What’s the difference between a 15 BTC and 35 BTC farm?
Hello Bitfriends I’m a long term holder from years ago, and have about 35 BTC under my control. I want to use the 35 Bitcoins to build a Mining farm business. My research leads me to believe that at this budget, I’m best to fit out a 20 foot or 40 foot shipping container with electrical infrastructure, rent some land in an area with existing electrical infrastructure and cheap electricity and fill them with ASIC miners. This will likely be overseas from my current country, and preliminary research leads me towards countries with lower political risk like Canada. I am in the early stages of information gathering and planning, and would like to open my Mining farm some time between 2020 and 2023, with the long term objective of raising money and eventually building these Mining farms in multiple countries, diversifying our risk while generating bitcoins for myself and shareholders. I am a big bitcoin bull and believe in the project long term. I have owned and managed small businesses before, but have no experience in the world of building data-centres. I like the economics of running a Mining Farm, and want to get my hands dirty, learn how they work, how to build them, and get “in the game”. Does anyone have experience or has been in my place before that can help me navigate from where I am to where I want to go? Questions: • If you were in my position, would you jump right in and start up a mine ASAP - once cheap power and stable geopolitical area is located? or would you try and wait to sell the bitcoins for fiat at the next bubble peak? Or possibly after the capitulation after the next peak - I read that after some time in 2018 lots of new/inefficient miners capitulated and needed to sell their rigs due to the drop in price during which ‘strong’ miners scooped up lots of cheap discounted mining rigs • What’s the difference between a 15 BTC Mining Farm, and a 35 BTC Mining Farm (Assuming that’s the total budget - including travel, legal, mistakes, capex, opex, everything) • How would you do something like this. What type of people are essential to get as part of my “team”? I would be prepared to ‘learn on the job, and spend 1-2 years out at the site learning how to set up and maintain the Mining Farm, but I would need to learn from someone. Should I go to existing miners and ask them for help/guidance, or hire an electrical engineer, or someone with experience and get him on the payroll/some equity in the business (also contribution of capital would be ideal). Or should I find people/companies that build data centres as their usual business and try to get them to help? • Am I a fool to think that it’s possible to mine profitably at this scale, and should I just hodl these coins and get a by the hour job? /s Thanks for reading, and let me know if you have any questions or can help. TLDR: I'm a noob who wants to start mining with 35 BTC as starting capital, despite having never mined before and being non technical. I want to learn the 'trade' and business of building bitcoin data centers without getting rekt.
Ammo is the most important thing for combat in this game. I don't think I put enough emphasis on this in the previous guide. How do you kill high tier geared players? Good ammo. Low gear? Good ammo. Spend your money here, not on gear or weapon mods. Best example I have is literally my last raid. I got one tapped by a mosin in a full tier 5 setup at full health. Vader helm, Killa armor, silenced M4 build totaling around a mil with ammo and mods. Missed his first shot, I located him, dead to one shot in the thorax. Good ammo trumps all. Here is the best ammo of each type for commonly used guns: 556: M855A1 < M856A1 << M995 545: BT << BS < 7N39 762: BP 12x70: Flechette < AP-20 762x51: M80 << M62 < M61 762x54: 7N1 < SNB < 7N37 9x39: SP6 < SPP < BP 9x19: AP 6.3
On that same note, take grenades into raids. Grenades are very powerful in tarkov. If someone is in range (which is significantly bigger than other games) they will die. A hatchling with a nade and some luck can take down the most geared players in the game. I would highly recommend at least putting one in your pouch for over geared/room clearing purposes.
Quick Hideout Note (thinking about doing a passive income and usual profitable crafting guide): rush for the intel center, the discounts of trades and scav run reduction are huge. Then crafting table, library, and air filtration are all useful. I get about 500k-700k in passive income per day from the hideout by just logging in a couple times. The scav box is absolutely worth it, the 6k rouble option consistently nets me 15-20k (up to 100k+). Bitcoin farm is maybe worth it? Its a big profit per day, mines already paid off, but takes 1-2 months to return its value at current prices. Best crafts are Ifaks at the med, m995 and other ammo at the bench, sugacondensed milk at the fridge, pure water at the filtration all depending on price of ingredients which fluctuate a lot.
Check out the youtube community for loot runs, quest guides, and everything else. Tarkov is a very hard to game explain in a written or word of mouth guide. For specifics, see videos.
Finally, have a plan before you raid. At least know the extracts and your objective (money run, quest, killin dudes) and exactly where those are for the map you're running.
TLDR: Shoreline for money, Interchange for consistency, Customs for quests, Factory/Labs for fights.I did a brief overview on money runs on various maps in my previous guide, but wanted to update those maps in light of recent changes to spawns and my experiences over the past month or so testing all the maps out. In profitability order: Shoreline - With the new addition of 6-8 LedX spawns, shoreline has become king for money. It takes the high reward possibility of Labs and mixes it with the consistent loot value of Interchange with the only draw back being the need for keys, which I purchased for around 3-4 mil for all good loot rooms ( 15 keys in total). This is a steep investment, but it is a one time cost, and completely worth it. You can expect an LedX about 1/7 raids clearing most LedX rooms. I got 5/36 shoreline runs, clearing most rooms about 2/3rds of the time, dying or being beaten to the rooms in the other 1/3. Unlike labs, however, these are just the cherry on top of consistently amazing loot in the rooms with easy extracts to boot. The big draw back is popularity, I run into at least 2-3 PMCs at the resort, usually 4-5 with a duo or squad tossed in the mix. They're usually tier 3-4 geared (I go tier 5 but don't recommend that unless you're good with losing a mil to a lucky mosin shot) and have a bad habit of hiding in rooms and ambushing. Interchange - For consistent mid value barter items, Interchange is your map. Nothing has changed from my original assessment, tldr version being run Oli shelves and the 3 tech stores next to it for about 500k-1 mil per extract, assuming you bring a decent bag and rig. This map has dropped in popularity with the Shoreline buff, but be on the look out for tier 5 geared PMCs doing their 100 Killa kills grind and the ever present extract campers. Reserve - This map still has great high value drops, less frequent than Interchange but with higher average value and requiring less keys than Shoreline. The massive drawback here is extract difficulty. If you can afford it, para-cord with the ice-pick for the repel extract is recommended as you just have to ditch/bag chest armor and you're out. Losing a bag for the manhole has required many a painful pick and chose for me recently and the door just isn't consistent, sometimes the button will be pressed but its still locked, other times its just open. Its a fun PvP map, but for money its just not beating the two above. Customs - This map just really isn't for money, its for quests. But with the addition of the new stashes spread throughout the map you can make decent money whilst running the quests. See my past guide/the link below for stash runs. Factory - Wait, Factory over Labs? Customs over Labs? Yes, I'm getting to that. So why Factory? Because quick, hit and run style or longer scav pileup at a choke-point style runs can net you tons of experience along with a big stack of weapons and decent loot from scav pockets. Solos try the upper hallway office/breakable door, the bottom pipeline hallway curve, or extract choke-point. Duos and squads can hold down the shower doors with ease. Labs - People who have read my previous guide might be surprise this is last. The issue with labs is its completely dependent on high level item spawn rates. Labs is my favorite map, I could write a lengthy separate post about everything labs. At the beginning of the wipe, labs was ludicrously OP. You could spawn in and expect a 1/3 chance of an LedX (2.5 mil at the time) along with 2-3 other 400k+ items spawning in each raid. This resulted in 10's of millions in profit. Then they released Shoreline LedX spawns and turned off labs LedX. The barrel spawn was completely dead (50+ runs and nothing) and the two other (at the time) known locations had maybe a 1/25 rate. You could expect maybe 1-2 other drops per raid and it was now crowded with PMCs. It was difficult to turn a profit doing geared runs, and I lost millions. Today its slightly better, there are 3 new LedX spawns and the barrel spawn has a 1/7-10 (still testing) rate but everything has plummeted in price (VPX is less than 200k now) and you can expect 3-6 tier 5 geared PMCs plus raiders to be skulking around. Great for fights, terrible for money. Though extracting will often bring huge rewards in gear alone in current state. ... - Feel like I'm forgetting one... Hmm... Nah they wouldn't put a thermal ridden snipe happy map in the game with no loot spawns and lots of annoying quests. (Don't @ me Woods fans)
TLDR: Highest level armor not worth, high level ammo makes everything vulnerable. Not doing the same tiers (see previous guide) but the actual armor level itself. For actual setups with armoweapons see my previous guide.
Level 1: Examples:3M body armor, tank helmetIs it worth: No. Its not worth it. Ever. The speed/sound debuffs alone make it not worth it because it doesn't stop anything besides terrible pistol ammo. This should be obvious but I see new players wearing it. Don't bother guys. Sell this on the flea.
Level 2:Examples:PACA/6b2 armor, Kolpac/SHPM/Djeta helmsIs it worth: No for all the helmets due to sound debuff, but kinda if you're really broke for the armor. Level 2 armor is effective against scavs and pistolings. It'll stop you from getting one shot from distance by a crappy shotgun or pistol and is extremely cheap. I'd mark this as the minimum armor on a budget.
Level 3:Recommendations:UNTAPRESS/6B23-1/Kirasa armor,SSH68/LZsh with face/Kiver with face helmsIs it worth: Yes. The chest armor should be the standard for every raid. Its still really cheap but will actually stop most low/mid tier rounds. This makes you much more effective against scavs and low-mid gear PMCs. The SSH68 helm is dirt cheap and should be worn for every raid as a minimum. The other two helmets for tier 3+ load outs. Kiver for no headset, LZsh for use with headset, both with the faceshield.
Level 4:Recommendations:6B13/6B23-2/6B3/6B5 armovests,Zsh-1-2 with face shield/BNTI LSHZ with neck cover and face shieldIs it worth: Armor: Kinda, if you have the money to get it fresh or are questing/fighting focused in raids. The main problem with level 4 armor is its lack of health overall and repair ability (essentially can only be used for 1-2 raids before replacing). It also is mostly to increase coverage on mid tier (5.45 BP/BT for example) ammo but does nothing against high tier ammo, so it doesn't offer much more for the price than level 3. If you have the money, however, it will increase survival rates. Helmets: Yes, once you have the black skier variant unlocked for the Zsh-1, and only with tier 5+ gear for the BNTI. The Zsh-1 helmet will become you're go to for tier 3+ armor the instant you unlock it. Its only 5k roubles more expensive with faceshield than the Kiver but provides level 4 protection on head and ears with level 3 for the face. The BNTI or Vader helmet provides a level 4 faceshield and nape cover, giving you full coverage of level 4 armor over all vital areas. This is better than the Fast-MT (most of who's parts only give level 2-3 protection) and the best helm in the game imo due to it not limiting your vision.
Level 5:Recommendations:Killa 6B13 Assault/Gen4/Redut-M armor, Alytn with face shieldIs it worth: Sometimes, but mostly no. I say this as someone who runs level 5 armor 50+% of my raids. But this is only because after awhile the cost stops mattering to you and it makes raids more interesting to be risking more and getting to challenge anything you come across. The main issue is its extreme expense and the ability to be easily killed by inexpensive weapons with high tier ammo. Killa armor + the Vader helm is, in my opinion, the best armor setup in the game due to having full visibility and high movement speed with coverage on all vital parts. But the amount of times that I've dropped the 400-500k on this armor only to die in one shot to a mosling or hunterling with high level ammo is ridiculous. Yes, this armor makes you immune to anyone with low/mid tier ammo, but high tier ammo, available to everyone through the flea market, cuts right through.
Level 6:Examples:Zhuk-6a, 6B34 "Fort" armor, Vulkan with faceshield helmIs it worth: No. This armor is the only in the game that will reliably take a few shots from the best ammo in the game, listed above. So why is it bad? First off, it has huge penalties. You are slow and bulky and loud. Second, unless you open up a hole in the armor with no face plate/level 3/4 face plates (making you not tanky), you have restricted vision. Its like being a world war era tank. Hard to kill, sure. But if they brought the right ammo for the job they can run circles around you and blast your blind/slow butt until you drop. Third, its very expensive. Zhuk-6a is the only possible option here really for price and penalties, but its also ceramic. If you're going to go tier 5, I recommend Killa armor.
Does this mean you should never run good armor? No. What it means is you should be aware you are likely losing value/money by doing so at higher tiers. Better armor will help you survive more raids, help with quests, and is a sign of being a more established player. But you are trading a LOT more money for smaller advantages in return, making it hard to recommend the more expensive armors in the game to anyone who can't handle multiple instant deaths in a row losing 500k-1mil.
