Why I hate upgrading computers

Last month I spent many, many hours researching the seemingly simple tasks of upgrading the RAM on two of our PCs and upgrading the CPU on one.

“Compy” is our old Sony Vaio, which, after swimming through the documentation, I found requires extra-expensive and rare-ish RAMBUS RAM available from basically 0 reputable sources, so eventually I won an eBay auction: $40 for 256MB. This was 19 days ago and it’s yet to arrive. Long story short the seller had “Paypal problems” and didn’t get around to sending it until yesterday.

Compy also has an old P4 1.3G CPU and very foggy documentation told me it was “upgradeable” (but to what?) I figured out the fastest chip for that socket type was 1.7G. Fair enough, I found a “working pull” 1.7 for $20–for a 30% speed increase that’d be worth it. Chip shipped quick, never worked and, of course, I’ve no way to tell if it’s a MOBO compatibility issue (there’s no researchable MOBO chipset/model#, it may just not support the higher voltage) or if the chip was just DOA. $20 wasted.

“Homey” is my main desktop and, after much research, I determined it requires dual-channel RAM, but not the kind you see advertised everywhere, rather the much rarer “low density” dual-channel RAM. Maybe I should’ve just paid the extra $15 for RAM from crucual.com, but a man’s gotta save money! I dug and dug through eBay listings and random vendors until I eventually found 512MB for around $58. It was an enjoyable two weeks before a power surge at our house managed to kill it tonight (when windows repeatably failed to load, I used the very handy memtest86 to verify the DIMM was dead).

Why do I suspect the RAMBUS RAM is gonna fail, too?

Update 9/23: (sigh) 26 days after paying for Compy’s RAM I got in the mail incompatible Samsung “ECC” RAM–completely different than the pictured non-ECC NEC RAM. Along the way the seller refused 4 requests for the shipping confirmation #. I’ve filed a complaint with Paypal.

One thought on “Why I hate upgrading computers

  1. says:

    I like your blog. I put a link to it from my site. I listen to The Brittle Stars almost every day. It’s sick, I know.

    I used to drive down the 17 from Santa Cruz to Fremont, CA. Just as I’d come out of the mountains I’d start picking up this college radio station that was invariably playing Brittle Stars songs. It’s too bad I missed you guys when you were touring.

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