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