He's Dead, Jim

I can count only a handful of times that I've experienced some kind of computer hardware failure. The most recent was a little over a year ago when the power supply in the desktop blew out unexpectedly. This morning, I got the rare "pleasure" of experiencing it again when I found that the desktop refused to power on. It was obviously still getting power because some of the lights in the back were still on. I tried everything I could think of, even swapping the power supply with a spare that was sitting around. No dice. My best guess is that the motherboard, after 5 long years of heavy usage, finally decided to give up.

I'd been putting off upgrading for a really long time. In the last several years, the entire PC market has gone through a big shift and compatibility has died with it. Upgrading is no mere swap of your core components; it's now a matter of building an entirely new system from scratch. In addition to the normal motherboard, memory and processor swap, I was looking at a new case and video card. Old IDE hard drives and CD burners? Gotta toss 'em; IDE is out, SATA is in. After all is said and done, a new baseline system with decent upgrade capacity is over $600, even when sticking to lower-end components.

I'd been hoping that the desktop would give us at least a year or two before biting the dust. I always get nervous once PCs pass the magical 3 year mark. After that, you're living on borrowed time. Some PCs (like the old clunkers in the basement) are on year 10 of service, but there has been a marked decline in PC quality as component reach commodity pricing. Now that electronics are considered disposably cheap, manufacturing anything that lasts much past the warranty is a mere afterthought. Here's to hoping that the new desktop, whenever it gets built, has better luck.

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8 Responses

  1. Mike says:

    “Later that night, alone in the backyard, he buried it next to the garage. Now I could never be sure, but I thought that I heard the sound of “Taps” being played. Gently.”

    RIP Jesse’s computer.

    You know they still make computers that last longer than five years, and they’re relatively cheap these days. You know you want one!

  2. Jesse says:

    I thought about it. I mean *really* thought about it. The problem is that I don’t need a new monitor, so that rules out the iMac as an unnecessary expense. I also want some future expandability, so the Mac Mini, while a great option for low-level and HTPC stuff, wouldn’t quite fit the bill.

    I am, however, adamant about getting a MacBook Pro for my next laptop.

  3. Shannon Fox says:

    So sorry for your loss…may it RIP…I guess now it can go be with Rob’s laptop..it suffered the same demise! By the way..the MacBookPro is pretty dang awesome!

  4. jeremy says:

    Same here for a MacBook. They are just quite expensive, but something I really want once this laptop dies.

  5. Vanessa says:

    The Macs are AWESOMENESS defined. I still hold a place in my heart G3 iBook thats died a couple of months ago and am looking forward to the day that I’ll bet a new Mac Book of some sort… I don’t think I can afford the Mac Book Pro though.
    I also have an iMac desktop (technically its Grandmas) that I’m using in the meantime. It will be celebrating its 5th birthday this November, has had no issues thus far and is going as strong as ever.

  6. Mike says:

    Yeah, if I ever get back to school the first thing I’m doing when the financial aid check clears is getting a MacBook Pro.

  7. Shauna (the other one) says:

    I *heart* my MacBook.

  1. August 15, 2008

    […] the death of the long-in-the-tooth desktop, I was looking forward to getting a shiny new one to replace it. I'd been intending to upgrade […]

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