Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Reset parental code on an Xbox 360 Elite console with the newest dashboard:

Reset parental code on an Xbox 360 Elite console with the newest dashboard:

Go to Settings
Console Settings
System Information

Scroll all the way down

using the controller, press:

Left trigger, Right trigger, X, Y, Left Bumper, Right Bumper, Y, A, R(on D-Pad), Y

This will bring up a prompt to reset the console to default.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Dell u3014 30" LCD monitor

So, my new, new monitor arrived yesterday. I happily set it up and began experimenting.

And then the disappointment set in. The resolution is 2560x1600. Same pixel width as the u2913wm monitor I just returned, and yet it shows LESS because the height is 1600 and the screen is set to a 16:10 ratio. The 29" is set to a 21:9 ratio, and so it shows more to the sides. Granted, 1080 pixel height is less than 1600, but I really noticed the lack of width, and not really the added height.

I played around in a few games trying to convince myself this is the better monitor for me. Bioshock Infinite can be tweaked to show more width with an FOV edit in the ini files. Battlefield 4 is supposed to have a working FOV slider, but I found that it did nothing for me. Guild Wars 2 looks fantastic, but again, you are stuck at the 16:10 ratio. Diablo III looks amazing at 2560x1600, however, and is probably the only game I tried that worked for me at that resolution.

Don't get me wrong, the u3014 is a fantastic monitor. The pixel density, resolution, and colors are amazing. I love that the touch sensitive buttons are little nubs that light up so you can feel when you touch one. I love that the power button is actually a button. The monitor itself is lighter than my 2009 27" Dell LCD due to the thinner body. (LED vs CCFL)

But, the things I didn't love outweigh the things I did love. I really want an ultra-wide resolution for games. I liked the missing bezels on the sides of the u2913wm. The 30" has pretty big bezels. The 30" also has some massive light bleeding at the bottom corners; Much more noticeable than the 29".

In the end, I ordered another 29" u2913wm from Dell. Hopefully this one won't have the power on issue. The 30" is going back next week.

I have heard rumors of a 34" ultra-wide Dell lcd in the works though. Stay tuned!

EDIT: This monitor also seems to have issues. The backlight will flicker for 15-30 minutes sometimes. It reminds me of old CRT monitors with low refresh rates. It gives me an almost instant headache. It's kind of ridiculous for a monitor this expensive to have an issue like that, although I have been reading reports of many issues with this model; Scan lines, backlight problems, and now the flickering. 

Monday, December 2, 2013

Dell U2913wm - Update

So, I discovered a minor issue with my new monitor; I can't turn it off and then just turn it back on when I want to. If I turn it off, the power button does NOTHING when trying to turn it back on.

Being that I used to work in IT at a support desk, I went ahead and troubleshot the thing on my own. It turns out the DP (Display Port) connection is bad. If I have a DP cable connected, the monitor will not turn on. I need to unplug the DP and power cables, then just insert the power cable and turn the monitor on, then insert the DP cable.

Needless to say, this is unacceptable to me, and the monitor is getting returned. It was a great monitor otherwise, but I decided that as long as I was experimenting, I would just get the next size up.

Stay tuned for my review of the Dell U3014 30" LED LCD. 2560x1600 resolution, here I come!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Dell U2913WM Ultra-widescreen Monitor

I had a bunch of credit at Dell after buying some PCs and things, so I decided to check out the 29 inch ultra-widescreen monitor.

For the curious, this is potentially replacing my Dell Ultrasharp 27" LCD.

The screen size on the 27" model is 23" x 14 1/2" compared to the 29" at 26 1/2" x 11 1/4". So you are pretty much trading off about 3 inches of height for 3 inches of width.

Other differences:
The bezel size - 3/4" on the 27" and 1/4" on the 29
LED backlighting on the 29 vs the tube lighting on the 27"
Resolution - 1920 x1200 on the 27" vs 2560 x1080 on the 29

So far the colors appear superior on the 29", but of course it is a few years newer than the 27" with all the advancements in panel technology built in. I haven't really missed the height in games too much, but I really noticed the added width. There's just a lot more on the sides that you would have to run to see before. It really helps in shooter games.

I think if you want to try an ultra-widescreen resolution without investing in 3 LCD monitors and the video cards to drive them, this is a less expensive way to go.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Alienware - Part...I forget. Just go with it.

     So, I have been questioning my sanity, er, considering upgrading my desktop. (Alienware Aurora R3, Intel i7 - 2600k, 8GB RAM, GTX 590 video card) I decided it was a bit too expensive to get a new one just now, so I attempted to trick mine out instead. I've already added 3 SSD drives, and I just recently replaced the X-Fi generic Alienware sound card with a new Soundblaster Z card. (Which is awesome.) So, the next logical part to go would be the video card. I've been reading all sorts of reviews of the new GeForce cards, and it seems like a single GTX 780 is a nice upgrade from the dual-chip GTX 590. So, I went ahead an ordered a new GTX 780.

     I really should have looked up issues upgrading Aurora R3s before I did that. It seems that Alienware has pretty much abandoned upgrading the BIOS on the R3s since 2011. It also seems that, because of this, the new 700 series cards will not work in them. It pretty much just locks up on the boot screen, game over man. (Of course, the 780 I got seems to be broken anyway, since it won't work even on another desktop that is supposedly compatible.)

    It's not that I can't play all the latest games that have been released, it's just that I have had this desktop for a little over two years now and would like to upgrade before I get a game that won't run well. I know it's coming, as the next gen consoles have games that will push the PC ports to the limit.

    The sad part is, I can't even buy a new Alienware system to get the part I want. Right now the R4s only go up to GTX 690 cards. Those are nice, but I am a tad bit tired of the jet engine in my case when a game taxes the video card. I guess it's because a corporate giant now owns Alienware, but they are so slow to update technology. All of the other custom gaming system builders already have systems with the latest and greatest. Unfortunately, as much as people like to believe Alienware is super overpriced, anything by Origin, Falcon, or other gaming boutique manufacturers are REALLY overpriced.

I guess I get to wait. Oh well, the PS4 will be here in a few months.