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  #1  
Old 10-06-07, 09:46 PM
NickS NickS is offline
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Poorly Built Custom PC from a Store?!

The story goes like this..

..two days ago, my dad brought home a co-workers PC. It's a brown box PC (ya know, the kind you buy from the local PC shop). I figured, hey, it might actually be good for a change.

Anyways, the problem was it wouldn't boot XP. The owner said it just kept rebooting. Again, I figured this should be a piece of cake. Either RAM, PSU, or a corrupt MBR. Well, I made too many assumptions.

So I set it up, and turn it on. HOLY HELL. It's loud and you know that loud, high pitched whine older HDD's give off? Times that by three. So now I'm like WTF? I let it boot and it gets about 3 seconds into the XP booting screen and flashes a quick BSOD. I try safe mode, same thing. This can't be good.

I decide to pop the hood on the thing.

So I open it up, wow, dusty.. per normal. It's got some good cooling, 2x 80MM Antec in the back, 80MM on the side. It's a fairly nice case.

Then I spot my arch enemy, Turbolink 350w ATX PSU. I had one of those in my first ever built PC, an AXP 2000+ w/5200. Ironically, this PC was configured similarly. AXP 2700+ Tbred w/5200 Ultra 256MB. Had a 120GB WD HDD, ASUS KT400 motherboard and a Plextor 52x CD Burner. Oh, and a nice beefy copper Thermaltake CPU heatsink. Well, immediately I figure it's the PSU so I hook my DMM up and turn on the PC.

12.53-12.61v. Hot damn that's high, but not _too_ bad. I pop in my trusty MemTest 86+ CD and let it go. About 20 minutes later, I check back, no errors. 12v line is still around the same. Ten minutes go by and I glance at the screen, still OK. Check DMM, 12.92v! HOLY CRAP. Turned off the PSU and felt the back of it. Toasty as hell. Damn these things are evil.

In my house we always tend to have two things around for backup, a PSU, and RAM. I went and fetched the new Thermaltake TR2-430w, best value PSU ever made. (Powers my rig well, at 3.5GHz!)

Open it up, set it on desk and wire the rig up. Fire it up, ahh, finally a good PSU. Pop in Memtest CD again, and let 'er rip. 25 minutes later the rig turns off. Uhh, ok. Press power button, nothing. Flick off PSU, then back on, and I press the power button. Yay, works. I go into the BIOS and check the CPU temps, 85*C? OMG. Turn off the PC in a hurry again. I touch the heatsink instinctively, YOW. What the hell is going on here?

So I proceed to take off the heatsink to make sure contact is ok and make sure the CPU isn't scorched. All is well, but damn even the fan on the heatsink is hot. It's not very dusty either! Then I notice three bulging capacitors around the CPU PWM area. I'm guessing that caused extremely high amounts of vCore to go to the CPU, which in turn made it run extremely extremely hot.

This rig is haunted! So now lets tally up the fudged up hardware.

-Turbolink 350w PSU --> Dangerous, even a potential safety hazard IMO.

-Western Digital HDD --> Sounds like a Dremel.

-ASUS Motherboard --> 3 Bulging Caps.

So I put the HDD in my rig and check its SMART status. Yeah, it's history. I'm guessing the years of 12.9v on the 12v rail has led to damage to the motherboard, and hard drive.

So now I have to call these people and tell them they need to spend about $160 on parts, plus $40 on labor & installation of XP, software, etc. Total being $200 installed. That was interesting.

Now, I don't have any pictures of this rig (I wish I had taken some) but let me tell you, this has been the most interesting rig I've ever worked on. Oh yeah, and the RAM, 2x512MB, has mismatched heatspreaders. It looks like the RAM (which seems to be a matched pair) was sinked by using two random sets of spreaders that were probably found behind a box at the place they bought the PC from.

Anyway, I dissasembled the PC fully and took a leaf blower to the case. Dust explosion! More than I had thought. Wiped the video card, sound card, ram & case (inside and out) down with Isopropyl Alcohol and now all is well.

I will post some pix of the new rig completed when the parts are ordered, arrived, and assembled.

