Now, last night was a horrid experience with installing a graphics card. I guess now that the panic is over, I can talk about it a little. I did my research before I bought a new one. I found that I had a integrated video card, opened my computer up and seen it - and seen at I had 3 white PCI slots, and 1 black empty, opposite facing slot that looked the same. Ok, so I still had no idea what I was doing. As a matter of fact, I have never even seen what a video card looked like.

I wrote down all the graphics cards that were recommended to play SL, and went to Fry's. While walking in there, had the thought in my head that I was going to ask a worker for help while I was there. As I stood in the video card section, completely baffled and clueless about what I was looking at, I seen the GeForce 8600GT was on sale at $119 from $149 (with a $50 mail in rebate as well). Cool :D

Excited, I grabbed it, and hunted down a victim to ask my questions. I found some dorky looking guy, who was a total jerk. And, because he was not nice, my questions to him was limited. I told him what slots I have, and asked which one it should go into. He told me the black slot, and that it just slipped in there. Seemed easy enough. :D

I get home, immediately set it on the kitchen table, open the case up and rolled back my sleeves. I opened the package for the video card, and omg - it had the cutest little fan on it XD So, I gently started to put the card in the slot.... but one side (the piece of steel that pops out the back of the computer) was stopping one side from going in all the way. I struggled to fit it in there for about 30 minutes, and was even considering cutting off the offending steel appendage that was pissing me off.

Eventually, I grabbed a screwdriver and pulled that side of it farther out, so it would fit into the slot it was supposed to be in ( I'm sure this doesn't make sense - but it made sense to me at the time XD). It snapped in, and I was thrilled. I closed it all up, took it back upstairs and hooked everything all up.

Turned it on, and my monitor got no signal. Great. I spent the rest of the 6 hours disabling the onboard grapphics in the device manager, trying to figure out where to disable in in the bios (I did keep the primary to the PCI-E slot, but it still didn't work), updating the bios software.... everything. I took the dog for a walk and pondered what to do next. I decided I'd send a call for help on my blogs, wait for the rest of the night, and then make a phone call to NVIDA first thing in the morning.

I posted my cry for help on 2 of my blogs, and then decided to try one more thing, before I shut it down for the night. I wanted to start the process all over again, the way it was meant to be installed. I brought the computer back downstairs, took out the new graphics card, brought it back upstairs, hooked it up, and turned it on. I then disabled the card via Device Manager, and made sure the BIOS said PCI-E. Turned it off, took it back downstairs, and put the new card back in. Brought it back upstairs, plugged everything in, and turned it back on. It started right up.

I went around the house screaming that I fixed it, and was totally thrilled. :D :D I installed the new drivers, and everything worked perfectly. OMG. I was sooooooo happy.

The first thing I did was start Second Life. It was so incredible, because I have never been able to experience SL the way it was meant to be. I always had my graphics at the lowest settings, because I get major computer lag, and I can't move otherwise. Now, I can boost all my settings up to the Ultra option, and really see what Windlight is all about. Its amazing, and really stunning. I am so happy with my new card, and it made all that work, stress and time really worth it.

I spent this morning tweaking the settings to make avatars look good, and I think I have found my setting:


I have taken off all 4 of my face/body lights, which is really amazing to me - and I am only wearing the face light that Caliah Lyon made. I never thought I'd be able to part with my lights, and it makes for a more amazing SL experience. :D

I am also noticing little problems here and there - for example... my ears no longer match my skin tone, and my photosphere is no longer a "neutral" with this setting. But, I am still experimenting and I hope to get it down soon. ^^

Every 5 seconds I've been telling the people around me IRL that "I looooooove my graphics card" XD I am so excited about it - this definitely opens loads of photographing opportunities for me ^^

So, so far, I've installed a new hard drive, twice as much RAM, and a new video card... and it hasn't exploded yet. And, its also important to know that I had no idea what I was doing in any of those times. O.o;;;