The Further Adventures of Spendthrift Computer Guy!

The cheap date in me is kicking and screaming. On the other hand, I've now got a truly bitchin computer, one that should last me several years, or until the next time the upgrade bug bytes

From an earlier rant.

Well, THAT didn't take long!

Like I said before, the price of these components keeps getting cheaper and cheaper. The stuff that I'd bought in late 1997 wasn't even available any more, having been superseeded by better components. That's how this round started. All I wanted to do was to upgrade my processor. And like I said before about the road to hell, it's awfully steep and slippery!

See below for a Special Note

But with the new processor comes additions. See, the new processor required a 100 MHz bus, which required a new motherboard to hold it. The old memory is incompatible with the new motherboard, so I needed new memory too. So here's an account of what the first few steps on the slippery slope cost me:

The new processor

AMD K6-2 300 MHz Processor$149.99
-With tax, total $162.89

The new motherboard

ASUS P5A-ALI 100 MHz AGP S/N 88721144$119.95
- With tax, total $130.27

More Memory

DIMM 64MB RAM 10 ns 100 MHz, S/N KM416S4030AT-G10$95.95
- With tax, total $104.20

Even more Memory!

And here it is, just a few months later, when I was overcome by the need for even MORE memory, so I got some more...
DIMM 128MB RAM 10 ns 100 MHz, S/N 019905675/1540121$172.95
- With tax, total $187.82

So I took all of this stuff home and tried to install it. I plugged in the motherboard, plugged in the cables, plugged the cables into the drives, then noticed that the output and input jacks no longer lined up with the holes in the old case. A little farther slip down that slope, but not after I tried to hacksaw (!) the old case to allow access the ports. Power hacksaw, in the garage, cost me three metal hacksaw blades, but I made the holes big enough to access the ports. So I took the whole thing back inside and proceeded with the installation.

Until I got to the power input to the motherboard. The input jack didn't match up with the plug that came from the power supply. Called in to the place where I bought the stuff, and learned a quick and painful lesson on the difference between AT type motherboards and cases, and ATX motherboards and cases. So something new needed to be upgraded. And I'd ruined my old case. Well, not ruined it, but between the hacksawed holes and the duct tape to hide the old holes, who'd want the damn thing?

A new case

ATX Case, CSX-888BX$59.95
- With tax, total $65.11

And why did I feel the need for a new processor?

STB Black Magic 3D graphics board, 12 MB
3Dfx Voodoo2 Chipset with Dual Texture Engines
12MB of High Performance EDO DRAM
4MB Frame Buffer Memory & 8MB of Texture Processing Buffer
Up to 800x600 Resolution with Full Hardware 3D Acceleration
Plays Direct3D and GLide Titles
Compatible with Any SVGA Multimedia Accelerator
-With tax, total $271.49
-After $50 rebate, total $221.49

It was then that I realized that the 340 MB disk that I had been using for holding the operating system had decided to give up the ghost. Well, if not just then, then perhaps when I was hacksawing the old case? I think in the future, I'll consider hard drives to be fragile, delicate, ephemeral devices, and I'll not take a power hacksaw to the case while the drives are still in it...

I took the old drive to the place where I'd already spent a lot of money, and they charged me 1.5 hours of labor to tell me what I'd told them when I brought the drive in: I think the disk is bad. The guy who finally agreed with me dropped the hours to 1, and then the manager of the shop dropped ten bucks off of the bill, so for $35, I got them to agree that my disk was bad. Thanks a lot...

So I needed a new disk

Quantum 6.4 GB Ultra ATA Hard Drive$179.00
-With tax, total $194.39

I suppose that I could have lived with the operating system and most of the files on the disk that I bought the last time (Quantum 4.3 GB), but somewhere between me wanting to keep the files that I had on that disk, and wanting even more disk space, I went ahead and got the bigger disk. (Notice how cheap this disk was, for more memory, compared to the price I paid for the older drive? Moore's law at work...) I wound up losing all of the data on the smaller disk anyway, so I might as well of used it for all of my storage. On the other hand, with 10.7 GB of disk space, I should be set for storage for quite some time...

And I really wanted a new modem

OZZO 56K V.90 V/F/D Interior modem$49.95
-With tax, total $54.25

So now I've got a good little screamer of a computer. Again. Much superior to the one that I had just 9 months ago, with an improved processor, faster motherboard, lots more hard drive space, faster modem, and a truly bitchin 3D graphics card. Sure, anybody can have a new computer if they spend $982.59 on it, ($932.59 after rebate!) and so can you. Only, I recommend taking the disk drives out of the case before you take the hacksaw to it....

Copyright 1998 by Rich Webb, aka The Outsider.

This page is authored and maintained by Rich Webb. You can send E-mail to me by following this link to the contact page. And feel free to contact me if you have any comments, criticisms, or suggestions. I remain, however, perfectly capable of ignoring your useless opinion...

Feel free to visit my home page while you're out surfing, or just go back to the rantpage index.

This document was placed here on September 16, 1998, and has been viewed countless times.

Special Note: One of the prime motivations for me to create this page was so I'd have a quick place to go to when I had to answer the question that the tech reps always ask:

What's your system configuration?

Windows 98 Operating System
AMD K6-3 550 MHz CPU
ASUS P5A motherboard, 100 MHz bus speed
STB BlackMagic 3D graphics card with 12 MB memory - go here for the latest drivers
Matrox Millennium II video accelerator card with 8MB memory - go here for the latest drivers
Sound Blaster AWE64 Sound Card
Quantum Fireball Hard Drive, 4.3 and 6.4 GB
Mitsumi 16X CD-ROM
OZZO 56K V.90 V/F/D Interior modem
CSX ATX case
ZIP drive
Microsoft Sidewinder Force Feedback Pro joystick

This from the Display Properties box...
Board Type:Matrox Millennium II
On-Board Memory:8MB
Board Mapping:DE800000
RAMDAC speed:250 MHz
Serial Number:CBQ27248
VGA BIOS version:1.1
Display Driver Version:
VDD Version:
MGA PowerDesk Version:3.81.013
DirectDraw Driver Version:
Microsoft DirectX Version:Unknown

3Dfx Hardware Profile
Scanline Interleave:Not Detected
FBI Revision:4
Frame Buffer Memory:4MB
Texture Mapping Unit(s):2
TMU Revision:4
Total Texture Memory:8MB

3Dfx Software Profile
FxMemMap VxD Version:
WinGlide 2.x Driver Version:2.53
DosGlide 2.x Driver Version:2.53
WinGlide 3.x Driver Version:Not Present
Direct3D Driver Version:
Direct3D 32-bit DLL Version:
Direct3D 16-bit DLL Version:

Several files are uncertified, which means that they have not been tested by Microsoft's Windows Hardware Quality Labs:
mgaxdd.drvMatrox driver
msjstick.drvJoystick driver
sb16snd.drvSoundblaster driver

Now you know too...