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MSi RMA process

In my last blog you may of read that my old MSi 670GTX OC (N670GTX-PM2D2GD5/OC) failed. After some testing I couldnt get the card to work properly again (Windows reported an error 43, and had switched to vgasafe). I also noticed some corruption in the pictures (looking like the graphic-card memory had failed).

So I started to read around, it looked like MSi did offer 3 year warranties on some cards but I wasnt sure if mine was covered. I checked all over the box and the included paper-work, but nothing about the warranty period. I contacted MSi to see if the card was covered or not, as the card was 2 years and 10 months old. They told me the card was covered and they would do the RMA of the card.

However, MSi said the card would need to be sent to the Netherlands (since there was no UK repair centre). My first thoughts is that would be expensive. I did a quick check on the postage cost, and royal-mail showed £60! Immediately was disappointed - 20% of the cost of a new 970 0GTX!?! However after further emails MSi told me that they didnt need the original box (which was quite big, most being empty space) and I removed the postage-insurance (since it was broken anyway). This brought down the posting-cost to £12.51! So on the wednesday it was packaged (with all the paper-work), and took to our local post-office the next day (on 16th April).

I knew it would take a few days to get there (with a weekend just after), so I kept an eye on the tracking information. However before the tracking information I told emailed by MSi to say the card has arrived (21st April). On the same day I had another email saying that they didnt have a replacement but would I accept a N680GTX-PM2D2GD5 as a replacement? So I did some research and it appeared to be the next model up, although not over-clocked like my old 670GTX. My old 670GTX was around 3.5% faster than the reference design, and the 680GTX they offered was around 2-5% faster than my old 670GTX. I could see why MSi offered that card as a replacement. I accepted of-course, and the following day it was despatched.

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On the 24th of April I got a ding-dong on the front-door - the replacement card was here. I immediately stuck the card in, and it was working. It was great to have a modern graphic-card again - the old 9800 GT wasnt up to the job on my 2600k (running at 98% most of the time) - I missed shadow-play, Elite ran at 10-15pfs with everything at the lowest and 512MB of VRAM was too small. The replacement card looked in fairly good condition, as I was told it would be a factory refurbished one.

So in the end it took around a week and a day for my card to go from the UK to Netherlands, to be processed and another card to be sent. I am impressed with MSi, as they dealt with the warranty brilliantly. I would like to say a big thank-you to MSi for dealing with my RMA.

Over the weekend I did tidy my case, installed some black-foam and swapped PSU;

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Posted by Roguey on Monday 27th April, 2015   ·   Comment 3 comments   ·  

Elite Dangerous » Elite killed my 670 GTX

Probably the first thing you thought when reading the blog title was - is this some spam random post? I wish it was the case.. but my Nvidia 670 GTX has now gone on its last journey after just 2 and half years;

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I havnt been playing Elite for a few days as ive been working on the site, or playing on the PS3. I just recently wrote some code to save the best deals back into the database. So, today I thought ill check a run that the site worked out between Deneb Algedi to V374 Pegasi - it looked promising. So I launched the game, got into the game and set my location to V374 Pegasi. Next I asked for permission to launch, went to pull-up, then a big blue-screen of death. I knew it wasnt a good but I thought after a restart it would be back.

But, after a restarting my pc went into a kind-of safe-mode defaulting back to 800x600. Windows was basically saying there was no graphic card, or it was unknown. I tried reinstalling the drivers, still nothing. So as a last result I tried it in another pc. The same thing happened - Windows couldnt find it. Its so bad that even the screen-saver cant run, saying a need a better graphic card. In device manager Windows says;

Code 43: Windows has stopped this device because it has reported problems

So ive had to borrow my old 9800GT for now - which isnt ideal;

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Elite is barely playable, I cant shadow-play and the 9800GT sounds like it cant cope - although its better than being in safe mode. Its not helped that the car also off-the-road due to some serious faults (so we cant just pop to the shops and get another). I find it ironic that awhile back Frontier had a competition to win a Titan-black but yet as killed my 670GTX. Im guessing that a 970GTX would be a good replacement? For now, I will probably be playing Elite a lot less and staying solo until I can get something sorted. I might re-try it a few more times but I dont think its coming back. If you have any suggestions, please let me know.

