Upgrades Are In With Only Slight Pain…


The hardware items I ordered arrived yesterday which I gleefully opened while wandering downstairs to the computers. The wife waved good bye to me for the rest of the evening. I don’t even think she called me for supper, I’m pretty sure I heard her calling the boys though.

Operation Alzheimer:

I had picked up four sticks of Corsair DDR2 at 800mhz RAM at 2gb per stick for my PC (running Windows 7 64-bit). Unfortunately that was the best my motherboard would support and they replaced four sticks of OCZ Platinum DDR2 at 800mhz at 1gb per stick. That means I went from 4gb of RAM to 8gb and I believe the timings on the Corsair RAM were actually better.

I had no problems doing this at all.

Operation Cataract:

My old computer, about five years old, was intermittently shutting down while my son was playing various games. I adjusted the video drivers (they were using 32-bit Win7 default drivers) and next time he had an issue the driver caught that the card was overheating so it throttled things back. No system crash happened however there was clearly an issue with the fan on the card (I checked temperature inside the system and it was fine) so I figured I’d order another one.

The problem was that the motherboard on that system only supports AGP. Fortunately, some decent AGP cards are still being made so I ordered a PowerColor ATI HD 4670 AGP card – it has 1gb of DDR3 memory on it and it might actually be a little better than my main system’s 3870 HD card.

I love that my cases are easy to open (Antec) so I popped it open and right away I noticed a sticker on the video card was peeling off. Not good. I attempt to remove the card and it’s being quite resistant so I removed the panels in the back that were next to it since it looking like it was overlapping. Still tough to remove. Double checked that the clip was up and it was.

I’ll admit, at this point I was really tempted to give it a good yank which might damage the motherboard. If that happened, I’d pass down my current machine and simply need to get a whole new system. As appealing as that was to me, I’m sure the wife wouldn’t have been pleased with that idea.

I wiggled it a bit more and eventually got it out. The other card popped in just fine so I screwed it in and added all the other panels in.

Hardware installed successfully.

Software not so easy.

The drivers on the CD were only for XP and Vista. I hoped Vista drivers would work for Win7  but they didn’t. So I had to flush those. I went to the ATI site and grabbed the latest set of Catalyst drivers, a set for 4000 series cards (just in case) and I noticed an AGP hotfix set which I grabbed as well.

None of them worked. Win7 defaulted to a VGA Display Adapter.

I uninstalled all those and hit up the PowerColor site for drivers. It had some there which looked to be newer than the ones on the CD so I grabbed those and installed.

Success!

I fire up WoW (which had the odd crash if I was running at higher settings) and cranked up the settings. Gave it a quick tool around and it was really smooth. I logged off and let my oldest know the new card was in and ready to go.

He didn’t touch the computer at all, the little bugger. On the other hand he was reading French with his Grandmother and reading some other books with his Mother so… I was free to play WoW alone.

This morning he ran downstairs and fired up WoW. He was pretty excited that it looked better and was smooth. He said his guy used to walk funny and showed me sort of stutter stepping but now it was good. I don’t know if he’s clued in that The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion, Battlefield2 and Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare will now play and look better too. Which reminds me I need to fire those up and adjust his settings for them.

I think I need to update my own video card now…

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