‘ Computer Hardware ’ category archive

Rebuilding an Older Computer

June 16, 06 by kenrich

My computer at home was having problems recognizing my AGP video in an old system I was putting together. I think there was an IRQ conflect between the built-in video and the AGP video memory or something like that. Even though I disabled the onboard video in the BIOS, the system refused to recognize my video card.

It wasn’t like the video card didn’t work. I’d still get graphics but even when I tried to install the correct drivers for the card, the system didn’t recognize the device. I finally ended up giving up on the AGP port and just went with a PCI video card. It’s not AGP, but it still runs about 40x faster than the AGP card I had installed.

Next I’m going to have to re-install the sound card I used to have installed. After reverting back to the onboard sound card, the speakers are generating some really annoying noises that are definitely not normal. Once this is done, it should make the computer complete (well unless I install a bigger hard drive that is).

Dell Poweredge sc430 Server

April 12, 06 by kenrich

So I just ordered a new Dell server () to use as a desktop computer. This is something that I’ve done before because I currently own two poweredge 400sc servers which I am using as desktops. Dell must be really trying to cut their costs because the new poweredge tower server lacks a lot of features that the previous one had. This is really annoying for the consumer because they have to purchase all sorts of add-ons just to have a usable computer.

The first thing I noticed was that the computer didn’t have any sound ports. You know the phono jacks that allow you to connect a set of speakers and a microphone. This doesn’t work too well for a desktop computer but I suppose it’s okay if you are just going to use it as a true server. So I had to go out to buy a sound card to go into the computer which cost me $11 (not too bad).

The next thing I noticed (which really irked me) was that the computer is lacking any PS/2 ports to plug in a keyboard. I guess all peripherals are going the USB route and so this computer requires you to use a USB mouse and a USB keyboard. While I have plent of USB mice, I don’t have a single USB keyboard in my arsenal. This means that I now, also, need to buy a USB keyboard just to try out my computer.

I know that Dell is trying to cut their costs left-and-right and increase profits. I read a news article recently that read Dell had lost some profits because they were offering substantial price cuts on their systems. They were going to focus on the very high-end (XPS series) systems and also cut the large discounts on their regular systems. I did only pay $299 for my poweredge sc430, but c’mon, at least give us a $9 keyboard with the computer so we can boot it up and install an operating system. I really don’t think this is too much to ask

My Desktop PC is Back Up and Running

February 10, 06 by kenrich

I’ve had a heckuva time the last couple of weeks trying to get a new computer built. My desktop PC died on me – but not completely. It was shutting down after 15 minutes of use due to a thermal event. My first thought was that the CPU had a problem. I bought a new CPU and put it into my computer and booted it up. It ran fine for about 15 minutes and then had the same problem.

I was wondering what else could be the problem. Could it be the heatsink I was using (it was a standard Dell heatsink) or maybe the CPU fan? This was a possibility. I had read about many problems the Dell 400sc had with it’s motherboard. Specifically, it’s capacitors were notorious for degrading and even splitting open.

So after about two weeks, I decided to buy a brand new Dell motherboard to use as a replacement. I also ordered another CPU because I was concerned that had been damaged too. After a quick 10 minute swap (Dell tower servers are beautifully engineered and upgrades / maintenance is a breeze), the computer worked good as new. I’m so happy to have my computer back again – now I just have to catch up on the tons of e-mail I received during that time.

I’ve Had it With Building Computers

January 26, 06 by kenrich

I really hate computers some times. Just recently, I was trying to put together a new system because my currrent system was having a problem overheating. I bought all new components and spent a whole night assembling the system. The next day when I tried to power it on, I got no response at all.

Usually, you can expect something to show on the monitor, or a the very least, the machine will beep at you with some diagnostic code. I got neither when I turned it on. So I spent another night just trying to diagnose the problem and fix it. Problem is, there is just no hint at what the problem might be. I checked all of the connections and even swapped out the power supply but still had the same result.

I’m about ready to throw this thing in the garbage. I’ve just about had it with building my own computers. I really would like to know why my original computer took a dump in the first place. I thought that computer was going to run forever and then I started having problems with the CPU over-heating. I think my CPU is fried.

