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Posted: Dec 14th 2009 8:09AM (Unverified) said

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I had a pretty bad month.

First, my videocard in my gaming computer died slowly and painfully over a few days. The videocard I wanted (the Radeon 5850) was sold out everywhere. So I switched over to my gaming laptop and it started to have massive issues with the hard drive (stuttering, crashing, etc.) Desperate for my gaming fix, I switched to my Xbox 360...which promptly started having video issues (the precursor to the RedRingODeath (RRoD)).

It almost felt like someone was out to get me, hah.

Posted: Dec 14th 2009 8:55AM (Unverified) said

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My wife once attached a butterfly magnet to my case as a joke, not realizing that when I turned my computer on the next day my harddrive would be dead.

Posted: Dec 17th 2009 12:19AM (Unverified) said

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That must've been a pretty rare magnet (or a suicidal HDD looking for an excuse...). ;) I'm surprised the shredder next to one of my desktops hasn't permanently killed anything (although, all the USB devices hooked up to the external hub lose their connection every time it turns on).

Many years ago, I had an NEC MultiSync (max res was 800x560, but if you squeezed down the vertical size, it could display 800x600). It was awesome for its time (even though it had an odd glitch -- it had to be turned on before the computer was turned on, otherwise it displayed in B&W). I had my computer (and peripherals) hooked up to one of those powerstrips with a power button per socket that sat under the monitor. One afternoon after school I turned the switch to the monitor on, and accidentally rocked it back off and on again, quickly... Pause. Longer pause. Uh oh. Dead monitor. And without much money I ended up having to wait a couple months before I got a new one. That would be like an eternity these days... :)
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Posted: Dec 14th 2009 10:56AM (Unverified) said

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Woke up and tried to log on a few weeks ago to find my ADSL connection dead. Now not sure how the rest of the world works, but in Taiwan, where I live, there is Chung Hua Telecom, which basically handles all of the hardware and then multiple other smaller ISPs which lease the lines from CH Telecom. You can actually go through CH as your ISP, but they're about as incompetent as you can get, they have a nasty habit of throttling your bandwidth to just about nothing during peak time, or getting their lines shmegged up with spammers.

If you go through a separate ISP, you generally get better speeds and service as your ISP will get hold of CH and bitch at them when stuff goes wrong.

Anyway, the first thing I do is ask my wife to make sure our bill isn't overdue. She says she'll check, and I head off to work. I get home that evening and ask her, and she hasn't gotten round to it. So I grit my teeth and try to explain calmly how much it would mean to me if she could find it out so I can get back online and play my silly little game again with my friends.

She promises to do it the next day. I get home the next day and she says it's paid. So I phone the ISP. They say they need to check if our bill is in order and if it isn't they'll get hold of the telecom company. I wait another day. Eventually I phone them again. They inform me that no, the account is in order and there is nothing wrong.

So I go, ok, that's nice, but I STILL don't have internet. Oh... ok, wait, we'll check. A while later they confirm, yeah, it's rather odd, they can't detect our modem from their side, how about that? So I ask if they'll sort it out. Yes, they say they will. They'll get hold of the Telecom company and get them to send a guy around. I wait another day. I get impatient and phone again.

"Oh, sorry, you mean the tech didn't come round yet? Tsk, tsk... we'll get hold of him." Next day, dude pitches up. Fiddles around with my PC, does basically everything I've done already (ping the modem make sure the connection between PC and modem is ok, replaces the modem with another one just in case etc) then tells us everything is fine this side, but our bill is unpaid. (I'm out when he says this or I would have lost my temper stuck his hand in a blender right there, so he tells it to my wife, who informs me later.)

Instead of losing my temper, I calmly ask my wife then to double check that the bill is paid the next day. It's been like a week now. The next day wifey goes round the ISP office, checks our bill is in fact paid and then throws a gigantic hissy fit. They promise to look into it.

Technician comes round AGAIN. Confirms that the line is indeed dead and oh, what's that, we have construction going on in the road outside... maybe that has something to do with it.

Following day, just over a week after the first day of waking up to find out we have no internet, the ADSL miraculously starts working again.

This, people, this is why we have stress and our hair falls out and we get stomach ulcers. Not because of our current society's work loads, genetic failure or the state of the economy. It's simply because we are forced to override our natural and healthy instinct to publicly bludgeon idiots to death with their own limbs.

