Archive for August, 2011

Small items in senselessly large packages

August 9, 2011

I’ve been having some computer troubles for months. I ignored it until the whole system would either crash or become partly unusable until a reboot. I run Gentoo Linux and use a stable kernel, so these issues are always hardware troubles. The first problem was some frame buffer corruption, so I had to retire the offending graphics card. The real problem was unrelated and seemed to have something to do with USB.

To solve this problem, I bought a new mainboard. I figured I’d take the opportunity to make this a bit of an upgrade and reduce the risk of more trouble, so I also bought a new processor and memory to match. I wanted a processor that would use no more than 100 Watts to help keep it adequately cool and quiet. My decision was to get another AMD Phenom processor, this time the 95W version of the 1055T model (Phenom II X6, HDT55TWFK6DGR).

It seems like the only vendor selling this item in the US is Provantage. I’ve bought from them before and didn’t have any trouble, so I did again. There was no real trouble this time; just some oddities. For starters, I was told that the processor would be shipped from the manufacturer and might arrive at any time in the next month, but most likely in two weeks. That was on the web page for the product so I knew this before the order. The next day, I’m told that the memory I ordered somehow went out of stock after I ordered so I’d have to wait a couple weeks for it. I guess they don’t have real-time inventory.

Less than a week later, I got the memory shipped from the manufacturer and the processor shipped from Provantage. Go figure. The mainboard had already arrived as if I paid extra for fast shipping. I thought Provantage might have sent me an extra mainboard because of the size of the box. It was packed like a matryoshka doll. The innermost packaging was some dark blue stackable wafers meant to sandwich up to twelve processors. On the underside of the packaging is an AMD logo, although it was made by ITW Camtex. I guess it is how AMD packages large quantities of their processors to send to companies making lots of computers with those processors.

Heatsink of ridiculous size

Heatsink of ridiculous size

I’ve gone for some of the more energy efficient AMD processors before, but I always got a box that could be used in a store. No problem, though. I was planning on reusing the heatsink of ridiculous size, a Cooler Master GeminII that I’ve used with the last two AMD processors. I don’t often cool my place below 27C yet this new processor runs at 33C idle and 47C when very busy. The fans run at only 850 RPM so there is very little noise.

Oh, and it hasn’t crashed yet. I should be good for another three years or more.


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