Author: Big City

Listening to and Maintaining your Community and Following

Having a community and following is something that most companies and people desire. It can be hard to maintain and expand that community but there are steps that can be taken to ensure the community is happy and lasts for a long time. The three simple steps listed will be targeting the right audience, maintaining and focusing on the needs of the community and growth & expansion. The examples listed will include big name companies to small groups. No matter how big your community is, there is always room for expansion and things that will bring everyone together.

Having a community and following means you need to treat the people who are in the community with some respect and carefulness. Many people join these communities and followings because they all share a common interest or belief. Keeping your focus on these core beliefs and values can ensure the community stays together and focused on goals and tasks. It is also important to listen to feedback and general comments. They can provide a lot of ways to improve and grow communities and followings.

Thousands attend Blizzcon each year. It is a convention created by Blizzard Entertainment. The majority are fans who share the passion and interest of Blizzard’s games

A good example comes from an online video game. Overwatch is an online video game where changes happen a lot in their game. Characters and new things being added to the game influences a lot inside. The game has a player base of over 35 million players monthly and many of these players have their own opinions to changes in the game and the overall state of the game. The developers at Blizzard Entertainment do a great job of listening to the community and fitting their needs. The development team and support team are always active on forums and social media to inform and assist others. They also release monthly update videos to give the player base an update on what they are doing with the game and what they want to know from the community about these changes etc. Blizzard shows a great example on how to create and maintain a large community and keep them active and happy in where they are.

Having a community and following shouldn’t be focused on profit and general gain for yourself or your company. A lot of people can rely on these communities and believe it progresses people’s lives and other aspects. A community’s voice can even have a large impact on companies and other products. For example if you are making a change to your website that many members of the community dislike, you may want to change the plan or ask the community how they would like it. It seems like a simple concept except many large companies can sometimes fail to suit their community’s needs.

Battlefront 2 by EA had the record lowest user rating of any triple A studio

This is an example of a game publisher focusing on economical gain and not listening to their community. Electronic Arts (EA) published the video game Star Wars Battlefront 2 which was hit hard with negative reviews and feedback from the community. A lot of the issues were profit orientated and didn’t work well with the large player base. Issues included loot boxes which you have to pay for, paying for in game bonuses which is unfair and other features that made the game almost unplayable. EA’s response is the current most down voted (disliked) comment on Reddit with over 600,000 down votes. Their response to the situation and lack of care for their community resulted in negative sales for the game and a stock decline in an already declining company. EA’s response was listed as one of the worst company decisions of 2017. EA has also been nominated as the worst company in the U.S of 2017 and almost won that award as a result of this backlash. All they had to do was listen to the community and make the appropriate changes and maybe they wouldn’t have lost millions of dollars and decreases in stock prices.

Growing and expanding your community is a future goal that most people look forward to. It allows the community to grow even more and allows for a wider range of ideas from going outside the target interest to even creating live events to becoming a company. There are many success stories of companies and communities doing these things.

E-sports is very popular with students.

For example, many universities across North America have been creating varsity level Esports teams and clubs across campuses. Scholarships and other programs are now being offered for playing video games at a high level. This started as a simple idea. For example, the University of Toronto had a Facebook page for all of their students who enjoyed playing video games. It slowly kept on growing and other universities did the same. As popularity of these groups became more popular, they expanded and reached out to other universities about hosting friendly tournaments etc. Eventually over 30 universities signed up for the first tournament and this started what is now known as the University Esports League. Now there are over hundreds of universities, colleges and even high schools doing the same thing in North America. This all started as a small Facebook group talking about video games to a multi-million dollar investment.

UC Irvine’s Esports arena was built to cater the growing trend

All the examples listed showcase the large impact that a community can have and ways a company or leader can turn things around. Some of the most important steps are to keep a maintained focus on what the community enjoys and what they want out of being in a community. Making changes or doing things that will upset the community will lead to problems occurring and can go downhill. The most important step is making sure everyone in your community is doing well and truly caring for them.

– Benson Lam


What to look for in your over-ear headphones

Over-ear headphones are used by many in different environments. From offices, libraries, on the bus etc. Some headphones can have a high price range and list all these features and designs that some may find confusing. Here are some factors to look for when deciding your next headphone purchase.

First off is comfort,

There are many designs of headphones in the market today. It is important to figure out which is the most comfortable as some users may spend hours with their headphones on. There are some important factors that determine if a headphone will be comfortable for you. A big factor is the ear pad design. Every person’s ear can be different, small, big, round, pointy etc. It is always important to look at the shape of the ear pad and see if it fits you. If you have large ears then you wouldn’t want small ear pads putting pressure on your ears. Another factor is types of padding. This will vary between top tier headphones and low tier pairs. Some high end headphones will feature memory foam, leather padded designs while some may feature generic foam. There are still great padding in cheaper headphones for example the HyperX Cloud is less than 100 dollars and features the same memory foam padding as other brands. It is always important to see which you would prefer and if you would care a lot about the padding.

