For the fans

By Shamus Posted Sunday Mar 22, 2009

Filed under: Personal 63 comments

A funny thing happened on my way to the internet this morning. And by “funny” I mean, “cruel turn which has inflicted frustration, financial loss, and the inability to continue playing Left 4 Dead”.

A fan in my computer has been struggling lately. I could hear it in there, spinning up and down at regular intervals, wailing like an air raid siren. After making sure the Luftwaffe wasn’t overhead, I went back to playing Left 4 Dead with the nagging realization that the fan noise was something that Should Be Looked Into. But not right now. I mean, soon. Eventually.

Sometimes the wailing would stop, which meant that either the fan had resumed normal operation, or it had stopped moving entirely. It is amazing how quickly I can turn into an optimist when pessimism is a hassle.

A failing fan means something is most likely going to overheat and die. It might be the power supply (whatever) the graphics card (ouch) or the CPU (noooooooooooooo!).

This morning I discovered that one should never set aside one’s pessimism. My PC is now a box of dead electronics. Swapping in a good power supply doesn’t fix it, or even provoke a murmur. It’s deceased. It has passed on. It is an ex-computer.

So a new PC is now on order. (I’m currently using a ten year old machine, which has been imbued with Ubuntu. I can’t believe how well it works, given its age. ) This is all a shame. The dead PC is the first computer I’ve ever owned that still felt perfectly usable after a couple of years. I had no particular need to upgrade until the thing went and bricked itself.

It took a while to find a machine that had the right features (memoryhertz and gigadrives and whatnots) without any of the wrong ones. (Windows Vista.) The machine I found is a “Vista machine with an XP configuration”. Which apparently means it comes with XP pre-installed, along with a complementary Vista-brand coaster.

Which is nice.

 


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63 thoughts on “For the fans

  1. “Vista-brand coaster”. Lovely! But a bit embarrassing. I’m sorry to hear about your fan. May you find safe harbor in lo-fi games like NetHack until then. And maybe we’ll be able to read more about your experiences so far? Anyway, my condolences on your old box.

    Ben

  2. elda says:

    heh. my fan did the same thing not too long ago. eventually my dad just broke down and bought a new computer because he couldn’t find a new one. then one guy at his work gave him one. bad news is he wasted money on a new computer, good news is i’ve got a computer in my room now. XD

  3. Rutskarn says:

    Ah, technology. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

    Yeah, that’s about right.

    The war of machines to frustrate humanity continues.

  4. albval says:

    Does this mean that you also had to look for a new toaster?

    If yes, I really pity you.

  5. Zel says:

    If I remember right, Microsoft doesn’t sell Windows XP anymore with new PCs. They do sell it for notebooks and other small laptops but I doubt that’s what you’re buying.

    However, some assemblers have worked up a deal with Microsoft, given how customers hate Vista. They buy a Vista license, but instead of installing it they downgrade to Windows XP. What it means is that you have a Vista license, are supposed to install and use Vista but thanks to a modest contribution can also install XP without buying a license for it.

    Anyway, a fan changing speeds is not necessarily a bad thing, in fact most modern equipment come equipped with fan control that adapt the speed to the current cooling needs. That’s why your graphic card is much more noisy when playing games and shuts up when writing comments.

    If the fans don’t even start and no beep is heard, it’s probably a power supply or motherboard issue. There’s a good chance your CPU or GPU is still working, you should try it before buying a new one.

  6. ima420r says:

    When’s the funeral? Open case or is it too badly fried to show?

  7. vdgmprgrmr says:

    Heh. I happen to have three of those Vista-brand coasters lying around here. Those are some expensive freaking coasters!

    Also: Memoryhertz and gigadrives. Hilarity.

    I sort of know what you’re going through, though. My current computer is a conglomerate of parts I found under my dad’s bed about six years ago, so crap like this happens all the time. Of course, I usually manage to get it back up and running. Good times, I tell you. Melting processor, roaring fans, CD-shattering CD-drive (it finally died after it turned my Morrowind disk into a circular saw blade). Then there was the hard-drive. It was bad. I don’t have that one anymore, mostly because I beat it to death with a baseball bat. It caused me lots of grief.

  8. That’s why I built my computer using a case that contains 3 (count ’em – THREE!) temperature gauges.

    One for the CPU, one for the hard drive, and one for my SLI-ed GeForce video cards (which are big and like to get hot – a lot).

