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Post-Mope Boredom Diffusion

In hindsight, effort towards writing it better or not, I don't think moping was a good idea.  Besides, I'm pretty sure a significant amount of negativity I'd seen was probably reflected back from myself.  That's often the way things.  It's a bitter medicine, I should probably swallow it.

So here's a little status report to push that ugliness to page two.  I just finished buying way too many games, so when this latest paycheck came in, and I don't want to repeat that mistake.  I immediately dumped it on getting a couple more drives.  Then I bought another game because I'm thick that way.

Hardware Upgrade: A RAID 10 Looms Near
It seems even Microsoft thinks this is a good idea.
This is something I need to do.  Why?  As everything else I seem to do in life, the reasoning is overly complicated.
  • I have some dated-but-still-effective productivity software to load on my computer, but all of this software has a limited number of activations.  
  • Thanks to hard drive failures of the past, I have already used up some of those activations.   Plus, I'm tired of dealing with data loss or operation system installation whenever a hard drive failed.  So I started running my drives mirrored; two drives that copy each-other automatically, serving as a backup in case one failed, automatically, seamlessly... basically, I have fallen in love with RAID 1.
  • Unfortunately, all is not well in redundant drive paradise.  My drives are old Seagate Barracuda 7200s and I tire of how slowly they load everything.  If only there was a way I could get the benefit of mirroring my drives and combine it with the benefit of reading from two drives at once!  Well, as it turns out, my motherboard supports one such way, it's called RAID 10, and involves having four disks, two copying the other two, while reading from two disks at a time.
  • Yet, I suspect that the transition to four disks risks a catastrophic loss in which I lose everything.  That means, if I install my productivity software now, it could result in using up another activation stupidly.
End result: I don't want to install this productivity software until I have a RAID 10 up and running, so I've been using that as an excuse to forced to procrastinate somewhat all this time.  No longer!  Lets do this!  (Besides, I need more space, and there's something to be said for having better overall productivity as a result of not having to wait so long to load.)

Complicating this somewhat, it's going to need to have the 2.5" form factor because I'm installing this on my Cooler Master HAF XB, which I love to death, but it only has room for two 3.5" drives (in a dock it keeps in the front) and I'm already using those.  Weirdly enough, it's designed for the bulk of its drives to be kept in a cage that can house four 2.5" drives.

Well, it's going to be awhile longer than I thought it would, because it turns out that I bought the wrong drive.

I need Momentus XTs, which have built in solid state drive hybrid capacities.  I bought some 5400s RPM drives that also have the Momentus brand (part number STBD1000100) and the lack of hybrid capacity is completely not what I want.  According to the Tom's Hardware charts, the average read time of the Momentus 5400's perform abysmally slow compared to my existing Barracudas; less than half as fast, on the charts I've seen.  That looks terrible, even considering the speeds will essentially be doubled due to striping.

The difference between Momentus XT versus the Momentus 5400 is so massive that I can't ignore it.  In fact, these particular hybrid drives may do such a good job that running them in RAID 10 with a couple of old Barracuda 7200.12s would be slower than just running them in a single RAID1!

In any case,  I'm going to have to send these Momentus 5400 back to Amazon and get the right drives instead.  The mistake is mine, and I will suffer a $8.25 return fee because of it.  I rushed in, so there's no denying it: I'm a fool.

Once my return is processed, there's two routes I could go here:
  • I could stick it out and go for Momentus XTs, but turns out they're only available in 750GB size or less.   (There is a new 1GB model available, the ST1000LM014, but it's not called a Momentus, it's only 5400RPM, and all the benchmarks I've found on it so far indicate the performance is terrible.)  I really wanted to avoid that mandatory hard drive wipe, but perhaps certain utilities will let me get around it.  In the long run, lets say I eventually get 4 Momentus XTs in a RAID 10.  That could be even faster than a single solid state drive - that's really fast, it's likely I would encounter a bottleneck elsewhere.

    It is worth noting that the blinding speed of the Momentus XT is somewhat a gimmick.  A hybrid drive, it achieves this by "training" its solid state drive portion to keep the most frequently accessed data readily available.  Untrained, it is really no faster than any other 7200RPM drive.  But does this mean it truly a gimmick?  Not necessarily: it does result in a genuine speed boost on recently-utilized applications.
  • I could just get a couple of 1TB 2.5" 7200RPM drives of similar benchmark performance to my existing Seagate 7200.12s.  To look at the charts, my 3.5" Barracuda 7200.12 are not so bad, as far as old fashioned hard drive speeds go. 

    In comparison, the Momentus XTs are faster but more expensive than standard 7200RPM drives.  However, a RAID 10 of standard 7200RPM drives should still be faster than not benefiting from RAID 0 at all (the typical situation for non-power users).  There would be no need for a hard drive wipe (my BIOS can migrate without the need) and better overall capacity (a 2 GB RAID10 instead of a 1.5GB one).
I may even have to wait until the next paycheck before I can do it.  I was tempted to run my Barracudas in RAID 0 before then, but then I remembered that sometimes a drive falls out of the array for no good reason, so I would be computing without a safety net until the other drives get here.

Artemis Fowl, where are you?

Seeing how I have enjoyed the first book in the series, I'm sorely tempted to buy the next few books, but I have opted to put some holds in at the local library instead.  If I'm going to keep making these frivolous hard drive purchases, I really can't afford the luxury of spending $7 on iTunes to make it happen.

Shadowrun Returns purchased

Apparently buying a ton of games that I hardly even played was not sufficient to stop me from buying Shadowrun Returns.  Well, as it turns out, I have ridiculous number of tangents in which I can justify this purchase:
  • It's only $20.  If that's the only software purchase I make this paycheck, that's not a problem.
  • It's getting reasonably good reviews
  • I understand it plays somewhat like Baldur's Gate crossed with turn-based Fallout.  That's not a bad thing.
  • The setting is Shadowrun, which is actually a fairly interesting roleplaying game system in that it's not yet another d20 system game, and it has setting where fantasy meets cyberpunk. 
  • It has integrated Steam Workshop support to allow players to distribute their campaigns, which reminds me of Neverwinter Nights.   If the community gets on board with this, there will be plenty of content after that initial 17 hours of the default campaign, so that will meet my arbitrary $1 per hour of play desire.  It also provides a chance to satisfy my creative itch in making my own.
  • Finally, it's a kickstarted game that throws clone-happy triple-A developers the finger, so I want to support it.
Contrary to a lot of games I bought off my wish list on the Steam summer sale, I will play Shadowrun Returns immediately.  Tonight.  Maybe I need a shorter wish list?

Ring Runner: Flight Of The Sages, beckons for my wallet

After 5 years of development by a small Indy team, Ring Runner is now released and available for less than $20.

This game, too, practically has "SOLD" stamped all over it for me:
  • I like space opera games.  I like games with deep gameplay.  I like action gameplay if it's good action gameplay.  Ring Runner: Flight Of The Sages, is a space opera game with deep, good action gameplay.
  • Massive ship customization.  
  • Really cool abilities for a top-down 360 scrolling shooter.
  • About the only bad thing I can say about it is that it's not open-ended like a proper top-down Elite spoof (e.g. Escape Velocity Nova), and instead it has a linear campaign... maybe that's actually a better alternative because it prevents the player from boring themselves with one gameplay mode too much.
  • The campaign story looks pretty amusing, unique setting and all.
So here's another game I am much more likely to play than anything I bought last week.  However, I'm poor right now, so I'm going to see if I can resist buying it until next paycheck.  Maybe, by then, it will be Greenlit on steam.

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