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Christopher Crader

customer support

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Phone: (425) 458-0273 x2

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THEN: - before Puget -
Prior to working at Puget, I served aboard the vessel of the Dread Pirate Roberts! I was promoted to First Mate before falling overboard due to a bit of blood left on deck during a battle. After I washed ashore, I wandered through the wilds of California before establishing a delightful little coffee shop. Two days after opening, the entire shop was swept up in an impossible freak tornado. It held me and my shop inside all the way up to Washington state, where I landed atop Puget Systems. It was apparently a solidly built place, as while my shop was destroyed, the Puget Systems warehouse was unharmed! I climbed down, snuck inside, and started working support, bemusing customers with my apparently mild mannered ways and technical expertise!

NOW: - here at Puget -
I have been here since February of 2010. I've been working support here, and have plans to get back into college come next fall. While at Puget, I have developed the annoying requirement for quiet systems, and have thus replaced all the loud components in my computers so that they're now nearly as quiet as those we ship at Puget. I spend much of my free time tinkering with Windows, gaming, and trying out new Linux distributions. I'm not really much of a Linux guru - I just haven't found the flavor I really like.

MY FIRST COMPUTER:
Packard Bell with a 33 MHz 486SX, 4 MB of RAM (later upgraded to a whopping 8MB), and a 200MB hard drive. Had a two speed CD-ROM drive. Ran Windows 3.11 on it. Got my first taste of DOS installing programs off of floppy disks. This was when I first realized my parents couldn't use computers - I installed a couple of games they couldn't get working. All it took was following the directions.

MY DREAM COMPUTER:
You know what? I'd like a mini-ITX gaming box. Small enough that I can carry it around fairly easily, but powerful enough to play just about anything maxed out at 1080p. Would probably be a bit of a pain to make, but I think I'd like it.

RECOMMENDED SOFTWARE/GAME(S):
Opera web browser! There are a few sites that don't care for it (include several of Google's...), but it's otherwise snappy and full of cool features. Imagine something that has almost all those cool add-ons for Firefox preinstalled - and then realize that it still performs faster on most sites than stock Firefox. When Opera won't do, the snappy Chrome does the job.

VLC is my video player of choice, with Media Player Classic with being a good fallback, since it supports Windows codecs.

In terms of games, Battle for Wesnoth, Ur-Quan Masters, and Nethack are all awesome and all open source.

LIFE: - outside Puget's walls -
You mean the stuff past the transparent barrier? It certainly looks colorful!

HOMETOWN:
Tacoma, WA


Christopher Crader's Recent Comments:

  • Asus Xonar DG PCI picture
    Christopher Crader (Customer Support) Says:
    Total honesty - we mainly carry this in case somebody needs PCI (not PCI-E!) audio on a system. It's solid enough, but onboard sound is typically going to produce comparable enough results that this card's not needed. We started carrying it around six years ago, and I suspect it'll leave our product line soon, as we no longer find it needed often enough.
  • Asus Xonar DX PCI-E picture
    Christopher Crader (Customer Support) Says:

    I have this sound card at home - it's an excellent piece of hardware for a good, standard audio solution. Unfortunately, I've seen issues with some of its higher level EAX emulation, but its base EAX and EAX 2.0 support is good.

    One bit of annoyance is that the Asus Xonar Control Panel software that comes with this card is a little odd to get around. The biggest issue I see is that it doesn't auto-switch between front and rear audio ports. As such, you have to go into the control panel and switch to the slightly cryptic "FP Audio" output to get the front panel audio to work.

  • Onboard Sound picture
    Christopher Crader (Customer Support) Says:

    Onboard sound should work fine for most folks, but if you have especially sensitive speakers or headphones, particularly higher end ones (think $500+), I'd recommend getting a sound card or a USB DAC (Digital-to-Analog Converter).

    We've actually started carrying USB DACs recently, so I'd consider checking them out as an alternative to a sound card. They'll offer better audio quality than onboard sound, and will also work around the common "buzz" that sound cards inside of a computer can sometimes get.

