An Ordinary PC

When I bought my PC recently, it was a very ordinary PC, and yet it was specially customized. It was customized to exactly what I wanted, because I selected everything that went into it. Yet at the same time, it wasn’t anything very out-of-the-ordinary. In particular, the CPU I chose to go with was the Intel Core i5-2400 CPU. I also went for H67-based Sandy Bridge motherboard. I can just imagine many DIY techie persons will find this a little surprising.

Did I know the i5-2400 was not overclockable? Even if I got a Core i5 CPU that was overclockable, did I know the H67 chipset would not support overclocking? Yes, I know about all of that. I just wasn’t planning on overclocking, so I was perfectly happy with this CPU-motherboard combination.

Now, had this been 10 years earlier, maybe even just 5 year earlier, I would most probably still have wanted to get a computer that could be tweaked. Tweaked so that it runs faster than what it was supposed to. I DIY’ed every PC I’ve bought. Yes, I would normally have wanted to overclock my PC.

This time, I didn’t think I would have time to dabble with CPU overclocking. No point paying for features that I won’t be using. It’s not just that I didn’t have time, I think I don’t find it as exciting as it used to be a decade ago.

The PC just a computer hardware. It will run things I throw at it. I didn’t have time to play with it. Perhaps I’ve moved up the value-chain. PC hardware is too low-level, too commodity. It’s just a PC.

It’s probably about the same thing happening with how I feel about Linux. Having played with Linux since the days of the Yggdrasil distribution (that’s before the Linux kernel was even at 1.0), today I’m just happen to install a Linux operating system that will “just work”. I installed Ubuntu 11.04 on this PC, and believe it or not, it failed my expectations of something that will “just work”. The difficulties that I encountered with Ubuntu were trivial for me to resolve, but I think they are significant enough to frustrate newbie Linux users.

So basically, I’ve moved on to other things and overlocking a CPU isn’t terribly exciting any more. It seems ironic that just two months earlier, I was still compiling Linux kernels to undervolt the CPU of my Nexus One. It’s a whole different ballgame on mobile devices.