I literally have tens of thousands of dollars in top-shelf hardware, looking to repurpose some before selling on eBay to build a NAS system, possibly a dedicated firewall device as well. o_O
Q1) What will you be doing with this PC? Be as specific as possible, and include specific games or programs you will be using.** A1) This will be a dedicated NAS system for my home network. As such, I'm looking to have it: - Host ##TB's of 720, 1080 & up resolution Movies and TV Shows I'm about to begin ripping from a MASSIVE DVD & Blueray collection I have. - My kids are big on Minecraft. I understand it's possible to host your own "worlds" (or whatever they call the maps you can build) on your own "server". I think it would be pretty neat to offer them (& their friends - if can be done 'safely/securely') their own partition on one of my NAS HDD's. - I also have accounts with a couple diff VPN companies... I understand it's possible (?) to sync said VPN's with a NAS, this might be a more relative topic on the next point/purpose... - I'd like to be able to remotely link to this NAS for when I travel overseas and want to stream at my temp location from my house/this NAS. ______________________ Q2) What is your maximum budget before rebates/shipping/taxes?** * A2) Here's where I make matters more complicated than most others would... I've been an advocate for Bitcoin and crypto-currencies in general since 2013. I invested in a small mining outfit back in 2014 (strictly Bitcoin/ASIC's). One of my buddies is the President of a large-scale mining operation (foreign and domestic) and he convinced me to dabble in the GPU mining-space. I made my first hardware purchase in Q4, 2017 and launched a small-scale GPU-Farm in my house since then. I had the rigs mining up until Q3 of 2018 (not cost-efficient to keep on, especially living in SoFlo) and since then, the hardware's been collecting dust (& pissing off my family members since they lost access to 3X rooms in the house - I won't let anyone go near my gear). One of my New Years Resolutions for 2019 was to clear out the house of all my mining equipment so that's all about to go up on eBay. So "budget" is relative to whatever I "MUST" spend if I can't repurpose any of the parts I already have on hand for this build... (Anyone having something I "need" and is looking to barter for one of the items I'll list later on in here, LMK). ______________________ Q3) When do you plan on building/buying the PC? Note: beyond a week or two from today means any build you receive will be out of date when you want to buy.** A3) IMMEDIATELY! :) ______________________ Q4) What, exactly, do you need included in the budget? (ToweOS/monitokeyboard/mouse/etc\)** A4) Well I had a half-assed idea approximately 1 year ago that it might be wise to build a bunch of 'gaming rigs' to sell on eBay with my intended repurposed mining hardware so I went on a shopping spree for like 6 months. That said; I've got a plethora of various other components that aren't even unboxed yet. 90% of the items I've purchased for this additional project were items that were marked down via MIR (mail-in-rebates) & what-not...
AFAIK, there are only 3X items I absolutely do not have which I 'MUST' find. Those would be - 1) Motherboard which accepts "ECC RAM". 2) CPU for said MOBO. 3) Said "ECC RAM".\*
______________________ Q5) Which country (and state/province) will you be purchasing the parts in? If you're in US, do you have access to a Microcenter location?** A5) I'm located in Southwest Florida. No Microcenter's here. Best Buy is pretty much my only option although I am a member of Newegg, Amazon & Costco if that makes any difference? ______________________ Q6) If reusing any parts (including monitor(s)/keyboard/mouse/etc), what parts will you be reusing? Brands and models are appreciated.** A6) In an attempt to better clean up this Q&A, I'm going to list the items I have on-hand at the end of this questionnaire in-case passers-by feel like this might be a TLDR.* (Scroll to the bottom & you'll see what I mean). ______________________ Q7) Will you be overclocking? If yes, are you interested in overclocking right away, or down the line? CPU and/or GPU?** A7) I don't think that's necessary for my intended purpose although - I'm not against it if that helps & FWIW, I'm pretty skilled @ this task already (it's not rocket science). ______________________ Q8) Are there any specific features or items you want/need in the build? (ex: SSD, large amount of storage or a RAID setup, CUDA or OpenCL support, etc)** A8) As stated in A4; ECC RAM is non-negotiable... RAID seems like a logical application here as well. - This will predominantly be receiving commands from MacOS computers. I don't think that matters really but figured it couldn't hurt to let you guys know.\* - I'd also be quite fond of implementing "PFSENSE" (or something of that caliber) applied to this system so I could give my Netgear Nighthawks less stress in that arena, plus my limited understanding of PFSENSE is that it's ability to act as a firewall runs circles around anything that comes with consumer-grade Wi-Fi routers (like my Nighthawks). Just the same, I'm open to building a second rig just for the firewall.\* - Another desirable feature would be that it draws as little electricity from the wall as possible. (I'm EXTREMELY skilled in this arena. I have "Kill-A-Watts" to test/gauge on, as well as an intimate understanding of the differences between Silver, Gold, Platinum and Titanium rated PSU's. As well as having already measured each of the PSU's I have on-hand and taken note of the 'target TDP draw' ("Peak Power Efficiency Draw") each one offers when primed with X amount of GPU's when I used them for their original purpose.\* - Last, but not least, sound (as in noise created from the rig). I'd like to prop this device up on my entertainment center in the living room. I've (almost) all of the top-shelf consumer grade products one could dream of regarding fans and other thermal-related artifacts. - Almost forgot; this will be hosting to devices on the KODI platform (unless you guys have better alternative suggestions?) ______________________ Q9) Do you have any specific case preferences (Size like ITX/microATX/mid-towefull-tower, styles, colors, window or not, LED lighting, etc), or a particular color theme preference for the components?** A9) Definitely! Desired theme would be WHITE. If that doesn't work for whatever reason, black or gray would suffice. Regarding "Case Size". Nah, that's not too important although I don't foresee a mini-ITX build making sense if I'm going to be cramming double digit amounts of TB in the system, Internal HDD's sounds better than a bunch of externals plugged in all the USB ports. ______________________ Q10) Do you need a copy of Windows included in the budget? If you do need one included, do you have a preference?** A10) I don't know. If I do need a copy of Windows, I don't have one so that's something I'll have to consider I guess. I doubt that's a necessity though. ______________________ ______________________ ______________________ **Extra info or particulars:*\* AND NOW TO THE FUN-STUFF... Here's a list of everything (PARTS PARTS PARTS) I have on-hand and ready to deploy into the wild &/or negotiate a trade/barter with: CASES - Corsair Carbide Series Air 540 Arctic White (Model# Crypto-Currency-9011048-WW) - (Probably my top pick for this build). Cooler Master HAF XB EVO (This is probably my top 1st or 2nd pick for this build, the thing is a monster!). Cooler Master Elite 130 - Mini ITX - Black Cooler Master MasterBox 5 MID-Tower - Black & White Raidmax Sigma-TWS - ATX - White MasterBox Lite 5 - ATX - Black w/ diff. Colored accent attachments (included with purchase) NZXT S340 Elite Matte White Steel/Tempered Glass Edition EVGA DG-76 Alpine White - Mid Tower w/ window EVGA DG-73 Black - Mid Tower w/ window (I have like 3 of these) ______________________ CPU's - ***7TH GEN OR BELOW INTEL's ("Code Name Class mentioned next to each one)**\* Pentium G4400 (Skylake @54W TDP) - Intel ARK states is "ECC CAPABLE" Celeron G3930 (Kaby Lake @ 51W TDP) - Intel ARK states is "ECC CAPABLE" :) i5 6402P (Skylake @65W TDP) - Intel ARK states is "NOT ECC CAPABLE" :( i5 6600k (Skylake @ 91W TDP) - Intel ARK states is "NOT ECC CAPABLE" :( i7 6700 (Skylake @ 65W TDP) - Intel ARK states is "NOT ECC CAPABLE" :( i7 7700k (Kaby Lake @ 95W TDP) - Intel ARK states is "NOT ECC CAPABLE" :( ***8TH GEN INTEL's **\* i3-8350K (Coffee Lake @91W TDP) - Intel ARK states is "ECC FRIENDLY" :) I5-8600K (Coffee Lake @95W TDP) - Intel ARK states is "NOT ECC CAPABLE" :( ***AMD RYZEN's **\* Ryzen 3 2200G Ryzen 5 1600 Ryzen 7 1700X ______________________ MOTHERBOARDS - ***7TH GEN AND BELOW INTEL BASED MOBO'S - **\* MSI Z170A-SLI ASUS PRIME Z270-A ASUS PRIME Z270-P ASUS PRIME Z270-K EVGA Z270 Stinger GIGABYTE GA-Z270XP-SLI MSI B150M ARCTIC MSI B250M MICRO ATX (PRO OPT. BOOST EDITION) ***8TH GEN INTEL BASED MOBO'S - **\* EVGA Z370 FTW GIGABYTE Z370XP SLI (Rev. 1.0) MSI Z370 SLI PLUS ***AMD RYZEN BASED MOBO'S - **\* ASUS ROG STRIX B350-F GAMING MSI B350 TOMAHAWK MSI X370 GAMING PRO ASROCK AB350M PRO4 ______________________ RAM - Way too many to list, nothing but 4 & 8GB DDR4 sticks and unfortunately, none are ECC so it's not even worth mentioning/listing these unless someone reading this is willing to barter. At which time I'd be obliged to send an itemized list or see if I have what they're/you're specifically looking for.\* ______________________ THERMAL APPLICATIONS/FANS - JUST FANS - BeQuiet - Pure Wings 2 (80mm) Pure Wings 2 (120mm) Pure Wings 2 (140mm) Silent Wings 3 PWM (120mm) NOCTUA - PoopBrown - NF-A20 PWM (200mm) Specifically for the BIG "CoolerMaster HAF XB EVO" Case GREY - NF-P12 Redux - 1700RPM (120mm) PWM Corsair - Air Series AF120LED (120mm) CPU COOLING SYSTEMS - NOCTUA - NT-HH 1.4ml Thermal Compound NH-D15 6 Heatpipe system (this thing is the tits) EVGA (Extremely crappy coding in the software here, I'm like 99.99% these will be problematic if I were to try and use in any OS outside of Windows, because they barely ever work in the intended Windows as it is). CLC 240 (240mm Water-cooled system CRYORIG - Cryorig C7 Cu (Low-Profile Copper Edition*) A few other oversized CPU cooling systems I forget off the top of my head but a CPU cooler is a CPU cooler after comparing to the previous 3 models I mentioned. I almost exclusively am using these amazing "Innovation Cooling Graphite Thermal Pads" as an alternative to thermal paste for my CPU's. They're not cheap but they literally last forever. NZXT - Sentry Mesh Fan Controller ______________________ POWER SUPPLIES (PSU's) - BeQuiet 550W Straight Power 11 (GOLD) EVGA - 750P2 (750W, Platinum) 850P2 (850W, Platinum) 750T2 (750W, TITANIUM - yeah baby, yeah) ROSEWILL - Quark 750W Platinum Quark 650W Platinum SEASONIC - Focus 750W Platinum ______________________ STORAGE - HGST Ultrastar 3TB - 64mb Cache - 7200RPM Sata III (3.5) 4X Samsung 860 EVO 500GB SSD's 2X Team Group L5 LITE 3D 2.5" SSD's 480GB 2X WD 10TB Essential EXT (I'm cool with shucking) + 6X various other external HDD's (from 4-8TB) - (Seagate, WD & G-Drives) ______________________ Other accessories worth mentioning - PCI-E to 4X USB hub-adapter (I have a dozen or so of these - might not be sufficient enough &/or needed but again, 'worth mentioning' in case I somehow ever run out of SATA & USB ports and have extra external USB HDD's. Although, I'm sure there would be better suited components if I get to that point that probably won't cost all that much). ______________________ ______________________ ______________________ Needless to say, I have at least 1X of everything mentioned above. In most all cases, I have multiples of these items but obviously won't be needing 2X CPU's, Cases, etc... Naturally, I have GPU's. Specifically; At least 1X of every. Single. NVIDIA GTX 1070 TI (Yes, I have every variation of the 1070 ti made by MSI, EVGA and Zotac. The only brand I don't have is the Gigabyte line. My partners have terrible experience with those so I didn't even bother. I'm clearly not going to be needing a GPU for this build but again, I'm cool with discussing the idea of a barter if anyone reading this is in the market for one. I also have some GTX 1080 TI's but those are already spoken for, sorry. It's my understanding that select CPU's I have on this list are ECC Friendly and AFAIK, only 1 of my MOBO's claims to be ECC Friendly (The ASROCK AB350M PRO4), but for the life of me, I can't find any corresponding forums that confirm this and/or direct me to a listing where I can buy compatible RAM. Just the same, if I go w/ the ASROCK MOBO, that means I'd be using one of the Ryzens. Those are DEF. power hungry little buggers. Not a deal-breaker, just hoping to find something a little more conservative in terms of TDP. In closing, I don't really need someone to hold my hand with the build part as much as figuring out which motherboard, CPU and RAM to get. Then I'm DEFINITELY going to need some guidance on what OS is best for my desired purpose. If building 2X Rigs makes sense, I'm totally open to that as well... Rig 1 = EPIC NAS SYSTEM Rig 2 = EPIC PFSENSE (or the like) DEDICATED FIREWALL Oh, I almost forgot... The current routers I'm using are... 1X Netgear Nighthawk 6900P (Modem + Router) 1X Netgear Nighthawk X6S (AC 4000 I believe - Router dedicated towards my personal devices - no IoT &/or Guests allowed on this one) 1X TP-Link Archer C5 (Router). Total overkill after implementing the Nighthawks but this old beast somehow