Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Computer Date of Up

Let the Royal Chronicles show that a new video card was installated in my loyal computer without incident.

DETAILS (at the risk of TMI)

Up until last night, my computer monitor had been driven by the on-board video processor on my motherboard.
It was good/fast enough for 90 percent of my needs but occasionally I would see behavior that indicated that it could not refresh the screen fast enough.
I am not a gamer, so I don't need the fastest, hottest, super-megagigapeta video processor available.
But I wanted the most video bang for my bucks.

After carefully looking at what kind of slot I have on my motherboard (PCI express x16), I researched the different video cards available.
I wanted an ATI processor, because ATI is owned by Advanced Micro Devices.
I am partial to AMD/ATI because they are not Intel. (my CPU in this computer is an AMD Athlon.)
All of my computers (I have owned three) have had AMD processors.

Intel is the largest pc CPU maker in the world (80+ percent).
I tend to shy away from the biggest companies in certain market areas.
So I don't buy Nike, Coke, Levis, Microsoft, Dell, or Intel stuff.

(One exception to this is Walmart because their food prices are so much lower than those of any other grocery seller.
But I hate that most of their non-food stuff is made in China, so I buy very little other things there.
Unfortunately, almost EVERYTHING is made in China, no matter WHICH store you go to, so it is hard to boycott everyone and buy what you want/need.)
Alas, my video card was "made in China".

(I don't shop at Target because they banned the Salvation Army from ringing bells at their doors during Christmas. I only shop at Kroger rarely when necessary because the president/CEO is a Democrat -but their store is only 2 1/2 miles from my house and they are open 25 hours a day, so it is handy in an emergency.)
My, how I digress...

AND I needed the video card to have an ATI processor that Linux recognizes (it has trouble with some of them).

With research all done, I selected my video card from one of my favorite vendors online.
It arrived yesterday.
I was preoccupied with helping Jef n Jen move into/paint their new house still.
So I spent a couple of hours helping them again.

But when I got home, my plan to install the new card today, dissolved.
I got curious.
So I shut down my trusty computer and opened the hood....

Even when "off" my computer is on at some minimal level so I pulled the plug and put it to sleep for sure.
I took the slot cover off behind the special, high-speed PCIe x16 slot, extracted the new card from its anti-static, Faraday bag, and carefully inserted it into its new, narrow home.
It popped in without incident.
Woo hoo.

I plugged my monitor into the DVI slot with the handy, included VGA/DVI adapter, and held my breath.
I plugged the power cord into the computer again and depressed the power button.
Start up as usual.
I looked anxiously at my dark monitor for signs of workage.

I looked over the English section of my instructions again. (the instructions were written in 16 other languages in addition to English.)
"In order for the new card to work, you must disable the on-board video processor. See manufacturers literature for details."

After some poking around in "manufacturers literature" I found that I had to go into the BIOS and change a setting.
In order to do that I had to plug my monitor back into the VGA socket on the motherboard.
Ah, the familiar opening screen.
DEL gets me into my BIOS.
I find the place I seek, make the change, SAVE and EXIT.
Plug my monitor BACK into the new video card.
Hold breath.
Press START.
The usual startup printing.

The start up went normally (as it should have)
Linux woke up normally.
I went into my system file to see if my kernal actually was seeing my new video card.
Lo and behold, there it was: ATI Radeon HD 3450.
Ta da.
I am very happily.

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