In the days of Ninjalane I would post a quick article taking about new things I had planned for the coming year and figured it would be a good idea to continue the tradition.
2015 was a big year for Hardware Asylum, albeit slow the site still had a lot to offer. As with anything there was some success along with a few failures. The biggest of which was my apparent lack of Overclocking. This wasn’t the intent but rather an unfortunate side effect of two major events.
1) My ongoing Xtreme project (headache) which consumed a good portion of my time. Sadly, instead of researching the latest NVMe speed hacks I was researching things like piston ring clearance, pushrod length and did a fair amount of manual labor. Unfortunately that kept me so preoccupied that I never made much time for anything else.
2) Lackluster hardware. Don’t get me wrong the GTX 980 Ti and Skylake are good bits of computer technology but both were in very short supply at launch which translated into fewer samples for the media and more competition.
While I cannot do anything about the lackluster hardware I can say the Xtreme project is back on track and if history holds true there should be some good hardware in 2016.
The first item on the list is the continuation of the Hardware Asylum Podcast. Darren and I have a vested interest in the Podcast and scheduling aside we aren’t planning any format changes.
At the beginning of the month we launch the main show which is fully edited episode that is computer hardware and/or computer gaming related. The second show is what we call the extra and is our chance to talk about things off topic. This show is also raw and uncut meaning that aside from the music the audio is just how we spoke it with a peppering of “right”, “umm”, "ya" and other natural speech ticks that might make for a good drinking game.
Look for these shows around the 10th and 24th of each month or better yet subscribe to the Podcast RSS and be notified when a new show goes live.
Of course the real question is, “How can the podcast be better?” Personally, I think the only thing we can do better is picking better topics and market penetration. Yes, getting the word out. I have high hopes for the Google version of iTunes will help with show promotion but larger shows with marketing budgets will still dominate the rankings so, it will be up to our listeners to help spread the word.
There are two things I realized when running Ninjalane. First, readers like it when they visit an enthusiast oriented website and see the writers actually do things a typical PC hardware enthusiast would. Second, original articles tend to garner more attention than a hardware review, usually. These two things prompted me to expand what I wrote about including extreme overclocking and actually pouring the LN2 myself.
As I mentioned before I was forced to take a break from Overclocking in 2015 but still paid attention to what was going on. My plan is to fire up the overclocking engine again and maybe experiment some more with the Single Stage Phase chiller and do more on the video card front. Of course the biggest obstacle will be money and finding the time and support to cover such things.
Readers Rigs Section
This was a goal from 2014 and I think it is still viable. Computer hardware enthusiasts love to show off their rigs and I’m planning to add a section to the website where members can upload photos and post some details of their builds. Readers will then be able to comment on the build and give it a thumb up or thumb down with maybe a monthly contest.
The problem before was how to make that happen given that Hardware Asylum is built on a custom CMS. Maybe I'll do a gallery in forum or re-activate the members section and use that to handle authentication. Not a huge deal, just time consuming.
Computer Modding falls into the same category of Overclocking when you consider time and materials. Sure, some of that can be offset by reusing parts or doing reviews but it takes hours to setup a proper watercooling loop only to get a 3-4 page article from it. Thing is, I really enjoy doing this kind of stuff and have done several “mods” when this site was Ninjalane and even more as Hardware Asylum so it seems logical to bring that aspect back.
Truth is the casemodding hobby is quite old and there are still several sites dedicated to the hobby and a few YouTube channels that explore the basics. Likewise there are companies bringing new products to the market but the concepts are the same now as they were in the beginning. The challenge for Hardware Asylum will be to take the existing and do something different.
I feel that my plans for Hardware Asylum are extremely realistic. The additions I have planned are not unique but the perspective will be and I think that is one of our greatest strengths.
There will be some challenges along the way not only for the website but the market in general. Currently the global marketplace has been shifting away from the personal computer in favor of the tablet and mobile device. This leaves the PC as an expensive paperweight that has otherwise become impractical. To make matters worse hardware makers have been reacting to this change. Some are trying to save their way of life by focusing on other markets or by attempting to capitalize on what is popular for a select group of people. Either way the outlook is not pretty.