Friday, April 13, 2007

Teh one in which we build a computer

And now the latest in the saga of Hoff's dead computer.

 

As I previously pimped, the guys at TechSupportForum.com were super helpful in giving me ideas as to what might be wrong with my computer.   The two big issues were the Power Supply and the Motherboard.  A few enterprising commenters thought they'd be clever in suggesting that I reflash the BIOS or do a hard CMOS reset.   Minor problem with those…I can't get the fugging thing to turn on!  You kinda need that capability to work on either the BIOS or the CMOS, so those suggestions were dismissed.

 

So the first option tried was (obviously) the easiest…replace the PSU.  Now, my POS eMachines rig is classified as a Mid-Tower ATX configuration, but it looks a helluva lot shorter than my old rig.   My old computer I built myself, ordered all the parts, assembled them all, and had a pretty sweet machine for probably 5 years.  And it was all in a Mid-Tower ATX case.   So when I'm at my local Electrode Hut (points to anybody who can name the reference), I'm looking at the PSUs and thinking they're all too big.   So I find a Micro-ATX power supply unit, buy it, and run home and install it.  Or rather attempt to, because it's too damn small.   So back to Frys to exchange the micro for a regular one.  Dash home and install.  Plug everything back in, close the case, plug in all my back panel crap (monitor, wireless keyboard/mouse transmitter, USB cables for camera, mp3 player, printer, and Palm Pilot, mic and headphones for the girlie chat, and speakers), and hit my switches.   Nothing.  Pulled the computer out of the CPU space in my desk, unplug everything, and take the box and a different power cable and plug it into a different outlet on a different circuit.   Still dead.  On a whim, take the old PSU, plug it in to the wall directly and I can hear a hum.  So it wasn't the power supply.   So let's take the unnecessary PSU back to Frys and try the next option.

 

Motherboard!  First of all, what kind of board do I need?  eMachine's website told me some weird name and model number for the factory mobo, but nobody but eMachines seems to carry that particular brand.   Besides, they want like $180 for a replacement, when other Celeron D compatible boards are going for less than $100 retail.  So let's see what boards will fit my processor.   I know I've got a crappy Celeron D 340, so when I go back to Frys to return the PSU, I go over to the display board where they have memory, CPUs, and mobos, and see what I need.   All the Celeron D chips they've got are Socket 775, so naturally I select a Socket 775 board and take it home.  First thing I do is unplug all the internal crap and remove the existing board.   Then I undo the cooling fan, heat sink, and the actual Celeron chip.  I go to set it onto the chip tray on the new board, and realize that the thing doesn't fit.   So, I fire up the laptop and go to Intel's website, to see why my Celeron is retarded.  It turns out it's retarded because I've apparently got an early one.   The early ones were designed to fit the same mountings as the older Pentium III chips, which is called a Socket 478 connector.  The Socket 775 configuration was established with the first Pentium 4 chips, and Celerons made by then were reconfigured for that.   So back to Frys to find a Socket 478 board.  Zero in stock, because apparently nobody makes them anymore.  Frys does have 1 board online, but it's backordered and will still take 5-7 days to ship.  Let's fire up Al Gore's inter-web tubes and see what we can find.   Lots of sites must have bought up old stock of those boards, because I found several sites that carried them.  After comparing prices, shipping, etc., I settled on one from NewEgg.com.  Preliminary major pimpage to them.   Their price was the lowest I found, their shipping costs were the lowest, and their warehouse was located in LA.  So Wednesday afternoon I placed the order, and selected standard UPS Ground for shipping.   Checking their site at the end of Wednesday, I saw that not only had the order been placed, it had been picked up at the warehouse in LA AND received at the distribution point here in San Diego.  So Thursday morning I see that it's out for delivery, and it actually gets delivered to Casa de Hoff before noon!  Less than 22 hours from my placing the order, I actually received the correct shipment!   Major hell yeahs to NewEgg.com.

 

So now we pray that this fixes the problem.  Pull everything out of the case again, and start the install.   Remove the existing back panel fascia (trim for all the ports), and slice open finger trying to maneuver the cheap tin replacement into place.  Mount the board, plug all the little connectors in, install the wifi card, and gently drop the CPU onto the proper Socket 478 tray.  Place the heat sink and fan onto the Celeron chip, and lock it all down.   Close up the case, optimistically plug in all the back panel crap, and hit the power switch.  And, we got nothing.   I stare in disbelief at the case and jam my finger into the power switch.  It lights up!  The fan starts!   And then nothing else, just like the first time I had the problem.  Power got to the system fan, but nothing else.  And now in addition to being frustrated, I'm even more confused.

 

I'm down to one more thing to try.  Power switch.  Of course it's not something that I can easily get to, with my decorative eMachines corporate-faced case.   So fugg it.  I'll go to Frys and if I can find a remotely affordable case, I'll buy it.  I'll transfer everything over to the new case and see if that works.   If so, I'll RMA the motherboard back to NewEgg (and hope that the excellent service carries over to returns), and get back to computing.  If not, I'll take everything back and start looking for a new rig.   Wish me luck…

 

Also, I played 4 SNGs on Tilt the other day.  All $6.50 9 player NLHE turbos.   Horrible bad beats took me out of two of them early (all in my AK, called by A7, rivers a 7 and then all in my AQ, called by T9s, rivers a T), 3rd place in one, and I won the last one.   So I was up $10 or so for the evening.  Could've been worse, I suppose.

3 comments:

River Driver said...

At some point, a new computer sounds like a lot less hassle. My techie spouse will probably wince when he reads that...

Raveen said...

i would just buy the new computer less hassel and work...

iamhoff said...

And to update, the case didn't work. So I give up. I returned the case to Frys over the weekend, and just ordered the RMA number from NewEgg.com. I guess I have to buy a new computer. Meh.