Farewell old PC

It was a different time back when I bought that PC. 466mhz was a pretty decent speed for a processor, 32megs of RAM wasn’t very good, but was certainly usable. The 4.3gig hard drive was a bit small, but there wasn’t that much to put on a PC at the time, what with everyone except college students still barely getting 56k internet connections. Windows 98 was the latest craze when I bought the machine.

That little Emachine held it’s own for seven long years. Sure the ram was upgraded from 32 to 256 over time, the hard drive went from 4.3gig to 40gig, a cdrw drive was added, as well as a 32meg Nvidia graphics card, other than that the thing was stock. It was yesterday that I finally had to realize that no amount of TLC could keep it going any longer. The motherboard finally just gave up.

I am not entirely sure what part of the motherboard is bad; the power still comes on, all the drives flash when the power is activated to them, after that there is nothing. No keyboard response, no way to enter BIOS, it won’t start from the windows98 cd, it won’t boot from a 3.5″ floppy, it is just dead this time. Still, it had a pretty good run for a five-hundred dollar investment some seven years ago (I am not going to count the upgrades since they were just necessary to keep the machine usable over time). It was a good PC, I will remember it fondly.

That is the reason why the PC I am currently typing on (purchased slightly over a year ago) is an eMachine, that is also why that was my first choice to replace my fallen comrade. I tried to go through DELL as I did to buy my Mother’s PC, but they want $99 for shipping if you spend less than six-hundred dollars now, as opposed to the free shipping if it was over four-hundred a month ago. I tried GATEWAY, but their systems are so horribly overpriced that there was no way I would buy one. So I found myself looking for yet another eMachine.

I went to the same place I bought this one, JR Computer World, to find that they seemed a bit proud of the systems they had for sale as well. It was a trip to the nearby (and accursed) Wal-Mart that finally sealed the deal.

How can the local Wal-Mart sell a 2.0ghz machine, with 512megs of ram, a DVD/CDRW combo drive, a 120gig hard drive, an Nvidia geforce 4 video card (integrated) and a 17″ CRT monitor for $574? I don’t know, all I do know is that it is a way better system than Dell or Gateway was offering and for a better price. It turns out that the reason Wal-Mart is taking over the world might really be because they offer much better values than anyone else. Who would have thought?

I suppose that if you really only use the PC for internet and email, even possibly occasional free games from POGO or POPCAP, maybe the system that I bought for my Mother would work for you. If, however, you want to be able to play some pretty graphics intensive games (such as Guild Wars), or if you have a lot of photos to store or share, you need a better system, espcially if you have a broadband connection.

I guess I am the odd man out on my system choice. Most people that I talk to say that eMachines are useless junk, I have found that they work far better than any other system I have ever owned. Not to mention that a seven year run on a motherboard is pretty good when it is being used every single day.

One additional bitch about all of the other companies that sell PC’s is that if you call them up and ask them what slots are available inside the machine they never know. When I called up eMachines, they sent me the specifications of the inside of the machine, complete with exactly what was installed, which slots were not in use, maximum RAM, maximum processor speed and etc.

Too bad the old PC had to crap out, I had always wondered if I could make it a whole decade before it died.

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