Thursday, December 30, 2010

Tech Day

I had a hopefully intermittent motherboard-level failure in my three-year-old Dell on Monday night which finally pushed me towards upgrading to a fresh new machine. The main reason I've not done it in quite some time is simply that computer comparison shopping is a much bigger pain in the ass now than it once was.

Gone are the days when you could just assume that the model with the bigger number is faster or better -- this time around I spent hours comparing CPUs, graphics cards, and memory configurations. I spent two hours alone trying to figure out which Nvidia GeForces were actually good cards and which were just rebranded versions of older cards (pro-tip: even for their gaming machines, NONE of the graphics cards you can order with Dell and HP computers are worth a damn).

I'm also switching over to HP after years of loyalty to Dell (and Gateway before that), because a comparable model was $200 cheaper, it was easier to deselect a bunch of My Little Pony crap that I didn't want, and because Dell now charge an extra $15 for a Windows Recovery Disk which is just plain greedy.

My current Dell never worked perfectly anyhow. The DVD drive would cause old-fashioned IRQ blue screens (which I thought had died with Windows 95) when playing music CDs, and sometimes the camera disk drive would just shut off when I inserted disks, forcing me to open the box and reseat it before the computer would recognize it again. Back in high school, I would have had the time to troubleshoot these tricky problems for more than the few hours I put in today, but I'm now a busy, respectable, and important man, having to provide for my wife while reactivating my World of Warcraft account and caring for two and a half cats.

Here are the specs of the new machine, which I'll be ordering tonight so it doesn't arrive while we're in Williamsburg and get stolen by MS-13.

HP Pavilion Elite 450t

  • i7-870 CPU, 8 GB RAM expandable to 16
  • 1.5 TB HD
  • NVIDIA GeForce 315 1GB (free to a good home)
  • 16x DVD Drive
  • 15-in-1 memory card reader
  • Sound Blaster X-Fi XtremeGamer (crappy, as the name implies, but halfway between integrated sound and a high-end card)

I'll also be ordering these from NewEgg:

  • Gigabyte overclocked edition of a GeForce GTX 460 1GB
  • Antec 500W Power Supply

I'm also in the market for a better constructed external hard drive, since the Western Digital My Book 3.0 1TB is a piece of crap that I could have put together in my diorama days in 4th grade, but that's a story for another time. Instead, I plan to take an undeserved vacation from updating this site.

Updates will resume on Tuesday, January 4. Don't kiss any uggos this New Years Eve!

Man playing real-life 'Frogger' hit by SUV
Sears rolls out online movie download service
"Eat' em" stratagem for lionfish invasion in Florida

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