The computer is NOT my friend.[1]

I got home yesterday at my usual time, a little after 5pm, and, after taking care of the dirty dishes, decided to play a little CoV before making dinner. Went through the entire map, was engaged in combat with the big bad at the end when….everything locked up and CoV crashed. It’s been doing that alot lately, and inf act this was the third attempt to do this mission. So I started to see if I could diagnose the problem. My first thought was that it might be a memory problem, caused by having unmatched DIMMS. I shut everything down, and pulled 256meg of RAM out, leaving the pair of 512s.

And the computer wouldn’t boot. No errors. No beeps. Nothing. The lights came on, the drives spun up, but no video, no sound, nothing.

I spent the next hour or so checking and reseating all the connections, trying replacing the various ram chips in different combinations, unplugging different parts. Absolutely nothing worked, and as near as I could tell, it was a dead system.

To say I did not react well to this was….an understatement. I take computers failing on me rather personally at times. It’s not just a hardware fault. It’s a betrayal. And this betrayal drove me to do something I have not done since the mid-1980s [2].

I went to CompUSA and bought a retail PC.

I know I just lost a ton of geek-cred, but honestly, I don’t think I could have built a system for as cheap as they’re selling in the stores anymore.[3] For $550 (after rebate), I got myself a lovely Compaq Presario SR1950NX, with Athlon 64 3800 processor, 1GB of ram, dual-layer DVD-RW and a 250GB SATA hard drive.[4]

I got it home, and immediately put the RAM from my old PC in, bringing me to 2GB, and tried to put my hard drives in place. I figured out pretty quickly that they weren’t going to install nicely in the actual drive bays, so I finally settled for standing them on edge in the bottom of the case and hooking them up. I’ll evetually get myself some external enclosures for them.

The only thing I need now is a good video card[5] and I’ll be ready to rumble.

[1] If this be treason, then let us make the most of it!

[2] The last retail computer I bought new was a Laser 128 Apple ][e clone. I bought two Amigas second hand after that, and have since then owned 4 different PCs, all of them hand-built.

[3] And if you think you could, don’t tell me. I need what few illusions I have left, Besides, whatever small amount I MIGHT have gotten cheaper is offset by the instant gratification factor.

[4] And yes, Windows XP. This is the gaming system, which makes Linux and MacOS be less than ideal.

[5] The video card in my old system was an AGP card, and the new system is PCI-E. I’ve got a couple of people who might be interested in buying my old card though, so I’m hoping to offset some of the cost of the new one.