Thanks for reading my small tale of hell

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  #2  
Old 10-06-07, 10:27 PM
apex32 apex32 is offline
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f**k $200 on that rig. I would have told them to keep their $200 and put it toward a better computer all together.
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  #3  
Old 10-06-07, 10:29 PM
NickS NickS is offline
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I'm replacing the motherboard (and because nobody sells socket A crap anymore, a CPU too), with a 3100+ Sempron 64.

After I'm done it'll be..

Sempron 64 3100+ s754

ECS Via Mobo

2x512MB PC2700

80GB WD SATA

5200 Ultra 256MB

TT TR2 430w

Nice little rig, big upgrade too.
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Sony VAIO CS110E 14.1" :: Core 2 Duo T5800

3GB DDR2-800 :: 250GB HDD :: Intel Media Accelerator

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700GB of Storage :: ATi Xpess200 :: Sharp AQUOS 32" 720p





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  #4  
Old 10-06-07, 10:31 PM
Azreil_2 Azreil_2 is offline
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lol don't we all just love Custom PCs from random little stores! =/

The only reason I actually decided learn about hardware years ago,

was due to some screwed up store giving me the wrong Ram chip

10 times.. =/
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  #5  
Old 10-06-07, 10:37 PM
Toxcity Toxcity is offline
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That is a brilliant story Nick! Really enjoyed reading it!

And Yuss, Im looking forward to pictures!
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  #6  
Old 11-06-07, 12:39 AM
macgamesrule macgamesrule is offline
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Interesting read. I've fixed comps for a few friends, but nothing as bad as that.
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  #7  
Old 11-06-07, 03:43 PM
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Rastalovich Rastalovich is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by name='NickS'
I'm replacing the motherboard (and because nobody sells socket A crap anymore, a CPU too), with a 3100+ Sempron 64.

After I'm done it'll be..

Sempron 64 3100+ s754

ECS Via Mobo

2x512MB PC2700

80GB WD SATA

5200 Ultra 256MB

TT TR2 430w

Nice little rig, big upgrade too.
I managed to get my hands on an ASRock KT7 pro thingy jangle, was a good thing I still had a proccy cos them Semprons just don`t cut it imo.

It`s too bad u`r not in the UK too coz I coulda sorted u out with a bunch of pc3200 and an Athlon 1600+ *I think* - hehe might be faster than the Semp (j/k)

Bulging caps tho - there`s no point in trying to salvage a mobo when u notice that.
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  #8  
Old 11-06-07, 05:57 PM
nathan nathan is offline
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not all little shops are crap. I used to be the workshop manager for one and sure as hell made sure things worked before they went out and if the customer had a problem, made sure it was fixed.

One rule we stuck by which i think made us different (and better) than others is that we always told the truth, never tried to make techy crap up like alot of others do.
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  #9  
Old 11-06-07, 11:50 PM
NickS NickS is offline
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Yeah some of these PC shops are horrible, but some aren't too bad.

Anyway, the PC is going from..

AXP 2700+ Tbred --> Sempron 64 3100+ s754

ASUS KT400 --> ECS K8M800-M2

2x512MB PC2700

120GB WD 7200RPM ATA --> 80GB WD 7200RPM SATA 8MB Cache

Apollo 5200 Ultra 256MB

TurboLink 350w --> Thermaltake TR2-430w PSU

TT Silent Boost K7 --> CoolerMaster Alu. Heatsink

Overall it should turn out to be a really nice rig K7 to K8 should be a noticeable difference. Sempron's kick the butt out of Socket A stuff.

Much much better than it was. Getting cash & ordering parts Friday. I take pride in my builds & repairs for customers so, pictures will follow.
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Laptop

Sony VAIO CS110E 14.1" :: Core 2 Duo T5800

3GB DDR2-800 :: 250GB HDD :: Intel Media Accelerator

HTPC

Gateway GT4024 :: Intel Pentium D 805 :: 1GB DDR2-667

700GB of Storage :: ATi Xpess200 :: Sharp AQUOS 32" 720p





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  #10  
Old 13-06-07, 10:04 AM
FarFarAway FarFarAway is offline
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Not bad Nick, keep teaching people the evils of shop-bought cr@p
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