Yesterday, I almost took a baseball bat to my computer. The only thing stopping me from shooting it instead is that ammunition can be expensive and I didn’t have a baseball bat.
I used to think that I was reasonably adept at solving computer hardware and software issues. I’ve built my fair share of systems from scratch, and while I’m not sporting a massive Viking beard and a Linux distro, I’ve been reasonably confident that with enough time devoted to research and a few basic tools, I can resurrect more or less any computer that hasn’t melted or suffered some catastrophic hardware failure (like a couple of .22 caliber rounds in the CPU), but I’ve finally given up with my current computer.
I’ve had plenty of issues with this beast over the past few years. Some of them I’ve even documented on this blog, and in my desperation to keep this desktop computer working properly – as it’s not just my primary source of income but a large source of my leisure entertainment – I’ve replaced nearly every bit of hardware piece by piece until the only original components are the CPU, the RAM, and the chassis itself. This means new hard drive, graphics card, motherboard, and power supply – yet I’m still experiencing the kind of frustrating problems that make it akin to pulling teeth in order to get any productivity or entertainment on this thing on a daily basis.
In addition to all the hardware replacements I’ve gone through, no stone has been left unturned on software issues either. I’ve updated BIOS and chipset firmwares, kept on top of the latest drivers, tried hotfixes for my operating system, and so on and so forth, and the only thing left to to do at this point is to really start all over again from scratch with a completely new build – or at least with a new mainboard, CPU, and new RAM.
To that end, I’m humbly begging for your assistance, all ye of great hardware knowledge, in helping me plan for the future. The actual build date on this new computer is likely to be postponed until well after my daughter is born and we’re settled into our new home in upstate New York, but the sooner I start planning now, the more time I’ll have to prepare.
My main dilemma is truly what CPU and motherboard to choose. I don’t know if I should stick with Intel or go for AMD, as I’ve got no brand loyalty whatsoever and I’ve always gone where the wind has taken me when it comes to chip architecture. Right now I’m running an Intel Core i7 920, but I’m interested in whether or not an AM3+ chip and mainboard might be a good alternative, so if any of you have some thoughts to share, please hit me up!
That being said, I’m also going to need a new case – something with good cable management on the inside. The interior of my current case looks like one of those Play-Doh spaghetti makers threw up in there.