25 Jun 2008 elanthis   » (Journeyer)

Motherboard Hell

I’ve been meaning to upgrade to a newer and FOSS-supported video card. Since I like nice, quiet, low-power systems, that requires an integrated graphics chip. My current motherboard makes use of an NVIDIA 6150, but I really would like either an AMD 780G or Intel X4500 (when they’re out).

Since I had a birthday recently and my parents were bugging me to ask them for something, I decided to ask for a 780G motherboard. I then went and bought DDR2 RAM and a Phenom X4, as my old Athlon X2 is a socket 939 model.

The new motherboard unfortunately was a huge problem. It would hang randomly on boot, gave Linux various errors, and caused some instability. I figured it could also be the CPU or RAM, but it’s really hard to find out when you don’t have anything else to swap in. I had my parents return the motherboard and a bought a new one, which came recommended from Phoronix.

That one wouldn’t even power on.

At this point, I’m pretty much sick of pulling my computer apart and putting it back together over and over. If the replacement motherboard doesn’t work (or it turns out to the CPU or RAM) then I’m just going to send it all back and say “screw it.” Maybe I’ll try again when the Intel GMA X4500 motherboard are out, maybe I’ll just get a cheap R600-based PCI-E card and stick it in my current machine, or maybe I’ll just live with the proprietary-driver necessary for my current graphic chips. (Yes, necessary - neither of the Open Source drivers nor the VESA driver are capable of giving me a usable desktop on my monitor - I either get stuck with a tiny-ass resolution, a missing mouse cursor, or a picture that’s offset by about 50% vertically.)

Putting computers together can be kind of fun, but it’s not at all fun when putting new ones together requires you to pull apart your one and only working computer, and hoping nothing goes wrong and damages your existing working parts in the process. And I really don’t feel like having to order a new case (which costs almost as much as a CPU these days - WTF?) and hard disk just to be able to try over and over to build a new machine until Newegg manages to ship me working parts. :/

Syndicated 2008-06-25 03:49:04 from Sean Middleditch

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