Short nerd break

…on Sunday Jac did loads of gardening – she was out there for HOURS – while I stayed indoors and worked on my old abandoned Socket A AMD Athlon computer (the predecessor to my current AMD X2 3800+), a 1000 MHz Thunderbird – yeah THAT old… and slow. I’ve been meaning to resurrect it and get it working so Jac can have a computer of her own to do word processing, surf the net, read emails etc. – nothing hardcore.

I love fiddling with computer hardware. I haven’t been doing it for very long; while I’ve used computers for years, I’ve only been into building them since last September. I was lucky I had my brother to show me the ropes the first time. I don’t ask his help with my pc anymore. If I have any problems I just sort them out myself now. Working on the Thunderbird was actually more fun than working on my main computer because I felt very relaxed – if I did stuff something up on the old pc it wasn’t going to be a big deal, like it would be if it were my main computer.

The old pc case is a cheapie black one with a side window. Damn thing has sharp edges. I forgot this and promptly cut myself when removing one of the side panels. Oh yeah, it’s dangerous work. Heh.

Because I took the Thermaltake Big Typhoon CPU cooler from the old pc for my new pc (that’s the big square thing with the orange fan in this picture), I had to find another CPU heatsink and fan for the Thunderbird. My friend Adam gave me an old heatsink and fan ages ago, and it’s been just sitting in my cupboard of computer bits (Jac is horrified whenever she sees the stuff I keep in there, but you never know when something will come in handy). Anyway, I retrieved it, cleaned out all the dust from the fan with canned compressed air (some serious dust bunnies in there!), cleaned off the layer of gunky thermal paste off the bottom of that old heatsink, and then cleaned and reapplied a new fresh layer of thermal paste on the old pc before remounting the heatsink/fan. I’d never installed one of those old socket A heatsinks before. The clips were a pain. I hate how things that get installed on motherboards use crappy clips and push pins (see previous motherboard post) – yeah, don’t get me started on push pins. Grrrr.

I gave everything else a good clean with compressed air, reinstalled the graphics card and network card, plugged in the power and woo hoo! Everything fired up! I reinstalled Windows and all seemed well. But there is still fiddling to be done, as the pc still has the original problem which led me to getting a new pc in the first place – random freezes. I’m pretty sure it’s a hardware-related problem, probably something like the memory. For now, the old pc is back in the spare room again, waiting for me to get another burst of motivation to troubleshoot the freezes. I’ve had to put it away because Jac doesn’t like me leaving unfinished computer projects out on the table in the family room, which is where I usually work on them. That’s fair enough. :)

Anyway, it will be easier to work on the old pc when my new keyboard (see this link) arrives for the main pc. Then I can reassign my current keyboard permanently to the old pc. Despite having lots of spare bits and pieces, I’m currently forced to share one keyboard between the two computers. I’m particularly pleased with my purchase of the new keyboard because I’m getting it for $9.95! I saw it for sale at EB for $39.95 recently but was pretty sure I would be able to get it cheaper elsewhere, as EB tends to sell computer peripherals at or close to RRP. I asked Nintek if they could get any in, and they said they could, for $29.95- and offered me free delivery. The coolest part is, I had a $20 store credit* to spend, and so that’s how I’m getting the keyboard for $9.95! Hee hee.

End of nerd break.

*As part of the resolution of a previous order error

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