What a pain these last few weeks have been! My old PC finally had enough of all my blogs and games and gave up the ghost. I'd been having warning signs for a couple weeks...I'd been hearing this strange, tinny pinging when I started up Old Faithful in the morning which disappeared after a few minutes. So I didn't think much of it, but I knew it wasn't a good sign. Then one morning, it didn't stop pinging. That evening, I played it safe and spent about four hours backing up all my data onto thumb drives and CDs. The next day, it wouldn't start. The CPU fan had finally given up. Wonderful.
Part of the problem is the fact that the case sat on the floor. In case I ever failed to mention, there are four cats in my house. I think you all know where this is heading. I gave it a good cleaning out six months ago when I replaced the power supply (which had burned out from too much cat hair in the system) and a quick clean once a month or so after that, but apparently dust and hair had been building up under the fan and it finally burned out.
So now I was faced with a dilemma. Either spend $25 or so on a new CPU fan and keep the 6+ year old Faithful going or spend some of my tax refund and buy a new computer. That's part of the reason I haven't been on for a while...I was trying to decide what to do! And every techie I talked to basically said the same thing: Buying a new fan would fix the problem, but I'll be faced with buying a new PC within the next 18-24 months. And, of course, being techies, and being given a choice, they'd all go with a new system.
My decision was sealed when I went to the local Circuit City "just to see what they had." I wasn't looking for my dream computer--that's an $1800.00 Dell Laptop--but something that would let me read my blogs, play my games, e-mail and word processing. Usual home PC stuff. I'm not a heavy gamer, so I don't need a mega-graphics card, but I'm enough of a techie that I can tell when a system is not a good one and don't skimp on the RAM. And I found it. It's an HP Slimline with a 500G hard drive, 2G RAM, AMD Athlon 64 x2 Processor. The Slimline case means it's about 1/3 smaller than a standard CPU, which means it would fit beautifully on my desktop. Which means less cat hair clogging up the vents!
I was ready to buy right there and then, but--you guessed it--it wasn't in stock, wasn't in the local warehouse and wasn't available in any Circuit City in a 50 mile radius. I went home and, using my mother's PC, checked it out on line. Not only was it not available for 'order online/pick up at store' within 50 miles of home, but it wasn't available within 50 miles of my church (which is an hour away from where I live--long story). Being the savvy computer shopper, I logged onto Best Buy. We don't have one local, but there's one near my church...but they didn't have it in stock either.
The Computer Geek Gods were smiling on me, though. I could get it at the Frederick, MD store, an hour north of where I live. I didn't buy it right away. I debated for another day or so, then went ahead and made the purchase. Old Faithful would work fine with a new fan, but I really, really wanted a new PC. I picked it up on Saturday and I have been loading it up ever since. I love it...except for one thing...it's a Vista. I'm slowly getting used to it.
So now I'm back, AD has a new chapter of Star of Life on his blog (great, great story so far, AD...keep 'em coming!), I'm working hard to finish my writing assignment (Chapter 3, due Feb 22), and, well, I'll try posting a bit more often.