Computer 2016

Surprise! We built me a new computer. Mostly, I am so tired nowadays that I barely use my computer, so this was unexpected. BUT when I do, it feels like it’s even nicer when things happen fast. AND on top of that, I was starting to be the last person to load on Dota when we played! Not ok.

Computer 2016 mise en place

So here are the parts:
Intel Core i5-6600 3.3GHz Skylake Processor: Honestly I was going to get an i5-6500, but when I purchased, SuperBiiz was having a small special on the 6600 so it was only a little more, so I thought heck why not.

Asus H170M-Plus/CSM: I used to always buy the motherboard with the chipset that would allow me to overclock and whatnot, but I decided I had to be honest with myself: I don’t overclock. I think I did my last one like the smallest amount just for fun, and then lost interest and never dealt with it again. So… I went with the H170 chipset instead of the Z170. And Asus because we’ve had good experiences with their mainboards.

G.Skill Ripjaws 4 series 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR4-2133: Plenty of memory!

PowerColor Radeon R9 380 4GB PCS+ Video Card: As you know, last time, I thought I would try a computer with no graphics card, and that lasted for all of what, six months? before I broke down and got a video card. This time, I decided not to be silly about it. I’ve had some problems with Radeon drivers over the years, so I was leaning nVidia a little. Plus the nVidia cards are supposed to be a bit cooler and quieter which I like but this one was a good price when I bought it. It feels like right now the Radeons are a little less expensive for the performance. (I’m waiting for pol to comment that I’ve done something crazy again. :) )

Samsung 850 EVO 500GB M.2-2280 SSD: So damn cool! I wanted a bigger C: drive — my last one was just 90GB and it just felt like I had to spend thought on space more often than I liked. I had shifted my profile and game files (Steam library mostly) to different drives to be sure that my C: drive never filled up. This hard drive is a new form factor for me! I hadn’t realized hard drive technology had gotten so small. It’s a little board with chips on it, about the size of a large USB thumb drive, that plugs in directly to the motherboard, no power or SATA cable to snake around. My computer is super cramped so it felt like this was a worthy upgrade.


SeaSonic X Series 850W 80+ Gold Certified Fully-Modular ATX Power Supply: Okay, technically I don’t think I needed a new power supply, but this was on sale and it’s Gold certified (more efficient) and fully modular and etcetc. So… I got a power supply.

I did keep my case, the Silverstone TJ08B-E MicroATX Mini Tower Case. It’s a nice case! But, a serious pain to build with because everything is so cramped. I also kept my heatsink and fan, a Xigmatek Gaia SD1823 (discontinued now).

Dusty heatsink

It was so very dusty! But we cleaned it up and put a drop of thermal paste (we had some old stuff lying around) on it and slapped it on.

When we first put it together (granted this was mostly Yut), it kept restarting itself… I thought it didn’t even post. And it was so late and we were tired, so we just left it. I thought we’d have to test the motherboard and case connections, maybe reseat and test everything, and was so not looking forward to it. But when we tried it the next night, Yut pushed the reset button and who knows, maybe it got a bit stuck while we were building the computer, but it worked! So… I’m typing now on a new computer! I think it’s actually one of the few (only?) times that a new build just worked right away (barring the restarting the first night which really didn’t require fixing beyond a button press). It feels super speedy now. And the best part is, it’s even quieter than before. Maybe getting rid of the dust is helping the heat and the fans don’t have to work as hard, or the new parts are quieter, or who knows. But it’s awesome.

Video Card

Remember when I posted that I’d gotten a new computer, and Pol made fun of me for running on onboard graphics? Well this past weekend, Blizzard did a free Diablo III beta. And I tried it. And my computer struggled, darn it. So I got a video card, are you happy now?! :) Too bad the free Diablo III weekend is over.

I got a Sapphire AMD Radeon HD 6850.

