Hardware Archives

The Verdict Is In

The “dream system” I’ve been building (or trying to build) in on at least a temporary hold.

I did some more testing today, trying various configurations as well as clearing the CMOS memory.  The result is that either the job I did of replacing those capacitors was borked or (this is most likely) the board is just plain dead on arrival because of the beating it took during shipping.

Dream System Still A Dream

Well tonight now that the heatsink compound had arrived and started the build of my new system.

I got the whole thing put together.  (I even recorded a video of the build which is rendering as I write this).

As I’ve said before it’s a really good system. A good ASUS motherboard, Nvidea graphics, a total of eight gigabytes of RAM and a two terabyte hard drive.

The only problem is that after finishing the build and powering it on nothing showed up on my monitor except the message that it’s not getting a signal from the GPU.

As you can imagine I’m ready to scream right about now.

No way could I have been able to get a computer with as much potential if I’d had to save up for a Retail System.  For one thing it would have taken me at least another year and by then whatever I would have gotten would have been obsolete by the time I could afford it.

This system has the promise of being at least reasonably modern and definitely will, once it’s finally working, be powerful enough to let me do a lot of really cool stuff.

At the moment however it’s a brick.

A Dream System Comes True

For something over twenty years now I’ve wanted to be able to build a really fast and powerful desktop computer.  Something that would be able to handle any task I can throw at it from video editing to 3D modeling with Blender to running games like Minecraft at full render distance and fancy graphics without lag or performance problems.

It’s finally starting to happen.  It started when somebody I know on YouTube upgraded his system not long ago and decided to send me the still perfectly good parts that he is no longer using.

An Asus P5N-e SLi Motherboard, a Intel Core2Quad Q6600 2.4GHz CPU and four sticks of 1 GB Kingston HyperX PC2 6400 DDR2 800MHz ram.

I took the time to look up the specs on this stuff and I was thoroughly impressed.  This is some pretty good stuff, capable of quite a bit.

There was a wierd quirky delay in shipping because for some reason the Danish post office sent it to Arkansas by way of Argentina.  I had actually figured that it would probably be lost in Argentina’s postal system for a long time (if not forever).  Then just about a week ago I was pleasantly surprised by it’s arrival.

For some time now I’d been trying to keep some money stashed away for the purpose of eventually getting the stuff I wanted to build that dream system.  I took that money and used it to get a few things:

An 850 Watt 850W 120mm Fan ATX Power Supply with SLI-ready PCI-Express SATA 20/24 PIN connectors, A socket 775 Cpu Fan, Windows 7 Professional SP1 64bit to take full advantage of the 64bit architecture of the CPU & Motherboard (which I plan to dual-boot with the 64bit version of Kubuntu Linux), and a Western Digital Caviar Green 2 TERABYTE Hard Drive (which has more than twice the combined capacity of every other hard drive I have EVER owned!)

I was looking around at graphics cards when another person offered me an Nvidea GTX 295 (I checked the specs on this too, a VERY capable GPU) that was “sitting in a box on the shelf” and a third person, after looking at a list of stuff I’ve already got, said that the 17 inch VGA monitor simply would not do and is sending a 19inch Dell flat LCD display.

As of today the power supply, CPU heatsink & fan, Windows 7 and 2TB hard drive have arrived.  Once the last things are here I’m going to take an afternoon and actually build the best computer system I’ve ever owned.

Who says good things don’t happen spontaneously?

I Think My Camcorder Might Be Dying

Why do I think that?  Because it is not only showing various signs of wear, which I’ll get to in a minute, but it has also been doing something occasionally that convinces me it is not long for this world.  Take a look at the picture below and you’ll see what I mean.

camcorder green signal failingWhat’s wrong with this picture?  There is no green in it at all.

Every once in a while when my camcorder starts up the preview screen will look like this picture. This tells me that the component that picks up the optical input and converts it into a video signal is not supplying the green portion of the Red Green Blue (RGB) signal.

For example, the background in this picture is the green screen in my studio.  It obviously *SHOULD* be showing up green.  The fact that it is not means that the camcorder is definitely having a major problem.

Now for the time being the solution to this problem is to turn it off and back on again however I can’t help thinking that sooner or later that isn’t going to do it anymore.

This means that it would be a great idea for me to start shopping for camcorders and try to get a new one before this current unit fails completely.  This is especially true because I am a youtube partner and having a working camcorder is very important to me.  I’d really hate to have to resort to my really crappy webcam to do my videos with, or worse yet, resort to slideshow style videos that feature graphics or text that I generate in the video editor and a voiceover.  Yeah, it would technically work but it’d really suck too.,

Perhaps I might be able to get away with it for my daily vlogs but there’s no way I could do any of my skits that way and things like WFRT News, Phat Trek, and Watching Bad Videos (so you don’t have to) would be all but impossible without a working camcorder and frankly it needs to be an hd camcorder.

The only problem is cost.  I have been in a state of being “financially challenged” for some time and there just isn’t money for a new hd camcorder.  About the only shot I have is to win one in a contest and honestly, while I’m going to enter any such contest that I find, to be honest the chances of winning are microscopic to say the least.

I guess the trick is finding a contest that is suited to my skills and requires a creative entry video of some kind in a genre that I can work with.

What I’d really like is to have a Cannon 60d but in reality it’ll probably end up being an el cheapo off brand POS that just barely works.  That’s just the way things usually end up working for me.  Wouldn’t it be great if, for once, it didn’t turn out that way?

Technorati Tags: contests, camcorder, failing, win a camcorder, no green, youtube, rgb signal, youtube videos, making videos

Strange Cursor Problem *FIXED*!

The strange cursor behavior I talked about in my last post is *FINALLY* cured!  Here’s how:

Last night I spent several hours double checking to see if perhaps, in spite of my safe hex habits, I had managed to contract some kind of malware designed to drive people totally batshit with weird problems like this.

I started out with Trend Micro’s Housecall and after it reported nothing wrong I tried the other free tools on that page to see what they would report.  None of them reported any problems at all.  No malware of any kind was found.

On one of the forums where I was looking for help I was advised to try disabling the touchpad in the BIOS and try a new mouse.  I found that I could not disable the touchpad in the BIOS because it was not an option on any of the BIOS option screens.

While the machine was off I also removed and re-seated the memory chips because of an odd sounding story from somebody who reported similar difficulties.

I rebooted after checking the BIOS with the mouse still disconnected and suddenly the mysterious behavior was gone.  The touchpad now performed fine. All symptoms were completely gone. Everything that I had not been able to do was now working properly.

I did a test to confirm that it was, after all, the mouse.  I reconnected the mouse and the odd behavior returned.  I disconnected it again and the odd behavior continues.  For some reason it actually takes rebooting without that particular mouse connected in order for things to work properly.

I have swapped that optical mouse with an older but still working three button ball mouse I had laying around and now I’m going to think of something that is suitably destructive that I can use that old mouse for.

This whole thing hast left me feeling like some entry-level dunce for not figuring out this problem weeks ago.  You know, like the day it happened.

Actually in truth, I don’t care about that very much.  I’m just glad things are working again!

Technorati Tags: passed malware scan, stickykeys, fixed, solved, mousekeys, strange, computer, weird, solution, problem, unknown problem, cursor

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