Monday, October 20, 2008

Broken Computer Blues


I tried to upgrade the memory on the homebrew computer my son and I built a few years back. It had two 512MB DIMM chips in it. I bought two 1GB DIMM chips. I took out the 512s and put in the 1 gigs. Everything worked fine. Then I got greedy. I added the original memory back in trying to get the system up to 3 GB and fried something.

The memory this motherboard takes is 184-pin and the industry has moved onto 240-pin memory. And motherboards that take AMD slot 939 chips are functionally obsolete. I found one online for $40 so I am going to give this upgrade one more chance before I quit throwing good money after bad.

I really don’t have a good reason why I’m bothering other than pride. My rationalizations include the following:
  • I just spent a lot of time reinstalling my software including Quicken. Having to re-install everything on a new machine would be a pain in the neck.
  • Everything I do is “just fifty more bucks”. If the memory upgrade been a success I would have gotten an older generation video card. I could eventually have the world’s fastest AMD64 machine.
  • Sentimental value. I built the computer with my son just after he got out of the hospital from having his appendix removed.
  • If and when I did get a new machine, I really wanted to use this one as media server.
  • A new machine would force me to learn Windows Vista.
  • The gamer style case just looks so cool.
On the con-side, here are reasons I should just s-can the machine and start fresh.
  • For about five-hundred bucks I could get a complete pre-tested and configured machine that would be four times as powerful as anything I could make this one.
  • Parts for this machine are already getting hard to find. We just barely found the right size chip cooler when it went out six months ago.
  • The reason I was upgrading the old machine was so that it would be fast enough to run Premiere Elements 7 for HD video editing. It may not even be able to get that fast.
  • Every day this machine is down, I’m having to use my seven-year-old Sony desktop that is so bloated and slow it takes nearly fifteen minutes to boot-up.
  • I have all my important files backed up onto a portable hard drive, so the real hassle is re-installing software and not transferring files.
  • My kid has moved onto a MacBookPro which is four times the computer than I can justify spending on myself.
Part of my geek-cred is tied into being able to work with and upgrade my computers on a hardware level. Every couple of months I have the case off as I tinker and play. But with as busy as I've been lately, the time to just futz with stuff is limited and I'd rather be doing things more quasi-productive than fixing things I have accidentally blown up.

BlatantCommentWhoring™: When and how should I pull the plug?

9 comments:

Mooselet said...

When - the sooner the better. No sense in prolonging these things. The poor thing is simply begging for death - can't you see that? I fully expect "kill me" in binary code on the screen.

How - no need for cruelty. Just power down late one night and be done with it, nice and quick. Be sure to remove anything useful - organ donation, if you will - and then take the remains somewhere environmentally friendly for disposal. Don't leave it in the corner or else you'll be tempted to spend "just another $50".

Anonymous said...

I’m with you on not joining the Ledger pity party. These deaths are always tragic, but he brought this on himself.

Go Fuck Yourself.

yellojkt said...

Thanks for sharing, random bitter stranger.

Dave2 said...

Gosh! Usually I have to stay on my own blog in order to get this kind of random drive-by hatemail! Congratulations!

As for your question... Now. A baseball bat.

Jeff said...

What the hell did I miss? Do you have a post somewhere that warrants that kind of response?

I was going to say how I recently had to bite the bullet and finally go with a new CPU myself, but your random bitter stranger distracted me. Great response by you though ;-)

Flyboy said...

Trash the old one and buy a new one. They are cheap now.

Flasshe said...

Is this the blog where you're supposed to post random non sequitur comments? I think this is the place...

I don't like the Oakland Raiders!

Oh, and ditch that antique.

And... ummmm... go eat pie. Ok?

yellojkt said...

The voting seems to be going overwhelmingly towards new computer. I will let you know how it works out.

helan said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


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