FINALLY!

It’s been a banner day. A follow-up appointment that’s been rescheduled 3 times due to the doctor having late emergencies the previous night finally took place. I got some shooting done both yesterday and today with a photowalk halfway home, mostly shooting flowers, though I haven’t even offloaded today’s photos from the camera yet. And while it might seem odd that I haven’t, there’s a great reason for that situation. The last package of computer parts that I absolutely needed in order to have the parts to upgrade my 2010-built computer was waiting for me this afternoon.

So, like anyone who’s had to put her computer upgrades off a few times (due to needing moving money and then last fall’s medical issues), I had my case open within about 20 minutes. That was at around 3:30 PM local time, and it’s just after 9PM as I’m writing this post. In that time, I’ve stripped out the cables, the PCI and graphics cards, the motherboard, processor, and RAM; replaced the broken front panel USB ports (and upgraded from USB 2.0 to USB 3.0 ports in the process); cleaned the case and fans thoroughly to get rid of the dust that my regular cleanings didn’t stop; installed the backplate for an aftermarket CPU cooler on the new motherboard; installed the new motherboard, processor, RAM, and CPU cooler into the case; reinstalled graphics and PCI cards; reran all the SATA and motherboard cables; reconnected all 4 case fans and connected the 2 CPU cooler fans; reconnected power and peripherals; reinstalled Windows (7 Home Premium); installed drivers for all peripherals while offline; got antivirus, Malwarebytes, Firefox, Skype, Steam, Photoshop, Lightroom, and ArtRage reinstalled, and am now typing. It’s been a long day, but I’ve been saying I need to upgrade since around late 2012, and I’ve finally managed to get it done.

Comparison of old and new parts, for those who are interested:
Motherboard: Intel DG43NB upgraded to an ASUS M5A99FX PRO R2.0
Processor: Intel Core 2 2.66GHz quad-core has been replaced by an AMD FX-8350 8-core 4.0GHz (overclockable to 4.2 easily, 4.5 possible)
CPU Cooler: was a stock Intel cooler, but the new build sports a Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo (massive finned radiator with 2 120-mm fans on it in a push-pull configuration)
RAM: 4GB of DDR2 800 MHz has been upgraded to 8GB of Crucial Ballistix Tactical (low-latency gaming DDR3 1600MHz), with another 8GB planned soonish and the option to go all the way up to 32GB of RAM (which would be enough to run several virtual machines at once, including a 20-man Minecraft server, and still let me render video on the main installation!)

What DIDN’T change (yet):
Zotac NVIDIA-powered GeForce GT 440 graphics card (I’ll upgrade it eventually, but it’s still all right for most games at medium graphics settings)
Any of my multiple hard drives
Other peripherals like my dual monitors, webcam, Bamboo Pen & Touch, printer, wireless networking dongle, keyboard and mouse

I haven’t done anything yet to really stress it and see how much of an improvement it is; we’ll see how it is when I get into Photoshop and am doing major transforms, or exporting a bunch of stuff from Lightroom, or trying to run the Minecraft mod packs that I need for my friend’s server, or tickling Tequatl’s toes in Guild Wars 2 without having my graphics on low-low settings. It DOES seem a lot faster at installing stuff, though.

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