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January 05, 2008
Dead PC

My PC went belly up this evening. It powers up, but never gets to the BIOS, never boots up. I suspect the motherboard is toast, but geek that I am, I'm a network geek, not a PC geek, so that's only a guess.

I guess maybe I should call the Geek Squad. I wonder how long (and how much cash) it'll take to get the PC back on its feet.

Until then, no mail, no casual browsing. Good thing I have my employer-issued laptop here - it's the World's Slowest Laptop, but at least it works enough to let me post this.

Posted by Russ at 08:57 PM, January 5, 2008 in Geekery

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Let me get the black arm band on, and we can pay our respects to the parts that have died and gone to computer part heaven (or hell depending on the part). At least you have *some* keyboard to type on - you don't necessarily have to go through keyboard withdrawal.

Posted by: Jasmine at January 6, 2008 04:12 AM

Comrade, unless you really need this exact PC, any time a major part goes bad is an EXCELLENT time to consider replacing the unit with some low-end system (that was a high-end system 12-18 months ago). More than nice enough Dell and HP systems can be had for under $500 including an LCD display, if you want. Indeed, on big sales, you can get nice low-end notebooks for around $400. Geek Squad will cost more than that in 2 hours or so.

Also, you should be able to bring along your existing hard drive(s) and display(s) and even cards, if you want.

Something to think about, anyway.


P.S. The above may not apply if yours is a 3D gaming machine. It's easy to spend more on the video card than on the rest of the system combined, in which case you can just transplant the video card, but some people max out everything, in which case, and just about which case alone, a mobo replacement may be obviously worth it.

Posted by: John at January 6, 2008 11:25 PM

E.g., deals very broadly like this seem to pop up (and then vanish) fairly often:

eMachines Tower T3642 Desktop (Athlon 64 4000+, 1GB, 250GB) $249.99 AR @ Office Depot 1/6/08

Posted by: John at January 7, 2008 03:14 PM

I should have mentioned: given that your work laptop is meeting your basic needs (um, I mean computational, only... hope hope), you're in a great position to wait for the next killer deal to come along, and then pounce on it. Check maybe three times a day or so--no more, or it can take over your life. And then move fast. http://www.fatwallet.com/c/18/ and http://slickdeals.net/ are great places to start. I think in each case you can have it automatically e-mail when there's a new thread including the word "desktop", or "desktop" and intel, etc. etc.

And forgive me for not mentioning that the above machine comes/came with Windows Vista Home Premium! I know you don't feel safe and secure in your computing without the "pwned by Microsoft" Certificate of Authenticity (now there's an ironic phrase! ;) )!

Posted by: John at January 7, 2008 03:22 PM

Okay, here's one more, BUT you'd need a local techie to (a) make sure it'd work with your case/components, (b) make sure your case isn't the problem (PS failure?), and (c) install it for you (very easy for the right person).


Posted by: John at January 7, 2008 03:26 PM

Vista? Vista?!?!?

I'd pay extra to stick with XP.

Posted by: Russ at January 7, 2008 11:07 PM

Oh, and I opted not to go with Geek Squad - they are indeed extremely pricey... whereas the local computer chain store, Intrex, is much more reasonable with their diagnostic fees.

I'll probably end up having a new machine built, with components (HD, video card, RAM) salvaged from the current dead box.

Posted by: Russ at January 7, 2008 11:10 PM

Russ, you're being unfair to Vista! It's only 1 or possibly 2 service packs away from being as functional as Windows XP SP1! :) (Actually, it probably is already better in terms of security--compatibility is the big problem.)

And it all depends on pricing, of course, but it wouldn't surprise me if it's cheaper just to buy a whole new low-end computer and then replace/supplement components as desired (e.g., just add the old hard drive as an extra drive, or use the files and settings transfer wizard, or even possibly restore a backup from the old onto the new [though then you'll likely need/want to do a repair install of Windows again], though this can result sometimes in decreases of system stability [often works fine, often works okay, sometimes generates real problems]).

Especially if you don't have a lot of old applications, so that reinstallation isn't a big pain, it's usually better in the long run to start over and reinstall/migrate/tack-on old stuff as needed.

I'm probably not saying anything new, but just my experience, FWIW.

Posted by: John at January 8, 2008 09:26 AM

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