Here’s the box with the bunnies, because every picture is better with bunnies in it. They’re ignoring it because they’re eating, and they believe in taking care of their bellies first.

Bunnies with Video Card

Last Year: New Computer

Last September, we rebuilt my computer. The old one was a little over three years old, which isn’t so bad, but when Yut’s graphics card broke, I gave him mine since I had a motherboard with built in graphics capabilities. We were going to just buy a new one, but then I thought that Civ V and The Sims 3 had been playing a bit slow.

Also, my old computer case was a little loud. So annoying. Really, it all just adds up to needing a new computer, don’t you think?

mise en place

    The Set Up, in no particular order. Most items purchased from Newegg which has good prices and lots of reviews. Also, they ship when they say they will. Some things were purchased from Amazon but they shipped late and kept changing the predicted ship date, which is unusual since Amazon is generally really good at this!

  • Case: Silverstone Temjin TJ08-E A case for a mATX board, so it’s smaller. Also, it’s supposed to be pretty quiet — I check Silent PC Review for their reviews. Quiet is much more important than you’d think when it comes to computers. Anyway, the case is nice and quiet for sure, but I found putting together the computer pretty annoying because it was so cramped. It did have a slide out motherboard tray which was really helpful. I’m not much of one for opening my computer to mess around though, so it’s basically okay. Yut much prefers his P183 which is humongous. He doesn’t mind the size. We like our computers on our desks but I don’t like the big black box next to me.
  • Hard drive: Kingston V+100 96 GB SSD Mostly I wanted an affordable SSD. Dude, if anyone reading this is looking to buy a computer, buy an SSD. It might even be worth it to either pay for the upgrade or buy one to install yourself, if you are at all inclined for that sort of thing. It speeds up boot-up amazingly.
  • Processor: Intel i5 2500KSpeedy Sandy Bridge processor — a step or two below the top of the line. Top of the line is too expensive. Usually at around $200-250 is the price/performance sweet spot.
  • Motherboard: Asus P8Z68-M A mATX motherboard. The standard one got good reviews and my last motherboard was Asus. Also read good things about UEFI on Newegg.
  • RAM: Patriot Gamer 2 Series 8 GB Was on sale and didn’t have the super tall heat spreaders because…
  • Heatsink: Xigmatek Gaia SD1283 Sooo tall. Almost too tall for the case. It seemed like it should be quiet-ish based on Silent PC Review’s reviews on other similar heatsinks, and it was cheap.

Total: under $700

The old computer
The old computer. I took the power supply, an old Corsair 520HX which is modular. We still like it and it had the plugs I needed. Also I am reusing one of my old hard drives — the other one was an IDE and the new motherboard doesn’t support that any more. And the optical drive? I don’t remember. It looks like it might be IDE also in the picture.

Fluffle wants to help
Isn’t she cute? One of the hardest parts was keeping all of the rabbits and rabbit hair away from the computer.

Here’s the motherboard on the motherboard tray and the processor and heat sink installed. We forgot to install the heat sink before installing the motherboard on the motherboard tray which was a mistake since there’s a part to install on the underside of the motherboard so we had to undo and redo.

Hellspawn wants to "help"
Look who else is helping!

Tada! New computer pretty much done, except for the side panel.

After all these months, it’s been fairly quiet. Periodically (as in not every day) there is a high pitched whine sound which is super annoying now. May be something I can figure out and fix but I haven’t yet. I didn’t buy a graphics card because onboard graphics are getting better and I’m not exactly playing crazy high graphics games. It plays Civ fine and if I ever feel like it, I can add one later.

