The Joys of Upgrading

I have been teetering at the brink of upgrading my home computer for a while now. This has mostly been due to the amount of noise that my current system generates (loud fans), but that wasn't quite enough to make me do it.

It is the streaming video problems that have finally sent me to upgrade-land. Both Netflix and Joost hang on my current machine. As both of these apps seem pretty popular, I have come to the conclusion that my issues with them are more likely caused by the hardware that I am using.

The machine that I have been using for a couple of years is an AMD Athlon 2200+ (1.8 GHz), with 1 GB Ram, a GeForce FX 5200 w/128 MB Ram, and a 100 GB IDE Hard Drive.

I thought that this would be fast enough to run streaming video. Turns out that I was wrong.

With this in mind, I am doing an immediate "eBay upgrade" of used parts from various sellers. This "new to me" machine will be a AMD Athlon 64 3500+ (2.2 GHz), 1 GB Ram, a ATI Radeon 9600 w/128 MB Ram, and a 200 GB SATA Hard Drive. Total cost here is about $200. This machine should provide a noticeable difference in video quality, but it will still be loud and out-of-date.

Once the "eBay upgrade" is done, I need to begin exploring a proper upgrade to a quiet machine with passive cooling, at least dual core CPU, and a PCI Express video card.


Last week I finally received my Beta invite to Joost. Having heard and read much about this app over the last couple of months, I eagerly downloaded it, created my user account, and launched the app for the first time.

My initial reaction was that the program looked pretty slick. Full screen video with a simple menu overlay. It was intuitive and easy to navigate through, but I quickly came upon one serious problem. Where the hell was the content?

It was almost like Joost may have slowed down the navigation a bit to obscure the fact that there just wasn't anything interesting available on the site. That or they are targeting this app at folks that have connection faster than my 6 Mb/s and I just cannot fathom that that would be a huge share of the market at this point.

It looked as though I had access to a full season worth of Laguna Beach (think I might have drying paint that would be more likely to peak my interest) and a couple of videos from Green Day. There was some programming about the making of a few music videos and beyond that, there wasn't much.

This might still be in Beta, but it would be nice if they could at least post something worthwhile so that the users can settle in to watching the site. As it stands, after about a half hour I ran out of stuff to play with on Joost.

Guess I will check back in on this in a couple of weeks, but for the moment I feel a little let down. My on-demand video of choice (well, only choice) will have to be the Netflix WatchNow service.