Quest for Fire…

I've begun modern man's "quest for fire." This quest is similar to early man's desperate hunt to recapture or find a replacement for his lost fire. My journey may not risk life or limb, or require me to run, hide or fight off wild beasts; but it will confuse, frustrate and other wise make me want to kill something. I'm venturing into the mysteries and un-known dark regions of the modern computer and like early man learning about his new world this will be an education.

I've never really been computer knowledgeable; in fact children in grade school probably know more about the computer's inner workings and the flow electrons from ram, to processor, to where ever they go than I do. Those same children can out play me on any games and use shortcuts on the computer I have never seen. They've learned this computer stuff in a lot less years than I've used to acquire the little knowledge I have about computers.

My friends; most of whom are my age and are similarly handicapped when it comes to computer knowledge; some of them are under an impression that I actually know something about them, because of my limited mastery of a few programs on my computer. What most of them don't know; I have been using the same programs for more years than I care to count. I'm not as computer savvy as much as I'm program familiar.

As far as a technical knowledge or an ability to actually fix, add or replace components inside the tangled wires and circuit boards that make up the inside the computer's case; I have none. I try to limit myself to removing the side cover and blowing and brushing out accumulated dust. On occasion I can plug in new stuff as long as the socket on the back of the computer is obvious and I have good written directions. So far I've been lucky that my computer knows more about what's going on than I do; the wonder of plug and play.

I visited a friend's web site to read an article he wrote, he is a computer expert. He does it for a living and has been doing it as long as I've known him. I didn't understand a thing he had written; it was all technical jargon. It read well but the subject matter was way over my head; I guess you would have to call it computer guy geek talk.

My one time super fast computer has now reached the end of its service life. It's also starting to make funny noises and do stupid things. I'm seeing a lot more of the dreaded Windows blue screen of death and the messages that say "(program name) is not responding" as the computer just freezes. Every now and then there is a sound that comes from the tower; it sounds like a bad bearing. It gets real loud and then stops. I'm afraid it's the hard drive. With the eye of my imagination; I can see this silver 3 inch diameter disc spinning at a gazillion RPMs wobbling on its axel, threatening to come loose at any moment, and break through the side of the computer case flying into the middle of the room.

So it's probably a good time for me to look into buying of a new computer. If I act in time I might be able to prevent the computer from fatally crashing. Maybe I'll keep someone from getting beheaded by the flying 3 inch silver hard drive disc.

I've decided that the new computer will be specifically built to do the things I do most. We've already established my low level of computer knowledge, so this endeavor is not without a lot of trepidation; and like early man I need the fire (computer) but have no clue about how to make it.

Since I do a lot of digital photographic work and I've begun making and editing more and more videos I wanted a computer designed to do that type of work. Video editing is the most resource consuming processes you can ask your computer to do. It takes a lot of RAM and hard drive space and a very fast processor; not to mention a really good graphics card.

Video files are huge, and take up a lot of space. The program I'm currently using to edit video is Adobe Premiere Elements version 9. Because of my computer's limited recourses (Intel Dual Core Processor E2200, 3072MB Ram, and 500GB hard drive running on Windows Vista, 32 bit) the newest version of Adobe Premiere version13 won't work on my old computer.

So I decided to go big and spend some, or all of my income tax refund on a new computer that will do the job. I wasn't exactly sure what I needed in the computer; so I consulted all of the usual internet places. Slowly I gathered information about what I needed to have in my new killer video editing computer. I found a dozens of You Tube videos about building super fast computers to edit videos. It also seems that a computer built to edit videos will also rock when it comes to gaming.

By the way the gaming thing is lost on me; I don't play games on my computer; except solitaire. After watching several of the computer building videos with their host/expert talking about how and why they selected the processor, the ram modules, mother board and graphics card and how they have to match up clock speeds and hertz with a adequate power supply; I was convinced that building a computer may not be something I really want to do.

Then I stumbled on a You Tube video about a guy who wanted to edit video; and how he found the perfect laptop. Of course he had to make a few changes to it so it would really be perfect. It seems nothing in the world of computers is ever perfect out of the box.

I searched for that laptop on AMAZON couldn't find one; I then went to the manufacturer's site and then discovered that the super laptop is no longer made and by the time he paid for the laptop and the additional ram and solid state hard drive he was well beyond my "income tax return budget".

I not only searched the internet, I spent a day traveling around visiting stores in the area looking at the computers they had on the shelf. I was comparing features and costs. Most of what we found was low end consumer computers. But at OfficeMax I found a HP tower that was almost everything I needed and well within my budget.

From everything I've read, or seen on You Tube, I am convinced I need an Intel i7 processor and a Nvidia graphics card with onboard ram. The one I had found at Office Max had an AMD processor which I had no idea if it would work for me along with an unknown graphics card. I decided to visit HP's website and see if I could get answers to my questions. I found out the computer I was looking at in the store was already discontinued. That's when I noticed HP has hundreds of computers and HP will customize them at the factory; so for fun I designed a HP ENVY 700xt Desktop computer with all of the things I think I needed to have…

Operating system: Windows 8.1 64bit
4th Generation Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-4770 processor quad-core [3.4GHz, 8MB Shared Cache]
16GB DDR3-1600MHz [2 DIMMs]
1TB 7200 RPM SATA Hard Drive
16GB mSATA SSD Cache
4GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 745 [DVI, HDMI, DP, DVI to VGA adapter]
460W Power supply
Super Multi DVD Burner
HP WLAN 802.11 b/g/n 1x1 MCard BT
15-in-1 Multi-slot Media Card Reader, 4 USB Ports (Front/Top), Audio [Front 2USB2.0, Top 2USB3.0]
Integrated Sound, Envy Audio; Beats Audio
HP wireless keyboard and wireless optical mouse
Adobe Premiere + Photo Shop Elements 13 DIB SW

I designed and re-designed the computer until I had what I thought was the best of all worlds and I was delighted when the cost of the new computer was well within my budget.

I visited the Dell Computer website to do a little comparison shopping. The Dell site was a disappointment; it was hard to navigate and it was difficult to understand. I quickly became confused and frustrated. It was difficult to find the right computer to start with and customize it. Their choices were not all that good. I wasn't happy with the results and the price was 500 dollars over cost of the HP and I didn't get exactly what I wanted. The Gateway site was better but they didn't have a way to customize the computer and the only computer they did have that suited my needs was not available via the internet.

I have to tell you I like my current HP a6400f computer. I have two desk top computers here at the "Hovel" mine and Flo's. Flo's computer is the same as mine except for her operating system is Vista 64 bit and she has 4 GB of ram. My HP computer has been running 24-7 since 2006, and when it was new, it was fast. But computers are one of the fastest changing items in our world, and now eight years later my computer is running at model T speeds compared to the newer up to date machines.

Video editing puts a heavy demand on the computer resources and it slows the computer down. At times the program's demands dominate the computer completely; making a lot of my editing frustrating and time consuming. Not to mention my computer's older architecture keeps me from being able to render video in true HD and Blue Ray.

I did look around for a local company that could custom build my super video editing computer. This would be a little cheaper and guarantee that I would get exactly what I wanted. In the long run I think dealing with HP would be the better deal; and I get a year's worth of help and support free.

If I was more knowledgeable about the components and just what will work with what; I would give the computer building a try. However I can't count the number of motorcycles I've repaired because unknowing owners did the repair themselves. Only to discover they made the problem worse. I don't want to have to carry all of those new computer parts to someone else to assemble and look like the dummy.

Right now, way out in the dark on the horizon I see the glow of fire …

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