How you use your headphones is also important. Do you move around a lot, are you constantly listening to music or always have a pair of headphones on etc. All these are factors when buying a pair of headphones. There are 2 important factors that we will compare.

Wired vs Wireless



  • No need to charge
  • Usually has better sound quality
  • More compatible with some devices


  • Wires can tangle and dangle
  • Some wired headphones use different ports, USB, 3.5mm etc. Adapters may be needed
  • Once a wire is cut, hard to fix



  • No wires
  • Can take anywhere
  • Bluetooth range is increasing each model
  • Quality has been increasing each year


  • Battery life can deplete quickly
  • Wireless features can disconnect randomly
  • Not compatible with every device. (Some in-flight entertainment systems on planes only accept 3.5mm wired connections)
Wireless headphones have been advancing in technology such as charging stations from Sennheiser

The other factor is the difference between open back headphones and closed back. This makes a large difference in how you use your headphones.

Open back means that the sides of the headphones have holes that go through to your ear. This allows for air to breathe through the headphones and allows for a more natural and deeper listening. The downside of the open back design is a higher chance of damaging the insides and no noise isolation as you can hear things around you and some people may hear what you are listening to.

Open back headphones are more visible from the sides

Open Back


  • More natural sounding, better audio quality.
  • Typically more comfortable due to more airflow
  • Better quality on audio files


  • Little noise isolation, not good for public spaces
  • People may hear what you are listening to due to open holes
  • Lifespan can be affected due to open area in the headphones
  • Can have a flimsier construction

Closed back as the name suggests has the opposite features of a open back pair of headphones. Instead of holes on the side, it completely blocks out the sides of the headphones. This means, the only way air can get inside the headphones is through the speaker inside. This design allows for noise isolation, a denser and more secure build but results in a downgrade in audio experience due to the isolation.

Closed back headphones compared to open back, have a closed side for isolation

Closed back


  • Noise isolation for both ends
  • Higher life span
  • Better construction
  • Better for public spaces


  • Audio quality lacking compared to open
  • Can be a heavier build
  • Lack of airflow can affect comfort

Both styles of headphones will do their job well. Its your choice on which benefits are more worth for you and if you fit within these environments of listening.

There are many other factors that help determine which pair of headphones is best for you. It is always recommended if you can try the pair before hand at local computer stores or other retailers. Remember to always factor in your lifestyle and how you would use headphones in your daily lives. It can help determine between wired or wireless and open-back or closed-back headphones.

Here at Big City, we offer some great headphones from American Audio. We carry the BL-40 and BL-60 closed back headphones which are a great choice for your next headphone purchase.

– Benson Lam



Membrane or Mechanical, which keyboard is better?

Keyboards are being used by millions at the same time. From office staff writing reports to high school students writing essays. It is an essential tool in today’s world of technology. For the past 8 years, you may have heard the term “mechanical keyboard”. This technology has been around for some time and has become more mainstream in certain environments. Although it is considered an “upgrade” for some users, a mechanical keyboard is not for everyone. Here is some information about mechanical keyboards and see if you would get into the trend.

So whats the difference?

The average keyboard you may know is referred as a membrane keyboard. It acts as a button when pressed and does its job pretty well. Underneath there is rubber coating around the button which helps provide that clicking sound and a lifting feeling when pressing down. A mechanical keyboard actually works in an entirely different way but similar to a typewriter. There are many variations of a mechanical keyboard but they all work by a switch mechanism rather than a pressure based one that a membrane keyboard uses. Underneath the keycap, there is a button that when pushes down triggers the switch underneath to input the command. It’s almost like flicking a light switch on and off but instead many times faster than you would expect. Mechanical keyboards have a much more clicky sound it as a switch is much more louder and movement based compared to the membrane button.


Membrane Keyboard
Mechanical Switch Based Button System


There are different variations of a mechanical keyboard. The differences factor a lot of things. They can swap the tactility (how hard you press) of the keycaps to how fast the keycaps go down. Cherry MX is one of the largest producers of mechanical keyboard switches. They offer over 7 kinds of switches that cater to the way a person types. From people who almost smash each key down to those who are quick and don’t put a lot of pressure when typing. This is a large reason why people enjoy mechanical keyboards since it can offer different experiences compared to a membrane keyboard. The lifespan of a mechanical keyboard is also a large part of why people buy these expensive products. A typical membrane keyboard can last over 10 million keystrokes, while a mechanical can have between 50 million to 100 million keystrokes (it has been tested). The overall build is a lot more thicker and typically weights more due to the average metal frame many brands use.


