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Antec: Great Case, Crap Power Supply

My current desktop computer, the venerable Kaleidoscope, hails from early 2004, and is certainly showing its age. Apart from an occasional GPU crash and sticky mouse wheel, it also just isn’t holding its own in gaming anymore. Although computer games are a much smaller part of my life now than they were several years ago, I still enjoy the occasional LAN party, game of CS or TF2, and for a while I’ve wanted to experience Supreme Commander as it was meant to be.

So today, with the help of Theo and further consultation with Shai, I made the fateful leap. Aiming for instant gratification, I hit up Fry’s in Renton, where the prices were not the lowest available, but they were not far off and everything was in stock. The components I ended up purchasing (after many trips to the internet-connected computers to check newegg and pricewatch to avoid serious pricing anomalies) is as follows:

Antec Nine Hundred case
Gigabyte GA-EP35-DS3R Motherboard (Intel P35 chipset)
Intel Core 2 Duo e8400 (3.0 GHz, 1333 MHz FSB, 45nm)
XFX 8800 GTS Video Card (512MB, PCI-E 2.0)
2x Patriot 2gb DDR2 6400 800MHz DIMMs

To round it all out, I got a modular power supply, the Antec NeoHE 550W Power Supply. Too bad this last piece of hardware was completely and craptastically broken out-of-the-box.

One of the most disappointing moments in the life of a technology enthusiast is that moment when, after assembling the brand new system, he pushes the power button and… nothing… at… all… happens.

Of course the initial fears are the motherboard, but we pretty quickly determined emphatically that the power supply was to blame. It appears to be completely dead on arrival, outputting no voltage and refusing to turn on at all. Pretty anti-climatic way to end a computer-building session, but what can you do? Other than write a blog post complaining about Antec’s crappy Q.A., of course.

Winter 2008 Grades

Course Course Title Credits Grade Grade
CSE 401 INT COMPILER CONSTR 3.0 3.6 10.80
CSE 421 INTRO TO ALGORITHMS 3.0 3.7 11.10
CSE 427 COMP BIOLOGY 3.0 4.0 12.00
CSE 599 SPECIAL TOPICS 3.0 4.0 12.00

Graded Credits
Grade Points
Grade Point
Total Credits
12.0 45.90 3.83 12.0

Graded Credits
Grade Points
Grade Point
UW Credits
Transfer Credits
Total Credits
133.0 494.20 3.72 133.0 104.0 237.0

That 3.72 in the last box there means that, were I to graduate now, I would be in the top 10% (cum laude), which is one of my current goals. To maintain that, I will have to do at least fairly well in my Bioengineering capstone, and not tank my other Spring classes.

Oh, What a Day

So far, at least…

Woke up feeling sick

Car’s inoperable sun-roof was leaking rainwater into the cabin

Locked myself out of the car

Locked myself out of work

Yet, if these are the greatest of my worries, life is pretty good.

Five Years, No Cavities

The last time I made it into a dentists office, if you had mentioned the Iraq War, people would have looked at you funny and asked “Do you mean the Gulf War?” Yes, that was back in 2003. Since then, although I don’t have a perfect record in brushing, apparently my almost-consistent nature did win me the honor of no cavities in that time. I’m pretty pleased, actually, as I was expecting much worse news. I suppose not sipping on sugar water all the time has its benefits.

Winter 2008 — Done

I just wrapped up the second-to-last quarter of my undergraduate education!

Three more months…

As for grade predictions, lets say the following:

CSE 401 — Compilers — 3.6
CSE 421 — Algorithms — 3.6
CSE 427 — Computational Biology — 4.0
CSE 599J — Neurobotics Seminar — 3.9 (missed a day, doh)
BioEn 482/499 — Capstone — Extending one quarter…

Not Attending Last Day of Classes

Today is my last day of classes this quarter. However, my first class was canceled and the second happens to coincide with my Dad’s retirement party. As this is a once-in-a-lifetime event, I don’t mind missing it just once.

In other news, Joel and I just spent the last hour or so on a crazy run up to about 4 million acres in Warbook. It was a lot of work, and very intense. I can see how people get addicted to this game. As if I didn’t already know…

Back Everything Up ASAP is experiencing data integrity issues; I think some hard drives are dying.

UPDATE: Things are looking pretty bad. I expect there will be some major downtime in the near future — perhaps a week from now.

UPDATE 2: Thanks  to some timely work by Dan, the system appears to be stable again. It is possible this was all just a soft error of some sort — not sure on that though. Its still always a good idea to look into ways of backing up your stuff. We [Dan and I] may get something in place soon, but don’t count on us to protect any valuable data you might have.