  • EVGA GeForce GTX 1060 6GB picture
    Christopher Crader (Customer Support) Says:

    The GTX 1060 is the gaming video card I'd buy if I were going with one this generation. Solid performance and good price. As William says in his blurb, it's nearly identical to the GTX 980 in terms of performance, but with lower cost and lower power consumption. It's pretty amazing all-around. If you absolutely need better performance, or if you're looking into doing some 4k gaming, go with a higher end card. If you just need a good workhorse, this is your stallion.

  • EVGA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti 4GB picture
    Christopher Crader (Customer Support) Says:

    This is a good entry-level gaming video card. It's also fine for if you need some video acceleration, but only need it rarely, with a limited performance boost. Don't expect too much out of it, but it's a major increase over integrated video performance!

    There's also the GTX 1050 (not Ti) available. It's typically about the same price, so I'd go with this if it's available, but if the non-Ti version is a good deal cheaper, it might be worth considering.

  • EVGA GeForce GTX 1050 2GB  picture
    Christopher Crader (Customer Support) Says:

    This is a good entry-level gaming video card. It's also fine for if you need some video acceleration, but only need it rarely, with a limited performance boost. Don't expect too much out of it, but it's a major increase over integrated video performance!

    Oh! Do note that the GTX 1050 Ti will offer a little bit better performance, and potentially at about the same price. So check that out if it's available.

  • AMD FirePro W9100 PCI-E 16GB picture
    Christopher Crader (Customer Support) Says:
    One thing to note is that these use mini DisplayPort outputs. This means that a cable will need to be a mini-DisplayPort to normal sized DisplayPort if your monitor doesn't have a direct mini-DisplayPort connection. A bigger deal is this - since these are using mini-Displayport, if you want to use an HDMI or DVI monitor, you're going to be typically limited to 1920x1200 resolution. There are active adapters from DisplayPort to HDMI or DVI that can do more, but they're not often very reliable and the good ones cost nearly as much as some monitors! Make sure you talk to your sales rep about what your displays support, as it's not quite so simple as buying this card and expecting it to support whatever six monitors you want. Most higher end monitors have a DisplayPort connection, but it doesn't hurt to make sure.
  • EVGA GeForce GT 710 1GB picture
    Christopher Crader (Customer Support) Says:

    This card is pretty much the same as onboard in terms of video performance. I'd recommend going with onboard just for simplicity's sake. Fewer parts means fewer things to break!

    I'd really only recommend this if you absolutely need more video ports than what's included in the onboard and have no need for higher performance at all. That, or if you're running a system that doesn't have an onboard video and don't want to go with a more powerful video card.

    Oh, and note that while technically the digital output will go up to 4096x2160, it does that at a 24Hz and only on HDMI, so I would really only recommend this for lower resolution displays.

  • AMD FirePro 2460 PCI-E 512MB picture
    Christopher Crader (Customer Support) Says:
    One thing to note is that these use mini DisplayPort outputs. This means that a cable will need to be a mini-DisplayPort to normal sized DisplayPort if your monitor doesn't have a direct mini-DisplayPort connection. A bigger deal is this - since these are using mini-Displayport, if you want to use an HDMI or DVI monitor, you're going to be typically limited to 1920x1200 resolution. There are active adapters from DisplayPort to HDMI or DVI that can do more, but they're not often very reliable and the good ones cost nearly as much as some monitors! Make sure you talk to your sales rep about what your displays support, as it's not quite so simple as buying this card and expecting it to support whatever four monitors you want.
  • Asus 12x Blu-ray Player SATA (black) picture
    Christopher Crader (Customer Support) Says:
    I've had one of these and it worked a charm. That said, I'm not a fan of internal optical drives anymore. If at all possible, I'd recommend going with an external one hooked in via USB, unless you really need an optical drive on a daily basis.