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filling the void

Friday, March 30, 2007

(used up)^3

A.k.a The Hits Just Keep On Coming

I really hope that I don't have to write a ^4 and ^5 and so forth, because I'm getting really tired of having to buy new computer equipment when I should be buying things like textbooks and food and paying rent.
In any case, another one of my computer components broke down today. This morning I went to boot my computer, and all I got were these funky patterns. Not funky as in interference and waviness and stuff, but rather test mode blocks of different colors.
I could hear the hard drives going through the boot sequence, but all I got were these funky patterns. "Ok, " I thought, "something weird is going on, but it's probably nothing that can't be solved without a reboot".
Said and done, I hold the button down to shut the computer off. I click the button again. Nothing.
I can hear the hard drives power up, but the power save light on my (brand spanking new) monitor is still blinking, as opposed to shining, and the hard drives don't continue in to the boot sequence. I know that I had told the bios to ignore all errors (like keyboard or mouse not being present or having no video card installed). This is when I start to get scared.
Jules: And when motherfuckers get scared, that's when motherfuckers accidentally get shot.

Yes yes, thank you very much Mr Jackson, but my fright was of a completely different nature. (Even though shooting some people to take my frustrations out would have been satisfying. I know a couple who deserve some lead between the eyes..).
Anyway, I tried pulling the power cord, re-seating the cards, disconnecting components, but no dice. No matter what I did, it refused to boot. At this point, pretty much anything in the computer can be broken. Quite possibly even more than one thing. Having some experience with these things, however, I know that the general order to check is graphics card then ram, then motherboard. Hard drives are at the top there somewhere, but mine are brand new, and spinning nicely, so I disregarded them. Also, the problem didn't seem software related.
Thus, I decided to see what could be done about the graphics card first. After having done some calculations on what a new computer would cost, I was dedicated to not have to spend all that money on a new one.
Even though I knew my graphics card had two ports on it (VGA and DVI), I was pretty sure that getting a DIV adaptor to get the whole thing up and running again probably wouldn't work, but I headed over to the school computer store none the less, in a feeble attempt to do a low-budget fix. When I get there, after some talking with my fellow computer geeks, I am told that if I'm a really nice guy, maybe the computer store will lend me a new graphics card, to verify that it is indeed the graphics card that is broken.
Minutes later, I find myself riding home with one crappy piece of graphics hardware in my hand, hoping that I'll at least see some kind of colors.
You'd think that I'm building up to some sort of orgasmic finale or some punchline here, but I'm going to have to disappoint you. This is a simple re-telling of the facts, but since it's a long story, you might want to get a glass of some thirst quenching beverage. That's ok, I'll wait...

You got it?
We continue.
So there I was, riding home with a graphics card in hand. I get home, plug the sucker in, and voila! Glorious glorious colored pixels shoot out of my freakishly large cathode ray tube and hit my cones and rods in powerful splendor.
This brings both joy and sadness to my heart.
Joy for the fact that a graphics card, while fairly expensive, is much cheaper than buying a completely new computer. Sad because of the fact that I had to spend money to fix my problems. I would have much rather spend 2 euros on solder and fixed it myself, but I guess I'm just not that lucky.

Another things that I'm concerned about is the fact that since all my things are breaking now, one by one, I fear that the rest of my components will follow in short order, making my new purchase completely useless. That would also require me to spend more money. Money that I don't have.

After I return the borrowed card to the school computer store, I head downtown to pick up a real one. Something that'll let me play all my games, and that isn't just something intermediate, waiting for the rest of my system to break.
I currently have a new and shiny XFX GeForce 7600GT/256 sitting in my AGP port. I'm about to run 3dMark to see if my (300W) power supply is powerful enough to handle it. The card supposedly needs a 350W PSU, but mine if of a high quality, so I think I'll be fine.

If it does crap out on me, my backup plan is to go back to the store and exchange it for a 7600GS/512, which is perfectly runnable on a 300W PSU.
I'll let you know how it goes.

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