Posted: Dec 14th 2009 11:35AM Sean D said

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(laughing) I couldn't agree more. I dream of running the tow bar on the front of my truck into the fenders of people who drive disrespectfully.
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Posted: Dec 14th 2009 2:45PM (Unverified) said

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Goodness. I am so sorry to hear about the tribulation there. I'm aware of all the pressure that builds when you need to game RIGHT NOW! Your post made me smile and laugh numerous times. Do you have a blog or anything? I'd read it.
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Posted: Dec 14th 2009 11:14AM ultimateq said

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I learned after about my 2nd meltdown. Get some canned air, keep your PC clean. My first meltdown was due to dust getting caught in my GPU fan, burnt the card up.

Second meltdown, dust under my CPU's fan, piled up all throughout my heat sink, no air could reach my heat sink, it got hot, it blew up. It was awesome.

Those happened over 6 years ago. Now I take care of my stuff, and it takes good care of me. I've moved to fanless stuff, using cooling pipes on my mobo, and a fanless video card for a while. Unforunately it can be hard to find fanless cards that don't use water cooling, so when I upgraded, I had to get a card with a conventional fan.

I bought a case that has plenty of ventilation, and filters along its opening to help keep dust out.

The only thing I have to deal with now is bit-rot. The age old problem. And it's getting pretty bad too.

Posted: Dec 14th 2009 11:33AM Sean D said

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I'm dealing with one now. I bought the parts for a new system in July and, along with a more tech-savvy friend than I, put them together. The system ran well until about a month ago when I shut it down one night and it didn't post the next morning. The power button wouldn't shut the system down once it was on in this state. Neither would the reset button reset it. One blue LED on the motherboard was unlit, I noticed. So I unplugged the power and turned off the PSU. Waited. Everything seemed to work alright when I plugged it all back in and gave it another go - until I shut it down again. Then the same thing happened. I turned off, unplugged, reset the BIOS this time (removed the battery), and started again. Wash, rinse, repeat this cycle about 10 times or so and finally the system doesn't post at all, no matter how long I let it sit or how many times I reset the BIOS.

I called MSi, the makers of the motherboard, and once I explained all of the troubleshooting I went through (I did a lot more than I've said here), he said it was the motherboard and that I should fill out an RMA and send it in. So I did. Two weeks later, I get a rebuild board back (I contacted them to find out what the problem was and all I got was, "A part on the board failed and was replaced.") I installed everything, even more carefully this time, part by part, checking for possible short areas, etc. The system booted up fine, ran fine, reset fine. I was beginning to feel relieved...until I shut it down again. No post.

I decided to deal with it and not shut the system down. Ever. Three days later, the motherboard is buzzing like a short in wall socket and all the LEDs are flashing to the beat of the zz, zz, zz.

I shut down and removed the system from my living space.

I've contacted MSi a second time and we've been playing phone tag since. The board is a 790GX-G65.

MSi is generally a good company. Everyone has these hiccups. But do yourself a favor and avoid these boards.

I'm on my old system, which carries on like an old man who's just not quite ready to give up the ghost.

Posted: Dec 14th 2009 11:31AM Dumac said

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Scary title! My graphics card is displaying some artifacts in games (although pretty rarely), perhaps its failure is imminent? Many years have passed since my last hardware failure, whey my ~800 Celeron died of old age. Perhaps it is time. Scary thought.

Lucky i still have warranty, I've been thinking of going and getting it checked and replaced, I just cant get around to it - another scary thought is that i am gonna be without a PC for however long that takes. :)

Posted: Dec 14th 2009 11:32AM Dumac said

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Thats ~800 MHz ... The comments need an edit feature... :)
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Posted: Dec 14th 2009 11:47AM (Unverified) said

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I'm a game developer. I know what goes on in that box, between the CPU and RAM...

You say the machine doesn't hate you? You don't know much about computers, do you?

Computers are like wolves. They can smell your fear, your confusion. They don't like users who don't assert dominance.

Ever notice that when a computer gives crap to an average user, and then a software engineer comes along and everything is fine?

Exactly.

Next time a computer gives you crap, go to a hardware store and buy a sledgehammer. Lean it casually against the desk, and see if it dares to throw you an error again.

You'll be surprised.

Posted: Dec 14th 2009 3:53PM Ivasen said

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Oh I'm surprised all right..I fear for your health.
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Posted: Dec 14th 2009 1:48PM Norvak said

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My PSU just died yesterday. Kind of Ironic that this would be a topic on the site.

Posted: Dec 14th 2009 2:59PM Cinnamoon said

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Only ever lost one harddrive -- an external backup that died in a power outage. No great loss there. Lost a couple mobos and video cards over the years, but nothing that couldn't be replaced pretty easily.

