to mention that. This exact keyboard does not offer backlighting but they do offer this keyboard with it for an additional cost.

It does come with function keys, the function key is my right windows key. Here is a list of all of the keys taken from the amazon product page:
- Fn+F1: Previous track 
- Fn+F2: Play/Pause 
- Fn+F3: Next track 
- Fn+F4: Stop 
- Fn+F5: Mute 
- Fn+F6: Volume Down 
- Fn+F7: Volume Up 
- Fn+F8: NKey (Switch the 6KRO compatible with Mac) 



I only have one major complaint with the looks of the keyboard, Lolita Spyder by Noppoo is written above the arrow keys, in bold. As you can see to the left it is very noticeable from quite a distance away. I was uninformed with the term Lolita since I have not read many classic books (yes it is considered a classic) so I thought nothing of it. I was reading an Amazon review of it and I googled it because some one said it was an inappropriate term, and it is. The term is coined from the book "Lolita Novel by Vladimir Nabokov", you can look up the meaning for yourself if you would like.


Keys and Switches


This keyboard uses Kailh switches, not Cherry MX switches. They are however compatible when purchasing keycaps, so any keycaps you find that are standard size and for Cherry MX switches will work fine.

This keyboard comes in red, blue, and brown Kailh switches. I chose the browns because the reds are lacking a tactile bump, the blues are too loud for long typing sessions but good for gaming, so the browns were an obvious choice. They offer the tactile bump I prefer and there is no click, there still is noise but that can be fixed with some sound dampener rings, I will not purchase them because the noise does not bother me and I like the sound to a degree. Make sure to do your homework on the types of keys you prefer before purchasing, I made the mistake of buying red MX switches and hated them. Check out this video to learn more - switches video. (Actual color of my keycaps.)


The keycaps that come on this keyboard are fine, they are standard black keycaps. With the stock keycaps I could type from 42 WPM average. I purchased some keycaps from Rosewill that are yellow with white writing, to help out with the no backlight situation. The keys from Rosewill increased my typing speed to 56 WPM average. My typing speed on my Corsair K65 RGB is around 33 WPM and on my Razer Ultimate Edition 2013 it is about 44 WPM (accuracy on all is above 92%).



Kailh switches debunked


Kailh switches are clones of Cherry MX switches, they are made in china and cost less to make, so lower end keyboards are going to primarily use them. Many company's use them but do not make it known, I am looking at you Razer. Yes, Razer uses Kailh switches but does not tell you, they claim them as their own. If a company that large can use these switches and has enough trust in them to claim them, they must be pretty good switches. I like them enough to say I actually prefer them over Cherry MX switches. They are a little harder to press than Cherry switches but I actually like that, I know I am pushing a key and it is harder to mistype. All in all, they are just as good as other switches but they are made in China.



Final Thoughts


Conclusion time, Overall this is a great keyboard! It has strong rubber feet that keep it firm to the table, the keys are well made, and it is overall a good keyboard for $64.99!

Links:
Amazon List
Brown Switches
Red Switches
Brown Switches RGB (lights not changeable)
Rosewill Keycaps

I only listed ones that are available, however, click on the amazon list link to check; it may be in stock now!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Play Fallout 4 at 60FPS for $560 including Windows 10!

I just finished a build for a client. The client wanted a gaming computer, and also wanted to be able to play Fallout 4 at a good resolution at 60 FPS. The budget was $600 including Windows 10. I came in under budget with just about the same performance at $560. I was able to give the client a good gaming computer that would be able to run almost any title at 1920 x 1080 resolution, medium to low graphics. Here is the build:

Every part is from Newegg.com and links are at the bottom!



Starting off with the case, I went with a red theme with this build but you can swap the case and ram to be blue so you have that option and it is for the same price. I went with a case from DIYPC the Solo-T1-R edition (the t1-BK is the blue one for anyone who is curious). It comes with 2 USB 2.0 ports and a USB 3.0 port. I was pleasantly surprised that it supported  USB 3.0 at only $28.89 with $6 shipping. There is quite a lot of room in the case and it has a nice gamer appeal. 





