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Power Outage Fried My Computer

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Yup, my main desktop was dead for about two weeks thanks to a power outage. I originally thought that it was just the hard drive, because I could boot it up, but it would die whenever I got to a certain point in loading Windows. After closer inspection, I have determined that the outage actually fried my graphics card (Radeon 9800 something something). The fan on the card's heat sink is siezed and the chip under the heat sink is charred around the edges. I've got an old 9200 SE in it's place right now, but it's giving me weird scanline issues and I can't change my display settings. Eh, whatever. I got my documents backed up to an external USB hard drive now, and I got the important documents burnt off to CD, so everything is safe.

Right now the desktop is operational, but I'm concerned that the reason the GPU was fried was because the mobo is faulty. This computer has always had problems of some type, from frying parts to never being able to properly handle a warm OS restart. If I perform a restart instead of a full shutdown cycle, it loses its secondary IDE channel and halts processing for about half a second about every 5 seconds. This isn't an OS issue, it did it to Linux and BSD, too. That, coupled with the fact that it has become prohibitively expensive to upgrade the memory (Rambus RDRAM, wooo), and it's clear that this computer just has to go.

I had been considering rebuilding it to a usable configuration and gifting it to a family member, but given the restart issue I don't think that is a workable solution as none of them will understand what is going on or how to fix it (just shut it down). It took me a year to figure out exactly what was going on, I don't want to leave that kind of bug for my grandmother or someone.

Incidentally, my laptop has hit a brick wall, too. It's running fine, but it's just not powerful enough to do the things I want to do. It's an old P3 1.2Ghz machine, but it uses an integrated Intel graphics chip, so it doesn't support the minimum specs for doing XNA development. When I got the laptop, even though it was literally half the specs of my desktop in every way (512mb of ram instead of 1gb, and a 1.2ghz processor instead of 2.4ghz, a 20gb hard drive instead of a 40gb hard drive, etc, etc), it had almost completely replaced my desktop because I could use it in the livingroom instead of having to retreat to the basement where I keep the desktops. Since XNA has replaced Hardware Accelerated Java2D for me, in everything from ease of development to support to performance, if my lappy can't do XNA, then it's pretty much worthless to me.

So right now, the only computer I have at my disposal is my work laptop. At least it seems to be working ok. Knock on wood.
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