    My husband teases me because I’m constantly watching the little temperature display that’s on the front of the case. But darn it – I AM a pessimist!

    Leslee

  9. redver says:

    Similar situation happened to me 5 months ago. The computer was 3ish years old and besides a graphics card update along the way, was exactly as I bought it. It still ran all the games I liked and there was nothing on the horizon that would force me to upgrade. Spore might have been it, but I avoided that due to DRM principles.

    Fortunately for me I still had my old XP Installation CD so after swapping out all the dead stuff with new stuff from newegg (everything except the case, fans and DVD drive), I was good to go. I’m still not sure what I’ll use the new CPU power for. Besides Civ4, this machine is for email, internet and VPNing to work.

  10. Yar Kramer says:

    Ouch. I feel for you. I hope your new computer gets there soon.

    And I’m probably going to get beaten up for this, but: it sounds like the fan hit the shit.

  11. MadTinkerer says:

    OUCH. I was installing L4D when I noticed you were playing, and by the time it finished you had stopped. So I played with some other guys.

    I hope you didn’t lose anything crucial you hadn’t backed up yet. I recently got a new backup HD at the Circuit City going-out-of-business sale and feel pretty secure right now.

    “The machine I found is a “Vista machine with an XP configuration”. Which apparently means it comes with XP pre-installed, along with a complementary Vista-brand coaster.”

    Certainly the best kind of PC one can buy. My brother recently had trouble with his PC and an “upgrade” from Vista to XP fixed it.

  12. mos says:

    So I guess it’s still cool to hate on Vista then?

  13. WanderingGrapefruit says:

    Uh oh. That’s another install for all your games with those limits!

  14. VeliciaL says:

    Don’t be too dismissive of a bad power supply. A failing power supply can take the rest of your system with it.

    Maybe the problem is with the CPU fan? I know my comp refuses to boot without a CPU fan plugged in.

  15. myparrotsteeth says:

    You’ve had a computer working for ten years! And one which is capable of running Steam? Is this the miracle of Ubuntu or just careful upgrading? I speak as someone who tends to get laptops from ASDA for £299 and wonder why it only lives two years = )

  16. Jim says:

    @myparrotsteeth #13
    I think Shamus is saying that he wrote the post we are reading from the Ubuntu box. As his usual box is well, you know…

    @Shamus
    Is this the same machine from here and here?

  17. Phoenix says:

    Erm… before you order a new PC, wouldn’t it make sense to find out which fan died, and first of all replace the part it cooled? I mean, even if your CPU melts, it usually won’t take ALL other components out, too.

    EDIT: Especially you hard drives should still be ok.

  18. mc says:

    mos: of course it’s still cool to hate on Vista! What else should we be hating on? Windows 7 is not even out yet.

  19. vdgmprgrmr says:

    Agreeing with comment 17.

    As I said, this kind of thing happens to me all the time, and it usually only ends up with me having to find a replacement for a single component. And only one more component for me to add to my already vast collection of ancient or dead computer parts.

  20. My old system recently played dead, refusing to turn on or do much of anything. Unplugging the CMOS battery did nothing, nor did unplugging the power and letting it sit there for a few hours.

    The solution? Take the system apart and put it back together. I’m dead serious.

    Give that a shot. You never know, it just might work.

    So I guess it's still cool to hate on Vista then?

    Apparently.

    I mean, I’ll agree that Windows 7 is what Vista should have been, but damn. Vista isn’t nearly as bad as people say it is. I had a much tougher time with XP when it came out than I ever did with Vista.

  21. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Funny,but several people I know had to completely (or almost completely) change their machines because something got fried due to a broken fan,yet it never happened to me.Oh,I had a few fan break downs,but it always resulted just in the blue screen and/or a reset.So then Id get someone to check it,and replace the fan.It probably has to do something with the fact that I never had less than 7 of them inside(which is how many I have now).I once had 12 fans inside the machine cooling it,which was nice,although a bit noisy.

  22. Anaphyis says:

    Well, only slight condolences because you seriously should get your priorities straight.

    An overheating CPU is rarely any problem because 1) the emerging massive glitches are very very hard to overlook and 2) many mainboards have an implemented kill switch to turn of the computer when the CPU is overheating too much.

