Note: Geek “Embarrassment”, as opposed to “Shame”, which I have in great quantities. Or perhaps “Shamelessness” is closer to the truth there.
Stick with this post. The embarrassment comes near the end.
Despite my occasional dalliances with Apple-branded hardware, I remain at heart a bit of a tinkerer and like to have a PC that I’ve assembled myself. I won’t lie – I bought Crysis solely to see how my system would stack up against it, and was actually pleasantly surprised when it recommended that I run in “high” settings at 1920×1200.
My PC is built around an ASUS P5B motherboard. This isn’t a top-end motherboard these days but I have no complaints; it was rather decent when I bought it and I haven’t run into any limitations related to it. Really, it’s been something that I put in the case and have since mostly ignored, except for a recent optimistic BIOS update to get it up to date.
We also have a server, an HP-branded mini-tower. It’s not a bad PC, at that – it’s probably 3 years old and did quite nicely for my wife’s gaming needs before she migrated to laptops.
But, it’s running three hard drives and it seems to get pretty hot and the case only has one 80mm fan with no provisions for mounting another, so I decided that I would pop it open, figure out what motherboard it was built on, and then figure out if it was a proprietary motherboard or if it would fit in, say, a nice Antec Sonata III case with lots of room for fans.
I opened it, found that it was actually built around an ASUS motherboard, and started googling the model number.
Turns out, it’s a micro-ATX board and should work in just about any case. Good.
Then I noticed a question about the board, which went something like
“If I want the RAM to run in dual-channel mode, do I need to put it in alternating slots like on the P5B?”
…and my ears perked up, because when I installed my motherboard, I put DIMMs in the first two slots and figured I was probably good.
A couple of minutes more googling and I realized that I had a) crippled myself when I installed my RAM and b) been running with it like this for the last two years.
I moved one of the DIMMs over from slot two to slot three, re-ran Vista’s performance checker thing, and my “Vista Performance Index” rating went from 5.0 to 5.5.
OK, OK, I will admit that that doesn’t sound like a HUGE jump in performance, but considering that I’d been living with it for ages and the fix was simply to move one stick of RAM one inch over, it’s pretty embarrassing.