Some extra features that most mechanical keyboards include

  • RGB backlighting
  • Extra macro keys
  • Programmable keys
  • Removable keycaps
  • Onboard memory
  • Software for full customization
  • Some include wrist rests and other attachments


Removable keycaps results in more customization
Corsair’s K95 Mechanical Keyboard has features added such as detachable wrist rest, programmable macro keys, volume wheel, audio buttons and much more. Many other keyboards feature the same added touches.











Price Difference

Due to the added features and different design choices, there can be a large difference in pricing between the two kinds of keyboards.

Basic model examples:

The Logitech K120 Membrane Keyboard retails for $20
Corsair’s K68 Mechanical Keyboard retails for a price $90 – $130

High tier examples:

The Das Keyboard 4 is considered a high end mechanical keyboard. It retails for $221
The Logitech K780 is a bluetooth, multi purpose membrane keyboard. It retails for $132 on the Logitech site


To help summarize the information, here are both pros and cons to both types of keyboards.



  • A more responsive and technical keyboard
  • Different options for different typing styles
  • Typically has higher lifespan
  • Better build quality compared to membrane keyboards
  • Can be easier to clean on most keyboards
  • Removable keycaps
  • Anti-“ghosting” (All keystrokes are recognized)


  • Most mechanical keyboards can be “loud”
  • Beginning may be hard to get used to
  • Higher price than most membrane keyboards
  • Can weigh a lot more
  • Larger cables



  • Cheaper than mechanical keyboards
  • A lot more options of designs, brands etc.
  • Slim designs are available
  • Less noisy compared to mechanical
  • Can be more lightweight and portable


  • Most are constructed with cheaper materials
  • Buttons can be hard to clean, some do not have removable keycaps
  • Lower life span

Should you get a mechanical keyboard?

Mechanical keyboards can be a great addition to your setup but its not always for everyone. There are many factors in your life that can affect the decision if you buy it or not. If you stay at home and work or are often on your computer typing away then a mechanical keyboard will work best. It will only work best if you use your keyboard often, writers, coders and gamers will enjoy a mechanical keyboard more. People who move frequently and work in quiet areas might be more fit for a membrane keyboard. The sound and build of a mechanical keyboard can sometimes be annoying and distracting for some. Both keyboards will do well in their task and have been for the past years. Think about where, when and how you use your keyboard and decide wether to get a mechanical or membrane for your next purchase.

– Benson Lam

Esports: From Hobby to Future Career


You may or may not have heard the term Esports being used online a lot. It has been seen all over the world, from live talk shows to billboards all over Los Angeles. Esports has been a growing trend over the past decade. To simply define Esports, it is competitive video games. The term can be used in almost any video game, from doing the fastest play through of Super Mario to being the best shot in a first person shooter – Esports covers a lot.

A career where you play video games on stage

Esports has been discussed on ESPN, CNN, Business Insider and many other large media outlets. The main topic is the expected 2 billion dollar revenue produced by people playing video games. Many investors are rushing to this growing and prosperous industry. Investors such as Rick Fox, Mark Cuban, Rick Holdings, Disney, Stephen Curry, Madison Square Garden group to even music superstars such as Drake have all been getting into Esports. Over hundreds of millions of dollars have been invested in this industry within the past 7 years. It’s no doubt as many Esports tournaments and events are costly.

Former NBA Star and Investor Rick Fox with his Esports team and brand Echo Fox

Esports is widely popular amongst Asian countries and has been noticed world wide as well. Some Koreans believe Esports is the country’s national sport as Esports players are considered celebrities.  Governments world wide have also been taking action to cater the growing industry. Many countries offer the same visa and passport permissions as regular athletes since professional players have to travel to some live tournaments or events. The Danish government recently congratulated the Danish Counter-Strike team Astralis on their championship win. The Danish government invited the team to the Parliament in Copenhagen which is considered a great honour to have.

Astralis meeting in the Copenhagen city hall

League of Legends is one of the most popular online game in the market with the largest Esports market. They recently went through franchising opportunities similar to most pro league sports. The buy in for a spot within the 10 teams is a starting price of 13 million dollars USD.  Many teams went through serious amounts of funding to ensure the spot as Disney and other large cooperations began building their own teams in the league. The franchising deal has been massively successful for the League of Legends Esports scene. Recently they went through their World Championship which had a total viewership of over 80 million people. It is estimated that Esports will overtake Superbowl viewership as Esports has already surpassed the NBA finals and many other large sporting events.

The North American League of Legends Finals from The Scotiabank Arena

Esports requires a lot of dedicated players who are willing to make playing video games their career. Most teams treat themselves as most other professional athletes do. They can have dedicated meal plans, workout routines and non stop practice time with other teams etc. A lot of Esports leagues are structured and franchised just like the ones we see on tv. The players involved have been playing their games for years and have been perfecting every aspect of it. Their dedication to the game pays off, some of that 2 billion dollar revenue comes back to them. A high ranking Esports player can make an average of 300 thousand dollars yearly and can add onto that based on tournament winnings, sponsorships etc. Saahil “Universe” Arora is a Dota 2 player who has won almost 5 million dollars based on tournament winnings alone. Esports is just not about the players, to fuel the player’s success there are coaches, psychologists and support staff with them. Some believe this is the era where the new athletes are people who just play video games.