Now my husband, on the other hand. He can brick a machine like nobody's business. But first there's something you need to know. He has a phd -- in astrophysics. But he is the kind of man who, when my vid card dies, will take a pair of scissors to the cord on my power supply. While it's still plugged in. Why, I don't know. But he did it.

He is my PC's worst enemy.

Posted: Dec 14th 2009 3:28PM (Unverified) said

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First computer that I had custom built before I knew how to myself, started making odd noises from one of the fans so I removed it, later on in the week I went to turn on the computer only to find that my PSU had a complete failure taking the motherboard, hard drive, and dvd drive along with it. Whole build cost me about $1,200...

Posted: Dec 14th 2009 6:13PM (Unverified) said

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Actually, I have had this happen very recently.
My AMD 64 3800+ WinXP system with the Nvidia 7950 in it started up the other week with symptoms very similar to the reported 'Black Screen of Death' where you would get to the windows loading screen with the moving line, then the screen would go black and never come back.

In my case what was happening is the monitor was seeing a ceasing of the video signal. And after a forced shut down and reboot I got the text mode screens with distortion lines and corrupted character set displays... the sure signs of video card failure (or maybe just video card memory failure, but as the memory is not socketed or 'consumer replaceable, it amounts to failure of the whole card).

I removed the video card and went back to the on board Nividia chipset (6150 LE) video and it worked fine... then the Sound Blast XiFi started squawking and buzzing... ut-oh... sure signs of PCI bus controller voltage issues that could have been the cause of the Nvidia 7950 failure... so out comes the XiFi as well, and reactivating the onboard sound chipset...

Long story shortened, I decided the system is not reliable and started (and finished) the process of switching the system out for another one that just happened to be waiting in the wings, but had an inferior video card and power supply.

So the end cost was the $130 for the Nvidia GTS 250 I picked up and lots of time testing components to make sure the Power supply from the doomed system was not faulty so as to move it to the 'new' system. But had I not had the 'summer weather downstairs system' to pull into a primary spot, it would have been around $400+ to replace that game system...

I usually have SOMETHING fail on me about every 18 months or so... a printer, a monitor, a hard drive, a video card... something usually goes belly up or releases the magic blue smoke that makes it all work.

Is this a problem with quality control? The fact that some parts are riding the edge of the envelope in tolerance for heat/dust/power flux etc? I really don't know. Of course, in those years where that DOESN'T happen, there's a OS release, or a game release, or something that 'forces' me to upgrade because something has fallen 'behind the times'...

Entropy Loves Us!

Posted: Dec 15th 2009 4:11AM MrTorture said

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Well, I haven't had anything insanely expensive happen. One time I booted up my PC, and it shut down out of no where, I tried to turn it on again, and the PSU made a big ass pop with some smoke, no fire though.

Another time long ago, I was playing my friends Diablo 2: LoD, and my step dad was working in the basement, all of a sudden there was a loud bang, I thought it was my step dad, but he came up saying wtf was that, and there was a smell of sulfer... my 56x CD-Drive had made the CD explode.

Posted: Dec 15th 2009 4:51AM godlyhalo said

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Worst thing that has / will happen to me again is that I need to reinstall my OS every 6 or so months. Not out of habit, but something goes horribly wrong and the quickest way to fix it is to reinstall my OS. I keep all my data on separate partitions so I have very little data loss and it takes me about 3 hours from assessing that I need to reinstall my OS, to being fully operational again...

Worst thing that has happened to my friends.....One of my friends motherboard literally caught on fire.....Dunno how he achieved that....Oh and his computer worked perfectly fine even after being caught on fire....

Posted: Dec 15th 2009 5:04AM Jeromai said

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How ironic. My hardware components generally don't meltdown (*touches wood*) but I'd recently been having internet connection issues. Ridiculously slow and low bandwidth. To the point that one starts suspecting the ISP of random acts of throttling.

Rather, web surfing works fine, until one starts downloading something...or say, playing an MMO. And then it promptly returns a 'page not found' error. Which rather crimps the "hang on, let me check an item or quest database" playstyle.

Or say, in the midst of playing an MMO with open world pvp and about 30 seconds away from the quit and log out screen, one foolishly decides to open a web browser...which promptly ate all the bandwidth required for telling my avatar to log out, at which point I noticed my avatar rubberbanding instead of logging out, and shortly after, the enemy PvPer who came by and found a static punching bag and laughed all the way to the kill points accumulated message.
Of course, my bandwidth recovered just in time for me to see my avatar dropping dead.

*sighs*

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