I know some musicians use Monster instrument cables, simply because they have a lifetime warranty. Instrument cables get chewed up no matter how well-made or expensive they are. So it's nice to always be able to get a free replacement.
My point is that even the cheapest analog cables sound exactly as good as the expensive alternatives, they meet the specs. Longevity and build quality is a completely different matter, but can still be had inexpensively.
The HDMI cable you mention is a different matter, where the cheap ones simply don't meet the actual specs. Buy the cheapest cable that meets the specs you need.
There are still plenty of analog connections around. Headphone jacks, RCA outputs and so on. None of them sound any better through Monster cables than through cheap dollar store cables, and they never did.
Note that by far the largest difference was stereo crosstalk, and that has a lot more to do with cable geometry than with price or "quality". You can make any cable measure exceedingly low crosstalk by physically separating the wires, but no one can head crosstalk at -84dB anyway, so it's pointless.
2 FPS is a bit of an exaggeration, but yeah GTA V absolutely at the ragged edge of what is possible on those systems. It wasn't so bad on my 360 when I initially played it, what a ride that was. But after seeing and playing it on a beefy PC, it feels so lacklustre going back to the horrendous scenery pop-in and framerate issues.
And I even have it in the best possible configuration: Install disk on the HDD and play disk on a fast USB stick, but it still doesn't eliminate the pop-in.
Absolutely seconded. Ditch the main quest as soon as possible, so you can spend hours and hours fucking around with side quests and exploration instead. There is tons of great hidden stuff to be found.
Personally, I liked the reduced hand-holding of FONV. It was like "you've made a character, now here is the game. Figure it out", and I love that sense of discovery, exploration and experimentation where you don't really know what's going on at first, so you have to put a little bit of effort into it.
Can I interest you in some fine $400 audiophile wooden knobs?
To be fair, the fancy-pants dedicated chipsets in consoles actually do something, since they offload certain types of processing from the main CPU. Having stuff like dedicated DSP chips on board can help a CPU that is otherwise middle-of-the-road perform a little better. Less CPU used for stuff like sound processing means more CPU left over for AI etc.
But too much of a specialized architecture just makes it harder to program for. The PS3 with its Cell processor is notoriously hard to program for, leading most games on the platform to underperform in comparison to what is theoretically possible.
On the other hand, if you know what you're doing, you can do crazy stuff on specialized architectures. Metal Gear Solid 4 and Metal Gear Rising both look and play amazingly well and run fluidly on the PS3. Before that, Resident Evil 4 on the GameCube was an absolutely amazing achievement, when you consider the modest specs it ran on. But you have to really put some effort into understanding the architecture and work with it.
These days, it's so much easier to just generalize everything, which is why the PS4 and XBOne both feature x86-64 CPUs from AMD, off the shelf PC processors. A trend Microsoft started with the original Xbox and its modified Pentium III CPU.
So it's certainly not an exaggeration to say that today's consoles are simply under-specced non-upgradeable PCs.
Even worse, they specifically show someone putting a Batteriser on a battery that is running low, and magically the battery meter is full again!
Well yeah of course it is, since battery meters go by remaining voltage. So if you boost it back up to 1.5V, of course it's going to read full. Massive marketing red flag right there.
HDMI audio, seriously? PC monitor speakers are a joke at best. the Realtek ALC887 chipset on most of these motherboards doesn't have the power to drive even a decent set of speakers or headphones. USB headphones are popular because they sidestep the issue of under-powered on-board audio but few of them can even get close to the quality of a discreet sound card paired with a good set of headphones.
Most monitors with HDMI/DisplayPort inputs provide an analog line level output to connect to a proper stereo or active speakers. DACs these days are hella good, ven the ones built into PC monitors.
Realtek onboard audio can drive any speakers just fine, since they provide line level output, not amplified output. So of course they'll drive any amplifier or active speakers just fine. And onboard audio will drive a most headphones directly just fine as long as you're not using some wonky high-impedance audiophile wanker headphones. And if it's not loud enough, just get a cheap (O2 or FiiO) headphone amp and stop worrying about dedicated sound cards.
Unless you have very specific input/output or driver feature needs, there is absolutely no reason to buy a dedicated sound card.
1. There is more to an audio adapter than the processor. Many "sound cards" have far better amplifier circuits for cleaner sound. Some even have DIP-socketed ICs so that you can change them out if you want to.
There is no audible difference, and very little measurable difference between even a halfway decent onboard sound card and even the best dedicated sound card. Literally the only justification for a dedicated sound card is if you need some specific driver features, and since all games these days do their own sound processing instead of using EAX etc., you don't need those features.
And socketed ICs are completely irrelevant. Unless you designed the circuit, you don't know whether the fancy-pants IC you're swapping in will even perform correctly in the circuit. Different ICs need different supporting implementations. You can't just swap stuff around willy-nilly.
2. "most of the good headphones" are NOT USB. High end headphones are not USB, because they are made for a different audience. Also, many of these models utilize high impedance, which means you need to connect them to a high-impedance source... thus #1.
You have literally no idea what you're talking about. The connector (and impedance) only correlates very weakly with the quality of the headphones.
A headphone output should always have as low an output impedance as possible, for the most linear frequency response even with 32 (or 16 or 8) ohm headphones. This is why some low-impedance headphones sound boomy on cheaply-designed stereos that have 100 ohm output impedance or even more, because of the type of load imposed on the output circuits. But even onboard sound these days has output impedance below 10 ohms, unless someone severely fucked up the implementation. High quality outputs (and good headphone amps) generally have less than 1 ohm output impedance. Even if your onboard sound has high output impedance and/or won't play loud enough into your headphones, an O2 or FiiO headphone amp is a super cheap fix, with no need to buy expensive sound cards.
That depends on how many animations and sound effects you want to use.
(All of them, of course)
It's a callback to the original movies, as are the crash zooms onto the faces of people in the cars and so on. It's a stylistic choice.
just simple, stupid action for a male audience over ten.
I'd say it was about 75/25 men and women in the theater when I saw it, and everyone was absolutely on the edge of their seats, no exceptions. I'd say that's pretty good for a full-on actionfest.
I was so ready to be disappointed, fearing that this would be another jumpcut, way-too-zoomed-in CGI-infested snoozefest like so many other action movies of the last few decades.
I was pleasantly surprised to be presented with a lean mean, no-holds-barred guns-a-blazing action blast with tons of awesome practical effects and long-duration shots that really let you take in every bit of the insanity instead of only showing you glimpses. It was great, honestly, truly great.
To be fair it's more like 2 or 3 enormous chase scenes with a little bit of plot on top.
But oh man, those chase sequences (all nearly goddamn two hours of them) are utterly amazing. Awesome practical effects, absolutely insane stuntwork and some of the coolest vehicles ever built (and gloriously smashed to bits).
I know it sounds a bit silly when you sum it up like you did, but it really is one hell of a rollercoaster ride.