Tag Archives: TigerDirect

It Was Indeed The 700 Watt OCZ ModXStream Pro PowerSupply That Blew Up!

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.

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Anura Guruge


Related posts:
>> My main PC blew up! — May 31, 2013.
>> Newegg rather than TigerDirect for PC components — May 31, 2012.


The deceased 700 Watt OCZ ModXStream Pro.

The deceased 700 Watt OCZ ModXStream Pro. Though it is a modular it appears that the original person that built my PC didn’t remove the unused cables. No great harm. There was room in the case.


12 days after it blew up [10 full days in reality] I finally had my main workhorse PC finally repaired – having to wait for a new power supply (which did come very quickly) and making time to get to Concord Radio Shack to get some momentary ON switches just in case it was the switch. I made it to Concord Friday. So Dave Nix came this morning. It turned out to be the power supply. I have never had a power supply go bad on me. Plus, this was no ‘cheapo’ unit. It was a $90 power supply in November 2009, albeit with a $10 rebate (though I am not sure whether I ever got that)

The original order in November 2009 for the 700 W power supply that blew up.

The original order in November 2009 for the 700 W power supply that blew up.


Per Dave’s advice I got an even BIGGER power supply — PC folks, without exception, always swearing, when it comes to power supplies that bigger is always better. So now I got a 750 Watt. I did a fair amount of checking. Found that a good ‘single rail’ is better than a mediocre ‘dual rail’ — and the older one was dual rail. Fols tell me that this PC really soaks up power given the i7, the fairly decent video card and the 7 fans.

I have to say that the new Rosewill HIVE-750 looks like a work of art. Though most hardware does nothing for me, just looking and feeling this unit makes you realize that it is a cut above the rest. Furthermore, all the cables came inside a nifty, reusable zippered case! I was impressed. So I notice that price wise both supplies,  50 Watts and 3.5 years apart, were the same price — and Newegg gave me FREE shipping on this unit. Thank YOU, Newegg, especially since the unit was here within 2 business days! Newegg certainly has my attention again. Having an extended warranty would not have helped. The old unit, to be fair, lasted 3.5 years and this PC is on at least 355 days a year, typically for 16 hours a day, so that is 355 x 16 x 7. Yes, the quoted MTBF, as ever, is far greater, but I guess I cannot complain. That said I still feel a bit ‘uneasy’. Given the two fans that died plus the power supply I now realize that I have spent just over $500 on repairs for this PC in 2013 — not counting the 25″ monitor that died. My eldest daughter points out correctly that I could have bought a new PC for that — albeit nowhere close to the specs on this one. But, I am going to start cutting my losses on this PC. 

NewPowerSupply2013

Newegg Rather Than TigerDirect Might Be Better Option For PC Components. Check Both Out.

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 ..by Anura Guruge


Related post:
>> My main PC blew up! — May 31, 2013.


neweggpromo

Over the last few years when it comes to computer and peripherals I have been going directly to TigerDirect. They have been good. Really no problems. They tend to have a good selection of refurbished machines and that has been a major draw. But, because of this automatic gravitation towards TigerDirect I have been remiss about checking out Newegg.

I discovered today that Newegg can definitely out do TigerDirect on certain items — in this case a 750W power supply.

TigerDirectpromo

Since I might have blown my power supply last night, I have no choice but to have a replacement unit in hand before Dave Nix comes to take the ‘dead’ PC apart. I spoke with him, of course, this morning. It is possible that it is not the power supply. It could ‘just’ be the momentary on/off power on button or the printed circuit board (PCB) underneath. I am getting a dreadful feeling that it is that PCB. I spent 90 minutes today trying to locate a spare PCB for that 3.5 year Thermaltake Element S case. No luck. So if it is the PCB I will have to get a new case. It will NOT be another Thermaltake! That is for damn sure. They did not impress me today.

