A tale of avarice, betrayal, and upgrading

It’s story time with Uncle Dusty, kids, so scoot in and I’ll spin you a tale of terror sure to make spiders crawl up your spine. It’s a tale of avarice and betrayal. How one man’s hunger for power ultimately led to his undoing. It’s a tale… of upgrading.

As I mentioned in my last post, I found myself with the opportunity to make the jump from a Core 2 Quad Q6600 (overclocked to 3GHz) to an AMD Phenom II X4 955 Black Edition, yet this upgrade proved unwise. Some have questioned or criticized my desire for motherboard-based RAID, but I assure you I can tell the difference on this machine. I’ve seen video encoding and rendering processes get throttled by even the RAID 0’s bandwidth. Yet a dedicated RAID card costs at least $300, and I have yet to see one that’s universally recommended. Intel’s ICH south bridges are a known quantity for me, and many benchmarks where they compete against affordable RAID cards are fairly tight races, as far as I’ve seen.

Being in need of decent motherboard-based RAID, I wound up crawling back to my Gigabyte GA-X38-DS4 motherboard and Core 2 Quad Q6600 processor, figuring I could just return the Phenom II, sell the motherboard I was given, and upgrade to a Q9550 or Q9650. I know some of you must now be asking, “Why would you bother with another Core 2? Why not just upgrade to a Core i7?” Your question is a valid one, and the answer is two-fold. First, upgrading to Core i7 would be prohibitively expensive. I already have 8GB of Corsair XMS2 DDR2-800 that plugs along happily for me, and I’m certainly not going to go with less RAM to upgrade. The expense of upgrading to a Core i7 pushes me over $600, at least, which is just too rich for my blood. Second, I have a completely irrational and ludicrous bias against Core i7. I don’t like the branding, let alone how muddled it’s become with Lynnfield, and overclocking seems daunting. The platform is also nowhere near as mature as the Core 2’s, where everything is also a known quantity. And finally, since I know you’re going to ask, “Why not wait for Lynnfield,” my answers for i7 are for the most part applicable there, too.

So naturally, before even checking to make sure my old setup worked properly—why wouldn’t it?—I ordered myself a Core 2 Quad Q9650. Again, this seems like another silly decision in a string of them. Why didn’t I just buy a Q9550? Was the extra .5 on the multiplier really worth another hundred dollars? Well, first, I was able to get a healthy discount on the Q9650. Second, I wanted to start out from where I left off with the overclocked Q6600. And third, the extra .5 on the multiplier was worth the difference to me. With a 1600MHz front-side bus, that takes me all the way to 3.6GHz versus the 3.4GHz I’d get from the Q9550. Lower overclocks don’t ask as much from my older X38-based board and DDR2-800 memory. And finally, it’s a psychological thing. I would have felt (and do feel) happier with the Q9650 than the Q9550. Part of the purchase, at least for me, is the experience of having, and I do attach strange sentimentality and feelings towards hardware (hence my aversion to the Core i7). Insane? Sure!

With my old X38 board back in my case and the Q6600 humming along, I noticed an interesting quirk on startup: the system had reset itself to stock speeds. The computer was perfectly stable otherwise, but my overclock just seemed to have reset itself, and the system was taking an extra ten seconds to POST. So I went back and, naturally, set my overclock again at the settings that I knew were rock stable. Computer exits BIOS, saves, shuts down. Restarts, the lights come on… and no one’s home. No POST screen, nothing. Ten seconds later, it shuts down again, then starts up again, POSTs: no overclock. I went through this process a couple of times with no success in changing settings. If you’re like me, you’re thinking something’s wrong with the motherboard, like maybe some BIOS corruption or something. So I cleared CMOS, flashed the BIOS, changed the battery, sacrificed a goat… and the problem persisted. Worry set in. Did I damage my board? Was I careless? I tested it with my friend’s Core 2 Duo E6600 and got the same issue.

