illusionofjoy: (Default)

On average I've been putting in applications for three to seven jobs per week. I dig through postings and if there is something I'm qualified for which pays my minimum salary requirement, I'll send in my resume and a cover letter. To date, no potential employers have realised that I could be doing incredible things for their business. Their loss...

I've already decided that once I do become employed again, assuming that the cash isn't too tight, I'm going to reward myself with a new computer. Granted, it's getting to the point where I actually need a new machine, but suffice it to say that circumstances force me to continue squeezing life out of the old XP build.

Here's the stuff:

PartBrand & ModelPrice*
MotherboardAsus P8Z68-V PRO/GEN3$209.99
RAMG. Skill 32GB F3-12800CL10Q-32GBZL$324.99
CPUIntel 3.4GHz Quad-core i7-2600k w/ fan BX80623I72600K$319.99
Hard DriveCorsair 180GB SSD CSSD-F180GB3-BK$249.99
DVD/CD driveAsus DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS$19.99
Video CardSapphire Radeon HD 6670 100326DDR3L$79.99
Power SupplyRaidmax 630 Watt RX-630SS$49.99
CaseThermaltake V4 Black Edition ATX Mid-Tower VM30001W2Z$49.99
FansScythe 120x12mm slipstream case fan SY1212SL12H$12.99 (qty.: 3)
FansScythe 120x25mm slipstream case fan SY1225SL12SL$13.99
Operating SystemMicrosoft Windows 7 Professional SP1 64-bit FQC-04649$139.99
Wifi CardAsus PCE-N15$27.99
Keyboard & MouseLogitech MK120$20.99



*as of Tuesday, January 10th, 2012 from

Not much has changed since the last time I posted on this subject. The biggest change is that I've decided to eschew using a mechanical drive for my boot disc, opting for a newer solid state drive. While they are costly when measured by how much storage one gets per dollar, they are also quite a bit faster than the old style of hard drive. Since I'd only be using the thing to hold Windows 7 and whatever software I opted to install, a 2TB drive wasn't exactly necessary (especially as I'll be putting the XP machines two 1TB SATA drives into the new machine).

Not long ago I found an article on creating a dual boot XP installation. The reasoning behind this is that if one has two copies of XP installed, one can be the general purpose operating system while the other can be the clean, streamlined version dedicated to the digital audio workstation. Naturally, I think this is a good idea and I'd like to partition the SSD for a dual boot Windows 7 installation. In theory it shouldn't be much different in application than an XP dual boot, however if anyone has installed a Windows 7 dual boot, they've yet to write about it online. I've found plenty of tutorials on how to install Windows along side Linux or any numerous other operating systems. I'll probably just have to try it out myself and see what happens.

illusionofjoy: (Default)

After the recent scare with my old XP machine, more and more my thoughts have drifted towards building a new computer. There is nothing wrong per se with my old machine save for it being old - and computers, like people, tend to slow down and develop unexpected quirks with age. More importantly, this computer has reached the its limit in regard to upgradability. Some examples:

  • On their website, Microsoft told me point blank not to bother even trying to install Windows 7 on my current machine
  • My motherboard only includes two SATA HDD ports; both are being used
  • My motherboard is only upgradable to 4GB RAM
  • The 2.8GHz dual-core CPU I've got is as good as it can handle
  • The video card being used is plugged into a now obsolete AGP slot
  • New video cards generally use PCI-express, speaking of which...
  • My motherboard has none of those; it does have five PCI slots though

So, I've compiled a wishlist of parts to build a new computer with and filed it under "things to reward myself with once I have a steady income again." Along with the two 1TB SATA drives and Soundblaster Audigy 2ZS which I plan to cannibalise from my current PC, here's my initial wishlist for a new build:

