kingandy: (Frowny)
Yesterday I tried to install my new motherboard.

Why do they tell you not to touch any part of the board, and then give you these little tiny screws that have to go right into the board next to sensitive components that your fat fingers can't help but brush against? And then you drop the screws and have to fumble around in the dark, whacking yet more sensitive components with the screwdriver in your other hand?

This is exactly why I knew I'd be better off buying a pre-built machine.

Pop quiz!

Feb. 13th, 2008 10:03 am
kingandy: (Dumb)
What's more important in a graphics card, memory size or clock speed?

EDITED TO ADD: General consensus seems to confirm what we all suspected, size is more important than speed. I will therefore place an order for card A (henceforth to be known as the Patrick Junior).

Nerd rage

Feb. 8th, 2008 01:58 pm
kingandy: (Frowny)
Something about the components I installed yesterday (or the way I installed them) caused my PC to migrate from "occasionally unstable" (unexpected restart once a month or so) to "cripplingly plagued" (total system freeze within an hour of turning it on). I don't know, maybe I dislodged the memory, or something's touching something that shouldn't, or something. Either way, buying a new core system is suddenly markedly more enticing than it was.

(Is it likely to be one of the new components? All I put in was a new DVD-RW, a boxed Netgear wireless network card and a new fan. Anyone?)

What's holding me back right now is the motherboard. All I want is a reasonably cheap (~£40) Core 2 Duo-supporting S775 board with 2 IDE sockets that will take up to 4GB of memory. (This last is optional. I'm not planning on putting that much in to begin with, but it's nice to futureproof.) It's like IDE connections are going out of fashion. Which, you know, fair enough, but still, it's important (to me) for me to be able to connect both my optical drives and the old hard disk, at least to begin with. And ideally I'd like to continue to use the HD at least for storage backup - I don't see 100GB of storage as something you simply throw away.

Pricing rants aside, I'd be tempted to just buy this on the basis that it will definitely all work together, except it's only got 1GB of RAM. And one IDE connection. And it won't tell me what the motherboard is, so I can't buy more RAM myself. But still, it tempts.

EDITED TO ADD: Ah! eBuyer do that thing I've been wondering why people don't do, and suggests compatible (and alternative) hardware. Unfortunately it is genuinely starting to look like the second IDE socket is what they take out to make room for the second core...

EDITED TO ADD EDITED TO ADD: Oh, it's the wireless network card. Taking it out allowed the system to run for 2+ hours without difficulty; returning it caused immediate apoplectic fits. Am downloading new drivers. Using the faulty network card. May be some time.

Am just stepping out.
kingandy: (Default)
Despite coming to accept that Dell are actually a viable option for the part-time computer user these days, and my occasional eyeing-up of their deals of the hour, my recent purchase of a PC Format magazine (in particular, the article on how to build yourself a games-geared box for less than £300) has spurred me once more with the belief that self-builds are the way forward. If nothing else, it means I can buy some of those bits and bobs that I've been delaying on the basis that I'd probably get some with the new box.

I mention this purely because, as a result, I have been browsing some online electronics stores and have thus formed opinions of their relative merit. I disapprove strongly of CCL - largely because of their price display policy. They are doing everything they can to mislead the user: once you're past the front page the ex-VAT price is displayed more brightly and more prominently than the price including tax, and the VAT-included prices themselves are of the 'pennies lower' variety - the old trick of pricing something a few pennies lower (for example, 9.99) so that the brain is tricked into thinking it is a significant amount cheaper.

Conversely, though Dabs Direct also follow the 'pennies lower' path, not only does their display price including VAT, but their mini-basket sidebar shows you all your items and includes shipping - so the amount listed is what you actually end up paying. To further confuse the issue, CCL's basket is lurking at the top of the page, doesn't list your items (only a total quantity) but does, confusingly, include VAT. So you look at the bright pink number at the top of the page (say, £173.22), click through to the basket, and in the "totals" box you have a bright pink including-shipping-but-without-VAT (£153.37) and a meek grey actual-total-with-shipping-and-vat (£180.21), neither of which are the number you just clicked on.

This irritated me immensely. It's not so much that I was tricked - I was, by the promise of a £150 CPU-mobo-memory bundle, but only briefly before I spotted the £200 price tag - it's the attempt that offends. So despite the appeal of the aforementioned bundle (it was pretty much what I wanted, except for the low memory) I shall not be enjoying their fine products.

It probably does not help that I was beginning to feel confused and decrepit as a result of scrolling through pages and pages of DDR24200 S775 SATA eSATA PCI type stuff and becoming thoroughly lost.

March 2012

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