At this point, I faced a conundrum. I couldn’t “go back;” I was officially on the road to upgrading. Should I buy a new Intel-based board or purchase a RocketRAID card for the AMD platform? The Intel option would cost me roughly $40 more, but performance would be higher and I’d still have ICH-based RAID. The AMD processor and board would be easier to overclock, but the RocketRAID card would need to use a PCI Express x16 slot. Since the board is 790GX-based, that means my Radeon HD 4870’s bandwidth would be cut in half. All signs point to PCI Express 2.0 x8 still being fast enough for the Radeon, but there’s that voice in the back of my head going, “But what if they’re wrong? What if those two frames per second you lose are off the minimum and not the average?” I ended up going the Intel route.

The only brick-and-mortar store selling motherboards in my area is Fry’s Electronics, whose selection of Core 2-ready boards was remarkably anemic—many weak MicroATX boards and few offerings with at least a P45 chipset and a RAID-capable south bridge. In the end, I was left with exactly one option: the Gigabyte GA-EP45-UD3P. I came home, checked reviews, found I had made a good decision, and mounted it in the case while I waited for the Q9650 to arrive. I proceeded to live off of my laptop for the next few days, and I have to tell you… the GeForce 9600M GS just doesn’t cut it for gaming if you’ve been using a Radeon HD 4870 for a year. Still, at least keeping the laptop attached to my 27″ Dell monitor (another odd purchase choice, but it was cheap on campus) made the computing experience plenty enjoyable.

Only after starting to mount the GA-EP45-UD3P did I notice a major problem: Fry’s had actually sold me an open-box product. Oh, it was presented as new and not marked as open-box, but it was missing the backplate and parts that should’ve been packaged in. I was so exasperated that I mounted the board anyhow and just used my old backplate, which matched nearly perfectly. Neuroses eventually set in, though, and I proceeded to order the same board new from Amazon. The new mobo arrived the same day as the Q9650. I removed the used EP45-UD3P, replaced it with the Amazon-bought model, and set up the computer again. Once I had a stable Windows 7 RC installation going, I proceeded to try overclocking the Q9650. I’m sure you can imagine what happened next. I’ll give you a hint: the exact same problem I had with my old board. “Is this a Gigabyte issue? Did I get two bad boards? What’s going on?”

At my wit’s end, I drove an hour to the next closest Fry’s to see if it had another option—maybe an Asus board in stock—but no dice. They did have an open-box EP45-UD3P, and by then I was just thinking, “You know, I’ve got two bad boards already. At worst, what’s this one gonna do? Not work?”

Naturally, the new board had the exact same problem as the other two. Something was definitely up. Could I have damaged my power supply’s auxiliary 12V connector with my constant fiddling? I’d taken to using needle-nose pliers to get in there and squeeze the clip. Had I damaged the power supply, and was the BIOS reading this as a reason not to let me raise or lower my front-side bus by so much as a megahertz? With no other options and in for a penny, in for a pound, I tried hooking up my old X38-based board and my friend’s E6600 to the power supply in my dad’s desktop. I plugged a spare Radeon HD 3650 into the graphics slot, and powered it on. Sure enough, it let me change the FSB. The board worked fine! Apparently, my PSU was the cause of all my woes.

The next day, I swapped my X38-based board back into my case and put in the Q9650, convinced a new PSU would do the trick. However, I wanted to double-check with another unit to be absolutely certain I had to go out and purchase a replacement. As it happened, a new case I had ordered to build a secondary machine out of spare parts (and sell it at a later date) arrived. I tried connecting that enclosure’s bundled PSU to my motherboard, and the problem suddenly reappeared—I still couldn’t change the front-side bus. Even if I disconnected everything but the video card, keyboard, and mouse, the problem persisted. At that point, I theorized that it was because the PCIe connectors to the video card might not be working right (insane, I know), or that the video card itself may somehow have been causing the problem. I asked a friend to come over with his Radeon HD 4870, swapped that card in…

…and I could overclock again.

