PC Upgrade, Annoying But Necessary

My gaming PC hasn’t been upgraded since mid-2012, so I thought it was time. The fact that the computer had a nagging USB mouse driver problem and has been crashing a lot in games also contributed significantly to my decision.

And so another PC has been upgraded, and once again I make another vow not to do it myself any more.

Pro installation work right there.
Pro installation work right there.

Oh I wanted to order a pre-built PC. Imagine how awesome it would be to come home from work one day and find a brand new, completely built Alienware PC sitting on the front porch. (In a box, presumably.) (Hopefully in a box that isn’t stamped with Alienware all over it, so it won’t get stolen.) All you would have to do is open the box and plug it in, and you’re done.

Unfortunately I can’t make the numbers work. This time around, I figured it would cost me at least $500 more to buy an Alienware with the specs I wanted, compared against the cost of getting just the parts and putting them into my existing case. If it had been $100 or even $200 I probably would have done it anyway. But $500 is more than the value of the time it takes me to do it myself.

At least, that’s what I thought before I tried to get an SSD and two hard drives to fit inside a case with a gigantic video card and over-sized memory modules. I’d say it took me a little over two hours from the time I shut down the old PC to the time I was installing Rift on the upgraded PC. (I estimated it would take about an hour, but it’s really difficult to cram power cables and video cards and memory DIMMs and hard drives into these tiny micro tower cases. Sometimes I miss the old, cavernous full-sized tower cases that weighed 50 pounds.)

If you’re wondering, I have switched motherboard brands from Asus to MSI because I was having an infuriating USB mouse problem with the Asus Maximus V. It happened with any mouse, but it was particularly bad with the Razer Naga: The pointer would just freeze for long periods of time. The only reason I didn’t throw the PC out the window a long time ago is that games worked fine, and that’s really all I do on this PC.

I have also switched from a Radeon card to a GeForce card because I was having enough nagging little graphical issues in games to make me think Radeons aren’t on the cutting edge anymore. I moved up a few places on the Passmark video card benchmark chart, but not nearly as much as I have in the past. I was rather surprised to see that video cards haven’t improved very much in the past two years.

By the way, each time I upgrade a PC, I am amazed at how much easier it gets, and how much smaller the CPU gets. It used to be a lot more complicated to put together a PC. Now it’s pretty straightforward.

Unfortunately you still have to deal with all the blood from the scratches you get tearing your flesh on metal edges.