My PC New Year's Resolution

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With 2006 rapidly coming to an end, it is customary to make some resolutions the New Year.

What I’d like to see from our readers is a New Year’s Resolution concerning something you pledge NOT TO DO based on an experience you had with your PC (please include the experience).

The best Resolution (as always, in the opinion of the judge) will win a prize. Please submit your entry by Friday December 29th.

Readers respond with their New Year’s Resolutions – below are some that I know I can relate to and some that are unique:

Adam G

I promise to NOT build any more PC’s for relatives this coming year, even though I know I can do it better, faster, cheaper, etc.

My experience: Being free and personally beholden tech support for every “relative PC” I’ve built in the past. It’s funny how my own machine can go 2-3 years on one Windows install with a bunch of hardware changes, software installs, patches etc., but no one else’s PC can make it 6 months without some sort of ailment. It’s never anything easy, either.

Shadow Phoenix

I shall never again buy someone a present for an upgrade for their DELL machine. Even if its as small and easy to install as RAM. It’s all because I got a friend 2 x 256 RAM to go with his 2 x 256 MB, and together they ran at a nice 200 MHz speed… Sigh.


My New Year’s Resolution will be to not install Windows Vista on my computer because I tried it last week and hate it. I tried to dual-boot it with my current windows XP and I MUST HAVE installed it incorrectly (yeah right) and I lost all my stuff 🙁


Some things I have pledged for 2007 regarding My Computer:

1.) No more “Hard-Core/Exotic” over-clocking. I have already ripped out
my Vapochill and threw it away. I have ruined my CPU’s a lot more times
than I care to mention. I feel the money I have spent on hard-core
overclocking just does not justify any benefit I saw. I have my current
CPU OC’d, just to the limit the stock CPU cooler can handle.

2.) No more Microsoft. I will not choose the Vista upgrade path. I am
sick of MS shoving their bug-infested, DRM-riddled software down my
throat. I’m jumping ship and going MAC, starting with a PowerBook.

3.) No more PC games. I have wasted phenomenal amounts of money on
keeping my “gaming rig” up to par. I’ve resolved to the fact that it is
cheaper just to buy a console to play games. I’ll probably wind up
getting a PS3.

Golden Tiger

I vow not to stack computers on shelves!

So, in the interests of computer storage at work, some wooden shelves were considered by me and my boss. They were attached to a wall at a decent height.. the lowest shelf was about 5 feet from the floor and continued until it was about 9 feet above the floor. The wood looked very sturdy and felt extremely sturdy. So, onto the shelves went 30 computers stacked 4 high and placed side by side. It saved space nicely…

Five minutes later, after a tremendous gunshot like crashing of sound… we were relieved to know that the shelves did hold and none of them broke… however the shelves ripped cleanly off the wall! We now know that the shelves were improperly placed in that room decades ago… Sadly a good 6 computers were critically damaged and had to be sent out for repairs. Needless to say it isn’t always the strength of the shelves that one has to concern themselves with… the shelves’s connection to the wall should also be in consideration… as well as that connection having to hold all that weight.

It is much better just to stack the computers on the ground after all…


I will never drive without my PC being in some sort of water-proof protection.

I was returning to university (Red Raiders!!! GO TECH!!), and I had my computer (specs below) on the passenger seat floorboards next to me. It was face down, so all the ports were facing towards the sky. I had a styrene cooler filled with Bawls, bottles of water, and some by now fairly melted ice. I was a good 4 to 5 hours into my trip, and I was falling asleep.

I knew what was going on and was looking for a spot to conveniently pull over and stretch my legs, when I fell too deep to quickly wake up. I drove off the side of the road. Bad, BAD thing.

It was one of those back roads that has the 6 or 7 foot deep ditch on either side and I drove right into it. I’m lucky my Explorer didn’t flip. When I woke up (and trust me, it didn’t take long) and realized what was happening, I slammed on the brakes, turning off the cruise control which was holding me at 70 mph in this ditch, below road level. Up until this point, I was fine. It was when I hit the berm that was the entrance to the farmers field, that was at road level, that I hit – still going 55 – and I flew up it and caught air on the other side.