[update] the card was later RMA, more information here

Posted by Roguey on Monday 13th April, 2015   ·   Comment 5 comments   ·  

Elite Dangerous » Cmd Roguey, Chapter 4

Boy... its been a long time since my last blog on Elite - almost 4 months! Since then a lot has changed for me - ive switch from an Asp (which was a great ship), to an Anaconda, got 100 million in the bank and have explored the universe a little.

A little after my last post I found mention of a luxury run called - Tenche. On face-value it didn't look like it would offer much, but after trying a test run with my Asp seem to be a fast way to make money. The run invoiced picking up performance-enhancers (from the nearby station), then selling them at a nearby point. Whilst the profit wasn't ground breaking, it meant you could sell them very quickly. So it was time to sell the Asp, for a Type 7. I knew this run would be removed by Frontier (because it was the fastest way to make money), so made the most I could from it. It even allowed me to switch from a Python to a Type 9 in the same day. I was a bit stupid with the Type 9, as for a little bit of time I had no insurance on it, and since havnt repeat. However as quickly as the run was found, Frontier put a stop to it. I can't moan because I did very well from it – gaining an Anaconda with 10 million!

So, with the run over it was time to think what to do next. The Anaconda I had brought was only barely operation (after picking up wares for sale), or I could sell it and buy a pretty much upgraded Python (I only got to fly one for a day or so). I was hearing there would be a Python nerf. So after much thinking I decided to stick with the Anaconda (I wouldn't need to worry about the rebalance, and I may not be in the same situation again). However one thing was clear, I need to find a way to make money. The Anaconda was quick to eat money, but equally should be able to make a lot of money too. The 10 million meant it only take one smash up for me to be put in serious financial trouble. So I thought if I lose the ship once, then I would switch to a Python – I wasn't going to let my efforts disappear (I was silly enough before with the Type 9, not again).

So the only way I could make money was by trading, nothing else really scaled. I originally wanted to make money with combat but it only took a little bit of hull damage to dash any profit made. So this is when I started working my trade-helper more - I needed help with trading too. I found trade route around Brani (I can't remember the exact route now) that I used to build up my money. Once I had enough money, I started to feel some-what safer. One of the stations there has giant arms on it. Somehow I knew I was going fly into it sooner or later, and I did (although when I had enough money).

After more money, it was time to upgrade the ship. The first thing being the jump-range – for me the most important thing whilst trading.. well, part from cargo space of course. Later on I installed a better Power Coupler, which set me back 27 million! Geez, this Anaconda was costing me a lot of money.

After a lot more trading, it was time to get the ship armed – this was one of the main things for me, a ship with similar cargo-space as a type 9 but with weapons. During field-tests I decided to look around Lave to see how bad things were. I know there were a lot of pirates up there, so I figured it would be a good test place. This is when I ran to a griefer, who decided to send me personal attack through my site. This was reported to Frontier, which later said they couldn't do anything, and urge me not to combat-log again (this guy threaten me saying Frontier were going to act on me). I wasn't proud of combat-logging as I never did it before. Its an issue that Frontier need to fix, and something I havnt done for long time. After all this cleared, I was wiser and decided to go back to trading. I still feel this should have never escalate outside of the game, but equally I shouldnt of replied.

I decided to give the game a break for a bit – I knew wings was due soon, so thought things could be worse with these pirates but actually seemed to encourage coop play – something I felt was missing from the initial release. Suddenly now I was joining random people helping them bounty hunt and trade.

