for details on specs, see this post
Part One: A False Start
I ordered a custom built gaming PC, from pcspealist.co.uk based on recommendations from friends who had bought from them before. I expected it to be a source of joy (and procrastination). But instead, what I got was the ridiculous incompetence of shuffling back and forth trying to sort things out - a grim unsettling disappointment instead of a cheerful demeanor.
The day the PC was set to arrive, a Monday, I received a text from DPD, the courier company making the devilry, that my parcel would be delivered between 11:30 and 12:30. Exciting! I waited with great excitement at the thought of receiving the PC early in the day, and playing with it. Except that come 12:30, there was still no phone call and I was getting a little irritated because the courier was late. What was ironic was that I had received a parcel from DHL just hours earlier, and the entire thing went professionally smooth.
DPD managed to screw up the delivery. On their website it now said that they had tried to delivery the parcel, but no one had answered at home. What maniac had been the driver, I wondered! I knew what had happened, the guy had rung on the doorbell (which is awfully silent, because we live in Temple Bar) and had not even waited to ring back or call on my phone, instead assuming that I was not at home. I called the DPD customer care, got the number for the local depot, and calling them got me the number for the driver that had so elegantly failed to deliver. He said he rang and waited for 10 minutes. Bollocks. Then he said that he'd be back by 3 hours, after finishing all his other deliveries, and then drop off the PC in the evening. Great! So I sat there all day waiting for the delivery man to come and deliver, but as is life, that did not happen. I was fuming furious. The customer service lines were closed for the day and I cursed their professionalism in all the wrong things.
The next day, Tuesday, I again called the local depot, got the number for the driver out for delivery (who, thankfully, was a different driver) and called him. He seemed nice enough, and confirmed and assured that he would indeed call me when he's around. He did, and when I went down to collect the parcel, he apologetically explained that yesterday's driver had taken on more parcels than he could handle and hence the delay and confusion. Whatever, I got what I wanted, and that was OK for the day. I hurried up the stairs, and placed the box carefully on the ground. What followed was the excitement of unpacking.
Okay, so everything was shiny new, and the thing had to be started. I plugged the cord in, turned on the switch, and waited, but nothing happened. I figured that in my excitement, I must have made a silly mistake, and so checked everything again. Seemed fine. Tried connecting different cables to the monitor. Still wouldn't work. I mean it powered on, but there was no display. Checked I was using the correct port. Still nothing. Removed the RAM and tried again. Nothing. Not even POST beeps that indicate the motherboard is working. Damn. Tried everything I could think of. Took out both RAMS, put them in different slots, removed the Graphics Card. And yet, nothing would work. Finally I called the customer service line for PC Specialist, and they couldn't figure it out either. They scheduled a RMA, which meant I had to return the machine back to them. They contracted DPD again to do the collection, and another misery filled experience followed.
The collection was scheduled for the following day. Come Wednesday, the driver dutifully failed to show up. I called up the local depot and they said they had no record of any collections to be made that day. I called up PC Specialist, and they said that they had everything okay at their end, and the system showed a collection due. I asked for a tracking number so that I could co-ordinate with DPD, and the guy at the other end promised that he'd email me. He didn't, of course.
The next day, Thursday, I again called DPD, and gave them a stern word about the days they were wasting at my end. They apologised and opened another collection request, which, funny enough, was scheduled for the next day. I made them give me a tracking number, called DPD Ireland, got their end of the tracking number, and sat there waiting for Friday.
On Friday, I called up the depot, got the driver's number (the nice guy was doing the deliveries that day), and he called me right on time. Excellent. I handed off the PC to go back to repairs or what not, and that was that. Since it was Friday, it meant that the thing won't ship until the next week, and even then, take about 2-3 days to get there. The repairs wouldn't start until the next day. So I'm easily looking at 4-5 days just to get a notification of what's wrong with the thing. And 8-10 days to get it back. Sucks. Big time.
