one server was dead, the desktop dieing. However, ordering two new motherboards was successful. They arrived from Magic Micro quickly and in good order, and it was time to clean things up and make two working machines.
I had to let her go to her script and answer the question "Is the machine overheating and shutting down?" with "Yes", because if I didn't say "yes" she didn't have any option for having me send it in for cleaning at all. So they did the cleaning, and wiped Linux, but I've learned always to do a full backup before letting anyone else even touch my machines.
What is pictured above is an Nvidia GeForce 8400 GS video card, which I decided to use rather than buying on-board video for my main desktop. Two benefits of doing so are to relieve the CPU of as much responsibility for graphics as possible, and to avoid losing any RAM to the video function. Even though I didn't use the onboard video once the previous motherboard experienced video trouble, it still reserved the "shared memory" for video. The free command now reports a full 4GB of RAM, of which Linux with half a dozen desktop applications open uses less than half.
It also saved some $60 off the price of the motherboard. Such a saving is not a feature to be ignored!
The video card has its own fan and heatsink, which is nice, but it's got three tiny screws holding it together which is a pain in the butt.
I do the same process on my CPU heat-sinks, fans, and vacuum out the case every few months when I get the thought it's about time to do so.
Certainly having the motherboards to replace is an excellent time to vacuum the cases completely clean.
One laptop I took apart to clean had so much hair built up on the cooling fins that I was shocked it worked at all. I contacted the former owner and asked him, "So, how is the white dog?" He was surprised that I knew he even HAD a dog, until I told him that what I had pulled out of his old laptop amounted to a felt pad of white dog hair!
Some day I'd like to try one of the water-cooled CPU heatsinks. I looked into it on a lark, and the one that seemed nice had a radiator that was much too big for any case I've ever had! Good thing I didn't buy it, I hate sending back something when the reason it didn't work was my fault.
If you're going to replace motherboards, the new ones will come with these gnarly little panels that fit the motherboard I/O ports so that the case could have been made for that particular model of motherboard. Just make sure that the new little rectangular piece of steel is put in from the inside so that the panel is more secure with the motherboard in place. Just in case you didn't know.
Ah, the miracles of digital photography.
so the new optical drive is working perfectly as well.
One last bit of advice: Always, ALWAYS HOOK UP ONE CABLE AT A TIME. Make sure that one cable, be it LED, SATA, IDE, USB, power, whatever it is, is fully seated in its receptical and locked down if a lock is used. Wiggle it. Double check it's in the right place, that it fits easily and securely, and is not interfering with anything else before moving on to the next cable. The same can be said of BIOS options. Get out the manual and walk through the BIOS one option at a time. I don't pretend to know what every option means, but many times I've stopped at an option and said, "This is something that looks like I should make sure." And, sometimes, it is.
That may sound pedantic and even overly cautious, but I've put together hundreds of PCs over the course of three decades, and when I have had problems it was when I assumed everything was OK when it actually wasn't. Looking at each screw, each jumper, each cable, each drive, one at a time by itself as it is installed into the case means never having to second guess yourself later on as to whether it was set right or not.
Yes, that Memtest86 screen is reporting 9016MBps RAM transfer speed. DDR3 1600, and I admit that any time I use another computer after having gotten used to this one, it feels slow as molasses.
Almost everything works, the hardware is clean, and I have two backups that I never used. But then, it's the backup that one does not have that will be the one that's needed.
Here's what's not working: I have a "old" Lexar USB memory card reader that works perfectly well with every other computer I've used, including the new mini-ATX server, but the gnarley-fast desktop shows kernel dumps half a dozen times with "reset high-speed USB device" errors for several minutes before a card inserted into the reader is recognized, and then it works just fine. ...until the next time I put a card in the reader, when it gets the same errors all over again.
multi-card reader that I'll put in the 3.5" drive slot, and I'll see if that works any better. In the mean time, if I don't mind letting the card sit there for a few minutes, I can still get my camera's pictures, but it's an annoying problem that I'd really rather not have.
Update: It works just fine!
Peace, may your aim never waver,