other than Rage, i haven't come across any game-interrupting issues. and i was even running old-ass drivers most of the time (6-9 months old usually).
i always bring up launch day/early access games i haven't had issues with: the Crysis 2 demo, Starcraft 2, BF3, NFS: Shift, Alan Wake, Supcom 2. sadly, i was a bit late with Skyrim, getting in at v1.2.
i second this. were they your own encodes? Lame 3.98 is pretty much the best MP3 encoder out there. there are some compiles of it that you just drag a WAV (not sure about FLAC) onto it (lamedropXPd). make sure you're using V2 quality, if not V0.
if you can hear the difference, well, i tip my hat.
so that article links to a list of 9 good albums, one of which is Nirvana's Nevermind. note: the 2011 remaster is smashed to the wall, and, iirc, you could even hear clipping: http://i.imgur.com/i0Vag.png
most are h.264; second most common vc-1; least common is mpeg-2. bitrate (see: http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1155731 ) usually doesn't matter too much if the source is good, as even the vc-1 encoded Domino still ranks at the top of the Blu-ray PQ thread. i can't wait for x264 to start hitting discs...
i run AMD on my desktop (Phenom II X3 705e (65 watt)) and i'm quite sure any bottlenecks i encounter are HDD-related. even my ghetto LVM raid server is AMD.
gaming, however, i'm quite taken with Intel. Bulldozer isn't too bad, tho, depending on the game. it "keeps up with" Intel @ 1080p and beyond on most games...except--amusingly--some huge AAA titles like Civ 5, Starcraft II, and Skyrim. (tho it's 99.9% identical in performance to Intel on the utterly gorgeous Battlefield 3, and very very close in WoW and Crysis 2)
i could care less about parsons, but i hate hate hate all the upselling. however, nobody else was selling.ME domains at the time. maybe i've just been spoiled by starting from the hosting side with other companies and not seeing so much sleezy feeling tactics.
i was highly against Origin (mainly for convenience reasons... all my games are on Steam), but my lust to see what the Frostbite 2's engine can do was greater than my hatred for the platform. i was also hoping to have horror stories to tell about it, but almost disappointingly, i haven't had any. i don't have any plans to get anything else on Origin unless something else pulls me equally hard to itself.
i have heard of punkbuster nightmares, but having gotten shot in the face all day long during the beta (this is my first PvP fps i've really gone after since casual UT/UT2k4 LAN play), my interest is kinda luke warm WRT MP.
i wish they'd discussed "smoothness" of the game... it's a bit twitchy on Ultra (especially in the interrogation sections) on my GTX 560 (accidentally got this instead of a Ti when i thought my ATI card was dying)... however, it's ever so slightly more smooth on my 5870 (both 1GB cards). (GTX on X58; Radeon on P55)
me too, but with case, psu, ram, hdd, i7-920 (and moreso 860) was a better deal for about a year and a half. there are SOME distributed computing (that's not ALL i do, fyi) people that run their farms on paper trays or other neat little vertical stacks, though.