— Geek Alert! This is an extremely geeky topic. Enter at your own risk! —
I started using PCs in 1995 since there was no way I would use it under DOS or Windows 3.1 (I used Amiga computers before that), so I waited until Windows 95, it was my main system for everything for about 7 years until I got my first PowerBook in 2003. As I said in a previous post, I used my PC to broadcast the radio ever since 2003 until few days ago, and that meant I had to forget about the PC Games and limit my use to word processing, audio stuff for the radio and -lately- using it as a Media Server to stream videos to the living room. The good thing is that I did not miss much because I had my Mac… and a Play Station.
After taking the radio away from the PC a gap appeared! Here is a less-than-one-year PC laying around with minimal use… What should we do about that?
The first thing that came to mind was… PC Games 😀
I have a PS3, but it’s in the living room connected to the only TV in the house, so it is rarely used since that TV is dominated by the kids all the time (3laihom bel 3afyah). Another thing is that there are some games which are meant to be played with a mouse and keyboard, like FPSs.
I don’t have any modern games for the PC, so I downloaded some demos to see how does my ‘modern’ PC cope with them. To cut a long story short.. IT DIDN’T COPE AT ALL! I have a fast-esh processor (2.0 Ghz Duo Core.. or whatever it’s called) and lots of RAM, but it had one of those integrated video cards… so it was crap!
The first thing I tried was installing the video card of my old broken PC (4 year old, I mainly use it for parts). Surprisingly it actually gave better performance than the ‘modern’ built in card! Half Life 2 (2004) ran fine, but Rainbow Six: Lockdown (2006) was terrible, and that’s a 3 year old game! Forget about Crysis (2007) or Rainbow Six: Vegas 2 (2008), even Doom 3 (2004) didn’t work for some reason! So the hunt for a ‘modern’ video card began 🙂
After a bit of research I found out that the current line of games require a video card which supports Pixel Shader 3… whatever that is! The good news is that all the video cards in the market supports Pixel Shader 3, and even better.. there is still no such thing as Pixel Shader 4 so whatever I buy will be ‘current’ technology more or less. But now of course I have to pick up a brand and model.
With the brand I had either GeForce or Radeon, so that was kind of easy. At first I thought about getting a cheap good enough card. After more vigorous research I decided to go for something in the middle, not very cheap nor too high end. In that mid range I found out that GeForce cards are the leaders when it comes to performance vs. value. The GeForce 9600GT was a great card for me, I almost bought it…. but, I found a very good deal for the even better GeForce 9800GT ‘used’ on eBay… very good deal 😛
How lucky was I for that catch? 🙂
… the story hasn’t ended yet!
The card arrived, no CD no cables… no problem 🙂 I knew about that and was prepared. The real problem was when I tried to physically install the card into the PC case. Lets say that the card was bigger than the case! No.. REALLY… even if I could manage to attach the card to the motherboard there was no way I could’ve covered the case….. because it was truly BIGGER than the case! In other words… I needed a new PC case, and that meant I had to move every single piece of the computer gut to the new case! … Of course I was more than glad to do that… I was thrilled! 😀
I didn’t have to buy a new case since I had one lying around form my broken old PC. But I needed a new power supply since the old one was… well… old… and did not have the right connections to suit the modern motherboard and component. The newer power supply was just too.. small! I bought a new cool power supply from a local computer shop which reminded me (the shop) of the shops in Mojamma3 Walaa. It’s a really cool power supply with a blue clear casing, shiny LEDs and a knob to adjust the fan speed 😎
Now that everything was ready, it’s time to Awaken the Geek Within! 😛
… and thank God I still got it 🙂 I am not unfamiliar with gutting and assembling PCs, but I wasn’t sure about the new technologies. The last time I took apart a motherboard was no less than 5 years ago. But I noticed that things actually got simpler, long lives SATA 🙂
Everything went OK.. al7amdu lellah. Installed the drivers, had a minor problem with one of the video card softwares.. not a big deal, but at the end the setup managed to run almost everything I threw at it, even Crysis‘s demo. So I’m very happy 🙂
Ok, so Vista is still dumb, errors for I don’t know what, updates every other day, Norton needing to be turned on and off to suit the situation, endless conformation alerts, restarts for not so convincing reasons, IE8… among other flaws, I know about all that. In other words It’s not a Mac, but I can live with all the flaws for a few hours a day (if I’m lucky 🙂 ). But… It’s still more fun, it keeps my inner geek alive and it got cool blue shiny LEDs 😎