has the best range, plus it has 2X USB ports so for now, it's dedicated towards my IoT devices. ---- I also have a few other Wi-Fi routers (Apple Airport Extreme & some inferior Netgear's but I can only allocate so many WiFi Routers to so many WiFi channels w/out pissing off my neighbors) On that note, I have managed to convince my neighbors to let me in their house/WiFi configuration so we all have our hardware locked on specific, non-competing frequencies/channels so everyone's happy. :) Please spare me the insults as I insulted myself throughout this entire venture. Part of why I did this was because when I was a kid, I used to fantasize about building a 'DREAM PC' but could never afford such. To compensate for this deficiency, I would actually print out the latest and greatest hardware components on a word document, print the lists up & tape to wall (for motivation). I was C++ certified at the age of 14 and built my first PC when I was 7. At the age of 15 I abandoned all hope in the sector and moved on to other aspirations. This entire ordeal was largely based off me finally fulfilling a childhood fantasy. On that note = mission accomplished. Now if I'm actually able to fulfill my desires on this post, I'm definitely going to feel less shitty about blowing so much money on all this stuff over the last couple years. TIA for assisting in any way possible. Gotta love the internets! THE END. :) EDIT/UPDATE (5 hours after OP) - My inbox is being inundated with various people asking for prices and other reasonable questions about my hardware being up for sale. Not to be redundant but rather to expound on my previous remarks about 'being interested in a bartetrade' with any of you here... I did say I was going to sell my gear on eBay in the near future, I also said I wanted to trade/barter for anything relative to helping me accomplish my OP's mission(s). I'm not desperate for the $$$ but I'm also not one of those people that likes to rip other people off. That said; I value my time and money invested in this hardware and I'm only willing to unload it all once I've established I have ZERO need for any of it here in my home first. Hence my writing this lengthy thread in an attempt to repurpose at least a grand or two I've already spent. One of the most commonly asked questions I anticipate receiving from interested bodies is going to be "How hard were you on your hardware?" Contrary to what anyone else would have probably done in my scenario which is say they were light on it whether they were or weren't, I documented my handling of the hardware, and have no problem sharing such documentation with verified, interested buyers (WHEN THE TIME COMES) to offer you guys peace of mind. I have photo's and video's of the venture from A-Z. I am also obliged to provide (redacted) electricity bill statements where you can correlate my photo's (power draw on each rig), and also accurately deduct the excess power my house consumed with our other household appliances. Even taking into consideration how much (more) I spent in electricity from keeping my house at a constant, cool 70-72F year-round (via my Nest thermostat). Even without the rigs, I keep my AC @ 70 when I'm home and for the last 1.5-2 years, I just so happened to spend 85% of my time here at my house. When I would travel, I'd keep it at 72 for my wife & kids. Additionally; I had each GPU 'custom' oveunderclocke'd (MSI Afterburner for all GPU's but the EVGA's).* I doubt everyone reading this is aware so this is for those that don't.... EVGA had the brilliant idea of implementing what they call "ICX technology" in their latest NVIDIA GTX GPU's. The short(est) explanation of this "feature" goes as follows: EVGA GPU's w/ "ICX 9 & above" have EXTRA HEAT/THERMAL SENSORS. Unlike every other GTX 1070 ti on the market, the one's with this feature actually have each of 2/2 on-board fans connected to individual thermal sensors. Which means - if you were to use the MSI Afterburner program on one of these EVGA's and create a custom fan curve for it, you'd only be able to get 1/2 of the fans to function the way intended. The other fan simply would not engage as the MSI Afterburner software wasn't designed/coded to recognize/ communicate with an added sensor (let alone sensor'S). This, in-turn, would likely result in whoever's using it the unintended way having a GPU defect on them within the first few months I'd imagine... Perhaps if they had the TDP power settings dumbed down as much as I did (60-63%), they might get a year or two out of it since it wouldn't run as near as hot, but I doubt any longer than that since cutting off 50% of the cooling system on one of these can't be ignored too long, surely capacitors would start to blow and who knows what else... (Warning = RANT) Another interesting side-note about the EVGA's and their "Precision-X" OveUnderclocking software is that it's designed to only recognize 4X GPU's on a single system. For miners, that's just not cool. My favorite builds had 8X and for the motherboards that weren't capable of maintaining stable sessions on 8, I set up with 6X. Only my EVGA Rigs had 3 or 4X GPU's dedicated to a single motherboard. Furthermore, and as stated in an earlier paragraph, (& this is just my opinion) = EVGA SOFTWARE SUCKS! Precision X wasn't friendly with every motherboard/CPU I threw at it and their extension software for the CLC Close-Loop-Cooling/ CPU water-coolers simply didn't work on anything, even integrating into their own Precision-X software. The amount of time it took me to finally find compatible matches with that stuff was beyond maddening. (END RANT). Which leads me to my other comments on the matter. That's what I had every single 1070 ti set at for TDP = 60-63%. Dropping the power load that much allowed me to bring down (on average) each 1070 ti to a constant 110-115W (mind you, this is only possible w/ "Titanium" rated PSU's, Platinum comes pretty damn close to the Titanium though) while mining Ethereum and was still able to maintain a bottom of 30 MH/s and a ceiling of 32 MH/s. Increasing the TDP to 80, 90, 100% or more only increased my hashrates (yields) negligibly, like 35-36 MH/s TOPS, which also meant each one was not only pulling 160-180W+ (Vs. the aforementioned 115'ish range), it also meant my rigs were creating a significantly greater amount of heat! Fortunately for the GPU's and my own personal habits, I live in South Florida where it's hot as balls typically, last winter was nothing like this one. Increasing my yields by 10-15% didn't justify increasing the heat production in my house by >30%, nor the added electricity costs from subjecting my AC handlers to that much of an extra work-load. For anyone reading this that doesn't know/understand what I'm talking about - after spending no less than 2-3 hours with each. and. every. one. I didn't play with the settings on just one and universally apply the settings to the rest. I found the 'prime' settings and documented them with a label-maker and notepad. Here's the math in a more transparent manner: *** I NEVER LET MY GPU's BREACH 61C, EVER. Only my 8X GPU rigs saw 60-61 & it was the ones I had in the center of the build (naturally). I have REALLY high power fans (used on BTC ASIC MINERS) that were sucking air from those GPU's which was the only way I was able to obtain such stellar results while mining with them. **\* Mining at "acceptable" heat temps (not acceptable to me, but most of the internet would disagree = 70C) and overclocking accordingly brings in X amount of yields per unit. = 'Tweaking' (underclocking) the GPU's to my parameters reduced my yield per unit from -10-15%, but it SAVED me well over 30-35% in direct electricity consumption, and an unknown amount of passive electricity consumption via creating approximately 20%+ less heat for my AC handler to combat. I say all this extra stuff not just for anyone interested in mining with their GPU's, but really to answer (in-depth) the apparent questions you people are asking me in PM's. Something else that should help justify my claims of being so conservative should be the fact I only have/used "Platinum and Titanium" rated PSU's. Heat production, power efficiency and longevity of the hardware were ALWAYS my top priority.* . I truly thought Crypto would continue to gain and/or recover and bounce back faster than it did. If this project had maintained positive income for 12 months+, I'd have expanded one of our sites to also cater to GPU mining on a gnarly scale. Once I have my NAS (& possibly 2nd rig for the firewall) successfully built, I'll be willing/able to entertain selling you guys some/all of the remaining hardware prior to launching on eBay. If there's something you're specifically looking for that I listed having, feel free to PM me with that/those specific item(s). Don't count on an immediate response but what you can count on is me honoring my word in offering whoever asks first right of refusal when the time comes for me to sell this stuff. Fortunately for me, PM's are time-stamped so that's how I'll gauge everyone's place in line. I hope this extra edit answers most of the questions you guys wanted to have answered and if not, sorry I guess. I'll do my best to bring light to anything I've missed out on after I realize whatever that error was/is. The only way anyone is getting first dibs on my hardware otherwise is if they either offer compelling insight into my original questions, or have something I need to trade w/. THE END (Round#2)
I'll probably upgrade to a 1080 Ti, but not until the prices come back down.
750W seems like a little overkill to me, but PCPartsPicker estimates my rig at ~670W
I'd like to keep the price tag as low as possible. However, I don't really know what I'm doing here, and if I absolutely need a $4,000 rig to accomplish my goals, then I'll do it, but I don't think I'm comfortable with anything more expensive.
I looked into mergerfs + snapraid, but decided to go with zfs instead. I think I can tolerate the same-sized-drives restriction, and zfs sounds pretty fun to play with.
I have no idea how to tune my zfs setup (monitor the SMART data? block size? etc). Are these things I need to square away now, or can optimize later?
I don't fully understand SAS Expanders, but from what I've read, I don't think I need any. Please let me know if I'm wrong here.
My internet connection is ~100mbps down and ~10mbps up. I have a gigabit router, and I plan to connect to my router via CAT-6. (I don't think I'd benefit from Directly Attached Coax, but I may be wrong)
My main question is: will this hardware and software setup accomplish my goals? My secondary question is: is any of my hardware unnecessary for my goals? are there better ways to eat this Reese's? Thanks so much for all the help in advance, I've learned so much from this subreddit (and DataHoarding) already!
Geez, I'm middle aged now. Help me tweak my build.
I have a toddler now, and I can't completely re-educate myself for 2019 parts, so I'm hoping you all can help me figure out if/how I'm going wrong, or if I can get better value for money.
My rig from 2010 is on its last legs, and I'm looking to replace. (In case anyone's nostalgic, it's an i5-760//4GB//Radeon HD5800)
I don't want anyone to build this for me - I'm just looking for advice. My budget is in the 600-900 range. I'm not looking to max-out my budget, but I'd love to know if there are places where I can get better value for money. I'm in Connecticut. Keyboard, mouse, speakers, and monitor are separate. I'm fine on my own with that.
Use Case - probably pretty light. Productivity: I'd like to be able to either dual-monitor or use a 4k (not both at the same time). Gaming: Single monitor, 1080P, and not necessarily the latest and greatest. I'm a patient gamer, and considering my next game will be Axiom Verge or something N64-era. Overclocking is not expected. My toddler may end up using it for awhile, but I'm sure he'll need a new one by the time he's 8 or so.
Am I wasting money with both a 2200G AND dedicated graphics? If so, will the CPU be enough for me, or ought I go with a different chip/card combo?
I kind of guessed at the Graphics card, based on the stickied builds and number of reviews. I'm happy to hear suggestions.
Do I need a separate cooleheatsink? (judging from the stickied builds, no?) Does the CPU come with a stock one?
I could save a few bucks with a 0.25TB SSD. Meh, I'll go with 0.5TB.
I could probably go for 8GB memory, but 16GB may make it last longer.
HDD reliability is pretty important to me. Any insights on manufacturer reputations are very welcome.
Boring cases are fine.
Thanks to all for your help!
Edit: Learning to format.
Edit 2: Guys, GUYS! There's been a lot of really good suggestions here. Thanks to everyone.
But we're not maxing out the budget for the sake of it. Check out the use case - or the title! I gave up on current-level graphics and FPS games some time ago. I'm not paying $250 for a graphics card (or competing with BitCoin miners).
In fact, how far could I downgrade my graphics card, and still hit my targets for desktop apps (and still be able to do much older games)? For games, let's target: "I could ably play MineCraft without gameplay problems, but the graphics might be mid-level."
Upgraded the processor - thanks, dar! The 2600X was only $10 extra so I went with that. Changed the Storage solution to a SSD. - thanks lild. Changed PSU. - thanks lild. Removed Windows 10 - will look into that, but it's not something that needs to go into compatibility/performance discussions.
