Rebuilding

Well, it’s been an interesting weekend. Ordinarily where I work, it’s 40 hours maximum for hourly associates. Well, with it being a holiday and them being extremely shorthanded Friday night, another guy and I were allowed to go in for approved overtime. So, I’ll be getting 8 hours at time and a half on my next paycheck. It also means my weekend was only one day, instead of two, but that’s OK. (extra money is good) So, what did I do with my weekend? What I didn’t expect: tore apart two computers and put one back together.

So, about a year and two months ago, I bought a computer on Amazon. It was on sale and it was a sweet deal, especially for the Radeon RX580 graphics card that was included. That thing was amazing. Keyword: was. One of the reasons I bought the computer was for the Windows license, as those are expensive and by the time you buy the hardware, the license is basically free. I wanted to use some Windows only software, and hook up some devices that use USB and interface with some Windows software. Well, the build of Windows 10 that I have doesn’t like older USB devices, so getting said devices to connect when I wanted them to was extremely frustrating. Then the RX580 didn’t work right with Linux, which made me salty. So, I wound up putting my old EVGA Nvidia GTX950 in it. Most recently, the mouse started acting stupid (no biggie, pack in peripherals are shit) but worse, the computer has started not booting correctly. Sometimes, when I turn it on, it won’t do anything, not even load the boot splash. Since that’s stored on the motherboard, I’m thinking it’s a motherboard issue. Not good. The final straw was when I went to beta test a build for a Linux distribution I use. I got that all set up, got my bootloader where it needed to be, and it will only boot that OS, it won’t even let me choose the other Linux distribution I have installed. (I had unhooked the Windows drive, but that wouldn’t have affected the Linux drive) So, I messed around in UEFI, updated the bootloader in Linux, but nothing worked. So, I jettisoned the whole thing.

Enter my old gaming rig. Total custom, I built this beast from parts about 6.5 years ago. At that time, it was pretty cutting edge, and it’s no slouch now. It has a Gigabyte AM3+ motherboard, AMD FX8120 processor and 2x 4GB Crucial RAM. I put that GTX 950 in it, and two of my 1TB WD Blue hard drives. I also put a DVD-RW drive in it, just because I could. 😉 I have two of those, but I hardly use optical media in computers anymore, so one is enough. I was going to use the case for the newer computer, but the front panel uses a newer connector for the USB 3.0 ports that the Gigabyte motherboard doesn’t have, so I used my old Antec 600 gaming case, and my Rosewill either 400W or 450W PSU (can’t remember which it is.) Anyway, pictures:

I got everything pretty well cleaned up. There’s still some dust, but nowhere near as bad as it was. I also did what I could for cable management by carefully routing things and using wire ties, but the Antec 600 wasn’t really made for cable management. I do have some Patriot RAM on the way, it will be here tomorrow. I’d looked into getting a couple more Crucial 4GB modules, but it was going to be over $100 to get ones like I have. So, I just looked into totally replacing the RAM. They’re 1600 MHz DDR3, the Patriot RAM I ordered is 1866 MHz DDR3, 2x 8GB memory, so I’ll just totally swap the Crucial for the Patriot and have double the Memory. Then, I can get two more on down the road and max out the RAM for that board. 😎 I also have some 120mm Rosewill fans on the way, they’re supposed to arrive Tuesday. I have one Linux OS installed right now (the one I’m beta testing) and I’ll probably add a second sometime this week.

So, that’s how I spent my weekend. Fun fun.

I also got a book in the mail yesterday:

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It’s really cool. The guy who took the pictures is the same guy who photographs systems for Wikipedia, which has some awesome pics. It says in the back that there were a number of systems that he couldn’t get, but there are way more than I knew about, from the Magnavox Odyssey in 1972 to the Nintendo Switch in 2017. Great stuff. 🙂

I’d tried getting this book from Amazon in December, but it was backordered. I didn’t want to wait, so I ordered it from Books-A-Million, who claimed to have it in stock. A few days, later, I got a notification that it wasn’t in stock and they canceled my order. I remembered about it again the other day and ordered it from Amazon, as it’s in stock now.

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The Oregon Trail

So, it’s been a while since I posted. To be Honest, CGI just hasn’t been exciting me of late. I have some other projects I want to do, but just getting them started is a chore. I spend a lot of my time off playing playing games and watching movies. On that note, here’s something a little different.

So, anyone who was in school between 1985 and about 2005-ish probably played The Oregon Trail in school. It was first created in the ’70s by a few student teachers who wanted a fun way to teach the history of that trail, and it’s become a favorite since then. It was included on all computers sent to schools by 1985. (at least in North America) These days, you can play it in a web browser for free. Or, you know, play it on a handheld:

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I Did a Thing…

So, I did something yesterday:

I’ve been thinking of getting an XBOX One for a little while now. Yes, I’m a Linux user, but I don’t hate Microsoft, I just don’t like Windows, their game consoles are great. My 360 is several years old now and it has a 60GB hard drive. That was OK, but digital games take up more space than they used to. So, I figured I’d upgrade. I looked at new 360 E consoles on the odd chance they would be cheaper. Nope. For about the price of a 1TB XBOX One S, I could get a 4GB 360. A 360 with decent storage was more than the One S. So, I figured I’d get a One S with my Federal tax return. Then I was on the official XBOX site yesterday and I saw that Microsoft was having a deal where, if you bought an XBOX One directly from them you got a free game. I love free, so I took a look. No need to wait for my Federal return, I crunched some numbers and decided I could afford one. The XBOX One X is $499, but I don’t need one of those. It has beefier hardware and is designed for 4K TVs. Well, I have a 1080p TV, so no need for the One X. Besides, the One S can output to 4K, but it’s not designed around 4K like the One X is. But, the One X was out of my price range anyway. The One S, on the other hand, was totally affordable. I looked at a couple 1TB bundles that were $299, but the one I wanted wasn’t in stock. So, I kept going back to that Halo bundle. I love me some Halo, so that was calling to me. Sure, it’s only a 500GB system, but I can always add an external hard drive later. So, I put that in my cart.

When it came time to select my free game, there were a lot of good games there. However, Star Wars: Battlefront II was calling to me, so I selected that. However, that wasn’t all, it let me pick a second free game! So, I selected Assassin’s Creed: The Ezio Collection, as I’ve been wanting to dive into some Assassin’s Creed for some time now. So, everything in the picture was $279 plus tax, shipping was free. And, it’s super cool that the two free games are physical copies, I was expecting download codes, like I got with the bundled Halo games. They always tell you that free shipping is 3-7 day, hoping you’ll pay for more expensive options. Nope, I’ll way. It turns out the wait wasn’t long. Less than 24 hours, in fact. I saw that FedEx truck pull up front, hurriedly disarmed the security system and unlocked the door. (and maybe freaked out the driver a bit, but he’ll survive) Anyway, I took it out of the plain box, posed it, snapped a pic and then tore into it. (not literally, I opened it like a civilized person) So, it’s hooked up where my 360 was and it’s updating right now. I have to go to work in a bit, but I’m looking forward to doing some game play after work.

So, I’ve never ordered anything physical from Microsoft before, just digital stuff. I’ve got to say, I’m pretty darn impressed with their service.