Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Upgrading Your Computer: Expect the Unexpected

On the strength that I couldn't play Star Wars games such as Knights of the Old Republic on my Korean born computer - shipped here in broken fragments - I decided to upgrade my PC.

Upgrade your PC...That may sound daunting in itself. Really it's just a question of getting in a new improved motherboard (includes CPU) and Graphics card. Over a 2 year period, you can't really do one without the other.

I received my new PC, smashed it on the floor, and then turned it on to find out that 2 years worth of workouts (thousands of graphs, stats etc. gone.) Other software was also gone, Like Picasa, VLC player and the rest. It's a schlepp to reinstall all this, not least because it is nearly impossible now to find a driver for my Infrared device (it reads my Heart rate Monitor files off my watch). See it's one thing to get the engine for your computer, but you need a driver to allow you to actually use, for example, usb ports and other components (although it seems Windows Vista is changing this).

In Computer Land, obsolescence, a euphemism for extinction, happens at a frightening pace. Right now CORE to DUO CPU Technology is the fastest and best, and Graphics Cards based on the PCI Express System.

So once you've decided to trust in these generic (but esssentially-meaningless-for-thelay-person) Tech Terms, you have to transfer your data to the new system. Sorry to say but while you can transfer stuff like word documents, images and films, you can't transfer programs. Well you can but it's far more laborious. It's not a simple and direct transfer. You have to source the .exe. files and then transfer, load and install. That's the headache you don't expect.

From a cost point of view it makes sense to trade in your old PC (just the tower) and build yourself a new machine with some of the latest not quite brand new hardware. This was the quote I got:

Cost on your new PC R4998.90
Trade-In on Old PC R2250.00
Balance to be transferred R2748.90

That will mean you'll have to figure out what a PCI Express is, how much a GIG is (and what's it's worth to you). It means you will have to THINK, and that may mean feeling like the screaming baby pictured above, for a couple of hours before your computer brings you back to a level of satisfaction.

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