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Friday 2 May 2003

No! More PC failure madness! [lurks]

I hate computers. This is getting out of control, I got up this morning to find that Wench was powered down. I hit power and the PSU comes on, hard drives spin up but it's dead. Jesus christ! For those that may recall, this was a pretty recent replacement for another machine that failed. This is getting beyond a joke!
In fact as I discussed this failure on #EED, Slim mentioned a power surge and this jogged my memory that insanely early in the morning I was woken up to the power coming back on our house. Having obviously been down at some point earlier. The machine that just failed is a Shuttle cube-like PC and... I've just switched the HD over to the missus' PC.
The irony here is that the missus PC was Wench 1.0 years ago. From when I worked at CU Amiga and had a PC server in the lounge for MP3s and watching DVDs. At some point it's had the mobo upgraded but otherwise Jeannine's creaky old PC was the same box. So essentially that creaky old box has outlived a Shuttle Celeron based PC and a DIY PC-Chips all-in-one mobo based Duron system (where the CPU fried).
As usual, moving the HD over resulted in a non-booting system on XP just as it does on 2K. However the 'repair install' option (which bizarrely, I've never used before) seemed to work. Wench fired up on the old crusty 128MB Celeron 500 system eventually and all is well although I fear we wont be running a Raven Shield server on Wench in a hurry! Quickly cannibalised the 256MB stick out of the dead Shuttle since Wench was operating in Comedy Turn-Based OS mode.
So now I need to replace Jeannine's PC. I was thinking of the second one on this page with a Duron 1.3GHz. That'll be pretty cheap I guess at about £135 for the lot. Although if her old crusty 2x64MB PC66 memory wont work in it I'll need to buy some more. Any one else got any bright ideas for building a cheap PC?
Realistically, I'd also look at a new system (sans monitor) if it were cheap enough because the HD is so slow and noisy it's a major PITA. So that means I need case, mobo, floppy, graphics, lan, cpu, hd, memory.
Anyone know a decent proceedure for cloaning a HD before one of these XP 'repair install' processes? While I'm at it, I ought to move Wench's boot partition off the old Quantum LCT drive as you can hear the bearings aren't too much longer for this world. I've got a spare Seacrate which can go in it, that'll make Wench quite as hell since the PSU fan is inaudible and there's no fan on the CPU.


  1. For cloning hard drives you need a ghost-like utility.

  2. I used to have two UPS boxes and due to stupid fucking generosity I now have zero. Scam seem to have some pretty basic models... and to be honest following a brief power cut a few weeks ago I thought I might end up getting one. I'd rather spend a bit of cash now than have that instant panic about whether a random component of my PC has blown. Overkill?

  3. Well a UPS may or may not do the trick (for protection), cheaper ones generally tend to run your box directly off mains when there's power. In this case I'd may have been saved through a cheapy surge protector. Often they're built into UPSes as part of the design.Tell you what though, my lounge is piling up with spare PC bits from the failed incarnations of Wench. I think I'll replace it with something quite industrial at some point.Update 4th April 2003: Today I ghosted Wench's hard drive to the Seagate. A top of the range Barracuda IV with fluid bearings. Now Wench wasn't noisy before because the PSU fan is inaudible and it doesn't have a fan on the heatsink - just a big ass passive heatsink. But now with the drive gone it's insane. Quietest PC I have ever heard, with the case off you can just about hear the odd drive seek. With it on, no chance. Blimey!

  4. Talking of PC's (but not failures) can anybody explain what 'High Density' Ram is ?And more importantly how I can tell whether it'll work on my PC ?I've been looking at this on ebay :
    And asked the seller, who sells shit loads of this stuff, about compatibility. He said 'if your system takes HD (high density) RAM then it'll be fine.' But this doesn't really help me !
    As it happens, the systems spod at work has agreed to take any off my hands that won't run in my pc, so long as it works in one of the many at work, so I'm not exactly risking anything on it.
    However I'd still like to understand how I'm supposed to work this kind of thing out !

  5. Occured to me that no one answered this. Basically it looks like someone just made it up. That stick of memory is standard PC133 memory. Why don't you pop the lid on your PC and see what's in it, maybe get the make and model of the mobo.

  6. Thanks Lurks, but I did that, posted the whole shebang to the ukg list and got no response :(
    So is there a non-standard kind of PC133 memory ?I noticed some places talking about CL2 and CL3, but it sounds like that makes no odds on a slow machine like mine. And a few places talking about 64x4 and 64x64 configuration for SDRAM.
    And why doesn't my delete key work in here, but the backspace key does ?

  7. PC133 is a standard so it either complies or it doesn't. CL2 and 3 are timing issues. The mobo will generally select the appropriate timing, either type will work. The configuration of the RAM doesn't matter. Dunno why the delete key doesn't work, it never has in MS' text input forms. Well, it works, it just doesn't backspace when you're at the end of a line. Doesn't do that in a bunch of text editors as well.

  8. no that wasn't it, I think my work PC was having a mad 5 minutes. just after that, when I couldn't even delete whole words with the delete key, it refused to close IE, and then I had to kill it with the task manager and reboot to get everything working right again. Very odd, and definitely nothing wrong with the page, because it works fine now !Anyway, having looked at RAM I'm actively seeking some on the cheap from ebay :-) And I found : 3 free snipes, and I still haven't succeeded in winning one, so they don't count yet.

  9. You don't be wanting auction sniper, you be wanting auction sentry.

  10. No, thats not what I want, you have to be online for that ... auction sniper runs off their servers, so I can leave it to bid, and it'll email me the results. Much nicer, less time online, etc.

  11. Less 'time'? Have you no broadband then?

  12. Broadband ?Fuck no, I'm on 56k dial up modem PAYG me ...No need for broadband really, if I desperately want something huge I can get it at work down the T1 line, and most of the huge stuff I'd want would most likely be more appreciated at work (surrounded by other geeks) than home (surrounded by wife and kids).