Analysts and coaches observe the way their players play and how they can change their gameplay for the better
Pax East in 2014, over 50,000 attended the event

Esports events can take large stadiums and venues ranging from the Scotiabank Arena to the Korean Olympic Stadium in Seoul, Korea. These viewing areas can have thousands of people watching live while millions can be watching online as well. Other than viewing areas, events and conventions are a growing trend in the gaming sector. Enthusiast Gaming held their annual EGLX (Enthusiast Gaming Live Expo) event that had a record breaking 30,000 people attend at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. Other events can almost triple EGLX’s number as events suchas the Penny Arcade Expo (PAX) and Dreamhack have both reported attendee numbers almost reaching 100,000 people. These numbers will keep on rising along with Esports’ popularity.

Image result for lcs behind the scenes
A League of Legends broadcast team checking all the shots to see which is most needed
Image result for overwatch league behind the scenes productions
The Overwatch League records the perspective of 12 different players in game and the player’s reaction through webcam.

Many of these events require a lot of production work to go into their broadcasts. Since they are equivalent to many pro league sports – they have to excel past them in all aspects of production. Esports broadcasts can talk a lot of work especially during live games etc. An average NBA game can have over 10 cameras from a overhead view, to on court shots. An average Esports broadcasts will usually require over 20+ camera shots being recorded live. For example, each player will have to have their perspective of the game recorded on air and their webcam displaying reactions etc. There can be over 10 players on stage playing which means the broadcast team has to watch each one to have the best results. On top of that, many shots include crowd reactions, the caster area and analyst desk.

Large amounts of people playing live at Dreamhack Winter to try to be the next big Esports player

Esports is a non stop growing trend. There will always be new ways to play games and people will always strive to be the best in that field. With the estimated 2 billion dollar revenue, you will hear about this for sometime. Esports doesn’t just feature the skill and dedication the players have. It also shows the behind the scenes work that many production workers have to adapt to.

– Benson Lam

How Diversification and Inclusion Effects Films

Social issues and many other problems change overtime. All of these changes can affect all aspects of the world. From policies, work ethic codes and much more. These changes can directly many parts of the media industry. Within the past 10 years, many films plan to make their films more inclusive and diverse to fit these social issues. From Marvel’s Black Panther having a large African American cast to Crazy Rich Asians displaying how Asian actors and film producers have what it takes. Many films now are breaking away from the norm and are trying to find ways to create film without causing controversy over social issues. Once films implement the changes, the fans do not always accept them.

Crazy Rich Asians featured a large Asian production team and cast which attracted international attention

Many issues that have been a problem within the past century are slowly being brought to light through many forms of media. Some may argue that the real life depiction of these issues should be shown fully while some believe it is too harsh to show it and should be winded down a bit. The most recent example was the biopic Bohemian Rhapsody which has gone through criticisms of its showing of lead singer Freddie Mercury. Some critics wanted to have a no filtered biopic regarding the singer’s relationship as a bisexual and his struggle with AIDS. Former bandmates of Mercury made the decision to have the film as a tribute rather than a controversial discussion about Mercury’s life. Fans of the band have supported the decision of the band. The large majority are open to the idea of bringing light to these social issues that wouldn’t have been acceptable back then.

Freddie Mercury and Queen’s featured film covers issues that the band faced whilst climbing up the music charts at the same time!

Diversity is a word being used much more frequently in the current generation. Through the past decade it is believed that diversity and inclusion in films has increased over that time. This change was not decided upon but conformed upon. Society has always been changing and most things will change along with it. Calling for more inclusive and diverse films won’t really make a difference. It can be very obvious if a show or film just places something there just for the sake of diversity. That kind of change should come naturally as society evolves. The recent surge isn’t because directors and producers have been putting diversity into play but just because it should be there naturally. Thats how the public should react as well. Romesh Ranganathan from The Guardian said for example Black Panther, should not be remembered as a step for diversity and change – but should be remembered as a great blockbuster Marvel film.

Black Panther featured a large African American cast and production team. It is also one of Marvel’s highest grossing films

There are various points to the argument on how the film industry is changing based on these social issues. USC Annenberg released a paper showing the “change” in film based on cultural and gender representation. The document shows that no or very little progress has been made in diversifying the film industry. For example, the information they gathered show that close to 70% of all actors in films are caucasian. The 30% remaining are groups such as asian, african american or latino. These numbers haven’t changed too much in the past decade. Another statistic claims that women only make around 30% of the film industry workforce. The same Annenberg paper showed that there was only 1 female music composer in over 1,400 productions. All these statistics are a lot to take in. It does show that change is required if we want to make the film industry equal. These changes will be hard to implement and there is no clear solution. All these statistics will change a little bit due to new films being released which showcase more diversity and inclusion. The only thing we can hope for is these changes will happen naturally and the rest of the world will conform to it.

