So, yeah, I was kind of off the air for a while, but I had a good excuse. My motherboard fried.
I have never been so glad to have a laptop, since it kept me linked with the world for those two weeks (although most of your email addresses weren't on it, hence the lack of contact with many of you). And thankfully, my hard drives were undamaged, so ultimately no data loss either. But the motherboard itself was five years old, and had a lot of slots that you don't find on modern boards. So replacing the board meant replacing all the parts in those slots too. Grand damage: $500 once all my rebates come back, which isn't as painful as I thought it'd be but still means "Chris's retroactive computer fund" got added to the Christmas list.
But hey, new computer. After nearly five years on this one.
I went for a motherboard with a lot of potential for expansion, which I hope will be enough to ward off future unneeded replacement parts, and also will let me spend a hundred here or there down the road to improve it even further. More importantly, I replaced the housing; technically this wasn't
needed since all the new stuff would have fit, but I have the sneaky suspicious that the burnout was because something overheated badly in there. My previous housing had minimal ventilation with a small fan in the corner. My new one has plenty on the front and back, and a fan on the side directly over the processor that takes up nearly half the surface. (It also isn't that ugly beige.)
Salvaged were both hard drives, the CD and DVD burners, the wireless modem, and the dialup modem (why do I still have that thing? because I have the free slot, that's why). Also, to my pleasant surprise, the old Windows install worked on the new system with minimal effort; I was expecting to have to reformat and reinstall everything, which would have been painful. (I considered doing it anyway just to iron out some old quirks of the system, but I decided it wasn't worth the effort in the end. But I did pick up some registry cleaning software, to make sure no changes came back to bite me.)
The real trick was getting all the gear. Remember, I have no car now. Thankfully, there's a MicroCenter about 15 minutes walk from the final stop on the Metro Orange Line, so out I went on Saturday to go shopping. Yes, I did the research in advance; I wasn't going to waste an hour Metro round trip for nothing. Still, hauling the new housing back to the station might have been too much for me. So God sent a parent and his two kids, coming back from grocery shopping, who offered me a lift. Since psycho kidnappers don't bring their kids with them, I wasn't going to refuse.
And oh man, I'm loving the new processor. I could have done better with the RAM and graphics card if I'd wanted (and didn't mind shelling out even more money), but instead I invested in the motherboard and a processor to match. Everything's running so much smoother now. I've even been able to max out the settings on most of my games. So pretty...
Stats, for those inclined to follow those things:
|ASUS P4P800||ASUS P5Q SE2|
|Intel Pentium 4 2.4 GHz||Intel Core 2 Quad Q8200 2.33GHz|
|4 x 512MB PC3200 RAM||2 x 2GB DDR2 800 RAM|
|GeForce FX 5500 AGP 16x 256 MB||GeForce 9500GT PCI-E 2.0 DDR2 512MB|
|ADI AD1985 (internal)||7.1 High Definition CODEC (internal)|
|3COM 3C940 Gigabit Ethernet (internal)||10/100/1000 Gigabit Network (internal)|
Let's see, did I forget to mention anything? Oh yeah, there's some holiday this Thursday, and some sort of exams next week... nothing important. *goes back to the games*