PartBrand & Model NumberPrice*
MotherboardAsus P8Z68-V PRO/GEN3 $209.99
RAMG. Skill 16GB F3-17000CL11Q-16GBXL $169.99
CPUIntel 3.3GHz Quad-core w/ fan BX80623I52500K $224.99
Hard DriveWestern Digital 2TB SATA 6.0Gb/s WD20EARX $199.99
CD/DVD driveAsus DRW-24B1ST/BLK/B/AS $19.99
Video CardSapphire Radeon HD 5670 100289-2L $89.99
Power SupplyApevia 500W ATX-CW500WP4 $39.99
CaseAntec Black ATX Mid-tower Three Hundred $54.99
Fans (2)Scythe 120mm slipstream case fan SY1225SL12SL $19.98
Operating SystemMicrosoft Windows 7 Professional SP1 64-bit FQC-04649 $139.99
Wifi CardAsus PCE-N15 $29.99
Keyboard & MouseLogitech MK120 $20.99



*as of Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011 from

No doubt these specs will change with time, technological advances and market adjustments (the prices of hard drives and RAM sticks are particularly inflated right now). In any case, what I have listed above is pretty much what I would purchase if I were to do it right now.

illusionofjoy: (Default)

Just like the title of the post says: another Geek Squad failure. On the up side, at least it doesn't involve my computer. Link provided by [ profile] agentorrange.

illusionofjoy: (Default)

The computer itself is working fine, but it seems that the CD/DVD drive is ready to completely call it quits. It wasn't reading some of my audio CDs properly, so I cleaned it out, thinking that would fix the problem. No dice - it's still improperly time-indexing discs that I know aren't DRM-hobbled. At least the drives don't cost much (and I can still get them with IDE connectors), but it's annoying to think that after I get my next paycheque, I'm going to have to open up my computer case again. I'm ready to set the machine on top of my desk with the side panels permanently detached.

illusionofjoy: (Default)

Most of you are probably sick of hearing about my computer. Well...tough.

This is my PC's second day back in it's home and everything seems to be working within normal parameters. I finally popped in one of those Geek Squad backup DVDs to see what horrors I'd be dealing with. The files seem to be in tact, but the DVD itself takes forever to load. This is pretty annoying when all I want to do is browse through the directories and choose what I wish to restore. I've already decided to simply re-rip all of my CDs, rather than trying to copy them from the Geek backup DVDs.

Once I find all my music session files - that is to say, my recordings for Illusion of Joy - I'll feel much better.

So, patience...once this is all done I'll be back to bitching about politics and writing "Off The Rack" entries in no time.

illusionofjoy: (Default)

It would seem that all of the hardware installation I was doing for my computer is complete. The new hard drives have been formatted, the new RAM has been installed and passed Microsoft's diagnostic and my new graphics card works. Now I just need to restore all my software and files. So far, so good and I pray it stays that way.


Feb. 28th, 2009 03:00 pm
illusionofjoy: (Default)

Windows XP has been installed and updated...finally. Next step: getting it to recognise my SATA drives, upgrading my RAM, installing my accelerated graphics card, re-installing all of my software and restoring my files.

illusionofjoy: (Default)

Good: getting a computer part I ordered in the mail. Not so good: not getting the cable I ordered to connect said computer part.

Do I have to make a blood sacrifice or something? Is that what it will take? What's the silicon-based equivalent of blood anyhow?

illusionofjoy: (Default)

At the suggestion of a friend, I attempted to fool XP Setup into installing by only having one SATA drive hooked up. XP didn't buy it.

I just don't get it. I have the proper drivers, the SATA drives are compatable with my motherboard. The only thing I've yet to try is updating the BIOS, which is next on my list...once I remember how to update the BIOS from a floppy drive.

If that doesn't work, I'm tempted to buy a standard IDE drive to see if Windows is willing to install on that one. If that works, maybe I'll be able to use my two 1TB SATA drives as storage (as such, C: - OS, E: and F: - storage).