Dave reckons that given the brawn of the ‘dead’ system even 700 Watts (which is a lot) might have been pushed to its limit! So he suggested I get an even bigger P/S. 750W. Think about. You know how bright and hot a 150 W light bulb is. This is 5 times that! Fortunately, even though it is rated 750 W it is not burning 750 all the time. 750 is what it can deliver.

Anyway, by habit I went to TigerDirect. There prices are OK. They offered free shipping (and P/S are heavy) but you had to sign-up (as with Amazon) for a ‘$79’ prime account. Screw that. Decided to check Newegg.

3.5 years ago I bough ALL the components for the now ‘dead’ PC from Newegg. They were good. Gave me 12 months of 0% interest credit. So, I have an account and all of that with Newegg.

Newegg, of course, had comparable 750W power supplies (with modular design to boot), ‘a bit cheaper’ but with genuinely free shipping. So I ordered through them. Henceforth I will check both Newegg and TigerDirect out though I now have an idea as to how it works: TigerDirect is better on built/refurbished system, Newegg, per their original claims from decades ago, excels when it comes to components.

Just wanted to share with you.

PSNewegg750

 

My Main PC, My Workhorse, Blew Up. Yep! Blew Up When I Powered It Up. Rather Sad.

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 ..by Anura Guruge


I am sure this was a first for me. Though I use PC for long periods a day, I don’t ever recall a computer blowing up on me or fizzling out. I guess I was just lucky.

The computer that blew up was 3.5 years old. Had to replace 3 fans on it a couple of months ago. But it appeared to be doing fine.

I used it for a few hours this morning with no problems. Shut it down around 1 pm since we had a bunch of things to do. We didn’t get back home till about 9 pm. Around 10 pm I pressed the on button to power it up and it went ZAAPPPPP and sparks flew out from the button. Was not a pretty sight. No burning smell. Just light a bulb blowing. I guess it is the power supply. The PC had a fairly brawny, high-end, 700 Watt power supply. Not sure whether it fried the motherboard etc.

I had a backup PC, which is what I am using. Nowhere close to the specs of the original but it has a dual monitor video card and has Windows 7. I had configured it to be as close to the other one in terms of the software. Using Chrome with its auto-synch across machines helped. I was delighted how quickly I could get the backup running. Had to call TDS for a bit of help setting up the Static IP address but they helped out quickly and it was smooth and quick. Installing the HP printer was a bit more hassle. Then remembered how to do that too.

So tomorrow I will call David Nix and see where we go from here. I am bit bummed but doing better than I expected. This PC, a refurbished Lenevo unit from TigerDirect that costs 1/4 the price of the other, does quite well. So maybe the secret is to get a less powerful machine. I will keep you posted.

 

Amazon (U.S): I Cancel All My ‘Awaiting Shipping Orders’, In A Huff, And Decide To Take My Business Somewhere Else!

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Anura Guruge


I have regularly sung the praises of Amazon on this blog — example 1 & example 2.

Over the last decade or so I have had a very involved, intricate and intertwined relationship with Amazon. In 2011 I ditched lulu.com (with whom I had been since 2003), AuthorHouse (through whom I published my first pope book) and Lightning Source (through whom I published my second pope book) and started using Amazon’s CreateSpace as my exclusive book publisher. I have published 4 books with them. I only publish my eBooks in Amazon’s Kindle format — and as some of you know I published 3 Kindle eBook in 10 days during the papal sede vacante. I have 3 Amazon credit cards, the latest with 0% APR on all transactions for a year. I am an Amazon Associate (and have been for years) and have an Amazon author page. Over the last 7 years or so Amazon had become my automatic, Pavlovian first port of call for all online shopping. Since I do all of my Christmas and birthday shopping on Amazon, not to mention all the books I buy in a given year, I have to confess that I do over a $1,000 of shopping with Amazon a year! But, Amazon has been good to us. We have never had any issues with returns, billing or charges. Returns with them have been a joy. Publishing with them, whether via CreateSpace or Kindle, has been relatively pain free.

