When I built Smudge’s current machine, Micca, it was basically the best that that could be done at the time (short of a faster version of the same chip). Despite some changes, it’s essentially the same machine six years later.

I had meant to replace it this January, but a few more bills came in at that point than I had counted on, and a decent chunk of my spare money evaporated. (At least some of it was in a fun cause, like eating well during FurCon.) So, that got put off to July, when my next three-paycheck month is.

Just over a year ago, we got a new TV, some time after the previous one, a second-hand CRT TV died. With a little trepidation, we got a set from a manufacturer new to the TV business: Hannspree. It had good color, plenty of ports (this was our biggest sticking point), and was actually within our available budget. We did get a three-year store warranty as a backup.

And it was a pretty good TV. With two problems.

One was the fact that it and the cable box didn’t like each other well. Turn things on in the wrong order, and the set would not process the signal until you shut it down and did things in the right order.

The other was the fact that a few months after getting it, it started dropping picture. Every once in a while, the screen would just go black for an instant. And it slowly became more common. So we called Micro Center. They said that since it was still under the manufacturer warranty to go to them first. And we did, and they eventually came out and fixed it.

For maybe a month. Then it started again. We called, and after a little bouncing around, the same guy came out and pretty much replaced every circuit board the set had.

Not even a month that time.

All of this took time. Largely because remembering to call during the day, when the set isn’t in use, was difficult. So, a year.

Micro Center doesn’t stock that set any more, but gave us our money back. In store credit. Without tax. Or the charge for the warranty.

To be fair, to do much more than that would be something like financial suicide, but it didn’t help us any. Especially since they only have one set currently that satisfies our requirements. By a no-name brand with lots of poor reviews. They didn’t even have one in the store at that point.

So, plan B: Micro Center is more of a computer place than TV, so I figured to use the store credit on a new system, and we get a new TV in July. Not great, but it gets us out of the hole.

Last Wednesday, I had two different appointments, so I had taken the day off work. Me and Smudge went over to Micro Center and got a new CPU, motherboard, and RAM. Oh, and a non-stock CPU cooler. The up-sell was more aggressive than I’d like, but overall, it was a better experience than the TV department, and he raised one good point: the CPU cooler we got would be quieter.

On Saturday, I put it all together. I had kind of hoped that I could just change out the hardware, plug in the hard drives, and watch Windows update itself for the new hardware. But no, it died the death of bad hardware drivers, and I had to reinstall Windows from scratch. Program reinstalls are still proceeding.

And of course, it wouldn’t be a new computer without one heart-stopping glitch. Mid-day Sunday, the new system suddenly blue screened and shut down. I haven’t seen a BSOD on Windows 7. I wish I still hadn’t. On start up, it couldn’t find an OS. In fact, it couldn’t find the entire OS drive.

I opened up the case, unplugged and replugged all the hard drive cables, and everything was fine again. I’ve done this before, and it’s usually the start of the drive dying many moons later. Of course, this is the OS drive, which is the original drive we bought for Micca six years ago, so it might not have more than another year left. Though, I am thinking that the cable might have gotten a bit loose on the drive side as I was trading out other components. We’ll see.

Anyway, at long last, meet Moebius, the newest member of the household:
Intel Core i7-3770 (Ivy Bridge)
Intel DH77KC (I don’t normally go for Intel motherboards, but they are solid)
8 GB DDR3 1600 RAM
ATI Radeon HD 5700
Windows Experience 5.5 (held down by the older OS drive, otherwise 7.4)