    An overheating GPU will also present itself with massive and noticeable graphic glitches. You might lose your graphics card and if you are especially unlucky your mainboard, but thats about the worst case.

    An overheating power supply on the other hand can fry pretty much any part of your computer, including hard disks, in the ensuing power surge.

  23. Ranneko says:

    I agree regarding Vista not being nearly as bad as people keep saying. Os X has been given me more trouble than Vista since I installed it.

  24. Caffiene says:

    I find that the accuracy of optimism is strongly correlated with the motivation to make your computer look like Frankenstein’s monster.

    I had a fan on my graphics card die once, and the card ran for another year and a half, until I retired it, with a new fan tied onto the heatsink with insulated paperclip wire because it didnt fit the hole where the old one went…

    As for Vista… Im thinking of an OS upgrade, but im happy to wait 6 months or so for Windows 7

  25. Johannes says:

    Almost 2 years ago, when I bought my current PC, I ordered it OS-less and bought a copy of XP myself. Seems I might still be able to buy it… So, no need to move to Vista just yet, even if my XP CD should die all of a sudden.

    That said, I’ll also add I don’t like Vista a bit. Know two pretty much computer-illiterate persons that use Vista and regularly have odd problems – small but noticeable annoyances I can’t get sorted out, and yet XP never bugs me in a way I can’t figure out a solution for.

    THAT said, I must confess that having seen a comparison of some recent games ran using DirectX 9.0 and DX10, I am getting curious for DX10. First a 3D card update though – and at least 4 gigs of ram…

  26. Scourge says:

    You always should upgrade your PC when you need it, at the last possible moment at best.
    My old PC, a good old tower from 2003 which ran perfectly good. No problems, nothing, never any problems, was just a tad to old, so I upgraded.

    My new PC (799 €), which I put together in the internet, arrived but was damaged. Yay, send it back to the firm and they took their time to repair it, 1 month. I get it again and… driver dvd’s etc are missing, yay, I got the PC buuuut I can’t install the internet connection, nor mainboard, nor anything else. Had to search through the net to find the right stuff.
    I also didn’t order any DVD burner with it, fun, I just noticed that after trying to install Windows XP. Grrrgh!
    So, I take apart my old pc, take in the new old dvd burner… Its to long, juuuust great.
    But, it works, I can install it, I just order some new burners (40 €).. Yet, it keeps crashing randomly, what the heck is that.
    Ohhh, yay, one of the dual ram blocks is damaged!
    So I take it out, at least I can work with it, wonder what the return policy is…. I got to return BOTH ram blocks. You are kidding me. I can’t work with that PC anymore, No, I can’t put in any ram block from my old pc because that one only has DDR-1! The new one only supports DDR-3!
    Ergh, I know how long they will take, so I order new ram from then, lets see how much a single ram block will be… What? You only sell them in dual mode? Alright.. erh, how much? …. 100 €… Alright, I pay.
    When will you take the defect Ram blocks? Next monday, wonderful, I got them all prepared.
    No, they didn’t come monday, tuesday it is?
    No, tuesday he wasn’t there either, wednesday?
    Finall he came, alas.
    Two weeks pass, I got my ram blocks back and am happy.
    Final cost, 2 months, almost 1k €, lots of nerves and stress.

    The moral, use your PC as long as you can and when you get a new one take it slow.

    But at least is the new PC good and once all the problems were figured out was it smoothly. I still fear that if I transport it wrongly may something inside break again. Oh well, that won’t happen if it lays.

  27. Mistwraithe says:

    Your experience with Vista probably depends on what sort of user you are.

    I’m a developer and admin who wants fast performance (I hate waiting for compiles), easy to use utilities (ie networks, VPNs, etc) and stability. I get a new laptop every couple of years and I’m very familiar with the decline in speed as a new Windows installation ages.

    Vista is alright in some ways, the sleep functionality is nice and pretty reliable plus I quite like the graphical appearance (Fisher Price XP never seemed quite right).

    But they screwed the pooch on sooo many things. Managing network connections requires a ludicrous number of steps to get to the window where you can actually do anything, explorer randomly decides what style and columns to display new folders in despite me multiple attempts at trying to tell it always to use Detailed (a code file directory displayed as pictures and videos?), the search functionality is broken (ok apparently it works for some people but it died pretty much day 1 on my computer and blatently can’t find some files which exist even when entering the file’s name, I have to use Bare Grep) and of course it is slow.