But of late I had noticed a little wrinkle. At first it didn’t bother me. This week, however, it came to a head and today I cancelled about $89 worth of ‘awaiting shipping’ items — yes, in a huff.

I know how Amazon works. If an item is available directly from Amazon I ALWAYS order it from Amazon as opposed to somebody selling through Amazon. (Yes, that also entitles me to the Free Super-Saver shipping). PLUS the deal is that if it is being sold and shipped by Amazon — they have it in stock and will ship pronto. And yes I also make sure that it is in stock BEFORE I order.

It is Teischan’s birthday March 22, as is the case every year. Suffice to say with the pope’s resignation my life had been crazy as of February 11. Though I had already got her her main present, a Windows 8 laptop, I hadn’t got around to ordering the ‘small’ presents, mainly Lego and craft stuff. [I buy all my laptops, refurbished from TigerDirect. I have had great luck. This one was beyond a steal. It was a giveaway. Just happened to catch it. Had just been posted. Only had one.] On Tuesday, March 12, 10 days ahead, with the conclave just about to start, I had a few minutes. Jumped on and ordered 3 Lego kits and a bunch of craft kits. As I was ordering Amazon kept on telling me that I could have them by March 20. Perfect. Had free Free Super-Saver shipping on all of it. Amazon automatically charged the order to my 0% APR credit card. Doesn’t get easier than that.

That same day I had David Nix, a Belmont computer expert, come by to take my main PC apart and tighten all the fans — it has 7 fans. David found that one of the back fans wasn’t working. Yes, I could have ordered from TigerDirect. Yes, I have a TigerDirectt Preferred Account that also gives me 0% APR credit! [What can I say.] But, I went with Amazon. I ordered 3 fans, to be on the safe side and two (spare) cables. Again I was told that they would be available by March 19 – 20. So much so that David penciled it in to come here next Wednesday to install the fan.

On Thursday, i.e., 2 days later, I checked the orders. Only 2 items had shipped — one item from each order. All the others were ‘Awaiting Shipment’ with no ship date. I checked again last night. Ditto. Nothing had changed.

Googled ‘it’ this morning. I am not the only one who had noticed this. Seems it is a scam. It is BECAUSE I had asked for ‘Free Super-Saver shipping’! Well Amazon, screw YOU. I cancelled the orders.

I will go buy the Lego kits at a brick-and-mortar. I will order the computer stuff from TigerDirect. I will buy my books from BAM!

So there. It is a shame. I like Amazon. I wish they hadn’t pulled this little stunt with me. Live and learn.

My 3 Year Old Hannspree HF257 25″ HD Monitor Died Today.

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by
Anura Guruge


Related posts:
>> Windows 7: Dual Monitor Works & Works Well.


bloodyhannsI got this Hannspree 25″ from Best Buy in November 2012, when I got my new Windows 7 PC.

I have used a dual-monitor system for at least the last 12 years, if not longer. I like lots of screen space. With the Hannspree 25″ I had a total of 47″ of horizontal screen space — across two monitors. It has to be across two monitors. I need each monitor to act separately in terms of the active screens they display. With the dual-monitor system I run two instances of FireFox (these days at 18.0.1 with updates disabled). I typically have 17 tabs open across the two instances of FireFox, not counting one of two Word windows, an Excel windows and probably PowerPoint or Paint.net.

I got the Hannspree 25″ cheap — and it always acted cheap. During Christmas of 2007 I took a part-time weekend gig, at Concord Best Buy, promoting Eposn printers. One of the most fun jobs I have had. Also got to meet a lot of very neat Best Buy folks and get to learn some of the Best Buy ropes. So, when I needed a monitor I rushed down to Concord.

They didn’t have many large screen HDs in stock that day. And I wanted one then and there. Couldn’t wait 24 hours. They had the 25″ Hannspree on a shelf, on display. Since I knew some of the folks, I managed to convince them to sell me the display unit. I lucked out. When they started putting in the stuff into the computer to get it ‘off display’ they found that that screen was marked to be discontinued. I could be wrong. I think I got it for about $189.