Infographics included in the USC Annenberg paper  (

Overall change is something we need to acknowledge but not overdo. These social issues involving diversity and inclusion should come naturally and not be forced. It’s good that people are pushing for that change but that change shouldn’t come forced. As we keep seeing new films and productions which include non majority characters, hopefully that will be the norm in the future where we don’t acknowledge those characters being there.

– Benson Lam

Toronto’s Rising Film Industry

Toronto has always been considered as a potential film location for many years in the industry. Recently big hits such as The Handmaid’s Tale, The Shape of Water and many other productions are taking place in Toronto. No wonder why Ontario has drawn over 2.9 billion dollars from the film industry.

Related image
(Pre-Edit Scene from The Shape of Water)

The film industry’s rapid growth started in the late 90s and slowly started building up into the 21st century. It has been continuously growing and has recently started speeding up. Award winning productions such as The Shape of Water are all to thank for. This rapid growth has been noticed as many new productions are starting in Toronto. Shows such as Star Trek, Suits, The Expanse and many more are continuing production in the city.


So why is Toronto growing in popularity in the industry?

Toronto has a wide range of areas both inside and outside of the city. From dense urban environments to quiet and forested areas up north. This allows filmmakers to have a variety of environments around them without travelling around too much. For example, the popular horror movie IT was filmed in Northern Ontario which featured small town vibes.

Another reason why filmmakers are taking an interest in Toronto is because of it’s cheaper prices and similarities to other cities. For example, a scene in Suicide Squad was set to take place in New York City at night. Instead filmmakers took the streets of Toronto as it had similarities and would cost less than closing down a street in New York City. Many productions use Toronto as an alternative to other cities such as New York City, Chicago, Atlanta etc.  If you want a large city landscape mixed in with a water front, a dense isolated forest or even a mountainous wilderness – Toronto and Ontario has it all.

Image result for toronto wilderness Related image


How much has Toronto prospered from the industry?

Ontario has generated almost 3 billion dollars from the film industry as of March 2017. That number has grown since then to approximately almost 4 billion dollars. British Columbia is also experiencing the same surge as major films such as Deadpool 2 and War for the Planet of the Apes is also increasing the B.C popularity. The Canadian growth in the film industry is a large benefit to the country and the cities involved. Toronto has been constantly been progressing in the industry, new additions to the film sector allowed new areas to be built and renovated.

Cinespace Film Studios’ new Marine Terminal Studio project will add 165,000 square feet of studio and support space to Toronto’s film industry infrastructure right on Toronto’s waterfront – on the edge of the City’s Port Lands in the heart of the City’s studio district. (CNW Group/Cinespace Film Studios Inc.)
Cinespace’s New Facility

The renovations and new additions to the industry in Toronto have already been seen in the past years. Cinespace is a good example as they are a large force in the film industry involving Canada. Cinespace opened a production studio this year at the Marine Terminal 51 which is a 165,000 square feet studio space. The large space is used for various productions and has been used by many producers in the past. The studio expanded the film sector and allows better transportation and co-ordination in the productions. The new space is a sign of growing industry, Toronto will continuously prosper from the industry and hopefully it keeps rising.

Whats next for Toronto?

CBS is now opening a large 260,000 square feet facility outside of Toronto. It will act as a centre for film and tv production. This move is costing millions of dollars and will help CBS and Toronto prosper as CBS already has many things in production. Some hope that other major networks will make the move in a growing location.


Producers Frank Siracusa, left, and John Weber will manage CBS’s new studio in Mississauga.
CBS Producers, Frank Siracusa and John Weber 

A good effect from the large amounts of productions is what the city benefits from. Many shoots do take place in locations such as the port lands and other largely used locations. The city and the film board bring ideas for reconstruction or renovation for those areas. In time, that means we can see the locations being cleaned up and “big screen” ready. As the film industry grows in Toronto, we should see a large influx of remodelling and construction of new areas.


Toronto has been growing a multi billion dollar film industry and that number will keep rising. The number of current and future productions will increase with companies such as CBS and Cinespace growing facilities in the GTA. Hopefully Toronto maintains their ground and advancements on the film industry as it is a strong economic power for Toronto. Maybe the next time you are in the cinema, you might see a Toronto landmark – with the amount of productions happening right now, there is a high chance you will.

– Benson Lam


Ray Tracing Reinvented for New Generation of Video

August featured the reveal of Nvidia’s new line up of graphic cards. They revealed their 2000 series with large upgrades to their 1000 series previously released in 2016. In addition to faster clock speeds, GDDR6 VRAM and a larger amount of CUDA cores – Nvidia has branded their new flagship from GTX to RTX featuring the latest real time ray tracing technology.

