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An Altercation With Physics

Though I was planning on spending these days immersed in becoming comfortable with Unity, I have been confronted with the gravity of an issue that sidetracked me significantly.

The gravity in question would be 9.81 meters per second exerted directly downward on a wall shelf and everything atop it.  It collapsed, sending hundreds of objects (mostly books, DVDs, and a few silly figurines) crashing down on top of my computer desk and spilling well beyond.

My computer monitors were directly underneath the shelf but, mercifully, they survived.  Nevertheless, how can I expect to do any game development in such a cluttered personal Hell as this?!

These suckers are rated at about 125lbs,
although versions exist that can do
several times that. 
First step: fix my shelves.  I decided to get rid of the rid of the flimsy, cheap shelf rail solution installed by the previous owners and replaced them with reasonably-affordable shelf rod brackets, similar to what's pictured here.  No closet rod here, I'm actually using the hook for routing wires or hanging things from.

However, the relentless forces of physics were not done with me yet, oh no.

Because much of what was on my shelves were a number of small objects that would be easily knocked aside, dusting was too perilous to perform.  Months of accumulated dust made its way from atop those shelves.  Several of the artifacts I had left on there were nearly encrusted with the stuff.  As I worked with replacing my shelves, a lot of it got on me, on the floor, and into the air of the room.

As it happens, I've a slight dust allergy.  There was much sneezing and inflamed sinuses to be had.

Clearly, a more permanent solution to dust accumulation would be ideal, so I picked up a number of cheap Sterillite-brand plastic tubs.  I am now in the process of moving everything small, loose, and possibly-worth-keeping into these tubs, which are lidded.  With any luck, dusting will be as simple as running the duster over the lids.

There is still much clutter to be dealt with, physical artifacts of years of my life that have slipped between my fingers and found their way into the nooks and crannies.  It's overwhelming, an affront to my participation in typical American consumerism, and a mocking backhanded swipe at my own foolish desire to pack rat what little I keep.

I must indeed be a rat, for I live in an overcrowded warren of a room that actually prevents me from accessing corners of it entirely.  I have schemed of a solution of a sort: I will adjust the legs on my assembled metal storage shelves to be high enough to reach underneath them in order to snag the small items, and trust my robotic maid to do the rest.

Yet, the greatest confrontation with physics I will face this weekend has yet to come.  Any minute now, the postman will deliver to me the weapon I have purchased to do battle against the very forces of hot thermal dissonance that rage inside of my beloved computer.  I speak of the need to replace the stock cooler that came with my AMD FX-8120 processor.

While the stock AM3+ socket cooler did a passable job at preventing the CPU from bursting aflame, it's still idling at 54 degrees C, a full 22 degrees hotter than the motherboard.  Under load, it reaches sufficient temperature to trigger annoying, hard-coded warning popups from my AI Suite II motherboard software.  This is barely enough heat generated that I would consider it a problem in need of solving...but not the greatest problem I have with this heat sink.
The NH-C14 is far different from a stock CPU fan.

No, the real problem is that the stock heat sink is rather loud when running under load.  When the fan is spinning rapidly, it sounds like a hair drier!  This is distracting when I'm trying to work on something, and this makes it an enemy to my game development efforts.  Air go Ergo, it must go!

My chosen solution is the Noctua NH-C14, whose two huge fans do not quite direct enough downward force to render the heat sink airborne, but not from lack of trying.  The direction of the fans is ideal for me because my computer case (a Cooler Master HAF XB) has an open top that very much facilitates the access of air from there.  (I wish the HAF EVO existed when I bought the case: the lack of a proper 3.5" drive bay is the main downside of the XB, which I otherwise love.)

The NH-C14 is huge, of course, as most enthusiast-level computer cooling solutions are.  In fact, there's actually a chance that clumsy installation of the heat sink will end up crushing my CPU.  (That kind of puts a damper on me wanting to do any game development right now.)  However, it's very well reviewed, and Noctua is considered a very good brand for noise reduction.  It's probably a good investment in the future because, it not only can endure enough heat to overclock, it's also compatible with most Intel boards... of course, it could very well be that the next motherboard I end up using is thorough incompatible, but time will tell.

I'm largely blogging to take a break from all this; it's been an exhausting weekend.  With any luck, I will soon have a de-cluttered room with a quiet, well-performing CPU.  However, I'm not there yet. 

[Edit: The heat sink installation appears to have been successful.  I'm idling at a cool 34 C now, 43C under heavy load, so I'd say my heat problems are solved.  In fact, the resolution of the heat problem is so decisive I'm feeling just a tad imbalanced by it - it doesn't seem natural that a CPU could run this cool.  The dual fans are not completely silent, sounding a bit like a tiny dual prop airplane is idling in my computer case, but the overall volume is really no louder than my chassis fans. 

However, my struggle against a clutter cluttered room remains ongoing, and my weekend is at an end.  I go now into the work week feeling largely frustrated that my finest efforts have not been met with complete success.]


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