Wednesday, April 05, 2006

The Forgotten Art of Torturing Oneself.

My name is Paulius, and I like to torture myself.

No, not in that way, you dirty minded perverts, let me give you an example.

My computer needs a new video card. The problem is, I only have a PCI Express slot, and no AGP slot.

If you’re not up on computers, let me put it this way. You can get a decent AGP card for about $50 - $100…PCI Express cards can cost up to, and including $600. Or so I thought.

So today, we visited Staples, an office supply store, because Sunny wanted a Receipt book. Of course, I wander off while she’s looking. My Geek-Sense was tingling.

It turns out that Staples also sells computer hardware. I started to look through their video card selection.

To my astonishment and surprise, they had a PCI Express video card for $100. Apparently, there’s been a price drop over the last few weeks with new graphics cards coming out. I drooled.

Now, I should point out here that $100 is out of my price range. We’re on Sunny’s single income, and until immigration sees fit to give me that little bit of paper that says I can work, it’s completely and totally illegal for me to earn money.

I don’t mean I’m not allowed to get a job. I mean that if I cut my mother-in-law’s grass, she gives me $5 for my trouble and immigration finds out about it, I get sent to an immigrant detention center (also known as immigrant jail), and I stay there until someone pays a $1000 dollar fine and buys me a ticket back to England. Once I get out, I get deported, and never allowed back into the USA again.

Let’s just say they’re a little strict.

However, the point here is that whereas spending $600 on a video card is dreamland time, a $100 card, while still out of my price range, is a lot more realistic price.

It’s what I like to call “Eventually Do-able”.

Can I see myself spending $600 on a graphics card? Not unless I win the lottery.

Can I see myself spending $100 on a graphics card? I’d do it tomorrow if I had the money.

So I get home and decide to torture myself by doing a little research. To be honest, I was secretly hoping that the card would be crap, so I didn’t have to think about…instead of spending the next few weeks trying to come up with a way to raise $100 that doesn’t involve me earning a penny of it. You never know, I might find a hundred dollar bill just lying in the gutter.

The card is, according to the reviews, the mutts nuts, the dogs bollocks and the bees knees (In other words, it was good. Great performance and features for the price).

One thing piqued my attention though. You need a power supply unit (PSU) that can put out at least 420 watts to make the thing work. I visit my PC manufacturers website (I miss my old completely ‘home-brew’ system that I built myself). It turns out that they’re very good at making very pretty websites, with lots of words…that contains no information whatsoever.

Apparently, my PC manufacturer can’t tell me how powerful my PSU is

In the end, I cracked open my PC case. This was my first bit of good news. Instead of my motherboard being green, it was red!…and everyone knows red things are faster than green things…just like cars!

The bad news? My power supply unit has a measly 300 watt output. A new PSU that would run the card would be around $80

You’d think I’d end there. You’d think I would be a little relieved that the bargain I couldn’t afford would do me no good whatsoever. I could forget all about it and go on with my life.

Of course, you know me better than that. I wondered what the power supply requirements for PCI Express cards would be.

You see, I wanted to know, in a purely academic sense you understand, what the power requirements are likely to be. In some distant future, I don’t want to just buy a card, and find I need to spend yet more money on a PSU. This is technology, and I like to, at the very least, know where the cutting edge is…even if I’m so far behind, I’m not even on the knife…I’m on the spoon in the next drawer down.

That’s when I found it. Online. A Visiontek Radeon X1300. A shit hot (for the price) card, 256 meg of GDDR memory, 400mhz clock, dual 400mhz RAMDACs, DVI support, …

Sorry, I’m drooling, had a bit of a nerdgasm there.

Basically, a damn decent card, for a hundred and fifty dollars and my PSU would run it.

So let’s get this straight. I’m now looking at a card, that I can’t afford, but I’m happy because it will work in my computer…plus, I don’t have to shell out more money that I don’t have, for a new PSU.

I’m actually no closer whatsoever to owning a new card…but it’s progress, isn’t it?

I needed reviews, again, in the hope that this card would be pronounced crap, and I could stop thinking about it.

So I googled it. You know where I ended up?…where I could get the same card, but with 512meg of memory and a 450mhz clock, for 20 dollars less than the one I was looking for the reviews for.

…and guess what? According to the reviews, this card is the mutt’s nuts, the dogs bollocks, the bee’s knees and the Cat’s Pajamas.

So thanks to a chance encounter at Staples, I now know of a great graphics card that would do everything I want and more (Did I mention the TV-Out, dual monitor capability, crossfire support and HDTV capability?)

…but I still can’t afford it.

You see, yesterday, a new graphics card would cost me $600, an amount so out of my reach that I didn’t even think about it.

Today I discover a card that is a ‘doable’ price, and absolute bargain…and I don’t have any money, and it’s illegal for me to get any.

Now I’ll spend the next few weeks thinking long and hard of ways to afford this new card…and it’s like attempting to open the box with the crowbar that’s inside.

Oh, and I don’t have a credit card either, so even if I had one hundred and fifty smackers in my hand, I wouldn’t be able to order it.

So…Does anyone know of any philanthropists who are handing out free money and credit cards?

Hmmm, I wonder what I’ll get for a kidney.


OzzyC said...



mistyforeverlost said...

Just think, but the time you can afford it or buy will be even cheaper. But then something new will be out and you'll be nergasming all over again.

Not very helpful, I'm sure.

Paulius said...

When it comes to computer, I always buy the second best anyway. You tend to get 90% of the functionality for 40% of the price.

And I only upgrade when I NEED to.

Kato said...

If it makes you feel any better, I bought an X800XTPE about a year and a half or two years ago for around $550. It hurts to see betters cards out now that are 1/5th the price. And it's not even PCI Express.