Holy buckets my PC is really trying to off itself. Be warned, if PC troubleshooting is super uninteresting to you, then skip this entry. It has just been a horrible experience keeping my PC running lately and I want to complain haha.
It first started with the motherboard a few months back. I went to turn on my PC and it came up with some generic “USB overcurrent” error. I was like “huh that’s weird, I’ve never heard of that” Well apparently it can happen when debris enters the usb and shorts it out. It’s not a big deal you just have to clean it out and then it works again. Well I did everything I could, including unplugging all of the usbs and checking them with a flashlight… no go. So it must have been the motherboard itself. Buying a new one wasn’t cheap either. It’s an old outdated chipset motherboard, so even old used ones were 200 bucks. The worst part was the anxiety I felt about my data. I use three 3TB hard disks in a RAID5 arrangement, and so obviously the raid degrades when you swap motherboards. So you get to watch in agony for 24 hours as it rebuilds, hoping nothing goes wrong with your data. I have the most crucial stuff backed up, but a lot of it would be lost. Good news, it all went off without a hitch. Whew.
After I fixed that, the next fun issue I ran into was a software issue (or at least I thought). Windows was constantly blue screening on me and I figured “okay well I’ve had this same install of windows for 4 years, maybe it’s finally time I just install it fresh.” Nope, still didn’t work. So now I’m thinking “okay this hard drive I bought was pretty cheap at the time, maybe it’s kicked the bucket.” And sure enough, I hook it up to Jessica’s PC and still get the blue screen. So I’m thinking “sweet I have found the issue”. Nope....
I won’t go into detail about the hours of troubleshooting it took me to figure this out, but I eventually found that it was one of my corsair memory dimms. But that was after I had bought a brand spanking new fancy hard drive for 400 bucks. Luckily the dimm was still under warranty so I got that swapped out for free, but I kept the new hard drive because it was super nice and I was like “This was a sign.... I deserve this…” haha.
On to the next thing a few weeks later. I’m about to head out to shoot a wedding, and I’m playing some Overwatch with a buddy of mine online. I start noticing this weird smell that smells like burnt plastic. I walk around the whole house making sure Jessica didn’t leave anything plugged in and found nothing. But when I walk back into the office it’s horrid, so I figured out that it was my PC. I should have turned it off immediately, but what I assumed was that maybe some of my puppies hair got inside and touched something hot. Wrong.... and a stupid assumption in hindsight. I just really wanted to keep playing my game during my final hours of freedom.
Anyway, I should have shut it off myself because moments later it just shuts down on it’s own. My first thought was that it was the power supply. I yank out the power supply and look inside and I do see something that may resemble melted plastic, but I would never take apart a power supply myself. That’s just asking to get shocked by a capacitor and probably die. (no joke, don’t do it). So I called a local geek squad (I used to work there and know we had power supply testers on hand) and they set up an appointment before the wedding. I show up, but guess what, after wasting 10 minutes of my time just sitting there, they say “sorry we can’t find the tester, too bad” and I’m like “well frick this sucks” so I just go impatient and bought a power supply they had in stock. It was super overpriced but all of the shops would be closed by the time I got out of the wedding and I was eager to get it fixed that night, so whatever.
I get home from the wedding, throw in the new power supply, and nothing. But I notice that the horrid smell is back. That tells me that i just wasted $120 on the new power supply because it’s clearly something else. Turns out, it was the graphics card. I borrow Jessica’s graphics card for a moment and voila, it works. So now I get to replace this graphics card. It is 3 1/2 years old, and the warranty lasts for 3 years. Frick.
This is where I want all of you to be super proud of me, because I’m proud of myself. When it comes to electronics I usually just go all out and spend unforgivable amounts of money. And that’s almost what I did here. One of the best graphics cards you can buy right now is the 2080ti. My old card was the 980ti, which again, was one of the best graphics cards could buy at the time. I really really really wanted to buy it, but the prices have absolutely gotten out of control with graphics cards. 3 years ago, my 980ti (which was a fancy overclocked and watercooled version) was 700 bucks. It was 200 bucks more than the next step down and only like 10 percent faster. Not a great value, but I wanted it. However, this time, the 2080ti is about $1200 and the next step down is $700. That’s just an insane markup for something that isn’t a whole lot faster.
I REALLY REALLY wanted it.... but I was able to control myself and get the “crappy” 700 dollar version. And I couldn’t be happier I made that decision, because it’s still a crazy fast card and I saved so much money.
The good news is that I found exactly what was wrong with my old video card, so I ordered the new part and have someone who can solder it into place when it arrives from aliexpress. It’s a longshot (as these cards have like 10 layer circuit boards and lot of stuff could be fried), but if I manage to fix it, I’ll have a spare video card! It’s an older card, but it still runs any game at high settings so I can’t be mad about that.
I kept the power supply I bought because it was truly a lot nicer than my old one. So let’s review.
$200 for a new motherboard
$400 for new storage
$120 for new power supply
$700 for new graphics card
This POS computer has me about $1420 in the hole at the moment. I mean I guess I’m glad most of it is new and under warranty again, and all of that is a tax write off. But heck man. The only thing that is original now is the CPU, and it is getting a big long in the tooth now.