Why?

After having been away for a week with work (not out of choice I can assure you) there was a need to catch up on some basic domestic chores yesterday morning. I’m not sure it’s a good thing that you now need to sit in front of a computer to do most things as the High Street which is populated by Wetherspoons, estate agents and charity shops will testify!

In my half jaded state I hardly noticed my PC glitch and then switch off. Hmm! On hitting the power switch to restart I was then rewarded with the acrid smell of burning dust and noticed one of the temperature sensors on the front of the case indicating a temperature somewhere north of the FTSE 1000 after an investment banker had been playing with the LIBOR rate. Oh crap! A quick squint through the case side revealed the processor cooling fan sitting still. That’s never a good thing.

Thankfully my cooler has a standard 120mm case fan bolted onto a piece of aluminium that makes the Sears Tower look small, so a trip to Novatech replaced that very easily.

On hitting the power button all went well for about 15 seconds before the smell of burning dust was once again liberated and the fan ground to a halt, as the system went haywire and told me there was no system disk installed.

Best guess is the CPU fan controller has gone on the motherboard. Just what’s needed on a Friday and especially after getting everything Windows 10 wise running perfectly!

So then came the usual dance of what to do. Like cars being driven off the forecourt of a showroom and depreciating by the time you reach the tarmac of the road, computers are old technology before you’ve even bought them. With that in mind it was going to be pointless to attempt to replace just the motherboard. Plus, after potentially having warmed a few surrounding components by several degrees centigrade what would go bang next just to spite me?

Spending chunks of money is never helpful, but if you’re going to do it with IT kit, do it properly to prevent regrets and provide some modicum of future proofing.

With that in mind eBuyer are providing a nice new ASRock FM2A88M Extreme4+ Socket FM2+. This is from the same stable as the one used inside my radio but is the AMD variant rather than Intel. I’ve always been a strong advocate of separate components in systems along the line of “if you want something to do it well, let it do that alone rather than try and do everything halfheartedly”. That was very true of the radio as the soundcard needed to be the best of the best.

With my day to day PC that’s not so important and the ASRock FM2A88M Extreme4+ is another Micro ATX board, which with a suitable processor provides great graphics and hosts a bucket of features and connectivity which means I can ditch the various cards I’ve used in my current system.

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Now I’ve often thought that processor manufacturers have done a great job in their marketing.

I remember in the mid 90’s that processors had catchy names like “286” or “386”. Now we have the AMD A10-7870K Black Edition which sounds like it’s just finished training SEAL Team 6 in the latest urban warfare techniques and quite evidently appeals to the inner warrior of every pasty online gaming teenager. It worked on me so I bought one!

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More for the fact that it’s the highest spec processor the motherboard supports and unlocks a lot more of the graphics processing functions I must hasten to add!

Memory was another minefield. Gone are the days of just sticking in a stick of memory, now you have thousands of designs, colours and specifications out there. A lot of them look like they belong in the cockpit of a Stealth Fighter rather than a home PC!

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So I bought some that was cheap and black in colour, 16Gb’s worth to be precise. The table of supported manufacturers and specs for the motherboard was a confusing as hell and in the end I just gave up. I’m not overclocking this thing when it’s built, I just want it to work so I can get on with life so it should work a treat (hopefully).

So in the meantime I will sit and twiddle my thumbs as it looks like a nice weekend and being outside in the sun seems more appealing than trying to build a new computer. That said, my box of bits won’t be here until the middle of next week!

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