For the processor I went with the AMD Athlon X4 860k black edition. This quad-core cpu clocked at 3.7GHz is fast enough for gaming but if you want to run multiple intense programs in the background while you game, you will notice a difference. It only has 4mb of cache so don't expect it to act like an I5 but it is really good for the price. It is $70.99 and for that price, you can't beat it! I wish I knew the truth about AMD processors before I got my I7-2600, for the same price I could have gotten an 8 core AMD processor with 12mb of cache. AMD processors are a good budget part that still pack a huge punch! My only complaint is that the pre-installed thermal paste was junk, I had to take it off and use my own Antec thermal paste and brought the temperatures back to normal.

general information


For the motherboard I went with the GIGABYTE GA-F2A88XM-HD3. It supports USB 3.0 so the port does not go to waste on the case, it also has 2 USB 3.0 ports and 4 USB 2.0 ports. It is good for this build because it is cheap but you can go with several different boards for the price. It has a PCI Express 3.0 x 16, PCI Express 2.0 x 16, PCI Express 1.0, and a PCI slot. It gives plenty of room to expand but still not overkill and for $62.99 it is a steal! It is a micro-ATX board so it only has 2 slots for RAM, but 2 sticks will be plenty for this gaming PC.

http://c1.neweggimages.com/BizIntell/item/13/128/13-128-664/1_032715.jpg


For RAM I went with two sticks of 4GB in dual channel. With only 2 slots on the motherboard it is best to go with a kit in dual channel. It is fast ram, DDR3 1866. It is plenty for this build, it also matched the red on the case.

G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1866 (PC3 14900) Desktop Memory Model F3-14900CL9D-8GBXL


For the graphics card I went with the FXF R7 370 with 2GB 256-Bit GDDR5 RAM. It is DirectX 12 ready. The core clock is 995MHz which is not bad but it can be overclocked. It has plenty of ram for any game and for Fallout 4 which wants 4GB, the 2GB 256-Bit 5600MHz RAM helps close the gap. For $124.99 it is a good intro gaming graphics card.

http://c1.neweggimages.com/BizIntell/item/14/150/14-150-735/main-image_081915.jpg


The Power supply is an EVGA 500W and is 80 plus bronze certified active PFC continuous. It has every connector for just about any configuration, plenty of molex connectors along with 6 SATA connections. I wish I could have got a modular power supply but in the case you have plenty of room to route cables in the back. For $39.99 it is a reliable power supply that I would put into my personal system if it came in a 750W.

http://c1.neweggimages.com/BizIntell/item/17/438/17-438-016/banner.jpg


For the hard drive I went with a 500GB Seagate Barracuda running at 7200 RPM. The motherboard has 6.0GB/s connections on every SATA port so read and write time is fast. The only other option I would go with is a 500GB WD Blue drive which is a couple dollars more but the budget was $560. For $45.99 it is a good, reliable HDD.

http://c1.neweggimages.com/BizIntell/item/22/178/22-178-783/2_091715.jpg


For the disk drive I went with an LG internal 24x super multi, it is a reader and writer. Not much else can be said, it is a good drive for $19.99.

http://media.flixcar.com/f360cdn/LG_Electronics-643677277-lg-dvd-rewriter-gh24nsc0-zoom01.jpg


The OS I went with is Windows 10, shocker. If you have followed my blog for any length of time I have been anticipating Windows 10 and I have several walkthroughs. If you want to save $99.99 then go with Linux, specifically Ubuntu. 


 
Benchmarks:
Here are some benchmarks on 3 games on 1080p with medium to low settings:
Counter Strike Global Offensive - 125 frames per second on average
Dishonored - 90 frames per second on average
Fallout 4 - 58 frames per second on average



Links to parts:
Here are the links to every part:
CPU
Motherboard
RAM
Graphics Card
Power Supply 
Hard Drive
Disk Drive
Case
Windows 10 


 
If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment! Come back for more budget builds!

*All graphics are taken from Newegg.com 





Saturday, September 12, 2015

I can't get visual studio to install or the installer keeps freezing - Here is how to fix it!

I just got a new laptop the Acer Aspire V15 Nitro Black Edition (specs at the bottom of the post) and I do a lot of programming. My favorite editor is Visual Studio but I couldn't seem to get it to download. I was a big Avast user for quite some time but due to my last laptop that I use to blog on had some issues running it for some reason I switched to AVG. I put AVG on my new laptop because I didn't want the issue to appear again. I used AVG back when it was super mainstream years ago so that was my safe option of an antivirus. Yes, all of this is pertinent so just hang on. I was searching through tons and tons of forms and someone mentioned AVG wouldn't allow it to install on Windows 8, 8.1, or 10. I went and disabled it to and got it to create a system restore point. I went and uninstalled it and installed Avast again and boom, it worked perfectly! So here is the fix for me, if you use AVG, disable it and install it, then enable it again.

Specs of my new laptop (may write a review so check back for that!)

I7 4720HQ quad-core 2.6GHz (3.2GHz turbo)
16GB of ram
Nvidia GeForce GTX 860M
220GB SSD and a 1TB HDD
1080HD IPS display

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

How to defrag a hard drive the easy way

Defragging a hard drive is easy and can speed up your computer in some cases. Lets get started!