This is one of the weirdest quirks I’ve ever encountered, but there you have it. My otherwise perfectly functional and stable Radeon HD 4870 was somehow screwing up the POST process on my motherboard. With a heavy heart, I sent my 4870 back through the warranty service, knowing I would probably get it back after technicians failed to see anything wrong with it. Now, with the Radeon HD 4670 from my media center in my old my old X38 mobo’s PCIe x16, and a mountain of other hardware to return, my computer finally works fine again, and the Q9650 hits 3.6GHz stable at stock voltage.

Comments closed
    • TO11MTM
    • 10 years ago

    Reminds me of my most aggrivating experience;

    System was always a little flaky since the build. it was absolutey painful for a week, but somehow it ‘got better.’

    Fast forward to 1 year later and it starts crashing harder and harder and faster and faster. Have to replace the video card. I Put in a Geforce 9600. System Crashes when any 3d app tries to work it’s magic. Tried a clean install of windows. No luck.

    Try clearing the cmos. Thing works. Notice clockspeed is slow. Go into bios, turn back up to stock 1333 FSB. Lockups occurr again.

    Apparently, Shuttle, in their infinate wisdom, claimed the board could run at 1333, while helpfully neglecting to mention that the PCIe was overclocked. Apparently fried the first card and was causing problems with the second.

    Only thing that came close was when I started swapping a bajillion pieces of hardware when it turned out there was a fleck of dust stuck to the Land Grid Array on a Sloweron…
    =(

    • nsx241
    • 10 years ago

    This why I only use B&M stores to actually look at the product before buying. Fry’s is notorious for selling returned/used computer components as new – they don’t check whether the product is working or not, they just throw it in the resell bin.

    • Forge
    • 10 years ago

    You did it wrong.

    • ludi
    • 10 years ago

    You dug a pretty deep hole there, although admittedly, any of us who has been in the hobby long enough has gotten started on that rabbit trail at some point. Once you start getting into The Process, it’s a lot like drinking — you have to know, objectively, when to cut yourself off or things will just go farther and farther dowhill.

    I once ordered a Celeron CPU to complete a P4 system build, only to discover when deep in the land of No POST that the board I had available didn’t support Prescott-derived parts. Which was a pity, because it had onboard video, and I was planning to make an easy seventy bucks on the system sale, and Northwood-dervied CPUs were no longer available. I got out of that one by ordering a cheap board and video card and finishing the assembly, but the system sale barely broke even. Fortunately I was able to make a less easy forty bucks by selling the incompatible mainboard on eBay, as it was still a pretty nice board in spite of the CPU limitation.

    • mi1stormilst
    • 10 years ago

    I sold my old E8400 dually and the mobo and ram to offset my upgrade to i7. Best move I ever made, dummy overclock running 3349mhz…that is one setting in the bios!

    • Johnny5
    • 10 years ago

    You lost me at avarice.

    • Kurotetsu
    • 10 years ago

    I’ve been looking all over Newegg and I can’t find a hardware RAID card (let alone a RocketRaid one) that REQUIRES a x16 slot. The highest they go is x8. So why did you need to move your video card? Couldn’t you have just plugged the RAID card into the x8 slot? Or was the video card intefering somehow?

      • Krogoth
      • 10 years ago

      Nevermind

      • cygnus1
      • 10 years ago

      Mr. Madison. What you’ve just said….is one of the most insanely idiotic things I’ve ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response was there anything that could even be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

    • tu2thepoo
    • 10 years ago

    correct me if i’m wrong – i haven’t looked into stupidly fast computers for a while now – but i was under the impression that video encoding and rendering was one of the workloads that core i7 performs heads and shoulders above core2 and the athlons.

    if this point’s been belabored before, my bad. it just reminds me of something a teenager with his mom’s credit card would do if their new toy didn’t work.

    • talktojld
    • 10 years ago

    Not an article, it’s a blog…

    Different animal

      • derFunkenstein
      • 10 years ago

      doesn’t make his choices any less dumb, though.