When I hit the ground, a box of stuff (I don’t even know what was in the box) flew out of the back seat and crushed the styrene cooler, spilling melted ice as well as shattering and spilling Bawls EVERYWHERE, including all down the back of my computer, which had several gaping holes in the casing. Those Dremel-ed open fan covers certainly weren’t helping now. It got liquid EVERYWHERE inside it.

I panicked, stopped the car, FINALLY! I rushed around to pull it out and pour out the liquid. Needless to say, I was going crazy. I got as much of the liquid drained as I could before replacing it in a dry spot on my car. I raced to Lubbock, worrying the whole time. When I got to my new dorm room, I set my computer up, side panels off, and took out as much as I could that I could easily get off… all PCI/AGP cards, all the drives, and the CPU (that case made mobo removal hard!). I dried it all off with paper toweling, and let it air dry for three whole days.

When I lovingly reassembled everything and hesitantly pressed the power button… Nothing happened. Nothing! I triple checked everything, even going to far as to get two of my buddies to go over it as well, to see if I’d mis-plugged something. Nope. She was dead. Nothing worked, with the exception of optical drives, which had managed to get the least stuff on them.

We plugged everything into spare hardware, and it was all dead. All that love… That hard work… Gone. I was (and still am) heartbroken. I haven’t had the money to replace any of it yet, so I’m living on a laptop my dad gave me. It does not fill the void that was left by my beloved tower… May she rest in peace.


Buy a video card just to be able to play a particular game.

I replaced a perfectly good Radeon 9800 Pro with a GeForce 7800 GS to get pixel shader 3.0, necessary to play Splinter Cell Double Agent. The game is pretty good, but there’s a fair amount of bugs and the framerates are horrible in some areas. There’s no real rhyme or reason as to why some scenes produce single digit framerates while others are fine. The game was not worth all the hassle and expense it was to upgrade the card.


My New Year’s Resolution is to NOT forget to check heatsinks and fans every once in a while.

The other day I checked two PC’s out at my home that have been running unchanged for the past year because one of them sporadically switches off without warning. This is what I found:

On PC number one (the one that switches off), the two case fans, the CPU fan AND the power supply fan had all failed! It is an Intel 820… It was so toasty you could feel the heat comming off the case – haha! I burnt my finger when I felt the power supply. I guess that makes it quite the fire hazard… Also, the motherboard’s chipset heatsink was loose and not held down properly by the spring mechanism anymore.

On PC number 2, the heatsink on the FX5200 graphics card had fallen off and was lying on the bottom of the case! The thermal paste still stuck to the GPU was covered in thick dust, so I take it this happened quite a while ago. However, it still played Sims 2 fine up until now. I’m lucky that these cards dont really run that hot. Try run your 8800gtx without any heatsink…

So when last have YOU checked that trusty folding slave of yours??? (Envision large incriminating finger pointing straight at you at this point)


I will not ignore strange PC problems hoping they will go away on their own.

Several months ago I noticed an unusual problem with my PC; each time I turned it on for the day the fans and hard-drives would come on but the screen remained blank. However as rebooting seemed to fix it, I simply ignored the problem thinking it might be just a loose connection, so I procrastinated on finding the cause of the problem.

Unfortunately, however, it wasn’t a loose connection, it was the CPU and two weeks or so after I first noticed the problem it died. Unfortunately given that it was a NF7-S, I wasn’t able to find a reasonably priced replacement, which meant I had to replace both Mobo & CPU (it was cheaper upgrade than replace) not that pleasant when you’re a broke student…

Moral of the story: If you encounter ANY problems with you’re PC that could be related to your overclock, DON’T wait! Find the problem and fix it, or if you can’t find the problem, take you’re OC/voltage down to stock until you’ve eliminated it as the problem.


Considering how our trials with Windows Vista at work thoroughly unimpressed me, I’d rather give up gaming and go Linux – 512 RAM and a DX9 graphics card required just to be able to idle at the desktop, and then you can only dream of actually running any software on it? No thanks?

Crippling DRM content protection so that my brand new HD TV, brand new DVI flatscreen, or my trusty old 17″ CRT will only show blurry reduced quality HD stuff, or not play any HD at all? No thanks. 40% lower 3D performance just because (no one knows why)? No thanks. My brand new Soundblaster XiFi only giving basic 2D software sound? (further reducing gameplay performance) No thanks.

