Sunday, 7 July 2019

Custom Desktop PC - but not self built

Yet again, it seems like I haven't posted in forever! So, in my latest post I will be talking about my custom desktop PC.

Now, I didn't build this myself as I was on a budget - however it is a brand new PC. I purchased it in March and it arrived two weeks later. I purchased it from AWD-IT.

Now, first things first, when I take you through the specifications you are going to notice one thing very clearly. It has an AMD CPU. This is something that I would never have considered for a brand new computer in the past, however I had to due to the budget that I was on. In addition to the AMD CPU, it also has an AMD Radeon GPU. Clearly a very AMD based machine then, isn't it.

AMD Ryzen 5 2600X 6 Core CPU
16GB of  Memory
AMD Radeon  RX580 from PowerColor with 8GB of VRAM.
1TB HD (taken from my old desktop PC)

So, how does it feel to be using a brand new desktop PC? Well, firstly, I have never actually owned one before. I have owned brand new laptops, but all of my previous desktops were second hand. This new PC replaced a Dell Precision 490 that I bought in 2015. That Dell PC was new in 2007 and had a Xeon processor and much more basic graphics card with 1GB of VRAM.

Well - the upgrade has been amazing. The speed increase is fantastic and the ability to run applications that I couldn't before, or that would take ages to do anything on due to the age of the computer and its components is amazing.The only issue, I'd say, is around the cooling. It does run quite hot, which is to be expected, however I was able to easily fit a second fan to the rear of the machine to help with the exhaust. I would've fitted another to the top, however this is where the lighting strip is cabled in. In addition, due to a lack of fan connectors on the board, I am having to use an IDE/Molex power adapter to connect to power the additional fan. This means that it is consistently running at full speed. I could, I guess, purchase a PCIe fan controller in the future to help me out if this is something that is required, especially given the noise coming from the computer.

All in all, I would actually recommend doing something like this if you are on a budget. It works out to be cheaper, especially if you go for an AMD processor instead of an Intel one.

Wednesday, 6 February 2019

Keep yourself busy at the weekend - travel

Hello all. I'd like to tell you what I have started to do at the weekend because it may be useful for you, too, if you often find yourself bored on a Saturday because you have so much time and you are not sure what to do.

With me, it partly arises from the fact that at the weekend I am at my dads and when I am at my dads I do not have access to my desktop PC and therefore there are a lot of things that I am unable to do because I don't want to do these things on my laptop for a number of reasons.

Anyway, what I have been doing for the last few months is travelling. I have been going places on weekends for a while now, but it was a thing that I did every few months instead of once or twice a month. Over the last 6 months or so I have been to new places and I have also been back to places that I have been to before but hadn't been to for absolutely ages.

So, where have I been?

  • Bristol
  • London
  • Portsmouth
  • Brighton
  • Crawley
  • Leamington Spa
Some of these places are, as you can probably tell, much further away than others, however wherever you go it's good to get out and see new sights and it's also a good way for people like myself (people that are interested in IT) to get out and get some fresh air which is always a good thing.

So, the question is, where do you go? Well, really, it is up to you. Everywhere I have gone, except Leamington Spa, I know people who live there or nearby. I don't like going to places on my own because I don't want to get lost and the miss my train back. But really, some people may be fine with this and they would be happy to find their way around on their own - so if that is you, then go ahead - it's your time and money so make the most of it and go somewhere and enjoy your weekends!

Just thought I would share this tip with you because why not.

Tuesday, 1 January 2019

Happy New Year

Well, this is my first post in quite a while and I would like to wish you all a happy new year.
A lot happened in 2018 for me, from completing my A Levels and leaving school, getting my first job, staying in a hotel for the first time and visiting new places such as London, Portsmouth and Brighton.

I have had my ups and downs in 2018, as I am sure a lot of us have, however 2019 is a new year and it is time to start a new slate and see what 2019 brings us. I hope that 2019 has just as many good memories for me as as 2018 has, and I hope this is the case for you to. We have just one year left of this decade and it feels as though 2010 and 2011 were just yesterday - but they were 9 and 8 years ago respectively. This decade has flown by and as it's the last year of the decade it would be great to make the most of the last year and make as many great memories as possible.

So, I wish you all a happy new year. I also hope that you have all had a fantastic Christmas too.

Thursday, 18 October 2018

Yet another laptop

Yes, you read the blog title correctly - I have acquired another laptop. It's a rarity for me too - it's a HP and not a Dell. I would've bought myself a Dell of the same spec but they were actually way out of my budget in comparison to this - even though I was looking at laptops from 2015.

Anyway, I am now the owner of a HP EliteBook 840 G2. It's a nice laptop given its age, and the keyboard is surprisingly good given that it's a HP, as I am not normally a fan of HP keyboards. Although, I will say, the home, page up, page down and end keys are in a layout that I am not a fan of really.

Anyway, a full review will be coming soon - right here on my blog. So keep your eyes peeled!

