Friday, May 8, 2020

Computer Hardware Friday - I'm an Idiot

I think I've marketed towards myself.

Judging from the hellscape that is both my living room and Animal Crossing house, I'm not much an interior decorator. I like clean and well-designed rooms. They make me happy and more productive. I'm just gloriously incapable of creating those rooms myself.

Instead, I just move things. Often to nowhere in particular. Just someplace new.

The doldrums of the pandemic have firmly set in. Spring has finally arrived, for real this time, to our Minnesota home. It's a perfect time to lace up the boots and enjoy the great outdoors.

Except I'm very obviously not going to do that. There are bugs and sunburn out there.

Instead, I've moved my PC to the living room with it's large windows that let me simulate being outside without actually having to put pants on. And it's worked, at least for now, my mood has improved and I'm feeling more productive. I even got a little fancy, and put that expensive gaming computer up on the desk, with the glass side facing me so I can see all the little internals and inexplicable RGB lighting.

I also see an empty M.2 slot on the motherboard. That graphics card also says RTX 2080 right on it. Wouldn't it look better if it said RTX 2080Ti? I'm only using 2 of my 4 RAM slots. I have literally no need for more RAM. But do you think those empty slots get lonely at night? What about that drive bay? You could fit like 6 hard disk drives in that bad boy. Or solid state drives? You don't even technically have to mount them. Just duct tape them in there wherever. No. What a man really needs in life is a 1600 watt power supply. My whole town should know by the lights dimming that Everwake has sat down to play some Minesweeper.

I have marketed towards myself. Where I see slots and space I see opportunity, and my wallet cries out for relief.

"You've been spending so much less money since the pandemic started. You owe it to yourself. Remember that one time you had to uninstall a game? That's just so inconvenient. The only answer is an 8TB hard drive. Look, it's $10 off!"

My usual response to these situations is to close the browser tab. In 24 hours, if I still really want it, I'll go back and buy it. If I go back earlier or later it doesn't count. It's got to be within the 20-28 hour timeframe.

It mostly works.

What usually ends up happening is that I spend a month or so obsessing over something before finally breaking down and getting it. Right now that obsession is a new hard drive. Having the extra space would actually be genuinely useful. The external drives I use for non-gaming storage are slow and one recently failed on me. Screenshots for this blog, ROMs for N64 and PS1 games, and billions of pictures of my dog are taking up more space than I expected. Also, my SSD on this computer is only 250GB. That used to be just fine. Space for Windows, an MMO, and 1-3 games. But now even non-MMOs are taking up 100+ GB of space having more fast storage on hand would certainly be useful.

So what are my options? I keep a 'multi-reddit' that combines several subreddits that collate discounts on games and gaming hardware. At this point I have a pretty good handle on the pricing trends for most things. Storage is about the same as it always is. A little more expensive because of the pandemic perhaps. So there's no real deals to be had right now, and I don't expect there will be anytime soon.

For a fast drive, I want to take the easy route and just plug a M.2 drive in. My eye is on the 1 terabyte Western Digital SN550. The problem is that link is a third-party seller at $20 over MSRP. The drives are sold out most places right now and I'll have to pay premium, and possibly forgo a warranty.

Traditional hard disk drives are better. The prices are about the same and there actually in stock. The bit of friction is that I've never actually installed a HDD in this particular case before. It has a drive bay that I've never seen before. I think it's just a tool less set up, but I'm not 100% on which connectors need to go where to power the thing. I'll figure it out.

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