Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Further Misadventures in Computing

Time for another installment of my computer misadventures. I’ve noted before that I am a fan of the refurbished PC. It is just too good a deal, most of the time, compared to new computers. Everyone wants new, of course, the latest thing, but older machines can be every bit as good, performance-wise. After my office PC AND my recording PC both melted down within a few weeks of each other, I found myself needing replacements and I did go with refurbs.

Which were better computers, really, than the ones they replaced. More powerful, more memory, etc. Incidentally, I was able to get the office PC back into operation, running Linux on it, and it is okay for use online. It always lacked the power I actually needed in the office for working with graphics and publishing, and it definitely fell short for any music use.

I first replaced the music PC with a nice i7-powered machine with 16 G of Ram. But I needed a computer in the office more, so it sat there for a couple months until I could afford a replacement. It worked just fine but has at last been moved into the music space as a dedicated recording computer (Not that it won’t be used in other capacities — however, it may never go online again).

So, when I saw a Xeon-powered 16G Ram machine with the specs I wanted (more-or-less), I went for it. And I would be happy except it turns out the Radeon graphics card installed does not play well with Windows 10. Or doesn’t play at all, to be honest. I end up having to use Microsoft’s wholly inadequate plug and play drivers as there are none from AMD that will work. As a result, none of my big widescreen monitors will display properly. Moreover, a pair of smaller monitors will display only in mirror mode — the computer does not really recognize them as separate monitors so I can not split my display. In that working with graphics was the number one reason for getting the machine, this is not a good thing.

I am stuck with a single 15 inch, 1024 X 768, monitor for the moment. I could, theoretically, find another, larger monitor that would work but that does not strike me as a very good solution (not that I might not go that way if nothing else works). I am trying out a USB solution first, and will see how that goes. Maybe it will let me get dual monitors going properly, or maybe it will even let me use the widescreen. Either would be fine with me! I find the small monitor aggravating for many uses but perhaps most of all if I am writing. I like being able to have two pages open side by side, notes on one hand, draft on the other. And I hope I shall be able to do just that, soon.

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