Desktop PC Upgrade is Complete… Yeah!

computer_upgradeMy battle to upgrade my Desktop PC is finally over. Everything seems to be working good from a hardware standpoint, and I’m quite pleased with the results. To start, here are the basic components in my main Desktop system:

  • Intel 2 Quad Core Processor (2.33 MHz, 4MB Cache) – New
  • ASUS P5QC Motherboard – New
  • 4GB DDR2 Kingston 1066 MHz RAM (on two sticks) – New
  • Western Digital 500 GB SATA Drive (16 MB Cache) – New
  • Gigabyte 7300GT 256 MB, 128-Bit Video Card PCI Express x16
  • D-Link DWL-G122 Wireless USB Adapter
  • Hauppauge WinTV PVR-150 PCI TV Tuner Card

Now, I’m pretty much a perfectionist so I try to keep my system as lean and as efficient as possible. So, I only install my essential software and do my best to tweak and fine tune the Vista settings for optimum performance. As such, I carefully went through and implemented several suggestions that I found on the Internet for improving Vista’s performance (e.g., turning off disk indexing, reducing application shutdown times, etc). My new system seems to be running just as snappy as my previous Intel Core 2 Duo Vista system, so I definitely did not lose any performance in the upgrade. 🙂

Now, you would think that with the faster RAM and faster Quad processor that I would notice a speed up in performance, however, I didn’t see that with interactive use of my system. But, I did notice that when running a software package called DVRMSToobox (for converting recorded DVR-MS files to WMV format for my Zune player) it did do the conversion operation much faster than on my previous Core 2 Duo system. During the conversion I noticed that all four Quad processors were busy, so the additional processors along with more memory certainly helped. So overall, I’m very pleased with my new setup.

From a software standpoint, I decided to do a fresh install of Vista 32-bit OS on my new 500 GB hard drive. That way, I’m assured to not have any old or incompatible drivers floating around that could cause problems with my new hardware. Also, it’s always nice cleaning house a bit (that’s my anal perfectionist side talking). The downside, is that I needed to sit through all the Windows OS updates followed by re-installing all my software. Also, I needed to configure my FireFox web browser bookmarks, MS-Outlook settings and rules, etc. So, it took me about two days to completely configure my system to my own standards.

One thing I’ll note, is that with every Motherboard upgrade certain legacy (old) components become obsolete. With almost every upgrade I seem to always need newer memory (either I need more RAM or my existing sticks are not compatible). Same goes for the Video card, as the connection interface is always being improved (luckily, my current video card wasn’t too old for this Motherboard). Also, most new Motherboards don’t come with legacy ports such as the 9-pin serial port or VGA ports (for integrated graphics). Instead, they come with 8 to 12 USB ports for connected perpherials. In my case, not having a Parallel Port (LPT) with this new Motherboard was an issue since I still have a working HP Laserjet printer.

To resolve the missing LPT port, I was able to find a USB-To-DB25 Parallel Cable (made by Cables Unlimited) for $20 US. It seemed like exactly what I needed, however, when I plugged it in my Vista system couldn’t find the proper driver for it. After searching on the Internet for a solution, I came across several postings indicating that I needed to insert the driver disk that came with the cable to get Vista to recognize it. I then went through the packaging material for this cable, and found a very small CD wedged between the cardboard packaging. I would have never thought to pull apart the cardboard backing to find this CD (it should have been marked on the outside of the package)! After installing the proper driver, Vista found the cable and I was able to easily connect my HP Laserjet printer and use it again. Whew!

So, I’m back in business and hopefully my new system will be sufficient until my next upgrade (which occurs approximately every two years).

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