    Naturally my latest laptop is my fastest to date, the first with dual core processor and 4GB RAM, and yet compilations one year after Vista installation are now slower than they were on my previous XP machine after 2 years of use. Partly that appears to be after sleeping and resuming a few times BUT if I were to reboot from scratch every morning then I would lose several minutes there every day waiting for the ludicrous initial startup time.

    I kind of expected this – I only installed Vista so that I would be able to help and commiserate with customers who had the misfortune to be using Vista. But I would be surprised if anyone who was a heavy expert user like myself thought Vista was an improvement on XP.

  28. Lanthanide says:

    @Mistwraithe (#28):
    Service Pack 2 is coming out soon, and apparently it speeds Vista up considerably in a number of ways.

    Hopefully that’ll help. I guess we’ll find out soon.

  29. OmegaDawn says:

    It’s not dead. It’s just pining for the fjords.

  30. myparrotsteeth says:

    @Jim (#16): Whoops, that would have been quite a tribute to Ubuntu! Still, getting performance out of a 20th century box is still an impressive feat. Imagine trying to shoehorn the bloat of Vista onto a box that old, you may as well try to squash a whale inside the tower..

  31. Martin! says:

    Funny… kind of… I was reading your entry at the bus stop and I was thinking : “Maybe I should check that fan noise in my desktop computer”

    It was frozen when I got home. Can’t reboot correctly. Cold sweat on my forehead, I tough : When was my last backup? Where is my XP disk?

    In the end, all is well. The extra fan is dead, but the computer is working. Only when the case is open… I need a new 10$ fan and my backup is underway (For those who may ask, the last one was more than 6 month old meaning more than 1000 pictures not backuped in anyway. More line of code than I can remember would have been lost forever!!!

    Lesson learned : If you are to ignore fan noises, have a healthy backup habit.

    Martin!

  32. food4worms says:

    The fan on my file server’s southbridge went on me a couple of months ago — I got the luftewaffe sounds from it before it died and took the motherboard with it. Thing was, I searched high and low for a replacement fan as I listened to the air-raid sirens in my head. No luck. My server was taken out by a five dollar fan. Sucks large. I had to completely dismantle my old gaming rig to get it going again. I feel your pain, Shamus.

  33. VTgamer says:

    Its prob too late now, but i would recommend when building your own computer to get a motherboard with a heat pipe assembly instead of a fan, it will save you headache on the long run. You might pay a 40 dollar premium or so but the motherboard will be not only more higher quality and reliable but quieter too. Its amazing how much noise a tiny northbridge fan can make.

  34. Musoeun says:

    I once tried to overclock the family computer. (This was in the days of 156 Mhz or whatever processors, I was trying to get it up to 192 so I could run a new game.) I did it, too, and changed the BIOS configuration and everything, and it ran fine for about half an hour. Then it crashed, and after a little investigation I discovered the fan didn’t work. Not only that, but had apparently never even been hooked up, just thrown in the box in the proper place. Oh, and it was broken. Of course the machine was out of warranty so I couldn’t complain to anyone…

    So I reset everything. Fortunately, I hadn’t actually fried anything with my little stunt. Unfortunately, it wasn’t my computer and my dad wasn’t really interested in messing about replacing a fan when everything seemed to work normally. But yeah, fans are a nuisance to deal with, that was the moral I took from this.

  35. Krellen says:

    One of the users at my workplace got a new laptop that can only run Vista (apparently there’s some hardware in there incompatible with XP; we both tried to install XP several times). I had to get her Vista machine set up to access our VPN, and it was a real pain in the butt. As earlier mentioned, just finding the right screens to configure her network card to hit our network was a task of several minutes (which is two mouse clicks in XP), and the Remote Desktop Application we use to actually do work on the VPN doesn’t even show up in any program listings; it has to be searched for.

    I have yet to talk to anyone in person that prefers Vista to XP (the best I’ve heard is ‘It’s not that bad.’), and after several months trying Vista out as their official OS, our University ITS department has officially gone back to recommending XP.

    Microsoft has put out a failing OS before, so this shouldn’t be surprising. Even the economic data supports that it’s cool to hate on Vista; Microsoft lost money for the first time as a public company last quarter, and I can’t imagine that being due to anything but Vista.