    • AlvinTheNerd
    • 10 years ago

    If you can’t afford true hardware raid, then go pure software raid. Not via the motherboard, not through a card, just a setup with the kernel. Microsoft’s Dynamic Disk or Linux’s mda.

    Software raid requires some processor performance, but so does motherboard raid. And consider the state of most motherboard drivers, software raid is going to be less of a processor issue.

    I know no advantage to motherboard raid over software raid and a LOT of disadvantages.

      • Trymor
      • 10 years ago

      Recovery?

      Has anyone had multiple recovery experiences with Hardware, Motherboard, and pure Software raid?

        • Anonymous Coward
        • 10 years ago

        You probably are referring to Windows, but anyway it is quite easy to recover a Linux software RAID presuming you are familiar with Linux in general. I actually had more trouble changing disks on 3ware raids in Linux than the software raids. (But software hotswap on Linux works only with certain disk controllers, last I checked.)

      • A_Pickle
      • 10 years ago

      I’ve used motherboard RAID before and… it seems fine. :/

      • just brew it!
      • 10 years ago

      QFT.

      The RAID solutions implemented by most motherboards and inexpensive add-in cards are best avoided. Performance is generally no better than software RAID (since that’s essentially what they are under the hood), and there’s no guarantee that you’ll be able to get your data back if you need to move the disks to another system due to a motherboard or controller failure.

      IMO the only sensible options are A) avoid RAID entirely; or B) use whatever built-in software RAID facilities your OS has; or C) spend the bucks to buy a full-blown intelligent RAID card with an onboard processor. (Option C still has the issue of possibly losing the data on the array if the controller dies unless you have a spare controller of the same brand and model, but at least you gain the performance advantage of the onboard RAID processor.)

      • Krogoth
      • 10 years ago

      The only kludge with “pure” software RAID is that it is tied to the OS kernel that you create it with. They are not so friendly with systems that multi-boot into different OS kernels.

        • Trymor
        • 10 years ago

        There are programs out there designed to recover raid stripes, but I have no idea what form of raid stripes they are capable of recovering, or if there are programs available to use various stripes in diferent environments, but it is possible.

        • Anonymous Coward
        • 10 years ago

        You say “OS kernel”, but I think you must be saying something Windows specific. Linux software raid is certainly not tied to the kernel version (except in the most basic of ways).

          • just brew it!
          • 10 years ago

          I assumed he meant different OSes (e.g. multi-boot Windows and *NIX). If he really meant different kernel versions of the same OS, then yes I (mostly) agree with you. You just need to make sure you don’t use newer features of the RAID software that aren’t supported on older kernels.

        • just brew it!
        • 10 years ago

        …and RAID which relies on custom device drivers is tied to the operating system the motherboard/controller vendor has decided to provide drivers for (typically Windows). So if you’re trying to multi-boot different OSes you’re still probably screwed, unless all the OSes you’re trying to multi-boot are variants of Windows recent enough to have driver support.

    • swaaye
    • 10 years ago

    A Q6600 @ 3.0 is faster than all but the top Phenom II for most tasks I believe. There’s no worthwhile upgrade to be had from AMD in this case. And NV chipsets have much better SATA performance than AMD’s….

    I’d only touch RAID with a hardware card. I’ve never even tried the “value added” RAID that they throw in on mobos.

    Although there’s one thing that’s very nice about Phenom II BEs. You can just go get the PhenomMSRTweaker and make your own Cool’n’Quiet top and bottom profiles, setting whatever multipliers and voltages you want for max and min, all from within Windows. So much easier than dealing with Intel multi & voltage limits.

    • d0g_p00p
    • 10 years ago

    This is why I don’t bother with overclocking anymore.

    • ShadowTiger
    • 10 years ago

    This reminds me of the first (and only) time i built my own computer. My mobo was giving a random error with power on… turns out you really have to jam those ram modules in tight before it clicks. Anyways point is: Never assume you know what the problem is right away, and always disconnect everything when trying to find the problem. Btw once my computer failed to boot because of the new Catalyst drivers and I had to revert. Damn you ATI!

