I feel like upgrading some hardware.

I dunno why it started, but I’ve been experiencing a number of machine upgrading urges as of late. Might just be Spring. Might be because it’s been over four years since I’ve last updated. Could be the Halo 2 announcement. Hey, maybe I’m just finally ready to start mucking around with hardware.

Were I still in Connecticut, I would have started trolling Cogan Computer Fairs the last couple of weeks, looking for availability and pricing, but Washington has nothing like that, so that’s not an option.

I’ve been eying Fry’s ads the last couple of weeks but, well, a nasty 8.8% sales tax and a retail store? Strikes me as odd. I mean, it might be nice to have a store front to return bad parts to but I hear that the return policy is ass at Fry’s so even that’s a wash. An option but an iffy one.

Online ordering? Neat idea, but with all of the new speeds for FSB and chip sizes and video busses… I mean I’m way outta date when it comes to hardware knowledge: last time I did a motherboard/video/ram/CPU upgrade, Intel was the major player, the Pentium 4 had only three version and GHz for model number, IDE was just IDE, and AGP 8X was fast. Now Asus alone has about 16 different motherboard options, all of which are in the same class of board but Intel having P4, Core Duo, and the like, you have to be careful – never mind things like chip type, size, thickness or AMD getting into the mix. Also, the FSB speeds are relative so that impacts the type of memory you get: some “new boards” top out at 800MHz instead of 1033MHz and RAM comes in numbers like PC5400 – WTF? Video, AGP is still around but PCI-E is “it” yet I think that comes in two forms now. Even IDE is muddier with PATA vs SATA vs SATA-II. I’ve got a SATA drive in my current machine and would love to reuse it: what are the odds? But it’s because of all of this that I want to stay away from online ordering: the returns alone could be a nightmare.

CompUSA closeout or Dell? Interesting notion and it appears to be cheaper… the problem is that once you customize the machine to use the parts that you would use if you built it on your own, you end up spending more than you would have otherwise. Price for assembly, I guess, but still: ew. I’ve built machines for over 15 years now – paying someone else to do work makes me feel… dirty.

And then I saw in the paper an ad that the Core 2 Quad is now available… while I don’t like to “wait for the next upgrade to be released” – I’m a firm believer in picking a place in the product time line to buy into and not have regrets if something newer comes out next week – it is compelling to see Quad chips out there and I expect this to have an immediate impact on Core 2 Duo prices… how big an impact is what I would wait to see…


Hardware used to be so easy.

Maybe I’ll go to CompUSA and buy a new mouse pad.

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