Running Out of Disk Space

December 30, 05 by kenrich

So tonight I was analyzing my wife’s computer because she kept seeing a notice indicating that she was running out of space on her computer. After poking around the filesystem for a while, I determined that there were a huge number of files stored in her “My Documents” folder. At first, I thought this was my old profile that had been stored on the computer, but that didn’t take up much storage.

As it turned out, it was her profile that held over a half of a million files. In all, they totalled more than 12GB, although after waiting for 30 minutes, windows explorer had not finished counting the number of files or the amount of storage used. I thought maybe it was some virus or spyware that was creating tons of useless files on her drive. And then I thought maybe it was the Internet Explorer cached files.

So I went to “Tools” and then “Internet Options” in the Internet Explorer browser. I then clicked on delete files and checked the “delete all offline content” button. More than three hours later and her computer is still deleting files. It has cleared out more than 12 GB of cached content. Yes, it’s safe to say that my wife does a lot of surfing on the Internet. What makes this more amazing is that the computer is not that slow, the hard drive is a Western Digital Raptor (SATA) and the CPU is a 2.6GHz Pentium IV with Hyper Threading.

New Server For Hosting Purposes

January 27, 05 by kenrich

Well, today was the day that I bough a new server for our . I wanted to get a dual Xeon server (probably a Dell 2650) to provide optimum performance, but instead I opted for a much cheaper Dell 2450. It provides all of the same reliability and fault tolerance as the more expensive server except it runs a little slower.

I decided to buy all new drives for the . I purchased 3 36GB Seagate Cheetah SCSI hard drives to go into the server for a RAID 5 array with a capacity of 74GB. This will be the true capacity because the SCSI drives are rated at their formatted capacity. I also purchased the drive trays that will be needed for the additional drive bays being used.

One benefit of buying an older server, the replacement parts are cheaper and it is compatible with a lot of our other servers so we can exchange parts. We really needed to replace our current linux server and add something promising more reliability. Once the server and all of the parts get here I will be busy putting Linux on the new server and setting up all of the services.

By the way, the difference between the dual Xeon and the dual Pentium III server is about triple the cost.

Configuring a New Dell Laptop

October 01, 04 by kenrich

Last night I had a problem with my laptop computer where it was freezing up when I tried to open an application or just browse the web. I thought my computer was toast because I had just installed a new notebook hard drive and everything had been working fine before.

At first I thought that the hard drive was bad, but then I noticed that some pixels on the screen would get discolored right before the crash. After thinking about it for a while, I thought maybe the video driver that I was using (the default one installed by windows can really mess you up.) I checked out the event viewer to see if there was any information on this error. Sure enough I found some errors from the video driver in there.

I carefully went to the Dell support Web site to download the latest
“Dell-supported” drivers for the NVidia GeForce Go 2. It was like walking on eggshells. I was afraid my laptop would crash any second. Luckily, I was able to download and install the drivers on the first try. My computer worked perfectly thereafter. This is a good lesson for those upgrading their own laptop.

Of course, it would have made things easier if I could have found the
original driver disks that came with my laptop originally. I almost
destroyed my new notebook hard drive when I tried to remove the adapter and I seriously torqued the two pins on the end of the connector. Thank God I was able to put it back and everything works perfectly well now.

Welcome the New Macintosh G5

August 31, 04 by kenrich

Hey! I just saw the new iMac G5 is out. The whole computer is built into a flat panel display much like a tablet PC sitting on your desk. That’s pretty darn cool if you ask me. It should eliminate a lot of the wires that are running from your computer to your monitor. But it still won’t eliminate all of the cables like to your printer or external drives.

I’m not a huge Mac fan and I don’t have much money so I won’t be seeing one of these puppies on my desktop anytime soon. Besides, I am kind of established on the PC (clone) architecture and it would be a pain to find the same software that I use on my PC available for the Mac. For those of you that just need the basic functionality of a computer, this is a great computer, but a little too overpriced if you ask me.