Saturday, July 8, 2023

A Week Since The Computer Was Serviced...

So it's been about a week since I got my PC back from the shop and so far, so good... I guess?

I suppose I should bring you all up to speed.

So I'm doing whatever one day and I turn on my PC. For the record, it's a HP Omen gaming computer from 2017 - 6th or 7th generation, 32 GB of RAM, 2 hard drives, higher end graphic card for its day. So I turn on this PC and the next thing you know, the fan starts blowing really fast and really loud. It's been like that for a while and I've done a couple things; opened it up and had it cleaned out a bit, reset the whole system, that sort of thing. Fan went down a bit at the end, but I'm worried that it might crap out on me again. Because the thing I'm not sure if it's the case fan that's acting up or even if it's a CPU fan thing that might need replacing and... while the former might not be much of an issue, the latter is another story, because that means dipping into thermal pasting and other things that are beyond my capabilities. 

See, kids. I can do some basic maintenance on PC. I could swap hard drives and ram sticks. Add in a DVD drive if I really need one, but when it comes to the more advanced bits that involve swapping chips and heavy duty stuff like that, I would like that shit to be handled by somebody else. So I'm going to find a place close that can get the thing checked out. Best case; they replace the parts that need to be fixed. Worst case; it's a lost cause and I should get a new system... which really sucks because the type of hardware I'm going for... which is mainly for video production, but I'd like to be able to run a few decent games on there... that shit don't come cheap.

I take my tower to the PC shop and I explain my problem. In hindsight, I wish that I had taken some video of the fan on the fritz so that he'd have something to look for rather than my failed attempts at impersonating a fan on the fritz. So he took the PC into the shop, ran it through 12 hours of the most intense stress tests and outside of the usual activity, he wasn't able to recreate the problem. Maybe it was software related or poor ventilation. In any event, he cleaned out the inside of the box and even replaced the thermal paste on the CPU. And he told me that if the fan started acting up again, we could replace with a regular fan. Good dude, smart fellow, and it wasn't a huge colossal dent on the wallet.

This was about a week ago and so far the fan hasn't acted up on me and on top of that, I did most of what I did before without a hitch... which is just as well because other than the fan, it's still a fine PC that performs more than admirable. And it handles everything I throw at it quite nicely. I've been slowing adding back all my old programs and we'll see how long before the fan begins to act up again... but so far, it's been smooth sailing. Actually, smoother than usual, all things considered. The fan has not acted up on me once.

Now, while the PC was out of commission and seeing that I was going to need to eventually get a replacement to continue doing this stuff, I started shopping around for a temporary solution of sorts. I considered one of those refurbished gaming PCs on Amazon and some of them have models similar to the stats I need for decent prices. I had bought a refurbed PC for my father, who needed a new system because his old Acer was on the verge of crapping out and that's been working fine so far... even if all he does with it is play dominoes and watch Facebook videos.

The caveat was that this was a refurbished PC from the last decade. There might be new components, but it also came with a bunch of dongles for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth; stuff that would normally be built in to PCs today. Most refurbished PC listings on Amazon mentioned something about adapters and things of that nature, which left me realizing that maybe this wasn't the best idea after all.

So what I ended up doing was buy one of those mini PCs that were on sale. This wasn't a sudden decision out of left field or anything because I had bought a lesser model for myself a couple years (for minor stuff) and generally speaking, I was quite happy with how it performed. So it made sense to try and go for something stronger. The winner ended up being a Beelink Mini Gaming PC with a Rysen processor, 32 gigs of ram, 'bout 500 bucks... and yes, it's a step down from the Omen. Obviously, the smaller form factor meant no DVD drive, so I need to use an external... though in fairness, the disc drive is something that was phased out for some time in desktops, so that's an eventuality that I have to prepare for. There are also far fewer USB slots; a stark contrast to the Omen, which had USB slots up the ass. Obviously, performance is not on the same level (more on that in a bit) and it came with one hard drive, but there's room for another if desired. I am hoping to add another one on there, if only to have something separate from the main C drive. Because that's one of the things I like to have is a second internal drive that I could throw all my stuff on while the main C drive remained its own thing. It was actually the thing that sold me on the other one.

However, as far as some of the stuff I'm going for it here... VEGAS worked fine on it and rendering videos was as quick as the old tower. OBS seemed to work fine for recording footage, but tends to stutter or skip frames entirely, which made it somewhat unreliable for long-form recordings. Even on the Capture Card front, the recordings were not quite ideal. For what it's worth, it runs games fairly well, but as far as recording HD footage or even the rare instance of streaming, I'd need something stronger.

In any event, things are slowly, but surely returning to some semblance of normalcy and here's hoping we can get things back on track.

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