Deus Ex Machina? More Like Diabolus Intro Machina1

Right. For those one or two of you that still bother reading this little waste of time that I call a blog, I figured I’d make the effort and write up a little update in the saga of my ongoing process of fixing/upgrading my computer.

In part one, we took teh basic steps and upgraded the case going on the theory that the comp was running hot and needed better airflow (and don’t forget the shiny lights!!!) to make it all better. We also took the opportunity to replace the aging sound card with a new and fancier model — an investment that I’m totally satisfied with by the way. I get great sound quality even with my crappy speaker and sub set.

Most of that seemed to alleviate the issues at first, so I chalked one up for me and kept playing but the faults and reboots kept occurring so I was pretty sure that the fried wire from the Power supply was the root cause and was trying to figure out what it had been plugged into at the time. My best guess is that it was the video card but I can never be 100% sure anymore. At any rate, 99.999% of the recover screens after my XP equivalent of a BSoD have been telling me that it was a driver fault, which correlated with my theory on the video being the root of all that is evil in my machine. So with this knowledge in hand, and the fact I found a decent price on one, I went ahead and ordered a new video card. Sadly it’s on backorder and won’t be here for a week or two. No worries. I figure I can wait.

As Murphy is a good friend of mine, I expected something like this to happen but it was still a bit of an annoyance when it did happen. Just shortly after ordering the new video card, I had two error recovery screens that told me that instead of it being a driver/video error that there were problems with my ram and I was shown how to run a test program to test the memory. I make up a boot disk (WOOT! I can do that again finally!) and went ahead and ran the program (DOS FTW!) Yup! According to the program 2 strips of Ram are bad or are failing slowly. And conveniently its one of my 256 strips and one 512 (out of my total 1.5gb). Well, at least I think it’s that. I’m still trying to figure out which exactly DIMM0 and DIMM1 are on my Mobo as they aren’t labelled at all… ANYWHERE!!! *grumble!* It could be that both 256mb or the 512 strips depending on how my comp reads the slots. On a hunch I figure it’s the 256 chips as they’re the older of the two and of questionable quality to begin with. So I make a little trip back down to the computer store by work, and get some new ram and I also take the opportunity to pick up a new power supply as well. While I don’t think there was anything particularly wrong with the old one beyond the fried extension wire, it was only 360W and I figure it was slightly underpowered especially with the new vid card enroute and I’d rather be safe than sorry. I just didn’t really trust the old one after the fried wire. So now I have a 650W one with enough power in it to run a Banana Republic for a decade. That is so long as we only produce enough bananas for me to run Quake, WoW, Dawn of War, Oblivion and Supreme Commander when it comes out.

Anyway, back to my machine woes. I upgraded my ram to a total of 3GB (from 1.5) using 2 new 1GB strips and keeping the 512MB ones for now with the intent to rerun the testing program once I reinstalled the power supply to make sure the old ram was in fact the problem. Yeah I know I could have tested each strip individually before even buying new ram, but I really had no desire or patience to pull each strip out and futz about with constant reboots and so on and so forth. If the 512 turns out to be bad as well, then at least I’ve gained half a gig.

Ack… once again I’ve distracted myself from the tale. God I feel like good ol’ Mr. Tolkien: The tale is certainly growing in the telling.

Okay. Long story, not so long. Plugged it all back up together. Tossed the boot disk into the floppy drive and the monkey flipped the switch, and all was right in the world… till I realized that I’d forgot to plug a power cable back into the floppy drive. MOTHERFUCK! Yeah… I’ll fix that when I put the new vid card in, I’m not going to bother until then.

And when all is said and done, It still didn’t wholly fix my problems though, but it has clarified them somewhat. Now instead of getting a BSoD, or the system locking up, I’m getting VPU failure and recovery errors, which goes back to my belief that the vid card is not totally kosher anymore. I’ll see for sure if the new vid card fixes my problems when it arrives.

Though if it doesn’t, I’m just going to have to deal with my system being a tempermental little fuck until I can afford to go to the next step, which would be replacing the Motherboard. And replacing the mobo, will entail getting a new chip, new DDR2 RAM, and a PCI-E vid card. It’ll be like buying a whole new system again… twice!

Trust me on this… You WANT this vid card to solve all my problems. Otherwise it will be two words and two words only…


Anyways, Goodnight for now.

1 Please excuse my pathetic attempt at translating Latin. While I know Deus Ex Machina translates as “God from the Machine”, I used some mental elbow grease and some questionable online translators to come up with Diabolus Intro Machina as “Devil in the Machine”. If anyone does know the proper latin tense and conjugation of that phrase, let me know.