Entertaining Technical Distractions

Over the last few months I have had a great deal of fun and pain with electronics and gadgets. In the last few months I have:

  • Built a home theater
  • Broke, Repaired and Upgraded my PC
  • Buidling a home theater
    I had been planning on building a home theater in my new house since August and I finished the majority of it in December 2009. Here is what I went with:

  • Epson 8100 1080p Projector (Quebec Accoustic)
  • Harmon Kardon 354 AV Receiver (Visions Electronics)
  • Polk Audio M10 Speakers x 6 (only using 5) (Visions Electronics)
  • Polk Audio P10 Subwoofer (Future Shop)
  • All cabeling from Monoprice.com (SO AWESOME)
  • For roughly $3500 I have a 110″ 1080p image projected on my wall and great surround sound. I am by no means an audio or a video expert so this upgrade in quality has blown me away and was well worth the investment considering that you can spend the same about on a 55″ TV which is 25% of the size and the sound would be lacking. Some days I still wonder if I should have gone with the TV as the projector requires a bit more maintenance and doesn’t look good during the day. When I put a movie on at night, those little niggling thoughts go away and I remember how awesome theater can be! If you can control the light in your room and don’t mind playing around a little to set it up then there isn’t a better value on the market.

    Repairing/Upgrading a broken PC
    Moving my PC ended up being a series of unfortunate events.

  • Stock Heat sink fell off during the move
  • Decided to upgrade to a quad core chip and a beefy heat sink (E6600 -> Q9550)
  • My Asus P5W-DH Deluxe MB barely supports the chip (not at full spped and I needed a bios update)
  • Bios update ended up failing (my fault) and my bios was fried
  • Ordered a new bios chip and bios chip removal tool (Ebay). It was fairly easy.
  • Installed new CHIP…OS wouldn’t boot
  • Decided to upgrade to windows 7 and ordered a new HD
  • UPS stuck it in my BBQ and I thought they lost it so it delayed in another couple of weeks
  • Installed Windows 7 and used the computer desk to put the christmas tree on
  • Back to my laptop
  • Christmas was over, got back to my desk
  • Computer crashed a lot and only registered 3GB of memory in a 64 bit OS
  • Updated BIOS settings to support more than 3GB
  • Computer became unstable
  • Took out old 2GB of memory
  • Computer now runs great…piece of cake.
  • What did I learn?
    Research the chips a bit better. “Supported” and “Supported at full speed” are different things.
    Don’t power off a machine during a bios update (duh…this was an accident as I left the disc in the drive at boot up)
    Check everywhere for a delivered package, even if it required a signature.
    Run x86memtest or something like that when you get new RAM.
    Keep in mind how easy pre-built laptops are! 🙂
    Next time consider just buying everything new to start with as I have probably invested what a reasonable new machine would have cost if I was searching for deals.

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