However every time I opened up my status screen, I kept seeing Aimless under the explorer rank. So I decided (after upgrading the Anaconda) to try my hand at it. The Anaconda wasn't the best ship for the job but it allowed me to test exploring. My first thoughts its nice get your name in the map but it doesn't pay well. So I decided to keep grinding the money, to get Asp for the job. On my second exploration run (my largest so far), I made only a couple of million. This took me around 5-6 hours!

Just today ive re-reached the 100 million mark, with a 230+ million Anaconda and a 25 million worth Asp. The next goal is trying to reach Dangerous – it's crazy to think people have already hit triple Elite! To this day ive only lost the Anaconda once because of that giant arm.

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Hopefully it won't be so long before the next blog..

Posted by Roguey on Friday 3rd April, 2015   ·   Comment 0 comments   ·  

Elite Dangerous » Cmd Roguey, Chapter 3

In my last blog I had switched back to an Asp, making me feel some-what safer. However things have changed - the universe is more hostile than ever.

It seems more human players have taken up the role of pirating - stealing and killing from other players, especially on main trade routes / rares (Lave / Altair areas). Myself, I have lost over 350k in hull damage to them and only narrowing escaping a couple of times. Elite & Dangerous is quickly turning into a PvP game which is not what I wanted. I guess I could head off the beaten track, or play solo but that defeats the point of online play, eh?

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Many months ago, the online mode sounded great - being able to meet other players and maybe party with them (like in large events) - a thing that many other MMO's do (such as Guild Wars 2). I know Frontier are working on a feature called wings, but if this allows pirates to group together then things will get much worse.

You may think, well get a better ship... well, I was using a heavily upgraded Asp (around the 20 million mark) when I got hull damage from pirate Viper. All pirates do is fit more shield banks than me (as I was trying to carry cargo) and weapons to drop my shields fast, since my Asp cant turn as fast as a Viper. I dont fit PvP weapons because they require a lot of costly ammo - which isnt good for long term battles (the ones I prefer).

Once my shields are down (which can be done very quickly), im an easy target. I thought it might of been just me, but when I saw the video below I was dismayed - the commander was taken completely off-guard;

So, for now I dont know what to do with the game; moving rares between 4 or 5 places isnt much fun at the best of times, yet with the added possibility of human pirates - its ruining the game for me. Sure I can switch back to solo (or Alt+F4), but why should a human pirate force me to that? At one point a pirate was able to spam his interdictor on me continuously, the only action was to quit game. Its not like a 70+ million ship survives any better (if not worse, cos its an bigger target).

I understand that pirating should be a way of life but it shouldnt mean clean commanders lose millions of credits. The current bounty system is floored and something needs to be done about PvP pirates! Maybe even an option to disable human interdictions, or at the very least a cool-down. There also a need of some game-play rebalance (shields shouldnt go down that quick, nor should multi-able cell banks be allowed).

I have no interest in pirating other players, so I shouldnt be able to be interdicted all the time. Maybe only allow wanted human ships to be interdicted in race owned systems?

Posted by Roguey on Saturday 24th January, 2015   ·   Comment 7 comments   ·  

Elite Dangerous » Cmd Roguey, Chapter 2

Its been awhile since my last blog, and a lot has changed since. In my last blog I had only just got a Cobra, which had only basic equipment. Ideally I wanted to reach an Asp but it was a long way off.

Building up money took a long time. I originally wanted to make my money through bounty hunting than trading (I just wanted to do it a different way). I havnt really looked at trading too much (to be honest) as I find it a bit of a mixed bag - sometimes you take goods to a place (which the in-game map says it wants) and yet they dont.

A little time later Gomorragh told me of rare-trading, so I started to look into it. At first it seemed a little confusing;

  • Where are they sold? can I work-out some kind-of route?
  • If I buy them, can you only sell it at certain places?
  • Is it really worthwhile? would fuel cost more?