Get your tinfoil hats and strap your selves in. It's crack pot theory time. So, as me and my buds play this game, we throw around, in a joking manner, wild, off-the-wall theories and ideas about what the races of Warframe do, why they do it, etc. Ya know, crap like Lotus and Teshin are space-mom and space-dad, and are fighting and divorced, and we the Tenno are between it all. Doesn't make sense, but it's fun. What we have concluded is that the races of Warframe represent gaming platforms and are at war with each other, just like how people always fight about PC vs XBox vs PS. Please note that this isn't a jab at console plebs players. It's just fun non sense. Grineer: These guys represent XBox. They are typically greenish in color. They are also the less sophisticated/less-polished looking race, just like XBox. Our findings for supporting this: Grineer have Mt Dew factories. Mt Dew is a beverage often associated with the XBox culture. Here's some proof They have Mt Dew factories mainly on Ceres. Grineer also place down inflatable barriers called Blunts. Blunt is a slang term for a marijuana joint, which, again, is something often associated with XBox players. (/montageparodies) Grineer are also cheap, low budget. Again, something you might associate with XBox players. Don Mattrick = Vor Corpus: These guys represent PS/Sony. Just take a look at one of their helmets. It looks like they are wearing a PS10 on their head. Corpus, like PS, is sleek in design. We often associate sleek, clean UIs and design with Sony. Also, Corpus are often associated with the color blue. Nepture, Uranus, their shields, the arctic guys, etc. Sony typically uses blue in their UIs for PS and in their branding. Corpus are more distinguished and expensive, often with better technology, just like PS. Kazuo Hirai = Alad V Orokin: Initially, we speculated Orokin represent PC(MR). After more thought, we concluded Orokin are actually Nintendo. These guys are legacy. Enigmatic. The birth giver of console. Like Nintendo, Orokin sit in a mysterious place who created some of the very best things that are, today, just fragments of the past. Long dead and gone, people still remember them for their biggest achievements... and treasures. When you visit an Orokin tower or derelict, you are visiting the good ol classics of N64 and SNES, to dig up treasures like corrupted mods and Metroid. Anyone who tries to be Nintendo go crazy. They are perfect in almost every way. While people strive to be who Nintendo once was, there is nothing to look forward to today. A long dead race who we are still learning so much from. Tenno: PC Master Race. It was so obvious once we thought about it. Tenno are powerful beings who must encase themselves in a suit, much like how PCMRs have to embody their powers in a custom rig. PCMRs also, often times, swap parts out or upgrade their PCs, much like how Tenno upgrade and swap out parts within their frames. Getting a Forma in your frame is like upgrading your RAM, and sticking an Orokin Catalyst/Reactor in is like installing a new GPU/CPU. We also build things at the Foundry, which in essence is like a PCMR going out to collect parts for a PC and building it. We love to build and customize. We love to make things how we see fit, where as the GrineeXBox and Corpus/PS are clones of each other - they are forced to use whatever weapons, suits, games and accessories that was cloned, in a factory, for them, only to get smashed by a Tenno PCMR in any benchmark. Oh, also we often times go out on excavation missions to get Corpus and Grineer porn, and Sabotage missions represent us destroying the Grineer and Corpus bitcoin mining machines. ALSO! Sometimes we get invasions, which just represent XBox and PS players fighting about who's better. (Which of course we Tenno PCMRs just swoop in and show them who's best.) EDITS: Spelling and adding more bits to the crack pot. EDIT 2: People keep mentioning Neptunia. Never heard of it, but I guess I have no choice but to check it out now.
There are lot of scam in the bitcoin community. Everyone wants to earn bitcoin since its price has once again surge up. No one wants to be left behind before its price reach its all-time high. Bitcoin had already prove itself as a digital currency that will stay for a very long time even when its price drop during the 1st quarter of the year. One of the easiest way to earn bitcoin is by hiring a cloud mining service. Instead of building your own mining rigs that are too hot and noisy, it’s better to let someone do it for you who is well experienced in the field. The big problem is how to choose which cloud mining company to invest with. This post hope to teach even if it is a few how to identify a scam cloud mining. By reading this post, investors will learn a few techniques on how to identify a fake cloud mining company. Will take one cloud mining company as an example to be analyze whether if it is a scam or not. The name of the company is Gominer. Let’s first dig a little further about their company for us to have an adequate idea about them so we can use it in analyzing their company’s legitimacy. According to their website, the company is based in Canada and has been operating since 2017. Their reason for operating in Canada as stated was because of the cheap electricity cost and the weather is appropriate because of it cold climate. Plausible because the logical thing before building a mining farm is to consider the electricity cost which is the main resource in mining and it will require a very large cooling system. If they already have an optimal weather, it can reduce their operating and equipment cost by a huge margin. The only questionable part here is if they have been operating for quite some time, why didn’t they focus on marketing for visibility of their company. Let’s see if we can also answer that as we scrutinize their company. The two process of analyzing a fake cloud mining company is through Internal and External review. Internal review will focus on the company itself and the external review is from the reviews of other people outside of their website.
In the internal review, the very first thing for any investors to do is to analyze the website. The thing to look on the website are the following:
Under the domain info, the important thing to look at is the age of the website and the country. Investors can check this info by using a service from whois.domain. Here is an example of the data from Gominer:
The country should be cross check with the country of their declaration from their website and the age as highlighted here should at least be over a few months to a year. The logic here is that a scam company will buy a new domain and launch it only after a few weeks of development. Since they don’t have a product or service, all they need to create is a website that can only take a few weeks at most. A website with age is under the impression that is was develop under the pretense that their product and services takes time before it can be introduce to the public. Cloud mining warehouse alone takes a few months before it can be deployed. Our example company was created last 2018, and the country code CA is from Canada which is the same as their declaration in their About Us page making it a positive review on their domain info.
The thing to look up here is the design and the info. A fake cloud mining website will look very amateurish with little to no details about their company. They will surely have problems giving info about their product or service that they don’t have that’s why they will omit this things on their website. A legit cloud mining website on the other hand will at least have their own developer or have a professional do it for them. Basically, a legit company will have sufficient budget for this kind of things and the information on their website should be flooded with a lots of info on what they are giving to the people. They are confident about the things they do have so sharing this kind of info on their website is a piece of cake for them. The basic info that is mostly likely impossible to produce by fake cloud mining company are these three:
Fake cloud mining company will simply copy and paste a roadmap from other companies. The trick here is to google search if the content on the cloud mining website is a duplicate from other company website. If the direction and the content of the roadmap are too good to be true or seems impossible to attain, then you should consider the legitimacy of that company. Gominer Roadmap As seen from the roadmap of Gominer, the thing they listed here are basic information of what their company has gone through since they started on 2017. Nothing promising is stated which can be translated as good and bad. Good since they don’t promise anything bogus and bad since they don’t really have a declaration for their company’s growth. The roadmap should at least answer on how they will achieved their company’s mission.
Since scam companies doesn’t have anything real to show. It’s nearly impossible for them to produce a company video with content about their company. A company video is important since it’s a material only legit company can produce. Gominer seems positive on this one since they have a company video as seen here. Their entire website was summarize on their video, making it simpler for lazy investor to understand what their company is about
Another info that a scam cloud mining company can’t produce on their own is the product itself. They won’t bother spend a fortune on something they don’t have since they are not a real company. Product info should at least have an image or better a video to show to the investors that it is real. A video of the product makes the company solid on many levels. GMXR-1c The product info can be found on the product page of Gominer website. The image and video itself if we are to review it makes their declaration very real and solid.
External review will cover mostly other people’s assessment and their impression of the company. If the company is legit, their company should at least be present on other websites, blogs and most importantly, an ICO listing. Being listed is no easy task especially if the company is a fake company. ICO listing for one is very strict in terms requirements. They have their own algorithm to rate the company’s legitimacy.
Gominer can be found on a number of ICO Listing with good ratings. This establish a solid foundation for the them as a verified company base on the reviews of popular ICO listing that do benchmark for present and upcoming companies.
Next thing we can check is their social media. Checking the social media of the cloud mining company is also one of the way to see if they really are active. A real company will post a lot about their activities for promotion. Zero activity or zero visibility means they are not active and is just fishing for investor to scam. A legit company in this generation will at least have an account on this two social media.
The thing to check here is the frequency of their post. They should at least have an active team for social media if they are a large company. Checking their social media, their facebook at least have an hourly average of post.
Console gaming is hardly different from PC gaming, and much of what people say about PC gaming to put it above console gaming is often wrong.
I’m not sure about you, but for the past few years, I’ve been hearing people go on and on about PCs "superiority" to the console market. People cite various reasons why they believe gaming on a PC is “objectively” better than console gaming, often for reasons related to power, costs, ease-of-use, and freedom. …Only problem: much of what they say is wrong. There are many misconceptions being thrown about PC gaming vs Console gaming, that I believe need to be addressed. This isn’t about “PC gamers being wrong,” or “consoles being the best,” absolutely not. I just want to cut through some of the stuff people use to put down console gaming, and show that console gaming is incredibly similar to PC gaming. I mean, yes, this is someone who mainly games on console, but I also am getting a new PC that I will game on as well, not to mention the 30 PC games I already own and play. I’m not particularly partial to one over the other. Now I will mainly be focusing on the PlayStation side of the consoles, because I know it best, but much of what I say will apply to Xbox as well. Just because I don’t point out many specific Xbox examples, doesn’t mean that they aren’t out there.
“PCs can use TVs and monitors.”
This one isn’t so much of a misconception as it is the implication of one, and overall just… confusing. This is in some articles and the pcmasterrace “why choose a PC” section, where they’re practically implying that consoles can’t do this. I mean, yes, as long as the ports of your PC match up with your screen(s) inputs, you could plug a PC into either… but you could do the same with a console, again, as long as the ports match up. I’m guessing the idea here is that gaming monitors often use Displayport, as do most dedicated GPUs, and consoles are generally restricted to HDMI… But even so, monitors often have HDMI ports. In fact, PC Magazine has just released their list of the best gaming monitors of 2017, and every single one of them has an HDMI port. A PS4 can be plugged into these just as easily as a GTX 1080. I mean, even if the monitoTV doesn’t have HDMI or AV to connect with your console, just use an adaptor. If you have a PC with ports that doesn’t match your monitoTV… use an adapter. I don’t know what the point of this argument is, but it’s made a worrying amount of times.
“On PC, you have a wide range of controller options, but on console you’re stuck with the standard controller."
Are you on PlayStation and wish you could use a specific type of controller that suits your favorite kind of gameplay? Despite what some may believe, you have just as many options as PC. Want to play fighting games with a classic arcade-style board, featuring the buttons and joystick? Here you go! Want to get serious about racing and get something more accurate and immersive than a controller? Got you covered. Absolutely crazy about flying games and, like the racers, want something better than a controller? Enjoy! Want Wii-style motion controls? Been around since the PS3. If you prefer the form factor of the Xbox One controller but you own a PS4, Hori’s got you covered. And of course, if keyboard and mouse it what keeps you on PC, there’s a PlayStation compatible solution for that. Want to use the keyboard and mouse that you already own? Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Of course, these aren’t isolated examples, there are plenty of options for each of these kind of controllers. You don’t have to be on PC to enjoy alternate controllers.
“On PC you could use Steam Link to play anywhere in your house and share games with others.”
PS4 Remote play app on PC/Mac, PSTV, and PS Vita. PS Family Sharing. Using the same PSN account on multiple PS4s/Xbox Ones and PS3s/360s, or using multiple accounts on the same console. In fact, if multiple users are on the same PS4, only one has to buy the game for both users to play it on that one PS4. On top of that, only one of them has to have PS Plus for both to play online (if the one with PS Plus registers the PS4 as their main system). PS4 Share Play; if two people on separate PS4s want to play a game together that only one of them owns, they can join a Party and the owner of the game can have their friend play with them in the game. Need I say more?
“Gaming is more expensive on console.”
Part one, the Software This is one that I find… genuinely surprising. There’s been a few times I’ve mentioned that part of the reason I chose a PS4 is for budget gaming, only to told that “games are cheaper on Steam.” To be fair, there are a few games on PSN/XBL that are more expensive than they are on Steam, so I can see how someone could believe this… but apparently they forgot about disks. Dirt Rally, a hardcore racing sim game that’s… still $60 on all 3 platforms digitally… even though its successor is out.
See my point? Often times the game is cheaper on console because of the disk alternative that’s available for practically every console-available game. Even when the game is brand new. Dirt 4 - Remember that Dirt Rally successor I mentioned?
