The Deliverator – Wannabee

So open minded, my thoughts fell out…

Trickle Down Computernomics

Posted by Deliverator on April 3rd, 2009

One of the things I hate about living on the bleeding edge of computerdom is that when you do hardware upgrades you are almost always left with perfectly good, serviceable parts for which you have little personal use. Dealing with Craigslist or eBay is often more hastle than the resale value of the parts are worth and I have enough trouble keeping the frenzy in my life to a tollerable level without dealing with flaky people from Craigsliste or the US postal service.

This week I found myself with quite a bit of spare time, so I decided to put those parts to use and used them to do some upgrades:

-I took the Opteron 185 (dual 2.6 ghz cores) from the system I recently upgraded to a Core i7 and swapped it into my media PC in place of an AMD X2 3800+. I also took 2GB of low latency OCZ ram left fallow by the Core i7 upgrade and swapped it for the memory in the media PC. The media PC is now considerably snappier and because the processor is of the same general family as the one it replaces, I didn’t have to reinstall the OS or anything. The only issue appears to be that the faster processor is maybe a bit of a stretch for the power supply and it takes a little effort to get the system to post without it going into emergency shutdown due to out of tolerance voltages. Once the system is started though, it runs like a charm, can warm reboot just fine and voltages are all within acceptable levels. Inrush currents generally suck. I am kinda surprised that the Shuttle motherboard bios doesn’t have a delayed hard drive start option as can be found on many motherboards to limit this effect. I might swap the media PC’s graphics card (Nvidia 6800 series) out for something that uses less power to see if I can eliminate this minor annoyance.

Ryan is getting a free upgrade to one of his desktops in the form of the X2 3800+ processor, 3 GB of DDR 400 and a nice Asus Socket 939 motherboard with dual PCI-E 16x slots.

-I had a 2GB DDR2-667 so-dimm left over from a recent project for a client, so I decided to upgrade my Samsung Q1 UP UMPC to 2 GB. At the same time, I decided to investigate some issues I’ve been having with the touchscreen digitizer. Like many other resistive touch panels I’ve owned, this one was going horribly out of calibration all the time and had developed dead-zones near the screen borders. Recently, the touch panel went dead entirely. It turns out the integral “plastic screen protector” on the unit, which I had noted as bulging out in places actually was the touch layer and it had become separated enough that the electrical contact pads on the touch layer were no longer in contact with the matching pads below. This touch layer was attached to the LCD with just a small amount of gum rubber adhesive, which was obviously inadequate to the task and poorly aligned to boot. Despite several attempts (requiring near total disassembly and reassembly to test), I wasn’t able to get the touch screen working again. I suspect that there might have been some minute amount of conductive adhesive used to keep the contact pads in place. It isn’t a big loss for me, as I didn’t use the touchscreen much, but further illustrates the poor construction of these overpriced Samsung UMPCs. I would certainly not buy another unit from them in the future.

-I used the 1 GB ram module from the Samsung Q1 UP to upgrade my Acer Aspire One 8.9″ Netbook to 1.5 GB, the max it can accommodate. The Aspire One isn’t the easiest Netbook to upgrade. Many other Netbooks have a simple hatch requiring the removal of one screw. I had to remove a couple dozen screws, remove the keyboard, detach several thin film cable assemblies, remove the plastic bezel frame and flip over the motherboard to gain access to the ram slot, but it was a breeze to upgrade compared to the Samsung UMPC.