      • Vandyl
      • 10 years ago

      Building PC’s is fun. My second build I couldn’t get the damn thing to post no matter what. 6 hours and several tech sites later…I got fed up and did something so simple none of the interweb experts had told me to try it…I swapped out the CMOS battery. Problem solved.

      I can’t count how many PC’s I’ve built since then..there was a time when I was doing a couple a day for a job I had. Always run into the weirdest problems and incompatibilities..bad parts, etc. Never a dull moment! (Though I’d never buy that many random parts before figuring out what the problem was.)

    • JoshMST
    • 10 years ago

    Wow, and to think he could have sidestepped all of those issues by buying that RocketRAID card with the Intel I/O controller and plenty of onboard memory. With the price down to $199… he would have gotten far greater RAID performance, and not wasted a bunch of money on more motherboards and processors.

    I guess where I am coming from, if you are actually serious about any kind of performance oriented RAID, stay away from the southbridge at all costs. It just leads to more headaches and troubles then it is worth. If you are doing anything more than just mirroring, then a dedicated RAID card is a must (no matter if we are talking AMD and Intel here… just look at the I/O performance of Intel Matrix RAID, and you can see the shortcomings).

    §[< http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16816115063<]§ A pretty amazing card for the price... and it only requires 8X PCI-E anyway.

      • MadManOriginal
      • 10 years ago

      Well he was doing RAID0 which is less (or equal?) to mirroring I’d say. RAID0 isn’t calculation-heavy like RAID5 etc.

    • ChangWang
    • 10 years ago

    Wow dude, I really think it would have been easier (and definately smarter) to just check your ego at the door and go i7. I mean, after its all said and done, how much did you wind up spending all together? A Q9650 goes for around $300 or so, right?

    If I were in your situation, I probably would have just ordered an areca or 3ware card for the AMD setup and called it a day, especially since you caught a deal on the CPU.

    Oh btw, have you tried flashing the bios of the 4870? That might resolve the issue

      • MadManOriginal
      • 10 years ago

      I don’t know if I’d be so harsh but it seems like he let emotions overcome logic at times by getting a Q9650, unless maybe he got a really steep discount perhaps he should have said the amount. The 0.5 multiplier reasoning, the PCIe slot bandwidth reasoning to not use a RAID card; while those technically have merit they are very minor.

      Perhaps the lesson is ‘Don’t accept free hardware’ lol because that’s what really started all this mess!

    • ChangWang
    • 10 years ago

    sry, double post

    • flip-mode
    • 10 years ago

    1. I don’t see the value in upgrading a Q6600 to anything less than a Core i7, if even that. Heck, since my x2-3600 manages to grudgingly handle Crysis at decent settings, I’m wondering about the value of upgrading from it.

    2. Your issues with the i7 – yeah, you might want to let the rational side of your brain take charge there.

    2.5 Again, with the PCIe 2.0 @ x8 – please refer to the rational side of your brain. But I do know the feeling that having any hardware running at less than maximum spec feels like an unacceptable compromise.

    3. That’s really weird about the 4870. I’m glad you got to the bottom of it. Too bad it took so much time and energy, gas, gas money, and probably some shipping costs to do so, and you don’t even know if it will be able to be fixed. At least you can probably sell the card. Maybe the card won’t exhibit the same problem on an AMD system?

    • Meadows
    • 10 years ago

    Did you check if changing PCIe frequency would help the area where the error came from?

      • mesyn191
      • 10 years ago

      Spread spectrum could’ve been enabled too if he reset the BIOS, for some reason its usually enabled by default even though it usually has a negative impact on stability, particularly when overclocking.

        • Meadows
        • 10 years ago

        It’s supposed to improve stability _[

          • MadManOriginal
          • 10 years ago

          I think it’s meant to reduce EMI.

          • mesyn191
          • 10 years ago

          Its mean to reduce EMI. EMI usually isn’t a problem so you can most always disable spread spectrum on the FSB, PCIe channels, and PCI channels.