The work continues...

illusionofjoy: (Default)

With the box of parts which arrived in the mail yesterday, I began the process of attempting to resurrect my computer. I've decided to do the resurrection and upgrades piece by piece, so as to make sure everything works. Thus, I began with the hard drives.

The physical installation of the drives was no problem whatsoever. When I booted my system up, upon doing the usual hardware inventory most computers do when starting up, it happily reported not one but two 1TB hard drives were now attached to my motherboard. So far, so good...

The trouble came when Windows XP Setup began running off of the OS install disc. When I got to the screen asking if I wished to install Windows, repair a corrupted version of Windows or quit, upon choosing to install I was informed that Setup could not find any hard drives installed and I had no other options but to press F3 and quit. A little research revealed that XP Setup sometimes requires third party RAID drivers in order to recognise SATA hard drives on Asus motherboards. So, I hooked up a spare floppy diskette drive to my computer and used [ profile] joi_division's computer to download the drivers for my motherboard from the Asus website onto a floppy disk.

I rebooted my computer and began running Windows XP Setup again, this time poking at F6 until I was prompted to locate the third party drivers which XP would need to use so it could install itself. I pointed Setup towards the A drive and selected XP SisRAID180 and sent Setup off the install Windows, thinking all would be well. Again, I was told that Setup could not find any installed drives.

I recall encountering this problem four years ago when I first built the computer or something similar to it when first trying to install Windows XP. Obviously, I was eventually overcome, but I can't for the life of me remember exactly how it was done. I know I'm on the right track, but I must be missing something. Anybody have any ideas?

illusionofjoy: (Default)

It has been done. This afternoon, I brought home my paystub, paid off my credit card bill and then visited New Egg to run up a brand new credit card bill. In the near future I will be the owner of two new 1TB hard drives, 2GB of RAM and an accelerated graphics card. The LCD flatscreen monitor I want will have to wait until the end of the month.

In any case, the process of undoing the damage done by Vundo and then painfully and expensively exacerbated by the Geek Squad has begun. True, all I really needed was a new 200GB hard drive, but I figured now would be a good time to actually upgrade my machine - it's been needing more power for a while now. I triple-checked all the specs before making the order, so hopefully everything will install easily and work as expected. Then I will be a happy computer user (and my poor laptop can finally take a well-deserved rest...poor little fella).

illusionofjoy: (Default)

"I suppose that if I don't sign, I don't get these," I said, referring to the stack of DVD-Rs which sat upon the counter. The discs contained 130 gigabytes worth of data, the contents of my desktop PC including every song I'd recorded from Division onward plus four new pieces which hadn't been burned to back-up discs, having not been completed. The document which was laid before me stated that I was completely satisfied with the repairs done by the Geek Squad office located at the Best Buy in Pittsburgh's South Hills. I wasn't satisfied - how could I be? In three weeks, the Geek Squad had not repaired my computer. Still, they were willing hold my data hostage until I told them I was happy with what had been done.

Read more... )
illusionofjoy: (Default)

This evening, my laptop blue-screened me while rebooting. "Fuck, no," I thought, "not two computers out of commission. I'm running out of computers to break!" I turned the machine off, had dinner and rebooted. Everything started up just fine. All scans returned normal results. I suspect that, being a laptop, the little guy isn't used to be on constantly like my regular PC is. It probably overheated from the strain of being thrown into a vital position of central computing. Turning it off while I'm at work will likely prevent the blue screen from appearing again (I hope).

illusionofjoy: (Default)

Once the Geeks give me back my computer, and once I am satisfied that they didn't actually make things worse in the process of removing the virus and furthermore, once I have more money to spend, I plan on upgrading my machine. I have a wishlist at with a list of parts I'd like to buy. After I buy an upgraded anti-virus suite, my first plan of attack is to upgrade the data storage and retrieval capabilities of my machine. That is, I intend to get a 1TB hard drive to store my music (my session files and the MP3s ripped from my CD collection) and upgrade my RAM to 2GB, to speed up the processes (technically, my motherboard can handle 4GB of RAM, but it seems that they don't make compatible chipsets anymore which would allow such a configuration).

