We were a little late getting week two’s
Asus Xtreme Gaming Summit post up, but it still attracted lots of great comments answering the question: “What’s been the trickiest, most complex or most frustrating problem you’ve had when building a PC?”
We’ve been through the comments and picked our five favourite answers – all five win tickets
to the event on the 28th of August in London, and of course, snagging themselves some choice hardware to boot. As stated in the T&C’s
, every winner gets £50 towards travel expenses, too.
Before we announce this week’s winners, a quick shout out to forum users Spiny
– you both won last week and have been PM’d details which you need to respond to! Get on it or your tickets will go to other people!
Winner 6: von_stylon
Even if you’ve been around PC hardware for only a short time, you’ve probably got what von_stylon calls an “X files moment”
. Nicely put:
“In 2005, a friend of mine wanted to upgrade so he could have a powerful rig for his music production... The build went well and was simple, the OS installed as normal and all seemed well... The next day upon returning to work I fired up his machine to begin the install, Windows booted and then there was a BSOD... Over the following week I had tested everything even to the point where I had replaced every component with identical kit and still all I got was BSOD. The crazy thing was that every BSOD had a different error, no two were the same.
“To keep this from getting too long, the machine went through five techy guys as well as a few local businesses I knew well who were very good and this was over the course of 12 months. Eventually I was handed back the rig and I was going to launch the machine out the back door into the bin and thought I would give it one more try. I stripped the innards like I had done before so many times and built up the rig step by step each time adding another part and each time no BSOD until it was fully built in the box and job done. My friend still uses the machine today and not a single BSOD to date that I know of.”
Winner 7: g3n3tiX
g3n3tiX won his place with a neat little tip about how easy it is to overlook tiny technical details when building a PC, and yet how these details can really trip you up:
“My IDE cable was not the good one (a 40 conductor vs. a 80 conductor) so the DVD drive didn't have enough bandwidth to read the disk and tranfer the data properly. Thus installation of an OS wasn’t possible.”
Winner 8: mclean007
Not that we want to turn this post into one of those “everything was harder in the old days”
grumbles, but it was. 4GB of RAM? We had to make do with a lump of coal... In all seriousness though, mclean007’s post brought back fond memories of how tricky things were back in the day.
“ Building PCs these days is a piece of cake compared to the mid-90s (showing my age) when you had to get MS-DOS up and running from floppy, guddle about with CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT to get various proprietary hardware initialised properly while still retaining enough base memory (the first 640kB) to actually do anything, then install Windows 95 from your 2x CD-ROM drive using the command prompt. Don’t forget to plug the analogue audio cable from the CD drive into your sound card if you actually want to play a CD, and you better hope the driver for your 28.8kbps modem that came on floppy works and you don't get any IRQ conflicts, because otherwise you're never going to be able to get onto the bulletin board...”
Winner 9: TGImages
“Crappy case design!”
said TGImages, which is certainly succinct. “I have used a variety of different cases... Some have turned out to be great to work with but a few have been downright painful. Sliced fingers, components that just simply won't fit as the case wasn't designed properly, poor tolerances so you're having to bend something in or out before you can attach the component and just plain sloppy construction are my top complaints.”
We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.
Winner 10: kosch
Our tenth winner, kosch, had a story all about the perils of building and maintain a parent’s PC, a tricky situation we’re sure rings true for many bit-tech
“Building my father’s new PC... once I ordered the parts for him he insisted on putting it together himself (being an engineer he enjoys it or so he thought!) A few days after the build he started to configured the RAID array to store his vast collection of photos he scanned in from a strip scanner... Everything was fine for a few days and then all of a sudden I kept getting phone calls from him to say the BIOS was clearing itself and occasionally the machine wouldn’t POST. Not good when he has just transferered over 40,000 images he's scanned in from old slides etc!
“So, you do the usual things, swap memory slots, swap memory modules, flash BIOS, swap PSU, contact mobo customer support, flash beta BIOS, strip down to minimal components, RMA the motherboard. The only common we saw factor was when it was disconnected from the mains it would clear the BIOS & sometimes not even POST. This went on for about a month and a half.
Then on the off chance thinking it might be something environmental in the case we took the motherboard out and had it all running on the table, bare and naked with no case and none of the case power controls.
We did several tests over the next few hours and discovered it was an issue with the soft power controls on the actual case (Coolermaster RC-1100 Cosmos S) causing the motherboard to clear its BIOS... We nearly choked laughing after spending so long trying to solve the problem it was as simple as that! He solved this issue by putting some hard wired power buttons in from Maplin and cutting some nice holes in the case for giant Stop/Start buttons!
So my new rule of thumb is: At your wits end with weird hardware problems? Get that motherboard naked!”