Note: The following is sweary.
Let me first point out that all of this is mostly self inflicted.
Let me secondly point out that i think i understand the appeal of laptops now…
The Triggering Event
i had an Acer Spin 13 for years. The idea being that i have a cheap-ish “walk around” for when i travel, or i’m sitting on the couch. It ran ChromeOS, mostly because i could install a Linux VM on it and run apps like VS Code and Firefox that way. The real beef was my custom built tower: 64GB of memory, way too much disk space, and an i7. It was my everyday workhorse. i mean, sure, that i7 was maybe gen2 or so, and the MB was subject to Heartbleed and other attacks, but it worked well enough.
So, for various reasons, i decided to get myself a Framework PC.
This PC is amazing. It’s exactly how PCs should be made and offered. Yeah, dropping a K on a “walk around” makes it a wee bit more concerning should i lose or damage it, but the form factor, weight, power, and features definitely make it worth it. Installing Lubuntu on it was a dream.
Then, just for giggles, i installed Rust on it and compiled `autopush-rs`.
What normally took minutes on my “powerhouse”, took just shy of a minute on my laptop. It was time to upgrade the beast.
Rolling the dice
Doing a modern build is like trying to put together a well-rounded stereo system. It’s possible, but there are so many scams and “BUILT FOR X-TREME GAMERZ” bullshit that it requires a ludicrous amount of attention. As noted elsewhere, i’m not a fan of a 3.2GHz clown cars.
So i put together a system that, i felt would work ok:
- a 12th Gen i9 Intel processor (Not the latest and greatest, but that’s ok.)
- a z690 Motherboard The last motherboard i got was an MSI, and it was both LED free and worked nicely.
- 64GB of DDR5 memory
- i even spurged and got some extra thermal paste, because i would be reusing the old cooler.
i planned to reuse as much of my old system as possible (ha-ha).
i mean, i figured the worst part would be (Ha Ha) having to re-authorize Windows 10 (HA HA).
How bad could it be? (HAHAHAHA sob sob)
i pulled my car out of the garage, and set up a computer surgery center. i even told my wife, “i should be done in around 4 hours” (Oh, sweet innocence…)
The Struggle, Part 1
After cleaning out the case and wiping out the fans (which i do every year anyway. Leaf blowers are amazing for that.), i got to work carefully extracting the old motherboard and cooling stack from the old system. It was annoying, of course, but went fairly well. i wiped the old thermal paste off of the bottom of the cooler and the CPU with a bit of rubbing alcohol, and set them to dry.
Then, it was a simple matter of setting the CPU (why the hell is there so much packaging?) and memory (wait, the slots are 1 and 2 not 0 and 1, and which ones are the primary?). Now for the cooler. Wait, where are the mounting pots? There are holes, but… Oh for fuck’s sake.
So, apparently modern motherboards no longer have pre-built mount points for coolers. Awesome.
So, off i go to the local computer parts place to get a new cooler. Oh, hey, the old power supply was kinda noisy (why don’t they offer db ratings for those?) let me swap it out for a newer quieter one. Power connectors are standardized. (Ha-ha-ha)
The Struggle, Part 2
So around $300 later (cooler and power supply, i set about building things again. i fix the base, apply some paste, and get to mounting the cooling– crap, this thing isn’t balanced and keeps slipping off the– dammit, i have to get the grodding mounting screw through the fan ducting– crap it fell out? Where the frak did that screw– DAMMIT the cooler slipped off again!? Wait, what was that snap?
Turns out that one of my memory chips was about 1mm too tall. Yes, apparently, that’s a thing. i mean the bit that cracked was part of the decorative X-TREME GAMERZ ONLY crap, so nothing critical, but still, might want to get vertical dimensions for your DIMMS along with base clearance for your CPU coolers from now on.
Well, no big i’ll just run a cable from this to the garage monitor… that’s DVI, because it’s old. Fuuuuuu….
i brought the system into my office to fire up because that’s the closest HDMI/DisplayPort monitor i have.
Hey! It boo–
Well, taint truffles, it’d be nice if you had something that actually NOTED THAT ON THE GODDAM BOARD or HAD A FECKING MANUAL THAT INDICATED THAT now wouldn’t it?
Insert another hour (yeah, hour) of me removing the cooling stack, moving the memory to the proper slots, and reattaching the stack. By this point, the thermal paste is a complete mess and i’m fully aware that i’m going to have to reapply it eventually. THAT WILL BE ANOTHER DAY.
Fine, it’s all bolted up. Finally, i can power it up and see if the License key still works…
The Struggle, Parts W & L
Guru meditation keyword: HYPERVISOR_ERROR
Well… shit. That’s unexpected.
Apparently, the new config is causing whatever bits of clever Microsoft did to get Hyper-V running to fail dramatically. i can’t boot it at all, even in safe mode. i go through the various recovery mechanisms, and no soap.
Ah well, i was kinda prepared for this, so let me grab my LiveDisk copy of Lubuntu 22.04 boot, and then install to the partition, restart and…
Wait, what? You have 64 GB of memory. how the hell can you be out of memory just booting up!? You’re Fscking Linux, for Crissakes! You run on crap that has 64MB of memory.
insert 80’s montage of me scrubbing through various docs and sites that basically work out to :man-shrugging:, and me adding increasingly obscure swear words to my growing list There’s some weird problem with MSI motherboards, built in video, and overly large boot images being generated.
Wait, what? Turning off `silent` from the boot options fixed it!? SERIOUSLY!?, Well, pisskidney, sure, i’ll let it spew it’s brains out on boot.
The Struggle, Part ?
So, as of now, i have Lubuntu on my main system, and it’s compiling
autopush-rs in about 30s, which is a literal magnitude better than it was prior. i have Windows currently updating from an original install going in a VMWare instance, where i’ll confine things like some games and other windows only sort of things.
My main system is currently running Lubuntu, and i’m basically building it up as my main, which means installing lots of stuff and moving bits over. i still plan on swapping the guts out of my garage server for my old motherboard, power, and cooling fan, but that’s going to be some other weekend’s project.
But yeah, definitely starting to see the appeal of laptop only lifestyles.