Bad Motherboard Bad!

So, yesterday I got a new video card from a friend. Not sure if I mentioned this via blog post yet or not but it’s 5:45am so I’m a little fuzzy. I was pretty damn excited. It’s already an obsolete model but it actually provides double the performance of my current card!

Anyhow, had a little issue getting it installed into the system. The card itself is HUGE and I had to shift internal components around a bit and rework the cabling system. I expected that so it wasn’t a big deal.

First issue appeared as soon as I powered up. The monitors took a little longer than expected to get signal so the system came up just after the bios POST. Again, not a big deal. I figured it had something to do with the bios and video card talking to one another.

Got into Windows Vista and had to work with a slew of driver issues. You would think that going from one Nvidia card to another wouldn’t be a big deal, especially considering that they use one standard set of drivers. Grrr… Well, took care of that too. Again, something I was aware of going into it.

Upon reboot I still had a little lag in video but nothing like I had from cold boot. Set that concern aside for the time being. Equated it with just a nuisance.

Then, I got hit with the stupid Windows Activiation Verification thing. Spent about 20 minutes on the phone a Microsoft bot verifying that I actually own the OS… Problem solved… for now.

Windows loaded again and I found that I got static from the sound system when I moved my mouse along some windows. I recently put an old Soundblaster card in the system to see if it was better than the on-board audio. But, I’ve known that Soundblaster products are prone to this interference. Reseated video card in other PCI-E slot and the interference went away. Might just end up taking the card out after everything is said and done.

Having to reseat the video meant I had to plug in the HD and DVD-rom into some SATA connectors I’ve never used. Didn’t have an issue on boot but entered into the BIOS to make sure everything was working.

Main menu = check

Some other extended menus = check

Power managment = fuck…

Well, that’s what the garbled text on some of the menu items translated to immediately in my head.

Searched interwebs for possible cause/solution. Most believe this points to motherboard failure. But some troubleshooting & exploration were warranted.

Corrupt BIOS? I flashed the system in hopes it would rebuild the CMOS and other BIOS data. Flash successful. But corruption still occurs. In fact it spread to one or more settings in other various menus. I’m sure of this because I was looking at another setting which previously read “PCI Reset” and now reads ‘$#@ Reset’ (well not exactly but you know what I mean)

Could it be the new video card drawing too much juice? Tried the older card. BIOS still showing corruption… gah.

Last ditch effort, I removed the system battery in hopes that would clear the data. Did that last night before going to bed. Woke up about a half an hour ago, put it back in. The Wifey is still in bed so I haven’t had a chance to plug in the system and check the BIOS.. though I’m not optimistic.

The conclusion to all of this, at least I believe so at this point, is that my motherboard is failing. I had planned on spending about $250 on Windows 7 and some more memory for the system but this throws a serious wrench into the situation. No point in upgrading a system that is failing.

The shitty thing is that I can’t take the money I was looking at setting aside and use it to replace the motherboard. I’d also have to replace the CPU and memory modules. Not to mention I’d still have to purchase another OS since the Vista version I have is OEM…

Sigh.. which basically means I’ll have to get the system up and running enough to backup the information I have on the hard drive. No other system in the house has a SATA interface which is easily accessible. That should solve the issue of loosing data. I can always put more important stuff on an external.

I can still use the system for day to day stuff, though I’ll have to be aware that it could completely fail to boot at any time. Which means, I’m pretty much stuck depending on this olde laptop… which is also on it’s last legs…

Well, at least the $250 can go toward household bills…

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