          But he specifically stated he had problems when OC’ing, which spread spectrum is known to cause issues with.

          /[<"I proceeded to try overclocking the Q9650. I'm sure you can imagine what happened next. I'll give you a hint: the exact same problem I had with my old board. "Is this a Gigabyte issue? Did I get two bad boards? What's going on?"<]/ ... /[

            • Meadows
            • 10 years ago

            I know, and I never leave it on myself either.

            • MadManOriginal
            • 10 years ago

            Obviously you didn’t know because you said it’s meant to increase stability when not oveclocking. You fail supergeeknerd overclocking knowledge 101, better retake it next semester!!!1

            • Meadows
            • 10 years ago

            But I always overclock everything I’m given access to, which is why I never had it on ever.

          • just brew it!
          • 10 years ago

          Enabling spread spectrum does not improve stability unless there is some other serious underlying problem (e.g. BIOS bug). Its purpose is to allow systems with marginal EMI shielding to pass EMI emissions tests mandated by the FCC (or equivalent regulatory authority in the country where you live). It does this by rapidly modulating the clock speed up and down by a percent or so; this “smears” out the spectrum of the emitted radio frequency energy, making it harder to detect (and in theory also making it less likely to cause unacceptable levels of interference with devices like radio receivers, cell phones, etc.)

            • Trymor
            • 10 years ago

            Wish my iPhone had it 😉

    • Saber Cherry
    • 10 years ago

    My Gigabyte board (EP43) also suffers from the infinite 10-second power on / reboot cycle. I have an nVidia 9600 GT, though. As for what triggers it… well, overclocking the FSB “too high” can trigger it sometimes, and flashing the BIOS can, too. A few times it just happened randomly. After each occurrence it eventually booted correctly (after I unplugged it to stop the cycle, sometimes more than once), but it’s scary nonetheless.

    I think it’s a general flaw in Gigabyte+Intel boards.

      • henfactor
      • 10 years ago

      It happens to my M750SLI-DS4, I’m going to look at the PCIe link speed tonight to make sure it’s where it should be.

      I’m glad to know it’s not just me though.

    • derFunkenstein
    • 10 years ago

    Dude you don’t make sense. Instead of figuring out what’s wrong, you just go willy-nilly ordering parts? Good gravy, I’d say after boasting how awesome ICH-based RAID is in your last whinefest I’d say you had it coming. It was with much Schadenfreude that I read the entire article.

      • mesyn191
      • 10 years ago

      Yep. He sure screwed the pooch on diagnosing the problem, and I can’t believe he actually thinks POS Intel RAID is almost as good as enterprise class dedicated RAID cards. Or that having his video card’s 2.0 PCIe lanes cut in half to x8 is a big deal. Simple googling/reading on those subjects for half an hour shows that none of that is correct.

      I can sympathize with wanting to save money, especially with the way things are now, but he went about it all the wrong way.

        • nanoflower
        • 10 years ago

        Maybe I misunderstood but I thought he was comparing cheap RAID cards to onboard RAID chips. He mentioned dedicated hardware RAID cards but also brought up that they cost at least an additional $300. I can see why he wouldn’t want to spend that money on a RAID card for a home system. Especially since you may want to get a back up card now (in case the card goes out of stock and the installed card fails later.)

      • ssidbroadcast
      • 10 years ago

      Yeah, he shoulda just got the AMD platform now, RAID card later.

        • derFunkenstein
        • 10 years ago

        or heck, a RAID card now as well and skipped the Q9650. He’d have spent less.

    • dwhess
    • 10 years ago

    I went through a similar upgrade process at the beginning of the year when my old P4 2.4c began to have problems booting and graphics corruption. ECC and a fast RAID were part of my requirements which left three options: an Intel X38 or X48 motherboard which were already difficult to find, any number of AMD systems plus a hardware RAID controller, or the workstation version of the Intel i7. Intel in their wisdom segmented their CPU market by deprecating ECC support from the i7 in favor of their much more expensive workstation/server processors and the price difference between one of them and an AMD system was more than a good RAID controller and 4 big fast disks so AMD it was.