Monday, 1 October 2018

OnePlus 6 - The best phone I have ever owned

Hello all

You may remember that a few weeks ago I was talking about DHL and them delivering my phone. Well, I got my phone last Friday and honestly I am so happy with it. It is the best phone that I have ver owned in my life. It is fast, it looks great, the camera is amazing quality and it's a really enjoyable experience.

I had known for over a year that when I had the money I was going to buy a OnePlus. Once I got my job, I knew it would be one of the first htings I bought, especially considering the fact that I was having issues with my old Samsung and its charging connector. As it was my first payslip, I hadn't worked for a full month and therefore didn't get a full month's pay. As a result, I was unable to buy the top of the line model with more RAM and storage space, but for me I am very, very pleased with what I purchased.

The phone came almost a month after I ordered it, due to delivery issues, and when I new that it had arrived, I was extremly happy because I knew I finally had a quality phone. I was correct. This is genuinely the best phone that I have ever bought...

It runs so smoothly and quickly, and it never freezes up or lags - issues that I had with my previous phone very frequntly. I also love how good the camera is. The quality is superior ii every way over my old Samsung, and  am very pleased that I bought this phone. I would highly recommend it to everyone.

Another thing I really liked, was the fact that I didn't even need to buy a sceen protector or a case - the phone came with a case and a screen protector already fitted. As well as this, the charing cable is a lot more sturdy than the charging cables I had with phones that I have owned in the past.

So, when you're about to get your new phone, I really think that you should pruchase this pone as it is honestly such an amazing experience in every way .

Leaving school and the world of work

Hi all

Just thought i'd post a little article about eaving school and the world of work, and how it has gone for me so far. I left school officially in May and had my last exam in June. I started work in August, when I got myself an apprenticeship.

So, what's it like? I found it quite easy actually. Maybe that's because the apprenticeship does have a classroom part where we are at the training academy/college once a week for training. We also have exams there and my first one is just over a week. So I am going to be doing some revision over the next week.

When you first start, you may find it to be a little bit daunting, however after a week or two it's fine, especially once you have settled in with your working enviroment and your colleagues. You'll feel at home very quickly, and feel as though you can easily ask your colleagues for help - especially considering that fact that you are a new employee but also because you are new to the world of work.

I do have some tips for you here...
  1. Be prepared.
  2. Don't be shy - ask if you need help, as it really does help.
  3. If you want to keep in cotnact with people from school, then do so - they may be interested in what your job is and you may be interested intheir job or what they are doing at university.

Sunday, 23 September 2018

Starting up my YouTube channel again?

Hi all.

If you've bee on my YouTube channel over the last few months, you may remember that I said I was hoping to start it back up again at some point. Well, I still am, but I need your help and advice.

For me to start it up again, I need ideas fo videos to actually create. I work on a budget, so anything that is going to cost me a lot of money isn't possible - but I really need your ideas. I could continue with the Windows History series, however I am having issues with finding a microphone that is decent enough for screen recordings - so, that's something else I could do with some recommendations for. If you can suggest one - please do.

So, please let me know what you want. Your suggestions are valued, and if they are for things I can physically do, I will do my best to actually try to create the content that you want me to create.


Saturday, 22 September 2018

When your coursework becomes a meme

Hey all!

As most of you know, I did A Level Media Studies at school. The media blog is available online, and all of the posts are also available on this blog. Anyway, my sister was looking for my trailer on Youtube, when she came across a video that effectively turns it into a Plantsbrook meme. Below, I will embed the original video and the 'meme' version.

The meme version is based on one of my characters, that is also a deputy head and was my media teacher - Mr Farr.



Thursday, 13 September 2018

DHL lost your delivery? How to get a quick response.

This post is largely related to the previous post on this blog.

Anyway, DHL Express has a complaints page when you can contact the main customer services manager at DHL online. We did this last night, and she responded very quickly. The next day we had a call from DHL saying that the parcel had been marked as unretrievable and that hopefuly we will be able to get a new one shipped. On top of this, they have offered to refund all of the charges incurred whilst calling them.

Anyway, it's really easy to contact DHL's Customer Service manager. The screenshots below show you where to go.

Wednesday, 12 September 2018

DHL Express - do they really care

On the 31st August, I ordered myself a new phone. It was due for delivery on Wednesday, which then changed to Tuesday. Anyway, Tuesday comes and I get an email at around 16:38 - my phone had been signed for (obviously but a relative, as I was at work). Anyway, when I left work at 17:00, I checked and it turned out that it hadn't been delivered. When I got home I called DHL to see what was happening and they couldn't get hold of the driver.

Anyway, for the rest of the week, I called DHL once a day to find out if there had been any updates - but nothing. I kept getting told I would have to wait - even though I had spent £476 on that. On top of that, the calls cost 7p plus a 63p connection charge per minute. By the end of the week, we had spent £24 on phone calls (as the line is not a normal free line). On Monday, I was told again that the driver wasn't in work. The call dropped as I hit my limit although they did call me back to allow us to finish the call.

DHL need to realise that this is completely unacceptable. I have spent my hard earned money on a new phone to find that it has been given to the wrong person and therefore I have to put up with ages of investigations.

