An update to the slowly unfolding saga of my computer…
A new graphics card is essential; this is beyond question. The first serious system-killing overheat happened last week trying to run “Romero mode” L4D (common infected move more slowly, come in greater numbers and only go down to headshots, no special infected… unless bugs occur, which they do), and after my computer blackscreened I found my ancient ATI 2600 felt like a lightsabre. The same thing happened in a L4D custom campaign at Benlan, and Benny kindly offered to lend me a spare GPU (a meaty-looking GeForce number-I’ve-forgotten). However, it was barely functional, despite drivers installed both conventionally and with Benny’s twisted craftworld magic tricks; on minimum settings L4D1 chugged, on my standard ones it was like a tantric flipbook. It was like the GPU wasn’t even on. Lord only knows what was going on there.
But parents, in their hopefully-unending generosity, are willing to buy me a new one for my upcoming 21st, and an ATI 5770 looks to be the machine of the day. Added to this, out of my own pocket, I am going to be replacing the dinky little one-rear-fan-and-it’s-broken side-missing case that is presently whirringq in front of me. Owing to fears about good GPUs being massive and my (probably flawed) understanding of airflow I seriously considered a much bigger case (I have a microATX motherboard*, but might want a full-sized ATX in future), but with sage advice from Ben and Alex, I have come to believe that this thing (note 120mm front fan) would be more than adequate, and Ben and I ordered it with his free Scan shipping. The plan is for me to take this tower back home for my birthday, gut it with Oliver’s aid, and have everything put into a new case to take back to Birmingham and enjoy.
CPU, PSU and mobo are likely to be the next things I upgrade, if and when the stars of Money and Inclination align. My current power supply unit has a Medusa-scalp of unnecessary-looking but interconnected wires (currently mostly jammed into one of my unused 5.25″ bays) which I’d really like out of the way, but good PSUs (especially of the modular type that cut back on wires) are very expensive, and I have it on good Bennish authority that cheap no-brand PSUs can get expensive without warning (being more likely to go wrong and melt ten times their price in other components.) A new CPU and mobo would be luxuries at the moment; what I have isn’t the best, and will be the limiting factor when my new GPU comes, but at the moment I’m not feeling held back by them.
Monitor falls squarely under “things I kind of want a better one but can’t really justify the expense”, as mine is perfectly serviceable, just small and battered. Proper gamer mouse and headphones I am immensely satisfied with, and the keyboard joins them in the “stuff that works really nicely” category despite being a £5 Amazon piece of crap.
I don’t quite understand how this happened: I had two slippers in the hall the night before moving here, one slipper in the morning of moving, one slipper when I unpacked, and one slipper in my room for the last two weeks. I now seem to have two slippers. I am not going to look a gift slipper in the mouth.
*For the tech-illiterate: the motherboard is the circuit board everything else gets plugged in to. It, more than anything else, decides the form factor of the computer. Of the kinds I was looking at, microATX is more cut down and lets you have a smaller case. Full-sized ATX allows for more components and better airflow, but needs a considerably bigger case – the kind of case you need anyway for massive high-end GPUs.