The Whim Becomes A Wham

The other day, I jumped on an idea to upgrade the storage in my computer.  Lucky for me it was Amazon Prime day, so I got a pretty good deal on a couple of 8TB hard drives.  I laid out the technical idea in another post, which at the time seemed all very logical.  It’s been about six years since I built this computer and it’s been serving me very well all this time.  The only thing it really needed was a better storage structure.

With the new drives arriving in a couple of days, I began planning the conversion.  I don’t do much hardware work anymore, just software, so I have to look some stuff up as I go.  In order to use a drive that is over 2TB in size, you need to partition it as GPT (guid partition table).  All of the drives I have now are 2TB or less and all of them were MBR (master boot record) partitioned.  So the first thing I checked was if MBR and GPT drives could coexist.  I didn’t really get an answer on that, because my question changed to: does my computer support GPT partitioned drives.  And the answer to that turned out to be, no.

In short, I had two drives coming in the mail that I could not use in my computer.  No problem (actually a minor problem), I’ll just upgrade the motherboard.  As I soon found out, you don’t just upgrade a 6yr old motherboard.  Technology has moved on.  Ok, so I’ll get a new motherboard and CPU.  Sorry, your RAM isn’t compatible with newer motherboards.  Ooook, I guess I’m buying a new motherboard, CPU, and new RAM.  Essentially, I’m buying a whole new computer.  Falling down a technological rabbit hole.

And that kinda sucks, because my computer is working just fine.  It doesn’t run slow, it doesn’t crash, it’s fine.  But in order to utilize modern hard drives, I need a modern computer.  And it kind of shows that I’ve gotten off the technology train a while ago.  Computers now are super-powered, because they’re used for a lot of really high-powered gaming.  I don’t game, so I don’t need that level of computer.  Good for me, I guess.

At this point, the thing I have to do is evaluate what I need from my new motherboard.  When I bought my current one back in 2012, I was coming from a small desktop and I wanted as much expandability as possible.  Over time, the cards I had installed in my system came and went based on what hardware I was using, and now, I have to determine what’s really being used anymore.  For example, I have an expansion card that gives me more USB ports and FireWire.  I don’t think I have anything plugged into that card at all.  I have a card that gives me eSATA and also a couple extra SATA ports with RAID.  I don’t have my eSATA dock anymore and I use Windows RAID now.  My motherboard has 6 SATA ports – plenty.  So what’s remaining?  I know I have a video card and a video capture card.

Oh but wait, the motherboard has some new features on it, like support for M2 SSD drives.  Do I need something like that?  Well, it’s pretty cool, and the drives are pretty cheap.  Geez, I paid a couple hundred for my 256GB SSD and now, I can get one twice as big for $55.  Again, do I need it?  Well, I am modernizing my computer; I don’t want to be left behind again, right?  And then there’s the video card.  It’s pretty old, too.

Hold on, stop.  Let’s just focus on what’s needed here.  I quickly placed the order for CPU, motherboard, and RAM.  $311 total.  That’s now in addition to the $300 I spent on the new drives.  So back in 2012, I spent $430 on CPU/MB/RAM, plus a case, and this year it’s $311 for CPU/MB/RAM.  Seems like things are about the same.  And that’s what, about $50/yr to stay current?  Not too bad.


  1. The Second System | Anachostic - pingback on September 27, 2019 at 11:21 am

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