It was an OK screen. The HD wasn’t that HD. I know my HD. I have had HD TVs since 1999. But, it did what it was meant to — which was provide me with a big screen.

It had an annoying, very distracting, flaw. Not sure whether it was just in my ex-display unit. I never had the time to investigate. But, basically it did NOT retain the PC input setting when it lost power. It had two modes. I needed the 2nd mode to get the right screen resolution. If it got powered off, it lost that setting. I could always set it back again, but it was always finicky — requiring about 6 or 7 button pushings.

I never used to turn it off. It has energy saver. Plus it is on a BIG UPS. But, we lose power here on a regular basis for days on end. Yes, we have two generators. I don’t run my computers off the generator. The frequencies fluctuate too much. I see what it does to my electric clocks, Hate to see it mess up the electronics inside my PC. So, when we are on the generators I turn off the UPS — to stop its annoying beeping. That means the bloody Hannspree would lose its setting.

For the last two weeks I have noticed a pink tinge at the bottom of the screen. I knew it wasn’t good. This morning, while I was working it suddenly went black. Only way to get it back was to recycle power. Screen came back on, and then died again. I was bummed. I checked and tightened all the cables, It stayed up for a couple of hours. Then started dying again. I swapped screens. Put one of my ‘spare’ 17″ screens. That worked. So, I don’t thin it is the video card. Could be. But that pink tinge the last few days was a warning.

It was snowing hard. Couldn’t convince Deanna to drive to Best Buy and get me another 24″ – 26″ monitor. So ordered one from TigerDirect. They had Hannspree. But, avoided those. Later on I Google “Hannspree black screen dead …” Well, appears I am not alone. Seems like a common problem.

C’est la vie. If I get my new monitor to work, I will write about that — of course.

The Amazing 20X Optical Zoom On The Panasonic Lumix ZS20 Digital Camera.

Anura Guruge, laughing, picture November 16, 2011.

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..by Anura Guruge


Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS20 14.1 MP with 20x Optical Zoom, in black, as is Deanna’s

Deanna’s BIG Christmas present for 2012 (after the FitBit last year) was a black Panasonic Lumix ZS20 digital camera with 20x optical zoom. With our lifestyle, with the kids and the Goldens, we need a decent ‘point-and-shoot’. The one that Deanna was using, also a Panasonic Lumix, viz. the DMC-FP1 in gold, about 3 years old, was beginning to show its age. The kids, and sometimes I, have been known to drop it, sometimes even in shallow water or snow.

I started researching mid-priced ‘point-and-shoots’ in early December. The Panasonic ZS20 invariably popped up, with the 20x optical zoom always highlighted as a big plus. Deanna takes a lot of pictures of Maya, our 18 month Golden. Maya is even more of a water dog than most Goldens. Loves to swim, swims for long periods and swims far. With the old Panasonic Maya would sometimes just be this small orange blob in the middle of the lake. With the 20x Deanna would be able to snap her, in full glory, way out in the lake.

So, I bought a ZS20 from Amazon (with a fast 32GB memory card). I tend to buy most things from Amazon, eBay and TigerDirect my two fall backs, though I do start with TigerDirect for most of my computer-related purchases, unless it is, of course, a Google Nexus Android Pad, in which case I buy it directly from Google.

Deanna loves her new camera. We now have three Panasonic digitals, including an SLR. The only problem with that, and I haven’t looked into whether I can fix it, is that all the images have roughly the same name. Since we use all three cameras, and I like to put all pictures into folders organized by month or major event, it becomes difficult to work out which pictures came from which Panasonic, unless I sort them ‘by name’ rather than ‘by date’. Not a big deal. The camera has more features than she knows what to do with. It even has built in GPS.

