I’ve been dreading writing this post, because by putting this in writing, it makes it feel final. I understand that’s silly, of course… whether I write this or not, the laptop is still dead. Let’s talk about what this means.
In truth, I have several computer systems, for different purposes. The laptop I bought six and a half years ago to replace a second-hand junker that had just died back then. I’d actually bought the laptop mostly for my mom, as it is downstairs and most of the year I barely touch it.
With the exception of the hottest summer weeks, I spend most of my time on my own computer, which is in my bedroom on the first floor. Unfortunately, this entire floor gets incredibly hot when the outside temperature is 20c or up for extended periods of time. This is because the build quality of our house is exceptionally poor. The walls aren’t isolated, the attic right above my room isn’t isolated, our roof consists of metal sheets pressed into the shape of roof tiles, and we have no air conditioning.
So for those weeks (or more recently, months) I spend most of my day downstairs, with the laptop. It isn’t as good as my desktop, but it can do most of the same things, albeit slower, or at a reduced quality. But it’s good enough to tie me over until I can use my main system again. Or I suppose I should say that it was good enough.
The laptop died three weeks ago.
I’d been meaning to write a post over a month ago, but due to various circumstances, I kept having to put that off. If I’d written a post, it would have included details about my next potential project, my attempts at learning Blender, and with screenshots of the 3D model I’d been working on in the latest version of that software.
Then the laptop died.
My 3D model was on that laptop.
Look, I’m a data-hoarder. I make a lot of backups. On my main desktop, I have redundancy software and frequently make my own separate backups. I put important files on my Google Drive, and I have an external drive that’s disconnected unless I’m making a full backup of my most important data so that in the unlikely event of a hack, I can still just reformat and copy my files back.
All of this is to say that I normally take really good care of my data, far beyond what most people would even consider. Unfortunately, I was using the laptop, which had no such systems or procedures in place. And I hadn’t gotten around to creating a backup of the files to my Google Drive yet, either.
Now, I actually think the files are still technically okay, on the hard drive, but I’m not really able to tinker with that at the moment, and so those files, assuming they’re still there, are at least for the time being irrecoverable.
I’ll be honest, I struggle with depression even on the best of days . I’d really been trying to start my next project, and for this to happen when I’d just started it hit my motivation incredibly hard.
Most of my time immediately after the laptop’s death was put into trying to get it working again. I’m a tech guy, right? I know a thing or two. I don’t have a lot of experience working with laptops, but I’m a good learner. I spent some time watching video’s on the disassembly and reassembly of laptops, and after I felt sufficiently comfortable, I took my laptop apart almost completely.
I should point out here that my laptop’s technically working, it’s just that the screen doesn’t work anymore. Or more accurately, the graphics card doesn’t seem to work anymore. I’ve tried connecting external TV’s and monitors over the various supported cables, and I’ve tried toggling the display change hotkeys and I’ve even tried resetting the BIOS, but there’s just no signal coming through in any of the possible configuration.
The problem is that, in isolation, I could probably have replaced the laptop. I have the money for it – I’d been saving up. The problem is, I’d been saving up to replace my desktop system, which is now 7 years old. I’ve also been wanting to replace my Media PC. I’ve also been needing to replace my tablet. On top of that, my Switch started getting Joy-Con drift and now needs repair.
Moping aside, I’ve come up with what I believe to be a workable solution.
I can buy the essential components for a new system, and put that together in my current case, with my current hard drives and graphics card. I can move the 7-year-old components I’m now using into my Media PC (which is running on 10+year old components) and give that a new lease on life. I can then move the upgraded Media PC downstairs and set it up with my spare monitor so that my mom use that. This option is quite a bit more involved than just replacing everything outright, but it’s the only one I can currently afford. At the very least, this should solve all three primary problems. The tablet and Switch will have to wait.
If I can pull this off, I’ll still be running old hard drives and an “old” graphics card, so my goal is to save up as much as possible every month for the coming year, and to buy replacements for those things as possible. Assuming I can get my hands on the Ryzen 9 I’ve got my eyes on, then a fast PCIE4 NVME system drive will be the first replacement I do. After that, a large storage drive. By the time I’ve saved up enough for a new graphics card, hopefully NVidia will have come out with the second generation of RTX cards, and I’ll be able to grab one of those, and perhaps I’ll have a fully renewed computer by the end of next year.
So where does that leave the crafting?
I’m basically going to have to start over with a new project for the time being. Perhaps I’ll be able to salvage the 3D model I’ve been working on in the not-too-distant future as well, but for now, it’s back to square one. I’ve got two or three ideas I’m toying with, but I haven’t fully decided what I’ll do yet (although I’m already leaning towards one in particular). So hopefully my motivation will improve and I’ll be able to start sharing cool new things with you all again soon.
As always, thanks for your support.
And hey, if you’re feeling particularly generous and want to help me out with my financial situation, please check out your options on the support page. Every little bit helps.