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
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.