December 2003

I’m a gamer. I have been for a while. My first gaming PC was built quite a while ago. Originally assembled for use at some pretty cool LAN Meets. I bought myself the best system I could get, at the time, and it still works to this day. However with Doom III, Half Life 2 and Unreal Tournament 2004 all out soon I realised that I really need a new PC.

So three weeks before christmas I splash out and buy the best system I can get. (excluding the quad xeon I’ve been wanting to build for a while)

So the spec isn’t too bad and I’m reasonably happy. Although not too pleased at the price. I purchased most of the components as OEM from trade suppliers. Which isn’t too hard as my day job is working at a small ISP.

Note: Yes, I do work “in the trade”. I have received formal offical training on how to build computers, etc.. These problems are not just down to be not knowing what I’m doing. I’m as close as you’ll get to a computer professional.

Ordering some of the newest items was a little hard and lets just say I won’t be ordering anything from ebuyer again.

Everything Arrives!Using a Qtec 550 Watt Dual Fan Gold PFC Power Supply Unit (PSU) and a Leadtek 5950 Graphics Card. The computer was built by my collegues and myself. However, the Motherboard was Dead On Arrival (DOA).

Thursday — Replacement Arrives

1 x Motherboard Replacement

I receive the replacement for the motherboard and rebuild the PC. It works and boots up ok. Although we can’t seem to get the graphics card to work in anything but 800×600.

After 8 hours of AOL Sessions Internet TV and 1 Chip Shop run (all at the office). I work out that the MAX3 and nvidia 5950 don’t work together if you use a 128 Mb AGP Aperture size.

I install Quake III, Unreal Tournament 2003 and Planetside!

qbnut and I take the PC from the office to my car, which is parked in the near by office car park. However we get stopped by two cops who want to know if the boxes we are carring have been stolen from Argos. The cops leave after noticing the Amtrak stickers. :(

So anyways.. Everything works fine and the PC ends up at my home.

The first and second 3dmark ( 31 dec 2003 )I run 3dmark03 and the system spontanenously reboots. After the reboot I run it again and get a disapointing but still cool 5882 3dmarks.

I log on to Planetside and play until around 1am. Constantly thinking stuff like “wow, I can shoot things”. Looking forward to playing planetside with more than 4 fps on saturday I switch it off overnight. I don’t usually switch my PCs off, however it’s my first pentium 4 and I’m not aware of how hot it can or can’t get yet so I’m playing it safe.

SaturdayI wake up, very happy, on saturday. Go to play Planetside on my new PC and find it wont switch on. Pressing the power button doesn’t do anything :(

Trying a replacement for everything, except the hard drives. We send the motherboard back on Monday.

January – Replacement Arrives

2 x Motherboard Replacements

Everything looks really good with the third motherboard. I show v_bilbo and qbnut planetside running, constantly hearing comments like “bastard!” all the while. ;)

The third 3dmarkA little bit later on everyone in the office gathers around to watch the amazing 3dmark03 run on my new PC.

It dies!

No dramatics, Nothing.. It just switches off and wont come back on.

We find that this time the CPU has blown. It works with a spare p4 CPU. We consider it to be a feature of the Leadtek graphics card. They both get returned. The CPU I get replaced, the graphics card I get refunded for. (I’m sure ebyuer will give us the money some time before 2005!).

I then purcahse the Asus Nvidia 5950 Ultra (looks a lot nicer).

Graphics Card and Replacements Arrive

2 x Motherboard Replacements
1 x Graphics Card Replacement
1 x CPU Replacement

The system is built and works fine. Playing Planetside is a dream.

The fourth 3dmarkWe quit planetside and go to try 3dmark. At this point I really don’t want to blow up another PC but I tell myself that if it doesn’t run 3dmark then it’s not of any use to me.

It dies!

No dramatics, Nothing.. It just switches off and wont come back on.

We replace the motherboard. Thinking it might have been more damaged than we thought from the last attempt. We also replace the Qtec PSU just to be on the safe side.

At this point I also purcahse a new Soundblaster Audigy 2 as v_bilbo says his new sound card has helpted to improve his fps.

Sound Card and Replacement Arrive

3 x Motherboard Replacements
1 x Graphics Card Replacement
1 x CPU Replacement
1 x PSU Replacement

qbnut has a Matrix Orbital LCD in the front of his PCs. It looks snazy. I personally haven’t seen much point in them until now. I borrow his orbital so that I can see the temperature of the system and CPU while I’m in game.

The system is built and again planetside works very very well.

I shutdown the system before running 3dmark03 because I want to connect up this orbital. I plug in the usb cable and the floppy power connector.

Next thing I know FLAMES came out the back of the PSU !!! I’m in shock, wondering about how to breath. Doesn’t help that everyone in the office heard me shout “fucking hell”. They are now all crowded in to the room and asking me questions. Let me breath!

Turns out that I don’t need to plug in the floppy connector on the orbital, however the PDF (box too small for manuals) say it doesn’t matter if you do or don’t.

I get the hard drives and RAM tested by v_bilbo. We presume the CPU is ok but have no way of testing it.

The internals of the Qtec PSU have melted together. We don’t open it because then we can’t get a free replacement but are shocked as we were under the impression that it was a pretty good psu.

We replace the motherboard and PSU.

I purchase an Antec TruePower 550 PSU which is over 4 times the price of the Qtec PSU. I also purchase my own Matrix Orbital, as I don’t want to have to replace the one that I’ve borrowed.

PSU, Orbital and Replacements Arrive

4 x Motherboard Replacements
2 x PSU Replacements
1 x Graphics Card Replacement
1 x CPU Replacement

Everything is built.. it looks neat and works. In fact performance has increased.

The fith 3dmark ( 25 feb 2004 )3dmark03 runs and I get 6448 3dmarks! woo hoo!

The sixth 3dmark ( 26 feb 2004 )The next day, the PC still works and 3dmark03 runs. I get 6467 3dmarks! woo hoo!

I take the PC home and play lots of Planetside.

A few days later…. While playing planetside… It dies!
This time however the PC still works, I just can’t boot anything up ! :(

I’m currently trying to work out of it’s hardware or software…. more soon….. :( !

2 thoughts on “Hope :: Documented

  1. Um. I never did update this article. Long story short:

    The booting up issue was software.

      The system ran ok for around a year and then needed some more hardware replacements to get it back on it’s feet. I replaced the motherboard, case and hard drives.

      System works brillaintly now. :)

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