Covering (but not limited to) all of my thoughts on the PC gaming scene.
Published on September 10, 2008 By Phazon88 In Personal Computing

If there is one skill I have that I take for granted, it is the level of computer literacy I have. I was exposed to computers at an early age, and quickly learnt as much as I could at that age. Having to type various commands in DOS at to get a game booted up was probably one of the encouraging factors back then.

Nowadays I find my computer skills indispensable. While most people's knowledge just extend to the extent of being able to use a word processor or send a email, mine goes further. I know how the system works, and this makes it infinitely easier when it comes to troubleshooting issues that arise. Not only that but it just makes the purchasing and setting up of personal computers that much simplier.

A most recent example would be with my new rig. It was custom built from the ground up, with every part having be specifically chosen for a good reason. The case was selected because of not only its style, but because it had excellent cooling fan positioning (including a front-mounted dust filter) and was large enough to hold everything. The motherboard selected had the right chipset I was after that would provide maximum compatibility and performance with the other components it had to work with. The video card selected had to have a dual-slot cooling solution so I didn't have to face overheating issues (as it gets hot in Australia at times) and so on.

Even with all the right parts chosen, the user will still find various anomalies that can arise with the near infinite rig configurations they can be used in. In my case, there was 2 major issues that had to be addressed. The first was a motherboard design flaw, that caused the PC to freeze up at the BIOS screen on a cold boot. After some googling I found that this was due to a faulty design on one of the fan ports on the motherboard, so simply not using the port and using another instead fixed that problem easily enough.

Problem number 2 was much more significant and it was only until recently I discovered a fix. My ATI Radeon HD3850 was the cause of a number of seemly random freezes that strangely only occured when I was at the Windows XP desktop (particularly web browsing). This problem only revealed itself to me after months of research, I finally found the problem mentioned on an obsure tech forum and someone was kind enough to post a fix. Apparently with certain configurations the card's PowerPlay feature (power conservation) could cause system lock-ups, because it was constantly changing the card's clock speeds and voltage on very insignificant desktop actions. The solution was to simply overclock the card so it would permanently remain at stock speeds regardless of the activity load. While this left the card a little hotter than normal, I knew it was well below its operational limits and the solution so far has worked perfectly (until ATI get off their butts and fix it anyway).

I've fixed many other PC problems in the past, and I don't know what I would do if I didn't have my level of knowledge of PCs that I have. I would estimate I've saved myself and the family numerous trips to a PC shop, because I've always ended up fixing the problems at home myself.

 

If there's one skill I'll be drumming into my kids when I have them, it'll be making them computer literate. That and learning how to swim.


Comments (Page 1)
on Sep 10, 2008

Yup, always solved my own pc problems. Never sent anything to the pc shop basically because i know they will probably do mare damage than good. Always built my own PC`s. The oly PC i couldnt fix was my previous one which got smothered in ribena juice I blame the antec p182 for that though. Having a fan on top which allowed all of the juice to pour into it andmurder my components. O well, got a much better setup now so its all good. Was looking for a reason to upgrade anyway

on Sep 10, 2008

Yeah I kinda don't put drinks ontop of my PC, thats just asking for something to happen.

on Sep 10, 2008

i'm quite computer literate, and in my few years of working with computers, i've encounted quite a few tricky situations. From having a case with a small magnet mess up my bootloader to 17 viruses at one time. (my uncles usb is evil!).

I'm suprised how the average computer user survives. The problems i've faced would surely make their head explode. But from what i've seen, its the computer litearte ones that encounter the difficult computer problems. so not fair.

on Sep 10, 2008

Or its the computer literate that know when something is wrong.

on Sep 10, 2008

Interesting post. I'm not that computer literate (at least, I don't consider myself so) and never had much interest in computers until about 4 or 5 years ago. Up until that time all I knew about them was how to switch one on and off (and I often did the latter the wrong way). However, after getting hit with some very nasty malware and having to take my computer to a local guy to fix, I became more than a little pissed off at what my ignorance of the machine cost me. So, I researched, asked questions, and learned what I could. Now, I build my own rigs and am pretty comfortable on the hardware side of things. Much weaker on the software side, but I'm getting there and at least am knowledgeable enough to be able to search out solutions to problems and fix them myself.

 

Not too bad for a 44 year old, I think.

 

But yeah, I'm definitely going to make sure my kids get an earlier start than I did.

on Sep 10, 2008

Coelocanth


Not too bad for a 44 year old, I think.

 

But yeah, I'm definitely going to make sure my kids get an earlier start than I did.

I started with computers when I was 9, and it really picked up when I was 13. Now i'm 15, and have college certification in computers.

on Sep 10, 2008

Awesome and good on ya, UEF Soldier. I'm old enough to remember when computers in the home was a crazy thought. I recall taking Fortran in university. Ah, the joys of punch cards!

on Sep 10, 2008

Computer literacy is such a great skill. And with an entire family being computer literate, one being an electronics technician, we haven't had to bother with a repair person since before I can remember.

Being best with the hardware, I never let anybody throw out older components when they upgrade. So I loan out everything from keyboards, mice, and cords to RAM and video cards.

 

on Sep 10, 2008

There's only one problem to being computer literate: Once you taste the most awesome thing in the world ("teh intrawebs"), will you ever go back?

 

Before you argue: WoW.

on Sep 10, 2008

erathoniel
There's only one problem to being computer literate: Once you taste the most awesome thing in the world ("teh intrawebs"), will you ever go back?

 

Before you argue: WoW.

I quit MMOs about...three months ago?  It's been a -while-.

And for the record, I never played WoW, and never will.

 

on Sep 10, 2008

Coelocanth
Awesome and good on ya, UEF Soldier. I'm old enough to remember when computers in the home was a crazy thought. I recall taking Fortran in university. Ah, the joys of punch cards!
Ahhhh....Yesssss...been there done that!! I also remember typing "cload....." waiting 20 minutes for a program to load only to watch a stick figure walk across a screen.

Yepper...computer literacy is almost a must these days. I've been building my own rigs for about 15 years now and wouldn't have it any other way!

on Sep 11, 2008

Phazon88
Yeah I kinda don't put drinks ontop of my PC, thats just asking for something to happen.

 

No no, it was on the table and in a green haze i accidentally tipped it over and it went in the direction of the pc. 

on Sep 11, 2008

Its the same with cars you know, except computers are easier to handel and far cheaper! They are also far more useful for picking up chicks! (okay that last one was a lie).

on Sep 11, 2008

The only down side I've found to being semi-computer literate, is the whole family assumes I am free technical support, and if the problem is above my head , they come down hard on me for not fixing their issues... like I knew all along what the problem was and just refused to fix it. 

It sometimes gets tedious.

and I miss dos. it was confusing at times, but at least you knew if you got the line right, it'd do what you wanted it to.

on Sep 11, 2008

Gee, I can remember using a slide rule, and I was fairly good with it too. I build my own systems now.

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