Piloting, from hercs to mechs.

Piloting, from hercs to mechs.
A running recap of what I'm doing for fun, between active duty flying, technology, gadgets, and some of my favorite games.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

A fun reprieve...Blizzard's Hearthstone BETA

Well, I got my BETA invite today for Blizzard's newest game "Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft."  Since I have played some Ascension on the iPhone and iPad, this game already had some limited appeal.

It is fun!

Building decks is much more fun than I thought it would be...and the practice play is a fun way to kill hours and hours.  Since I am staying with some family this weekend and I didn't want to be slaved to a mouse and keyboard (WoW), this game naturally caught my attention.

It is very well done, and the unpacking new packs feature is really a blast...you never know what cool new cards you can get.  Once you unlock or unpack cards, you can build a deck with them and try them out.

I began with a hunter deck based on beast minions...I have had solid luck with that.  I also got a silver Edwin VanCleef from a pack I got!

So, if the internet isn't very good over in the deployed location, this is another option that will not require much bandwidth at all.  Perfect timing Blizzard, for once.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

A quick update on the new system burn-in.

Idle temps (my office stays about 78 F)

I'm using WoW to burn in the CPU and GPU, and so far I am very pleased with what I've seen.  The GPU temps seem to steady out around 63C, while the motherboard and CPU temps stay in the mid- to upper-40s.  Given how much stuff is crammed in that case, I am not disappointed with these temps.  I may try to increase the top fan speed, seeing as it currently stays at 1900rpm.  The "CPU fan" is actually the watercooling pump, which I set to receive full voltage.

WoW performs well and the system is running even better than before.  I used Arctic Silver 5 for the CPU, and that seems to be worth the small investment.  Also, for inquiring minds, I used the line method as recommended by Arctic.
Line method for thermal paste
The ultimate victory for this system was that I turned on the computer and booted straight to windows.  I installed new motherboard drivers and was running full speed without having to reinstall windows at all.

Now, for WoW-related updates:
I began exploring dailies, as well as the Pandaren questline, in an effort to raise my item level beyond 463.  I am happy to report that I had success.  I got revered with Klaxxi and Tillers, which allowed me to get a decent neck using valor.  I ran a handful of 5-man random heroics, and got my average item level to about 455.  A guildie, out of the goodness of his own heart, crafted me two ilvl 483 cloth pieces, which I am particularly grateful for.  The Pandaren questline that begins at the top of Mogu Palace yielded a decent epic pair of shoes.  I bought a decent epic offhand from the AH for 1000 gold, which is relatively cheap.  And all that allowed me to queue for raids.  I now have a composite item level of 472, which qualifies me for the 460 and 470 LFR instances.

I successfully completed my first LFR yesterday.  I don't even know which one it was...there was a mantid that had a challenging tornado alley dynamic.  I got 2 sets of boots and a new helm!  I also got my first ingot, so I am on my way to completing the legendary quest that gives me a legendary gem.

I got exalted with Tillers, and now I am taking jobs to raise rep with others.  Hopefully this is worth the time.  The most time-consuming thing I'm doing on my priest right now is Sunreaver dailies on the Isle of Thunder.  These take a while, although the gear rewards are pretty good.

I think the big ticket is going to be LFR, "looking for raid," since the gear in those instances is almost 500 item level.  I still need to research the items that allow me to roll for extra gear on bosses.  I like the instant queue quality of a healer, but I am not thrilled with the inadequate grinding power of a shadow priest during dailies.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

A powerful Mini ITX build for my deployment

Great success!  After a lot of research, form reading, and a little budgeting...I purchased all the needed components for the smallest computer I have ever built.
I chose the Sugo SG08 because it fits inside my Zuca bag, which will be my method of transporting the computer with me when I deploy.  Why was this important?  Because the Zuca bag comes with a steel frame that will protect the actual computer from getting crushed.  If you ever see the military palletize bags, you will understand why I was concerned about it.  I had a rolling gorilla chest last time for my electronic stuff, but it was unwieldy and awful to drag around, which we end up doing a lot.

Now, the parts I had to order for the new build:
Case: Silverstone Sugo SG08 with the provided 600W PSU
Motherboard: Asus P8Z77-I mini ITX
CPU cooling: Corsair H60 watercooling unit
Optical drive: Toshiba (TSST) slimline DVD writer SN-208

New Toys!

The stuff I brought from my existing full ATX tower:
CPU: Intel Core i5-2500K (LGA1155)
RAM: G.Skill 8GB (2x4GB) DDR3 2133
Graphics card: EVGA GeForce GTX560 titanium
Drives: Corsair Force GT 120GB SSD and a WD 2TB green

The total package...more than a few minutes later
I will continue this thread with a picture by picture explanation of the build...but so far I want to report that I have had great success.  I didn't have to reinstall windows, only drivers for the new mobo.  CPU temps seem idle at 36C!  The only noise is coming from the Corsair fan at the top.  I am quite pleased.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Computer in a Bag...My Newest Project for my Deployment

I have embarked on a new project.

To build a mini ITX computer that will literally fit inside my Zuca bag, so that I can tote it along with me to my next deployment.

Components are purchased...stand by for updates!

Also, still have to figure out what to do about getting a monitor over there.  Pelican case?