One fine afternoon a fortnight ago my desktop Titan slipped into a deep sleep, ignoring all attempts to power it on. Having mulled over the lull, the wilting grey lump in my balding skull concluded a malfunction in the circuitry of the cabinet. It had to be that, what with the power button erring, fans whirring, LED’s shimmering and the optical drives flashing in and out like a reptile’s tongue, but the monitor failing to flicker and register even the initial post.
Since the suo motu keepers of all in-house gadgetry, except my personal laptop which I guard like a Horcrux, are my daughters who don’t give a rat’s tail to all impending acts of decay and devastation, I was unaware of the warning signs if there were any. But, in pursuit of my ardent belief that retaining a faulty electrical system is the next worst thing to taking a leap of faith into the Niagara, I lost no time in getting a modular, slate black hunk of a chassis form Cooler Master, with a sophisticated system of air intake and exhaust. In a dark corner of my heart though, I was happy to see the old casing go, it had started chipping and emitting a faint whine from indeterminate points, at least to my mind.
I was dismayed however when having assembled the innards into the new ‘HAF 912 Combat Mid Tower Cabinet’, I found myself faced with an impassive box of metal that didn’t even wink. The computer that had earlier wagged its tale and twitched its limbs, now stood resolutely comatose, renouncing every link to the netherworld of humans.
Surely then, whispered the air between my ears, it was the pricey PSU (power supply unit) from ‘Antec’ I had bought the year before the last. Maybe it was still within that hoax called warranty but, as the wizards of the Internet warned, impossible to get serviced in these longitudes. Trust me, there is no beauty in a PSU except the contentment of having sunk a fortune on a cold cuboid with wires and connectors dangling from its side like the limbs of an octopus. However, it could well have been the motherboard or the processor or the memory sticks or the graphic card, or all of them gone kaput at the same time. Being someone who is hopelessly sceptical of technical support on hire, I chose to grapple with the exigency with my own two hands, unit by unit, component by component.
So the GPU and memory modules were uprooted and replanted, their contact points wiped sparkling clean. No signs of life, Nada! Next came the paper clip test for the PSU where you touch the green wire of the ATX plug with its black sibling. Any hale unit worth its salt sets its fan spinning at the instant of contact, if it has any juice left in it. How my heart danced as the PSU swirled to life –I’m alive, I’m alive, I’m alive! Don’t mistake me, more than the life of the PSU, I was thrilled by the possible end of the motherboard, and with luck the processor too, albeit the latter are the hardest to conk off! The wheel of fortune had come to a halt.
For the next two days, a dewy-eyed man was seen loitering in the stores of Lamington Road, the hardware Mecca of Mumbai, enquiring about the latest and the best of Haswell motherboards. As he moved about, he summoned the Extreme and beckoned the Force. Booth after booth, he rubbed fingers with Maximus, Sabertooth, Killer and Sniper, more motherships than motherboards, armed to the teeth like nuclear warships, their decks stacked with rows after rows of weaponry. At times he snickered and at times he despaired, at times he threatened to purchase an entire frigate complete with a fourth generation i7 processor. Each night he returned to his bed perturbed, dreaming of Princes and Assassins rampaging in mip-mapped worlds a million frames per minute. Now I swear by the hallowed name of Charles Babbage I have no links with that dingbat, save the lone fact that my credit cards too have been similarly impounded, either by the issuers or the wary homemaker.
Thus, after a wordless week fraught with the risks of a holocaust, I announced I was a man of honour after all, whose humble wallet, famished though it was, could buy a motherboard or two and still hold its ground. By the turn of the week, I returned home one evening with a dull green mainboard and firmly addressed the casual vacancy. The desktop tweeted back to life to everyone’s joy and who was to tell what lay within the cabinet’s heart? A Maximus, a Sabertooth, a Sniper, a Hero or a minimus, gap-toothed, fangless scarecrow?