The $700(ish) PC build begins!

I had initially planned to take copious photos of the PC build to put up here with lengthy descriptions of the PC building process. I did take some photos, and I am going to talk about specific parts of my particular build, but NewEgg has a 3-part video series on PC building that covers everything in much more detail than I ever could: Part One covers the parts that you will need to buy before taking on the project. Unless you have never taken the sides off of a PC tower it doesn’t really offer much in the way of new information. Part Two Is where they cover the actual assembly of the components. I kept this one up on my screen as I was putting these things together just to make sure I wasn’t missing anything. It is quite informative, and is definitely a recommended view for first timers. Continue reading The $700(ish) PC build begins!

The Great 2012 PC component adventure

The idea was to do a minor upgrade to the two main pcs in the house. I just wanted to bump up the graphics a little bit. My graphics card is an antiquated (by enthusiast standards) radeon hd 5570, while my wife is sporting the also antiquated (by enthusiast standards) geforce 220. I say antiquated (by enthusiast standards) because they are plenty for what we are doing now, but they won’t be able to play new games at max frame rate, and my computers are the one area of life that I like to indulge (on a budget). So I set about to choosing a video card. I turned to Tom’s Hardware’s best video cards for the money to help me pick them out. If you are at all geeky about computers and you don’t know about that site, you certainly should check it out. Nearly any time I am Continue reading The Great 2012 PC component adventure

Power supply replacement

If you know me at all, or if you happen across my website once every 6 months or so, you know that I go through a lot of pc’s around my place. At any given moment there are always a minimum of three pc’s up and operating in the room I am sitting in now, additionally I have a laptop connected to the TV in my living room right now to use for instant video through Netflix. Normally I think of the PC’s as disposable, however since I have been doing a lot more tinkering with them lately, I have started to become a little more attached to them. The one you see in the picture here was the first one that I really started customizing. In a previous post, I detailed the time and effort spent sawing through the top of this case when I made it my mission Continue reading Power supply replacement

CyberPower PC response

After my last, rather angry, post about CyberPower PC, I thought I should probably post that I did get a response from them regarding the condition of the PC when I received it. First I want to say that one thing that they did right was to never try to blame the damage on UPS shipping. I say that because while it may be possible to believe that a component had come out of place during shipping, it doesn’t seem that it would have been possible for the graphics card to unscrew itself, the CPU fan to detach itself, the front panel fan control to loosen its screws, and the Motherboard tray to also loosen its screws. This was clearly thrown together very quickly, most likely due to my email telling them to give me my money back if they couldn’t ship it on the date promised. As I said Continue reading CyberPower PC response

CyberPower PC disappointment

Normally I am not the type to complain. Well, I complain a lot here, but I mean in real life I am not the type to bitch about a lot of things. The world is an imperfect place, imperfect things are going to happen, if you spend your time bitching about it, you are dwelling way too much on it and it just puts you in a foul mood. But sometimes I just get really, really irritated. I mentioned previously that I was extremely happy with my new CyberPower PC. Happy enough, in fact, that I decided to get one for my wife as well. The one that I am using I actually bought pre-assembled from Newegg, but I wasn’t able to find a similar deal on a similar system when I started looking to buy a new one, so I went straight to the company’s website instead. They give Continue reading CyberPower PC disappointment

PC cooling

After seeing the heat issues that come from trying to run a 3d game on a laptop -even a laptop that has plenty of muscle to run such a game- I had to start rethinking the issue. I had always made the assumption that any pre-assembled machine that you buy off the shelf would come with adequate hardware to keep it within normal operational temperature. I couldn’t have been more wrong. I still happen to have about a half a dozen old pc’s within thirty yards of the chair that I am sitting in now (I actually just gave two systems to my brother-in-law, who, not being a gamer, was more than happy with 1.5 year old stuff). I took a minute to look inside them specifically for fans and was surprised to find none. The only fans on any of the boxes I have around me are on the Continue reading PC cooling

Installing case fans (aka Cutting into the tower)

I got up this morning and jumped into the case fan install project. It seems to have gone pretty smoothly; the pc is back up and running and the fan control is operating all of the fans. There were a couple of setbacks, but nothing major, I will go into them in a minute. I consider myself to have a moderate knowledge of computer hardware, and that was more than sufficient for this job. I also consider myself to be relatively skilled in the all-purpose-handyman type skills necessary for the install, but honestly it was easy enough that I would expect someone with little or no skill or knowledge on either subject would be able to complete this. From powering down the pc to having it back up and running took me roughly two hours. I could have done it quicker, but I was stopping to take pictures, and I Continue reading Installing case fans (aka Cutting into the tower)

PC and music

My recent small flurry of website related activity seems to have stopped almost as quickly as it started. I got the pages that I wanted to reformatted, and started on a couple of the features that I had been thinking about for a while, and then my Laptop crashed. There are two extremely annoying aspects to the Laptop crash. The first is that it was just after we got back from vacation, and aside from the photos that I have posted on the Vacation Photos page (in vastly reduced size and quality), I had no backups of the images that I lost. A total of roughly 300 pictures, from vacation photos to pets, just gone. Damn it. The other annoying aspect was the loss of all the programs I use for the website: Leech FTP, Screen Hunter (image saving program, saves pictures to file with a click of keyboard button), Continue reading PC and music

HP Slimline means I learn about low profile video cards

My old pc had started making a horrible noise. Well, technically it started making several horrible noises. One of them I could pretty easily identify as the fan on the graphics card, as it only made the noise when I started gaming, you know, when the fan on it would start working. The other two noises I couldn’t identify as easily. I was pretty sure that one of them was the hard drive going out, but I had also been getting an error message on startup for several months that some pci bridge was not functioning, and I have no idea what that was all about. I was playing some World of Warcraft one night and my framerate was an unbelievably low 12 frames per second. I say unbelievable because I remember when I first put that machine together I was able to get about 60 frames per second with Continue reading HP Slimline means I learn about low profile video cards

Compaq: an old Indian word meaning huge, steaming pile of SHIT.

I know that I have made mention of the three computers that I keep running in my office on this site before. Reasoning was thus: One for me, one for the wife, and one just in case either of ours happened to go down. If you have ever had to go without your pc for even a few days, you will certainly understand the potential benefit of having another one, with all your software and the such already loaded onto it, right next to your main machine. So each time I bought a new machine, the eldest of our three would go to a needy relative (Hi Mom!) while ours would rotate so that the newest was the wife’s, the oldest was the backup, and I generally always have the middle machine. So you see I absolutely knew that one of our machines would go down at some point, and Continue reading Compaq: an old Indian word meaning huge, steaming pile of SHIT.