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Malik (5/21/12)

This weekend was an interesting set of experiences. I was determined to see the solar eclipse, even if it was only a partial one around Seattle. I had eclipse glasses, and I bought enough for family and a friend or two. I was set to watch the thing happen. Then, for the first weekend in almost two months, Seattle faced an entirely cloudy weekend, culminating in a 100% overcast Sunday...the afternoon of the eclipse. So, with eclipse viewing glasses in hand, I proceeded to stare at the clouds and swear under my breath. At least the one pair of eclipse glasses I sent off to my grandmother in Oregon (she lives only about 40 miles away from the northern edge of the total eclipse range) went to good use and I could hear her talk about how great it was.

My other experience was probably the single smoothest major PC upgrade of my life. I have upgraded many computers over the years, including some total builds. This fell just shy of a total rebuild (kept the video card, for now, the DVD-burner, the case, and the HDDs). I replaced the power supply, motherboard, CPU, CPU heat sink/fan (with a goal of overclocking), and a few minor connectors. In the end, the upgrade worked perfectly as I saw BIOS post, and then I saw Windows 7 have no issues after about 45 minutes of driver installation. Well, it would have been a perfect upgrade if not for a few issues.

I mean I had the minor issues like one of my case fans dying. That will be easy enough to fix later this week when my new video card comes in and I need to get in the case anyway. I also saw my front panel USB 3.0 ports come apart when one power cable snagged the connector and knocked it out. Once again, that will be a quick fix. The main problem I had was just not knowing better for one of the parts I got.

I bought the best 8GB (4x2) memory I could justify. I bought the best power supply that was not going to just be a waste of extra juice. I bought the best LGA1155 board that I could find with the most room for me to enjoy. I also bought an Intel i5 2500. That is the problem. I simply did not know the difference between 2500 and 2500k. It was $10 more for the 2500k, and I assumed (making an ass of me in the process) that it didn't matter since the stats looked the same. The same speed, the same cache, the same LGA1155 socket, the same on-chip video (that I will never use). I thought the k stood for this being a slightly newer release that would maybe same me some power or something pointless. Well, for those who don't know, Intel locked the multiplier on the 2500 and unlocked it on the 2500k. In other words, after getting my rig idealized for overclocking, I was stuck with a 3.3GHz chip running at 3.8GHz (what Intel locks the 2500 to), instead of the 4.4GHz I was aiming for (maybe even 4.5GHz). Having opened the CPU box, I am stuck without the ability to return it. So, for now, I will live with 3.8GHz, and maybe in the future when I see an awesome deal, I can get a 2500k or a 2600k (assuming the i7 is ever utilized by games).

Anyway, the final step on this round of upgrades will conclude this week. I have (once again, going insane on this whole process) a Radeon 7970 in the mail from NewEgg. Once that is here, I will reconnect the USB 3.0 ports, add in some new case fans (adding more than I previously had and replacing the broken one), and I'll finish it off by adding the Radeon 7970 and calling it a day...well, maybe I'll call it a finished project when I try some overclocking of the GPU.

The best part of this whole project was seeing the results in action. My old machine was good enough to play Saints Row The Third, Skyrim, and Arkham City. Well, unlike that rig, the new setup handles all of those games, on higher settings, but also will play Arkham City without any audio stuttering in the cut scenes. In fact, I was going to play Arkham City some to enjoy its new ability to be played fully until Velveta reminded me about how Arkham City is a game that connects to XBox Live ("The internet is down! Netflix just disconnected!").

Now I just need some new PC games to push this system (sorry, I'm not a Diablo fan nor am I a FPS fan) or a LAN party.


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