Its been a long time coming…

…not only for this post, but also the cleaning that I just started on the old filing cabinet. It feels nice to get rid of old paper, like receipts & visa statements, from over 10 years ago. The best part is going through the auto expenses, and basically discarding the entire folder–this last year with only one shared vehicle has been great.

One of the most painful folders to go through is the computer receipts. Its hard to swallow how much was spent on computer things. Back when I was just starting out as undergrad, I was playing a lot of Quake 3, and I got caught up in the “trying to have the latest hardware” cycle. This was also at a time when I was working a lot during the summer and still living with my folks, so maybe it was okay to spent $500 on the latest graphics card, if only to get a few more FPS out of quake.

Just out of curiousity I am going to tabulate all of the major expenses during that time:

Surprisingly, I only found receipts for a few mice and keyboards; they probably weren’t kept (Keyboards: 3, Mice: 4).

It all started somewhere around 1999, when I had just started university the year before.  I remember upgrading our home computer for about $500, and was psyched that I could play DVDs on the TV with it.  At about this time was when we first started to use the internet.

1999 ($253)

Quake 3 Arena Boxing Day ’99, $50
FaxModem $203

2000 ($3000!)

This was about the time when I really started to waste money upgrading and spending too much time playing quake.  I think there was a time when I was upgrading our old computer from 133MHZ processors to slightly faster ones that I could find on the newsgroup.   I was working two jobs over the summer and I had hurt myself skateboarding, so all of my efforts went into Q3.  I can’t believe how much was spent, and I’m sure that I bought a huge 19 inch monitor for over $300 during this time.  And these are only the ones I have receipts for.  Many other things were purchased from individuals (and a few sold).

In my defense, I was helping build computers for my G/F at the time, and also for my parents, and brother (I think).  The main problem is that I was caught up in the benchmarking scene.  Its impossible to keep up with it.  The other major cost associated with this was trying to overclock my Athlon.   I had penciled in some marks on the chip to unlock the clock multiplier, and when putting the heatsink back down, I partially crushed the casing.  A little later things weren’t working well (random blue screens), during quake, god forbid.  I had to take it into two places: one charged me for more expensive ram, and the other found out that it was just that one of the cards wasn’t seated all that well.  This chipped die went on to be a decent computer for years later.

Intel Pentium MMX-233 MHZ CPU $80
3DFX Voodoo3 2000 16MB $140
VooDoo3 300 16MB $115
13GB HDD $185
Thunderbird 800, $320
Asus A7V $250
Raid Controller $160
Tower $60
Samsung FDD $20
Power Surge $35
Gamepad: $55
Tower and 300 Watt PSU $80 + $45
Another diagonstic: $75
Diagnostic + 128 VCRAM: $295
CD writer: $339
Epson stylus: $250

2001 ($861)

Maybe I learnt my lesson from the previous year.  2001 didn’t seem so bad

Lexmark Printer: $246
HIS ATI Video Card $45
Speakers + SB Card $80 + $32
A7V133 Socket A, $188
MSI Starforce $145
Duron 750 $90
Duron Heatsink $35

2003 ($300)
ATI 9800 AGP128MB $300, April

2004 ($593):

Pyro video camera $80

Wireless router and card $183, 2004
Printer Ink and DVD writer: $330

2005 ($1024):
iPod Nano: $250
Samsung 17 inch monitor $387 * 2

2006 ($525):
LG Monitor $250,
160GB HD $90,
MSI 7600GS $185

Somewhere in between I bought Athlon 64 and kept that up until about 1.5 years ago.

It turns out that some of these things were actually good investments.  Obviously graphics cards and printers are not.  But the two monitors I bought in 2005 are still going strong.   Same with the surge protector: don’t have to worry about the current T-storm we are having.

In the end, I’m glad I no longer try to keep up on the latest hardware, but at the time I guess it was exciting.  It also seemed like things were changing faster back then.

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