Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Toasted Motherboard

Remember this?

Well, it happened again. And I'm afraid this time, it's permanent. I don't know what to think, other than the gloom-and-doom scenarios. Do I get the thing fixed? Do I buy a new computer? The latter is out, because it's just not in the budget. I have a laptop I can use, so that's not the end of the world. Most of the stuff on my old computer is backed up, so that's not the end of the world. I may be able to salvage what's on the hard drive. You never know. I may have a good "parts" computer now. The memory, CD drive, even a floppy drive, to tell you how old this thing is, are still good, most likely. Still, I hate having to deal with this kind of trouble, because it all means it's expensive.

I've talked with a few computer "experts" who conclude what I've already suspected:

1) The motherboard is likely dead.
2) Don't replace the motherboard; replace the computer.

One guy I talked to did suggest a diagnostic I can do that actually is akin to the kind of diagnostic I'm comfortable with, which is basically opening up the computer and looking for a part waving a little "Help Me" sign. I'm to look for bulging or leaking capacitors. I do know what capacitors look like' I've seen Back to the Future and all, you know. I had the machine open last night and didn't see any leaks, but I wasn't necessarily looking for leaks, either.

So we'll be going computer shopping, probably this weekend. One hiccup: We have an ancient, but still functioning HP laser printer that requries a serial port. Those are hard to come by, especially on the mid- to low-end machines we'll be looking to buy. I understand you can get a converter cable to make the printer work with a USB port, but as those run about $40, do we just invest in a new laser printer? Don't talk about injets to me. We ahve one, and it eats ink like an incontinent octopus. We want a laser printer. We've been spoiled by this one we've got, and I don't want the spoiling to end.

Urgh. This just frustrates me, because this has been The Year that Everything Died at our house. We had to get the van fixed twice. The microwave oven broke down twice (we bought an $18 replacement while it's in the shop for a second time. We had the overflow tank on the water heater spring a leak. My Shop-Vac, after not even a year's wroth of use, went frrrrrpt. Brakes and power steering went odd on the truck. I'm gleefully looking forward to the end of December so we can get past this year.

But I am grateful. We've had the money to fix these things as they came along. The microwave and the computer are frustrations, but not end of the world scenarios.

Update: Last night, the computer started working again. Not being an optimistic soul, I hurriedly transferred a bunch of files from that computer to a thumb drive in anticipation that something would make the computer die once more. Left it on because there's no guarantee it'll start up again. Then the power went out this morning. I'm sure it's nicely toasted now.

1 comment:

Brian said...

We just bought a new computer from dell that starts at $229. Its not a tower its a little cube thing but has all the computing power that our computer has. It doesn't come with a monitor. does your old one work. Also I have a USB Serial port cable you can have.