First 2 Weeks of 2010, I Wear My Nerd Cap

It all started with me bookmarking pages from a local computer enthusiast forum, and me making eventual treks to Gilmore, and this nondescript netcafe with a rice dealer store-front.

See, despite my being in the IT for god-knows-how-long, I think I’ve been practical and reasonable with my geek purchases, with a few misses, of course. For example, I have no fashionable laptop to carry with me anywhere, because work does not require it, and if I do need to be online, unlike years ago when the only other option would be to find a netcafe, I have with me a wifi-enabled Nokia E63 smartphone.

This also means that I have a trusty, Gilmore-assembled desktop computer at home, about half a decade old would be my good estimate. There really is no need to make an upgrade, but rust started showing up on the corners of my CPU, and, though the computer is working perfectly anyway, I deemed it timely to make some upgrades.

First idea that came through was my stabilizing the temperature, and finding a way to make my rig quieter that it is, but the rust was getting to be real eyesore.

Now sitting on my desk is the new mini-tower casing (an Astone Enforcer), in glorious black. The new casing purchase isn’t the achievement here, its my ability now to have taken the guts out from the old one to this, sans short circuits, or incessant you-screwed-up beeps. There were only two things that were big concerns before I did the gutting: the wiring to turn on the pc, and the settling of the heatsink+fan (HSF) on the processor.

The HSF issue was resolved by a purchase of some cheap and accessible thermal paste (the gunk applied before putting the HSF on) a few days before, from everyone’s favorite cheap-everything PC place. Simple enough, I thought.

Then came another idea: the replacement of the HSF from the unit that came with my processor. Since I know I’ll be losing sleep over this, I got a new one, in its 500-peso glory, attached it, and was disappointed initially about how nothing changed. Further research made me learn two tips: one, the brass-colored screw bits that came with the casing purchase? I need them, but didn’t use them. They’re called spacers, and I should settled my motherboard over it. Two: lapping the heatsink, an overclocker term making the transfer of heat from the processor to the heatsink more efficient, by using sandpaper to make a mirror-finish on the heatsink-surface. That idea came through, and my processor temperature has drastically lowered itself to about 10C.

Then another idea: a keyboard tray. I don’t use a fancy computer table, but an actual office table my dad got from an office subasta, with some storage on both sides. For the longest time, I’ve had my monitor on top of phonebooks, and my keyboard dangerously sitting on the edge of the table. Mishaps have happened, and I have about 3-4 malfunctioning keyboards laying around to prove that. My existing one is only a few weeks old.

So I made a few calls to hardware stores, and made the Cubao roundup. No success, until I got to an office supplies shop with not very practical prices over most things, but at less than 500 pesos, with tired feet and a mind that begs to be satisfied, got it, had my brother install the thing, and my finalizing everything with flat-black spray-paint.

Any new ideas, you ask? Glad you did. Well, the HSF started emitting a very irritating barely-audible noise last night while my brother was burning discs. After some troubleshooting, the conclusion was: something was wrong with the HSF. Its usually silent on its own, but with the side-panel fan and the rear exhaust fan on, it gave off the noise, like there was some wire being hit by the fan. One temporary solution was to put some pressure on the actual unit, which I found out by pressing my finger on it. The resolution came to me as fairly easy: a one-peso coin, and a patch of double-sided tape.

I’m drained, and glad that today is payday. I hope to sleep well from now on, but then my last issue isn’t permanently resolved, but I have a load of crap around my workstation to tidy up first.

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