What is ray tracing?

Ray tracing is a method of rendering which produces a realistic and completely computer generated light effect. Ray tracing is used by film makers and producers through the industry. Ray tracing combined with the vast improvements of CGI and other graphical technology will make films and other productions look fully realistic.

This video released to demo their real time ray tracing shows the impressive abilities and features that can be used in the industry.

Ray tracing technology has been around for sometime in the film industry and has been in large usage due to the large amount of CGI used in recent films. So why is ray tracing such a surprise to the industry?

How will Ray Tracing cards affect the industry?

Ray tracing in the industry has been mainly done through expensive CPUs and other large server systems. Many companies can spend hours rendering each frame using ray tracing. The addition of the market being diversified by the new tech, we can expect companies to increase productivity and have larger access to these cards. Smaller production companies can now produce CG based films and other projects much more easier than before. Many game developers and small time studios can have better results with the real time ray tracing and can push the limit of what they can do.

How will ray tracing impact the average consumer?

The addition of these new graphics cards affects mainly the industry as it allows developers and producers to utilize a strong graphics cards with real time ray tracing. If you are not into a developing or producing, the card’s strong performance will increase speeds, improve texture quality and even use ray tracing in programs or games you might use. Many game developers have already begun integrating real time ray tracing into many upcoming and trending games.

Below are examples of Battlefield V an upcoming game using real time ray tracing technology.

Should people still get the newly released cards?

The Nvidia RTX cards are the top of the class as of right now for both having real time ray tracing accessible and strong gaming potential.  Real time ray tracing is still a new technology being reinvented but gameplay and recent renders from the new RTX cards shows a lot of potential. AMD has been rumoured of making their new GPUs with ray tracing technology and NVIDIA has the trend of releasing improved cards a year later of release. If you are planning to get a ray tracing card, it would be best to wait out for AMD’s release and other potential upgrades. If you want to wait till the prices are lower, you may have to wait over 5 years for it to become the norm in graphics cards.

So when will real time ray tracing be accessible?

The RTX cards have released on September 20th of 2018 with AMD coming out with their own rumoured around 2019. The market for RTX has opened up dramatically with these releases. Don’t get your hopes up too quick. Ray tracing is still a high end technology. The RTX cards will cost between 800 CAD to 1500 CAD depending on the model. NVIDIA explained that the Star Wars render shown was run on 4 high end GPUs that costed 60,000 dollars USD. The price difference will obviously result in a downgrade in quality but given the upcoming years the prices will go down – all thanks to the start of the competitive market between AMD and Intel for both GPUs and CPUs.


US Prices for the RTX cards


What is the final verdict on the new the new ray tracing cards?

The new ray tracing cards are a sign of rising technology being more advanced and more accessible to the consumers. Many can be put away due to high prices but due to a competitive market, prices are actually decreasing. A high price results in realistic graphics and high performance in games, fast video related tasks such as rendering and the ability to use real time ray tracing technology. The new cards give us a glimpse of what to see in the future as ray tracing and even faster tech will be available for consumers and for those in the industry. The large rise in growing technologies is giving tech companies competition to see how will grow more successful.

– Benson Lam


CGI (Computer Generated Imagery) in film has been used for decades in the film industry. It started getting to the point of realism in the early 2000s. From large space battles to generating an entire person – it can get a little bit crazy. CGI is a good thing in general. It can add on and enhance film a lot. Nowadays most films can have a large portion of the film completely computer generated. A lot of the films we see today follow that trend. Sometimes actors are only needed for an in-studio shoot for a couple of days, then the rest of the film will be completed on computers for the next couple of months.


Sometimes studio can over do CGI to the point where it is almost confusing to the viewers. CGI can sometimes take over 90% of the shot with the actor’s faces added onto a generated body. We’ve advanced a lot with how CGI looks and feels but its not always going to be perfect. Back then, lousy CGI was considered the norm as it was a brand new tool being used and hasn’t been mastered completely. Studios would often use a large amount of their budget on set design and costumes to help replicate what CGI cannot. A good example is The Lord of The Rings film series which were produced in the 2000s during the sprawl of CGI. A lot of the film was done in CGI with large amounts of detail and large scale environments. Although a large amount of the film series was done with CGI they still kept practical and smart ideas with them. For example, some characters in the film are supposed to be around 3 feet tall while the actors are above 5 feet. The directors and set co-ordinators made two separate sets and filmed each different actor in their corresponding set based on height. Once both sides were filmed, they were combined together into one shot. This is a good example of how filmmakers can still use practical and creative ideas to enhance the film without using too many effects.


