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HTPC good ordinary PC bad

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by Mr.D, Jun 2, 2002.

  1. Mr.D

    Mr.D
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    I am sure the gods are playing a little joke on me.
    MY HTPC is running great at the moment : its quiet , theatertek does a lovely job , it was a breeze to build from start to finish and it feels very stable in use , no freezes and the best pans I've seen so far, also the picture adjustments work great and this thing is well calibratable.

    The only thing was I just couldn't bring myself to pay out again for a floppy drive. I have one in my ordinary PC so thought I'd just swap it over for firmware flashing duties. Now my PC is an athlon based machine and runs some fairly intensive image manipulation , video editing and 3d packages. It took me quite some time to get it nice and stable but it had been solid for about 18 months.

    I should have seen it coming of course : some vengeful deity of home cinema hubris was hanging over me. I only went and knackered the motherboard on my PC when I was disconencting the floppy. I suppose there is a certain justice in it : trashing a 100quid motherboard for wont of a 10quid floppy drive.
    OK I thought I'll just buy another one no problems. I found one on ebuyer ( an asus a7v) for 40quid (depreciation is swift in PC land) but it wasn't there the next day when I went to order it!

    Then I found one at Simply but it had audio onboard and was 100quid again but I'd learnt my lesson I'd pay the extra and grab it whilst I could. Simply are down the road too nice and handy as they have an express pick up desk...well did have they got rid of it I was informed so I'd have to wait for 6 days whilst it was sent to me by which time I'd be on holiday and there would be no-one in to take delivery. I'd try online at work again and get it cheaper methinks.

    A miracle : a friend of mine had the same motherboard but had fried his bios chip about 18 months ago but he had kept the board he gives it to me for the price of a pint great. I gingerly swap over the bios chip ( great I won't even have to reflash the new one from scratch). Rebuild machine with new motherboard under watchful gaze of wife studiously taking note of amount of time I'm spending on this PC malarkey for future retribution.

    Hooray the thing works ! Once again man has triumphed over the machines by guile and cunning.

    Well it worked for about a week and then it started going senile on me. Ah well I thought , its about time I cleaned it out and reinstalled everything. The only thing was though I got an error message halfway through the install indicating the W2K cd was probably damaged. So I looked at the disc and there were one or two possibly problematic blemished on the disc... toothpaste! Yep 'll do the toothpast trick on it and polish them off ( nicely done too although I had to swap to brasso towards the end for a finer polish!)

    Still problems reading the disc. I know I'll use the drive out of my HTPC ah no I've just installed that new floppy in there that I should have bought in the first place and its in the way I'd have to pull them both out : wife walks past tuts at the lovely weather outside.

    Aha what a cunning sod I am I'll just pull the connector cable out of the PC CDrom and connect it to the one in the HTPC along with a power connection bingo works a treat , W2K installs finally now to apply all the relevant MOBO drivers and SP2 patch before getting the card drivers on the go. Ah the mobo drivers have caused a bluescreen luckily I can remove the offending article in the recovery console ( this is way more familiarity with PCs than I ever intended). That works but now everthing hangs at the login .

    Hell back to scratch reinstall the lot again its the best way in the long run. This time just run the SP2 patch as it will have additional drivers so maybe I won't need the hitherto problem free asus ones. Ah its gotten halfway though installing the SP2 patch and says its corrupt and advises me to unistall everything : this is the same patch I used on my HTPC and it works fine on that. Ok uninstall it . Ah bluescreen again ah to hell with it.

    So either its the W2K disc I toothpasted. The memorex trimax 200 cd/dvd/cdrcombo drive which has always been a bit clunky if you ask me. Possibly its the motherboard again , maybe it wasn't quite so undamaged.
    i
    This is why am writing this on my HTPC which was never ntended to surf the net.

    Remember kids a floppy drive might seem like a redundant bit of hardware but its only a tenner alright !

    So on wednesday I'll be shopping for a CDR drive and a dvd drive ( never again a combi for me) a cd repair kit ( and later possibly a new W2K disc) and more than likely I;ll get a new motherboard which may not be an athlon one so I'll need a new cpu and possibly some DDR ram.

    And I'll need to buy the missus some flowers too.

    I know its probably very boring but have a heart I had to tell someone!
     
  2. Jeff

    Jeff
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    Keith you almost sound as unlucky as me. :) Welcome to the everything I touch turns to **** club. :D
     
  3. nutcase_1uk

    nutcase_1uk
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    This is the reason I have floppy drive buried inside my HCPC> If it works, the last thing I want to do is poke around with it! Bad luck sir, it happenes to all of us at some point (I killed a mobo once testing someone elses's memory :()
     
  4. Gary Lightfoot

    Gary Lightfoot
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    That's nothing!!

    I bought a Gigabyte mobo, Athlon Tbird 1200, ram and fan from a vendor at a computer fair.

    Took it all home, installed it and..... nothing.

    Fans ran up but nothing on screen. Tried everything - after various posts on newsgroups for further advice and trying everything, it was still dead.

