Archive for September 10, 2011

Its been a while since I wrote a post for our family blog.  Kinda fitting that my last post was about computers and my new one is going to be about the same  stuff.  Three days after my CPU cooler post we finally  got our tax return and I built not just myself but Jody a new computer as well.  That’s all  really for a different post but I’ll roll it into this one to make matters a little easier.

My new computer specs are quite amazing:

  • Core  I7 2600k over clocked to 4.5ghz
  • 16 Gigabytes of Ram
  • 120 Gigabyte Solid State Hard Drive (Boot)
  • 1 Terabyte Hard Drive (Storage)
  • Antex Kuhler H20 620 (think a beefer H60)
  • 3x Evga Geforce  580 GTX graphics cards
  • 3x ASUS 24 inch Wide Screen monitors

Yeah, 3 graphics cards and 3 monitors.  You see that setup had originally came  to mind from a Tom’s Hardware story about gaming across three monitors  and I thought “Wow, now that is cool! I want to do that too!”  So, when Jody and I agreed on a build budget for my new computer, I had sourced out the parts in order to do that. Let me tell you, the graphics are great and the views can be quite stunning. People at work think I’m crazy. Jody thinks I’m crazy. But so far no one who has seen it in  action has denied how purely awesome it is.  At work my machine has been dubbed “the beast” and I have become the  official guy to come to for all things hardware.

I built this computer with really only a hand full of game types in mind.  First Person Shooters (FPS),  Massively Multi-player Online Role Playing Games (MMORPG’s) and Simulations either racing or flying (Sims).  After getting home from  Iraq I bought Need for Speed Shift 2 for the PC (this was before building “the beast”) and that was pretty much the first thing I downloaded and ran on “the beast” which I semi happily played with a hacked PS3 controller for lack of anything better to play with.  A few weeks later I bought  an Xbox  360 controller with  the PC adapter and I play with that for a bit.

Then (fast forward to our family trip to Canada) I discover that my laptop can’t play Shift 2 or half  my other games and I’m more or less stuck with playing WoW or doing chain-mail and I was running out of rings quite fast since I was doing about 100 rings a sitting.  Then I  run across a story about a service called iRacing on one of my random web surfing adventures.  So I  headed over to there website to check it out and at first I’m a little put off from the cost of it all (I’ll get into that  in a bit).  I think about it and look into things a bit more, find out that they have an official NASCAR series that’s even reported on the NASCAR website where the winner gets 10,000 dollars and a championship ring.  In case you didn’t catch that TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS!!!.  I thought to myself “Well, I’m a decent enough gamer and I would love a shot at that!” so I signed up and played a bit in Canada with my game pad.  For my birthday Jody got me a Logitech G27 racing wheel with pedals (even a clutch pedal) and 6 gear with reverse shifter off of Newegg since we had a promo code to knock some of the price a bit.

When I first  got the setup, I clamped it to my glass desk and immediately knew this wasn’t going to work well so I went in search of a way to  make it work.  I ended up with a board C clamped to my desk with a rug from the girls bathroom to hold the pedals still.  A bit later I then added the weights from our out door awning as well to keep my chair from moving while using the clutch.  I called it my “ghetto rig”.   While not my ideal solution it worked well enough but the setup and take down of it all was just awful.  I was able  to get it  to where it took me about 2 min to set it up and take it down again but it was just bad doing it that way and with my wheel and shifter mounted to a board leaning up against a wall by my desk any time it wasn’t in use it was  just a matter of time before something got messed up.  Since the my ideal solution (The Obutto) would cost me about 600 dollars with shipping and the triple monitor mounts I decided to turn to a different solution and started looking online for something “do it yourself”.  The problem with doing it myself is I don’t own a saw so I talked to a coworker and he said, if I could find a design that I liked, he could probably build it for me. I put the limitation of it costing me only  about 50 bucks (yeah I’m cheap) and he said that it was doable.  So I came up with the design below and he built it for me.

I can comfortably say this rig  is about 100 times better than my earlier “ghetto rig” and it only takes me about 30 seconds to slide it across the floor, plug it all in, and then slide my chair into the specially cut out notches for the wheels (so I don’t roll back every time I push then clutch peddle) and I’m off to the races!

So far on iRacing I have only won one race but I’m learning lots about racing and reading other drivers intentions in the way they move their cars. Most important of all is that as long as I run a clean race, and don’t end up getting crashed out by retarded people who cant hold a line, I’m having loads of fun.  Today alone I have ran  7 races witch account for almost 455 laps.  Currently, I’m running late model Monte Carlo SS for ovals and a Ford Mustang FR500S for road course.  Right now though, my extreme guilty pleasure is Ovals and I really look forward to racing the truck my Mom bought me for my birthday. (iRacing eGift Cards are awesome!)

Now I did mention earlier about the cost of iRacing. It costs 12 dollars a month and your first month & that gets you 6 cars and 7 tracks. Basically, all the cars and tracks you need for your first rookie season which will last you about a month (maybe less depending on how good  of a driver  you are).  After that for every new car you’ll need to pay $11.95 and tracks run between $11.95 and $14.95 each.   The one saving grace is buying a number of things in bulk all at once because they’ll give you a discount. Three pieces of content gets you 10% off, 6 gets you 20% off and if you buy everything at once and you’ll get 25% off.  So you do need to be a little choosey when starting out on what series you want race in.  Oh, and if anyone reading this signs up please use my email address roy.lasley (at) gmail (dot) com as your referral so I can get a $10.00 credit.

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