Chiba Days #3 - Troubleshooting

Hello everyone and welcome to another chapter of Chiba Days on Tiro Finale. Today's chapter will be a slightly different one where I will be briefly talking about another one of my many hobbies, video games. Even before I got into figure collecting and photography, I have been an avid gamer as evident from the odd article or two here on Tiro Finale. 

While I cannot claim to have played near as many games as our resident games expert, Takuya, I certainly have put my fair share of hours into video games. One game in particular, which also happens to be my all-time favorites, is Warframe. Having played the game since it was in close-beta four years ago, I have racked up 1873 hours of gameplay time as of writing. To say I am deeply invested in Warframe, would be an understatement. 

Up until recently, I had been playing Warframe with no issues on both my dedicated gaming rig as well as my day-to-day laptop (while in Japan). After having moved into my new apartment recently, things suddenly took a turn for the worst as all my games started performing incredibly poorly on my laptop. Yet for the life of me, I could not figure out what was wrong. 

Clearing out my schedule for the entire day, I set out to find a solution to my frame rate problem. This included:
  1. Reinstalling my graphic drivers
  2. Ensuring my system is running in high performance mode
  3. Forcing the utilization of discrete graphics
  4. Changing power management settings to  maximize performance
  5. Tweaking the in-game graphical settings
  6. Reinstalling the game
Even after all that, nothing worked. By that point, I was ready to take the most extreme option and reformat my system fearing it was a deep-rooted software issue. Or worse, a hardware issue! Deciding to give it one last shot, I launched the now reinstalled game once more before I made the jump into the deep end. 

Now I hear you, what does a free-to-play video game from a Canadian developer have anything to do with the suburban prefecture that is Chiba? More than you think. As it turned out, the big culprit behind my performance degradation was the lack of power going to the laptop. Japan, like America, uses a 120V AC power while, much of the rest of the world uses 240V AC power. Under most circumstances, the difference is not very substantial as most devices are designed for international use save for a few specific items. 

It was here that I found out that power rails produce to much draw for the lower 120V AC supply resulting in insufficient power being provided to the hardware. By simply plugging the laptop straight into the power point, I was able to provide all the juice the system needed with the power brick handling the rest of the conversions. 

Funnily enough, I only found out about this solution when, on a whim, I decided to unplug my laptop's power supply to see how things would fare. And just like that, the eureka moment happened. My games started running smoothly once more and I had pinpointed the very root of my problem.

More than being able to enjoy my games, this little nightmare has taught me a very valuable lesson about electricity in Japan. Never underestimate the difference in voltages may have on your devices! With that, we come to the end of today's little adventure. Until the next time, thank you so much for reading and have yourself a wonderful day ahead!


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