September 24th, 2008


Pooter pooped out

Just about ready to start an online fun race (luckily not a points race!), my screen filled with purple spots and the PC locked up. Resetting, it wouldn't complete POST. No beeps, nothin' beyond the video card's startup screen.

  • Powered down, fiddled with things to make sure nothing came unplugged or anything.
  • Powered up. CD-ROM ejected. No post. Put CD-ROM tray back in, and it just ejected again immediately.
  • Power cycled again. This time it booted but other than the mouse cursor (with some weird green artifacts around it), the screen was nothing but weird green artifacts.
  • Let it sit for a few minutes, and turned it back on to see if it's heat related. It booted just fine. After four minutes, shortly after loading the racing simulator, weird stuff and a lockup again (complete lockup with no sound or anything -- not just a graphics lockup).
  • Turned it off and on again. This time, when it got stuck at POST, the screen was filled with garbled versions of the simulator's 3D graphics that were displaying at the time of the previous crash.

    Ah hah, says I, could it be not faulty memory, but faulty video card? I brought the PC into my work office where there's space to mess with it, finally got the card unplugged (AGP lock, how I despise thee), blew out and dug out a bunch of dust, plugged it back in... beepbeep, beep beep beep beep beep beep. Not sure what that POST error means (truth be told, I don't remember what any POST errors mean). Made sure the card was seated properly and tried again, and it just didn't POST again, or I could get it to POST OK but there were artifacts immediately, even in the BIOS setup as I set the primary video adapter to PCI, hoping that was enough to make it use on-board video.

    It wasn't, so I have taken the video card out entirely again (after another long struggle with the AGP lock), and now the PC runs fine with the crappy Intel on-board video. I just can't do any racing because of the aforementioned crappy on-board video...

    I've unscrewed a few bits of the fan/heatsink stuff on the video card and dug out a bunch more dust. Maybe it'll be OK now if I put it back in... or maybe it's permanently damaged.

    I was wanting to build an entirely new PC anyway. This P4 3GHz HT with an nVidia 5900FX Ultra is rather out of date now when it comes to running the latest racing simulators. But it's so far out of date that I pretty much need to start from the ground up. And I'm not looking forward to trying to port my Windows installation to a SATA drive. I'm not even sure exactly how I would port a Windows drive to another disk (which I probably should do, as this 6GB C: drive is really old at this point!).