Then in that case, Crossfire Bridges almost left the face of the world.
Spent a four-day weekend in Bangkok with my family, and on top of the touring and sight-seeing, my dad and I ventured to Pantip Plaza during the first three days. Pantip Plaza was only two blocks away from our hotel. We painstakingly scoured the five stories of shops in search of the elusive Crossfire Bridges.
Pantip Plaza is not as hyped-up as they say it is. Well, at least not to the hardcore enthusiast. For the normal consumer, everything is there. There are shops dedicated to printers, inks, notebooks, spare cables, consoles, cameras, desktops… the list can go on. But if you’re an enthusiast, looking for something special, then get ready for a hair-pulling adventure.
Note: Exchange rates used
- 1 Baht = PHP1.40
- US$1 = PHP45.00
The greatest problem my dad and I experienced was the language barrier. Not a lot of the salespeople there speak English. I observed that in their mother tongue, Thais have difficulties pronouncing soft R’s and the syllable “-dge” becomes a T’s. So “Crossfire Bridge” because “Cosfah-bit” and northbridge becomes “naught-bit.” I don’t blame them for that, though. That’s who they are and what they’ve become. I have no problem accepting that.
Day one was the most thorough run through Pantip Plaza. We started from the 4th floor and moved down. We zig-zagged through tens of stores trying to get the message “Do you have a Crossfire Bridge?” across to people. It was difficult and frustrating to go through so many stores and not turn up anything. I thought they had everything in Pantip Plaza?
There were side trips to other stores where I looked at some cooling devices and some video cards. And to be honest, Pantip Plaza is not a lot cheaper than the Philippines. Sometimes their hardware is even relatively overpriced.
Eventually, we reached the ground floor, and as we were about to give up and leave, a hall with enthusiast overclocking shops dawned onto me. There were three of them. All right beside each other.
The first shop we entered was Jedi Cool and fortunately, this was a shop I developed a short, but good relationship with. Outside the shop, Jedi Cool was already bragging about its products. There was a liquid cooled rig to decorate outside and an array of LED and UV reactive fans. Upon entering Jedi Cool, there was a shelf to the left dedicated to cases. There was a wide variety from mid-end to high-end; from Thermaltake to Nvidia, from Antec to Coolermaster. Straight ahead was another shelf decked with motherboards and videocards. To the right was a rack of various cooling solutions. It had CPU coolers, northbridge coolers, RAM and GPU heatsinks, UV lamps, neon fans and much more. When I saw the products, I cursed under my breath, and asked my dad if he could leave me there for a while because I’d like to take a good look around. I was drooling on the equipment. The equipment in Jedi Cool is a far cry to even find in Philippine shops. Let alone purchase.
So I asked who seemed to be the manager of the store if she had any Crossfire Bridges. After some deliberating with herself and her co-workers in Thai, she pulled out a brown box that seemed to belong to a video card, flipped it open and produced this small rectangular plastic box. In it was a brown-colored strip, almost three inches in length and black plastic ends. She put it on the glass table.
“One hundred fifty Baht.” Deal.
Finally, a glimmer of hope, a sigh of relief. We finally got one Crossfire Bridge. Now we need one more.
My dad and I went to the other two shops, but they had none. I thought of getting something else in addition to the Crossfire Bridge, and a new CPU cooler was my second objective. The three shops all had good coolers, but among all of them, I found the Zalman CNPS9700 LED a winner. After comparing prices and some haggling in the second shop (sorry I forgot the name), I was able to buy a CNPS9700 at a bargain 2,050 Baht! Also a pair of new 80mm fan grilles for 100 Baht each.
Afterwards, we called it a day and went home. It took us almost two hours. Off to a Thai seafood dinner.
Day two was easier for my dad and I. The language barrier was broken. Asking around was much easier as we just needed to ask “Do you have?” and point to the single Crossfire Bridge we had. “No have.” Fine. Next shop.
We started from the 3rd floor this time and went down. Results were the same as day one: all stress and frustration. As by some coincidence as we were also giving up, we went back to the lane of enthusiast shops. We tried negotiating for another Crossfire Bridge, but Jedi Cool no longer had anything to offer. So we went inside the next shop and asked for another Crossfire Bridge. Initially, the manager, a woman, said no. But as we were walking out, the owner of the shop, another woman, called us back and said, “Five hundred Baht.” Yikes.
After some hesitation and unspoken deliberation between my father and I, we took it. We were desperate. We really needed it and we had no other choice. In a sweet yet painful manner, we went back to our hotel with two Crossfire Bridges.
This was the tail end of our Bangkok trip. Day four was pretty much useless. Our flight back was at 2PM. Shops open at 10AM to 10:30AM, but we had to leave the hotel by 11AM.
The main highlight of day three was our tour around the ancient cities of Thailand and the river cruise at the end. My family and I got back to the hotel at around 4PM.
Originally, my dad was only supposed to go down and buy the family dinner, but I asked him if we could go to Pantip Plaza for one last time because I wanted to get something. Time and daylight were running out so after much self-debating and calculations, we went… again.
Our trip to Pantip Plaza was very short this time as I already knew what to get and how much it cost. I went back to Jedi Cool again and I was choosing between the passive Zalman NBF47 and the active Thermaltake Extreme Spirit Two. The Thermaltake cooler looks pretty solid, but it’s very expensive. It was around 1,200 Baht. I ended up grabbing a Zalman NBF47 northbridge cooler. Two hundred and fifty Baht. Not bad! The Thermaltake cooler would also disrupt the S-Airflow in my case, so it my have adverse effects as well.
In the end, my Pantip Plaza adventure was long and frustrating. Was it worth it? Hmm… That I have to think about. But hey, I brought home some other goodies. One CPU cooler, a northbridge cooler, a pair of grilles and the elusive Crossfire Bridge. At least the bargain Zalman CNPS9700 and the Crossfire Bridges must count for something.