  36. Felblood says:

    My brother’s got a fan that’s been doing that since he bought it, and it’s getting worse.

    I keep telling him to find out which of the many fans is making that sound and replace it, but he’s too afraid it might be expensive to find out.

    This is clearly not good, rational logic at play, and maybe showing him this article will kick him into motion.

  37. SolkaTruesilver says:

    I personnaly hope to be able to delay a new machine until Windows 7 comes out. That way, I’ll skip vista! :D

  38. Shawn says:

    Solka:

    That’s my plan too!

  39. Noah Lesgold says:

    Out of curiosity, where’d you go for the new PC? I’m looking into replacing my 8 year old PC, myself (though it hasn’t failed yet).

  40. Adamantyr says:

    I use Vista, but yeah, if you have no driving need to leave XP, wait for Windows 7. By all signs that I’ve seen, it should be worth upgrading to.

    Sorry to hear about your computer problems, Shamus. I guess you had an old enough system that it doesn’t auto power-off when the components are overheating.

    I just upgraded my PC myself to an i7 processor, and the process was suspiciously without any trouble… I’m kind of waiting for a shoe to drop now. Will the memory go bad? The hard drive fail? The motherboard catch on fire? Anxiety abounds…

  41. empty_other says:

    Well, i cant live without the new Vista start-menu. WinKey+”wina” to open my Winamp. Thats 4 keypresses, done really quickly. In XP i either had to dig trough the Start menu with my mouse, or mess up my desktop. And i actually used a lot of work on a “toolbar” on top of the desktop, and other times used Winkey+R to run many of the programs.

    Nor could i live without my thumbnail or folder thumbnails. XP did also have thumbnails, but Vista’s thumbnails have better quality and speed. No need to install a thirdparty picture-gallery to look at my many pictures.

    But i would recommend you to wait for Windows 7. It is faster than Vista. Well, the Windows 7 Open Beta is faster than Vista.

    Well, my point is: Dont listen to the critics; Vista did get undeserved amount of bad hype. And most of it was because people somewhy expected it to run smooth on any early XP-machine. It is build for 64 bit multicore machines, and i would never recommend to install it on machines made for Windows XP.

  42. karma police says:

    I agree with the latest poster, Vista has some really cool features that, while not being original, I would not want to miss. Still, I’ll hop on the “Wait for W7” bandwagon. That’s in particular because while Vista is not half as unstable as many people would have you believe, it’s still really easy to mess up. I’m working with an undead Vista for quite some time now, and I can’t say I did a lot to fry it.

    Although some of the Vista issues that have been mentioned will probably remain. Network configuration is mostly the same as in Vista and no a single bit less fidgety.

  43. Henebry says:

    As long as you’re stuck in the land of Ubuntu, perhaps an install of DOSBox is in order.

    What classic games from the stone age of DOS should Shamus check out this week while waiting for his new computer to arrive?

  44. Eric Meyer says:

    I’m still doing what I can to avoid retiring a nine-year-old computer (a Mac G4/500) that’s running just fine, thanks. I barely use for anything these days, but it’s been so loyal and steadfast, I swear I actually have an emotional attachment to the damn thing. Permanently switching it off seems cruel and unnecessary.

  45. mark says:

    My PC is the ultimate bodged together rig. Two power supplies, one rigged to a toggle switch so it can power some of the drives, of which I have 6. Three fans, one of which simply sits in the bottom of the case, next to two hard drives that I ran out of drive bays for. The side is permanantly open, both for ventilation and because I couldnt actually fit all the components and wires IN there. One of the CD drives is headless so that I can use a disc swapping trick without ejecting the drive. Several cables have been modified or extended by stripping the wires, twisting them, soldering (if I could be bothered at the time) and wrapping them in electrical tape.

    EDIT: Oh yeah, and I lost/broke all the CD drive bay blanking plates, and I only used 2 of the 4 bays, so its face is all open. More ventilation I suppose. :)

    Recent faults:

    1. My new dual layer dvd burner wont finalize discs due to some I/O device error. they still work fine though.
    2. A power supply blew up a while back. orange sparks flew at me. Fun…
    3. A while back It stopped booting. I narrowed the problem down to one stick of RAM. Put it back in a few weeks later and it works again, and has done since.

    My computers always hate me.

