Sunday, March 23, 2014

Corsair Vengeance C70 case... abort! abort!

Just a follow-up to my previous post. Got my Corsair Vengeance C70 today. Hurrah! It's a beautifully badass case in person. Unfortunately, I immediately discovered this:

It's small (and I'm not exactly sure what's going on here, but part of the back and side top pieces seem to be overlapping the wrong way), but this thing cost me $109 on sale. I did think about just dealing with it, but come on. You shouldn't have to put up with poor manufacturing like this in a brand new product for any amount of money. It's going back.

This kind of thing seems to happen to me pretty much every time I order anything. I don't usually write about it, but my order history is littered with returns for manufacturing defects, shipping damage and just plain idiocy by the store I've ordered from. (The Guitar Center transgression linked above is not the only one; Newegg once sent me a TV with no packaging at all. It was literally just loose in a box, complete with accessories flopping around against the unprotected screen.)

It's particularly disappointing because I bought this case in part due to the many online videos espousing Corsair's manufacturing and quality control, and this specific case's "ruggedness". Oh well. Live and learn. (Learn what, though? I'd love to know how to have greater success buying products that aren't f'd up.)

Friday, March 21, 2014

The desktop PC lives! IT LIVES!

I just ordered this - my next PC (case):

It's a Corsair Vengeance C70. Has all the features I wanted: rugged all metal construction, tool-less design (in fact the side panels are held on by those visible latches, which is awesome), side window, lots of fans. And a reset switch that's got a flip-up cover like you're arming missiles in a fighter jet. It's got character without looking like H.R. Giger designed a Fisher Price toy, which describes most "gaming" cases these days.

I'm getting back into PC building. I used to do it, back when it was just a bunch of nerds trying to save money and not hardcore gamers trying to build the most tricked out LED-lit system possible. In fact, my current PC can still directly trace its lineage back to my first-ever DOS-based machine, a Packard Bell 486 desktop from ~1993 (it looked something like this). I eventually wanted to add more RAM, so I needed a new motherboard and a new case. I took the remaining stuff out and and put it all in an Antec tower that I never took pics of, then upgraded again to this stylish little number when my new video card wouldn't fit:

That was my PC from around 1998-2002. I liked that case a lot, with its frosted plexiglass, chrome accents and stark white body. This was when most people still had boring beige boxes (including Macs!). I couldn't even find a non-beige CD-ROM drive for it. That one is still from my old Packard Bell - it was one of the last components to get upgraded.

I also bought an IBM Model M keyboard in 1999, when they started to get really hard to find (mine was made in 1996, one of the last years of production):

Keep that in mind.

When I upgraded again in 2002, I went silver and black and jumped on the hot rod bandwagon:

This was a new thing at the time - windowed cases and internal components lit up like a Christmas tree didn't exist yet. At this point, there was finally nothing left of my Packard Bell. The floppy drive was the last component to go - it had to be black.

But I realized I pretty much had a whole second computer's worth of spare parts lying around - and what I still needed would only cost me about $100. So I decided to build a second machine in 2003 mostly from parts that used to be in the white machine above:

Lian Li - pure class, baby! This thing became a Home Theater PC. My first-ever post on this blog was about the wireless keyboard I bought to control this PC from my couch.

Eventually I got distracted by the novelty of gaming on a laptop, and when I did want to play on my couch, I reached for my PS2 or Dreamcast controller. My twin towers sat neglected, used mostly for things like cataloging photos and watching DVD's.

I just like this photo. My wife and I used to share the same desk.

At some point I swapped the guts of my two silver boxes with each other because I just liked the Lian Li better, and that became my primary machine. But it basically remained stagnant for close to 10 years.

This is my desktop now. Like, literally right now. Same case, same keyboard, same speakers. But I've finally upgraded it to something less than completely embarrassing. It's not a screamer, but I now have a Core 2 Quad with 4GB of RAM. So I'm only about 2 years behind instead of 11.

My hand was forced, and strangely enough it was my tablet that did it. I wanted all my concert BD's on my tablet, and neither Google nor Apple make that easy (because they want you to buy stuff again from them... which isn't really possible when all your stuff's from overseas). So I rebuilt this machine as a video ripping and encoding workstation.

But now I want to game on it. I never thought Steam would take off and I never thought I'd be into it, but it did and I am, and my laptop's getting a little long in the tooth for today's games. Time for more desktop upgrades! And I may as well make it look cool while I'm at it. Hey, if it's worth doing, it's worth doing right. In addition to the incoming case, I'm hopping back on that LED train, baby!

As for the Model M, probably gonna keep it for now. After all these years, it's still the One True Keyboard™. Though maybe I'll check out one of these to match my new case someday.

By the way, I watched a lot of reviews on YouTube as I narrowed down my case search. As a result, I now subscribe to this channel:

Can you guess why?

Yep, I really love her voice.

About This Blog

This is increasingly not a blog about Alphabet City, New York. I used to live in the East Village and work on Avenue B, but I no longer do. Why don't I change the name if I'm writing about Japan and video games and guitars? Because New Yorkers are well-rounded people with varied interests, and mine have gone increasingly off the rails over the years. And I don't feel like changing the name. I do still write about New York City sometimes.


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