One thing though, I do commend their call centres as I have never been on hold for more than 2 minutes whilst waiting for someone to pick up. I guess there's one thing that's good about them.

Monday, 27 August 2018

Dell Latitude E6440 - first thoughts

Those of you that have seen my Youtube channel will know that I am quite fond of buying second hand laptops. Well, I hadn't bought one since 2016, but the tea incident (see my last post) gave me a reason to buy a new one. I chose a Dell Latitude E6440. I am fond of Dell Latitudes, I've owned second hand ones - a D410, an E6400, an E6510 and an E5400 - and my main laptop is actually a Dell Latitude 5000 series. I know that they're reliable and easy to maintain, which is the  main  reason that I went for one. Anyway, my first thoughts are below.

The first thing that really sprung to mind when thinking about writing this post is the keyboard. I love it. I'm actually writing this post using the laptop for that very reason. I find that it I can type very quickly on it - quicker than on my main laptop in fact. In additon, like my main laptop, this has a backlit keyboard. I have actually found the backlit keyboard on this one, even though it is at least 3 years old, to be better than the backlit keyboard on my main one. This is because there isn't as much space for dust to get between the keys, meaning that the light shines through well. How do I kjnow this, when I have only owned this laptop for three days? Because this keyboard is definitely the original keyboard, because it has some wear on it, yet there is no dust behind the keys and therefore the backlight shines through they keys very well. I think this keyboard is a pleasure to use.

The next thing I will talk about is probably specific to mine. The screen. For the last two years I have grown used to full HD 1080P screens on my laptop. This one has a 1366x768 screen. I am not knocking the laptop for this, I am just saying that I am not used to it - and I know there would have been options for better screens on this laptop if purchased from new.

Build quality. I think this is a very solid machine. There's one crack on it, and a couple  of marks on the top, but that's to be expected with a heavly used maching which this clearly is based on the fact that it has a well worn keyboard and trackpad. I really like the materials that Dell chose for this laptop, because it has a really nice feel on youyr arms and hands when they are resting on the palm rest of the computer. This means that you can type for ages and still stay comfortable. In addition, it also feels extremely sturdy. I comparison to my main laptop, it is quite a bit heavier and thicker - but that's to be expected as it is a few years older and this has an E bay (for optical drives) which my main one does not have - in addition my main one doesn't have an optical drive it all. Whilst discussing that it is important to nore that this also has an E series docking/port replicator connector on the bottom, allowing it to be connected to the docking statioin that I bought for my E5400 and E6400 back in 2015/16 0 which  hasn't seen any use for a while.

Performance is hard to comment on, considering it is a few years old and therefore it is obviously going to be a bit slower than brand new laptops. What I will  say though, is that considering it's age, it is still very quick and snappy. I have had a few slow downs here and there, but that was resolved by closing and re-opening my web browser which was clearly using a lot of memory.

Overall, I would definitely recommend this laptop if you want a nice second hand laptop that is still usable now.

Below are the specs for my system.

Be careful with your stuff - don't spill tea on your laptop

This is a little story of mine, with which I hope to ensure that nobody else has the same problem that I had.

Last Sunday, i was on my laptop as usual. I was about to go to bed, so I was saying goodnight to people on Facebook and then getting ready to hibernate my computer, which is what I normally do with my laptops. I had a cup of tea on one of my desks, which I hadn't completely finished drinking and as I went to bed, I left the cup on my desk. I thought nothing of it at the time, but the next day I would realise what a bad mistake this was.

The next morning, I woke up at half 6, ready to go to work. It turns out that I had left something at my dads, so I had to go there first before going to work. Anyway, when I got up, and was rushing about, I noticed that my laptop was covered in tea. I thought to myself "that wasn't there when I went to bed, so how did it get there?". All day I was wondering who had done it, and i  was worrying at work that it wouldn't work when I got home - especially considerin the fact that it cost my £950 to buy the laptop.

Anyway, I got home and I was too nervous to turn it on. I did eventually, and it worked, but by this point I had already spent £142 on a second hand laptop to use as a backup (infact, that is what I am writing this blog post from, because I think that the keyboard on this laptop is absolutely fantastic - more to come later (I hope to make a video on this computer at some point, if I can fit it in around my work schedule among other things).

Anyway, needless to say, I will not be leaving a half full cup on my desk again, because that is what caused this. It turned out that my mom had picked the cup up, and tipped it upside down whilst carrying it out of my room. This resulted in the laptop being soaked in tea - obviously something that isn't ideal.

Anyway, I hope that you learn from my lesson so that your laptop isn't damaged by tea, coffee, etc.

Saturday, 25 August 2018

A Level and GCSE Congrats

Last week, I recieved my A Level results - like everyone else in England and Wales. A week later, Yr11 students collected their GCSE results.

I would like to congratulate everyone who has sat any exams and recieved their results. The main thing is that you try your hardest and remember that it's your result and that you should be proud of your results - whatever it is. There's always  help if you didn't get what you want, and need to change future plans.

So, congrats all!