All this just to give us HDDVD or BRDVD content? Why? What is the point? It’s not like my eyes are suffering from the extremely poor picture quality of DVD’s.

My New Year’s Resolution is to never touch Vista. Ever. I’d rather give up games and go Linux, or stay with XP until it terminally breaks.


This year I experienced disappointment in PC gaming. Look at the gaming
scene – everything’s alike nowadays. And alike in a very sucky way.

my longtime stronghold, have degenerated into “kill aliens with moronic and
irritating AI squadmates” in singleplayer (if there even is a singleplayer
mode) or “massively multiplayer team-based realistic yadda yadda yadda….”.
There’s a word for stuff like that, it’s called “glorified Counterstrike”,
and CS is a game I was bored with before Beta 7.

One more thing. How many
WWII games can we possibly have? I must have killed the whole Nazi army ten
times over.

So what shall I do about it? I resolve to let my 7900 GTX idle more, and
work on my golf game this year.

Not only will I be less bored by rehash
games with a gimmick added to make them seem new, but I might get some much
needed exercise. Call me when the folks who make PC games (and most console
games for that matter) actually come up with something new and interesting,
I’ll be at the driving range.


Although I’m tempted to say I’ll never mess with water cooling again (a project that has proven functional but not worth the effort), my main Resolution will be to never buy cheap crap again. While putting together a new Pressler system using a chip and board I got from work, I picked up the cheapest PSU that met all of the connection requirements and had (on paper) more than enough power. Naturally the unit died within seconds and I lost several weeks and about $20 in shipping and restocking just to get the unit back to eWiz — which, incidentally, deserves another resolution to stay away from.

At any rate, the moral of the story is that although buying the most expensive designer components would still be a waste of money, getting very cheap components with nominally good specs usually comes back to bite you in the end.


For the New Year, I pledge to not open up and tinker with power supplies to get more out of them – instead I will just go out and spend the few extra dollars to get a bigger better power supply.

Picture extremely related:



I will not be suckered into buying a half baked video game because it is hyped all over the internet by reviewers that are paid to give good reviews (Applicable to hardware too).


I resolve to never install bloatware again.

I am an avid gamer. I love games! I have spent thousands to get my computer to play the newest games smoothly. I have 2 gigs of RAM to cover even the hungriest games. I reinstall Windows at least once every six months to make sure that it’s clean & running smoothly (especially after all the patches & driver updates that I have to do).

What do I do after freshly installing Windows? I install friggen Norton Antivirus every time. Why? I say to myself “This must be the best anti-virus program out there. It’s been aroud for years & tests say it’s good”. I also like yellow, which completely sways me.

Then I see this neat little program called WeatherBug & think, sure, it’s nice to see the weather in my toolbar. It also sound like a cricket (love that). In it goes. While I’m at it, why not a file sharing program (whatever the least hounded one is at the time). That way I can share my bandwidth with the world. In go a few more for good measure.

Then I go to play a game… Or I try to. What the? It’s chugging!

But I’ve got the greatest computer on earth. What’s up? Oh wait, maybe it’s Norton. Oh, that’s a little better, but not quite. Maybe it’s WeatherBug. Oh, much better. How about I share my files while I’m sleeping instead. Wow, that’s what I wanted. Wait a minute! Why did I install those programs again? It’s not worth it. I’d rather just use AVG & skip the rest.


I pledge not to be able to fry an egg on any part of my computer or cause
the lights to dim when I turn my computer on.

OK, well I’ve never fried an
egg but when I had my old dual LV Xeon setup, I swear I could have cooked an
egg. I thought when Conroe was announced that finally everything was going
in the right direction. AMD had already been lower power/heat but now that
Intel was going that way, the market was set.

Then G80 happened just a few
weeks ago, and R600 is not to far off. Because of those I have to make this
resolution. I did not trade my Xeon setup for Conroe just so I could soon go
get a Gfx that is hotter and takes more power than my entire Xeon system!

No, I think I’ll be fine with my 26 watt 7600GS. Sure its not DX10 but do we
have DX10 in Linux? When everyone finally realizes what Intel did this/last
year and what AMD realized a few years before that, heat and power
consumption do matter, then I will go buy new products.

And the winner is Daryl – excellent Resolution that can literally save your life. Many thanks to all who took the time to respond.

Email Joe


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