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Hardware woes [split from Retro midi machine!] - Printable Version

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Hardware woes [split from Retro midi machine!] - Mattias Westlund - 09-05-2019

...aaaand now my main system is stone dead too. What a week.


RE: Retro midi machine! - Samulis - 09-06-2019

Damn, that sucks! I had my main system die on me a few weeks ago and had to build a new one. I think it was either the moisture or the power supply, because once I took the board out and removed the power-hungry components, I could get it to boot again... although by that time I had already built the new computer...

Solid state is definitely the way to go with old computers. Who knows how much longer NOS IDE drives will be in working condition. I got a NOS one on Ebay real cheap a year or two ago for my "retro" machine (repurposed Dell system), but surely the supply will eventually dry up and prices will skyrocket, especially given all the interest in retro computing.


RE: Retro midi machine! - Nayrb - 09-06-2019

(09-05-2019, 05:28 PM)Mattias Westlund Wrote: ...aaaand now my main system is stone dead too. What a week.

(09-06-2019, 01:49 AM)Samulis Wrote: Damn, that sucks! I had my main system die on me a few weeks ago and had to build a new one. I think it was either the moisture or the power supply, because once I took the board out and removed the power-hungry components, I could get it to boot again... although by that time I had already built the new computer...

Solid state is definitely the way to go with old computers. Who knows how much longer NOS IDE drives will be in working condition. I got a NOS one on Ebay real cheap a year or two ago for my "retro" machine (repurposed Dell system), but surely the supply will eventually dry up and prices will skyrocket, especially given all the interest in retro computing.

Yikes! I hope it's not contagious... I have been a bit anxious about the liquid cooler in my main rig, which is now about six years old. My un-medicated anxiety tells me I should replace it; however, the logical voice in my ear tells me I should just wait for something to actually happen.

I hope you get things sorted soon. Do you clone your drives or anything like that? I admit my backup processes are a bit, shall we say, "old school" (need improvement). I pretty much just worry about backing up important files and such, and commit to the slow process of reinstalling everything from scratch as needed. I should probably start making clones or mirrors...

On the bright side, now you can get some cool new stuff Big Grin


RE: Retro midi machine! - Mattias Westlund - 09-06-2019

(09-06-2019, 01:49 AM)Samulis Wrote: Damn, that sucks! I had my main system die on me a few weeks ago and had to build a new one. I think it was either the moisture or the power supply, because once I took the board out and removed the power-hungry components, I could get it to boot again... although by that time I had already built the new computer...

It does suck, yeah :/ The mobo seems to be the culprit here. Thought it was the PSU at first, but tested with a different one and it simply won't power on anymore, not even with everything but a stick of RAM removed.

(09-06-2019, 02:11 AM)Nayrb Wrote: Do you clone your drives or anything like that? I admit my backup processes are a bit, shall we say, "old school" (need improvement). I pretty much just worry about backing up important files and such, and commit to the slow process of reinstalling everything from scratch as needed. I should probably start making clones or mirrors...

I do it the old school way too. I just copy all my stuff over to an external hard drive (weekly full backups, and I make daily backups of any important stuff that I'm presently working on), and I make monthly backups to a secondary machine as well, just as a failsafe. I have been burned by cloning/imaging programs in the past so I don't trust 'em, though admittedly that was in 2006 or something and maybe they're more reliable now. Besides, it's nice being able to access all files from any machine I might pop the hard drive into when stuff like this happens, as opposed to having image files that require a special program to be opened.

(09-06-2019, 02:11 AM)Nayrb Wrote: On the bright side, now you can get some cool new stuff Big Grin

I can't afford any big new upgrades right now, but I've managed to source an AM3+ mobo from a friend, which is backwards compatible with the CPU I have, so I should be able to get the machine up and running again relatively soon. But for now I'm stuck with my laptop, which has zero music stuff installed on it. So I guess this is the universe's way of saying I should get busy finishing that novel...


RE: Retro midi machine! - Nayrb - 09-07-2019

(09-06-2019, 04:42 AM)Mattias Westlund Wrote:
(09-06-2019, 02:11 AM)Nayrb Wrote: Do you clone your drives or anything like that? I admit my backup processes are a bit, shall we say, "old school" (need improvement). I pretty much just worry about backing up important files and such, and commit to the slow process of reinstalling everything from scratch as needed. I should probably start making clones or mirrors...

I do it the old school way too. I just copy all my stuff over to an external hard drive (weekly full backups, and I make daily backups of any important stuff that I'm presently working on), and I make monthly backups to a secondary machine as well, just as a failsafe. I have been burned by cloning/imaging programs in the past so I don't trust 'em, though admittedly that was in 2006 or something and maybe they're more reliable now. Besides, it's nice being able to access all files from any machine I might pop the hard drive into when stuff like this happens, as opposed to having image files that require a special program to be opened.