From a kid throwing a tantrum to a morose adult
During all of this, I came quite a few times on the verge of losing control of my temper and lashing out at the person on the other end of the phone. Somehow, I managed to stay calm, and talk well, and politely. It felt strange to rein myself like that. When the PC was first delayed, I was quite annoyed. When it refused to start, I was outright dismayed. It went from irritation to sadness and despair. The familiar feeling of times getting shitty as the clock ticked ahead. But it was easy to pull myself out of it. The rationalising aspect was new, which was essentially me setting out all the options I had like cards on a table, and choosing ones which would give me the best possible hand. It was more of a logical choice, that no matter what irritation I show, or feel sad, things would progress according to rules governed by entities not under my control. DPD would deliver the parcel as they do, and PC Specialist would repair it as they would. If and when either of them screwed up, I would react accordingly. But for now, everything, all the plans and excitements I had built up anticipating the arrival of this new toy, everything was simply put on hold. And I had to carry on with my work, because that could not stop in lieu of this. I said to myself, this is simply a minor setback, and just like that, I went back to my life without feeling sorry for myself.
PCSpecialist finally received my parcel on Wednesday, 31st May, last day of the month. So it was finally in their hands without any cock-ups. They updated the status with information that they are looking into the processor, motherboard, and graphics card. A few more emails about it, and then it was the weekend, so there was not much in terms of expectations.
Part Two: The Second Coming
PCSpecialist dispatched the PC today, and quite nicely, sent an email and a text about it. I got a consignment number for DPD (which, no surprises, is doing the delivery again) and a link to track it online. There was nothing specified about what actually went wrong with the PC or if they had replaced any of the parts. I would have expected a proper note of diagnosis. As the delivery is from UK to Ireland, it takes about 2-3 days to get here. Which means I should have it by Wednesday or Thursday, building expectations of weekend gaming.
I received a message / notification that my PC was out for delivery and I tried out if it was the good driver (Luke) or the bad one (Gary/Greg). Fortunately, it turned out to be Luke, so I knew that I was going to receive my PC today. Come 11:30am, I received a call from Luke, asking me to come downstairs and collect my PC. I went down, signed for the delivery, and got it back upstairs. Half my heart was sure that the PC was fine and in working order, but the other half was being cautious lest things do not work out like it happened last time.
I got the PC back upstairs, unpacked the boxing, connected the cables, and turned it on. First thing I noticed was the cool LED glow on the graphics card fans. It looked pretty cool. Then came the satisfying sound of a POST beep and I knew good times were here. The PC booted into Windows 10, with a custom logo set by PCSpecialist and I was logged into a demo copy of Windows. Awesome.
Part Three: The Good Times
The first thing I did was install Steam. I did not wait around to reinstall a fresh copy of Windows, or play around with existing settings, or even the BIOS. Nope. I installed Steam. Oh, and along the way, updated the drivers for the graphics card. The PC could connect to the wifi just fine, though the speed was not great. I downloaded Doom as the game I wanted to play. It took somewhere near 4 hours to install that, as the size was quite massive at nearly 70GB. I took a nap.
The thing with Doom is that it was the first game that made my jaws drop as a kid. I must have been something like 11-12 years old when I first encountered the unforgettable gameplay and level design. I was hooked. I played all of it, and then played it again over and over. It was fun. Even today, I still play the original, sometimes it's mod - Brutal Doom, because it is such a good game. Knowing this, playing the new game was a thing I was concerned about - would it ruin the memories, would it live up to the expectation, and most importantly - would I have fun?
To sum it up - yes, the game is AWESOME. I have not had so much fun shooting things in a long long time, and Doom is one of those things that just gets it right. From the graphics, which were a breeze to watch, and the new gameplay where monsters drop health, and all sorts of things, it was fun to play.
Now that I've played one game I've wanted to play for a long long time, I'm open to other things. Friend(s) recommended Killing Floor 2 and The Forest as co-op with them, and I'm looking forward to that. Oh, and among all these things, I have to try and remember that I'm doing a PhD.