Garrett (garote) wrote,
Garrett
garote

Upgrade-itis

So I've been running on the same Mac Pro for about nine years. That's a pretty incredible stretch of time for a computer nerd to be using the same computer.

Over that time I've:

  • Upgraded the video card four times
  • Installed a Blu-ray drive
  • Migrated my boot drive to an SSD
  • Expanded the hard drive capacity a dozen times or more
  • Installed a wireless module, mail-ordered from a shifty Chinese part supplier
  • Installed a SATA expansion card (two if you count the one that didn't work)
  • Installed a USB3 expansion card

I would have upgraded the RAM too, but it was already maxed out.

Not a bad run of upgrades for one system. But earlier this year, some internal component blew up, and the rear fan stopped working. I installed a firmware hack to spin the other fans faster, but the inside of the case was still getting uncomfortably hot.

So I prowled around the Craigslist ads for a few months, until I found the right system at the right price, and performed a brain transplant:

IMG_7097

At the same time I bought a little gadget that hooks up to my wireless network and tells me how much electricity a single power socket is using in the house. So I put it on the socket leading to my computer and stereo setup.

When I transferred to the new machine, my power consumption dropped by about 40 watts. That was nice, but it was nothing compared to how much my whole system uses:

IMG_7098

That's about 400 watts when the system is awake!

Eventually I realized that my old amplifier is a POWER HOG, even when it's not playing any music, and when I shut it off the usage instantly drops by another 200 watts. Good grief. That explains why it's also a pretty decent space heater.

Of course as soon as I was done with the upgrade, I booted into Skyrim to check out the increased graphics performance.

IMG_6839

It was pretty good!

IMG_6840

Then I lost several hours to digital homesteading. I acquired digital lumber and digital stone, and made some parts on a digital forge, and pretty soon I was buying furniture and hanging weapons on the walls.

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