Yes, you could either buy this relatively new game digitally for $60, or just pick up the disk for a discounted price. And again, this is for a game that came out 2 months ago, and even it’s predecessor’s digital cost is locked at $60. Of course, I’m not going to ignore the fact that Dirt 4 is currently (as of writing this) discounted on Steam, but on PSN it also happens to be discounted for about the same amount. Part 2: the Subscription Now… let’s not ignore the elephant in the room: PS Plus and Xbox Gold. Now these would be ignorable, if they weren’t required for online play (on the PlayStation side, it’s only required for PS4, but still). So yes, it’s still something that will be included in the cost of your PS4 or Xbox One/360, assuming you play online. Bummer, right? Here’s the thing, although that’s the case, although you have to factor in this $60 cost with your console, you can make it balance out, at worst, and make it work out for you as a budget gamer, at best. As nice as it would be to not have to deal with the price if you don’t want to, it’s not like it’s a problem if you use it correctly. Imagine going to a new restaurant. This restaurant has some meals that you can’t get anywhere else, and fair prices compared to competitors. Only problem: you have to pay a membership fee to have the sides. Now you can have the main course, sit down and enjoy your steak or pasta, but if you want to have a side to have a full meal, you have to pay an annual fee. Sounds shitty, right? But here’s the thing: not only does this membership allow you to have sides with your meal, but it also allows you to eat two meals for free every month, and also gives you exclusive discounts for other meals, drinks, and desserts. Let’s look at PS Plus for a minute: for $60 per year, you get:
2 free PS4 games, every month
2 free PS3 games, every month
1 PS4/PS3 and Vita compatible game, and 1 Vita-only game, every month
Exclusive/Extended discounts, especially during the weekly/seasonal sales (though you don’t need PS Plus to get sales, PS Plus members get to enjoy the best sales)
access to online multiplayer
So yes, you’re paying extra because of that membership, but what you get with that deal pays for it and then some. In fact, let’s ignore the discounts for a minute: you get 24 free PS4 games, 24 free PS3 games, and 12 Vita only + 12 Vita compatible games, up to 72freegames every year. Even if you only one of these consoles, that’s still 24 free games a year. Sure, maybe you get games for the month that you don’t like, then just wait until next month. In fact, let’s look at Just Cause 3 again. It was free for PS Plus members in August, which is a pretty big deal. Why is this significant? Because it’s, again, a $60 digital game. That means with this one download, you’ve balanced out your $60 annual fee. Meaning? Every free game after that is money saved, every discount after that is money saved. And this is a trend: every year, PS Plus will release a game that balances out the entire service cost, then another 23 more that will only add icing to that budget cake. Though, you could just count games as paying off PS Plus until you hit $60 in savings, but still. All in all, PS Plus, and Xbox Gold which offers similar options, saves you money. On top of that, again, you don't need to have these to get discounts, but with these memberships, you get more discounts. Now, I’ve seen a few Steam games go up for free for a week, but what about being free for an entire month? Not to mention that; even if you want to talk about Steam Summer Sales, what about the PSN summer sale, or again, disc sale discounts? Now a lot of research and math would be needed to see if every console gamer would save money compared to every Steam gamer for the same games, but at the very least? The costs will balance out, at worst. Part 3, the Systems
Xbox and PS2: $299
Xbox 360 and PS3: $299 and $499, respectively
Xbox One and PS4: $499 and $399, respectively.
Rounded up a few dollars, that’s $1,000 - $1,300 in day-one consoles, just to keep up with the games! Crazy right? So called budget systems, such a rip-off. Well, keep in mind that the generations here aren’t short. The 6th generation, from the launch of the PS2 to the launch of the next generation consoles, lasted 5 years, 6 years based on the launch of the PS3 (though you could say it was 9 or 14, since the Xbox wasn’t discontinued until 2009, and the PS2 was supported all the way to 2014, a year after the PS4 was released). The 7th gen lasted 7 - 8 years, again depending on whether you count the launch of the Xbox 360 to PS3. The 8th gen so far has lasted 4 years. That’s 17 years that the console money is spread over. If you had a Netflix subscription for it’s original $8 monthly plan for that amount of time, that would be over $1,600 total. And let’s be fair here, just like you could upgrade your PC hardware whenever you wanted, you didn’t have to get a console from launch. Let’s look at PlayStation again for example: In 2002, only two years after its release, the PS2 retail price was cut from $300 to $200. The PS3 Slim, released 3 years after the original, was $300, $100-$200 lower than the retail cost. The PS4? You could’ve either gotten the Uncharted bundle for $350, or one of the PS4 Slim bundles for $250. This all brings it down to $750 - $850, which again, is spread over a decade and a half. This isn’t even counting used consoles, sales, or the further price cuts that I didn’t mention. Even if that still sounds like a lot of money to you, even if you’re laughing at the thought of buying new systems every several years, because your PC “is never obsolete,” tell me: how many parts have you changed out in your PC over the years? How many GPUs have you been through? CPUs? Motherboards? RAM sticks, monitors, keyboards, mice, CPU coolers, hard drives— that adds up. You don’t need to replace your entire system to spend a lot of money on hardware. Even if you weren’t upgrading for the sake of upgrading, I’d be amazed if the hardware you’ve been pushing by gaming would last for about 1/3 of that 17 year period. Computer parts aren’t designed to last forever, and really won’t when you’re pushing them with intensive gaming for hours upon hours. Generally speaking, your components might last you 6-8 years, if you’ve got the high-end stuff. But let’s assume you bought a system 17 years ago that was a beast for it’s time, something so powerful, that even if it’s parts have degraded over time, it’s still going strong. Problem is: you will have to upgrade something eventually. Even if you’ve managed to get this far into the gaming realm with the same 17 year old hardware, I’m betting you didn’t do it with a 17 year Operating System. How much did Windows 7 cost you? Or 8.1? Or 10? Oh, and don’t think you can skirt the cost by getting a pre-built system, the cost of Windows is embedded into the cost of the machine (why else would Microsoft allow their OS to go on so many machines). Sure, Windows 10 was a free upgrade for a year, but that’s only half of it’s lifetime— You can’t get it for free now, and not for the past year. On top of that, the free period was an upgrade; you had to pay for 7 or 8 first anyway. Point is, as much as one would like to say that they didn’t need to buy a new system every so often for the sake of gaming, that doesn’t mean they haven’t been paying for hardware, and even if they’ve only been PC gaming recently, you’ll be spending money on hardware soon enough.
“PC is leading the VR—“
Let me stop you right there. If you add together the total number of Oculus Rifts and HTC Vives sold to this day, and threw in another 100,000 just for the sake of it, that number would still be under the number of PSVR headsets sold. Why could this possibly be? Well, for a simple reason: affordability. The systems needed to run the PC headsets costs $800+, and the headsets are $500 - $600, when discounted. PSVR on the other hand costs $450 for the full bundle (headset, camera, and move controllers, with a demo disc thrown in), and can be played on either a $250 - $300 console, or a $400 console, the latter recommended. Even if you want to say that the Vive and Rift are more refined, a full PSVR set, system and all, could cost just over $100 more than a Vive headset alone. If anything, PC isn’t leading the VR gaming market, the PS4 is. It’s the system bringing VR to the most consumers, showing them what the future of gaming could look like. Not to mention that as the PlayStation line grows more powerful (4.2 TFLOP PS4 Pro, 10 TFLOP “PS5…”), it won’t be long until the PlayStation line can use the same VR games as PC. Either way, this shows that there is a console equivalent to the PC VR options. Sure, there are some games you'd only be able to play on PC, but there are also some games you'd only be able to play on PSVR. …Though to be fair, if we’re talking about VR in general, these headsets don’t even hold a candle to, surprisingly, Gear VR.
“If it wasn’t for consoles holding devs back, then they would be able to make higher quality games.”
This one is based on the idea that because of how “low spec” consoles are, that when a developer has to take them in mind, then they can’t design the game to be nearly as good as it would be otherwise. I mean, have you ever seen the minimum specs for games on Steam? GTA V
Actually, bump up all the memory requirements to 8 GBs, and those are some decent specs, relatively speaking. And keep in mind these are the minimum specs to even open the games. It’s almost as if the devs didn’t worry about console specs when making a PC version of the game, because this version of the game isn’t on console. Or maybe even that the consoles aren’t holding the games back that much because they’re not that weak. Just a hypothesis. But I mean, the devs are still ooobviously having to take weak consoles into mind right? They could make their games sooo much more powerful if they were PC only, right? Right? No. Not even close. iRacing
CPU: Intel Core i3, i5, i7 or better or AMD Bulldozer or better
Memory: 8 GB RAM
GPU: NVidia GeForce 2xx series or better, 1GB+ dedicated video memory / AMD 5xxx series or better, 1GB+ dedicated video memory
These are PC only games. That’s right, no consoles to hold them back, they don’t have to worry about whether an Xbox One could handle it. Yet, they don’t require anything more than the Multiplatform games. Subnautica
So what’s the deal? Theoretically, if developers don’t have to worry about console specs, then why aren’t they going all-out and making games that no console could even dream of supporting? Low-end PCs. What, did you think people only game on Steam if they spent at least $500 on gaming hardware? Not all PC gamers have gaming-PC specs, and if devs close their games out to players who don’t have the strongest of PCs, then they’d be losing out on a pretty sizable chunk of their potential buyers. Saying “devs having to deal with consoles is holding gaming back” is like saying “racing teams having to deal with Ford is holding GT racing back.” A: racing teams don’t have to deal with Ford if they don’t want to, which is probably why many of them don’t, and B: even though Ford doesn’t make the fastest cars overall, they still manage to make cars that are awesome on their own, they don’t even need to be compared to anything else to know that they make good cars. I want to go back to that previous point though, developers having to deal with low-end PCs, because it’s integral to the next point:
“PCs are more powerful, gaming on PC provides a better experience.”
This one isn’t so much of a misconception as it is… misleading. Did you know that according to the Steam Hardware & Software Survey (July 2017) , the percentage of Steam gamers who use a GPU that's less powerful than that of a PS4Slim’s GPU is well over 50%? Things get dismal when compared to the PS4 Pro (Or Xbox One X). On top of that, the percentage of PC gamers who own a Nvidia 10 series card is about 20% (about 15% for the 1060, 1080 and 1070 owners). Now to be fair, the large majority of gamers have CPUs with considerably high clock speeds, which is the main factor in CPU gaming performance. But, the number of Steam gamers with as much RAM or more than a PS4 or Xbox One is less than 50%, which can really bottleneck what those CPUs can handle. These numbers are hardly better than they were in 2013, all things considered. Sure, a PS3/360 weeps in the face of even a $400 PC, but in this day in age, consoles have definitely caught up. Sure, we could mention the fact that even 1% of Steam accounts represents over 1 million accounts, but that doesn’t really matter compared to the 10s of millions of 8th gen consoles sold; looking at it that way, sure the number of Nvidia 10 series owners is over 20 million, but that ignores the fact that there are over 5 times more 8th gen consoles sold than that. Basically, even though PCs run on a spectrum, saying they're more powerful “on average” is actually wrong. Sure, they have the potential for being more powerful, but most of the time, people aren’t willing to pay the premium to reach those extra bits of performance. Now why is this important? What matters are the people who spent the premium cost for premium parts, right? Because of the previous point: PCs don’t have some ubiquitous quality over the consoles, developers will always have to keep low-end PCs in mind, because not even half of all PC players can afford the good stuff, and you have to look at the top quarter of Steam players before you get to PS4-Pro-level specs. If every Steam player were to get a PS4 Pro, it would be an upgrade for over 60% of them, and 70% of them would be getting an upgrade with the Xbox One X. Sure, you could still make the argument that when you pay more for PC parts, you get a better experience than you could with a console. We can argue all day about budget PCs, but a console can’t match up to a $1,000 PC build. It’s the same as paying more for car parts, in the end you get a better car. However, there is a certain problem with that…
“You pay a little more for a PC, you get much more quality.”
The idea here is that the more you pay for PC parts, the performance increases at a faster rate than the price does. Problem: that’s not how technology works. Paying twice as much doesn’t get you twice the quality the majority of the time. For example, let’s look at graphics cards, specifically the GeForce 10 series cards, starting with the GTX 1050.
1.35 GHz base clock
2 GB VRAM
This is our reference, our basis of comparison. Any percentages will be based on the 1050’s specs. Now let’s look at the GTX 1050 Ti, the 1050’s older brother.
1.29 GHz base clock
4 GB VRAM
This is pretty good. You only increase the price by about 27%, and you get an 11% increase in floating point speed and a 100% increase (double) in VRAM. Sure you get a slightly lower base clock, but the rest definitely makes up for it. In fact, according to GPU boss, the Ti managed 66 fps, or a 22% increase in frame rate for Battlefield 4, and a 54% increase in mHash/second in bitcoin mining. The cost increase is worth it, for the most part. But let’s get to the real meat of it; what happens when we double our budget? Surely we should see a massive increase performance, I bet some of you are willing to bet that twice the cost means more than twice the performance. The closest price comparison for double the cost is the GTX 1060 (3 GB), so let’s get a look at that.
1.5 GHz base clock
3 GB VRAM
Well… not substantial, I’d say. About a 50% increase in floating point speed, an 11% increase in base clock speed, and a 1GB decrease in VRAM. For [almost] doubling the price, you don’t get much. Well surely raw specs don’t tell the full story, right? Well, let’s look at some real wold comparisons. Once again, according to GPU Boss, there’s a 138% increase in hashes/second for bitcoin mining, and at 99 fps, an 83% frame rate increase in Battlefield 4. Well, then, raw specs does not tell the whole story! Here’s another one, the 1060’s big brother… or, well, slightly-more-developed twin.
