Friday, February 04, 2005

blue screen of death and taxes

being a homeowner can be a serious pain sometimes, like when you need to fix a leak in your roof and it takes weeks just to get the roofers to show up & give you an estimate (we've now received two, after a full month of waiting around). but it has advantages too: for one, it seems to really increase your tax refund. my refund went up by $400 once i started deducting real estate taxes & the interest we've paid on the mortgage this year.

yes, i filed my tax return last night & i'm getting $1,474 back. that's a nice chunk of change. i decided a month or two back that i would spend my refund on a new computer. sure, it would be nice to put that money into savings (since i've taken a bunch out over the past few months due to repairs & travel expenses) or to go toward fixing the roof (though with our estimates of $700 and $850, i'd have a bunch left over after paying my share of that). but hell, i could use a new machine, and i'll have the money to get one, so i'm doing it. i'm supposed to get a bonus this year as well, & i can always put that money into my savings account.

so in a week or two that money will be direct-deposited & i'll be ready to start buying parts. you can get one hell of a computer for that kind of money, and because i'm picky about what my computer needs to do, i'm picking all my own parts and having my brother-in-law build it.

i'm going to reuse a couple parts from my old machine, though as more time passes the list of parts i plan to reuse keeps shrinking. i will reuse at least one of my hard drives (the data disc, with close to 100gb of audio, video, and images on it), but i'm wondering whether i shouldn't get a new (maybe SATA) primary hard drive... it would suck having to reinstall all my software, but perhaps the benefits of having a clean install of windows etc would outweigh that.

when i first started planning, i thought this would be a mere upgrade (though a major one). we would pull out my old motherboard, video card, etc, and effectively build a newer machine inside my current case. but then i realized something: we'd have to basically tear the whole thing apart to put new guts in the case, & then i'd have a bunch of old-but-still-basically-working hardware lying around. but if i get a new case & build a whole new computer, then my old/current computer will still be in working order to use as a backup, mp3 server, test machine, whatever... it'd need to get a new keyboard, mouse, monitor (unless i buy a new one of those too... which is a bit tempting, since i could give connie my current 17" CRT & get a nice flatscreen for myself), possibly a new HD, and so on, but that stuff is easy enough to come by. i don't know how much use i'll get out of the old thing, but i'd rather have a spare than have a big pile of abandoned parts.

my current "wish list" of parts is posted in this thread on exbe... i'm definitely getting one of the athlon 64 chips and a newer, nicer video card with tv capture capability (tv capture is a deal-breaker). also not listed there (because i won't be buying it at newegg [if i buy anything there: i'm open to suggestions]), i'm pretty sure i'll get a new printer. the epson stylus photo line looks pretty promising: affordable inkjets with the capability to print directly on cdrs! no more messing with cd labels for me (though that would mean that bad taste cdrs would no longer come with bonus stickers).

all that stuff put together is around $1,050. plus i need a new case & i'm sure some other minor goodies. this puts me in the $1100-1200 range, with a few hundred left over in case i want a new hard drive, a new monitor, or something else like that. and of course, my heart isn't set on any of those particular parts, so if you know of better or more affordable options, i'm certaingly willing to consider them.

once my new computer is built, i think it'll finally be time to officially begin working on the new awia full-length. i've been putting that off for way too long.

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