Last night went a bit off the rails early on. Traditionally I participate in the Final Fantasy XIV pony farm night on Tuesdays, and every since I showed up and won two mounts on my return… I have felt committed to be there and help more folks get theirs. However last night something else happened that precluded that obligation. When I got home sitting on the coffee table was my shiny new GTX 980 graphics card. I managed to make it through dinner successfully, but as soon as that was over I was upstairs tearing into my case to install it. First however I had to clean said case out… it is shocking just how damned dusty a computer can get so I had to drag my vacuum upstairs. I could have of course done the canned air thing, but firstly it would have choked me up horribly and secondly… said dust would just eventually end up right back inside the computer case. So for a period of time that was probably way shorter than it seemed I meticulously cleaned off the vans and interior surfaces of the case with the vacuum wand.
I get the card seated and tightened into place, and the only real frustration was the two 8 pin connectors. My power supply doesn’t actually have 8 pins… but instead it has six pin connectors with this little two pin that you sort of wedge in beside it. Trying to guide two different connectors in at the same time is extremely maddening but with some effort I finished the job, all the while anxious to boot things up and see purty graphics. Now this is the point where things start to spin out of control. Firstly I am bad at doing windows updates… and in rebooting my computer I had a whole slew of them apparently queued up to install and thanks to the glory of Windows 10 you don’t really get a reprieve. You reboot your computer for any reason and by god they are going to take that moment of weakness to install every fucking thing under the sun. After a sequence of three or four reboots, Windows decided to do two things that were maddening. Firstly it decided to uninstall the lovely Nvidia drivers that should have worked just fine since I was going from a 960 to a 980… and instead installing its completely useless stock driver. Secondly after a sequence of reboots I loaded into a game… and quickly realized I had no audio.
Some time ago I purchased an Asus Xonar DG audio card, and I really have enjoyed it. It sounds significantly nicer than the default Realtek on-board audio, with the only negative being that on my current motherboard it is sandwiched right up against the video card. Windows jettisoned the drivers, and I didn’t even get a little angry “no audio device found” message when it tried to load the tray icon tool. The tray icon tool for the Xonar drivers was simply gone. I guess in the grand scheme of things this probably makes sense, because the Xonar drivers I was running were some unified third party drivers that fix the faults in the card that the default Asus drivers still seem to have. In any case… I had no audio… which is the point at which I start trying to configure my damned onboard card once more. This of course took another series of reboots… the first being that I didn’t remember what the hell the MSI bios hotkey was. The second being me actually managing to mash the delete key at the right time to enter the bios, and finally the third being to install the damned drivers. Life was more or less peachy, until I once again began fiddling to try and make the on-board sound, sound considerably less horrible.
I started this process around 6 pm, and finally got to a point where I could start playing something around 9:30 pm. This is always what happens when you decide to open up your case and do quite literally anything. One thing leads to another, which leads to a desperate sequence of events… which finally leads to success but several hours past when you expected. I hopped on Teamspeak to sort out if the audio was set up properly and thankfully both Ashgar and Tam were there to help me test. Then I did what you do anytime you upgrade literally anything in your machine…. you start launching every game you have installed to tweak the settings. The new card does not of course make everything magically better. I still have a woefully outdated Motherboard and Processor, which I will have to address at some point, however I have more than enough graphics card to be able to run damned near anything I care to throw at it. The fun thing I learned last night is that Nvidia Experience is woefully confused as to what my system can actually run. I’ve often used their optimization as a baseline to then go in and further tweak until things are a good mix of pretty and performance. However thanks to the outdated CPU it just sort of throws its hands up and chooses low at times. Whereas pretty much everything I have thrown at it since last night has been able to bump on up to ultra settings regardless of the outdated processor.
So that is my fun evening and I have peppered the post with various screenshots taken in the games I loaded up… and happened to think to take a screen shot. I am sure I will likely tweak each of them further, and also try flipping various games to Dynamic Super Resolution which seems to work awesome now, when it only barely worked before. Huge apologies to my friends in FFXIV, but thankfully I did warn them that it was a possibility yesterday. Hopefully everything went off over there without a hitch and I will join them next week like normal. In the meantime… I am probably going to continue spending the next several days… launching games and logging out of them just to see what the difference is. I am also wondering if somehow when I installed the Video card… if I managed to unseat the audio card. I will probably give that a shot tonight, but I made that realization way too late in the evening for me to venture back inside of my case that night.