26 December 2008

In for a Penny, in for a Pound...

Or, it seemed like a good idea at the time...

One of the best bits of advice/wisdom ever read was "Make sure she has her own desk, AND KEEP YOUR HANDS OFF!" I think it was from the notes of Lazarus Long (RAH). The current extension of this idea would extend to "Make sure she has her own PC and KEEP YOUR HANDS OFF!".

Now I've lived by that wisdom both in terms of desk and PC. However the SCSon does not yet comprehend the rule. And his favorite online destination is RoBlox. Kind of WOW for the Legos Set. Some time back we set him up on Mom's old PC (an eMachines 1 GHZ Celeron machine). It simply wasn't up to running RoBlox. So he spend all his time on the SCQueen machine.

Leading in to Christmas, The Frys add posted on the wall at work drew my eye and the gears started to grind. They had an ECS motherboard with AMD 64x2 dual core processor bundle on sale for $80. Add in another $20 for 4MB RAM. Yea, a C-note could upgrade the old machine and get the SCSon off SCQueen's machine. It won't be bleeding edge, but up to the task. I did a little late night poking around the old eMachine and it appeared the Powersupply and case would transfer, as well as the CD Burner and 20G hard drive. Small but adequate for the task.

Today, Merry Christmas plus one I sat down to do the swap. First problem, the new motherboard would not fit into the case. There is a physical interference between a drive bay and the memory cards. Ok, I can solve this with some Dremel work, but that's not all... The eMachine's powersupply is small (150W) and has the wrong connector. Oh, and the CPU cooling fan isn't compatible either.

So back to Frys today for a new case & fan. Found a case & 380W powersupply combo for $35 and CPU fan for another $11. Also picked up a $4 tube of thermal grease. Ok, summing it up in my head, I'm now into this for a hundred and a half.

Back home to continue assembly. The fan is wrong, made for an Intel MB, not AMD. Dang... should have read the box closer. My bad. Rats, that means another trip to Frys. Continue assembly and put the return trip off as long as possible. Moved over the drives and Oh that eMachines CD drive really looks gawdawful in that new case. Besides it's not even a DVD drive. Add a DVD drive to the Frys list.

It's back to Fry's after dinner. The return line is long and slow as molasses in January (Slow even in AZ!) Their procedure seems to require a supervisor's password to complete even the simplest return. Didn't help that the supe was over chatting up with the exit door monitor and would answer each "PASSWORD" call with what can only be called a "mosey".

20 minutes later I had the credit paperwork. Found the correct fan (+5 more than the first fan) and picked up a DVD drive ($30). Mental total $185.

Back home the continue assembly. The fan fits. Connect up the DVD drive and external peripherals. Windoze fails to boot. Reload Windoze and still no joy. It seems wrong I should have to buy a new copy of windoze when I already have this license and intent is to upgrade the hardware. Anyone know the upgrade procedure (old MB would be taken out of service and/or converted to Linux)? Seems I shouldn't have to buy a new license to upgrade the hardware.

But if I do, it appears Frys still has XP available ($100) and while I'm at it, I'd put in a 500GB drive for another $60.

Mental sum, that C-note system is now $345. Not including tax license, dealer prep, options and destination charges. You can see why I want to reuse the XP license. That $100 represents about 29% of the system cost.

I'm open to alternate solutions. Do you know how to make the existing XP license transfer? RoBlox won't run under linux (heck, it barely runs under windows!). Hmmm.. better test that theory assumption. If Roblox will run under Fedora... That would solve the problem, and cut off a whole host of others!

Update: NewEgg had XP for $90 and the 500GB drive was $60 ($ten less than Frys). Also no tax and free shipping.

Total cost about $335, and no crapware!

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