Sunday, February 07, 2016

Hardware Wrecking Ball


Seems like a wrecking ball has gone through my PC over the last week !

I managed to get out to the Mall again today to acquire a graphics card. Sadly made by Asus but that was the choice available. Asus are a fairly well known make but I've come across their shortcomings multiple times already. I would advise you to avoid them if you have a choice. But they are a lot better than some I could mention (like Belkin).

Anyway, after getting home and fitting the thing, I discovered yet another hardware problem. I thought my speakers were ok after testing them in the Macbook but I didn't realise then that one of the speakers was way down on power ... And there was me thinking that the sound card might be damaged on arrival.

I mentioned a distrust for Asus didn't I ? Well the install wasn't what you would call "without flaws". The installer took an ages to decide that the card wasn't there, despite Windows letting me know it was. It needed a reboot to sort that. Surely that should have been part of the install routine ? It usually is and I was surprised that it wasn't.

It's all up and running again now. I've switched to another speaker set, the Cambridge Audio bluetooth thingy that I acquired to supplement midnight car rides. (I still wanna do those !). I'm currently listening to someone playing Darkest Dungeon, which Steamgirl got for me for Xmas and which I really need to have a good play of. I held off until it achieved full release in mid Jan and haven't gone back to it.

What's broken this week ? And bear in mind that we had another power cut off blip in midweek (Wednesday if I remember right) which may have sparked off everything after the power supply :

Power supply ! A few weeks ago but ... unwelcome. At least it didn't break anything else like what certain no name power supplies have done to my machines in the past. If a power supply fails badly, it'll send more voltage around the system than the bits can tolerate, which leads to BOOM. Ok, silent boom but boom nonetheless. That bad power supply in the past took out a dvd drive and damaged a hard disc, I think it did more damage too but that's lost to fuzzy memory.

Graphics card - this has been coming for far too long. I took a piccy of the Bad Dots at Wimbledon last year to illustrate how bad iPlayer is. It has been Slightly Broke for ages and on Wednesday it decided it was going to be Mostly Broke. I didn't want to be without the potential for gaming (the ancient card is somewhat past it) so a AMD R9 380 built by Sapphire arrived yesterday. And ...

The sound broke. I think that's pure coincidence. I've had several graphics cards by Sapphire before and they've been fairly strong. My last machine had a Sapphire card until the end, when I switched back to nVidia for the new machine.

Anyway - first symptom - no sound out of the machine after starting up again. Bad news ... I thought it was the graphics card interfering but no amount of poking the settings fixed that. It was trying to send sound to the speakers but it wasn't happening. I have that Asus sound card now - fixed.

Speakers !

When I got the sound going again, the right speaker was badly down on volume and very tinny as well. Bad news. Left speaker sounded pretty sweet still. So I'm on my Cambridge Audio portable speakers now. The old speakers have done really well, I think I bought them when I moved here over a decade ago giving good sound for maybe £12. If they're still available, I'd consider them again. (Logic3 - recommended).

Picture time !

I did manage to give the graphics a test run yesterday, pulling something out of the hangar :
Yep. Shiny gold ship. I have it rigged for cargo running to medium distances at the moment and it is really well armed to fend off any attackers as well.

I haven't played Elite since they opened up some of the planets to landings. That's more complicated than it sounds but I'll leave that to other people. Too geeky. It is really nice though to be back able to fly into planets and land at the stations. Must peek at more of that.
This is me heading into land. I've slowed down to a quarter of the speed of light here, after shortly before being at Warp 5 on the old Star Trek scale (Warp Factor cubed = multiple of light speed travelled at) and I'm heading into the planet to land. And ...
The destination !

It does look a bit painted on at that height and we can only land on the airless places so far but ... It hails back to an old age where I'd, for kicks, fly into Earth's atmosphere and land at one of the planetary spaceports. Bliss for a technogeek kiddie wannabe astronaut.

Graphics have improved since Frontier Elite 2 was released way back in 1993.

Hopefully nothing more I have breaks in the near future !

No comments:

Post a Comment

So much for anonymous commenting ... If you would like to leave a message and don't have a suitable account, there's an email address in my profile.