Archive for the 'Hardware' Category

New Keyboard & Headset

Well a couple of days ago I went out and bought a couple new pieces to my computer that I wasn’t expecting to get for quite awhile; a new keyboard and headset.

Really these two pieces were both annoying me quite a bit. For some reason my old keyboard was not starting up all the time with my computer. I was having to restart my computer almost every time I started up just to get the keyboard to recognize and it just began bothering me to no end after a few weeks. My headset has been broken for a couple of months. I think I ran over the plug for it with my chair because for the last few months I have had to squeeze and maneuver the plug just right to actually listen through it. Sometimes it took a half hour to position it just right, and even then it would die out after an hour or sometimes even less. I feel really bad about the headset because it was fairly nice and my roommate got it for me for my Christmas present this past year, it only took me about a month to break it and a half year to need to replace it. It was really frustrating.

I bought the Microsoft Natural 4000 or something keyboard, it was in an opened package at best buy so I got $10 off the retail price. I chose it because I need a natural keyboard given how often i use keyboards, and also because it had some nice features like a zoom (which helps because I have no scrollbar on my mouse) and the old style of insert key pad. I never have cared for the 3 rows of 2, and much prefer the 2 rows of 3 keys even though it makes the keyboard a little bit longer. My headset I bought was one from Altec Lanseng which I figured it would be a good quality product. I also used a $5 coupon from Best Buy to lower the cost so over all I saved $15 and spent $91. It wasn’t a horrible deal but it wasn’t a cost I was expecting to spend right now.

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New Computer

I got the final pieces to my new computer last Thursday and then promptly got it set up. I was up till midnight the first night and I went to bed with the happy knowledge that I got it up and running with Windows cleanly running. Actually the whole process went fairly smoothly. I had a couple hiccups, but all the pieces worked perfectly and once I made sure all the power connectors were hooked up, it was up within minutes.

The computer itself is a dream. It is extremely quiet! You can barely tell that it is even on even with the TV and AC off. My last computer however, was really noisy and often required me to go and turn the TV up just to hear it over the computer. The new one also seems much cooler, no longer do I sit at my desk and feeling hotter than I would be if I stood 10 feet away. I also think the overall room is much cooler, so yet another positive. Lastly, the graphics are amazing. Whereas my previous computer could barely run EQ2 at extreme performance, I now run EQ2 in Very High Quality instead as a standard setting, and I could probably even raise it to extreme Quality, but I don’t want to push it and end up with lag. Right now it runs beautifully without any lag, I can go everywhere with great graphics.

Overall, I got to say that I’m very happy with the performance of the new computer and feel it was money well spent!

New fan & Domain

Well I finally got my fan, installed it, and now my computer seems to be running back at normal. I think the computer is getting hotter than it was when the water cooler was actually working, but hopefully this will work and it only needs to really work for games for another few months. After that I doubt my roommate will ever put a game in the system.

Over the weekend I registered about 4 or 5 domains. 1 was for my real name (which I won’t disclose here at this point), 2 are for a possible business name (which I also won’t be disclosing) and one is for this site. I also payed the money to get the domain to point towards wordpress so now if you want to go to this site, you just have to go to http://www.razakius.com and you will come here. It isn’t a huge deal but I thought it’d be nice to have one form of my online name registered.

New Fan

Well my new fan didn’t get here yesterday, not that I thought it really would but I hoped. So I don’t expect to have my computer back up in operation until at least by Monday evening, maybe even Tuesday. So until that point I am essentially forced into turning it on for 5 minutes at a time.

While this has all been happening, I started to wonder what I should get for my NEW computer this month. I think with these problems draining me of a good $60 for new fans on the old computer, I can’t put a ton of money into the new one, so I think that either leaves me with cabling or a hard drive. The positive about going for the hard drive is that things really aren’t gonna change that much in the next few months in the tech, probably won’t even go down in price much. However, because I have no SATA on my current computer, who knows if it will actually be testable on this computer and they could send me a dud which I wouldn’t even find out for 4 months and thus, would be unable to return it. That would totally suck. Maybe I should get a big fan and some cabling then, this stuff will be good both now and in 4 months.

Computer Acting Up

Ok my piece of crap water cooling system after months of malfunctioning I believe has finally broke. I am making this post during one of the few moments of the day that I am giving myself to do computer stuff before my computer overheats. I have already replaced the cooling mechanism on the video card, but was unable to change over the CPU because CompUSA did not carry CPU coolers for my rather old processor. I ordered a new one of newegg last night so hopefully that’ll make it by the weekend, but I’m not counting on it. Hopefully by taking the water cooling off the video card my computer won’t overheat quite as fast and will allow me to be able to get on to do maintenance and some minor homeworks.

My plan of attack right now (since I have a 3 page paper due in class on Friday) is to write the paper by hand and then use my few minutes to quickly type it in and print it, saving many many times along the way. Otherwise, the process of going to school library to do it would be both distracting, and difficult, forcing me to email the paper home to print on at home.

Anyway, kind of sucks to have to do this just before I am going to be getting a brand new computer anyway.

How Microsoft is shooting themselves in the foot

When Microsoft launched the idea of Vista. They named it as a way to bring games back to the PC. Not a bad idea for them at all, as games are what generally drive the PC market. If not for games, there would be very little reason for anyone to upgrade their OS from Windows 95. And do you really think Office has changed that drastically in the last 10 years to warrant an upgrade on its own either? No. What does warrant an upgrade is bigger and better games which require faster and faster computers, which require an OS that can handle the speed and compliment it.