Sometimes little is a lot and thats what some films excel in with the usage of CGI. A one on one conversation sometimes doesn’t need a lot of visual effects to make it a spectacular shot. Although recent films have made that statement a little less true. ———- Some films do not follow that suit, they may have a focused shot on a conversation with too many background events happening. Visually the eye can focus only on so much, having all these background details can be disorientating for viewers and can leave a negative impact on the mind. Simplicity can sometimes be better for the eyes. A gunfight with multiple explosions and things swinging by might be too disorientating. This can be great for post-editing as it allows the team to focus on key details than leaving some out. An example of simple filmmaking in action movies is the John Wick series. In the films, most of the action scenes were recorded with one camera in a smooth and slow pan effect. The video below shows the difference in filmmaking between two action movies.



Ways To Increase Speed Of Your Computer and How to Upgrade

Have you ever sat at your desk and your computer starts freezing and taking a long time to respond? Maybe it’s time to upgrade or see how you can fix the problem.


Some tips before upgrading

A lot of problems with your computer may not be all hardware related. Issues could simply be a overloaded hard drive to having too many applications running. It is always important to manage your computer’s health by the way you use it.

A common problem is having too many applications running at the same time. Having multiple programs open at the same time can reduce speed and overall performance. This is important as some programs have heavy usage on some parts of your computer. For example, computer games can take up a lot of graphics power and a lot of RAM. The easiest way to fix this is to close any applications running in the background that you do not need to use. This will ensure the programs you need will have no limitations on performance and an overall cleaner desktop.

Here is what you can do to prevent this issue:

  • Open only the applications you need
  • Be sure no unnecessary background tasks are running
  • Monitor which applications have high usage for prioritization


Another good step to fixing potential issues is maintaining your system both physically and on the system itself. Maintenance is key to making sure your computer lasts.

Maintaining your computers health can be confusing for some people, but it is a general task that most people can do that applies to other things you take care of. Tasks can include dusting your PC, cleaning the area around it, managing wires and keeping them tidy and other tasks to ensure your computer is maintained the best.

Dusting a PC can keep temperatures lower and overall reduce the aging process of your parts. Be sure you dust outdoors or in an area with good ventilation since dust can get everywhere. Be sure to use air dusting cans specifically for cleaning computers etc. Some parts you may have to detach and wipe down with rubbing alcohol or other cleaning solutions. Each part can be different based on manufacturer, so search up the best ways for your products. Once you are done dusting, the best way to prevent dust is to keep your computer at a higher elevation and away from carpets and other dust absorbing areas. Dust will build up overtime no matter what, so be sure to clean monthly to ensure the best clean computer.

Keeping wires manageable is not a necessary task but it will help a lot when it comes to cleaning, moving and maintaining your system. It also ensures that wires do not get tangled up, ripped and worn out. You can simply straighten them out and align them with each slot or can go further by labeling wires, using cable ties and other tools to keep them manageable. Both work and are small steps to maintain your system.

Some tools that can help you manage your system include HWMonitor, Windirstat, Malwarebytes and other tools. HWMonitor is an accurate way of showing temperatures, voltages and other usages your parts are doing. Windirstat displays everything on your hard drive in a simple block format and provides tools to remove them easily. Malwarebytes can scan your computer for malware and other unwanted software and can quarantine and remove them from your system. All these programs maintain and gives you tools to take action if needed. There are other alternatives to these softwares so test them out to see which is right for you.


So which parts are slowly my system down?

Computers age just like your smart phone and other electronics. There are a lot of factors in the aging process when it comes to each individual part. Some parts can last several years while some may start degrading over 4-6 years. The most common parts that need replacing before most other parts are the CPU (Processor), GPU (Graphics Card) and hard drive. There are a lot of common signs to see if your parts are beginning to slow down.

Both the CPU and GPU are the most important parts in a setup, meaning once you notice a degradation in performance – you may want to see if those two are the problem. Common signs for the two parts degrading may include an overall slow speed, stuttering and freezing during tasks, low frames per second when playing games and high temperatures coming from the parts. These signs can mean your system is needing an upgrade soon – don’t rush, be sure to follow the steps previously to see if those are the issues instead of an old system.

A hard drive may also need to be replaced since current solid state drives (SSD) are becoming the new norm for storage. The difference between a regular disk drive and an SSD is a large amount. The difference between the two is how they read and write information. A disk drive physically writes and reads information using the spinning disk. An SSD digitally downloads instead of physical movement. This results in a much more faster read and write which overall makes a setup faster. For example, an HDD can take a couple minutes to load your OS, an SSD can take less than 30 seconds to load your OS. Although an SSD has a higher performance and a higher price, HDDs can still perform the task. A common trend includes both an HDD and SSD in the system in which high priority tasks will be installed on the SSD.


Desktops or Laptops?

A recent common trend are manufacturers creating laptops with desktop grade performance at a low price. A lot of people looking to upgrade can have problems choosing between a desktop or a laptop for their next system. Here are some pros and cons to both systems.