    Rang the vendor the next day and told him I think I have a naff mobo. He asked me if I could bring it to the london fair to swap it - I reluctantly agreed ( waste of a Saturday morning and train fair) because he didn't want to wait till the next fair in my area. He said he wasn't sure he had any boards but he'd try to get some new ones. I said I'd phone him to make sure he had some otherwise it'd be a wasted journey.

    He didn't have any by Friday night, so I didn't go down. I spoke to him again on the Monday, and he said he now had some in. He also asked me if I'd overclocked the chip! I explained that I hadn't because I couldn't get the thing to boot, let alone overclock it. We also discussed that it was hard to tell if it was the chip or mobo, so he would replace both items. He asked me if I could test the chip in a friends machine so that he would only have to replace one item.

    I relectantly asked a friend to do this, and he agreed. He tried it in his working machine, and that wouldn't boot either - must be the processor. Unfortunately his machine wouldn't boot after he'd refitted his cpu back in it - his mobo was now knackered. I told the vendor what had happenned, but he took no responsibility for it. So now I had to replace my mates mobo for him. :(

    The vendor offered to do me a 'good deal' on a new board (turns out it was dearer than other people were selling them for). But wasn't happy that I couldn't get up to London the next weekend due to work. He was complaining that he had two boards to keep for me that he couldn't sell - the possibly naff one, and the replacement. Great customer service so far...

    Anyway, I finally manage to get to him because he couldn't wait, and the first thing he did was take th processor out, look at it, and accuse me of overclocking it!!

    A neat trick considering that I hadn't. We had a bit of a low key row, with my gf moderating, and him trying to show us how it had been overclocked (big imagination I reckon). He finally took it across to another vendor to get them to verify his accusation. While he was talking to one guy, I asked the other guy on the stall if the fan I had was the correct one - I asked because it only said Intel on the box, and no mention of AMD. The guy took one look and said "That's the most dangerous fan to use.."

    The other guy then came over and explained that it could go on one of two ways, and if it was put on 180 degrees out, the protruding ring on the base grinds the corners off of the chip. Looking at the chip, this was in fact what had happenned.

    Now that it had been established that I hadn't overclocked it, but the fan had damaged it, *I* had damaged the fan, and it was all my fault!

    I was livid as he wouldn't take any responsibility for giving me the wrong fan, but he he did swap the mobo and fan over (proper AMD fan this time).

    I complained to the guy on the door who was in charge of the fair, and he gave me £50 towards the cpu (worth £85 at the time). I then bought my mate a new mobo and began the journey home. Before I got to the station, the vendor phoned me on my mobile, saying he wasn't happy that I hadn't got what I wanted blah blah blah, and if I brought the chip back to him, he'd try to get it replaced - but no guarentee. I had nothing to lose, and did so. I was to phone him in two weeks to see if he'd got one for me.

    I phoned him and he said he had a replacement cpu for me. I again went up to London and we did the swap. He again told me how I'd damaged the cpu (no mention of overclocking or an apology), but I was just happy to have a replacemnt cpu, otherwise I'd be about £100 out of pocket and still no cpu.

    I was going to return the £50 to the fair organiser, but decided that I'd been treated appallingly, and kept the money - I was still £23 out of pocket and had lost two Saturday mornings. Otherwise I'd be £73 down through no real fault of my own..

    The guy was only interested in making prophet, and even though he twice offered to do me a deal on my mates mobo and also offered to sell me another cpu 'cheap' he was actualy always charging normal fair prices - at no time was he being genuine or making a loss.

    I think the only reason he did the swap was because the fair organiser must have had a word with him. I don't believe for one minute he did it off of his own back..

    Suffice to say I told all my mates who go to fairs to steer well clear of him - I'd do the same here like a bad trader, except I can't spell his name ... especialy as it seems he doesn't own a shop or pay any tax (he was very vague about where his 'shop' was and other questions we asked), so he seems very dubious indeed. He would only take cash or two chequess under £100, and without a name in the payee field. It felt dodgy at the time, and was almost going to walk away. I wish I had.

    Now I only deal with people who seem to conform openly with the computer fair rules, and display their shop address. There are now certain 'types' that won't get my business.

    Gary.
     
  5. Mr.D

    Mr.D
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    Well I think I'm going to send the W2K cd to FUCD for scratch repair/repolishing. ( otherwise its 200quid for a new one!)

    I suspect I may well plump for an Asus A7333 and buy a new athlon xp proc and some ddr ram. This will entail a whole lot more research again to find out all the pitfalls and get me up to speed with the newer procs and ram. Toms hardware here I come. (any advice helpful too)

    Bang goes my new amp this month! So bang goes my cheapo projector next month ( gives me a chance to check out the piano though).

    Never been happy with the trimax combi drive so I'll grab another liteon dvd drive and a decent CDR/W.

    Hey like I said at least the HTPC works great ( and I know the modem is OK too!)

    Acht we love it though!
     

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