So the first thing, where can you buy them? So it was time to do a search in google. This is where I came across Elite Rare Trader;

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This useful map tells you where you can find these rares, and how far the station with them is from the nav-point (some are very far away). The first thing I noticed is that around Lave there are quite a few places that sell them; Orrere, Uszaa, Leesti, Diso, Zaonce, So maybe my first stop. So now I needed a second location (ideally you want sell rares around 140ly or more, although I think the ideal is 200ly). So looking at the map, maybe Altair, Zeessze, George Pantazis and finally Fujin, like so;

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Im sure others have better routes and that.. however for now this works fairly well for me. So with some places worked-out, I wanted to know where can you sell rares? The short answer is any-where.

So the next question; was it going to be worthwhile? The short answer, very much yes. Per run (40-50 units) I can make around 800k. Fuel isnt much of a problem, as a Fuel-scoop can refuel the ship for free. The gathering stage can take 30mins, then the long jump 10-15mins.

So I started the runs, building up the money. The first upgrade was the jump-drive, the less I see that wrap effect, the quicker I can do it. After many runs, I was finally able to get a Asp;

At first the Asp seemed like a back-step, as it seemed slow (forever turning to keep up with ships like the Viper).

It took me awhile to work out what guns for the Asp. It has two class 2 weapons (main weapons) and four class 1 weapons. I did try beam weapons once again (as I thought the Asp would supply enough power) but like the Cobra they ran-out too quickly. So this is when I thought about using two groups, with the main being either pulse or burst (doesnt really seem much difference) and the secondary for hull-damage (so four multi-cannons). You can see this combo at the start of this video;

The Asp did a great job, loads of jump-range and well armed - it made travelling long distances easy. After many runs I was able to upgrade the Asp fairly well. This is when I started looking at bigger ship; the Imperial Clipper.

However before I could get it, I needed to get some reputation with the Empire military. So after searching around for awhile, I found a little spot to do this (Canta athis / Macuayan). After doing a few general missions, I was given a few jobs by the military. In the end I got a high enough rank, and brought the Imperial Clipper;

This ship definitely looks the part, with its splendour white looks. It had an extra type 7 slot, which I was going to use for a shield. However this ship cost a lot of money, and so wasnt easy to upgrade. After using for a little I noticed it had some major draw-backs;

  • Its was so large, it could only land on large docking pads (so no more landing on outposts - useful for clearing wanted tags),
  • A very poor jump-range - from the Asp's 27ly, 15ly was terrible!
  • A maximum 16 unit fuel-tank.. what the hell? sooner or later I was going to stranded by running out of fuel, with a star which I couldnt refuel from,
  • Everything was more expensive (repairs, upgrades etc.), but money hadnt increased - If anything it lowered because trading rares was harder with the lower jump-range and small fuel tank.

Combat wise, the Clipper was miles ahead of the Asp, but money was the problem. So I decided to get a Type 6 so I could get some upgrades for the Imperial Clipper, restarting the rare-trading. This worked fine until someone attacked me Altair and stole some of my cargo. Seeing my Imperial Clipper was parked there, I landed with the Type 6 and chased after them in the Clipper. I was interdicted a few ships, and ended up losing a fair amount of hull, costing me 200k (I never caught the thief, as they ran when they saw my Imp chasing them).

So after landing back in Solo Orbiter (in Altair), I think about ditching the Clipper. So it was either have two ships (one with a poor jump-range and ate money, the other was defenceless - so pirates could attack steal/kill) or go back to my Asp, where I felt safe and able to make money. So after some thinking I sold both ships and re-brought my Asp (it was nice seeing the 27ly in an armed ship once again). This also meant I could clear my bounties at outposts too. I upgraded my Asp so much, that its rebuy price was just has high as the Clipper (something I kind-of wanted to lower - oh well).

It seems more commanders are now pirating from others - making the runs much harder (especially in Altair last night). So be careful out there.

Posted by Roguey on Saturday 17th January, 2015   ·   Comment 2 comments   ·  

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