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I haven’t been able to play games this week, for reasons unrelated to the move.

The issue started when I booted up WoW. I was able to play for about 5-10 minutes – enough time to try purchasing more WoW Tokens – but then the game froze for a moment, recovered, then after another 5 minutes my PC just reset. Immediately afterwards, I heard the fans on my GTX 970 turn on full blast but there was no monitor signal. About a minute later, the PC sounds like it is functioning okay, but again, no monitor signal. I reboot and the PC turns on fine.

“Weird,” I think. Turn on WoW again, and the PC resets again after 5 minutes. Again, the 970 fans kick into high gear. This time though, resetting the PC does not bring the monitor back up.

I moved the 970 card to another slot, I used a different DVI port, I unplug the PC from my UPS to plug directly into the wall outlet, and so on. Plugging the monitor cable directly into the motherboard slot, e.g. the integrated graphics card, works however. I eventually dig out my old 560ti card, and that also works. Okay, great. Maybe the 970 card died?

I run Furmark to stress the 560ti card to reproduce the error. Temps stabilize around 70c. I ran a CPU stress, and they are within acceptable limits as well. Boot up WoW, play for another 10 minutes, and hard reset yet again. “Okay, not playing WoW, gotcha.” I turn the PC back on, start filling out a RMA request for the 970 card, and my PC hard resets while inside a browser. As of today, the monitor will display nothing no matter what card or slot the cord is plugged in.

Now, the primary culprit is currently suspected to be the PSU. According to a coworker, the 12V “bridge” which powers graphics cards often goes out first. I ended up inadvertently ordering two PSUs – one was 500W, which is not likely enough to power the rig, but Amazon wouldn’t let me cancel the order – and they should be arriving soon. I’ll have to cross my fingers regarding the GTX 970 card still being functional. It is technically within the 2-year warranty/RMA period, but I’m expecting some potential pushback should the card be fried when there were PSU issues afoot.

Of course, it might be something else entirely. Maybe the motherboard.

I don’t consider myself to be particularly tech savvy as much as software savvy. Replacing the PSU is going to be the most complicated PC-related task I have completed since I installed the GTX 970 card in the first place. Prior to that, the most complicated task was installing a new SSD. It is not so much the physical actions that worry me, but rather than possibility (and repercussions) of failure. “Oops, I bricked the $300 video card.”

In any case, we’ll see how it goes. I dive into the case Thursday night.

Edit: I spent a little over 2 hours last night replacing the PSU. GTX 970 card still is not working. Moved the entire computer to a different outlet, same deal. Swapped in the 560ti card and everything booted up fine. Then I went for the test: logging into WoW. About 10 minutes in, power shutdown. Plugged monitor into integrated video slot, left the machine idle for a bit. Power cut off again.

At this point, I am at a loss. The rig is old – I bought it around 5 years ago or so – but I no longer have any idea what could be wrong. I’m going to try and take it to a Microcenter near me for diagnosis this weekend. Depending on the verdict… I dunno. Maybe I “cut” losses and go back to gaming laptop like I did in my computer prior to this one. Maybe I try to save what I got.

All I can say for the moment is that I feel lost. Everyone has a thing that keeps them centered when the rest of life gets weird. Sometimes it’s a person, sometimes it’s a game, sometimes it’s a phone. Mine is a functioning computer. Or perhaps a personalized virtual space, if I want to be more specific. I don’t have that for the moment, and it sucks.

Boxed In

I have been having more fun with boxes than strictly necessary in DE: HR.

Two birds, one industrial crate.

Things Not to Say to A Guy Randomly Carrying Around a Vending Machine #467

With that kind of setup, I was surprised by the lack of an achievement.

What has been less fun are the frequent Crash-To-Desktop (C2D). By “frequent,” I mean between every 5 to 50 minutes with a trend towards the former. It boggles my mind that legitimate pieces of software are able to be released in this sort of broken state. Googling results in the same, unhelpful article posted a hundred different places. The Steam forums basically tells you to turn off DirectX11 (it’s off), and then tells you that it’s not really a Steam issue anyway. The Edios website tells you to, no joke, create a non-administrative user account in Windows, then play the game from there (tried it, didn’t work). Oh, and by the way, technically it’s not an Edios problem, but a Square-Enix problem. And there is no useful support forum for Square-Enix.

Finally, there was always the “turn everything down” proposed solution. I have yet to try this “solution,” mainly because A) I didn’t purchase a goddamn $1200 computer to play games on settings my laptop could have done, and B) the C2Ds, while supremely annoying, do not make the game unplayable.

I would like to believe that, ultimately, reviews should reflect the game as it should be, or is for the majority of players, reflected through the prism of of the reviewer’s worldview. For example, it would be asinine to complain about DE: HR’s graphics looking terrible in 640×480 resolution with the lowest settings. Similarlly, should a game be “punished” if it launched with bugs that later players never experience?

On the other hand, this situation frustrates me so much precisely because I love everything else going on. If it was a terrible game, like say Frozen Synapse, I would have dropped it like a rock (something I typically do not do). I want to be able to say that I’m never buying another game from Edios/Square-Enix based on their shitty QA process, but just like with Bethesda, I can’t say that either. If they released another Deus Ex, I’d be on that like white on rice microfiber weave carbon nanotubes on a super-conducting ceramic polymer.