Monday, July 23, 2007

Geek Cred

Buying a new computer is a geek rite of passage. For the masses -- those who have no idea what a d20 is and have really no opinion on Greedo and his itchy trigger finger --it's a foreign concept. They know not the agony of buying a computer; for them, it's a simple matter of buying it from Dell.

Ah, but the geek carries a heavy burden. For the geek, there are endless reviews to read. Specs and opinions, reliability ratings, benchmarks, and voltage readings. For the geek must, must find the optimum component for his computer, and cobble it together, piecemeal, a Dr. Frankenstein working in digital parts.

He must give birth to the perfect PC.

And it's arduous. Technology moves fast. What may have been the perfect price/performance ratio for your overclocked RAM will be worse than old if you don't move fast. Did you check up on the intermittent disk failures for that harddrive you have decided on, specifically when you video encode Bulgarian Soap Operas? Did you know that the chip maker is going to discontinue that chip and double pump the L2 cache in just two weeks? What about the current strikes in that video card's factory? Reliability for those cards have gone way down!

But the geek may not, must not, take the easy way out. Must never fall back on the ease of a pre-made system. If they have children, are going through quintiple double bypass surgery, and staying up late to get the latest Matrix Figurine at the local comic shop, they may get a fellow geek to make the system for them.

But never, ever should they pick a system that they would have *gasp* technical support. Nay, that way lies madness. Never should they be able to tell the average non-geek where they had got their system without the non-geek looking at them, stifling a yawn and responding with "So, not Dell huh?". Yes, the computer shop should be obscure, possibly with some nonsensical acronym, even better if most people casually confuse it for a shop that sells Chinese fuse boxes.

It's a sticky, ugly business, this PC building. It's somewhat the equivalent of buying a gearbox, tires, chassis, electrical system, and drivetrain all separately. Then making sure each part works correctly together, slapping it all together, turning the key, and hoping for the best. The rite itself is a bit of madness, a bit of alchemy, a bit of hopeful conjecture.

But then, rites are meant to be difficult.

EDIT: Oh hells, I've been blogging for a whole year! Go me! And Web 2.0! And push button web publishing! How long have you guys been reading this? Come on, admit it. Yes, even you, Spambot ver. 2980491a Beta 3.


Monkfish said...

Your CPU price just dropped $50.

The Nighthawk said...

You actually earned more geek cred from me by using that pic of the sterling silver D20 than building your computer. ;)

However, I appreciate you building your own right now so I can learn from your wisdom as I'm buying my new one next month! I, also, have built my own for the last 12 years or so, and so know the agonies of maintaining one's geek cred.

Niteowl said...

Oh, it's a rough road NH. Lots of bloody benchmarks and readings and so forth. I wish you godspeed.

Anita Daher said...

Hee-hee :-) This is very familiar. My husband has been checking out parts, planning his next his next PC for the last year. I don't aniticipate and actual movement any time soon.

Niteowl said...

Anita : it's the perfect way to get to Analysis Paralysis, I tells ya :)