Out With The Old.

I bought my last desktop computer in 2004 and at the time I thought that it was a fairly high specification machine (I was moving up from an 800MHz(!) processor). It was a 1.6 GHz Sempron 2800+ processor, with 512MB Ram (later upgraded to 1GB) and a 128 MB GeForce 4 graphics card. It may have been “fairly high specification” for about a week, but that was about it, as I quickly realized that it really wasn’t anything special at all.

That said, I quickly learned how to get the most out of it and enjoyed playing games like Project IGI, Max Payne, Colin McCrae 2, Rogue Spear, Ghost Recon, Flight Unlimited II, and I even managed to get it to run GTA San Andreas, Far Cry, Quake 4 and Call Of Duty 2, although those last four had to have their graphic quality settings at the lowest they would go. I had Windows XP on it and it was a truly great machine in terms of reliability and in the end, length of service.

Well, to cut a long story short, I ended up breaking this old computer in January of this year, when I installed some NET Framework software that a Freeware program required to work. A friend got it going when I had failed to do so, but it quickly stopped working again. So I took it to PC World and asked them to install Windows 7 on it and repair anything that wasn’t right with it. A couple of weeks later I went to pick it up.

Well, it ran just great, when it was idle, it only used 350 MB of Ram and I was able to play music, have Firefox running and edit in Photoshop’s CS3. Although then, admittedly, it was maxing out the Ram. This was all fine, but unfortunately, Windows 7 did not like my old hardware and I was seeing the Blue Screen of Death at least once a day. Something I hadn’t seen since Windows 98. It was quickly becoming apparent that a new computer was going to be needed.

So this week, I took delivery of my new computer. It’s an Intel 2.8GHz Dual Core Processor, with 4GB Ram, an ATI Radeon 1GB graphics card and has a 1TB hard drive. Once I had set it to “Windows Classic” and installed a few tweaks, It really felt like what I was used to, but with the added benefit of swapping the hopeful “fairly high specifications” for something I can accurately describe as “truly great performance.”

I haven’t bought any new games yet, but I have installed Far Cry and Quake 4 on the new computer and with all the settings as high as they can go, it’s not having any problem at all running them. I know that the latest games are going to be very demanding on the new computer, and some of them will have to have the graphic settings turned down, but it doesn’t matter, I have years of games to catch up on and they’ll look really good.

The old computer? It’s sitting next to the TV in the living room, currently acting as a DVD/DivX/Mp3 player. I was going to give it to a friend for spares, but I keep looking at it and can’t help think that it might still have a place in my life. That old computer and I have been through a lot together. So many movies watched on it, so much music listened to, emails written, conversations enjoyed (and not enjoyed) and my poetry… I wrote my best book on that computer.

Now I think about it, maybe it doesn’t have to be “out with the old” after all.

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