bit-tech.net

Switch Side Story Pt 1

Switch Side Story Pt 1 Introduction

Luke: “Is the Dark Side Stronger?”
Yoda: “No. Quicker, Easier, More Seductive.”

Ah – PC’s. The very lifeblood of this site, and something that anybody who visits here couldn’t do without. We spend hundreds (sometimes thousands) of [insert currency of choice] on these boxes of wonder – upgrading them to the latest and greatest hardware, festooning them with lights and windows so we can see our latest acquisitions at work, adding gauges and displays to probe the beast’s health and to check it’s heartbeat is strong and steady. We like to tinker, tune & eke every last drop of performance out their silicon bones. We shun beige, and encase them in shiny cases of aluminium or steel, some with finishes better than the car on your drive.

And this is all good. As enthusiasts, we love to do this stuff. I’ve had a PC as my main machine since I began my A-Levels back in ’88 (Do the math to see how old GOO is!). I’ve lived and breathed Wintel branded air since then, doing as the majority of you do – buying new hardware to run that new killer game. Drooling over the latest samples from AMD, Intel, ATI and nVidia. Patching Windows to keep it humming along. Fixing the neighbours PC, as he knows you’re one of those Peecee experts. What “PC people” do.

I can see by the look on your faces that you can sense the BUT coming.

To be quite frank, I’m getting tired of it all - may be it’s my age and the onset of senility. However, why should I have to shell out another barrel load of cash just to play Doom VI or the latest Unreal Tournament? People with games consoles don’t. And why do I have to keep on downloading multi-megabyte patches to keep my OS from opening the door and saying “Hi, do come in! Take the silverware, we don’t need it!” when some “1337 H4X0R” decides to use the latest vulnerability to screw around with my system.

And the noise. Why the noise! Yes, I accept that if you push a system to the limits it needs to be cooled. And I understand that there are alternatives to having fans howl away, but I for one don’t think they’re all that practical. Water-cooling isn’t exactly portable should you wish to take your PC anywhere, and refrigerated systems aren’t silent, as they make noises like, well, like a fridge.

I now discern a certain “where is this all leading, GOO” look on your faces. I’ll get there in a minute – don’t worry.

It’s with all this in mind that I’ve been slowly changing the hardware mix in the PCs here at stately GOO Manor. My server is now silent, as it runs a passively cooled mini-itx motherboard. My gaming is now done on a Playstation 2, due to the sheer convenience of the experience. My other PC’s (A standby gaming rig for stuff I can’t readily get on a PS2, and a laptop) are all configured to do their own updating (but I still maintain it shouldn’t have to be this way).