Hardware woes

October 31, 2008 at 9:45 pm Leave a comment

Back many months ago, I wanted to place a small hardware order.  Since it was a very small order, I thought I should go ahead and get something else with it.  Since I seem to have about a power supply a year that dies on me and I didn’t currently have a spare, it sounded good, so I picked up a low priced unit.

About two weeks ago, a friend at work who I had built a machine for had his power supply go out.  Since this was his SageTV machine, which records his wife’s soap operas among other things, it was a pretty high priority to fix.  He thought I might have a spare, so I retrieved it, that night he installed it, and all was well.

A few days later, a machine I use as a SageTV Client died.  In this case, it wasn’t completely dead.  Fans moved, lights came on, the hard drives spun up.  But, there was no output from the video card.  So, I removed it, and tried the built-in video, which also did nothing. I’ve had at least one system that failed in a similar manner, so I figured it was the power supply… Figures!  Just after loaning it out too.

Soon after, I found a good deal on a power supply from a major on-line parts seller.  I ordered two: One for me, and one for my friend.  (The spare I lent him did not have enough SATA power connectors)

Days pass, and I finally got the power supplies in.  I tore into one of them, and installed it only to be completely underwhelmed when I found the same problem staring back at me.  It wasn’t the power supply.

Not wanting to wait for shipping any longer, I drove the CompUSA and bought a new motherboard (Asus P5Q), CPU (Intel E7200), memory (Corsair 2GB, DDR2 667 Mhz), and video card (8600GT) for good measure.

I popped all the new parts in only to experience random lock-ups while trying to build the machine. I adjusted the timing in the BIOS to the 4-4-4-12 specs printed on the memory (even though the SPD seemed to indicate that 5-5-5-15 were the proper specs).  Things seemed much smoother, but after a while, I had another lock-up.  I next swapped the memory from my old system (Crucial DDR2, 533 Mhz, but only 1 GB).  Since then, it’s been rock solid, so I’d say it’s one of those situations where the motherboard is picky about the memory it takes.  I read there was a BIOS update to help, but didn’t want to bother with it if I could avoid it.

The good news is that the problem wasn’t the memory of my old system, so either my processor or motherboard is shot…

Oh, and now we can watch SageTV upstairs again!

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