Computer Upgrade Financing

The Lucky Way

Note: This is an old post. I actually did the upgrades, and then I was too busy playing games to release the post… Oops! I’ll talk about the new computer later.

I’ve been looking at upgrading my gaming computer. Currently, it’s aging pretty badly. Without laying out too many boring details:

  • 2.0 GHz AMD Athlon[1]
  • 1 GB DDR RAM
  • AGP Video Card by ATI
  • IDE Hard Drives

If you’re one of the people reading this who thinks, “That’s not bad at all! That will still run every application I use.” you may well be right. You have probably also never tried to run Bethesda’s Oblivion, or run Half-Life 2 Episode 1 with HDR turned on, or even considered BioShock or the other games coming into view. I won’t hold that against you. I even envy you a little bit. Your computing experience is a lot cheaper than mine, for starters.

I, on the other hand, have seen these things, and even last year’s video games are almost unplayable on my current gaming computer, and I want to keep playing games. That may seem like an obvious statement, but one of the options I considered was just to stop playing PC games altogether. I’m not a big Windows fan, practically no big-name Windows games run well in my Ubuntu install, and computers are expensive. In the end, though, I decided that Half-Life 2, Oblivion, some of the new hotness on GameTap, and some of the upcoming titles would make it really hard to walk away from the PC.

When upgrading my gaming PC[2], my normal mode of operation is to identify the bottleneck component, then spend between $50 and $250 to upgrade that component. This is a relatively inexpensive fix. However, I’ve maxed out the computer’s current technology level, which backs me into a corner.

  • I can’t upgrade the processor past 2.0 GHz without buying a new motherboard
  • I can’t upgrade the motherboard without buying new RAM
  • I won’t buy another AGP motherboard, so I’ll need a new graphics card
  • I won’t buy another motherboard without SATA, so I’ll want at least one new hard drive

As for as my current case, power supply and peripherals, those are perfectly serviceable in the current generation of computer hardware. So, when I add everything up, I come to around $750 for a well-upgraded Athlon X2 system[3].

$750 is a lot of money!

But, I’m pleased to say, while balancing my checking account, I found a clerical error. I had processed a substantial deposit as a withdrawal. The amount of the deposit was about half of the cost of the computer upgrades, so after rectifying the transaction, I had enough “hidden” money to cover them!

It’s like finding a new computer in your pockets when you put your jeans in the wash.

  1. As in, a single-core processor. []
  2. The gaming machine has been named TIGGER since 1999, since some part of the existing TIGGER always makes it through the upgrade. By contrast, the communications machine, ROO, has long been retired. []
  3. I’ll have to read the reviews on my preliminary hardware selections to make sure that they’re The Right Stuff, and if they aren’t, The Right Stuff might cost more. []

1 Responses to “Computer Upgrade Financing”


  • Clerical errors not forthcoming? Looking for another way to handle computer upgrade financing? Try using your work computer for all of your computing needs and make friends with the IT guy. It got me a flat screen monitor…

    Not sure if it would work for a game console.

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