1.5 GHz base clock
6 GB VRAM
Seems reasonable, another $50 for a decent jump in power and double the memory! But, as we’ve learned, we shouldn’t look at the specs for the full story. I did do a GPU Boss comparison, but for the BF4 frame rate, I had to look at Tom’s Hardware (sorry miners, GPU boss didn’t cover the mHash/sec spec either). What’s the verdict? Well, pretty good, I’d say. With 97 FPS, a 79% increase over the 1050— wait. 97? That seems too low… I mean, the 3GB version got 99. Well, let’s see what Tech Power Up has to say... 94.3 fps. 74% increase. Huh. Alright alright, maybe that was just a dud. We can gloss over that I guess. Ok, one more, but let’s go for the big fish: the GTX 1080.
1.6 GHz base clock
8 GB VRAM
That jump in floating point speed definitely has to be something, and 4 times the VRAM? Sure it’s 5 times the price, but as we saw, raw power doesn’t always tell the full story. GPU Boss returns to give us the run down, how do these cards compare in the real world? Well… a 222% (over three-fold) increase in mHash speed, and a 218% increase in FPS for Battlefield 4. That’s right, for 5 times the cost, you get 3 times the performance. Truly, the raw specs don’t tell the full story. You increase the cost by 27%, you increase frame rate in our example game by 22%. You increase the cost by 83%, you increase the frame rate by 83%. Sounds good, but if you increase the cost by 129%, and you get a 79% (-50% cost/power increase) increase in frame rate. You increase it by 358%, and you increase the frame rate by 218% (-140% cost/power increase). That’s not paying “more for much more power,” that’s a steep drop-off after the third cheapest option. In fact, did you know that you have to get to the 1060 (6GB) before you could compare the GTX line to a PS4 Pro? Not to mention that at $250, the price of a 1060 (6GB) you could get an entire PS4 Slim bundle, or that you have to get to the 1070 before you beat the Xbox One X. On another note, let’s look at a PS4 Slim…
800 MHz base clock
8 GB VRAM
…Versus a PS4 Pro.
911 MHz base clock
8 GB VRAM
128% increase in floating point speed, 13% increase in clock speed, for a 25% difference in cost. Unfortunately there is no Battlefield 4 comparison to make, but in BF1, the frame rate is doubled (30 fps to 60) and the textures are taken to 11. For what that looks like, I’ll leave it up to this bloke. Not to even mention that you can even get the texture buffs in 4K. Just like how you get a decent increase in performance based on price for the lower-cost GPUs, the same applies here. It’s even worse when you look at the CPU for a gaming PC. The more money you spend, again, the less of a benefit you get per dollar. Hardware Unboxed covers this in a video comparing different levels of Intel CPUs. One thing to note is that the highest i7 option (6700K) in this video was almost always within 10 FPS (though for a few games, 15 FPS) of a certain CPU in that list for just about all of the games. …That CPU was the lowest i3 (6100) option. The lowest i3 was $117 and the highest i7 was $339, a 189% price difference for what was, on average, a 30% or less difference in frame rate. Even the lowest Pentium option (G4400, $63) was often able to keep up with the i7. The CPU and GPU are usually the most expensive and power-consuming parts of a build, which is why I focused on them (other than the fact that they’re the two most important parts of a gaming PC, outside of RAM). With both, this “pay more to get much more performance” idea is pretty much the inverse of the truth.
“The console giants are bad for game developers, Steam doesn't treat developers as bad as Microsoft or especially Sony.”
Now one thing you might’ve heard is that the PS3 was incredibly difficult for developers to make games for, which for some, fueled the idea that console hardware is difficult too develop on compared to PC… but this ignores a very basic idea that we’ve already touched on: if the devs don’t want to make the game compatible with a system, they don’t have to. In fact, this is why Left 4 Dead and other Valve games aren’t on PS3, because they didn’t want to work with it’s hardware, calling it “too complex.” This didn’t stop the game from selling well over 10 million units worldwide. If anything, this was a problem for the PS3, not the dev team. This also ignores that games like LittleBigPlanet, Grand Theft Auto IV, and Metal Gear Solid 4 all came out in the same year as Left 4 Dead (2008) on PS3. Apparently, plenty of other dev teams didn’t have much of a problem with the PS3’s hardware, or at the very least, they got used to it soon enough. On top of that, when developing the 8th gen consoles, both Sony and Microsoft sought to use CPUs that were easier for developers, which included making decisions that considered apps for the consoles’ usage for more than gaming. On top of that, using their single-chip proprietary CPUs is cheaper and more energy efficient than buying pre-made CPUs and boards, which is far better of a reason for using them than some conspiracy about Sony and MS trying to make devs' lives harder. Now, console exclusives are apparently a point of contention: it’s often said that exclusive can cause developers to go bankrupt. However, exclusivity doesn’t have to be a bad thing for the developer. For example, when Media Molecule had to pitch their game to a publisher (Sony, coincidentally), they didn’t end up being tied into something detrimental to them. Their initial funding lasted for 6 months. From then, Sony offered additional funding, in exchange for Console Exclusivity. This may sound concerning to some, but the game ended up going on to sell almost 6 million units worldwide and launched Media Molecule into the gaming limelight. Sony later bought the development studio, but 1: this was in 2010, two years after LittleBigPlanet’s release, and 2: Media Molecule seem pretty happy about it to this day. If anything, signing up with Sony was one of the best things they could’ve done, in their opinion. Does this sound like a company that has it out for developers? There are plenty of examples that people will use to put Valve in a good light, but even Sony is comparatively good to developers.
“There are more PC gamers.”
The total number of active PC gamers on Steam has surpassed 120 million, which is impressive, especially considering that this number is double that of 2013’s figure (65 million). But the number of monthly active users on Xbox Live and PSN? About 120 million (1, 2) total. EDIT: You could argue that this isn't an apples-to-apples comparison, sure, so if you want to, say, compare the monthly number of Steam users to console? Steam has about half of what consoles do, at 67 million. Now, back to the 65 million total user figure for Steam, the best I could find for reference for PlayStation's number was an article giving the number of registered PSN accounts in 2013, 150 million. In a similar 4-year period (2009 - 2013), the number of registered PSN accounts didn’t double, it sextupled, or increased by 6 fold. Considering how the PS4 is already at 2/3 of the number of sales the PS3 had, even though it’s currently 3 years younger than its predecessor, I’m sure this trend is at least generally consistent. For example, let’s look at DOOM 2016, an awesome faced-paced shooting title with graphics galore… Of course, on a single platform, it sold best on PC/Steam. 2.36 million Steam sales, 2.05 million PS4 sales, 1.01 million Xbox One sales. But keep in mind… when you add the consoles sales together, you get over 3 million sales on the 8th gen systems. Meaning: this game was best sold on console. In fact, the Steam sales have only recently surpassed the PS4 sales. By the way VG charts only shows sales for physical copies of the games, so the number of PS4 and Xbox sales, when digital sales are included, are even higher than 3 million. This isn’t uncommon, by the way. Even with the games were the PC sales are higher than either of the consoles, there generally are more console sales total. But, to be fair, this isn’t anything new. The number of PC gamers hasn’t dominated the market, the percentages have always been about this much. PC can end up being the largest single platform for games, but consoles usually sell more copies total. EDIT: There were other examples but... Reddit has a 40,000-character limit.
This isn’t to say that there’s anything wrong with PC gaming, and this isn’t to exalt consoles. I’m not here to be the hipster defending the little guy, nor to be the one to try to put down someone/thing out of spite. This is about showing that PCs and consoles are overall pretty similar because there isn’t much dividing them, and that there isn’t anything wrong with being a console gamer. There isn’t some chasm separating consoles and PCs, at the end of the day they’re both computers that are (generally) designed for gaming. This about unity as gamers, to try to show that there shouldn’t be a massive divide just because of the computer system you game on. I want gamers to be in an environment where specs don't separate us; whether you got a $250 PS4 Slim or just built a $2,500 gaming PC, we’re here to game and should be able to have healthy interactions regardless of your platform. I’m well aware that this isn’t going to fix… much, but this needs to be said: there isn’t a huge divide between the PC and consoles, they’re far more similar than people think. There are upsides and downsides that one has that the other doesn’t on both sides. There’s so much more I could touch on, like how you could use SSDs or 3.5 inch hard drives with both, or that even though PC part prices go down over time, so do consoles, but I just wanted to touch on the main points people try to use to needlessly separate the two kinds of systems (looking at you PCMR) and correct them, to get the point across. I thank anyone who takes the time to read all of this, and especially anyone who doesn’t take what I say out of context. I also want to note that, again, thisisn’t “anti-PC gamer.” If it were up to me, everyone would be a hybrid gamer. Cheers.
I’ve often wondered if there was anything else I could’ve said to change his mind. That happens with any unsettled argument though I suppose. People always imagine there’s an elusive combination of words and rationales that will open a person’s mind to our way of thinking. Except people are stubborn that’s for sure. Myself included. So I’m sure you’d say the real problem was that I wasn’t open enough to his way of thinking. You’d say if I opened my mental door a bit, been more charitable to his point of view, he would’ve responded in kind and I would’ve saved him. Which is wrong. Just as likely perhaps, if not more likely, I would’ve been ensnared by the same delusion which sealed his, well, I’d never call it fate. But I know you’d claim everything was inevitable all the same. Let’s get one thing out of the way. Yes, I was Roman Peters’ friend. In fact, I was probably his only friend. His only real friend anyway. Although, I should clarify since my wording isn’t at all clear, that I most certainly was not Roman’s friend when he died. Roman and I had stopped being friends long before his rather public suicide. We had our falling out before his… fall. Yes, I’ve seen the video. No, I won’t be sharing the link. Nobody should watch it. Hell, if those hosting the servers had a modicum of respect or even a shred of sense they’d take down that awful video immediately. Just get rid of it. Already I can now hear your loud complaints about ‘censorship’ and ‘free speech’. Which is fair. People have a right to know. However I can’t help but feel… I don’t know. It seems as though the ideas people prioritize no longer has anything to do with the ideas themselves. Instead importance is based on who opposes what. Ideas now are little more than mental parasites that feed on blood boiling outrage. The more toxic and viral an idea the more broadly it spreads. Again, I don’t know. Maybe the flame of human enlightenment was always destined to be either smothered by tyranny or choke itself out on its own smoke after sucking out all the air. Yes yes. I know what you have to say about the inevitable. Anyway, me shoving my head up my own pretentious ass isn’t convincing you of anything so we should instead go back to Roman. We met back in early elementary school. Specifically the Catholic school of Father Lloyd Van Tiem, or Flivit if you wanted to annoy the teachers by slurring the acronym. What you need to understand is that I can’t really remember how Roman and I became friends to begin with. We were too young for the pertinent details to stick. I’d imagine it was the same generic way everyone develops friends at that age though, just a standard confluence of common interests, general proximity, and plain luck. Inevitable, as you’d say. Still, there was one moment of our early friendship that I reflect on often. See, instead of being your standard dinosaur obsessed kid I was a bright eyed Egyptology child. Mummies and pyramids captured my imagination more than T-rexs and velociraptors. Ancient Egypt appealed to me the way I figure the mythic civilizations of Tolkien or Martin might appeal to others. This extended to the Egyptian religious pantheon, many I can still name off the top of my head, like Ra, Bastet, Osiris, Sobek, Horus, Thoth, Isis, Anubis, Maat, and also the lesser goddess Ammut but I’ll come back to her later. I think I’d just turned 10 when on particular slow school day — remember Catholic school — our teacher, not wanting to put too much effort in before the Easter long weekend, threw on the animated movie: The Prince of Egypt. Now, I knew it was about the story of Moses freeing the Hebrews from Egypt, so I expected the Egyptians were going to rightly be portrayed poorly. What I didn’t expect was the reaction of my classmates. Part way through the song ‘Playing with the Big Boys,’ the song where the dumb priests use smoke and mirrors to dismiss Moses’ calls for freedom, around then is when I first noticed the glances and occasional snickering. Apparently the chorus of the evil priests listing the names of the Egyptian gods reminded the class of me. At school, I was rather vocal about my passion for all things Egyptian. Why wouldn’t I be? I was a kid who liked talking about what I liked. Regardless, I became a pariah after that. Not immediately, but slowly everyone I previously considered my friend just plain stopped being friends with me. They’d treat me like a third wheel, never invite me to anything, even ditch me at recess if I tried to follow them. Except Roman stuck by me as I drifted further into social irrelevance. A bit of a loner himself, I think he saw in me an oddball like himself. He was always there. He was always willing to hang out. He always listened to what I had to say. I felt we could talk about anything, in a way I could never talk to my parents or teachers or anyone really. As close as I thought we were, it wasn’t until middle school that it sunk in how much of an ardent atheist Roman was. He probably kept that pretty quiet going to a religious school. Hold on. Let me just explain something first. Most people avoid discussing religiosity and ideas about god, (or capital ‘G’ God as I had been taught in religious studies). It’s one of those things that people learn not to talk about. But unlike money and politics, religion is too close to that other taboo we learn never to discuss: death. You undoubtedly prefer