  46. Zaghadka says:

    My condolences. I hope your new machine is a joy. :)

  47. Sydney says:

    If it hadn’t been nailed to the desk, it would be pushin’ up the daisies!

  48. Grimwauld says:

    Checkout Wine on ubuntu
    amazingly easy these days – took 5 minutes to get WoW working; and several of my roomie’s FPS games just worked out of the box wihtout needing to refer to the Ubuntu website’s help articles at all.

  49. Nazgul says:

    Without delving into all of the specifics, I concur that XP > Vista.

    WRT fans, the company I work at produces rack-mount switches and in my experience the fans in those and many other computer-related boxes are often what gives out first when something is several years old. If the fan cooling is necessary, Bad Things will happens when the fans fail.

    Preventive maintenance (replacement) is a good idea, particularly if the fans are making random noise changes or showing other signs of ill health. Some systems monitor fan RPMs and will throw errors/warnings when a fan misbehaves.

    At least with a decade-old system, the need to finally upgrade is a silver lining… Looking forward to pictures of the new system. I love getting new gear to tinker with.

  50. LintMan says:

    I was one of the suckers who bought Vista Ultimate, right when Vista was first released, on Microsoft’s promise of a steady stream of free nifty “Ultimate extras” applications. (Two years later, they still haven’t released all the original promised ones, never mind any additional ones)

    I thought Vista was OK – some good improvements, but also some annoying changes. The changes in Vista’s Windows Explorer stink in particular. UAC didn’t bother me, though.

    Then my hard disk died (and soon afterward the video card died too), so I had to reinstall Vista. After that, Vista began to crap out every 3-6 hours, where if it hadn’t frozen up, clicking on ANY icon or even trying to run task manager would cause it to give bizarre error messages like “the path is not found” or some security error. So I literally had to reboot every 3-6 hours.

    Then I spent months doing 3 more Vista full re-installs (to a scratch bare drive), and all sorts of fiddling with the hardware, swapping parts in and out, reinstalling drivers, etc. All with no fix. Finally I went and bought a copy of Windows XP and installed that. Problem instantly solved, no more constant rebooting needed. Thanks, Microsoft Vista!

  51. Simulated Knave says:

    Mark, your computers hate you because they recognize that they are abominations in the eyes of God and man. They hate you for creating them, and strike out at you when they can…

  52. Brackish says:

    Not trying to be a hater, but I have a question: Have you installed Vista and tried it out?

    I’m hardly a MS fanboy, (get it? fan?…. ahem), but I’ll say this much: it’s the most stable out-of-the-box OS I’ve ever installed on a new build machine, (yeah, I’m one of those Build-It-Yourself freaks). Unless you count DOS, of course. Vista certainly has Ubuntu, (which I run on a salvaged laptop), beat by miles for ease of use and stability.

    Seriously, though: while I’m not exactly delighted with the MS “forced upgrade” business model, let’s not mix the chocolaty marketing hate into the software peanut buttery goodness, shall we? And in further fairness, a caveat: the machine has to possess the horsepower to run Vista well. However, exclusive only of monitor and mouse, I built a turnkey 4GB, 8400 Wolfdale, 512×8800 GT box for less than a thousand dollars last summer — including the cost of an OEM Vista install copy. It still runs any new game like greased lightning. And it’s built with all well-known brand name components, too. As with automobiles, big horsepower doesn’t necessarily mean big bucks if you know what you’re about.

    Oh, and have fun with the lack of DX10 compatibility. You may come to regret that decision in a few months, when DX9 games start dropping off the radar faster than the Iraqi Air Force in a dogfight.

    Vista gets a lot of hate, with unfair analogies to MS Bob, Windows ME, PC Jr., OS/2, etcetera etcetera… I know, I used (or tried to use) all of those things. But my experience with Vista over the course of six months and dozens of games and applications has been almost uniformly positive, (pobody’s nerfect). YMMV, of course. But at least try it. I’d not even consider returning to XP.

    Disclaimer: I work for a fire protection firm. Never even been to Redmond.

  53. Zaghadka says:

    To concur with Brackish there, a lot of the problems with Vista was Nvidia not being ready with stable video drivers. I also understand that the 64-bit version is the only way to do 64-bit, far better than open source, and XP-64 is a sorry kludge.

