I remembered why I hate building PCs....

So while you are all sitting around waiting for the next installment of 'ZMans super computer tales' I have been cursing and kicking stuff.

The new computer was up and working Monday evening, I started to install stuff and copy things over to it when suddenly there was no internet access. Now I know had internet access on Monday because I downloaded 2 gazillabytes of updates from Microsoft. But now nothing. Vista just says I had 'local only' access (which was a lie because it couldn't see any other computer in the house) to a 'public' network. So what had I done? I had added a DVD drive... so I unplugged that and no change. I fiddled with stuff based on apocryphal comments from 12 year old 'experts' in forums I had never heard of. I turned of IPv6 (even though it worked yesterday and it works on my current computer). I reset every router in the house. I powered them off for minutes (and later hours) at a time. I checked the router settings. I reinstalled Vista - TWICE. I reset the BIOS back to defaults. I switched cables between computers and then I ran out of ideas so I went to the pub and got drunk.

That didn't help either so this morning I tried most of the above again (I'm a developer I sometimes think 'try it again' will work). This morning I thought to look at the lights on all the boxes - they all appear to be flashing normally. I was beginning to think that my minor attempts at overclocking (now given up in disgust) had somehow managed to blow up BOTH ethernet ports and nothing else. I think this would be a first in overclocking history.

The ZMan is by now close to tears because I know the next thing is to phone Vista support and I know they will spend 2 days walking me through all the things I've already done and I know I will have to lie to them about my network setup because when they hear about the home network and VPN boxes I have here they will blame those and I will have to shout at some poor guy in India when its not his fault. Even if they didn't I suspect they would come to the same conclusion as me - that the ethernet ports are broken. This means an RMA to the no name people I bought it from to save $3.45 and another lie 'no I didn't try to overclock it honest'. At least when you buy a Dell and it doesn't work you can send the whole thing back. You don't have to argue about which bit might be broken.

But before I did I decided to try the one thing I knew had changed - the DVD drive. I disconnected it again and this time I noticed that there was a blue LED on the motherboard that stayed on... yeah of course even though the computer is 'off' there is still power to the motherboard. What the hell I decide and power down the power supply.....

Turned it all back on and magically I am now on the internet again... I have no stinkin' clue what was up. I guess some electrickery got stuck in one of the thing-a-me-bobs on the doohicky and I needed to totally remove power from the motherboard before it would fix itself.

Which returns me to the meat of the post. When I decided to build the PC I had resigned myself to a day or so of fiddling and installing. I didn't take into account multiple OS installs and almost 2 additional wasted days doing essentially nothing but learning to turn off the power supply. Lets take 3 x 8 hour days at $50 an hour and realise that I have flushed $1200 down the toilet just to get frustrated. The reason I built my own was that the Dells with DX10 cards and quad cores are gamer rigs which cost close to $3000 so suddenly my $1000 savings doesn't seem such a bargain and Iost time I can't afford to lose right now. When will someone build a time machine eh?

So now at 9:30am on Thursday I am right back when I was at midnight on Monday except I have a DVD drive installed....



Published 09 August 2007 09:11 AM by zman
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# Dean Lunz said on 11 August, 2007 02:34 PM

Welcome to the wonderful world of do it yourself upgrades! Hehe, Ohhh I've had be some days like that.

# Mike Vargas said on 26 August, 2007 06:43 PM

Building your own PC can be a very rewarding and/or very frustrating experience.  What I do these days is research and choose all of the components, and then just have a (reasonably priced) installation done for me.    I figure that it's well worth 50 bucks to have 1) someone struggle through the difficulties, 2) take the risks for me, and 3) take responsibility if something goes wrong.  I know I'm depriving myself of a potentially rewarding experience, but I've done it all before so it's not like I'm missing much.

# zman said on 04 September, 2007 04:55 PM

Mike.. you are spot on with that advice. The problem I have found is that the places that will put it together are also not the places that sell the components cheap. Of course the whole point of this post was whether my time is worth all the hassle so even at $200 it would have been cheaper. Anyway the PC is all up and running and other than the immense heat it produces its great.



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