What happened? Twelve years! You hit me with a cricket bat! Ha! Twelve years!
Thursday, March 22
Dragon Age: Shadows
It's ten years after the events of Origins, and the brief peace following the Warden's victory has all but collapsed. There's open conflict among the lords of Ferelden, between the lords and the crown, between the mages and the Chantry, between Ferelden and Orlais. The only reason Orlais hasn't stepped in and taken over is that they aren't faring any better, nor is any help to be expected from Orzammar, which is in open civil war, nor the Dalish Elves, who have completely vanished.
And there are reports of a new Blight from the north... And from the west, and from the south.
And into all this steps the Warden, the saviour of Ferelden. Only you have no idea where you've been for the past ten years. If you died at the end of the first game, doesn't matter, you're back. You still died, but that's still you walking around. (Indeed, whoever died at the end of the first game is back, very much alive.)
You have even more trouble on your hands than the first time, and all your former allies are dead, lost, or struggling with their own problems. You have to gather the scattered remnants of your party and try to save Thedas from the greatest peril it has ever faced.
Don't think I would have lasted much longer in those lecture hall seats, though. My back is aching again, but it's more a long-day-need-to-lie-down ache than the help-I-am-severely-injured pains of two weeks ago.
Spent some time talking to one of the MongoDB engineers, whose wife, by curious coincidence, is named Meenu. No, really. He was staffing the desk when I picked up my name tag, and I had it listed as my company (since in fact it is).
Pretty impressed with the talks, and I'm eager now to put it to use at both my day job and mee.nu.
I may have jumped in too early on my new video card.
I got a Radeon 7950 for Shana, my new Windows box. That's a huge upgrade from the 4850 in Nagi, but it looks as though a better idea would have been to wait for the 7870.
While the 7950 has 40% more shaders (1792 vs. 1280), it runs at a 20% slower clock speed (800MHz vs. 1GHz), leaving it only slightly faster in shader performance. Both chips have 32 rendering units, but the clock speed on the 7870 gives it the advantage, so the cheaper card has a higher pixel fill rate despite the 7950's greater bandwidth.
My 7950 is factory overclocked to 900MHz, closing half the gap, but there's still probably little advantage to the more expensive card for most games.
Using the 7950 as a double-precision compute engine is a different story; the 7900 cards have full double-precision units giving them about four times the performance of the 7800 models. But I don't spend that much time on computational fluid dynamics these days.
Back when I was trying to balance on the bleeding edge, I learned a lesson: everything becomes obsolete three weeks after you buy it. There's always something new coming that's faster and better. If you let yourself worry about that, either you'll never buy at all, or you'll be disappointed in what you do buy. Which takes all the fun out of it.
Yep. And it's still a great video card; this is not so much a regret piece as advice for anyone looking for a card mostly for gaming.
An interesting tidbit I picked up while looking at comparisons is that my three-generation-old 4850 has 25% better double-precision performance than the brand new 7870 - despite the latter running 60% faster and having 60% more shader units. Can't judge every case by one number.
Posted by: Pixy Misa at Wednesday, March 07 2012 02:06 AM (PiXy!)
I didn't even bother trying to cut myself on the bleeding edge... I purchased a year-old version of a three-year-old card, and I wanted a seven-year-old card.
Posted by: Wonderduck at Wednesday, March 07 2012 10:33 AM (O9XO8)
After reading your bit about the Radeon 4850 I went out and bought one and vastly improved my World of Warcraft experience. I'm starting to think about a new computer, and I'll probably just get a new video card to go with it.
A Radeon 7870 sounds good to me!
Posted by: atomic_fungus at Friday, March 09 2012 01:35 PM (si27V)
My 4850 has been great, fast and completely reliable. Just not quite enough to run new games and full resolution on my new 27" monitor, so upgrade time!
Posted by: Pixy Misa at Friday, March 09 2012 04:41 PM (PiXy!)