I meant to make this post in September but it took a long time to transfer the photos from the camera to the computer. :)


Watson, an IBM supercomputer, is supposed to be able to answer natural language questions (or I suppose in this case, provide questions for natural language answers?). First Deep Blue played chess, now Watson’s going to take on Jeopardy. I hope it has a chance to play again Ken Jennings. :)

One Month Late, More or Less

Okay, okay, I know, I am really late! And it’s not cos I’m playing Flash games, cos I’m kind of sick of Flash. It’s not like I own lots of Apple junx or anything, but I am so sick of updating Adobe Flashplayer (and Acrobat) and I’m so sick of security warnings about ’em and I hate stupid webpages that are Flash based for no good reason (like practically every restaurant site for example) and so… if Apple wants to stop supporting Flash in some of their products, and it causes more websites to require less Flash, then I am happy, and I don’t care about the whys and wherefores!

But also, as y’all know, we moved this year, right around the time of the tournament (I know, what were we thinking?!) and it was so busy. I am sure there are people out there who are organized and label their boxes and then unpack them and clean and blah blah, and even they don’t like moving. Well… I am NOT organized and there was no labeling, and at the end, we were throwing stuff in paper bags and moving those over and then the cleaning! There are floors that need mopping, and trees dropping branches and leaves, and laundry, and etcetc. It’s calmed down a lot since the beginning, but still. (Hrmmm, actually quite a number of you have had to deal with my litany of complaints every time you say “hey” so let this be a preview and warning to you. Although CT gets it the worst, I have been sending her whining unsolicited emails inviting her to visit me so I can show her the new place but we both know I just want someone to unpack stuff and put it away and organize and clean and get me a drink!)

But ANYWAY, enough of that, FOR NOW (more coming, that’s a threat, not a promise)! For doing so well (note how I am being gracious, although less so now that I am pointing out my graciousness), I thought K deserved an acknowledgment, late or not.

This year’s Know-Nothing Official Final Standings although we all knew how it was going to pan out a long time ago:
Special K (nice job, only one to break 60 points): 63
mim, Pol (beginner’s luck!): 59
Yut: 56
President of the US: 55
Lew, Chalk: 54
CT, misa, Seth (way outta the cellar): 48
shio: 46
YuHK (alone at the bottom!): 45

I have put CT in charge of your prize! Collect it when you see her. Congrats, aren’t you glad Air Force wasn’t in it this year:)

Better Internets

For a couple of months now, we’ve struggled with our internet service. If I was browsing more media-heavy sites (just browsing!) or using Google Reader (guess it updates a lot) then Yut’s game would lag. Or video would stutter. So, for example I would have to schedule my photo uploads. All sorts of completely unacceptable behavior and compromises.

So we started to talk about upgrading our AT&T DSL service. They have tiers, $5 gets you slightly better service, you know how that goes. Well we had 3 mbps download and 512 kbps up, which is already the second best possible tier. So we could pay $35 for 6mbps down and 768kbps, which was somewhat tempting because there’d be no changes, the service would just get better. But Comcast (which we used to have years and years ago but canceled due to horrible-ness) has a promotion for $25 per month for something like 15? mbps down and 5? mbps up! I know, it’s at least five times better, for less! Geez, what was AT&T thinking. Although to be fair, AT&T does offer FiOS service with amazing speeds, but they only bundle it with TV service or whatever. (Again, what were they thinking?!)

So yeah, we switched. The customer service guy on the phone (because for some reason, trying to sign up online felt harder — I’m a troglodyte) was nice and efficient. And dude, the Comcast tech actually showed up on time for the appointment!!! So we are hopeful that they are going to be better than they were, service wise. So far, we love it, everything feels much nicer and there is no more internet hogging, or grumpy accusations thereof. :)

Hopefully this solves the problem, or else we might have to adopt Michael’s method: cable service for one, dsl for the other. And to think I used to make fun of him for it.

We canceled the DSL a few days after the cable service got working — can’t have downtime, y’know — and canceled our home phone service too. Too bad AT&T has crap cell service at home. Luckily Yut isn’t on AT&T as well.

On a Jet Plane

I’m on an airplane, getting free internet. Pretty cool, eh? It’s a Virgin America/Google deal — now through January 15, free wifi on flights. And it’s at least as good as my sister’s DSL service!

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