Vista is in fact having many nice features that should help gaming quite a bit. Their higher standards for drivers and hardware compatibility should make it much easier to develop for games. They have several features to the OS specifically geared towards the gamer crowd. For instance, one oft touted feature is to have the OS shut down everything but the game when a game is playing. A long needed feature if you ask me, this alone could mean a much faster gaming performance. The OS will also finally have native support for those dual processors that everyone now sports. The OS also has native support for HD, widescreen monitors, HD-DVD, 802.11n, and other newer technologies that should help push gaming. And the Aero look is sweet and to be honest I think gamers are very interested in looks.

However, Vista looks to be an unbuyable OS as a gamer. I had originally intended on putting together my new PC to run Vista. Now I am considering converting over to a Linux OS, and dual-booting into Windows 98. Why this drastic change? First there are the hardware issues. Vista has cripled Soundblaster’s popular EAX standard, therefore making my Soundblaster totally useless. And DirectX 10 cards like the Nvidia 8800 aren’t working correctly for some reason. Now these two issues may get fixed fairly quick, but it is still a little disturbing that a popular standard has been broken and a graphics card made for the OS doesn’t work. Added to this is the activation issue. XP’s biggest problem was the Activation. It was annoying, and pointless. You had to activate everytime you installed the OS, sometimes it wouldn’t let you because maybe your motherboard crashed and you had to get a new one, or perhaps you have reformatted too often, which meant you had to call Microsoft and get them to give you permission to install your OS. Now, that is gone, you can install Vista one time, and then you are locked out. You can’t call anyone at all at a later time, if you change your hardware, you are locked, if you need to reformat, tough cookies. Go shell out another $200 for the same operating system. It is rediculous. I was actually building the new computer for this very reason. I didn’t want to get screwed by it because I KNEW I’d be upgrading sooner or later. In fact, I think this is the biggest detriment to the gaming sector than any. PC Gamers need to be on the newest system available. They sink thousands every year on upgrades. And now Microsoft is hoping that they will sink hundreds every year to keep their OS. That is retarded to the biggest degree and I refuse to do it. On top of all that, it isn’t even your OS if you buy it. You are now just liscensing the OS so you have no rights to it! You are essentially paying microsoft for the right to borrow their products.

It is for these reasons that I have no interest in Vista anymore. If I really wanted the prettier look, which seems to be the biggest selling point really. I would have bought blinds or some other skinning program for XP years ago because people have been skinning windows to look like Mac OS X for years.

I see what Microsoft is doing is similar to what Apple has been doing all along. They want you to buy a new system instead of upgrading. They don’t even want people to upgrade anymore. The problem is that if this is how both companies are going to be, I would almost rather go to Apple as they are more innovative with their UI design than Microsoft is. I mean, the biggest benefit to the PC has always been upgradability, if Microsoft takes that away… then what is the benefit of being on a PC? I have even started to look to see if I could find an easy way to install OS X on my PC instead of Windows (after all I can’t use XP on two computers and I’m giving my old PC, XP included, to my roommate), but this is seeming to be complicated. I think at this point I would rather go with OpenSUSE or Kubuntu which seem to have prettier UI Linux versions. At least the OS would be free that way.

New Monitor

In my continuing effort to upgrade to a new computer, I have made a purchase for a brand new monitor. I chose the Sceptre X22WG and got it from Newegg. It is a widescreen 22″ LCD, and boy is it big. I thought it was just going to be marginally bigger than my previous monitor which I thought was 21″ but am now starting to think was only 19″. The quality is good too, it is really bright, have played both Sims 2 and EQ2 to test it out and both appear similar to a normal CRT monitor, not all grey and silvery like the previous LCD I had tried a few years back. In fact, in many ways the picture actually looks better. Thus far, my main problem is that my video card is an Nvidia 5900FX which really cannot handle this monitor so I have to keep the resolution fairly low. I am excited to get a new video card and turn the res all the way up on this monitor because I’m sure it’ll make for some stunning visuals.

Meanwhile, I’ve bought both the monitor and my tower in the month of December, straying away from my 1 new part per month limit. And during a tough month at that. So I think I’m going to consider the Monitor to be Janruary’s part. To kind of compensate for the early part I’m going to try getting my next piece in mid-February which at this point I’m thinking will be the Draft N Wireless router. Which one will likely be determined via sales and price reductions.    I also am thinking it may be a good idea to use my $80 of gift cards on the router. By doing this I am essentially making it so that I won’t be actually paying for any new parts until March. Which should help me catch up to my credit card a bit. In march I may also worry mostly about wiring for the computer (round cables, fans, and dampeners to make the computer quieter). So that it is a low pay out month. April I can buy Vista…. Then finally in May use birthday money and hopefully replenished credit cards to buy the Video Card, 1GB RAM, A processor of some sort (right now leaning towards Intel but that can change) and the motherboard. I am hoping that buy May the prices on the DirectX 10 video cards will drop significantly enough so that I’m not paying a small fortune just for one. June would then be a month off and I may take July off as well until August when I’d start purchasing up a second Video Card to run SLI, a second smaller LCD monitor, and a second 1GB of RAM. Not necessarily in that order.

Hopefully with this plan I’ll have a brand spanking new computer for my birthday and I will have a computer by the end of the year that is good enough to last me a few years until some of my books/games that I’ve created pick up momentum and I can afford to really splurge. <crosses fingers>