Wednesday, October 6, 2010

New Desk!/A 2nd monitor/My bro's first build/Changes to my PC

(Wow. 4 topics for one post. Take a deep breathe, people, cause away we go!)

Chapter 1: The New Desk
About 3 months ago, I mentioned that I wanted to get a secondary monitor, but one that was small enough to fit in my desk situation. I basically said that I hadn't found one and gave up looking, since apparently the 14" widescreen VGA LCD that's less than 10" tall is not a very big market. (Who woulda guessed?) A few days ago, I decided to try searching for a bit. And I found one. I found one. I was excited! The Hannspree 14" Widescreen LCD was everything on my list, and for only $60. Normally I would have jumped at the chance (especially after so many hours of failed attempts earlier). But after helping my brother build his computer, I wanted to hold off for a few days. (I'll explain why later.)

Then today I was talking with a coworker about how I'd found the monitor that was small enough to fit in my desk, and he basically told me that I shouldn't shop around my desk, my desk should be built around my shopping. It's not like the concept hadn't occurred to me before, but him saying it plainly to my face kind of gave me an awakening. So I decided to start contemplating buying a new desk. The desk I had really wasn't working out all that well anyway. Well, it was working fine, but there were things about it I wanted to change, specifically the keyboard tray being crunched, the hutch getting in the way of the monitor, and it basically being too shallow to actually do schoolwork on.

So long story short, I spent an hour looking around websites, picked one out, drove over to Staples, and got me a brand new desk! It's actually really, REALLY big (which my brother keeps reminding me of), but I really like it because I always spread stuff out when I'm working, and the dainty horizontal space of my old one was always kind of annoying. Plus the keyboard tray was bigger, there is no hutch so I can put several monitors up on it, and it's definitely deep enough. It's a good desk, especially for only $60.

I really don't know why I wanted to share this with the world. It's not like I'm going to review the desk or anything, I just....wanted to say. Plus, it sets up a good intro to the next part...

Chapter 2: The Second Monitor
Now that you know my desk situation, it makes sense that I say I can finally get a second monitor! I feel like kind of a loser for only having one for so long.....workspaces can only go so far. But basically, now I can get any size I want, and I'm thinking of getting a bigger monitor than I have now, then bumping my 19" to be secondary.

I've searched the better part of today looking, and I've narrowed it down to two options:

  1. ASUS MS236H (23", 1920x1080, 2ms, 50000:1) $160
    • Pros: Looks pretty, higher contrast ratio
    • Cons: No DVI port, no VESA mount, can't sit up straight
  2. ASUS VH236H (23", 1920x1080, 2ms, 50000:1) - $159
    • Pros: DVI port, full tilt control, VESA mount
    • Cons: Lowerish contrast ratio
It seems to me that the choice is obvious: I don't care how it looks as long as it performs ok. I've heard everywhere that the VH226H is great, so I'm hoping its big brother will be good too. The only reason I'm even slightly hesitant is that I've read on one or two sites that somehow the VH236H is not as great as its little brother, which I don't understand. I don't think I'm that picky though, and it was voted Customer Choice Award Winner on Newegg, so I'm thinking I'll go with it. Now if I can only justify spending $160 after a $60 desk.

Chapter 3: The Bro's PC
My little brother (only in age...he's bigger than me) decided that he wanted to get an upgrade, since his Toshiba laptop couldn't play many good games. I talked him into building a desktop. Yay! I definitely think it is a more sound investment. By far. He was looking at a Sony VAIO for $1000, and he built a PC with way better specs for $1200.

(Here's where his specs will go if I can go up and gets his manuals later.)

The real reason I mention this is because while it is his PC, it is also kinda mine. It's what I would build if I were to buy right now (though he did spend a bit more than me). I suggested an Nvidia graphics card, he got a way better case than me, a non-stock CPU heatsink, and an i7. Basically after using my PC for a good while, I've decided that I want Nvidia next, a better case, and I'll probably end out going with an Intel CPU. We did share a few things as well. He got the same PSU as me (just a few more watts, but the same brand and line) and the same hard drive as me.

It was really fun and I'm glad to have helped him, but it really kinda depressed me and made me jealous. I made quite a few mistakes on my build, and my brother kind of benefited from me suggesting to avoid those. Plus, he spent nearly 2x as much as me, so he got way better specs. But I was drooling over alot of his components like his case, CPU, and massive heatsink. It really made me want to upgrade my build, but I really haven't got the full moneys worth of the parts that are in there now. I can still play the games I want, and nothing's broken yet. I could buy new crap now, but then I'd be dropping hundreds of dollars to upgrade hardware that's working fine.

I dunno. It's a weird feeling. I'm more of a cheapskate, and plus, I'd never ever built a computer before, so I tended to go lower end in case I chose wrong. And you know what? As I'm writing this, I'm glad I did! Because if I had gone higher end, I would have spent a ton of money on an ATI graphics card when I would now want Nvidia, and AMD processor when I now want Intel, and other things. It was my first build ever, and I chose a cheap things to stick my foot in the water, I'm ok with that. Even if I drool a bit.

Chapter 4: The Possible Changes
That being said, there are definitely things I want to change about my build, and I really don't know if when they're going to happen, of if I should just scrap it and start over.

For short term (as in ASAP, in order of importance):
  • Wifi: I don't know what my bro is doing in terms of networking yet. But I do know that my network card sucks. Balls. I still haven't written a post about it yet, but it's because I get so pissed even thinking about it.
  • Case: Because mine sucks and seeing the one my bro got made me want to get one that doesn't. Plus to help with cooling purposes. He had 5 fans, mine came with 1.
  • Speakers: I got the my SpeakerBar to fit my last desk, and now I have all this room. My brother got a sweet system with a subwoofer. I don't even use my speaker that much, honestly, but maybe I would if I had a better system...
For long term (as in, for my first upgrade):

  • Mobo: Mostly because my mobo uses DDR2 and USB2.
    • 4-6GB DDR3: My current system only has 2GB DDR2, but I don't want to upgrade since DDR3 is the standard now. 2GB was ok for me...especially since I was/am using XP.
  • Nvidia GPU: I just like where Nvidia is going. I have nothing against ATI. I was going to possibly get one soon so I could get one with two DVI ports (like my brothers) so I could have two monitors, but then I found the ones I mentioned about that have HDMI.
  • (Intel) CPU: I really don't know....Intel definitely brags more, but I'm not sure which one I'd want to go with. I honestly think a tri-core at 2.9GHz is fine for me now. And it's behind two very expensive items, so it'll probably be a ways down the road. But then I guess if I switch over to Intel, I'd have to get an Intel mobo, and then my AMD wouldn't work with it...hmm.....
    • Heatsink: No one told me to not use the stock one....
 I don't really regret buying anything, I just feel stupid for buying some things. I really want to work on buying things that can last, and maybe that means buying higher up on the pricing line, but it definitely means thinking things through more.

That's it for my very long post. Alot of stuffs been happening. I'm going to really have to control myself to not buy crap alot.

I'm tired. Bed time.

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