Sunday, February 5, 2012

FotoFeb: Day 5

This is how I killed time this morning after dropping Dave at work and before heading to Robina to get his wedding anniversary present.  Also it's always sensible to do computer upgrades while Dave is miles away - he seems to radiate some kind of force field which means his electronic stuff is forever playing up.

In mid-2009 we both got new PCs.  I designed custom-specced ones and bought them from TechBuy (Dave chose his case and provided moral support).  I was originally planning on building them myself too, but after seeing that TechBuy only charge $40 for assembly (and that includes checking all your parts are compatible) I went with that option.  I chose the best processor available at the time (AMD Phenom II X4 955 Quad Core 3.2GHz for me, 965 3.4 GHz for Dave a couple months later), and a motherboard and case with plenty of room for expansion, so that they would last a while, and this is the first upgrade I've done (other than replacing my hard drive, which failed within a month or so of purchase).

We both had 4GB of RAM, which was low even at the time we bought them, and we had always been planning on upgrading that when RAM prices came down...But we really didn't have too many memory issues, so we kept putting it off.  But recently RAM prices have dropped a lot, so we decided it was time to upgrade.  I spent a couple of hours going through the available RAM on the TechBuy site, trying to find compatible modules for our motherboards, and getting more and more frustrated, before giving up and going to crucial on a friend's recommendation.  You give them your motherboard info (or they do a scan) and they recommend RAM modules and guarantee compatibility.  I had to ship from the US but knowing it was good quality and compatible made it worth it.  In the end I spent about $120 getting 2x4GB packs for both of us, including shipping, which I thought was pretty good.

So this morning I opened up our cases and put in the new RAM modules.  You can see the empty yellow vertical slots to the right of the fan in the picture above.  I kept the old ones so we now have 12GB each, which is overkill really, but we are set for a while now, memory-wise!  (On a side note, the inside of my PC case is much, MUCH dustier than Dave's, and I can't figure out why - perhaps his is sealed better).

Next on the list to upgrade is probably the graphics cards.  We have crossfired Radeon 512MB 4770s, which are excellent, but I'm not sure I'd go with crossfired cards again - not every game supports them so you often end up only using half of your graphics processing power.  Even on their own these cards are still really good, and I think will cope fine with any game around at the moment, but probably in the next 6-12 months we will upgrade to single-unit graphics and get rid of the CrossFireX.

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