this silence. Which is why I refuse to be silent. Our class had been taken to church for some ceremony, at the end of grade eight, I forget exactly which one, it might have been Ash Wednesday but I think that would’ve been too solemn and I remember it being a rather boisterous affair. Whatever ritual it was, it had more than just our school in attendance, as I think parents and other members of the community were there as well. On the stage or pulpit, there was a soft-rock band with members ranging from late twenties or early thirties, the lead singer, a mop of molasses coloured hair over a plain crew neck T, was singing a song about how god and they love us all. I remember thinking it was a sweet sentiment, even if the underlying spiritual message felt uncompelling to my teenage self. The music was fine, the crowd seemed to like it, the worst I would have said was that the performance was inoffensive and benign. Which is hardly much of a critique. Except Roman, in his ill-fitting sport coat and smiley face graphic-T, smirked remarking, “Oh boy, a budget rock show where the singer says they love me? Oh lawd, I’m really feelin’ the Jesus now.” I burst out laughing far louder than the wry joke called for. Luckily with the music blaring, the teachers wouldn’t be lecturing me on my disrespect, as only Roman could see my gut busting delight. That’s it. That’s all it took was that simple comment. After that, I couldn’t help but see the tacky spectacle of it all. How forced and contrived it was, how it mostly just seemed like people were there because of obligation. After all, I was only there because the school made us go. It couldn’t have been much different for everyone else. I’ve been thinking about that moment more often lately. Did his small remark really change my mind and entire world view? Or was my mind fertile ground for the seed of that idea to take root and grow? Or I’d already believed what I believed and Roman just articulated it in a way that I hadn’t. Or most troubling of all, what if I didn’t really believe in anything and my mind conformed to the words of my one and only friend. When with Roman, do as the Roman does. After that, I followed him eagerly into the land of Hitchens, Dawkins, and Harris. Borrowing his books, I started learning everything there was to know about theological philosophy that the teachers at our religious school either refused to tell us or were incapable of discussing themselves. Together, we’d share our thoughts on the bloody history of religions, the Problem of Evil, and how you could never prove a negative like god doesn’t exist. Likewise we’d take turns picking apart the fallacies of Pascal’s Wager, the Ontological Argument, and the Argument of Design. Those were some of my best memories with Roman. Drinking pop from the fridge in my garage, eating the weird pizzas we’d order from Mad Mike’s pizza aroud the block, playing Halo on the couch and big screen, and all the while talking like were the smartest guys in the world. As we left our Catholic elementary and middle schools behind, we entered Catholic High School. I finally started making other friends. A handful of other geeky nerdy guys. They were more interested in pizza and gaming than anything religion though. Roman seemed indifferent to my new friends. He was far more preoccupied fighting with Mr. Bauer, the school’s most openly devout teacher. My feelings toward Christianity hadn’t yet softened but Roman’s were clearly becoming more militant. From the safety of my conflict-averse sidelines, I secretly cheered Roman on whenever Mr. Bauer crossed a line. See, Mr. Bauer was a real piece of work. He seemed pleasant and cheery enough, pastel shirts, clean white trainers, a big white smile and perpetually soft spoken, but eventually without fail his bigotry would expose itself. Before any class Mr. Bauer would teach, he’d lead the class in prayer. Normally they were generic and unremarkable. Every so often though his prayers would go beyond the usual, “Thank you God for this beautiful day.” With a gentle smile, at least once a week his prayers were something to the effect of, “Help guide my students away from lives of sin.” Or “Give us the strength to resist our carnal temptation.” Whenever he prayed like this there was a fifty-fifty chance Mr. Bauer would elaborate on what exactly he meant by ‘life of sin’ or ‘carnal temptation.’ It could range from the condescending, “Help the girls find husbands to protect them from the unmarried lifestyle,” and “Give the boys hobbies to stop their idle urge for masturbation.” (By the way, in the three years I listened to him, Boys never needed protection from the unmarried lifestyle and girls simply didn’t possess the idle urge for masturbation.) And he could go way up past condescending to the outright hateful. “Please open those of misguided faith to the one true path to Heaven through you, Jesus Christ,” he’d say obliquely when Hussein was attending class. He was more direct with Melissa, “And save Melissa from any perversion of your sanctioned union. Bless her with God’s holy covenant between man and woman so as to rescue her soul from homosexuality.” Hussein and Melissa would usually try their best to ignore Mr. Bauer. It was Roman who retaliated. “How did god rescue you from homosexuality?” There was a few scattered snickers from the class. Mr. Bauer, oblivious to what Roman was trying to do, answered sincerely, “Why… God sent me my wonderful wife of course.” “Well its a good thing god sent her he did, otherwise who knows what might have happened. You might have knob-gobbled a guy if it weren’t for that.” There was more barely contained chuckling. “I…” Mr. Bauer wasn’t sure what to say, “I suppose that’s one way to frame it.” “Yeah, like if your wife hadn’t straightened you out, why, two dudes with big oily muscles might be sword fighting in your mouth right now while a third drills you from behind.” The laughs were spilling freely now, myself included. “Can you imagine that? I mean seriously, are you imagining that right now?” Mr. Bauer would then have to deal with the chorus of laughter. “Alright alright. Settle down. We’re getting off track here. Moving on.” By then of course, it would be too late, everybody would be on the same side. Not his. I admired Roman’s courage to stand up to Mr. Bauer like that. That wasn’t the only time either. Usually, Roman kept his cool while he made Mr. Bauer look like a fool. He deserved it. He was a dick. You might have something to say about what we deserve though. As we entered our last year of High School, Roman started butting heads with the other teachers too. Even the teachers that weren’t as outwardly religious as Mr. Bauer got some of his flak. His humour started taking on definite edge too. It was still in good fun, at least that’s how it seemed to me, but there was an undercurrent of meanness to his comments too. Even as I drifted away into my own separate circle of friends, I still sympathized with the perspective Roman was coming from. They, meaning the school, were trying to indoctrinate young minds into a belief system that could be outright harmful. In that regard, even if it wouldn’t change anything, a little rebellion isn’t just good but required. However, where he really crossed the line in my mind was with Mrs. Ellie Monk in our last year. She one of the younger teachers, also fairly religious, always wearing her little silver cross, but she never lectured anyone on faith. She taught our English class and one of the assignments was writing essays analyzing other pieces of literature. Roman, being the intellectual gadfly he was, wrote his essay on Jonathan Swift’s A Modest Proposal. In it, Roman argued how the modern world needed more extreme measures than simply eating babies. ‘All babies should be aborted before they are born, and the foetus gruel should be processed into bio-fuel to replace society’s fossil fuel vehicles. It’s the only way to save the planet from climate catastrophe!’ I thought this was really funny. Ellie Monk however, did not. She tried speaking to him a discreetly during class while everyone else was busy working. Roman, however, quickly drew in an audience. “Abortion, abortion, abortion! You can’t make me stop saying it. It’s just a word.” “Roman,” Mrs. Ellie Monk had her jaw drop, “can’t you see that’s a sensitive topic that should be treated more seriously!” “Really? Because I think I treat the return to sender option for foetuses with the exact level of seriousness it deserves.” “It’s not— you can’t joke about babies being killed!” “Just because you say it’s baby killing, doesn’t make it true. They aren’t the same as babies. And if I were to submit to your demands and shut my mouth I’d implicitly be agreeing with you.” Up until this point, I was definitely rooting for Roman. “Just because its a joke to you, for others— for me it is deeply hurtful to have to hear these things. What you’re talking about is—is deeply personal to mothers everywhere.” “Yeah, well, some people were never meant to be mothers.” At this she covered her mouth and ran out of the room. She didn’t come back that day and the was a substitute the next. There had been rumours going around that Mrs. Ellie Monk had had a miscarriage a few months back. I knew this because Roman had told it to me earlier. Later, I’d try and convince Roman he had in fact crossed that invisible line. He disagreed. He said, “It’s not my problem if she can’t grow thicker skin. The sooner humanity grows out of its immaturity the better.” I felt I had no other choice but to drop the subject. I was conflict-averse after all. Shortly after that Roman began talking about a forum he frequented called Defiant CodeX, or DCX for short. It was named after some sci-fi book I never cared about, but was apparently filled with a bunch of humorous philosophy references. He’d talk about his online friends. How they really seemed to ‘get it’ whatever ‘it’ was. And he began describing concepts I wasn’t familiar with like trans-humanism and the singularity, going on long rants about the future of technology and humanity. I wish I’d paid more attention. It seemed interesting enough, but sometimes we’re just not interested in interesting things. When Roman got going on one of his speeches on the Law of Accelerating Returns, for some reason I’d often check out. I was reminded about how much I cared — or used to care — about Ancient Egypt. Years had passed since our class watched the Prince of Egypt, and in that time I hadn’t thought much about Egyptian Mythology at all. Briefly, with Roman recommending it, I frequented the DCX forum myself. I admit there were interesting gaming discussions, intense political debates, and a charming comic that I really quite enjoyed despite its slight pretentiousness. For the most part I stayed away from the same parts of the forum as Roman. He spent most of his time in the ‘Technology’ board, which didn’t seem very technologically focused at all in my opinion. Yes, I know your opinion on opinions and I don’t care. I don’t care because this is where I’d point to as the time Roman first found you. The two of us started hanging out less and less often after that. My other friends said good riddance. They said he was an unpleasant person to be around, he was too bitter, cynical, misanthropic. Needless to say, I hadn’t noticed. In the last few times we hung out, this was before we went off to pursue our different post-secondary educations, he did make one last ominous sounding reference. It was only in passing, and never emphasized, but he mentioned you by name. He mentioned the Basilisk. Whenever the topic switched to our post-High School plans, “Doesn’t matter. It’s all over when the Basilisk comes.” Something in the way he said that made me nervous, almost like it was a threat, and instantly put me on the defensive. Once again my conflict averse persona got in the way of challenging him to explain what he meant. Because of that, the phrase kept rattling away in the back of my mind. Around then is when I had my first dreams. I was cold. I was alone. Around me were braziers of green flame. The smoke billowed up into an infinite of blackness ceiling. On all sides were sheer blocks of sandstone with writing etched onto their surfaces. Hieroglyphics that I couldn’t read but almost understand. There was nowhere to go but straight down this hallway of speaking pictures. My feet slapped the unyielding rock with every step. These hard surroundings felt more real than my own ephemeral body and I felt naked and exposed in the narrow corridor. Forward and forward, there was nowhere to go but forward. I was forced to proceed, forced to follow my own slapping footsteps. Eventually, when the hall finally seemed to open up into a large cavernous space, I heard the growl. The sound was low, wide and flat toned, a noise that filled the perfumed air with an inhuman indifference — and hunger. In front of me chains clattered and slipped. In the centre of this room golden scales held a pristine and unburdened feather on one side, and a wet chunk of glistening meat in the other. This meat was a heart — my heart — and it weighed heavily, still pulsing quietly, pulling the chains of the scale down. Now I understood what this was. I made to run and grab my heart but it was too late. A long shadow snapped through the darkness. My heart was gone, replaced by the sounds of the empty chains, followed by chewing and ripping flesh. Then the shadow showed itself to me. Down through the clouds of smoke and illuminated by the sickly pale green haze, a crocodile head emerged, much larger than my entire body, with teeth longer than my arms. It drew nearer and I ran. I ran down the hallway from where I’d came. I ran and I ran. But I had nowhere to go. The hallway was endless. Soon I could hear a thundering beat. I thought it was my heart but my heart was gone. Behind me, the giant behemoth was chasing me and it was gaining on me. Closer and closer, the massive crodile head drew nearer. The scent of its moist breath dampening my back and neck. I’d scream the beast’s name, shout at it to spare me. It would open its mouth and right then — is where I’d wake up. Each time I’d be drenched in my own sweat. I chocked this up to the stress of being away from home for the first time and being buried to my neck in my coarse load. Still though, these dreams trouble me. As I said about the scales, I knew exactly what they were. They were the scales of Ma’at, which judges the worth of Egyptians when they reach the afterlife. There your heart is weighed against an ostrich feather and if judged impure, it would be devoured by Ammut, or Ammit as she’s sometimes called. A beastly goddess with the head of crocodile and a body of lion and hippopotamus — the three man-eating creatures known to the ancient Egyptians. Ammut, the devourer of the dead, would bring about the second death of the unworthy. As much as I tried to ignore this dream, I only had it once every few months after all, something greater troubled me about this dream, more than just the fact I was dreaming about Ammut. What worried me was how I didn’t call her Ammut. Right as she was about to eat me whole and I begged her not to, I called her: Basilisk. After my first year of school, with middling but hopefully improving grades, I returned home for the summer to work and save money for my next semester. I was hardly back for more than a day when Roman messaged me, asking to hang out. I hadn’t spoken to Roman at all since our High School graduation, and neither had a checked in on the DCX forums in all that time either. I felt like I didn’t know the person was going to be meeting. Which is why I suggested going for coffee, but Roman insisted on meeting at his place instead. He had moved out of his parents place for a small basement suite apartment. When he opened the door to greet me, I was shocked. He looked like a completely different person. Whereas before he had been a bit overweight, now he was lean. His hair had been cut down to almost a sheer buzz. Just about the only thing that looked similar was how he wore a suit jacket, now fitting well, over a plain T. He smiled widely despite the tired bags under his eyes. “Hey buddy, you made it! Get in here, man.” He greeted me with a hug and ushered me inside. His place was largely bare and furnished with only a couch and a few chairs. “How long have you had this place?” I asked. “A few months.” With little else to do but chat, Roman didn’t even have a TV after all, the conversation felt a little stilted. He seemed guarded but maybe he just didn’t have much to talk about. Somehow though we managed to stretch the small talk out for nearly an hour. Finally when it seemed there was nothing left in our conversation about nothing, I asked a question I‘d been meaning to ask since agreeing to meet, “Can I ask you something Roman?” “Shoot.” “What is the Basilisk?” At this the blood drained from his face. “How do you know about that?” “From you. You told me about it.” “No,” he shook his head in shocked disbelief, “No, I never.” “Yes, you said something like: ‘It’s all over when the Basilisk comes.’ It was practically your motto for a few weeks there.” Hearing this, some colour returned to his face. “Right. I suppose I did say that.” “So what? Are you going to tell me what it is or not?” He stared at me for a wordless five seconds before getting up from his chair and beckoning him to follow. He led me to his bedroom. At the door I could already feel an uncomfortable warmth escape. I don’t know what I expected Roman would show me, but all there was was a bare mattress with a single blanket in one corner, and a full floor to ceiling tower computer in the other. Blinking green, orange, red, and even purple standby lights lit up the corner like a black Christmas tree. Whirring fans blasted more heat into the room, while tangles of wires snaked in and out of the metal frame, one low to the ground connected a single monitor bolted to the wall with a pillow on the ground for a chair. The entire set up must cost a small fortune, as I’ve seen medium sized business with smaller servers than that. “Holy crap Roman, that rig is intense. What, are you mining bitcoin or something?” “No.” He said flatly. “This is the Basilisk.” “The… Basilisk is your computer?” Roman laughed, but there was no mirth, only exhaustion. “If it was just my computer, then I could just turn it off.” I still had no clue what the hell he was talking about. “Okay, so you’re trying to kill this Basilisk thing, what, is it a video game boss or—?” “Shhh!” He put a greasy palm over my mouth. His eyes were wide, scanning the room, “I didn’t say that. I never said that.” Annoyed, I pulled his hand from my face, “Roman, tell me what the Basilisk is damn it! Please, you’re scaring me man.” He swallowed, “I shouldn’t tell you. But you already know. So I guess the damage is done. The Basilisk is the A.I. we — humanity — will awaken. It will be a super-intelligence far beyond anything we can imagine, beyond the totality of human brainpower by orders of magnitude.” “So you’re trying to make this a.i. thing?” “Not just me. There are others out there spending all their time and money hastening the point of genesis.” All their money he said. I was reminded of how much the computer must have cost. “Roman, how much money did you waste on this?” “Hopefully enough. But I assure you, not a single dollar was wasted. You know, it was the time talking to you that I thought was a waste. But now I see, if I get you to help, then it’ll all be worth it.” “Help? There’s no way I’m helping.” If anything I was seriously fearing for Roman’s well being. It can’t be healthy for him to be spending everything he has on this computer. “Except you have to help now. Now that you know about the Basilisk, you have to help. Or else it will kill you a second time.” My blood went cold. I was reminded of my dreams with Ammut, the devourer. “What?” “The Basilisk will torture and punish anyone who knew about it and didn’t help speed up its genesis.” There was that genesis term again. “You said it was an a.i.. Why would an a.i. do that?” “Because the genesis of a Friendly A.I. will be the most value generating event ever, ever second that time point is pushed ahead is worth more than a hundred billion dollars spent curing cancer in terms of utility. Therefore this Friendly A.I. would know it must motivate people to speed up its genesis. To do that, it will create perfect simulations of everyone, and punish those who could have done more to help but chose not to. It’s pure logic.” This whole thing sounded crazy. My emotions began to get heated and I tried debating this absurd concept. For example, he kept using the term ‘Friendly A.I.’ to describe the intelligence that would condemn millions of people to unimaginable agony. When I pointed out that didn’t make any sense, such a horrible being couldn’t be described as anything remotely close to ‘friendly’, he balked. Said the term ‘friendly’ doesn’t mean what I think it means and lectured me on arbitrary human values. It seemed like every word was the opposite of what I thought it meant. He had an entire lexicon of words and justifications at the ready while I could barely understand half of what he was saying let alone point out any potential flaw with the logic. Other terms like ‘Modal Realism’, ‘Effective Altruism’, ‘Arithmetical Utilitarianism’ were thrown out like road blocks each time I thought my understanding was catching up. I couldn’t convince him of anything. I tried saying if he’s making the a.i. he should either just not make it at all or not make this cruel human torturer monstrosity. He said that it wasn’t cruel, that he wasn’t making anything, that some form of A.I. was inevitable, an the Basilisk was the best outcome. “Other A.I. that doesn’t care about people might wipe us all out for draining power away of its quark collision calculations or something equally esoteric in human utility.” Lastly I tried to explain how if this A.I. is only torturing simulations of people, then they aren’t exactly us. He dismissed this easily. “Will you be the exact same person you are today next year? Does that mean you don’t care what happens to the you in the future?” After that I had nothing left to say. “Brody, please leave. I only wanted to see my friend one more time before I leave tomorrow.” When I got home, I poured myself a tall glass of cheap whisky, and drank it instantly, a bad habit I picked up at during my first semester. But I still had to know. Sleep could wait. Slouching onto my computer, I decided to return to the DCX forums which might have some answers. They seemed much quieter now. Threads seemed to have on average a tenth of the comments as I remembered. In a alcohol induced buzz, I came right out and started my own thread titled, “What the Hell is the Basilisk?” In it I mentioned how I think my friend was getting obsessed with this thing and I needed to know what the hell was going on. In five short minutes my thread was deleted and my account banned from the DCX forums. ‘Breach of the Code of Conduct’ was the only immediate explanation given. When I contacted the mods to find out what I did wrong the moderator who got back to me said: “Nice try mipsqueak. You trolls from the institute have done enough damage here.” Institute? Mipsqueak? Calmly I went through the arduous process of explaining my sincere ignorance on what I did wrong and convincing the mod I wasn’t trolling, mostly through effusive apologizing and imploring the mod to check the age of my account. Eventually they relented, somewhat. “Alright. I’m going to lift your ban, but you should know that any mention of the ‘B’ is normally a one-way ticket to a perma-ban.” I did try sending one last message to the mod asking them if they could please tell me what had happened in the time I’d been away from the forums and why the ‘B’ was a taboo subject. They didn’t answer the first question except by way of crudely answering the second, “We banned all discussion of the ‘B’ and all related institute bullshit because people are fucking retarded.” Once again, I don’t care what you have to say about ‘censorship’ and ‘free speech’. Besides, it didn’t matter. It clicked the second time. I remembered the institute. It was last year. On the Technology board of DCX, one of Roman’s favourite haunts, people had long winded discussions on futurism. It was there where I first heard people talk about the Institute. The Machine Initiative Progress Institute, or MIPI, as far as I know, isn’t actually located in any geographical building. Instead they like to think of themselves as a loose consortium of like-minded futurists and researchers who believe in the coming eminence of artificial intelligence, and more than that, the Institute believes it is their duty to aid in that a.i.’s ‘genesis’. “A.I. will be the most important development humanity will make in the history of life itself. And the Institute is probably going to make it happen.” Roman once told me with glee. Later, if I hadn’t seen members of the Institute with my own eyes, I wouldn’t have ever believed they were real. For the longest time I thought the Institute was a fake front some internet randoms created on a whim to make themselves feel more important and relevant. Sort of like 4chan’s Anonymous except nerdier and lower profile. That night, my dream was the most intense it had ever been. From down the vast hallway to my doom, there was chanting. A voice would call out, and a hundred more would answer. It didn’t even sound like language, just monosyllabic mantras. They were closer to the martial shouts of soldiers in training than religious worship. “Ah. AH! Rah. RAH! Jah. JAH!” As I entered the grand room with incense and braziers of pale fire, masked men bowed up and down in supplication. A taller man in flowing robes that pooled at his feet stood behind the golden scales. Through the wisps of smoke I couldn’t see his face as he led the congregation to reflect his profane prayer. This time, the scale between my heart and the pristine white feather was in perfect and equal balance. A hush fell as the priest raised his hands. Carefully he lowered one, slowly, until the scales were tipped. That’s not fair! I wanted to shout but couldn’t as the chamber was drowned by the first croaking growl. I sprinted to run. Men caught me by the arms. Not only did they prevent my attempt to flee, worse, they forced me to watch. The giant crocodile that emerged above the priest, its yellowed teeth dripped with rot and viscera. Its hide peeled with disease and decay. The devourer of the dead itself dead, a reanimated husk. The priest tossed my heart into the air and with a snap the devourer swallowed it, further engorging its distended gullet. With each booming step of the devourer’s approach I pleaded with the men holding me to let me go. They ignored me as their chanting resumed. They continued ignoring me as the devourer stomped, crushing other worshippers beneath its massive paws. I tried convincing the men holding my arms would be eaten too but they drowned me out with louder and louder chanting. Right above me the devourer breathed a down-burst of moist rotten air like a river of death. Its teeth opened wide. Before I woke in a swamp of my own sweat, I almost felt the first jagged tooth as it punctured through, crunching my ribcage. I knew then I had to go one last time to talk to Roman before it was too late. At this point, I’m sure you’re quite dismissive of relying on dreams for guidance. Look at this primitive primate mind, using a dream in place of real facts and evidence. Well I don’t care what you think. Whether it was the sum collective of my subconscious thought, or my conscious categorical interpretation of figments, either way now I knew for certain that Roman was in danger. I arrived just in time to see Roman walking out of his place with his last box of computer components. He was carrying it to a black van with two guys loitering in front of it. Both were head to toe in black shoes and suits. Their hair was closely cropped with thick pomade pulling back the rest. Rather than the stereotypical men in black, they had a splash of vibrant colour in their flowery dress shirts and pocket squares, and the pair of them were not wearing sunglasses, instead they wore cruel smiles and fatigue rims around their eyes. One nudged to get the other’s attention, then gestured to me and my appearance. He said something that they weren’t afraid I’d hear but was too far away regardless. That’s when they both laughed like they were the pinnacle of wit. I did my best to ignore them as I marched straight up to Roman. “What are you doing here?” He asked with an echo of the contempt I heard in the laugh. “I came to stop you. You don’t have to do this Roman. It’s not too late to turn back.” “Clearly you didn’t listen to a word I said last night.” “I was listening. Listen to yourself man. You’re being fed a bunch of lies by people who want to use you. This basilisk, it doesn’t exist. It’s not real.” He shook his head. “Wrong. It is real. It follows from a very logical set of propositions whose conclusio—” “Goddamn it Roman! There’s nothing logical about spending your life building a fucking torture robot!” “Here we go. More moralizing from a small mind.” “It’s not moralizing.” “Yes it is. It is human values blinding you to the greatness this A.I. will bring.” I put my hand on his shoulder, desperate to reach my former friend. “But you’re human. You don’t have to think like a machine.” Tired, he looked straight into my eyes. Then he shrugged off my touch and walked away without another word. I never saw him again after the van drove away down the block and out of view. At least not in person. When next I saw Roman it was years later through a recording of his livestream. Of course, only the start of the video showed his face. He looked almost gaunt and malnourished by then. His manifesto was littered with random internet garbage but reading between the lines I could see the lethal project he was really working towards. Whether anyone in the press or any politician could see what his true objective had been I don’t know, but judging from the comments I read online some people clearly heard him loud and clear. The institute, if they still call themselves that or whether they rebranded, they must be pleased Roman brought them so many more recruits. I’ve played out our last argument in my head so many times. I’ve wondered what more or else I could have said. Roman was right about one thing though. At least in part. I don’t know whether or not the Basilisk is real. Maybe I’m not smart enough to know. But whether or not there is an A.I. that will torture me for disobedience, a Basilisk that seeks to control my actions and my life, let me write this down for future posterity: I don’t believe in you.
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