Anyway, these two pictures illustrate, stunningly, the awesome power of the 20x ZOOM on the ZS20. Deanna was out in our front yard yesterday when she heard the characteristic tap-tap tapping of a woodpecker. We do have a fair amount of peckers up here. It was coming from trees across the road. The trees were probably 70 yards away from where she was. For a start there is a 25′ road between us and the trees.

Anyway, the first picture shows the trees, across the road, with no zoom.

The second picture shows what a 20x digital zoom can do.

The trees with the woodpecker in them with 0 zoom. Click to ENLARGE.

The trees with the woodpecker in them with 0 zoom. Click to ENLARGE.

The beauty of the Panasonic Lumix ZS20 20x digital zoom. Click to ENLARGE.

The beauty of the Panasonic Lumix ZS20 20x digital zoom. Click to ENLARGE.


Maya, our non-stop swimming Golden, in mid-September 2012, as Teischan and I take our last Standup Surfboard ride

Maya, our non-stop swimming Golden, in mid-September 2012, as Teischan and I take our last Standup Surfboard ride

Nate Silver Of NYT ‘FiveThirtyEight’ (538) Notoriety Uses An ‘ASUS’ Laptop For His Political Predictions.


Anura Guruge, laughing, picture November 16, 2011.

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by Anura Guruge


On Sunday mornings, just before getting out of bed, as a registered ‘Sun Worshiper‘, I like to watch the intentionally Sun-centric CBS ‘Sunday Morning‘ show with its eclectic repertoire of ‘trivia’ and compelling graphics of the Sun.

This morning their lead story was about ‘Nate Silver‘ which was quite a ‘coinkidink’ for me because the last thing I did ‘this morning’ [i.e., 12:22 am] before turning my PC off was to visit Nate’s supposedly super-accurate ‘FiveThirtyEight‘ (538) election prediction site.

IF you are a political junkie (like me) you know Nate and his hard to believe predictive accuracy in the 2008 presidential election. Until last night I have, intentionally, ignored Nate’s prognostications. Most likely because I am into statistical analysis and computerized predictions I think that Nate’s uncanny success in 2008 was a once-in-a-lifetime FLUKE. I don’t think he has got it right this time around.

Click to access the CBS ‘Sunday Morning’ story.

Click to access Nate’s 2012 predictions, THOUGH I do not recommend it. He is nowhere near to being even close this time around. 2008 was a fluke.


There was, however, one thing in the CBS coverage that amused me. Nate (no doubt in collusion with the producers of the show) went to inordinate trouble to showcase the ASUS laptop he uses … or at least did in the context of this show.

I like ASUS. I am a big fan of ASUS. The motherboard of this, my workhorse, PC is ASUS.

Deanna and Devanee both have (relatively) new ASUS laptops — albeit, both refurbished from TigerDirect. Nate’s would be a much fancier, 4x times as expensive version.

I have found the refurbished ASUS at TigerDirect (and Amazon.com) to be exceptionally good value. Most people have no idea when I say ‘ASUS’ in the context of Laptops. They invariably think of Dell, HP, Gateway, Sony etc. Those are consumer brands. ASUS is a step up in terms of component quality.

We also now have two (2) Google Nexus 7 ‘pads’ [i.e., tablets], one each for the kids. One of the reasons I got the Nexus 7, other than its hard-to-resist $199 price tag, was that they are made by ASUS. So we are kind of an ASUS household.

Seeing Nate plugging ASUS just brought that home to me.

So IF you are looking for an INEXPENSIVE, good quality laptop, start by looking at the REFURBISHED ASUS at TigerDirect.

Click … to access TigerDirect.


The ‘Sunday Morning’ show started off with an account of the 1952 presidential election and the UNIVAC mainframe that correctly predicted the landslide result. They showed this picture. Wow. This predates ME by one year. But, I cut my teeth on comparable, but more powerful, mainframes — albeit IBM (though I did do a very short stint at Univac in 1979 and then did some extensive consulting for them in 1996).

1952 election prediction with a Univac with Walter Cronkite.