New Computer Stuff on the Way

I sure seems that I order a lot of computer stuff, doesn’t it? Here are my most recent purchases.

My video card is starting to go. If I let the PC sit until it goes into suspend mode, I have about a one in five chance of the screen being corrupted when it resumes. I assume that it is because of the heat building up on the card, but I can’t be sure. It’s a Sapphire Radeon 9200 (don’t laugh), and is only about 18 months old. But, I do run my computers hard, so it is time for a replacement.

I was torn on video cards. I wanted something with 8 pixel pipelines, I knew that. I checked out the Radeon 9600XT, x700, and 9800 PRO. The 9600XT only had four pipelines, so it was out. The x700 looked good, but it seemed that it doesn’t perform very well– not as well as the 9800 PRO. The 9800 PRO was just too much money. I check out nVidia’s offerings– 6200, 6600, 6800, FX5800-5900-5950. The 6200 was a weak, four pipeline card. Not good enough. The 6600 looked good– and the GT version looked even better– but they were out of my price range. Same goes for the 6800– too much money. The FX series is very hard to find, and also doesn’t seem to perform as well as the 6000 series.

So, I hit Ebay. I found a lot of 9800 PROs for sale, but they were mostly used, or sold for beyond my budget. I bid on a lot of them, but never won.

Then, I found this little gem in ChiefValue’s refurbished section:

HIS Hightech ICE98-2H-ZAM Radeon 9800PRO 128MB DDR AGP 4X/8X Video Card – OEM (Refurb) – $84.99 delivered

Yup, that’s right– it’s a Radeon 9800PRO for $85. Check out the picture:

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This thing looks awesome! Let’s hope it works, and works well.

So, now I had some other things to get.

Jaime’s PC is now running an Athlon XP 2600 that is being cooled by a Zalman CNPS5100-Cu. It’s a nice little cooler, made of pure copper, and was very inexpensive ($13 from SVC.com). The only problem is that it is loud. Sure, I can set it to silent mode (20dB), but in order to keep her CPU cool, I need it on full speed (36dB). It’s just too loud when you consider we have three PCs in this room.

So, I ordered her one of each of these:

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For those of you who have not seen the Nexus DF1209SL-3 Fan, I highly recommend you check it out. It doesn’t push a heck of a lot of air, but it is by far the quietest PC fan that is available today. – Rotation speed: 1500 RPM – Airflow: 27 CFM – Acoustic noise: 19.2 dB(A)

Next up was Jaime’s Northbridge cooler. She’s got a Soyo motherboard, and they use this tiny, high-RPM fan to cool the northbridge. The fan is obviously a ball-bearing fan, as I can hear them starting to go. The last thing I want is a fried motherboard caused by the failure of a $2 fan, so I will replace it with a Zalman ZM-NB32J North Bridge Heatsink. They’re only $4.25 each, so I actually ordered two– on for her system, one for mine:

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Next up is her video card. It’s also a Radeon 9200, but hers has a fan on it. It is the loudest, most annoying fan I think I have ever heard. It has a high pitch whine, and the wire connected to the fan has an annoying rattle to it. It has to go. The replacement is an Evercool VC-RHA Universal & Noiseless Heatpipe VGA Cooler:

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It’s only $16, compared to $25+ for most products in its price range, and the reviews were pretty positive. It has no fans and no moving parts, so that should definitely put an end to that annoying fan.

The last item I got from SVC is really more of a splurge than anything else. SVC.com has some excellent prices, and this deal did me in. I bought five sets of Coolermaster CRC-U01 Copper RAM Chip Coolers. Why five sets? Because they were cheap. SVC has them for $.99 a set– compared to $6-$12 a set on Froogle! I just couldn’t pass it up. I’ll use them for Jaime’s RAM (mine came with blue heat spreaders installed), the RAM on our Utility PC (used to handle some audio and encode for AD Radio), and some on whatever card or motherboard RAM or microprocessors without heatsinks:

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I also picked up some toner refills for my Samsung ML-1740 laser printer (that I bought brand new for $40!). The cartridges have the drum built right into them, but they only contain enough ink for 6,000 prints. That means that the “refurbishing” process consists of unscrewing the “refill” screw, screwing on a funnel, and pouring in the toner. I picked up three refills for about $5.50 each, compared to $80/cartridge!

All in all I spent $85 at ChiefValue on the video card, about $54 at SVC.com, and about $17 on toner and I think I got over $300 in value.

I’ll post some mini-reviews of each item once I get them!

Mike

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