Steps:
        1. Click on file explorer. If you are running Windows 7 click on "Computer" or on windows 8 and 8.1 click on "This PC" after you have opened file explorer.


        2. Right click your Windows (C:) drive and choose properties.

        3. Once that has popped up click on the "Tools" tab.


        4. Now click on the "Optimize button.


        5. Click on the drive you want to defrag. In my case it is the Windows (C:) because it is my only drive.  NOTE: It is not worth the time nor wise to defrag the recovery partition.


        6. Once it is done analyzing click on Optimize if the drive is fragmented. NOTE: It will do several passes which will slow your computer down while the drive is being defragmented. This may take some time if the drive has never been defragged.


    That's it! You have now successfully defragged your hard drive. If this helped be sure to leave a +1 before you go!

    Monday, June 15, 2015

    Windows XP/Vista users do not have a direct upgrade to Windows 10


    Windows 10 LogoThe people still using windows XP/Vista won't be able to upgrade to Windows 10 directly. Believe it or not there are still people using Windows 5(XP) and 6(Vista). They wont get the luxury of reserving Windows 10 like the Windows 7, 8, and 8.1 users. They have to wait for Windows 10 to hit stores and buy a key (prices for Windows 10 versions here) or buy a new computer or laptop equipped with Windows 10. 

    Even buying Windows 10 there is no guarantee that it will work on older devices. Here are the specs you will need in order to run Windows 10 on an older computer or laptop.
    • Processor: 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster
    • RAM: 1 gigabyte (GB) (32-bit) or 2 GB (64-bit)
    • Free hard disk space: 16 GB (32 bit) or 20 GB (64 bit)
    • Graphics card: Microsoft DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM driver
    • A Microsoft account and Internet access
    • 800x600 or higher resolution monitor or laptop screen


    What do you guys think? Leave a comment below telling me how Microsoft did. Don't forget to leave a +1 if you enjoyed!

    Saturday, June 13, 2015

    How much will Windows 10 cost?


    Windows 10 will be the last time we have to buy expensive upgrades from Microsoft if we want the latest and greatest. If this is the case, how much will it cost? It must be expensive since its the last time Windows is doing a paid upgrade. Before we get into how much it will cost lets go over some of the editions it will come in and when the public release will be.

    Editions: 
    1. Windows 10 Home - It will be for daily computers.
    2. Windows 10 Pro - It will be like Windows 10 Home but with added features aimed at power users and professional environments
    3. Windows 10 Enterprise - It will have features aimed at businesses and is only available through volume licensing
    4. Windows 10 Education - It will be completely aimed at schools, Universities, etc.
    5. Windows 10 Mobile
    6. Windows 10 Mobile Enterprise (For embedded systems)

    Windows 10 release date
    With that out of the way we can focus on when Windows 10 will be released. It has actually been out for quite some time now, October 1, 2014 to be exact. It started in October of last year as a public beta and they have been releasing updates to make the experience near perfect. The operating system just has not been finished and sent to the public. It is actually on your computer right now (if it is eligible and updated) and has been for months now. The official release date for manufacturing is June 2015 and will (finally) be released to the public on July 29, 2015. 


    How much is it?
    Now on to the question that brought you here, how much is it going to cost? Windows 10 will be priced like Windows 8 was priced. Windows 10 Home will be at $119(USD) and Windows 10 Pro being priced at $199(USD). The windows 10 Pro Pack license will cost $99(USD). Microsoft has files for a trademark on "Windows 365" so we may get a subscription-based windows product in the near future. If you already own a Windows 7, 8, or 8.1 device you will get the upgrade for FREE using the "Get Windows 10" icon in the task bar. This is only good for 1 year, after that you will have to buy a Windows 10 product key. Click here for ways to get it if you do not see it.

    What version of Windows 10 will you get?
    If you are like me and already have a Windows computer and laptop then you are probably asking the same question? What version of Windows 10 will I receive through the free reservation? It will be based off of what version of windows you already have.
    • Windows 7 Starter, Windows 7 Home Basic or Windows 7 Home Premium will be upgraded to Windows 10 Home.
    •  Windows 7 Professional or Windows 7 Ultimate will be upgraded to Windows 10 Pro.
    •  Windows 8.1 (the standard edition) will receive Windows 10 Home.
    • Windows 8.1 Pro or Windows 8.1 Pro for Students will receive Windows 10 Pro.

    If you have any questions please leave a comment and I will answer them to the best of my ability.