After I deal with that, in the slightly further future, I'd like to boost the graphical capabilities of the computer. My current monitor doesn't seem to have much time left, so I'd like to get a nice LCD flatscreen display. Of course, I think it pointless to get a new monitor when the graphics are being rendered by the on board chipset, so because I want things to look as pretty as possible (and prevent lot lag in The Sims 2), this means getting an accelerated graphics card.

It has come to my attention, however, that I can't seem to find a card that would be compatible with my motherboard. I'm running an Asus P4R800-V Deluxe motherboard; the specs state that the board can support an AGP 8X/4X (+1.5V) card. I'd like to get one manufactured by ATI, as they is the company that made the oneboard graphics chipset, leading me to believe that would reduce, if not nullify compatibiliy issues. The problem arises in that I can not seem to find cards rated 8X/4X - everything I've found is 16X. Something tells me that installing a card with a rating double that of what is recommended in the specs for my motherboard would be a Very Bad Thing, yes?

illusionofjoy: (Default)

It looks like I'll without my computer for a bit longer. After not receiving a phone call, I went down to Best Buy in person to find out what was going on. The short story is that apparently the virus is so bad that they have to reinstall Windows XP. So, I shelled out yet more money to get all of my files backed up, and will be visiting the store again tomorrow afternoon with my original XP installation disc.

I could really use a windfall right about now. Also, at this juncture I support the death penalty for creators of malware.

illusionofjoy: (Default)

I had wanted to kick off a new year of journal entries with a bang, doing my review of 2008 on the 1st and then burning through the year daily from there. However, somehow my main computer picked up a nasty trojan horse - the type of malware popping up fake alert windows claiming it is actually an anti-virus program while keylogging your credit card number. Since I couldn't remove the infection myself, I ended up taking my computer in to the "Geek Squad" this evening to see if they can fix it. Already over $200 in the hole, I'm hoping to have a usable desktop computer again by next week (and not have to pay any more money in the process - money I don't really have, mind you).

At the moment, my only forays online are happening through my laptop. This is going to be a very long, sucky week.

illusionofjoy: (Default)

6:12AM - while grabbing change to a buy a copy of the newspaper to read at work, I drop a dime which slides through the air vent on top of my computer's sound card interface. I disconnect this piece of equipment, fearing the damage a metal coin might cause while it is still powered and head to work, cursing my clumsiness while trying to figure out how to take it apart and get the foreign object out.

4:50PM - eight screws and a slight mucking about later, the dime is extracted, my interface is reconnected to my computer and all is well.

I've also moved all of my spare change to a desk other than where my computer and all my recording equipment is located.

illusionofjoy: (Default)

I am disappointed. I was all set to upgrade my computer to 4GB of RAM from the measly 1GB I've been running ever since I'd built it. I'd had the chips for a week because [ profile] joi_division took pity on me and bought them and today I received the heat spreaders. So, I'm set installing RAM to see if everything works before I go permanently wedding myself to them by applying the heat spreaders (RAM pops in and out of motherboards no problem - heat spreaders are glued onto the RAM and don't come off so easily). Everything seems okay - the computer boots, I launch a few applications and all seems fine and well until...

I get the fucking blue screen of death. Or as Microsoft politely calls it: a "stop error."

So, several RAM swaps and tests with Windows Memory Diagnostic later, I come to find that, despite what the manufacturer of my motherboard states, and despite what the manufacturer of the RAM states, I have an irresolvable hardware conflict. The RAM isn't defective, it just so won't freaking work with my system!

So, it's being returned. Hopefully I'll be able to get myself 4GB worth that will play nice with my CPU and motherboard. I've waited this long to upgrade, a little longer won't kill me. If not, I'll be offering up some heat spreaders for cheap.

Damn it all!


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Seth Warren

May 2017

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