  • Wide selection of components
  • Easily upgradeable part by part
  • Performs better (based on parts)
  • More customization options for peripherals


  • Stationary, moving desktops can be challenging sometimes
  • Can take up a lot of space for overall setup
  • Maintenance of parts required more
  • Overall setup can be more expensive




  • Portable, can carry to most places
  • Everything is setup, keyboard, trackpad, screen etc.
  • Maintenance is low, clean keyboard, wipe screen, dust sides etc.


  • Lack of selection of components, some providers may only allow you to increase hard drive space etc.
  • Parts are harder to upgrade, CPU and GPU are sometimes impossible to upgrade
  • Can be damaged easier by dropping, banging etc.
  • May overheat occasionally
  • Damaging one small part of frame may affect entire build
  • Internet and power charging may not always be available at some areas.

Overall you would want to purchase based on what you would want to do with your system. For example, university students can always be on the move and always need something to take notes. If you have similar problems, then a laptop is idea. If you mostly stay at home or work in a stationary area then a desktop should do fine. See which you would see yourself using more.


What do I need to upgrade? Cost? Long lasting?


Based on the parts you need, you can spend a lot of money on upgrading. Parts such as CPU, GPU, RAM and other large functioning parts can be more expensive than others. The market also changes a lot as prices increase and decrease but as of right now, most prices are decreasing. An average CPU can cost anywhere between 200 dollars to 500 dollars depending on how well you would want to upgrade. GPUs can cost between 400-1000 dollars based on what you need from games to 3d softwares. RAM prices have been increasing due to the surge of smartphones using DDR4 ram and alleged price fixing in the demanding market. Ram can cost an average of 100-200 dollars for a 16 GB set. SSD prices have dramatically decreased over the past decade as SSDs are becoming the new norm for storage. A 1TB SSD can cost around 400 dollars which can seem a lot compared to a 1TB HDD, but the difference is worth it.

Operating systems are also important. They mainly control the interface, pre-installed programs and specific settings. The two most common on the market is Mac OS and Windows. Both work well but are dependant on the way the user wants out of their operating system. Mac OS is pre-installed in every Apple product for a good reason. It’s the simplicity and user friendly interface that Apple has perfected for the past decades. Mac users will have a large amount of pre-installed tools, softwares and programs they can use with Mac OS. The only limitation to Mac OS is the hardware. Upgrading hardware in Mac PCs can be limited or expensive compared to a Windows PC since some parts are not upgradeable. Apple did have a solution by making Mac PCs long lasting.

Windows does not come with every setup unfortunately, some prebuilt computers may have it installed already but Windows 10 can cost over 100 dollars to purchase and install. Windows uses a slightly more complex interface with a simplistic design. Their design and programs can be changed for beginners to experts in computers. Windows does come with their own pre-installed software and programs which replicate what Mac OS has.  The big difference between the operating systems is how the user wants to interact. For those who want a simple but innovative design then Apple’s Mac OS may be more fitting. For those who want more customization and more possibilities then a Windows may be more fitting.


A typical mid-tier system can have a cost estimated below:

  • CPU 200-400 dollars
  • GPU 250-500 dollars
  • Motherboard 100-150 dollars
  • RAM 100-200 dollars
  • PSU 70-120 dollars
  • Storage: HDD 50-90 dollars or SSD 60-200 dollars
  • Case 80-150 dollars

Estimated total cost: 850/910-1610/1810 dollars (withoutSSD/withSSD)

Additional and Optional costs

  • Case fans: 10-20 dollars each
  • Keyboard:  40 dollars or 120-200 dollars for mechanical keyboard
  • Mouse: 15-50 dollars
  • Mouse pad: 10-25 dollars
  • Speakers: 30-50 dollars
  • Monitor: 80-200 dollars
  • Operating System: 80-140 dollars

A mid tier system can last for a long time. The life span of a system can be anywhere between 4-8 years before serious upgrading is needed.


Buying Cheap vs Expensive

Upgrading should be for the long term run. Most parts can last a long time when bought new, almost like buying a new car. Some parts can be bought cheap such as case fans, peripherals etc. Some parts are always best to buy at a higher price than expected. For example, a power supply is a part you do not want to cheap out on. A cheap and faulty power supply may even cause the system to overload and cause potential harm. Buying a new part can last a long time which is good for the long run. Always check to see which parts you can spend less on and see what you need to spend a lot on.

How do I upgrade?

Upgrading a computer by yourself can be a confusing and intimidating task for some. Most manufactures have manuals and labels included to help guide you in switching out parts or building a new system from scratch. There are plenty of online guides and videos if you do need additional help. If you do not trust yourself with these expensive parts then most computer shops will be happy to build the system for you.




Overall it is important to know when is the time for you to upgrade your computer. It is important to check if your system really needs it or not. Problems can be solved by maintenance and keeping an overall good computer health. When you do need to upgrade, you always want to consider parts to buy and see which one is right for you. Expect a large amount of money spent since buying or upgrading a computer is an investment for many future years to come.