    So do be sure to consider your options. Vista had a bad launch, it is not a bad OS. It’s no ME. It’s more like NT 3.1.

    I’m hoping to give it a miss and go straight to Windows 7, however, and MS had no business releasing without Nvidia on deck, and certifying systems that couldn’t run it as “Vista Ready” (especially laptops). That’s was the big problem with Vista. They didn’t coordinate with the hardware people as well as they have in the past.

    Hopefully, MS won’t make that mistake again. They need hardware vendors on board.

  54. Zaghadka says:

    Switching Wavatars again. Pay it no mind. Was getting tired of looking like one of Ozymandias’ Pyramid Corp. henchmen.

    Now I look like a virus. Fair enough. ;)

  55. SolkaTruesilver says:

    Zaghadka: There is nothing wrong about Pyramid Corp and Ozymandia! Clearly, they are working toward rebuilding the cities that have been destroyed by Dr. Manhattan, and they are doing it for less profit than all the other companies proposed!

    Veidt’s company is working marvelously toward improving mankind. Why do you want to di-sociate yourself from them?

  56. Ham08 says:

    Hey there, Shamus!

    Sorry to hear about your computer woes. I felt compelled to ask, “Since, you are a computer nerd/programmer, why are you buying a computer instead of building it?” It’s fun to build your own and it can save you a ton of money!

    You could wind up with a decent gaming computer for as little as $500.00 in parts if you built your own. Cannibalize your old system for everything that you can still use, such as the case, the DVD-ROM, the good fans, graphic card, cpu, power supply, ram, keyboard, mouse, monitor, well, everything that is still good, then head on over to newegg.com and shop for the parts you need to get up and running. You may only need to spend a couple hundred instead of thousands.

    Here’s a parts list to build a decent computer on the cheap:

    AMD Athlon 64 X2 5600 Brisbane 2.9GHz Socket AM2 65W Dual-Core Processor Model ADO5600DOBOX – Retail $67.00

    BIOSTAR TFORCE TA790GX 128M AM2+/AM2 AMD 790GX HDMI ATX AMD Motherboard – Retail $109.99 Onboard Video (you’ll need to disable onboard video in the bios when you install a video card, also, you’ll need an ATX form factor case, match the dimensions with the case specs, ie if your case is a micro or mini form factor then this motherboard will not work.)

    EVGA 512-P3-N863-TR GeForce 9600 GT 512MB 256-bit GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported Video Card – Retail $104.99

    Antec EA650 650W ATX12V Ver.2.2 / EPS12V vs 2.91 SLI / CrossFire 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC – Retail $99.99

    G.SKILL 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory – Retail $28.99

    Western Digital Caviar Black WD6401AALS 640GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s Hard Drive – OEM $79.99

    Grand Total: $492

    Consider this power supply, instead:
    PC Power & Cooling S61EPS 610W Continuous @ 40°C EPS12V SLI / CrossFire 80 PLUS Active PFC Power Supply – Retail $99.99

    Here’s a decent case if you need it:
    COOLER MASTER Centurion 5 CAC-T05-UB Black /Blue Aluminum Bezel , SECC Chassis ATX Mid Tower Computer Case – Retail $54.99

    The cost may be cheaper still, if you can still use parts from your old computer.

  57. Gregory Weir says:

    I have had no problems with Vista. I suspect that the several years of bug fixes and updates have made it better. Remember, XP used to be mocked and maligned just as much as Vista was. Microsoft releases operating systems that start out terrible, but like fine wines they improve with age.

    Not Windows ME, though. It will always be terrible.

  58. As I sit here typing this message, my computer’s fan is also making some strange sounds (vaguely reminding me of someone vacuuming). I want to heed the warning or your post, but I find I can not make time to work on my computer until its death necessitates action!

  59. Mortimer Skye says:

    What fan was it? Not that any besides the processor could cause that.

  60. Noumenon says:

    My fans start and stop all the time, and make weird noises. Never lost a computer yet. I vacuum the dust off them sometimes and that helps. I just wanted to be the one person who says “It wasn’t that dumb to be optimistic.”

    Regarding Win-A to launch WinAmp, you can right-click a shortcut in the XP start menu too and give it a hotkey that works with Ctrl+Alt. My WinAmp is Ctrl+Alt+M for Music, my D&D text notes file is Ctrl+Alt+D, etc.

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