Holy cow, I wrote a book!
Yes, I said that
my next dead computer story would be the AlphaServer,
but late-breaking news has forced me to shuffle the order a bit.
My home computer has been circling the drain for several months.
(The Northbridge fan would buzz and sometimes spin really slowly.)
When the motherboard finally stopped powering on, I knew its
time was up.
Being the clueless geek I am, I figured,
"No big deal.
Swap out the motherboard and I'm back in business."
Easier said than done.
For you see, my computer is so old, nobody makes motherboards
compatible with the one I had.
According to Wikipedia,
not only has Socket A been discontinued,
its replacements, Socket 754 and 939, have themselves been
superseded (by AM2).
I was two generations obsolete.
Therefore, with the motherboard upgrade came a CPU upgrade
and of course a RAM upgrade since my old PC-2100 RAM doesn't
work in the new motherboard (which wants PC-3200 but can
slum it with PC-2700).
After I got the new parts home, I realized that
the new motherboard wants a PCI Express video card
rather than my old AGP card, and it also needs a new power connector
that my old ATX power supply doesn't have,
so I'll need a new case and power supply, too.
My simple "swap out the motherboard" has turned into a massive upgrade.
I'm thinking I would have been better off just buying a Dell.
I'm not out of the woods yet.
I get everything all plugged in and hooked up, and the hard drives
won't spin up.
Well, they do spin up, as long as I don't plug in the IDE cable.
But if I plug in the IDE cable, they refuse to spin.
(Yes, I tried a different cable.)
I don't think it's excessive power draw, because I get this even
when I hook up just one hard drive, and when the IDE cable isn't
plugged into the motherboard, the drives spin up just fine.
I'm baffled on this one.
No, it's not bad cabling, since I used the cables intact from the old
computer. The exact same cables in the exact same configuration worked
on the other computer. And the cables are keyed so I'm not installing
them backwards. And it's not lack of power. I fed power to the
drive from the old computer's power supply, and the same thing: Spins
up if IDE cable disconnected. (What's more: If the IDE cable is
connected and the motherboard is powered off, the drive does not spin