I had to upgrade my computer since my Shuttle SN68SG2 died on me. Well, sort of. Let me explain.
Increasing problems with the SN68SG2
I’ve noticed 2-3 times that my computer wouldn’t turn on, but linger in some sort of standby mode. I removed the CMOS battery for a bit, then the computer started up just fine.
Last Friday, while I was in the middle of processing photos, my computer just shut down.
Here’s my logic:
- If it was the processor (CPU), memory (RAM), or hard drive, I would’ve probably gotten a blue screen of death (BSOD).
- I didn’t see any bulging capacitors on the motherboard.
- Why was I able to use the computer within Safe Mode?
It might’ve been capacitors inside the power supply or capacitors on the motherboard that weren’t showing obvious symptoms.
To save money, I could’ve bought a replacement power supply; that’d take more work and time that I didn’t have, nor was there any guarantee that Mwave had any in stock. (I had wedding photos to process and two photo sessions coming up over the next three days.)
Will call at Mwave
Saturday morning, I drove to Mwave[1. Why Mwave? They offer will call pick up for $5.], timing myself so I’d arrive when they opened.
I initially ordered a Shuttle SA76G2 (barebone system) and AMD Athlon II X3 435 2.93GHz. Why AMD?
- I can get a faster processor for less money.
- I haven’t noticed stability differences between AMD and Intel.
If you can refer to some articles that explain the differences in processors between AMD and Intel, please leave a comment.
My new computer
After 20 minutes, I was told that the barebone system wasn’t in stock and needed to be special ordered. The only barebone system they had was Intel-based. So, I ended up with:
The memory, hard drive, and DVD burner would carry over to the new system.
Final moments with the SN68SG2
Within safe mode, I was able to copy the program settings and profiles onto the other partition in safe mode.
Sunday, I spent my last few hours with the Shuttle SN68SG2. I tried testing the memory (MemTest86+), then clean installing Windows XP with one of the two memory sticks[2. Thanks for the suggestion, Arnold!]. Several attempts to restart would result in the system going into “standby.” I could open/close the DVD drive. Holding the power button down for a few seconds would power off the computer completely. (Not normal.)
Fed up, I finally opened the sealed box to the new processor and Shuttle XPC barebone system.
After an hour of installing the new parts into the barebone system, Windows XP[3. I need to save up for Windows 7 Professional 64-bit. This situation didn’t help.] was installed.
The Shuttle SG31G2-V2 included a driver DVD. Unlike my last USB-only system, this one had PS/2 keyboard and mouse connectors.
Windows installed just fine. When I got to the chipset drivers, I couldn’t use my keyboard or mouse to finish the install. I found a USB to PS/2 connector for my mouse, then did another clean install.
After the chipset driver was installed and the computer restarted, my DVD drive wouldn’t read the driver DVD. (It would read regular CDs, and there wasn’t a problem with it in device manager.)
I had to run yet another clean install!
Immediately after the clean install, I:
- copied the files off the driver DVD onto my hard drive,
- installed Service Pack 3[4. I was using the original disk because I misplaced the Windows XP Pro install CD slipstreamed with SP3.], then
- installed the drivers.
Now, all is well again. I have a few more programs to install and I’ll be back to normal.
If you’re following me on Twitter (@bryan), thanks for putting up with my rants the past couple days. I try not to do that often.
Wait. Did I test the DVD drive for reading DVD media? Doh! If it doesn’t work, to be continued…
- Capacitor plague (Wikipedia)
- Visual Signs of Capacitor Failure (Capacitor Lab)
- Intel Pentium E6300 Best bang for the buck? Cache test revisited
Update 2010-03-02 — I returned the Intel Pentium Dual-Core E6300 2.8GHz to Mwave for a refund (minus the 15% restocking fee) and bought an Intel Core 2 Quad Q8400 2.66GHz 4MB L2 Cache Quad-Core Processor. Lightroom was pretty quick this past week, but it should be even faster now. When I upgrade to Windows 7 Professional 64-Bit, I’m sure it’ll be off the hook.