Mister Eclectic (howeird) wrote,
Mister Eclectic


For those of you who just tuned in, my home PC has been intermittently refusing to boot up lately. It is a tower with 4 SATA 250GB drives RAIDed together, an ATI all-in-wonder PCI-E video card, Intel motherboard with 2.8GHz dual core CPU, 2GB of RAM, 500W power supply and apparently not enough cooling. Though I have a fancy CPU fan complete with heat pipes, the processor has been running in the yellow all the time and in the red more than it should lately. This is possibly due to the fact that one of the four screws holding the CPU fan to the motherboard is stripped, so we're not getting the best mechanical connection to the heat sink. The PC (running Windows XP Pro, but that's not an issue here) had been failing to boot up.

I needed a new processor, and according to Intel, my motherboard model supports the quad core CPU, so I ordered one, along with a copy of 64-bit Windows Vista.

Reading the fine print after I placed the no-returns order, my motherboard is rev 304, the quad isn't supported till rev 305. So last night I went to Fry's, because you can't be sure what rev you'll get online, and minor miracle they had a rev 306, their last one, and it was even $10 off. And I picked up a CPU fan which snaps into the motherboard, to see if that would help.

It didn't - turns out the fancy fan screws into a metal plate which is attached to the underside of the motherboard, and it blocks the snap-in holes. Which means I would have to remove the motherboard (which means unplugging all kinds of connectors, and removing the RAID array) and I really didn't want to do that until it was time to put in the 306 motherboard. But I was able to clean off a bunch of thermal sealer which had gunked up between the fan and CPU, and then put a small dab of new sealer in its place. That helped - brought the processor temp down into the yellow, and so far the machine has booted fine.

So now I'm thinking that I should just buy a new case and power supply, with an eye towards better air flow in the case, and just build a new machine with the quad processor and 306 motherboard, then slap in the drives and other cards. Will probably go to MicroCenter instead of Fry's for the case - they seem to have a better selection.

Edit add: Found the perfect case at MicroCenter at lunchtime, on sale for <$100. No power supply, but I don't need one. Check it out here.

I need a techie icon. Gotta dig out my Samurai Computer Repair poster & scan it in.

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