(09-06-2019, 02:11 AM)Nayrb Wrote: On the bright side, now you can get some cool new stuff Big Grin

I can't afford any big new upgrades right now, but I've managed to source an AM3+ mobo from a friend, which is backwards compatible with the CPU I have, so I should be able to get the machine up and running again relatively soon. But for now I'm stuck with my laptop, which has zero music stuff installed on it. So I guess this is the universe's way of saying I should get busy finishing that novel...

Yes, I'm going to try cloning the drive on my laptop to a bigger one. I'm a bit wary of the whole operation; but maybe things have been ironed out in recent years. Redundant file backups seem to be the way to go. Even when I was briefly studying info science, that seemed to be more or less the ultimate end goal when it came to digital data: lots of copies.

And yes, you certainly have plenty to keep you busy with that novel!


RE: Retro midi machine! - Mattias Westlund - 09-07-2019

(09-07-2019, 07:28 PM)Nayrb Wrote: Yes, I'm going to try cloning the drive on my laptop to a bigger one. I'm a bit wary of the whole operation; but maybe things have been ironed out in recent years. Redundant file backups seem to be the way to go. Even when I was briefly studying info science, that seemed to be more or less the ultimate end goal when it came to digital data: lots of copies.

Best of luck with that! I'm sure it'll be fine, but it doesn't hurt to have an old school backup as well. The more backups you have the better, really. You know what they say: something that exists in only one place doesn't really exist at all. So backing your stuff up only to a single place means you're only one hardware failure from having all your stuff not exist at all. I feel I should really get some cloud-based backup solution as well (because no amount of local backups will safeguard against fire, water damage or burglary), but the free solutions available only offer limited space and/or bandwidth and I'm not sure I want to pay for a cloud service that might go out of business or be canceled at any given moment.

Sometimes I wonder why no one has come up with a sort of peer-based cloud computing thing, where everyone on the network contributes a certain amount of storage space on their machine (say 10GB), and this space is then distributed among all users for storage. With enough users, the storage would be immense! Kind of like inverse BitTorrent. Or maybe someone has come up with it but I just haven't heard of it.

(09-07-2019, 07:28 PM)Nayrb Wrote: And yes, you certainly have plenty to keep you busy with that novel!

Very true! But my creativity demands variation. I like taking a break and doing something else when I'm stuck on something, be it music or writing or whatever, so being completely unable to work on musical projects doesn't really help my writing in the long term. I just get frustrated.


RE: Retro midi machine! - Mattias Westlund - 09-07-2019

I guess this is going ever further OT and might have to be split later, but: after some investigation it turns out the mobo my friend has lying around (he lives out of town and I'm waiting for him to ship it to me) supports Crossfire. And it just so happens that I have a second identical graphics card just gathering dust. I got them from a guy who used them in a Crossfire setup. Since the mobo appears to have a 16x and a 4x PCIe slot I'm not sure how much performance can be gained, if any, but might be fun to try. I've been curious about the dual GPU thing ever since the Voodoo 2 days but I've never actually owned a mobo that supported it.

Whether my PSU will handle it is another matter entirely of course, I'll need to look into that.


RE: Retro midi machine! - Nayrb - 09-08-2019

(09-07-2019, 09:19 PM)Mattias Westlund Wrote: Very true! But my creativity demands variation. I like taking a break and doing something else when I'm stuck on something, be it music or writing or whatever, so being completely unable to work on musical projects doesn't really help my writing in the long term. I just get frustrated.

I concur. Variety is often very important for me, too. Sometimes when I want to work on one thing, and I just can't seem to get into it, it becomes a source of anxiety that can derail my productivity in anything entirely.


RE: Hardware woes [split from Retro midi machine!] - Mattias Westlund - 09-11-2019

Got the mobo, installed it and everything seems to be working fine! So I split this off from the RMM thread.


RE: Hardware woes [split from Retro midi machine!] - Mattias Westlund - 09-11-2019

Now that my main system is back on its feet again, I'm going to investigate what the hell happened to the old mobo. I shut my computer down to tidy up the Gordian Knot of cables under my desk. When I was done it just wouldn't power on again. Troubleshooting (including trying a different and confirmed working PSU) got me nowhere. But here's the weird thing: the motherboard has a LED that lights up to show that it has power. The LED glows happily. And there is absolutely no signs of physical damage to the board. No blown caps, no discoloration from heat, nothing. It looks immaculate. But it just won't power on.

So I'm going to try it in a different case with a spare AM3 CPU I have lying around. I've hardware die on me before, but rarely without apparent reason. This looks more like some weird glitch than an actual failed motherboard.