Computer Stuff

July 4th, 2007 by Potato

Well, I took some time tonight to do some work with the various computers around here. My dad bought a new laptop a few weeks ago and I’m supposed to set that up for him, but just haven’t had the time to even take it out of the box until tonight. It came pre-loaded with Vista, and we’re trying to decide if its worth the effort of nuking it and going back to XP. I think it is, particularly since he’s old and crotchety and doesn’t like learning new things, especially when he’ll be shuffling back and forth between the new system with Vista and the old one with XP pretty regularly. Of course, since it’s a laptop that means he’ll lose all the proprietary preinstalled programs like the battery meter. Poking around I haven’t seen much to recommend or damn Vista. I don’t really care for the new start menu, but then I’ve hated the changes posed by every incarnation of Windoze to date, so why should Vista be any different? I found it odd when I went to shut down and didn’t get a prompt for hibernate, reset, or shut down… I hit the button in the start menu, and it was off.

My laptop has been driving me mad as it passes 3 years of age here. It is still pretty powerful, has a nice display, and basically does what I want it to… except for the fact that there’s a loose connection in the AC power, so I have to constantly jiggle it when I’m using the computer.

A friend also had some computer troubles with strange lines and poor colour fidelity in his display. I had him bring the computer over and we quickly found out that his Radeon 9800 Pro had died. My computer, fortunately, had exactly the same card, so I just sold him mine, thinking I would get a new one in the morning. (It also saved him having to get new drivers!) Of course, now I haven’t been keeping pace with developments in graphics cards, so I have no idea what to get, or what a good price for that would be. I do know that the pace of acceleration seems to have slowed down (or that 9800 pro was a real gem) since it’s been going strong for over 3 years now with no sign of being unable to run a game. So, I figured this could be an opportunity to upgrade before I faced the grim spectre of obsolescence. However, I have no idea what to buy. I know that ATI went from their 4-digit numbering scheme to X-### quite some time ago, and figured that pretty much any X-series card would be an upgrade. Looking into it more though, that doesn’t seem to be the case. In fact, it looks like you’ve got to go pretty high up into the X-series to equal the old 9800 Pro. I’m hesitant to get a nVidia card after the steaming turd that was my TNT2, but I’m told they’re much better now. Of course, I have no clue how their naming scheme works, or what level I need… so it looks like it’s going to involve a bit more research than just popping into the computer store down the block and grabbing a card…

2 Responses to “Computer Stuff”

  1. Netbug Says:

  2. Potato Says:

    Thanks, those were a helpful set of articles. I ended up getting a Radeon X1650 Pro (made by Asus) with 256 MB of DDR2 RAM (they were sold out of the DDR3 versions, and the cheaper 7300/7600 cards, and I wasn’t sure how much of a difference it would really make). Not quite what the article recommended, but I think that’s at least as good as my old 9800Pro. $120+tax, and I’m getting $60 for my 9800, so not too painful.