    I ended up with an Asus M3A78-T, Phenom II 940, Areca RAID card w/256MB cache, and 4 Western Digital Black Caviar drives. My graphics card only runs as PCIe x 8 as you pointed out but I only installed a Radeon 4850 anyway.

    My only regret is not getting a single slot lower power graphics card like a 4650 or 4770.

    • OneArmedScissor
    • 10 years ago

    My friend’s computer has been doing something similar. It also likes to set the CPU multiplier to 6x.

    The weirdest thing is that it’s just a Pentium dual-core, so it’s 200 MHz FSB, on a P35, but if you go above that, even a few MHz, it may get into Windows, but it will just shut off once the desktop loads.

    I’ve yet to resolve that. It used to “overclock” to 3 GHz, and just randomly decided it would do this, instead.

    • THE JEW (RaVeN)
    • 10 years ago

    Your erratic decision process and lack of financial control leave me wondering about your ability to provide guidance in the matters of computing.

    Choose which activity is more important to you–work or play. Buy a system for one of those or one for each of both activities. A small render farm may solve your problems if you’re that serious into video work.

    Keeping a couple of old, dependable parts may also aid you in diagnosing a troublesome setup. They’re easily bought used if you do not have access to such components. My PCI Ati Rage II has been plugged into countless setups and I find it to be one of my most valuable cards though one could probably find one for free on CL or some other auction site.

    I wish you only luck with your setup after you receive your RMA back. Hopefully, they detect something and fix it. Cheers.

      • wingless
      • 10 years ago

      l[

      • Chrispy_
      • 10 years ago

      For the same reason, my PCI (no expressness to be seen) Matrox Millenium is the ultimate diagnostic tool. I also try to never have less than two power supplies in the house.

      Used parts really help with the process of trial and error you must use to eliminate hardware faults. I’d sell obsolete junk but those few essentials that I keep in a shoebox are worth ten times more to me than the 20 bucks I could get for it on ebay.

        • wingless
        • 10 years ago

        spare PSUs FTW! His problem with random hardware failure seems like an PSU issue actually.

    • Vasilyfav
    • 10 years ago

    Is there a tl:dr version? Seems like a huge fuss over an upgrade. Did aliens come to abduct you while you were shopping on newegg?

    • eitje
    • 10 years ago

    q[

      • mac_h8r1
      • 10 years ago

      Unfortunately, that’s kinda how motherboard shopping at Fry’s goes, especially in a pinch.

        • Vandyl
        • 10 years ago

        l[

    • FuturePastNow
    • 10 years ago

    This post and Cyril’s last blog about upgrades have really shaken my reality. Here I thought reviewers were awash in new computer parts. Surely you wouldn’t still be using E6400s and Q6600s.

    But no. I… I don’t know if I can go on.

      • mac_h8r1
      • 10 years ago

      Dustin and Cyril aren’t reviewers, they’re a blogger and master of the breadbox, respectively.

      Damage and Dissonance do the majority of reviews. Ask THEM what spare parts they’ve got lying around 😉

        • A_Pickle
        • 10 years ago

        Damage used his Athlon 64 X2 3800+ system for quite some time – admirable, if you ask me. I’ve found that upgrading is a tempting proposition that doesn’t begin to yield the satisfaction that I expect it to… these days, I find a lot more fun in helping other people with their personal information technology infrastructure or honing mine further. I prefer having a /[

    • maxxcool
    • 10 years ago

    Fear not for your sanity (or whats left) I experienced a similar issue, but not that close.

    I bought a HIS4670 as soon as one hit newegg. And I will be damned after installing it I could no longer get into my bios. It would hang. I could hit the old boot up drive list option, but it would hard lock after posting if I hit the magic Del button.

    It was the damnedest thing i have ever ran across.

    I replaced the card with a rma-HIS4670.rev2.1 and the issue went away.

    • glacius555
    • 10 years ago

    You must have lost a lot of hair..

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