Archive for July, 2010

Stone dead IBM desktop

Yesterday, I was trying to fix a P4 era IBM desktop.
This one has a P4 3Ghz HT CPU, 768MB RAM (512MB + 256MB upgrade), some AGP video card, 2 hard disks (one SATA and one IDE) and 2 optical drives. The motherboard is some IBM rebranded Intel (Foxconn) board.
The case and PSU are proprietary (but PSU uses a standard ATX plug). PSU is Hipro 230W (?) with a dead fan.

Now the problem:
The title says it all. The system is stone dead. It does nothing except turning on and off. Tried clearing CMOS, running with a different PSU, swapping video cards, running on integrated VGA, running with only one RAM module, running without any RAM at all (no beeps).
This system does not show any signs of life. No beeps and nothing on display. The hardware shutdown (hold power button for a few seconds) works though. I suspect that the BIOS might be corrupt (and there’s no way to restore it because the BIOS chip is soldered in). Too bad I don’t have a POST card…

None of my s478 boards fit in this proprietary IBM case so I cannot just rebuild the PC using one of my s478 boards.
So this system is probably good for parts only (CPU, RAM, VGA, HDDs, etc.) unless the system owner would find a compatible board that would fit.

Fixing yet another PC

The title says it all. Fixing yet another PC.
This time, it’s a P3 era PC with a 1 Ghz Celeron Coppermine cD0
But the PC is in a really bad condition. I’ve had to do a nearly complete rebuild to return this system to a working state.
1. Motherboard (branded Manli) had some bad capacitors near CPU socket (8 identical caps, one leaking)
2. The system had a really crappy power supply (very light and specs overrated)
3. One of 2 PCI133 RAM modules was bad
4. (on the software side) Windows install was corrupted (not even safe mode worked)

Here’s what I did:
1. Replaced the motherboard with Intel D815EEA (nearly a complete system rebuild)
2. Replaced the bad Samsung 256MB RAM module with 256MB Micron (Nanya OEM)
3. Replaced the power supply with a 350W Codegen I had laying around (not the best PSU, but much better than the one it replaced)
4. Added another hard drive (a ye olde Samsung 10GB)
5. Reinstalled XP

Now, some more details.
I could not install XP on this system. The setup always stopped with “Could not copy file x” or “File x was not copied correcly”. Attempting to retry the file copy had no effect or resulted in some random BSOD. Sometimes, the setup would just crash with a BSOD during file copy.
I’ve tried using my UBCD to scan the hard disk, but WinPE always crashed with some BSOD soon after booting to desktop.
I’ve spent a few hours trying to figure out what was wrong. It turned out that one of the RAM modules was bad (the system had one Samsung 256MB module and one 128MB RAM module branded Exram, 256MB Samsung was bad).
Replacing it with a 256MB Micron solved the problem.

Now I need to:
1. Install all the needed software (Office suite, media players, video codecs, etc.)
2. Restore the owner’s old data from a HDD backup.

I hope I will have no more problems with this system.

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